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IoT today is one of the most significant sources of new data. Considering that, data science will provide a considerable contribution to making IoT applications more intelligent and fast. Current applications of data science backed with Machine Learning has helped us deduce significant factors to help achieve optimum success in this field.

First, since data gets generated from different sources with specific data types, it is imperative to adopt or develop algorithms that has the capacity to handle the data characteristics.Next, the vast number of resources that generate data in real-time are not without the problem of scale and velocity. Conclusively, finding the best data model that fits the data is one of the most vital issues for pattern recognition and for better analysis of IoT data. 

These so called ‘issues’ have paved a path for a vast number of opportunities in expanding new developments. Big data can be laid down as high-volume, high-velocity, and high variety data that demands cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.

3 Major Concepts of Machine Learning in IoT

In order to better understand what algorithm best fits for processing and decision-making in the field of IoT, one needs to understand the most basic concepts of IoT.

  1. i) The overall application of IoT
  2. ii) The data-driven vision of ML algorithms

iii) Characteristics of IoT data

The overall application of IoT

As we know, the purpose of IoT is to develop a smarter environment and a simplified life-style by saving time, energy, and money. It also reduces significant amount of costs for major industries. Four major components of IoT include: 1) sensors, 2)processing networks, 3) data analysis data, and 4) system monitoring. Since IoT is integrated with a  number of technologies, and connectivity is a mandatory and sufficient condition for it to function, there are certain communication protocols which can are some of the most basic ingredients of this technology. Cumulatively, we need to enhance these components:

(1)Device to Device (D2D): is a type of communication which enables communication between nearby mobile phones; representing the next generation of cellular networks.

(2) Device to Server (D2S): is a type of communication device where all of the data is sent to the servers; can be either close or far from the devices. Such communication is majorly applied to cloud processing.

(3) Server to Server (S2S): is a type of communication where servers transmit data between each other and is majorly applied for cellular networks.


Before transferring data to other devices, one needs to prepare the data in order to establish communication. For this, there are various analytical processes and computing methods that are used.

Fog Computing:- This method is applied in order to migrate information from the data center task to the edge of the servers.

Edge computing:- The processing is run at a distance from the core in this type of computing.

Cloud computing:- Cloud has high latency and high load balancing, indicating that this architecture is not sufficient for processing IoT data because most processing should run at high speeds.

Once we understand the detailed classification and the purpose for which we intend to use the IoT device, we can establish the correct type of algorithm to use under the hood. Majorly this part of allocating algorithms comes up during the process of IoT app development and a lot of brainstorming goes behind it.

Let us have a look on the surface of some of the most widely-used and sophisticated Machine Learning algorithms that can be inculcated with the IoT devices.

A) Classification:- This type of ML algorithm is used in smart cities, especially for managing smart traffic. It helps in traffic prediction and in increasing data abbreviation.

B) Clustering:- This algorithm is used for smart traffic and smart health. It again aids in traffic prediction and in increasing data abbreviation along with patient data monitoring.

C) Linear Regression:- This algorithm is mainly used in economics and helps in real-time prediction along with data abbreviation.

D) K-Nearest Neighbours:- This algorithm is applied for smart-citizens and helps in analysing passenger travel patterns.

E) Feed Forward Neural Network:- Used for smart health purposes and helps in reducing energy-consumption and forecast the state of elements.

F) Canonical Correlation Analysis:- Used for monitoring public places and helps majorly in fault detection.

Conclusion

IoT has excited every single individual connected with information technology today. It promises an all-connected, all-encompassing future. These connections and smart devices together will lay down the foundation of a world we have so fondly visualized with sci-fi books and movies.

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The Arm AIoT Dev Summit is a developer-focused conference that provides a platform for you to exchange knowledge, discuss real-world use cases and solutions, and get hands-on with expert-led, deep-dive training and workshops.​ Along with like-minded developers, data scientists, and innovators, you will experience technologies enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Learn more and register here. Use discount code AIOTRICHARDNETWORK for an addiitonal $75 off!

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The automation of industry is steadily advancing into a new era – the fourth industrial revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0), where all things from machines and devices to people and systems will be digitally connected. Industry 4.0 technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will enable industries to better manage their processes, improve efficiencies and boost their productivity. For many, the objectives for implementing 4IR technologies include greater control and predictability of production quality, improved safety and lower costs. Industry 4.0 also adds flexibility to an organization’s operations, enabling them to rapidly respond to shifts in consumer demand. To achieve these objectives cost-efficiently, however, requires taking a platform approach to digital transformation that is as much organizational as technological.

Industries that have been digitalized for decades, such as finance and online retail, treat IT and its infrastructure strategically — as crucial to their competitiveness. Amazon and Alibaba, the world’s two largest online retailers, for example, have invested hugely in their digital technology platforms. Ironically, Amazon’s AWS cloud business is currently its most profitable business, although it was originally only a platform for enabling its retail side. And these are not isolated examples of the importance of technology platforms in the digital era.

In industries where physical assets lie at the heart of operations, digitalization has been a slower and more complicated process. In these industries, Operational Technology (OT) organizations typically manage a wide range of production and logistics equipment — from manufacturing and assembly equipment to quality control and monitoring systems, to various hand-held devices/tools and material handling systems.

Legacy communications technologies and control protocols still prevail for these physical assets — with each supplier implementing their own customized versions of industry standards. That is why digital adoption has been slow; there are multiple layers of communication technologies and control protocols that create data siloes where exchanging of information between them is limited. This makes it difficult for operations to obtain a complete and accurate view of their production facilities.

As manufacturing and other industries are moving toward Industry 4.0, it’s becoming more apparent that this legacy communications architecture must change. Unfortunately, according to 451 Research, only 34% of industrial companies have a formal strategy to actively digitalize their business processes and assets — 10 percentage points less than non-industrial organizations. In order to fully move into an Industry 4.0 era, industrial-focused organizations are beginning to link OT with IT, embrace emerging technologies and build out digital platforms that can securely support new applications and use cases as they develop.

The building blocks of an Industry 4.0 platform include industrial IoT (IIoT), cloud, edge computing (MEC), AI and machine learning, digital twins and wireless communications — LTE/4G today, and 5G tomorrow.

IIoT systems connect all the physical assets with the digital platform. IIoT produces digital data that can be collected, integrated and analyzed across operations. Cloud computing enables organizations to quickly scale out resources for storing and processing the new, large volumes of data generated by IIoT. Edge computing, or edge clouds, distribute those parts of the processing that need to be closer to IIoT sensors and machinery for more rapid and precise response to sensor input; which is critical for automation. And as data security becomes an increasingly important part of operations, edge computing will enable critical processing data to remain within the facility premises, thereby protecting its integrity.

The sheer volume and complexity of IIoT data would be overwhelming without AI and machine learning (ML), which filter and process the data to look for actionable patterns. As a result, AI and ML create digital twins; essentially, digital models of the “virtual state” of a physical device, process or system. Leveraging the immense computing power of the cloud, digital twin technology enables these virtual representations to be used to provide predictive maintenance, conduct product or process simulations in order to optimize industrial processes before they are deployed, and in worker training to speed up competency. As a result, digital twins are the foundation component of Industry 4.0.

Given the key role that data plays in industrial automation, it’s clear why the communications network is vital as well. Unfortunately, however, the disparate communications technologies currently in use in many industries cannot provide the digital platform unification that’s required. This is where OT is learning from IT.

Because the platform has to be based on the current digital communications standard — IP — multiservice IP/MPLS networks are helping to accommodate the older communications technology use cases. Cabled networks, such as Ethernet, will still play a role, but linking hundreds of IIoT sensors, as well as mobile robots and vehicles, requires industrial-strength, next-generation wireless. And office wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, are not up to manufacturing performance requirements in terms of coverage, capacity, latency or security. As a result, digitally transforming organizations moving toward Industry 4.0 are leveraging IP-based LTE/4G to cover the vast majority of today’s requirements. Moving forward, 5G, with its improved performance beyond LTE, will be able to support many new use cases and applications as Industry 4.0 adoption accelerates.

For those organizations that are already investing in IIoT and cloud platforms, the importance of their communications network to enable industrial automation and the digital transformation of their facilities can’t overlook or under-estimated. To ensure that no site, employee, or system is left behind, organizations in industrial-focused fields must also think strategically about their communications platform.

Over the last few decades, productivity growth for some industrial sectors has lagged behind others where digital technologies have been widely adopted. One of the key lessons that asset-intensive industries can learn from these more progressive “digital” businesses is in the power of digital platforms to remain competitive in a fast-changing world.

 

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Application development is one of the most challenging processes for enterprises and choosing a model approach for the same is a complex decision to make. An application development model or Software Development Lifecycle Model(SDLC) is the heart of any development process. There are several models for SDLC like agile, waterfall, V-shape, iterative, spiral, etc.

The battle of agile and waterfall for the dominance over SDLC model acceptance has been a happy hunting ground for developers around the world. Developers and enterprises are looking forward to tapping into agile methods to create applications faster, secure and leaner. But, there are ardent followers of the waterfall model that are still using it as an SDLC model for application development.

What is the waterfall model?

The waterfall model is based on a waterfall-like structure of phases of any application development lifecycle. Each phase has an iterative relationship with each other that provides direct value to the end-product. Other phases are needed to be staffed and planned differently for the best utilization of program resources.

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Image Source: SDLC Models Explained

There is a sequel dependability among the phases, which holds back the system design whenever the analysis model is still to be signed off and holds back coding if design is still to be signed off. Each development step progresses, and the design is further detailed by iteration with every preceding and succeeding step.

Due to the addition of the preliminary program design phase between requirements and analysis phase, the designer assures that the software or app will not fail because of storage, time or data flux. The waterfall model relies on documentation of every phase, with a view of building a shorter and smarter phase consisting of all the phases to ensure customer involvement in both during and after the program design phase.

What is the Agile model?

Agile techniques depend on the iterative development and a focus on iteration, communication and the reduction of resource-intensive intermediate artifacts. It combines short iterative cycles with the feature planning and dynamic prioritization. Any agility in development of apps or softwares require face-to-face interactions that can be achieved through close customer relationships.

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Image Source: SDLC Models Explained

These customer relationships can help teams make decisions immediately rather than waiting for the correspondence to happen from the customer's side. Each iteration in agile methodology is an iterative product itself. They are like self-contained mini-projects with activities that span requirement analysis, design, deployment, and test.

These iterations encapsulates all the digital resources across the teams and act as a subset of the final system. The customer provides feedback based on the observations of current iterative releases and specify requirements for further iterative releases. 

Enterprises hire ios developers and android developers to exploit the iterative releases across platforms prevalent in agile model. The predetermined length of an iteration serves as the deadlines for the teams.

In this SDLC model, each iteration is better known as a "Sprint". The sprint is a 30-day development iteration, where the whole process of an iterative release is carried out in 30 days. During the sprint, there is no change to be made in the metrics and parameters of a sprint and the same should be reviewed by the teams at the end of the sprint. 

A wholistic comparison between Agile and Waterfall methods:

 

  1. Primary Requirements: For conventional methods like a waterfall, the major set of objectives are predictability, repeatability, and optimization. While Agile techniques focus on rapid value and rapid response to the changes.

 

  1. Scaling: Waterfall techniques are better for scaling large projects. While agile methodology is not good at scaling large projects and suits best for the smaller projects where the organizational structures of a waterfall system fails.

 

  1. Customer Relations: Agile methods works better when it comes to customer relations with a condition that customers operate in a dedicated mode with the development teams. This method risks the pitfalls of implicit knowledge, which is solved through documentation in the waterfall model. 

 

  1. Planning and control: The waterfall model focuses on project management requirements like careful planning, estimation, coordination, tracking, and control. While agile methods are more focused on the results than documentation.

 

  1. Communication: Agile techniques advocate face-to-face communications and waterfall methods require explicit documented knowledge.

 

  1. Requirements of Process: The agile model does not entertain the up-front and formal requirements engineering. While the waterfall model encounters problems with rapidly changing requirements.

 

  1. Development: The waterfall model relies heavily on the infrastructure of a software or application as a part of the development sequence. While the agile model values the working software or app over documentation and emphasizes simplicity. 

 

  1. Testing: The waterfall model focuses on architecture and documentation adopting conventional assurance methods that involve dynamic testing, static analysis with internal and third-party evaluation. The agile model facilitates internal design and code review that encourages developers to adopt the coding standards.

 

  1. Skill Of Customers: Agile requires dedicates, co-located and knowledgeable customers. While the waterfall model needs adequately skilled and knowledgeable customers.

 

  1. Developers: Waterfall developers are to be plan-oriented, adequately skilled with the knowledge of external skills. While agile model needs developers that are knowledgeable, co-located and collaborative with amicable communicative and interactive talents. Agile approaches emphasize the cross-functional teams of developers, testers, subject matter experts and architects of application infrastructures. 

 

Conclusion:

A plan-driven waterfall model or an adaptive agile method are both advantageous and disadvantageous in several ways. If an enterprise has a large project at hand, the waterfall model is the best suited SDLC and if there is a small project at hand than the agile model is best suited. But. when it comes to medium-sized projects, both the models struggle in terms of handling and execution over medium-sized projects.

With rising costs and time constraints on development projects, the agile model can create apps more rapidly owing to its sprint tool which is a very short iterative method. While the waterfall model has large costing issues with staffing and tools required for several phases in the interactive relationships and with the focus on external testing, it incurs heavy costs on the project budget. So from the above, it is clear to choose the most suitable model according to your project requirements.

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To all members at IoT Central:

My team at Arm is delivering a brand new developer conference called the AIoT Dev Summit this December, 2 - 3. The conference will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and there will be multiple hands-on workshops with industry leaders in AI, IoT and robotics, plus keynotes and tech talks.

You can see the full agenda here: http://bit.ly/2WHOVqh

I think this is a special event, and I would like to extend my personal discount code to all IoT Central members. Tickets are currently $175 and for an additional $75 off use: AIOTRICHARDNETWORK

Please check it out and thank you!

Richard


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$13 trillion in ROI will be generated by 2025 - BI Intelligence.

Over 20 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020 - Gartner

These predictions about IoT clearly reflects how rapidly this futuristic technology is evolving. To stay ahead of the curve, diverse industry-specific businesses are already investing heavily in different IoT initiatives. No wonder why IoT has become the “talk of the town” in the digital world. 

In this article, you are going to get a detailed insight on IoT - perks of adopting IoT in businesses, which industries are benefiting the most from it, how IoT is transforming the mobile app development sector along with what we can expect from this futuristic technology in 2020 and beyond.

IoT advantages for businesses 

By 2020, the IoT platform is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 40%. So, what’s the secret behind its global popularity?

Well, through customized IoT mobile solutions, this advanced technology helps in addressing some common business challenges including

 

  • Safe data access
  • Safe data storage
  • Device control and management
  • Integration and maintenance

 

Allowing the real-time data exchange to carry out different business actions and analysis is one of the major reasons why businesses are going gaga over it. The list of IoT’s wide range of business benefits includes

 

  • Enhanced productivity

 

When it comes to the point of dealing with real-time data and variables, IoT does it the best. IoT-based applications help in management procedures. Also, it can help in carrying out automation of routine-based functions, informing employees about expected technical disruptions along with supporting remote troubleshooting procedures.

 

  • Better customer experience

 

With IoT-based applications, businesses can offer a seamless and smart customer experience. Users can carry out transactions using smart trackers, mobile card readers, etc. Also, the smart meters and smart grid technologies help users to identify and resolve issues. 

IoT-based devices are capable of collecting a plethora of data on users’ behavior which helps businesses to come up with innovative ways to keep their customers engaged and offer better customer experience.

 

  • Cost-effectiveness

 

Both the IoT devices and the IoT-based applications assist professionals not only to monitor equipment but also to diminish the downtime along with the risk factors. The applications based on this advanced technology can successfully predict possible system misalignments and failures which in turn helps in saving a lot for businesses.

Thus, IoT has become one of the most loved technologies to implement these days. 

Industries to benefit from IoT applications

As IoT technologies help in reducing overall business operating costs, increasing business visibility, business efficiency and productivity along with creating additional revenue streams, businesses across diverse industries are embracing it wholeheartedly. 

Healthcare and fitness

Today’s market is flooded with different IoT-enabled wearables. Such smart wearables help in monitoring calorie intake, heart rate, steps taken while walking, sleep along with tracking various other activities that help us to stay fit and healthy. 

Other than personal use of health wearables, some smart appliances like thermometers, scales, blood pressure monitors, etc. are presently available in the market. 

Smart home

The idea of home automation was relatively unfamiliar to most people until recently. With the emerging IoT technology, smart home automation has started to show its true power. Smart homes make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable. 

Increased energy efficiency, better home security, savings on the electricity bill, maximized comfort, etc. are some popular reasons why smart home automation development with IoT is trending in the market these days. 

Retail and Supply Chain Management

Well, if you think different IoT devices and applications in the Retail industry is limited to only shopping and SCM, you are wrong. Enabling IoT in business is an opportunity for hospitality service providers, restaurants, and other businesses to manage not only their supplies but also to gather valuable insights. 

It allows business owners to avert order overflow, effectively restricting the employees who abuse their privileges along with managing the merchandising and logistical expenses in a better way. Business owners now can manage their inventory in real-time with IoT. 

Automotive

Self-driven cars or connected cars are no longer fiction only. Thanks to IoT. Thus, in the automotive industry, IoT use cases are actively expanding. Smart applications are being developed and integrated into car infotainment systems so that providing telematics, in-car navigation, and entertainment becomes easier than ever.

Also, IoT-enabled apps make sure predictive maintenance, surveillance, security, and safety of the vehicle along with real-time monitoring, cognitive insights for the management, etc. 

Other than the above-mentioned ones, industries related to manufacturing, agriculture, logistics are also ripping benefits out of IoT. 

IoT in mobile app development - what to expect next? 

You have already seen how IoT is transforming the way different industries operate. According to experts, IoT adoption is still in the early phase. The way the connected world of IoT is evolving, soon we can experience its power to the fullest. Even worldwide app developers would agree that IoT is leaving significant impacts on iPhone and iPad app development services. So, what can we expect from this futuristic technology in the future?

Edge computing will become more popular than cloud computing

We all know how cloud computing brought a wave in the digital world. Even today’s IoT devices store all the data in their cloud. However, in the tech world, change is the only constant. And this is why we will probably soon witness edge computing becoming more popular than cloud computing. 

Now, the question is how?

Instead of sending all the data from devices to the cloud, now, the IoT devices will transfer data to a local storage device first. This device can filter, sort, and accordingly can calculate the data and transfer only the required data set to the cloud. 

Undoubtedly, it will reduce traffic to the network. Also, collecting and processing data locally will allow the IoT apps to consume less bandwidth and work in bad connectivity to the cloud. 

IoT security will get more priority

The graph for IoT application adoption in businesses is increasing exponentially. Now, with more devices being connected to the network, not only the data volume increase but the risk for data security increases as well. 

We have seen how the smart home industry and health care industry is adopting various IoT-based applications. So, be it patient’s health-related data or data related to the home security, everything is being stored in the cloud. So, with sensitive data floating in the cloud, we can expect IoT security will get more priority in the next year and beyond. 

A unified framework for integration

To keep the industry safe and secure, a unified framework is required. The lack of a unified IoT framework - this is a serious challenge that IoT has faced while cooperating with different industries. However, another trending technology Blockchain will be a great help to accelerate the IoT adoption process by allowing the app developers to improve and develop mobile and web applications. 

So if someone is looking to develop IoT apps and looking for an Android or iOS app development company, it is important to know beforehand if they are capable and know the integration. 

IoT and AI

Both Artificial Intelligence and IoT are data-driven technologies. And both technologies are used for storing and analyzing data. So, to make automation more efficient, we may see these two thriving technologies being implemented together to gain better visibility along with accurate insights into various services. 

Other than what we mentioned above,

  • We will see the rise of predictive maintenance
  • Businesses will deliver more personalized customer experiences
  • Software-as-a-Service will be the new normal

And all of these will be the direct or indirect impact of IoT being implemented in the mobile apps. 

However, mobile app developers have to advance their skill sets to integrate IoT successfully in their apps. Having sheer knowledge of Swift or Xcode won’t be enough for smart iPhone or iPad app development services. 

Of course, we will witness new technologies being emerged. However, these will make IoT easier to use and more intuitive to a large extent. 

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To outsource or not to outsource?

 

Depending on who you are talking to, the idea of outsourcing can promote some very positive or negative reactions. ‘Off-shoring’ and ‘unfair competition’ are thrown against ‘specialization’ and        ‘lower costs’. Whether you are considering product development, the provision of specialist services or the handling of back office activities, there are a number of pros and cons that need to be considered.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing is defined as ‘the process of paying to have part of a company's work done by another company’. It can therefore cover a wide range of business activities and is usually undertaken as a cost-cutting or efficiency optimization measure. Investopedia states that was first recognized as a business strategy in 1989 and became an integral part of business economics throughout the 1990s and makes the point that ‘the practice of outsourcing is subject to considerable controversy in many countries. Those opposed argue it has caused the loss of domestic jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Supporters say it creates an incentive for businesses and companies to allocate resources where they are most effective, and that outsourcing helps maintain the nature of free market economies on a global scale’.

Typically then, a firm will have a project or an ongoing activity that it wishes or needs to undertake but which, for example, it does not have the necessary in-house skills to undertake, does not form part of its core activities, or which it does not have the resources to fully undertake. The firm will search for another company that specializes in the area and seek to outsource the particular activities to them. The IT sector is one of the main areas – along with Human Resource and finance – that thrives on outsourcing.

Benefits of outsourcing

There are a number of advantages of outsourcing:

  1. Greater access to expertise. By working with firms who are specialists in a particular area, a company can gain greater access to the relevant skills and knowledge in a quicker timeframe. This can include access to cutting-edge tools and concepts and insight into the developments within the sector that would otherwise not be available. Using an outsourced firm can also give access to a wider pool of expertise and talent, as the contractor will have access to these within its own sector – access that the contracting firm would not be able to gain.
  2. Greater efficiency. One of the key tenants of economic efficiency, going back to Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations in the 1770s, is that specialization can increase efficiency and that greater efficiency can increase economic returns – that is, at a company level, by specializing on its core activities, a company is better able to gain a competitive advantage and increase financial returns. By thus avoiding diverting resources into non-core activities and relying on specialized outsource companies to provide these non-core activities (which are core for the contractor company), greater productivity can be generated.
  3. Reduced costs. One of the primary benefits of outsourcing to hire a dedicated team is that the contracting firm does not need to employ more people to undertake temporary or non-core activities. Given that staff costs make up a large component of ongoing expense for a company, this can substantially reduce costs. As a factor, this should not be underestimated: in the EU, for example, firms need to add an extra 24% in non-wage costs (from 6% in Malta to 33% in France).
  4. Developing partnerships. Outsourcing can help a company develop relationship with partner companies, whether domestically or abroad. This in turn can generate further business opportunities.

The downsides to outsourcing

There are, however, some disadvantages to outsourcing:

  1. Lack of direct control. While the relationship between the outsourcing firm and the contractor will be determined by a contract or by a service level agreement, there is a level of reduced control that comes from outsourcing.
  2. Changes in requirements. Business requirements change, this is a fact of life. But if you need to change the contracting agreement between a company and the contractor, this can be difficult to do if – for example – you are in the middle of a several year-long agreement, or it can result in increased costs for the change in service to be accepted.
  3. Increased communication issues. Contracting out some of your activities or product development can result in increased communication problems, with staff in both companies having to understand two different companies’ ways of communicating. This can lead to misunderstandings and, in some cases, cause serious problems if there is not the goodwill to resolve issues.
  4. While product development, for instance, with a specialist contractor can result in a world class product, by definition in an outsourcing relationship you are in the hands of the contractor, to a degree. This means that if the quality of the product is not that which you wanted or which you had agreed with a stakeholder, you will often not be able to solve it yourself and will need to work with the contractor to do so – and that will often involve addition costs.

Summary

The decision on whether to outsource, for example for product development or to hire a dedicated development team is one that each company needs to assess for itself. There are considerable advantages in terms of gaining access to expertise and skills and keeping costs controlled. But at the same time there are potential risks of which a company needs to be aware. With effective management and good communication, these risks can be substantially reduced – but both sides in the relationship need to be aware of the need for this and take steps to ensure that the outsourcing runs effectively.  

 

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The term Digital Transformation means different things for different people. Some people might think of it as switching from manual processes to autonomous processes, while for others it might be about the insights that the data brings, which can help in making business decisions. What can Digital Transformation or moving towards Industry 4.0 do for the manufacturing sector? It can lead to enhanced production cycles, increased customization, a focus on reinforced products and better access to information for employees.

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Blockchain and IoT: are they a perfect match?

As IoT becomes more prevalent, more CIOs are asked to take the reins of IoT projects. Gartner recently found that just under a third of responding organizations expected their CIO would lead their IoT efforts, and that by 2020, more than 10% of IoT projects in traditional industries would be headed by the CIO.

This prompted Jenny Beresford, research director, to caution: ‘The IoT will expand rapidly and extensively, continually surfacing novel and unforeseen opportunities and threats.’

Among those threats — which will definitely be CIOs’ responsibility — is the woeful security of traditional IoT and IIoT networks, as well as the privacy, connectivity and transaction speed issues that frequently plague IoT implementation.

To be maximally effective such a network must somehow be both highly connected and highly secure, and currently only one technology — blockchain — can achieve this.

However, obstacles remain, including the lack of an IoT-friendly blockchain consensus protocol.

Network Security and Data Exchange

IoT and IIoT networks typically lack physical security, host-based defences, and software updates and patches. These networks typically also use less-secure wifi protocols, web apps and APIs, combining larger-than-usual attack surface with weaker-than-usual security while retaining single points of control and failure.

In IoT, hackers see a new prize: gigantic botnets which can be used to spread malware, as with the Mirai botnet. And in IIoT, the rewards of network penetration can be industrial sabotage, espionage or large-scale blackmail, like Florida’s Riviera Beach.

Yet, companies cannot afford to hold off indefinitely on deploying IoT technology, since doing so exposes the organization to risk of being outmanoeuvred by competitors. Blockchain offers CIOs a way to deliver their IoT projects with the inherent security issues of large, distributed networks essentially solved.

Blockchain for IoT inherently eliminates single points of control and failure while simultaneously offering modular encryption and auditable transaction logs, so security issues are isolated, easy to identify and cannot spread through the network. Even if they do, they can’t gain control of it.

Transaction Processing

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications generate gigantic amounts of data in transit — and the number of connected devices is growing rapidly:

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With centralized control, much of the processing power of these devices is lost to idling, while trust issues keep transaction costs high. CIOs find themselves in the position of paying for computational capacity they can’t use, and for traditional data centers that represent a ‘honeypot’ for attackers and a bottleneck for their networks.

Peer-to-peer communication across connected devices would enable dynamic transaction load balancing, enabling spare computing power to be identified and employed and potentially eliminating centralized data storage.

To do this successfully, IoT will need to become trustless as well as peer-to-peer. Blockchain offers a trustless peer-to-peer communication and transaction medium with secure, unforgeable and auditable transaction logs; smart contracts can be used to set policies, control and monitor access rights and execute actions autonomously based on pre-defined conditions.

Privacy and Autonomy

IoT systems built on traditional networks cannot prevent access by governments, service providers or criminal actors. With weak security and single points of control, trust on these networks is impossible to guarantee.

IoT and IIoT both require connectivity and modular security. The current solution, ‘security through obscurity,’ must be replaced by a systemic shift to open-source systems that achieve ‘security through transparency’ and are far less vulnerable to sophisticated, persistent institutional attacks.

Without this shift, both consumer and industrial networks will be increasingly vulnerable, and as the number of connected devices grows, radically lower-cost privacy and autonomy will be necessary to save the IoT.

IoT Connectivity Costs

In the current iteration of the IoT, costs are prohibitively high while revenues fail to meet expectations. Many existing IoT solutions are expensive because of the high infrastructure and maintenance costs associated with centralized cloud delivery and large server farms.

IoT devices violate the traditional pricing and revenue model of the IT industry too: device costs and incomes don’t line up, and maintenance costs consume substantial amounts of revenue. Inherent technical reasons make this unavoidable using the current model, but CEOs still don’t like hearing it from their CIOs.

Cost reduction

Blockchain technology allows reliable data to be pooled and shared without trust, directly among stakeholders. This allows for a significant cost reduction, eliminating intermediaries and allowing for automatic transactions and payments across devices using smart contracts.

Blockchain-IoT Integration Challenges: Lack of an IoT-centric consensus protocol

The current consensus protocols available for blockchains — PoW, PoS, PoET, and IOTA — are all designed for permissionless blockchains focusing on financial value transfer. PoS and PoET can also be used in permissioned blockchains, but their consensus is probabilistic and does not end in a permanently-committed block, resulting in an unacceptably high ‘hard fork’ rate.

PoET requires specialist hardware and the enclave allocating wait time is a trusted entity; it has also proven vulnerable to node compromise.

What’s needed is a consensus that can keep the benefits of the distributed, auditable, trustless environment blockchain provides, but deliver it in real time and at scale — without mining or excessing transaction costs, and without multiple hard forks.

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Embedded systems are maybe the most complex part of an integrated IoT solution. Looking at my company's experience I can say that most programmers that come to build IoT systems have to have additional experience if they want to work with hardware. Customers that want to hire IoT developers also need to have a basic understanding of what skills his future contractors must have.
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Having a smart home is all well and good until you become a victim of data leakage. 

This is not a discouragement against IoT implementation into your home, however. The Internet of Things market has been on the rise, and thanks to that, even our homes have become smarter. We don’t have to worry about doing our laundry, or making coffee manually anymore. With just a command we can do these things without having to move away from that comfy couch. 

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But over the last couple of years, some incidents have shown that the matter of smart homes might not be all it’s hyped up to be. Just like everything, IoT implementation in smart homes has a bright and a dark side, but it seems the dark side is more sinister than the bright one. 

Incident one:

The combined research conducted by Northeastern University and Imperial College of London has shown how consumer devices are not to be trusted when dealing with client data. The researchers conducted 34,586 controlled experiments on 81 different IoT devices, 46 of which are from the US and 35 are from the UK, and this is what they found out-

  • 72 out of these 81 devices are connecting to services that are not the first party. Which means they are connecting domains and addresses that have no business connecting to the device. 
  • The research showed that 56% of the US devices and 83.8% of the UK devices were connecting to domains that were not in their region. 
  • The safety of the data on an online connection depends on the level of encryption, but here’s the kicker- according to the research, all the tested devices have at least one plain-text flow, which means at least one data flow from all the devices is non-encrypted. Not to mention, any cyber-evesdroppers can analyze device traffic, encrypted or not, and figure out the user and device behavior. 

But in any case, this is just research. What happens when a smart home management platform leaves a server with important user data exposed on the internet without any password or protection?

Incident Two:

Around mid-June, the security team at vpnMentor, lead by security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, spotted a completely exposed server containing the customer details of 2 million users, including their usernames, passwords, and password reset codes. 

The server in question belongs to a Chinese smart home management platform Orvibo. Their smart home management Smartmate helps users control every aspect of their smart home, from security to closing the curtains. 

Not only a smart-home management system, but Orvibo also deals in self-manufactured smart home products such as smart light bulbs, HVAC systems, home entertainment systems, security cameras, smart power plugs, and many more. 

The open server containing user information poses a huge threat to everyone who’s data has been exposed. Since the data breach being exposed, Orvibo has taken steps to secure the server. Even then, the data breach can have serious repercussions for the users. What are these repercussions though? Let’s find out what can happen to your data if it is leaked by your smart home device. 

What will happen if your data is breached?

When hearing about IoT and data breach, the user can have two kinds of reactions.

One group would panic, and probably stop using all kinds of smart devices. 

Another group would ask so what if their data is being breached? And this point is to answer the question for the latter group. 

There is a reason why smart home security is something to be concerned about. The personal and sensitive data, the users enter in order to run the devices, can be manipulated in various ways, and each one would only harm the users. 

So what are the ways hackers can manipulate the IoT devices and data that make your home smart?

1. Manipulating The Devices

The first thing you might do after getting a smart device for your home is to configure its username and password. 

However, this is not a widespread practice. Most people often end up using the same default username and password the device came with, which means that it’s going to be super easy for the hackers to get your data and gain access to your device. And from there on, it’s an open sandbox for them to play with. They can do whatever they want with your device, but there’s one guarantee- whatever they do is not going to do you any good. 

2. Holding Your Data And Device For Ransom

The ransomware attack is the most familiar in the IoT industry. Through this, what the hacker usually does is that they would gain access to an IoT device, and cut off the legitimate user’s access. Then they would ask for a ransom for restoring the user’s access to that device. 

While this may not seem to be as dangerous, it is a serious threat. Once the hackers have gained access to your data, they can use it for many malicious ends, things you don’t even have any idea about. And not to mention, there is no guarantee that they would give you back the access to your data once you pay them. And that’s why implementing some serious security protocols in place is needed to prevent your device and data from ransomware attacks. 

3. Doing Serious Damage To Your Home

This one might seem a little petty, but here we go anyways. 

Imagine having a smart thermostat, which you can control using online access. Now imagine going out on a vacation with your family, making sure that everything around the house is shut down, even the thermostat. However, when you get back, you see that the thermostat turned up to its highest setting on its own, melting every plastic thing in your house. 

But did it happen on its own? How are you going to find out whether it just happened or someone purposefully hacked into your smart home system and used the thermostat to seriously damage your home? Stealing the authorization details, hackers can do this for multiple reasons, ranging from personal vendetta to trivial entertainment because they were bored. Either way, it is your home that will be damaged. 

4. Actively Robbing Your Home

When details such as passwords and user IDs, along with device IDs are being sent to an unknown third-party domain without any encryption, the data can be used in many ways, and one of them can be to rob your home. 

Think about how a hacker-robber group can hack into the security system of your home, disable it and then walk into your home to steal everything from you. This is a bold use of smart home data breaches, and it can be quite fatal in case someone is home when they decided to hit the house. In this case, the loss of data security can result in serious loss of physical property as well. 

5. Launching A Botnet Attack

Last but not least, gaining access to your IoT smart home devices, the hackers can turn these devices into zombie devices and launch a botnet attack. A botnet is a number of internet-connected devices. Each of these devices is running one or more bots, which can be used to perform distributed denial-of-service attacks. 

Through this, the hackers can also steal important data, send spam emails, getting the attacker access to the device, this is not only going to create a problem for you but others as well. 

With a DDoS attack, the botnets can connect to a website, generating so much traffic that the website crashes, leaving them vulnerable for many data exploitations. Using your IoT device, the hackers can launch a similar botnet attack to that of the Mirai Botnet attack of 2016. The Mirai botnet attack brought down a french host OVH. and that’s how your smart home devices can be turned into a weapon to bring down popular websites around the world. 

What Is Going To Be The Solutions?

Every problem has a solution, and so does this one. 

There have been plenty of solutions suggested for the data security of IoT devices. But so far only two of these solutions stand out. One is the use of machine learning, another being Blockchain. 

The Machine Learning Solution For Smart Homes

Rather than looking for a security solution for each device, AI and machine learning can create a shield of security for all the IoT devices for your home network. Deep learning and machine learning can not only monitor each and every device connected to the network, but they can also detect and prevent any unwanted and unknown device trying to connect with the home network. 

The use of AI comes in handy when analyzing the network traffic. This way the AI can keep up with the general traffic flow of each of the devices and detect any anomalies in the normal flow of traffic. Which means fewer chances of any hackers getting inside your home network. You can check out these top 10 highly performing smart home apps making it big.

Along with these benefits, the use of Machine learning and deep learning can also detect botnet activity, manage device authentication and access management. This way they can manage to give your smart home network 360-degree security without worrying you. 

The Blockchain Solution To All Things Smart-homes

The main problem with the smart home network is the centralization of data, which could be easily hacked into. And that’s why Blockchain can provide a decentralized solution to this problem. 

Once the smart home IoT systems start utilizing the blockchain system for data communication, the security will increase tenfold, because it is close to impossible to hack into a blockchain network and change the data. To do so, the hacker would have to have control of 51% of the devices connected, and when the number of connected devices spans millions, it can be a little tough. 

Not to mention, blockchain in IoT will end the trend of data monopolization. Your data won’t be a subject of daily business deals with large conglomerates. Blockchain can bring affordability and security for smart homes that people have been asking for a long time.

Conclusion 

So does it mean you should not be using smart home technology?

The answer is no, absolutely not. It is undeniable that smart home technology has its own benefits and you should be able to take advantage of that. But only after you have made sure of your data security. Once you have made sure that all the devices you are using are secure. You can make use of IoT devices for your home as much as you want. Always remember that the security measures for your home IoT devices are not a matter of joke.

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The transportation and logistics industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors to cyber attackers. As more connected solutions are introduced to improve efficiency, securing these complex cyber-physical systems will require multi-layer security from Sensor to Cloud.

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Industrial automation and controls modernization can be a daunting task. Is it time to upgrade? What will this cost me? Are we ready? How will we even do this? There is a lot to consider with all those questions, and probably more, running through your head. A good starting point for developing a plan is to start by organizing the information that needs to be gathered to scope the project(s). From there, you can start talking to integrators and vendors to get pricing, budgets, timelines, and equipment lists. To develop a thorough spec, follow these steps.
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How IoT Reinvented the Business World

Internet of Things (IoT) has completely transformed the business world and drive it to the next level. The connected smart devices have turned the strategies into increased profitability. 

While seeing the present scenario, the demand for IoT solutions is increasing day by day.  To maintain the remarkable presence and to serve the enterprises with effective results, the IoT Solution provider company is enhancing and upgrading the strategies and solutions day by day. 

The work strategies of businesses have completely transformed and IoT has become a key to success. According to Forbes, “More than seven in 10 executives credit IoT with delivering increased revenue. Currently, 45% report IoT has helped boost profits by 1% to 5%, and another 41% say the impact has boosted them by 5% to 15% annually. Over the coming year, nearly all, 94%, anticipate a profit boost of at least 5% to 15% as a result of IoT.” 

So, in this article, we are going to tell you the advantages of the integration of IoT. 

Benefits of the Internet of Things 

Increased Productivity 

The integration of the Internet of Things has increased the productivity of the employees. As through the integration of smart devices, the speed process of many tasks used to increase and results are error-free. 

Saves Time 

IoT smart solutions save the time of the employees, as it excludes the repetition task of humans like the data entry in management or inventory management system. Resources can utilize that time and energy in other potential work processes. 

Easy Tracking System 

For the shipping industry, tracking has always been a hectic and troublesome process. But IoT has sorted out this challenge, as now with smart wearable devices the ship can be tracked by the management and customers also. 

Tracking System can be held by these following methods: 

1) RFID -  Stands for Radio Frequency Identification, through its team track the ship based on frequencies, there are many challenges but with time and upgraded technologies, it has turned into an easy method. 

2) GPS: The term GPS stands for Global Positioning Satellite system, GPS solutions have been integrated into the smartphones also. It helps to track real-time information. GPS can be integrated into wearable devices and smartphones. 

Increase Remote Working Process 

Working from home employees is less expensive for the enterprises as it saves the cost of infrastructure and with various IoT solutions, the working process from home has become easier. Time to time employees can update their working and have proper communication. 

Improve Customer Experience 

Internet of Things technology improves the customer experience as through it, enterprises can offer a new experience to their customers, by offering a multi-dimensional and 3D view. 

Along with this, it is helpful to provide the best facilities to the customer by monitoring, regulating and maintaining real-time issues. Often passengers face a lot of challenges like broken escalators, dirty washrooms, these issues can be analyzed through smart sensors and immediately the action can be taken by the authorities. 

As per the Forbes Insight Survey, “56%, are investing in IoT to build on the customer experience they’re delivering, and 42% have been able to expand their capabilities in terms of personalized customer experience as a result of IoT.”

Conclusion 

The demand for integration of IoT smart technologies is increasing day by day as it is turning out to be the profitable strategy for the enterprises.  Along with this, it has become an essential technology of the business and considered a smart investment. This takes the business to new level.

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What is OPC?

The acronym “OPC” stands for “OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) for Process Control”. OLE is based on the Windows COM (Component Object Model) standard.

OPC standard is implemented in server/client pairs. The OPC server is a program that translates the hardware communication protocol used by a PLC into the OPC protocol. The OPC client software is a program that connects to the hardware, such as an HMI. The OPC client communicates with the OPC server to receive data or send commands to the hardware.

 

How does OPC work?

OPC specification describes the interface between clients and servers, servers and servers, including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications.

The classic OPC connection scenario is a single server-client connection on a single computer, but there are more options which include:

  • Connecting an OPC client to several OPC servers. This is called OPC aggregation.
  • Connecting an OPC client to an OPC server over a network. This can be done with OPC tunneling
  • Connecting an OPC server to another OPC server to share data. This is known as OPC bridging

 

Technical Benefits of OPC

In addition to improving OPC server and client connections, the OPC DataHub can connect any OPC server or client to other applications as well, including Excel, a web browser, or any other database. And, it can be used to import OPC data into Linux or QNX.
Usage

Following OPC specifications are used in industries:

  • OPC-DA (Data Access): Provides access to real-time data. We can query most recent

values of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration, and other types of process control data from OPC-DA server.

  • OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access): This is used to retrieve historical process data for analysis. This data is typically stored in files, databases or remote telemetry systems.
  • OPC-AE (Alarms & Events): OPC AE servers are used to accept and exchange

process alarms and events.

  • OPC-DX (Data eXchange): It defines the way OPC server data is exchanged with other OPC servers.
  • OPC-XML (XML Data Access): It defines schema and data representation formats based upon XML standard. This makes it possible to share & manipulate process control data across all operating systems – Windows, UNIX, Solaris, etc.


Benefits of using OPC standard are:

  • Reduced load on the hardware device.
  • Increased scalability of the system.
  • Because of OPC server, client applications need not know anything about hardware protocol details.
  • Though device need not serve multiple clients, So Increased life for the device.
  • Interoperability (Unix/Linux and Windows – both platforms are supported by OPC)
  • Standardization

eInfochips – OPC implementation

At eInfochips, we have provided embedded solutions for OPC’s industrial automation product line for our clients in embedded solutions. This includes detailed work on:

  • BIS systems: Building Integration System , or BIS, is a software package that brings building automation, access control, video surveillance, intrusion, fire alarms and voice evacuation onto one convenient management suite. The classic OPC Server had implemented specific protocol over TCP/IP protocol to monitor and control different types of building integration system panels, which is able to interface with OPC client of the BIS system software.
  • System alerts: In OPC Server, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. For controlling and monitoring panels, OPC client fires different commands to the panels by using OPC server e.g. unlock door, lock door, arm area etc.

OPC server developed by eInfochips contains the following modules, functionalities and activities, listed below.

To know more about the IoT services and solutions

  • Design, Development and Testing of OPC Classic server for different panels used in a building integration system with specific Automation protocol
  • Implementation of following group commands on OPC Server,
    • System
    • Panel
    • Door
    • Area
    • Output
    • Point
  • OPC server communication stacks integration (TCP)
  • OPC server security – Command Authentication AES 256
  • Client and status command implementation

We have also developed OPC Clients for our customers, running on Linux OS to communicate with OPC server over Ethernet. This further communicates with OPC server for Reading and Writing data/parameters. In OPC Client, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. OPC Client will communicate with OPC Server for fetching data from the PLC. At the other end, it will send/receive historical and live data of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration etc. from the OPC server to the cloud for storage and analysis.

To know more about how we can help you with OPC implementation for your building automation needs, Learn more about our Industrial Automation Solutions or digital engineering services

 

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