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Apps and Tools (139)

My first hands-on experience with a drone goes back to summer of 2012 when I visited my little cousin in Cincinnati. It was what he called a quadcopter. My cousin would place it on his palm and launch it from there with an Xbox-type-controller. It could easily go around the neighborhood, making rounds near the lake before settling back on my cousin’s palm.

It had a rotating camera with which he used to spy on his brother and complain their mother. That was best holiday of my life. We were all kids, free, careless and had a drone to play around. It was a cute toy that everybody in the neighborhood used to adore.

Image Source: https://gadgetsdeal.in

We used to watch a lot of sci-fi movies, and the notion of a full-scale robot that is indistinguishable from a human used to fascinate us the most. A neighboring guy who returned from Japan after spending most of the childhood there used to tell us the story of how kids over there would fight their home-made robots against each other on heavy bets.

The term AI started making rounds in mainstream media the same time. Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. Yes, NI or natural intelligence is a term now.

What is AI?

AI is defined by two definitions that overlap each other at the time of mobile application development and conceptualization.

  1. Machines perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.
  2. Machine mimics/ emulate "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".

AI and Drones

Image Source: blog.hbcommunications.com

Did I mention my cousin and I used to control the quadcopter with a joystick? If you look at the 1st definition of AI, it talks about reaching or arriving at the goal without human intervention. That’s, an AI-enabled drone just need a goal to trigger a series of reaction in order to realize its goal. The goal could be fed to it by a human directly with the help of a computing device capable of natural language processing and run party applications.

The delivery drones and AI

There are many reasons people would prefer a drone over a delivery boy. Drones are cute, they don’t need to call you for direction, they don’t give a damn about traffic, they are harmless, and they don’t expect tips. For businesses, keeping a force of delivery drones is much less of an expense than a team of human delivery boys. They may be costly to procure but they don’t expect remuneration like humans. And with AI, they are becoming as smart as a trained human.

Image Source: https://cdn.technologyreview.com

A delivery drone must be, extremely, cautious of its surrounding and should be able to take decisions on its own. To pick items from one place to another, it must be location-aware and connected to the internet. In addition, it should protect itself from birds and bad weather.

As defined in the second definition of Artificial Intelligence, an important facet of AI enabled machines is this that they can learn from their experience. That is if an intelligent drone learns that the shortest path from A to B isn’t via c but D. It’ll will take the route via D whenever it has to go to B.

My cousin quadcopter with AI: A concept

What if, the quadcopter I grew up playing with was AI enabled. My cousin would never have needed a controller to control it. He would just tell the quadcopter to spy on his brother 10 times a day and it would do that several times a day while my cousin is resting his bumps in front of the video game, sharing popcorn with me. When it is done making the spying round, it would email interesting photos straight to their mother.

That would have made our childhood lazy, have given us a lot more time to play video games, made us lot more arrogant humans who expects things to be done by themselves. After all, technology is supposed to make our life easier and it evolves as our life complicates further. Otherwise, we don’t need a drone in the first place.

The invisible drone

Not in a literal sense but those drones would be so small that they will become invisible at a height to an everyday viewer. Come on, we don’t see every object that flies over us. Even when it does, we don’t give a damn. We have better things to do. For example, my boss’s wife had a birthday last week and it took me three hours in blistering cold to pick her the best cake.

Well jokes apart, they could see you when you couldn’t. If at all they will be visible they would look like a fly. Such a small size means, they can charge their battery with a light source in your house in seconds while looking like an innocent fly enjoying bright light at night.

This one is scary: The drone swarm

Coming back to my cousin’s quadcopter, except this time there will thousands of it together.

They could overpower guns and technology that armed forces have used for years. Think about it: in a city like New York, squads of tiny quadrotors could roam around to gather intelligence.

They can attack a warship while having a footprint too small for a gun or missile to hunt them down. Nonetheless, one missile can hunt down a couple of member, but the swarm will rearrange and keep going.

Pocket Drones

Image Source: lowcost2.ru

Pocket drones are small enough to carry in your pocket without feeling uncomfortable. They fly indoors, in your home and bring your smartphone when you left it in the bathroom, pick your newspaper as soon as you sit on your couch or bring your favorite book or a chilled bottle of beer during bedtime.

Sounds too good to be true! This is just the beginning.

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Guest post by Jeffrey Lee.

In the early days of IoT, updating remote devices often caused intermittent disruption and performance degradation. As IoT platforms have matured, they have embraced a novel way to remotely and reliably update connected devices with little to no disruption: over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates.

Over-the-air firmware updates refers to the practice of remotely updating the code on an embedded device. The embedded hardware must be built with OTA functionality for this mechanism to work.

Why OTA Firmware?

Prior to OTA updates, you had to go out and retrieve the device, take it apart, connect it to your computer, reprogram it, put the device back together, and then take the device back.

However, this process is overly burdensome and unscalable for companies who have devices out on the field. Although, it hasn’t stopped some from trying . . .

  • In 2015, Chrysler was criticized for patching a software vulnerability via mailed USB drives. Chrysler’s method put many consumers at risk because the USB drives could be intercepted, modified, and resent.

On the other hand,

  • In 2016, Tesla drivers woke up to find substantial new features to their car after the company sent out an OTA firmware update. Consumers could now self-park their cars without having to manually update their vehicles.

You tell us which is the better headline.

OTA Firmware Benefits

  • Bugs and product behavior can be continuously improved even after the device is in the hands of your consumers.
  • Companies can test new features by sending updates to one or multiple devices.
  • Companies can save costs by managing the firmware across their fleet of devices from a seamless, unified interface.
  • Developers can deploy frequently and reliably, knowing that products will stay functional as updates are released.
  • OTA firmware augments scalability by adding new features and infrastructure to products after they are released.

OTA Firmware & Device Management

To send out OTA firmware updates, you need a device management system that can interface with microprocessors and local software on IoT devices. This is complicated to build because few companies have an IoT software and hardware ecosystem that can process OTA firmware updates and manage remote devices.

Implementing OTA firmware updates

There are two options companies can take: you can build your own OTA firmware system or buy a managed OTA firmware system. For the build route, it is imperative that you research, plan, and consult domain experts to help you add OTA functionality to your hardware and software. Implementing the proper industry encryptions, finding the compatible hardware/software, and finding domain experts who can actually help you will be some of your biggest concerns.

However, due to the complexities of transmitting of the data and security concerns, you could harness a pre-built managed platform solution like Particle.

Getting Started with Particle and OTA firmware

Particle is a full stack IoT platform that offers the hardware and software tools to connect everyday electronics to the internet. Part of this platform, Particle cloud and console, also allows consumers to control fleets of devices and products with wireless firmware updates. Here are some of the benefits of using Particle for OTA firmware updates:

  • Future-proof your products knowing that Particle is taking care of the infrastructure, hardware, and software.
  • OTA firmware updates are sent in chunks so your device won’t brick. If your device loses connection during the update process, it’ll just resume when the connection comes back online.
  • Firmware updates are delivered quickly because the update is just sent to the application layer and not the system layer. Particle only pushes parts of the application that have changed to the device.
  • Easily scale from sending OTA firmware updates from 1 to 1,000 devices without hardware scalability or software issues.
  • Test application updates by sending firmware updates to one or a controlled group of devices.
  • Deliver updates securely knowing all communication channels between the device and Particle cloud are fully encrypted and authorized.
  • Document each release throughly via Particle console to provide your team a comprehensive picture of what has changed in each version.
  • Devices can be set into safe mode so it doesn’t execute any application code, which can be useful if new application code contains bugs that stop the device from connecting to the cloud.

All and all

OTA firmware is the critical driver for IoT success because it is powering the reliability and scalability of connected devices. Companies must decide whether building their own OTA firmware system is worth the time and potential costs, or if purchasing a platform that has OTA firmware functionality is a more efficient and effective way to update remote wireless devices.

This post originally appeared here.

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Amazon Alexa has opened a new level of opportunity for small business and enterprises.

We all have experienced the panic attacks of remembering that the coffee maker is still on, the garage door wasn’t closed and then you started to doubt whether you have closed the main door. You are far away from the home and helpless. Smart homes are breaking this cycle.

Technology is making our life very easy and convenient, with each passing day you’ll get a new invention making your life easier. Today You can manage your Motion sensors, utilities, light appliances, switches, remote, doors and windows with your voice control. Just take your phone out of your pocket and turn off the coffee maker, check the lock status of doors and turn off the lights.

We all are aware about the popularity of Alexa; amazon Alexa is redefining virtual assistance. Alexa is a cloud based voice recognition service API that has the capability to enable next generation voice enabled IoT ecosystem. The basic features of Alexa are alarms and timers, checking for weather and sports, streaming music, and answering questions by using the Bing search engine and Wikipedia.

But we humans are never satisfied with the basics, Alexa is now trained to connect to smart home devices to provide a new level of experience to the users.

According to the investment firm Mizuho, “Amazon Echo can exceed a revenue of $ 11 billion by the end of 2020.”

This is the new revolution for businesses and enterprises; today people are opting for smart homes rather than traditional products. Companies like Philips, LG, Wink, Iris and much more have already integrated Amazon Alexa Skills with their Mobile Apps and their customers are loving their innovative approach.

How does Amazon Alexa skills work?

To use Amazon Echo we need to write a script and upload it to Amazon Lambda Server.

Whenever you send a command to Alexa; a call will be sent to Alexa skills set using message queuing transportation(MQTT) protocol.

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) allows, IoT Full Stack Developers, Programmers, coders, Consultants to create engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of tools, documentation, code samples, and self-service APIs that provides quick and convenient ways to add new skills to Alexa. ASK works with the field of field of voice design to leverage Amazon’s innovative work and knowledge. We have to write the skills that need to be implemented in ASK. These are known as intents like open, turn on, the commands we give to Alexa. And we create intents which match the commands.

With AWS Lambda, you can easily run code without managing the servers. Lambda doesn’t require administration, you can run code for virtually any type of Mobile Application or Mobile App backend service. You can set up your code to automatically trigger from other AWS services or call it directly from any web or mobile app.

Have a look at some trending Smart Home Amazon Echo devices enabled with an Alexa skills:

. Locks and home security:

ADT and Alexa have combined to protect your home in a smarter way. With Alexa, you can seamlessly arm and disarm your system, control door locks and even close your garage door. ADT is not the only company that supports Alexa, August Smart Lock and Scout Alarm are also in the competition. Although their functionalities are different, they have the same aim of home security with virtual assistance.

If you are having a home security equipment business, then you should upgrade to the latest trends before your competitor. Contact us now we will build mobile app and create new Alexa skills for your products.

2. Thermostats:

Amazon has recently upgraded its skill kit to support thermostats. You can control your home temperature just by commanding to Alexa. Companies like Ecoobee, Emerson Sensi and Nest Learning are leading in smart thermostats providers.

Honeywell is a startup that gathers the courage to step into smart thermostats by following Nest concept. And soon gained the limelight among the smart Alexa supported thermostats.

Why don’t you try for smart thermostats? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do much, We have IoT full stack Developers, who have deep understanding of make your thermostats smarter Talk to us now.

3. Lights:

Alexa doesn’t only turn on and off your home lights, it can change the color of the bulbs, adjust the brightness and much more. The trending smart product in lights in Lifx, it offers custom Alexa skills for voice activated color changes.

Do you think you can compete with companies like Philips and Lifx? Give it a try, enter into the era of voice based command for connected home devices and appliances.

Talk to our specialist and get the free quotation now Contact Us

Let’s talk about the services that are integrated with Alexa now, Alexa is supporting various interactive services for the users.

If you are thinking of a startup or you are already having a startup, then you can consider these services as an idea. Don’t worry, we will guide you whenever you need. Have a look at some interesting services of Alexa:

Spotify:

Spotify integrates with Amazon echo and allows control of your music with the voice commands. Thinking about how to play Spotify with Amazon Alexa? Just link your Spotify account to Amazon Alexa app in the settings section and then change your default music services to Spotify. That’s it you are done, all you have to do now is ask Alexa to play your songs and you will get your songs.


Spotify is the leading music provider, you can be the next. Tell us your idea and we will create one for you.

Uber:

Do you know you can ask Alexa to book a ride for you? Yes, Alexa can book your Uber ride just by voice control. Ask Alexa to book your cab, cancel your ride or how far is the cab; Alexa will have all the answers.

We have the right skill set to develop your next Uber clone app. Talk to our specialists to know more.

Domino’s

Domino’s has always been the fastest pizza chain with its online pizza trackers and ordering pizza from pizza emoji option. Ask Alexa to order your pizza and you will get your pizza delivered at your place without even touching your phone.

Do you have a food chain? Why don’t you try Alexa? Tell us your requirement and we will give you the most innovative solution.

Alexa skills are not limited to these services only; Alexa can be trained for any skill set.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

If you have any new idea that you think can integrate with Amazon Alexa to give a better experience to users then tell us. We are here for the help.

We have an expert team of fullstack developers that are well experienced in integrating Amazon Alexa with Mobile app and consumer electronics devices, services. Our developers will work extensively on your requirement to make your project innovative, and trending among your competitors. We are working on IoT solutions to enable IoT in home, schools, and office buildings.

This article was originally published here: How Amazon Alexa is Revolutionizing the Businesses and Enterprises

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(Dashboards can be viewed here.)

Insurance companies that find a partner, which analyzes, understands, and helps them to take advantage of IoT-based technologies, can reduce costs, paving the way for lower premiums and increased customer loyalty.

Many types of insurers record an unnecessary number of claims. By adding IoT sensors, real-time data can be attained and custom alerting can be configured to prevent claims from occurring. In addition, robust predictive models on historical sensor data can predict claims based on geography, even by a customer.

Let’s look at a situation where a company contracts out a service provider to monitor and maintain the health of four cold storage warehouses in South Florida. Each warehouse has many refrigerated rooms storing food, and each room is equipped with three sensors: one temperature, one humidity, and one open/closed sensor for the entry door.

By employing an app to use WebSockets, monitoring can be performed through dashboards, where individual data elements are refreshed without requiring any user interaction. Think of this view as a live status screen in the service provider’s operations center.

The system includes dashboards to monitor, alert, and proactively prevent claims. The warehouses and cold storage rooms dashboard provides a status summary for each room including how recently the sensors last updated. Room sensor data shows the graphical views of current and historical sensor data. Dials show some predefined thresholds for green, orange, and red alerts along with the current value. Then, line graphs show trends over the past few minutes, hours, and days.

IoT sensors catch anomalies and prevent claims before they happen. Because the refrigerated units are storing food, there are multiple scenarios that might result in a food spoilage claim. One might be if the temperature in the room crosses the threshold into orange alert and remains there for more than two hours. Another might be if the temperature ever crosses the threshold into red.

Alert notifications can be configured so that the policyholder gets notified via push notification, SMS and/or email when the temperature crosses the threshold into orange. Perhaps the door was left open, which can likely be resolved. However, if the temperature remains orange for more than 15 minutes, a message or work order is pushed to the service provider queue, which dispatches someone to investigate and proactively resolve the issue.

In addition, the system includes dashboards that insurance companies can leverage to generate business value. These predictive scenario dashboards slice the sensor data in various ways.

The manufacturer performance screen helps insurance companies determine the most effective sensor manufacturer, saving time and money from defective sensors. Another dashboard helps identify events and incidents, such as anomalies between the two sensors.

Another screen shows customer segmentation by sensor data. This helps insurance companies enable premium discounts based on lower claim probability. The historical loss ratio and claims analysis dashboard provides loss ratio by location and number of claims by location.

Additionally, claim prediction insights are provided. Using historical data, predictive models are created to predict the number of claims, total amount of those predicted claims, and number of claims avoided.

By incorporating IoT sensors into a telematics solution, policyholders can catch anomalies and proactively prevent claims. Insurance companies can leverage predictive scenario dashboards and predictive models to avoid claims, reduce costs, lower premiums, and therefore increase customer loyalty.

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In the same way Uber matches the drivers of cars with people who need a ride, smart connected products can be matched with people looking for those products. Mashing-up products, proximity, preferences and people can lead to sales.

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As we all know, approaches to implementing IT infrastructure is changing fast, and has upended the way CIO's, IT managers and software developers, not to mention tech vendors, allocate their IT spend. What will it look like in 2020? McKinsey recently published a blog post looking at 10 Trends that trends that are giving rise to disruption and innovation. 

For IoT, McKinsey writes:

Internet of Things business applications are ready for adoption.

McKinsey estimates that business-to-business applications will account for nearly 70 percent of the value that will flow from the Internet of Things (IoT) in the next ten years. According to our 2017 Enterprise IoT Executive Survey, 96 percent of companies expect to increase their IoT spending over the next three years, with some planning to devote as much as a quarter of their IT expenditures to IoT-related capabilities. The most popular use cases for enterprise IoT involve increasing visibility into operations, optimizing operational tasks, or assisting with the development of new business models. The upshift in adoption is even occurring in industries that have traditionally been slow to adopt new technologies, such as oil and gas. The growth of enterprise IoT will vastly increase demand for the compute-and-storage infrastructure, augmenting demand for hyperscale resources and IoT-specific PaaS solutions.

BI Intelligence predicts that more than five billion IoT devices, such as inventory-control and safety-monitoring tools, will require edge solutions by 2020 because they must collect and process data in real time.9Edge solutions allow information processing at the device or gateway level, rather than within the cloud or a data center, reducing both latency and connectivity dependencies. Of the $500 billion in growth expected for IoT through 2020, McKinsey estimates that about 25 percent will be directly related to edge technology. Edge computing will help improve data compression and transfer in the connectivity layer of the technology stack, reducing network bandwidth and making a wider range of IoT applications possible.

Photo Credit: Jessic Orrico 

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Augmented Reality has been here for some time. Among consumer level products, Pokémon Go was one prime example of primitive level Augmented Reality, it only took a decent smartphone. Lately, some of the social media and networking apps, especially the ones that feature a 24-hour story option e.g. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger are using the basic technologies of Augmented Reality to draw masks and filters over the users’ faces. This is real-time and accurate, and fun nonetheless. However, augmented reality face filters and industrial augmented reality, also known as IAR is vastly different. The first one can act on generic smartphone hardware across a wide range of devices whereas the latter needs proprietary software and hardware. The margin of error in IAR practically needs to be negligible, and there should not be any prominent lag in the system to maintain a precise production output. Augmented Reality has become a thing in 2017, and we believe the inflection point for Industrial Augmented Reality will be around 2018 – 2019.

Augmented Reality in the Production Line

Everyone that works down in the core production facility, e.g. the supervisors, the technicians and the field workers could really benefit by using AR and 3D imagery on top of a real object to speed up the designing and implementation process. A 3D augmented reality model could be drawn in the head-worn VR helmet in 3D space, generated by data received from IoT based sensors placed at different crucial points to build up an effective model. Also, IAR might not necessarily require VR headsets. There are different aspects of AR and workers in a production facility could access them using smartphones, tablets or proprietary handheld devices. As of yet, renowned VR devices in production are being used in several industries - Google Glass Enterprise and Microsoft HoloLens have made their cut. The emergence of IoT and rapid development in the same field would certainly ensure a competitive market of IoT sensors and VR helmets for IAR in the upcoming years. Workers in different industries – production, oil drilling, mining, assembly line etc. will never look the same in a few years!

Challenges in the Application of AR in Industries

Creating the AR ecosystem is the major challenge in switching to a completely AR based industry from old-school manual technologies. Assembly line workers do the same repetitive tasks every day and it doesn’t matter how boring their jobs might be, they have gotten used to doing it. Introducing a new technology could set back production by bigger numbers, cause serious trouble in the supply chain and jeopardize a company’s trades. In technology spectrum, the available IoT sensors are still mostly generic. Depending on what an industry would produce, these sensors will need to change and become more customizable and specific.

IAR Application in Industries

So far, implementation of IAR is seen in the following industries –

• Manufacturing: Boeing is one of the first adopters to put AR in their mainstream production line. A few automobile makers have initiated beta versions of their IAR.

• Military: US Air Force has been using a fully functional AR system for some select models of their air crafts since 1992. Louis Rosenberg was the mastermind behind creating the system.

• Healthcare & Medical: To carry out dangerous surgical operations in sensitive organs, such as the brain and heart, a combination of VR and AR is used by surgeons.

• Education: A picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine how many words a demonstration through AR would be?

• Tourism: Yelp Monocle and Word Lens are two AR based smartphone apps that use augmented reality to provide the user with relevant information.

IAR is the Future

Pokémon Go or Snapchat are fun, but they aren’t the only applications AR is capable of doing. With IAR in the rise, the production lines are going to be more productive and competitive than ever.  Whats your take, do you think IAR will be the next best thing? or is the learning curve too high to be worth the investment?

Greg Conrad is a writer for Ax Control

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Andrei Klubnikin is Senior Content Manager at R-Style Lab - custom software development company (IoT, Web, Mobile) with a representative office in San Francisco, CA and dev center in Belarus, Europe. Andrew is a tech geek interested in everything about IoT, web and mobile development. He’s been a tech blogger since 2011.
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The phrase, “the future is here,” is overused and has evolved into a catchphrase for companies struggling to position themselves in times of technological or digital transformations. Still, the sentiment is understood, especially in times like today, where the Internet of Things is quite literally changing the way we think about hardware and software. We’d like to offer an addendum to the phrase: “The future is here more quickly than we thought it would be.”

Digital transformation, increased computing ability, smart hardware and the growth of connectivity capabilities created a perfect storm of accelerated industry, and many were left scrambling to sift through the large amounts of information and solutions available. With that in mind, we wanted to provide some advice for companies across the industrial sector for the best ways to optimize operations for the Industrial IoT.

1) Upgrade your network and throughput capabilities.

Nothing can kill the ROI of automated processes more quickly than the literal inability to function. It’s important to understand that as you upgrade machinery and invest in the software to run it all, those systems demand greater bandwidth in order to effectively utilize the big data and analytics capabilities. Several options exist, but for most companies some combination of industrial-strength broadband (WiFi), narrow-band, cellular and RF communications will create the most effective network for the needs.

2) Invest in smart hardware.

This may seem like a no-brainer, and really, in the not-too-distant future, you may not even have a choice, but the shift toward Fog Computing is gaining momentum and being able to run decentralized computing between hardware and the Cloud can not only create greater operational efficiency, but it can also allow your data transmission to run more smoothly as well. The beauty of a Fog Computing system is that it allows a greater number of devices to transmit smaller data packets, which frees up bandwidth and speeds real-time data analytics. The core of this lies in the smart hardware.

3) Be proactive about application development.

Smart hardware means that it has the ability to host applications designed specifically for your needs. Previously, many companies shied away from app development because it required highly skilled developers and devices capable of hosting those apps – a combination that wasn’t readily available. Today, the scene has changed. With the rise of Node-RED, it is much easier today to create proprietary applications without a computer engineering degree, and any company serious about leveraging IIoT technology needs to be able to to use the full scope of its data.

4) Secure your communications.

There isn’t much more to be said about the importance of cybersecurity. If the last few years of massive data breaches haven’t rung alarm bells, then you aren’t paying attention. Cybersecurity today is a multi-layered need. Most companies building smart hardware are beginning to build encryption directly into the devices. But, since many companies use Cloud applications for computing and analytics, it is important to invest in strong security measures at that level as well. Unfortunately, the sophistication of cyber-attacks are only going to increase, along with the increase in importance of the data needing to be protected. It pays to be paranoid and act accordingly.

Further Reading:

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Why There’s No Killer App for IoT

Guest Post by Daniel Elizalde

Every new technology trend brings speculation and talk about a “killer app” that will be the solution to all of our problems.

Tech publications and blogs produce countless articles searching for the “killer app” for the iPhone, the Cloud, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and of course, IoT. We’ve also even seen the same hype for development processes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that Agile is that silver bullet. Or maybe it was Lean, or Kanban? Hard to keep track.

But as a Product Manager, we can’t keep chasing the next big thing all the time. It’s true we need to understand where technology is going, but we need to be more pragmatic and realize there is no single “killer app” for anything. Particularly for IoT.

Is predictive maintenance the killer app for IoT?

Predictive maintenance refers to the practice of adding sensors to collect and analyze real-time data from industrial equipment to predict when it is likely to fail.

I often talk to companies who want to get into IoT by offering predictive maintenance solutions. They are interested not because they’ve spotted a customer need, but because they’ve heard that predictive maintenance is where the money’s at in IoT. In essence, somebody convinced them that predictive maintenance is the killer app for IoT.

It is true that predictive maintenance is getting a lot of traction with industrial companies, but that’s because it addresses a tough problem that those particular companies already had. Not because predictive maintenance in itself is the solution to all problems.

My advice is this: Instead of looking for the killer app for IoT, companies should focus on understanding their customer’s needs and evaluating how they can leverage the Internet of Things to solve those problems in a better, faster, or cheaper way.

In short, by understanding your customer’s needs, you can design the right killer app for that particular customer challenge.

If you stop considering IoT as a silver bullet and instead look at it as another tool in your portfolio, you can move past the hype and start working towards building real solutions.

Other innovative applications leveraging the Internet of Things

To drive this point home, I’d like to share a few real-world applications in use today. Notice that these products are not creating a new category of problems. Instead, they provide more efficient solutions to existing customer problems. These companies understood their customer’s challenge and then leveraged IoT by asking the question, “How can I provide a better solution by acquiring and processing real-world signals from my customer’s environments?”

If you think about it, acquiring and processing real-world signals is one of the key attributes of IoT, so with that in mind, what innovative solution could you create for your customers?

Reducing traffic congestion via smart parking

As cities grow, so does their traffic congestion. And in many cities, a big contributor to this congestion is lack of parking spaces. Think about cities like San Francisco or New York. Drivers spend a lot of time circling around buildings trying to find a parking space. This in turn increases the traffic of already congested areas.

Some cities are looking at IoT to address this issue. By placing sensors on the street and on lighting posts, cities are able to track which parking spots are available and offer this information to companies who can monetize this data via apps or other types of services.

The parking information is also aggregated in the Cloud and allows cities to study traffic patterns to plan for better solutions in the future.

Optimizing waste collection

A company in the Netherlands is using the Internet of Things to track waste through its complete lifecycle. They place sensors in each of their bins to inform waste collectors when the bin is full and needs attention. This allows them to optimize collection routes and minimize the time and effort it takes to collect this waste.

Their collection trucks are also equipped with load sensors that determine, in real-time, the amount of waste that the main disposal center can expect as the trucks approach their destination.

Increasing resiliency in the electric grid

To increase resiliency in the electric grid, utilities around the world are leveraging IoT solutions to detect where power was interrupted so they can send a team to fix it right away. It used to take hours before utilities could determine the exact location of a fault. Today, they have this information in real-time plus they can apply machine learning to anticipate the location where faults are likely to occur.

Helping with conservation efforts

The applications for the Internet of Things go across all industries and verticals. For example, teams in Africaare leveraging IoT to prevent elephant poaching. The teams tag each elephant with a smart collar and track the elephant’s location and motion patterns.

The information collected by the collar is analyzed in the Cloud by specialized algorithms. Some of these algorithms can detect when an elephant becomes immobile, which could be a sign of an attack by poachers. The system sends alerts to the wildlife management bodies who provide fast response.

The Bottom Line

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is no one, single killer app for IoT. Instead, any company can create the right killer app that solves the need of their specific customer, in their specific industry and vertical.

In this post, I shared a handful of examples, but we are seeing applications in all industries, from Healthcare, to Energy, to Smart Agriculture, Smart Buildings, Transportation, etc. Companies in all industries are looking to adopt IoT as the catalyst to improve their existing solutions.

So as a Product Manager, where do you start? Forget trying to chase the killer app. The first step is to have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs.

The second step is to understand how you could improve your solution by collecting and processing real-world signals and therefore, providing a better, faster, cheaper, or more innovative solution to your customer—one that provides a lot of value and they can’t wait to give you money for.

This story was originally published here.

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This is my second analyst perspective based on our IoT Benchmark Research. In the first, I discussed the business focus of IoT applications and some of the challenges organizations are facing. In this post I’ll share some of the findings about technologies used in IoT applications and the impact those technologies appear to have on the success of users’ projects.
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When Internet becomes commonplace, the world will become a smaller place where anything and everything will communicate with each other.

This is why Internet of Things app development has become such a hot topic in the recent days.

“In 2016, global spending on the IoT was approximately $737 billion. IDC predicts that by 2020, it will touch $1.29 trillion with a CAGR of 15.6 percent.”

This make us wonder how much does it cost to build an iot app? As a Digital Transformations company that has developed and launched Iot apps for healthcare, connected cars and connected manufacturing, we feel we are the best fits to answer this question.

The Multidimensional Impact of IoT App Development

There are two things to consider in IoT app development. The cost of building an iot app is also directly reliant on these two things. They are:

  1. App concept
  2. Proof of concept

The App Concept, in simple terms is the idea of the app. It should pertain to an industry, like healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, retail, automobiles, etc. The idea should be to connect and automate a process which was earlier dependent on manual processes.

Example: Collecting pressure, volume or heat readings from factory equipment

The idea should be conceived in such a manner that it can be collaborated or integrated with existing mobile applications for extensive usage and scalability.

The Proof of Concept (PoC) is like a feasibility report for your app concept. It establishes the workflow of your app and proves that it is possible to scale the concept into actual operations. Ideally, the PoC will be implemented in a real-life scenario where its commercial viability can be measured and recorded.

Example:  A manufacturing plant for automobiles that wants to automate its manufacturing workflow at each stage of operations at body shop, paint shop and dispatch.

Once you have sketched out the app concept and proof of concept you will have a precise idea of your app development requirements, like:

  • Hardware
  • Infrastructure
  • App in ioS, Android or Windows

Challenges in IoT App Development

Now comes the tough part. Unlike ordinary mobile app development, developing apps for IoT devices calls for unique set of abilities and infrastructure. The choice of hardware is the primary challenge.

The hardware should be something which has a tiny physical size and also can run for a long span of time without running out of power. The sensor must also have a low power appetite to meet the low cost expectations of an enterprise.

IoT devices primarily connect over a variety of connectivity protocols like Bluetooth, Wifi, Zigbee, RFID, Infrared, etc.

There are also other protocols followed for device identification, sensors, security and devices. The image below depicts how a typical IoT ecosystem is distributed.

Picking the right mix from the above is one of the toughest challenges in getting started with IoT development. The cost of building an IoT solution is also directly proportional to the choices made.


How Long Does it Bring an IoT to Market?


Wireframing, developing and deploying an IoT market is a hypothetical matter. There is no one answer which fits all situations. Depending on the app’s complexity, hardware used, software configurations required, the time required will vary. Some other factors which determine the time to market include:

  • Project size
  • Features involved
  • Dynamic changes 
  • New tech to be included
  • Visual Identification

Further, the cost to develop iot app will also increase or decrease with relevance to the teams involved. For a simple IoT app that can connect a Thing to a mobile app or cloud server will need a basic team consisting of:

  • 2 developers
  • 1 UI/UX designer
  • 1 QA engineer
  • 1 Project manager

For advanced IoT app development, the team requirement will include:

  • 3 to 4 developers
  • 1 UI/UX designer
  • 1 Business Analyst
  • 1 Backend developer
  • 1 Administrator
  • 1 Panel Designer
  • 1 QA engineer
  • 1 Project Manager

Overall, the cost estimation for IoT app development can be summarized as under:

  • Basic App - $3,000 to $8,000
  • Complex app - $8,000 to $15,000
  • Highly sophisticated app - $15,000 onwards

Is this a final quote for iot app development cost? Not exactly. Every mobile app, especially one designed to work with IoT will have dynamic pricing. 

 

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Since many embedded devices are deployed outside of the standard enterprise security perimeter, it is critical that security be included in the device itself. Ultimately, some combination of hardware and software may be required. Building protection into the device itself provides a critical security layer whatever options are used. Security must be considered early in the design of a new device or system.
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Predictive maintenance is the idea of fixing something before it breaks, which can save you LOTS of time and money!

“Don’t Fix It If It Ain’t Broke.” Horrible advice, especially if you run a manufacturing plant.
Any industrial business should really be focusing on predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is the idea of fixing something before it breaks. It saves businesses time, money and a lot of frustration.

So What Exactly Is Predictive Maintenance?
Predictive maintenance works by using a number of tools and techniques to monitor the condition of your machines and equipment to help you determine when and where a breakdown might occur so you can fix it before the system breaks down.
Certain components that would normally be replaced at specific intervals can be found to last much longer, by using predictive maintenance.
  • How Does It Help a Company to Use Predictive Maintenance?
  • Preventative Care: Using predictive maintenance, it’s easier to see when and where a tool or machine are beginning to wear. You can replace the part immediately.
  • Prevents Breakdowns: A total breakdown can ruin your business.
  • Eliminates Overproduction: You no longer have to hold on to excess inventory due to possible breakdowns.
  • Minimizes Costs: Replace parts and supplies only when they needed to be.
  • Maximizes Production: Hours of production are no longer lost due to unexpected breakdowns or maintenance issues.

What Predictive Maintenance Tools are Used?

There are a number of tools, supplies, and procedures that your maintenance team can apply.  The great part about these tools is that none of them will interfere with production schedules and your equipment can run at normal capacity.

Here are the tools most commonly used:

  • Vibration Analysis: A trained individual will either use a hand-held device or a monitor built into the machinery. The vibrations will pinpoint where wear is showing, on parts like shafts and bearings.
  • Sonic and Ultrasonic Analysis: Works in a similar fashion to thermal imaging.
  • Thermal Imaging: Using infrared thermal imaging, you can easily spot where the problems are. The heat from the worn component will show up as a hotspot on the imaging.
  • Oil Analysis: Allows you to check the oil for any potential leaks. This will show you what is leaking and where. Helps you check for particles and liquids.
  • Emissions Testing: Finding out what types of gasses and what else is in your effluent will tell you a lot about the current state of your equipment. It will also help you reduce environmental emissions.
  • Condition Monitoring: Using sensors, you can easily detect when things go wrong. You can also set it up to monitor everything from an outside location.

Are There Downsides?

Up front, the initial costs for implementing a predictive maintenance plan can be expensive.
It requires a high level of skill and experience to effectively monitor and accurately interpret the machines.

The initial cost of the condition monitoring equipment is also high.  However, if you have more than a few machines, it most likely will prove to be a cost-effective decision to implement a predictive maintenance plan for your manufacturing business.

For larger manufacturing companies, there has been a big move toward implementing predictive maintenance.  In fact, by 2024 predictive maintenance is expected to grow worldwide to $3.2 Billion.

Perhaps it’s time for your company to join the movement?

Implementing a new system is never something to be taken lightly. It’s important to have all the facts before making a decision.

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Top 6 Skillsets Required for IoT

IOT is a system of interrelated ‘things’ that are connected over a network and can send and receive data over it. A ‘thing’ in IOT can be thought of any man made or natural thing that can be assigned an IP address, for example, a man have a heart monitor implant or a car having sensors to alert the driver of any abnormal condition.

What do I need to have?

According to a survey, as of now we just have 300,000 IOT experts, but we might need as much as 4.5 million IT people having IOT expertise in future. IOT in a midst of explosion, but the problem is the lack of talent regarding this field. If you will have the following skill sets of IOT will surely benefit you in future.

  1. Machine Learning- expertise in this field will take you a long way. Machine learning algorithms make the machines smarter by giving them the ability to predict by recognizing the data patterns. According to an IT expert this skill is 220% more in demand in the market because employers want to harvest the large amount of information using the machines and their sensors.
  2. AutoCAD- this is software that enables you to engineer appliances and have a very strong growth as the complexity of the machinery related to IOT goes on increasing. Smart and connected things often require a whole new set of thinking principles and hence there can be a change in the design at the very last moment. AutoCAD helps in making any change even at the last moment quite efficiently and expertise in this field is said to have a weightage of 108% when compared to other skills.
  3. Security infrastructure- with the presence of such sensitive information over a network the apex concern of any employer has to be its security. Due to the complexity of the IOT devices the endpoint security gives a lot of attention. Everything that is available on a network is prone to theft and a risk of information leak, hence having a skill around security comes as a critical factor for your success in it.
  4. Data management (Big Data) - IOT has an enormous amount of data revolving and every day there is an addition to it. Companies need to collect all the data and also filter the repetitive one. The data needs to be so managed that it gives an accurate estimation of the business so that ways to growth can be taken out of that. Using artificial intelligence along with big data can help the companies get the results faster and more efficiently.
  5. Electrical engineering- the future needs an apt team up of software engineers and electrical engineers. Electrical engineers are needed to help with embedded device development for mobile applications and for radio frequency in order to get a smooth and effective mode of communication.
  6. Circuit design- connected devices are forcing the companies to adjust and adapt chip design to meet their requirements. For example- systems that require power for a longer span of time are required to have a chip that takes care of their power consumption and keep it optimized.

Conclusion

IOT is a revolution in IT that will certainly increase the number of jobs that are available in this sector. Moving with time and learning new things is the only way to proceed and become succeed.

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There is an ongoing transition from a world where having an internet connection was sufficient, to a world where ubiquitous connectivity is quickly becoming the norm. The ability to gather and transport data at high speeds from anywhere is leading to increased automation, smart-everything (vehicles, homes, appliances – you name it), and a standardization of languages and protocols that make the possibilities nearly endless.

Recently, IEEE and Eclipse Foundation completed surveys that provided a snapshot on tools, platforms and solutions being used by engineers and programmers alike to build the Internet of Things. According to Joe McKendrick for RTInsights.com, there were several notable conclusions to be drawn from the results, including the revelation that, of the 713 tech professionals surveyed, nearly 42 percent said their companies currently deploy an IoT solution, and 32 percent said they will be deploying/working with an IoT solution over the next 18 months. Additionally, RT Insights writes:

“In terms of areas of concentration, 42% report they are working with IoT-ready middleware, while 41% are concentrating on home automation solutions. Another 36% are working with industrial automation as part of their IoT efforts. One-third are working on IoT for smart cities, and the same number are building smart energy solutions.”

An interesting note from those conclusions is that 36 percent are working with industrial automation as part of their IoT efforts. Earlier this year, we predicted that Industrial IoT (IIoT) app development would outpace consumer IoT apps, and although this sample size is somewhat limited, it still bodes well for the development of the IIoT sector that is just starting to come into its own.

Among IoT developers, there has been a bit of debate over the programming languages that best suit IoT apps. There are situationally appropriate uses for the main languages, but currently, the majority of developers prefer Java and the C language. For developers, being able to build out IoT apps that can work across platforms is a giant step toward standardization. Specifically, in the Industrial IoT, being able to build apps that can function at the Edge to enable smart data collection is a becoming an unofficial mandate for any companies hoping to transition legacy OT operations into the IT/OT convergence movement taking place across critical industries.

Of course, building apps is a meaningless task if the hardware being deployed can’t host those apps, a finding that was demonstrated by the survey:

Hardware associated with IoT implementations include sensors, used at 87% of sites, along with actuators (51%), gateways and hub devices (50%), and edge node devices (36%).

This Edge functionality and sensor deployment are two pieces that are driving the adaption of IoT technology across industries that have traditionally relied on data as the main tool for decision making. However, with smarter hardware, these industries now have the opportunity to improve the efficiency of that decision making – a transformative capability in the industrial realm.

Join FreeWave’s ZumLink IPR Pilot Program!

IIoT App Development with Java, Python and C++ languagesWhat if you could…..

  • Collect, analyze and react to data in real-time at the sensor edge?
  • Reduce BIG DATA that clogs data pipelines?
  • Minimize the cost of expensive PLCs?
  • Control your sensor at the closest touchpoint?

The ZumLink IPR App Server Radio combines 900 MHz wireless telemetry with the ability to program and host 3rd party Apps for intelligent control and automation of remote sensors and devices. To participate in the pilot program, visit: http://www.freewave.com/zumlink-ipr-pilot-program/.

Pilot Program participants:

  • Receive a complimentary hardware/software Dev Kit
  • Get support from FreeWave software engineers
  • Should have App developer’s skills

Let’s discuss:

  • Use cases that would help you or your organization solve a problem
  • Problems you would like to solve
  • Developers that could build this App
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Sounds similar to jargons from the movie ‘Back to Future (1985)?

Hold yourself together. A part of the world has already started using it.

If you have a light memory turning off switches or managing home appliances, these IoT technologies are going to be your guardian angels.

Let’s find how the above ‘jargons’ will become a part of your life. Also, for the geek in you, their modus operandi is also described.

#1 Adaptive Lighting

IoT can make your home lighting system smart enough to adjust its brightness or to switch off automatically by sensing its surroundings. With IoT adaptive lighting your, indoor lighting systems will turn themselves off when there is no one in the house, or adjust the brightness according to external lighting conditions to give minimized energy consumption.

Companies like LG are taking it to forward to manufacture lighting systems that will turn on by default along with alarm clocks or to flicker when there is a telephone call or movement is sensed. Adaptive lighting relies on motion sensors and optical sensors to gather metrics about its immediate surroundings based on which the lighting systems function.

#2 Responsive Thermostats

Thermostats that auto adjust the temperature and power consumption according to external climatic conditions is a boon for any household. Smarter thermostats can learn the usage pattern of family members and alter its functions accordingly. Going a step ahead, these responsive thermostats can even connect to the Internet to receive updates about family members and change the power consumption and internal temperature control.

For instance, if you are away from your home for a very long time, the thermostat will reduce the power consumption to a bare minimum, or send alerts when the equipment malfunctions. Amazon Nest is a classic example of responsive thermostats. They use heat and climate sensors to decide at what optimum temperature the thermostat must run for best performance.

#3 Autonomous Security Systems

IoT will foster a breed of homes and offices where physical keys, access cards or even tokens will never be needed. Sensor based security systems can be programmed for allowing entry, locking or alerts in case of a break in. Advanced IoT applications also allow integrate your home security system for communicating with your smartphones. These autonomous security systems will work based on movement sensors or proximity sensors.

#4 Connected Appliances

How many times have you missed turning off the oven? Or the washing machine? Or the coffee machine and the endless list of other home appliances? With the oncoming wave of IoT, connected appliances will empower homeowners to control their entire suite of home appliances using their smartphone or remote controls.

Two of the classic examples of connected appliances are: Smarter’s WiFi coffee machine that brews fresh coffee even when you are lazing around or the Electrolux CombiSteam Oven that can be controlled anywhere using your smartphone.

#5 Surface Remote Controls

Surface remote controls can turn any surface (like a desk, wall, floor, etc.) into a remote control. Surface remote controls allow users to control several domestic settings like lighting, control connected appliances, open/close doors, switch on/off TV, wifi, music system, etc.

Image source: knocki

These devices are equipped with programmed sensors which can communicate with other IoT devices to do desired actions. Surface remote controls can bring about a revolutionary level of comfort not just in homes, but also offices, factory floors and public spaces. Knocki is one such device that can turn any surface into a remote control.

That brings us to the conclusion. Be informed that this is just a tip of the iceberg. IoT is an ocean of opportunities and these five hints at how homes of the future will look and function like.

Contus, the digital transformations company is creating a whole new breed of IoT connected systems under its ambit of services titled Contus Connect.

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