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Only for specific jobs

Just a few decades ago, headsets were meant for use only with specific job functions – primarily B2B. They were used as simply extensions of communication devices, reserved for astronauts, mission control engineers, air traffic controllers, call center agents, fire fighters, etc. who all had mission critical communication to convey while their hands had to deal with something more important than holding a communication device. In the B2C consumers space you rarely saw anyone wearing headsets in public. The only devices you saw attached to one’s ears were hearing aids.

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Tale of two cities: Telephony and music

Most headsets were used for communication purposes, which also referred to as ‘Telephony’ mode. As with most communications, this requires bi-directional audio. Except for serious audiophiles and audio professionals, headsets were not used for music consumption. Any type of half-duplex audio consumption was referred to as ‘Music' mode.

Deskphones and speakerphones

Within the enterprise, a deskphone was the primary communication device for a long time. Speakerphones were becoming a common staple in meeting rooms, facilitating active collaboration amongst geographically distributed team members. So, there were ‘handsets’ but no ‘headsets’ quite yet. 

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Mobile revolution: Communication and consumption

As the Internet and the browser were taking shape in the early ’90s, deskphones were getting untethered in the form of big and bulky cellular phones. At around the same time, a Body Area Network (BAN) wireless technology called Bluetooth was invented. Its original purpose was simply to replace the cords used for connecting a keyboard and mouse to the personal computer.

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As cellular phones were slimming down and becoming more mainstream, scientists figured out how to use Bluetooth radio for short-range full-duplex audio communications as well. Fueled by rapid cell-phone proliferation, along with the need for convenient hands-free communication by enterprise executives and professionals (for whom hands-free communication while being mobile was important), monaural Bluetooth headsets started becoming a loyal companion to cell phones.

While headsets were used with various telephony devices for communications, portable analog music (Sony Walkman, anybody?) started giving way to portable digital music. Cue the iPod era. The portable music players primarily used simple wired speakers on a rope. These early ‘earbuds’ didn’t even have a microphone in them because they were meant solely for audio consumption – not for audio capture. 

The app economy, softphones and SaaS

Mobile revolution transformed simple communication devices into information exchange devices and then more recently, into mini super computers that have applications to take care of functions served by numerous individual devices like a telephony device, camera, calculator, music player, etc. As narrowband networks gave way to broadband networks for both the wired and wireless worlds, ‘communication’ and ‘media consumption’ began to transform in a significant way as well. 

Communication: Deskphones or ‘hard’-phones started being replaced by VoIP-based soft-phones. A new market segment called Unified Communications (UC) was born because of this hard- to soft-phone transition. UC has been a key growth driver for the enterprise headset market for the last several years, and it continues to show healthy growth. Enterprises could not part ways with circuit-switched telephony devices completely, but they started adopting packet-switched telephony services called soft-phones. So, UC communication device companies are effectively helping enterprises by being the bridge from ‘old’ to ‘new’ technology. UC has recently evolved into UC&C – where the second ‘C’ represents ‘Collaboration.’ Collaboration using audio and video (like Zoom or Teams calls) got a real shot in the arm because of the COVID-19-induced remote work scenario that has been playing out globally for the last year and a half.

Media consumption: ‘Static’ storage media (audio cassettes, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs) and their corresponding media players, including portable digital music devices like iPods, were replaced by ‘streaming’ services in a swift fashion. 

Why did this transformation matter to the headset world?

Communication & collaboration by the enterprise users as well as media consumption by consumers collided head-on. Because of this, monaural headsets have almost become irrelevant. Nearly all headsets today are binaural or stereo, and have microphone(s) in them.

This is because the same device needs to serve the purposes of both: consuming half-duplex audio when listening to music, podcasts, or watching movies or webinars, and enabling full-duplex audio for a telephone conversation, a conference call, or video conference.

Fewer form factors… more smarts 

From: Very few companies building manifold headset form factors that catered to the needs of every diverse persona out there.

To: Quite a few companies (obviously, a handful of them a great deal more successful than the others) driving the headset space to effectively just two form factors:

  1. Tiny True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds and
  2. Big binaural occluding cans!

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Less hardware… more software

Such a trend has been in place for quite some time impacting several industries. Headsets are no exception. Ever so sophisticated semiconductor components and proliferation of miniaturized Microelectromechanical Systems, or MEMS in short, components have taken the place of numerous bulkier hardware components.

What do modern headsets primarily do with regards to audio?

  1. Render received audio in the wearer’s ear
  2. Capture spoken audio from the wearer’s mouth
  3. Calculate anti-noise and render it in the wearer’s ear (in noise-cancelling headsets)

Sounds straightforward, right? It is not as simple as it sounds – at least for enterprise-grade professional headsets. Audio is processed in the digital domain in all modern headsets using sophisticated digital signal processing techniques. DSP algorithms running on the DSP cores of the processors are the most compute-intensive aspects of these devices. Capture/transmit/record audio DSP is relatively more complicated than the render/receive/llayback audio DSP. Depending on the acoustic design (headset boom, number of microphones, speaker/microphone placement), audio performance requirements, and other audio feature requirements, the DSP workload varies.

Intelligence right at the edge!

Headsets are true edge devices. Most headset designs have severe constraints around several factors: cost, size, weight, power, MIPS, memory, etc.

Headsets are right at the horse’s mouth (pun intended) of massive trends and modern use cases like:

  • Wake word detection for virtual private assistants (VPAs)
  • Keyword detection for device control and various other data/analytics purposes
  • Modern user interface (UI) techniques like voice-as-UI, touch-as-UI, and gestures-as-UI
  • Transmit noise cancellation/suppression (TxNC or TxNS)
  • Adaptive ambient noise cancellation (ANC) mode selection
  • Real-time transcription assistance
  • Ambient noise identification
  • Speech synthesis, speaker identification, speaker authentication, etc.

Most importantly, note that there is immense end customer value for all these capabilities.

Until recently, even if one wanted to, very little could be done to support most of these advanced capabilities right in the headset. Just the features and functionalities that were addressable within the computational limits of the on-board DSP cores using traditional DSP techniques were all that could be supported.

Enter edge compute, AutoML, tinyML, and MLOps revolutions…

Several DSP-only workloads of the past are rapidly transitioning to an efficient hybrid model of DSP+ML workloads. Quite a few ML only capabilities that were not even possible using traditional DSP techniques are becoming possible right now as well. All of this is happening within the same constraints that existed before.

Silicon as well as software innovations are behind such possibilities. Silicon innovations are relatively slow to be adopted into device architectures at the moment, but they will be over time. Software innovations extract more value out of existing silicon architectures while helping converge on more efficient hardware architecture designs for next-generation products.

Thanks to embedded machine learning, tasks and features that were close to impossible are becoming a reality now. Production-grade Inference models with tiny program and data memory footprints in addition to impressive performance are possible today because of major advancements in AutoML and tinyML techniques. Building these models does not require massive amounts of data either. The ML-framework and automated yet flexible process offered by platforms like those from Edge Impulse make the ML model creation process simple and efficient compared to traditional methods of building such models.

Microphones and sensors galore

All headsets feature at least one microphone, and many feature multiple, sometimes up to 16 of them! The field of ML for audio is vast, and it is continuing to expand further. Many of the ML inferencing that was possible only at the cloud backends or sophisticated compute-rich endpoints are now fully possible in most of the resource-constrained embedded IoT silicon.

Microphones themselves are sensors, but many other sensors like accelerometers, capacitive touch, passive infrared (PIR), ultrasonic, radar, and ultra-wideband (UWB) are making their way into headsets to meet and exceed customer expectations. Spatial audio, aka 3D audio, is one such application that utilizes several sensors to give the end-user an immersive audio experience. Sensor fusion is the concept of utilizing data from multiple sensors concurrently to arrive at intelligent decisions. Sensor fusion implementations that use modern ML techniques have been shown to have impressive performance metrics compared to traditional non-ML methods.

Transmit noise suppression (TxNS) has always been the holy grail of all premium enterprise headsets. It is an important aspect of enterprise collaboration. A magical combination of physical acoustic design – which is more art than science – combined with optimally tuned complex audio DSP algorithms implemented under severe MIPS, memory, latency, and other constraints. In recent years, some groundbreaking work has been done in utilizing recursive neural network (RNN) techniques to improve TxNS performance to levels that were never seen before. Because of their complexity and high-compute footprint, these techniques have been incorporated into devices that have mobile phone platform-like compute capabilities. The challenge of bringing such solutions to the resource-constrained embedded systems, such as enterprise headsets, while staying within the constraints laid out earlier, remains unsolved to a major extent. Advancements in embedded silicon technology, combined with tinyML/AutoML software innovations listed above, is helping address this and several other ML challenges.

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Conclusion

Modern use cases that enable the hearables to become ‘smart’ are compelling. Cloud-based frameworks and tools necessary to build, iterate, optimize, and maintain high performance small footprint ML models to address these applications are readily available from entities like Edge Impulse. Any hearable entity that doesn’t take full advantage of this staggering advancement in technology will be at a competitive disadvantage.

Originally posted on the Edge Impulse blog by Arun Rajasekaran.

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Internet of Things (IoT) today has brought a significant change in our day-to-day lives. And, with connectivity improving in the last few years it has become more widespread with the passing time. This technology has gained a lot of traction with the help of growing mobile technology. It is expected to witness a surge in the number of IoT applications that are expected in the coming years. 

So, it wouldn’t come as no surprise that companies are now starting to consider the integration of this nifty technology with iOS app development. This is because of the benefits such as ease of data collection, employee mobility, process automation, etc.

The integration of IoT into iPhone app development is one of the hottest technologies. It is making the rounds these days. Interestingly, this helps create numerous business opportunities for many enterprises across various sectors as more and more people find their way into the connected world of devices with data.

Before we move on to discussing how one can pick the right IoT development provider, allow us to also quickly list some of the main challenges you are likely to face during this process.

The development of IoT-driven iOS apps is also subject to a plethora of challenges and concerns as is any other digital product. Nonetheless, in the specific context of IoT apps, some of the key issues that are likely to emerge during the development process are connectivity, compatibility, privacy, and security. We mention these challenges to help you ensure that these challenges are properly addressed during the development process.

Now, some tips to help you find the right service provider for developing iPhone apps fortified with IoT.

1. Before you set off to find a development partner for your IoT-fortified iOS development project, it is highly advisable that you first take the time to understand precisely why you want to develop such an app. Take the time to elucidate the goal of developing such an app, what you expect to achieve with it, who is your target audience, etc. All these factors will, then, help you understand what your app should look like, the features it must have, the challenges you will face, and the kind of skills and experience you will need to help you get through this process with a robust product on the other end.

2. The next factor you must keep in mind while looking for a development partner is that the company you choose must be able to help you build a top-quality IoT-driven iOS app and that too without burning a hole in your pockets. What that means is to find a service provider who can deliver the required product without needing massive investments.

3. Now that IoT has firmly established itself as a force to be reckoned with, plenty of development service providers are looking to cash in on the popularity of this new technology. However, that does not necessarily mean they have the skill or experience one needs to develop high-quality iPhone apps. This is why experts recommend opting for a reputed company, even if engaging their services is comparatively more expensive. This will help ensure the timely development of a robust app.

It is clear as day to see that IoT brings a whole lot of value to the table, more so when it comes to iOS apps and their development. We understand trying to embrace new technology in your business and apps can be an intimidating endeavor, but hopefully, the above discussion can help allay some of the concerns you may have had about the process. For the rest, it is advisable to find an expert development company that has the relevant skills for developing iPhone apps for your business and the industry in which you operate. Once you find a trusted development partner, the rest of the process will be rather simple to navigate through.

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By Ricardo Buranello

What Is the Concept of a Virtual Factory?

For a decade, the first Friday in October has been designated as National Manufacturing Day. This day begins a month-long events schedule at manufacturing companies nationwide to attract talent to modern manufacturing careers.

For some period, manufacturing went out of fashion. Young tech talents preferred software and financial services career opportunities. This preference has changed in recent years. The advent of digital technologies and robotization brought some glamour back.

The connected factory is democratizing another innovation — the virtual factory. Without critical asset connection at the IoT edge, the virtual factory couldn’t have been realized by anything other than brand-new factories and technology implementations.

There are technologies that enable decades-old assets to communicate. Such technologies allow us to join machine data with physical environment and operational conditions data. Benefits of virtual factory technologies like digital twin are within reach for greenfield and legacy implementations.

Digital twin technologies can be used for predictive maintenance and scenario planning analysis. At its core, the digital twin is about access to real-time operational data to predict and manage the asset’s life cycle. It leverages relevant life cycle management information inside and outside the factory. The possibilities of bringing various data types together for advanced analysis are promising.

I used to see a distinction between IoT-enabled greenfield technology in new factories and legacy technology in older ones. Data flowed seamlessly from IoT-enabled machines to enterprise systems or the cloud for advanced analytics in new factories’ connected assets. In older factories, while data wanted to move to the enterprise systems or the cloud, it hit countless walls. Innovative factories were creating IoT technologies in proof of concepts (POCs) on legacy equipment, but this wasn’t the norm.

No matter the age of the factory or equipment, everything looks alike. When manufacturing companies invest in machines, the expectation is this asset will be used for a decade or more. We had to invent something inclusive to new and legacy machines and systems.

We had to create something to allow decades-old equipment from diverse brands and types (PLCs, CNCs, robots, etc.) to communicate with one another. We had to think in terms of how to make legacy machines to talk to legacy systems. Connecting was not enough. We had to make it accessible for experienced developers and technicians not specialized in systems integration.

If plant managers and leaders have clear and consumable data, they can use it for analysis and measurement. Surfacing and routing data has enabled innovative use cases in processes controlled by aged equipment. Prescriptive and predictive maintenance reduce downtime and allow access to data. This access enables remote operation and improved safety on the plant floor. Each line flows better, improving supply chain orchestration and worker productivity.

Open protocols aren’t optimized for connecting to each machine. You need tools and optimized drivers to connect to the machines, cut latency time and get the data to where it needs to be in the appropriate format to save costs. These tools include:

  • Machine data collection
  • Data transformation and visualization
  • Device management
  • Edge logic
  • Embedded security
  • Enterprise integration
This digital copy of the entire factory floor brings more promise for improving productivity, quality, downtime, throughput and lending access to more data and visibility. It enables factories to make small changes in the way machines and processes operate to achieve improvements.

Plants are trying to get and use data to improve overall equipment effectiveness. OEE applications can calculate how many good and bad parts were produced compared to the machine’s capacity. This analysis can go much deeper. Factories can visualize how the machine works down to sub-processes. They can synchronize each movement to the millisecond and change timing to increase operational efficiency.

The technology is here. It is mature. It’s no longer a question of whether you want to use it — you have it to get to what’s next. I think this makes it a fascinating time for smart manufacturing.

Originally posted here.

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As the app development industry continues to be a driving force in the global market and IoT becomes increasingly prevalent, more and more businesses are turning to React Native. Because it appears to offer benefits for such development, of course. It enhances the efficiency of apps as well as their productivity. Code is stable too.

Just a recap on technology concepts;
React JS is an open-source JavaScript library created by Facebook. It allows the inclusion of interactive elements and stores all the necessary data required for the creation of stable user interfaces for mobile or web applications. IoT, or the internet of things, on the other hand, is an ecosystem that enables connecting a variety of devices over the internet. It gives each of these machines/devices unique identifiers or UID’s that eases data transferring. React Developer Tools can help you in this regard.

Here are some other benefits of using React Native for the development of IoT apps.
1. Stability of code: The information flow structure is such that it moves downwards no matter the changes or updates to the structure. What this means is the programmer only needs to adjust the state before making changes. Once that is done only specific segments are updated when changes are made to them. About IoT apps, such an ability helps developers write a solid code database and ensure it can be executed seamlessly.
2. Extensive collection of tools: A crucial advantage that React Native offers in this context is its collection of tools aimed at enabling the development of top-notch front ends. It may also help to know that the library developers gain access to React Native is not only free but also comes in handy at various points throughout the development process.
3. Individual components: React Native involves individual components which mean issues with one component do not affect the other components in the app. About IoT apps, this segregation of components means the receipt of data, as well as the processing of said data, are distinctive. This can come in handy when the developer wants to endow the IoT app with avant-garde controls and functionalities.
4. Structural advantage: Since React Native is based on a composition model, the code the developer ends up writing for a React Native app is inherently organized. Now, what does that have to do with IoT? Well, since IoT relies on older larger, and a tad complicated models, React Native’s composition structure offers the scope to streamline the application development process.

Now let us also take a look at some of the limitations of React Native in this context.
1. High level of development expertise: There is no doubt about the fact that React Native is among the foremost options for UI frameworks. Unfortunately, its use also necessitates extensive expertise, especially when dealing with the development of intricate apps or complex functionalities or perhaps when the requests must switch from native code to JavaScript or vice versa.
2. Abstract layer: To make React Native’s functionalities work seamlessly with native apps, native OS platforms get an abstract layer. Now given the role this abstract layer plays, one can imagine why any errors in this layer can throw up errors across the entire app.
3. Third-party library-dependency: While it enables the development of top-notch mobile apps, the fact remains that often developers find themselves needing a lot of third-party libraries for native platforms when using React Native to develop an app.

No doubt React Native comes with its own set of limitations, which is something that would hold for practically everything. With that being said, this open-source UI development framework offers an impressive array of benefits for anyone seeking to develop robust and dynamic apps for a variety of platforms. So, go ahead and start looking for a trusted service provider for React Native mobile app development ASAP.

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Would you like to live in a city where everything around you is digitalized? It’s always a better option to upgrade from a traditional way of living to a smart way of living. Every city should implement electric vehicle charging, smart parking, and an IoT-based smart waste management system for better living.

The evolution of IoT and sensors has evolved the concept of smart city technology. When it comes to keeping the city clean, involving such systems is a smart move smart waste management has become the new frontier for local authorities to reduce and recycle solid waste.

 

How is Smart Waste Management Making Cities Smarter?

 

In the olden days, people managed the trash by sending the trucks to collect the waste every day at scheduled routes even if the bin was not full. This is a waste of time and resources; instead, imposing smart waste management at every scheduled route is the best solution for timely trash pickup with the right resource management. To understand the solution to this problem, and propose a smart waste management system, read further.

Before going towards why implementing, smart waste management is important, understand what exactly is the problem.

Defining the Problem of collecting the trash

Currently, the trash that people create is thrown in nearby trash cans. These cans are then emptied by the municipalities or private truck companies that manage to remove the wastes at a scheduled time and transfer the same for recycling.

This process is followed in every city, and it may solve the waste issue partially but leaves other critical problems such as;

  • Overfilled bins are not catered, and underfilled bins are collected before time.
  • Overfilled bins may create unhygienic conditions.
  • Unoptimized truck routes may result in excess usage of fuel and environmental pollution.
  • Collective trash is combined that becomes difficult to sort during recycling.

Well, the best way to sort out all the above issues is to implement smart waste management systems.

 

Alleviate these problems with IoT based smart waste management systems for smart city

The right way of waste management can prevent environmental issues and air pollution. It is necessary to take care of hygiene and control the overloading carrier of waste disposal. There are many cities where IoT systems have been implemented.

By 2027, the smart waste management market will reach $4.10B with a 15.1% CAGR globally.

The smart bins work with the help of a sensor attached to the bin. It can help measure the fill level to further communicate the trash collectors with the data processed in the cloud. It optimizes the route of collection trucks without wasting time and fuel.

The simple solution to the traditional waste collection is to implement smart waste management for a smart city. With the increase in mitigating the waste issues with smart IoT systems, even urban areas are willing to implement smart waste management programs for clean and hygienic environments.

 

Improved Smart Waste Management for Smart City

 

The amount of city garbage that city dwellers produce is on the target of reaching six million tons in the next few years. Investing in the new IoT smart-based waste management system can help in optimized waste collection. The below points can help you understand how the IoT smart system can convert your city into a smart one.

 

1. Timely pickup of trash

IoT-based smart waste management will signal the waste collection companies before the trash bins start overflowing. Once the trash cans are full, the collectors are alerted to reach the area to empty the bins.

 

2. Re-route the pickup

Solid wastes can differ daily or weekly. As you can see, trash cans are everywhere in condos, commercial buildings, and public places; smart waste management companies can take a step to attach a sensor to the trash cans to measure the filled levels. The IoT solutions can collect the data and route it to the collectors based on which smart bin needs to be emptied in priority.

 

3. Data Analysis

The connected sensors collect the data whenever the trash is filled and when it was last emptied. The designed system can prove how important it is to have IoT based smart waste management system. It helps in planning the distribution of the dumpsters and eliminates the incorrect ways of removing the wastes.

With the information mentioned above, you can understand how implementing IoT-based smart waste management systems can change the environment and improve picking up solid wastes smartly.

 

Conclusion - Transform your City into a Smart One

 

Smart waste management services can benefit the cities and the citizens with smart waste management. The companies can use the smart-built sensors to increase efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction by preventing the overflowing of the waste bins. It is advisable to start implementing smart IoT systems in every city.

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Today the world is obsessed with the IoT, as if this is a new concept. We've been building the IoT for decades, but it was only recently some marketing "genius" came up with the new buzz-acronym.

Before there was an IoT, before there was an Internet, many of us were busy networking. For the Internet itself was a (brilliant) extension of what was already going on in the industry.

My first experience with networking was in 1971 at the University of Maryland. The school had a new computer, a $10 million Univac 1108 mainframe. This was a massive beast that occupied most of the first floor of a building. A dual-processor machine it was transistorized, though the control console did have some ICs. Rows of big tape drives mirrored the layman's idea of computers in those days. Many dishwasher-sized disk drives were placed around the floor and printers, card readers and other equipment were crammed into every corner. Two Fastrand drum memories, each consisting of a pair of six-foot long counterrotating drums, stored a whopping 90 MB each. Through a window you could watch the heads bounce around.

The machine was networked. It had a 300 baud modem with which it could contact computers at other universities. A primitive email system let users create mail which was queued till nightfall. Then, when demands on the machine were small, it would call the appropriate remote computer and forward mail. The system operated somewhat like today's "hot potato" packets, where the message might get delivered to the easiest machine available, which would then attempt further forwarding. It could take a week to get an email, but at least one saved the $0.08 stamp that the USPS charged.

The system was too slow to be useful. After college I lost my email account but didn't miss it at all.

By the late 70s many of us had our own computers. Mine was a home-made CP/M machine with a Z80 processor and a small TV set as a low-res monitor. Around this time Compuserve came along and I, like so many others, got an account with them. Among other features, users had email addresses. Pretty soon it was common to dial into their machines over a 300 baud modem and exchange email and files. Eventually Compuserve became so ubiquitous that millions were connected, and at my tools business during the 1980s it was common to provide support via this email. The CP/M machine gave way to a succession of PCs, Modems ramped up to 57 K baud.

My tools business expanded rapidly and soon we had a number of employees. Sneakernet was getting less efficient so we installed an Arcnet network using Windows 3.11. That morphed into Ethernet connections, though the cursing from networking problems multiplied about as fast as the data transfers. Windows was just terrible at maintaining reliable connectivity.

In 1992 Mike Lee, a friend from my Boys Night Out beer/politics/sailing/great friends group, which still meets weekly (though lately virtually) came by the office with his laptop. "You have GOT to see this" he intoned, and he showed me the world-wide web. There wasn't much to see as there were few sites. But the promise was shockingly clear. I was stunned.

The tools business had been doing well. Within a month we spent $100k on computers, modems and the like and had a new business: Softaid Internet Services. SIS was one of Maryland's first ISPs and grew quickly to several thousand customers. We had a T1 connection to MAE-EAST in the DC area which gave us a 1.5 Mb/s link… for $5000/month. Though a few customers had ISDN connections to us, most were dialup, and our modem shelf grew to over 100 units with many big fans keeping the things cool.

The computers all ran BSD Unix, which was my first intro to that OS.

I was only a few months back from a failed attempt to singlehand my sailboat across the Atlantic and had written a book-length account of that trip. I hastily created a web page of that book to learn about using the web. It is still online and has been read several million times in the intervening years. We put up a site for the tools business which eventually became our prime marketing arm.

The SIS customers were sometimes, well, "interesting." There was the one who claimed to be a computer expert, but who tried to use the mouse by waving it around over the desk. Many had no idea how to connect a modem. Others complained about our service because it dropped out when mom would pick up the phone to make a call over the modem's beeping. A lot of handholding and training was required.

The logs showed a shocking (to me at the time) amount of porn consumption. Over lunch an industry pundit explained how porn drove all media, from the earliest introduction of printing hundreds of years earlier.

The woman who ran the ISP was from India. She was delightful and had a wonderful marriage. She later told me it had been arranged; they met  their wedding day. She came from a remote and poor village and had had no exposure to computers, or electricity, till emigrating to the USA.

Meanwhile many of our tools customers were building networking equipment. We worked closely with many of them and often had big routers, switches and the like onsite that our engineers were working on. We worked on a lot of what we'd now call IoT gear: sensors et al connected to the net via a profusion of interfaces.

I sold both the tools and Internet businesses in 1997, but by then the web and Internet were old stories.

Today, like so many of us, I have a fast (250 Mb/s) and cheap connection into the house with four wireless links and multiple computers chattering to each other. Where in 1992 the web was incredibly novel and truly lacking in useful functionality, now I can't imagine being deprived of it. Remember travel agents? Ordering things over the phone (a phone that had a physical wire connecting it to Ma Bell)? Using 15 volumes of an encyclopedia? Physically mailing stuff to each other?

As one gets older the years spin by like microseconds, but it is amazing to stop and consider just how much this world has changed. My great grandfather lived on a farm in a world that changed slowly; he finally got electricity in his last year of life. His daughter didn't have access to a telephone till later in life, and my dad designed spacecraft on vellum and starched linen using a slide rule. My son once saw a typewriter and asked me what it was; I mumbled that it was a predecessor of Microsoft Word.

That he understood. I didn't have the heart to try and explain carbon paper.

Originally posted HERE.

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by Carsten Gregersen

With how fast the IoT industry is growing, it’s paramount your business isn’t left behind.

IoT technology has brought a ton of benefits and makes systems more efficient and easier to manage. As a result, it’s no surprise that more businesses are adopting IoT solutions. On top of that, businesses starting new projects have the slight advantage of buying all new technology and, therefore, not having to deal with legacy systems. 

On the other hand, if you have an already operational legacy system and you want to implement IoT, you may think you have to buy entirely new technology to get it online, right? Not necessarily. After all, if your legacy systems are still functional and your staff is comfortable with them, why should you waste all of that time and money?

Legacy systems can still bend to your will and be used for adopting IoT. Sticking rather than twisting can help your business save money on your IoT project.

In this blog, we’ll go over the steps you would need to follow for integrating IoT technology into your legacy systems and the different options you have to get this done.

1. Analyze Your Current Systems

First things first, take a look at your current system and take note of their purpose, the way they work, the type of data that they collect, and the way they could benefit by communicating with each other.

This step is important because it will allow you to plan out IoT integration more efficiently. When analyzing your current systems make sure you focus on these key aspects:

  • Automation – See how automation is currently accomplished and what other aspects should be automated.
  • Efficiency – What aspects are routinely tedious or slow and could become more efficient?
  • Data – How it’s taken, stored, and processed, and how it could be used better
  • Money – Analyze how much some processes cost and keep them in mind to know what aspects could be done for cheaper with IoT
  • Computing – The way data is processed, whether it be cloud, edge, or hybrid.

Following these steps will help you know your project in and out and apply IoT in the areas that truly matter.

2. Plan for IoT Integration

In order to integrate IoT into your legacy systems, you must get everything in order. 

In order to successfully integrate IoT into your system, you will need to have strong planning, design, and implementation phases. Steps you will need to follow in order to achieve this can be

  • Decide what IoT hardware is going to be needed
  • Set a budget taking software, hardware, and maintenance into account
  • Decide on a communication protocol
  • Develop software tools for interacting with the system
  • Decide on a security strategy

This process can be daunting if you don’t know how IoT works, but by following the right tutorials and developing with the right tools, your IoT project can be easily realizable. 

Nabto has tools that can not only help you set up an IoT project but also adding legacy systems and newer IoT devices to it.

Here are several ways in which we can help get your legacy systems IoT ready. 

  • You can integrate the Nabto SDK to add IoT remote control access to your devices.
  • Use the Nabto application to move data from one network to another – otherwise known as TCP tunneling.
  • Add secure remote access to your existing solutions. 
  • Build mobile apps for remote control of embedded devices our IoT app solution.

3. Implement IoT Sensors to Existing Hardware

IoT has the capability to automize, control, and make systems more efficient. Therefore, interconnecting your legacy systems to allow for communication is a great idea.

There’s a high chance your legacy systems don’t currently have the ability to sense or communicate data. However, adding new IoT sensors can give them these capabilities.

IoT sensors are small devices that can detect when something changes. Then, they capture and send information to a main computer over the internet to be processed or execute commands. These could measure (but not limited to):

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Pressure
  • Gyroscope
  • Accelerometer

These sensors are cheap and easy to install, therefore, adding them to your existing legacy systems can be the simplest and quickest way to get to communicate over the internet.

Set up which inputs the sensor should respond to and under what conditions, and what it should do with the collected data. You could be surprised by the benefits that making a simple device to collect data can have for your project!

4. Connect Existing PLCs to the Internet

If you already have an automated system managed by a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller,) devices already share data with each other. Therefore, the next step is to get them online.

With access to the internet, these systems can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world. Data can be accessed, modified, and analyzed more easily. On top of that, updates can be pushed globally at any time.

Given that some PLCs utilize proprietary protocols and have a weird way of making devices communicate with each other, an IoT gateway is the best way to take the PLC to the internet.

An IoT gateway is a device that acts as a bridge between IoT devices and the cloud, and allows for communication between them. This allows you to implement IoT to a PLC without having to restructure it or change it too much.

5. Connect Legacy using an IO port

A lot of times a legacy system has some kind of interface for data input/output. Sometimes, this is implemented for debugging when the product was developed. However, at other times, this is done to make it possible for service organizations to be able to interface with products in the field and to help customers with setup and/or debug problems.

These debug ports are similar to real serial ports, such as an RS-485 RS-232, etc. That being said, they can be more raw UART, SPI, or I2C. What’s more, the majority of the time the protocol on top of the serial connection is proprietary.

This kind of interface is great. It allows you a “black box” to be created via a physical interface matching the legacy system and firmware running on this black box. This can translate “internet” requests to the proprietary protocol of the legacy system. In addition,  this new system can be used as a design for newer internet-accessible versions of the system simply by adopting the black box onto the internal legacy design.

Bottom Line

Getting your legacy systems to work in IoT is not as much of a challenge as you might have initially thought.

Following some fairly simple strategies can let you set them up relatively quickly. However, don’t forget the planning phase for your IoT strategy and deciding how it’s going to be implemented in your own legacy system. This will allow you to streamline the process even more, and make you take full advantage of all the benefits that IoT brings to your project.

Originally posted here.

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In my last post, I explored how OTA updates are typically performed using Amazon Web Services and FreeRTOS. OTA updates are critically important to developers with connected devices. In today’s post, we are going to explore several best practices developers should keep in mind with implementing their OTA solution. Most of these will be generic although I will point out a few AWS specific best practices.

Best Practice #1 – Name your S3 bucket with afr-ota

There is a little trick with creating S3 buckets that I was completely oblivious to for a long time. Thankfully when I checked in with some colleagues about it, they also had not been aware of it so I’m not sure how long this has been supported but it can help an embedded developer from having to wade through too many AWS policies and simplify the process a little bit.

Anyone who has attempted to create an OTA Update with AWS and FreeRTOS knows that you have to setup several permissions to allow an OTA Update Job to access the S3 bucket. Well if you name your S3 bucket so that it begins with “afr-ota”, then the S3 bucket will automatically have the AWS managed policy AmazonFreeRTOSOTAUpdate attached to it. (See Create an OTA Update service role for more details). It’s a small help, but a good best practice worth knowing.

Best Practice #2 – Encrypt your firmware updates

Embedded software must be one of the most expensive things to develop that mankind has ever invented! It’s time consuming to create and test and can consume a large percentage of the development budget. Software though also drives most features in a product and can dramatically different a product. That software is intellectual property that is worth protecting through encryption.

Encrypting a firmware image provides several benefits. First, it can convert your firmware binary into a form that seems random or meaningless. This is desired because a developer shouldn’t want their binary image to be easily studied, investigated or reverse engineered. This makes it harder for someone to steal intellectual property and more difficult to understand for someone who may be interested in attacking the system. Second, encrypting the image means that the sender must have a key or credential of some sort that matches the device that will decrypt the image. This can be looked at a simple source for helping to authenticate the source, although more should be done than just encryption to fully authenticate and verify integrity such as signing the image.

Best Practice #3 – Do not support firmware rollbacks

There is often a debate as to whether firmware rollbacks should be supported in a system or not. My recommendation for a best practice is that firmware rollbacks be disabled. The argument for rollbacks is often that if something goes wrong with a firmware update then the user can rollback to an older version that was working. This seems like a good idea at first, but it can be a vulnerability source in a system. For example, let’s say that version 1.7 had a bug in the system that allowed remote attackers to access the system. A new firmware version, 1.8, fixes this flaw. A customer updates their firmware to version 1.8, but an attacker knows that if they can force the system back to 1.7, they can own the system. Firmware rollbacks seem like a convenient and good idea, in fact I’m sure in the past I used to recommend them as a best practice. However, in today’s connected world where we perform OTA updates, firmware rollbacks are a vulnerability so disable them to protect your users.

Best Practice #4 – Secure your bootloader

Updating firmware Over-the-Air requires several components to ensure that it is done securely and successfully. Often the focus is on getting the new image to the device and getting it decrypted. However, just like in traditional firmware updates, the bootloader is still a critical piece to the update process and in OTA updates, the bootloader can’t just be your traditional flavor but must be secure.

There are quite a few methods that can be used with the onboard bootloader, but no matter the method used, the bootloader must be secure. Secure bootloaders need to be capable of verifying the authenticity and integrity of the firmware before it is ever loaded. Some systems will use the application code to verify and install the firmware into a new application slot while others fully rely on the bootloader. In either case, the secure bootloader needs to be able to verify the authenticity and integrity of the firmware prior to accepting the new firmware image.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that the bootloader is built into a chain of trust and cannot be easily modified or updated. The secure bootloader is a critical component in a chain-of-trust that is necessary to keep a system secure.

Best Practice #5 – Build a Chain-of-Trust

A chain-of-trust is a sequence of events that occur while booting the device that ensures each link in the chain is trusted software. For example, I’ve been working with the Cypress PSoC 64 secure MCU’s recently and these parts come shipped from the factory with a hardware-based root-of-trust to authenticate that the MCU came from a secure source. That Root-of-Trust (RoT) is then transferred to a developer, who programs a secure bootloader and security policies onto the device. During the boot sequence, the RoT verifying the integrity and authenticity of the bootloader, which then verifies the integrity and authenticity of any second stage bootloader or software which then verifies the authenticity and integrity of the application. The application then verifies the authenticity and integrity of its data, keys, operational parameters and so on.

This sequence creates a Chain-Of-Trust which is needed and used by firmware OTA updates. When the new firmware request is made, the application must decrypt the image and verify that authenticity and integrity of the new firmware is intact. That new firmware can then only be used if the Chain-Of-Trust can successfully make its way through each link in the chain. The bottom line, a developer and the end user know that when the system boots successfully that the new firmware is legitimate. 

Conclusions

OTA updates are a critical infrastructure component to nearly every embedded IoT device. Sure, there are systems out there that once deployed will never update, however, those are probably a small percentage of systems. OTA updates are the go-to mechanism to update firmware in the field. We’ve examined several best practices that developers and companies should consider when they start to design their connected systems. In fact, the bonus best practice for today is that if you are building a connected device, make sure you explore your OTA update solution sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you may find that building that Chain-Of-Trust necessary in today’s deployments will be far more expensive and time consuming to implement.

Originally posted here.

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Introduction   

Over the years, there has been an extensive shift of digitalization that has called for new concepts and new technologies. Especially when it comes to improving human life and reducing effort in routine tasks, one thing that has gained immense popularity is the very idea of IoT.   

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects (vehicles, devices, buildings, and other items) embedded with software sensors, electronics, and network connectivity to collect and exchange data. It is the network of those inter-connected objects or smart devices that can exchange information using a method of agreement and data schema.    

According to Statista, the total installed base of IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices worldwide estimated to reach 30.9 billion units by 2025, a significant increase from the 13.8 billion units anticipated in 2021.    

Common Challenges in IoT    

Do you know how IoT works? Well, IoT devices are capable of providing automated facilities because they have inbuilt sensors and mini-computer processors, in which sensors collect the data with the help of machine learning. But unfortunately, these devices are connected to the internet and are more vulnerable to hacking and malware.    

Nevertheless, we are living in the digital world where your car will soon be a better driver than you, and your smart security systems will provide:  

  • Better protection to your residence,   
  • Your Industries,   
  • and your commercial places against damage and theft.  

Your smart refrigerators will better communicate with the internet. It will be more responsible for ordering your grocery items. All these miracles can happen with automation and the advancements of embedded systems into the Internet of Things.    

However, improving the performance and quality of such systems is a significant challenge because IoT devices generate a large variety and volume of data that are difficult to test if the IoT testing service provider that you’ve hired for testing doesn’t have the best resources, tools, test environments, and test methods to ensure the quality, performance, speed, and scalability of such systems. Consequently, IoT testing services are the key to ensuring flawless performance and functionality of your IoT systems.   

As long as it comes to testing of IoT devices, organizations face severe challenges that you can discover below:   

Testing Across Several Cloud IoT Platforms    

Every IoT device has its own hardware, and this device is dependent on software to operate it. When it comes to integration, IoT devices require application software to run commands to the devices and analyze data collected by the devices. Also, each device comes with different operating systems, versions, firmware, hardware, and software, which may not be possible to test with various combinations of devices.    

Before conducting testing on IoT devices, one needs to collect information from the end-users about which software they’re using to run the IoT devices. One of the most widely used cloud IoT platforms that assist in connecting different components of the IoT value chain is IBM Watson, Azure IoT, and AWS, among others. To run IoT devices across all cloud IoT platforms, it is necessary to consider the experienced IoT testing service provider or experts from the software testing company, mainly those who are well-versed in the testing of cloud IoT platforms and can ensure their practical usability.    

One should know about an IoT environment and understand how devices generate data with a wide variety, velocity, and veracity. Make sure IoT devices produce the data into a structured or unstructured form and then send the enormous amounts of data to the cloud. If you plan to get IoT testing services, you need to test your IoT application across various platforms. Testing should be performed in a real-time environment. If the device often introduces firmware updates or new version upgrades, it is crucial to perform specific testing by keeping all such factors in mind.    

Data Security Threats    

The volume of data gathered and communicated by connected devices is enormous. The higher amount of data generated by devices, the higher number of data leaks or any other risks your system can experience from outside entries.    

Testing of IoT devices is vital from the best IoT testing service provider. Otherwise, your IoT device can become vulnerable to security threats. With QA experts or IoT testing services, you can quickly identify security bottlenecks from the system and address them early as possible.    

When performing IoT testing, it is necessary to test credentials, passwords, and data interface to ensure that there are no risks for security breaches. Today, IoT engineers implement layered security, and with this process, they can get multiple levels of protection for the system and prevent the system from potential attacks or data leaks.  

 Too Many IoT Communication Protocols    

Nowadays, IoT devices use several distinct communication protocols from Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and common Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) to interact with controllers and with each other.    

But the most popular protocol that ensures the IoT device will communicate and perform well even in high latency and low bandwidth situations is MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT).  

However, due to the popularity of MQTT, it is crucial to ensure the security of this protocol as it is open to attacks and doesn’t provide excellent protection beyond the Transmission Control Protocol layer. Therefore, one should hire a diligent IoT testing service provider to assure that testing will perform rigorously. In addition, it ensures that the communication between controllers and disparate devices will happen more reliably and safely.    

Lack of Standardization    

Due to the increasing number of connected devices, it becomes imperative to improve the standardization of an IoT system in different levels: platforms, standard business models, connectivity, and application.    

Standardization for each IoT device should be uniformed while testing. Otherwise, your users can face severe problems at the time of connecting IoT devices with different systems.    

For this, the IoT testing service provider should have detailed expertise in performing connected device testing based on the intended use or use case of the system. Also, there should be a uniform standardization for all levels of IoT systems before providing quality-based IoT products to end-users.    

Conclusion    

IoT testing approach can vary based on the architecture or system involved. Therefore, businesses should focus more on reliable IoT testing services and allow testers to focus more on the Test-As-a-User (TAAS) approach instead of testing based on the requirements.   

Always choose the trustworthy IoT testing service provider for integration testing of IoT systems. One should have a comprehensive strategy to discover the bugs in the system through integration testing.   

Numerous challenges occur while implementing IoT testing, but it is an exciting job if the testing service provider is ready to offer you end-to-end functional and non-functional validation services for different implementations.    

The company should be certified to test IoT connected devices with a complicated mesh of devices, hardware, protocols, operating systems, firmware, etc. In addition, they should have industry best practices with IoT testing tools to address challenges that you face every day while using IoT systems.    

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By Jacqi Levy

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming every facet of the building – how we inhabit them, how we manage them, and even how we build them. There is a vast ecosystem around today’s buildings, and no part of the ecosystem is untouched.

In this blog series, I plan to examine the trends being driven by IoT across the buildings ecosystem. Since the lifecycle of building begins with design and construction, let’s start there. Here are four ways that the IoT is radically transforming building design and construction.

Building information modeling

Building information modeling (BIM) is a process that provides an intelligent, 3D model of a building. Typically, BIM is used to model a building’s structure and systems during design and construction, so that changes to one set of plans can be updated simultaneously in all other impacted plans. Taken a step further, however, BIM can also become a catalyst for smart buildings projects.

Once a building is up and running, data from IoT sensors can be pulled into the BIM. You can use that data to model things like energy usage patterns, temperature trends or people movement throughout a building. The output from these models can then be analyzed to improve future buildings projects. Beyond its impact on design and construction, BIM also has important implications for the management of building operations.

Green building

The construction industry is a huge driver of landfill waste – up to 40% of all solid waste in the US comes from the buildings projects. This unfortunate fact has ignited a wave of interest in sustainable architecture and construction. But the green building movement has become about much more than keeping building materials out of landfills. It is influencing the design and engineering of building systems themselves, allowing buildings to reduce their impact on the environment through energy management.

Today’s green buildings are being engineered to do things like shut down unnecessary systems automatically when the building is unoccupied, or open and close louvers automatically to let in optimal levels of natural light. In a previous post, I talk about 3 examples of the IoT in green buildings, but these are just some of the cool ways that the construction industry is learning to be more sustainable with help from the IoT.

Intelligent prefab

Using prefabricated building components can be faster and more cost effective than traditional building methods, and it has an added benefit of creating less construction waste. However, using prefab for large commercial buildings projects can be very complex to coordinate. The IoT is helping to solve this problem.

Using RFID sensors, individual prefab parts can be tracked throughout the supply chain. A recent example is the construction of the Leadenhall Building in London. Since the building occupies a relatively small footprint but required large prefabricated components, it was a logistically complex task to coordinate the installation. RFID data was used to help mitigate the effects of any downstream delays in construction. In addition, the data was the fed into the BIM once parts were installed, allowing for real time rendering of the building in progress, as well as establishment of project controls and KPIs.

Construction management

Time is money, so any delays on a construction project can be costly. So how do you prevent your critical heavy equipment from going down and backing up all the other trades on site? With the IoT!

Heavy construction equipment is being outfitted with sensors, which can be remotely monitored for key indicators of potential maintenance issues like temperature fluctuations, excessive vibrations, etc. When abnormal patterns are detected, alerts can trigger maintenance workers to intervene early, before critical equipment fails. Performing predictive maintenance in this way can save time and money, as well as prevent unnecessary delays in construction projects.

Originally posted here.

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4 key questions to ask tech vendors

Posted by Terri Hiskey

Without mindful and strategic investments, a company’s supply chain could become wedged in its own proverbial Suez Canal, ground to a halt by outside forces and its inflexible, complex systems.

 

It’s a dramatic image, but one that became reality for many companies in the last year. Supply chain failures aren’t typically such high-profile events as the Suez Canal blockage, but rather death by a thousand inefficiencies, each slowing business operations and affecting the customer experience.

Delay by delay and spreadsheet by spreadsheet, companies are at risk of falling behind more nimble, cloud-enabled competitors. And as we emerge from the pandemic with a new understanding of how important adaptable, integrated supply chains are, company leaders have critical choices to make.

The Hannover Messe conference (held online from April 12-16) gives manufacturing and supply chain executives around the world a chance to hear perspectives from industry leaders and explore the latest manufacturing and supply chain technologies available.

Technology holds great promise. But if executives don’t ask key strategic questions to supply chain software vendors, they could unknowingly introduce a range of operational and strategic obstacles into their company’s future.

If you’re attending Hannover Messe, here are a few critical questions to ask:

Are advanced technologies like machine learning, IoT, and blockchain integrated into your supply chain applications and business processes, or are they addressed separately?

It’s important to go beyond the marketing. Is the vendor actually promoting pilots of advanced technologies that are simply customized use cases for small parts of an overall business process hosted on a separate platform? If so, it may be up to your company to figure out how to integrate it with the rest of that vendor’s applications and to maintain those integrations.

To avoid this situation, seek solutions that have been purpose-built to leverage advanced technologies across use cases that address the problems you hope to solve. It’s also critical that these solutions come with built-in connections to ensure easy integration across your enterprise and to third party applications.

Are your applications or solutions written specifically for the cloud?

If a vendor’s solution for a key process (like integrated business planning or plan to produce, for example) includes applications developed over time by a range of internal development teams, partners, and acquired companies, what you’re likely to end up with is a range of disjointed applications and processes with varying user interfaces and no common data model. Look for a cloud solution that helps connect and streamline your business processes seamlessly.

Update schedules for the various applications could also be disjointed and complicated, so customers can be tempted to skip updates. But some upgrades may be forced, causing disruption in key areas of your business at various times.

And if some of the applications in the solution were written for the on-premises world, business processes will likely need customization, making them hard-wired and inflexible. The convenience of cloud solutions is that they can take frequent updates more easily, resulting in greater value driven by the latest innovations.

Are your supply chain applications fully integrated—and can they be integrated with other key applications like ERP or CX?

A lack of integration between and among applications within the supply chain and beyond means that end users don’t have visibility into the company’s operations—and that directly affects the quality and speed of business decisions. When market disruptions or new opportunities occur, unintegrated systems make it harder to shift operations—or even come to an agreement on what shift should happen.

And because many key business processes span multiple areas—like manufacturing forecast to plan, order to cash, and procure to pay—integration also increases efficiency. If applications are not integrated across these entire processes, business users resort to pulling data from the various systems and then often spend time debating whose data is right.

Of course, all of these issues increase operational costs and make it harder for a company to adapt to change. They also keep the IT department busy with maintenance tasks rather than focusing on more strategic projects.

Do you rely heavily on partners to deliver functionality in your supply chain solutions?

Ask for clarity on which products within the solution belong to the vendor and which were developed by partners. Is there a single SLA for the entire solution? Will the two organizations’ development teams work together on a roadmap that aligns the technologies? Will their priority be on making a better solution together or on enhancements to their own technology? Will they focus on enabling data to flow easily across the supply chain solution, as well as to other systems like ERP? Will they be able to overcome technical issues that arise and streamline customer support?

It’s critical for supply chain decision-makers to gain insight into these crucial questions. If the vendor is unable to meet these foundational needs, the customer will face constant obstacles in their supply chain operations.

Originally posted here.

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Waste management is a global concern. According to The World Bank report, about 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste is generated globally every year. 33% of that waste is not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Waste management in densely populated urban areas is a major problem. The lack of it leads to environmental contamination. It ends up spreading diseases in epidemic proportions. It is a challenge for both developed and developing countries.

By 2050, it is estimated to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes. But here is the catch. IoT waste management systems can help, Municipalities across the globe can employ IoT to manage waste better. IoT technologies are already being employed for modern supply chains. IoT waste management systems have become invaluable as they optimize and automate most of the processes in the industry. IoT adoption, however, is far more significant on the supply chain side. While many IoT-based waste management systems are already in place, a lot of challenges hold them back. 

A smart city collects data of personal vehicles, buildings, public transport, components of urban infrastructures such as power grids and waste management systems, and citizens. The insights derived from the real-time data help municipalities to manage these systems. IoT waste management is a new frontier for local authorities, aiming to reduce municipal waste. As per a recent survey by IoT Analytics, over 70% of cities have deployed IoT systems for security, traffic, and water level monitoring. It is yet to be fully deployed for smart waste management systems using IoT.

With rapid population increase, sanitation-related issues concerning garbage management are on a decline. It creates unhygienic conditions for the citizens in the surrounding areas, leading to the spread of diseases. IoT in waste management is a trending solution. By using IoT, waste management companies can increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. 

The waste collection process in urban areas is complex. It requires a significant amount of resources. More than $300 million per capita is spent annually in collecting and managing waste. Most of the high-income cities charge their citizens to cover a fraction of this expense. The rest of the expense is compensated from the tax revenue, which financially burdens the local government.

Municipalities and waste management companies have improved route efficiencies. But they haven't leveraged technological innovations for improving operational efficiency. Even with the route optimization process, the manual process wastes money and time. The use of smart devices, machine-to-machine connectivity, sensors, and IoT can reduce costs. A smart waste management system using IoT can reduce expenses in the trash collection process. But how? How does the use of IoT in waste management improve waste collection efficiencies?

 

How Does IoT in Waste management Respond to Operational Inefficiencies?


A smart waste management system using IoT improves the efficiency of collecting waste and recycling. Route optimization is the most common use case for using IoT waste management solutions, which reduces fuel consumption. 

IoT-powered, smart waste management solutions comprise endpoints (sensors), IoT platforms, gateways, and web and mobile applications. Sensors are attached to dumpsters to check their fill level. Gateways bridge the gap between the IoT platform and the sensor, sending data to the cloud. IoT platforms then transform the raw data into information. 

 

Benefits of IoT Waste Management Solutions


There are several advantages of using IoT-powered waste management solutions. 

  • Reduced Waste Collection Costs:
    Dumpsters that employ IoT can transmit their real-time information on fill-level. The data is shared with the waste collectors. The use of data and selection of optimum routes leads the waste collection trucks to consider the dumpsters with high fill levels. This saves fuel, money, and effort. 
  • No Missed Pickups:
    The smart IoT waste management system eliminates the overflowing of trash bins. The authorities are immediately notified when the trash bins are about to fill up to their capacity. And the collection trucks are scheduled for pickup. 
  • Waste Generation Analysis:
    IoT waste management isn't about route optimization alone. The actual value of an IoT-powered process lies in data analysis. Most IoT solutions are coupled with data analytics capabilities. They help IoT waste management companies anticipate future waste generation.
  • Reduction In Carbon Dioxide Emission:
    Optimized routes cause less fuel consumption. They reduce the carbon footprint and make the waste management process eco-friendlier.
  • Efficient Recycling:
    Over the years, the appearance of consumer electronic devices in landfills has become a growing concern. This is due to its harmful chemicals and valuable components. But this concern also presents an opportunity. IoT offers an opportunity for businesses by using sanitation systems to recycle e-waste for resources.
  • Automating IoT Management Systems:
    IoT waste management can also be helpful in waste categorization. The use of digital bins can help in automating the sorting, segregation, and categorization of waste. This saves a lot of man-hours. A Polish company Bin-e combines AI-based object recognition, fill level control and data processing. Its 'Smart Waste Bins' identifies and sorts waste into four categories - paper, glass, plastic, and metal. This makes waste processing more efficient. 


Future of IoT Waste Management


IoT waste management is a boon. The growing use of IoT linked with the management of everyday urban life improves the everyday experience of the citizens. Additionally, it reduces carbon footprint. But to do so in the waste management segment, more support is needed from the public sector through incentives and regulations. The private sector needs to contribute via innovation. Engagement from the various state agencies is required to implement the usage of IoT applications. This will help build a more sustainable future.


Conclusion


Those managing the waste collection, sorting, segregation and categorization, can benefit from a smart waste management system using IoT. By employing IoT in waste management, waste management companies can increase operational efficiency. It can reduce costs and enhance the satisfaction level of citizens by ensuring dumpsters don't overflow.

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Many businesses are already taking advantage of IoT solutions to improve their efficiency and create new revenue streams. However, if you're considering launching a connected business, one of the most important factors to contemplate is the cost of IoT software implementation. This article will give you an overview of what goes into IoT software development and maintenance. 

Different factors feed into the cost, but the two most common concerns for companies getting into IoT are the cost of initial software development (or “integration”) and ongoing expenses after devices have been deployed. Unfortunately, as key stakeholders ponder over the ever-present build vs buy dilemma, the ones who lean towards building often tend to underestimate both significantly.

Let's take a look at a minimum set of software products you would need today to run a connected product, business, or service. First of all, firmware - software that is uploaded and then runs on the hardware. It provides a low-level control for the device's specific logic. Networks and connectivity – it's a part of firmware development, but I would move it into a separate domain, crucial for any IoT implementation.

Cloud is any service made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider's servers. The IoT servers have different purposes, like administration, monitoring, data gathering and analysis. Applications - once the device is connected, in today's reality you would need a user interface to interact with the device or service, configure it, control and monitor remotely, visualize processes, etc. It can be a touch control, a mobile app, a web app, a voice app (e.g. Amazon Alexa skill), etc.

Working with deployed connected products also usually requires two different types of apps: customer-facing applications (remote control, automation settings, maintenance alerts) and applications for internal company use (fleet management, analytics, device health tracking, performance tracking and maintenance alerts). And one thing is to offer an app, and a totally different thing is to build an app people will actually love to use. The latter requires a particularly strong UI/UX expertise in addition to the expected front-end, back-end and QA resources. 

As part of an IoT solution, you'll need additional storage capacity and processing power to perform analytics, run reports, and house the vast amounts of data that will be generated. Invoicing for these capabilities can vary—from a fixed monthly cost to metered billing—so make sure you understand the pricing model to anticipate cash flow better.

Various IoT platforms offer parts of the solutions for the software needs mentioned above. However, it often takes at least 3-5 different vendors to get everything an IoT powered business needs. Not only is it challenging to manage so many vendors, but also the costs really start adding up, making IoT implementation and maintenance pricing prohibitive for many companies, especially the smaller ones.

Fortunately, there are now options like Blynk IoT platform that have launched solutions tailored specifically at small businesses and startups. As a result, engineers and entrepreneurs worldwide can build and commercialize connected products without the heavy investment typically required to start an IoT-enabled business. Anyone with an MCU, some coding skills, and a great product idea can create an IoT business. And their monthly software costs will be less than what they pay for a typical TV subscription in the US.

Out-of-the-box, Blynk is supposed to cover 90-100% of software needs a business typically faces in the first 2-3 years of IoT operations. The platform functionality includes device provisioning and management, data hosting in the cloud, mobile and web apps for customers and staff, firmware over-the-air updates, user and organization management, data analytics, all kinds of automations and much more.

 

IoT software - build or buy?

As you can see, building your own IoT software from scratch is not a cheap endeavor, especially with a team based in the USA. If you have all of the right people on board and have a bulletproof ROI model for your IoT investment - go for it, build in-house. But if you are an OEM whose main focus remains on their core products and you care about optimizing costs and your time to market - then you are probably better off leveraging a solid IoT platform. Those folks have already spent those years (and in most cases, millions) building out the software you need and testing it out with real clients, in real world conditions, with all of the priceless learnings that come with that.

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, as the name suggests, enable a company, no matter the industry, to better plan the use and management of its resources and achieve seamless operations. Such solutions, when integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT), i.e. a network of connected devices that enables the exchange of data in real-time, can work wonders in the manufacturing sector. No, really. Now, if you are wondering why that is, allow us to demonstrate via some key benefits of this duo.

  1. Better management of assets: Perhaps one of the best things about technologies and their evolution that helped businesses tend to their assets, machines, and equipment much better than before, i.e. not wait to tend to it till it has broken down and rendered unproductive, even if temporarily so. But thanks to IoT sensors embedded in such assets, it becomes that much easier to identify any wear and tear, any issues, etc. across their lifetime. These factors are then flagged to the ERP software, which then further informs the appropriate teams and people responsible for the maintenance of such assets. This allows companies to undertake preventive maintenance, thus prolonging the life of their assets. It also helps ensure that operations are not interrupted since maintenance work can be scheduled in a manner to prevent or minimize downtime.
  2. Access to real-time analytics: As the basic idea of IoT suggests, what they do is double up as a source of 24x7 information. They glean data collected from the sensors and then channel said data into the requisite systems. This ability to collect data at all times, from all the connected devices, means manufacturing businesses can process the data through ERP systems to gain access to highly valuable information such as market trends, processes that might need improvements, any possible quality issues, and so much more. Such information, in turn, drives much more informed strategies and marketing-related decisions and that too in real-time.
  3. Improved quality control: Quality is typically one of the key concerns on the priority list of any business involved in manufacturing, no matter what it is that one may be making. Of course, this is where long-established, archaic quality checks would come in, but the problem is that it is quite time-consuming, prone to high levels of human error, etc. This problem, thankfully, is easily addressed with an IoT-integrated ERP solution, which can empower companies and their management to better the quality of their offerings via round-the-clock monitoring of their production processes.

As the world and the technologies around us continue to evolve at a dizzying pace, ERP solutions have emerged as the crowd favorite for all modern businesses. Now, as evidenced from the above discussion, the said popularity of enterprise software development, fortified with advanced technologies such as IoT, artificial intelligence, etc., can bring a world of benefits to manufacturing companies as well as those operating in other sectors across the globe.

Hence, driving the demand for such solutions further up. With that being said, if you too wish to make use of all the aforementioned benefits and countless others such as automation, better levels of customer service, and more, you know the integration of ERP with IoT is the right way forward.

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The demand for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment is gradually increasing and performing to expect a huge growth over the coming years. For this an annual growth rate of more than six percent. CNC machining plays a major role in present manufacturing and helps us create a diverse range of products in several industries, from agriculture, automotive, and aerospace to Semiconductor and circuit boards.

Nowadays, machining has developed rapidly in periods of processing complexity, precision, machine scale, and automation level. In the development of processing quality and efficiency, CNC machine tools play a vital role. IoT-enabled CNC machine monitoring solutions, which creates machine-to-machine interaction resulting in automated operations and less manual intervention.

Embedded the IoT sensors on CNC machines that can measure various parameters and send them to a platform from where the state and operation of the machines can be fully supervised. Furthermore, CNC machines can scrutinize the data collected from sensors to perpetually replace tools, change the degree of freedom, or perform any other action. 

ADVANTAGES:

An Enterprise can leverage the following advantages by coalescence of Industry 4.0 and CNC. 

Predictive Maintenance:

CNC Machine operators and handlers embrace the Industrial IoT which allows them to appropriately interconnect with their CNC machines in many ways through smartphones or tablets. Therefore the operators can monitor the condition of machines at all times remotely using Faststream’s IoT-based CNC machine monitoring.

This remote and real-time monitoring aids the machine operating person to program a CNC for a checkup or restore.

On the other hand, these can also arrange their CNC machines to send alerts or notifications to operators whenever machines deem themselves due for tuning or maintenance. In other terms, the machine will raise red flags about complications such as a rise in temperature, increased vibrations, or tool damage.

Reducing Downtime and Efficient Machine Monitoring :

Digital Transformation in CNC Machine solutions has broad competence and is not restricted to distant control and programmed maintenance for CNC machines. Reduce machine downtime and escalate overall equipment effectiveness by using our IoT system and grasping its real-time alert features. The Alerts received from machines can be used to do predictive measures and unexpected breakdown of tools or any other element of a CNC machine.

Faststream Technologies similar solutions to its clients by arranging the IoT energy management solution for their CNC machines. Pre-executing these solutions, the client was facing difficulties with the future breakdown of their machines. Faststream's IoT solution guided them to retain a clear insight into the running hours of their CNC machines, which in turn gave them exact thoughts of how they were maintaining their production run-time.

Machine downtime reducing solutions can be utilized for a chain of CNC machines to not only ameliorate their processing but also to boost the machine synchronization process in industrial inception and realize the operational eminence.

Less manual effort and Worker Safety:

For the bigger enactment, the technology of Industrial IoT can also be implemented to bring down manual efforts, or in other terms, mitigate the possibility of workers’ injury in the factory operation process.

From this action, machine-to-machine synchronization and interrelation come into the picture. The synergy between machines will result in more interpretation between various electromechanical devices, which will lead to automated operations in a Manufacturing unit.

Many companies are already working towards the development of smart robots and machines that can.

Several Companies that perform on smart robots and machine development can work on pre-programmed tasks and retaliation to the existing needs of CNC machines for bringing down the extra strain of quality operation from the manual workforce. All these robots can perform confined and elegant work like opening & close the slab of a CNC machine or reform the tool whenever sharpness is required.

Apart from the lowering injuries in the workshop, our Industry 4.0 in CNC Machine also helps in lowering material wastage and betterment the efficiency of CNC machines, which will help in the rise in production of exact elements in a shorter time frame.

CONCLUSION

CNC machines are electromechanical devices that can operate tools on a different range of axes with more accuracy to generate a small part as per command put through a computer program. These can run faster than any other non-automated machine as well as can generate further objects with high accuracy from any type of design.

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With a lot of buzz in the industry, the Internet of Things, a.k.a, IoT, has successfully gained traction. Confused about what an IoT is? Don't be because you have been using it literally in your everyday life, and if not you, then definitely someone you know, for example, smartwatches, fitness devices, self-driving cars, smart microwaves, etc.

An IoT is a network of connected devices where the data and information are interlinked in a way you might not know!

Now that the concept of IoT is briefly cleared, let's see how it could become the fifth revolution in the dairy industry.

2018 has seen a fourth industrial revolution, which was a new step in the production, automatization, and computerization of the processes by using the data provided by the IoT devices. One might think this concept is only used in industries like health & fitness or electronics, but the revolution is no less in agro.

As per a study, in 2016, an agro-tech company received a massive amount of $3.2 billion investment. This provides enough evidence to show the growing graph of the need for digitalisation in every aspect of dairy farming.

 

Why is the need for smart dairy farming?

 

With the vastly growing industry, it has become the need of the hour to be up-to-date with the essential technology for the growing competition. To keep up with the healthy living of the livestock, it is essential to prevent any illness by diagnosing it at an earlier stage.

For 97% of the U.S. dairy farms, it is more than just their source of income and is a family-owned business. This also means that most of them have been into livestock farming for generations, but the business is not the same as decades before.

Smart dairy farming using IoT can become revolutionary solutions to improve farm capacity, reduce animal mortality and increase dairy output.

To meet the growing demand for dairy with the increasing population, especially in the developed countries, better tools and specialized equipment are required. IoT integrated smart-collars serve the purpose.

 

How does the smart collar work?

 

The smart collar is a complete IoT-enabled cattle management system with a physical product linked with a digital screen.

The cattle tracking device with an inbuilt GPS gives a real-time location of the cattle and sends the signals to the owners every quarter of an hour.

The collars get connected with the routers installed near the farming field, where they will get signals from.

The vital sensitive devices will be bridged to the collar strap, continuously providing reports over the software dashboard screen. As the belt is installed, the data gets transferred and stored in the form of graphs and charts.

 

What are the benefits of smart dairy farming using IoT?

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Auto-Milking Process

 

Manual milking is a time-consuming process; instead, it also includes more staffing. IoT embedded smart collar belts can resolve the problem more efficiently with less manpower by introducing auto milking.

Since auto-milking is just a robotic system and is entirely automated, it is unaware of the temperature and any diseases affecting the cattle. The machine will yield all the cattle at the same time, the same way.

When we link IoT to the cattle, essential factors are looked upon, which otherwise can get ignored if done manually.

Temperature monitoring, disease tracking, and nutritional requirements are few, tracked down with a smart belt, and helps better quality milk production.

 

Tracking the heat cycle

 

Manually yielding milk to a cow that is not at its heat cycle would lead to low fertility. To continue the best quality milk, cattle must give birth to one calf a year to maintain the lactation period.

A lactating cattle undergo heat every 21-28 days but, is it possible to know that manually and that too accurately? It can be do-able but can take a lot of time.

The heat can stress down the cattle leading to lower milk production and, if yielded simultaneously, can further reduce the fat, protein, casein, and lactose content in milk.

To prevent such errors, smart collars would send alarms to the owner on its dashboard screen. It will notify when is the right time to yield, resulting in better milk production. 

 

Tracking the movement with GPS

 

The tracking collars installed with the GPS will give real-time data allowing individuals to know the accurate information and location of the animals.

The smart collar works best in the field of around 5-10 cattle, as each of them will work as a personal tracker and give owners a whole valuable time to focus on one livestock full time.

Investing over manpower comparatively seems less costly at the start. Still, as time passes by, IoT for cattle becomes a sustainable option and can help your business grow bigger in no time. 

 

Health tracking

 

Healthy eating leads to a healthier life. It works the same in all living entities on the planet. Many studies and experts say that "rumination in cattle is an indicator of health and performance"

The traditional method of visual analyses of ruminations was a process that required a workforce and was performed only when on the field. This is also limited to a particular population level; hence, the chances of errors increase.

What does one get to know about every cow's health quality by sitting idle at a comfortable place? The IoT-enabled software system will track individual cow's rumination data and will help producers to invite when one needs more attention.

Although visual observations can be trusted to access rumination activity in a cow, this method may not provide an accurate result when the challenge arrives to observe at a population level. It would hamper the health standards of the cattle. 

 

Decrease mortality with security alerts

 

What if one needs to know how much grazing a cow did on that particular day? It can only be possible by manually observing it. Furthermore, how to analyse if the rumination is being done effectively?

Monitoring the changes and behaviors of the herd is one of the most significant and time-consuming tasks.

Using IoT devices, such as smart neck belts, it gets easier to monitor fishy cattle movements. The belt sends alarms any time it detects that something is "Off."

The sensors will be embedded in the neck strap around the cow's neck, which will help farmers personally supervise the cow's movement and respond accordingly.

Smart sensors will automatically gather and store the data and will help farmers prevent any growing health issues. 

 

Control Disease Outbreaks

 

These speechless living are never going to deal with their health issues on their own. So whether or not there are any suspicious changes in their behavior, they are very likely to miss out upon some diseases.

The only way left to inspect the diseases is mostly by diagnosing yourself, which is almost certainly going to risk many other cattle lives too.

Lameness, foot and mouth disease, mastitis, and milk fever are some of the most common fatal diseases in cattle. These all can be avoided early and can save farmers from troublesome and financial crashes in the future.

The system will alert the farmer when it needs assistance with the help of an embedded smart vital monitoring device in the collar.

 

In the nutshell

 

In the world of "connecting everything," it not only connects the devices but information and data which can circulate within a span of milliseconds. So why not use the advantages of such devices when it comes to some unexpected outcomes?

Traditional methods of cattle farming are good enough. But, they might cripple milk quality and lead to a massive loss of cash flow if not looked upon. Cattle farming is not an easy job. It needs 24 hours of continuous monitoring and observations to have a successful income.

An IoT is a real-time data collection, precisely a replacement of manpower but a more refined version of it. By introducing the "smart cow" concept, the time and labor are reduced, and productivity increases.

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Have tyou ever imagined you would one day wake up to news that technology is influencing an industry as offbeat as fashion? Well, here we are in this phase of tech evolution, where we would soon get to wear apparel not from clothing lines like Gucci or Saint Laurent but probably from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google or more.

Yes, smart clothing seems to be the future of wearable technology that kickstarted with ambitious projects like Google Glass. Today, we have first generation Iot wearable technology devices like smartwatches, health monitors, FitBits and more but soon, we will have clothing with embedded sensors that will connect to the internet.

Wearable fashion or smart clothing will be part of the Internet of Things revolution and soon give us insights on our vitals, temperature, hydration levels and bring in a range of predictive analytics concepts into our everyday life.

Excited?

We are, too and that’s why we decided to publish a post that explores what smart clothing is and how it is redefining conventions.

Let’s get started.

Smart Clothing Is The Future Of The Wearables Industry

Let’s start with some numbers. Statistics from the World Economic Forum revealed that around 10% of the people around the world will wear clothes that connect to the internet by 2025. 

This is a really good sign for the smart wearable technology industry. And if you’ve been wondering if this concept is something new or fresh, it’s not. Smart clothing has been a micro niche for a long time with several sports companies like Nike and Adidas rolling out very specific lines of smart clothes for sports purposes. What is new is the approach of mainstream commercialization of smart clothing. 

The idea is to embed IoT-specific peripherals like sensors, batteries and more into the fabric of clothes and connect the entire ecosystem to an app for visualization of diverse insights. With the app, consumers can also execute a couple of fancy actions like changing the design or color of their apparel in real time, change hues and do more.

To give you a quick idea of how remarkable the concept of smart clothing is, here are some pointers:

Smart clothing is highly beneficial in keeping track of vitals in people. Technology is also being developed to monitor the accumulation of brain fluids in real time and report stakeholders and doctors about consequences.

  1. The predominant use of smart clothing lies in the sports industry, where several metrics could be monitored by coaches of individual players and the entire team to reach fitness and tournament goals.
  2. From a manufacturer’s perspective, fraudulent and unauthentic copies of labels and apparels can be eliminated from the market through codes and layered validation mechanisms.
  3. Patients in hospitals could wear smart clothing to track their recovery, reactions to medications, notify or call for nurses and doctors and more.
  4. People suffering from dementia or Alzheimers could sport smart dresses to enable their friends and families to track them from a distance.
  5. Adventurers, spelunkers, high-altitude trekkers and more could also benefit from smart clothing with details on oxygen levels, anticipated temperature, location tracking modules, hydration levels, humidity sensors and more.

Though this looks futuristic and ambitious, the biggest challenge for the smart clothing companies would be to incorporate IoT solutions into their fabrics. The human body consistently generates sweat and heat and there are chances that water from sweat could damage batteries or sensors embedded in the clothes. When we fix these concerns and deliver optimized outfits, smart clothes could very well be what we wear to work every day in the coming years.

Smart Fashion Products In The Market

Like we mentioned, smart clothes are in development and some products are actually available in the market as prototypes. Tons of Kickstarter campaigns are exploring the limitless possibilities of smart fashion as well. For a better clarity on what the products are, here are some real world examples. 

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Smart Jackets

The best product in development is the smart jacket. Since 2015, two market players - Google and Levi’s - have been collaborating to launch smart jackets with touch-sensitive fabric. In this, capacitive threads made of copper have been developed and used as the jacket’s fabric to allow users to use their smartphones by just using their hands and gestures. 

Minority Report vibes anyone?

Smart Socks

An inevitable accessory, socks have always been in our wardrobes.Smart socks are here to replace the conventional ones and give you a more immersive experience. 

What could be immersive in socks you ask? 

Well, smart socks could sense the pressure you put on your foot when walking, calculate your walking speed, the distance you cover (and could cover) and offer a detailed visualization of insights from multiple data points. This could influence the way you walk as well.

Smart Shoes

If we’re making our socks smart, why leave behind shoes? Somebody out there had a similar thought and the result is a pair of shoes that tracks your fitness, speed, pressure and most importantly, lets you control your television using your feet. All you have to do is extend your foot, point at something on your television and press a button. We’re sure there would be more experiences added to the product as it evolves.

Smart Sleepwear

Sleep has always been a concern for most of us. While some of us oversleep, a few of us hardly get good sleep. There are tons of factors influencing our sleep including our sleeping positions, stress and anxiety levels and more. 

Smart sleepwear, however, is here to fix our broken and disconnected sleep patterns by giving us insights on breathing, heart rates, sleep positions and more. The best part is that you don’t have to wear an additional wristband for this. The fabric has embedded devices that take care of its intended purposes.

Is Smart Clothing The New-Age Market Wearable?

Wearable tech plays a crucial role in the tech space because it’s probably something that could be the most integral to people. Conventional wearable technology devices like wristbands, smartwatches, eyewear and more appear and function as extensions but that’s not the case with clothing.

It is us and who we are. From a consumer’s perspective, there’s no challenge involved whatsoever in maintaining smart clothes. It’s on companies to develop and launch products that could take in the regular wear and tear of humans and be resistive to it, be washable and more. 

If these preliminary challenges are taken care of seamlessly by companies, smart clothing could easily become the new-age market wearables in the future. It’s similar to what electric vehicles are to the automotive industry. 

Wrapping Up

This is an exciting time to be alive and innovations like these are proof of our collective wisdom taking us to a new level. Let’s wait and see if our favorite clothing brands join the smart clothing bandwagon and launch personalized clothing just the way we would like it individually. Also, let’s see what more innovation is waiting on the cards in this space.

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By Ashley Ferguson

Thanks to the introduction of connected products, digital services, and increased customer expectations, it has been the trend for IoT enterprise spend to consistently increase. The global IoT market is projected to reach $1.4 trillion USD by 2027. The pressure to build IoT solutions and get a return on those investments has teams on a frantic search for IoT engineers to secure in-house IoT expertise. However, due to the complexity of IoT solutions, finding this in a single engineer is a difficult or impossible proposition.

So how do you adjust your search for an IoT engineer? The first step is to acknowledge that IoT solution development requires the fusion of multiple disciplines. Even simple IoT applications require hardware and software engineering, knowledge of protocols and connectivity, web development skills, and analytics. Certainly, there are many engineers with IoT knowledge, but complete IoT solutions require a team of partners with diverse skills. This often requires utilizing external sources to supplement the expertise gaps.

THE ANATOMY OF AN IoT SOLUTION

IoT solutions provide enterprises with opportunities for innovation through new product offerings and cost savings through refined operations. An IoT solution is an integrated bundle of technologies that help users answer a question or solve a specific problem by receiving data from devices connected to the internet. One of the most common IoT use cases is asset tracking solutions for enterprises who want to monitor trucks, equipment, inventory, or other items with IoT. The anatomy of an asset tracking IoT solution includes the following:

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This is a simple asset tracking example. For more complex solutions including remote monitoring or predictive maintenance, enterprises must also consider installation, increased bandwidth, post-development support, and UX/UI for the design of the interface for customers or others who will use the solution. Enterprise IoT solutions require an ecosystem of partners, components, and tools to be brought to market successfully.

Consider the design of your desired connected solution. Do you know where you will need to augment skills and services?

If you are in the early stages of IoT concept development and at the center of a buy vs. build debate, it may be a worthwhile exercise to assess your existing team’s skills and how they correspond with the IoT solution you are trying to build.

IoT SKILLS ASSESSMENT

  • Hardware
  • Firmware
  • Connectivity
  • Programming
  • Cloud
  • Data Science
  • Presentation
  • Technical Support and Maintenance
  • Security
  • Organizational Alignment

MAKING TIME FOR IoT APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

The time it will take your organization to build a solution is dependent on the complexity of the application. One way to estimate the time and cost of IoT application development is with Indeema’s IoT Cost Calculator. This tool can help roughly estimate the hours required and the cost associated with the IoT solution your team is interested in building. In MachNation’s independent comparison of the Losant Enterprise IoT Platform and Azure, it was determined that developers could build an IoT solution in 30 hours using Losant and in 74-94 hours using Microsoft Azure.

As you consider IoT application development, consider the makeup of your team. Is your team prepared to dedicate hours to the development of a new solution, or will it be a side project? Enterprise IT teams are often in place to maintain existing operating systems and to ensure networks are running smoothly. In the event that an IT team is tapped to even partially build an IoT solution, there is a great chance that the IT team will need to invite partners to build or provide part of the stack.

HOW THE IoT JOB GETS DONE

Successful enterprises recognize early on that some of these skills will need to be augmented through additional people, through an ecosystem, or with software. It will require more than one ‘IoT engineer’ for the job. According to the results of a McKinsey survey, “the preferences of IoT leaders suggest a greater willingness to draw capabilities from an ecosystem of technology partners, rather than rely on homegrown capabilities.”

IoT architecture alone is intricate. Losant, an IoT application enablement platform, is designed with many of the IoT-specific components already in place. Losant enables users to build applications in a low-to-no code environment and scale them up to millions of devices. Losant is one piece in the wider scope of an IoT solution. In order to build a complete solution, an enterprise needs hardware, software, connectivity, and integration. For those components, our team relies on additional partners from the IoT ecosystem.

The IoT ecosystem, also known as the IoT landscape, refers to the network of IoT suppliers (hardware, devices, software platforms, sensors, connectivity, software, systems integrators, data scientists, data analytics) whose combined services help enterprises create complete IoT solutions. At Losant, we’ve built an IoT ecosystem with reliable experienced partners. When IoT customers need custom hardware, connectivity, system integrators, dev shops, or other experts with proven IoT expertise, we can tap one of our partners to help in their areas of expertise.

SECURE, SCALABLE, SEAMLESS IoT

Creating secure, scalable, and seamless IoT solutions for your environment begins by starting small. Starting small gives your enterprise the ability to establish its ecosystem. Teams can begin with a small investment and apply learnings to subsequent projects. Many IoT success stories begin with enterprises setting out to solve one problem. The simple beginnings have enabled them to now reap the benefits of the data harvest in their environments.

Originally posted here.

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