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Despite the great promise of IoT to improve business and society, many think it’s being held back due to complexity and the associated lack of required skills to make it a success. Is it possible that the antidote to this complexity and skill shortage problem lies in the existing open standards and technologies that comprise the World Wide Web? In this podcast, Rob Tiffany makes the case for using existing W3C standards to power the Internet of Things.

Check it out at https://theinternetofthings.io/iot-podcast-can-the-web-save-the-internet-of-things/ 

-Rob

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Internet of Things (IOT) has certainly come of age and has grown beyond the smart home gadgets. The connected reality created and nourished by IOT devices, sensors and gateways ultimately is on the verge of transforming public domains like transport and workplaces. The connected office or smart office is now gaining more attention worldwide thanks to its vast promise ranging from productivity, innovation, security and pushing business growth.

In this respect, some statistics can work as an eye-opener to the future prospect of smart office solutions. A market research report when forecasting the growth predicted that the smart office market which had a global valuation of just USD 22.21 Billion in 2017 is expected to grow up to USD 46.11 Billion by the year 2023. According to the same report, several factors are responsible for the increasing adoption and popularity of smart home solutions that include energy efficiency, advancement in connected gadgets, demand of cutting-edge security solutions and favourable policy decisions at government and corporate levels.

IOT promise for workplace realised by smart office systems

The primary promise of smart office has emerged from the connected building equipped with an ecosystem of sensors and gadgets. The immediate promise of such connected buildings is that they can be utilised better for the manpower and the businesses operating from there.

The connected sensors and gadgets grossly referred to as IoT technology can enhance the efficiency of the legacy processes. With every new process, more value can be created as smart connected technologies will furnish more important data about usage and manpower. From office space management to attendance regulation to real-time activity monitoring to smart security solutions, we have entered a new era of connected solutions.

The offerings of a connected commercial building

Recently, few large-scale commercial building projects have emerged with the full promise of connected smart systems. There have been several significant players in delivering connected solutions for modern commercial buildings. One such building is the LifeCycle Tower ONE of Dornbirn, Austria. This digitally connected building has a fully equipped monitoring system capable of benchmarking and evaluating different important KPIs, ranging from energy consumption and voltage to space utilisation.

BYOD and smart office environment

Today's workplace is unthinkable without the employees using mobile devices during their working time. While there can be some restrictions on the usage of certain apps and services, mobile devices are also part of the business processes in most companies. Only 22% of corporate employees use company-provided smartphones. Naturally, there is no surprise in the fact that “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) protocol is a big success.

With the BYOD being the most popular and widely adopted device protocol for employees, it also plays a crucial role in the last mile rendering of smart office solutions. The company-owned and employee-only version of enterprise apps now can silently monitor device usage and can guide the employees to stay in sync with reminders, alerts, emails and feedbacks across the table. Mobile application developers would have unparalleled opportunities with this new breed of enterprise app that works in sync with smart office solutions.

Smart Office solutions: projects in the making

Over the years several different smart office projects are in the making. Several of them have been successfully deployed and is in use while there are quite a few waiting to be tested in workplaces. Here we picked few of these projects to show how smart offices of future are going to be made.

A Raspberry Pi based Smart Office Automation

Smart office automation solution which is run on Raspberry Pi OS requires almost no skills, but it can be highly customised to suit different needs in workplaces. The idea behind such solutions is basically to utilise the office resources to the optimum level. Such a solution can offer features like automating lights, appliances and connected gadgets, triggering automatic turning-off of the lights and gadgets, monitoring the office space through webcam and managing the whole system through an easy to use, notification based interface.

Smart Office Notification Breadboard

A smart office notification breadboard can help employees keeping track of the work in hand while delivering relevant alerts and notifications. This works with just a board where blinking LEDs give alerts and when alerts and notifications come based on scheduled tasks.

Smart Attendance System

Smart RFID based attendance management system can help to enhance efficiency and boost productivity in several workplaces and also in educational institutions. Such systems working with the RFID reader are exceptionally easy to use requiring the employees or students only to carry RFID card tags. Though such attendance system is already in use, connecting a system like this with a rigorous database of attendance and analytics solutions further can provide us valuable, actionable insights to improve attendance and spot some trends.

Smart Office Security System

A smart office security system with its surveillance mechanism and data-centric collaboration with the back-end analytics can deliver real-time actionable insights and suggestions to track security breaches and spot any unusual trends. Such systems are capable of real-time motion detection and sending a smart notification to the responsible security professionals in no time.

Conclusion

Smart office solutions will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years primarily because of the overwhelming range of innovations that are taking place to make life in every sphere more connected. Frankly, there is no slow-down to innovation in connected gadget space in the near future, and so, every human habitat and endeavour is bound to feel the push of automation and smart connected technologies.

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The internet of things is huge right now. Where is it headed? What is the future of IoT? Take a look at our infographic to understand what exactly the internet of things is and some intriguing statistics on where it is headed.
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Security systems installed in a typical facility consists of cameras, access control, intrusion sensors and fire alarms. Typically, these devices are places behind a firewall on a dedicated network. Building control systems are installed on a secondary network can contains lighting, HVAC, fire protection, elevators/lifts, chillers and air/moisture sensors. These systems serve their purpose and will continue to be adapted and make facility systems design more complicated. This complexity can be controlled using common development tools and platforms. Not only will this approach make the process of creating smarter, safer, more energy efficient systems but will also reduce the number accidental deaths and injuries that occur every year.

 

The redundant network design approach is not a very efficient nor cost effective way of operating a facility. This is starting to change as savvy building managers are making the decision to integrate security and building control systems and map them onto a single network. This can entail integrating multiple disparate systems, sensors, NVR devices and video management software. The concept of integrating a camera or access control system to an HVAC system, or a visitor/facility management system or edge recording device to a lighting or fire protection system may seem unusual to some. Yet, this is where many security systems integrators and manufactures are missing out on untapped applications and services opportunities. Modern integrated security and building systems can give facility managers and security directors the tools to improve, simplify operations and reduce the efforts of the operations staff and points of control teams.

 

In the past, the security industry has relied on it’s own approach to integrated systems know as physical security information management (PSIM). PSIM attempts to provide an open architecture to integrate multiple security system products into a single operating platform. This approach has been very hit-or-miss and has left a bad taste in the mouths of systems integrators and end-users. On the flip side of the coin, facility managers have their own integration platform known as a building automation system (BAS). As it relates to physical security, BAS systems are intended to integrate with PSIMs and control individual security systems. However, BAS systems come in many different flavors; many of them are not viewed in a glowing light by building operation end users. Past integrations are not all filled with doom-and-gloom. There are some successful integrations attempted by the collaborative efforts of building controls and physical security organizations. The question is why is this design practice not more common where the benefits and economics make sense?

 

In order to facilitate the adoption and implementation of an integrated system the use of open standard protocols is an absolute must. The building automation industry created BACnet and LONworks which allow for real-time remote connectivity between sensors, actuators, controller devices and software. In the case of LONworks, hardware manufactures have the ability to include a chipset with built-in building control system support. It took some time, but finally the security industry created the protocols ONVIF and PSIA. These open architectures allows the end-user to choose vendors selecting either security or BAS equipment based on features and price. The end-user can also decide to install partial system upgrades without the risk of making costly investments in obsolete legacy systems. With that said, The security industry is curious about implementing the building controls protocols but needs an easier way to integrate them into their hardware and software products in an ad-hoc applications based manner.

 

There are security directors that are not completely sold on the idea of integrating with building control systems. On the other hand, facility managers may question the benefits of sharing a network with security systems especially when functions do not overlap with life-safety systems. However, system integration between building controls, physical and now cybersecurity offers more than just staffing convenience and operational efficiency. Here are a few results from a truly integrated security system.

Faster Response to Incidents – With the use of a robust mobile software solution and integration approaches such camera-to-access control-to-lighting or HVAC staff members can be freed from a console which makes them readily available to respond to incidents or equipment failure.

Provide more accurate compliance reports – Data provided by building controls and security edge devices can be paired with artificial intelligence technologies such as neural networks and genetic algorithms. This helps facilities to comply with government regulations with regards to security.

Reduce accidents and save money – Integrated systems provide better control of building and security systems. For example, if some accidentally stumbles into a restricted area or manages to make it to overly heated or chilled area the access control system, Variable air volume (VAV), or other HVAC system components can send alerts and create historical trend reports. Also a single network architecture can make managing system components easier.

 

Integrated building control and security systems are gaining some traction. However, it is still not a mainstream approach among many manufactures and systems integrators. One proposed solution is to utilize a common platform that is utilizes the industry protocol standards as application and system component building blocks.

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The dream of making money with IoT, AI and Blockchain

Have you ever think about how could you make money with the Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of course with Blockchain?  What would happen if you could use the three of them in a new business model?.  Apparently, Success, Success and Success.

In the next sections I provide information of some business models implemented with these three technologies.

IoT Business Models

As IoT moves past its infancy, certain trends and economic realities are becoming clear. Perhaps the most significant of those is the realisation that traditional hardware business models just don’t work in IoT. Take a look at “The top 5 most successful IoT business models” that have emerged as particularly effective applications for IoT.

If any of you is building an IoT product, this article ” IoT Business Models For Monetizing Your IoT Product”  show how to make money with IoT.

Zack Supalla, the founder and CEO of Particle, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup, suggest “6 ways to make money in IoT”.

Finally, in “How IoT is Spawning Better Business Models” we can read three ways companies like Rolls Royce, Peloton, MTailor or STYR Lab  was rethinking their business model and have created revolution in the marketplace. 

Blockchain Business Models 

It sounds repetitive, but yes "Blockchain technology may disrupt the existing business models”. The authors´ s findings concerning the implications of blockchain technology for business models are summarised in the following picture.

 

Do you think that blockchain will likely to cut into big-players’ revenues? Then, this article: “New Blockchain-Based Business Models Set to Disrupt Facebook and Others”, is for you.

If you are ambitious and you are planning to build a viable business on blockchain, then read “Building an International Business Model on Blockchain”.

I am also an advocate of the coming era of decentralization (at least in my most optimistic version) and Blockchain is a step more to create value when the End of All Corporate Business Models will arrive.

AI Business Models 

Companies from all industries, of all shapes and sizes are thus faced with an important set of questions: Which AI business models and applications can I use ? And what technologies and infrastructures are required?.

It seems that we all are convinced that artificial intelligence is now the most important general-purpose technology in the world that can drive changes at existing business models. Not surprised then, that  AI is Revolutionizing Business Models.  The “data trap” strategy, that in venture capitalist Matt Turck’s words consists of offering (often for free) products that can initialize a data network effect. In addition, the user experience and the design are becoming tangibly relevant for AI, and this creates friction in early stage companies with limited resources to be allocated between engineers, business, and design.

This article introduces  some good examples of AI business models :

New Business models with the intersection of IoT, AI and Blockchain

With IoT we are connecting the Digital to the Physical world. Connected objects offers a host of new opportunities for companies, especially in terms of creating new services. The amount of data generated by the billions of connected objects will be the perfect complementary feed to many AI applications. Finally, blockchain technology could be used to secure the ‘internet of things’ and create smart contracts in a decentralized infrastructure that boost the democratization of technology and creation of sustainable communities.

You must remember that new business models that include IoT, AI and blockchain need among other characteristics: Volume and Scalability. Volume of devices, Volume of data, Volume of customers, volume of developers and powerful ecosystems to escalate. 

Good luck in your search and implementation of your new business model.

Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares

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Too much time waiting for the IoT year

After years of waiting for my wishes to finally come true that it was finally the year of IoT, I give up. There will be no IoT year. Other technologies are usurping the dubious privilege of leading the technology bubble. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are now much cooler.

As has happened on many previous occasions, the IoT will be replaced by other acronyms that will make you forget bad experiences and failed expectations. And with the new acronyms the illusions of those of us who continue to trust in the beneficial implications that the "new IoT" will bring to society will appear again.

Event Organizers were the first to notice the decline of IoT

The first to realize this situation were the organizers of IoT events. If a couple of years ago the weight of the new secondary on stage (Blockchain and AI) did not seem worrying to detract from the main actor (#internetofthings). Now they are the stars and the IoT is marginalized and surrounded by other technologies, badly hurt and melancholy.

Quo Vadis IoT events ?

Will IoT events disappear? Sure. Doesn’t matter if is in 2 or 3 years, but IoT only events will not make sense. In the last 3 months I attended several IoT events in London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Bilbao. I see a slow decline and transformation of #IoT events. Most of them do not satisfy my expectation. I am tired and saturated of see the same tired case studies parroted over and over again.

As my friend Rick Bullotta, I'd like to see some more innovative stories, some failure stories/lessons learned, some HARD FACTS about how long it looks to build, what it cost to build, return on investment.

Of course, we will continue seeing IoT companies, products and services in the Big Events like CES in Las Vega, MWC in Barcelona or Cebit and Hanover Messe in Germany or in industry specific events or company specific events like PTC LiveWorx or Bosch ConnectedWorld .  But the same way that we do not see today Internet events we will not see Internet of Things events beyond 2020. It will be a good sign because the Hype will have disappeared and the reality and the market will have been imposed.

                                                 Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares                  

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An alarming fact!

According to the UN projections, world population will rise from 6.8 billion today to 9.1 billion in 2050 that signifies food production has to be raised to feed the one-third more mouths.

And, the agriculture industry is accountable for fulfilling humans’ need for food, energy, and shelter (To a great extent). Furthermore, the agriculture industry composes less than 5 percent of the combined GDPs of the world.

But, there is one more distressing fact revealed by Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of agricultural workers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Why is this employment supposed to reduce? And, what farm owners or farmers would do to sustain the productivity, increase yield and feed additional 2.3 billion people by 2050.

The only solution to all these problems is Agriculture Modernization that has already started by some of the tech-savvy farmers. For the next generation agriculture fields, data collected from sensors would become the fertilizer to grow crops. It’s really perplexing but true.

Embracing IoT Solutions would uncover the new ways that tap the full potential of agriculture yield and alleviate all the challenges that hinder the growth of the crop. Before heading to know how IoT can turn out to be a magic bullet for the agriculture, let’s understand what IoT is.

IOT is the technology that extends the limit of internet connectivity from digital devices to physical objects. It enables the communication between digital devices, objects, and other systems. The data collected can be shared between person to person, machines to person or machine to machine, and data is stored and managed at Cloud.

With IoT, remote water valves, weather forecasts, pest control, food storage and transportation data, and monitoring system could be connected and information exchanged via sensors is available to the farmer on the mobile phones.

Now, take a look how IoT can make agriculture more profitable and crop healthier at every step.


Decide which crop is the best to grow on a piece of land

Every crop requires different atmospheric conditions and land to grow, but concluding the same is tricky. How could farmers find which land or other conditions are the best fit for their crop? It can be identified by conducting a survey for the agricultural land combining the power of artificial intelligence and IoT in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

UAV, a small airplane used for the in-flight observation and monitoring that gathers data like- visual, thermal, and multispectral imagery, air pressure, humidity, the weather condition at resolutions up to 1 cm/pixel. This data is really helpful for the farmers to take the decisive step.

Moreover, UAV also helps farmers in knowing plant height, weed detection, plant-counting, crop health and changes in the plant in different seasons.

Making irrigation smarter

Water supply at the right time, in right quantity and at the right place plays a vital role in the plant’s growth. Water management remotely is also challenging task, especially the management becomes more difficult during the shortage of water, which may otherwise damage the crop.

Connecting humidity sensors, water valves and monitoring system, water supply for irrigation can be managed easily. Humidity sensors smartly measure the soil moisture and based on that data, water valves provide water to the field automatically without any human interventions. Also, any leakage in the water pipes can also be identified. The complete data is accessible to the farmers at distance on the mobile.

With smart irrigation, there will be the least wastage of water, water consumption in the field can be tracked, in drought areas the crop water management could be done efficiently and unauthorized water consumption (If any) is detectable.

Know weather forecast information in advance

Climate and weather influence the crop production at large scale. This dependency on weather and frequent changes in the climate sometimes damage the crops and ultimately farmers suffer from a great loss. How about if the farmer knows weather information before they decide plantation or harvesting of crops. It’d be great. Isn’t it?

With IoT farmers would get accurate weather forecast in real-time and based on this information, they can pre-plan the different activities. Also, in case of future contingency, right steps could be taken beforehand to prevent the loss to happen.

Evaluate the growth performance of produce

Despite having right irrigation facility, perfect weather and optimum pest management, plants won’t grow well. Constant performance measurement and evaluation is necessary, but for that regular visit to the field is arduous. Smart technology makes this work done from a distance with sensors.

Implanting remote sensors would check the soil temperature, humidity, air temperature, pressure and pretty more! Getting this data, farmer can plan accordingly like- change the harvest time, irrigation time, determine heat events and improve plant health.

When plant breeding is done in such a perfect environment, the better would be the food quality and increased production.

Check the level of nutrient in the crops

Presently, getting a good quality food is essential, but having the right level of nutrients is vitally important. Now, farmers can manage the level of nutrients in the produce. Bewildered? As, how is it possible to check, control or manage the level of nutrients in the food. But, yes skyrocketing technology has made it possible.

The nutrient analyzers are built where sensors monitor the level of nutrients in the crops. Every sensor relates to a specific ion that would sit on one side of the membrane and when water passes through, these sensors detects the ion presence and its quantity. Simultaneous measurement of six ions can be done in the real-time. The analyzer is synced with mobile phone where all the data is displayed.

During plant’s growth, farmers knowing the ion level, they can change the mix of nutrients and improve the plant’s yield. Moreover, changing the proportion of nutrients, color and maturity rate of produce can also be altered.

Control the pest at the fingertips

Yes, the healthy crop becomes a prey to pests effortlessly and farmers have to suffer from a great monetary loss. It’s very crucial in the whole crop production cycle to identify when these pests would attack and what quantity of pesticides need to be used.

Here pest control sensors would help. The sensors monitor the pest behavior, pest’s population, and analyzes environmental parameters and plant growth. Based on this data the pesticides are automatically sprayed into the field at the place where it requires and in the right amount so that pests are disrupted initially.

The complete record of the pest’s attack on the crop, the amount of pesticides sprinkled and how much crop production is affected could be tracked. Implementing IoT reduces pesticide usage in the field and keep crop healthier.

Monitor the food storage safety

Once the crop is harvested, farmer’s work is not done. If you are thinking so, you are mistaken. As, crop storage is an essential part of the crop production process. Employing the correct grain storage techniques includes maintaining the accurate temperature, humidity, air control and pressure in the warehouse. But, getting real-time information is difficult and info received lately would result in the severe damage.

Integrating different IoT sensors at storage place would allow farmers to monitor the crop storage in real-time, control the storage temperature, humidity and a lot more. Plus, they would receive the alerts, in case any set parameter in the grain storage changes.

Bring coordination in logistics

Transferring the yield from storage to the market at the correct time through right means of transportation is very crucial. By optimizing the supply chain, farmers can reap good monetary benefits and reduce losses or overhead expenses.

With GPS sensors, the owner can easily track where the transport vehicle is and exact its location in the real-time. It helps in monitoring the vehicle and providing help to the vehicle in any emergency. Plus, installing the thermostat sensors in the vehicle would sense the change in the set temperature and if any fluctuation is found, then the owner would be informed.

Expected outcome

With the potential IoT innovations in the agriculture industry at large scale would certainly bring a global shift in the way farming is done and yields are produced. It is predicted that by 2025, there would be 600 million sensors implanted on 535 million farms worldwide and in 2015, these sensors would grow by three folds by the year 2020.

It concludes one thing- Be tech savvy to grow more and if you want to yield more, embrace IoT in your fields to stay at the to

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We are in the dawn of a new cyber society. A society where organizations shall design plans to utilize the unique skillsets of both AI Systems and humans. A society where Humans and AI systems shall work and live together and without fear. A society where humans shall use newfound time and freedom to advance strategic skills and individual talents.
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As the Global PM and CTO for Lumada, it's been a rewarding journey to create a portable Industrial #IoT platform that could run at the Edge on a factory floor, in a train, inside a data center or in any hyper-scale public cloud.

This composable platform (use just what you need for your specific use case) combined with our revolutionary Asset Avatars (Digital Twins) that bring Lumada to life, is the very definition of "Visionary." I also want to send a big congratulations to our Visionary friends at PTC (ThingWorx) and SAP (Leonardo).

Our #Lumada #IIoT platform coupled w/ our IoT Hardware Appliance takes you from #Edge to #Cloud.

Thanks to all the Hitachi collaborators, colleagues and friends I was lucky enough to take this journey with.

Get a free copy of the Gartner report here:
https://www.hitachivantara.com/ext/gartner-magic-quadrant-for-industrial-iot.html

-Rob

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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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