Cloud computing allows companies to store and manage data over cloud platforms, providing scalability in the delivery of applications and software as a service. Cloud computing also allows data transfer and storage through the internet or with a direct link that enables uninterrupted data transfer between devices, applications, and cloud.
Role of Cloud Computing in IoT:
We know that the Internet of Things (sensors, machines, and devices) generate a huge amount of data per second. Cloud computing helps in the storage and analysis of this data so that enterprise can get the maximum benefit of an IoT infrastructure. IoT solution should connect and allow communication between things, people, and process, and cloud computing plays a very important role in this collaboration to create a high visibility.
IoT is just not restricted to functions of systems connectivity, data gathering, storage, and analytics alone. It helps in modernizing the operations by connecting the legacy and smart devices, machines to the internet, and reducing the barriers between IT and OT teams with a unified view of the systems and data. With cloud computing, organizations do not have to deploy extensive hardware, configure and manage networks & infrastructure in IoT deployments. Cloud computing also enables enterprises to scale up the infrastructure, depending on their needs, without setting up an additional hardware and infrastructure. This not only helps speed up the development process, but can also cut down on development costs. Enterprises won’t have to spend money to purchase and provision servers and other infrastructure since they only pay for the consumed resources.
How Cloud Services Benefit an IoT Ecosystem:
There are several cloud services and platforms that play different roles in the IoT ecosystem. Some of the platforms also come with inbuilt capabilities like machine learning, business intelligence tools, and SQL query engines to perform complex analytics. Let us understand how these cloud services and platforms benefit an IoT ecosystem.
Cloud Platform for Device Lifecycle Management:
Enterprises create applications and software through cloud services (SaaS), which can connect devices and enable device registration, on-boarding, remote device updates, and remote device diagnosis in minimal time with a reduction in the operational and support costs. Cloud introduces DevOps within the IoT ecosystem, which helps organizations automate many processes remotely. As more and more devices get connected, the challenges with data security, control, and management become critical. Cloud services enable IoT remote device lifecycle management that plays a key role in enabling a 360-degree data view of the device infrastructure. Certain cloud providers offer multiple IoT device lifecycle tools that can ease the update and setup of firmware and software over the air (FOTA).
Application Enablement Cloud Platform:
Cloud enables application development with portability and interoperability, across the network of different cloud setups. In other words, these are the intercloud benefits that businesses can take advantage of. Intercloud solutions possess SDKs (Software development Kits) on which enterprises can create their application and software without worrying about the backend processes.
Enterprises can run and update applications remotely, for example, Cisco is providing the application enablement platform for application hosting, update, and deployment through the cloud. Enterprises can move their applications between cloud and fog nodes to host the applications and analyze & monitor the data near the critical systems.
Many cloud service providers are focusing on building the cloud environment on the basis of OCF standards so that it can interoperate smoothly with the majority of applications, appliances, and platforms, that will allow D-to-D (device-to-device) M-to-M (machine-to-machine) communication. Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standardization makes sure that the devices can securely connect and communicate in any cloud environment, which brings in the interoperability to the connected world.
Device shadowing or digital twins is another benefit that an enterprise can avail through cloud services. Developers can create a backup of the running applications and devices in the cloud to make the whole IoT system highly available for faults and failure events. Moreover, they can access these applications and device statistics when the system is offline. Organizations can also easily set up the virtual servers, launch a database, and create applications and software to help run their IoT solution.
Types of Cloud Computing Models for IoT Solutions
There are three types of cloud computing models for different types of connected environment that are being commonly offered by cloud service providers. Let’s have a look:
- It offers virtual servers and storage to the enterprises. Basically, it enables the access to the networking components like computers, data storage, network connections, load balancers, and bandwidth.
- Increasing critical data within the organization lead to the security vulnerabilities and IaaS can help in distributing the critical data at different locations virtually (or can be physical) for improving the security.
- It allows companies to create software and applications from the tools and libraries provided by the cloud service providers.
- It removes the basic needs of managing hardware and operating systems and allows enterprises to focus more on the deployment and management of the software or applications.
- It reduces the worry of maintaining the operating system, capacity planning, and any other heavy loads required for running an application.
- It provides a complete software or application that is run and maintained only by the cloud service provider.
- Users just have to worry about the use of the product, they don’t have to bother about the underlying process of development and maintenance. Best examples of SaaS applications are social media platforms and email services.
Apart from these, cloud service providers are now offering IoT as a Service (IoTaaS) that has been reducing the hardware and software development efforts in IoT deployment.
Example of implementing cloud computing set-up in a connected-factory:
There are different sensors installed at various locations of an industrial plant, which are continuously gathering the data from machines and devices. This data is important to be analyzed in real time with proper analytics tools so that the faults and failures can be resolved in minimal time, which is the core purpose of an industrial IoT ecosystem. Cloud computing helps by storing all the data from thousands of sensors (IoT) and applying the needed rule engines and analytics algorithms to provide the expected outcomes of those data points.
Now, the query is which cloud computing model is good for industrial plants? The answer cannot be specific, as every cloud computing model has its own applications according to the computing requirement.
Leading Cloud Services for IoT Deployments
Many enterprises prefer to have their own cloud platform, within the premises, for security and faster data access, but this might not be a cost-effective way as there are many cloud service providers who are providing the cloud services on demands, and enterprises just have to pay for the services which they use.
At present, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the leading cloud service providers. Let’s see the type of cloud platforms and services AWS and Microsoft Azure provide for IoT implementations
AWS IoT Services
AWS has come up with specific IoT services such as AWS Greengrass, AWS lambda, AWS Kinesis, AWS IoT Core, and a few other cloud computing services, which can help in IoT developments.
AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that allows devices to connect easily and securely with cloud and other devices. It can connect to billions of devices, store their data, and transmit messages to edge devices, securely.
AWS Greengrass is the best example of an edge analytics setup. It enables local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. Greengrass ensures quick response of IoT devices during local events, which reduces the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud.
AWS Kinesis enables data streaming that can continuously capture the data in terabytes per hour.
AWS Lambda is a compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. It executes code only when required and scales automatically from a few requests per day to thousands per second.
AWS DynamoDB is a fast, reliable, and flexible NoSQL database service that allows enterprises to have millisecond latency in data processing, enabling quick response from applications. It can scale up automatically due to its throughput capacity, which makes it perfect for gaming, mobile, ad tech, IoT, and many other applications.
AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. It provides automatic inline mitigation and always-on detection that minimize the application downtime and latency. This is why there is no need to engage AWS Support to benefit from DDoS protection. There are two tiers of AWS Shield — Standard and Advanced.
Microsoft Azure IoT Services:
Microsoft has come up with many initiatives in the field of IoT, providing industrial automation solutions, predictive maintenance, and remote device monitoring, etc. It is also providing services like Azure service bus, IoT hub, blob storage, stream analytics, and many more.
Azure Stream Analytics provides real-time analytics on the data generated from the IoT devices with the help of the Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Suite. Azure stream analytics is a part of the Azure IoT Edge that allows developers to analyze the data in real-time and closer to devices, to unleash the full value of the device generated data.
Azure IoT Hub establishes bidirectional communication between billions of IoT devices and cloud. It analyzes the device-to-cloud data to understand the state of the device and takes actions accordingly. In cloud-to-device messages, it reliably sends commands and notifications to connected devices and tracks message delivery with acknowledgment receipts. It authenticates devices with individual identities and credentials that help in maintaining the integrity of the system.
Azure Service Bus is a great example of cloud messaging as a service (MaaS). It enables on-premises communication between devices and cloud in the offline conditions also. It establishes a reliable and secure connection to the cloud, and ability to see and monitor activities. Apart from this, it protects applications from temporary spikes of traffic and distributes messages to multiple independent back-end-systems.
Azure Security Centre is a unified security management and threat protection service. It monitors security across on-premises and cloud workload, blocks malicious activities, advanced analytics system to detect threats and attacks, and also can fix vulnerabilities before any damages.
AWS and Microsoft Azure are providing a robust IoT solution to enterprises. An IoT Gateway can collaborate with multiple cloud service providers to maximize the advantages of the cloud solutions for IoT systems.
In spite the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999, it was only when companies like Pachube (an early leader in the burgeoning “Internet of things” field) launched a web service that enabled to store, share & discover real time sensor, energy and environment data from objects & devices around the world, when most of us believed that the time to IoT was finally had arrived.
Since its founding in 2008, Pachube pretended to be the leading open development platform for the Internet of Things. In 2011 when the company was acquired by Woburn, Massachusetts-based LogMeIn in a deal that was worth "approximately $15 million in cash that re-branded the service as Cosm, but it was still a “beta” test version, to finally launch Xively that become a division of LogMeIn. LogMeIn did not want or did not know how to incorporate the potential of Xively into its business. And in 2017 again Xively lost its charm.
Google the White Knight of Xively
On February 15, we wake up with the new that Google will acquire IoT platform Xively from LogMeIn for $50 million, according to Bloomberg, to expand in market for connected devices. Google has been the White Knight of Xively.
Another White Knights
In February 2016, Cisco Acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 Billion in cash. How wonderful White Knight.
In 2016, Microsoft did not disclose the sum for Italian start-up Solair acquisition. Th startup expanded Azure capabilities.
In March 2015, Amazon was taking another step into the Internet of Things acquiring 2lemetry, a startup with a system for sending, receiving, and analyzing data from Internet-connected devices. 2lemetry had raised at least $9 million. Investors included Salesforce Ventures.
We all know that the IoT Platform market need a quick consolidation
The M2M/IOT Platform market has changed in the last 10 years. The fragmentation is unsustainable and I can say that I do not see a clear IoT platform market leader yet that works as a plug-and-play fix for all kind of connected-device creators. Besides, the rush of investors for IoT platform companies trigger rumors of new acquisitions increasing significantly their actual valuation and encourages thousands of entrepreneurs and startups to create new IoT platform copies of each other. Although there is still room for new innovative IoT platform startups, the decision to trust in a company able to simplify the complexities of the IoT, with a scalable and robust infrastructure and drive real results for your business, will reduce the choice among a short list. The bad news is that the hundreds of IoT platforms startups must compete now with the platforms offered by Tech and Industrial Giant vendors.
Given the confusion that exists about the IoT platforms, companies need to approach experts’ advisors that will recommend which platform(s) is most suitable for your current and future business and technical requirements.
There will not be White Knights for everyone
In “Be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT, I alerted that in spite that no one has the crystal ball, it is almost sure that many IoT platforms are not going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years in this inflated market. As show in the picture below, some Tech Giants have been looking and found some of the best pieces. What will happen to the 700+ platforms out there? There will not be White Knights for everyone. At least for Xively it has been a happy end.
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Thoughts ? Comments ?
The IoT is already shaping modern society in various ways. While many of these are positive aspects that result in streamlined communications, easier access to information and a greater quality of life, there are some major roadblocks in the push toward widespread IoT implementation.
One of the primary concerns revolves around the security of IoT-connected devices. A demonstration by Avast at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently uncovered a flaw in current-gen IoT infrastructure. Not only can they potentially gain control over tens of thousands of different devices, but they can also use the assembled processing power to mine $1,000 of cryptocurrency in a matter of days.
Identifying the Easiest Targets
Although Avast's demonstration didn't involve a full-scale replication, it underscores serious security flaws in the nature of current-gen IoT devices. If a widespread attack did occur, hackers would likely focus on the weakest targets.
Unsecured home networks are ideal for this sort of hack. As the average homeowner continues adding new smart-devices to the home, the hacker's job becomes even easier.
The task of hacking into thousands of unsecured home networks and taking over 15,000 or more devices might be insurmountable for a lone hacker, but a team of experts could readily pull it off and begin mining cryptocurrency without the owners' knowledge.
Some hackers might target small businesses or even larger corporations. As these networks easily contain the necessary number of IoT-connected devices, an individual could quickly gain control over thousands of different systems.
Mining, in this context, is a process of verifying transactions across a cryptocurrency-backed network. Cryptocurrency miners use various tools — including hardware and software utilities — to solve sophisticated mathematical algorithms and, as a result, generate digital monies that are tradable for real-world goods or cash.
Since coins are often used for nefarious or downright illegal activities, hackers try to use the accounts of unsuspecting victims whenever possible to maintain anonymity and cover their tracks.
Many popular coins, like Bitcoin, require advanced hardware that’s available in current-gen smart-devices. But other cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are made to harness the power of many individual machines simultaneously.
Similar Incidents in the News
A flaw like this isn't the first time that IoT-connected devices have been proven vulnerable to hacking. As reported by IBM X Force, a revised version of the Mirai botnet is programmed to take over a device and mine cryptocurrency via Linux.
Mirai is disheartening to security experts. It was the botnet responsible for a 2016 DDoS attack that caused massive service outages on sites like Netflix, Reddit, GitHub, Twitter and more.
According to a statement released by IBM X Force, the botnet gains entry into a system via the BusyBox program on Linux-based machines. Considering that Linux runs some of the largest and most popular websites, operating systems and software packages, the potential for exploitation is very serious.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to secure your network from outside threats — including the latest botnet hacks. Always make sure your devices are on a secure network and protected behind a strong password.
Update your hardware with the latest updates as soon as they're available from the manufacturer, and use software protection — like antivirus and anti-malware utilities — on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
To make the job even harder for would-be hackers, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi whenever possible. Never keep your personal devices on the same network as your primary desktop or laptop, as this makes it easier for cyber-criminals to jump from one system to another.
Finally, make sure to change the default login credentials on any new device you add to the network. Many come with generic information that is easily exploited.
How the MWC Is Protecting Our Networks
The Mobile World Congress — dubbed the "world's largest gathering for the mobile industry" — is organized by the GSM Association. Sometimes known as the Global System for Mobile Communications or simply "the GSMA," the organization began hosting events in 1987. It remains the largest conference in the mobile industry, and it continues to highlight new security flaws and solutions — including problems with IoT connectivity — to this day.
Stay up to date with the trends of these devices and activity surrounding them, and you’ll have a better shot at fighting back against hackers.
Guest post by Peter A. Liss.
Connectivity is wrongly thought of as a commodity, including in the IoT context. This article will give an overview of current developments in IoT Connectivity, and look at their effect on Network Operators, Platform vendors, IoT Solution Providers, and Enterprise & Consumer customers.
I also cover the likely impact of 5G, Narrowband IoT and programmable SIM cards, and SDN (Software Defined Networks). These new connectivity technologies will bring differentiation, innovation and new revenue from IoT.
OVERVIEW – CONNECTIVITY AND DIFFERENTIATION IN IOT
These new IoT developments include:
1. Newer networks such Sigfox, LoRA, Narrowband IoT, and soon 5G.
2. IoT platforms that can manage all types of connectivity.
3. The growth of eUICC (e-SIMs) or programmable SIMs.
4. IoT connectivity platforms using SDN (Software Defined Networks).
There are two opposing views about connectivity. On the one extreme, some Vendors pitch that “IoT Connectivity is the foundation of differentiation” (recent Ericsson Webinar). At the other extreme, some Enterprise customers buying these services assume “all IoT connectivity is the same”.
In my view, the truth is in the middle. On the one hand, IoT hardware such as sensors and IoT applications could drive even bigger differentiation and innovation than the type of IoT connectivity. On the other hand, IoT connectivity should never be viewed as just a commodity that is plug and play.
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE WITH IOT CONNECTIVITY:
Let’s take a closer look:
1) There are many different types of Connectivity to choose from (cellular, WiFi, Zigbee, Satellite, and different types of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks). The criteria for selection include data cost, device cost, data rate/speed, battery life, outdoor and in-building coverage, and latency. Some of the much talked about networks like 5G are not yet available, and Narrowband IoT is in its infancy.
2) The variety of connectivity offerings are increasing. Even taking a single technology like 4G, the offerings in terms of coverage, cost, roaming, integration effort, and customer service do differ widely.
3) Costs are declining– the cost per MB has decreased, however, this is not the same as connectivity being a commodity (i.e. indistinct service). On the contrary, with more offerings and price competition, there is a greater need to choose the connectivity provider carefully. Pricing models may differentiate not only on cost per MB, but also with additional charges for VAS, the period charged for (monthly, per annum etc.) or number of connections included, or amount of data included in a packaged price. In the case of LPWA, charging can be per message, and not just per MB.
4) The IoT Connectivity platform is where some of the disruption is happening. This platform manages the cost of connection, quality of service, SIM and device status. Along with the type of connectivity chosen, hardware (gateways & sensors), and IoT Applications built, the connectivity platform will be a key differentiator to your business case or service launch.
My scheme below shows the place of the IoT Connectivity Management platform as the foundation of the IoT technology stack. Some differentiation could be achieved at any level in the Stack, but the effort required to offer a total solution will depend greatly on the Connectivity chosen at the bottom of the stack.
WHAT USER CASES WILL NARROWBAND IOT SUPPORT?
Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) greatly improves network efficiency and spectrum efficiency and can thus support a massive number of new connections. The same is true of the sister technology Cat-M1 in US, which may also play a role in Europe in future. The majority of these new IoT connections will be industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions that require long battery life, and ubiquitous coverage (including remote areas or indoors). These user cases also require competitive pricing models for low bandwidth solutions, since many industrial IoT cases are not data hungry.
Some examples of Industrial use cases are monitoring of oil and gas pipelines for flow rates and leaks, noting that often there is no external power in inaccessible areas. Warehouses are another industrial user case for tracking goods with pallets equipped with an NB-IoT module. NB-IoT modules have a long service life, require no maintenance and have a link budget gain of 20 decibel compared with a conventional LTE deployment, giving approximately 10x more coverage than a normal base station, thus penetrating deep underground, and into enclosed spaces indoors.
Consumer examples of NB-IoT are luggage tracking (click for link to Sierra Wireless Case study), air quality monitoring, and children’s communication devices, and parking solutions.
NB-IoT, is a software upgrade to existing cellular Base Stations (or if the Base Station is old, a new circuit board must be inserted). The Core network also needs some upgrading. NB-IoT is reliant on a SIM card in the IoT device/gateway and partly because of the SIM it offers the same security & privacy features expected of cellular networks. LPWA technologies, such as NB-IoT and category M1 (LTE-M), also offer increased network coverage over a wide area, at a low cost, and with very limited energy consumption. In the case of Narrowband IoT, a battery life of over 10 years or more, is promised by Vendors (it remains to be seen - in the field, it might need a larger battery at an extra cost of approximately 20 Euro).
NB-IoT networks are already becoming available, for example, Deutsche Telekom has rolled out its NB-IoT network to approximately 600 towns and cities across Germany since launch in June 2017. According to Telekom, more than 200 companies now trialling the technology already via commercially available test packages. Nationwide rollout in the Netherlands was completed in May 2017 and Deutsche Telekom brought the technology to six further European markets by the end of 2017. Other major operators have similar roll outs for NB-IoT.
As expected, many IoT platforms are now being designed or upgraded to offer Narrowband IoT connectivity management. Cisco already announced in 2018 the availability of NB-IoT on its Jasper Control Center platform.
WHAT WILL 5G BRING TO IOT?
5G is not yet available commercially, and we can expect the first roll-outs in selected countries in 2019, and even then, just city coverage, or home-based 5G. High speed, high reliability and low latency are the main benefits of 5G. Whilst NB-IoT is targeted specifically at the IoT Market, 5G is targeted at business & consumer users too. Also, worth noting is that the NB-IoT roll-out is ahead of 5G.
Regarding the high bandwidth of 5G, example uses include security cameras and monitoring, computer vision used in Industrial production, connected car user cases (infotainment, autonomous vehicles, and safety), and traffic control in Smart Cities. The increase in speed between 4G and 5G can be as much as 100 times. This makes a big difference to user cases that require uploading and downloading of video-based content faster and in larger volume. It remains to be seen whether IoT applications will need to use such high data speeds. Perhaps it will be the Augmented or Virtual Reality cases (AR and VR) that utilise this bandwidth.
With 5G there is very high reliability, which is important to support mission critical services in IoT (e.g. medicine, industry, traffic control). However, the real benefit for IoT is likely to be with the low latency of 5G. Low latency allows more of the computer processing or data analysis required by a device (IoT Gateway or Smartphone) to happen in the cloud. With latency of under a millisecond, there is almost no difference that the data is processed in the cloud rather than the device. This has perhaps more implications for the IOT Solution architect, rather than the user.
Indeed, the user cases that depend on 5G’s low latency are still to be proven in practice. For non-IoT user cases (i.e. human interaction), the latency (such as changing of a pixel on a TV, or response time for instant messaging and online Presence) might not be noticed. However, for an M2M or IoT application in theory there is a great need for low latency and a machine might notice the difference in latency when a human does not. For this reason, the low latency is being pushed by the 5G industry as compelling for IoT (but yet to be proved). IoT user cases that are expected to benefit are remote industrial control, and autonomous vehicles, where milliseconds could be critical.
As explained in the discussion of latency, one change with 5G could be more processing in the Cloud, especially with Edge computing being a focal point in the architecture, and this might help reduce 5G IoT device prices. Other Emerging developments that might affect IOT include virtualised RAN (Radio Access Network) and network slicing. Virtualised RAN is intended to offer bandwidth with lower network costs, since by “slicing” the RAN, it is not necessary to utilise the whole core network, but rather allocate a part of it and the associated costs, thus allowing for profitable use cases with 5G.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES A PROGRAMMABLE SIM OFFER IN IOT?
Programmable SIM cards (also called eSIMS or eUICC ) are not new. What has changed is the number of service providers that offer them for IoT. Some prominent examples are Stream, EMnify, Cubic Telecom, KORE, Nokia WING and Teleena. Furthermore, the new generation of Smart SIM and associated management platforms are challenging the MNOs in terms of quality of service and signal coverage. They might also challenge MNOs in terms of cost - see the section below on SDN.
The “e” in eSIM can mean both electronic (it can switch network and be programmed over the air) and embedded (i.e. deep inside machinery, a car or a remote location). In other words, you do not need physical access to the embedded SIM to update it or to change network, service or security settings.
The advantages of an eSIM are that it can be programmed over the air to find the strongest signal, or according to customer network & service preferences. When a data-service failure is detected, the eSIM can switch dynamically to the best network service. Consider a user case such as Smart Metering. The meter is always connected by being programmed not only to select the strongest signal, but also to select the signal that is best for your Meter technology and customer requirements.
In sum, the IoT Service Provider does not own a network, but can still offer the following to its customers:
•Issue own SIM cards, that can be embedded and switch operator over the air.
•Attach to the best or cheapest radio signal (RAN) – automatically
•Billing capabilities, often in real time, for the pricing of new IoT services.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF SDN ON IOT?
As explained above, the e-SIM is the first disruptive step to being able to offer an IoT service, without being tied to one specific radio network (RAN). The second step is to bypass the Operator’s core network. This is now possible with some Service Providers using Software Defined Networks (SDN) and NFV (Network Feature Virtualisation). They have built their own virtualised core network that is cloud hosted. EMnify is one example that can offer the following advantages:
•Low cost, because designed for IoT, and using proprietary technology (therefore no licencing costs)
•Auto-configuration and scaling. Because it is Cloud Based the service is truly elastic (i.e. can be quickly and simply expanded to meet customer demand for increased data volume, or larger number of SIM cards)
•Flexible and Real time billing that is accessible online
•Have own numbering resources (IMSI, IPv6, MSISDN)
•Manage your own virtual mobile IoT network including Elastic Packet Core, Subscriber Management, OSS/BSS, Management Portals and open APIs.
•A private and secure device cloud and implement own security policies (such as own VPN – virtual private network - in the core network in the cloud).
The “Gorilla” MNO (e.g. Telekom, Verizon, Vodafone etc) is reduced to providing only the radio network, and with the eSIM you can actually switch networks. To be clear, you are not reliant on the operator for the core network at all, and you have a choice of radio network. In sum, the advantage is that such a virtual network in the Cloud allows IoT user cases that have lower revenues, because the IoT platform is designed for lower connectivity costs.
CONCLUSION – DISRUPTION IN THE IOT CONNECTIVITY MARKET
I have built the case that “boring” connectivity is going to be disruptive for IoT, and it will generate growth. In sum, this is because many IoT business models require lower costs for the lower “micro” or “mini” ARPU/revenue that they generate. Secondly, these new network technologies bring improved speed, latency, battery life, and coverage. Thirdly, new technologies like eSIM and SDN, give the customer choice and independence from the MNO.
Enterprise customers will need to get more knowledgeable about the types of connectivity on offer, and the pros and cons, and costs of each technology. Disruption in the market is starting, due to many new offerings from MNO, and MVNOs that are IOT focussed.
Price declines for NB-IoT and 5G enabled devices will also be business drivers. Many connectivity platforms will struggle to distinguish themselves, but can do so, for example by focussing on particular Verticals, or a specific geographical focus, or own Cloud-based packet core. Enterprise customers need to get the balance between a price that enables the business case, but also choosing connectivity that provides the best service level.
LPWA technologies such as Narrow-Band promise to open-up new business models due to lower device and connectivity costs better coverage and longer battery life. NB-IoT is still in its infancy and these benefits like lower device costs are still to be proven. Importantly, the connectivity costs of NB-IoT (as well as module/device costs) will need to be low enough to support the proposed new business cases like parking meters, water meters, luggage tracking, pipe monitoring, and tracking goods in warehouses.
5G for IoT will enable data hungry business models, insure against capacity constraints, and provide wider coverage and almost no latency. Since 5G roll-out is still in the future, it remains to be seen if (or when) the required network density (using such small cells) is enough to provide the wider coverage and higher data rates promised. Almost zero latency is likely to be the most interesting feature of 5G for the IoT World, especially for critical applications like autonomous driving and industrial control.
Big data, Analytics and Application Enablement Platforms/AEP might sound more exciting and promising for innovation and differentiation in IoT. They sound more compelling than a connectivity management platform and new types of connectivity. However, Connectivity is still the foundation of the IoT business case. It is not a commodity. In particular, Narrow-Band IoT, eSIM and SDN will drive new growth in IoT, together with the imminent roll-out of 5G.
Copyright: Peter A. Liss, an independent and commercially focussed IoT expert, based in Germany, who is also available for freelance consulting work.
This post originally appeared here.
Within the few months of its release, Internet of Things (IoT) has taken everyone by storm in numerous ways. As a result, more and more organizations, industries, and technologists catch the IoT bug. Right from Data streaming to data collection, events, decisions, processes, messaging, and integration, everything is involved in the form of developer’s activities. Now, do you think that IoT is just another opportunity for vendors to sell or update developer tools? Well, according to several resources nearly 40 billion which is approximately 30 devices for each and every active social network user in the world. In addition to this, trillions of sensors will comprise the IoT.
What is Internet of Things?
It is the network of physical objects, whether in terms of devices, vehicles, buildings or even humans, which are embedded with electronics, sensors, and software and network connectivity. And of course, these devices help us to send, transfer and collect important data anywhere and at any point in time. I strongly feel that the technology, in particular, has turned out to be a growing sensation that’s captured everyone in the technology world. And it is assumed that companies, as well as individuals, are investing $6 trillion in IoT devices within the next five years.
Bringing IoT to Developing Countries
Now you must be thinking that getting IoT technology to developing countries might be a major problem but in the actual scenario, there’s already a standard infrastructure in many countries. I am sure that you must be well aware regarding the fact that 95% of the world has basic 2G phone coverage, and while 29% of those in rural areas have 3G coverage, 89 percent who reside in urban areas are able to access 3G coverage with ease.
In addition to this, IoT is affordable with some saying that the IoT at its basic capability is already in place in developing countries, where citizens and government officials would bear little cost in tweaking it. Last but certainly not the least, IoT devices have a “plug-and-play” attribute to them, that doesn’t require proper setup from skilled laborer. This allows scalability within the devices. After all, technology grows only at the speed the city or the country wants to it.
What kind of Industries is gaining benefit from IoT?
With the increase in technology, more and more web development firms are establishing across the globe providing full-fledged IoT services among numerous industry verticals such as:
It seems like almost every year, there is an extreme health crisis in a developing nation. But what if that could be prevented? Wearable tech devices called “Sensor, technology, and analytics to monitor, predict and protect Ebola patients” are scaled and shipped to international aid offices worldwide. Such kind of devices collect all data regarding the patient, i.e. from body temperature to oxygen saturation. And once the data is complete, doctors can ship it to a central location, where people can track patient’s health over time.
In short, tracking a group of people or a city as a whole can help with disease containment as well as migrant population tracking. Over time these sensors can help predict where an outbreak is going to spread, allowing enough aid workers to get to the infected area before it's too late.
Do you know that billions of people in developing countries are going through their day-to-day lives drinking unsafe water? IoT cannot just help in monitoring both water quality, and water delivery but also alert municipalities when a water pump breaks, allowing for a quicker replacement time to ensure that an area's citizens are still getting enough, and quality water.
I am sure you must be well aware regarding the fact that there are many countries in the developing world that are still agriculturally based, where plenty of people still prefer working out in the fields. Here’s a good news for these people, around 75 million IoT devices will be agriculture-related by 2020.
Which means with the help of such devices, farmers can easily place them in soil to track acidity levels, as well as temperature, and crop growth so they can create a successful harvest.
Cities like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world are some of the densest cities in terms of population. IoT devices can help with the traffic flow, by regulating lights based on the number of vehicles on the road, sensors placed in homes can help warn residents of impending disasters like fast-moving fires, mudslides, or other disasters, helping to save lives, as well as personal property.
As the Internet of Things slides into Gartner’s Trough of Disillusionment, organizations all over the world are asking why they should continue their IoT journey.
Rob is here to remind you.
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables vendors to create an entirely new line of “smart” solutions for its existing and new markets. While the decision to go “smart” is straightforward, the decision of how to do so is not. Vendors are faced with a “build, buy, partner” decision – build it themselves, buy or license it from someone, or partner with a complementary solution provider and go to market together. This article discusses some of the key considerations product managers and executives must study in order to make the most appropriate decision.
“Build, buy, partner” is a strategic decision
For many vendors, IoT means adding a technology layer to products that never had any before. Even for tech savvy vendors, IoT presents a whole new set of technologies that they are less familiar with. Equally important, IoT is not just technology, but includes data, security, user experience, and business/business model elements. Figure One shows an IoT product management framework developed by Daniel Elizalde of TechProductManagement. A company going “smart” has a lot of decisions to make, of which technology is just one component.
Figure One. IoT Product Management Stack.
The framework shows that the “build, buy, partner” decision is multi-dimensional. There are six decision areas, spread across components from the edge to the user applications. Each represents a different “build, buy, partner” decision point, and each takes the company down a different path. In today’s fragmented and dynamic IoT ecosystem, many companies will need to “build, buy, partner” simultaneously. For example, cybersecurity is a specialized field that many vendors cannot address on their own, and must buy or license for their solution. The actual proportion of “build, buy, partner” each vendor does varies based on their specific situations.
The company creates the solution themselves with the resources they own, control or contract to. Companies who choose this option, but have limited internal expertise may contract with Original Design Manufacturers (ODM). These ODMs provide a portfolio of services, from design, prototyping, test, certification, to manufacturing.
The “Build” option enables full management oversight of the development process, the solution functionality and the intellectual property. Conversely, this option may result in a longer time to market, and require additional capital and resources beyond what is scoped.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They have the requisite skill sets and resources to do it
- They can do it faster, cheaper and at lower risk
- This is a strategic competence they own or want to own
- There is strategic knowledge or critical intellectual property to protect
- They are fully committed throughout the company
The company procures all or part of the solution components from a 3rd party. This includes licensing technology and services. Companies may also acquire technology through mergers and acquisitions, as well as buying the rights to technology from companies willing to part with it. This option eliminates “reinventing the wheel”, enables faster time to market, maximizes resource efficiency with limited execution risk. One common variant of this approach is to buy technology platform from a vendor, and then build their specific solution components on top of that.
The downsides of the “Buy” option include a loss of control in the development process, and limited agility to respond in a timely manner to changes in the market and customer needs.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They don’t have the skills or resources to build, maintain and support it
- There is some or all of a solution in the marketplace and no need to “reinvent the wheel”
- Someone can do it faster, better and cheaper than they can
- They want to focus their limited resources in other areas that make more sense
- Time is critical and they want to get to market faster
- There is a solution in the market place that gives you mostly what you want.
The company allies itself with a complementary solution or service provider to integrate and offer a joint solution. This option enables both companies to enter a market neither can alone, access to specialized knowledge neither has, and a faster time to market. This option adds additional management and solution integration complexity. For some companies, reliance on partners for some aspects of the solution may be uncomfortable due to a limited loss of control.
Companies consider this approach when:
- Neither party has the full offering to get to market on their own.
- Each party brings specialized knowledge or capabilities, including technology, market access, and credibility.
- It lowers the cost, time and risk to pursue new opportunities
Management considerations for “build, buy, partner”
Before the company chooses a path to go “smart”, executives and managers must base their decision along three “build, buy, partner” dimensions – execution, strategy, and transformation.
The first dimension focuses on the company’s ability to execute successfully. Managers must audit and assess their capabilities and resources to answer the following questions:
- Do I have the necessary skills in-house to successfully develop, test, support and operate an IoT enabled “smart” solution and business (Figure One)?
- Do I have the right human, capital, financial, and management resources to do this? Is this the best use of my resources relative to other initiatives and projects?
- What am I willing to commit, sacrifice and re-prioritize to see this through? Am I willing to redeploy top management and company resources? How long am I willing to do this?
- How much budget and resources am I willing to commit?
- Is there anyone that can do it better than me? Does it make sense for me to do it? What am I willing to do and not do?
- What infrastructure (processes, policies, systems) do I have, or need to build, maintain, support and operate these new solutions?
The second dimension relates to the company’s current and future strategic needs. These are company specific as it relates to its current situation, its customer and channel, and its position within the industry. Key considerations to be addressed include:
- How does going “smart” align with the company’s vision and strategy? Which parts align and which doesn’t? Does the vision and strategy need to be updated to reflect the realities of going “smart”?
- How important is time to market? Do I need or want to be a first mover? How long will it take to execute with the resources that I have?
- Am I trying to reach existing or new markets with IoT? Do I understand their needs well enough that I can execute on meeting it?
- Do I have any critical proprietary technology, processes, and other intellectual property that I need to protect?
- What are the risks? How much risk am I willing to tolerate? What are the costs of those risks? How much risk can I mitigate with my current capabilities?
- How much control do I want or need to go “smart”? What areas do I want to control myself and how? Can I afford to control those areas?
- What is your real value to customers and your channel? Why do they buy from you, and why do they come back? What do you do well?
The third dimension is the company’s ability to manage transformation. Going “smart” doesn’t stop with the IoT technology. The entire organization, its operations, policies, systems and business models must transform to support and operate the “smart” business. Furthermore, resellers and service channels, and suppliers and partners, are also impacted.
- What is your corporate culture and how well does it support change? Do you have the right people to manage and sustain this change? Are you nimble and agile?
- What degree of disruption will there be to internal processes, channels, organization readiness, and business models? How agile are your current capabilities?
- How prepared are you to operate a “smart” business? Do you have the skills and infrastructure required? Can you support a recurring revenue business model? How willing are you to invest in order to develop and sustain these capabilities?
What should you do next?
Each company is unique, and its situation will dictate its response to these dimensions. There is no one “right” universal answer to the “build, buy, partner” decision. Equally important, what’s right today, may not be right tomorrow. Companies that want to go “smart” start by looking inward first and doing the following:
- Establish a current baseline. Audit and catalog current and planned offerings, strategy, human resources and skill sets, channel and suppliers, internal operations and policies, and culture.
- Evaluate the IoT product management stack (Figure One) against your baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. The list of questions listed are starter questions, but answering those will lead to more questions to be addressed.
- Evaluate and assess your company’s future state capabilities against the baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. Understand where the gaps are, and the extent of those gaps.
- Identify your risk tolerance level. Going “smart” is not without risk, especially if you have never done it before. The key is to identify what and how much risk you are willing to take. Once you do so, you can develop a risk management plan and incorporate the appropriate tactics to manage it.
- Update your business vision and strategy as applicable.
- Develop your “build, buy, partner” decision and strategy. This strategy must align to the broader business vision and strategy.
Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.
One of my LinkedIn contacts suggested me last year not to write more articles about MWC event. However, a couple of weeks ago talking with another contact that not attend this year told me he was expecting my article. So here it is, my fourth MWC article in a row since 2015. Am I a MWC addictYou can read previous articles here:
- 2015 - MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon
- 2016 - “GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC”
- 2017- “MWC- The Great Illusionists Show!”
Unfortunately, the Powerful GSMA rejected my ticket request as Analyst / Press (LinkedIn please help me next year) and of course I did not pay the prohibitive prices of Silver Pass, Gold Pass and Platinum Pass. At the end, conference sessions content is very generic and I can read free the content. I cannot justify the ROI for pay these tickets. Can you?
Avoiding the politics issues between Catalonia and Spain, it was the first MWC where the snow was probably the biggest surprise of the show. The snow and the rain did not allowed visitors to spend some time outside.
A painI do not know the final numbers, but I notice this year less attendants than 2017. No doubt GSMA will try to find excuses eg, political issues, but the reality is that the cost of the show do not convince to many usual large / medium / small companies. It is a fact that some big companies did not attend or send less delegates and use less square meters
Again, visitors that attend 1 or 2 days do not have had time to move to other parallel events like 4YFN. Running from meeting to meeting, bad lunch as usual. I'm sure I've lost weight these days
The MWC18 has been an evolution of what we saw last 2 years. Not revolution. We need to wait another 5 years to see some notorious technological advances although GSMA should continue helping to create a better future
I was angry with the Search exhibitor page of the web . Please GSMA you have 1 year to improve. None exhibitor has included any product in the category of Blockchain or Internet of Things. Duplicates filters, etc. I read some LinkedIn post and articles and talked with people to plan my visit and capture their feeling this year.
- Dean Bubley posted a few days ago “7 reasons he will not go to MWC anymore”. For him, MWC is not productive, informative or fun.
- Matt Hatton, VP Research at Garner make Predictions for MWC this year: - Inappropriate use of blockchain - Inappropriate description of things as AI - Inappropriate use cases for 5G - Better focus on go-to-market for IoT - More apparent rigor applied to the whole POC process - Better specialization (rather than trying to sell "end-to-end IoT") So essentially my expectation is that vendors of all shapes and sizes are looking better on commercial than technological issues. In sharp contrast with previous years. Funny old world.
- Part I covered Analytics, AI, new radio and antennas, Part II NFV, cloud and open source news, plus the 5G delulge. and part III, The third part takes a close look at the network edge, looking at some major industry moves and at the MEC demos.
- Blockchain Makes an Appearance at Mobile World Congress 2018 - 5G will be less sizzle, more substance at MWC
- MWC is exploring Dubai or Paris as alternative to Barcelona. But, the big operators are committed to the defense of Barcelona as the headquarters of the Mobile: "It is the best place in the world".
- Ericsson launches marketplace to unlock the cellular IoT ecosystem
- IoT: Sensor-as-a-service, run by blockchain, is coming - Nokia is launching a blockchain-driven Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network for its telco equipment users to sell on.
- Que es y que no es Aura
During the #MWC18
- MWC Day 0 – Halcyon days.
- Four Highlights from MWC2018 by Nick Hum
- MWC18 Highlights Mobile World Live
- MWC 2018 – who are we trying to convince? – Share with me the idea that Mobile World Congress can feel like a geeky take on Groundhog Day.
- MWC 2018 – Reflections From An Airplane by Ingrid Wistrand, Deputy CEO of Tele2 IoT.
- Mercedes-Benz at the Mobile World Congress 2018: Focus on artificial intelligence
- Here the MWC18 Week in review
The euphoria of 5G has dropped – More info about 5G at MWC18 here “ Intel, Qualcomm Talk About Accelerating 5G Efforts at MWC 2018”
IoT - The word that describes my feeling is disappointment. Although expected, something sad because the word IoT begins to lose brightness and disappear from the stands. The Pavillion 8.0 dedicated to the IoT, was not star this year. Do you really deserve to be exhibitors at the MWC
At least it was good to pulse the evolution and transformation of the IoT / M2M market. A new impulse will be necessary before 2020
Unfortunately, I could not attend any of the Top 7 IoT Activities at Mobile World Congress. Please tell me if any of it was worth it.
It was funny to hear how Operators trying to explain the use cases of Blockchain in Telco sector.
Artificial Intelligence, Connected Vehicles and Robots the starts of MWC18. It was interesting discuss with some Operators about the practical potential of Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots in this sector. The conclusion in this article “ You Can't Teach an AI to Run a Telecom Network—Yet.
MWC18 was in my opinion the year of the Connected Intelligent Vehicle. Operators, Technology Vendors and Car Manufacturers need to cooperate to avoid a technology nightmare for future drivers/passengers.
I cannot resist to compare this congress with the Groundhog Day festivities. I make no secret of my discomfort for the continuous decisions of GSMA to make this show useless for many. My unpleasantness for the prohibitive cost of the tickets, hotels in the town, and the arrogant executives who attend the event as movie stars and finally for the many parallel events that I have missed or meetings of 15 minutes because I had spent hours daily walking by the walk sides of Fira Halls and my frustration for not finding some companies in the labyrinth of the pavilions
Like Bill Murray in the movie, I discover year after year that MWC's events repeating almost exactly. I feel I am trapped in a time loop that probably most of you are aware of
I am glad if you have spent these days indulging in night parties, looking for new jobs or cheering you for the work you have in your great company. Luckily for me, I do not return depressed, but my mind do not escape for some days to the MWC loop. Am I a MWC addict?
See you next year at MWC19 Barcelona
Thanks for your Comments and Likes
Earlier this week I recorded an interview with IoT Central Contributor and leading IoT recruiter Bill McCabe. We talked about smart cities and I revealed something you probably didn't know about me. Have a listen.
As mobile devices become smaller and smarter, artificial intelligence (AI) is steadily gaining significant popularity among users and developers alike. Every now and then mobile developers around the world are working assiduously to develop and employ the emerging technology in mobile app development which is aimed at improving the way users interact with apps. Already, there are several signs, indications, and signals revealing that the AI will dominate the future of mobile apps.
In the tech world, AI is believed to hold immense potential and Indian app developers are gradually embracing and integrating this relatively new technology into their mobile app development seeing that it presents the best bet for the future. Already, the current mobile app market is consequently being flooded with new mobile applications and models leading to the creation of new and improved mobile app development services.
Even if you don’t notice it, AI is already around you and it has come to stay. In the past, this technology was only regarded as a futuristic concept for movies but today it has become a reality. And there is no better time to get involved with the trend than now. Interestingly, many Indian app developers are beginning to discover that mobile development and AI share common features and can make a perfect match. Obviously, there are lots of possibilities that can be accrued from the advancement of AI.
Combining artificial intelligence (AI) with mobile development will result in the creation of intelligent apps. Basically, this is concerned with the design and development of mobile apps that have the ability to learn, think logically, and solve problems. In a bid to effectively engage users, transform customer experience, and ultimately retain them, many app developers and top app development companies in India alike are already working to integrate the technology into their mobile applications.
The impact of AI on mobile development
Many tech and industry experts are suggesting that AI will be a major trend in various sectors, particularly in the mobile application development. To this end, everyone in the industry including, startups, growing businesses, and top app development companies are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of providing efficient customer services and bring about a positive change. While some are incorporating the technology in the form of chatbots, others are looking to embed it into the infrastructure of their mobile app development as assistants to create smart apps.
Already, some tech giants like Uber, Amazon, eBay and the rest are making use of AI and judging from the look of things, it is a meaningful realization. With this new technology, Indian app developers are helping businesses support their customers with relevant, seamless, and personalized services. With time AI in mobile apps will understand customer behavior, thanks to its ability to effectively gather massive amounts of data from previous customer interactions and learn them. Apart from helping to bring customers closer to the business, AI-enabled apps are also helping to enhance customer interaction thereby boosting customer retention rate.
Basically, Indian app developers are finding ways to make use of the data that businesses are getting via mobile devices, online traffic, and point-of-sale machines to impact both business and consumer experience with AI’s influence. As more artificial and machine learning-driven apps make their way into app stores, things will change in the way and manner people communicate and interact. In a bid to create more insightful, context-rich experiences, the algorithms will be able to sift through the obtained data, find correlations and trends and get the apps adjusted to suit the personal needs of the user.
Obviously, there is much to achieve with these artificial intelligence algorithms in mobile app development. There is a wide range of AI-based mobile app development projects undertaken by Indian app developers. With the development of personal assistants, chatbots, and other artificial intelligence features, many big companies are already reinventing their user experience (UX) strategies. And in order to remain ahead of the competition, other businesses are following suit.
The future of AI-driven apps
Now that the entire ecosystem has been enhanced with regular and active access of data management and delivery, many Indian app developers will be employing AI which will become an essential necessity for robust mobile app development in the near future. Basically, there is every need for systems featuring data governance, data security, and metadata management to be fast and robust in indexing and cataloging.
Here are other ways through which AI development will impact the industry
It’s no longer news that businesses are adopting cloud computing technology to improve their services. It may interest you to know that Indian app developers will not only be adopting this technology to enhance development but will also be using it to troubleshoot errors in AI-driven apps.
As already mentioned, many businesses are already seeking to enhance customer interaction by investing mobile app development. However, integrating AI will help to boost convenience for customers and also help businesses reach a wider target audience. Businesses will not only be using AI-driven apps to observe internal communications, but these will help to simplify business activities in several ways.
Today, people are using location-based apps to search and find virtually anything they need in any location. AI-enabled apps will be synchronizing users’ interest, as well as their frequent searches to create results. Basically, these apps will be using obtained data to provide more desirable suggestions. Already, Google users can easily search for promotion offers, nearby restaurants and department stores with their smartphone via Google Assistant or Siri.
Internet of Things (IoT)
In recent times, there has been an increase in a range of new technologies due to the desire to further increase the mobility of users. IoT is one of such recent developments making waves in the industry. No doubt, AI will be enhancing the development of IoT helping smartphone users manage real-life events in the near future.
AR and VR
Together with AI, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is taking both the gaming and entertainment industry by storm. The release of Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and other numerous models of VR devices are already influencing the industry.
“I talk to a dozen or more companies involved in IoT every week. One thing they all have in common is their desire for the projected IoT volumes and revenues to come to fruition...the sooner the better”.
Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy covering the Internet of Things, Forbes.
Internet of things has always been functioning in a context of business transformation.
If you’re in business, just read on, as we are to have several working IIoT solutions to consider right now.
To be successful today you need to:
- really love what you do;
- move with the times;
- make the IIoT technology a part of your business development plan;
- and find an Industrial IoT company for you to cooperate with.
Here I gathered 5 IIoT solutions implemented by global industry leaders and the key examples of their efficient cooperation with IoT developers:
#1 Predictive Maintenance for Wind Energy
The IIoT solution is projected to be implemented into the maintenance of wind energy. The smart wind turbines will be applied to reveal how employees can get additional insights by using ML about the equipment performance in different conditions. Thus, smart sensors are supposed to give the information in a real-life regime.
The system can give reliable statistics for the future planning and help to replace vital parts of the engines during the less windy periods:
#2 Health Detectors for Caterpillar Equipments
Recently, the American machinery and equipment giant, Caterpillar implemented a new IIoT solution to help its customers better understand the workability and health of the equipment. It should also be said that the company uses IoT solutions for tracking fuel efficiency, idle times, location, and many more. The new project lets clients directly address the company maintenance service and timely repair the sensitive spots by using the IoT platform.
The end-to-end platform for predictive diagnostics allows for better monitoring and timely replacement of the interchangeable parts. The Caterpillar CEO, Doug Oberhelman supposes the IIoT, which is primarily applied to the fleet and fuel monitoring, will take the clients offering to the next level.
#3 Airbus Smart Manufacturing
You know the biggest European aircraft manufacturer has already applied the IoT solutions to its products. Today Airbus is working at implementing the IIoT to the tools its workers use during the manufacturing process.
For this reason, Airbus opts to involve its employees and the factory floor. The workers will manage to use smart tablets or glasses to evaluate a task and then send the data to a robotic tool that will finish it.
Jean-Bernard Henz, the head of PLM R&T Innovation at Airbus ICT, says the IoT platform manufacturing will speed up the processes and improve the reliability of the production.
#4 Siemens -- a 75% automated plant
You know the Siemens AG plant is a part of a concerted effort by the German government to develop fully automated factories. Guess what? Siemens is claimed to be 75% automated with 1,150+ employees on board.
All the employees are mainly operating computers and monitoring the process of manufacturing by using the IIoT solutions. Sinalytics, which is a critical component of the IIoT Platform was implemented in 2015. Today Siemens continues developing the Web of System, which directly connects devices to the open Internet and with each other. Besides, Siemens launched a new company in 2016 that is named Innovations AG. The company is dedicated to the search and support of the emerging start-ups that can be a good technological investment for Siemens. This has influenced the factory efficiency, opened the new technological opportunities and reduced costs.
#5 ThyssenKrupp Elevates IIoT Implementation
The CGI global tech firm claims ‘that thing is an elevator’ for the company. Well, let’s see it. Having joined forces with Microsoft and CGI, the ThyssenKrupp Elevator company has now obtained a predictive maintenance for elevators manufacturing.
The IIoT solution securely connects tens of thousands of sensors and elevators systems across the plant. The technology allows for monitoring every stage of production starting from motor temperature and finishing with shaft alignment. The real-life IIoT gathered data lets the company identify vulnerabilities and repair them before an actual breakdown occurs:
What’s the bottom line?
IIoT solutions undoubtedly contribute to production efficiency. The predictive maintenance and pre-emptive repair, manufacturing automation and further spending cuts are just a tiny bit of what I recorded here.
I am almost done here...
Feel like you have something to tell about your IIoT use case?
Drop me a line below!
I recently attended one of a significant [email protected] Internet of Things event which featured keynotes, speeches and presentations from CTOs/SVPs-Tech/VPs of major IT firms. Attending these presentations sometimes give you a feeling of being in literature or a rhetoric club where instead of hearing context oriented speeches you get to listen to a bunch of fairy tales with almost every sentence including overused adjectives like “trust”, “motivation”, “responsibility” and so on. An SVP of a major IT player was asked about the measure (technical) her company takes to ensure data integrity and prevent cyber-attacks. Interestingly, her answer to this was the statement that “they maintain a culture of trust in and around the company”. To me, it is like standing in front of a hungry lion and telling him that you believe in non-violence. Today in the age of internet and IoT, we have to deal with thousands of cyber criminals (hungry lions) who are waiting to penetrate the system and make most out of it. To keep them out you need a lot more than just “trust”.
On the same event, I had an opportunity to talk to many cybersecurity experts and companies, and I confronted them with a question of mentioning at least one relevant cybersecurity norm/standard/certificate pertinent for each major component in an IoT stack. Unfortunately, most of these discussions turned into some sales pitch. The question one can raise at this point is that is it so challenging to mention at least one “state of the art” cybersecurity measure for every IoT component? Or just that the topic is underestimated?
This blog is just an attempt to name a relevant security standard/certificate or measure for every major element in IoT stack (see below) without going deep into the details of each and very standard/norm or certification.
For this sake, we will assume a simple IoT stack as illustrated below :
Fig.1: IoT stack of a simple use case
In this use case, an industry sensor collects the physical parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity etc.) and transmit the values via Bluetooth/Wifi/wired connection to the gateway or edge device. The gateway device, depending on the type (simple or edge) perform a certain minimal calculation on the received data and push it into the cloud via a Wifi/4G connection. The cloud collects the data and uses this data to feed desired micro-services like analytics, anomaly detection etc. Cloud also offers an interface to the existing enterprise and resource planning (ERP) system to synchronize the running process with the current one as well to provide product /service related information over the IoT platform to the end user. What the user sees on his screen is then the dashboard of IoT use case which is a graphical representation of the micro-services running in the background.
As we can see, there are four to five main stages and at least three interfaces (sensor-gateway, gateway-cloud, cloud-user) in a typical IoT use case. These stages and interfaces are on the target of cybercriminals who try to hack into the system with the intention of either manipulating or hi-jacking the system. Safeguarding just the components is not adequate. The underlying IoT communication layer (Bluetooth/Wifi/4G etc.) need to be secured as well. Also, organisations running or involved in such IoT use cases must ensure safety and integrity of the process, technical as well as user data through a certain information security management system (ISMS) in place.
To sum up, we need security measures at a component, communication-interface and organisational levels. Now if I have to write state of the art or “best in class” security measure (excluding cryptography) next to each stage, communication type and interfaces in the diagram above, then the resulting picture might look like the one below.
What, in your opinion, could be included/excluded or replaced in this diagram? Feel free to share your opinion.
With so many companies and people on the search for the "IoT killer app” for a decade, and nobody has found it yet ☹. You can be sure that I do not either, otherwise I would not be writing this article and I will be furiously developing it.
Most companies are anxiously looking for the killer IoT app/solution, which their IoT reps could sell in volume to their enterprise customers. The bad news for them: “ there’s no true “killer app” for IoT and that any company can create the right killer app to solves a business need of a customer or a whole industry.
Nevertheles we can not avoid that some people think pet care or fitness could be the "killer app" for IoT, while others instead think that the killer IoT app winners will be in Verticals like predictive maintenance in manufacturing, smart home or smart city solutions and also I had read funny opinions that considers measuring Temperature and Humidity seem the killer application for most of the IoT industry. The comment is comical but at the same time ironic. In the absence of bright or innovative ideas it seems that we would have discovered the fire when we install sensors and we are able to visualize temperature and humidity in real time on the screen of our smartphone.
Instead of continuing to dream of finding the Holy Grail of the IoT, I think it will be more productive to analyse by categories what are the possible IoT applications that exist and if I am enlightened try to guess which application would be the milk to launch myself to develop it without fearThese are the 5 categories to search for the IoT horizontal Killer app:
Search for the killer IoT horizontal application is a chimera given the definition of the IoT. However, the challenges that the IoT has to achieve that 50 billion machines can be found, communicate safely through various networks, socialize and favour the monetization of its services, open great opportunities for hardware and software engineers to develop different killer applications. And I'm sure some will find it. I wish I could be part of one of them.
Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares
Are we ready for an IoT paradigm shift? Are security needs, flexibility to address regional and regulatory challenges, and international globalization enough to encourage the IoT industry to accept embedded SIMs (eUICC), along with subscription management, to achieve reduced logistical and manufacturing costs with a single stock-keeping unit with a unique identification number (SKU)?
Shifting to a new technology always is a slow process if for no other reason but caution. The technology standardization and go-to-market approaches are yet evolving in parallel for interoperability. This requires preparing for the bigger picture by taking small steps with calculated risks, sincere effort, and commitment from multiple players.
Moving forward with subscription management
We now are in the third version of GSMA Removable SIMs standards. In the consumer market of smartphones/tablets, it even can be said that the industry now is moving toward the early adopter phase of the product life cycle. The IoT market still is in the innovator phase and needs more commitment from different actors across the industry. GSMA specifications clearly have defined the processes, systems, and interfaces for remotely managing eUICCs in a secure and standardized way — for downloading, enabling, disabling, and deleting subscriptions using Subscription Management–Secure Routing (SM-SR).
Subscription management has evolved significantly across different arenas, such as standard organizations, SIM suppliers, module vendors, operators, and connectivity platform providers. Now that the vision is understood, and the usefulness of the new platform is clear, it becomes easier for any one player to come out of their comfort zone and succeed in implementing the vision against any challenges that exist. The telematics industry seems to be taking a lead, with other verticals following up close behind.
With this ongoing adaptation and interoperability, mature applications can be designed to provide flexibility in operator selection on the basis of defined criteria and to hand control of the connectivity to users. The manufacturers can take advantage of new programmable SIMs and build generic devices, while providing the flexibility of MNO selection to customers.
Examples of IoT eUICC use cases:
- Insurance for Life: IoT devices for regulatory monitoring and the security vertical usually have long lifespans, so making use of an eUICC is perfect for these use cases. The use of an embedded SIM gives freedom to OEMs in relation to their mobile network operators (MNO) contracts, in addition to regional regulation or connectivity spectrum changes such as 2G/3G. OEMs who use an eUICC have independence from long-term ties to MNO contracts and changing market conditions. They can opt for new MNO/MVNOs with better coverage simply by replacing the subscription on the SIM remotely, without touching the device. This saves assembly time, field validation, and addresses challenges of reaching remote places, as well as eliminating the related costs of field visits. Thus, the devices that operate in remote and harsh environments have insurance if they adopt eUICC. This provides the device operator flexibility, with increased life expectancy and security, and enables the OEM to remove and update aging standards and technology.
- Global Product Launch: Using an eUICC provides an option to an OEM to enter global markets with a phased launch of a device. OEMs initially can use any bootstrap MNO profile, with a minimally viable product, to evaluate market interest. Later, on the basis of market validation and product demand, the OEM can switch the profile remotely to a local MNO and then scale up for ROI post-market validation. This approach allows individuals to secure the best service by area, while using local MNO/rates, meeting local regulatory requirements, and avoiding roaming costs as volume increases. This model fits particularly well with expensive heavy machinery, which moves from place to place, such as military equipment, construction vehicles, leased farming machinery, etc. The key advantage of an eUICC is giving the dealer/terminal provider the capability to switch from one MNO to another, without any constraints.
- Frequent Subscription Changes: In this approach, the user holds greater control and can actively switch from provider to provider and take advantage of region-specific pricing. Applications with high data usage, such as hotspots on a moving vehicle, can take advantage of eUICC flexibility to avoid roaming charges while increasing the availability of cellular networks. By managing subscriptions in near real time, OEMs will be able to lower connectivity costs while maximizing connectivity reliability for users. This use case may take a bit longer to commercialize in comparison to the first two.
Is it that simple?
The key to success in any of these above-mentioned use cases is understanding all the relevant parameters and dependencies, including MNO certification related to device modules, the technical know-how of the subscription management platform, and policy control for security via secure routing. My recommendation for successful migration to the eUICC platform is to assemble technical teams that understand MNO network coverage, the design of an eUICC deployment, and device module capabilities. There is a risk in adopting eUICC, which can be mitigated by overlapping deployment and effective application management with proper monitoring by technical experts, especially in the initial phase. This flexibility comes with increased complexity and, in order to address this, connectivity management providers need to lock arms with application providers, as well as with experts in the device capability field.
Guest post by Pratibha Sharma. This post originally appeared here.
Photo credit: Igor Ovsyannykov
The Internet of Things — or IoT — is taking the IT sector by storm. Although it only boasted two billion systems in 2006, it's set to reach 200 billion connected devices by 2020 — and even more beyond that.
As companies and consumers all continue to explore the benefits of the IoT, one thing has become clear: the IoT needs proper encryption.
Given the sheer amount of online and network-oriented threats today — including everything from traditional viruses to advanced malware and malicious computer coding — data encryption is necessary to ensure the long-term success of the IoT.
Establishing these protocols while the IoT is still in its infancy will provide additional integrity to IoT-fueled projects and generate increased interest in the platform as a whole.
Overcoming the Roadblocks to Success
Modern society is well on its way to embracing the IoT for everything from industrial automation to in-home convenience, but there are two significant roadblocks to the platform's success.
1. Power Consumption
Today's IoT networks, which contain servers, access points and peripheral devices, consume enormous amounts of power altogether, but some tools require more power than others.
While traditional network-level encryption tools are optimized for larger systems and infrastructure, they don't always scale down to smaller formats in an efficient or viable manner.
Developing a chip with higher energy efficiency and the ability to scale down minimizes the strain on current and local power grids and makes it easier to secure individual devices via existing encryption methods.
2. Data Security
Consumers have received an enormous dose of reality in the 21st century. Those who haven't fallen victim to a cyber attack or hack probably know someone who has. The number of data breaches involving consumer information is troubling.
There are even rumors of foreign entities interfering with U.S. elections, including the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. Data security is in the spotlight now more than ever before, and it's a tremendous obstacle for the IoT to overcome.
However, a new chip manufactured by the team at MIT solves both of these problems. Not only does it focus specifically on public-key encryption — a straightforward and user-friendly method of modern encryption — but it also consumes 1/400 of the power of comparable chips.
It also uses 90% less memory than current chips, which lets researchers execute commands and complete processes up to 500 times faster.
Encrypting Consumer Data via Mathematics
The newest chip utilizes elliptic-curve encryption. It's a highly sophisticated, dominant form of data security often used in HTTPS connections. MIT's latest advancement efficiently breaks this system down for use on the individual devices that comprise the IoT.
As noted by the team at MIT, "cryptographers are coming up with curves with different properties."
The new chip is flexible enough to support all the known curves in use today, giving it maximum compatibility with different organizational and governmental standards. The team hopes to implement additional support for any future curves, as well.
Making Advancements in Artificial Intelligence
The team at MIT is also making headlines in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). Between self-driving cars and increased automation both in the factory and the home, AI is a hotbed of debate. Whether consumers are in favor of automation or against the idea altogether, one thing is for sure: AI-driven robots must operate by an acceptable set of ethical standards.
Just like encryption, it's a subject that invites multiple interpretation and solutions.
To spur development into the future of AI ethics and programming, MIT recently took a poll of the online public. By seeking the input of the average consumer, the school hopes to play an essential role in how next-gen robotics make decisions, prioritize tasks and interact with their human counterparts on a daily basis.
How MIT Is Safeguarding Our Future
Between the increased need for data security and sophisticated AI, IT experts have their work cut out for them.
The work of individuals and groups like the team at MIT is already making headway into these areas, but society is only at the beginning of what will likely become a long-term, complicated relationship with technology.
Image by Kevin Ku
In a recent guest post by Andrew Hamilton, he looked at the future of urbanization and what a holistic approach means in actual urban development. As a follow-up to the story, he offers these key to success.
1) Focus on the city’s main goal or identity
While cities and large developments share many concerns and challenges, each one has a unique mix of issues. Is it concerned about accommodating existing growth or attracting more growth? Is it looking mainly to improve livability, or to make it easier for businesses to operate? Would it like to double down on its existing strengths as a city, or shift the economy in new areas? Some cities and developers find it helpful to focus on a simple theme or vision. London, for example, is investing heavily in making it easier for residents to access, analyze, and exchange data. While any smart urbanization project should lay the foundations for future capabilities in many areas, it’s essential to focus actual investments in a few areas with the greatest consensus and payoff. Pursuing multiple areas will make timely delivery on these already complex projects nearly impossible.
2) Rethink your RFP relationships with vendors
Governments and developers have relied on the RFP-based vendor management process for good reasons, but this structure gets in the way of integrated developments. It’s especially important to start working early with a knowledgeable guide that can work with you for the long term. It’s time to create new negotiating processes that enable Urban 4.0 while still featuring accountability and protecting the public.
3) Focus on transformational improvements
Smart urbanization involves an array of sophisticated technologies that offer big benefits over the status quo. With political and budgetary pressures, it will be tempting to aim at a flashy, short-term gain rather than to invest in capabilities that will pay off much more in the long term. Avoid that fate by setting out a blueprint for the vision that will drive public plans and accountability, without constraining your ability to adjust with evolving technology and city or client needs. Quick wins can help build momentum and support, but should not divert you from achieving even more valuable results.
4) Reassess the citywide approach
With the rise of supercities, governments and developers will want to break the urbanization challenge into pockets of about five square kilometers. That’s large enough to deliver all the smart services—energy, education, micromobility, food, recreation, entertainment, and job creation—within a contained and sustainable ecosystem. In especially dense areas, a large single mixed-use development could serve as an urban pocket. These highly integrated neighborhoods, combining work and residence, can improve transportation and overall livability while reducing the cost of living. They are also commercially attractive to private developers.
Photo credit: Roberto Saltori
Guest post by Andrew Hamilton
It’s time for a better paradigm of urbanization. Conventional models, while still solid, are no longer up to the heightened challenges of the present. Exponentially improving technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence are enabling urban developments with much higher levels of efficiency and flexibility to conserve resources, promote security, and boost the quality of life.
The key development is not the technologies themselves, but their integration around a holistic view of urbanization that enables a series of smart services. Instead of focusing on single services, or specific buildings or highways, leading organizations around the world are using IoT and analytics to optimize infrastructure generally and evolve with changing needs. While getting there will take a great deal of investment and expertise, the result will be places where residents thrive in unexpected ways in their personalized urban developments.
The Future of Urbanization
To understand the business opportunity, it’s helpful to break urbanization down into three phases. Over most of history, Urban 1.0, this happened with little general direction or coordination. People gradually moved into towns and cities, and new and old residents adjusted largely on their own. Urban 2.0 started in the early 20th century, as reformers launched ambitious city plans to improve the cityscape and its governance.
Urban 3.0 came at the beginning of the 21st century, as planners applied computers, automation, and systems thinking to improve efficiency and coordination. This smart urbanization brought many advances. But its focus on solutions for a specific area (a building, street, or factory), or sector (transportation, energy, waste), led to static efforts that failed to realize many potential gains. To take a simple example, buildings got sensors that turned off lights when not in use. But those sensors failed to learn from all the data they were seeing, and they didn’t connect to air-conditioning and other systems.
It’s time to go to the next level—Urban 4.0. The Internet of Things enables residents and planners to monitor and adjust much of the urban infrastructure. These sensors generate a flood of data, but with machine learning, cloud communication, and advanced analytics, we can optimize planning and operations across multiple components. Buildings can have smart controls that adjust lighting and HVAC according to expected usage, and that predict and indicate when equipment needs to be repaired, replaced, upgraded, or modified altogether. We can also monitor energy usage across a portfolio of buildings, and share efficient practices such as overnight battery storage to reduce demand in peak daytime periods.
Developers and officials can now “future-proof” their designs by calculating citywide dynamics over time. They can look on a city as a living organism, where all the components have to be healthy for residents to thrive.
Urban 4.0 goes beyond the direct provision of municipal services. It helps companies take advantage of telecommunications to improve the quality of life. Residents can choose to provide data on their wants and needs, along with their geo-location. Businesses granted access to this information can serve urbanites more efficiently and boost their margins. While these offerings, at least in theory, will eventually be made available everywhere, they’ll initially concentrate in large, mixed-use urban developments to gain scale economies. That’s because many of the large developers are better funded than cities, and eager to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Thanks to IoT and AI, their developments will make full use of ubiquitous connections.
While technology is pulling the world to Urban 4.0, serious social and environmental challenges are pushing. Developing countries are in the midst of an urbanization wave the world has never seen, both in scale and rapidity. China alone expects 200 million new city residents in the next 10 years, or 15% of its population, and other Asian countries are similarly shifting. We’re seeing the emergence of supercities, such as the agglomeration around Shanghai, which could exceed 100 million residents by 2050. That’s when 70% of the world’s population is expected to be urban, up from 54% today. Such a massive concentration could overwhelm those societies.
Even developed countries, many of which have little absolute population growth, are still seeing a continual move to metropolitan areas. City centers are attracting residents, reversing decades of suburban sprawl. Despite early predictions that the internet would encourage people to live and work anywhere, they’re voting with their feet and concentrating in urban clusters. Those same cities, often suffering from decades of underinvestment, are now struggling to handle the newcomers and their high expectations for services.
Besides the usual difficulties of serving people unaccustomed to urban ways, cities face heightened environmental constraints. Unchecked growth in previous decades has left many areas choking on traffic and smog. Managing water and waste is a challenge in many developing countries and even some developed ones. Climate change has added to the urgency to reduce emissions from vehicles and factories.
Cities will increasingly compete with one another for high-value investment and trade. The winners will be those that combine efficient services with a good quality of life, enabled by integrated technology.
Enabling the Transformation
Government officials, developers, and their suppliers around the world are increasingly interested in this integrated transformation. They’re eager for new approaches that take optimization to a new level. The trouble is, most cities are focused on short-term fixing and maintaining legacy infrastructure. They’re reluctant to commit to new systems, especially since those emerging IoT and AI technologies are still in flux. Rather than fancy technological solutions, they want to lay the foundation for new possibilities that can be built gradually and evolve with the changing city.
Fortunately, the marketplace is similarly evolving to help make that possible. Instead of transactional relationships around one-off projects, some vendors are now willing to work and plan with cities and developers as long-term partners. Instead of the conventional vendor relationship, these providers are taking on some of the risk and responsibility for improvements. This is especially true for large mixed-use developments within cities.
Rather than implement point solutions, they’re signing on for 10- to 15-year journeys with developers, suppliers, and officials. They’re learning from one another and residents along the way. And because the vendor expects to be involved over the long haul, its teams can take the wider perspective to encompass multiple systems in a building or multiple components in a city. This long-term perspective is also essential for combating the inherent uncertainty of such complex developments.
Another innovation is “smart infrastructure as a service,” where the client owns the asset but the vendor builds and operates it, and simply charges the city or private client for usage. Here, the vendor takes on most of the financing and risk, and works with the user to provide continued satisfaction and development. Both of these steps can go a long way to realizing ambitious city dreams.
These partnership-oriented approaches, however, fit poorly with established vendor-management practices, which tend to focus on RFPs for projects limited to a single product or service. Developers will need to adjust their mindset, at least for the more ambitious integrated developments, for both financial and operational reasons.
To fully realize these possibilities, it’s not enough for city governments and private developers to evolve toward this more integrated, partnership-based approach. Vendors must as well, and move beyond specific areas, such as design, IT, or mechanical. To make integration work, vendors must be able to speak the language of architects, construction contractors, and engineers. They have to make the business and the technical case for the project at the same time, with the help of an ecosystem of industry partners.
Integration in the Real World
What does this holistic approach mean in actual urban development? For example, the island city of Maui, Hawaii, is rethinking its energy infrastructure. Most electricity comes from expensive imported fossil fuels. Municipal officials wanted to build a few large solar power plants, to take advantage of the abundant sunshine. Then they expanded their view and considered transportation dynamics. They realized that most vehicles in the future would run on electricity, not oil. Instead of centralizing electrical production, it would be more efficient to locate it where people would likely charge their cars. With this holistic perspective, Maui officials are shifting their energy investments and licensing. They’re looking for help from sensors that can track evolving patterns of consumption. By preparing the island for charging stations, they’ll reduce not just oil imports but also air pollution.
Mixed-use urban projects are a major opportunity for businesses, especially in the burgeoning cities of Asia. These projects range from single buildings to clusters
of towers with millions of square meters of floor space. Despite those projects’ enormous scale, the owners are working to integrate smart services in energy, water, telecommunications, predictive maintenance, video analytics, security, traffic, and parking. Everything will run on a single IoT-driven platform and command center—even projects that include office, retail, hospitality, and residential areas. Embedded sensors and analytics capabilities will enable property managers to continually adjust and optimize building operations and the ongoing resident experience. Expected to open in 2021 and to serve 60,000 people daily, it will be a demonstration site for existing sites as well as greenfield applications. (Hitachi Consulting is assisting on the project.) The developers expect to deploy many of these smart services to existing properties throughout their international portfolio.
Southeastern Australia is another case in point. Sydney and Melbourne are two of the most expensive cities in the world. In response, people are sprawling out to faraway suburbs, which damage both the environment and quality of life. To address these issues, private enterprise in partnership with government is considering the creation of eight new densely settled cities between these two metropolises, which are about nine hours apart by car. High-speed rail would connect the eight cities with the two endpoints, so each one would be no more than an hour’s ride from either Sydney or Melbourne. The satellite cities would have all of the amenities and efficiencies of urban life, while reducing energy use and aggravation and preserving the environment.
The worldwide pressures for urbanization are powerful, and the opportunities from smart, integrated infrastructure are compelling. Over time, we expect holistic urban development to become the norm, facilitated by cities, developers, and vendors taking the long view. Companies that stay with the old approach to urbanization will lose out.
About Andrew Hamilton
- Andrew Hamilton is a Global Client Partner for Hitachi Consulting. He is responsible for Key Clients focusing on social innovation projects, runs Social Innovation Business for APAC and provides on the ground project support and industry expertise.
- He has run projects in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe in the infrastructure, telecom, media and power sectors.
- Andrew has over 30 years of project experience with 23 years of experience with infrastructure projects, vendors and management consulting firms in SEA, India and China. Experience includes very large international infrastructure program management in Asia and the Middle East, healthcare, supply chain, pharma, national infrastructure recreation, national distribution networks, mobile phone company launch programs and contract negotiations, Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX), manufacturing, large IT deployments, and international logistics programs with APEC.
 “Urbanization and the Mass Movement of Peoples to Cities,” by Bret Boyd, Grayline, Jan. 17, 2017. https://graylinegroup.com/urbanization-catalyst-overview/
To cope with the increasing population, hyper-urbanization, globalization as well as to ensure economic and environmental stability, cities are now focusing on becoming smart cities. Smart City is a concept of utilizing technologies and connected data sensors to enhance and become powerful in terms of infrastructure and city operations. This includes monitoring and managing of public assets, transportation systems, citizens, power plants, water supplies, information systems, civil bodies, and other community services. As per the new study from Navigant Research, the global market for smart city services is expected to reach $225.5 billion within the next decade.
Connected technologies and IoT solutions play important roles in transforming cities into smart cities. Implementing smart city with IoT and connected technology helps enhance the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services, optimize resources and reduce costs.
Let’s see the various components of smart city and their impact in the IoT era:
1. Smart Infrastructure
The global market for smart urban infrastructure in smart cities, include advanced connected streets, smart parking, smart lighting, and other transportation innovations. Here’s how they work:
- Smart Lighting: With smart lighting, city authorities can keep real-time tracking of lighting to ensure optimized illumination and deliver demand-based lighting in different zones. Smart lighting also helps in daylight harvesting and save energy by dimming out sectors with no occupancies For e.g. parking lots can be dimmed during work hours and when a car is entering, it will be detected and appropriate sectors can be illuminated, while others can be kept at diffused setting.
- Connected Streets: Connected and smart streets are capable of acquiring data and delivering information and services to and from millions of devices, which includes information about traffic, road blockages, roadworks, etc. This helps in efficient management of resources and people to enhance public transportation and the urban landscape.
- Smart Parking Management: Smart parking management system can be used to find the vacant location for a vehicle at different public places. Smart Parking’s In-Ground Vehicle Detection Sensors are core technologies, playing a key part in the Smart Parking solution that is revolutionizing how drivers in the malls and city centers can find an available parking space. Wireless sensors are embedded into parking spaces, transmitting data on the timing and duration of the space used via local signal processors into a central parking management application. Smart Parking reduces congestion, decreases vehicle emissions, lowers enforcement costs and cuts driver stress. For effective deployment of smart parking technologies, each device needs to have a reliable connectivity with the cloud servers.
- Connected Charging Stations: Smart infrastructure also includes implementing charging stations in parking systems, city fleets, shopping malls and buildings, airports, and bus stations across the city. Electronic vehicle (EV) charging platforms can be integrated with IoT to streamline the operations of EV charging and addresses the impact of the power grid.
2. Smart buildings utilize different systems to ensure safety and security of buildings, maintenance of assets and overall health of the surrounding.
- Safety & Security Systems: These include implementing remote monitoring, biometrics, IP surveillance cameras, and wireless alarms to reduce unauthorized access to buildings and chances of thefts. It also includes utilizing Perimeter Access Control to stop access to restricted areas of the property and detect people in non-authorized areas.
- Smart Garden & Sprinkler System: Smart sprinkler system synced with connected technologies and cloud can be used to water plants with the assurance that plants get the right amount of water. Smart garden devices can also perform tasks such as measuring soil moisture and levels of fertilizer, helping the city authorities to save on water bill (smart sprinkler devices use weather reports and automatically adjust their schedule to stay off when it rains), and keep the grass from overgrowing in the convenient way (robot lawnmowers).
- Smart Heating & Ventilation: Smart heating and ventilation systems monitor various parameters such as temperature, pressure, vibration, humidity of the buildings and properties such as movie theatres, and historical monuments. Wireless sensor network deployment is the key to ensuring appropriate heating and ventilation. These sensors also collect data to optimize the HVAC systems, improving their efficiency and performance in the buildings.
3. Smart Industrial Environment
Industrial environments present unique opportunities for developing applications associated with the Internet of things and connected technologies which can be utilized in the following areas:
- Forest Fire Detection: Helps in monitoring of combustion gases and preemptive fire conditions to define alert zones.
- Air/Noise Pollution: Helps in controlling of CO2 emissions of factories, pollution emitted by cars and toxic gases generated on farms.
- Snow Level Monitoring: Helps in identifying the real-time condition of ski tracks, allowing security corporations for avalanche prevention.
- Landslide and Avalanche Avoidance: Helps in monitoring of soil moisture, earth density, as well as vibrations to identify dangerous patterns in land conditions.
- Earthquake Early Detection: Helps in detecting the chances of tremors by utilizing distributed controls at specific places of tremors.
- Liquid Presence: Helps in detecting the presence of liquid in data centers, building grounds, and warehouses to prevent breakdowns and corrosion.
- Radiation Levels: Helps in distributed measurement of radiation levels in nuclear power stations surroundings to generate leakage alerts.
- Explosive and Hazardous Gases: Helps in detecting gas levels and leakages in chemical factories, industrial environments, and inside mines.
4. Smart City Services
Smart city services include services for public safety and emergencies. Below are the key areas where IoT and connected technologies can help:
- Smart Kiosk: Smart kiosks play an important role in providing different city services to the public such as Wi-Fi services, 24×7 IP surveillance cameras and analytics, Digital signage for advertisement and public announcements. In some cases, free video calling and free mobile charging station, as well as environmental sensor integration can also be implemented. Smart kiosks also provide information about restaurants, retail stores, and events in the immediate area. It can also provide mapping for visitors and can sync with smartphones to give additional data as needed.
- Monitoring of Risky Areas: Sensors (cameras, street lights) and actuators for real-time monitoring can be implemented in risky areas or areas prone to accidents. Upon detecting any crime, or mishap, these sensors can alert the citizens to avoid such areas temporarily.
- Public Security: IoT sensors can be installed at public organizations and houses to protect citizens and provide real-time information to fire and police departments when it detects a theft.
- Fire/Explosion Management: Smart fire sensors can detect and automatically take actions based on the level of severity, such as detecting false alarms, informing firefighters and ambulance, blocking off nearby streets/buildings on the requirement, helping people to evacuate, and coordinating rescue drones and robots.
- Automatic Health-Care Dispatch: Smart healthcare devices can be implemented at public places to provide 24/7 health care for patients like dispensing medicines and drugs to patients. These devices can also be used to call an ambulance to pick up the patients in cases of emergencies.
5. Smart Energy Management
Here’s how cities can implement smart energy management:
- Smart Grid: Smart grids are digitally monitored, self-healing energy systems that deliver electricity or gas from generation sources. Smart grid solutions can be across industrial, residential as well as in transmission and distribution projects. Various IoT solutions like gateways can be used to achieve energy conservation at both the transmission level and consumer level. For e.g., gateways can provide a broader view of energy distribution patterns to utility companies with high connectivity and real-time analytics. Also, it develops a Demand-Response mechanism for the utility providers to optimize energy distribution based on the consumption patterns.
- Smart Meters: Smart meters can be used in residential and industrial metering sectors for electricity and gas meters where there is a need to identify the real-time information on energy usage. Consumers and utilities with smart meters can monitor their energy consumption. Moreover, energy analytics, reports, and public dashboards can be also accessed over the internet using mobile applications integrated with these smart meters.
6. Smart Water Management
IoT and connected devices enable smart water management in the following ways:
- Potable Water Monitoring: Monitors the quality of tap water in the cities.
- Chemical Leakage: Identifies leakages and wastes of factories in rivers.
- Swimming Pool Remote Measurement: Controls the swimming pool conditions remotely.
- Pollution Levels in the Sea: Controls the occurrence of leakages and wastes in the sea.
- Water Outflows: Detects of liquid presence outside tanks and pressure variations along pipes.
- River Floods: Monitors water level variations in rivers, dams, and reservoirs.
7. Smart Waste Management
Smart solutions for tracking wastes help municipalities and waste service managers the ability to optimize wastes, reduce operational costs, and better address the environmental issues associated with an inefficient waste collection.
Implementation of a smart city comes with enormous opportunities to transform the lives of people and improve the overall city infrastructure and operations. Smart sensor networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and connected technologies are the key solutions for smart city implementation.
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