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Today, retail stores are constantly focusing on leveraging the emerging technologies like cloud, mobile, RFID, beacons, etc., to provide connected retail services and better shopping experience to customers. For example, store owners are integrating sensors in the key zones of retail stores and connecting them to cloud through a gateway that enables real-time data analysis related to products, sales, and customers from these sensors.

Interestingly, IoT and connected technologies are taking the retail industry by storm. 96% retailers are ready to make changes required to implement the Internet of Things in their stores

IoT in retail can help retailers improve store operations, enhance customer experience and drive more conversions. Moreover, IoT can help retailers solve day-to-day problems such as tracking energy utilization, managing in-floor navigation, detecting crowded areas, reducing check out timings, managing product shelves, preventing theft, monitoring goods, etc. Let us how IoT helps in few of these scenarios.

 

 

In-Store Navigation with IoT-enabled Devices

Identifying in-store navigation is one of the common problems in retail stores. Here, IoT devices with integrated technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, magnetic positions and augmented reality, etc., can facilitate in-store navigation to help customers navigate through the store and find the desired product.

It gives customers a multichannel shopping experience through digitization of physical assets. In-store navigation also helps increase the path to purchase rate before a product stock outs.

Example:
Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons are small sensors placed strategically throughout the retail store. These sensors are equipped with Bluetooth smart technology and compatible with smartphones. This BLE beacon device sends out continuous radio signals to nearby smart devices in the range. Smart devices in that range catch the signal and trigger events such as availability of a new product or launch of a new offer. Further, that device sends a unique ID to cloud server. The server checks that ID and responds back, through which communication between signal and smart device is established using a unique ID. Almost all customers nowadays carry smart devices like mobile phones and tablets. If BLE is used, customers can be notified on their smartphone with personalized coupons and deals as soon as they enter the store.

The above solution improves customer’s in-store experience and also increases footfall ratio. It also facilitates quick product search and increases conversion rates while generating a powerful shopping environment that can help enhance product offerings and store layouts.

Energy Management with Smart Devices

Energy consumption is a major cost consuming factor for the retail businesses, be it in refrigeration, lighting, heating, air conditioning, etc. Using these energy sources efficiently can bring cost saving of up to 20 percent per year. IoT-enabled smart devices can help resolve problems of energy management and saving.

There are several IoT-based platforms that can log, monitor and beep alarms or alert the in-store personnel about temperature, energy usage, heating, gas leakage, electricity breakdowns, etc., with the help of integrated sensors. Using these smart energy management devices, store owners can directly interact with the controllers of refrigerators and retrieve prioritized information with the help of sensors.

Example:
Every year, a large retail chain attributes nearly $2B of loss to wasted or spoiled food, with issues relating to its legacy refrigeration system, accounting for approximately 15% of this total—or $300 mm. In case of emergency situations like powercut or excessive heating, alarms from the controllers of these refrigeration systems reach the operations team only after 5 or 6 hours, and there is no mechanism to provide warnings before these situations occur. Here smart refrigeration IoT device can provide cloud-based temperature monitoring solution to notify the controllers about emergencies using temperature sensors and mesh networking technology.

Theft Prevention with Geo-Fencing

The crime of shoplifting in the retail industry is increasing day-by-day, because retailers fail to provide sufficient attention to shoplifters. According to National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), more than $25 million worth of merchandise gets stolen from retail shops each day. Adding more to retailers’ loss is retail shrinkage, which includes shoplifting, employe theft, paperwork error, vendor fraud and many more.

To overcome the problem of shoplifting and retail shrinkage, retailers can use Geo-fencing technique.
Geo-fencing relies on the global positioning system or a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that allows a store operator to create a virtual barrier or zone around specific locations in retail shops. When a customer tries to move product from the specific location, an alert is triggered and a message is sent to the store in-charge. Geo-fencing enabled in IoT devices or beacons can help retailers in a number of ways; from keeping goods safe, tracking customers and employee movements, managing company-owned resources to minimizing incidents of theft and loss.

Customer Engagement with Sensor-Enabled Shopping Carts

The sensor-enabled shopping cart is a technique adopted by most of the retail merchandisers. These shopping carts help retailers grow their business in every aspect by helping them visualize shopper’s flows by category/subcategory, understand the shopping pattern, analyze the dwell path, and enable faster checkout.

This smart cart design involves sensors with connectivity protocols around the cart, which have the ability to track the movement of the wheels and match up with the distance the cart has traveled. It helps retailers with an accurate data of shopping carts with the inside-store journey. The data from this cart can be sent to the server or to cloud for further analysis.

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With the exponential increase in the IoT and connected devices, it is difficult to ensure scalability, security, and robustness of these devices. Cloud computing platforms like AWS help enterprises accelerate their development to deployment cycles, enhancing robustness and scalability of the entire IoT solution.

People perceive cloud as a platform only for storage and computing. However, there are many other capabilities that cloud offers with cloud computing, such as application deployment, data transfer, database management, etc. Moreover, with the onset of IoT and connected technologies, the role of cloud computing has expanded even more in terms of enabling communication between devices and providing scalability to applications.

How Cloud Computing Helps in IoT Deployment

In today’s time, deploying an IoT solution takes a lot of effort and time, due to the increased number of software applications and hardware integration it requires. Also, when it comes to deploying a new, robust and scalable IoT platform for any industry vertical, it can be very tedious and costly to set up the infrastructure. For example, in a smart factory model, there are many machines and devices to be connected to the cloud. Developing a whole new infrastructure for those Internet of Things applications from the scratch can take up to five to six months’ time in development, deployment, and testing. This prolonged time delay is not appropriate since enterprises need to respond to the market demands quickly, especially when the market competition is too high and when the connected devices and technologies are increasing exponentially. This is where cloud computing plays a crucial role in IoT deployment.

There are several cloud platforms and service providers such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure, and Google Cloud for deploying IoT solutions. Of these, we will focus on the integrating AWS cloud platform in this blog.

Why AWS Cloud Platform

Cloud service platforms like AWS help enterprises accelerate their development cycle from months to a few days and hours, allowing them to build a robust and scalable IoT solution. AWS platform also allows easy and secure on-boarding of billions of devices according to the enterprise’s needs. It is one of the robust platforms for accelerated development, which enables the developers to connect the device to cloud quickly. AWS has recently launched AWS IoT 1-Click that easily triggers the Lambda function for any device to perform a specific action.

AWS is offering various services like cloud computing, machine learning, analytics, storage, IoT platform, security, AR & VR, etc. With AWS, organizations are just paying for the services that they utilize, which provides the benefits of cost reduction and better asset management.

Let us see how an enterprise IoT solution can be leveraged with the AWS IoT platform.

Sensor and Device Connectivity with Edge Analytics

The most important and basic aspect of an IoT solution is to connect all the devices and sensors to the cloud for management and control. Since the development of software and services to connect the devices to the cloud is tedious and time-consuming, AWS IoT Core helps IoT developers with AWS IoT SDK, which allows them to choose SDKs according to their choice of hardware for applications development. These applications help users in managing their IoT devices on air.

  • The AWS IoT SDK supports C, JavaScript, Arduino, Python, iOS, and Android with open source libraries and developer guide, which helps developers with their IoT product development. AWS IoT Core consists of the Device Gateway that allows bidirectional communication between devices and the AWS. The device gateway ensures that the devices are communicating through cloud securely and efficiently in real time. This device gateway supports MQTT, Websockets, and HTTP 1.1. It can also support billions of devices at a time without the infrastructure management.
  • Device gateway also consists of the AWS Greengrass a software agent that runs the computing on the edge for the connected devices. Greengrass consists of the Lambda Function, which allows users to run the rule engines, which are coded for particular events like temperature rise, light intensity, etc. AWS Greengrass also brings the AWS to the devices so that they can perform the local compute on the data when they are already using the cloud for other processes like management and storage. It can also be programmed for transferring only necessary information to the cloud after the local compute has been executed.
  • Greengrass enables the device to cloud data security by encrypting the data. This data can be secured for both local and cloud communications. So, no one can access this data without any authentication. It uses the same security model as AWS IoT Core, which contains the mutual device authentication and authorization and secured cloud connectivity.
  • Organizations can also create the digital twins, also known as Device Shadowing, for their IoT devices in the AWS cloud. In device shadowing, the current state of IoT devices gets replicated in the cloud virtually and this virtual image can be accessed at the time of no internet. This helps in the prediction of the desired future state of a device. IoT Core then compares this desired state with the previously accounted state and can send the command to the device for making up this difference.

Cloud Computing and Storage

The Internet of Things generates a huge data at every moment. The storage and management of this data require a lot of infrastructure deployments and maintenance efforts. AWS provides storage and computing services, which help enterprises in reducing the infrastructure development cost. These services also provide real-time analytics and accessibility of the data at any moment. Also, the developers can access the required data from the cloud without any delay.

  • When we talk about the data management, AWS Kinesis can be considered as a great example of the real-time data streaming and analytics. It continuously analyzes, captures, and stores the huge heterogeneous data (terabytes per hour) that gets generated from the IoT devices or any other resources.
  • After the data has been stored, Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) provides a secure, resizable, compute capacity in the cloud. Its web service interface allows developers to scale their computing requirement with minimal efforts. Users can scale up and down their computing resources according to the requirement and they just have to pay for the resources utilized. Apart from that, AWS also provides data storage services as AWS S3 and Glacier. They both provide 99% durability, comprehensive security and compliance capabilities that can help meet even the most stringent regulatory requirements. Amazon S3 and Glacier both allow running powerful analytics on the data on the rest.
  • For Database management, AWS provides its service called AWS DynamoDB as NoSQL database that can support both key document-based database. Due to the NoSQL database, it enables benefits like ease of development, scalable performance, high availability, and resilience.
  • For data and asset security, AWS has features and services like AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS Key Management Services, and AWS Shield along with the AWS Cloud HSM to enhance the security.

eInfochips (an Arrow company) is an Advanced Consulting Partner for AWS services. We help clients in implementing a highly scalable, reliable, and cost-efficient infrastructure with custom solutions for IoT on the AWS platform. Know more about our AWS services.

 

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Advancements in IoT technologies have enabled machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and collection of relevant data. Predictive maintenance solutions leverage such data and IoT technologies, to help companies reduce costs of maintenance by adopting a proactive approach. This approach is proving to be a value-add solution. This is because, IoT enabled Predictive Maintenance solutions help shop-floors, assembly lines and other industrial or enterprise set-ups to avoid sudden machine failures and related operational delays.
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A field guide describing the 5 approaches to industrial IoT platform development and how to know which approach is the right one for your enterprise based on your goals, requirements, constraints, and where you are today in your digital transformation journey.
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The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the retail industry, coming in it with the improved shopping experience, automated business processes, enhanced digital marketing, and optimized inventory and supply chain management.

Providing retailers with various advantages, IoT technology also enables them to boost sales and increase customer loyalty. Oracle discovered that when applying RFID tags, retail companies can achieve 99% inventory accuracy, a 50% reduction in out-of-stocks, and a 70% reduction in shrinkage.

 

The global IoT retail market is predicted to grow from $14 billion in 2015 to $36 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 20%. In its report about the Internet of Things, Verizon found that retailers believe in the IoT potential and have a positive attitude towards adopting IoT in their work:

 

  • 77% of retailers said that IoT solutions help improve the customer experience;
  • 89% of companies said they got the understanding of customer shopping habits, needs, and preferences thanks to using IoT solutions.

 

Promising to innovate and transform the retail industry, IoT solutions are becoming widely introduced for solving a wide range of issues. Here I’ve listed the main use cases describing how IoT is applied by retailers and what benefits they do receive.

 

IoT applications in Retail

 

Beacon alerts & in-store navigation

 

Customer interactions are a key success factor in all business. Through beacons, retailers can easily reach the user audience, increase customer loyalty, and raise profit. Beacons are IoT Bluetooth-enabled devices that use low-energy Bluetooth connections to automatically send push notifications directly to user smartphones once they appear in the operating area.

As beacons are small, they can be attached to almost any place, for instance, walls and counters. In the retail industry, beacons are mainly used for customer in-store navigation, sending push notifications, and collecting customer data.

In connection with mobile applications, retailers can motivate customers to make more purchases by notifying them about discounts and special offerings when they enter the coverage zone, generally near a certain shop. Also, in large shopping centers, beacons are irreplaceable for navigating customer and showing them the best routes to the place they need.

 

Customer data

 

Customer data plays a key role in any business dealing with customers. Retail companies do need to know their audience in order to make them make purchases and increase profit while delivering an amazing personalized experience. Satisfied customers are returning clients.)

IoT solutions suit great for collecting customer data, including the determination of customer buying habits, needs, preferences, favorite routes in the shopping center, and the most popular goods as well.  

By sending all these data to the analytical system, where it’s processed and analyzed, retailers can find out what they should improve. In some cases, for example, it will be better to change the placement of shelves or clothes. Also, with the audience understanding retailers can launch successful marketing campaigns and provide personalization.

 

Personalized shopping experience

 

Traditionally, customer relationships were built on the basis of face-to-face communications. For now, personalized experience takes the center stage and significantly impacts consumer purchasing decisions.

To boost sales and retain customers, retail companies are adopting IoT solutions to deliver the best shopping experience possible. By using beacons, mobile apps, push notifications, and customer analytics, retailers get the ability to understand the needs and preferences of their customers and ensure successful targeting when creating advertising campaigns.

 

Supply chain management

 

Like in many other sectors, supply chain management takes an important part in the retail too. Retailers integrate IoT solutions for load tracking, driver activity monitoring, tracing the delivery process, transportation management, as well as viewing load/driver location in real time. This way, the Internet of Things can enable a transparent supply chain management and help achieve “just-in-time” delivery much easier.

 

Optimized asset management

 

IoT applications are widely used for asset tracking and management. Using RFID tags, mobile apps, and other technologies for inventory tracking, retail companies can accomplish up to 100% inventory accuracy, minimize unexpected out-of-stocks, enable end-to-end store inventory management, and increase sales margins by up to 10% as a result.

What’s more, IoT solutions provide retailers with the ability to track the assortment of goods, analyze product popularity, and check out the information about goods any time they need, including their availability in the store, brand name, price, and description.

 

As you see, there are many useful IoT applications in the retail industry. With the use of additional devices and technologies, improvements in sensors, enhanced connectivity and machine learning tools, retailers automate operations, optimize various processes, reduce costs, and deliver the personalized experience.

 

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As demand for location services in all areas of the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so too has the requirement for precision location. For many applications, especially those that need to scale to cover large areas, providing ”proximity zone” types of location is simply not accurate enough. That means the old way of determining location—primarily using Bluetooth beacons—is no longer sufficient.

Bluetooth beacons have been the go-to solution for determining location for years, but they have three limiting factors:

  • Beacons only work with smartphones, not tags, which limits how they can be used
  • They are able to locate objects in best case within 3-4 meters, which is fine for determining a general location, but is not refined enough to meet the requirements for many of today’s applications
  • Beacons are battery-operated, which impacts their ability to deliver real-time location; frequent transmissions drain the device’s battery, meaning frequent replacements are necessary

The shortcoming of beacons and other location technologies that rely on smartphones has spawned an industry shift to a more network-centric approach, with the intelligence moving to the receiver antenna and a centralized software application, rather than the intelligence residing in a smartphone app. That, in turn, has launched the development of a wide range of active, low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags with long battery life and possible on-board sensors.

Another shift occurring is a change in how signals from these tags are measured to determine location. The traditional method—using signal strength to estimate location—does not take into consideration how the signal will be impacted by its environment.  While a weak signal could indicate an object is far away from a beacon, it’s also possible a physical object, such as a concrete pillar or wall, is impacting the signal. 

Two new approaches are emerging for BLE angle estimation. The first is based on the signal’s Angle of Arrival (AoA)—the precise direction the device is from the receiver antenna arrays. With AoA, multiple antennas are used within the same devices to measure the signal. This allows the antenna to locate a tag or smartphone with accuracy of 10 to 20 centimeters, not meters.

The second approach considers the signal’s Angle of Departure (AoD). In this approach, the location intelligence is moved back to the mobile devices. The AoD approach works like "indoor GPS," where the fixed infrastructure devices (aka Locators) are only broadcasting and are not aware of the receiving devices, similarly to how a GPS Satellite works. This means the capability to locate an unlimited amount of devices, and no privacy issues. 

As the use cases for indoor location services continue to grow, with every industry from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and retail, to law enforcement and beyond clamoring for more precision, new approaches beyond Bluetooth beacons need to be considered. The AoA and AoD methodologies are quickly gaining momentum as the next generation of location technology.

Guest post by Antti Kainulainen is CTO & cofounder of Quuppa. Before Quuppa, he was with Nokia Research Center (NRC) during 2005-2012, where he was the lead engineer in several projects related to indoor positioning. He also took part in the standardization work of the Bluetooth Wireless technology. Antti received his M.Sc. degree in technology from Helsinki University of Technology in 2007. He has 16 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications. More at www.quuppa.com

 

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IoT Evolution or IoT Revolution

During all these years evangelizing on the Internet of Things (IoT), I have been explaining to customers, partners and friends that IoT can positively change the way we do business and the way we live our lives.  I have been asked if IoT is a new revolution in our society, or it is just one more step in the technological evolution of the he digital revolution. Today, the debate continues but whether evolution or revolution, The Internet of Things is here to stay.

If you have read AIG´s whitepaper entitled “Internet of Things: Evolution or Revolution?” you learned IoT, from its origins, to its applications in business, the risks associated with its inevitable arrival and how with the IoT is coming bringing dramatic changes. In the whitepaper we discover that in spite IoT is often presented as a revolution that is changing the face of society or the industry in a profound manner. It is an evolution that has its origins in technologies and functionalities developed by visionary automation suppliers more than 15 years ago

I definitely think it’s an evolution

The development of the Internet of Things is a bold move. IoT is not just a leap from the Internet. The Internet of Things brings with it an evolutionary force that we rarely see in technology.

It is important not scare the most conservative enterprises. It is not about ripping out current automation systems to replace them with new technologies. End users will resist rapid and radical change because of the increased risk of downtime and associated costs.

I think that this debate should be framed in a more general question. What Age period are we living?

 

The Connected Age or the Age of Sensorization

I consider the start of the Connected Age when the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Probably Kevin envisioned that the move to sensorization will transform every industry in the world.  In the Age of Sensorization, it’s possible to make more accurate and quantifiable assessments using real time sensor based information.

The main driving force behind the Connected Age is data – data that can be collected, data that can be analysed, data can be shared and data can be used to improve many service offerings.

Data is the new oil in this AgeThe global sensorization is driving new ideas and thoughts that will ultimately drive innovation in our personal, business and working lives. Sensor´s data is opening up new opportunities, driving new business models and taking innovation to new levelsNo doubt that sensors’ data is a valuable commodity. The European Commission has proposed to impose a tax on the revenue of digital companies based on their users’ location, on the grounds that “a significant part of the value of a business is created where the users are based and data is collected and processed.”

We are still living in the Connected Age. I expect this Age ends in 2025, no because there will not be more things to connect but because is when most of things will become intelligent and start controlled by robotsThe Robotic Age or the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Reading Genesis of AI: The First Hype Cycle, I  rediscovered how Artificial Intelligence (AI) was born and evotution till now. But it was after I read Your Data Is Crucial to a Robotic Age. Shouldn’t You Be Paid for It? I realised maybe I was wrong and we already living the final years of the Connected Age and we are entering before 2025 , not without a certain fear, the Robotic Age.

According to IDC: ”By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives – and 100% of IoT initiatives – will be supported by AI capabilities.

Qualcomm envision a world where edge AI makes devices, machines, automobiles, and things much more intelligent, simplifying and enriching our daily lives.

AI has emerged as the most exciting capability in today’s technology landscape. It’s potential is rich in large, complex organizations that generate massive amounts of data that can be fed into AI systems.

Data is the crucial ingredient of the AI revolution. We can envision that  AI -driven companies will represent the future of broader parts of the economy and  we may be headed for a world where labor’s share falls dramatically from its current roughly 70 percent to something closer to 20 to 30. At the same time the number of robots will increase and be part of the society.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence have reached a crucial point in their evolution. A robot is no longer just a mechanical device capable of interacting with its environment and carrying out an assigned task. At present, the main research laboratories all over the world are developing and implementing in sophisticated robots technical, practical and even philosophical tools. Nevertheless, we can not forget that there are still problems in the land of AI.

Could we avoid psychopath and sociopath robots?

Companies need to move quickly to embrace AI so that they can support the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) and deliver the kinds of services customers are demanding.

Finally, if your company is thinking about Build or Buy Artificial Intelligence, take a look at this article.

The Cognitive Age

The cognitive revolution was a period during the 1950s-1960s when cognitive psychology replaced Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis as the main approach in psychological fields. Increasing focus was placed on observable behaviours in conjunction with brain activity and structureFor those of you who believe the mind the centre of all things, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, wrote two editorials  that point to wider transformations that are shaping the world in which we liveWe could consider the start of Cognitive Age when Facebook abandoned an experiment after two artificially intelligent programs appeared to be chatting to each other in a strange language only they understood. The two chatbots came to create their own changes to English that made it easier for them to work – but which remained mysterious to the human.

Are we sure Facebook shut down Its Artificial Intelligence Program?  Facebook not the only company or government running secrete AI programs. Are you scaredThere are many myths about Cognitive. This article pusblished by Deloitte the Consulting company help dispel five of the most persistent myths.

  • Myth 1: Cognitive is all about automation
  • Myth 2: Cognitive kills jobs
  • Myth 3: The financial benefits are still remote
  • Myth 4: AI is overhyped and bound to disappoint
  • Myth 5: Cognitive technology is just for ‘moonshots’

We need to start thinking how to  prepare ourselves and our business for the Cognitive Age.” As I explain in “Bring Your Own Cyber Human (BYOCH) – Part 1: Augmented humans” we are in the path to being cyber humans. To live in the Cognitive Age, I encourage companies to invest in how to enhance our senses and to increase our intelligence to compete and win over robots.

Key Takeaways

The Connected Age is a fact. ARM is predicting 1 trillion IoT devices will be built until 2035.  For those who think that the IoT is a revolution, not be worried because we are just simply in an evolutionary process.

With the introduction of AI and machine learning, enterprises will be able to embark on projects never thought possible before. The Robotics Age is going to be a great challenge for humanity. The fear of being inferior to our creation, not being able to control them, to compete with machines for a job, to have to obey them will really mean the beginning of a revolution.

What does AI mean for the future?. What will be the implications and the risks? Will AI really understand humans?. With the current skills humanity will be in inferiority to face the cognitive systems that will populate Cognitive Age.  That is why I encourage governments, private laboratories and researchers to work on  Augmented Humans projects if we do not want to be slaves to our uncontrolled inventions.

Thanks for your Likes and Comments.

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The predicted growth of the IoT market in manufacturing is unprecedented. At the moment, Markets and Markets researchers predict it to reach $13.49 billion by 2020. Just to give you some perspective, in 2015 the value of this market was estimated at $4.11 billion. The main IoT technology applications in manufacturing revolve around enhancing connectivity and automation. The main goal of this tech is to maximize the efficiency of the manufacturing process while minimizing its costs. The benefits of utilizing digital solutions in this industry are a great motivation for the developers as seeing what has already been achieved prompts them to see how far they can push these solutions.

The most important benefits, no doubt responsible for such a tremendous growth of the IoT manufacturing industry, include:

Boost in Work Efficiency

 

Constant improvement of the manufacturing operation is one of the main goals for any industrial business owner. Implementing IoT technology on any level of the manufacturing allows to:

  • Automate the production process, or some of its steps
  • Pre-test new ideas and designs (using a combination of advanced modeling and testing solutions)
  • Analyze the production process and identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • Save time and money for the business by increasing the efficiency of both the production line and employees
  • Monitor the manufacturing business performance at all times, analyze the data, and use this information for accurate predictions

Steady Improvements in Performance

 

The most important benefit of the contemporary IoT solutions is their ability to improve constantly by simply ‘doing their job’. The AI that governs them is usually programmed to process data collected during the manufacturing process and optimizing that process based on it.

As the system is regulated by the AI developed specifically for it, the efficiency and accuracy of these changes and advancements are greater than any settings set by man. However, making manual adjustments is possible and this will add another layer to the machine’s betterment. The intuitive operation systems of today will memorize the most effective patterns in the production process and find a multitude of ways to achieve or even improve those results. They will do this with utmost accuracy and speed. Utilizing these particular solutions can make even a small manufacturing business into a big player on its market.

Creating the Perfect Environment for Innovation

 

Manufacturing facilities reigned by IoT technology are extremely flexible. This means that the business owner is able to integrate new solutions quickly and boost the production process’ efficiency right away.

Most importantly, implementing this technology allows to step away from the traditional linear production process. This, in turn, leads to the creation of more efficient singular production cycles organized into a cohesive system that can adjust to the change in manufacturing demand immediately. Such a scheme allows for the most efficient use of resources.

This kind of ‘cluster’ manufacturing also enables the owner to monitor the entire system more easily. One can determine where an issue occurs and have other sectors pick up the slack if possible. In any case, this scheme allows making quick and more accurate fixes for any problems.

Allowing for Predictive Maintenance

 

Predictive maintenance is a very efficient method of cutting the manufacturing costs. It is exactly what the name states, a maintenance based on predictions. It’s a step up from preventative maintenance as it’s more effectively targeted.

Predictive analytics drive this solution and allow you to maximize the equipment output while minimizing the costs for its maintenance. Note that using such technology also helps you save money you would have lost due to the manufacturing process stopping.

The IoT for the manufacturing industry develops extremely fast with dozens of solutions released for any kind of business. Embracing this technology now can not only give one an edge over the competition. With the high popularity rate of this tech, not using any of these solutions is sure to marginalize the business.

Adam Flamberg is a consultant at DO Supply.

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"One day I'm in my cubicle, Steve shows up with someone I've never met before. He asks me, 'Guy, what do you think of this company Knoware?'. I said, 'Well Steve, it is a mediocre company, mediocre product, lot of drilling practises, doesn't make full use of graphics, just basic mediocrity, nothing that strategic for us.' He says to me, 'I want you to meet the CEO of Knoware.' So that's what was like working for Steve Jobs. ‘You always have to be on the ball.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. The flow of information has also changed the way we live in today’s world.

 Your mark on the world begins…

Every morning when we read a newspaper having out so much information we came to know the latest happening in the world (of course in details), yeah you are right even the internet edition also. This is just a very basic example of IoT. All our Railways, Air and even sea networks are connected with the help of IoT. We can take the example of banking. It is very easy to transact any amount of money from part of the world to other with help of e-commerce. We can purchase anything online with help of debit and credit cards. This has made our lives more and more simple. People are working on the internet without really having to go outside to their workplace. IoT has changed the whole scenario. Companies can share technologies online. Even the doctors can guide the other doctors while operating on a patient with the help of Information Technology. A whole new world is coming our way. Technology is allowing us to reimagine our future transportation system. Advances in connected automation, navigation, communication, robotics, and smart cities—coupled with a surge in transportation-related data—will dramatically change how we travel and deliver goods and services. Automation in the field of transportation is everywhere. Have we as humans become an afterthought? We order service on our smartphones, we manoeuvre around in increasingly automated vehicles, we ride in driverless transport, and we will increasingly find ourselves sharing our highways and byways with drones and other unmanned craft.

1) SaaS & Bring Your Own Device

Global movements such as BYOD and SaaS, where consumerisation of IT and mobility are drastically changing the capabilities of employees and their expectations of a workspace. Building your own apps is the ideal way to mitigate the risk of BYOD and SaaS. An organisation can provide those that only allow the user to access what they need. The enter-prise’s concern is the data; the employee’s concern is the device. In the IT security world, we care about both. Now that most of the organizations started adopting BYOD in some form, it is not just their personal iPads and laptops that users are bringing into the office, they are also using the consumer apps available in their personal device for work purpose which leads to the next wave in mobility. In the very near future BYOD won’t be a ‘trend’ but a norm no one would think twice about.

2) The Emergence of Big Data

"Big data" alluringly holds out the promise of competitive advantages to companies that can use it to unlock secrets about customers, website usage and other key elements of their business operations. Big Data now stream from daily life: from phones and credit cards and televisions and computers; from the infrastructure of cities; from sensor-equipped buildings, trains, buses, planes, bridges, and factories. It's estimated that 43 trillion gigabytes of new data will be created by the year 2020.

3) Cloud computing: How it's transforming the role of IT

Market conditions require significant change and many organizations are using this driver as an opportunity to simplify their applications and data through rationalization and technology innovations such as Cloud Computing. Cloud is defined as any cloud service where consumers are able to access software applications over the internet. The applications are hosted in “the cloud” and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and organisations. Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all examples of SaaS, with users able to access the services via any internet enabled device. Cloud is also the fastest growing because it keeps pace with emerging and future business models than on-premise systems, the majority of which were designed for business models of the past.
The next step, moving towards virtual workspaces, can make organisations far more agile but only if those responsible for the IT (and in effect, the productivity) of the employees understand the relationship employees have with their devices and how these change throughout the day based on their personal preference – be it a smartphone for the train, a tablet device for a client meeting or a laptop for remote working at home.

4) Millions of sensitive IT services exposed to the Internet

All the more the Internet is becoming more and more important for nearly everybody as it is one of the newest and most forward-looking media and surely "the" medium of the future. These advances—in fields such as robotics, A.I., computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials—are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health, and security. Technology is, today, moving faster than ever. Advances that took decades, sometime centuries, such as the development of telephones, airplanes, and the first computers, now happen in years. 


The macro trends that have changed the playing field in the past 10 years have been cloud, mobility, Big Data, and social networking. An even bigger trend ahead will be the Internet of Things that will extend information technology into every aspect of our lives. IT has become more agile and responsive to the needs of the business. While cloud was considered hype just a few years ago, the cloud in its many forms, private, public, hybrid, is transforming IT into a service model. IT leaders who embraced these changes have been able to do more with less and have proven their strategic value.


According to Steve, the iPhone was originally a tablet project. Partway through the R&D process, he said, “Hmm, we can make a phone out of this.” After the launch, many people rewrote history and said that the purpose of the iPhone was to reinvent the future of telephony. 


Today, technology is, moving faster than ever. The ubiquity of network connectivity and the proliferation of smart devices (such as sensors, signs, phones, tablets, lights, and drones) have created platforms upon which every enterprise can innovate. Since the past few years we have also seen countless innovations that improve our daily lives. From Internet technology to finance to genetics and beyond - we have seen technologies such as mobile, social media, smartphones, big data, predictive analytics, and cloud, among others are fundamentally different than the preceding IT-based technologies. And advances in science and technology have changed the way we communicate, our thought processes, exchange views, understand the way we relate to one another and think about what it means to be a real Innovative change maker. Perhaps one day you too can be a part of reinventing something which is new, timely, relevant and useful.

Best Regards,

Raj Kosaraju

 

Raj Kosaraju specializes on Cloud Computing, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management, Big Data & IoT.

 
 
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From smart devices and home automation systems to smart cars and smart buildings, the Internet of Things brings important innovations in our life. In the next years, IoT solutions will continue to take the center stage in the tech environment.

With huge investment in this technology, the global IoT spending is expected to reach $1.29 trillion by 2020 and $1.4 trillion by 2021 (IDC report).

For now, manufacturing industry is still the main investor in the Internet of Things. According to recent surveys, 66% of manufacturers say that the use of IoT solutions is essential for staying competitive and resolving various issues.


 

Smart factories

 

Capgemini research reported that smart factories are going to add $500 billion to $1.5 trillion in value added to the global economy in 5 years. By now, 56% of manufacturing companies have already invested $100M in smart factory initiatives.

Today the creation of smart factories with the Internet of Things is gaining momentum and so far, only 6% of manufacturers can be designated to “Digital Masters”, an advanced stage in digitizing various production operations with a strong foundation of smart management, process automation, and employee skills.

Analysts expect smart factories to revolutionize the industry by providing a 7X increase in overall productivity by 2022. Among the most interesting findings, Capgemini reports smart factories will be able to speed up on-time delivery of finished products by 13 times, with the enhancement of quality indicators at more than 12 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

Also, Capital Expense & inventory costs will be rationalized 12 times and material, logistics and transportation costs are predicted to be optimized at 11 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

On the graphic below you can see a comparison of manufacturer’s annual gains since 1990 versus expected annual gains referred to smart factory technologies in the next 5 years.

 

Besides the Internet of Things, contributing technologies to smart factories also involve Big Data Analytics, machine learning, advanced robotics, and 3D printing, while cloud computing platforms unify all of these technologies together, leading to more rapid smart factory adaptation and bringing revolution in the industry.

 

IoT use cases in manufacturing

 

With smart connections of multiple devices, equipment, and production processes, manufacturers get such benefits as minimized human intervention, remote machinery maintenance, employee safety, production automation, and reduced operational costs.

 

The main IoT applications include:

 

  • Production flow monitoring - leads to flow optimization, minimize waste, and reduced labor and operational costs.
  • Remote equipment monitoring & management - Results in saved energy and reduced costs. Predictive analytics allows repairs and replacements to be automatically ordered even before something breaks.
  • Condition-based maintenance notifications - enables to successfully maintain machinery health and increase throughput.
  • Supply chain management

    with the help of vehicle and asset tracking, you improve the efficiency of manufacturing and supply chain operations.

     

     

 

There is a plenty of other successful IoT use cases in manufacturing: equipment predictive maintenance, vehicle and asset tracking, temperature/energy conservation/air quality control, facility management, smart ventilation, production flow monitoring, and smart radiation monitoring and measurement.

By integrating a smart factory initiative, you can connect all production stages, accelerate production, enhance various management processes, ensure working safety, reduce operational costs, and improve the entire company performance.

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Cloud computing allows companies to store and manage data over cloud platforms, providing scalability in the delivery of applications and software as a service. Cloud computing also allows data transfer and storage through the internet or with a direct link that enables uninterrupted data transfer between devices, applications, and cloud.

Role of Cloud Computing in IoT:

We know that the Internet of Things (sensors, machines, and devices) generate a huge amount of data per second. Cloud computing helps in the storage and analysis of this data so that enterprise can get the maximum benefit of an IoT infrastructure. IoT solution should connect and allow communication between things, people, and process, and cloud computing plays a very important role in this collaboration to create a high visibility. 

IoT is just not restricted to functions of systems connectivity, data gathering, storage, and analytics alone. It helps in modernizing the operations by connecting the legacy and smart devices, machines to the internet, and reducing the barriers between IT and OT teams with a unified view of the systems and data. With cloud computing, organizations do not have to deploy extensive hardware, configure and manage networks & infrastructure in IoT deployments. Cloud computing also enables enterprises to scale up the infrastructure, depending on their needs, without setting up an additional hardware and infrastructure. This not only helps speed up the development process, but can also cut down on development costs. Enterprises won’t have to spend money to purchase and provision servers and other infrastructure since they only pay for the consumed resources. 

(Case Study: DevOps for AWS, Continuous Testing and Monitoring for an IoT Smart City Solution)

How Cloud Services Benefit an IoT Ecosystem:

There are several cloud services and platforms that play different roles in the IoT ecosystem. Some of the platforms also come with inbuilt capabilities like machine learning, business intelligence tools, and SQL query engines to perform complex analytics. Let us understand how these cloud services and platforms benefit an IoT ecosystem.

Cloud Platform for Device Lifecycle Management:

Enterprises create applications and software through cloud services (SaaS), which can connect devices and enable device registration, on-boarding, remote device updates, and remote device diagnosis in minimal time with a reduction in the operational and support costs. Cloud introduces DevOps within the IoT ecosystem, which helps organizations automate many processes remotely. As more and more devices get connected, the challenges with data security, control, and management become critical. Cloud services enable IoT remote device lifecycle management that plays a key role in enabling a 360-degree data view of the device infrastructure. Certain cloud providers offer multiple IoT device lifecycle tools that can ease the update and setup of firmware and software over the air (FOTA).

Application Enablement Cloud Platform:

Cloud enables application development with portability and interoperability, across the network of different cloud setups. In other words, these are the intercloud benefits that businesses can take advantage of. Intercloud solutions possess SDKs (Software development Kits) on which enterprises can create their application and software without worrying about the backend processes.

Enterprises can run and update applications remotely, for example, Cisco is providing the application enablement platform for application hosting, update, and deployment through the cloud. Enterprises can move their applications between cloud and fog nodes to host the applications and analyze & monitor the data near the critical systems.

Many cloud service providers are focusing on building the cloud environment on the basis of OCF standards so that it can interoperate smoothly with the majority of applications, appliances, and platforms, that will allow D-to-D (device-to-device) M-to-M (machine-to-machine) communicationOpen Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standardization makes sure that the devices can securely connect and communicate in any cloud environment, which brings in the interoperability to the connected world.

Digital Twins:

Device shadowing or digital twins is another benefit that an enterprise can avail through cloud services. Developers can create a backup of the running applications and devices in the cloud to make the whole IoT system highly available for faults and failure events. Moreover, they can access these applications and device statistics when the system is offline. Organizations can also easily set up the virtual servers, launch a database, and create applications and software to help run their IoT solution.

Types of Cloud Computing Models for IoT Solutions

There are three types of cloud computing models for different types of connected environment that are being commonly offered by cloud service providers. Let’s have a look:

Cloud Computing Models

 

Infrastructure as a Service
  • It offers virtual servers and storage to the enterprises. Basically, it enables the access to the networking components like computers, data storage, network connections, load balancers, and bandwidth.
  • Increasing critical data within the organization lead to the security vulnerabilities and IaaS can help in distributing the critical data at different locations virtually (or can be physical) for improving the security.
Platform as a Service
  • It allows companies to create software and applications from the tools and libraries provided by the cloud service providers.
  • It removes the basic needs of managing hardware and operating systems and allows enterprises to focus more on the deployment and management of the software or applications.
  • It reduces the worry of maintaining the operating system, capacity planning, and any other heavy loads required for running an application.
Software as a Service
  • It provides a complete software or application that is run and maintained only by the cloud service provider.
  • Users just have to worry about the use of the product, they don’t have to bother about the underlying process of development and maintenance. Best examples of SaaS applications are social media platforms and email services.

 

Apart from these, cloud service providers are now offering IoT as a Service (IoTaaS) that has been reducing the hardware and software development efforts in IoT deployment.

Example of implementing cloud computing set-up in a connected-factory:

There are different sensors installed at various locations of an industrial plant, which are continuously gathering the data from machines and devices. This data is important to be analyzed in real time with proper analytics tools so that the faults and failures can be resolved in minimal time, which is the core purpose of an industrial IoT ecosystem. Cloud computing helps by storing all the data from thousands of sensors (IoT) and applying the needed rule engines and analytics algorithms to provide the expected outcomes of those data points.

Now, the query is which cloud computing model is good for industrial plants? The answer cannot be specific, as every cloud computing model has its own applications according to the computing requirement.

Leading Cloud Services for IoT Deployments

Many enterprises prefer to have their own cloud platform, within the premises, for security and faster data access, but this might not be a cost-effective way as there are many cloud service providers who are providing the cloud services on demands, and enterprises just have to pay for the services which they use.

At present, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the leading cloud service providers. Let’s see the type of cloud platforms and services AWS and Microsoft Azure provide for IoT implementations

AWS IoT Services

AWS has come up with specific IoT services such as AWS Greengrass, AWS lambda, AWS Kinesis, AWS IoT Core, and a few other cloud computing services, which can help in IoT developments.

AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that allows devices to connect easily and securely with cloud and other devices. It can connect to billions of devices, store their data, and transmit messages to edge devices, securely.

AWS Greengrass is the best example of an edge analytics setup. It enables local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. Greengrass ensures quick response of IoT devices during local events, which reduces the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud.

AWS Kinesis enables data streaming that can continuously capture the data in terabytes per hour.

AWS Lambda is a compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. It executes code only when required and scales automatically from a few requests per day to thousands per second.

AWS DynamoDB is a fast, reliable, and flexible NoSQL database service that allows enterprises to have millisecond latency in data processing, enabling quick response from applications. It can scale up automatically due to its throughput capacity, which makes it perfect for gaming, mobile, ad tech, IoT, and many other applications.

AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. It provides automatic inline mitigation and always-on detection that minimize the application downtime and latency. This is why there is no need to engage AWS Support to benefit from DDoS protection. There are two tiers of AWS Shield — Standard and Advanced.

Microsoft Azure IoT Services:

Microsoft has come up with many initiatives in the field of IoT, providing industrial automation solutions, predictive maintenance, and remote device monitoring, etc. It is also providing services like Azure service bus, IoT hub, blob storage, stream analytics, and many more.

Azure Stream Analytics provides real-time analytics on the data generated from the IoT devices with the help of the Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Suite. Azure stream analytics is a part of the Azure IoT Edge that allows developers to analyze the data in real-time and closer to devices, to unleash the full value of the device generated data.

Azure IoT Hub establishes bidirectional communication between billions of IoT devices and cloud. It analyzes the device-to-cloud data to understand the state of the device and takes actions accordingly. In cloud-to-device messages, it reliably sends commands and notifications to connected devices and tracks message delivery with acknowledgment receipts. It authenticates devices with individual identities and credentials that help in maintaining the integrity of the system.

Azure Service Bus is a great example of cloud messaging as a service (MaaS). It enables on-premises communication between devices and cloud in the offline conditions also. It establishes a reliable and secure connection to the cloud, and ability to see and monitor activities. Apart from this, it protects applications from temporary spikes of traffic and distributes messages to multiple independent back-end-systems.

Azure Security Centre is a unified security management and threat protection service. It monitors security across on-premises and cloud workload, blocks malicious activities, advanced analytics system to detect threats and attacks, and also can fix vulnerabilities before any damages.

AWS and Microsoft Azure are providing a robust IoT solution to enterprises. An IoT Gateway can collaborate with multiple cloud service providers to maximize the advantages of the cloud solutions for IoT systems.

Read more…

New Developments in IoT Connectivity

 

Guest post by Peter A. Liss.

Connectivity is wrongly thought of as a commodity, including in the IoT context. This article will give an overview of current developments in IoT Connectivity, and look at their effect on Network Operators, Platform vendors, IoT Solution Providers, and Enterprise & Consumer customers. 

I also cover the likely impact of 5G, Narrowband IoT and programmable SIM cards, and SDN (Software Defined Networks). These new connectivity technologies will bring differentiation, innovation and new revenue from IoT.

OVERVIEW – CONNECTIVITY AND DIFFERENTIATION IN IOT

These new IoT developments include:

1.   Newer networks such Sigfox, LoRA, Narrowband IoT, and soon 5G.

2.   IoT platforms that can manage all types of connectivity.

3.   The growth of eUICC (e-SIMs) or programmable SIMs.

4.   IoT connectivity platforms using SDN (Software Defined Networks).

There are two opposing views about connectivity. On the one extreme, some Vendors pitch that “IoT Connectivity is the foundation of differentiation” (recent Ericsson Webinar). At the other extreme, some Enterprise customers buying these services assume “all IoT connectivity is the same”. 

In my view, the truth is in the middle. On the one hand, IoT hardware such as sensors and IoT applications could drive even bigger differentiation and innovation than the type of IoT connectivity. On the other hand, IoT connectivity should never be viewed as just a commodity that is plug and play.

HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE WITH IOT CONNECTIVITY:

Let’s take a closer look:

1)   There are many different types of Connectivity to choose from (cellular, WiFi, Zigbee, Satellite, and different types of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks). The criteria for selection include data cost, device cost, data rate/speed, battery life, outdoor and in-building coverage, and latency. Some of the much talked about networks like 5G are not yet available, and Narrowband IoT is in its infancy.

2)   The variety of connectivity offerings are increasing. Even taking a single technology like 4G, the offerings in terms of coverage, cost, roaming, integration effort, and customer service do differ widely.

3)   Costs are declining– the cost per MB has decreased, however, this is not the same as connectivity being a commodity (i.e. indistinct service). On the contrary, with more offerings and price competition, there is a greater need to choose the connectivity provider carefully. Pricing models may differentiate not only on cost per MB, but also with additional charges for VAS, the period charged for (monthly, per annum etc.) or number of connections included, or amount of data included in a packaged price. In the case of LPWA, charging can be per message, and not just per MB.

4)   The IoT Connectivity platform is where some of the disruption is happening. This platform manages the cost of connection, quality of service, SIM and device status. Along with the type of connectivity chosen, hardware (gateways & sensors), and IoT Applications built, the connectivity platform will be a key differentiator to your business case or service launch. 

My scheme below shows the place of the IoT Connectivity Management platform as the foundation of the IoT technology stack. Some differentiation could be achieved at any level in the Stack, but the effort required to offer a total solution will depend greatly on the Connectivity chosen at the bottom of the stack.

WHAT USER CASES WILL NARROWBAND IOT SUPPORT?

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) greatly improves network efficiency and spectrum efficiency and can thus support a massive number of new connections. The same is true of the sister technology Cat-M1 in US, which may also play a role in Europe in future. The majority of these new IoT connections will be industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions that require long battery life, and ubiquitous coverage (including remote areas or indoors). These user cases also require competitive pricing models for low bandwidth solutions, since many industrial IoT cases are not data hungry. 

Some examples of Industrial use cases are monitoring of oil and gas pipelines for flow rates and leaks, noting that often there is no external power in inaccessible areas. Warehouses are another industrial user case for tracking goods with pallets equipped with an NB-IoT module. NB-IoT modules have a long service life, require no maintenance and have a link budget gain of 20 decibel compared with a conventional LTE deployment, giving approximately 10x more coverage than a normal base station, thus penetrating deep underground, and into enclosed spaces indoors. 

Consumer examples of NB-IoT are luggage tracking (click for link to Sierra Wireless Case study), air quality monitoring, and children’s communication devices, and parking solutions.

NB-IoT, is a software upgrade to existing cellular Base Stations (or if the Base Station is old, a new circuit board must be inserted). The Core network also needs some upgrading. NB-IoT is reliant on a SIM card in the IoT device/gateway and partly because of the SIM it offers the same security & privacy features expected of cellular networks. LPWA technologies, such as NB-IoT and category M1 (LTE-M), also offer increased network coverage over a wide area, at a low cost, and with very limited energy consumption. In the case of Narrowband IoT, a battery life of over 10 years or more, is promised by Vendors (it remains to be seen - in the field, it might need a larger battery at an extra cost of approximately 20 Euro).

NB-IoT networks are already becoming available, for example, Deutsche Telekom has rolled out its NB-IoT network to approximately 600 towns and cities across Germany since launch in June 2017. According to Telekom, more than 200 companies now trialling the technology already via commercially available test packages. Nationwide rollout in the Netherlands was completed in May 2017 and Deutsche Telekom brought the technology to six further European markets by the end of 2017. Other major operators have similar roll outs for NB-IoT.

As expected, many IoT platforms are now being designed or upgraded to offer Narrowband IoT connectivity management. Cisco already announced in 2018 the availability of NB-IoT on its Jasper Control Center platform.

WHAT WILL 5G BRING TO IOT?

5G is not yet available commercially, and we can expect the first roll-outs in selected countries in 2019, and even then, just city coverage, or home-based 5G. High speed, high reliability and low latency are the main benefits of 5G.  Whilst NB-IoT is targeted specifically at the IoT Market, 5G is targeted at business & consumer users too. Also, worth noting is that the NB-IoT roll-out is ahead of 5G.

Regarding the high bandwidth of 5G, example uses include security cameras and monitoring, computer vision used in Industrial production, connected car user cases (infotainment, autonomous vehicles, and safety), and traffic control in Smart Cities. The increase in speed between 4G and 5G can be as much as 100 times. This makes a big difference to user cases that require uploading and downloading of video-based content faster and in larger volume.  It remains to be seen whether IoT applications will need to use such high data speeds. Perhaps it will be the Augmented or Virtual Reality cases (AR and VR) that utilise this bandwidth.

With 5G there is very high reliability, which is important to support mission critical services in IoT (e.g. medicine, industry, traffic control). However, the real benefit for IoT is likely to be with the low latency of 5G. Low latency allows more of the computer processing or data analysis required by a device (IoT Gateway or Smartphone) to happen in the cloud. With latency of under a millisecond, there is almost no difference that the data is processed in the cloud rather than the device. This has perhaps more implications for the IOT Solution architect, rather than the user.

Indeed, the user cases that depend on 5G’s low latency are still to be proven in practice. For non-IoT user cases (i.e. human interaction), the latency (such as changing of a pixel on a TV, or response time for instant messaging and online Presence) might not be noticed. However, for an M2M or IoT application in theory there is a great need for low latency and a machine might notice the difference in latency when a human does not. For this reason, the low latency is being pushed by the 5G industry as compelling for IoT (but yet to be proved). IoT user cases that are expected to benefit are remote industrial control, and autonomous vehicles, where milliseconds could be critical.

As explained in the discussion of latency, one change with 5G could be more processing in the Cloud, especially with Edge computing being a focal point in the architecture, and this might help reduce 5G IoT device prices. Other Emerging developments that might affect IOT include virtualised RAN (Radio Access Network) and network slicing. Virtualised RAN is intended to offer bandwidth with lower network costs, since by “slicing” the RAN, it is not necessary to utilise the whole core network, but rather allocate a part of it and the associated costs, thus allowing for profitable use cases with 5G.

WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES A PROGRAMMABLE SIM OFFER IN IOT?

Programmable SIM cards (also called eSIMS or eUICC ) are not new. What has changed is the number of service providers that offer them for IoT. Some prominent examples are Stream, EMnify, Cubic Telecom, KORE, Nokia WING and Teleena. Furthermore, the new generation of Smart SIM and associated management platforms are challenging the MNOs in terms of quality of service and signal coverage. They might also challenge MNOs in terms of cost - see the section below on SDN.  

The “e” in eSIM can mean both electronic (it can switch network and be programmed over the air) and embedded (i.e. deep inside machinery, a car or a remote location). In other words, you do not need physical access to the embedded SIM to update it or to change network, service or security settings.

The advantages of an eSIM are that it can be programmed over the air to find the strongest signal, or according to customer network & service preferences. When a data-service failure is detected, the eSIM can switch dynamically to the best network service. Consider a user case such as Smart Metering. The meter is always connected by being programmed not only to select the strongest signal, but also to select the signal that is best for your Meter technology and customer requirements.

In sum, the IoT Service Provider does not own a network, but can still offer the following to its customers:

•Issue own SIM cards, that can be embedded and switch operator over the air.

•Attach to the best or cheapest radio signal (RAN) – automatically

•Billing capabilities, often in real time, for the pricing of new IoT services.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF SDN ON IOT?

As explained above, the e-SIM is the first disruptive step to being able to offer an IoT service, without being tied to one specific radio network (RAN). The second step is to bypass the Operator’s core network. This is now possible with some Service Providers using Software Defined Networks (SDN) and NFV (Network Feature Virtualisation). They have built their own virtualised core network that is cloud hosted. EMnify is one example that can offer the following advantages:

•Low cost, because designed for IoT, and using proprietary technology (therefore no licencing costs)

•Auto-configuration and scaling. Because it is Cloud Based the service is truly elastic (i.e. can be quickly and simply expanded to meet customer demand for increased data volume, or larger number of SIM cards)

•Pay-as-you-grow pricing

•Flexible and Real time billing that is accessible online

•Have own numbering resources (IMSI, IPv6, MSISDN)

•Manage your own virtual mobile IoT network including Elastic Packet Core, Subscriber Management, OSS/BSS, Management Portals and open APIs. 

•A private and secure device cloud and implement own security policies (such as own VPN – virtual private network - in the core network in the cloud).

The “Gorilla” MNO (e.g. Telekom, Verizon, Vodafone etc) is reduced to providing only the radio network, and with the eSIM you can actually switch networks. To be clear, you are not reliant on the operator for the core network at all, and you have a choice of radio network. In sum, the advantage is that such a virtual network in the Cloud allows IoT user cases that have lower revenues, because the IoT platform is designed for lower connectivity costs.

 

CONCLUSION – DISRUPTION IN THE IOT CONNECTIVITY MARKET

I have built the case that “boring” connectivity is going to be disruptive for IoT, and it will generate growth. In sum, this is because many IoT business models require lower costs for the lower “micro” or “mini” ARPU/revenue that they generate. Secondly, these new network technologies bring improved speed, latency, battery life, and coverage. Thirdly, new technologies like eSIM and SDN, give the customer choice and independence from the MNO.

Enterprise customers will need to get more knowledgeable about the types of connectivity on offer, and the pros and cons, and costs of each technology. Disruption in the market is starting, due to many new offerings from MNO, and MVNOs that are IOT focussed. 

Price declines for NB-IoT and 5G enabled devices will also be business drivers. Many connectivity platforms will struggle to distinguish themselves, but can do so, for example by focussing on particular Verticals, or a specific geographical focus, or own Cloud-based packet core. Enterprise customers need to get the balance between a price that enables the business case, but also choosing connectivity that provides the best service level. 

LPWA technologies such as Narrow-Band promise to open-up new business models due to lower device and connectivity costs better coverage and longer battery life. NB-IoT is still in its infancy and these benefits like lower device costs are still to be proven.  Importantly, the connectivity costs of NB-IoT (as well as module/device costs) will need to be low enough to support the proposed new business cases like parking meters, water meters, luggage tracking, pipe monitoring, and tracking goods in warehouses. 

5G for IoT will enable data hungry business models, insure against capacity constraints, and provide wider coverage and almost no latency. Since 5G roll-out is still in the future, it remains to be seen if (or when) the required network density (using such small cells) is enough to provide the wider coverage and higher data rates promised. Almost zero latency is likely to be the most interesting feature of 5G for the IoT World, especially for critical applications like autonomous driving and industrial control.

Big data, Analytics and Application Enablement Platforms/AEP might sound more exciting and promising for innovation and differentiation in IoT. They sound more compelling than a connectivity management platform and new types of connectivity. However, Connectivity is still the foundation of the IoT business case. It is not a commodity. In particular, Narrow-Band IoT, eSIM and SDN will drive new growth in IoT, together with the imminent roll-out of 5G.

Copyright: Peter A. Liss, an independent and commercially focussed IoT expert, based in Germany, who is also available for freelance consulting work.

This post originally appeared here.

Cover photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

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One of my LinkedIn contacts suggested me last year not to write more articles about MWC event. However, a couple of weeks ago talking with another contact that not attend this year told me he was expecting my article. So here it is, my fourth MWC article in a row since 2015. Am I a MWC addictYou can read previous articles here:

Unfortunately, the Powerful GSMA rejected my ticket request as Analyst / Press (LinkedIn please help me next year) and of course I did not pay the prohibitive prices of Silver Pass, Gold Pass and Platinum Pass. At the end, conference sessions content is very generic and I can read free the content. I cannot justify the ROI for pay these tickets. Can you?

Avoiding the politics issues between Catalonia and Spain, it was the first MWC where the snow was probably the biggest surprise of the show. The snow and the rain did not allowed visitors to spend some time outside.

A painI do not know the final numbers, but I notice this year less attendants than 2017. No doubt GSMA will try to find excuses eg, political issues, but the reality is that the cost of the show do not convince to many usual large / medium / small companies. It is a fact that some big companies did not attend or send less delegates and use less square meters

Again, visitors that attend 1 or 2 days do not have had time to move to other parallel events like 4YFN.  Running from meeting to meeting, bad lunch as usual. I'm sure I've lost weight these days

The MWC18 has been an evolution of what we saw last 2 years. Not revolution. We need to wait another 5 years to see some notorious technological advances although GSMA should continue helping to create a better future

Before #MWC18

I was angry with the Search exhibitor page of the web . Please GSMA you have 1 year to improve. None exhibitor has included any product in the category of Blockchain or Internet of Things. Duplicates filters, etc. I read some LinkedIn post and articles and talked with people to plan my visit and capture their feeling this year.

During the #MWC18

The euphoria of 5G has dropped – More info about 5G at MWC18 here “ Intel, Qualcomm Talk About Accelerating 5G Efforts at MWC 2018 

IoT - The word that describes my feeling is disappointment. Although expected, something sad because the word IoT begins to lose brightness and disappear from the stands. The Pavillion 8.0 dedicated to the IoT, was not star this year. Do you really deserve to be exhibitors at the MWC

At least it was good to pulse the evolution and transformation of the IoT / M2M market. A new impulse will be necessary before 2020

Unfortunately, I could not attend any of the Top 7 IoT Activities at Mobile World Congress. Please tell me if any of it was worth it.

It was funny to hear how Operators trying to explain the use cases of Blockchain in Telco sector.

Artificial Intelligence, Connected Vehicles and Robots the starts of MWC18.  It was interesting discuss with some Operators about the practical potential of Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots in this sector.  The conclusion in this article “ You Can't Teach an AI to Run a Telecom Network—Yet.

MWC18 was in my opinion the year of the Connected Intelligent Vehicle. Operators, Technology Vendors and Car Manufacturers need to cooperate to avoid a technology nightmare for future drivers/passengers.   

After #MWC18

I cannot resist to compare this congress with the Groundhog Day festivities. I make no secret of my discomfort for the continuous decisions of GSMA to make this show useless for many. My unpleasantness for the prohibitive cost of the tickets, hotels in the town, and the arrogant executives who attend the event as movie stars and finally for the many parallel events that I have missed or meetings of 15 minutes because I had spent hours daily walking by the walk sides of Fira Halls and my frustration for not finding some companies in the labyrinth of  the pavilions

Like Bill Murray in the movie, I discover year after year that MWC's events repeating almost exactly. I feel I am trapped in a time loop that probably most of you are aware of

I am glad if you have spent these days indulging in night parties, looking for new jobs or cheering you for the work you have in your great company.  Luckily for me, I do not return depressed, but my mind do not escape for some days to the MWC loop. Am I a MWC addict?

See you next year at MWC19 Barcelona

 

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As mobile devices become smaller and smarter, artificial intelligence (AI) is steadily gaining significant popularity among users and developers alike. Every now and then mobile developers around the world are working assiduously to develop and employ the emerging technology in mobile app development which is aimed at improving the way users interact with apps. Already, there are several signs, indications, and signals revealing that the AI will dominate the future of mobile apps.

In the tech world, AI is believed to hold immense potential and Indian app developers are gradually embracing and integrating this relatively new technology into their mobile app development seeing that it presents the best bet for the future. Already, the current mobile app market is consequently being flooded with new mobile applications and models leading to the creation of new and improved mobile app development services.

Even if you don’t notice it, AI is already around you and it has come to stay. In the past, this technology was only regarded as a futuristic concept for movies but today it has become a reality. And there is no better time to get involved with the trend than now. Interestingly, many Indian app developers are beginning to discover that mobile development and AI share common features and can make a perfect match. Obviously, there are lots of possibilities that can be accrued from the advancement of AI.

Combining artificial intelligence (AI) with mobile development will result in the creation of intelligent apps. Basically, this is concerned with the design and development of mobile apps that have the ability to learn, think logically, and solve problems. In a bid to effectively engage users, transform customer experience, and ultimately retain them, many app developers and top app development companies in India alike are already working to integrate the technology into their mobile applications.

The impact of AI on mobile development

Many tech and industry experts are suggesting that AI will be a major trend in various sectors, particularly in the mobile application development. To this end, everyone in the industry including, startups, growing businesses, and top app development companies are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of providing efficient customer services and bring about a positive change. While some are incorporating the technology in the form of chatbots, others are looking to embed it into the infrastructure of their mobile app development as assistants to create smart apps.

Already, some tech giants like Uber, Amazon, eBay and the rest are making use of AI and judging from the look of things, it is a meaningful realization. With this new technology, Indian app developers are helping businesses support their customers with relevant, seamless, and personalized services. With time AI in mobile apps will understand customer behavior, thanks to its ability to effectively gather massive amounts of data from previous customer interactions and learn them. Apart from helping to bring customers closer to the business, AI-enabled apps are also helping to enhance customer interaction thereby boosting customer retention rate.

Basically, Indian app developers are finding ways to make use of the data that businesses are getting via mobile devices, online traffic, and point-of-sale machines to impact both business and consumer experience with AI’s influence. As more artificial and machine learning-driven apps make their way into app stores, things will change in the way and manner people communicate and interact. In a bid to create more insightful, context-rich experiences, the algorithms will be able to sift through the obtained data, find correlations and trends and get the apps adjusted to suit the personal needs of the user.

Obviously, there is much to achieve with these artificial intelligence algorithms in mobile app development. There is a wide range of AI-based mobile app development projects undertaken by Indian app developers. With the development of personal assistants, chatbots, and other artificial intelligence features, many big companies are already reinventing their user experience (UX) strategies. And in order to remain ahead of the competition, other businesses are following suit.

The future of AI-driven apps

Now that the entire ecosystem has been enhanced with regular and active access of data management and delivery, many Indian app developers will be employing AI which will become an essential necessity for robust mobile app development in the near future. Basically, there is every need for systems featuring data governance, data security, and metadata management to be fast and robust in indexing and cataloging.

Here are other ways through which AI development will impact the industry

Cloud services

It’s no longer news that businesses are adopting cloud computing technology to improve their services. It may interest you to know that Indian app developers will not only be adopting this technology to enhance development but will also be using it to troubleshoot errors in AI-driven apps.

Business apps

As already mentioned, many businesses are already seeking to enhance customer interaction by investing mobile app development. However, integrating AI will help to boost convenience for customers and also help businesses reach a wider target audience. Businesses will not only be using AI-driven apps to observe internal communications, but these will help to simplify business activities in several ways.

Location-based applications

Today, people are using location-based apps to search and find virtually anything they need in any location. AI-enabled apps will be synchronizing users’ interest, as well as their frequent searches to create results. Basically, these apps will be using obtained data to provide more desirable suggestions. Already, Google users can easily search for promotion offers, nearby restaurants and department stores with their smartphone via Google Assistant or Siri.

Internet of Things (IoT)

In recent times, there has been an increase in a range of new technologies due to the desire to further increase the mobility of users. IoT is one of such recent developments making waves in the industry. No doubt, AI will be enhancing the development of IoT helping smartphone users manage real-life events in the near future.

AR and VR

Together with AI, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is taking both the gaming and entertainment industry by storm. The release of Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and other numerous models of VR devices are already influencing the industry.

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With so many companies and people on the search for the "IoT killer app” for a decade, and nobody has found it yet ☹. You can be sure that I do not either, otherwise I would not be writing this article and I will be furiously developing it.

Most companies are anxiously looking for the killer IoT app/solution, which their IoT reps could sell in volume to their enterprise customers. The bad news for them: “ there’s no true “killer app” for IoT and that any company can create the right killer app to solves a business need of a customer or a whole industry.

Nevertheles we can not avoid that some people think pet care or fitness could be the "killer app" for IoT, while others instead think that the killer IoT app winners will be in Verticals like predictive maintenance in manufacturing, smart home or smart city solutions and also I had read funny opinions that considers measuring Temperature and Humidity seem the killer application for most of the IoT industry. The comment is comical but at the same time ironic. In the absence of bright or innovative ideas it seems that we would have discovered the fire when we install sensors and we are able to visualize temperature and humidity in real time on the screen of our smartphone.

Instead of continuing to dream of finding the Holy Grail of the IoT, I think it will be more productive to analyse by categories what are the possible IoT applications that exist and if I am enlightened try to guess which application would be the milk to launch myself to develop it without fearThese are the 5 categories to search for the IoT horizontal Killer app:

  1. IoT-Search
  2. IoT-Messaging
  3. IoT-Security
  4. IoT-Commerce
  5. IoT-Social

Summary

Search for the killer IoT horizontal application is a chimera given the definition of the IoT. However, the challenges that the IoT has to achieve that 50 billion machines can be found, communicate safely through various networks, socialize and favour the monetization of its services, open great opportunities for hardware and software engineers to develop different killer applications. And I'm sure some will find it. I wish I could be part of one of them.

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