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For years, I have been written about the promise and perils of the Internet of Things (IoT). In many of my articles I described how the IoT could help transform society and kickstart the next industrial revolution. However, I think after talking these summer days with people outside this "industry" that most of them are lost with the IoT. We still cannot define in a unique and clear way what IoT is and much less explain how thanks to IoT it will change our lives, without using the example of the connected refrigerator.

At the beginning of 2015, I wondered if we would be able to build the Internet of Things. Taking a look at the most recent IoT Landscape I continue seeing how the fragmentation of the market, the lack of standards and the challenge of security continue damaging the growth of IoT. The evolution that not the revolution of IoT, has been slower than I expected and desired. Today not only Telcos admit IoT is failing to meet expectations.

Why are we lost in IoT? Let´s see some arguments.

Lost in IoT connectivity

With so many IoT connectivity options on the market, choosing the right one for your project can be complicated. It scares me to think that billions of devices will be connected in a few years to decentralized IoT networks and with no interconnectivity between them, unless we use millions of edge nodes that transfer messages among devices connected in multiple networks. If it is already difficult to justify the ROI of a use case considering a single type of connectivity, it is almost impossible to justify that these devices can communicate with other devices on different IoT subnets.

In case we consider the doubt small, we add the issue of end-to-end security and the need in some use cases networking in meshes with no single point of failure. Here comes new IoT technologies such as Blockchain to help or to confuse.

It seems that it is easy to get lost among so much connectivity technology. Isn’t true?

Suggested read: IoT Connectivity Options: Comparing Short-, Long-Range Technologies

How will Edge computing impact the global connectivity landscape?

Lost among hundreds of IoT Platforms

At least we already intuit some of the platforms that will survive among the +700 that some analysts have identified. I have only been able to analyze with more or less depth about 100. Surely my methodology of Superheroes and Supervillanos will advance the end of most of them.

It is no longer just one IoT Platform, stupid! Although they want to make it easy for us, companies like AWS, Microsoft or Google add concepts such as Serverless, Data Lakes, AI, Edge Computing, DLT and all the artillery of Cloud services to the core features of the IoT platform. I get lost in its architecture and I feel that if I get too close to one of these black holes, they will end up absorbing me.

Glad to know that “Verizon retools ThingSpace IoT platform to focus on connectivity” and system integrators are they are abandoning their in house development to embrace leaders vendors’ products.

The IoT analysts are also not helping much with its reports. IoT Platform vendors are disputing relevant positions in their graphs but we are lost when do not see any vendor in the leader quadrant of Gartner and most of them are Niche Players.

Lost between the Edge and the Clouds

In “Do not let the fog hide the clouds in the Internet of Things” , I warned about the degree of complexity that Fog / Edge Computing added to the already complex solutions in the IoT Clouds. Now nothing seems to be of great value if we do not include Edge Computing in our IoT solutions. And there our confusion arises again.

The Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums is consolidating but we keep losing in acronyms. Industrial Internet companies felt relief with the newsThe Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC™) and the OpenFog Consortium® (OpenFog) unite to combine the two largest and most influential international consortia in Industrial IoT, fog and edge computing. While The Open Group Open Process Automation™ Forum (OPAF) is defining the next generation edge computing standards for industrial operators.

And again, the question arises, do we wait or start my Industrial IoT project? For now, I choose "Industrial IoT - Edge Computing Vendors Overview"​ as my first book. You can read my post here

Lost in the Proof of Concept (PoC)

Businesses are spending $745 billion worldwide on IoT hardware and software in 2019 alone. Yet, three out of every four IoT implementations are failing.

Microsoft launched a new research report — IoT Signals — intended to quantify enterprise internet of things (IoT) adoption around the world. The survey of over 3,000 IT team leaders and executives provides a detailed look at the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar segment’s greatest challenges and benefits, as well as related trends. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that 30% of respondents say their IoT projects failed in the proof-of-concept stage, often because the implementation became too expensive or the bottom-line benefits were unclear.

There are technical reasons for example the use of Rasberry Pi or Arduino boards in the PoC and realise that you need other more expensive hardware for the project.

There are economic reasons when you try to escalate your PoC to real implementations and then the ROI doesn’t look as well as in the pilot.

There are organization reasons when leaders are failing to go all in. If you can’t get the CEO on board, then the probability to finish in the PoC is almost 100%.

If you are lost in the PoC, these tips can help you implementing IIOT.

  1. Solve a problem worth solving
  2. Keep it quick and simple
  3. Manage the Human Factor

Sources: https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/blog/IoT-Agenda/Break-out-of-IoT-proof-of-concept-purgatory

https://www.avnet.com/wps/portal/us/resources/technical-articles/article/iot/5-signs-proof-concept-purgatory/

https://titoma.com/blog/industrial-iot-avoid-pilot-purgatory

Microsoft: 30% of IoT projects fail in the proof-of-concept stage

Lost in select the right IoT Ecosystems

In Harbor Research article “ Has Anyone Seen A Real Internet of Things Ecosystem?” ,dated November 2013, the analyst firm wrote that no really significant ecosystem or network of collaborators had emerged in the IoT arena in spite there was early and very interesting efforts being made by several players. This article does not need changes.

Since I wrote “The value of partnership in Industrial Internet of Things”, I have heard, read and repeated hundreds of times how important it is to belong to an IoT ecosystem and how difficult it is to choose the one that suits you best.

All or at least most of those who read my articles know that there is no company in the world, no matter how great it is, it can do everything in IoT. Creating an IoT ecosystem either horizontal (technology) or vertical (industry) requires a lot of talent managers able to maintain win-win transactions over the time. And according to the results, it seems to me that it is becoming very complicated.

I am working in an article in which I will analyse 4 examples of IoT ecosystems that represent a big portion of the value chain in the multiple IoT markets: IoT Hardware Ecosystem, IoT telco Operator, IoT Cloud Platform Vendor and IoT System Integrators. Hope this article could help you, if you are lost with IoT ecosystems.

https://dblaza.blogspot.com/2014/04/will-strong-iot-ecosystem-beat-out-push.html

Remember, you are not the only one lost in IoT

When it comes to achieving a return on their investment from IoT, businesses really need rethink how they are deploying it so that they can manage remotely and secure their assets, use the sensors and devices data to make better real time decisions and be able to monetise it. However, for both to happen, and for IoT project to not end up in the purgatory, businesses need independent and expert advice at several levels to find the right people to lead the project and the right technology and partners to make implementation successful.

 

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The swift evolution of technology over the past decade has presented the world with a profusion of novel tools and resources that offer countless benefits to a wide variety of industries across the globe. A prime example of one such brilliant resources is the Internet of Things (IoT), which offers immense scope to enhance business operations, especially the ones involved in fleet management. The ability to connect the fleet’s vehicles to not only presents opportunities to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency but harness new opportunities for business growth as well.

Moreover, it is so immense is its potential that researchers believe this market will be worth $15.87 million in another five years. That estimate, though massive, isn’t entirely surprising. Just look at the needs driving the need for IoT in fleet management — companies need to innovate, optimize efficiency, and keep a better eye on their operations and the personnel involved. To be able to do all of this, they need a versatile tool like IoT. Allow us to walk you through some of the other benefits provided by IoT in the context of fleet management.

  1. Monitor fleet: With the vehicles in the fleet connected, managers gain seamless access to an overview of their fleet’s activities. They can then analyze incidents, trends, and more to make adjustments in the process accordingly. It will help them to extract the most performance out of their fleet. They can also look at traffic data and road hazard data to put together the ideal route for the fleet vehicles.
  2. Utilize data better: Fleets generate massive amounts go data — including that about things like kilometers driven, speed, fuel consumed, and vehicle usage among so many other things. It is imperative that these factors both be tracked and managed efficiently at all times. Thankfully, IoT saves you the hassle of doing it manually; since all the requisite devices, including the vehicles, systems, software, and more are all connected in real-time, data is gathered and analyzed as it happens.
  3. Improved maintenance of vehicles: Once again, since cars are connected to the internet/cloud, it becomes easier to keep an eye on them for any issues and faults and execute proactive maintenance services. This ability to continually monitor the health of a vehicle helps save costs associated with unforeseen maintenance and vehicle downtime.
  4. Track driver behavior: IoT can also be used to collect data about things like driver pattern, fuel efficiency achieved, and more to gauge drivers’ productivity. Furthermore, it can be used to ensure that drivers don’t break traffic laws and conform to other regulations on the road and provide the appropriate training they are found by not submitting to any such factors.

As you can see, with GPS tracking fleet management solutions, businesses operating in this market stand to gain a plethora of benefits, including enhanced productivity, improved efficiency, and significantly improved customer service. So, it is only fair that your business can benefit from the many advantages IoT has to offer for fleet management.

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Emerging technologies have completely changed the landscape of every business, and event planning and management is no exception. Gone are the days of manual registers and paper flyers as the event management industry is swiftly moving towards technologies like internet of things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) to find unique ways for enhanced attendees engagement.

What is IoT? How is it transforming Event Management Industry?

The Internet of Things or IoT is the concept of connecting any computing devices over the internet to collect and share data using embedded sensors without human intervention.

The opportunities offered by IoT are in abundance to transform any industry. Further, it plays a significant role in revolutionizing event management industry, by rendering mesmerizing experience to the event attendees.

The event industry relies on tons of data, including speakers, potential attendees, caterers, venues, attendees’ check-ins, and payments. IoT has the potential to provide a treasure of attendees data to the event planners and managers to make informed decisions. Information extracted from the data can be utilized for better planning, management, and engagement of the event.

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Let’s discuss some of the major applications of IoT in Event Management:

  • Automated Online Registrations: Manual registration of the attendees at the events is one of the biggest hassles in event management. Nowadays, Smartphones are already equipped with technologies like BLE, NFC, GPS, Wi-Fi, and more. Theses connectivities can be used by event managers to automate the registration process for attendees at the event. Attendees can check-in with the online registration portal when they are around the venue by enabling BLE in their smartphones. An automated notification can be sent to the visitor’s phone, directing them to proceed towards the collection booth to collect their event badges. Hence, it indeed cuts down waiting time and workforce costs required to manage onsite registrations.
  • Smart Catering: It’s challenging to keep track of what most of the attendees will prefer to eat. However, everyday objects such as coffee makers and other food making equipment can be connected with IoT. With the help of the log consumption of edibles at the previous events, event managers can accurately predict the estimation of various eatables that saves you money as well as minimizes food wastage.
  • Intelligent Lighting: IoT can control the lighting of the entire event in a much more cost-effective and efficient manner. With the adoption of smart lighting, event managers can monitor and manage the lighting systems of the whole game anytime, anywhere just at a click from their mobile phones.
  • Enhanced Security through Smart Buildings: Internet of things has transformed simple buildings into “Smart Buildings” that comprises of doors & windows, air conditioners, and more that can be monitored and controlled centrally. With Smart buildings, you can control doors to either stay open to welcome your guests (visitors) or get locked to keep the unwelcome guests out of the premises by integrating video surveillance systems.

To conclude, online event planning solution helps the event manager to create amazing and engaging experiences for their attendees.

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Bad Cars: Anatomy of a Ransomware Attack

By Alan Grau, VP of IoT, Embedded Systems, Sectigo

TV and science fiction writers have let their imaginations run wild with theories about what could happen if your car was attacked by bad actors. There have been a few real-world cases where white-hat hackers and researchers have been able – in limited, controlled instances – to actually penetrate a car’s electronics and communications systems, take over the car’s steering and acceleration systems, and potentially do real damage.

However, there are other scenarios that might not be as obvious or as dramatic.

For example, what if your car’s computer was infected by a virus that greatly reduced the engine’s efficiency or capped the car’s maximum driving speed? What if the virus did something less dramatic, such as make the car unable to lock the controls for automatic window operation, or simply prevent the car from starting? No one would die, but the car owner would be very upset, posing a disaster for the automobile’s manufacturers.

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Motor City Ransomware

Electric Vehicles require sophisticated control and safety technologies for their electrical power systems to safely manage the high voltages that store and distribute from their battery systems. If something goes wrong, the car cannot operate, people could get electrocuted, or the car could burst into flames or explode. These are real dangers that are managed by the car’s network of fuses, circuit breakers, and control systems.

What would happen if a cyber hacker got into these sensitive electronic systems and turned off the safety and control system?

Why would someone do this? Money, of course.

Suppose the bad guys successfully penetrated and infected these vehicles? Imagine now that they had the software or security keys that could fix these problems, but hold them as ransom, jeopardizing an automaker’s entire fleet of new cars.

How many millions (or tens of millions) of dollars would the automaker pay to get that solution? Holding a manufacturer hostage is a very real possibility, as evidenced by the results that today’s hackers are getting by attacking hospitals and cities and successfully extracting substantial ransoms to just return these institution’s data. In a recent WIRED article, The Biggest Cybersecurity Crisis of 2019 So Far, which discusses the risks to “things” and across supply chains, the FBI explained, "We are seeing an increase in targeted ransomware attacks. Cyber criminals are opportunistic. They will monetize any network to the fullest extent.”

Pre- and Post-Assembly Infections

It is possible that cars could be infected before they even hit the auto dealers’ lots. Bad actors have the capability to infect a small electronic part, essential to the auto manufacturing food chain, purchased from one of the hundreds of component suppliers.

How could auto manufacturers possibly test each electronic element? It is almost impossible - and requires that parts manufacturers themselves take more care in their software development process to ensure the software in these components are not infected during manufacturing process, or during the testing and shipping processes.

Of course, cyber infections could happen on the actual assembly line where the cars are put together. With many car manufacturing plants using IoT connected robots and machines, there is always a possibility of infection happening on the assembly line.

These components could even become infected after assembly, during the manufacturers’ testing and process. Infection, during installation, or with after-market parts and upgrades, could arise after the vehicles arrive at the dealers’ facilities.

Already aware of the possibility and the potential disastrous effects of infected cars reaching the market, manufacturers throughout the supply chain need to become more aware of how their devices could be attacked and infected even before they leave the warehouse. This means embedding IoT security from day one - from the smallest electronic components to final assembly of motors, transmissions and other large vehicle components.

About Sectigo

Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA) provides award-winning, purpose-built and automated PKI management solutions to secure websites, connected devices, applications, and digital identities. As the largest commercial Certificate Authority, trusted by enterprises globally for more than 20 years, and more than 100 million SSL certificates issued in over 200 countries, Sectigo has the proven performance and experience to meet the growing needs of securing today’s digital landscape. For more information, visit www.sectigo.com.

 

 

 

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Scaling IoT to meet enterprise needs

Enterprises are increasingly complementing their cloud-based IoT solutions with edge computing to accelerate the pace of data analysis and make better decisions, faster.

Just a few years ago, many expected all the Internet of Things (IoT) to move to the cloud—and much of the consumer-connected IoT indeed lives there—but one of the key basics of designing and building enterprise-scale IoT solutions is to make a balanced use of edge and cloud computing. Most IoT solutions now require a mix of cloud and edge computing. Compared to cloud-only solutions, blended solutions that incorporate edge can alleviate latency, increase scalability, and enhance access to information so that better, faster decisions can be made, and enterprises can become more agile as a result.

That being said, complexity introduced by edge computing should justify the objectives at hand, which include scale, speed, and resiliency. A choice that goes too far in one direction typically introduces substantial operational complexities and expenses. Ultimately, the enterprise should take into consideration a full range of factors that reflect its own particular objectives in designing and building an IoT solution in the first place.

In this article, we discuss when and how enterprises can optimally make use of both the edge and the cloud in their IoT solutions. We explain the roles edge and cloud computing play, why the edge may be needed, and how to approach selecting a solution. We also explain some of the complexities with edge computing and provide some use cases.

The cloud explosion and the latency challenge: Enter edge computing

We have experienced a veritable explosion of cloud adoption in the past decade—the IT functionality of many modern companies exists exclusively, or in large part, in the cloud. Among the many benefits of the cloud infrastructure are cost effectiveness, scale, self-service automation, interoperability with traditional back-office systems, and centralized functionality.

At the same time, the amount of sensor-generated data has grown strongly too, and this trend is expected to continue in the years ahead. Because data can become essentially valueless after it is generated, often within milliseconds, the speed at which organizations can convert data into insight and then into action is generally considered mission critical. Therefore, having the smallest possible latency between data generation and the decision or action can be critical to preserve an organization’s agility. However, as the speed of data transmission is inviolably bounded by the speed of light, it is only by reducing the distance that data must travel that the latency challenge can be mitigated or avoided altogether. In a cloud-only world the data ends up traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles, so where latency is critical to a solution, edge computing can become key.

According to one estimate, as much as 55 percent of IoT data could soon be processed near the source, either on the device or through edge computing. Indeed, scale plays a big role in this likely shift—growing data demands will likely put the focus on latency, and decreased latency could dramatically improve the response time, thereby saving both time and money.

Continuing reading more by Deloitte's Ken Carroll and Mahesh Chandramouli here.

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Newest Trends For Internet Of Things

Now that the Internet of Things has become a social and technical phenom, it is time to check out some of the coming year trends for app developers and the Internet of Things.

Due to the massive amounts of data that is able to be moved through the Internet of Things airways, app developers will continue to develop apps that help as far as artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is not because of the massive amount of information and data that is sent through, rather because of the amount, app developers are working on applications that are able to make logical sense from the information and data.

Storing information and data in the cloud has become firsthand to people and businesses alike. Due to the high amount of bandwidth required to save information in the cloud, businesses are looking for ways to expand on the cloud. All have used private clouds, public clouds and even a private data center, however app developers are working on ways to combine all of those options. When looking for ways to streamline all the business needs, connected clouds are becoming more of a trend. App developers are designing more of a multi-cloud habitat for information and data.

There is a simulation tool that works alongside machine learning, or artificial intelligence. The DTT, Digital Twin Technology is known as a hybrid twin, is a virtual imitation of real products, processes, system or asset used for certain purposes.

Although cloud storage will remain popular in use, app developers are getting real close to edge architecture. This brings the centralized system and the cloud to a further expansive advantage. Not only cheaper but able to be more effective, edge architecture is able to store more data in a micro center.

This is the year of advancement for the 5G mobile devices and their improvements. Last year we witnessed 5G brought to life in applications. Now we see that the new 5G cellular networks will gain massive attention in the Internet of Things. Which will ultimately begin the change of the landscape for the IoT?

We are facing the age of Social acceptance or denial for the Internet of Things. The longer that the Internet of Things develops, the more we will find that some groups are questioning the social, ethical and legal issues. This is because the Internet of Things is very broad-based and capable of changing all business areas.

Infonomics is moving data ownership or monetization to brand new heights. All this data in the Internet of Things will become more of an asset.

The user experience of the Internet of Things is going to be led by factors such as new sensors, new experience edge architecture and context, and of course new and different algorithms. We will then need to adopt new ways without the use of screens or keyboards, and definitely no voice assistant.

There will also be a massive increase of the Smart Homes. App developers have increased the Smart apps that we use, and are developing apps that will make our homes interact with people. Imagine a world where the home is not only where the heart is, but also the home that directs it’s people on what to do.

This means it will not be too far off before app developers have found a way to make smart cities or smart towns. This possibility that the Internet of Things can mix with responsive cities to lighten the traffic congestion, improve the safety in its community and also look for ways to maintain sustainability.

It is also coming closer to the time when the Internet of Things combines with Artificial Intelligence and we produce the robotic assistants. They will help make all critical decisions that need to be made. This self-learning system will read all analytics and derive any important changes.

App developers already have created many apps for Artificial Intelligence. There is a little robot like ‘friends’ that will assist in teaching your children, they interact with the child and some can have little conversations with the child.

A huge improvement that will be soon possible with the help of app developers is what we can call predictive maintenance. This can prevent the labor costs associated with routine maintenance when it is not necessary. Predictive maintenance could be intelligent apps designed by app development companies to notify before maintenance is needed. This could be helpful in automation businesses as a warning before there is a big issue or major break in a piece of equipment. Maintenance will only be necessary when any change is noted in the process or working gears of the machines.

The benefits of predictive maintenance or predictive skills will help auto and health insurance industries to lessen risks or have payouts when the vehicle, home or health issue would have been maintained as needed.

It may not be too far into the future when we are living like George Jetson and his family did, in the days of our youth and on the television. Was that truly foresight, or just a dumb cartoon made up for kids to laugh at? All the technology that has developed to this point, and app developers continue to make our lives easier with smart apps, I do truly think we are very near George Jetson and his wife. Maybe we will be in flying cars real soon too? Dare we say that we do have skywalks, and some automated ones.

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The recent advent of additive manufacturing for printed electronics, for example, has made engineering and design labs game-changing R&D enablers. Engineers will soon find themselves able to quickly, accurately and cost-effectively design and build functional electronics in new shapes with added functionality without having to wait weeks or months to understand whether their smart device works or not. The greater design freedom, compressed project timelines and fully in-house workflows afforded by 3D printing are setting the stage for the long-awaited IoT revolution. These advantages ultimately increase product and cost efficiencies and reduce time to market, meaning consumer can enjoy the benefits of these products faster than ever before.
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The Internet of Things is a beautiful phenomenon, enabling things one would have never thought to be possible until only a decade ago. Now, we have the convenience to turn on home appliances with our mobile phone before you even enter your home. Alternatively, perhaps you use it to turn on your car's ignition and air conditioning a few minutes before you exit your house and leave for work. It is truly extraordinary -- the Internet of Things. Thankfully, the scope of its use isn't limited to the examples we have listed; when used in combination with other solutions, like Drupal, there is no limit of how much your business stands to benefit.

Drupal offers a superb content management framework, which, when brought together with the Internet of Things, can prove to be an exceptionally effective means of establishing and enabling a seamless workflow across the entire business. Among a vast number of things, Drupal can be used as a back-end for the connected things in IoT. Furthermore, its API system enables several interfaces to be connected to it. So, you see why the coming together of Drupal and IoT is highly recommended? Nonetheless, let's walk you through some more reasons why you can't ignore this potent combo.

1. Efficiency: A business that isn't efficient is bound to struggle. However, that can be dealt with IoT devices, with features such as GPS, that are capable of not only collecting and analyzing data but also sharing it, sending the critical data wherever it is needed. Now, a Drupal website can be used to receive it and then set off or prompt specific actions aimed at facilitating significantly better performance.

2. Improved customer service: The ultimate success of the service team is when it delivers better customer experiences, ones that give them exactly what they need, it is imperative to understand them better. It again can be done by leveraging connected devices to gather data and then route it to a Drupal-based mobile or web apps to collate and glean insights. An excellent example of this in action is the Amazon Dash Button, which allows users to order their preferred products with just one click/tap.

3. Ability to function remotely: Sometimes, a business may require project(s) to be monitored remotely Or perhaps there's an equipment that needs to be powered on or off albeit remotely. No points for guessing who can help. Yes, IoT and Drupal. Devices connected to the internet, together with a Drupal website or app, stand to enable a vast variety of functions, such as the ones mentioned above and so much more.

The idea of using Drupal in combination with the Internet of Things is still, admittedly, relatively new. However, the fact that the market has only recently started exploring the applications of this combo doesn't mean there is a dearth of scope. So, as you can see from the above discussion, there’s no telling what your business can achieve with it. Our advice? Find yourself a reputed Drupal company ASAP and get started on leveraging it for the benefit of your business right away!

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Considering that the IoT is in its infancy and due to the last years wasted in predictions that have not been fulfilled, in disappointing statistics of successful projects and with most companies without clear strategies, it is normal to think that R & D is today so necessary for boost and accelerate this increasingly sceptical market.

R&D should be an essential part of bringing innovation to any company via IoT projects. And though we can all agree how important R&D is, it requires a great deal of experience, senior experts, and specific toolsets—resources that not every company can say they have handy.

However, there is a risk when deriving the strategic decisions that the executive directors consider to be technological towards the R & D departments. Many times, oblivious to the reality of the markets, those responsible for R & D with the invaluable aid of the subsidies of the different Administrations, they launch to develop products and technologies for problems that do not exist, just for the fact of obtaining recognition or to continue living without pressures of the Top Management. I am enemy of granted subsidies granted most of the time by unqualified Administration organisms that does not understand that need to prevail the utility, the business model, the business case and the commercialization over the innovation that R & D said to be developed.

Now, if we ask the sellers of IoT technology, products and services, they may not be so happy with the idea of having to talk with the R & D areas instead of with other areas of the company more likely to buy. Most time, R &D departments decide to do it themselves. Vendors know, that with great probability, they will not to close deals due to lack of budget of the R &D or the low visibility of this area by the rest of the departments of the company.

The Importance of R&D for the Internet of Things

Innovation in IoT is a major competitive differentiator. See below some advices to have a decisive advantage over competitors:

  • IoT-focused companies need to invest in R&D to keep up with the rapidly changing and expanding market. It is important that an organization’s R&D iteration turn times are quick, otherwise the company is not going to be able to keep pace with the expected IoT market growth. However, it’s not enough to simply speed up R&D—innovative IoT firms, both start-ups and established companies, must also make sure their R&D processes are extremely reliable.
  • You can’t solve R&D speed issues just by increasing budget.
  • Executives must maintain strong, steady communication with R&D regarding the department’s priorities over a particular time frame and how progress will be measured.
  • Guidelines are invaluable: The more structured and streamlined R&D procedures are, the better IoT companies will be able to move from conception to delivery.
  • Design innovative IoT products but accelerate time to market.
  • Internal collaboration: R&D team should share real-time data across internal departments to spur intelligent product design
  • External collaboration: Connect with customers and partners to ensure success
  • Differentiation: Drive overall business value with IoT.

 

 

Outsource or not Outsource R & D for your IoT project

Just like any other technology, IoT products and solutions require thorough research and development, and it better be done by professionals. Despite the noise generated by analysts and companies around the IoT, the reality is that there have not been many IoT projects and therefore it is not easy to find good professionals with proven experience in IoT to hire.

When I think of Outsourcing IoT projects, Eastern European and Indian companies immediately come to my mind. No doubt because the R & D talent seems to be cheaper there. Spain could also be a country to outsource IoT, but at the moment I do not see it.

The benefits of Outsourcing R&D for IoT Projects:

  • Expertise and an Eye for Innovation
  • Bring an IoT Project to Market Faster
  • Optimize Your Costs
  • Control and Manage Risks

I am not sure about the quality of most of these companies or the experience of their teams in the development of IoT products or in the implementation of IoT projects, but there is no doubt that there are benefits to Outsource R & D for some IoT Projects. You should select any of these companies after a careful evaluation.

Recommendation: Do not stop your IoT projects if you do not have the skills and professionals in house. Luckily, there are companies who offer outsourcing R&D for IoT projects.

Note: Remember I can help you to identify and qualify the most suitable Outsource R&D for your IoT project.

Spain is not different in R & D for IoT

I have not believed in R & D in Spain for years. There are exceptions without a doubt, but it seems evident that the prosperity and welfare of Spain is not due to our R & D. Fortunately we have sun and beach and a lot of brick to put in houses that are not sold because of high prices and low wages.

With the entry into the EU, I thought that we had great markets open to us. I was also optimistic that we would have great opportunities in the Latin American market, thanks to the fact that our research and development capacity would have been consolidated effectively in our companies and universities because it would be profitable and worldwide recognized.

But it has not been that way. The technology developed in Spain and more specifically that relating to the IoT has little chance of being commercialized in France, Germany and not to mention in the UK. If we add the development gap of the countries of South America and that our local market is averse to technological risk, it is difficult to flourish R & D in IoT or Industry 4.0 here in our lovely Spain.

That does not mean that we do not have public R & D budgets for these areas. What happens is that the same thing that happened during the last 30 years has happened. The incentives and aids are few and for the most part used to finance large companies with little return to society. There is no rigorous control of the aid granted and, above all, there is no plan to encourage the local and global marketing of the products developed with the talent of our scientists and researchers.

I have stopped believing and trusting in our successive Governments for the change in R & D but there are exceptions that are worthwhile to follow and work with them. For this reason, I continue help them demonstrate that “SPAIN CAN BE DIFFERENT”.

Key Takeaway

After years of unfulfilled expectations, companies are sceptical of the potential growth of the IoT market or the benefits in their business. R&D department can be a cure to boost IoT initiatives but also a poison to kill IoT initiatives.

 

IoT may have started in R&D, but their benefits don’t have to end there. To drive overall business value, it’s important to share IoT data – both internally and externally. Facilitating open collaboration, discovering new ways to innovate products, and accelerating time to market, you can differentiate R&D and your business.

As fast turn times and reliability becomes a focal part of companies’ R&D processes, these companies will be well-positioned to thrive within the IoT market.

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When you have the responsibility of ensuring a manufacturing plant is operating at its full potential at all times, talk of “Industry 4.0” and “industrial automation like never before” might be exciting but far-fetched. Industry 4.0 is just an empty phrase used by marketers who want to take your money, right?

Maybe in some cases, but the ideas behind the buzzy terms can actually give you an edge over competitors. Industry 4.0 is not a phase, but it’s also not an obligation that you need to “opt in to” 100% right away.  Industrial automation is a combined result of our greater digital capacities, smarter machines, and improved cross-channel communication that have accompanied the digital age.

In 2019, the technology is here: from decentralized cloud systemsto self-correcting and self-directing machines. However, it’s not everywhere yet, and most plants are simply taking baby steps towards preparing their lines to be as compatible as possible to these new technologies so that they can gradually work their way in. Industry is slowly moving towards a more optimized, efficient, automated structure, but this transition will be happening in the industrial world over the next few decades.

What do those “baby steps” look like? Where should begin to optimize lines in the most cost-effective, long-term ROI benefits?  We have compiled a list of 5 relatively simple ways you can take this year to set your plant up for new “Industry 4.0” industrial automation technologies:

1. Integrate a Single Virtual Server

Managing the IT aspect of your plant is difficult when you need to find cost-effective storage and data processing solutions for your company that also comply with all of the regulations and contingencies of your industry. However, upgrading a server to a virtual option is probably the most important upgrade you can do to get started on the road to future industrial automation applications that use a truly decentralized communication with virtual operating system.

If your plant currently runs exclusively on physical servers, you don’t need to go virtually all at once. The wonderful thing about industry 4.0 is that much of the software integrations available will integrate with your existing hardware. You can invest in one virtual server, and then layer software integrations on to it over time.

By starting with a single server, you can cut costs, maintain a realistic learning/adaptation curve, and try out a virtual server option without committing 100% to a change. There are numerous virtual server options available, so talk to a process automation expert about what server will work best for your plant, and which server to upgrade first.

2. Get Basic Industrial Automation Security – Two-Factor Authentication

With increased adaptability and communication on virtual servers comes increased cyber threats, and unfortunately, there is no way around this. One of the easiest and fastest upgrades you can do for your company is to implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for all employees. A simple password is no longer anywhere near secure enough to protect your employees and your data.

Luckily, everything from Twitter to Cloud servers now offer 2FA options, it’s usually just a question of getting the settings implemented correctly and creating a protocol that requires every employee to use 2FA at all times. It may seem tedious or frustrating at first, but this is a small habit that can make a huge difference in your cyber security and overall functioning of your plant.

3. Make Your Next Machine Purchase a Smart Machine

You probably aren’t yet at the point of having a completely automated assembly line of smart machines that create highly customized orders while communicating with and correcting each other (like the assembly line in this German plant.) However, smart machines do exist, and if you are getting ready to purchase a new machine, finding one that has automation, optimization, and decentralized communication abilities will be a great investment in your plant’s future.

Customizable “smart machines” are virtually independent of a human operator. The ability of these machines to adapt to the demands of individualized production requirements allows for scalable, lean production processes. In other words, with these new machines, you can produce a larger variety of products faster than ever before.

If your current machines are working fine, there is no need to replace them with smart machines right away. But from this point forward, it is a good idea to consider buying a smart machine for your next upgrade. Don’t be afraid to use an automation integrator to advise you on the appropriate machine, technology, and compatibility with existing plant automation systems.

4. Implement Technology Upgrades that Overlay or Automatically Integrate Existing Plant Industrial Automation

Be choosy about the automation products you decide to implement into your current systems moving forward. You want applications that both set your systems up for future technology integrations and help move you away from expiring legacy applications.

This shouldn’t mean replacing all your old applications, programming, and platforms all at once other. Most Industry 4.0 automation tools are created in an “overlay” style, meaning they are created to be able to function on top of your existing processes and are not supposed to disrupt everything you have already built.

Embracing a new software or system should never mean that you have to throw away your existing processes and start from scratch. If this is how you feel when you are getting ready to purchase a new software, machine, or server then it probably isn’t the right product for your company.

Talking to an expert about what products will work best with your current setup is a good idea before making any changes to your industrial automation. At my company, EPIC systems, we've seen the difference that selecting the right product solutions has made for hundreds of process automation projects — it's a key step for any manufacturing plant. No matter who you work with, you don't want to bypass this step.

5. Optimize One of Your Plant’s Processes

Divide and conquer, as they say. Just as it is best to upgrade one server at a time, it is helpful to focus specifically on one plant process at a time when you are looking to optimize and automate your plant.

This could mean focusing on optimizing your shipping procedure or optimizing one assembly process. The important thing to remember is that as you do this “experimental optimization” you are not just looking for an impressive return on investment, you are also looking to get your entire team comfortable with the automation and ready to embrace even more. This is why the “how” is just as important (if not more important) than the “what” when it comes to choosing a process to optimize. Go slow, be transparent, and include everyone in the process so that it is a success all around.

Industry 4.0 is creating a world where employees can delegate mundane tasks to smart machines and rely on highly communicative, agile systems in order to work faster and more effectively than ever before. There is no reason for any manufacturing plant to be left behind in this industrial evolution, with numerous products and services available to help walk you through the industrial automation process gradually and intelligently.

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E-commerce, much like every product of technological evolution, has made headway at a mind-boggling pace. Here are some stats that will help you gain a better perspective on this industry: e-commerce sales stood at $1.86 trillion in 2016. Also, researchers believe that this figure will grow up to $4.48 trillion in two more years, i.e., by 2021. While multiple factors contribute and continue to drive this fast-paced growth, there is no one that not many people pay close attention to the Internet of Things.

IoT has quietly revolutionized the e-commerce market by facilitating significantly better logistics as well as an enhanced user experience. It isn't surprising though -- especially when you consider the fact that over 30 billion devices are set to become 'connected' by next year. A constantly growing network of such devices means IoT has helped e-commerce businesses to not only deliver better products and services but also achieve better outcomes with their marketing initiatives and enhance customer's overall experience among other things.

Here's a closer look at what IoT means for e-commerce and how it enables companies in this sector to achieve robust growth.
1. Better inventory management: Managing inventory is an understandably challenging task when there are multiple warehouses involved. IoT has tackled that issue with the provision of things such as 'smart' shelves, which track the products sold and automatically place orders when products, especially high-performing ones, are about to go out of stock. It, in turn, boosts the levels of customer satisfaction.

2. Transformed consumer experience: IoT allows companies to leverage devices such as smart mirrors to allow clients to try out their products from the comfort of their home, thus delivering completely novel and distinctive customer experience. IoT can also be used to glean insights from social media platforms to understand which of the company's products are preferred and if there are any issues customers face. Implementing such data facilitates a deep shopping experience, resulting in better customer engagement as well as satisfaction.

3. Enhanced product ecosystem: Sensors, a crucial part of the phenomenon that is IoT, can be utilized to foster new opportunities for better product ecosystems. Furthermore, it can be used to provide customers with access to maintenance services or perhaps even recommending related products and services once the sale has been made.

4. Seamless delivery: Bigwigs from a broad variety of industries, including Amazon, are already using IoT to streamline their delivery processes. How? For starters, there are autonomous warehouse robots, which can be integrated with the business' warehouse management systems and then used to enhance order picking throughput, improve the warehouse's inventory density, and cut down labor costs among other things. All of these factors, together, help ensure a substantially more organized delivery system.

While IoT has already changed the face of the e-commerce industry, in the future it will further enable companies to better their marketing efforts, deliver better support to customers, and more, resulting in superior experiences for customers. So if you too want to jump on this bandwagon, we suggest you select a trusted e-commerce websites development company at the earliest possible.

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Studies that by next year, we will have more than 20 billion IoT devices connected to the internet. Also, that's not just limited to, say, mobile devices or even household device. The evolution of IoT has come to the point that we now also have vehicles that are connected to the internet, as carmakers strive to give their customers better creature comforts and conveniences within their automobiles. So, you can see, that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers immense possibilities for web development as more and more such devices come online.


How? It is quite simple. First, the nexus of IoT devices depends on web servers. Then there's also the data gathered from the sensors, which is saved in the cloud. So how do you think the connected devices communicate with each other? They rely on experimental messaging protocols. Finally, users need a UI to engage with the connected devices. Long story short, web development is a critical part of IoT.


Now, let's get into the details of how IoT has already and continues to revolutionize web development.
1. Data collection: One of the essential elements of IoT devices is the massive amounts of data they work with. The tools gather real-time data from sensors, then filter and process them, before relaying it to the cloud and back again. In the context of web development, this data can be leveraged to fine-tune the web development project, allowing companies to offer products and services that improve with time.
2. User interface: Since IoT devices depend on dynamic UIs to serve the individual needs of various users means that web developers must now take an entirely new approach to design UI. The micromanagement of the UI necessary for correctly displaying all types of data results in IoT devices offering multitasking abilities and overall versatility to users.
3. Enhanced focus on security: While it is miserable to realize, the truth remains that IoT devices, despite their prevalence, suffer at the hands of lack of robust security. It is one of the biggest reasons why users are still reluctant to embrace them. Thankfully, the solution to this conundrum is found in web development. Developers can help fortify IoT devices by integrating certain security features in their code. It can include user identification, identity verification, access management and more.
4. Hybridization of development teams: Ask any developer and will tell you that a hybrid team is practically a death knell for the development project. Nonetheless, work requires completion when IoT is involved. To deliver successful IoT web app development projects, web designers must work together with experts proficient in IoT. It will allow them to concatenate code with the data.


One may be inclined to deem the impact of IoT on web app development as damaging, but you still can't deny that every time such integrated event occurs, it eventually leads to ultra-modern technologies that profoundly affect and transform our way of life even further.

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We’ve heard a great deal about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it’s going to change the face of business as we know it. However, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) goes a step further, particularly with reference to how smart sensors and actuators can enhance and improve the manufacturing and industrial processes. So, what exactly is the IIoT and how will it really change every business? Read on to find out more.

 

What is Industrial IoT?

To put it simply, the IIoT aims to dramatically improve efficiency and productivity within the industrial industry. It leverages the power of smart machines and sensors to take advantage of the data that machines have produced in industrial settings since they began. The combination of real-time analytics and smart machines is not only better than humans at capturing data, but it’s also more accurate in reporting the information.

How it Works

Though it sounds rather complicated, in practice, it’s really quite simple. This network of intelligent devices will work together to monitor, collect and analyse data. It works like so:

  • The intelligent devices gather information
  • They then transmit this to the data communications infrastructure
  • It’s converted into actionable information for humans
  • This can be used for routine maintenance as well as optimising business processes

 

IIoT vs IoT – What’s the Difference?

IIoT and IoT undoubtedly have plenty in common, from cloud platforms, sensors and connectivity to machine communication and analytics. However, there are a few differentiating factors. For example, IoT applications connect devices across multiple fields – between healthcare, agriculture and enterprise for instance. IIoT, on the other hand, only connects machines and devices within specific industries such as oil, gas and manufacturing.



What Are the Benefits?

Though the technology has received inordinate amounts of funding, technical due diligence is still frequently required from some sceptics. On the whole, however, there are many positives that investors simply cannot ignore.

One of the main benefits is the aforementioned predictive maintenance. This will almost allow industrial businesses to operate like clock-work. It will predict faults in machinery before they actually happen, allowing for swift work in fixing any issues. This prevents losing any time from production due to a defective machine which may have previously cost the business money.

A further benefit is asset tracking. Now, suppliers, manufacturers and even customers can use asset management systems to monitor the location and status of products throughout their life cycle. This will include everything from manufacturing to dispatch. It can send alerts to various stakeholders if it’s thought that the product might be damaged, allowing them to take preventative action before it’s too late.

What is the Future of IIoT

Interestingly, the top three industries investing in IIoT are transportation, manufacturing and utilities. Where some businesses may be reluctant to adopt new technology, it seems that the IIoT is different. It’s an exciting prospect, which continues to accumulate more appeal across the globe as it develops. Time will tell just how quickly this technology will change the way many industries operate.



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According to global management consulting firm Bain & Company, long-term prospects for the industrial Internet of Things remain ambitious. However, many executives are resetting timeline expectations for reaching scale due to early adoption struggles. Notably, certain “darlings of IoT” like predictive maintenance have not lived up to the hype. And while Bain’s survey of 600 industrial customers shows increasing traction with ‘workhorse’ scenarios like remote monitoring and asset tracking, it exposes areas where many teams and vendors are struggling to deliver the goods. In the end, an iterative strategy focused on specific business outcomes remains critical.

Notably, Bain’s survey finds increasing concerns around integration with existing enterprise systems and data portability. Executives worry their visions for digital transformation will be restricted by internal skill gaps and proprietary vendor services. Understandably, they fear losing control of any data not managed by their own enterprise IT departments. Despite this, confidence remains high that an estimated 20 billion devices will be successfully connected by 2020.

Many executives feel the value proposition for industrial IoT is still emerging. For them, the ability to capitalize on this value and achieve better business results remains elusive. To address these challenges, Bain calls for organizations to build a new operating model and position themselves for long-term success in a connected world.

Recommendations for accelerating IoT adoption in the enterprise

First, Bain recommends industrial organizations choose specific, high-value use cases to tackle upfront. Prove out your ability to address security and other valid IT concerns. Then, adopt an iterative approach for demonstrating ROI and ease of enterprise integration.

Second, use experienced partners to address your gaps. Don’t try building everything yourself. Differentiation comes from the combination of acquired data with your industry-specific domain knowledge. We’ve seen manufacturing digital transformation initiatives stall out when internal engineering teams try to build their own IoT infrastructure. Software for collecting data (and system integration services) can be bought. Build your value, not your tools.  

Third, don’t expect overnight success. You’re building up organizational capabilities and working with a new set of specialized partners. Commit to a realistic investment timeline and prepare for change. You’ll likely need to bring in new, more entrepreneurial talent to drive your connected business model. At a minimum, empower your existing teams to think differently. Remember, you’re not rolling out a new CRM application. You’re transforming your enterprise. Act accordingly.

Fourth, industrial IoT revenue starts at the top. Executives must ensure the entire organization is aligned for transition to the new operating model. This requires both vision and clear communication. Unsurprisingly, those responsible for existing products and revenue streams fear cannibalization. Furthermore, IoT initiatives take time to meet traditional P&L requirements. If executives don’t create an environment where the new operating model can take root, prevailing forces will prevent its maturation while competitors move ahead.      

Prepare to scale the business

Eventually companies reach the point on their digital transformation journey where they’ve proven out their connected product technology and business concepts. Now what? Bain concludes with a method for assessing readiness to scale up your industrial IoT efforts.

To begin, how well do you understand the full potential of industrial IoT to your enterprise? IoT can dramatically impact the quality of manufactured products, service offerings, maintenance  procedures, and other areas of your enterprise. But what will this cost, and what will revenue look like once the system is deployed to production and fully commercialized?

Never forget, your competitors aren’t standing still. You can be sure they’re working on their own industrial IoT initiatives. What is your plan to win in this new arena?

Additionally, scaling IoT requires incentives alignment and coordinated execution across the enterprise. Engineering, IT, service, sales, and business teams must work together for organizations to realize the benefits of digital transformation. Make sure everyone understands their part and is rowing in the same direction.

Bain summarizes their last recommendation with a sentiment that we refer to as “strategy over software.” By strategy, we mean not just a plan, but a comprehensive roadmap, organization structure, and business model across the enterprise to support the success of your industrial IoT initiative.

Digital transformation is a journey

As you start your journey, you’re going to need an industrial IoT platform. Whether it makes sense to build your own or buy one depends on a variety of factors. But digital transformation isn’t just about technology. As Bain notes repeatedly, it’s about so much more. Business models and sales strategies, along with clear user stories, team roles, and responsibilities are equally critical to successful IoT initiatives. Beyond a platform, an experienced digital transformation partner can accelerate planning, implementation, and successful commercialization of your connected systems.

 
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The benefits of using Edge Computing / Machine Learning solutions are very attractive to manufacturers because allows minimize latency, conserve network bandwidth, operate reliably with quick decisions, collect and secure a wide range of data, and move data to the best place for processing with better analysis and insights of local data.
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What was the last thing you bought online? Why didn’t you go to a store to buy it? Was it for the vast number of items you could scroll through before making a choice or the recommendations that the website or app pulled up for you, remembering your choices and interests from a previous visit, or the ease with which you paid for it with a card whose details were already stored with the website?

The online shopping experience is leaps and bounds ahead of the traditional experience in terms of using data and technology to provide unique and personalized customer experiences. While brick and mortar stores also have their own upsides, the move towards omni-channel retailing today is key.

So what does an omni-channel experience really mean? The term refers to merging of services and features of multiple channels in order to provide a seamless, integrated and consistent experience to users. It means bringing the best of online shopping to the physical store to enrich customer experiences and create new channels for revenue generation.

The reason that e-retailers are able to provide a vast number of superior and personalized features is because of access to a larger volume of data and analytics. Their algorithms are constantly monitoring your every step, from consideration to the point where a sale occurs. Traditional retailers need the same approach and connected products under Internet of Things provide a way to do exactly that. A digital transformation of store assets by connecting them to each other and the internet through means of sensors or digital tags (barcodes, QR codes, Datamatrix codes, NFC & RFID tags) working together with AI and cloud computing, will result in smart connected products at every point within a customer’s journey, collecting and analyzing data.

Many brands already have an online presence as well as applications from where one can directly buy their products. However, a true omni-channel retail experience is one where it works in tandem with, influences and enhances the in-store shopping experience.

A number of leading brands are also coming up with innovations to improve customer engagement and play to their expectations born from online buying habits regarding a seamless and hassle-free shopping experience. Here is a look at the areas within a brick and mortar store that could see incorporation of connected products to facilitate an omni-channel retail experience.

Personalized services
Analytics and personalized services and features go hand in hand together. Brands need to know about their customers in order to curate services for them. Data on a customer’s journey across the store, products they pick up or put back, keeping track of their past purchases and recommending more according to that, and extending coupons and offers specifically for them; feeding data of such nature into algorithms that perform analytics then deliver insights upon which personalized services can then be built.

Kroger has partnered up with Microsoft to roll out EDGE™ Shelves (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment). Equipped with digital displays, these shelves promise to provide a unique guided customer experience. The solution will also utilize in-store sensors to identify individual shoppers and extend custom recommendations, promotions and offers as well as other personalized content.

Customer’s in-store journey:
The journey of a user buying things online is not too complex; browse, select, pay. If they are a regular customer, chances are the app already knows their delivery points and payment details. A similar journey is far more difficult to emulate inside a retail store. The popularity of Endless Aisles technology is a step in this direction. This technology is based on the observation of how some people fail to find a particular product in their size or colour. No problem! They can simply place an order with their specifications using an endless aisle in the form of an interactive kiosk within the store itself, and the product gets delivered at their doorstep in a couple of days. It’s a win-win situation; customers don’t leave the store unsatisfied and the retailer does not lose out on a sale.

Another feature gaining traction is “click and collect/return”, where customers can place orders through the brand website or mobile app and collect their items from a store at their own convenience.

Consumer Transparency
Smartphones are everywhere and 71% of consumers use theirs to conduct research on products before buying them in-store. Retailers can capitalize on this medium’s ubiquitousness and familiarity to create a similar experience inside retail stores. Modern consumers are also more conscious of how their lifestyle choices, including products they buy and consume, impact the environment and society. Electronic labeling practices incorporating scannable QR codes, RFID tags or NFC stickers, let the customer pull up expanded product information instantly on their smartphones, presenting more than a simple ingredients list, and allowing the brand to display the entire journey of the product from its origin to the shelf. These tags can be further utilized to enrich customer experiences by providing tailor made content for a particular customer such as promotions and offers.

Navigation
In-store navigation services are another example where connected smart products can contribute to unique multi-channel experiences. Retailer Target has installed store fixtures like LED lights which have built-in bluetooth beacons. Their app takes advantage of these beacons to locate users inside the store and guide them to their desired locations by pulling feed from shopping lists stored by the user on it. French Retail giant Carrefour in partnership with Philips has implemented a similar system, however using Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology instead. VLC enabled LEDs emit a code that is readable by any camera on a smartphone, connecting customers to the digital experience provided by the store through their app.

Beating the Queue
Amazon Go is the true embodiment of what a connected retail store of the future will look like. Customers in these cashierless stores need not stand in long queues for checkout as they can just grab what they wish to purchase and walk out. The exit turnstiles trigger an automatic payment from the customer’s credit card, which is already stored on the app, on leaving the store. Not only are these stores getting rid of one of the most annoying bits about shopping in a a brick and mortar store, they are also combining multiple sensors across the store to collect a treasure trove of valuable data. Weight sensors on shelves know exactly when an item is removed from the shelf, or when it is put back. Multiple cameras track and record each customer’s movements within the store. Computer vision along with intelligent algorithms combine to create a unique identification for each customer and separate them from others.

Traditional brick and mortar stores are in an urgent need to innovate in order to maintain a competitive edge by keeping up with consumer expectations and habits, which are constantly evolving thanks to e-commerce. They need to look towards Internet of Things and establish a connected and digital ecosystem within their stores which collect valuable data on their customers, data that can then be converted into smart insights, on the foundation of which smart decisions can be taken to provide sophisticated, delightful and engaging customer experiences.

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With concerns rising amongst citizens, the USDA issued the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) last month intended for manufacturers, importers, retailers and other entities in retail space for the disclosure of bioengineered food and ingredients on product labels. The move was made with a view to bring in more transparency and provide consumers with standardized formats to disclose information pertaining to bioengineered food products.

Earlier referred to as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), the new Standard has come up with the term “Bioengineered” (BE) for genetically modified food products. The USDA defines bioengineered food and ingredients as food that contain genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques, and for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature. Under the new Standard, highly refined foods and ingredients like syrup, sugar and vegetable oils, without any detectable genetically modified material, are exempt from disclosure as food items that contain them will not be considered as bioengineered.

What does this mean for food brands & manufacturers in terms of compliance with the regulation?

The USDA has laid down four channels that concerned entities can use for BE disclosure: (1) text, (2) symbol, (3) electronic or digital link or (4) text messages.

Out of these, electronic labels or digital links appear to be the quickest, possibly least disruptive method of quick compliance with the new regulation. Electronic BE foods disclosure can have some upsides; It is a sustainable, efficient and cost effective method to dispense valuable product data to consumers, while leveraging the smartphone technology and its ubiquitousness. It also supports changes to label content instantly without reprinting or having to change the entire packaging everytime there is an update that needs to be shared with consumers, a useful feature to accommodate future changes in labeling standards.

Electronic or digital disclosure can be achieved through a digital link or a scannable QR code placed on the product packaging, which on being scanned will take the user to the appropriate landing page containing the product data. NBFDS stipulates that the BE symbol be placed in an immediately visible spot on this page, potentially looking something like this : 

The SmartLabel program presents excellent scope to comply with these regulations. The SmartLabel initiative spearheaded by the GMA is already bringing in QR code based digital labeling practices, having added over 25,000 products under its helm. Not only does it provide expanded product information, but it also ensures content is delivered in a standardized format which is easy to break down and absorb by consumers.

The clock is ticking as concerned entities have till January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021 for small food manufacturers, to comply with and implement the new Standard, with the mandatory compliance date set at January 1, 2022. The urgency to begin exploring solutions for BE regulations compliance before the NBFDS takes full effect has begun and the time to act and implement a viable strategy is running out.

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3 Reasons to Use .NET for your Next IoT Project

The concept of connecting objects with the internet is the Internet of Things. It was conceived in order to establish a direct amalgamation between the virtual world and the physical world. Internet of Things is useful in the way that it recovers concrete data and information and makes them useful by offering economic benefits and improving the daily life as well.

The time has now come where people and IoT app developers have started to understand the importance of this technology and are working towards achieving greater goals with it. Tech giants have started to adopt this technology and work on developments. Here are some major reasons why they are doing it.

  1. Windows 10 IoT Core. .NET is fully compatible with Window 10 IoT Core. The system for Windows 10 was released in 2015 and was designed specifically in a way that runs on low-power devices. One great thing about this is it’s free. It comes along with a handy toolkit. There are lots of integration options. .NET Core can be extremely helpful in creating great IoT apps. They offer a pretty smooth UX.

  2. .NET Readymade Solutions. Almost every coding problem or issue is developed or resolved and has a solution somewhere over the internet. .NET helps developers in a great way making use of unfinished solutions and saving their time. So if you face a problem finding an IoT solution, it is very likely that someone has already found a solution for it and the code must have been posted somewhere over GitHub. .NET is a large community and the number reusable code it produces is also huge. This can help in speeding up the development process. This is why .NET is a great option.

  1. Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure is known as one of the best available enterprise-class platforms. It is of great use for IoT users. Microsoft not only provides the Azure IoT platform and IoT accelerators, but also recovery and data storage in addition to that. Some of the most important features of an IoT platform are security, analysis, interoperability, and flexibility. These features help the IoT developers in a great way.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that is both secure and reliable. It offers several services. Deploying cloud applications is pretty easy by simply setting up an application host or running it on the Azure panel. Azure technology is being continually worked upon by the Microsoft engineers. Many new features will be added and those updates will come out soon.

Conclusion

For any technology, it is extremely important to have a supportive community that offers help whenever required. .NET has that kind of community. There are more than two million people working on .NET, so you imagine the number of people ready to help you and offer advice in the community.

IoT will see immense growth in the coming years, considering the demand for such technology. When that happens, all the work done on it right now will then prove to be useful. .NET is the preferred environment for creating IoT apps and there is no doubt in that.

 

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