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5G Internet of Things

By Anand R. Prasad. This article originally appeared here.

This is first part of the article based on several talks I have given on 5G security since last year. In this part I present my views about 5G. On purpose I have avoided discussion on various activities regarding 5G around the globe (3GPP, ITU etc.). 

5G is expected to bring several changes in mobile communications system but watch that these changes are not something that will happen couple of years down the road instead they are already happening. First flavor of 5G is expected to be available in 2018 with the complete solution available in the market by 2020. With digitization on its way to touch every part of life, Internet of Things (IOT) will be integral part of 5G from the very beginning; this is unlike 4G where IOT came later.

In the following we will go through some of the key changes 5G is expected to bring. In the next article I will discuss security aspects.

(Core) Network

As we move ahead, virtualization technology (network function virtualization or NFV) and software defined network (SDN) for mobile core networks will become mature and actually bring down the cost while achieving the quality requirement. This will lead to the network (core network) being increasingly built of off-the-shelf hardware and open source software, virtualization will become common and cloud based mobile network will become available. It is expected that the network should accommodate multiple radio technologies. 

Changes mentioned above (virtualization and cloud) will allow networks to be launched for a specific service, a concept now being termed as network slicing or just slicing - this is what I call as vertical network that fulfill specific requirements in contrast to horizontal networks today that cater for all services. Virtualization and cloud also means that the network will become more open and accessible that will lead to network border going deeper in the network, i.e. instead of network elements as end-point a software module in the server farm will be the end-point and this end-point can migrate to different locations.

Radio Access Technology

Radio access technology will see several improvements with data-rates available from few bits going up to several gigabits, delays going down to micro- if not nano-seconds (compare it with millisecond range in today’s system). Radio access network will also become partially virtualized and cloud based.

Spectrum

Spectrum used for 5G will be different, there have been discussions of higher GHz bands, and thus the radio characteristics will be very different as well. The spectrum will have implications on coverage and behavior of radio access technology.

With the arrival of 5G, we should also expect wider usage of cognitive radio in mobile networks and aggregation with unlicensed band as well as usage of unlicensed band technologies.

Security Credentials

Given the variety of scenarios and technologies expected to come in use for 5G, it is worth questioning whether the security credentials should stay the same as today and whether there will be change in technology for storage of credentials. Change in security credentials could have implications on authentication and other security mechanisms.

Storage of security credentials can be seen from both network and device side. From the network side the storage is in terms of location, whether the security credentials are stored at the mobile network domain or at partner domain. Implication is the change in authentication end-point and transfer of session related security credentials to appropriate network functions after completion of authentication.

With regard to security credential storage in devices one can consider three different forms of storage (1) secure hardware environment as we have today in the form of UICC that is commonly known as SIM card, (2) embedded secure hardware environment, e.g. a UICC or similar device is implemented in a modem, this brings us to something like embedded SIM and (3) some form of software.

End Devices

End devices will see huge transformation together with technology enhancements that we are seeing around us. Already with the arrival of 4G we have seen increased usage of smartphone and over the top (OTT) services. As we move towards 5G we will see increased number of smart “devices” as well as a whole variety of IOT devices associated to a plethora of services, there will be wearables in common use and also virtual or augmented reality (VR or AR) type devices commonly available. Open source devices are available since a while now; we should expect increased usage of such devices as we move towards 5G.

With 5G we should expect mobile devices (all types like smart devices, IOT, VR, AR) to be reachable over Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, i.e. they will be directly connected to the Internet. On the other end of the spectrum there will be devices requiring long battery life (say 10 years) that are expected to work at very low data rates. 

Services

Services for VR, AR, IOT, smart devices and many more will appear as 5G will provision a platform that can fulfill variety of requirements. These services will be provisioned by the mobile operator or by a third party with or without business relation with the mobile operator.

Over the top (OTT) services are already there that have the potential of leading to potential cyber-attacks through malware, phishing etc. Sponsored data should be a source of revenue for mobile operators but misuse here leads to operator making financial loss.

Business

We are already seeing change in business model of mobile operators. One such change is in the form of APIs being made available for third parties to launch services over the mobile network. 

With 5G in picture we will also see operators getting in partnership with other companies to provision the services. This would mean that the partners would own the subscribers while the operator would be responsible for correct usage of the licensed spectrum.

User Space

5G will have much deeper penetration in the society than any of the technologies to-date. This equates to technology being used by savvy users like millennials and also Information and Communication Technology (ICT) illiterates who will leap-frog directly to the new technology. Thus the technology will go to the deepest part of life; not just human beings but animals (e.g. for vital information) and plants (e.g. for watering) will also get connected with IOT.

Photo Credit sayasatria

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IoT Central Digest, August 15, 2016

Articles on wireless standards, finance, and medical devices are just some of the stories highlighted in this issue IoT Central Digest. If you're interested in being featured, we always welcome your contributions on all things IoT Infrastructure, IoT Application Development, IoT Data and IoT Security, and more. All members can post on IoT Central. Consider contributing today. Our guidelines are here.

How IoT Will Transform The Automotive Industry

Posted by Luke Ryan

Here’s a glimpse of how IoT connectivity, smart sensors and gadgets, edge computing, mobile apps and cloud services will revolutionize how you interact with and use your car.

Behold the great possibilities of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

By Rick Blaisdell

Unlike other industries, healthcare has been relatively conservative and slow in embracing innovations like cloud computing and the IoT, but that is starting to change, especially if we think about the past years. Innovative tech products and services are more and more part of our daily lives, making it harder for healthcare providers to ignore the potential advantages of connected medical devices.

Realizing the Elusive Value promised by the Internet of Things – An Economic Perspective

By Anirban Kundu

Much has been said about the value at stake and new growth opportunities presented by the Internet of Things trend. A Cisco estimates puts this at $ 14.4 Trillion opportunity where as a new McKinsey survey values this around $ 6.2 Trillion by 2025. One thing which comes undisputed from various reports across analyst’s community is the significant addition to the global GDP, trade volumes and new opportunities which would be created across sectors and industries.  Most reports in unison claim the benefits of the Internet of Things and the far reaching consequences this would have for the city we live in, the buildings we work and live in to the vehicles we drive. Every aspect of our experience with the physical world would be re-imagined from the way we work, our shopping experience, our medical services to the purchase of the insurance and banking services.

Global IoT Market Grows Again Says Machina Research

Posted by David Oro

UK-based Machina Research is adding to the mix of predictions for IOT with a new Global IoT Market research report. Their headline today: Global Internet of Things market to grow to 27 billion devices, generating USD3 trillion revenue in 2025.

Does IoT Need Wireless?

By Wade Sarver

Hell yeah! Don’t get me wrong, you could use CAT 5 to connect most of this stuff, but the idea is to have the equipment everywhere and talking all the time, or at least when we need to. They need to be wireless controlled for it to work properly and to be autonomous. What fun would a drone be if you needed to have a copper line connected to it. The FCC laid out their plan to sunset copper lines. I did a lot of work on them but I won’t miss them because wireless is so cool! If you like copper so much, then put that smartphone down and use a landline, if you can find one.

Thoughts on IoT and Finance

By Javier Saade

IoT, smart devices, wearables, mobile technology and nanotech - yes, nanotech - are forcing financial services incumbents and challengers to rethink every aspect of their value chains.  Those value chains are getting to be exponentially more distributed and automated.   Increased digitization means more data being generated, from all kinds of places at an accelerating rate.   IoT, regardless of your perspective, promises to enable the development of new value-added services to improve and automate user engagement, customer acquisition and service delivery - everywhere at all times.  

Data Analysis for Running the Business the Intelligent Way

Posted by Marcus Jensen 

Our very own selves from so little as a decade ago could not even comprehend the amount of information we are exposed to on a daily basis. Everything from planners to weather information is nowadays absorbed through technology. The amount of data that circulates our daily lives can turn out overwhelming; however, if used intelligently, it can bring upon a world of help when running a business.

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How IoT can benefit from fog computing

fog computing

By Ben Dickson. This article originally appeared here.

What I’m mentioning a lot these days (and hearing about it as well) is the chaotic propagation and growth of the Internet of Things. With billions of devices slated to connect to the internet every year, we’re going to be facing some serious challenges. I’ve already discussed howblockchain technology might address connectivity issues for huge IoT ecosystems.

But connectivity accounts for a small part of the problems we’ll be facing. Another challenge will be processing and making sense of the huge reams of data that IoT devices are generating. Close on its heels will be the issue of latency or how fast an IoT system can react to events. And as always, security and privacy issues will remain one of the top items in the IoT challenge list.

Fog computing (aka edge computing) can help mitigate – if not overcome – these challenges. As opposed to the cloud, where all the computation takes place in a central location, fog computing pushes the computation of tasks toward the edge of the network and distributes it among smart routers or gateways. The term and concept was coined by networking giant Cisco even before the IoT became a buzzword, but it was the advent of the Internet of Things that provided it with true, legitimate use cases.

Here are some of the domains where cloud computing can deal with the challenges of IoT.

Computation and data processing

Naturally, computation problems will be one of the main reasons we’ll descend from the cloud and wade into the fog. A problem lying ahead of us is the sheer amount of computation and data processing that IoT ecosystems will require.

With Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications accounting for most of exchanges in IoT ecosystems, the amount of traffic that will be generated will be incomparable to what we’re used to deal with in human-machine settings. Pushing all of these tasks to the cloud will overburden centralized computation nodes and require bigger and stronger cloud servers.

The cloud is best known for its huge storage and analytics capacities. Meanwhile, many of the tasks and events that take place in IoT ecosystems do not require such capabilities and sending them to the cloud will be a waste of precious resources and will only bog down servers and prevent them from performing their more critical duties.

Fog computing can address this issue. Small computational tasks can be performed at the edge (IoT gateways and routers), while valuable data can continue to be pushed to the cloud. This way, precious cloud resources for can be saved for more suitable tasks such as big data analysis and pattern recognition. Reciprocally, functionality and policies of edge devices can be altered and updated based on insights gained from cloud analytics.

This model will also help address response time and latency issues, which is discussed next.

Response times and latency

Rather than requiring huge computational resources, many of the transactions and decisions being made in IoT systems are time-critical. Imagine a telemedicine scenario, or an IoT-powered hospital, where seconds and milliseconds can make a difference for patients’ health or life. The same can be said in industrial settings and work areas, where quick response can prevent or mitigate damage and safety issues. A simpler example would be parking lights that would have to respond to passage of cars and pedestrians, but must do so in a timely fashion.

Other settings that require large bandwidth, such as IoT ecosystems involving many CCTV cameras, would also be hard to deploy in environments that have limited connectivity if they rely on cloud computation.

In many cases, it’s funny (and outright ridiculous) that two devices that stand a few feet apart have to go through the internet and the cloud to exchange simple messages. It’s even more ridiculous having to cope with the fact that your fridge and toaster don’t work because they’re disconnected from the internet.

A roundtrip to the cloud can sometimes take seconds – or even minutes, in poorly connected areas – which is more than can be afforded in many of these scenarios. Meanwhile, at the edge, IoT ecosystems can make decisions at the speed of lightning, making sure that everything gets responded to in time.

study by IDC Futurescape shows that by 2018, some 40 percent of IoT-created data will be stored, analyzed and processed at the edge.

Security and privacy

As Phantom CEO Ken Tola mentioned in a previous post, encryption isn’t panacea to IoT security problems. And as a study by LGS Innovations told us earlier, hackers don’t necessarily need to crack into your encrypted communications in order to carry out their evil deeds. In fact, just eavesdropping on your IoT internet traffic – whether it’s encrypted or not – will provide malicious actors with plenty of useful information, e.g. give away your living habits.

Moreover, some forms of attacks, such as replay attacks, don’t require the attacker to have access to encryption keys. All they need to do is to replicate packets that are being exchanged on the network. For instance, with a good bit of network monitoring, an attacker might figure out which sequence of packets unlocks your home’s smart-lock.

Of course, there are ways to mitigate each of these threats, but robust security practices aren’t the greatest strength of IoT device manufacturers, and that’s why we’re seeing all thesespooky IoT hacks surface every week.

Fog computing will reduce many of these risks by considerably decreasing the amount of dependency on internet connections. Moving data and command exchange into the local area network will make it much harder for hackers to gain remote access to your data and devices. Moreover, with device-cloud exchanges no longer happening in real-time, it will be much harder to discern life and usage patterns by eavesdropping on your network.

Overcoming the challenges

Despite all the mentioned advantages, fog computing does have its own set of caveats and difficulties. For one thing, edge devices can’t match the power of cloud in computing and analytics. This issue can be addressed by distributing the workload between the cloud and the fog. Edge devices such as smart routers and gateways can mimic cloud capabilities at the edge location, making optimal use of their resources to respond to time-critical and lightweight tasks, while the heavier, analytics-intensive requests that don’t necessarily need to be carried out in real-time can be sent to the cloud.

Meanwhile, edge software should be designed and developed with flexibility in mind. For instance, IoT gateway software that controls industrial equipment should be able to receive policy and function updates, which will be produced by machine learning solutions analyzing big data at the cloud.

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Originally Posted and Written by: Michelle Canaan, John Lucker, & Bram Spector

Connectivity is changing the way people engage with their cars, homes, and bodies—and insurers are looking to keep pace. Even at an early stage, IoT technology may reshape the way insurance companies assess, price, and limit risks, with a wide range of potential implications for the industry.

Insurers’ path to growth: Embrace the future

In 1997, Progressive Insurance pioneered the use of the Internet to purchase auto insurance online, in real time.1 In a conservative industry, Progressive’s innovative approach broke several long-established trade-offs, shaking up traditional distribution channels and empowering consumers with price transparency.

This experiment in distribution ended up transforming the industry as a whole. Online sales quickly forced insurers to evolve their customer segmentation capabilities and, eventually, to refine pricing. These modifications propelled growth by allowing insurers to serve previously uninsurable market segments. And as segmentation became table stakes for carriers, a new cottage industry of tools, such as online rate comparison capabilities, emerged to capture customer attention. Insurers fought to maintain their competitive edge through innovation, but widespread transparency in product pricing over time created greater price competition and ultimately led to product commoditization. The tools and techniques that put the insurer in the driver’s seat slowly tipped the balance of power to the customer.

This case study of insurance innovation and its unintended consequences may be a precursor to the next generation of digital connectivity in the industry. Today, the availability of unlimited new sources of data that can be exploited in real time is radically altering how consumers and businesses interact. And the suite of technologies known as the Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating the experimentation of Progressive and other financial services companies. With the IoT’s exponential growth, the ways in which citizens engage with their cars, homes, and bodies are getting smarter each day, and they expect the businesses they patronize to keep up with this evolution. Insurance, an industry generally recognized for its conservatism, is no exception.

IoT technology may still be in its infancy, but its potential to reshape the way insurers assess, price, and limit risks is already quite promising. Nevertheless, since innovation inevitably generates unintended possibilities and consequences, insurers will need to examine strategies from all angles in the earliest planning stages.

To better understand potential IoT applications in insurance, the Deloitte Center for Financial Services (DCFS), in conjunction with Wikistrat, performed a crowdsourcing simulation to explore the technology’s implications for the future of the financial services industry. Researchers probed participants (13 doctorate holders, 24 cyber and tech experts, 20 finance experts, and 6 entrepreneurs) from 20 countries and asked them to imagine how IoT technology might be applied in a financial services context. The results (figure 1) are not an exhaustive compilation of scenarios already in play or forthcoming but, rather, an illustration of several examples of how these analysts believe the IoT may reshape the industry.2

ER_2824_Fig.1

CONNECTIVITY AND OPPORTUNITY

Even this small sample of possible IoT applications shows how increased connectivity can generate tremendous new opportunities for insurers, beyond personalizing premium rates. Indeed, if harnessed effectively, IoT technology could potentially boost the industry’s traditionally low organic growth rates by creating new types of coverage opportunities. It offers carriers a chance to break free from the product commoditization trend that has left many personal and commercial lines to compete primarily on price rather than coverage differentiation or customer service.

For example, an insurer might use IoT technology to directly augment profitability by transforming the income statement’s loss component. IoT-based data, carefully gathered and analyzed, might help insurers evolve from a defensive posture—spreading risk among policyholders and compensating them for losses—to an offensive posture: helping policyholders prevent losses and insurers avoid claims in the first place. And by avoiding claims, insurers could not only reap the rewards of increased profitability, but also reduce premiums and aim to improve customer retention rates. Several examples, both speculative and real-life, include:

  • Sensors embedded in commercial infrastructure can monitor safety breaches such as smoke, mold, or toxic fumes, allowing for adjustments to the environment to head off or at least mitigate a potentially hazardous event.
  • Wearable sensors could monitor employee movements in high-risk areas and transmit data to employers in real time to warn the wearer of potential danger as well as decrease fraud related to workplace accidents.
  • Smart home sensors could detect moisture in a wall from pipe leakage and alert a homeowner to the issue prior to the pipe bursting. This might save the insurer from a large claim and the homeowner from both considerable inconvenience and losing irreplaceable valuables. The same can be said for placing IoT sensors in business properties and commercial machinery, mitigating property damage and injuries to workers and customers, as well as business interruption losses.
  • Socks and shoes that can alert diabetics early on to potential foot ulcers, odd joint angles, excessive pressure, and how well blood is pumping through capillaries are now entering the market, helping to avoid costly medical and disability claims as well as potentially life-altering amputations.3

Beyond minimizing losses, IoT applications could also potentially help insurers resolve the dilemma with which many have long wrestled: how to improve the customer experience, and therefore loyalty and retention, while still satisfying the unrelenting market demand for lower pricing. Until now, insurers have generally struggled to cultivate strong client relationships, both personal and commercial, given the infrequency of interactions throughout the insurance life cycle from policy sale to renewal—and the fact that most of those interactions entail unpleasant circumstances: either deductible payments or, worse, claims. This dynamic is even more pronounced in the independent agency model, in which the intermediary, not the carrier, usually dominates the relationship with the client.

The emerging technology intrinsic to the IoT that can potentially monitor and measure each insured’s behavioral and property footprint across an array of activities could turn out to be an insurer’s holy grail, as IoT applications can offer tangible benefits for value-conscious consumers while allowing carriers to remain connected to their policyholders’ everyday lives. While currently, people likely want as few associations with their insurers as possible, the IoT can potentially make insurers a desirable point of contact. The IoT’s true staying power will be manifested in the technology’s ability to create value for both the insurer and the policyholder, thereby strengthening their bond. And while the frequency of engagement shifts to the carrier, the independent agency channel will still likely remain relevant through the traditional client touchpoints.

By harnessing continuously streaming “quantified self” data, using advanced sensor connectivity devices, insurers could theoretically capture a vast variety of personal data and use it to analyze a policyholder’s movement, environment, location, health, and psychological and physical state. This could provide innovative opportunities for insurers to better understand, serve, and connect with policyholders—as well as insulate companies against client attrition to lower-priced competitors. Indeed, if an insurer can demonstrate how repurposing data collected for insurance considerations might help a carrier offer valuable ancillary non-insurance services, customers may be more likely to opt in to share further data, more closely binding insurer and customer.

Leveraging IoT technologies may also have the peripheral advantage of resuscitating the industry’s brand, making insurance more enticing to the relatively small pool of skilled professionals needed to put these strategies in play. And such a shift would be welcome, considering that Deloitte’s Talent in Insurance Survey revealed that the tech-savvy Millennial generation generally considers a career in the insurance industry “boring.”4 Such a reputational challenge clearly creates a daunting obstacle for insurance executives and HR professionals, particularly given the dearth of employees with necessary skill sets to successfully enable and systematize IoT strategies, set against a backdrop of intense competition from many other industries. Implementing cutting-edge IoT strategies could boost the “hip factor” that the industry currently lacks.

With change comes challenges

While most stakeholders might see attractive possibilities in the opportunity for behavior monitoring across the insurance ecosystem, inevitable hurdles stand in the way of wholesale adoption. How insurers surmount each potential barrier is central to successful evolution.

For instance, the industry’s historically conservative approach to innovation may impede the speed and flexibility required for carriers to implement enhanced consumer strategies based on IoT technology. Execution may require more nimble data management and data warehousing than currently in place, as engineers will need to design ways to quickly aggregate, analyze, and act upon disparate data streams. To achieve this speed, executives may need to spearhead adjustments to corporate culture grounded in more centralized location of data control. Capabilities to discern which data are truly predictive versus just noise in the system are also critical. Therefore, along with standardized formats for IoT technology,5 insurers may see an increasing need for data scientists to mine, organize, and make sense of mountains of raw information.

Perhaps most importantly, insurers would need to overcome the privacy concerns that could hinder consumers’ willingness to make available the data on which the IoT runs. Further, increased volume, velocity, and variety of data propagate a heightened need for appropriate security oversight and controls.

For insurers, efforts to capitalize on IoT technology may also require patience and long-term investments. Indeed, while bolstering market share, such efforts could put a short-term squeeze on revenues and profitability. To convince wary customers to opt in to monitoring programs, insurers may need to offer discounted pricing, at least at the start, on top of investments to finance infrastructure and staff supporting the new strategic initiative. This has essentially been the entry strategy for auto carriers in the usage-based insurance market, with discounts provided to convince drivers to allow their performance behind the wheel to be monitored, whether by a device installed in their vehicles or an application on their mobile device.

Results from the Wikistrat crowdsourcing simulation reveal several other IoT-related challenges that respondents put forward. (See figure 2.)6

ER_2824_Fig.2a

Each scenario implies some measure of material impact to the insurance industry. In fact, together they suggest that the same technology that could potentially help improve loss ratios and strengthen policyholder bonds over the long haul may also make some of the most traditionally lucrative insurance lines obsolete.

For example, if embedding sensors in cars and homes to prevent hazardous incidents increasingly becomes the norm, and these sensors are perfected to the point where accidents are drastically reduced, this development may minimize or eliminate the need for personal auto and home liability coverage, given the lower frequency and severity of losses that result from such monitoring. Insurers need to stay ahead of this, perhaps even eventually shifting books of business from personal to product liability as claims evolve from human error to product failure.

Examining the IoT through an insurance lens

Analyzing the intrinsic value of adopting an IoT strategy is fundamental in the development of a business plan, as executives must carefully consider each of the various dimensions to assess the potential value and imminent challenges associated with every stage of operationalization. Using Deloitte’s Information Value Loop can help capture the stages (create, communicate, aggregate, analyze, act) through which information passes in order to create value.7

The value loop framework is designed to evaluate the components of IoT implementation as well as potential bottlenecks in the process, by capturing the series and sequence of activities by which organizations create value from information (figure 3).

ER_2824_Fig.3

To complete the loop and create value, information passes through the value loop’s stages, each enabled by specific technologies. An act is monitored by a sensor that creates information. That information passes through a network so that it can be communicated, and standards—be they technical, legal, regulatory, or social—allow that information to be aggregated across time and space. Augmented intelligence is a generic term meant to capture all manner of analytical support, collectively used to analyze information. The loop is completed via augmented behavior technologies that either enable automated, autonomous action or shape human decisions in a manner leading to improved action.8

For a look at the value loop through an insurance lens, we will examine an IoT capability already at play in the industry: automobile telematics. By circumnavigating the stages of the framework, we can scrutinize the efficacy of how monitoring driving behavior is poised to eventually transform the auto insurance market with a vast infusion of value to both consumers and insurers.

Auto insurance and the value loop

Telematic sensors in the vehicle monitor an individual’s driving to create personalized data collection. The connected car, via in-vehicle telecommunication sensors, has been available in some form for over a decade.9 The key value for insurers is that sensors can closely monitor individual driving behavior, which directly corresponds to risk, for more accuracy in underwriting and pricing.

Originally, sensor manufacturers made devices available to install on vehicles; today, some carmakers are already integrating sensors into showroom models, available to drivers—and, potentially, their insurers—via smartphone apps. The sensors collect data (figure 4) which, if properly analyzed, might more accurately predict the unique level of risk associated with a specific individual’s driving and behavior. Once the data is created, an IoT-based system could quantify and transform it into “personalized” pricing.

ER_2824_Fig.4

Sensors’ increasing availability, affordability, and ease of use break what could potentially be a bottleneck at this stage of the Information Value Loop for other IoT capabilities in their early stages.

IoT technology aggregatesand communicatesinformation to the carrier to be evaluated. To identify potential correlations and create predictive models that produce reliable underwriting and pricing decisions, auto insurers need massive volumes of statistically and actuarially credible telematics data.

In the hierarchy of auto telematics monitoring, large insurers currently lead the pack when it comes to usage-based insurance market share, given the amount of data they have already accumulated or might potentially amass through their substantial client bases. In contrast, small and midsized insurers—with less comprehensive proprietary sources—will likely need more time to collect sufficient data on their own.

To break this bottleneck, smaller players could pool their telematics data with peers either independently or through a third-party vendor to create and share the broad insights necessary to allow a more level playing field throughout the industry.

Insurers analyze data and use it to encourage drivers to act by improving driver behavior/loss costs. By analyzing the collected data, insurers can now replace or augment proxy variables (age, car type, driving violations, education, gender, and credit score) correlated with the likelihood of having a loss with those factors directly contributing to the probability of loss for an individual driver (braking, acceleration, cornering, and average speed, as figure 4 shows). This is an inherently more equitable method to structure premiums: Rather than paying for something that might be true about a risk, a customer pays for what is true based on his own driving performance.

But even armed with all the data necessary to improve underwriting for “personalized” pricing, insurers need a way to convince millions of reluctant customers to opt in. To date, insurers have used the incentive of potential premium discounts to engage consumers in auto telematics monitoring.10 However, this model is not necessarily attractive enough to convince the majority of drivers to relinquish a measure of privacy and agree to usage-based insurance. It is also unsustainable for insurers that will eventually have to charge rates actually based on risk assessment rather than marketing initiatives.

Substantiating the point about consumer adoption is a recent survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services of 2,193 respondents representing a wide variety of demographic groups, aiming to understand consumer interest in mobile technology in financial services delivery, including the use of auto telematics monitoring. The survey identified three distinct groups among respondents when asked whether they would agree to allow an insurer to track their driving experience, if it meant they would be eligible for premium discounts based on their performance (figure 5).11 While one-quarter of respondents were amenable to being monitored, just as many said they would require a substantial discount to make it worth their while (figure 5), and nearly half would not consent.

ER_2824_Fig.5

While the Deloitte survey was prospective (asking how many respondents would be willing to have their driving monitored telematically), actual recruits have been proven to be difficult to bring on board. Indeed, a 2015 Lexis-Nexis study on the consumer market for telematics showed that usage-based insurance enrollment has remained at only 5 percent of households from 2014 to 2015 (figure 6).12

ER_2824_Fig.6

Both of these survey results suggest that premium discounts alone have not and likely will not induce many consumers to opt in to telematics monitoring going forward, and would likely be an unsustainable model for insurers to pursue. The good news: Research suggests that, while protective of their personal information, most consumers are willing to trade access to that data for valuable services from a reputable brand.13 Therefore, insurers will likely have to differentiate their telematics-based product offerings beyond any initial early-adopter premium savings by offering value-added services to encourage uptake, as well as to protect market share from other players moving into the telematics space.

In other words, insurers—by offering mutually beneficial, ongoing value-added services—can use IoT-based data to become an integral daily influence for connected policyholders. Companies can incentivize consumers to opt in by offering real-time, behavior-related services, such as individualized marketing and advertising, travel recommendations based on location, alerts about potentially hazardous road conditions or traffic, and even diagnostics and alerts about a vehicle’s potential issues (figure 7).14 More broadly, insurers could aim to serve as trusted advisers to help drivers realize the benefits of tomorrow’s connected car.15

Many IoT applications offer real value to both insurers and policyholders: Consider GPS-enabled geo-fencing, which can monitor and send alerts about driving behavior of teens or elderly parents. For example, Ford’s MyKey technology includes tools such as letting parents limit top speeds, mute the radio until seat belts are buckled, and keep the radio at a certain volume while the vehicle is moving.16 Other customers may be attracted to “green” monitoring, in which they receive feedback on how environmentally friendly their driving behavior is.

Insurers can also look to offer IoT-related services exclusive of risk transfer—for example, co-marketing location-based services with other providers, such as roadside assistance, auto repairs, and car washes may strengthen loyalty to a carrier. They can also include various nonvehicle-related service options such as alerts about nearby restaurants and shopping, perhaps in conjunction with points earned by good driving behavior in loyalty programs or through gamification, which could be redeemed at participating vendors. Indeed, consumers may be reluctant to switch carriers based solely on pricing, knowing they would be abandoning accumulated loyalty points as well as a host of personalized apps and settings.

For all types of insurance—not just auto—the objective is for insurers to identify the expectations that different types of policyholders may have, and then adapt those insights into practical applications through customized telematic monitoring to elevate the customer experience.

Telematics monitoring has demonstrated benefits even beyond better customer experience for policyholders. Insurers can use telematics tools to expose an individual’s risky driving behavior and encourage adjustments. Indeed, people being monitored by behavior sensors will likely improve their driving habits and reduce crash rates—a result to everyone’s benefit. This “nudge effect” indicates that the motivation to change driving behavior is likely linked to the actual surveillance facilitated by IoT technology.

The power of peer pressure is another galvanizing influence that can provoke beneficial consumer behavior. Take fitness wearables, which incentivize individuals to do as much or more exercise than the peers with whom they compete.17 In fact, research done in several industries points to an individual’s tendency to be influenced by peer behavior above most other factors. For example, researchers asked four separate groups of utility consumers to cut energy consumption: one for the good of the planet, a second for the well-being of future generations, a third for financial savings, and a fourth because their neighbors were doing it. The only group that elicited any drop in consumption (at 10 percent) was the fourth—the peer comparison group.18

Insurers equipped with not only specific policyholder information but aggregated data that puts a user’s experience in a community context have a real opportunity to influence customer behavior. Since people generally resist violating social norms, if a trusted adviser offers data that compares customer behavior to “the ideal driver”—or, better, to a group of friends, family, colleagues, or peers—they will, one hopes, adapt to safer habits.

ER_2824_Fig.7a

The future ain’t what it used to be—what should insurers do?

After decades of adherence to traditional business models, the insurance industry, pushed and guided by connected technology, is taking a road less traveled. Analysts expect some 38.5 billion IoT devices to be deployed globally by 2020, nearly three times as many as today,19 and insurers will no doubt install their fair share of sensors, data banks, and apps. In an otherwise static operating environment, IoT applications present insurers with an opportunity to benefit from technology that aims to improve profits, enable growth, strengthen the consumer experience, build new market relevance, and avoid disruption from more forward-looking traditional and nontraditional competitors.

Incorporating IoT technology into insurer business models will entail transformation to elicit the benefits offered by each strategy.

  • Carriers must confront the barriers associated with conflicting standards—data must be harvested and harnessed in a way that makes the information valid and able to generate valuable insights. This could include making in-house legacy systems more modernized and flexible, building or buying new systems, or collaborating with third-party sources to develop more standardized technology for harmonious connectivity.
  • Corporate culture will need a facelift—or, likely, something more dramatic—to overcome longstanding conventions on how information is managed and consumed across the organization. In line with industry practices around broader data management initiatives,20 successfully implementing IoT technology will require supportive “tone at the top,” change management initiatives, and enterprisewide training.
  • With premium savings already proving insufficient to entice most customers to allow insurers access to their personal usage data, companies will need to strategize how to convince or incentivize customers to opt in—after all, without that data, IoT applications are of limited use. To promote IoT-aided connectivity, insurers should look to market value-added services, loyalty points, and rewards for reducing risk. Insurers need to design these services in conjunction with their insurance offerings, to ensure that both make best use of the data being collected.
  • Insurers will need to carefully consider how an interconnected world might shift products from focusing on cleaning up after disruptions to forestalling those disruptions before they happen. IoT technology will likely upend certain lines of businesses, potentially even making some obsolete. Therefore, companies must consider how to heighten flexibility in their models, systems, and culture to counterbalance changing insurance needs related to greater connectivity.
  • IoT connectivity may also potentially level the playing field among insurers. Since a number of the broad capabilities that technology is introducing do not necessarily require large data sets to participate (such as measuring whether containers in a refrigerated truck are at optimal temperatures to prevent spoilage21 or whether soil has the right mix of nutrients for a particular crop22), small to midsized players or even new entrants may be able to seize competitive advantages from currently dominant players.
  • And finally, to test the efficacy of each IoT-related strategy prior to implementation, a framework such as the Information Value Loop may become an invaluable tool, helping forge a path forward and identify potential bottlenecks or barriers that may need to be resolved to get the greatest value out of investments in connectivity.

The bottom line: IoT is here to stay, and insurers need look beyond business as usual to remain competitive.

The IoT is here to stay, the rate of change is unlikely to slow anytime soon, and the conservative insurance industry is hardly impervious to connectivity-fueled disruption—both positive and negative. The bottom line: Insurers need to look beyond business as usual. In the long term, no company can afford to engage in premium price wars over commoditized products. A business model informed by IoT applications might emphasize differentiating offerings, strengthening customer bonds, energizing the industry brand, and curtailing risk either at or prior to its initiation.

IoT-related disruptors should also be considered through a long-term lens, and responses will likely need to be forward-looking and flexible to incorporate the increasingly connected, constantly evolving environment. With global connectivity reaching a fever pitch amid increasing rates of consumer uptake, embedding these neoteric schemes into the insurance industry’s DNA is no longer a matter of if but, rather, of when and how.

You can view the original post in its entirety Here

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Guest post by Jules Oudmans. This article first appeared here.

An important, crucial, aspect in IIoT applications is the communication layer. This layer is responsible for relaying sensor values from the field to northbound processing of this data and the southbound control.

In my previous blog I concluded that IIoT is reality, but headaches are ahead choosing the right protocol and communications provider, especially when your IIoT solution requires long-range support, will be deployed in multiple countries and needs cross border coverage.

Protocols, protocols, protocols …

The myriad of protocols in IoT land is still growing and can truly be overwhelming. In below table I have limited the protocols listed to only those that support long-range. Next to this the table shows data rates and bi-directional capability, these are important qualifiers for typical IIoT solutions and may help you choose the right protocol … but continue reading!!

What Protocol … No Sorry What Provider .. or Protocol !??

The vast majority of today’s M2M communication relies on 2G and 3G networks. These networks reliably provide, relatively low-cost, long range and border stretching networks for IIoT applications. They are offered by a wide variety of providers and support roaming. A truly excellent choice for your IIoT solution … were it not that 2G/3G networks are expected to disappear in the next 5 years. This is where the headache starts ... as today no cross-border roaming IIoT provider is out there supporting a protocol with an expected useful lifetime equal to a smartphone.

You could off course develop your IIoT solution – sensors, middleware, processing nodes et cetera. – to support multiple protocols but this is unpractical and costly.

When we limit ourselves to an IIoT deployment that requires long range connectivity, is low- cost, will be deployed in multiple countries and will be available after 2020 than, today, we can choose between:

  • SigFox: A protocol with country coverage in certain EU countries and countries under rollout such as Brazil, Germany, UK and the US; and
  • LoRa: A protocol offered by multiple providers. Some country covering networks are available today and some network providers cover regions or cities.

SigFox

SigFox is available in countries where rollout is requested (chicken and egg). Today roaming is not supported, but besides this all data goes over SigFox managed servers(!). The latter something that certain companies will not want.

LoRaWAN

LoRaWAN is growing in popularity, LoRa networks are predominantly rolled out by the NTCs – National Telephone Companies – but you also see new communication providers popping up such as DIGIMONDO in Germany, Wireless Things in Belgium et cetera. This because there are no frequency auctions for LoRa. So far so good, but LoRa also has a small caveat: roaming is under development – expected this year.

Conclusion

With new communication providers popping up out of nowhere and NTCs pushing rollouts of LoRa like there is no tomorrow there is a lot of turbulence in the IIoT communications space.

Today no cross-border roaming IIoT provider is out there supporting a protocol with a ‘long’ lifespan. Today LoRa is, in Europe, one of the best alternatives to focus on.

Closing Notes

In this post I have not taken LTE-M into consideration as it is becoming available this year(1):

LTE-M rollout will likely be fast as it can utilize existing mobile phone infrastructures. I recommend you to read the Ericsson White Paper: Cellular networks for massive IoTand to keep an eye on this space. But also don’t lose track on Ingenu (promising(2)),NWAVE and NB-IoT. Some expect that NB-IoT will ‘crush’ LoRa and SigFox(3) .. just furthering the headache.

Weightless was left out of the consideration in this article as it is only available in a few different European cities and is more mid than long range .. but hey it may well suite your IIoT needs!

Due to the turbulence and changes in communications land this article very likely needs to be revisited in 3-to-6 months from now.

Finally: If you are looking to set-up a private LoRaWAN network, or wanting to play around with LoRa possibilities there is not much stopping you. For approximately 280$ you can have your own LoRa network – have a look at TheThingsNetwork.

UREASON

UREASON has been at the forefront of IoT /IoE, reasoning over real-time streaming data and events in the manufacturing industry and telecom. We apply an ensemble of techniques – best fitting the requirements – and a wealth of knowledge focused on providing a tailored response to the environment of our customers.

Our capabilities in the Industrial Internet of Things field include:

  • Feasibility studies and Proof of Concepts including hardware prototyping and field tests;
  • Support and roll-out of IIoT solutions in Operational Safety and Predictive Maintenance;
  • Recommendations for human-cyber physical systems, augmented reality and Internet of Things technologies; and
  • Support in Machine Learning and Big-Data initiatives supporting IIoT applications.

References

(1): Cellular IoT alphabet soup, Ericsson Research Blog, 2016

(2): RPMA Technology for the Internet of Things, Ingenu

(3): Vodafone to 'Crush' LoRa, Sigfox With NB-IoT, 2016

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The Next Frontier for Developers: IoT

Development for the Internet of Things has grown substantially over the past 12 months according to the newly released Global Developer Population and Demographics Study from Evans Data Corp.  

The number of developers currently working on IoT applications has increased 34% since last year to just over 6.2 million today. In addition, the increase of development for mobile devices, up 14% since last year, has led to smartphones being the most commonly connected IoT platform.  

The study, which combines the industry’s most exhaustive developer population model with the results of Evans Data’s biannual Global Development Survey also provides fresh population data for the four major regions: North America, APAC, EMEA, and Latin America and for more than 40 countries. Population numbers for adoption of the hottest tech areas are also included.  

“We're seeing how in the space of just a year, the possibilities introduced by the Internet of Things has attracted many developers.” said Michael Rasalan, Director of Research for Evans Data Corp.“This transition to IoT, while not without barriers, is rapid, because developers are able to leverage existing knowledge and expertise in complementary technologies like cloud and mobile, to create entirely new use cases. We're also seeing developers branch out from concepts centered on wearables to applications for more complex tasks, seen in the industrial space.”  

For the general developer population, estimates and projections for growth to 2021 show APAC leading the pack with nine hundred thousand more developers than EMEA. Growth in India and China are predicted to keep APAC’s population the highest globally for the next several years.  

The full report can be found here.

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Originally Posted by: Mimi Spier

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay—and rapidly evolving. As we try to make sense of IoT’s impact on our lives and businesses, we also continue grappling with the security challenges.

As the IoT security landscape evolves, here are five key insights for designing and implementing IoT deployments for your enterprise.

5 IoT insights vmware airwatch

1. Protect Your People

IoT has opened up a world of possibilities in business, but it has also opened up a host of ways to potentially harm employees and customers. A security breach is not limited to stealing credit card data, anymore. Anyone with the right access could breach firewalls or steal health records. A key challenge of the IoT world is providing the right access to the right people at the right time.

[Related: 5 Real Ways to Enable IoT Success in Your Enterprise]

2. Watch Your Things

As millions of “things” start joining the enterprise network, it also expands the surface area for hackers to breach your system. All these devices will be leveraging public Wi-Fi, cloud, Bluetooth networks, etc., which will create multiple points of vulnerabilities. Your system needs to be designed for security from the bottom up to account for:

A) Device level: better quality devices

B) Data level: encryption and cryptology

C) Network level: certificates and firewalls

D) Application level: login/authorized access

3. Poor Quality of Things

The standards for IoT hardware and software are still evolving, which means until we have any established guidelines, we need to account for a vast range in the quality of “things.” Some of these may be very sophisticated and hardy, while others may be of the cheap disposable variety. Which devices you pick may depend upon factors like cost, usage and the use case itself. However, be warned that lower-quality devices have been used to gain entry to a secure network.

“By 2020, more than 25% of identified attacks in enterprises will involve the Internet of Things (IoT), although the IoT will account for less than 10% of the IT security budget.” Gartner

4. Is Your Network Ready?

One of the biggest challenge for any IT department implementing company-wide IoT projects will be assessing and managing bandwidth. As millions of devices join your network at increasing rates, scaling your network’s bandwidth will be an ongoing struggle. Your bandwidth needs must remain elastic, so you can support your enterprise needs, while minimizing costs. It is critical to minimize exposure of your networks by using, for example, micro-segmentation.

5. Data Is Your Friend

As with protecting any system, predictive maintenance is the way to stay a step ahead of breaches. The usual ways of pushing out timely security patches and software upgrades will continue to be helpful. However, one big advantage of IoT is the sheer amount of data it generates. You can track operational data to create alerts based on anomalies in the system. For example, if someone logs into the system from Atlanta and then, 30 minutes later, logs in again from Palo Alto, the system should raise a red flag.

You can view the original post by clicking Here.

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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. With only a handful of lines of code added to any connected device, Buddy claims that they can host the telemetry data generated by these devices in various regions around the world, as well shape and query the data prior to pushing it into any business intelligence (BI) toolset desired. In addition to telemetry management, Buddy enables M2M scenarios by exposing query results on the telemetry stream via real-time RESTful APIs, as well as a messaging mechanism for external control of devices. 

Prior to IoT World, I sent Buddy CEO and Co-Founder Dave McLauchlan a few questions. Here's what he had to say. 

What is the Buddy Platform?

Buddy Platform is a highly secure, cloud-based platform that takes and processes raw data from hundreds of millions of connected devices, appliances and sensors, then makes it accessible in real-time for businesses. The platform has significant capabilities to manage billions of transactions across millions of devices in real time and at a global scale. 

Buddy’s enterprise-ready solution allows organizations to own the data without investing in data infrastructure. In many cases the companies that make devices with the most potential in their device data are not traditional data companies - they make appliances, vehicles, heavy equipment in farming, mining and manufacturing. These organizations are able to speed up their time to market and skip building out an internal data infrastructure team that can be expensive and resource heavy.

In preparation for massive IoT growth in the next decade, Buddy is focused on how internet connected devices can provide enormous amounts of valuable data to improve and enhance insights and actions across industries. From mining, manufacturing, energy and resources to connected cities, our technology can help businesses improve performance, safety, and functionality across operations. 

We are based in Seattle, WA and have an engineering office in Adelaide, South Australia. In December 2015 we listed on the Australian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol BUD.

Tell us how mobile is the gateway and hub for IoT.

There is a very strong correlation in the consumer IoT space between mobile applications and IoT devices because mobile apps are the control point. You could say an IoT platform isn’t complete without good, strong mobile support. This approach is a main differentiator for Buddy, our system is a platform for Things and Apps, you can see data from both come through your Buddy account and have a more unified view. Given our heritage as a Mobile as a Backend service, and our capabilities now in IoT we are uniquely positioned against others in the space. 

What trends are you seeing in the silicon industry to address IoT?

More and more silicon organizations, companies and manufacturers are looking to get deeper integration with device management through data management, so that when they sell silicon, the data can be deployed and managed for the customer. Increasingly, customers of silicon vendors are looking for solutions that include a robust, scalable and secure cloud platform. We think this trend will continue, and that has already led to great partnerships between Buddy and companies like Marvell and Gimbal. 

Much of the attention in IoT is focused on consumer technologies, but the real action, often unrealized by the average person, is happening in the industrial sector. What are you most excited about in IoT and what can we expect from it? 

IoT is still managing it’s way through an enormous hype cycle and it’s true, things like wearables and home automation garner much of the attention. While these areas are certainly very exciting because they are the most tangible to people, what’s happening in industrial IOT is just as exciting in that it will also be powering great new experiences and services, but as an enabler rather than being front and center on store shelves. We are seeing great opportunity in the energy sector for IoT, and how that translates into business value for utilities, cities and buildings. Everything from solar panels, to automated meters are becoming connected which means governments, real estate managers and homeowners have a better view into how they are using and producing energy. That translates into cost savings, efficiency and increased awareness that can have real impact in the lives of people, and the health of our environment and planet. 

Photo courtesy of David Oro

 

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The technology sector is buzzing with predictions and hype about the Internet of Things (IoT), but many people are still confused about what it means, what the real world opportunities are and why businesses should be looking into IoT.

At a fundamental and simplistic level the Internet of Things refers to 'physical objects which linked via wired or wireless networks'

These physical objects could be anything (such as medical machines, vehicles, building systems, signage, toasters, smoke alarms, temperature sensors, weather monitors, intelligent tags or rubbish bins for example). Almost any object, in any sector, in any location could potentially join the Internet of Things, so its no wonder that Gartner predict there will be 50 billion devices connected by 2020 (and other analysts estimate several orders of magnitude more).  

Typically the Internet of Things is used to gather data and insight, find efficiency, automate tasks or improve an experience or service. At Smarter Technology Solutions (STS) we put this down to a simple formula, with greater insight, comes better decisions.

I know what you're thinking, why would you connect an object like a rubbish bin to the Internet?

Well its a simple example but it has tremendous flow on effects. Simply tracking the fill level of a rubbish bin using a smart sensor, councils and waste providers can find out a few important facts such as fill-level trends, how often the bin really needs emptying and when, to better plan waste collection services (eg timing of bin collection near food outlets to avoid lunchtimes) and to identify areas that may need more/less bins (to assist with city/service planning).
By collecting just the fill level data of a waste bin the following benefits could be attained:

  1. Reduction in cost as less bin collections = less waste trucks on the road, no unnecessary collections for a bin that's 20% full, less labour to complete waste collection. This also provides a level of operational efficiency and optimized processes.
  2. Environmental benefit - where waste is not overflowing and truck usage is reduced, flow on environmental impact, pollution and fuel consumption is minimized. By ensuring waste bins are placed in convenient locations, littering and scattered waste is also minimized.
  3. Service improvements - truck collection routes can be optimized, waste bins can be collected at convenient times and planning of future/additional services can be amended as the data to trend and verify assumptions is available. 

More complex examples of IoT include:

  • Intelligent transport systems which update digital signage on the highway and adjusts the traffic lights in real time to divert traffic, optimise traffic flow and reduce congestion;
  • A farm which uses sensors to measure soil moisture, chemical levels and weather patterns, adjusting the watering and treatment schedules accordingly;
  • The building which draws the blinds to block out the afternoon sun, reducing the need to consume more power cooling the building and to keep the environment comfortable;
  • Health-care devices which monitor patients and auto-alert medical practitioners once certain symptoms or attributes are detected; 
  • Trucks which automatically detect mechanical anomalies and auto schedule themselves in for preventative maintenance once they reach certain thresholds; 
  • Asset tracking of fleet vehicles within a services company which provides operations staff with fleet visibility to quickly dispatch the closest resource to a job based on proximity to the next task;
  • Water/gas/electric meters which sends in their own reading in on a monthly basis and trends analysis which can detect potential water/gas leaks; or
  • A retail store which analyses your in-store behavior or purchasing patterns and recommend products to you based on previous choices and your personal preferences.

At Smarter Technology Solutions we specialize in consulting with organizations  to understand the benefits of IoT, design best fit solutions, engineer and implement solutions as well as supporting the ongoing support needs of the organization. This results in 3 key outcomes:

  • Discovery of New Opportunities - With better visibility, trends, opportunities, correlations and inefficiencies can be understood. From this, products, services and business models can be adjusted or changed to achieve competitive advantage.
  • Improved Efficiency - By identifying inefficiencies in existing business practices, work-flows can be improved and more automated services can be provided.
  • Improved Services - With trends and real time data businesses are able make smarter decisions and alter the way you services are delivered.

www.smartertechnologysolutions.com.au

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The Internet of Things (IoT) concept promises to improve our lives by embedding billions of cheap purpose-built sensors into devices, objects and structures that surround us (appliances, homes, clothing, wearables, vehicles, buildings, healthcare tech, industrial equipment, manufacturing, etc.).

IoT Market Map -- Goldman Sachs

What this means is that billions of sensors, machines and smart devices will simultaneously collect volumes of big data, while processing real-time fast data from almost everything and... almost everyone!!!

IoT vision is not net reality

Simply stated, the Internet of Things is all about the power of connections.

Consumers, for the moment anyway, seem satisfied to have access to gadgets, trendy devices and apps which they believe will make them more efficient (efficient doesn't necessarily mean productive), improve their lives and promote general well-being.

Corporations on the other hand, have a grand vision that convergence of cloud computing, mobility, low-cost sensors, smart devices, ubiquitous networks and fast-data will help them achieve competitive advantages, market dominance, unyielding brand power and shareholder riches.

Global Enterprises (and big venture capital firms) will spend billions on the race for IoT supremacy. These titans of business are chomping at the bit to develop IoT platforms, machine learning algorithms, AI software applications & advanced predictive analytics. The end-game of these initiatives is to deploy IoT platforms on a large scale for;

  • real-time monitoring, control & tracking (retail, autonomous vehicles, digital health, industrial & manufacturing systems, etc.)
  • assessment of consumers, their emotions & buying sentiment,
  • managing smart systems and operational processes,
  • reducing operating costs & increasing efficiencies,
  • predicting outcomes, and equipment failures, and
  • monetization of consumer & commercial big data, etc.

 

IoT reality is still just a vision

No technology vendor (hardware or software), service provider, consulting firm or self-proclaimed expert can fulfill the IoT vision alone.

Recent history with tech hype-cycles has proven time and again that 'industry experts' are not very accurate predicting the future... in life or in business!

Having said this, it only makes sense that fulfilling the promise of IoT demands close collaboration & communication among many stake-holders.

A tech ecosystem is born

IoT & Industrial IoT comprise a rapidly developing tech ecosystem. Momentum is building quickly and will drive sustainable future demand for;

  • low-cost hardware platforms (sensors, smart devices, etc.),
  • a stable base of suppliers, developers, vendors & distribution,
  • interoperability & security (standards, encryption, API's, etc.),
  • local to global telecom & wireless services,
  • edge to cloud networks & data centers,
  • professional services firms (and self-proclaimed experts),
  • global strategic partnerships,
  • education and STEM initiatives, and
  • broad vertical market development.

I'll close with one final thought; "True IoT leaders and visionaries will first ask why, not how..!"

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Guest blog post by Greg Conary. This blog was originally published here

IIoT business

It’s become quite clear that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the future of Industry. By now we’ve well and truly covered the point that IIoT is, in fact, not hype. For end users and OEMs IIoT, cloud and big data analytics are creating very real business opportunities.

IIoT not only enhances the communication between machines and people – it is facilitating the next wave of value-added customized business services. In fact, Gartner is forecasting that by 2020 more than 80% of the IoT supplier revenue will be derived from services. IIoT represents a significant market opportunity for industrial manufacturers to improve their operational productivity and the performance of machines they sell to customers.

Human productivity is also an area that has huge potential for improvement thanks to IIoT-related services. I recently attended an event hosted by theInternational Business Congress (IBC) and heard a figure quoted on “wrench time” for field operators. It said that in a 10 hour shift a worker spends only 2.5 hours of that shift on productive work – work that adds value to the business – the rest of the time is taken by looking for information – probably travelling back and forth to a central maintenance office presumably searching filing cabinets looking for service manuals, along with admin work and various other non-value add tasks. This is a very interesting figure because it means that the worker is only actively productive for 25% of his time!

IIoT from a services standpoint will have several key benefits for our field worker, his boss, the business and its suppliers.

Firstly, technology vendors and suppliers will increasingly be called on to deliver their knowledge and expertise to their customers as a service. This means sites can outsource some of their maintenance. For example a facility that is trying to downsize its staff can rely on its suppliers to monitor critical equipment health via secondary sensors and upload data to the cloud. This can be very useful for complicated high performance machinery because the vendor is, in fact, likely to be the expert in the operation of the equipment. It also means that the business does not need to directly employ a specialised, and highly paid, member of staff to wait around and fix an issue when it arises. Alternatively, if a company does want in house specialists and has multiple sites, they can hire one expert who, through the use of IIoT can, monitor critical equipment at multiple sites.

Secondly, IIoT and related services will improve the efficiency of staff in the field no matter their age or experience level. We refer to this as the augmented operator and it can be illustrated through this simple analogy: if a 55 year old operator walks by a machine that is making a funny noise he may well know from experience exactly what the issue is and how to solve the problem. Contrast that with the new 25 year old operator who, without the aid of mobility devices, has to go back to the maintenance office to look for the manual of the equipment and, when he can’t find it, start ringing around to find someone who is experienced with the equipment. Going forward, the 25 year old will be able to pull the manual and troubleshooting charts up on his mobile device. Some newer equipment even has the capability to flash a dynamic QR code directly on the device allowing the operator to access real time information on the problem the equipment is experiencing, which helps the operator diagnose and solve the issue much more quickly.

Thirdly, on the customer side, IIoT will assist in the management of the maintenance supply chain by making it easier to track spare parts and inventory levels, and simplifying the ordering process. From the vendor side this represents an opportunity to build new service revenue streams by creating such digitized services – including digitized options for ordering manuals and spare parts and putting in place models to monetise the knowledge, advice and best practice of its own employees for greater customer service.

Finally, IIoT services will make the “great crew change” a less scary transition. Similar to my points above on worker efficiency and productivity, as we move from experienced operators to the next generation there are two telling statistics about aging workforce:

  1. 50% of all refinery staff will retire in the next 5 to 7 years[1]
  2. The millennial generation will be the largest generation in the workforce by 2025[2]

So in a short period of time digital natives will make up the majority of the workforce. This means moving from an average workforce age of 50+ to a new guard of 20 somethings who have vastly less experience and very different working practices. Bridging this gap will require digital tools to not only capture the knowledge of older workers before they retire, but also make it available to the new generation in a way that supports their preference for digital work practices – tools such as augmented reality applications, dynamic QR codes and access to easy online support.

What unique services have you developed or experienced with the advent of IIoT?

[1] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-04-02/news/38218078_1_oil-gas-aging-workforce-hr-manager

[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/

About the Author

Greg Conary is Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President of Strategy. In this role he is responsible for the strategic planning activities for the company’s Industry Business. Greg joined Schneider Electric in 2014 through the acquisition of Invensys. Prior to the acquisition he was the head of global business development for the Invensys systems business and was a leader on the integration of the company with Schneider Electric. In his capacity as head of Business Development, Greg was responsible for developing and executing growth strategies related to licensing, partnerships and distribution agreements around the globe. Throughout his career with Invensys Greg held various positions across the automation business in key account management, strategy, planning, M&A and in the CEO’s office. Prior to joining Invensys, Greg worked for the Ethyl Corporation where he held a series of senior positions in R&D, technical support and global accounts. Greg is a chemist by training and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Illinois and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He is a resident of the UK and a dual US and UK national.

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As the platform race continues to mature for the IoT, we found a great post by by Thierry Lillette that looks into the platforms, ecosystems and products. Good reading for any IoT and digital professional. Originally posted here.

These days it feels like any successful company, especially the so-called unicorns (aka private companies with over $1 billion valuation) are not selling a product but leverage a platform.  Beyond the Silicon Valley lingo, there is also a growing body of work in the literature dealing with platform businesses and business ecosystems.

The end of the sustainable competitive advantage

New digital technologies and the relentless focus on core competencies have pushed companies to outsource a lot of their activities, leading to commodization and increased competition. Barriers to entry for copycats are lower than ever, therefore maintaining differentiation over a long period of time is now virtually impossible, despite trademarks or patents. Note that this phenomenon goes beyond what happens online: it is not uncommon to find clothes inspired by the latest fashion week in Zara or H&M stores before the actual designers are able to sell their original products. 

Speed of execution is increasingly the only way to stay ahead of competition. This has some drawbacks, such as the focus on being first to market and getting scale over monetization or profitability (from Twitter to Xiaomi), and sometimes leaves the impression that you are offered a beta product that has been rushed to market. Digital products can improve daily from their Minimum Viable Productstatus,  but many Kickstarter or IndieGoGo supporters end up disappointed with what they get.

Today's unicorns are platforms, not products

To work around these limitation and remain competitive against low cost me-too products, companies of all sizes are all about platforms and no longer standalone products. Value gets now created through stickiness of a platform rather than differentiated products. The equity of a brand is increasingly equivalent to the value of its ecosystem.

What is a platform ? In a platform approach a company's  product operates as a facilitator and large part of the value is created by the participants instead of the company itself, which can be Facebook users, Uber drivers or makers of Apple-compatible accessories. 

Again, nothing really new here as Tupperware or Avon sales have been operating this way for decades, the PC industry has thrived around the Wintel ecosystem, and Android and iOS have won the mobile OS war with their ability to attract and keep developers on their platforms rather than BlackBerry or Windows Mobile.

What is new though is that the platform approach have become the standard  practice in the digital B2C space to compete for companies aiming to disrupt (another popular buzzword)  the market, or create a new one.

Some of the most famous examples can be found in eCommerce (Amazon, Flipkart or Alibaba) or in  messaging/social media (from Facebook to YouTube, Tencent or Snapchat). Online marketplaces such as Uber and AirBnB are currently some of the most prominent examples, getting as popular and powerful as Apple or Android.

Third party players: Ecosystems and Network Effects

  •  A prerequisite for a successful platform is the ability for a company to build a value proposition around an ecosystem and not only its own products. This means convince 3rd party companies to join and share value with them. In software this is usually done by publishing public APIs. Arguably, the most successful ecosystem is the one orchestrated by Apple, where you don't only buy  an iPhone, you get into the Apple ecosystem of hardware, content and services.


In the mobile apps space, countless developers write apps for iOS and Android. Apple and Google provide the API, maintain the appstore and give back 70% of the revenue to the developers.  Hence a platform can benefit but also become highly dependant on innovations developed by other firms. 

"No single company can replicate all the innovative capabilities of the market."   
Annabelle Gawer
  • Another  key component of platform is the ability to leverage network effects. For a thorough  introduction to network effects and asymetric business models, I highly recommend the comprehensive slidedeck by Anu Hariharan at Andreesen Horowitz.   In short, network effects happen is product or a service value increase exponentially as the number of users goes up. Long time ago it was the telephone line, then the fax machine and more recently Facebook

The key challenge of course is that in order to enter the virtuous circle of Metcalfe's law, a classic 'chicken and egg' problem must be solved first. Why should you install a telephone line if nobody you know has one ?  In addition building a desirable product, "Growth hacking" is therefore a key activity for start ups: reaching critical mass is the necessary extension to first mover advantage and is usually seen as more important than effective monetization. That approach is sustainable in the digital domain as cloud services make it easy to scale to impressive level on the cheap: Whatsapp was able to serve 450 million customers with only 32 engineers, and Groupon or Living Social operating cost issues are only due to their huge needs for sales reps.  

Only for digital start ups ? 

 However the trend towards platform also affects hardware companies. A vast majority on the start ups in the chart below from 2014 were pitching a platform, especially the most valued ones. A notable exception in the list is GoPro, and it currently pays the price of being a one-trick pony with slowing sales and lack of stickiness despite a powerful brand.  

Literally everyone in the consumer electronics space is trying to replicate the successful model developed by Apple. For example Samsung acquired the smart home platform SmartThings and is developing services like Samsung Pay and LG recently introduced the G5 modular phone. Obviously investments are much higher than for a digital start up, and efforts can take years to materialize.

 Platform 101

In Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You, Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Choudary explain that moving from a traditional 'pipeline' model  to a platform involves three key shifts, which are quite suitable for agile start ups.

  1. Main activity moves from the control of limited resources (raw materials, equipments...) to an orchestration of intellectual property and  interactions of the community of users and partners
  2. Efficiency does not come from optimization of internal processes (e.g. production yield) but through the ability to increase (external) network effects via the ecosystem.
  3. Value is contained by the whole ecosystem rather than individual products

 

More than a buzzword, the new normal for products

Platforms are not only the latest Silicon Valley fad for building unicorns, but they have become the new normal to build and sustain a strategic advantage. In markets where it is increasingly fast and easy for competitors to duplicate innovative products, often at lower cost, building and maintaining platform is arguable the best way to fend off competition. Like it or not, it is time to adjust to this new paradigm where even a great product cannot be successful for very long in isolation.., 

Note: views expressed here are those of the author, Thierry Little.

About the Author

Thierry Lillette has over 15 years of experience across wireless technologies and Consumer Electronics devices with a unique blend of business acumen and technical savvy and a passion for breakthrough products that will ship in millions and delight customers. Defined and launched multiple high-volume and award-winning portable devices, including mobile phones, GPS navigation devices (PND),clean energy and now focussing on the connectivity chips that make all these products smart and useful. Experience in managing all steps of product life cycle and handling multiple branding / route to market combinations to deliver strong business results while delighting users on a global scale.  Thriving in multicultural / international environments and interested in global opportunities in upstream product management & business development in the high-tech / consumer electronics or telecoms sector.

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IBM Update: IOT Transformation on Track?

There have been some interesting developments for Big Blue in the IOT space recently. Last time we reported on them, we were monitoring analysts’ worries about the semiconductor business and other divestures late last year. This year, it seems clear IBM is poised to create even more profitable opportunities in our IOT space. Let’s check in and see where they are.

Healthcare connectivity key to IOT growth

The healthcare giant, Pfizer, recently contracted with IBM to create IOT solutions for clinical trials. In a recent news article, the two have teamed up to create one of the first completely connected clinical trial environment for Pfizer’s Parkinson’s Disease medication.

For enterprise connectivity, Big Pharma has long turned to IBM for its enterprise software used in manufacturing, for finance and accounting and, of course, as an outsourced service desk delivery provider. The move to clinical uses of IBM expertise is not that much of a stretch—and cross-selling to this industry will get easier and easier as use cases -- such as the Parkinson’s trial -- gain traction.

In the meantime, to prepare for a 2019 launch of this experimental drug, Pfizer and IBM are setting up a “connected house” in Yorktown Heights, NY. About 200 people will live there, with IBM and Pfizer tracking them throughout their days (and, presumably) nights. This control group will help the team test the premise—and also will yield much valuable data for IBM to expand into similar uses for “connected houses.”

Stock recovering mightily- thanks to the Cloud

March saw IBM stock rebounding from lows late last year, largely due to a Morgan Stanley rating that took into account the company’s growth opportunities in the IOT. After experiencing fifteen months of declining revenue, it seems that March’s bounce-back reflects mostly IBM’s perceived power in the cloud.

“Although Amazon (AMZN) continues to lead overall in the cloud space, within the private and hybrid cloud space, IBM looks to be out front. Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, believes that the market has, in fact, “underappreciated” IBM’s growth potential, as reflected by its share prices.”

The turnaround is related to IBM’s investment in “strategic imperatives… in cloud, analytics, mobile, social, and security technologies” with “IBM’s total cloud revenue (growing by) 57% on a year-over-year basis to $10.2 billion.” Analysts watching this movement will continue to upgrade the stock—and companies looking to invest in gamechanging cloud technologies to gain competitive advantage—will sit up and take notice, as well.

SAP partnership in Cloud computing allows companies to “dip a toe into the IOT”

When we talk about the IOT among ourselves, chances are we are operating from a set of assumptions that the general business community does not share. Everyone sees the opportunity. But some companies don’t have a clear path to leveraging it. Enter an IBM-SAP cloud partnership.

This partnership will allow businesses who want to “dip a toe” into IOT technologies continue to use classic, SAP enterprise infrastructure while introducing cloud-based services over time. The IOT investment might gain sign-off more quickly if the SAP-IBM partnership allows decision-makers to trust their providers more—and which companies are more ensconced in corporate IT than SAP and IBM?

“SAP’s collaboration with the 104-year-old tech giant appeals to established companies that have shied away from outsourcing operations or want use a combination of their own data centers and those in the cloud.”

First Quarter IOT Champs?

So what’s going to happen on April 18, when IBM is scheduled to report 1st Quarter earnings? That depends on who you talk to. Goldman Sachs is maintaining a neutral rating—and the stock is generally thought to be overvalued by about $3 to $10—once again, depending on who you talk to.

As we started out saying, IBM’s focus on healthcare is seen to be its “white knight” in this regard. Using its Watson capabilities, IBM is actively searching for hospital and pharmaceutical partners in oncology, in particular, to build a Watson-based information repository which will “deliver…quick access to the top-tier cancer care exclusive to MSK oncologists, enabling them to provide elite cancer treatment to their patients anywhere in the world.” Using Watson technologies to fine-tune offerings in the IOT, particularly in healthcare, seems to be IBM’s “ticket to ride” for IOT opportunities in the future.

Leveraging its global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany will be key to IBM’s IOT momentum, as well. Their focus since the center opened in December of 2015 has been on “launching a series of new offerings, capabilities and ecosystem partners designed to extend the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors and systems that comprise the IoT.” This strategy will play out to its fullest later this year and in the next five years, as the company solidifies its leadership role in the IOT space.

Stay tuned to these pages for more on the players in IOT, or give me a call with IOT recruiting needs. An IOT-enabled CIO responsible for M2M and manufacturing connectivity? Check out our latest article on the IOT-powered ride you’re in for in 2016.

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The education system used to have two streams. Bright students went to schools of higher learning – universities and colleges, where, among other things, they learned how to design stuff. So-so students were filtered into professional schools, where they became plumbers, carpenters, and factory machinists. In other words, these “average” students became the makers of things. This dual educational stream – creators and makers – has served the society well.

Things changed around the 80s. Professional schools started to change their names into “universities”, readjusting their curriculum, and generally trying to look “higher end” than they really were. This coincided, of course, with the wave of job outsourcing to Asia and the resulting loss of factory jobs. Many traditional jobs fell out of fashion. At the same time, there was a tremendous uptick in people choosing the legal profession, banking, and finance.

The unfortunate outcome was that the number of people who could “hold a screwdriver” has decreased dramatically, while the numbers of “lawyers” skyrocketed. The plumber/lawyer ratio – how about creating an official worldwide index with this name? – has plunged to unhealthy lows, so much so that even in manufacturing countries like Germany even the largest and the most powerful manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, have difficulties filling their vacancies.

Fortunately, things are changing. Manufacturing is starting to return home. Making stuff is cool again. The DIY movement, which in many countries consists of people who don’t extract the satisfaction of making things from their day jobs, is flourishing. The education system is finally taking note.

Around the world, governments and educators are proclaiming that they will teach their young to be coders and makers of things. To assist them in this task, companies big and small have come up with innovative, low-cost computing, programming, and building platforms. Raspberry Pi. BeagleBone. LittleBits. Kano. These are the signs of changing times. Some innovative educational solutions focus on just teaching coding skills. Some go further and teach kids how to “work with their hands” and build electronic and mechatronic devices, such as robots.

One significant factor in choosing the right educational equipment or platform is the time limit available for each building exercise. In schools, one class period typically lasts between 40 and 60 minutes. Consider what has to be accomplished within this time frame: A student is supposed to grasp the objective first, assemble the hardware from available “building blocks” next, and maybe even write some code to finish the assignment. Not surprisingly, the quality and the ease of use of the “building blocks” selected by the school will greatly affect the student’s ability to accomplish his or her task or come up with creative ideas. If code writing is in order, the choice of the programming platform and language will greatly affect the student’s efficiency.

One interesting hardware and software platform holding a great education value is Tibbo Project System created by Tibbo Technology. The platform is based on colorful I/O blocks called Tibbits. Around 50 different Tibbits are available presently, and Tibbo is constantly expanding the list. Tibbits plug into a mainboard carrying a CPU and an Ethernet interface. This mainboard is programmable in Tibbo BASIC or Tibbo C – high-level, object-oriented languages that greatly simplify and speed up application development.

One other strong suit of the TPS is built-in TCP/IP networking. TCP/IP stacks are the foundation of modern communications and the Internet of Things (IOT). By creating simple Tibbo BASIC/C applications, some of them no longer than 30-40 lines of code, students are able to observe TCP/IP and other networking protocols in action and learn their inner workings – all within the time constrains of the school period.

No matter what educational platform becomes dominant, it is obvious that education around the world is making a tectonic shift towards training students in matters of programming and electronics. Of course, these efforts may yet prove to be of the “too little, too late” kind. This wouldn’t be the first time our education prepared us for the world of yesterday. It may well turn out that by the time current primary school students enter the adult life the tech landscape will have changed beyond recognition. Even in this case, educating students in tech subjects will give them a big hand in preparing for whatever comes next. Our society cannot survive on the current plumber/lawyer ratio. It’s time to change this number.

Originally posted on Data Science Central

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Can we use HTTP for IoT

Irrespective of how people and companies view IoT, everybody agrees that it will dwarf the internet we see today in very near future. Industry estimates that there will around 50 billion connected devices by 2020. With so many connected devices talking among themselves we need very robust protocols which will work in the real world

 

HTTP is the workhorse of the world wide web. Its the common standard according to which all the browsers communicate with all the servers. Can devices use HTTP for communication?

 

Usually HTTP runs on the top of TCP and has a big header

A bare minimum GET request for HTTP 1.1 is

 

GET / HTTP/1.1

Host: www.example.com

 

The above request fetches the resource at ‘/’. Each new line character is 2 bytes long (CRLF) and the last line should be a new line character, so there is an overhead of 25 characters to fetch a single resource

 

The minimal reply is also similarly long, its

 

HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Content-Length: 1

Content-Type: text/plain

 

a

 

thats for replaying with a single character ‘a’. That is an overhead on 64 characters.

 

Each extra byte that needs to be transmitted incurs a cost on the battery life which is a very precious commodity for embedded devices

 

We have to keep in mind that all the data is passed as clear text without any encryption across the channel, HTTPS is used is used to overcome the problem of security but this adds another overhead of the SSL/TLS channel, handshake and certificate examination.

 

In the real world scenario where the communication channels and often unreliable and bandwidths limited, this much overhead is too much of a baggage.

 

Apart from that, HTTP essentially works under request response model, where clients can only push data to a server and there is no way for the server to connect back to the client unless the client also implements the server. This is an excellent way to get data from many and not the best when you want one to many communication moreover it would be impossible for a remote sensor to be aware of the events in real time.

So HTTP clearly cannot be used used and we need a protocol which is more suited for IoT.

 

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is one such protocol which is designed for the constrained devices. The protocol extensively uses bit fields and mappings from strings to integers to reduce the number of bytes, moreover packets are easy to generate and can be parsed easily. It lets the clients get the updates in realtime by extending the HTTP request model and adding the ability to observe a resource.

 

CoRE, the group which designed the protocol has also defined mapping of CoAP with HTTP, this makes it easier to build proxies which will give access to CoAP resources via HTTP.

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The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) has been at the forefront of helping build consumer confidence in the technology products that have helped remake our day. So, it was no surprise it moved to create a set of guidelines around the products and services that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

That framework took another step forward this month when the OTA released its Trust Framework of 30 recommendations for consumer-facing IoT companies seeking to build out this network of connected devices.

At first blush, the list of recommendations seems complete, but a longer look suggest is may be both too long and not long enough.

Too long because any list of 30 “must-haves” becomes more a barrier to entry than a glide path to market share. Too short because the biggest danger to consumer privacy, security and trust is a product no longer supported by a company that has moved on or shut down.

Too long? Rather than seek to create a granular set of prescriptive recommendations, it would be better to focus on a shorter and more effective set of requirements. I count five: encryption, authentication, fault tolerance, security and user control to review, change or delete. The ability to easily integrate and interoperate might be a sixth, but the market for consumer IoT is not so mature as to make that necessary – just yet. 

Too short? The biggest dangers to consumers are IoT products no longer supported, either because it didn’t gain traction or the company has ceased to operate. It does not take long for a technology product to develop security holes if upgrades are not made. These holes are the source of the greatest vulnerability for the growth of the IoT market.

The OTA framework doesn’t answer all the questions raised by the expansion of the IoT, but it ought to be a real conversation starter – both for consumers and industry.

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TSN: The time is now

The Evolving Time Sensitive Networking Standard for the Industrial IoT

As awareness surrounding IoT standardization continues to grow, more eyes are being drawn to interoperability and network infrastructure solutions, including Time Sensitive Networking (TSN). A standard from the IEEE 802 committee, TSN looks to solve the need to process raw data in a time critical fashion in addition to reducing latency and increasing robustness. To support new capabilities of IoT-enabled infrastructure, designers, engineers, and end-users need to rely on time synchronized and reliable networking.

Formerly known as Audio Video Bridging (AVB), TSN soon shifted its name as industrial companies realized the advantages for time sensitive applications in their space. Standard Ethernet continues to expand its range, functionality and applications with the evolution of the AVB standard into TSN. The new capabilities of TSN provide the Industrial community with the ability to use standard Ethernet to support highly reliable and precise synchronized networking appropriate for industrial control. 

The AVnu Alliance, an industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, in addition to advancements made to TSN, are working with member companies like Cisco, General Electric, National Instruments and more to drive this next-generation standard and create an interoperable ecosystem through certification. Members are working within the Alliance to develop the foundational elements needed for industrial applications, based on the common elements of AVB/TSN.

“TSN promises through standard silicon to converge the previously disparate technologies needed for standard Ethernet communication, for deterministic high speed data transfer, and for high accuracy time synchronization. These developments will create a common foundation that will impact numerous applications and markets ranging from machine control and asset monitoring to test cells and vehicle control.  Key technology and equipment providers to the industrial market are supporting the effort. National Instruments is happy to collaborate within the solid ecosystem that AVnu Alliance is building,” said Mike Santori, Vice President, Product Marketing, National Instruments.

The TSN standard bids several benefits over today’s commonly used Ethernet protocols. For example, Ethernet derivatives used for industrial control today limit themselves to 100 MB of bandwidth and half-duplex communication while TSN offers much higher bandwidth options including 1 GB or 10 GM with a potential 400 GB in the future. As for security, TSN protects critical control traffic while simultaneously incorporating high-level IT security necessities. In addition to a more secure network, TSN also ensures reliable delivery of time-critical traffic and seamlessly integrates with existing applications as well as standard IT traffic to strengthen interoperability.

The Future Will Arrive on Time

The IEEE 802.1 Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group and the AVnu™ Alliance are hard at work to finalize the standards. Portions of the standard and working references from vendors will begin to appear in 2016. You can learn more about the details of this work at: http://www.ieee802.org and www.avnu.org.

As IIoT adoption continues, increased amounts of data and widely distributed networks will require new standards for sharing and transferring critical information. Just as an ambulance or fire engine receives priority among other traffic during an emergency, the TSN standard ensures that critical, time-sensitive data is delivered on time over standard network infrastructure. Welcome to life in the fast lane with the IIoT.

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