While IoT has become more of a reality than just an industrial buzzword, what made it impactful among the masses is its ability to build “Smart” solutions.
The IoT based home automation or smart homes endow us with more security, better control of our assets, and cost savings through judicious and efficient use of energy resources such as water & electricity, and real time monitoring.
The IoT enabled smart home solutions are of great help in preventing property damage through theft, water leakage or flood, events of fire break out – to name a few.
The Basics/Fundamentals of an IoT smart home solution
While a smart home application consists of a set of sensors, gateways, networking channels, cloud framework and web-dashboard and/or a mobile app ; it is the sensor that adds life to an IoT system by sensing the all important data (in the form of temperature, proximity & more).
IoT Sensors: The Cool Guys in the Town
IoT sensors are one of the coolest inventions in the modern times after internet.
Not only because IoTsensors are:
- Easy to set up/install
- Easy fault detection
- No messy ‘wired’ connections and hence offer advantages of better mobility and management.
But, because the sensors are the ones that render your smart home solution ‘smart’. IoT sensors are IP bases and hence can be connected to the internet.
IoT Sensor nodes sense and capture the real time data from your home appliances and the surroundings with the help of sensory nodes and send it to the cloud backend via the IoT Gateway Device.
Accuracy of the information communicated by the sensors is very important for a robust smart home solution.
Any delay or inaccuracy (due to IoT Sensor Nodes) in sensing the ambient information can be at time catastrophic; for example if a fire breaks out and the sensors fail to detect it, it is needless to say how costly it can prove to be.
Types of IoT Sensors for Smart Home Solutions
Today, various versions of Smart Home Solutions are available in the market with high end sensor technologies and advanced features for added comfort and security.
But at the core, every smart home solution application comprises of basic sensors that are capable of detecting changes in the ambient data based on various stimuli such as temperature, smoke, motion etc.
Most sensors come in two varieties:
- those that are in direct contact with the physical objects to sense any fluctuation, and
- those that are remotely connected to the objects
Let us look at some of the most commonly used smart home sensors:
- Temperature Sensors: Temperature sensors are capable of detecting any fluctuations of temperature in their surroundings
The information from these temperature sensors are used by the a home automation solution regulation of the temperature within the rooms to a desired level, to perform certain actions such as turning on the fans and air conditioners, rolling down the curtains etc. based on the user’s request.
Some of the commonly used temperature sensors in smart home solutions are MSP430 series from Texas Instruments (TI), LM35 from TI, Maxim Integrated DS18B20and more.
- Humidity Sensors: Humidity sensors are a great way to keep in check the humidity levels. The ideal humid level within homes should range between30 percent and50 percent.
If the moisture level goes below or above this range, it leads to allergy, dryness of the skin or at higher levels a feeling of heaviness and air becomes suffocating.
Many of the smart thermostats now come integrated with humidity sensors to detect any change in the moisture level.
These humidity sensors help in maintaining the air quality and alert you about presence of allergens, mold growth etc. HTU21D from TE Connectivity, Honeywell Humidicon™HIH6100 series and NPA-700 Amphenol Advanced Sensors are the most commonly used humidity sensors in modern smart home solutions.
- Optic/ Light Sensors: Optic sensors are great way to detect the ambient light levels. These sensors are useful in measuring the external light levels and accordingly switching on/off of the lights to conserve energy.
These IoT sensors can also be used for controlling all the lighting installations within your homes – turn them on/off or change their brightness as and when required. Some of the commonly used optical sensors are Adafruit TSL2591 and Addicore BH1750.
- Fire/Smoke sensors: When it comes to ensuring safety of people and property when a fire breaks out, the timing of alert is very crucial.
It is here that importance of fire/ smoke sensors comes into light. Usually, smart homes come with CO (carbon monoxide) detector that alert you whenever there is unusually high level of CO inside the building. The Maxim Integrated MAX30105 is a widely used sensor for fire detection.
- Proximity/Motion Sensors: The motion sensors are crucial for ensuring safety of your home and property especially when you are not present at your homes.
These IoT sensors can alert you of any suspicious activity inside or around your home. These sensors sense any motion or vibration and can respond to 2D or 3D gesture, UV Index, or heart rate. Some commonly used motion sensors are Si114x and Si1102 from the Silicon Labs.
There are even more variations of IoT sensors such as pressure/gas sensors, sound detectors, sensors to detect water levels – that are installed in smart homes these days for added security and safety of your dear ones as well as you valuable properties.
Thus, the power of IoT technology to make sense out of ‘sensor ‘data and to etch out smarter and comprehensive solutions is already transforming the world. The design and development of an IoT sensor node based on standard protocols is a critical factor in deciding the success and efficiency of the IoT implementations. Unless the data sent by the sensors is not accurate or timely, there is no point in having a high-end and extensive IoT setup.
Here's Wishing you a Very Happy, Smart, and Innovative New Year!
Internet of Things (IoT) has been revolutionizing the world with its millions of innovations. In 2017 IoT reached its milestone by creating several break-throughs with significant technological advancements. All of these technologies, products, and solutions saw the limelight at the world's largest and the most powerful technology event, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 at Las Vegas, a Catalyst for Innovations.
The vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to transform the way individual lives, work and communicates with one another. These innovations are meant to simplify by offering products and solutions that are simple, affordable, easy to use, efficient and productive for building a Smart, Safe and Connected world.
With these above IoT goals in mind, I am personally impressed to highlight some of these mind-boggling innovative products and solutions that was unveiled last week at the CES 2018.
1. Forever Batteries: The battery maker Ossia launched its AA-sized batteries that suck power out of the air using its IP technology called Cota. Ossia has developed a means of wireless power transmission which Ossia claims can keep the AA battery charged up or provide power to a smartphone that either incorporates Cota's technology natively or uses specific charging case. However, Ossia hasn't revealed much about the working of their Cota technology. This irreplaceable battery will eliminate the spending expenditure 'Forever'.
2. Byton's $45,000 Gadgeted Electric Smart Car: Chinese Start-up unveiled its first and futuristic real smart electric car. The name refers to 'Bytes on Wheels.' Former BMW and Apple Engineers created it. It has the hardware on board to enable full self-driving mode. The vision behind Byton is to be the company to bring to the market the first real 'Smart' car. Inside the car, the drivers and passengers can interact with the huge display panel. Byton aims to merge an individual's life outside the car with the experience inside the vehicle. Everything will be controlled via the touch, and certain aspects will be controlled via voice (voice recognition by Amazon's Alexa) and gesture control. The key is customisation. When the car is in drive mode, specific features will be disabled. It will not allow watching videos for instance. Byton aims to build a platform where, when there is autonomous driving all occupants of the car including the driver can interact. Some of the features of Byton will be fully-disabled until we live in a world of fully autonomous driving. Fierce competition to Tesla and from my perspective it is redefining life. But the one challenge that might stump Byton is the lack of fast-charging stations. Another major competitor to watch for will be Fisker's EMotion a luxury smart autonomous sports sedan. Although Fisker is not a competition concerning the price factor; however, is a competitor to watch for its technology and new solid-state battery which they filed for a patent. The battery is expected to provide the Electric Vehicles with a range of over 500 miles on a single charge and will take only one minute for recharging.
3. Razer's SmartPhone Laptop - Project Linda: Razer brings you a disruption in the world of gaming with its Project Linda which is a concept of ultraportable laptop design powered by the Android-based Razer Phone. The docked phone serves as an intelligent touchpad, bridging the gap between handheld entertainment and laptop convenience. The Razer Phone's display, performance, and dual front-firing speakers combine seamlessly with Linda's keyboard, larger screen, and battery to provide ultimate mobile hybrid setup for creativity, gaming, and productivity. Although the Project Linda feels like a product from a Sci-fi world or a future that might not see the daylights after the CES 2018. However, the prototypes like a concept car for gadgets is both sensational and aspirational. Razer hasn't confirmed if it plans to make the smartphone project Linda for a go-to-market next year.
4. Google Voice Assistant: Google creates a whirlwind at the CES 2018 with its Voice Assistants and predicts to dominate the future homes. Lilian Rincon, Google director of product management, reckons customers making their home “smart” by using the Assistant to turn on lights, boil the kettle and do other tasks could save 15 minutes from their morning routine. Google's Voice Assistant is eroding the well established Amazon's Alexa, a fierce competitor for its voice assistant. Google has already discussed partnerships with various Industry verticals for integrating their Voice Assistant in realizing the goal of "Smart and Connected World." In my opinion, I see this as the most significant breakthrough as Google is not charging the end-user but is working with all its third-party vendors to integrate the voice assistant into their products and solutions. Google showed off a plethora of new Voice Assistant-enabled devices from companies like Lenovo, Sony and LG, featuring “smart displays” that displays information like the schedules, things-to-do, cooking recipes, and other bits of visual accoutrement whenever we ask the Assistant for something. Also, you'll find Assistant integration inside more televisions, headphones — even in new cars, thanks to Android Auto, which is already available in more than 400 car models. The Assistant integration eliminates the need for having an independent device and allows you to manage everything from your one device - 'The SmartPhone.'
5. Smart Hearing-Aids EARGO Max: Technology for healthcare and especially the elderly is something I am very much interested though tech for elderly-care is still a growing area. The ageing population is a growing business opportunity, and EARGO Max might be the airpods of hearing aids. The hearing-aids have a collection of useful features, the most stand-out of which is a complete lack of need for expensive replaceable batteries. The set of hearing aids includes Dynamic Noise Reduction, with Eargo tech which allows the devices to vary noise reduction based on environment. When the environment gets louder, noise reduction ramps up. These devices also change based on user preference. The "Flexi Fibers" hold the hearing aids in place, while the domes “increase the amount of ambient bass sounds and eliminate feedback. I understand very well how useful and life-changing these features are since my mother suffers from major hearing loss and will benefit her tremendously. However, the one road-block I see is the cost factor. Currently, Eargo Max is priced at $2,500 which I believe is quite too high and defeats the purpose of providing cost-effective and affordable products. Hoping to see the Industry ramping up to address this gap.
To summarize, CES 2018 was a curtain raiser for millions of products, solutions, and technologies which created hope for a future that is beyond imagination. In my opinion, there is still a long way for the Industry stakeholders to meet the primary objectives of IoT which will redefine this entire universe. The one vertical which has gone mainstream is the Autonomous Vehicles or the Self-driving cars. The major tech giants such as Cisco, Nvidia, Intel, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Apple, GM, Toyota, and many others made announcements focusing their investments in this sector.
Healthcare is undeniably one of the most important industries. The quality of medical treatment and patient care directly impact the quality of life. The integration of innovative technological solutions in the domain brings workflow automation, patient treatment, operation, and service improvement.
IoT plays a huge role in the healthcare. By 2020 the global IoT healthcare market is predicted to reach $163.24 billion. At the moment, 60% of healthcare providers have already adopted IoT applications and successfully use them in their work.
According to Aruba Networks research, healthcare organizations implement IoT applications mainly for patient monitoring and maintenance (73%) and remote operation and control (50%).
There is a wide range of IoT medical solutions effectively used by healthcare providers: wearables, smart pills, smart beds, biosensors, robots, glucose measurement devices, equipment monitoring devices, remote monitoring systems, RTHS (Real-time Health Systems), and more.
The connected hospital
There is a variety of IoT use cases for hospitals to integrate and make the environment totally connected. RFID and IoT-enabled devices, IoT-enabled assets and traditional IoT cross-industry applications including predictive maintenance of hospital assets, connected equipment, gathering real-time data, and tracking of healthcare devices. Going deeper there is robotics for routine tasks and complex operations.
Concerning examples, monitoring of medical equipment allows to track its “health”, predict, when some part will need replacement, alert about breaks, and automatically order repairs when required.
Beacons and motion sensors enable healthcare providers to track medical equipment, employees, and even patients in real-time, resulting in the improvement of patient care, right estimations of staff work efficiency and patient health status, and a lot more.
Speaking of connected patients, IoT technology can be successfully used for sending them automatic reminders about taking medication, health check-ups, and appointments with mobile applications. Thus, connected IoT hospitals result in more advanced data, enhanced patient treatment, cost savings, and workflow automation.
Mobile app technology is brimming with new innovations and has been the center of attention for many years. The apps have made a great contribution to help the mobile industry and facilitate the business world. The ever-growing marketing and modern tech makes it difficult to shine among your competitors.
2017 turned out to be a phenomenal year with great advancements for the app company. Mobile apps effectively create brand identity, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales for marketing. The professionals from the leading Mobile app development company in Virginia realized that mobile apps are becoming more of a necessity rather than an optional investment. Small businesses are gearing up to adopt this marketing strategy to flourish in the market. If you want to step up your mobile app marketing game then you need to take out time to get your busy routine to get familiar with.
Top trends you should follow in 2018
1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Apps
Technology is all set to make smartphone devices even smarter in 2018. We saw augmented reality apps in the previous year, for example, Pokémon Go. This was a valuable addition to the AR world which gained a lot of recognition. A lot more is expected to come this year and it’s expected that the AR and VR trends will transform in 2018 and dominate many more sectors. The app world will witness the AR/VR tech to expand and excel in numerous sectors other than games and fun. The Augmented Reality is expected to evolve in the retail, manufacturing, healthcare, engineering, and many other industries.
2. Cloud based App Development
With the increased usage of cloud technology, mobile developers are aiming to design cloud driven apps. This is a simple and easy way to take out data from the mobile without affecting the internal memory of the phone. There are many other benefits too such as increased productivity and collaboration, better-streamlined operations, reduced hosting and equipment cost etc. if you’re looking ways to enhance your mobile app visibility then you should integrate cloud based technology in your development strategy.
Wearables and smart watches have introduced new technology in the market. Wearables are expected to be the next best thing in the year 2018. Wearables consist of both features, being necessary and being stylish at the same time. The adoption of wearables will emerge in the manufacturing and healthcare industry. With Apple, Google, and Samsung watches already existing it’s expected that their demand will grow rapidly in 2018.
4. Internet of thing (IoT)
The Internet of things technology is a new trending technology in both mobile and web development field. In the previous year we noticed the idea of IoT emerging in the home, healthcare, education industry. It will continue to evolve in this year and we’ll get to see some advanced tech in business domain, day to day lifestyle, and many other domains.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is modifying the way we look at technology. It has enabled some exciting features in healthcare apps, behavioral targeting etc. In addition, it has enabled the use of Chatbots in mobile apps. Chatbots are tools that can encourage human conversation. There are very few apps that have integrated this tech in their mobile apps, we will definitely get to see this in the coming year.
Blockchain has received a lot of recognition than any other tech. this year we will witness apps with built-in security features. A blockchain is a digitized, share, irreversible ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It allows the market participants to keep a record of all the transactions in blocks, none of which can be changed without changing the blocks. A lot of apps will implement security features within to secure the participant’s transactions.
7. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated mobile pages is yet another trend that is going to have a great impact on the mobile app development industry. The pages are a great way to improve the loading time of the web page in mobile devices. This will reduce the bounce rate and increase the visitors on the site.
8. Improved security
Mobile security is one of the primary concern of the mobile app developers. Apps build with built-in security make a huge difference, many people don’t know the real importance until they face any incident. Since smartphones have all the confidential data stored, the developers are paying heed in implementing security in the apps. More and more apps will get secured with secret features.
The year 2018 will be filled with advanced tech and new innovations. The year will grow economically in every business sector. On an ending note, these are the key tips to get successful in this year and in the future. Make sure you stay updated with all the latest trends and implement them according to shine out among the competitors.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting more and more devices with each passing day, it is expected that by the year 2020, the number of IoT devices will reach around 24 billion out there in the world.
Now, this growth is certainly going to benefit the people in more than many ways and will hugely transform how people execute day-to-day tasks & a lot of other activities. As we live in the times when “impressions” are crucial for a person’s status, hence it will be cool to have a smart-home that will draw the attention of your visitors & guests and certainly make you the talk of the town. Meanwhile, among its significant benefits, one is the smart lighting that will actually be able to largely reduce the energy consumption, thus resulting in lowering down the electricity bill.
With this new technology, linking up connected cars with smart city infrastructure is possible, thus establishing a totally different ecosystem for the car drivers, who until now are accustomed to the conventional way of covering the distance from Area A to Area B. Also, there are connected healthcare devices at the disposal giving people a fuller and deeper look at their own health. So, what more can we ask for?
But these tons of benefits certainly invite some sort of risks and security issues and this is what we will be discussing here today.
Do you know that increased numbers of connected devices are giving cybercriminals and hackers more entry points? And why just security issues, as average customers, are genuinely sharing their concerns over their privacy, with so much of consumer life being connected.
IoT – What makes it vulnerable to security aspect?
IoT is a growth sector, and besides that, it is also a market for buyers and investors, and where consumers are willing to grab the best-possible benefit at a little amount. Quite certainly, this kind of environment encourages vendors & manufactures to economize on money, effort, time and material, hence they enroll into the cheapest ways, hastening to put their services and products out there into the money stream.
This sends a direct invitation to practices, like usage of software code and generic components, access codes, default passwords, vendor-specific PIN numbers. All of this opens a path for an ecosystem that has weak security and exploitable vulnerabilities.
A study carried on by Ponemon Institute and IBM security suggest that around 80% enterprises usually do not test their IoT apps, hence making them vulnerable from a security perspective.
Here we have categorized various areas of IoT security vulnerability that are the most common:
Vulnerable to Hacking: According to the researchers, hackers were successful in hacking these real IoT devices with enough energy and time, within a limited time. Like, a research team at Michigan University and Microsoft discovered a lot of gaps in the security of Samsung’s Smart Things smart-home platform. Unfortunately, the methods didn’t appear complex at all.
Poor On-board Web Interface: There is an onboard web server for most of the IoT devices and it does the job of hosting a web app used in device management. Now, in case, any loopholes found in the underlying code of the web apps and web servers, then that certainly makes the device vulnerable to get attacked – maybe in a remote manner owing to its connectivity to the internet.
Weak mobile security: Weak security on mobile app development often makes the IoT devices vulnerable from a security point of view. The biggest problem lies in the fact that data is being stored on mobile applications. Even though the data that is saved on iOS is less risky as compared to Android app development, still to storage of sensitive data and information on a mobile device is never considered ideal. Like, what if a worker ends up losing a smartphone which contained valuable data in it, that too with no backup.
Vulnerable Cloud & Mobile Management Platforms: As there are a huge number of IoT devices that connect to wireless and cloud mobile networks, hence the poor security and exploitable code in the software & infrastructure, which manages these platforms, has also become a major concern. To address these issues there are management platforms embedded on these devices, but that works only to a certain extent, with there being a risk, these interfaces are not being patched or updated on a regular note.
Concerns regarding Privacy & Data Transfer: Since IoT device comes with a constant flow of information regarding the device and its environment, it is not obvious that it will be delivered to the users. Like, depending on the device and its application, there could be financial, geographic and personal information. In case, there is poor or say no encryption at all on these data streams, then this kind of information becomes vulnerable to be used by third parties, hackers, or maybe eavesdroppers.
Often the companies are not prepared: As per AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report, around 5,000 companies were surveyed across the world and it was found that 85% of them are about to or are planning on a deployment of IoT devices. Still, there are just 10% of companies, which as per the survey, are confident about security infrastructure attuned to devices against hackers.
Weak Authentication protocols: Often it happens that in the manner devices speak to their controllers and each other links them to an open channel. The reason could be the mechanisms used for authorization or authentications of legitimate communications. Perhaps insecure default device settings are deployed automatically, about which users are unaware, or maybe not given the opportunity to reconfigure weak security settings for themselves.
To stay realistic about IoT security risks is the key to combat this problem
Today more and more security researchers are focusing on the IoT, with few of their researchers posing kind of a theoretical risk instead of an actual one – at least for now. Like, one researcher came across this concept where smart lighting was used to filtrate data by compromising an internal network. Now is it possible getting a light in a room fluctuate enough such that it is able to transmit data? It is very doable in the test environment, whereas in the real world it is yet to be proven.
Even though more and more security researchers today are focusing on uncovering a range of IoT security concerns, but Deral Heiland, a veteran penetration tester, stresses the significance of having a realistic perspective. Sharing his experience, he said people keep asking him what to do with all these vulnerabilities that are coming out. His answer to them is quite logical. He states these vulnerabilities are being uncovered and the researchers and testers are making efforts to find a solution in order to combat such situations. This says it all, doesn’t it?
A few days before Christmas holidays, I received an email from a customer that said “... I want to tell you that I have really appreciated your help, your professional approach and your “human touch”: they are as important as knowledge is …”.
Moved by the Christmas spirit that surround us these days, made me change my priorities of publishing the next articles and I decided to dedicate a few lines to what I consider a very important issue: What is the human touch value of the CEOs in the IoT?
I do not intend to convert this article into an analysis of the types of CEOs, or a list of the best CEOs of IoT companies (for that there will be time).
My objective today is in making IoT´s CEOs aware, especially those of large multinationals, of their responsibility to print a human touch on their actions and decisions. Not only will the stability and quality of work of millions of people depend on them, but also the conservation of our planet in favourable conditions for future generations.
The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to save the World
Global Warming is very real. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere. Its effects are already so visible that no one doubts its catastrophic consequences.
We know that the IoT can help in many ways to monitor and control Global Warning, and there are many great stories of how companies are making use of IoT technology to help save water, money … and the planet.
In the article “3 ways businesses can use the internet of things to save the environment“, Jayraj Nair - Global Head of IoT, Vice President Wipro-, suggest a few steps that business leaders could take to lessen the effects of these barriers and set their companies on the right path to become champions of a more sustainable and connected future.
1. Emphasize digital citizenship and individual responsibility
2. Share knowledge and resources across departments
3. Collaborate to create guidelines for tech development
We should reward those IoT´s CEOs who follow the slogan “ We develop the IoT that Save the World!..
The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to build ethic AI
When I wrote “Internet of Things – Kings and Servants” I gave great importance to the CEOs visionaries of the companies that were destined to change the world of the 21st century. CEOs like Sundar Pichai (Google) or Satya Nadella (Microsoft) have been responsible from conceptual shift for their companies, moving from “mobile strategy” to “cloud and artificial intelligence”.
Could we avoid psychopath and sociopath robots? CEOs of the Tech Giants companies need to influence in developers of AI the human touch. We do not want to live with fear surrounding by not ethic AI machines and robots.
IoT´s CEOs involved in Artificial Intelligence must believe that machines and robots will help us to be better people. They need to boost the challenge in our future society and make sure that their Robots and Artificial Intelligence not only pursue productivity and profit but also other values eg justice, opportunity, freedom, compassion.
The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to ensure democracy
We cannot conceive democracy today without the free use of technology. Technology, on the other hand, that is more difficult to control by citizens. Is it possible to democratize the technology, not only the Internet of Things? Could we avoid that a handful of companies come to dominate the Technology? and therefore our Democracies.
The temptation of the power is great in the IoT´s CEOs of the companies that manipulate huge amount of data of the people, of the intelligent devices at their whim.
I thought at some point that the Countries could prevent the creation of these monsters, but their powers already transcend the States. I fear that the fight of egos, in the heights in which these CEOs live, give priority to the Highlander philosophy "Only one can be left!" And drag the dormant democracies for their technology into the vacuum of complacency.
Today more than ever, we need CEOs with a human touch that ensures the health of our democracies.
The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to ensure equality of job opportunities
Which IoT companies have a culture that allow dissent between the CEOs and the employees? IoT´s CEOs need to understand that people are not going to do what they want them to do unless I engender equal commitment and passion on their part.
I have worked for many years in different technology companies, and I have regrettably proved that their business cultures, far from differentiating themselves, are more and more similar.
We all know cases of companies, including those of IoT, that abuse salaries of interns or inexperienced employees, but the problem of overqualification when applying to a new job is no less true. Many of us have heard numerous times: Sorry, you are overqualified. Not sure I can manage you.
I am convinced that a human touch on the part of the CEOs would help to correct these endemic problems of the current business culture. What are you waiting for?
The Human touch of CEOs to ensure a dignified life for the elderly
I was wondering a few years ago with the Smart Cities hype, How will be our life as retired workers in the Smart Cities we are building?.
In light of what I'm seeing, there are currently not many IoT´s CEOs that are worrying about the elderly. Of course, because, they consume less, they produce less, they do not understand the technology created for millennials or the digital native, the generations that is going to change the world.
Considering that all IoT´s CEOs, or at least that's what I want, will also be older people, a human touch in the investment of technology for the elderly will now make their lives more dignified in a few years.
In a time where digital premium on the physical, where business results are required not every quarter, but every day, in a time of robots, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality it is not easy to be a CEO with human touch. But to save the World, to make sure we build ethical AI, to ensure democracy in the technology, to ensure equality of job opportunities, to ensure a dignified life for the elderly, we need their human touch.
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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.
- Machines perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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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