It’s not uncommon to drive about any major city at night and see many buildings illuminated despite the fact that the workers went home hours earlier. Likewise, manufacturing plants the world over often have equipment unnecessarily consuming energy during idle periods. Power plants create and store energy everyday and use energy distribution grids to distribute energy to users, but are they doing it “smartly?”
With rising concerns about global warming, this immense waste of energy undoubtedly hurts the environment, but it also hurts business. Offices, manufacturing plants, commercial spaces and power grids all stand to benefit financially from better and “smarter” energy management.
How IoT Reduces Energy Usage for Businesses and Manufacturing
In his article, “Report: Lofty Energy Management Goals Far Ahead of Reality,” (Panoramic Power, August 5, 2015) Jon Rabinowitz points out that most companies receive data on their energy usage only at the end of each billing cycle, which is usually a month at a time. By incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technology, energy consumption data will be available in real-time, and energy-reducing measures can be implemented as soon as a problem gets detected (rather than waiting until the end of the month). Integrating smart devices through IoT technology will provide greater visibility into energy usage and help both industrial and commercial enterprises save energy, and as a result, save money.
Starting with simple, smart and low cost sensors, like User to User Information (UUI) and Feature Driven Development (FDD) devices, businesses can reduce energy usage and cost by dimming lights, turning off unnecessary equipment and improving the use the cooling/heating apparatus. Software that collects and correlates granular usage data, performs analytics and then converges information to increase efficiency will make manufacturing plants “smarter,” and thus more cost-effective.
Local and remote sensors that detect points of inefficiency quickly and perform triage to decrease waste will also reduce the need for maintenance as constant monitoring will detect small issues before they become big problems. Continuous optimization through 24/7 monitoring will assure that energy is not wasted during slow periods in between high-usage spans, while maximizing the use of energy-demanding equipment at critical times.
Specific Use Cases – Energy Production and Management
- General Electric’s Asset Performance Management software connects disparate data sources in power plants, enabling data analytics to guide energy usage and to increase efficiency (“10 Real-Life Examples of IoT Powering the Future of Energy,” Internet of Business, Freddie Roberts, Oct. 7, 2016).
- Duke Energy, a Florida-based electric power holding company, has developed a self-healing grid that automatically reconfigures itself when power goes out. Using digital smart sensors at sub stations and on power lines, the system automatically detects, isolates and reroutes power in the most efficient way when problems occur (Roberts).
- Pacific Gas & Electric Company is testing drones as a means to monitor and evaluate electric infrastructure systems in hard-to-reach areas. The ease of access will allow more frequent and consistent monitoring and drastically reduce the amount of methane leaks and other unwanted disruptions. (Roberts).
Energy Saving in the Auto Sector
Nissan (manufacturer of the world’s best-selling electric car, the Leaf) and ENEL (Europe’s second largest power company) have teamed to develop an innovative vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system that creates mobile energy hubs, which also integrates the electric cars and the power grid. The system allows Leaf owners to charge at low-demand, cheap-tariff periods, while allowing owners to use the energy stored in the car’s battery to power their home during peak periods, or when power goes out. Owners can store excess energy, or return it to the grid, making the entire system more efficient for everyone (“Nissan and ENEL to test first Grid Integrated Vehicles in Denmark,” Copenhagen Capacity, December 11, 2015).
As evidenced by these specific use cases, IoT technology is making energy-intensive systems in power generation and in manufacturing far more efficient. It’s good for the environment, but it’s also good for business. Intelligent implementation of energy saving technology stands to benefit every business, from small commercial enterprises to the largest power producing utility companies in the world. It’s time to make the move to smarter energy usage, for both the environment and for your bottom line.
Originally published on the Unified Inbox blog
About the Author
Richard Meyers is a former high school teacher in the SF Bay Area who has studied business and technology at Stanford and UC-Berkeley. He has a single-digit handicap in golf and is passionate about cooking, wine and rock-n-roll.
From the Kepware blog:
In today's fast-paced world of technology, new software can reshape industries overnight. But while the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is everywhere now—connecting millions of devices, machines, sensors, and systems throughout the world—it is anything but an overnight sensation. Over the past 50 years, technological milestones big and small—from large-scale system architecture breakthroughs to modest "Eureka" moments—have led to today's IIoT and are still informing predictions for tomorrow's industrial landscape.
Read more here.
The world is full of normal people like you and me, but I love to think that superheroes live between us and I dream that maybe someday I could become one of them and make a better world with my super powers.
In the universe of superheroes fit gods, mutants, humans with special skills, but also the special agents. I found fun to find similarities between this fantastic world and the world of IoT platforms. Compare and find a reasonable resemblance between IoT Platforms and Superheroes or Super villains is the goal of this article. Opinions as always are personal and subject to all kinds of comments and appreciations. Enjoy, the article.
About IoT Platforms
Many of my regular readers remember my article “It is an IoT Platform, stupid !.”. At that time, per Research and Markets, there were more than 260 IoT platforms, today some sources speak about 700 IoT platforms. I confess, I have not been able to follow the birth, evolution and in some cases death of all IoT platforms out there. I think that many enthusiasts like me also have given up keeping an updated list.
I cannot predict which IoT platforms will survive beyond 2020, or which will be the lucky start-ups that will be bought by big companies or will receive the investors' mana to become a Unicorn, but I like to speculate, and of course, I have my favourite winners and unlucky losers.
About my Own Methodology
Some reputed analysts have adapted their classification methodologies of IT solutions to put some order and consistency into the chaotic and confusing Internet of Things (IoT) platforms market. But given the moment of business excitement around the IoT, have appeared new analyst firms focused on IoT who also wanted to contribute their bit and at the same time make cash while this unsustainable situation lasts.
After reading numerous reports from various sources on this topic, talking to many IoT platform vendors and seeing endless product demos, I have decided to create my own methodology that includes a questionnaire of near 100 questions around different areas: technical, functional, business, strategy, and a scoring mechanism based on my knowledge and experience to make justified recommendations to my clients.
About Super Powers Methodology
But I also had defined an alternative Methodology based on Super Powers.
Super Heroes and Super Villains usually gain their abilities through several different sources, however these sources can be divided into four categories. The Super Powers methodology is based on these four categories of Power Sources.
- Mind Powers – Powers with notable mental abilities. Companies like IBM Watson IoI or GE Predix are notable examples.
- Body Powers – Powers that are gained from genetic mutation. Companies like Microsoft or Amazon mutate to IaaS / PaaS IoT platforms.
- Spirit Powers – Powers gained over time through extensive investment, and are easily obtainable by companies without the risk of horrible mutation or disfigurement. PTC Thingworx, Software AG/Cumulocity or Cisco-Jasper are examples.
- Artefact Powers – Powers gained abilities through ancient objects such as networks, or hardware. Incumbent Telcos M2M Platforms, Telco vendors like Huawei, Nokia or Ericsson, and Hardware vendors like Intel IoT platform, ARM Beetle or Samsung Artik are examples.
For each Power Source category, Super Powers are divided into different levels of power that depend on how strong, or unique, their abilities are.
- Level 0 - with useless, or minimal abilities.
- Level 1 - they are still particularly weak compared to the higher levels.
- Level 2 - have developed their powers to a certain point. About 75% of the platforms belong to this class,
- Level 3 - Mostly are most commonly amateur heroes or sly villains.
- Level 4 - Some of the most unique with a wider variety of powers.
- Level 5 - these fellows are seasoned veterans of their abilities, capable of using them without even needing to concentrate.
- Level 6 - Only a few beings are classified under this level, and their powers are that of being able to control multiple aspects of IoT reality.
Whatever the source of power was, I add Sandy Carter´s recommendation: If you want to become an Extreme Innovator you also need Super Intelligence, Super Speed and Super Synergy.
About Super Heroes and Super Villains
Previously in “Internet of Things: Angels & Demons” and “Internet of Things – Kings and Servants” , I identified some IoT Platform companies as potential superheroes. What was certain is that we knew who the supervillains were. Governments, organizations and business giants that try to control us, manipulate us and frighten us with their economic, political and military powers.
Deciding which superhero can help you more or what superpower is more important for your business is an extremely important milestone in your IoT Strategy.
I've defined the six types/categories of superheroes / IoT Platforms:
a)The superhero whose power is a birthright like Amazon AWS IoT (Superman) or GE Predix (Magneto/Professor Xavier).
b)The superhero whose power is the result of power acquisitions like PTC Thingworx (The Flash) or Cisco Jasper-Parstream (Spiderman) or Autodesk Fusion Connect (FireStorm).
c)The superhero whose power is made possible by technology like Oracle IoT (Iron Man) or SAP Leonardo(Green Lantern).
d)There is the superhero who doesn't have any superpowers but who is a superhero by extremely intensive training like Batman (Ayla Networks) or Black Widow (Exosite) or LogMeIn-Xively (Hawkeye)
e)The superhero who obtains his/her powers due to some supernatural event like Satya Nadella named new CEO for MSFT IoT Azure (Thor) or Telit DeviceWise (Dr. Manhattan) or Google acquisition of Nest (Hulk)
f)Finally, there is the superhero, usually a sentient android, who was created by a human like IBM Watson IoT (Vision) or a normal human playing with magic like Salesforce IoT Cloud Einstein (Dr Strange) or leader of a young team like Hitachi Data System(Most Excellent Superbat).
“Do you agree with my classification system for superheroes and superpowers?”
Although the number of superheroes and supervillains is enormous (more that the IoT Platforms Universe), it would take me a long time to assign each one of the IoT platform a single superhero or supervillain. Since I do not think many companies are willing to pay to know who represents them better, at least I have done a partial and fun exercise.
The Bottom Line
If you are an IoT Platform vendor, you could be doing yourself some questions right now:
- If I could be a Superhero what would it be?".
- Worth to acquire a Super Power or reach an upper level to convince customers I am their Superhero?
And remember …
“With power comes responsibility; with great power comes great responsibility”
Although the number of superheroes and supervillains is enormous (more than the IoT Platforms Universe), it would take me a long time to assign each one of the IoT platform a single superhero or supervillain. Since I do not think many companies are willing to pay to know who represents them better, at least I have done a partial and fun exercise.
Thanks for your Likes and Shares.
From “smart” hairbrushes to lawn mowers, the Internet of Things (IoT) has created a slew of slick products, but there have also been many failures: too many connected devices have gone by the wayside, and in most cases, this is preventable. This scenario, recognized as the Abandonment of Things, is the land where connected devices go to die. Several factors drive the Abandonment of Things: a lack of a proper monetization strategy for connected services; failure to create a community around a smart device; even security issues and clunky backend processes. If a company wants to avoid the digital scrap pile, and subsequent loss of potential revenue and customer gains, it must have all the right parts working in sync.
Keeping an Eye on Profitability
Companies are always looking to expand their user bases, but as that base grows, so do infrastructure costs. Think increased server capacity and the people needed to manage the technology aspect of a subscription service. If the right infrastructure is not in place, profitability takes a hit.
It comes down to data collection and value. What data do companies collect and how do they use it? Where is the value? Take some of the popular connected health bands for example: their freemium models allow consumers to track food and exercise and then compare and compete with friends. On the other hand, their premium models cost around $100 annually and give consumers the option to compare themselves with strangers who are just like them.
Does the data revealed by the premium model — data about strangers rather than friends — provide enough value to convert 3-5 percent of the consumer base into paying customers? That’s the question the marketer must ask and answer.
Getting in the Consumer’s Head
With traditional, non-connected devices, the relationship between brands and consumers ends with the purchase. But with a smart device, the purchase is the beginning of that relationship. IoT is actually not about the thing — it’s about the service as well as the value provided by the service. A company must therefore consider more than the transaction, or the value of the product, or even the initial needs of the consumer. Companies must understand the value a consumer — or better yet, a member — gets from the service. An integral part of that value is the community consumers join when they subscribe to a service.
The new subscription generation requires companies to think of their consumer base as a membership base, which requires very different communication strategies. Transparency is key, both in terms of the solution offered and the financial aspect of the solution. Companies start to achieve success when they build out these relationships and consumers begin to take in new information, not just as marketing, but as an added value.
Awareness of Regulations
Security is paramount in the era of IoT. Striking the balance between value for consumers and protection of their data will be an ongoing challenge for marketers. One example that showcases the delicacy required in this new order is TVs that watch us — noting not just what you’re viewing, but who is in the room when the device is on. Even for those consumers who see great value in, for example, targeted commercials and programming, real questions revolve around how that data is collected and what companies do with it.
Consumer rights also change with every border crossing. Uber transactions are seamless in the U.S., but are more complicated in India. It’s not just about securing data, but also securing the complex payment processes inherent in a subscription-based, hyper-connected global economy.
How companies adapt to the regulatory environment is key to their success. One important thing to understand is that government is not necessarily proactive about regulating IoT — regulations will most likely come after some company is caught misusing data. One bad apple can affect an entire industry, so companies need to be transparent and meticulous about data collection and how data is used to create value.
Avoiding the Abandonment of Things
The new world ushered in by IoT is just dawning, and already the path forward is littered with abandoned things. A subscription-based economy demands flexibility, convenience and value. But those aren’t the only challenges your company faces when forging ahead. The right balance between monetization, transparent communications and security can create the environment your product needs to thrive.
Photo Credit: Becky
We have now entered an era with a new virtual revolution, particularly, the Internet of things (IoT). The virtual revolution marks the starting of information age. We use the Internet almost every day. The net has turned out to be one of established ways for us to work together, to share our lives with others, to shop, to teach, to research, and to learn. However the next wave of the Internet isn't about people. it's far about things, honestly?
All about IoT
IoT is defined as the network of physical objects that can be accessed through the Internet. These objects contain embedded various technology to interact with internal states or the external environment.
IoT is characterized as "the figuring frameworks of sensors and actuators associated by systems, where the processing frameworks can screen or deal with the status and actions of connected objects and machines, and the connected sensors can likewise screen the characteristic world, individuals, and creatures." The center of IoT is not just about interfacing things to the Internet. It is about how to generate and use the big data from the things to make new values for individuals, and about how we empower new trades of significant worth between them. In other words, when objects can sense and communicate, IoT has its knowledge to change how and where choices are made, and who makes them, and to pick up a superior esteem, solution or service.
Fundamental to the estimation of IoT is in actuality the Internet of smart things (smart IoT). Supported by intelligent optimization, smart IoT can increase productivity of work and enhance quality of lives for people. Let us take “cities” — the engines of global economic growth — as an example. Smart cities have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of everyone. In intelligent transportation systems (ITS), smart IoT can not only monitor the status of the transportation, but also optimize traffic signal controls to solve traffic congestion and provide the travelers with better routes and appropriate transportation information, etc. Combining IoT and machine learning (ML) can also make our roads safer. Profits by smart IoT have been shown also in health-care, logistics, environment, smart home, in the aspects of better quality, energy conservation, efficiency increase, and so on.
Smart IoT remains in its infancy now in terms of the technology development and the effect on our global economy system and our daily lives. Maximum IoT statistics aren't used presently within the era of big data. Maximum IoT has no intelligence inside the generation of artificial intelligence (AI). IoT which might be used these days are on the whole for anomaly detection and control, as opposed to optimization and prediction. Given the brilliant anticipated increase of the Internet over the following 10 years, it is considered one of vital challenges and possibilities for us to invent and practice in real-global programs on a way to make the IoT smarter to generate the greatest value.
Welcome to the future, available now courtesy of Industry 4.0. Dreams not so long ago, today’s realities are an amazing presentation of devices, humans, sensors, and machines working together to achieve what once seemed impossible. Small wonder the result is branded as a “smart factory.”
Who would have guessed that the Industrial Revolution would evolve in such a remarkable fashion? Stage 1.0 introduced the labor-saving method of newly-developed machinery powered by steam. Inventors thought of other ways to improve productivity and introduced 2.0 with electricity, mass production and the assembly line. Stage 3.0 took longer to arrive with computers and the assembly line presence of machines and robots working alongside or replacing humans.
Each stage inspired human imagination about Industry 4.0 and the endless possibilities that exist. The Internet of Things, or IoT, includes cyber- physical systems capable of making decentralized decisions. Videos of driverless cars are featured on Facebook posts. Robots operate commercial floor cleaners and delicate surgical instruments. Sensors warn robots to move out of the way of approaching objects!
What exactly is Industry 4.0? It’s a system or factory that possesses four essential features.
Decentralized decision-making: Cyber-physical systems are as independent as possible and make uncomplicated decisions on their own.
Information transparency: Sensor data lets systems build a virtual copy of the physical world in which it exists based on the concepts that affect activities and awareness.
Technical assistance: Systems aid humans in problem-solving and decision-making as well as assist them with unsafe or dangerous tasks.
Interoperability: Devices, sensors, machines and people connect and communicate with one another.
Questions arise about what it means and how it affects everyday activities. The public is active in learning Industry 4.0 participation, although not everyone is aware of it. Proficiency in using computer programs, tablets, and smartphones prepare people of all ages for this technological change to HMI (human machine interface) devices.
The term “big data” describes the huge amount of information collected from network devices. Industry 4.0 enabled equipment sorts and analyzes data by prescribed search criteria for various users. Information reflects items like production methods and a product’s reaction to certain situations. The system’s ability to present it in different ways makes it useful to separate departments, researchers, and end-users.
Sharing data anywhere at any time requires trust and cooperation up and down the supply chain. Identified concerns can be addressed quickly using the four essential features of Industry 4.0.
About Bill McCabe/ Internet of Things Recruiting - Executive Search/ Retained Search for the Internet of Things/ Machine 2 Machine/ Big Data Markets
IBM IOT Futurist - see you at #IBMInterconnect - March 19-23 Las Vegas
Top 50 IOT Authority on Twitter - per IoT Central
Need Help finding your next Big Data or IOT Employee or If you require the top 5% of IOT talent let’s talk. Drop me a line or use this link to schedule an IOT Search Assessment Call Click Here to Schedule
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Tibbo announced the release 5.4 of AggreGate IoT Integration Platform.
We've achieved great results in optimizing AggreGate server performance, especially event and value update storage performance. From now on, a single server can process and persistently store up to a hundred thousand events/updates per second, which is almost equal to 10 billion events per day. Such performance figures don't even require any high-end server hardware.
A new chapter has been opened by this release, presenting AggreGate's graphical and textual programming languages inspired by IEC 61131-3 standard, also known as "SoftPLC". Millions of engineers are now able to use AggreGate as a process control logic development environment.
One innovative feature of AggreGate's automation languages is tight integration of runtime with the Tibbo Project System hardware. Your programmed logic can access and control all Tibbit modules of a Linux-based TPS board/box. Currently available languages are: Function Block Diagram (graphical), Structured Text (graphical), Sequential Function Chart (textual).
Widget capabilities are no longer limited by the standard set of components. Now it can be easily extended. New Widget Component SDK allows to implement custom visual components in Java and use them in AggreGate widgets. Extend AggreGate's wide component palette with UI controls best suited to your needs!
We continue making our UI interface clearer and more user-friendly. The next step is lightweight icons. We redesigned them to be up-to-date with modern flat paradigm. New color coding assists users to navigate over various available toolbar actions.
Other major improvements include:
- Built-in timestamps and quality for data tables.
- Component connectors that allow to visually link UI components with each other.
- Secure and reliable Agent communications. Agent-Server communications now can be SSL-protected. When transferred data amount is critical, data compression can be enabled in parallel to encryption.
- Granulation, a brand-new highly customizable data aggregation and consolidation tool. The granulation engine allows to combine datasets into compact representation that contains all important aspects of original information in virtually any form suitable for later processing. This allows to reduce memory and storage consumption along with boosting data processing performance.
- Server remote upgrading. To reduce company's expenses, a remote AggreGate server upgrade operation is now supported. You can use our Unified Console application to connect to a remote server, upload a server upgrade bundle file and wait while the upgrade process is finished. That's it! All operations, including database backup, stopping server, upgrading and restarting will be performed at the server side automatically.
We are bringing our IT & Network Management solution (AggreGate Network Manager) to a new level by turning it into a full-fledged IT Service Management System. In this release, we introduce several essential instruments for that: Configuration Management Database (CMDB), metrics engine and topology-based root-cause analysis tools. Another ITSM functionality - IP address management module - is now available and you can use it out-of-the-box.
AggreGate 5.4 includes new device drivers: CoAP, MQTT, IEC 104, DLMS/COSEM, SMI-S.
You can get detailed information on the new 5.4 release, download and try the updated AggreGate IoT Platform on our website: http://aggregate.tibbo.com/news/release-54.html.
The IoT chip technology constitutes hardware such as processors, sensors, connectivity ICs, memory devices and logic devices which are used in IoT-enabled devices. The exact growth of this technology in market are the increasing demand for application-specific MCUs and flexible SoC-type designs and increasing investments by major giants of this industry in the IoT market.
Accroding to the research news, The IoT chip market is expected to reach USD 14.81 Billion by 2022 from USD 5.75 Billion in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 13.2%. The growth of the automotive and transportation application was primarily driven by the development of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and high potential for the growth of connected cars.
The IoT chip market for the retail end-use application is expected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2016 to 2022, followed by wearable devices. The rising demand from customers for easier and better shopping experience would drive the use of IoT in the retail application as it would help customers to reduce checkout times, facilitate easier payment procedures, and enable a comparative cost analysis.
Research said, North America held the largest market share of the global IoT chip market in 2015, where as APAC is expected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2016 to 2022 owing to the huge investments by the companies for the development of IoT.
For more details you may refer: http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/iot-chip-market-236473142.html
IoT Chip Market Scope:
By Hardware: Processors, Sensors, Connectivity IC's, Memory Device, Logic Device.
By End-Use Application: Wearable Devices, Healthcare Sector, Consumer Electronics, Building Automation, Industrial, Automotive & Transportation, Agriculture, BFSI, Retail, Oil & Gas.
By Geography: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Rest of the World (RoW).
Popular industries involved in IoT (technology) market:
The companies that are profiled in the IoT Chip report are Intel Corporation (U.S.), Qualcomm Incorporated (U.S.), Texas Instruments Incorporated (U.S.), NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Netherlands), Microchip Technology Inc. (U.S.), MediaTek Inc. (Taiwan), STMicroelectronics N.V. (Switzerland), Renesas Electronics Corporation (Japan), Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (China), NVIDIA Corporation (U.S.), Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (U.S.), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (U.S.) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (South Korea).
You might have probably heard about the artificial intelligence being developed by some big researchers around the world. The current period of era is also about creating technology that not only process faster, but also works efficiently just like the human brain.
The innovation in such technologies has given rise to cognitive computing, which nothing but another miracle innovative development by a human brain to let the machine learn just like human being. Recently, IBM with its new cognitive system called as IBM Watson have entered into the segment of artificial learning to make system that is capable of learning and understanding knowledge to interact with human in a more natural way.
The cognitive computing is a self-learning technology platform that uses data mining and pattern recognition to simulate itself in a way that human brain works. The system is intended to solve some complex affairs involving big data with the power of natural learning and language processing mechanism. Cognitive computing has been claimed to be a future of artificial intelligence which has numerous application in robotics and VR.
The initiative of IBM to expand the cognitive computing adoption has been followed by IBM collaboration with SoftBank in which both the organization is trying to bring the IBM Watson in Japan. The collaboration is intended to let the Watson learn how to communicate in Japanese, and to exploit its capabilities.
The system will be in the hand of some developers and technology enthusiastic working on AI to create new services and apps in Japan which will be powered by the Watson. Japan is the one of largest country in terms of technology that is going to give a head start in the expansion of adoption of cognitive computing system around the world.
On the basis of IBM study, the cognitive computing system is going to shape the future in three following ways:
Working with cognitive computing system will open the space of expert assistance that is not possible when human works alone. The capability of system to have a vast and deep insight will play an important role in consuming wide range of structured as well as unstructured data and knowledge. The recent announcement of USAA regarding usage of IBM Watson as an engagement advisor to military has confirmed that these systems are capable of shaping the future of humans.
Cognitive computing system works purely on evidence by processing new data and information and analysing the outcome of the action. It is going to help humans in taking better decisions using the recommendation provided by the system. The thought process of this system is backed by the quantitative confidence score that will generate the result based on the merit after evaluation of several options.
There are several unlocked data and information which may not be discovered by human ever in the future. The adoption of cognitive system will help in discovering new research in various fields like cancer research to the life better for humans. Human researcher’s brain takes decades to formulate one single research, but the cognitive computing system can process the same data with much faster speed and deep insight of the topic.
Cognitive computing system is an amazing opportunity in transforming several industries. It’s just a matter of time and everything around us will be machine based.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that extends digital connectivity to devices and sensors in homes, businesses, vehicles and potentially almost anywhere. This advance enables virtually any device to transmit its data, to which analytics can then be applied to facilitate monitoring and a range of operational functions. IoT can deliver value in several ways. It can provide organizations with more complete data about their operations, which helps them improve efficiencies and so reduce costs. It also can deliver a competitive advantage by enabling them to reduce the elapsed time between an event occurring and operational responses, actions taken or decisions made in response to it.
IoT utilizes what Ventana Research calls operational intelligence, a discipline that has evolved from the capture and analysis of data from instrumentation and machine-to-machine interactions of many types. We define operational intelligence as a set of event-centered information and analysis processes operating across an organization that deliver information to enable effective actions and optimal decisions.
The evolution of operational intelligence and its manifestation in IoT is encouraging companies to revisit their priorities and spending for information and other digital technologies. Ventana Research undertook benchmark research on The Internet of Things to determine the attitudes, requirements and future plans of organizations that use IoT and operational intelligence systems and to identify their best practices. We set out to examine both the commonalities and the qualities specific to major industry sectors and across sizes of organizations. We considered how organizations manage IoT, issues they encounter in the process and how their use of it and related technology is evolving.
While the Internet of Things may still be a novelty to many consumers, organizations participating in our research are well aware of its applications and implications. Four out of five (81%) said IoT is important to their future operations. Majorities said the use of IoT is very important to speed the flow of information and improve the responsiveness of individuals within business processes (61%) and to speed the flow of information to customers or consumers (58%).
The most common uses of IoT are associated with customers (as in sensors on products, by 43%), employees (in wearable technology, 35%) and sensors on devices in the supply chain (31%). At this point, however, more organizations are able to capture IT events (such as a network or system security breach, 59%) than business events (such as a customer contact, 45%). As organizations find more business uses, IoT and operational intelligence will become even more mainstream, and the research indicates that this will occur. Within two years, 95 percent of organizations said they expect to be capturing IT events and 92 percent to be capturing business events.
The research also finds that the intentions of organizations to embrace IoT and use operational intelligence often outpace their current capabilities. For example, many can capture data but face challenges in using it. More than two-thirds (68%) said they are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their organization’s ability to capture and correlate data from events. After that, managing and using it become more complicated. Nearly one-third (31% each) reported difficulties with inadequate data or in managing external data. About half (48%) said they spend the most time reviewing event data for quality and consistency issues, which suggests a lack of standardization across the data sources that are collected.
Furthermore, most organizations are not ready to derive maximum value from IoT. The processes most commonly implemented, each by approximately half of organizations, are performing root-cause analysis, defining measurements and metrics, and monitoring and correlating activities or events. While these processes are necessary, they are only the first step in improving performance. Fewer have advanced to the point of automating processes, which will be necessary to make full use of the coming deluge of IoT data. For example, only about two in five use data from events to trigger automated processes such as predictive maintenance (38%) or automatic assignment of thresholds for alerts (39%).
This research overall finds strong momentum behind the emergence of the Internet of Things, but it also is clear that many organizations have not caught up to the trend. IoT is here, and its impact on business will only increase; almost all companies can benefit from paying attention to it. We encourage you to use this research to help educate and guide your organization through its IoT journey.
Guest post by Fabrice Jadot. This blog originally appeared here.
Some of us are old enough to remember the days just before the internet became a permanent fixture in our lives. At that time, the IT industry had been struggling for years to come up with a way to harmonize disparate proprietary communication protocols. The goal was to make it easier for computer systems to talk to each other and share data. At first, unifying the protocols proved frustrating and costly workarounds were necessary to help facilitate the flow of communications. Then, gradually, a tipping point was reached. The economics of connectivity changed dramatically, vendor and user attitudes became more open, standards bodies coalesced, and communications technology advancements (like TCP/IP) allowed the floodgates to open.
Today, manufacturing and process industries find themselves in a similar “pre-internet” dilemma. Within the context of control systems and field devices, proprietary protocols are the rule as opposed to the exception. Although some standardized protocols are beginning to emerge, many of these will not interoperate without configuring specialized gateways that add cost and complexity.
Such a situation places constraints on the ability of industrial organizations to cash in on the promise of the new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) wave of technological and productivity advancements.
But there is hope. Progress towards a converged communication protocol environment is being made on several fronts. Consider the following…
Some layers of the industrial automation pyramid are becoming more open– The theoretical layers of the industrial automation pyramid include field devices at the bottom (i.e., actuators, sensors, hardware), then a controller layer (i.e., PLCs), then a supervisory / control layer (SCADA, MES), and finally, a top enterprise-wide layer (i.e., ERP).
The good news is that, at the controller layer, a standard called OPC UA (Object linking and embedding for Process Control Unified Architecture) is emerging. The OPC UA standard is a series of specifications that are being jointly developed by industry vendors, end-users and software developers. The OPC UA standards specify the communication of industrial process data, alarms and events, historical data and batch process data. Key control systems vendors are beginning to build and design products that conform to OPC UA standards. OPC UA is platform independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices at the controller layer from multiple vendors. The OPC Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of this standard.
Unfortunately, at the layer below, where field devices communicate across to other field devices and up to controllers, the standardization situation is still murky. As a result of the dominance of separate, proprietary protocols, a “field bus war” has been fought for many years. End users are bearing the brunt of the resulting extra cost by having to install and support gateways in order to interpret the data based on the different proprietary protocols.
A new Time Sensitive Network (TSN) standard could inadvertently accelerate convergence at the field device level – TSN is a new standard that is currently under development by IEEE. It’s not yet completely finalized, but it is well advanced. One of the main purposes of the standard is to address the issue of time sensitive data (real time data). TSN is exploring ways to standardize the definition of “real-time data” and to assure that mission-critical, time-sensitive data can be transferred and shared within strict bounds of latency and reliability. Also under consideration is how time sensitive data can avoid being held up on networks that will become increasingly congested with IIoT data.
Although not a goal of TSN, movement towards more converged industrial protocol standardization at the field device level could result, with TSN working to harmonize all of the layers across the industrial communication stack (except for the application layer), as shown in figure 2.
Such a unified industrial protocol will allow organizations across the industry to accelerate the benefits they can derive from the data that they already have in-house and from the future data they process.
First of all, I will explain the reason for the post title. For those who have not seen the films, I summarize: "A group of four illusionists win year after year to the public with their incredible magic shows and even mocking the FBI.
GSMA is a great illusionist and MWC is their principal magic show. We are invited year after year to visit an event with unique keynote speakers, an enormous list of exhibitors, amazing performances and a great LinkedInplace where we can meet in person some of our social media contacts. What else can we ask for?
I know that it is very ruthless to compare the GSMA with illusionists and the MWC as their greatest magic show, but at least I see quite a few reasonable resemblances, you don´t.
My fears and my wishes for MWC17
If in 2015 I wrote " MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon", and I argued as one the reasons to attend MWC was the fact it was celebrated in Barcelona. In 2016, in my post “GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC” I justify the reasons why the MWC needed to reinvent itself.
One thing has become clear to me after many years attending MWCs, this is the world's biggest phone and mobile networks show, with manufacturers set to unveil a raft of new phone handsets and new technology. However, the GSMA had insisted on introducing more and more distractions like Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Living, Connected Car, AR/ VR, Robots. Maybe the reason is because Telecom operators do not have the DNA to change. Still, many telecom operators take a dim view of some of the aggressive moves being made by these peers, especially when it comes to business models based on commercializing customer data.
“I expected to see less hype and a dose of common sense”
Starting by the announcement of Spain’s Telefonica to introduce a broad plan “4th Platform” to help both consumer and business customers keep greater control over their data rather than giving it away to web giants Google, Facebook and Amazon.
“I expected to see more applications where IoT will become a lot less exciting, but more useful and profitable. The real world.”
But I also feel like Scott Bicheno that “Mobile World Congress is disconnected from reality”.
The Top 5 tricks of illusionism this year
5G, Network Slicing and their associated Business Models
5G will undoubtedly be the next big thing in mobile wireless networks. For Niall Norton: fact, fiction, MWC – and strangers dancing in the dark, the most over-hyped technology or trend this year will be 5G in spite he thinks 5G is still miles away and therefore we have to wait for augmented reality, virtual reality, driverless cars and the like. It is a big ask for investors to keep piling money in.
For Phil Laidler, Network slicing is essentially an extension of policy control, virtualisation, NFV and SDN, and their orchestration; the move towards software-centric, flexible end-to-end networks. At MWC this year he is looking forward to seeing more "proof of concepts" for network-slicing and the associated business models, in addition to any insights into how slicing will work in practice.
Nokia’s big 5G announcement on ‘day 0’ of the event was overshadowed by a large consortium of operators and vendors calling for just the ‘new radio’ part of the 5G standard to be accelerated, despite the fact that it will lack the backhaul, cloud infrastructure, software platforms, etc needed to make the 5G dream viable. If anything highlights the wishful-thinking folly of much of the talk at this year’s show it’s that.
IoT has been a hot topic at MWC for the last few years, but, operators do not succeed with new business models beyond managed connectivity. Strategic alliances with IoT vendors has shown no results yet.
The battle between connectivity technologies remains fierce, cellular IoT Chip Battle Escalates at MWC ARM, Sequans and Altair to compete on NB-IoT solutions, but vendors and operators are now looking for more innovative ways to overcome the problem. This might just be the year of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN). Although LoRa and Sigfox are currently dominant in the LPWA market, cellular IoT proponents had steal the show.
For example, Telefonica - who is working on NB-IoT with Huawei - recently announced a global partnership with Sigfox. In addition, Nokia launched its worldwide IoT network grid ('WING') a few weeks ago, which it describes as "a 'one-stop-shop', full service model offering seamless IoT connectivity across technologies and geographical borders."
For Operators, the real value from IoT will be created when they can start combining data sets from different areas and different connectivity technologies. For example, smart cities, healthcare or Food & Beverage, retail, transportation and logistics to improve the cold chain supply management processes.
I hope that at MWC18 we will be looking out for examples of operators and vendors developing IoT use-cases that do just that.
“The Internet of Things is in MWC to stay for a few more years, but If your focus is Internet of Things (IoT) then your money probably will have more ROI in other IoT events”
Blockchain has become one of the latest buzz words in telecoms, IT and IoT , thanks to a rapid increase in start-ups using it for new use-cases beyond its original application in financial services. Despite the excitement around blockchain the technology is still poorly understood by many, so operators need to explore the practical applications of blockchain and investigate whether developing these capabilities would be beneficial and understand what will be their role telcos in this field.
Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots
Not many people in the Operators and in general in the Telco sector can explain what will be the practical potential of AI and machine learning in this sector. Other industry sectors are starting to apply machine learning models to their business. And as the technology and algorithms become more refined, early adopters expect to see huge cost savings. But at what cost?
I expect to see real use cases for AI, machine learning and Robots to make the eternal promise of Customer Experience happen.
Will Telcos someday use machine learning and AI to learn about customer’s habits so that their services and product features can emulate a human behaviour more accurately?. This is a huge opportunity for both vendors and operators.
The wandering souls network
The first time I visited MWC as CEO of OIES, that is to say, as an independent consultant, I feel like a walking dead. Without a clear agenda, without scheduled meetings. I walk through hundreds of exhibitor booths looking for friend’s faces that can spend a couple of minutes to tell them my history.
The Telco sector (Operators, Large Vendors) and the IT sector is being very cruel with employees over 45 years old. This year I have had the opportunity to spend some time with some of ex-colleagues, friends and also LinkedIn contacts that wanted to tell me their history and asked me for advice about the new “El Dorado world of IoT”.
There is a lot of talent out there. Do not exclude this extraordinary wandering network because you believe they are overqualified and you can not manage them.
See you next year at MWC18
I've been saying the same thing for years when I come exhausted from MWC “No more tricks, no more illusions, this has been my last year". But will be this time the real one. Do I need a sabbatical MWC?.
“Whether you passed 1 day, 3 days or a whole week of your life in the MWC17 illusionism, ask yourself: Was it worth it? “
Now you see me or not @MWC18.
Thanks for your Comments and Likes
The global wireless connectivity market is expanding exponentially, and Bluetooth is heading back to join the IoT pack. Bluetooth 5, one of Internet of Things (IOT) mainstay technology is also set to expand. It all set to cater the growing beacon devices segment.
The update will allow for richer information broadcast, speed upgrades, and low energy usage. The low energy feature built specifically for IoT devices will support speed up to two megabits per second which means more building and home coverage. Devices can be connected even if positioned outside. Another interesting feature will be the use Bluetooth powered communication in smart cities, where the usage has been restricted till now. The mesh networking support which is touted to be present in the release can make BLE stronger for usage in tracking assets and waste management.
There is a shift from the traditional Bluetooth device and app pairing, as IoT devices move towards the wireless model. Beacons are used to send out rich data collected by smartphones for creating a rich user experience.
Bluetooth 5 supports the advertising extensions feature, which provides the continuation of permission based advertising outside regular channels. The Broadcasted data can be received within the Bluetooth device range. Visitor and asset tracking, indoor navigation can be done more easily with the improved Bluetooth features.
An example includes shops which announce real-time discounts to offer personalized deals and dynamic content to motivate participation. Bluetooth 5 also claims to reduce interference with other wireless technologies for coexisting in the global IoT environment.
Harman IoT services include gateway solutions which capture the data from devices to help business future proof their strategy and create value. As Bluetooth is expected to be featured in over 400 million IoT devices by 2020, the combination will offer a more seamless experience.
And will create new opportunities across IoT verticals giving vendors the flexibility to target multiple applications. Overall Bluetooth connections will get faster and more reliable to suit the traffic demands and integrate in IoT deployments, opening doors to huge opportunities.
This article aims to focus on edge side of IoT Architectures where all things are. The edge is the place where all event data are generated and automated actions occurs, and because that it must be managed and secured. It also includes a wide array of sensors, actuators, and devices which interact and communicate real-time data each other and with cloud services.
Another aspect is as IoT grows ever larger, some capabilities such as data analysis and decision-making will have to localize, it means is shifting from the cloud to the edge.
Let’s see the big picture below to understand the main components of this architecture.
The diagram above shows the edge side and cloud side. In the edge side the things could be sensors, actuators, devices and a crucial thing called gateway. This gateway has the responsibility to establish communications between things and cloud services and also orchestrate the actions between the things.
The cloud side will not be covered on the this article (it will be subject on next article), but the IoT communication protocols between things and cloud services will be covered. Let’s explore each architectural component of this big picture.
The term edge come from  Edge Computing where data are processed at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating data as possible. The edge can be a manufacturing floor, smart city, smart building, energy grid, oil rig, wind farm, dairy farm, planes, trains or automobiles
The key factor which makes the edge processing crucial is turn the data processing and action taking the most close to real-time. We could use as example a “smart car” which its environment is a kind of edge where a lot of sensors are generating all kind of data. Imagine one engine sensor is emitting overheating events, and based on this event, an engine actuator must take action to slow down the engine in order to prevent more overheating.
As we can see on this example, all event data generation, data analysis and taking action occurs at the edge. Of course, the edge architecture must provide cloud integration where in the fact full big data analytics can be applied.
Everything that lives in the edge are things, one of most common thing is called sensors. According with the book  Foundational Elements of an IoT Solution, sensors read and report on the real-world status of connected products, machines, and local environments. They are the eyes and ears of the system, monitoring environmental elements like temperature, light, and moisture. Ongoing sensor innovation, an often-overlooked area of IoT technology, will be critical for evolving and improving solutions.
While we might think of sensors only as physical objects, anything that can be read, from files to product-specific data, can and should be considered sensor input. For example, a piece of industrial equipment may have hundreds of data points unique to that product, and every one of them could be considered a sensor. Examples of sensors include
Vehicle on-board diagnostics
There are other common edge thing which is called actuators. Them usually affect the electromechanical or logical state of a product or environment. They are the system’s hands and feet. Actuators might include a light that can be turned on and off, or a valve that can be opened and closed. Commonly actuators offers a set of APIs for its interaction.
System commands sent to embedded applications—such as remote reboot, configuration updates, and firmware distribution—should also be considered actuation because, by changing its software, the system is in fact changing the physical reality of a product. Examples of actuators include:
Commands (“soft” actions, file distribution, firmware updates)
Also, there are the devices living on the edge which is usually called as smart devices, the most commons are:
Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers
Microcontroller units (MCUs) like Arduino devices
Single-board computers like Raspberry Pi devices.
At least, there are appliances (or gadgets) used in smart environments. They usually have a defined function, and can be controlled by human user interface. The example are:
Smart thermostats like Nest Thermostats
Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue.
IoT Smart Gateway
As illustrated in the diagram above, the key component of Edge IoT Architecture is what we call as Smart Gateway. This component is based on traditional IoT Gateway which the main responsibilities is act as a proxy between the world of field things and the enterprise data center, usually cloud based.
A main capability of IoT Gateway is enabling communication from the Edge to the Cloud. It means it must understand field protocols and convert it to cloud protocols. Later on this article, we will explore all theses protocols.
Another IoT Gateway feature is routing data to cloud based on simple rules. For example, a engine sensor emits temperature status each second but it is not relevant for an analytic application based on cloud which will process each minute gap. This kind of rule can be deployed in IoT Gateway to send the event to the cloud in every minute aggregation.
The concept of Smart Gateway comes from adding smart capabilities to traditional IoT Gateway which comes with basic features. Let’s explore each smart capability below.
Since sensors, actuators and devices are living at the edge, they must communicate each other and also with Smart Gateway. This kind of communication are based on field protocols, the most commons protocols are:
Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE): The new Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) – or Bluetooth Smart, as it is now branded – is a significant protocol for IoT applications. Importantly, while it offers similar range to Bluetooth it has been designed to offer significantly reduced power consumption.
Zigbee: Like Bluetooth, has a large installed base of operation, although perhaps traditionally more in industrial settings. ZigBee PRO and ZigBee Remote Control (RF4CE), among other available ZigBee profiles, are based on the IEEE802.15.4 protocol, which is an industry-standard wireless networking technology operating at 2.4GHz targeting applications that require relatively infrequent data exchanges at low data-rates over a restricted area and within a 100m range such as in a home or building
Wifi: This type of connectivity is often an obvious choice for many developers, especially given the pervasiveness of WiFi within the home environment within LANs. It requires little further explanation except to state the obvious that clearly there is a wide existing infrastructure as well as offering fast data transfer and the ability to handle high quantities of data.
NFC: Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices, and especially applicable for smartphones, allowing consumers to perform contactless payment transactions, access digital content and connect electronic devices. Essentially it extends the capability of contactless card technology and enables devices to share information at a distance that is less than 4cm.
Further information about those and others field protocols, check it out about  IoT Protocols.
The most of IoT solutions, even those ones live almost entirely on the edge need to integrate with cloud services or other IoT solution based on cloud. Since it is a requirement, we need to communicate using a cloud protocol as listed below:
MQTT: Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) was introduced by IBM in 1999 and standardized by OASIS in 2013 . It is designed to provide embedded connectivity between applications and middlewares on one side and networks and communications on the other side. It follows a publish/subscribe architecture, where the system consists of three main components: publishers, subscribers, and a broker.
AMQP: The Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) is a protocol that was designed for financial industry. It runs over TCP and provides a publish/ subscribe architecture which is similar to that of MQTT. The difference is that the broker is divided into two main components: exchange and queues. The exchange is responsible for receiving publisher messages and distributing them to queues based on pre-defined roles and conditions. Queues basically represent the topics and subscribed by subscribers which will get the sensory data whenever they are available in the queue.
CoAP: The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is another session layer protocol designed by IETF Constrained RESTful Environment (Core) working group to provide lightweight RESTful (HTTP) interface. Representational State Transfer (REST) is the standard interface between HTTP client and servers. However, for lightweight applications such as IoT, REST could result in significant overhead and power consumption. CoAP is designed to enable low-power sensors to use RESTful services while meeting their power constraints. It is built over UDP, instead of TCP commonly used in HTTP and has a light mechanism to provide reliability. CoAP architecture is divided into two main sublayers: messaging and request/response. The messaging sublayer is responsible for reliability and duplication of messages while the request/response sublayer is responsible for communication. As in HTTP, CoAP utilizes GET, PUT, PUSH, DELETE messages requests to retrieve, create, update, and delete, respectively.
HTTP: This is the standard protocol for web services and still will be used in IoT solutions, the overhead of this protocol is well know but we will continue use this protocol in some case when latency and bandwidth are not issues. We need also consider HTTP/2, other protocols such as Google Protobuf and even CoAP which are based on HTTP. The most popular architectural style called RESTFul is widely used on mobile and web application and must be considered on IoT Solutions.
Continue reading about  Internet of Things Protocols and Standards.
Smart Gateway Architecture and Capabilities
The first capability to explore is called dataflow, this feature is the entry point which receive data from the things. It performs as inbound connector ingesting event sensor data using the field protocols as mentioned before, therefore must understand sensor’s protocols. Once data is received it begins an workflow which could apply some function like cleansing, transformation, composition or aggregation. Eventually, it should compose some command to be send back to the things.
Dataflow also must implements security constraints like thing/device authentication and prevent overload data attack. After entire dataflow was performed, it should start a routing flow, which some rules should be performed such as:
Data routing or send commands to the things using field protocols
Persisting data to storage system
Routing aggregated data to the cloud using cloud protocols (to be explained later in this article)
An example of dataflow and routing working together is a building temperature sensor emits each minute temperature data which is received by a Bluetooth connector and dispatched to dataflow. This data is analyzed by a function which contains a rule that implies the building air conditioning must be turned on, so the dataflow call a routing rule to send the command to air conditioning via ZigBee protocol. Also, the incident must reported to analytics system in the cloud, it means the dataflow must call a routing rule to call the analytics API hosted in cloud.
The storage system is responsible to store all configuration and runtime data. It means all persistent configuration data used by dataflow or routing flow is organized in databases. Also tracing and logging data is persisted here and it used to composite analytic data used by analytics and monitoring features which will be explained late. It is important to say that storage system has rules to decide if the data at a given stage of processing should be temporary, persistent, or kept in-memory.
The first operational feature is near real-time analytics which provide a set of analytics dashboards for low latency real-time monitoring and close to the devices without need to send all data to cloud to remote processing. This kind of feature is crucial because the IoT applications will be built on systems that can make intelligent decisions for operations on a moment’s notice. For example, real-time anomaly detection can help manufacturers adjust robots and equipment to optimize yield or identify potential defects as early as possible so affected units can be removed from the assembly line for rework. Read more about  Low Latency, Real-time Analytics at the Edge
Other crucial capability is the reactive monitoring feature, different from analytics which is passive, this feature should be reactive. It means when some event ou alert occurs some action should be take, it could be send an alert email or send a command to an specific device. This kind of feature also should offer a documented API to Monitoring Solutions easily use these APIs.
Finally, the platform needs a configuration console feature where operational and development teams should use to interact with the platform. In others words it means all capabilities listed above are accessed and configured by single user interface.
In fact, we believe which robust IoT architecture should consider the edge side must have strong capabilities. Some of capabilities such as analytics today run on cloud side but we need provide these features close to the things
We also believe in concept of smart gateway brings these strong capabilities to the edge and brings some independence from the cloud. The main capabilities should include protocols to communicate to the things and even cloud, it also must provide bidirectional data and command flow and finally, in the core of platform, the runtime and operational capabilities.
In short, our insight is push smart capabilities to the edge in order to achieve near real-time reactive IoT solutions turning it faster and cloud independent.
 Edge computing - http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/edge-computing
 Foundational Elements of an IoT Solution, Chapter 3 - https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/the-edge-of-the-iot
 The Architecture of IoT Gateways - https://dzone.com/articles/iot-gateways-and-architecture
 Low Latency, Real-time Analytics at the Edge - https://foghorn-systems.com/low-latency-real-time-analytics-edge-biggest-advantage-industrial-internet-things/
 Internet of Things Protocols and Standards -
See the original post here.
It was a matter of time to end up writing an article to talk about the connection between Internet of Things (IoT) and the technology (arguably still in the infancy of its development) that may have the greatest power to transform our world, Blockchain.
In a future planet interconnected not just by devices, but by the events taking place across it, with billions of devices talking to one another in real time, the Internet of Things will require a secure and efficient way to track all interactions, transactions, and activities of every “thing” in the network.
Blockchain’s role could be a coordination layer across devices and the enabler of the IoT to securely facilitate interactions and transactions between devices, and may also support certain processes related to architecture scalability, data sharing, and advancements in encryption and private key technology, enhanced security, and potentially even privacy.
With blockchain, the Achilles’ heel of the IoT of heterogeneous OEM devices world now becomes viable. I wonder however, if is feasible that this decentralized IoT network may co-exist IoT sub-networks or centralized cloud based IoT models.
But let's face it, blockchain is still a nascent and controversial technology (experts estimate that it might take 5 -10 years for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies). Therefore, we must consider that blockchain’s applications within the Internet of Things is still a matter of conjecture and trial, and that it will take more time to determine whether and how blockchain might be implemented to secure IoT ecosystems.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain, the technology that constitutes the backbone of the famous bitcoin, is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It is distributed in nature, meaning that there is no master computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. It’s also ever-growing — data records are only added to the chain.
A blockchain consists of two types of elements:
- Transactions are the actions created by the participants in the system.
- Blocks record these transactions and make sure they are in the correct sequence and have not been tampered with. Blocks also record a time stamp when the transactions were added.
If you want to know more about blockchain you can read:
Fascinating opportunities ahead with IoT and Blockchain
The possibilities of IoT are virtually countless, especially when the power of IoT is combined with that of other technologies, such as machine learning. But some major hurdles will surface as billions of smart devices will want to interact among themselves and with their owners.
While these challenges cannot be met with the current models that are supporting IoT communications, tech firms and researchers are hoping to deal with them through blockchain.
Applying the blockchain concept to the world of IoT offers fascinating possibilities. Is yet to be seen if blockchain is bound to expedite the revolution, simply by being the backbone for most of the future IoT systems.
An example - Right from the time a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life. Once sold, a dealer or end customer can register it to a regional blockchain (a community, city or state). But, this is only the beginning for the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). A washing machine could become a semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply. It can perform self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.
Challenges of Blockchain and IoT ecosystems
The chaotic growth of IoT will introduce several challenges, including identifying, connecting, securing, and managing so many devices. It will be very challenging for the current infrastructure and architecture underlying the Internet and online services to support huge IoT ecosystems of the future.
Forrester analyst Martha Bennett in the report “Disentangle Hype From Reality: Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions“ defines three categories of challenges that Internet of Things and blockchain ecosystems participants must address: Technology, Operational challenges and Legal and compliance issues.
According with the report, the result of multiple surveys indicates that what the IoT requires more than any technological or architectural advancement is trust: trust between stakeholders and the devices interacting with them, their customers, or on their behalf.
“As technology and commercial firms look for ways to deploy and secure Internet of Things technologies at scale, blockchain has emerged as a clear favorite for managing issues like identity and transaction security”
Blockchain, a strategic ally to Democratize the IoT
The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. Thus, the primary utility the blockchain is a censorship resistant way to exchange value without intermediaries.
Will blockchain disrupt the disrupters?. In my post “Is it possible to democratize the Internet of Things? How to avoid that a handful of companies can dominate the IoT” I already suggested the use of blockchain to avoid that data-hungry businesses and governments collect data on the behaviour of people and the performance of objects. Blockchain could avoid that Multinational and governments deepening tracking and control of citizen behaviour and attitudes.
Are IoT Business Models at risks with Blockchain?
IoT Service Providers hope not. There is a risk that the combo of blockchain and the sharing economy trashes some new IoT business models. Same way that, successful or not as successful platform, companies like Uber and Airbnb, are worried today.
Just think, the success of these and some other platform companies is largely due to people trading assets they own and are paid for, but from which new value could be derived, And they release this value by using platforms to match up sellers of the extra capacity – whatever it may be – with buyers. Further, they collect data about transactions “for further commercial gain”.
Indeed, arguably many of new IoT companies’ main line of business will be data, but, what if blockchain enabled buyers and sellers to work peer-to-peer and cut out the middleman/data aggregator and seller? In that case the secure connectivity could be king not the data.
A question for IoT Platform vendors, if we have a secure, foolproof decentralized system, why do I need your IoT Platform if I and all the communities I belong to can do it for ourselves, without anybody collecting, analyzing and selling data about me?
The convergence of Blockchain and the Internet of Things closer
In my post “Will we be able to build the Internet of Things?” I warned about the Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums in the Internet of Things.
A blockchain technology industry consortium is emerging from the meeting, New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit, with the objective of defining the scope and implementation of a smart contracts protocol layer across several major blockchain systems.
In December 2016, representatives from a group of industry-leading startups and innovative Fortune 500 companies met in Berkeley, CA to discuss the challenges facing blockchain and IoT innovation and the potential for a collective effort to address them. The meeting was the first step towards a collaborative effort to explore and build a shared blockchain-based Internet of Things protocol. Participants in the discussions included blockchain companies Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, along with Fortune 500 corporations BNY Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, Gemalto, and Foxconn.
Who is using Blockchain in IoT
The IoT and blockchain combination is already gaining momentum, and is being endorsed by both startups and tech giants. Several companies are already putting blockchain to use to power IoT networks.
Filament, a startup that provides IoT hardware and software for industrial applications such as agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries. Filament’s wireless sensors, called Taps, create low-power autonomous mesh networks that enable enterprise companies to manage physical mining operations or water flows over agricultural fields without relying on centralized cloud alternatives. Device identification and intercommunication is secured by a bitcoin blockchain that holds the unique identity of each participating node in the network.
Telstra, Australian telecommunication giant Telstra is another company leveraging blockchain technology to secure smart home IoT ecosystems. Cryptographic hashes of device firmware are stored on a private blockchain to minimize verification time and obtain real-time tamper resistance and tamper detection. Since most smart home devices are controlled through mobile apps, Telstra further expands the model and adds user biometric information to the blockchain hashes in order to tie in user identity and prevent compromised mobile devices from taking over the network. This way, the blockchain will be able to verify both the identity of IoT devices and the identity of the people interacting with those devices.
IBM, allows to extend (private) blockchain into cognitive Internet of Things. To illustrate the benefits of blockchain and Internet of Things convergence, IBM gives the example of complex trade lanes and logistics whereby smart contracts can follow (and via blockchain technology register), everything that has happened to individual items and packages. The benefits: audit trails, accountability, new forms of contracts and speed, to name a few.
IBM and Samsung introduced their proof-of-concept system, ADEPT, which uses blockchain to support next-generation IoT ecosystems that will generate hundreds of billions of transactions per day.
Onename are creating the infrastructure for blockchain based identities that can be used for humans and machines. This means the blockchain can act like a phone book that lets machines find each other.
Tierion is being used to collect data from industrial medical devices to build a verifiable record of their usage and maintenance history. Tierion is thrilled to be the first partner to join Philips' Blockchain Lab. Together they are exploring how blockchain technology can be used in healthcare.
ConsenSys working with Innogy (a subsidiary of German utility RWE) are exploring how to enable an energy marketplace fed by distributed solar and other electricity-generating devices, which are run using a decentralized power grid.
21.co, Microsoft, Slock.it, and others are working directly with adopters in manufacturing, supply chain management, energy and utilities, agriculture, and construction; distributed ledgers may further automate, secure, and drive new services for these industries.
Blockchain is not the unique silver bullet for IoT security
Given the importance that Security has to fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), I wrote “Do not stop asking for security in IoT” although I did not talk about how blockchain can help secure the Internet of Things. Now with this post, I hope I have corrected that gap.
The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. Cryptographic algorithms used by blockchain technologies could perhaps be a silver bullet needed by the IoT industry to create a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on and to make consumer data more private. But blockchain should not be viewed as the unique silver bullet to all IoT security issues considering that today’s blockchain space is even more nascent than the IoT.
Manufacturers, legislators, IoT hardware and software vendors, IoT Service Providers, System Integrators, analyst, and end users, must be aware of the IoT security challenges and focus on increase security efforts to reduce the risk inherent to the fragmented Internet of Things so among all we can accelerate adoption.
In the long term, we should keep dreaming in a fully decentralized and secure IoT using a standardized secure communication model. We must trust this dream will be possible, if worldwide, engineering talent, startups, large companies, and governments increase the investment in time, energy, and money to innovate in solutions that address the IoT’s and blockchain’s shared problems.
I have to admit that I've been late to truly understanding blockchain. Blockchain is making inroads in the financial sector, but will also be an important part of the IoT. I've been wanting to dive deep for a few months now but have never gotten around to it...until today. If you're like me, you have some technical depth, but blockchain and Bitcoin have been more buzzwords to know than technologies and tools that you truly grasp. You can change that today by watching these six videos.
Added bonus: all videos are less than 30 minutes in length!
What is Blockchain? <-- Two minute starter video put together by the World Economic Forum.
Security Implications of Non-Financial Uses of Blockchain Technology <-- Recorded at RSA Security Conference 2017, Dr. Tom Keenan gets it done in 10 minutes.
Genius of Things: Blockchain and Food Safety with IBM and Walmart <-- Practical implications and use cases from two big names.
DisrupTV Featuring Steve Wilson, Constellation Research 2.10.17 <-- Great overview from a smart group of analysts.
TED Talk: How the blockchain is changing money and business <-- by Don Tapscott
Blockchain 101 - A Visual Dem <-- This video by Anders Brownworth gets deeper and is a great primer for the mathematically inclined. Brownworth co-taught the blockchain class at MIT.
If you don't have time to watch the videos, but want the skinny right now, Constellation Research Analyst Steve Wilson breaks it down here in 500 words, with no graphics, and no analogies.
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