Subscribe to our Newsletter | To Post On IoT Central, Click here


Platforms (61)

You might have probably heard about the artificial intelligence being developed by some big researchers around the world. The current period of era is also about creating technology that not only process faster, but also works efficiently just like the human brain.

The innovation in such technologies has given rise to cognitive computing, which nothing but another miracle innovative development by a human brain to let the machine learn just like human being. Recently, IBM with its new cognitive system called as IBM Watson have entered into the segment of artificial learning to make system that is capable of learning and understanding knowledge to interact with human in a more natural way.

The cognitive computing is a self-learning technology platform that uses data mining and pattern recognition to simulate itself in a way that human brain works. The system is intended to solve some complex affairs involving big data with the power of natural learning and language processing mechanism. Cognitive computing has been claimed to be a future of artificial intelligence which has numerous application in robotics and VR.

The initiative of IBM to expand the cognitive computing adoption has been followed by IBM collaboration with SoftBank in which both the organization is trying to bring the IBM Watson in Japan. The collaboration is intended to let the Watson learn how to communicate in Japanese, and to exploit its capabilities.


The system will be in the hand of some developers and technology enthusiastic working on AI to create new services and apps in Japan which will be powered by the Watson. Japan is the one of largest country in terms of technology that is going to give a head start in the expansion of adoption of cognitive computing system around the world.

On the basis of IBM study, the cognitive computing system is going to shape the future in three following ways:

Engagement
Working with cognitive computing system will open the space of expert assistance that is not possible when human works alone. The capability of system to have a vast and deep insight will play an important role in consuming wide range of structured as well as unstructured data and knowledge. The recent announcement of USAA regarding usage of IBM Watson as an engagement advisor to military has confirmed that these systems are capable of shaping the future of humans.

Decision
Cognitive computing system works purely on evidence by processing new data and information and analysing the outcome of the action. It is going to help humans in taking better decisions using the recommendation provided by the system. The thought process of this system is backed by the quantitative confidence score that will generate the result based on the merit after evaluation of several options.

Discovery
There are several unlocked data and information which may not be discovered by human ever in the future. The adoption of cognitive system will help in discovering new research in various fields like cancer research to the life better for humans. Human researcher’s brain takes decades to formulate one single research, but the cognitive computing system can process the same data with much faster speed and deep insight of the topic.

Cognitive computing system is an amazing opportunity in transforming several industries. It’s just a matter of time and everything around us will be machine based.

Read more…

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that extends digital connectivity to devices and sensors in homes, businesses, vehicles and potentially almost anywhere. This advance enables virtually any device to transmit its data, to which analytics can then be applied to facilitate monitoring and a range of operational functions. IoT can deliver value in several ways. It can provide organizations with more complete data about their operations, which helps them improve efficiencies and so reduce costs. It also can deliver a competitive advantage by enabling them to reduce the elapsed time between an event occurring and operational responses, actions taken or decisions made in response to it.

IoT utilizes what Ventana Research calls operational intelligence, a discipline that has evolved from the capture and analysis of data from instrumentation and machine-to-machine interactions of many types. We define operational intelligence as a set of event-centered information and analysis processes operating across an organization that deliver information to enable effective actions and optimal decisions.

The evolution of operational intelligence and its manifestation in IoT is encouraging companies to revisit their priorities and spending for information and other digital technologies. Ventana Research undertook benchmark research on The Internet of Things to determine the attitudes, requirements and future plans of organizations that use IoT and operational intelligence systems and to identify their best practices. We set out to examine both the commonalities and the qualities specific to major industry sectors and across sizes of organizations. We considered how organizations manage IoT, issues they encounter in the process and how their use of it and related technology is evolving.

While the Internet of Things may still be a novelty to many consumers, organizations participating in our research are well aware of its applications and implications. Four out of five (81%) said IoT is important to their future operations. Majorities said the use of IoT is very important to speed the flow of information and improve the responsiveness of individuals within business processes (61%) and to speed the flow of information to customers or consumers (58%).

The most common uses of IoT are associated with customers (as in sensors on products, by 43%), employees (in wearable technology, 35%) and sensors on devices in the supply chain (31%). At this point, however, more organizations are able to capture IT events (such as a network or system security breach, 59%) than business events (such as a customer contact, 45%). As organizations find more business uses, IoT and operational intelligence will become even more mainstream, and the research indicates that this will occur. Within two years, 95 percent of organizations said they expect to be capturing IT events and 92 percent to be capturing business events.

The research also finds that the intentions of organizations to embrace IoT and use operational intelligence often outpace their current capabilities. For example, many can capture data but face challenges in using it. More than two-thirds (68%) said they are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their organization’s ability to capture and correlate data from events. After that, managing and using it become more complicated. Nearly one-third (31% each) reported difficulties with inadequate data or in managing external data. About half (48%) said they spend the most time reviewing event data for quality and consistency issues, which suggests a lack of standardization across the data sources that are collected.

Furthermore, most organizations are not ready to derive maximum value from IoT. The processes most commonly implemented, each by approximately half of organizations, are performing root-cause analysis, defining measurements and metrics, and monitoring and correlating activities or events. While these processes are necessary, they are only the first step in improving performance. Fewer have advanced to the point of automating processes, which will be necessary to make full use of the coming deluge of IoT data. For example, only about two in five use data from events to trigger automated processes such as predictive maintenance (38%) or automatic assignment of thresholds for alerts (39%).

This research overall finds strong momentum behind the emergence of the Internet of Things, but it also is clear that many organizations have not caught up to the trend. IoT is here, and its impact on business will only increase; almost all companies can benefit from paying attention to it. We encourage you to use this research to help educate and guide your organization through its IoT journey.


Regards,

David Menninger

Read more…

Guest post by Fabrice Jadot. This blog originally appeared here

Some of us are old enough to remember the days just before the internet became a permanent fixture in our lives. At that time, the IT industry had been struggling for years to come up with a way to harmonize disparate proprietary communication protocols. The goal was to make it easier for computer systems to talk to each other and share data.  At first, unifying the protocols proved frustrating and costly workarounds were necessary to help facilitate the flow of communications.  Then, gradually, a tipping point was reached. The economics of connectivity changed dramatically, vendor and user attitudes became more open, standards bodies coalesced, and communications technology advancements (like TCP/IP) allowed the floodgates to open.

Today, manufacturing and process industries find themselves in a similar “pre-internet” dilemma. Within the context of control systems and field devices, proprietary protocols are the rule as opposed to the exception. Although some standardized protocols are beginning to emerge, many of these will not interoperate without configuring specialized gateways that add cost and complexity.

Such a situation places constraints on the ability of industrial organizations to cash in on the promise of the new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) wave of technological and productivity advancements.

But there is hope.  Progress towards a converged communication protocol environment is being made on several fronts.  Consider the following…

Figure 1 Automation Pyramid

Some layers of the industrial automation pyramid are becoming more open– The theoretical layers of the industrial automation pyramid include field devices at the bottom (i.e., actuators, sensors, hardware), then a controller layer (i.e., PLCs), then a supervisory / control layer (SCADA, MES), and finally, a top enterprise-wide layer (i.e., ERP).

The good news is that, at the controller layer, a standard called OPC UA (Object linking and embedding for Process Control Unified Architecture) is emerging.  The OPC UA standard is a series of specifications that are being jointly developed by industry vendors, end-users and software developers. The OPC UA standards specify the communication of industrial process data, alarms and events, historical data and batch process data.  Key control systems vendors are beginning to build and design products that conform to OPC UA standards. OPC UA is platform independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices at the controller layer from multiple vendors. The OPC Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of this standard.

Unfortunately, at the layer below, where field devices communicate across to other field devices and up to controllers, the standardization situation is still murky. As a result of the dominance of separate, proprietary protocols, a “field bus war” has been fought for many years. End users are bearing the brunt of the resulting extra cost by having to install and support gateways in order to interpret the data based on the different proprietary protocols.

A new Time Sensitive Network (TSN) standard could inadvertently accelerate convergence at the field device level – TSN is a new standard that is currently under development by IEEE. It’s not yet completely finalized, but it is well advanced. One of the main purposes of the standard is to address the issue of time sensitive data (real time data).  TSN is exploring ways to standardize the definition of “real-time data” and to assure that mission-critical, time-sensitive data can be transferred and shared within strict bounds of latency and reliability. Also under consideration is how time sensitive data can avoid being held up on networks that will become increasingly congested with IIoT data.

Figure 2 Industrial Communication Stack

Although not a goal of TSN, movement towards more converged industrial protocol standardization at the field device level could result, with TSN working to harmonize all of the layers across the industrial communication stack (except for the application layer), as shown in figure 2.

Such a unified industrial protocol will allow organizations across the industry to accelerate the benefits they can derive from the data that they already have in-house and from the future data they process.

Read more…

MWC- The Great Illusionists Show

First of all, I will explain the reason for the post title. For those who have not seen the films, I summarize: "A group of four illusionists win year after year to the public with their incredible magic shows and even mocking the FBI.

GSMA is a great illusionist and MWC is their principal magic show. We are invited year after year to visit an event with unique keynote speakers, an enormous list of exhibitors, amazing performances and a great LinkedInplace where we can meet in person some of our social media contacts. What else can we ask for?

I know that it is very ruthless to compare the GSMA with illusionists and the MWC as their greatest magic show, but at least I see quite a few reasonable resemblances, you don´t.

 My fears and my wishes for MWC17

If in 2015 I wrote " MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon", and I argued as one the reasons to attend MWC was the fact it was celebrated in Barcelona. In 2016, in my post “GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC” I justify the reasons why the MWC needed to reinvent itself.

One thing has become clear to me after many years attending MWCs, this is the world's biggest phone and mobile networks show, with manufacturers set to unveil a raft of new phone handsets and new technology. However, the GSMA had insisted on introducing more and more distractions like Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Living, Connected Car, AR/ VR, Robots. Maybe the reason is because Telecom operators do not have the DNA to change. Still, many telecom operators take a dim view of some of the aggressive moves being made by these peers, especially when it comes to business models based on commercializing customer data.

“I expected to see less hype and a dose of common sense”

 Starting by the announcement of Spain’s Telefonica to introduce a broad plan “4th Platform” to help both consumer and business customers keep greater control over their data rather than giving it away to web giants Google, Facebook and Amazon.

 “I expected to see more applications where IoT will become a lot less exciting, but more useful and profitable. The real world.” 

But I also feel like Scott Bicheno that  “Mobile World Congress is disconnected from reality”.

 

The Top 5 tricks of illusionism this year

5G, Network Slicing and their associated Business Models

5G will undoubtedly be the next big thing in mobile wireless networks. For Niall Norton: fact, fiction, MWC – and strangers dancing in the dark, the most over-hyped technology or trend this year will be 5G in spite he thinks 5G is still miles away and therefore we have to wait for augmented reality, virtual reality, driverless cars and the like. It is a big ask for investors to keep piling money in.

For Phil Laidler, Network slicing is essentially an extension of policy control, virtualisation, NFV and SDN, and their orchestration; the move towards software-centric, flexible end-to-end networks. At MWC this year he is looking forward to seeing more "proof of concepts" for network-slicing and the associated business models, in addition to any insights into how slicing will work in practice.

Nokia’s big 5G announcement on ‘day 0’ of the event was overshadowed by a large consortium of operators and vendors calling for just the ‘new radio’ part of the 5G standard to be accelerated, despite the fact that it will lack the backhaul, cloud infrastructure, software platforms, etc needed to make the 5G dream viable. If anything highlights the wishful-thinking folly of much of the talk at this year’s show it’s that.

IoT

IoT has been a hot topic at MWC for the last few years, but, operators do not succeed with new business models beyond managed connectivity. Strategic alliances with IoT vendors has shown no results yet.

The battle between connectivity technologies remains fierce, cellular IoT Chip Battle Escalates at MWC ARM, Sequans and Altair to compete on NB-IoT solutions, but vendors and operators are now looking for more innovative ways to overcome the problem. This might just be the year of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN).  Although LoRa and Sigfox are currently dominant in the LPWA market, cellular IoT proponents had steal the show.

For example, Telefonica - who is working on NB-IoT with Huawei - recently announced a global partnership with Sigfox. In addition, Nokia launched its worldwide IoT network grid ('WING') a few weeks ago, which it describes as "a 'one-stop-shop', full service model offering seamless IoT connectivity across technologies and geographical borders."

For Operators, the real value from IoT will be created when they can start combining data sets from different areas and different connectivity technologies. For example, smart cities, healthcare or Food & Beverage, retail, transportation and logistics to improve the cold chain supply management processes.

I hope that at MWC18 we will be looking out for examples of operators and vendors developing IoT use-cases that do just that.

“The Internet of Things is in MWC to stay for a few more years, but If your focus is Internet of Things (IoT) then your money probably will have more ROI in other IoT events”

Blockchain

Blockchain has become one of the latest buzz words in telecoms, IT and IoT , thanks to a rapid increase in start-ups using it for new use-cases beyond its original application in financial services. Despite the excitement around blockchain the technology is still poorly understood by many, so operators need to explore the practical applications of blockchain and investigate whether developing these capabilities would be beneficial and understand what will be their role telcos in this field. 

Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots

Not many people in the Operators and in general in the Telco sector can explain what will be the practical potential of AI and machine learning in this sector. Other industry sectors are starting to apply machine learning models to their business. And as the technology and algorithms become more refined, early adopters expect to see huge cost savings. But at what cost? 

I expect to see real use cases for AI, machine learning and Robots to make the eternal promise of Customer Experience happen.

Will Telcos someday use machine learning and AI to learn about customer’s habits so that their services and product features can emulate a human behaviour more accurately?. This is a huge opportunity for both vendors and operators.

The wandering souls network

The first time I visited MWC as CEO of OIES, that is to say, as an independent consultant, I feel like a walking dead. Without a clear agenda, without scheduled meetings. I walk through hundreds of exhibitor booths looking for friend’s faces that can spend a couple of minutes to tell them my history.

The Telco sector (Operators, Large Vendors) and the IT sector is being very cruel with employees over 45 years old. This year I have had the opportunity to spend some time with some of ex-colleagues, friends and also LinkedIn contacts that wanted to tell me their history and asked me for advice about the new “El Dorado world of IoT”. 

There is a lot of talent out there. Do not exclude this extraordinary wandering network because you believe they are overqualified and you can not manage them.

See you next year at MWC18

I've been saying the same thing for years when I come exhausted from MWC  “No more tricks, no more illusions, this has been my last year". But will be this time the real one. Do I need a sabbatical MWC?.

“Whether you passed 1 day, 3 days or a whole week of your life in the MWC17 illusionism, ask yourself: Was it worth it? “

Now you see me or not @MWC18.

 Thanks for your Comments and Likes

Read more…

Bluetooth 5 & IoT - The perfect match

The global wireless connectivity market is expanding exponentially, and Bluetooth is heading back to join the IoT pack. Bluetooth 5, one of Internet of Things (IOT) mainstay technology is also set to expand. It all set to cater the growing beacon devices segment.

The update will allow for richer information broadcast, speed upgrades, and low energy usage. The low energy feature built specifically for IoT devices will support speed up to two megabits per second which means more building and home coverage. Devices can be connected even if positioned outside. Another interesting feature will be the use Bluetooth powered communication in smart cities, where the usage has been restricted till now. The mesh networking support which is touted to be present in the release can make BLE stronger for usage in tracking assets and waste management.

There is a shift from the traditional Bluetooth device and app pairing, as IoT devices move towards the wireless model. Beacons are used to send out rich data collected by smartphones for creating a rich user experience.

Bluetooth 5 supports the advertising extensions feature, which provides the continuation of permission based advertising outside regular channels. The Broadcasted data can be received within the Bluetooth device range. Visitor and asset tracking, indoor navigation can be done more easily with the improved Bluetooth features.

An example includes shops which announce real-time discounts to offer personalized deals and dynamic content to motivate participation. Bluetooth 5 also claims to reduce interference with other wireless technologies for coexisting in the global IoT environment.

Harman IoT services include gateway solutions which capture the data from devices to help business future proof their strategy and create value. As Bluetooth is expected to be featured in over 400 million IoT devices by 2020, the combination will offer a more seamless experience.

And will create new opportunities across IoT verticals giving vendors the flexibility to target multiple applications. Overall Bluetooth connections will get faster and more reliable to suit the traffic demands and integrate in IoT deployments, opening doors to huge opportunities.

 

 

 

Read more…

The IoT Architecture at the Edge

 

This article aims to focus on edge side of IoT Architectures where all things are. The edge is the place where all event data are generated and automated actions occurs, and because that it must be managed and secured. It also includes a wide array of sensors, actuators, and devices which interact and communicate real-time data each other and with cloud services.

Another aspect is as IoT grows ever larger, some capabilities such as data analysis and decision-making will have to localize, it means is shifting from the cloud to the edge. 

Let’s see the big picture below to understand the main components of this architecture.

 

The diagram above shows the edge side and cloud side. In the edge side the things could be sensors, actuators, devices and a crucial thing called gateway. This gateway has the responsibility to establish communications between things and cloud services and also orchestrate the actions between the things.

The cloud side will not be covered on the this article (it will be subject on next article), but the IoT communication protocols between things and cloud services will be covered. Let’s explore each architectural component of this big picture.

 

The Edge

 

The term edge come from [1] Edge Computing where data are processed at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating data as possible. The edge can be a manufacturing floor, smart city, smart building, energy grid, oil rig, wind farm, dairy farm, planes, trains or automobiles

The key factor which makes the edge processing crucial is turn the data processing and action taking the most close to real-time. We could use as example a “smart car” which its environment is a kind of edge where a lot of sensors are generating all kind of data. Imagine one engine sensor is emitting overheating events, and based on this event, an engine actuator must take action to slow down the engine in order to prevent more overheating.

As we can see on this example, all event data generation, data analysis and taking action occurs at the edge. Of course, the edge architecture must provide cloud integration where in the fact full big data analytics can be applied.

 

Sensors

 

Everything that lives in the edge are things, one of most common thing is called sensors. According with the book [2] Foundational Elements of an IoT Solution, sensors read and report on the real-world status of connected products, machines, and local environments. They are the eyes and ears of the system, monitoring environmental elements like temperature, light, and moisture. Ongoing sensor innovation, an often-overlooked area of IoT technology, will be critical for evolving and improving solutions.

While we might think of sensors only as physical objects, anything that can be read, from files to product-specific data, can and should be considered sensor input. For example, a piece of industrial equipment may have hundreds of data points unique to that product, and every one of them could be considered a sensor. Examples of sensors include 

  • Temperature sensors

  • Light sensors

  • Moisture sensors

  • GPS receivers

  • Vehicle on-board diagnostics

 

Actuators

There are other common edge thing which is called actuators. Them usually affect the electromechanical or logical state of a product or environment. They are the system’s hands and feet. Actuators might include a light that can be turned on and off, or a valve that can be opened and closed. Commonly actuators offers a set of APIs for its interaction.

System commands sent to embedded applications—such as remote reboot, configuration updates, and firmware distribution—should also be considered actuation because, by changing its software, the system is in fact changing the physical reality of a product. Examples of actuators include:

  • Lights

  • Valves

  • Motors

  • Commands (“soft” actions, file distribution, firmware updates)

 

Smart Devices

Also, there are the devices living on the edge which is usually called as smart devices, the most commons are:

  • Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers

  • Microcontroller units (MCUs) like Arduino devices

  • Single-board computers like Raspberry Pi devices.

 

Appliances

At least, there are appliances (or gadgets) used in smart environments. They usually have a defined function, and can be controlled by human user interface. The example are:

  • Smart thermostats like Nest Thermostats

  • Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue.

 

IoT Smart Gateway

 

Captura de tela de 2017-03-02 14-18-20.png

 

As illustrated in the diagram above, the key component of Edge IoT Architecture is what we call as Smart Gateway. This component is based on traditional IoT Gateway which the main responsibilities is act as a proxy between the world of field things and the enterprise data center, usually cloud based.

A main capability of IoT Gateway is enabling communication from the Edge to the Cloud. It means it must understand field protocols and convert it to cloud protocols. Later on this article, we will explore all theses protocols.

Another IoT Gateway feature is routing data to cloud based on simple rules. For example, a engine sensor emits temperature status each second but it is not relevant for an analytic application based on cloud which will process each minute gap. This kind of rule can be deployed in IoT Gateway to send the event to the cloud in every minute aggregation.

The concept of Smart Gateway comes from adding smart capabilities to traditional IoT Gateway which comes with basic features. Let’s explore each smart capability below.

 

Field Protocols

 

Since sensors, actuators and devices are living at the edge, they must communicate each other and also with Smart Gateway. This kind of communication are based on field protocols, the most commons protocols are:

  • Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE): The new Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) – or Bluetooth Smart, as it is now branded – is a significant protocol for IoT applications. Importantly, while it offers similar range to Bluetooth it has been designed to offer significantly reduced power consumption.

  • Zigbee: Like Bluetooth, has a large installed base of operation, although perhaps traditionally more in industrial settings. ZigBee PRO and ZigBee Remote Control (RF4CE), among other available ZigBee profiles, are based on the IEEE802.15.4 protocol, which is an industry-standard wireless networking technology operating at 2.4GHz targeting applications that require relatively infrequent data exchanges at low data-rates over a restricted area and within a 100m range such as in a home or building

  • Wifi: This type of connectivity is often an obvious choice for many developers, especially given the pervasiveness of WiFi within the home environment within LANs. It requires little further explanation except to state the obvious that clearly there is a wide existing infrastructure as well as offering fast data transfer and the ability to handle high quantities of data.

  • NFC: Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices, and especially applicable for smartphones, allowing consumers to perform contactless payment transactions, access digital content and connect electronic devices. Essentially it extends the capability of contactless card technology and enables devices to share information at a distance that is less than 4cm.

 

Further information about those and others field protocols, check it out about [4] IoT Protocols.  

Cloud Protocols

 

The most of IoT solutions, even those ones live almost entirely on the edge need to integrate with cloud services or other IoT solution based on cloud. Since it is a requirement, we need to communicate using a cloud protocol as listed below:

  • MQTT: Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) was introduced by IBM in 1999 and standardized by OASIS in 2013 . It is designed to provide embedded connectivity between applications and middlewares on one side and networks and communications on the other side. It follows a publish/subscribe architecture, where the system consists of three main components: publishers, subscribers, and a broker.

  • AMQP: The Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) is a protocol that was designed for financial industry. It runs over TCP and provides a publish/ subscribe architecture which is similar to that of MQTT. The difference is that the broker is divided into two main components: exchange and queues. The exchange is responsible for receiving publisher messages and distributing them to queues based on pre-defined roles and conditions. Queues basically represent the topics and subscribed by subscribers which will get the sensory data whenever they are available in the queue.

  • CoAP: The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is another session layer protocol designed by IETF Constrained RESTful Environment (Core) working group to provide lightweight RESTful (HTTP) interface. Representational State Transfer (REST) is the standard interface between HTTP client and servers. However, for lightweight applications such as IoT, REST could result in significant overhead and power consumption. CoAP is designed to enable low-power sensors to use RESTful services while meeting their power constraints. It is built over UDP, instead of TCP commonly used in HTTP and has a light mechanism to provide reliability. CoAP architecture is divided into two main sublayers: messaging and request/response. The messaging sublayer is responsible for reliability and duplication of messages while the request/response sublayer is responsible for communication. As in HTTP, CoAP utilizes GET, PUT, PUSH, DELETE messages requests to retrieve, create, update, and delete, respectively.

  • HTTP: This is the standard protocol for web services and still will be used in IoT solutions, the overhead of this protocol is well know but we will continue use this protocol in some case when latency and bandwidth are not issues. We need also consider HTTP/2, other protocols such as Google Protobuf and even CoAP which are based on HTTP. The most popular architectural style called RESTFul is widely used on mobile and web application and must be considered on IoT Solutions.

 

Continue reading about [6] Internet of Things Protocols and Standards.

Smart Gateway Architecture and Capabilities

Runtime Capabilities 

The first capability to explore is called dataflow, this feature is the entry point which receive data from the things. It performs as inbound connector ingesting event sensor data using the field protocols as mentioned before, therefore must understand sensor’s protocols. Once data is received it begins an workflow which could apply some function like cleansing, transformation, composition or aggregation. Eventually, it should compose some command to be send back to the things. 

Dataflow also must implements security constraints like thing/device authentication and prevent overload data attack. After entire dataflow was performed, it should start a routing flow, which some rules should be performed such as:

  • Data routing or send commands to the things using field protocols

  • Persisting data to storage system

  • Routing aggregated data to the cloud using cloud protocols (to be explained later in this article)

 

An example of dataflow and routing working together is a building temperature sensor emits each minute temperature data which is received by a Bluetooth connector and dispatched to dataflow. This data is analyzed by a function which contains a rule that implies the building air conditioning must be turned on, so the dataflow call a routing rule to send the command to air conditioning via ZigBee protocol. Also, the incident must reported to analytics system in the cloud, it means the dataflow must call a routing rule to call the analytics API hosted in cloud.

The storage system is responsible to store all configuration and runtime data. It means all persistent configuration data used by dataflow or routing flow is organized in databases. Also tracing and logging data is persisted here and it used to composite analytic data used by analytics and monitoring features which will be explained late. It is important to say that storage system has rules to decide if the data at a given stage of processing should be temporary, persistent, or kept in-memory.

 

Operational Capabilities

The first operational feature is near real-time analytics which provide a set of analytics dashboards for low latency real-time monitoring and close to the devices without need to send all data to cloud to remote processing. This kind of feature is crucial because the IoT applications will be built on systems that can make intelligent decisions for operations on a moment’s notice. For example, real-time anomaly detection can help manufacturers adjust robots and equipment to optimize yield or identify potential defects as early as possible so affected units can be removed from the assembly line for rework. Read more about [5] Low Latency, Real-time Analytics at the Edge

Other crucial capability is the reactive monitoring feature, different from analytics which is passive, this feature should be reactive. It means when some event ou alert occurs some action should be take, it could be send an alert email or send a command to an specific device. This kind of feature also should offer a documented API to Monitoring Solutions easily use these APIs.

Finally, the platform needs a configuration console feature where operational and development teams should use to interact with the platform. In others words it means all capabilities listed above are accessed and configured by single user interface.

 

Summary

 

In fact, we believe which robust IoT architecture should consider the edge side must have strong capabilities. Some of capabilities such as analytics today run on cloud side but we need provide these features close to the things 

We also believe in concept of smart gateway brings these strong capabilities to the edge and brings some independence from the cloud. The main capabilities should include protocols to communicate to the things and even cloud, it also must provide bidirectional data and command flow and finally, in the core of platform, the runtime and operational capabilities.

In short, our insight is push smart capabilities to the edge in order to achieve near real-time reactive IoT solutions turning it faster and cloud independent.

References

 

[1] Edge computing - http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/edge-computing

[2] Foundational Elements of an IoT Solution, Chapter 3 - https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/the-edge-of-the-iot

[3] The Architecture of IoT Gateways - https://dzone.com/articles/iot-gateways-and-architecture

[4] IoT Protocols - https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/eleven-internet-of-things-iot-protocols-you-need-to-know-about

[5] Low Latency, Real-time Analytics at the Edge - https://foghorn-systems.com/low-latency-real-time-analytics-edge-biggest-advantage-industrial-internet-things/

[6] Internet of Things Protocols and Standards -

http://www.cse.wustl.edu/~jain/cse570-15/ftp/iot_prot/

See the original post here.

Read more…

It was a matter of time to end up writing an article to talk about the connection between Internet of Things (IoT) and the technology (arguably still in the infancy of its development) that may have the greatest power to transform our world, Blockchain.

In a future planet interconnected not just by devices, but by the events taking place across it, with billions of devices talking to one another in real time, the Internet of Things will require a secure and efficient way to track all interactions, transactions, and activities of every “thing” in the network.

Blockchain’s role could be a coordination layer across devices and the enabler of the IoT to securely facilitate interactions and transactions between devices, and may also support certain processes related to architecture scalability, data sharing, and advancements in encryption and private key technology, enhanced security, and potentially even privacy.

With blockchain, the Achilles’ heel of the IoT of heterogeneous OEM devices world now becomes viable. I wonder however, if is feasible that this decentralized IoT network may co-exist IoT sub-networks or centralized cloud based IoT models.

But let's face it, blockchain is still a nascent and controversial technology (experts estimate that it might take 5 -10 years for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies). Therefore, we must consider that blockchain’s applications within the Internet of Things is still a matter of conjecture and trial, and that it will take more time to determine whether and how blockchain might be implemented to secure IoT ecosystems.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain, the technology that constitutes the backbone of the famous bitcoin, is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It is distributed in nature, meaning that there is no master computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. It’s also ever-growing — data records are only added to the chain.

A blockchain consists of two types of elements:

  • Transactions are the actions created by the participants in the system.
  • Blocks record these transactions and make sure they are in the correct sequence and have not been tampered with. Blocks also record a time stamp when the transactions were added.

If you want to know more about blockchain you can read:

Fascinating opportunities ahead with IoT and Blockchain

The possibilities of IoT are virtually countless, especially when the power of IoT is combined with that of other technologies, such as machine learning. But some major hurdles will surface as billions of smart devices will want to interact among themselves and with their owners.

While these challenges cannot be met with the current models that are supporting IoT communications, tech firms and researchers are hoping to deal with them through blockchain.

Applying the blockchain concept to the world of IoT offers fascinating possibilities. Is yet to be seen if blockchain is bound to expedite the revolution, simply by being the backbone for most of the future IoT systems.

An example -  Right from the time a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life. Once sold, a dealer or end customer can register it to a regional blockchain (a community, city or state).  But, this is only the beginning for the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). A washing machine could become a semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply. It can perform self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.

Challenges of Blockchain and IoT ecosystems

The chaotic growth of IoT will introduce several challenges, including identifying, connecting, securing, and managing so many devices. It will be very challenging for the current infrastructure and architecture underlying the Internet and online services to support huge IoT ecosystems of the future.

Forrester analyst Martha Bennett in the report “Disentangle Hype From Reality: Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions defines three categories of challenges that Internet of Things and blockchain ecosystems participants must address: Technology, Operational challenges and Legal and compliance issues.

According with the report, the result of multiple surveys indicates that what the IoT requires more than any technological or architectural advancement is trust: trust between stakeholders and the devices interacting with them, their customers, or on their behalf.

 “As technology and commercial firms look for ways to deploy and secure Internet of Things technologies at scale, blockchain has emerged as a clear favorite for managing issues like identity and transaction security”

Blockchain, a strategic ally to Democratize the IoT

The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. Thus, the primary utility the blockchain is a censorship resistant way to exchange value without intermediaries.

Will blockchain disrupt the disrupters?.  In my post “Is it possible to democratize the Internet of Things? How to avoid that a handful of companies can dominate the IoT” I already suggested the use of blockchain to avoid that data-hungry businesses and governments collect data on the behaviour of people and the performance of objects. Blockchain could avoid that Multinational and governments deepening tracking and control of citizen behaviour and attitudes. 

Are IoT Business Models at risks with Blockchain?

IoT Service Providers hope not. There is a risk that the combo of blockchain and the sharing economy trashes some new IoT business models.  Same way that, successful or not as successful platform, companies like Uber and Airbnb, are worried today.

Just think, the success of these and some other platform companies is largely due to people trading assets they own and are paid for, but from which new value could be derived, And they release this value by using platforms to match up sellers of the extra capacity – whatever it may be – with buyers. Further, they collect data about transactions “for further commercial gain”.

Indeed, arguably many of new IoT companies’ main line of business will be data, but, what if blockchain enabled buyers and sellers to work peer-to-peer and cut out the middleman/data aggregator and seller? In that case the secure connectivity could be king not the data.

A question for IoT Platform vendors, if we have a secure, foolproof decentralized system, why do I need your IoT Platform if I and all the communities I belong to can do it for ourselves, without anybody collecting, analyzing and selling data about me?

The convergence of Blockchain and the Internet of Things closer

In my post “Will we be able to build the Internet of Things?” I warned about the Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums in the Internet of Things.

A blockchain technology industry consortium is emerging from the meeting, New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit,  with the objective of defining the scope and implementation of a smart contracts protocol layer across several major blockchain systems.

In December 2016, representatives from a group of industry-leading startups and innovative Fortune 500 companies met in Berkeley, CA to discuss the challenges facing blockchain and IoT innovation and the potential for a collective effort to address them.  The meeting was the first step towards a collaborative effort to explore and build a shared blockchain-based Internet of Things protocol. Participants in the discussions included blockchain companies Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, along with Fortune 500 corporations BNY Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, Gemalto, and Foxconn.

Who is using Blockchain in IoT

The IoT and blockchain combination is already gaining momentum, and is being endorsed by both startups and tech giants. Several companies are already putting blockchain to use to power IoT networks.

Filament, a startup that provides IoT hardware and software for industrial applications such as agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries. Filament’s wireless sensors, called Taps, create low-power autonomous mesh networks that enable enterprise companies to manage physical mining operations or water flows over agricultural fields without relying on centralized cloud alternatives. Device identification and intercommunication is secured by a bitcoin blockchain that holds the unique identity of each participating node in the network.

Telstra, Australian telecommunication giant Telstra is another company leveraging blockchain technology to secure smart home IoT ecosystems. Cryptographic hashes of device firmware are stored on a private blockchain to minimize verification time and obtain real-time tamper resistance and tamper detection. Since most smart home devices are controlled through mobile apps, Telstra further expands the model and adds user biometric information to the blockchain hashes in order to tie in user identity and prevent compromised mobile devices from taking over the network. This way, the blockchain will be able to verify both the identity of IoT devices and the identity of the people interacting with those devices.

IBM, allows to extend (private) blockchain into cognitive Internet of Things. To illustrate the benefits of blockchain and Internet of Things convergence, IBM gives the example of complex trade lanes and logistics whereby smart contracts can follow (and via blockchain technology register), everything that has happened to individual items and packages. The benefits: audit trails, accountability, new forms of contracts and speed, to name a few.

IBM and Samsung introduced their proof-of-concept system, ADEPT, which uses blockchain to support next-generation IoT ecosystems that will generate hundreds of billions of transactions per day.

Onename are creating the infrastructure for blockchain based identities that can be used for humans and machines. This means the blockchain can act like a phone book that lets machines find each other.

Tierion is being used to collect data from industrial medical devices to build a verifiable record of their usage and maintenance history. Tierion is thrilled to be the first partner to join Philips' Blockchain Lab. Together they are exploring how blockchain technology can be used in healthcare.

ConsenSys working with Innogy (a subsidiary of German utility RWE) are exploring how to enable an energy marketplace fed by distributed solar and other electricity-generating devices, which are run using a decentralized power grid.

21.co, Microsoft, Slock.it, and others are working directly with adopters in manufacturing, supply chain management, energy and utilities, agriculture, and construction; distributed ledgers may further automate, secure, and drive new services for these industries.

Blockchain is not the unique silver bullet for IoT security

Given the importance that Security has to fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), I wrote Do not stop asking for security in IoT although I did not talk about how blockchain can help secure the Internet of Things. Now with this post, I hope I have corrected that gap.

The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. Cryptographic algorithms used by blockchain technologies could perhaps be a silver bullet needed by the IoT industry to create a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on and to make consumer data more private. But blockchain should not be viewed as the unique silver bullet to all IoT security issues considering that today’s blockchain space is even more nascent than the IoT.

Manufacturers, legislators, IoT hardware and software vendors, IoT Service Providers, System Integrators, analyst, and end users, must be aware of the IoT security challenges and focus on increase security efforts to reduce the risk inherent to the fragmented Internet of Things so among all we can accelerate adoption.

In the long term, we should keep dreaming in a fully decentralized and secure IoT using a standardized secure communication model. We must trust this dream will be possible, if worldwide, engineering talent, startups, large companies, and governments increase the investment in time, energy, and money to innovate in solutions that address the IoT’s and blockchain’s shared problems.

Read more…

PaaS architecture for IoT - Whitepaper


PaaS architecture for IoT - Whitepaper

The success of Internet of Things (IoT) is stepping away from vertically-oriented, closed systems towards open systems based on open APIs and standardized protocols at various system levels.

This whitepaper introduces Advantech WISE-PaaS (Platform as a Service) architecture for IoT including devices field-side and server-side, and the cloud architecture (WISE-PaaS) required to interact and manage the devices.


Brought to you by Advantech

Advantech

Read more…

6 Videos That Will Get You Up to Speed on Blockchain

I have to admit that I've been late to truly understanding blockchain. Blockchain is making inroads in the financial sector, but will also be an important part of the IoT.  I've been wanting to dive deep for a few months now but have never gotten around to it...until today. If you're like me, you have some technical depth, but blockchain and Bitcoin have been more buzzwords to know than technologies and tools that you truly grasp. You can change that today by watching these six videos.

Added bonus: all videos are less than 30 minutes in length!

What is Blockchain? <-- Two minute starter video put together by the World Economic Forum.

Security Implications of Non-Financial Uses of Blockchain Technology <-- Recorded at RSA Security Conference 2017, Dr. Tom Keenan gets it done in 10 minutes.

Genius of Things: Blockchain and Food Safety with IBM and Walmart  <-- Practical implications and use cases from two big names.

DisrupTV Featuring Steve Wilson, Constellation Research 2.10.17 <-- Great overview from a smart group of analysts. 

TED Talk: How the blockchain is changing money and business <-- by Don Tapscott

Blockchain 101 - A Visual Dem <-- This video by Anders Brownworth gets deeper and is a great primer for the mathematically inclined. Brownworth co-taught the blockchain class at MIT.

If you don't have time to watch the videos, but want the skinny right now, Constellation Research Analyst Steve Wilson breaks it down here in 500 words, with no graphics, and no analogies.

Read more…

A few years ago, the idea of a “Telco in a Box” was very usual among the Telecommunication industry. Basically, it was a pre-integrated, turnkey real-time billing and customer care solution that enabled communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate their growth strategies and increase profitability.

Companies like Accenture, Oracle, Redknee or Tech Mahindra used this concept addressed to Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, Tier 3 Operators and Tier 1 sub brands. The benefits of this solution were clear:

  • A low-risk, quick to launch turnkey solution
  • Go to market faster than competitors

It was a matter of time that this marketing slogan reached the Internet of Things (IoT). And so it has been, at the moment with little noise, but it is certain that we will see much more "IoT in a Box" in the next months.

What is IoT in a Box and What's in the box

Today we could say that IoT in a Box is:

  • A pre-configured, fully integrated, enterprise-enabled IoT bundle optimized for IoT processing (Telco view)
  • All the required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system (IoT Vendor view)

In the first case, the IoT in a Box must include some of the following components depending of the application:

  • ·         Hardware / Hardware as a Service
    • ·         1 o more battery powered modules with sensors for monitoring for instance temperature, humidity, geo-location, movement, vibration, battery level or signal strength
    • ·         1 or more Relay switch or actuators
    • ·         1 GSM chip (SIM) per module with a data plan
    • ·         IoT gateway
  • ·         Software / Software as a Service
    • ·         Device management
    • ·         Enterprise database with storage plan
    • ·         Security Connectivity
    • ·         Pre-configured dashboards
    • ·         Pre-configured thresholds and alerts
    • ·         Mobile app
  • ·         Services / Services as a Service
    • ·         Professional Services (optional)
    • ·         Support (basic included, premium optional)

When you receive your IoT in a Box.  All you must do is:

  1. charge your modules
  2. place them on (or in) things,
  3. login to your own org to name your modules, and then
  4. turn on your modules. As soon as you activate a module, it starts to send sensor data, and you can start monitoring your things in near-time - online or using the mobile app.

“The concept behind a basic “IoT in a box” is that It takes you less than 1 hour to set up your own IoT system.”

In the second case, the IoT in a Box must include a Development Kit and all required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system. We will see some examples later.

What if I want to expand the capabilities of my IoT application?

Although IoT in a Box is aimed at solving a simple business need, in certain scenarios or industries it may be necessary to extend the capabilities included in the Box. In this regard, vendors must provide accessories, expansion modules, I/Os and peripherals, Multi-standard connectivity options  and additional Pre-configured dashboards and alerts depending of the industry and application.

Selling IoT in a Box

When I wrote Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!, I did not emphasize in selling IoT to Small and Medium Business (SMB) and Consumer market.  Precisely, the main objective that vendors pursue with the “IoT in a box” is increase sales in SMB market. This is a huge market and vendors need a way to escalate by channel partners, but as I do not consider myself an expert selling to SMB, so I look forward for your advices.

Is IoT in a Box already in the market?

Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot include info from different vendors that will be selling IoT in a Box very soon.  But we can find already some examples of IoT in a Box in the market. See below some of them based on public information.

T- Mobile IoT in a Box - With the T-Mobile IoT Box, you can realize your individual M2M application without great effort. Connect your devices and sensors and transfer the obtained data to a cloud system via mobile radio. A data interface provides processing and integration information to other systems, websites, or apps. The T-Mobile IoT Box consists of a developer board with an integrated M2M SIM card, several inputs / outputs and Bluetooth smart interface, an online portal and a RESTful API.

T-Mobile US – IoT promotion for device makers - Building on its movement into the internet of things (IoT) market, T-Mobile US announced a new IoT-specific pricing model as part of a promotion that includes a free Cat1 LTE module along with data services.

T-Mobile US, SVP Doug Chartier said: “The wireless industry needs simpler options for IoT to take off, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

Telia M2M in a Box - M2M technology easy and affordable for any business. Telia M2M in a Box gives you a set of hardware with sensors providing you with real time information about position, movement and climate, which you can monitor directly in the web portal. A versatile and user-friendly measurement tool to observe, monitor and protect your business remotely.

Capgemini IoT-in-a-Box is a rapid, low-cost, low-risk, method to pilot IoT strategy to test and define business cases and provides a pre-configured, enterprise-ready IoT system for monitoring up to 25 devices. It simplifies the task of aligning integrating and configuring all IoT components to provide rapid time to value.

IBM - The Intelligent Building – IoT Starter Kit (Enterprise Edition) is an out–of-the-box IoT solution for Intelligent Buildings. The kit provides seamless integration of the EnOcean Smart Gateway with the Watson IoT Platform.

Relayr- Relayr -Industrial Grade Starter Kit for IoT Acceleration powered by relayr, Intel, Dell and Bosch.

Microsoft – Solair IoT in a Box was an IoT plug&play kit to connect things, sensors, machines to a gateway and then, in a few clicks, instantly visualize data on the Solair application. After acquisition of Solair probably Microsoft had discontinued this offer.

Bosch - Bosch IoT Starter kits that come with pre-configured XDK devices + cloud connectivity. It is as out of the box as it could be!

HPE - HPE Uncorks IoT In A Box - Called (at least by Hewlett Packard Enterprise) the ‘industry’s first converged systems for the IoT’, the Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000 systems ‘integrate data capture, control, compute and storage to deliver heavy-duty analytics and insights at the edge to enable real-time decision making.’

Electric Imp - IoT QuickStart by Electric Imp - Electric Imp’s IoT QuickStart Family is designed to help you cut the time to build, test and prototype complex IoT solutions all while maintaining industrial-strength security, scalability and control. Based on reference designs that Electric Imp experts have developed over the past five years, the IoT QuickStart Family appliances represent the most frequently requested secure connectivity and device prototype solutions, each delivered in a fraction of the time and cost required by custom-built solutions.

Creator Ci40 IoT Developer Kit - The Creator Ci40 board is a high-performance, low-power microcomputer that packs a cXT200 chip based on a subsystem optimized by us specifically for IoT applications. The cXT200 SoC includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS CPU clocked at 550 MHz and an Ensigma connectivity engine that covers super-fast 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi and low-power Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy (Classic and Smart). See also: Imagination Launches ‘IoT In A Box’ Kickstarter - and Build a home IoT irrigation system with 'IoT-in-a-box' kit .

Nextcloud Box – a private cloud and IoT solution for home users – from Nextcloud, Canonical and WDLabs. Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps. The Nextcloud Box consists of a hard drive and a case, complemented by a Raspberry Pi 2 or a similar credit-card sized computer. The pre-configured, easy-to-use platform handles file storage and syncing, communication and more, requires no maintenance and enables users to install more functionality through apps like Spreed, OpenHab and Collabora Online. The box offers 1TB of storage at the price point of Eur 70. For information on where to buy please visit nextcloud.com/box.

WIKON – My M2M BOX – Our special expertise lies in the compliance with industrial standards for our product developments and the development of powerful embedded hardware and software. Special developments for explosion zones, adverse environmental conditions, IP-68 standards and extended temperature ranges are frequently in demand.

Mobica collaborates with Advantech to develop a complete IoT Solution - Mobica, a Silver member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) and global provider of a leading-edge software engineering, testing and consultancy services, developed a solution which aggregates data from a variety of sensors and sends it to the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service for analysis and integration. Mobica used an Advantech UTX-3115 IoT gateway and a M2.COM based WISE-1520 Low-Power Wi-Fi IoT node for sensor input.

The ThingBox Project - Use Internet of Things technologies without any technical knowledge and for free.

Eight best IoT starter kits: The best internet of things developer kits –

Imagination Meluncurkan kit IoT –“IoT http://misteriotcom/2015/11/24/imagination-meluncurkan-kit-iot-iot-in-a-box/

There are many IoT Vendors who offer Devices, IoT platform, Apps and Services bundled with the same purpose of IoT in a Box, democratize the IoT.

IoT in a Box and IoT Marketplaces

As we know “IoT is not only about connecting things, neither controlling things”, it is about the Things become more intelligent and therefore companies could offer new services under new business models. I believe that IoT marketplaces will play a key role in the evolution of IoT in a box. We have already some examples:

Libelium, the IoT Marketplace is a one stop click-and-buy online store. The company is helping frustrated companies with pre-integrated solutions from choosing the right hardware, cloud components to application.

Telus IoT Marketplace – Connect the things that matter to your business by leveraging connected devices provided by their partner network.

ThingWorks Marketplace – gives easy access to everything you need to build and run your ThingWorx based IoT application. All components listed on the ThingWorx Marketplace are customized, tested and guaranteed to work with the ThingWorx platform.

Intel IoT marketplace – Coming soon.

“IoT in a Box solutions that encompass infrastructure, networking, analytics, service enablement and monetization to connect devices, expose data, services and processes to applications, consumers and machines will be the foundation for IoT marketplaces”.

IoT Service in a Box, the logical evolution of IoT in a Box 

I believe that the logical evolution of IoT in a Box will be IoT Service in a Box sold through IoT marketplaces. It is a matter of time that we will see:

  • ·         Predictive Maintenance in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Loss Prevention in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Asset Location in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Predictive Intrusion in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Vending Machine Product Recommendation in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Real time micro-Inventory in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Customer Emotion in a Box as a Service
  • ·         ……  Your imagination is the limit

 

 

Read more…

As more and more companies are drawn into the IOT bandwagon for the lure of the future business potential, the value realization from the IOT technologies continues to be more elusive than ever. If one were to take into account the enormous spends by the enterprises till date on the IOT products and solutions, and compare this with the new business opportunity generated by IOT till date, we can sum this investment with the tagline – “Chasing Million with Billions”.

While this is mostly true for most emerging technologies and usually dominating a technology market more often than not, becomes a battle of investments, as companies outbid each other for the acquisitions and market share, IOT leadership would be far more challenging than anything else seen before.

So what is the curious case about IOT? Well for starters winning the IOT leadership would determine the future existence of many companies. We would witness the demise of many companies and the rise of new giants by the time dust settles for the IOT leadership. More than 2 years have elapsed since IOT became part of every boardroom discussion and now the battle of IOT has moved on from the strategy to execution. 

With the appeal so universal which originates by adding the adjectives, “smart”, “connected” and “digital” to all the products and services we are using or would use in future, the IOT technology space has slowly morphed itself into the “battle of the platform”. So consortium of companies are aligning with each other and are positioning their bets on platform leadership.

So what is the problem with this shift? The very nature of the platform development encompassing the needs of applications hosted for smart homes, smart cities, connected vehicles and products spanning the domains across healthcare, retail, manufacturing to name a few means an enormous list of “backlog” for development of the “new” platform. So IOT platform development is hit by the bane of the trinity – development of full scope, in budget and on time for scalable market adoption. Estimates for building such a multi-purpose all-encompassing platform with full feature set would set aside any product development organization by a few billion dollars.    

Additional complexity to the platform development is the timeline for the market availability of such feature complete platform, especially considering that data ingestion from thousands of disparate devices across multiple network protocols in streaming format real-time. Above and beyond this, the cost to secure all end points and prevent the devices from the potential hacking would surely add several million dollars to the cost.

So what is challenge with the platform development?  The problem is the very nature of the IOT market – the universal appeal and low price points. Most markets which have such a universal appeal often can accommodate 2-3 players at maximum, so all the competing platforms in development now and spending big dollars can face a high potential of failure. As more announcements are made and more investments pours in, the bloodier the war for IOT supremacy would become. The very nature of the digital market which ensures “winner take all market” is both the lure and the source of agony.

What does chasing Million with Billions imply?  As the transaction volumes increases, the transaction value dramatically decrease and with smaller per capita spending by the end user, the ROI calculations moves the break-even date far out into the future. Net Present Value for the future cash flow projections with the diminished order sizes for the next few years at best could accrue in Millions, but the upfront investment required to win the IOT leadership would require investment in the order of Billion. A more detailed analysis of the IOT Economic Perspective is presented in this previous series. (http://bit.ly/2a2sfcq). Generally bigger the stakes at the end, the fierce the competition becomes and IOT would witness one of the longest standing investment war for supremacy. While the winner would definitely be taking all, the pain for the competition would be intense. While many would drop out of the race in the short term due to the lack of funding or cash crunch, a few giants with deep pockets would continue to wrestle on. 

So would your strategy be the best? Would you leapfrog the paradox of earning million with billion and come out as the eventual winner? And which side of the competition would you stand when this IOT leadership war is over?

In the next series I would be providing more recommendation to solve the curious case of IOT platform leadership. Please drop in your comments.

Note: This article is independent view and presents the IOT story from a vendor neutral perspective.

Read more…

NB-IoT is Dead. Long Live NB-IoT.

Guest post by Nick Hunn. This article originally appeared here.

As the old adage goes, “while the cat’s away, the mice will play”. In the case of NB-IOT, “when the spec’s delayed, LPWAN will play”, which is exactly what’s happening in the Internet of Things market today. The problem is that 3GPP (the 3rd Generation Partnership Project), the standards body which has been responsible for the 3G, 4G and 5G mobile standards, dropped the ball as far as the Internet of Things is concerned. Seduced by the slabs of black glass which suck up both our attention and the mobile networks’ spectrum, the 3GPP engineers totally forgot to design something to replace the old 2G workhorse of GPRS, which is responsible for most of today’s machine to machine communications. Instead, they spent all of their time designing high power, high speed, expensive variants of 4G to support an ongoing dynasty of iPhones, Galaxys and Pixels, none of which were any use for the Internet of Things.

Noticing this hole, a number of companies who had been developing proprietary, low cost, low speed, low power communication options saw an opportunity and created the Low Power WAN market. Whilst many perceived them as a group of Emperors with no clothes, the network operators were so desperate to have something to offer for upcoming IoT applications that they started engaging with them, rolling out LPWAN infrastructure. Whether they believed the LPWAN story, or just hoped it would fill a hole is difficult to ascertain, but no-one can deny that LPWAN is now firmly on the map, in the form of Sigfox, LoRa, Ingenu and a raft of others. To address that challenge to their hegemony, the GSM Association (GSMA) directed the 3GPP to assemble their own suit of imperial clothing which would be called the Narrow Band Internet of Things, or NB-IoT.

This is the story of why NB-IoT was too late, why it will fail in the short term, why it will win in the long term, and why the industry will struggle to make any money from it.

Download this article as a pdf.

One of the most surprising aspects of this story is how long it took 3GPP and the network operators to realise that they had a problem. It’s not as if they didn’t see the problem coming. Back in 2010, Ericsson set the bar for much of the subsequent hype around the Internet of Things by making a very public prediction that by 2020 there would be 50 billion internet connected devices. They’ve subsequently downgraded that, but very few in the industry noticed – for them, it’s very difficult to discard the prospect of “tens of billions” once it’s made its way into their business plans. Numbers that big get attention in boardrooms, whether or not they mean anything – they just sound so good that they are assumed to be true.

What happened is that the industry became fixated with the concept of revenue today, rather than revenue tomorrow. As users embraced smartphones, their demand for data soared. When competing smartphone vendors made smartphone screens larger, mobile video took off, putting further pressure on the network’s capacity. Everyone’s attention became focused on how to build enough capacity into their network to retain their users. Instead of calling for new standards for M2M and IoT, operators started concentrating on how they could use their existing spectrum more efficiently. There was an easy answer to this – turn off their old 2G networks and use them for 4G, which supported around 40 times as many users. It was only as they started to do this that they belatedly realised that they were euthanising the only technology they had which would support the Internet of Things. At which point the LPWAN industry stepped into the frame and started cutting deals. The GSMA panicked, and directed 3GPP to embark on the path to NB-IoT.

At this stage it’s worth pointing two things out. The first is the normal timeline for developing a new radio standard, and the second is the requirements for the majority of the projected 50 billion IoT devices.

Developing a wireless standard is a slow business. Back in 2010 I tried to estimate the time and cost involved and came to the conclusion that it costs around a billion dollars and takes 8 – 10 years before the standard is robust and getting traction in the market. That was for personal area networks like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ZigBee. Cellular networks are more complex, so cost more and take longer. Despite the evidence, the GSMA announced that their new NB-IoT standard would be complete and released in six months. Six months later, they announced that it was going well and that they would release it in six months’ time. And six months after that they put out a press release saying that the specification was complete. We’ll come back to that in a minute.

The second thing we need to look at is what a standard for wireless IoT connectivity needs to do? Most IoT devices will be quite taciturn. They will measure data and events and send that data a few times each day. They’re not going to be streaming video or having lengthy conversations because they’re battery powered. If they’re going to run for several years on a small battery or some energy harvesting power supply, all they can manage is a few messages each day. Sigfox understand this and make it evident in their data plans. They’re not talking about hundreds of Megabytes like the cellular industry, but as little as 14 messages of 12 bytes each day. That’s about the same as a single SMS message. To put it another way, most IoT applications make text messaging look bloated. 

It’s not at all clear that the GSMA understand this. In a recent Mobile Broadband Forummeeting, the GSMA and other operators kept on implying that IoT devices need data rates of tens or hundreds of kilobits per second. That is definitely what network operators want to sell, but it’s not what IoT devices need. If we’re going to get to billions of device, connectivity and silicon needs to be cheap. Cheaper and simpler than GPRS was. The cellular industry has never taken on board that fact that the reason we don’t already have billions of IoT devices is that even GPRS is too expensive. Trying to make NB-IoT more complex than GPRS is not going to kickstart the IoT era. What we need is a standard which will let companies make a chip that costs around a dollar in high volume.

That’s not where the cellular chip industry has been going. In the early days of 2G, networks operated at two different frequencies, with relatively simple radio modulation. That meant that chips were moderately simple. Over time, the GPRS modules which are used in most current IoT devices have fallen in price to around $7. However, as the desire for more bandwidth has grown, 3G and 4G chips have become much more complex. Moore’s law has helped to prevent them becoming exorbitant, but each new release of the standards has to support a growing number of frequency bands (we’re up from 2 to over 70), as well as all of the different protocols in the previous standards which have gone before it. Developing these is prohibitively expensive. As a result, 3G modules cost around $20 and 4G modules $35. The growing complexity, which requires immensely complex protocol stacks to complement the chips, has benefitted a very few silicon suppliers, who have largely destroyed the competition. Qualcomm dominates, with Mediatek taking most of the rest of the market. The business model for both is to sell billions of chips to a small number of high volume manufacturers who have deep technical competence to integrate these into their products. That is very different to the model needed to support tens of thousands of IoT manufacturers who need $1 comms chips which they can just drop into their products.

You can see this contradiction in the NB-IoT standard which has recently been released. There were two industry groupings with radically different approaches. The traditional one, led by Nokia and Ericsson, proposed what is essentially a cut down, lower power variant of 4G. The key feature of this is that it is capable of working with other 4G devices in the same spectrum, so it can easily be slotted into existing networks. However, to do that it needed to retain a fair degree of radio complexity to be aware of other 4G traffic. That has two consequences. It meant the chip was much more complex because it had to be able to identify what was going on around it, hence it’s still expensive. It also made it more difficult to make it very low power.

The alternative approach, led by Huawei and Vodafone was for a “clean sheet“ approach. This was a solution which did not have the intelligence to coexist with 4G networks, but required operators to set aside a small amount of spectrum for it, (which could be a guard band), specifically reserved for IoT traffic. As the chips didn’t need to be aware of any other 4G traffic, they could be much simpler and hence much cheaper. It’s a cleaner approach, but one which goes against the traditional network approach of making complex hardware which can work on any band around the world. Network operators typically prefer the complex hardware approach, as it passes the problem of global interoperability onto the chip and protocol stack companies. Whatever the operators do with their networks, regardless of the frequency bands they own, things just work. But it raises the cost of hardware.

This “clean sheet” approach grew out of the Weightless standard. Neul – a Cambridge start-up helped developed Weightless as a new radio and protocol for use in TV Whitespace. That failed to get traction, but the company was acquired by Huawei and the technology repurposed to work in the licensed spectrum that’s used for LTE. Because it does not have the baggage of backward compatibility, there’s a fair chance that the silicon could get down to the $1 mark.

These two approaches are essentially incompatible, and it was interesting to speculate how 3GPP would resolve the difference between them. Hence I was intrigued to see the resulting specification when it was published. When you start to read it, you can see how they managed to get it out so quickly. Instead of trying to find a compromise, it includes both the Huawei / Vodafone and Ericsson / Nokia / Intel options, so it is entirely up the chip vendor and network operator to decide which they support. That means that a user or manufacturer has absolutely no idea of whether an NB-IoT product they make will work on any particular NB-IoT network.  It’s as if the acronym should really be Nobody Believes the Internet of Things. 

It’s a fudge, where the specification group has produced some pieces of paper to meet a deadline and then passed everything over to a PR department which is taking the post-truth approach to promoting the technology. It would be nice to think that the specification group had realised that this first release was just a PR exercise and were working on harmonising the two conflicting proposals, but it seems they’re ignoring that and looking at adding location features instead, presumably because LoRa is offering that, and they don’t want to be left behind again. In other words, bells and whistles are more important to them than making NB-IoT work.

Making it work appears to be left to market forces. Vodafone is trumpeting the first commercial NB-IoT network. At the same time, Sonera, in Finland is announcing the first commerical NB-IoT trial. Although that may seem confusing, there is no contradiction here. Both are telling the truth, as Vodafone is using Huawei’s NB-IoT, which is totally different for the Nokia NB-IoT which Sonera is using. Nobody knows which variant will win. The key player in this could end up being Huawei. They have a captive silicon supplier in Hisilicon, which should help them get to the $1 chip price point. If they could persuade the Chinese Government to deploy hundreds of millions of devices in the country, this could make it the de facto standard. Nokia, Ericsson and Intel are unlikely to concede without a struggle, but with a higher cost and the lack of scale that a Government backed deployment in China could provide, they may struggle to gain momentum.

Unfortunately, this type of commercial battle generally doesn’t help the market. Without global compatibility, manufacturers will be loath to adopt the technology, as they have no idea whether it will work in any target market. That reduces volumes, which keeps chip costs high. It also delays all of the important things like developing test equipment and compliance programs which are vital to develop a robust network, which further undermines confidence. To survive, NB-IoT needs to be a single low cost, globally interoperable standard. In its current form, NB-IoT is dead.

While it goes through its death throes, the LPWAN suppliers will make mischief. 

Sigfox is being aggressive in pricing, both for modules and data contracts. They recently announced that modules will be available for just $3 in 2017 and already have data plans with charges as low as $1.50 per year. They also desperately need to get the number of connections up, so will probably offer even lower costs in the near future. The company has raised over $300 million in funding and is aiming for an IPO in 2018. However, they feel that they need to get above 100 million active devices to persuade the market to support a decent valuation. So their investors will be putting pressure on them to get more connections made as soon as possible, potentially commoditising the IoT connectivity market in an attempt to buy market share from their rivals.

LoRa is a more distributed community, with multiple vendors providing parts of the ecosystem. However, LoRa has a significant difference from other LPWAN offerings, which could be important. It is the fact that anyone can buy a gateway and set up their own network. A crowdfunded initiative – the Things Network, has designed modules and gateways and persuaded the electronics distributor Farnell / Element14 to sell them in the same way they sell Raspberry Pis. For those who don’t know it, the Raspberry Pi is a highly effective embedded computing board. Originally designed to help teach coding in schools, it has been adopted by the maker community as the basis for thousands of projects and products. Farnell have recently announced that they have shipped their ten millionth Raspberry Pi.

The Things Network / Farnell initiative is relevant, as they will be selling LoRa gateways for €250. In other words, for €250, anyone can become an Internet of Things network operator covering a radius of around 5km. The Things Network - a development community attempting to build a global LoRa network, is providing compatibility layers behind that which will stitch many of these gateways together. Costs will probably be slightly higher than Sigfox, but this will appeal to an open source community, with the innovation benefits that brings to an emerging technology.

There are issues about scaling. Tech hotspots like Cambridge, Amsterdam and Berlin could each have over a thousand LoRa gateways by Christmas 2017, which could make or break the technology. It will be an interesting experiment. It may also give Ingenu an opportunity, as they’ve been in the game longer and appear to have a more robust technology in terms of scalability. But they’ve not achieved the same traction in the minds of IoT developers yet.

This brings us to the important part, which is what this means for network operators? Other than Vodafone, who have firmly nailed their colours onto the NB-IoT mast, most operators are hedging their bets by flirting with at least one proprietary LPWAN option. However, in order to get critical mass, contract prices are racing to the bottom. SK telecom is down to $0.30 per month and Sigfox’s pricing will probably push that down to below $2 a year in the near future. That’s a long way away from the $50- $200 that operators get from their current M2M contracts.

At $2 a year, 20 billion devices will contribute around 4% of current global mobile subscription revenues. That is probably less than network operators currently make from their GPRS subscriptions, yet it will replace much of that revenue. In other words, by supporting 20 billion IoT devices, the network operators will probably be making less money.  Let me emphasise that point. The IoT opportunity of tens of billions of connected devices could reduce mobile operator revenue, not increase it.

Many mobile operators seem to think that they will make money from other parts of the IoT value chain, like cloud services or data analytics, but there is little indication that they’re well positioned for that. Amazon, Google and a host of others are already there. In the next few years, the volume in deployments will probably be using the LPWAN standards of Sigfox and LoRa. The developers who choose them will naturally turn to Amazon and Google, giving them the opportunity to further refine their IoT offerings. I’ll cover this in more detail in a future article.

Despite the present debacle over NB-IoT, the developers at 3GPP are bright – they will eventually get a specification out which meets the industry’s requirements, whether that’s driven by market forces winning out or technical decisions. However, my guess is that it may not be before 2023, as that’s how long wireless standards take. Which gives the different LPWAN standards plenty of time to play, and time for the cloud and analytics providers to shake out, settle down and start some serious customer acquisition.

The great thing about 3GPP standards is that they’re dead easy to roll out. In most cases they’re simply a software upgrade for the base stations. So it won’t take long to go from a final standard to global availability. At which point most IoT manufacturers will probably migrate to it, signalling the end of the short-lived LPWAN era. Of course, most of the LPWAN players and their investors are looking for shorter term returns, so they may already have disappeared. Even five years is a long time in a venture funded world.

What will be missing in the future NB-IoT world will be the hoped-for revenue. The years of LPWAN competition will have driven any profits out of NB-IoT, leaving the operators as pipes. It will also have established other players higher up in the value chain who can cream off what profit there is to be made. A future variant of NB-IoT will come to life and dominate as the connectivity standard for IoT, not least because as volumes grow, the licensed spectrum that operators own will offer a Quality of Service that is missing from the LPWAN offerings. It will also provide the certainty that manufacturers are desperate for, which is that the network will be a stable solution which is available for fifteen to twenty years. NB-IoT will wipe out any remaining alternatives, but it will not be the IoT pot of gold that many in the industry believe.

There is a final sting in the tail of this story, which is that for years we have been striving to develop low power, wide area connectivity which will enable a sensor battery life of ten years or more. The irony is that we now have a set of different LPWAN options which look as if they do support a ten year battery life, but it’s unlikely that any of them will still be operating in ten years’ time. In other words, battery life now exceeds network life. 

One wonders how we got to this point? There is little good news for an equipment manufacturer, who is faced with the prospect that whatever connectivity solution they choose today, it will probably disappear within the next ten years. In other words, their product obsolescence is in the hands of their choice of network operator. But that’s the problem when you forget your King is dying and everyone spends their time running around backing pretenders to the throne. Be careful what you wish for. NB-IoT is dead. Long live NB-IoT.

Read more NB-IoT and LPWAN articles at my Creative Connectivity blog.

Read more…

What’s inside the Internet of Things?

The Internet evolution has achieved the level when it is simply here for us at all times. We don’t even think of how we connect to a network, nor analyze the connection technical details, as well as we don’t care about who our communications service provider is. All-round Wi-Fi penetration and gradual IPv6 extension enable thousands of simple devices and trackers to interoperate continuously and send data “to the cloud”. Fast infrastructure advancement resulted in substituting the older Machine-to-Machine (M2M) term for more up-to-date Internet of Things (IoT) one.

Building up sort of distributed intelligence, IoT devices yet need centralized management, a system or service able to fine-tune the devices, provide storage and interpret collected data. Being the “brain” of the device cloud infrastructure, the management system also enlarges machine knowledge bases and updates device software.

Operators study data aggregated by groups or time periods and visualize it. This data is then delivered to various Business Intelligence Systems for more detailed analysis. Curiously enough, even if we speak about personal devices (e.g. fitness trackers), almost every cloud service operator analyses the collected data usage statistics anonymously for further device/service development.

Development of IoT devices becomes simpler and cheaper enabling small companies to enter the market. Plenty of businesses realize the need of building a management system, but they underestimate its development complexity and ignore the need of using industrial server technologies (such as failover clustering and multi-server distributed architecture). Typically, such a development starts in house. IoT devices successfully introduced in the market lead to rapid growth of users, causing long-term problems with service scaling and performance.

Anticipating further problems and being unable to form a server-based software development team quickly, IoT operators usually outsource the central system development focusing on devices only. Yet, it doesn’t solve the problem as third-party developers start building the system from scratch with lack of time and resources to apply serious technologies.

AggreGate Platform was born in 2002. At that time we were producing serial-over-IP converters and needed a central server that would transmit data between converters hidden by firewalls or NAT and having no chance to communicate directly. The first product version called LinkServer was written in C++ and was available only as a service simply transmitting data flows without any processing.

Short while later our converters developed into freely programmable controllers. They “understood” data flowing through them, thus we wanted the central server to do the same thing. At about the same time we realized that 90% of time spent for developing a monitoring and device management system was reinventing the wheel with very little effort put into solving certain business problems.

Since 2004 the system ported on Java has evolved as a framework for device management. For quite a few years we worked without clear understanding of the result we want to achieve. Fortunately, we have avoided work with a single customer or in a single industry by keeping our system flexible.

Now AggreGate Platform is applied to a great variety of industries, including Remote Monitoring and Service, IT Infrastructure and Network Monitoring, SCADA/HMI and Process Automation, Access Control, Building Automation, Fleet Management, Vending Machine and Self-service Kiosk Management, Sensor Network Monitoring, People and Vehicle Counting, Centralized Event and Incident Management, Digital Signage and Mobile Device Management.

 

Major Platform Tasks

Figuratively speaking, AggreGate is a LEGO constructor for prompt device cloud interface development. Allowing IoT solution architects to focus mainly on hardware and business logic, it solves the following infrastructure tasks:

  • Maintaining communication between servers and devices connected via unreliable cellular and satellite links
  • Unified approach to device data regardless of its physical meaning
  • Storing large volumes of collected events and historical data in various databases (relational, round-robin, NoSQL)
  • Visual building of complex source data analysis and event correlation chains
  • Modeling multiple device data integration and all infrastructure KPIs calculation processes
  • Fast operator and system engineer interface building using out-of-the-box “bricks” without any coding
  • Implementing integration scenarios via ready-to-use universal connectors (SQL, HTTP/HTTPS, SOAP, CORBA, SNMP, etc.)

 

System Unification

Being universal, AggreGate Platform unites various monitoring and management systems. It helps avoid extra integration points and decreases the number of integration scenarios. For example, the integrated monitoring system has a single integration point with Service Desk/ITSM/Maintenance Management systems for incident (alert) delivery. It also integrates with Inventory/Asset Management systems for collecting information on available physical assets and their influence on business services.

In such cases, role-based access control provides various departments with customized system scenarios and unique operator interfaces.

Platform Architecture

The Platform includes the following essential components:

  • Server is a Java-based application providing communication with devices, data storage and its automated processing. Servers can group into clusters for high availability and keep peer-to-peer relations in distributed installations. AggreGate Server manages an embedded web server which in its turn supports web interfaces.
  • Unified Console is a crossplatform desktop client software ensuring simultaneous work with one or several servers in administrator, system engineer or operator mode.
  • Agent is a library that can be integrated into an IoT device firmware to ensure communication with servers, device setup unification, performing operations with a device and asynchronous event sending. There are a lot of libraries (Java, .NET, C/C++, Android Java, etc.). No need to deploy an agent if communications with the server are performed using standard or proprietary protocols. In the latter case a separate device driver is developed for the server. The agent can be also implemented as a separate hardware device (gateway).
  • Open-source API for extending functionality of all other components and implementing complex integration scenarios.

The Server supervises device data reading and writing changes. This process is called bidirectional synchronization. The server creates a device snapshot containing last values of device metrics and changes carried out by operators or system modules and not written to a device due to communication downtime. Configuration changes are delivered to devices on the “best effort” basis enabling to configure device groups, even if some devices are offline.

The Server also provides receiving and processing incoming device connections that have no white static IP addresses.

Device data and events merge into a unified data model. Within this model, each device is represented as a so-called context in a hierarchical context structure. Each context includes a set of formalized data elements of three types: variables (properties, settings, attributes), functions (methods, operations), and events (notifications). A context also contains metadata describing all available elements. Therefore, all context data and metadata are entirely stored in the current context. This technology is called device normalization. Device drivers and agents create a normalized presentation of various device types.

There are some parallels with object-oriented programming, where objects typically have properties, events and methods. Properties are internal device variables, methods are operations performed by a device, and events describe how a device notifies the server of internal data or environment changes.

Virtually any device can be described as a set of properties, methods and events. For example, a remotely controlled water tank can have a “water level” property to show the current amount of water in the tank and “turn valve on/off” methods to control the valve letting the water into/out of the tank. This smart water tank may also generate a number of notifications, such as “nearly empty”, “nearly full” and “overflow”. We have developed more than 100 Java-based drivers, and the normalization concept has also proved to be an advantage. Moreover, a lot of current “universal” protocols (such as OPC UA, JMX or WMI) use similar data models.

All Server contexts are a part of a hierarchical structure called context tree. Though the contexts match diverse objects (devices, users, reports, alerts, etc.), they have a unified interface and can interoperate within the server context tree, offering a high level of flexibility. The same principle enables various servers to interact in a distributed installation.


Every connected device allows operators to perform direct configuration (device configuration reading and modification), direct management (forcing device operation performance manually), and direct monitoring (viewing the device event log in near-real-time mode).

Events and changes of device metric values are stored in the server storage. Depending on the system task, the storage type can vary. For example, if it’s the Raspberry Pi microserver, the simplest file storage is used, while the central server of a distributed installation can use NoSQL-based Apache Cassandra cluster storing dozens of thousands events per second out of original stream with hundreds of thousands events per second.

However, in most cases a regular relational database is used as storage. Using ORM layer (Hibernate) provides compatibility with MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and other DBMS.

Device data and events affect the life cycle of active server objects allowing the server to react to environmental condition changes. These active objects include:

  • Alerts converting a particular seamless object state or event chain to a new event type called incident
  • Models converting source events and values into user-defined events and value types by using business rules
  • Scheduler assuring task performance on schedule even when the server is shut off
  • Sensors and several other object types


Active objects are able to add new types of variables, functions and events in the unified data model, send custom variables and event changes to storage, and invoke device and other object operations in automated mode.

You can use widgets for building data entry forms, tables, dynamic maps, charts and HMIs. They can be combined in dashboards, both global (based on aggregated KPIs and showing the whole infrastructure state) and object-oriented (displaying a single device or infrastructure component state).


Widgets and report templates are built in specialized visual editors seamlessly integrated in the Aggregate Platform ecosystem. The GUI Builder helps design complex interfaces consisting of multiple nested containers with visual components. In addition to absolute layout typical for editors, you can use grid layout familiar to those who came across table editing in HTML page. The grid layout makes it possible to build scalable multi-size data entry forms and tables.

As a result, first-line or second-line operator interfaces developed by using data visualization tools include dashboards with widgets, forms, tables, diagrams, reports, HMIs, and navigation between them.

The GUI Builder supports dozens of out-of-the-box components, such as captions, text fields, buttons, checkboxes, sliders as well as spinners, lists, date/time selectors, scales, and pointers. Among more complex components are trees, video windows, dynamic vector SVG images, geographical maps based on Google Maps/Bing/Yandex/OpenStreetMap. The list of supported diagrams includes classic charts, statistics charts, Gantt charts, and polar charts.

All widgets designed in the GUI Builder operate via web interface, including non-Java browsers, i.e. on mobile devices. You only need HTML5 and JavaScript support.

Properties related to server objects (devices, models, alerts) and UI components are linked together using bindings. Such bindings define when and where data should be taken, how to process it and where to place the results. While processing data, the bindings use expression and query languages.

A binding using an expression resembles Microsoft Excel formula. Such a formula takes data from several cells, applies mathematical operations or data processing functions to it, and places the result into the current cell. An expression is also a formula describing where data should be taken from and what sort of changes to apply to it.

The query language is very similar to regular SQL. It also aggregates data from various tables into one by using filtering, sorting, grouping, etc. The difference between the classic SQL and the embedded query language is that the latter uses virtual tables built on-the-fly from diverse unified model data as a source. Every query checks operator/system object access permissions automatically. With this in mind, the query language has an obvious advantage over direct SQL queries to the server database.

To solve more challenging data processing tasks, you can easily write a script in Java or even a dedicated plugin. However, every script written for data processing by any of our partners is a warning for us: why does one need A platform if classic development out of familiar environment (such as Eclipse or Idea) is still required?

And finally, a few words about the distributed architecture technology. Our concept implies customization of peering relationships between servers so that a server (provider) links a part of its unified data model to the other server (consumer). This allows the consumer server objects to equally interact with the provider server objects. A single server can have unlimited links, moreover, such a server can be both a provider and a consumer towards neighboring servers.

 Distributed architecture ensures solving various large-scale system tasks:

  • Horizontal system scaling.
  • Distributed monitoring with local monitoring server installations and intermediate data storage at remote sites.

Vertical scaling, dividing functions between servers into several logic levels.

Read more…

Expanding your IOT Horizon

DIY Applications that Could Expand the Reach and Mindshare of IoT

There are some in the IoT industry who see certain technologies as prohibitive, especially for the average user. There are a number of areas that are currently unserved by IoT technologies, sometimes due to a lack of innovation, and at other times due to there being a lack of network support in a particular geographic location.

With the increased penetration of 4G cellular coverage around the world, there is huge potential for DIY IoT services that are independent of any major branch of technology. Learning about the companies that are preparing niche devices can help you to expand your vision of what IoT is, and who it can benefit.

Here are three exciting areas that have already been embraced by the DIY IoT community.

Environmental Tracking for Agriculture

Agricultural operators could gain a lot from IoT sensors, and independent developer Mesur would like to provide the technology. This startup company creates simple sensor devices that can track atmospheric and environmental conditions to help with seeding and harvesting, allowing operators to minimize waste and increase crop yields. They also provide tailored analytical sensor software to benefit turf management, vineyard management, and even mining operations.

Private Car Telemetry Tracking

Telemetry tracking can be hugely beneficial when used for legal defense or during insurance claims. One driver who wanted to put the power of data in his own hands, went as far as creating a device that tracked his vehicle behavior, detecting speed, location, and acceleration/braking patterns. Using simple components like gyros, a GPS module, and a transmitter, individuals could create their own vehicle tracker with telemetry, and connect it to a cellular network for extensive urban and suburban coverage.

Plant Health Monitor for Home Gardeners

By combining a GSM connected microcontroller module from Particle, along with a temperature and moisture sensor, home DIY enthusiasts could create a simple device that tracks soil quality in home planters or gardens, letting them know when it’s time to get out and water the plants. With the Particle microcontroller, alerts can be sent via SMS, email, or to a mobile app. An electron 3G kit from Particle costs less than $70 USD, and as demand for DIY devices increases, these costs are likely to come down even further.

Using a Particle Microcontroller for Almost Any Application

Particle is one of the leading companies when it comes to home and small scale IoT development. Their electron IoT microcontroller kit can provide cellular service in virtually any country that has coverage, and the microcontroller can be used with multiple sensors for virtually any application. Whether a user wanted to create a GPS tracker for their vehicle, or a door sensor for their home, the Particle would be perfect for the job.

As other companies develop DIY-friendly kit sets and technologies, it is likely that the number of home-based IoT enthusiasts will increase, and devices like the Particle could even find their way into schools and tertiary education facilities, where they will inspire the next generation of IoT designers and innovators.

For more information on IOT please check out our new website at www.internetofthingsrecruiting.com - For Help with you next IOT Search Please click here for a Free Consultation : http://internetofthingsrecruiting.com/schedule-a-conference/


Iot Internet of Things

Read more…

IoT and IIOT Cybersecurity Market Map

CB Insights has identified 78 private companies at the intersection of cybersecurity and connected hardware, which includes: critical infrastructure, mobile phones, connected devices, enterprise endpoints, and connected cars.

The breakdown of categories is as follows:

Critical Infrastructure: Startups in this category include Indegy which provides real-time situational awareness, visibility, and security for industrial control systems used across critical infrastructure, including energy, water utilities, petrochemical plants, manufacturing facilities, etc. Similar companies such as CyberX can detect network anomalies by analyzing the operational behavior of industrial internet networks using Big Data and Machine Learning. The company Bastille Networks is among the more unique startups in this category, with a product that scans air space to provide visibility into RF-emitting devices. Bastille has broad implications across the connected hardware cybersecurity market.

Mobile Phones: Companies in this category include three unicorns valued at $1B+. They are: Okta which offers cloud-based identity management and mobility management services, Lookout which is a smartphone security company for the Android and iOS platforms, and Avast Software which offers security and privacy solutions also for iOS and Android.

Connected Devices: Included are companies like Mocana which secures IP addressable devices as well as the information, applications, and services that run on them. Companies in this category also include MedCrypt which offers the ability to manage all of the digital keys needed for users to securely access medical devices.

Enterprise Endpoints: Startups like the unicorn Tanium offer a systems management solution that allows enterprises to collect data and update endpoints across networks. Another unicorn in this category is Cylance, which operates in defense of enterprises’ endpoints by applying artificial intelligence algorithms to predict, identify, and stop malware and advanced threats.

Connected Cars: Argus Cyber Security enables car manufacturers to protect technologically advanced connected vehicles from malicious cyber attacks.

The full company list is here

Read more…

IOT - Think Big - Start Small - Scale Quickly

Think Big, Start Small, Scale Quickly

There’s an old philosophy that business coaches often use. It’s the saying that you think big, start small, and then scale quickly. If you follow it closely, you have the potential to make a lasting impression in an industry and achieve actual results in the process.

Let’s look at this in terms of the internet of things to see how it pertains to this industry. The first thing we do is think big. This means to think about the transformation in the industry and how it will not only impact you, but others. With this, you’ll know what technology you need to be successful, and have the building blocks in place that others can come to you as they need your technology in order to operate more effectively.

Now that you understand the big picture, you can start small. Begin to work a process into the latest trends. Identify any weaknesses the competition has, and work to design and processes to help combat these weaknesses. Consider adjusting the structure and then release products that address these concerns. You can begin to gain attention as you do this, and others will follow your suit. Chances are, other technology companies will be willing to work with you to address their own internal concerns.

It’s at this point, you scale quickly. You begin to unroll solutions quickly, release prototypes, and aggressively work to be the leader in the industry. The goal at this time is to show you are on the cutting edge of things and to drive the process further harder. As you do this, make sure you keep looking at the future, especially since you know the direction you are taking trends and work on building from this. Even though you did start small, you have cornered a section of the market at the head. That way, people will keep looking to you in order to determine the future of things.

The thing to remember is that as long as you are innovative, and follow through with the process, there is no reason why you cannot succeed. Mobile technology has used this approach for years and it continues to propel the smart phone industry. With more devices headed toward total connectivity, it will pay to be the company who decides to start small and scale quickly, and unleash the new popular trends that will propel the internet of things into the future.

For another real-world example of this check out this post from Cisco/Jasper.

http://blog.jasper.com/real-iot-think-big-start-small-scale-fast/

Please check out our new website for more information www.internetofthingsrecruiting.com 

Read more…

Two years ago, IBM announced a groundbreaking partnership with another colossal tech pioneer – Apple, in order to enhance the mobile enterprise space. In little over 25 months, the two companies have declared a major breakthrough – on October 25th, IBM officially announced that the company will incorporate the famous Watson capabilities into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem. The integration will bring deep data analysis, natural language processing and even more features to iOS 10.

The Intelligence Inside

This is just the most recent dramatic outcome of the IMB/Apple partnership. You may recall that just a few weeks ago, IBM’s VP of WaaS, Fletcher Previn said that each Mac deployment will cost the company around $535, in comparison to PCs. Seemingly, this latest move will have a huge impact on a wide range of “real-life” situations and strengthen Apple’s growing position in enterprise IT. In fact, according to the IMB, business apps will now have the ability to understand and even learn on the basis of data analytics.

Profound Change

But the question you might be asking yourself is – how will all of this work in practice? Well, Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager of the Apple/IBM partnership explains that an average technician would be able to literally ask the F&F app to look up some suggestions on how to solve a specific equipment problem. The app would essentially enable them to pay more attention to the piece of equipment – and as Apple puts it – would provide a “hands-free” solution when a technician needs it most.

What’s more, as numerous experts predicted last year, a technician that is using an app with Apple Watch support will be able to call up some kind of intelligent support system, while keeping their smartphones in their pockets. Basically, cognitive technology coupled with mobile aims to be transformational – its goal is to change how workers interact with enterprise applications in order to assist any company, and eventually, any industry move forward.

The Future Lies in Contextual Awareness

And while IBM’s Watson is smart enough to listen closely, learn from you and make increasingly refined suggestions in reaction to certain situational needs, the system is still not contextually aware. You have to understand that modern voice assistants, like Google Now and Siri, are simply comprised of pattern matching and voice recognition software, tied closely to a number of typical questions and answers. But cognitive computing is a more powerful beast.

Watson delivers a comprehensive set of abilities based on technologies like computer learning, reasoning and decision technologies; language and speech systems are disturbed, high-performance computing. Simply put, Watson always learns from previous interactions with humans and machines, and gains in knowledge over time. The system can learn from past experiences, and consequently learn and create conclusions from different experiences. Once we move into “Cognitive Era", and when this system merges with, for instance, 3pl logistics and other eCommerce software solutions, most companies that leverage the technology will have the highest probability of success.

It is Just a Quest of Ethics

While IBM is still enthusiastic, the company knows that these forms of AI are the peak of our society’s digital transformation, and that they are likely to have a long-lasting effect on our society. Artificial Intelligence systems are augmenting human intelligence in every field imaginable, and will transform our lives on a personal and professional level, in the long run. As a matter of fact, we are likely to see cognitive robots integrated into our society as bartenders, receptionists and even doctors. They could even be useful as carers of our kids and elderly.

AI systems such as IBM’s Watson are indeed powerful, and like with all powerful tools, we have to take great care of their usage. We have to agree that IBM’s job as a part of the global community is to make sure that the cognitive tech they (and others) develop is manufactured the right way and only for the right reasons. The company may be involved in several efforts to advance our overall understanding if problems affecting the ethical development of AI occur.

Read more…

Wondering what IoT software platform to latch onto? Well, Forrester recently published their research report and named the 11 that are most significant — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ayla Networks, Cisco Jasper, Exosite, General Electric (GE), IBM, LogMeIn, Microsoft, PTC, SAP, and Zebra Technologies.

The report shows how each provider measures up and helps infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals make the right choice to support their IoT-enabled connected product and asset initiatives.

Key Takeaways

IBM, PTC, GE, And Microsoft Lead The Pack
Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which IBM, PTC, GE, and Microsoft lead the pack. AWS, SAP, and Cisco Jasper offer competitive options. LogMeIn, Ayla Networks, Exosite, and Zebra Technologies lag behind.

IoT Software Platforms Simplify Enabling Connected Products And Processes
To deliver differentiated connected products or transform business processes, I&O leaders face a fragmented set of network technologies, hardware, protocols, software, applications, and analytics solutions. IoT software platforms help simplify deploying, managing, operating, and capturing insights from IoT-enabled connected devices.

Partner Ecosystems, Prebuilt Apps, And Advanced Analytics Are Key Differentiators
Vendors that allow customers to tap into a broad partner ecosystem to extend the functionality available through their platform solutions will position themselves to successfully deliver additional value to end user customers. Other key criteria to jump-start IoT solutions include application enablement functions, analytics features, and interfaces to generate actionable insights from connected products and prebuilt applications.

To view the entire report, IBM has a free download, with registration, here.

Read more…
RSS
Email me when there are new items in this category –

Upcoming IoT Events

6 things to avoid in transactional emails

transactional man typing

  You might think that once a sale has been made, or an email subscription confirmed, that your job is done. You’ve made the virtual handshake, you can have a well-earned coffee and sit down now right? Wrong! (You knew we were…

Continue

More IoT News

IoT Career Opportunities