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Case Studies (232)

“In memory of my brother Juan”

I have not intended to abuse of one more time of a shocking headline in IoT but the fact is that per Gartner´s 2016 Hype Curve” the Internet of Things (IoT) had falling into the dreaded Trough of Disillusionment and the Powerful analyst firm decided to not mention IoT anymore in 2017. Also, corroborated for many pessimistic articles of IoT project failures .

So it is our responsibility as IoT influencers to continue evangelizing about how the “The Internet of Things will Change our World”.

In the article “The Internet of Things… Are We There Yet?” , Cees Links points out that “The IoT is suffering today from a lack of understanding of its true value proposition and even if we are currently in the Valley of Disillusionment, we should not be distracted. We still have a lot to learn but we are in the middle of shaping a better world for the next generation”.

IoT 1.0 or the time of the Systems

It seems prehistoric. I'm talking about the world of Telemetry, Machine to Machine, Industrial Control Systems (PLCs, SCADAs, HMI,..) . But IoT 1.0 is still the one that holds the largest number of devices connected so far. Simple solutions for departmental, very controlled business needs, designed without security as a priority and not easy to integrate and of course with the objective of create new business models.

One interesting outgrowth was the emergence of the “IoT engineer” version 1.0. This was an embedded engineer, cloud SW developer, mobile app developer, or networking specialist that has gained knowledge and skills in one or more of the other disciplines within IoT.

IoT 2.0 or the time of the Platforms

Scott Nelson and Paul Metaxatos published an article in Harvard Business Review on the importance of design in creating value in the next phase of the Internet of things (IoT). IoT 2.0 was the natural next step in the technology adoption curve and brought in a new wave of IoT-facilitated solutions that still have not demonstrated a higher rate of adoption and return on investment.

Many companies have been able to check during the last three years that IoT projects are complex and adoption of the technology can be harder because of the lack of standards, security issues and competitive and fragmented nature of the IoT ecosystem.

See below a list of characteristics and judge yourself what still missing to overcome IoT2.0:

IoT 2.0

  • Standards are respected
  • Separation of content and design
  • Machine Content syndication
  • A simple programming language for non-intelligent machines
  • A programming language for intelligent machines
  • Network of Social Machines
  • Machines responsible for the management and security of its information
  • Hierarchy of Machines (APIs)
  • Search Engine - Facilitate positioning with specific URLs for machines

In Design Elements for the Internet of Things 2.0 you will find some design elements that had been introduced to actually make things intelligent and not just “Smart.”

But above all,  the IoT 2.0 has been a mediatic pulse between IoT Platforms and Artificial Intelligence.

New breed of IoT 2.0 engineers, vendors, product managers, developers, analysts,… are stripping the daisy. Take a look at  “IoT Generalist vs IoT Specialist, Who will survive to the era of Robots? “  if you did not read yet.

IoT 3.0 or the time of Business Optimization

In Salesforce blog, we can find some of the IoT 1.0 and 2.0 limitations. The writer of the article indicates: “Much of the IoT technology available today does not make it easy to add value or generate ROI. To date, most IoT technology has been focused on networking devices together (IoT 1.0) or analyzing data that is streaming from those networked devices (IoT 2.0).
Both IoT 1.0 and IoT 2.0 are critical for a business to succeed in the connected world, because they provide the foundational layer for how a business collects and analyze their data. However, to provide true returns on IoT investment you have to be able to connect all of those analyzed and networked devices back to business value
. “

For Salesforce obviously, the IoT 3.0 - is related with “The connected customer experience. But the focus on almost every company working with IoT today is how its use IoT data to improve business processes or change business models.

By enriching device/objects data in near real time with context data, companies have a very powerful set of data from which they can build business rules to generate actions and measurable outcomes.  Many examples of highly interesting rules could be created with this new rich data set.

Also in  “Internet of Things 3.0 scaled by Robotic Process Automation (RPA)”  the author explain how The Internet of Things and RPA can function together and examine the ways in which RPA and the Internet of Things can foster collaborative, efficient business processes.

IoT 3.0 is the bridge from things to humans, whether they be your customers, partners, suppliers, or employees to drive measurable outcomes and ROI.

IoT 4.0 or the time of the Social IoT

We have seen how the different stages of IoT have been providing an increasing degree of intelligence to the machines. The technology allowed move enterprises from an experience that consisted of a simple monitoring and remote control of machines to an integration of the outcomes of these machines into enterprise processes  that has allow create new business models.

IoT 4.0, which is already emerging, will add machine learning and artificial capabilities to the value chain to make experiences truly seamless and part of everyday life.

The sheer volume of data from IOT 3.0 will be a rich source to really power IoT 4.0, using AI to make the connected chain truly intelligent.

Most of the robots, machines, equipment, devices and countless objects that have been designed, built and sold to the heat of the IoT have focused the functional and technical requirements in reducing the costs of connectivity, increase battery life, provide end security (here not so much) and usability, but not in the capacity of self-learning or provide artificial intelligence.

But this time will be soon over, and intelligent machines (I am not thinking in 50 billion simple devices) but millions of let call by now “Any kind of purpose Robots or AKPR“ will be a reality, And these AKP Robots will need their own social networks.

The fear of intelligent machines persists in our collective memory and companies like Facebook forced to shut down it AI project after it invents its own language they couldn’t understand.! But we can not stop evolution and AKPR Robots are the next step in the evolution of Industrial or home robots.

I'm not the only one thinking about social machines. The Social Internet of Things (SIoT) organization has defined SIOT as an IoT where things are capable of establishing social relationships with other objects, autonomously with respect to humans.

The objectives being pursued by the Social Internet of Things (SIoT) paradigm are clear: to keep separate the two levels of people and things; to allow objects to have their own social networks; to allow humans to impose rules to protect their privacy and only access the result of autonomous inter-object interactions occurring on the objects’ social network.
In their vision, smart objects (even though extremely intelligent) will not make a difference, but social objects will make it!

Only when we decide to turn Smart Objects into Social Objects the Internet of Things will boost its economic and social value

The Internet of Things IoT 4.0 or Social Internet of Things need agnostic networks and protocols that guarantee performance, scalability or security. The Social Objects must be able to interoperate among the IoT Cloud Platforms.

There is no doubt that many applications and services should in the future be associated with groups of objects, whose individuality will be 'sacrificed' to the overall interest of providing services to users.

We need to think in new scenarios where interactions among social objects assume the shape of social interactions that mimic the four "elementary relational models" observed in human behaviour.

It will not be easy to reach the IoT 4.0 level. The interests of corporations, governments inefficiencies, lack of citizen preparation and other short-term factors to which our society is subjected will delay the adoption of the Social Internet of Things.

Key Takeaways

We are very far of IoT 4.0. Today most objects are unconnected, only a few connected objects are intelligent, enterprises continue working on silos, governments services are inefficient, interoperability is a chimera, robots do not have their protocols and social networks, humans are still limiting the promises of IoT.

The Internet of Things promises to be a source of great benefits to our lives but it will definitely take more time than expected.

Only when we decide to turn Smart Objects into Social Objects the Internet of Things will boost its economic and social value.

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Interview: The Rise of LoRa

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Vivek Mohan, director for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group. I originally inquired about a piece I was working on around IoT and agriculture. (I love stories about IoT and agriculture. We have several takes on it here, here and here.) Turns out they had an announcement with Chipsafer whereby cattle tags now allow ranchers to monitor vital signs and reduce cattle theft. While we discussed innovations in ranching, we also talked about the rapid growth of LoRA, a long range, low power wireless platform for building IoT networks.

LoRa has gone from inception in 2013 to over 500 members in the LoRa Alliance in 2017. What is driving so much interest in LoRa?

Clearly there was a market need for a disruptive technology, such as Semtech’s LoRa® devices and radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology), guided by a collaborative, open industry alliance which was not being addressed by existing solutions. LoRa Technology’s feature set allows for expansion and adoption at a price point that works for most consumers, be it a cattle rancher in Brazil or a shipping giant in the United States. LoRa Technology covers a wide area, requires little to no maintenance, costs less to deploy, and costs less to maintain in service.

Before LoRa, what options were there for companies and what are the other options today?

Before LoRa, the main options were Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular networks and many proprietary implementations. Those technologies don’t work best for the growth of IoT anymore and certainly don’t address LPWAN the way that LoRa does, given their network and cost limitations. LoRa Technology’s purpose is to drive the growth of IoT by making devices with a powerful feature set, making it easy to deploy and is financially viable to benefit consumers and manufacturers.

What sectors are best suited for LoRa?

LoRa Technology has many applications, including supply chain & logistics, smart cities, smart buildings and homes, agriculture, metering, environmental safety, and industrial. With its key three features – low-power, low-cost and an open interoperable standard – LoRa is desirable for any industry that want to develop an IoT solution.

You recently announced with Chipsafer that you’ve conducted three pilot programs for its cattle management solutions in Namibia, Kenya, and Luxembourg. What was that all about?

Chipsafer used LoRa-enabled devices to tag cattle to monitor their location and vital signs, and used LoRaWAN-based gateways to create a network for the ranchers. Chipsafer was able to bring IoT and valuable data to ranchers in remote locations. Chipsafer is now expanding its pilot program to Brazil and Uruguay, as well as other locations around the globe. This has a lot of practical benefits previously not available to cattle ranchers around the world and improves quality and safety for consumers.

What’s next for the LoRa standard?

The LoRa Alliance membership is growing and LoRaWAN networks are expanding constantly. Actility and LORIOT were part of LoRaWAN network expansions in China and Mexico, respectively. The LoRaWan standard gives users, developers and businesses freedom to use IoT in the ways that they need. 

What do you think the most pressing challenges are when it comes to IoT?

The most pressing challenges for IoT are: interoperability of various networks as the market is still fragmented with many technology platforms, security for billions of sensors and the data they produce, providing carrier grade quality, and reliability at consumer price points as these sensors will last for multiple years and in some cases may be hard to reach/replace. These challenges are tied together because adoption will slow down if IoT options are not available at accessible prices, and the devices will not be economically-feasible if there is little adoption. This is why the LoRa Alliance is so important; we are more than 500 members developing devices, technologies and applications under the same set of guidelines, with the same purpose of making the Internet of Things possible.

What excites you most about the future of IoT? Any examples you can give of applications LoRa will enable in the near future?

It is the seemingly endless number of applications people are finding for IoT. IoT is modernizing industries that were in dire need of an update, and promoting the importance of data intelligence across all sectors. More and more devices and applications come out every day it seems, and that is very exciting for Semtech to see. In the near future we will see more solutions leveraging artificial intelligence and Cloud computing to realize the full potential of IoT.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Our goal with LoRa is to make IoT accessible to everyone in every sector, and provide the highest quality products and service at a price that makes adoption possible. The LoRa Alliance continues to grow and we are committed to establishing a strong IoT network that our customers can leverage to build cutting-edge IoT applications.

 

*Semtech, the Semtech logo, and LoRa are registered trademarks or service marks, and LoRaWAN is a trademark or service mark, of Semtech Corporation or its affiliates.

 

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SCADA, Clustering, Value and Amara's Law

Here is the latest edition of the IoT Central Digest. Don’t forget, encourage your friends and colleagues to be a part of our community. Forward this to them. They can join IoT Central here. You can contribute here

SCADA vs IoT: the role of SCADA systems in Manufacturing's Industry 4.0

Posted by Samuel Walton

We are all witnesses to the sustained rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the demand to ‘digitise’ within Industry 4.0. Yet legitimate SCADA-based questions, specifically in relation to IoT appear ignored, or at least unanswered. So we ask, “will IoT replace SCADA?” and “can the two concepts be integrated?” SCADA and Distributed Control Systems (DCS) are clearly prevalent automation standards, but as a new tidal wave of data from the IoT surfaces, what role will they play in the factory of the future? 

The Information Value Chain

Posted by Finbar Gallagher

Several years ago I was pitching what would now be called an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution to the Production Manager of a large manufacturing plant. After describing all the data we could collect, and the metrics we could turn it into, I thought I had done pretty well. What Production Manager wouldn't want our system to get his finger on the pulse of his operation? Instead, his next question floored me:"If I don't do anything with the data your system collects, then it doesn't create any value for me, does it?"

The Amara’s Law and the Anatomy of Business Use Cases in IoT

Posted by Somjit Amrit

In the animated discussion, someone asked a quiz question, “What is Amara’s Law?” It turned out that American Scientist Roy Amara came up with an interesting view and an easy to understand law –“While we overestimate the short term effect of technology, we underestimate the long term impact." I feel in the world of IoT this law is fascinatingly relevant.

How Clustering ensures reliability of IoT Gateway

Posted by Mohit Bhardwaj 

IoT gateways may be the unsung heroes of the Internet of Things world. Without them, there would likely be no expectations of tens of billions of IoT devices coming online in the next few years. In many respects, gateways are the glue that holds many IoT implementations together. They enable real-time analysis of IoT data and link multitudinous connected sensors and devices to the cloud. In addition, gateways act as a bridge between various sensor types and connectivity protocols, while helping to link equipment from an organization’s information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) departments.

But gateways can also be single points of failure in IoT networks. In a poorly designed system, when a gateway goes down, critical functions stop. Preventing that outcome is possible, however, with an IoT gateway architecture based on the idea of clustering



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IoT Central Contributor Francisco Maroto says we are falling into the 'Trough of Disillusionment' but Gartner says we’re at the 'Peak of Inflated Expectations.' What say ye? 

These stories and more are explored in this IoT Central Digest. Don’t forget, encourage your friends and colleagues to be a part of our community. Forward this to them. They can join IoT Central here.

Save IoT, Save The World

Posted by Francisco Maroto 

When looking for a title for this article, I remembered the famous phrase from TV serie Heroes, "Save the cheerleader, Save the world". Sorry if one more time I abuse of shocking headlines to attract more readers. Is the Internet of Thing (IoT) in danger? In light of the latest events I have attended in Berlin and London and news like this "Intel To Amputate Three Modules For Internet Of Things, Including Joule", I really believe  IoT is falling into the Gartner´s Trough of Disillusionment phase  and we need IoT heroes to push it faster towards the Plateau of Productivity phase. The other part of the article's title, "Save the World," may sound pretentious, but the world need to be save. This year hot spring and summer is confirming even the most disbelieving that Global Warming is very real (Read more at " Global Warming, Christmas and the Internet of Things" and in spite I do not consider that only IoT can save our blue planet, per recent events like "Portugal forest fire", IoT can help and much.

IoT Platforms: The Peak of Inflated Expectations

Posted by David Oro

Gartner recently released their 2017 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. Where do IoT Platforms stand? At the peak of inflated expectations! Do you agree? Gartner says that the hype cycle reveals three distinct megatrends that will enable businesses to survive and thrive in the digital economy over the next five to 10 years. (See graphic below).

Commercial Application of Predictive Analytics for IoT

Posted by Blake Davies 

In this IoT era, we are provided the opportunity to collect accurate, detailed performance insights from data produced by a multitude of instrumented devices. The Internet of Things is no longer just about using your mobile phone to turn on and off your lighting, heating or oven; owing to the constant technological advancements, we are now seeing benefits in all industries and lines of business. We are using the obtained performance insights to improve the quality of products, their functionality, and reliability. Gone are the days when the IoT was just a vision – these intelligent systems are real; they are connecting things with processes and people and help unlock a multitude of new opportunities.  

Who owns the Machine Generated Data in IoT – Men or Machine?

Posted by Somjit Amrit

The other day we were discussing and debating on a solution to be designed to meet the sensing needs for access, temperature and humidity for some devices with form part of a networking infrastructure ecosystem. The idea was to build a IoT based system for monitoring and control. The design discussions veered around the ability to collect data from the sensors and the types of short range communication protocols which could be deployed. Questions and clarification were raised if we were compliant to use short range communication protocols in sensitive areas as customer Data Centres which are like owned and  that they may be custodians of data of their end customers . The hidden perils of data acquisition and data ownership reared its head which needed to be addressed as we moved forward.

Machine Learning - The brain of Digital Transformation

Posted by Sandeep raut

Organizations are using machine learning for various insights they want to know about consumers, products, vendors and take actions which will help grow the business, increase the consumer satisfaction or decrease the costs. Here are some top use cases for machine learning.

20 Job Interview Questions for IoT Professionals

Posted by David Oro 

Bill McCabe knows everyone. He has to. He’s a thought leader in IoT, with a particular focus on recruiting. He’s authored dozens of articles on all things IoT and recruitment, and has placed a number of IoT professionals at organizations big and small. We wanted to know in particular, for the IoT job seeker, what are the top 20 questions they should be prepared to answer in their interview. Here is what Bill shared.


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All of us are accustomed to the smart wearables, such as the ones we wear on a jogging track. We also have seen the concept of smart homes turn into a reality. We have seen a farmer sort and track his flock of sheep with the help of a mountable RFID device. 

Every physical element around us (including ourselves) have become a part of a real and rhythmic whole – communicating information with each other at all times. All thanks to the Internet of Things!

Ever since the Internet of Things (IoT) manifested into reality, integrating the physical world with our digital routine, experts and thought leaders have waited for it to transform the dream of a data driven economy into a witnessed possibility.

As the concept of Internet of Things continues to evolve and grow, it now appears that the wait is finally over. 

Welcome to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This is a concept-turned-reality, which looks set to change the traditional picture of industrial production for years to come. 

Industrial Internet of Things – What Is It? 

The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT, is the Internet of Things, applied in industrial settings, which combines operational technology with information technology to help in the optimization of industrial processes and business models.

The communication protocol is same, objective is same—facilitate information sharing to execute better decision making—it’s just that the platform is industrial, when we talk in reference to IIoT. 

IoT: Inspiring Innovation Initiatives and Fueling the Realization of a Data Driven Economy

Magnifying into the early traces that the IoT is foot-printing in the context of industrial transformation, the innovation initiatives across different industry-level operating lines can be summarized as follows: 

Improved Management Reporting

With manufacturing units now being able to communicate with each other through the deployment of IoT system solutions, analysis of facility performance metrics can be performed in real time. Management executives, if they want, can also resolve the performance monitoring to shop floor levels, which helps provide revealing manufacturing insights. 

This leads to improved management reporting.

Serving as an example is the manufacturing giant, Caterpillar. The company has deployed the SAP Leonardo system, an IIoT technology, across all its operation facilities. The system furnishes real time information about manufacturing data, energy utilization data, machine performances, and data regarding the production consumables. Combining altogether, the company executives can have a 360-degree view of the manufacturing processes which leads to better tactical decision making.  

Improved Operational Efficiencies

For a company, operational efficiency is as important as the production churn. You may have a high production churn, but until or unless your organization is not efficient in its operations, the lack of efficiency will ultimately restrict its growth. IoT has allowed companies to improve its operational efficiency, as information is communicated in real time between different production units. 

This transpires into the optimization of processes to achieve operational efficiency. 

BASF, a leading chemical products manufacturer, is leveraging the implementation of IoT to achieve efficiency in its operations. Via a deployed IoT cloud, manufacturing units communicate their requirements with a production planning department. When production components are planned and bought according to the needed manufacturing units, investment risk is reduced and advanced planning of production cost is made possible. 

Storage facilities communicate with production and supply chain, which helps them to regulate the operations to lower the storage cost, without compromising on customer facilitation. This and much more has allowed BASF to strive for operational excellence. 

Improved Failure-Response Time

The IoT is also opening new possibilities in mitigating the risk of operational failures, and improving failure-response time in cases where operations do break down. This has been made possible as the IoT allows machines to exchange information with each other. Depending on the analysis of the information received, automatically create service requests, schedule maintenance, and ensure timely delivery of spare parts that need to be replaced. 

This keeps the operations going.

Leading the inspiration in this case is Trenitalia, the primary train operator in Italy. The company has deployed a dynamic management system, powered by the Internet of Things and Big Data analysis. The system continually monitors the health of every train component, depending on which it can schedule timely maintenance protocols. This ensures uninterrupted service operations.

Improved Levels of Customers Service

Customer service is another area where the IoT is helping the employees and management executives. The IoT permits end to end of visibility of real time information across all production lines, which helps optimize the asset utilization of critical resources. 

This ensures timely facilitation of customer requests.

The Truck Advisor mobile app, used by Unilever, is a great example in this context. It is a mobile app, which leverages the power of a Cloud Platform, and enables the organization to keep track of its fleet of delivery trucks, without having to get them install an onboard GPS device. 

With the help of the app, the company can track the geo-position of each individual truck, monitor the stops and delivery status, accurately predict expected delivery delays, and establish a bi-level communication with the drivers. With such a vast data set available in real time, the company can strategize in parallel to make sure that deliveries to the customers are on time and meet the pre-set requirements.   

These, by far, are just scratching the surface of possible application scenarios. But they are enough to support the claim that the IoT is penetrating the possibilities of a data driven economy, and establishing a strong foundation for it with new applications and unprecedented results. 

Originally posted on Data Science Central.

About the Author

Ronald van Loon is an Advisory Board Member and Big Data & Analytics course advisor for Simplilearn. He contributes his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), please click “Follow” and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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In the United States, precision agriculture is one of the largest industries by both operational scale and economic impact. The technology utilized is typically on the cutting edge, especially for automation and control. Things like sensors, programmable IoT radios and generally more complex software applications have allowed that industry to evolve, domestically, to a point where land and other resources are used optimally. Internationally, although there have been ‘smart’ or ‘precision’ practices in certain sectors of agriculture, many countries are just now starting to adopt the technology to its fullest extent, including the ability to innovate via start-ups and new practices.

India & the Digital Agriculture Revolution

According to an article in India Times (image credit), the country is aiming to secure a 20 percent stake in the IoT market share in the next five years through its ‘Digital India’ initiative. While many might look at India and think of the sprawling and diverse urban environments that could offer some potential complications for IoT, it is rural areas seeing the most interesting developments. There has been a noticeable growth in tele-medicine operations, which can allow patients in remote areas to interact with doctors for consultation, eliminating the need to get to a city, or vice versa. Perhaps an even greater area of growth lies in the agricultural realm. According to the article, agriculture employs 50 percent of the country’s population, so the potential for a digital revolution is high. Farmers are just starting to implement sensor technology, automation hardware, and even leading-edge tools like voluntary milking systems the allow cows to be milked on an automated machine according to biological needs.

Israel’s Precision Ag Start-Up Community

In Israel, where IoT technology is starting to mature, the name of the game is data collection and analytics. Mobile applications, sensor data collection hardware, and advanced analytics software are three areas that Israel is seeing significant market growth, according to Israel21c:

Israel stands out in precision-ag subsectors of water management, data science, drones and sensors, says Stephane Itzigsohn, investment associate at OurCrowd. … “Multiple startups are aiming toward the same goal — providing good agricultural data — but approaching it from slightly different angles,” Itzigsohn tells ISRAEL21c. “One might use satellite images or aerial photography; another might use autonomous tractors. Not all will get to that peak in the long journey of farming becoming more efficient.”

For example, CropX, an investor-backed advanced adaptive irrigation software solution, can be placed throughout a farming area and synced with a smart phone, allowing the operators to receive real-time data updates on things like soil and weather conditions. CropX is based in both Tel Aviv and San Francisco, indicating that the technology may be poised for wide international adoption in the future.

Analytics Drive Italy’s Drought Recovery

Italy is perhaps best known for a single agricultural export: wine. However, many would be surprised to find out that it is one of the top corn producers in the European Union, producing more than 7 million tons of corn in 2015, according to an RCR Wireless report. In 2016, the EU’s total corn output dropped noticeably due to year-long droughts affecting production. In Italy, start-up companies collaborated with industrial ag operations develop and deploy widespread soil sensor and water automation technology to help streamline farming practices and create a more efficient system for resource use. The technology allowed farmers to get a comprehensive look at their operations and identify high and low yield areas in order to better utilize the available space.

Precision Agriculture and the Industrial IoT

The continued maturation of IIoT technology is enabling countries around the globe to better utilize resources like water, energy, and land area to create better agricultural operations. As populations continue to expand, and food production becomes even more important, being able to connect these technologies across the globe could become a key factor in optimizing crop output in critical areas. Imagine the above farm in Italy being able to send its data to data scientists in Germany or the Eastern Europe who could in turn analyze it and provide actionable feedback. Or an industrial farm in Israel managing its yields sending that information in real-time around the country. These possibilities are not far off, and as the networks, hardware and software continue to be adapted, the future of precision ag internationally, will become the present.

For additional reading:

India Times: http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/how-the-internet-of-things-is-digitizing-agriculture-speeding-up-rural-development-in-india-326546.html

Israel 21c: https://www.israel21c.org/5-israeli-precision-ag-technologies-making-farms-smarter/

RCRWireless: http://www.rcrwireless.com/20161005/big-data-analytics/precision-agriculture-omica-tag31-tag99

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Bill McCabe knows everyone. He has to. He’s a thought leader in IoT, with a particular focus on recruiting. He’s authored dozens of articles on all things IoT and recruitment, and has placed a number of IoT professionals at organizations big and small. We wanted to know in particular, for the IoT job seeker, what are the top 20 questions they should be prepared to answer in their interview. Below is what Bill shared.

  1. What changes in the IoT do you feel is the most groundbreaking?

  2. How would you assess a security concern in our software?  

  3. What was the last training course you took?

  4. What is the most overlooked thing with the IoT during development and deployment ?

  5. How will you take our technology to the next level?

  6. What effect will the Internet of Things have on your daily life?

  7. Do you think IoT will be a job killer or a job creator?

  8. What concerns do you have about IoT and privacy and security ?

  9. What are the difference between the Industrial Internet of Things and the Internet of Things?   

  10. What do you think will be the impact of IoT on Smart Cities?

We have 10 more important questions for you to consider in your IoT interview. To see the rest of the questions, become a member of IoT Central (it’s free!) and click here.

Did you get a great, interesting or hard IoT related question during your interview? If so, let us know and we’ll add it to this list. Leave your question in the comments section or email us

 

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Here is the latest round-up of articles from IoT Central. Remember: get your friends and enemies to join IoT Central here.

Navigating the Critical Database Decision While Building Our IoT Application

Posted by Gena Minevich

The promise of IoT solutions comes from their tremendous ability to harness data on a scale that has never before been possible. This data, wrangled by countless transmitters and sensors, offers us a wealth of insights about everything from the homes we live in to the products we buy to the health of our own bodies – all while IoT applications provide the power to act upon this data in real-time. Delivering these remarkable capabilities calls for a similarly capable database, one that can match IoT applications’ stringent requirements around performance, scalability, and availability.

Ongoing trends in IoT device lifecycle management

Posted by Mohit Bhardwaj 

IoT device lifecycle management is the key element for industries to have complete insight and control of their devices infrastructure. Today, device lifecycle management enables many industries to transition to ‘smart’ ecosystems, like smart energy (a.k.a Internet of Energy or smart grid), smart buildings, smart retail, smart transportation, smart cities, smart factories, and smart agriculture. As more and more devices get connected, the challenges with data security, control, and management becomes critical. IoT remote device lifecycle management plays a key role in enabling a 360 degree data view of the device infrastructure.

Interview: Bringing Machine Learning to The Edge

Posted by David Oro

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours at GE Digital’s headquarters in San Ramon, CA. It was a great overview by several executives of how GE is using their Predixplatform to create software to design, build, operate, and manage the entire asset lifecycle for the Industrial IoT.  A big part of this transformation for GE involves hiring tons of software developersacquisitions, and partnerships. One of those partnerships is with Silicon Valley based FogHorn Systems (GE Ventures, Dell Ventures, March Capital and a few others are investors). FogHorn is a developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT applications. FogHorn and GE are working very closely on many IIoT customer use cases, across verticals, bolstered by the integration of FogHorn with Predix. I turned to FogHorn Systems CEO David C. King to learn more about edge intelligence software for the Industrial IoT.

The Buzz of Platforms and the Bazaar of IoT Platforms

Posted by Somjit Amrit

Among the words, phrases and acronyms in the Tech worlds “Platform” seems to be a word which seems to grab the headlines. If one listens to any pitch from a start up venture it would be not uncommon to get the “platform pitch”in at least 1 out of 2 proposals. A lazy search on Google on the “Top 20 Tech weary  words” fetched me the result that “platform was 3rd in the list . There have been words verbalised like “Being Platformed” as well and a host of books on the significance of platform in the Technology world. I will not go into the virtues of platform. I would dwell on how the leaders in respective segments  are a few ( a maximum of 3 ) while in the IoT world we seem to have by some counts 170 of them ( McKinsey ) to 400 of them ( Beecham Research).This is definitely a bewildering array to go through and investigate . What is a Platform – why there are only a few platform leaders ?

Infographic: Securing Connected Cars

Posted by David Oro 

In my recent interview with Sam Shawki, the founder and chief executive officer of MagicCube, I wrote about getting a new Ram Truck and noted that it was a beast not just in size and towing power, but a beast of electronics and connectivity. According to Intertrust Technologies, the percentage of new cars shipped with Internet connectivity will rise from 13% in 2015 to 75% in 2020, and that in 2020, connected cars will account for 22% of all vehicles on the road. That number is sure to grow. More stats in the infographic below. 

AggreGate Server on Nanopi NEO

Posted by Victor Polyakov

We’ve tested AggreGate Server on Nanopi NEO, one of the smallest Linux-based single-board PCs. Despite its small size, this device simply rules! It has RAM 512 Mb on board, 1,2 GHz quad-core CPU, 10/100M Ethernet network interface, and many other interfaces to connect the world. AggreGate possibilities on the NEO board are similar to Linux-based Tibbo Project System. It can act as a simple close-knit protocol gateway with intermediate data processing.


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A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours at GE Digital’s headquarters in San Ramon, CA. It was a great overview by several executives of how GE is using their Predix platform to create software to design, build, operate, and manage the entire asset lifecycle for the Industrial IoT.  A big part of this transformation for GE involves hiring tons of software developers, acquisitions, and partnerships.

One of those partnerships is with Silicon Valley based FogHorn Systems (GE Ventures, Dell Ventures, March Capital and a few others are investors). FogHorn is a developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT applications. FogHorn and GE are working very closely on many IIoT customer use cases, across verticals, bolstered by the integration of FogHorn with Predix.

I turned to FogHorn Systems CEO David C. King to learn more about edge intelligence software for the Industrial IoT. David has been at the helm of FogHorn since 2015, a year after its founding. Prior to FogHorn, David co-founded AirTight Networks, Inc., a technology leader in secure cloud-managed Wi-Fi. Before AirTight, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Proxim Inc., a pioneer in WLANs and the first publicly traded Wi-Fi company, from 1993-2002.

Lots of talk about the edge in IoT. It’s my smartphone and my doorbell, as well as the sensor on a traffic light or a wind turbine. What exactly is the edge of the network and how do you define it?

We define edge as the closest compute point that can process real time streaming data. So in your case, all three -- phone, doorbell, sensors -- are edges because you can bring compute to the data on any of these platforms. The question is what compute is possible? The single variable filtering that you can do on a sensor is very simple when compared to the complex Machine Learning models that can execute on your phone.   

Analytics is done in the data center or cloud. You claim to do this at the edge now.  Please describe your offering.  

FogHorn has developed a tiny footprint complex event processor (CEP) that provides advanced streaming analytics, and machine learning capabilities at the edge.  This powerful combination of being able to pre-process, cleanse the data and execute ML models, all in real-time, brings the power of big data analytics to the edge. The FogHorn software platform is highly flexible and can be easily scaled to optimize for footprint and/or feature needs.

Tell us about a customer you’re working with and how they are applying your technology.

FogHorn Lightning is an extensible platform currently used by customers from Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Power & Water, Renewable Energy, Mining, Transportation, Smart Buildings/Cities and other industrial verticals. The deployment patterns range across gateways, PLCs, to ruggedized servers in production, at Fortune 100 sites. A common implementation of FogHorn Lightning is product quality inspection, predictive maintenance, real time health monitoring. Customers are seeing immediate business value; e.g. identifying defects in the early stages of manufacturing reduces, scrap and increases yield. Additionally, there is a trend to FogHorn to generate new streams of revenue by providing real-time smart maintenance for their end customers.

When compared to software-defined IIoT smart gateways, there are still millions more hardware-defined M2M gateways out there. At what point do we cross the chasm to smarter gateways, and where are we now in this cycle?

We are still very early in adoption of IIoT technologies. Understandably, typical industrial sectors are conservative, and have much longer adoption curves. However, we are beginning to observe that it the ROI from edge intelligence is accelerating customer demand for FogHorn. We will cross the chasm once industries identify key use cases that generate new revenue streams, which is still about 3-5 years away.

You can’t talk about IoT without talking about security, and it’s even more important in the industrial sector. How do you address security concerns for your customers and what does the industry need to do to make IoT more secure?

Yes, you are right. When you think of IoT, especially IIoT, security is a top concern. Hacks such as “Devil’s Ivy” will become everyday events with increasingly connected devices. At FogHorn, our edge intelligence software runs very close to the data source, and is local to the asset. This implies that we are secure (like the assets) behind firewalls, and in a DMZ layer. And because most of our processing is done locally, we are less vulnerable to malicious hacks that occur when connected.

Because IIoT is still such a nascent set of technologies, we caution users to deploy solutions after thoroughly weighing the business value, and convenience versus security risk factors. My guiding question before any deployment: “Can I do this locally, without connecting to an external network?”. The answer is usually yes, and if otherwise, you should probably talk to us.

How can companies make their industrial processes better?

We understand that today’s industrial processes are highly complex and advanced, with many moving parts. While it may seem humanly impossible to optimize it any more without help from technology, we believe that a key asset is still untapped: your operator! Companies will start seeing incredible improvements once they translate the tribal knowledge on the plant floor into actionable insights. This can be further supplemented by techniques from machine learning, and artificial intelligence, to tease out the known unknowns, and also, the unknown unknowns.

Anything else you’d like to add?

FogHorn is redefining edge intelligence for IIoT. A year ago, we started our journey as a company that did analytics on tiny footprint devices. Today, we have accelerated the transition to Machine Learning at the edge, and are very are excited about the market validation. With our Operational Technology focus, we are looking forward to defining new business models, and delivering transformational value for our industrial customers.

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Imagine your worst winter day. Bone-chilling cold, howling, bitter winds, blinding snow and sleet, and your truck is encased in ice. What do you do? You tough it out, scrape the ice off the windshield and get to work.

The radio network deployed at one of the world’s most important weather research facilities has to endure and perform in extremely brutal climates nearly every day of the year, 24/7/365. Lives depend on its successful transmission of weather data. And for over a decade, wireless data radios have gotten the job done at the Mount Washington Observatory.

LOCATION: The private, non-profit Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) in New Hampshire, USA, one of the most important state-of-the-art climate research facilities in the world.

With a weather recording history dating back to 1932, the MWO’s mission is to research the Earth’s climate. Weather observations are reported to the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for use in nationwide and global forecasting models.

Additionally, the New Hampshire State Park (NHSP), US Forest Service Snow Rangers, and New Hampshire Fish and Game all rely on the MWO’s current weather data to determine the safety and viability of launching search operations.

In short, the MWO saves lives and provides critical climate data, and rugged wireless data radios delivers it – no matter what the weather conditions may be.

Located on the highest peak in the Northeast United States (elevation 6,288 ft.), the MWO operates mission-critical weather stations in notoriously brutal and erratic weather conditions that are amongst the worst in the world. The long-standing slogan of the MWO is “The Home of the World’s Worst Weather” and summit conditions certainly prove this.

During the summer, researchers encounter 50-100 mph winds with penetrating fog.  Winter conditions include sub-arctic temperatures, 140+ mph winds, freezing fog, and heavy glaze icing.  The weather can change rapidly, going from clear and warm to fogged-in and freezing within minutes.  Additionally, ice accretion rates of up to 12”/hour are often observed. Winter winds can change from light and variable to hurricane-force, and beyond, without notice, with blinding snow eliminating all visibility.  In fact, at one time Mt. Washington held the world record for recorded wind speed of 231 mph.

These unique conditions make the Observatory an ideal location for research and product testing. If a product is stamped “Mt Washington Tested”, know that it has experienced the harshest conditions imaginable on this continent.

It is because of these year-round brutal conditions that the MWO turns to proven data radio technology for mission-critical and extremely rugged wireless communications.

THE NETWORK

On its mountaintop weather station, MWO deploys a radio network of 900 MHz frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radios (both serial and Ethernet) connecting a network of 28 sensors and devices on five different remote weather stations. These stations and sensors measure temperature, humidity, wind speed/direction and ground temperature. Continuous links are vital to provide real-time weather feeds.

The master radio is located 4 miles away on the summit of 4,063 ft. Wildcat Mountain, with 5 client stations situated at 1,000 ft. intervals along the Mt. Washington Auto Road, a privately owned 7.6 mile gravel and tar road that winds its way to the summit at 6,288 ft. These combined stations comprise MWO’s Auto Road Vertical Profile (ARVP). The Auto Road is closed to the public in winter, but the staff of the MWO and the NHSP routinely travel its treacherous path to and from the summit in full-sized snowcats, breaking through snowdrifts of 10 and 20 feet, carving a notch into its side in the vicinity of the actual road.

Because this type of winter travel is so treacherous, current weather data along the road is crucial for the safety of the crew, and both the MWO and the NHSP rely on FreeWave radios to maintain the constant communications links between weather stations and data servers.

The FHSS radio network has been in operation since 2004.

All 6 weather stations are solar-powered in locations that only get sunlight approximately 40% of the year, so the MWO needs radios that consume minimal power while providing constant 24/7/365 connectivity on the Mount Washington Regional Mesonet. In meteorology, a mesonet is a network of automated weather and environmental monitoring stations designed to observe meteorological phenomena.

RESULTS

According to the MWOs IT Manager, Peter Gagne, “For almost 13 years these radios have been on duty continuously, and I personally can attest to their durability and reliability in conditions that, frankly, radios shouldn’t survive. These radios routinely are exposed to bitter cold and winds that far exceed the radios specifications, and have always passed the test. It is because of this outstanding record of performance, as well as the superior customer support we receive, that we have decided to stay with FHSS radios, despite the multitude of competitors, in the upgrade of our ARVP sites this year of 2017.”

Highlights include:

  • Cost-effective, real-time data transmission enabled by a rugged serial communication solution.
  • Mount Washington Observatory is able to issue severe warnings that assist operations and rescue efforts.
  • Real-time weather data and highly reliable performance in extreme weather conditions.

FreeWave Technologies has been a supplier to the MWO for more than a decade and has provided a reliable and rugged wireless data communiocation network in spite of the brutal weather conditions. To learn more, visit: http://www.freewave.com/case-studies/.  

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The IoT Central Interviews

Got a cool perspective on IoT? Writing code that streamlines IoT analytics? Analyzing killer data to drive business value? Leading a team of technologists and data scientists that is at the forefront of the industrial IoT? Then we want to talk to you. 

We are expanding our interviews series so I invite you to suggest names of inventors, analysts, thought-leaders, executives, and practitioners who are driving the Industrial IoT. It could be you. Tips and interest to: [email protected]

This edition of IoT Central Digest highlights some of our most popular interviews. Remember: get your friends and enemies to join IoT Central here.

Interview: Why is it so hard to monetize the Internet of Things?

From wind turbines to your washing machine, the IoT is all the rage, and everyone wants their piece of the pie. Monetization and creating business value, not to mention profits, is the holy grail for the IoT. But who is really making money on the IoT and where are the most lucrative opportunities?  For that we turned to Mike Fallon, Senior Advisor of the IoT Transformation Advisory Practice at PTC. Mike is responsible for delivering frameworks to companies that address the how of IoT monetization – specifically for CIOs and other C-suite executives.

Interview: How Connected Cars Can Learn from Fintech

With connectivity increasing and self-driving cars on the fore, how do we keep improving on the convenience while keeping it secure. For that we turned to Sam Shawki, the founder and chief executive officer of MagicCube, a digital mobile security start-up located in Silicon Valley. Prior to his current role, Sam was head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit, where he drove the company’s global initiatives in mobile and remote payments.  Before Visa, Sam served as Chief Innovation Officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest mobile network operator in the world, with over 214 million customers in 18 countries. We asked him about connected cars, mobile security, and what’s in store for the future.

An Interview with Ken Finnegan, Chief Technology Officer, IDA Technology Ireland

Who's Your Buddy? An interview with Dave McLauchlan, CEO & Co-Founder, Buddy Platform

Last week at IoT World, I stopped by the Buddy Platform booth (namely because of their killer Lego set-up). Buddy provides data hosting and management solutions for manufacturers and vendors of connected ("IoT") devices. Prior to IoT World, I sent Buddy CEO and Co-Founder Dave McLauchlan a few questions. Here's what he had to say.

Are You Real? Bringing Authentication to IoT

Serial entrepreneur Chris Ciabarra is at it again. The co-founder and CTO of Revel Systems, an iPad point-of-sale (POS) disruptor which has a valuation of more than $500 million and landed a global contract to replace all of Shell Oil’s PoS terminals with Revel’s, has helped launch Authenticated Reality, an authenticated secure community that fosters real interactions, comments and online conversations from real people on the internet.

Chris is an anti-hacker and data security expert with a strong background in PCI compliance and P2PE. He has presented across the globe as well as in front of the 5th Annual United States Homeland Security Conference on various security topics including how the Internet needs to change.

While his current company is aimed at getting consumers and business to identify themselves as “real,” we couldn’t help but ask him about what his current endeavor might mean for IoT. 

Autodesk's Bryan Kester - Skills for the IoT pro, disagreement with Gartner, and what's next for IoT

In our latest installment of interviews with IoT practitioners, we interview Bryan Kester, Director of IoT, Autodesk, Inc. Bryan leads the Internet of Things (IoT) Product Group at Autodesk. We asked him questions about Gartner's prediction of IoT maturation, his take on the IoT platform wars, the skills sets needed in this rapidly emerging and changing field, and what's next for IoT. Bryan predicts, "There will be some continued hype and then a subtle, but significant shakeout among both pure play and "me too" vendors. Those that help simplify the systems integration nature of IoT will have a future."

Interview: 3M's Road to IoT

 

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For all the value and disruptive potential that Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provide, corporate buyers face a dilemma. Today’s IoT technologies are still immature point solutions that address emerging use cases with evolving technology standards. Buyers are concerned that what they buy today may become functionally or technologically obsolete tomorrow. Faced with this dilemma, many defer buying even if the IoT solutions they buy today offer tremendous value to their organizations.

This post describes a planning strategy called “future-proofing” that helps managers, buyers, and planners deal with obsolescence.

What causes IoT solution obsolescence?

An IoT solution, whether you buy it now or in the future, can become functionally obsolete for several reasons, as described in Figure One.  Unlike more established technologies, today’s immature and fast evolving nature of IoT solutions, amplifies the risk of early obsolescence.

For example, today there are multiple Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) connectivity options – SigFox, LoRa, RPMA (by Ingenu), Symphony Link (by Link Labs), NB-IoT and LTE-M. While each option has advantages and disadvantages, a subset of these will eventually “win” out as technology standards, business models and use cases emerge.

Similarly, there are 350+ IoT platforms in the marketplace today (source: “Current state of the 360+ platforms”, IoT Analytics, June 9, 2016). While many of these platforms target specific applications and industry segments, consolidation is inevitable as there are more vendors than the market can eventually support. The major IoT platform vendors (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, GE, et al), currently on a market share land grab, will drive consolidation when they begin to acquire select vertical platforms to gain rapid access to those markets.

What is Future-Proofing?

According to Collins English Dictionary (10th edition), “future-proof” is defined as:

“protected from consequences in the future, esp. pertaining to a technology that protect it from early obsolescence”

Because of the high cost of enterprise technologies, many buyers perceive obsolescence as bad. To them, future-proofing means keeping the technology as long as possible in order to minimize costs and maximize return on investment (ROI). Their companies have standardized their business processes, policies and even their technical support on the technologies that they have bought. When a solution goes End of Life (EOL) and transitions to a newer version, it means that managers will have to recertify and retrain everyone on the “new” solution all over again. In general, transitions happen over a period of months (and sometimes years) in large global companies. During this time, multiple generations of the solution will co-exist, with each requiring different processes and policies.

In today’s fast moving IoT market, planned and unplanned obsolescence will be the norm for the foreseeable future. The traditional concept of “future-proofing” doesn’t apply, and can lead to significant, adverse business disruption.

In the era of cloud based solutions and IoT, future-proofing is not about outguessing the future, and choosing the “right” solution so as to never have to “buy” again. Nor is it overbuying technology now to avoid buying in the future. Finally, future-proofing is not about avoiding change. Future-proofing is a solution lifecycle management strategy. It is a continuous process to maximize solution flexibility and options, while making deliberate choices and managing risk.

What does a future-proof IoT infrastructure look like?

In planning the future-proofed IoT infrastructure, managers must first understand its key characteristics, and then define specific requirements for each of those characteristics. At a high level, these characteristics include:

  • Usable– the infrastructure and solutions achieve all functional needs with no loss in performance, security, service level agreements (SLA) over the desired time period.

  • Scalable – supports future needs, applications, devices

  • Supportable – resolves technical, performance, reliability, SLA issues

  • Changeable – addresses “lock-in” and facilitates migration to updated solutions on your schedule based on your needs

  • Economical – the total cost of ownership of the solution stays within forecasted ranges

A framework for future-proofing your IoT infrastructure

Change is constant and cannot be avoided. The driving principle behind future-proofing is managing change, not avoiding or preventing it. This principle recognizes that every solution has a useful functional life, and that what is functionally useful today may be obsolete and discarded tomorrow.

A properly designed future-proof plan provides the organization with options and flexibility, rather than lock-in and risk. It prevents suboptimal decision-making by managing the infrastructure on a system level, rather than at the individual component level.

Future-proofing your IoT infrastructure is a three step process (Figure Two). It is not a “once and done” exercise but must be done annually to remain relevant.

Plan and Design

The first step of the future-proofing process is to identify and place the various IoT infrastructure, systems and solutions into one of nine actionable categories. These categories are shown in Figure Three. The horizontal rows represent the “change” category, while the vertical columns represent the timeframe decision timeframe.

The actual classification of the IoT infrastructure solutions into one of the categories is determined in conjunction with IT, operations and the business units. Key considerations for determining the “future-proof category” include:

  • Usability/functionality – functional utility, compliance with standards, performance against needs, SLAs, and performance

  • Scalability – ability to meet current and future needs, anticipated change in standards

  • Support – resources, expertise, reliability

  • Ease of transition –contractual agreements, technology interdependence/dependence, specialized skills

  • Economics – maintenance costs, licensing/content/subscription fees, utilities, new replacement costs, transition costs

Source and Build

Once the proper categorization is completed, the second step is to procure the necessary solutions, whether they are hardware or software. This requires that a sourcing strategy be put into place over the desired time period. The terms sourcing and buying are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Sourcing is about ensuring strategic access to supply while buying is more transactional. In executing the future-proofing plan, procurement managers must understand the supplier product lifecycle, and develop specific tactics.

As an example, a large global company decides to standardize around a specific IoT edge device (and specific generation) and technology for the next five years. In order to maintain access to this supply during this time period, it employs a number of tactics, including:

  • Stocking of spare units to be deployed in the future

  • Placing large “Last time” orders before that version of the solution is discontinued

  • Sourcing refurbished versions of the technology

  • Incorporating leasing as sourcing strategy

  • Negotiating contractual arrangements with the vendor to continue the solution line

Support and Monitor

The third step in the future-proofing strategy is to keep the IoT infrastructure and solutions operational over the desired time period. This is relatively easy when the solutions and technologies are being serviced and supported by the vendors. However, as vendors transition to newer technology and solution versions, buyers may find limited support and expertise. This problem is amplified the further you are from the original end-of-life date.

To keep the infrastructure and solutions fully operational during this time, companies must employ various reactive and proactive tactics. Some of these include:

  • Incorporating and installing vendor firmware updates to maximize functionality, apply bug fixes and extend useful life. Vendors may issue firmware updates on both End of Life and current generation solutions.

  • Purchase warranty and extended warranty and maintenance service contracts to assure access to support

  • Develop in-house maintenance and repair capability

  • Negotiate special one-off engineering support services with the vendor or their designated contractors

About:

Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.

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Being direct part of the worldwide development community for "Internet of things" and connected device and working day by day on architectural topics and talking to many experts in this area, I've mentioned that indeed the technologies behind IoT are well known but the definition of IoT itself is very diverse. My key experience was while I was participating the Security of Things conference in Berlin this year. The discussions what IoT is and what is IoT not started already during the icebreaking session the evening before the first official day and continues in the same manner during the next two days. I've heard statements like "Every PC is an Internet of things device" over "Any internet connectivity must be disabled (to guarantee security)" up to "We log the values of a digital thermometer by hand and enter them in a specific AWS-based Back-End to run analytics on it ... therefore we converted our thermometer to an Internet of things device". This experience gave me the impulse fin
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In May, after nearly 10 years and a 147,000 miles, I sold my 2008 Mazda CX-9. It was a great car for me and my family. Our new car is a truck, the Ram 2500. It’s a beast, not just in size and towing power, but a beast of electronics and connectivity. Sure the 2008 Mazda had Bluetooth and a GPS, but cars today are so much more connected with onboard services like WiFi, custom car applications, and even consumer applications like Yelp! Mind you, this is a Ram Truck I’m talking about, not a Tesla or a Prius.

With connectivity increasing and self-driving cars on the fore, how do we keep improving on the convenience while keeping it secure. For that we turned to Sam Shawki, the founder and chief executive officer of MagicCube, a digital mobile security start-up located in Silicon Valley. Prior to his current role, Sam was head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit, where he drove the company’s global initiatives in mobile and remote payments.  Before Visa, Sam served as Chief Innovation Officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest mobile network operator in the world, with over 214 million customers in 18 countries.

We asked him about connected cars, mobile security, and what’s in store for the future.

When people talk about connected cars and especially self-driving cars, many worry about the safety around driving, without immediately thinking about the security behind all of the connections that are required for the connected car’s infrastructure to thrive. How does mobile security play a part?

Whether the smartphone is at the heart of what makes cars connected, or an embedded system created by automotive manufacturers like your car’s dashboard or even a digital car key takes over the identity hub, many of the car systems and subsystems are getting smart which means such systems are now attackable.  

What are some of the challenges car companies are facing today that may require different thinking?

The right technologies to protect these systems cannot come from legacy ideas like inserting a secure chip in each system or relying on pure encryption like white box of multi-party computation alone. It needs to be designed specifically for scale and with security specific to mobile and IoT deployments. This is the different thinking that the connected cars ecosystem has no choice but to embrace, and quickly.  

What can car companies and governments learn from other industries when it comes to connected cars?

Security breaches in any industry should be viewed as a clarion call to the automotive industry. There are lessons to be learned there. For example, look the recent eATM breach from the financial sector. This is believed to be related to technology that used legacy ideas that adhered to minimal security requirements. The difference between security breaches on ATMs and on self-driving cars of course is that a security breach on a car going 70 mph is truly a matter of life and death.

Who’s doing connected cars well?

It’s too early to tell. Many are on the right track, yet security remains a huge concern.  I’m excited to see who figures this out first and our team is working hard to make sure MagicCube is empowering such success.

Your background is in payment technology. Does that throw people off when you talk to car companies about MagicCube?

Although I know a lot about it, my background is not on the financial side, but rather in innovating new technologies and business models across many industries. I was part of the initial teams at Netscape where we enabled the masses to experience being connected for the first time, Shoretel where VOIP for the enterprise was invented and at Siebel Systems where CRM and e-business were made mainstream. My experience at Obopay or Visa comes from my work in enabling the security and digitization, not the other way around. The beauty of such experience is that the financial industries historically pioneered other industries like aerospace and connected cars, and established standards that other industries adopt. This is helping us at MagicCube navigate industries where standards and protocols are just starting to take shape.

Explain how MagicCube came about and why it’s called MagicCube?

While running global remote payments for Visa, which was under the digital and innovation side of the business, Visa and MasterCard created tokenization and figured out how to secure those tokens by asking device makers like Apple to house the tokens in their hardware. In Apple’s case this became Apple Pay. The next logical step was to figure out how to secure the Visa and MasterCard tokens without having to depend on hardware. This when we discovered that no solution existed and I was told it is impossible to have the same level of security in pure software. Given my background, I was motivated to solve this problem properly. In talking to Nancy Zayed, a distinguished engineer in her field, she figured out how to solve the problem using her years of operating systems knowledge at Apple, Cisco and other companies. Just to be able to visualize something virtual, the “cube” is what we called the secure software container that replaces the need for a hardware chip. Since we seem to have achieved a technology that we were told was impossible, what came to our minds was Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  Hence MagicCube.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m excited by the evolution and the social impact potential of self-driving cars. When it comes to autonomous cars, we still have a fair way to go, mainly because car systems will need to process data without attackers gaining any form of control on the car or any of its systems. That is where the success, and even the viability of self-driving cars will be measured.

 

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So You Think You Know Your IoT Devices

What's the difference between IoT vs. IIoT besides the extra I? What is 3M doing in IoT? What you need to know about data in Antarctica. It's all in this edition of the IoT Central Digest, and more. 

Tell your friends to join our community. Don't like us? Forward this to your enemies. Got something to say? Say it on IoT Central.


Not all Devices are IoT or IIoT

Business opportunities created by Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial IoT (IIoT) are among the most debated topics, as these are designed to function in a broad range of consumer and industrial applications. Manufacturers of IoT components believe in this new trend, but many of them still not understand the essence of the IoT concept. In reality, not every controlled device is an IoT nor IIoT.


Interview: 3M's Road to IoT



Deep Learning Vs Machine Learning And Its Affect On Jobs

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With the revolution in IT regarding the connectivity and internet, a new concept of internet of things is being evolved. This is increasing the number of jobs in this sector for example; 3D printing has shown a growth of whooping 1800%. Some of the jobs that you can get if you have the right skillset are-

  • Agriculture technologist-vehicle location, need of fertilizers, fuel in the vehicles and even check the moisture of the soil all are detected by using a network of sensors. Agricultural technologist can be very helpful to the farmers for maximizing their production.
  • Grid modernization engineers- the electric grids that are being used are becoming outdated and the need for ‘smart’ grid has started to rise. These grids would make the power consumption more effective for which, they will be needed to monitor the power consumption of each house, street lamps and even the traffic signals. Imagine the communications that will take place between the sensors and for this the employer needs someone who is an expert in the field.
  • Wearable techs- smart watches, smart t shirt all are perfect example of how this interconnectivity is increasing between the sensors of the same gadget. With smart watches you can take and make calls with your watch and the smart shirt records all your activity and stores it for further review. The market is growing and you can find out lots of jobs.
  • Medical robot designer- with the advancement in medical science, the surgeries are now being done using robots that of course is more accurate. All the sensors, small gears and all the complex machinery are actually interconnected because of which it is showing such growth. In near future, it is being estimated by the experts that robots will replace the doctors in the surgery rooms which will help this sector grow and invite the deserving for a bright future.
  • Data security expert-More and more the devices communicate with each other easier it gets for the hacker to get a loophole and create an information breach. Data security experts need to understand the breaches and are expected to keep the data secure from any hacking attack.
  • Cloud computing expert-if the devices need to communicate; it needs to be a common place from where they retrieve data and send it. Any computer’s hard drive not being sufficient the information is now getting stored online often called on the cloud. Data is at the apex position of concern to companies this is needed to be done in a proper way for which an expert is required.

 

There are few leading companies which are looking for talent in this sector:

  • IBM
  • PTC – The Product Development Company
  • Savi Group
  • Intel
  • Amazon
  • Red Hat, IncCisco Systems, Inc

IOT is a newly introduced market in IT sector that is rapidly increasing. People who possess the right skillset might provide the job that will give them a bright future.

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Most IoT projects today are unsuccessful

A recent Cisco survey of 1845 business and IT decision-makers in mid market and enterprise companies, conducted in April 2017, found that nearly three quarters of Internet of Things (IoT) projects were not successful.

The top five reasons include:

  • Long completion times,
  • Poor quality of the data collected,
  • Lack of internal expertise,
  • IoT integration,
  • Budget overruns.

These results are not surprising given the immaturity of the IoT solutions, evolving technology standards, and limited expertise among the IoT community.

In light of these survey results, how do you ensure that your first IoT project implementation will be successful? In this post, I’ll share ten best practices for managers planning their first IoT project.

Best Practices for IoT Projects

Best Practice #1 – Solve a problem that someone cares about. Whether it’s a pilot project, or a mini IoT project added to a larger non-IoT project, make the project relevant by addressing a real need. This ensures visibility and support from the organization, whether it is something as simple as time to answer your questions, commitment from management, or contribute resources. Equally important, it gives you a foundation from which to build follow-on projects.

Best Practice #2 – Plan conservatively. As an early IoT adopter, your organization’s capabilities will be limited and the learning curve will be steep. Managers must plan for this in several ways. Don’t try to “change the world”, but instead focus on doing one or two things well. Define the requirements well and resist scope creep. Build in a larger than usual contingency for schedule, resources and cost.

Best Practice #3 – Fix outdated processes and policies. IoT solutions can disrupt existing organizational processes and policies. If you fix the technology but not the processes and policies, you will just get “bad news faster”. Implementing the technology side of IoT is only half the solution. Realize its full potential by updating affected, or in some cases, creating new processes and policies.

Best Practice #4 – Partner for success. IoT solutions affect multiple teams within the organization. Partner with these affected teams early in the planning process to get their requirements, gain their support (knowledge, resources, and budget), and leverage their influence to remove barriers during the execution stages. Partner with your organization’s digital transformation or innovation office, if one exists.

Equally important, partner with IoT solution vendors throughout the process. At this stage of the market, their solutions are still evolving. Work with your IoT vendor at a deeper level than you would with other vendors. Stay in close contact and leverage their product management and technical support teams throughout the project.  Co-design the solution and project with them – tell them what features you like to see, report bugs, and test updated versions of the product.

Best Practice #5 – Augment your capabilities with outside resources. Address gaps in your internal capabilities by leveraging outside resources. Build your IoT knowledge through information shared on industry blogs, publications and analyst reports. Augment your project planning and execution capabilities by contracting with subject matter experts, IoT consultants, and innovation labs.

Best Practice #6 – Address resistance to change. The more disruptive the IoT solution is, the more likely you will face adoption resistance both internally and externally. Whether the changes are small or large, ensure IoT project success with a change adoption plan early on in the project. Identify who is affected and how they are affected, then understand their objections. Craft a plan to address these objections, be transparent and communicate regularly, and implement well before the solution goes live. Be responsive and act with a sense of urgency to any concerns raised during the project.

Best Practice #7 – Define extended project success and goals. During the project planning stage, identify the key success outcomes of the project. Beyond the goals directly enabled by the IoT solution, consider goals around internal capabilities development, gaps identification (processes, policies, technologies, resources, etc.), organization readiness, channel and customer acceptance. Treat your early IoT projects as learning experiences, and use these projects to learn, experiment, uncover challenges, develop the organization and go faster on future projects.

Best Practice #8 – Drive shared ownership and accountability. IoT solutions affect multiple teams across the organization. Because of this, you must establish a structure of shared ownership and accountability to drive project success. Identify and secure the commitment of the critical executive sponsors and  business unit owners. Align the value and relevance of the IoT solution to their team’s goals and needs to drive their ownership.

Best Practice #9 – Establish a learning culture. To ensure that your subsequent IoT projects are successful, you must establish a rapid learning culture right from the start. During the project, establish a process for experimenting, prototyping and problem solving. At the end of the project, document the knowledge and expertise gained, and then develop a system to retain and transfer that knowledge. Identify who the “experts” are, the lessons learned, and project debriefs. Develop a system to share that knowledge across the organization, with solutions vendors, consultants, and other resources.

Best Practice #10 – Be flexible and adapt. Despite careful planning and risk management, your first IoT projects will still be significant learning experiences. You know what you know, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Your planning and risk management is based on what you know. Unforeseen things happen because of the things you, your consultants, or the vendors don’t know. In this type of environment, the project teams should be nimble and agile to respond to the unplanned. Incorporate larger contingencies in project plans. Prepare your sponsors and owners to expect change. Select your project team members for their ability to quickly adapt and learn, as well as for their knowledge and execution ability.

About:

Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.

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Automation has managed to create quite a buzz in the recent times by dramatically impacting almost every aspect of our lives. With robots replacing laborers in manufacturing vehicles or systems of artificial intelligence (AI) driving cars on our behalf, this extensive concept is concerning almost all the individuals because it is simply killing the job sectors.

Which Industries are Affected the most by Automation?

According to the latest report, automation has the potential to replace factory workers, miners, travel agents and bank tellers. The truck and taxi drivers must also start worrying because the automated technology threatened 2.2 to 3.1 million people all across the globe, who are involved in the transportation sector. Innovative software is developed having the capability of assessing substantial volumes of documents, thus, eliminating most of the professionals in IT. With the advancement of such software programs, individuals with other sorts of occupation such as accountants would also be replaced easily.

While we did understand that automation is depriving people of their jobs, there is another brighter side to the story. Individuals with tech skills are greatly in demand for without them an automation system cannot be installed or operated. However, they are hired in absolutely negligible numbers.

Is the World going to Suffer from Mass Employment?

Well, studies did manifest that automation would adversely impact the varied working sectors but the chances of mass employment are quite unlikely. Although it needs to be duly informed that people, who are technologically incompetent would surely stay behind. Thus, in order to reverse the detrimental effects of automation, it is necessary for the people to have at least some sort of knowledge in the tech field. Even medical personnel and lawyers need to learn the usage of contemporary tools so that they can stay abreast of all these ongoing changes.

Now that we know, which sectors are going to be affected and what are the ways by which we may use automation to our favors, it is time to talk about those professions that have simply no reasons to worry.

Which Industries are not to be Affected by Automation?

Automation would not be able to kill the jobs that require interpersonal skills and empathy. Now can you imagine programmed robots to be psychiatrists helping you to deal with life’s complex issues? Quite hard isn’t it? Well, that is because it is not possible. Consultants communicate and extend affection for treating and curing people. Same goes for teachers imparting knowledge. Well, of course, technological education managed to gain recognition and students are using modern-day gadgets for studying but all of these cannot really be compared to the experience of an educator, whose love nurtures the pupils, making them ready for the outer world. Other examples are the jobs of nurses, personal trainers, makeup artists, hairdressers, etc., which cannot really be affected by automation. 

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The Top Five Things

We're back in fives and all about things. We also included thoughts on making money and the ever present security topic with a nice infographic on the DDoS of things.  

Tell your friends to join our community. Don't like us? Tell your enemies. Also, take a second to contribute your thoughts as well. It's easy as counting to five.

Enjoy. 

5 Blockchain Technologies To Watch For In 2017

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