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Digital Transformation is a phenomenon that every company must deal with and it is a reality. It is a top priority for boardroom executives. Most companies know that digital transformation is vital to survival.
Customers are demanding new instant experiences, partners want more visibility & greater access, and employees want greater convenience and work from anywhere.
Many companies are claiming that they have started it but those initiatives are isolated or tactical.  If not executed properly the only result is failure.
As you will look at weather reports, travel times, flight connections, hotel reviews before going on holiday journey, similarly you will need a road map for navigation from point A to point B.
The digital roadmap has 3 main leavers:
·        Strategy: to make it completely clear how digital transformation support overall business strategy,  define 30,60,90 days & beyond plan for measurements
·        Technology:  what are the tools and technologies you will need to go from current state to future state –  big dataanalyticsmobilityIoTcloud, microservices etc, dedicated hardware, software innovation labs, standards, guidelines, security
·        Processes & People: who are the leaders to drive the digital, what is the organization structure, operational integration of all processes, how to change to customer centric culture, training to employees and empower them
It is all about starting with  baby steps, gaining trust from business by delivering quick value and celebrating and marketing the successes to generate internal buzz.
The roadmap begins with a digital vision, mission & assessment of the digital maturity of your business today. Once the assessment and vision are completed, then next step it becomes possible to identify the systemic gaps that need to be filled. Then those steps can be built into the roadmap.
Here are the broad milestones of a successful digital transformation roadmap:
·        Boardroom/Senior management buy in, decision to go Digital and drive it across organization
·         Cultural alignment & commitment to Digital from board of directors to entry level employees
·        Identify and assess the current state of the organization on Digital
·        Put Customer first - Prepare customer  journey maps to identify all the touch points with organization
·        Find out pain areas at each touch point and respective stakeholders involved who can correct them
·        Prioritize and break them in small projects to adopt  fail fast approach. If anything did not work, just accept the failure, publish the learnings and move on.
·        Seek partners to help you in your journey, who take shared risk and shared rewards
·        Deploy agile implementation approach for quick results
·        Market your successes to whole world and repeat the process for next pain area
Transformation programs may be massive and take place over multiple years, but understanding the ROI for each phase helps keep a multi-year journey on track. With a structured approach, all of the moving parts can be managed and progress sustained throughout this journey.
Finally, you know when you are digital transformed?
·        When there is nobody having “digital” in their title
·        There is no separate digital strategy than company’s business strategy
·        There are no posters or marketing focused on digital within the organization
Enterprises that adapt, evolve and exploit this new digital reality will thrive, while those that do not, will be lost to the sands of time like  Dinosaur.
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Since many embedded devices are deployed outside of the standard enterprise security perimeter, it is critical that security be included in the device itself. Ultimately, some combination of hardware and software may be required. Building protection into the device itself provides a critical security layer whatever options are used. Security must be considered early in the design of a new device or system.
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What are Digital Twins?

Digital Transformation has brought in all the new concepts and technologies at the hands of consumers and businesses alike.
Digital Twin is one of them. It is a virtual image of your machine or asset, maintained throughout thelife cycle and easily accessible at any time. It involves  internet of things connected devices generating real time data in  Big Data platform.  This data is further analyzed in the  cloud.
With a digital twin, machine manufacturers are able to use the power of digitalization to achieve improved efficiency and quality. This approach helps ensure optimized machine design and smooth operation.
Today, machine intelligence and connectivity to the cloud allows a huge potential of digital twin technology for companies in a variety of industries
Digital Twin allows the asset operator to predict precisely when maintenance will be required based on the unique conditions, experienced by that particular asset.
GE has built a digital wind farm collecting data from turbine sensors, which uses big data and the Industrial Internet to drive down the cost of renewable electricity.
Here are the several advantages of Digital Twin technology:
·        Explore the impact of various design alternatives
·        Do simulations and testing to ensure that product designs will meet requirement
·        Understand how a projected change to a manufacturing process might impact costs or schedule
·        see the current operating status along with any recent alarms and maintenance performed on a machine
·        be instructed on how to perform proper maintenance procedures, for the specific problem they’re addressing
·        Preventing the failure, or anticipating it and doing the required  maintenancebefore failure occurs, can shorten outages
Digital twins give airlines a better idea of what happens when a jet flies through a flock of birds, or through dust storms in hot environments.
The digital twin, combined with advanced analytical tools and  machine learning, will provide a platform that changes the traditional way of how we look at the analysis of asset’s condition and performance.

It will enable a new generation of advanced  predictive analytics.
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Manufacturers seek quantifiable ROI before making leap to IIoT implementation

By now, most manufacturers have heard of the promise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

In this bold new future of manufacturing, newly installed sensors will collect previously unavailable data on equipment, parts, inventory and even personnel that will then be shared with existing systems in an interconnected “smart” system where machines learn from other machines and executives can analyze reports based on the accumulated data.

By doing so, manufacturers can stamp out inefficiencies, eliminate bottlenecks and ultimately streamline operations to become more competitive and profitable.

However, despite the tremendous potential, there is a palpable hesitation by some in the industry to jump into the deep end of the IIoT pool.

When asked, this hesitation stems from one primary concern: If we invest in IIoT, what specific ROI can we expect and when? How will it streamline my process such that it translates into greater efficiencies and actual revenue in the short and long term?

Although it may come as a surprise, the potential return can actually be identified and quantified prior to any implementation. Furthermore, implementations can be scalable for those that want to start with “baby steps.”

In many cases, this is being facilitated by a new breed of managed service providers dedicated to IIoT that have the expertise to conduct in-plant evaluations that pinpoint a specific, achievable ROI.

These managed service providers can then implement and manage all aspects from end-to-end so manufacturers can focus on core competencies and not becoming IIoT experts. Like their IT counterparts, this can often be done on a monthly fee schedule that minimizes, or eliminates, up-front capital investment costs.


DEFINING IIOT

Despite all the fanfare for the Internet of Things, the truth is many manufacturers still have a less-than-complete understanding of what it is and how it applies to industry.

While it might appear complicated from the outside looking in, IIoT is merely a logical extension of the increasing automation and connectivity that has been a part of the plant environment for decades.

In fact, in some ways many of the component parts and pieces required already exist in a plant or are collected by more manual methods.

However, a core principle of the Industrial “Internet of Things” is to vastly supplement and improve upon the data collected through the integration of sensors in items such as products, equipment, and containers that are integral parts of the process.

In many cases, these sensors provide a tremendous wealth of critical information required to increase efficiency and streamline operations.

Armed with this new information, IIoT then seeks to facilitate machine-to-machine intelligence and interaction so that the system can learn to become more efficient based on the available data points and traffic patterns. In this way, the proverbial “left hand” now knows what the “right hand” is doing.

In addition, the mass of data collected can then be turned into reports that can be analyzed by top executives and operations personnel to provide further insights on ways to increase operational savings and revenue opportunities.

In manufacturing, the net result can impact quality control, predictive maintenance, supply chain traceability and efficiency, sustainable and green practices and even customer service.


BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

The difficulty, however, comes from bridging the gap between “here” and “there.”

Organizations need to do more than just collect data; it must be turned into actionable insights that increase productivity, generate savings, or uncover new income streams.

For Pacesetter, a national processor and distributor of flat rolled steel that operates processing facilities in Atlanta, Chicago and Houston, IIoT holds great promise.

“At Pacesetter, there are so many ways we can use sensors to streamline our operation, says CEO Aviva Leebow Wolmer. “I believe we need to be constantly investigating new technologies and figuring out how to integrate them into our business.”

Pacesetter has always been a trendsetter in the industry. Despite offering a commodity product, the company often takes an active role in helping its customers identify ways to streamline operations as well.

The company is currently working with Industrial Intelligence, a managed service provider that offers full, turnkey end-to-end installed IIoT solutions, to install sensors in each of its facilities to increase efficiency by using dashboards that allow management to view information in real time.

“Having access to real-time data from the sensors and being able to log in and see it to figure out the answer to a problem or question so you can make a better decision – that type of access is incredible,” says Leebow Wolmer.

She also appreciates the perspective that an outsider can bring to the table.

“Industrial Intelligence is in so many different manufacturing plants in a given year and they see different things,” explains Leebow Wolmer. “They see what works, what doesn’t, and can provide a better overall solution not just from the IIoT perspective but even best practices.”

For Pacesetter, the move to IIoT has already yielded significant returns.

In a recently completed project, Industrial Intelligence installed sensors designed to track production schedules throughout the plant. The information revealed two bottlenecks: one in which coils were not immediately ready for processing – slowing production – and another where the skids on which they are placed for shipping were often not ready.

By making the status of both coil and skids available for real time monitoring and alerting key personnel when production slowed, Pacesetter was able to push the production schedule through the existing ERP system.

This increased productivity at the Atlanta plant by 30%. Similar implementations in the other two facilities yielded similar increases in productivity.


TAKING THE FIRST STEP

According to Darren Tessitore, COO of Industrial Intelligence, the process of examining the possible ROI begins with a factory walk-through with trained expertise in manufacturing process improvement and IoT engineers that understand the back-end technologies.

A detailed analysis is then prepared, outlining the scope of the recommended IIoT implementation, exact areas and opportunities for improvement and the location of new sensors.

“The analysis gives us the ability to build the ROI,” says Tessitore. “We’re going to know exactly how much money this will make by making the changes. This takes much of the risk out of it so executives are not guessing how it might help.”

Once completed, a company like Industrial Intelligence can then provide a turnkey, end-to-end-solution.

According to Tessitore, this covers the entire gamut: all hardware and software, station monitors, etc.; the building of real-time alerts, reports & analytics; training management on how to use data points to increase profits; and even continuously monitoring and improving the system as needed.

“Unless you’re a huge company, you really don’t have somebody who can come in and guide you and create a cost effective solution to help you compete with the larger players in the space,” says Pacesetter’s Leebow Wolmer. “I think that’s what Industrial Intelligence offers that can’t be created on your own.”

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” she adds. “They have some things that can give you a little bit of IIoT or they can take an entire factory to a whole new level. By doing this they can be cost effective for a variety of sizes of organizations.”

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For quite some time, the term “machine learning” and “deep learning” seeped its way to the business language, especially when it is related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and Big Data. Frankly, the approach directed to AI which provides a great promise with regard to creating self-teaching and autonomous systems that can revolutionize various industries. 

What is Machine Learning (ML)?

One of the subfield of AL is machine learning. Here the basic principle is that machine, collect data and they learn it for themselves. No doubt, this is the most awesome tool of the business’s Artificial Intelligence kit. One of the interesting advantages of the ML is that you can easily apply the training and knowledge received from analyzing huge data set to perform various functions and excelling at them like speech recognition, facial recognition, translation, object recognition, and various other tasks.    

Compared to the hand-coding a given software tool filled with specific instructions which can be used for completing the task, the ML provides a suitable system to understand the pattern by itself and make the required predictions.

What is Deep Learning?

Frankly, a subset of the ML is called as deep learning. Here one utilizes ML techniques for solving various real-life issues, and this is possible by accessing the neural networks which easily help in stimulating the decision-making of human beings. In addition, deep learning is kind of expensive and one will need extensive data sets to train. This is because there are various number of parameters that one might need to have an understanding, possible by learning about the algorithm. Thus, this can be present at the initial stages and create various kinds of false-positives.

To have a fair understanding, let’s check how deep learning algorithm can be used for understanding how a cat looks. So, a huge amount of data set of pictures is used for underlying the basic details which separates the cat from other like panther, cheetah, fox etc.

How Machine Learning And Deep Learning Affects Job

There is a kind of hysteria of doom-and gloom surrounding the machine learning AI. The majority of it is all about how people will be out of work, as there are quite successful stories where machines were able to carry out specific job-related works and bought about extensive results in it.  

Indeed it has become a huge paranoia, but it turns out that machine learning only performs tasks, and not the job. Of course, many tasks constitute a job but ML programs are not much flexible.

However, it doesn’t mean that both machine learning and deep learning will not affect your job, as they have already done and will simply continue to do so. Most importantly, whether it will be a benefit or threat will depend on how you are going to react when you identify it.

No doubt, there are quite a lot of reasons on how white-collar jobs can be a great invitation for deep learning and other related technologies. There are various experts who feel that the professional impact which AI and deep learning along with other automated technologies can drastically affect the work force count.

Conclusion

In short, there have been certain reactions or changes with regard to how machine learning and deep learning brings. It has drastically reduced the role of various professionals who are considered as knowledge gatekeepers. Plus, there has been a positive trend towards proactive and reactive services. 

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Antarctica inhabits a unique place in the human exploration mythos. The vast expanse of uninhabitable land twice the size of Australia has birthed legendary stories of human perseverance and cautionary tales about the indomitable force of nature. However, since those early years, Antarctica has become a rich research center for all different kinds of data collection – from climate change, to biology, to seismic and more. And although today there are many organizations with field stations running this data collection, the nature of its, well, nature still presents daily challenges that technology has had a hand in helping address.

Can You Send Data Through Snow?

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) – of recent Boaty McBoatface fame – has been entrenched in this brutal region for over 60 years, the BAS endeavors to gather data on the polar environment and search for indicators of global change. Its studies of sediments, ice cores, meteorites, the polar atmosphere and ever-changing ice shelves are vitally important and help predict the global climate of the future. Indeed, the BAS is one of the most essential research institutions in the world.

In addition to two research ships, five aircraft and five research stations, the BAS relies on state of the art data gathering equipment to complete its mission. From GPS equipment to motion and atmospheric sensors, the BAS deploys only the most precise and reliable equipment available to generate data. Reliable equipment is vital because of the exceedingly high cost of shipping and repair in such a remote place.

To collect this data, BAS required a network that could reliably transmit it in what could be considered one of the harshest environments on the planet. This means deploying GPS equipment, motion and atmospheric sensors, radios and more that could stand up to the daily tests.

In order to collect and transport the data in this harsh environment, BAS needed a ruggedized solution that could handle both the freezing temperatures (-58 degrees F in the winer), strong winds and snow accumulation. Additionally, the solution needed to be low power due to the region’s lack of power infrastructure.

 The Application

Halley VI Research Station is a highly advanced platform for global earth, atmospheric and space weather observation. Built on a floating ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, Halley VI is the world’s first re-locatable research facility. It provides scientists with state-of-the-art laboratories and living accommodation, enabling them to study pressing global problems from climate change and sea-level rise to space weather and the ozone hole (Source: BAS website).

The BAS monitors the movement of Brunt Ice Shelf around Halley VI using highly accurate remote field site GPS installations. It employs FreeWave radios at these locations to transmit data from the field sites back to a collection point on the base.

Once there, the data undergoes postprocessing and is sent back to Cambridge, England for analysis. Below are Google Maps representation of the location of the Halley VI Research Station and a satellite image (from 2011) shows the first 9 of the remote GPS systems in relation to Halley VI.

The Problem

Data transport and collection at Halley VI requires highly ruggedized, yet precise and reliable wireless communication systems to be successful. Antarctica is the highest, driest, windiest and coldest region on earth and environmental condition are extremely harsh year round. Temperatures can drop below -50°C (-58 °F) during the winter months.

Winds are predominantly from the east. Strong winds usually pick up the dusty surface snow, reducing visibility to a few meters. Approximately 1.2 meters of snow accumulates each year on the Brunt Ice Shelf and buildings on the surface become covered and eventually crushed by snow.

This part of the ice shelf is also moving westward by approximately 700 meters per year. There is 24-hour darkness for 105 days per year when Halley VI is completely isolated from the outside world by the surrounding sea ice (Source: BAS Website).

Additionally, the components of the wireless ecosystem need to be low power due to the region’s obvious lack of power infrastructure. These field site systems have been designed from ‘off the shelf’ available parts that have been integrated and ‘winterized’ by BAS for Antarctic deployment.

The Solution

The BAS turned to wireless data radios from FreeWave that ensure uptime and that can transport data over ice – typically a hindrance to RF communications. Currently, the network consists of 19 FreeWave 900 MHz radios, each connected to a remote GPS station containing sensors that track the movement of the Brunt Ice Shelf near the Halley VI Research Station.

The highly advanced GPS sensors accurately determine the Shelf’s position and dynamics, before reporting this back to a base station at Halley VI. Throughput consists of a 200 kilobit file over 12 minutes, and the longest range between a field site and the research station is approximately 30 kilometers.

Deployment of the GPS field site is done by teams of 3-4 staff using a combination of sledges and skidoo, or Twin Otter aircraft, depending on the distance and the abundance of ice features such as crevassing. As such, wireless equipment needed to be lightweight and easy to install and configure because of obvious human and material resource constraints.

In addition, the solution has to revolve around low power consumption. FreeWave radios have more than two decades of military application and many of the technical advancements made in collaboration with its military partners have led to innovations around low power consumption and improved field performance. The below image shows an example of a BAS remote GPS site, powered by a combination of batteries, a solar panel and a wind turbine (penguin not included).

FreeWave Technologies has been a supplier to the BAS for nearly a decade and has provided a reliable wireless IoT network in spite of nearly year-round brutal weather conditions. To learn more, visit: http://www.freewave.com/technology/.

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Top 5 uses of Internet of Things!!

While many organizations are creating tremendous value from the  IoT, some organizations are still struggling to get started.  It has now become one of the key element of  Digital Transformation that is driving the world in many respects.
It is really a time to look beyond the hype and get real about Internet of Things.
Just putting IoT in place may not help organizations but applying analytics is extremely essential for the success of IoT systems for better decision making.
Here are top 5 areas where IoT is making the disruption:
1.      Wellness - IoT helps continuously monitor the patients and symptoms to early detection, diagnosis & accelerate breakthrough drug development.  Wearables like Fitbit, Apple watch, and Samsung have all created new revenue streams from giving their users workout analytics and the ability to set daily health goals. Mobile apps around wellness have been around for years now to track your sleep, weight, nutrition, and more. 
2.     Safety and Security – Sensor based monitoring of elevators, escalators improves travelers safety at airports.  Sensors, which are much cheaper these days, can let you know whether or not your water pipes are leaking or are about to burst. The  droneswill allow the handful of rangers to quickly investigate reports of fires, than traveling into remote parts of the jungle over unpaved roads.  Connected cars allows vehicle diagnostics and real time intervention from technicians for better safety.
3.       Marketing – with use of IoT, businesses can reach to right customer at at right time using geofencing. It is a virtual field in which apps are capable of sending alerts depending on your entrance or exit from a vicinity. With geofencing, your shopping experience can be more  hyper-personalized to what you’re looking for. 1-800-Flowers covered the area around jewelry stores that were close to their flower shops to encourage customers to buy flowers with jewelry. Amazon Go is Amazon’s store concept without a check-out line. 
4.      Smart Cities & Smart Infrastructure – IoT is helping build the infrastructure which is really smart in quick response and improves the life of residents. Real time weather response systems, better traffic management, waste management, and optimal  utilities management helps governments around the world.   Smart Homes helps people more peaceful life.
5.     Energy, Aviation & Manufa cturing – Using IoT to do  predictive maintenance can reduce downtime up to 50%. Companies like GE have put up 100s of sensors across the plant that provide round-the-clock monitoring and diagnostics of existing hardware. IoT enabled engines consume almost 15% less fuel than average jet engines, and also have reduced emissions and noise.  Smart grids helps in increasing the reliability and efficiency of grid, avoid thefts.
In future IoT will continue to enhance our lives more and more by tracking our needs in real time giving opportunity to businesses to react accordingly and immediately.
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As businesses are trying to leverage every opportunity regarding IoT by trying to find ways to partner with top universities and research centers, here is a list of the Top 20 co-occurring topics of the Top 500 Internet of Things Authors in the academic field. This gives an idea of research frontiers of the leaders.
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Cybersecurity in Digital age

You must have heard about the global cyberattack of WannaCry ransomware in over 200 countries. It encrypted all the files on the machine and asked for payment. Ransomware, which demands payment after launching a cyber-attack, has become a rising trend among hackers looking for a quick payout.
Every day it seems another news breaks about cyber-criminals hacking in and stealing data, & information. Private companies, government agencies, hospitals…no one is immune. Cybersecurity is no longer buried in the tech section of organizations, newspapers and websites - its front-page news.
With the penetration of the  digital movement, cyber-attacks have also doubled year over year, making businesses and government sites more vulnerable.
In simple terms cybersecurity is use of digital technologies to protect company networks, computers and programs from unauthorized access and subsequent damage.
In recent times, every organization has launched a “go-digital” initiative. This has led to explosion of connected environments.
The growing  mobility trend has sparked a rapid growth of endpoints that must be secured, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs mean that employees could be accessing sensitive data on unsecured devices.
The prevalence of  cloud based services and third party data storing has opened up new areas of risk.
As businesses adopt the new technologies like Big Data,  Analytics, IoT & Mobility, the focus must be on how to safeguard the data spread across devices and cloud.
Cybersecurity must be a key factor during your journey to digitally transforming your business, just as you would ensure that your offices, brick-and-mortar store has locks and security systems of the highest quality, your digital storefront must have the same levels of security. If consumers do not trust these digital storefront with their data, or if that trust is broken because of a data breach, the cost to rebuild that trust is incredibly high.
The best way to protect yourself is to be suspicious of unsolicited emails and always type out web addresses yourself rather than clicking on links.
There are different types of attacks we have seen so far:
·        Hackers target the software vulnerabilities that are yet to be discovered  and patched
·        Attack on mobile devices: malwares designed specifically for smartphones to steal data
·        Data leakage: hackers steal the data by interrupting the traffic between organization and cloud environments
·        Programming: hackers use malicious code on any server that gets replicated and allow them to delete, steal data
There are multiple ways to combat these cyber-attacks:
·        Network defense: detect unwarranted traffic e.g. someone communicating with malicious host, malware entry into the network, unauthorized data transfer
·        Detect user access violations: misuse of user access within the system, ensure proper authentications, use of antivirus, malware to prevent steal user information
·        Mobile device protection: detect unauthorized devices or prevent hackers from compromising individual devices.
·        Protect data in motion & rest: ensure data transfers protected within various environments
·        Investment in securing IoT devices – today with everything is connected it is extremely important to secure all access points.
Today with  machine learning organizations are in a very good position to know what users are doing that can affect the network and increase risk.  Artificial Intelligence is used to constantly learn new malware behaviors and recognize how viruses may mutate to try and get around security systems.
Traditional IT security practices like network monitoring and segmentation will become even more critical as businesses and governments deploy IoT devices.

Recent events have highlighted the growing need for enhanced cybersecurity.

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18 Big Data tools you need to know!!

In today’s digital transformation, big data has given organization an edge to analyze the customer behavior & hyper-personalize every interaction which results into cross-sell, improved customer experience and obviously more revenues.
The market for Big Data has grown up steadily as more and more enterprises have implemented a data-driven strategy. While Apache Hadoop is the most well-established tool for analyzing big data, there are thousands of big data tools out there. All of them promising to save you time, money and help you uncover never-before-seen business insights.
I have selected few to get you going….
Avro: It was developed by Doug Cutting & used for data serialization for encoding the schema of Hadoop files.
 
Cassandra: is a distributed and Open Source database. Designed to handle large amounts of distributed data across commodity servers while providing a highly available service. It is a NoSQL solution that was initially developed by Facebook. It is used by many organizations like Netflix, Cisco, Twitter.
 
Drill: An open source distributed system for performing interactive analysis on large-scale datasets. It is similar to Google’s Dremel, and is managed by Apache.
 
Elasticsearch: An open source search engine built on Apache Lucene. It is developed on Java, can power extremely fast searches that support your data discovery applications.
 
Flume: is a framework for populating Hadoop with data from web servers, application servers and mobile devices. It is the plumbing between sources and Hadoop.
 
HCatalog: is a centralized metadata management and sharing service for Apache Hadoop. It allows for a unified view of all data in Hadoop clusters and allows diverse tools, including Pig and Hive, to process any data elements without needing to know physically where in the cluster the data is stored.
 
Impala: provides fast, interactive SQL queries directly on your Apache Hadoop data stored in HDFS or HBase using the same metadata, SQL syntax (Hive SQL), ODBC driver and user interface (Hue Beeswax) as Apache Hive. This provides a familiar and unified platform for batch-oriented or real-time queries.
 
JSON: Many of today’s NoSQL databases store data in the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format that’s become popular with Web developers
 
Kafka: is a distributed publish-subscribe messaging system that offers a solution capable of handling all data flow activity and processing these data on a consumer website. This type of data (page views, searches, and other user actions) are a key ingredient in the current social web.
 
MongoDB: is a NoSQL database oriented to documents, developed under the open source concept. This comes with full index support and the flexibility to index any attribute and scale horizontally without affecting functionality.
 
Neo4j: is a graph database & boasts performance improvements of up to 1000x or more when in comparison with relational databases.
Oozie: is a workflow processing system that lets users define a series of jobs written in multiple languages – such as Map Reduce, Pig and Hive. It further intelligently links them to one another. Oozie allows users to specify dependancies.
 
Pig: is a Hadoop-based language developed by Yahoo. It is relatively easy to learn and is adept at very deep, very long data pipelines.
 
Storm: is a system of real-time distributed computing, open source and free.  Storm makes it easy to reliably process unstructured data flows in the field of real-time processing. Storm is fault-tolerant and works with nearly all programming languages, though typically Java is used. Descending from the Apache family, Storm is now owned by Twitter.
 
Tableau: is a data visualization tool with a primary focus on business intelligence. You can create maps, bar charts, scatter plots and more without the need for programming. They recently released a web connector that allows you to connect to a database or API thus giving you the ability to get live data in a visualization.
 
ZooKeeper: is a service that provides centralized configuration and open code name registration for large distributed systems. 
 
Everyday many more tools are getting added the big data technology stack and its extremely difficult to cope up with each and every tool. Select few which you can master and continue upgrading your knowledge.
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Top 7 Virtual Reality Industry use cases

Today Digital Transformation has entered our life and we have subconsciously using it also in day to day life.
Virtual Reality technology has evolved dramatically in the past few years the costs of VR devices has gone down so it is all set to hit mainstream markets soon. While gaming applications like Pokemon Go have attracted most of the attention, there are many other use cases that could have a much larger impact on our lives.
Google Cardboard is a super low-cost headset ($15) to which a compatible, VR enabled mobile phone is attached to deliver the VR experience.
Other commercial product is Oculus Rift gear which has becomeextremely popular in gaming & business equally.
Here are some great VR use cases:
1.     VR for Tourism: do you want to sit on your couch and climb up the Eiffel tower? Or walk on the glass horse shoe at grand canyon? Wild Within is VR app available for experience of travel through rain forest in Canada. Travelers around the world are able to experience a helicopter flight around New York City or a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty.
2.     VR for Education: Over last decade eLearning had picked up very much. But it could not deliver hands on experience which is now possible with VR technology. Technicians can actually learn the real life examples and do their bit to solve the problems on the shop floor. Medical students can actually perform surgeries allowing them to make mistakes without any impact on actual patients.
3.     VR for Sales: Traditionally automakers have the showroom to show the cars to the customers and explain their features and sometimes a test drive is also possible. But customization of how the interior will look as per their choice was not possible which now can be done via VR.  Audi is experimenting this in London, where customer can configure their Audi with accessories as they want and drive virtually in real time.
4.     VR in Gaming: who does not know the excitement Pokemon Go had created and reached 50 million users in record time of 22 days.  Using AR/VR technology games have changed the life of seniors as well as teens. Game of Thrones has capitalized on VR and gone viral in various countries.
5.     VR in Designing: product designing is tedious task and changes to products based on the competition or customization is time consuming. This is where VR helps designers. They can now create the products easily, configure all the features and test them out. It is more popular in construction of buildings to see how the interior will look like.
6.     VR in Marketing: With Digital Marketing ads are becoming more intrusive. The best marketing campaigns use VR to create successful campaigns as users get completely immersed into the content, and create memorable experiences. Coca Cola created a virtual reality sleigh ride. New York times releases multiple immersive documentaries in their app. Finnair is showing their Airbus 350 via VR to attract more customers.
7.     VR in Sports coaching: The potential for VR in sports in endless. You get all the benefits of real-world interaction, but in a controlled environment. Showing is so much more effective than explaining, and experiencing something first-hand is that much more powerful again. Football, Cricket.

Virtual reality technology holds enormous potential to change the future for a number of fields, from medicine, business, and architecture to manufacturing. We are on the roller coaster ride !!
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IoT and Energy Management

It’s not uncommon to drive about any major city at night and see many buildings illuminated despite the fact that the workers went home hours earlier. Likewise, manufacturing plants the world over often have equipment unnecessarily consuming energy during idle periods. Power plants create and store energy everyday and use energy distribution grids to distribute energy to users, but are they doing it “smartly?”

With rising concerns about global warming, this immense waste of energy undoubtedly hurts the environment, but it also hurts business. Offices, manufacturing plants, commercial spaces and power grids all stand to benefit financially from better and “smarter” energy management.

 

How IoT Reduces Energy Usage for Businesses and Manufacturing

In his article, “Report: Lofty Energy Management Goals Far Ahead of Reality,” (Panoramic Power, August 5, 2015) Jon Rabinowitz points out that most companies receive data on their energy usage only at the end of each billing cycle, which is usually a month at a time. By incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technology, energy consumption data will be available in real-time, and energy-reducing measures can be implemented as soon as a problem gets detected (rather than waiting until the end of the month). Integrating smart devices through IoT technology will provide greater visibility into energy usage and help both industrial and commercial enterprises save energy, and as a result, save money.

Starting with simple, smart and low cost sensors, like User to User Information (UUI) and Feature Driven Development (FDD) devices, businesses can reduce energy usage and cost by dimming lights, turning off unnecessary equipment and improving the use the cooling/heating apparatus. Software that collects and correlates granular usage data, performs analytics and then converges information to increase efficiency will make manufacturing plants “smarter,” and thus more cost-effective.

Local and remote sensors that detect points of inefficiency quickly and perform triage to decrease waste will also reduce the need for maintenance as constant monitoring will detect small issues before they become big problems. Continuous optimization through 24/7 monitoring will assure that energy is not wasted during slow periods in between high-usage spans, while maximizing the use of energy-demanding equipment at critical times.

Specific Use Cases – Energy Production and Management

  • General Electric’s Asset Performance Management software connects disparate data sources in power plants, enabling data analytics to guide energy usage and to increase efficiency (“10 Real-Life Examples of IoT Powering the Future of Energy,” Internet of Business, Freddie Roberts, Oct. 7, 2016).

  • Duke Energy, a Florida-based electric power holding company, has developed a self-healing grid that automatically reconfigures itself when power goes out. Using digital smart sensors at sub stations and on power lines, the system automatically detects, isolates and reroutes power in the most efficient way when problems occur (Roberts).

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company is testing drones as a means to monitor and evaluate electric infrastructure systems in hard-to-reach areas. The ease of access will allow more frequent and consistent monitoring and drastically reduce the amount of methane leaks and other unwanted disruptions. (Roberts).

 

Energy Saving in the Auto Sector

Nissan (manufacturer of the world’s best-selling electric car, the Leaf) and ENEL (Europe’s second largest power company) have teamed to develop an innovative vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system that creates mobile energy hubs, which also integrates the electric cars and the power grid. The system allows Leaf owners to charge at low-demand, cheap-tariff periods, while allowing owners to use the energy stored in the car’s battery to power their home during peak periods, or when power goes out. Owners can store excess energy, or return it to the grid, making the entire system more efficient for everyone (“Nissan and ENEL to test first Grid Integrated Vehicles in Denmark,” Copenhagen Capacity, December 11, 2015).

 

Conclusions

As evidenced by these specific use cases, IoT technology is making energy-intensive systems in power generation and in manufacturing far more efficient. It’s good for the environment, but it’s also good for business. Intelligent implementation of energy saving technology stands to benefit every business, from small commercial enterprises to the largest power producing utility companies in the world. It’s time to make the move to smarter energy usage, for both the environment and for your bottom line.

 

Originally published on the Unified Inbox blog

About the Author

Richard Meyers is a former high school teacher in the SF Bay Area who has studied business and technology at Stanford and UC-Berkeley. He has a single-digit handicap in golf and is passionate about cooking, wine and rock-n-roll.

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Internet of (Medical) things in Healthcare

Over the past few decades, we’ve gotten used to the Internet and cannot imagine our lives without it. Millennials and new age kids don’t even know what is life without being online.
With the disruption of  Digital Transformation, Internet of Things have added lots of opportunities to business and consumers like us, equally.
 
IOT means connecting things, extracting data, storing, processing and analyzing in  big data platforms and making decisions based on  analytics. It helps in  predicting certain outcomes thereby helping with taking preventive actions.
The popularity of  wearables, such as fitness trackers, blood glucose monitors and other connected medical devices, has taken healthcare by storm.  Connected devices have become a prevalent phenomenon in the consumer space and have made their way into healthcare.
 
Healthcare is fast adopting IoT & changing rapidly, as it reduces costs, boosts productivity, and improves quality. IoT can also boost patient engagement and satisfaction by allowing patients to spend more time interacting with their doctors.
 
There are a number of opportunities for the internet of things to make a difference in patients' lives. IoT-enabled devices capture and monitor relevant patient data and allow providers to gain insights without having to bring patients in for visits. Adding sensors to medicines or delivery mechanisms allows doctors to keep accurate track of whether patients are sticking to their treatment plan and avoid  patient's readmission.
 
Patients are using these connected medical products to capture ECG readings, record medication levels, sense fall detection and act as telehealth units.
 
Diabetes self-management includes all sorts of gadgets and devices, which control glucose levels and remind patients to take their insulin dose. The newest wearables are even capable of delivering insulin on their own, according to health condition indicators. 
 
Remote patient monitoring is one of the most significant cost-reduction features of IoT in healthcare. Hospitals don’t have to worry about bed availability, and doctors or nurses can keep an eye on their patients remotely. At the same time, patients usually feel more relaxed at home and recover faster.
 
Smart beds are a convenient solution for patients who have trouble adjusting bed positions on their own. This kind of IoT tool can sense when the patient is trying to move on their own and it reacts by correcting the bed angle or adjusting pressure to make the person more comfortable. Additionally, this frees up nurses, who don’t have to be available all the time and can dedicate extra time to other duties. Many hospitals have already introduced smart beds in their rooms.
 
At Boston Medical Center, IoT is everyday life:
  • Newborn babies are given wristbands, allowing a wireless network to locate them at any time.
  • They have installed wireless sensors in refrigerators, freezers and laboratories to ensure that blood samples, medications and other materials are kept at the proper temperatures.
  • Hospital has more than 600 infusion pumps which are IoT enabled. BMC staff members can now dispense and change medications automatically through the wireless network, rather than having to physically touch each pump to load it up or make changes.
At Florida Hospital, when patients go in for surgery, they're tagged with real-time location system (RTLS) badges that track their progress through from the pre-op room to the surgical suite to the recovery unit so relatives can track the patients from outside.
 
Philips GoSafe can be worn as a pendant and it helps to detect and alert falls in elderly people.
 
There are few challenges as well in implementing IoT:
  • Data security & lack of standard security policy
  • Hospital’s internal system integration with IoT data
  • Further changes and improvements in IoT hardware
The Internet of these Medical Things is a game-changer as future will be connected, integrated & secure healthcare industry.
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The IoT needs to be distinguished from the Internet. The Internet, of course, represents a globally connected number of network, irrespective of a wired or wireless interconnection. IoT, on the other hand, specifically draws your attention to the ability of a ‘device’ to be tracked or identified within an IP structure according to the original supposition.
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In the age of  Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence has come a long way from Siri to driverless cars.
If you have used a GPS on Google Maps to navigate in your car, purchased a book recommended to you by  Amazon or watched a movie suggested to you by Netflix, then you have interacted with  artificial intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior which relies on the processing and comparison of vast amounts of data in volumes with help of  big data  analytics, no human being could ever absorb.
Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates have recently expressed concern in the media about the risks posed by AI.
According to them, AI will soon replace all kinds of manual tasks and make humans redundant. This could be true in some sense but still this is a far cry from the current maturity levels of AI, which is still at the stage of figuring out real-world use cases.
Today machines can carry out complex actions but without a mind or thinking for themselves. Smartphones are smart because they are responding to your specific inputs.
The world’s top tech companies are in a race to build the best AI and capture that massive market, which means the technology will get better fast, and come at us at faster speed. IBM is investing billions in its Watson, Apple improving Siri, Amazon is banking on Alexa;  Google, Facebook and Microsoft are devoting their research labs to AI and robotics.
Together, they will swirl into that roaring  twister, blowing down the industries and businesses in its path.
Within maybe few years, AI will be better than humans at diagnosing medical images and converting speech to emotions. But it can also be stealing millions of records from a government agency to identify targets vulnerable to extortion.
Soon you’ll be able to contact an AI doctor on your smartphone, talk to it about your symptoms, use your camera to show it anything it wants to see and get a diagnosis that tells you to either take a couple of Tylenols or see a specialist.
In all the fairy tales we have seen so far, good almost always wins over evil.
This is what we have seen in the movies like I, Robot or Avengers: Age of Ultron.  But Will Smith or team of avengers does not know that till end of the story. That’s where we are now: face to face with the demon for the first time, doing everything we can to get through the scary plot alive.
Today many companies are using AI for improving their business:
·         Geico is using Watson based  cognitive computing to learn the underwriting guidelines, read the risk submissions, and effectively help underwrite
·         Google Translate applies AI in not only translating words, but in understanding the meaning of sentences to provide a true translation.
·         IBM Watson is the most prominent example of AI based question answering via petabytes of data retrieval that helps in various areas like finance, healthcare & insurance.
As Humans we are programmed from childhood either by nurture or nature to do things the way we do. All the nine emotions we have learned since then are the inseparable part of our lives.
Currently we are in the control of the planet because we are smartest species compared to all the animals.
But when, and if machines learns to love or hate, work in peace or retaliate in anger, then it’s not too far that, with the ability to consume & digest the vast amount of data, they will become more smarter & start taking control of the planet.

Only then we will be able to know that AI is helping us like Iron Man's Jarvis or planning to eradicate us like Terminator!!
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The widespread use of the Internet of Things (IoT) is systematically impacting worldwide growth in online transactions, and research from Gartner underscores that this trend shows no signs of waning.

This compounding growth in connected devices and their use in online transactions has created new challenges for merchants trying to stay compliant with a complex web of global ecommerce regulations that vary by country and state.

As merchants bear the burden of regulatory compliance, they need to be able to quickly adapt to changes to ensure competitive advantage and sustained success.

Take the popular “driver for hire” company Uber. A few years ago in India, Uber’s largest market behind the U.S., the government closed a loophole in a 2009 law. The amended law required two-step authentication (with verification codes sent via text or email) for any “card not present” transaction. In other words, the ease of the Uber app’s payment system was now illegal for the sake of added consumer protection.

This not only put the company at risk of noncompliance in India, but the change could have shut down the company’s operations in India altogether. Even though Uber acted quickly and updated its app, consider the potential negative consequences had it not been able to pivot: heavy fines, potential lawsuits or, even worse, allowing an opportunistic competitor to strategically enter the region. The ability to nimbly pivot when facing unexpected changes is what has, in part, given industry leaders like Uber market dominance.

This past November, the EU introduced legislation banning unjustified geo-blocking between European member states to boost ecommerce across the region.

Geo-blocking is a discriminatory practice preventing customers from making online purchases outside of their resident nation. With the new legislation, a consumer in France, for instance, can purchase goods off a German ecommerce site instead of being re-routed to the French site, where prices may be higher.

This measure was made to promote – rather than restrict – commerce in the EU , forbidding traders from blocking or limiting customer access to their online interface based on nationality or place of residence. And while the new legislation provides a tremendous advantage for the consumer, it forces merchants to adjust how they’d previously done business. Opening up the market, merchants not only lost their price discrimination leverage, but also had to ensure they updated their payment processing and other systems to avoid business disruption and remain compliant. Ultimately, those that are flexible enough to address these requirements will thrive over less nimble competitors.

One thing is certain for merchants: as consumers buy more online, merchants need to prepare for the unexpected. The previous examples just scratch the surface when it comes to adjusting for new ecommerce regulations. Many questions remain unanswered when it comes to commerce and consumer protection, namely: 

  • Will products enabled with automated subscription services (think Tide detergent ordering replenishment pods) have a required notification period before an order is placed?
  • Will a consumer’s electronic signature be required before an order is authorized, as in the Uber example above?
  • Does information that is collected and related to health and wellness, such as fitness tracker/health band data, fall under the protection of additional medical regulations like HIPAA (in the United States)?

How merchants navigate this murky regulatory landscape is critical. Each new regulation can reset the competitive playing field, making flexibility a company’s most important asset.

Companies have every reason to be opportunistic as regulations shift and new opportunities arise. The trick is to put your company in a position to turn the inevitable complexity of global commerce compliance into a competitive advantage – something that may be giving merchants headaches now, but will be well worth the pain once the groundwork has been laid.

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The rise of the Internet of Things was just the beginning. There is something much bigger brewing. It’s called the Internet of Everything — otherwise known as IoE. Instead of the communications between electric-powered, internet-connected devices that the IoT allows, the IoE expands it exponentially. The IoE extends well beyond traditional IoT boundaries to include the countless everyday, disposable items in the world. If the IoT is the solar system, then the IoE is every galaxy in the universe.
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Today we are into  digital age, every business is using  big data and machine learning to effectively target users with messaging in a language they really understand and push offers, deals and ads that appeal to them across a range of channels.
With exponential growth in data from people and &  internet of things, a key to survival is to use machine learning & make that data more meaningful, more relevant to enrich customer experience.
Machine Learning can also wreak havoc on a business if improperly implemented. Before embracing this technology, enterprises should be aware of the ways machine learning can fall flat. Data scientists have to take extreme care while developing these machine learning models so that it generate right insights to be consumed by business.
Here are 5 ways to improve the accuracy & predictive ability of machine learning model and ensure it produces better results.
·       Ensure that you have variety of data that covers almost all the scenarios and not biased to any situation. There was a news in early pokemon go days that it was showing only white neighborhoods. It’s because the creators of the algorithms failed to provide a diverse training set, and didn't spend time in these neighborhoods. Instead of working on a limited data, ask for more data. That will improve the accuracy of the model.
·       Several times the data received has missing values. Data scientists have to treat outliers and missing values properly to increase the accuracy. There are multiple methods to do that – impute mean, median or mode values in case of continuous variables and for categorical variables use a class. For outliers either delete them or perform some transformations.
·       Finding the right variables or features which will have maximum impact on the outcome is one of the key aspect. This will come from better domain knowledge, visualizations. It’s imperative to consider as many relevant variables and potential outcomes as possible prior to deploying a machine learning algorithm.
·        Ensemble models is combining multiple models to improve the accuracy using bagging, boosting. This ensembling can improve the predictive performance more than any single model. Random forests are used many times for ensembling.
·       Re-validate the model at proper time frequency. It is necessary to score the model with new data every day, every week or month based on changes in the data. If required rebuild the models periodically with different techniques to challenge the model present in the production.
There are some more ways but the ones mentioned above are foundational steps to ensure model accuracy.
Machine learning gives the super power in the hands of organization but as mentioned in the Spider Man movie – “With great power comes the great responsibility” so use it properly.
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Have your seen the 1996 movie Twister, based on tornadoes disrupting the neighborhoods? A group of people were shown trying to perfect the devices called Dorothy which has hundreds of sensors to be released in the center of twister so proper data can be collected to create a more advanced warning system and save people.
Today if we apply the same analogy – digital is disrupting every business, if you stand still and don’t adapt you will become digital dinosaur. Everyone wants to get that advance warning of what is coming ahead.
Even if your business is doing strong right now, you will never know who will disrupt you tomorrow.
We have seen these disruption waves and innovations in technologies – mainframe era, mini computers era, personal computers & client-server era and internet era. Then came the 5 thwave of SMAC era comprising Social, 
Mobile, Analytics and Cloud technologies.
Gone are the days when we used to wait for vacations to meet our families and friends by travelling to native place or abroad. Today all of us are interacting with each other on  social media rather than in person on Facebook, Whastapp, Instagram, Snapchat and so on.
Mobile enablement has helped us anytime, anywhere, any device interaction with consumers. We stare at  smarphone screen more than 200 times a day.
Analytics came in to power the  hyper-personalization in each interaction and send relevant offers, communications to customers. The descriptive analytics gave the power to know what is happening to the business right now, while predictive analytics gave the insight of what may happen. Going further  prescriptive analytics gave the foresight of what actions to be taken to make things happens.
Cloud gave organizations the ability to quickly scale up at lower cost as the computing requirements grow with secure private clouds.
Today we are in the 6 thwave of disruption beyond SMAC era - into  Digital Transformation, bringing Big Data, Internet of things, APIs, Microservices, Robotics, 3d printing, augmented reality/virtual reality, wearables, drones, beacons and blockchain.
Big Data allows to store all the tons of data generated in the universe to be used further for competitive edge.
Internet of Things allows machines, computers, smart devices communicate with each other and help us carry out various tasks remotely.
APIs are getting lot of attention as they are easy, lightweight, can be plugged into virtually any system and highly customizable to ensure data flows between disparate systems.
Microservices are independently developed & deployable, small, modular services. 
Robotics is bringing the wave of intelligent automation with help of cognitive computing.
3D printing or additive manufacturing is taking the several industries like medical, military, engineering & manufacturing by storm.
Augmented reality /  virtual reality is changing the travel, real estate and education.
Wearables such as smart watches, health trackers, Google Glass can help real time updates,  ensure better health & enable hands-free process optimization in areas like item picking in a warehouse.
Drones have come out of military zone and available for common use. Amazon, Dominos are using it for delivery while Insurance & Agriculture are using it for aerial surveys.
Beacons are revolutionizing the customer experience with in-store analytics, proximity marketing, indoor navigation and contact less payments.
The new kid on the block is  blockchain where finance industry is all set to take advantage of this technology.
As products and services are getting more digitized, traditional business processes, business models and even business are getting disrupted.
The only way to survive this twister is to get closer to your customers by offering a radically different way of doing business that’s faster, simpler and cheaper.
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