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Mobile app technology is brimming with new innovations and has been the center of attention for many years. The apps have made a great contribution to help the mobile industry and facilitate the business world. The ever-growing marketing and modern tech makes it difficult to shine among your competitors.

2017 turned out to be a phenomenal year with great advancements for the app company. Mobile apps effectively create brand identity, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales for marketing. The professionals from the leading Mobile app development company in Virginia realized that mobile apps are becoming more of a necessity rather than an optional investment. Small businesses are gearing up to adopt this marketing strategy to flourish in the market. If you want to step up your mobile app marketing game then you need to take out time to get your busy routine to get familiar with.

Top trends you should follow in 2018

1.   Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Apps
Technology is all set to make smartphone devices even smarter in 2018. We saw augmented reality apps in the previous year, for example, Pokémon Go. This was a valuable addition to the AR world which gained a lot of recognition. A lot more is expected to come this year and it’s expected that the AR and VR trends will transform in 2018 and dominate many more sectors. The app world will witness the AR/VR tech to expand and excel in numerous sectors other than games and fun. The Augmented Reality is expected to evolve in the retail, manufacturing, healthcare, engineering, and many other industries.


2.   Cloud based App Development
With the increased usage of cloud technology, mobile developers are aiming to design cloud driven apps. This is a simple and easy way to take out data from the mobile without affecting the internal memory of the phone. There are many other benefits too such as increased productivity and collaboration, better-streamlined operations, reduced hosting and equipment cost etc. if you’re looking ways to enhance your mobile app visibility then you should integrate cloud based technology in your development strategy.


3.   Wearables
Wearables and smart watches have introduced new technology in the market. Wearables are expected to be the next best thing in the year 2018. Wearables consist of both features, being necessary and being stylish at the same time. The adoption of wearables will emerge in the manufacturing and healthcare industry. With Apple, Google, and Samsung watches already existing it’s expected that their demand will grow rapidly in 2018.


4.   Internet of thing (IoT)
The Internet of things technology is a new trending technology in both mobile and web development field. In the previous year we noticed the idea of IoT emerging in the home, healthcare, education industry. It will continue to evolve in this year and we’ll get to see some advanced tech in business domain, day to day lifestyle, and many other domains.


5.   Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is modifying the way we look at technology. It has enabled some exciting features in healthcare apps, behavioral targeting etc. In addition, it has enabled the use of Chatbots in mobile apps. Chatbots are tools that can encourage human conversation. There are very few apps that have integrated this tech in their mobile apps, we will definitely get to see this in the coming year.


6.   Blockchain
Blockchain has received a lot of recognition than any other tech. this year we will witness apps with built-in security features. A blockchain is a digitized, share, irreversible ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It allows the market participants to keep a record of all the transactions in blocks, none of which can be changed without changing the blocks. A lot of apps will implement security features within to secure the participant’s transactions.


7.   Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated mobile pages is yet another trend that is going to have a great impact on the mobile app development industry. The pages are a great way to improve the loading time of the web page in mobile devices. This will reduce the bounce rate and increase the visitors on the site.


8.   Improved security

Mobile security is one of the primary concern of the mobile app developers. Apps build with built-in security make a huge difference, many people don’t know the real importance until they face any incident. Since smartphones have all the confidential data stored, the developers are paying heed in implementing security in the apps. More and more apps will get secured with secret features.

Conclusion

The year 2018 will be filled with advanced tech and new innovations. The year will grow economically in every business sector. On an ending note, these are the key tips to get successful in this year and in the future. Make sure you stay updated with all the latest trends and implement them according to shine out among the competitors.

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This is our third year running predictions for the Industrial IoT (read 2016 and 2017 predictions). While there are many predictions out there, none are as insightful, comprehensive and, dare I say it, accurate as what we receive from the IoT Central community.

So who got it right in 2017? 

  • Loudon Blair, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy, Ciena predicted that IoT will open new opportunities for carriers. In 2017 he said we’ll see carriers face up to the challenges of digital disruption: avoiding service commoditization and building compelling digital services to compete with Over-The-Top players.
  • Stephen Gates, Chief Research Intelligence Analyst at NSFOCUS predicted the Weaponization of Industrial IoT - Industrial and municipal IoT is growing rapidly and not only can these devices potentially be used to attack others externally, their vulnerable nature may be used against the industrial organizations operating critical infrastructure themselves, opening them up to intrusion and critical infrastructure outages.
  • Jim Koenig, Counsel in the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, Paul Hastings, LLP called it when he said, “In 2017 and going forward, concerns over privacy and security will emerge, and the use of facial recognition, biometrics and observed behavior patterns to authenticate that a specific person is requesting an action or permits a set of curated services will be on the rise."
  • Kevin Meagher Senior Vice President for Business Development, ROC-Connect looked at insurance companies and said that they will start to invest more in a move to adapt to the IoT and that 2017 was critical for them as they work to embrace the IoT with early consumer offerings in an effort to avoid the fate of retailers who ignored the internet and allowed Amazon to get a foothold in their market.

So who will get it right in 2018? Here’s our list of predictions for the the Industrial Internet of Things for 2018.

Maciej Kranz, Vice President of Strategic Innovation at Cisco

In 2018, we will see the convergence of IoT devices with these key, leading technologies. This will help companies obtain greater value from their IoT investments and overcome previous barriers to broader IoT adoption, such as challenges with security, bandwidth and analytics. Specifically, machine learning/AI will enable deeper analysis of real-time IoT data streams to drive more powerful decision making. Fog computing makes this data available at the edge of the network where the connected devices and sensors are (rather than “in the cloud”), thus solving latency, bandwidth and reliability issues that previously limited IoT performance. And, blockchain provides secure, audit-level tracking of IoT data transactions, eliminating the need for a central, trusted intermediary between communicating devices. Up until this point, enterprise IoT deployments have mostly focused on automating existing business processes and creating incremental improvements to efficiency or productivity. However, when combined with AI, fog computing and blockchain, the IoT is able to truly transform businesses and even entire industries by creating new revenue streams, new business models and more. As a result, businesses will finally be able to experience the full potential of the IoT and the value it can deliver.

Woodson Martin, EVP and General Manager, Salesforce IoT, Salesforce

In 2018, industrial organizations will prioritize developing business apps that take advantage of IoT data in real-time. Low-code orchestration will be the catalyst for this change - empowering any employee, regardless of developer skill level,  to build proactive sales, service and marketing processes, powered by IoT data, with point-and-click ease.

For example, admins at a manufacturing company will be able to build, with point-and-click ease, automated workflows that trigger service calls whenever a factory robot issues a component failure alert. This is just one example of how, with minimal support from IT, business users and citizen developers will soon be able to harness IoT data to open new revenue streams through digital transformation.

Oliver Schabenberger, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer, SAS

Industrial companies that succeed in capturing the promise of the IoT will be the ones who succeed at the data management aspect. Applying analytics to streaming data is no easy task. Success means melding the sensor side of the IoT equation with the big data and analytics side. Loading and processing data faster than they’ve ever done it before – especially regarding data that’s moving – means shifting to new technologies such as applications that address production quality, field quality and asset performance analytics in a coordinated fashion. But doing so will help the organization sustainably grow its analytics capabilities.

Peter Kirk, GE Power Digital

AI and the IIoT Will Propel the Digital Transformation of the Power Industry. Asset-intensive industries, such as the electricity industry, are just at the beginning of deriving value from emerging technologies such as the Industrial Internet or AI, despite the heavy output of machine data. Data coming off of electricity assets will result in terabytes of information that AI can analyze to recognize patterns in machine behavior and make changes based on desired outcomes. In 2018, we predict the continued growth, adoption and collaboration of the IIoT, AI and Digital Twins across the industrial settings will automate basic maintenance processes. This collaboration, creating a human/machine approach to digitizing operations, will free up human capital to focus on high priority operations issues, reducing operations and maintenance budgets, which currently dominate cost profiles across the power industry.

Burcin Kaplanoglu, Senior Director, Industry Strategy and Innovation, Oracle

The growing use of connected devices – aka the Internet of Things (IoT) - is changing that by enabling real-time data collection and proactive management in the construction and engineering space. In IoT systems, thousands of devices will be able to connect wirelessly to routers. Those routers in turn pass data into the cloud at astonishing speeds to run analytics and leverage machines to make decisions. In 2018, artificial intelligence (AI) will play a big role in IoT decision making. Rather than act individually, devices will communicate with each other and create a collective system similar to an organism. We believe robots, drones, exoskeletons, and autonomous construction equipment are also part of the larger IoT ecosystem, as they will always be connected and provide data points to improve operations onsite. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will also allow us to better communicate and act on the information collected and to collaborate more effectively.

IoT Central members can see all the remaining predictions in our exclusive member's only sectionBecome a member today. It's free!

Photo credit Denys Nevozhai

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The Internet of Things is now widely used in a wide array of business verticals like manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and more. According to the latest research data, the number of IoT connected devices, which made up ~4,9 million things in 2015, reached the point of ~3,9 billion in 2016.

Concerning AR, Statista predicts at least three various scenarios of AR/VR growth, but they all forecast the economic impact amounting ~$29,5 billion in 2020. Having reached the decision of developing your own IoT or AR software, you need to get heads up about the pitfalls of starting this new business solution development.

Major AR and IoT solutions’ programming challenges.

Challenges may be divided into several categories: high-level business obstacles and application development problems along with the solution’s further maintenance and enhancement. The first group may include the following issues:

  • Unclear business benefits;
  • Insufficient funding;
  • A poor go-to-market strategy, and more;

While it’s quite clear how to avoid business-level problems, it’s also worth taking into account the challenges which arise during the software development process itself. The average IoT obstacles may include:

  • Infrastructure problems (devices, gateways, platforms);
  • Security concern;
  • Cross-platform compatibility;
  • Lack of support, and more.

AR development challenges encompass:

  • AR hardware;
  • Generated content;
  • Security issues, and more;

With reference to the latest Cisco’s survey, only 26% of IoT projects considered as successful by their developers, whereas more than 50% reach the jumping-off place at the strategy crafting stage. One of the key AR challenges is to correlate virtual data with the real environment, which can bring even a leading vendor to a screwjob. For this very reason, it’s critically important to have an idea of technology development nuances.

Nevertheless, the latest statistics on the number of the internet connected devices and the AR technology in various spheres shows that a business owner is a targeted consumer for the outputs. This gives extra room for the IoT and AR initiatives:

Statistics reveals the amount of investment made worldwide in IoT by sectors during 2015-2020.


Statistics shows AR technology’s market share by business spheres.

2 notable IoT/AR use cases

In the context of solving the task, below are the two living examples of successful solutions to take into account while initiating your own development project.

E.g.: IoT mobile app for smart buildings and yachts management:

The idea was to develop a highly customizable system allowing to manage numerous connected devices in smart buildings/yachts.

Challenge:

A necessity to run a proprietary protocol in remoteness from real devices.

Solution:

Multiple devices installed within a building/yacht were united into a single smart system. A proprietary text protocol which provided smooth communication between the user interface and the backend was applied for infrastructure visualization configuration, gateways, and IR-gateways communication. This permitted cutting down on customizing the part of UI for each client.

The developed IoT application allowed for managing a chain of devices, including surveillance cameras (change the angles, zoom in/out), lighting, media systems, smart locks, and more via an Android-based mobile app. This led to essential energy and budget economy. The product is now being enhanced by integrating more smart devices into the system. A similar solution may be implemented in any smart home, hotel, or yacht to introduce automation and analysis to the existing infrastructure.

E.g.: Equipment maintenance and service mobile app with augmented reality

The idea was to develop a mobile app compatible with numerous platforms, which would give a possibility to maintain complex industrial equipment single-handedly.

Challenge:

A necessity to ensure image recognition with absolute accuracy.

Solution:

To create a repair or service guide, a user takes a photo of the equipment as a first step. Then the image is processed by Metaio SDK, which is a basis for its further recognition by the app. The built-in image recognition helps to save on painstaking programming and therefore additional investments on the part of the user.

Afterward, each of the required equipment part scenes is supplied with a step-by-step guide by means of animated, drag-and-drop 3D objects, such as a nut, a screwdriver, etc. The system allows to include text information, as well as images and videos in the instructions. Finally, the app’s user gets the complete instructions by simply pointing the device’s camera at the equipment that needs repair. A similar solution may be applicable to any industrial enterprise, healthcare organization, or any other vertical which requires urgent fixes and updates.

The bottom line

Any AR and IoT application development challenges may be addressed with a well-thought-out plan for development, implementation, and further maintenance and enhancement. The quantity of IoT and AR applications is skyrocketing and the above examples are a living proof of the system’s effectiveness in different business spheres.

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The IoT is one of those amazing bits of technology that will give us a remarkable edge. It will also cut both ways. It is automating many jobs and making them much easier to do and offering very lucrative jobs for those who are in possession of the right skill set.

Still, its unavoidable that IoT is going to kill many jobs. In manufacturing alone the IoT is going to eliminate millions of jobs as they are replaced by what machines can do.

Add to that the fact that IoT and cognitive computing combined are going to threaten many top level and very prestigious positions as our advancing computers learn how to do jobs that require thought as opposed to just mechanical tasks.

Make AI and IoT Work Harder to Your Benefit. 

The intelligent employee is going to try to find the best way to leverage the changes in AI and the rapidly growing power of IoT. Thomas Davenport, professor at Babson College recommends that employees who are concerned about losing their jobs look for ways to use the power of AI and IoT as opposed to allowing it to automate jobs alone.

Tap Into Crowd Powe . 

According to Tripp Braden who recruits for Strategic Performance Partner ” “Most businesses are built on the idea of an ideal worker being like an eagle, strong, self-motivated, and independent worker.” The typical model is becoming a lot more team powered and companies and individuals need to take advantage of that in order to future proof their jobs.

Tamara McCleary agreed with that assessment. “As we head into a new age, we are disrupting the notion of one job being completely distinct from another. IoT is also leading to shifts in collaboration between fields,” McCleary continued to state that . “It is breaking down barriers between different fields such as big data, security, energy and utilities, smart buildings, and industrial manufacturing. And for many companies, IoT is enabling a transition from product to services. This shift demands more skill versatility from workers.”

Be an Expert in Your Field and Constantly Learn.

Its not enough to become an expert, but you must also learn consistently and continue to grow in your chosen career field. If some area of that field is being automated, becoming an expert in the automation and how it can benefit your company is going to future proof your job and keep you ahead of the game.

Build Your Own Brand. 

Become what is known as a thought leader in your area. Even if you don’t know all that there is to know about Iot or AI, get great professional head shots. Build your brand on LinkedIn and also on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. If you’re visible only on LinkedIn, with just 184 million users and you are conspicuously absent on Facebook (1.5 billion users) then you’re not doing as much as you could be to build that brand and surpass the other thought leaders in your arena.

Make Smart Choices.

Whatever business you are in, make smart choices and decisions that will future proof your job. Gather as much data as you can and use it to make better business decisions that will show you up as a leader in thought and in action.

Be Creative and Be Forward Thinking.

What works today in IoT and your job isn’t going to work tomorrow. Be willing to adapt in order to overcome obstacles and problems in your job. In order to future proof your position, you’re going to have to be willing to change as rapidly and as dramatically as IoT is changing.

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With the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting more and more devices with each passing day, it is expected that by the year 2020, the number of IoT devices will reach around 24 billion out there in the world.

Now, this growth is certainly going to benefit the people in more than many ways and will hugely transform how people execute day-to-day tasks & a lot of other activities. As we live in the times when “impressions” are crucial for a person’s status, hence it will be cool to have a smart-home that will draw the attention of your visitors & guests and certainly make you the talk of the town. Meanwhile, among its significant benefits, one is the smart lighting that will actually be able to largely reduce the energy consumption, thus resulting in lowering down the electricity bill.

With this new technology, linking up connected cars with smart city infrastructure is possible, thus establishing a totally different ecosystem for the car drivers, who until now are accustomed to the conventional way of covering the distance from Area A to Area B. Also, there are connected healthcare devices at the disposal giving people a fuller and deeper look at their own health.  So, what more can we ask for?

But these tons of benefits certainly invite some sort of risks and security issues and this is what we will be discussing here today.

Do you know that increased numbers of connected devices are giving cybercriminals and hackers more entry points? And why just security issues, as average customers, are genuinely sharing their concerns over their privacy, with so much of consumer life being connected.

IoT – What makes it vulnerable to security aspect?

IoT is a growth sector, and besides that, it is also a market for buyers and investors, and where consumers are willing to grab the best-possible benefit at a little amount. Quite certainly, this kind of environment encourages vendors & manufactures to economize on money, effort, time and material, hence they enroll into the cheapest ways, hastening to put their services and products out there into the money stream.

This sends a direct invitation to practices, like usage of software code and generic components, access codes, default passwords, vendor-specific PIN numbers. All of this opens a path for an ecosystem that has weak security and exploitable vulnerabilities.

A study carried on by Ponemon Institute and IBM security suggest that around 80% enterprises usually do not test their IoT apps, hence making them vulnerable from a security perspective.

Here we have categorized various areas of IoT security vulnerability that are the most common:

Vulnerable to Hacking: According to the researchers, hackers were successful in hacking these real IoT devices with enough energy and time, within a limited time. Like, a research team at Michigan University and Microsoft discovered a lot of gaps in the security of Samsung’s Smart Things smart-home platform. Unfortunately, the methods didn’t appear complex at all.

Poor On-board Web Interface: There is an onboard web server for most of the IoT devices and it does the job of hosting a web app used in device management. Now, in case, any loopholes found in the underlying code of the web apps and web servers, then that certainly makes the device vulnerable to get attacked – maybe in a remote manner owing to its connectivity to the internet.

Weak mobile security: Weak security on mobile app development often makes the IoT devices vulnerable from a security point of view. The biggest problem lies in the fact that data is being stored on mobile applications. Even though the data that is saved on iOS is less risky as compared to Android app development, still to storage of sensitive data and information on a mobile device is never considered ideal. Like, what if a worker ends up losing a smartphone which contained valuable data in it, that too with no backup.

Vulnerable Cloud & Mobile Management Platforms:  As there are a huge number of IoT devices that connect to wireless and cloud mobile networks, hence the poor security and exploitable code in the software & infrastructure, which manages these platforms, has also become a major concern. To address these issues there are management platforms embedded on these devices, but that works only to a certain extent, with there being a risk, these interfaces are not being patched or updated on a regular note. 

Concerns regarding Privacy & Data Transfer: Since IoT device comes with a constant flow of information regarding the device and its environment, it is not obvious that it will be delivered to the users. Like, depending on the device and its application, there could be financial, geographic and personal information. In case, there is poor or say no encryption at all on these data streams, then this kind of information becomes vulnerable to be used by third parties, hackers, or maybe eavesdroppers.

Often the companies are not prepared: As per AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report, around 5,000 companies were surveyed across the world and it was found that 85% of them are about to or are planning on a deployment of IoT devices. Still, there are just 10% of companies, which as per the survey, are confident about security infrastructure attuned to devices against hackers.

Weak Authentication protocols: Often it happens that in the manner devices speak to their controllers and each other links them to an open channel. The reason could be the mechanisms used for authorization or authentications of legitimate communications. Perhaps insecure default device settings are deployed automatically, about which users are unaware, or maybe not given the opportunity to reconfigure weak security settings for themselves.

To stay realistic about IoT security risks is the key to combat this problem

Today more and more security researchers are focusing on the IoT, with few of their researchers posing kind of a theoretical risk instead of an actual one – at least for now. Like, one researcher came across this concept where smart lighting was used to filtrate data by compromising an internal network. Now is it possible getting a light in a room fluctuate enough such that it is able to transmit data? It is very doable in the test environment, whereas in the real world it is yet to be proven.

Even though more and more security researchers today are focusing on uncovering a range of IoT security concerns, but Deral Heiland, a veteran penetration tester, stresses the significance of having a realistic perspective. Sharing his experience, he said people keep asking him what to do with all these vulnerabilities that are coming out. His answer to them is quite logical. He states these vulnerabilities are being uncovered and the researchers and testers are making efforts to find a solution in order to combat such situations.  This says it all, doesn’t it?

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My first hands-on experience with a drone goes back to summer of 2012 when I visited my little cousin in Cincinnati. It was what he called a quadcopter. My cousin would place it on his palm and launch it from there with an Xbox-type-controller. It could easily go around the neighborhood, making rounds near the lake before settling back on my cousin’s palm.

It had a rotating camera with which he used to spy on his brother and complain their mother. That was best holiday of my life. We were all kids, free, careless and had a drone to play around. It was a cute toy that everybody in the neighborhood used to adore.

Image Source: https://gadgetsdeal.in

We used to watch a lot of sci-fi movies, and the notion of a full-scale robot that is indistinguishable from a human used to fascinate us the most. A neighboring guy who returned from Japan after spending most of the childhood there used to tell us the story of how kids over there would fight their home-made robots against each other on heavy bets.

The term AI started making rounds in mainstream media the same time. Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. Yes, NI or natural intelligence is a term now.

What is AI?

AI is defined by two definitions that overlap each other at the time of mobile application development and conceptualization.

  1. Machines perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.
  2. Machine mimics/ emulate "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".

AI and Drones

Image Source: blog.hbcommunications.com

Did I mention my cousin and I used to control the quadcopter with a joystick? If you look at the 1st definition of AI, it talks about reaching or arriving at the goal without human intervention. That’s, an AI-enabled drone just need a goal to trigger a series of reaction in order to realize its goal. The goal could be fed to it by a human directly with the help of a computing device capable of natural language processing and run party applications.

The delivery drones and AI

There are many reasons people would prefer a drone over a delivery boy. Drones are cute, they don’t need to call you for direction, they don’t give a damn about traffic, they are harmless, and they don’t expect tips. For businesses, keeping a force of delivery drones is much less of an expense than a team of human delivery boys. They may be costly to procure but they don’t expect remuneration like humans. And with AI, they are becoming as smart as a trained human.

Image Source: https://cdn.technologyreview.com

A delivery drone must be, extremely, cautious of its surrounding and should be able to take decisions on its own. To pick items from one place to another, it must be location-aware and connected to the internet. In addition, it should protect itself from birds and bad weather.

As defined in the second definition of Artificial Intelligence, an important facet of AI enabled machines is this that they can learn from their experience. That is if an intelligent drone learns that the shortest path from A to B isn’t via c but D. It’ll will take the route via D whenever it has to go to B.

My cousin quadcopter with AI: A concept

What if, the quadcopter I grew up playing with was AI enabled. My cousin would never have needed a controller to control it. He would just tell the quadcopter to spy on his brother 10 times a day and it would do that several times a day while my cousin is resting his bumps in front of the video game, sharing popcorn with me. When it is done making the spying round, it would email interesting photos straight to their mother.

That would have made our childhood lazy, have given us a lot more time to play video games, made us lot more arrogant humans who expects things to be done by themselves. After all, technology is supposed to make our life easier and it evolves as our life complicates further. Otherwise, we don’t need a drone in the first place.

The invisible drone

Not in a literal sense but those drones would be so small that they will become invisible at a height to an everyday viewer. Come on, we don’t see every object that flies over us. Even when it does, we don’t give a damn. We have better things to do. For example, my boss’s wife had a birthday last week and it took me three hours in blistering cold to pick her the best cake.

Well jokes apart, they could see you when you couldn’t. If at all they will be visible they would look like a fly. Such a small size means, they can charge their battery with a light source in your house in seconds while looking like an innocent fly enjoying bright light at night.

This one is scary: The drone swarm

Coming back to my cousin’s quadcopter, except this time there will thousands of it together.

They could overpower guns and technology that armed forces have used for years. Think about it: in a city like New York, squads of tiny quadrotors could roam around to gather intelligence.

They can attack a warship while having a footprint too small for a gun or missile to hunt them down. Nonetheless, one missile can hunt down a couple of member, but the swarm will rearrange and keep going.

Pocket Drones

Image Source: lowcost2.ru

Pocket drones are small enough to carry in your pocket without feeling uncomfortable. They fly indoors, in your home and bring your smartphone when you left it in the bathroom, pick your newspaper as soon as you sit on your couch or bring your favorite book or a chilled bottle of beer during bedtime.

Sounds too good to be true! This is just the beginning.

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Guest post by Daniel Alsén, Mark Patel, and Jason Shangkuan

With new connectivity technologies unlocking opportunities along the IoT value chain, companies must create detailed plans to harness their potential.

The Internet of Things (IoT)—the network of connected “smart” devices that communicate seamlessly over the Internet—is transforming how we live and work. At farms, wireless IoT sensors can transmit information about soil moisture and nutrients to agricultural experts across the country. IoT alarm systems, equipped with batteries that last for years, provide homeowners with long-term protection. Wearable fitness devices—for both people and pets—can monitor activity levels and provide feedback on heart rate and respiration. Although these applications serve different purposes, they all share one characteristic: dependence on strong connectivity.

IoT stakeholders seeking connectivity solutions include radio and chipset makers, platform vendors, device manufacturers, and companies in various industries that purchase IoT-enabled products, either for their own use or for sale to the public. These companies can now choose from more than 30 different connectivity options with different bandwidth, range, cost, reliability, and network-management features. This wide variety, combined with constantly evolving technology requirements, creates a quandary. If stakeholders bet on one connectivity option and another becomes dominant, their IoT devices, applications, and solutions could quickly become obsolete. If they hesitate to see how the connectivity landscape evolves, they could fall behind more aggressive competitors.

Cellular 5G networks—now being refined—might eventually become a universal solution for IoT connectivity. Although some global telecommunications networks and industrial applications now use 5G, this technology will not be widely available for at least five years, because of high development and deployment costs. With annual economic benefits related to the Internet of Things expected to reach $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion by 2025, companies cannot afford to defer their IoT investment until 5G arrives.

To help business leaders identify the connectivity solutions that best meet their current needs, we analyzed 13 sectors, including automotive, manufacturing, construction, and consumer, where IoT applications are common.1In each sector, we focused on connectivity requirements for likely use cases—in other words, the tasks or activities that may be most amenable to IoT solutions. We then identified the most relevant connectivity solutions for each one. In addition, we examined business factors that may influence how the connectivity landscape evolves, as well as the elements of a strong connectivity strategy.

Continue reading the full story here. Photo credit Khara Woods.

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The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs

A few days before Christmas holidays, I received an email from a customer that said “... I want to tell you that I have really appreciated your help, your professional approach and your “human touch”: they are as important as knowledge is …”.

Moved by the Christmas spirit that surround us these days, made me change my priorities of publishing the next articles and I decided to dedicate a few lines to what I consider a very important issue: What is the human touch value of the CEOs in the IoT?

I do not intend to convert this article into an analysis of the types of CEOs, or a list of the best CEOs of IoT companies (for that there will be time). 

My objective today is in making IoT´s CEOs aware, especially those of large multinationals, of their responsibility to print a human touch on their actions and decisions. Not only will the stability and quality of work of millions of people depend on them, but also the conservation of our planet in favourable conditions for future generations.

The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to save the World

Global Warming is very real.  Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere. Its effects are already so visible that no one doubts its catastrophic consequences.

We know that the IoT can help in many ways to monitor and control Global Warning, and there are many great stories of how companies are making use of IoT technology to help save water, money … and the planet. 

In  the article “3 ways businesses can use the internet of things to save the environment“, Jayraj Nair - Global Head of IoT, Vice President Wipro-, suggest  a few steps that business leaders could take to lessen the effects of these barriers and set their companies on the right path to become champions of a more sustainable and connected future.

1.       Emphasize digital citizenship and individual responsibility

2.       Share knowledge and resources across departments

3.       Collaborate to create guidelines for tech development

We should reward those IoT´s CEOs who follow the slogan “ We develop the IoT that Save the World!..

The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to build ethic AI

When I wrote  “Internet of Things – Kings and Servants” I gave great importance to the CEOs visionaries of the companies that were destined to change the world of the 21st century. CEOs like Sundar Pichai (Google) or Satya Nadella (Microsoft) have been responsible from conceptual shift for their companies, moving from “mobile strategy” to “cloud and artificial intelligence”.

Could we avoid psychopath and sociopath robots? CEOs of the Tech Giants companies need to influence in developers of AI the human touch. We do not want to live with fear surrounding by not ethic AI machines and robots. 

IoT´s CEOs involved in Artificial Intelligence must believe that machines and robots will help us to be better people. They need to boost the challenge in our future society and make sure that their Robots and Artificial Intelligence not only pursue productivity and profit but also other values eg justice, opportunity, freedom, compassion.

The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to ensure democracy

We cannot conceive democracy today without the free use of technology. Technology, on the other hand, that is more difficult to control by citizens. Is it possible to democratize the technology, not only the Internet of Things? Could we avoid that a handful of companies come to dominate the Technology? and therefore our Democracies.

The temptation of the power is great in the IoT´s CEOs of the companies that manipulate huge amount of data of the people, of the intelligent devices at their whim.

I thought at some point that the Countries could prevent the creation of these monsters, but their powers already transcend the States. I fear that the fight of egos, in the heights in which these CEOs live, give priority to the Highlander philosophy "Only one can be left!" And drag the dormant democracies for their technology into the vacuum of complacency.

Today more than ever, we need CEOs with a human touch that ensures the health of our democracies.

The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to ensure equality of job opportunities

Which IoT companies have a culture that allow dissent between the CEOs and the employees? IoT´s CEOs need to understand that people are not going to do what they want them to do unless I engender equal commitment and passion on their part.

I have worked for many years in different technology companies, and I have regrettably proved that their business cultures, far from differentiating themselves, are more and more similar.

We all know cases of companies, including those of IoT, that abuse salaries of interns or inexperienced employees, but the problem of overqualification when applying to a new job is no less true. Many of us have heard numerous times: Sorry, you are overqualified. Not sure I can manage you.

I am convinced that a human touch on the part of the CEOs would help to correct these endemic problems of the current business culture. What are you waiting for?

The Human touch of CEOs to ensure a dignified life for the elderly

I was wondering a few years ago with the Smart Cities hype, How will be our life as retired workers in the Smart Cities we are building?.

In light of what I'm seeing, there are currently not many IoT´s CEOs that are worrying about the elderly. Of course, because, they consume less, they produce less, they do not understand the technology created for millennials or the digital native, the generations that is going to change the world.

Considering that all IoT´s CEOs, or at least that's what I want, will also be older people, a human touch in the investment of technology for the elderly will now make their lives more dignified in a few years.

Summary

In a time where digital premium on the physical, where business results are required not every quarter, but every day, in a time of robots, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality it is not easy to be a CEO with human touch. But to save the World, to make sure we build ethical AI, to ensure democracy in the technology, to ensure equality of job opportunities, to ensure a dignified life for the elderly, we need their human touch.

 

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The intelligence in AI is computational intelligence, and a better word could be Automated Intelligence. But when it comes to good judgment, AI is not smarter than the human brain that designed it. Many automated systems perform poorly, to the point that you are wondering if AI is an abbreviation for Artificial Innumeracy.

Critical systems - automated piloting, running a power plant - usually do well with AI and automation, as considerable testing is done before deploying these systems. But for many mundane tasks, such as spam detection, chatbots, spell checking, detecting duplicate or fake accounts on social networks, detecting fake reviews or hate speech in social networks, search engine technology (Google) or AI-based advertising, a lot of progress must be made. It works just like in the video below, featuring a drunken robot.

Why can driverless cars recognize a street sign, but Facebook algorithms can not recognize if a picture contains text or not ? Why can't the Alexa robot understand the command "Close the lights" but understands "Turn off the lights"? Sometimes the limitation of AI just reflects the lack of knowledge of the people who implement these solutions: they might not know much about the business operations and products, and are sometimes glorified coders. In some cases, the systems are so poorly designed that they can be used in unintended, harmful ways. For instance, some Google algorithms automatically detect bad websites using tricks to be listed at the top on search results pages. These algorithms will block you if you use such tricks, but indeed you can use these tricks against your competitors to get them blocked, defeating the purpose of the algorithm.

Why is AI still failing on mundane tasks?

I don't have an answer. But I think that tasks that are not critical for the survival of a business (such as spam detection) receive little attention from executives, and even employees working on these tasks might be tempted to not do anything revolutionary, and show a low profile. Imagination is not encouraged, beyond some limited level. Is is as "if it ain't broken, don't fix it."

For instance, if advertising dollars are misused by some poorly designed AI system (assuming the advertising budget is fixed) the negative impact on the business is limited. If, to the contrary it is done well, the upside could be great. The fact is, for non-critical tasks, businesses are not willing to significantly change the routine, especially for projects where ROI is deemed impossible to measure accurately.. For tiny companies where the CEO is also a data scientist, things are very different, and the incentive to have performing AI (to beat competition or reduce workload) is high. 

Originally posted here. Follow the author on Twitter, at @GranvilleDSC

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Chances are you’ve come across the word Bitcoin several times — at the very least, in some general finance related news. It’s also likely you have been dismissing the cryptocurrency as another gimmick, unless you followed the spike in its value at any point where, say, PayPal malfunctioned, and counted exactly how much a geek who’s had his saving in bitcoin earned that way.

In which case you’d know that since its introduction in 2008, Bitcoin has risen in value. Like really, it has: in its infancy, during negotiating the possible value of transactions on the bitcointalk forums, one notable transaction of 10,000 BTC was used to purchase two pizzas. Today 10,000 BTC equals to over 35 million dollars. This growth was achieved in less than 10 years.

Now before we get carried away, one could point out that the brave new currency was designed as a “Peer-to-Peer” system relying on “cryptography to control its creation and management, rather than on central authorities”. And its design borrows ideas from the cypherpunk community. So sounds like the opposite of what businesses should be interested in, right? A skeptic would bring up Bitcoin’s motley history of being oppressed by regulatory authorities or even barely legal.

And yet, if you’re still confusing cyber-punk fantasy and cypherpunk community, here is a puzzling list of companies that deal with bitcoins, and it includes such likely familiar names as Microsoft, IBM, Reddit, Subway, Lionsgate Films, Bloomberg.com, WordPress.com, Wikipedia, Steam, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Tesla. Oh, and Bitcoin is now accepted as a legal payment method in Japan.

Now would be a good time to wonder why businesses are starting to pay attention and governments are beginning to take digital currency into account and making standards for it rather than suppressing it. The answer is in the principle behind it and, ironically, in the security, it provides to the user. Bitcoin network is fully decentralised and is meant to exclude trust-reliance and intermediaries from the financial operations: a direct transaction between users recorded in a public ledger. No single party has the power to issue new bitcoins or approve Bitcoin transactions. The shared transaction register is called the blockchain. And it’s this technology that is of particular interest to businesses.

While bitcoin as an equity is still difficult to project surely enough to view as an investment, its success key, blockchain technology, can and should be used for business processes improvement. The technology is basically a game changer, a principle of organising human interactions in a secure and yet completely decentralised way, which could have applications in far more than just the financial sector. Blockchain, as put by the Harvard Business Review, is a foundational technology that “has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems.” They call it foundational due to the fact that the changes it is expected to bring about are not rapid — but very tenacious and large-scale. For comparison, they offer the 30-year path that took TCP/IP technology (yes, the Internet) to success: “it took more than 30 years for TCP/IP to move through all the phases — single use, localised use, substitution, and transformation — and reshape the economy. Today, more than half the world’s most valuable public companies have internet-driven, platform-based business models”.

So how does it work and what are the benefits?

Much like TCP/IP drastically lowered the cost of connections, blockchain has the capacity to reduce the cost of transactions, which makes it a very efficient system of record. Tracking and recording continuous transactions, analysing performance rates based on those and making plans for future — all of those processes are inalienable for a business. Most businesses have no single compound record of all the activities; instead, data are distributed across internal units and then reconciled across ledgers, which takes time and leaves space for human error.

So, what is blockchain and how it can be a solution here? In simple words, blockchain is just a way of handling databases, the ultimate ledger. Only a highly efficient, secure and verifiable one. In a regular business operations system, there are numerous dissimilar databases for various activities of a company: changes to them are made separately, and then you spend resources to compile the whole thing together. This is, in terms of resources, the opposite of optimal and efficient.

In a blockchain system, the ledger is replicated in identical databases, hosted and maintained separately. When changes are entered in one copy, all the other copies are simultaneously updated. This smart business approach would keep records of exchanged assets in all ledgers. “If a stock transaction took place on a blockchain-based system, it would be settled within seconds, securely and verifiably”, the Harvard Business Review explains.

Secure, decentralized, shared publicly, trusted and automated. This is exactly the kind of solution that modern professionals would want and software developers would be looking to develop. The most important fact about blockchain is that its applications are not limited to the banking and financial industry — its principle can be used for other business improvement purposes, including smart contracts or establishing a secure document transfer system, network infrastructure or marketing forecasts and many others.

For example, blockchain allows creating a custom system for smart documents management: secure storing and transfer of various kinds of assets.

In establishing secure document transfer networks, blockchain provides an invaluable advantage because of efficient cryptography and a decentralised structure. This sets the foundation for broadening the scope of typical smart contracts from just the financial sector to the legal realm, real estate, intellectual property and much more.

Whether you need to improve identification and authentication solutions or introduce a supply chain verification system, or shared economy solutions for, say, ride-sharing services — there’s a whole new frontier in business systems organisation.

Distributed ledger technology can be tailored by professional software developers for various business optimisations. Let’s discuss how your organization can take full advantage of blockchain’s benefits.


Originally published at eleks.com 

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With Internet of Things (IoT) progressively taking its strong hold in the industrial sector, let us find out how companies are making the most of it.  

Back in 2014, a report issued by the top management consultant company, Accenture predicted that by 2020 investment in the Industrial IoT would reach around $500 billion.  A combination of powerful data processing, cheap sensors, and machine learning has allowed the companies the leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial sector to make their industrial processes more efficient and significantly smarter than ever. 

Nowhere is IoT leveraged more so than in the rail industry, which is one of the most lucrative and profit-driven industries all over the world.  Previously rail operators would only be able to fix any problem that had visibly broken, however with the advent of IoT in industrial sector, the province of predictive maintenance has enabled operators to identify and fix any issue before services need to be stopped for the time being.  Today, it is increasingly common for all the other industries allowing companies to monitor and analyze data generated from the IoT devices, and if any changes found in data, companies can accurately predict future performance issues.  

Smarter Transportation 

It comes as no surprise that capturing, monitoring and analyzing of big data can provide industrial companies with a host of advantages. You might know that French rail provider SNCF is the biggest company that is trying to leverage big data in industrial IoT. They have started working on several projects that aim to capitalize on big data to achieve a number of things, including:  

• Predict maintenance requirements more accurately

• Integrate data from across the organization

• Improving visibility of asset health

• Reduce instances of unscheduled maintenance 

Smart Maintenance  

Smart maintenance has already shown itself in various early case studies on how to use data to make management of networks more efficient and smarter. For example, a Finnish company Sharper Shape has been using drones to map utility networks. They are leveraging big data, IoT and machine learning to identify those trees that are at high risk of falling onto the power lines. In an interview, the CEO of Finnish company Sharper Shape, Tero Heinonen said that using drones instead of humans to identify the trees that are at high risk of falling onto the power lines can cut costs by up to 30%. Moreover, drones can perform this task faster than humans.  

With the kind of predictive maintenance and monitoring programs discussed in this blog post, we can say that network faults will become a thing of the past. Don’t you think so? However, if you also want to be a part industrial IoT, learn IoT Training and Analytics online from a reputed institute. 

With Internet of Things (IoT) progressively taking its strong hold in the industrial sector, let us find out how companies are making the most of it.  

 

Back in 2014, a report issued by the top management consultant company, Accenture predicted that by 2020 investment in the Industrial IoT would reach around $500 billion.  A combination of powerful data processing, cheap sensors, and machine learning has allowed the companies the leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial sector to make their industrial processes more efficient and significantly smarter than ever.

Nowhere is IoT leveraged more so than in the rail industry, which is one of the most lucrative and profit-driven industries all over the world.  Previously rail operators would only be able to fix any problem that had visibly broken, however with the advent of IoT in industrial sector, the province of predictive maintenance has enabled operators to identify and fix any issue before services need to be stopped for the time being.  Today, it is increasingly common for all the other industries allowing companies to monitor and analyze data generated from the IoT devices, and if any changes found in data, companies can accurately predict future performance issues.  

Smarter Transportation

It comes as no surprise that capturing, monitoring and analyzing of big data can provide industrial companies with a host of advantages. You might know that French rail provider SNCF is the biggest company that is trying to leverage big data in industrial IoT. They have started working on several projects that aim to capitalize on big data to achieve a number of things, including:  

·         Predict maintenance requirements more accurately

·         Integrate data from across the organization

·         Improving visibility of asset health

·         Reduce instances of unscheduled maintenance

Smart Maintenance  

 

Smart maintenance has already shown itself in various early case studies on how to use data to make management of networks more efficient and smarter. For example, a Finnish company Sharper Shape has been using drones to map utility networks. They are leveraging big data, IoT and machine learning to identify those trees that are at high risk of falling onto the power lines. In an interview, the CEO of Finnish company Sharper Shape, Tero Heinonen said that using drones instead of humans to identify the trees that are at high risk of falling onto the power lines can cut costs by up to 30%. Moreover, drones can perform this task faster than humans.  

 

With the kind of predictive maintenance and monitoring programs discussed in this blog post, we can say that network faults will become a thing of the past. Don’t you think so? However, if you also want to be a part industrial IoT, learn IoT Training and Analytics online from a reputed institute. 

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Device Twins In Industrial IoT Solutions

Guest post by Rick Blaisdell

Device twins are becoming a hot topic as the IoT network gathers greater popularity. Device twins are important in the development and deployment of industrial IoT solutions. They act like virtual devices representing the data and metadata of the physical device connected to the IoT network.

The rise of device twins has been noticed by one Gartner report, which placed this as a top five trend for 2016. The twin devices are typically called twins, shadows or device virtualization.

Each device activated and registered with an IoT platform contain two categories of data. The first one is the metadata which doesn’t change often. Here we include the details that describe precisely the device such as serial number, firmware version, model or year of manufacturing. The second category of data contains real-time and unique data from the device.

Why is the digital twin so valuable?

The concept of the digital twin is a powerful one that can bring real benefits such as:

  • Visibility: the virtual version of the device allows visibility in the operations of the machines and also enables larger interconnected systems.
  • Predictability: by using various modeling techniques, mathematics-based or physics-based, the digital replica can be utilized to predict a future state of the device.
  • Analysis: through well-designed interfaces, the interaction with the model is simplified, and people could address “what if” questions to simulate various conditions that are impractical to create in real life.
  • Documentation and communication mechanism: the digital twin can be used as a communication mechanism, which can provide understanding and explications for different behaviors.
  • Connecting backend business applications: the digital twin can be used successfully to create a connection with the backend business app to achieve useful outcomes in the context of supply chain including procurement, transportation, and logistics.

Industrial twins

These implementations are adopted in general by the Industrial IoT providers, and these constitute information from the Product Lifecycle Management tools on the design of a machine, but it could also be designed as a model of one device. The industrial vendors look at the physical properties, the design of information and then present them in an asset model.

These industrial twins could be implemented as:

  • Virtual twin (device virtualization);
  • Predictive twin (using analytics models);
  • Twin Projections (insights projection);

Within the next few years, billions of things will be represented by their twins, creating a dynamic software model of the physical item. The digital shadows combined with the representations of environments and facilities, as well as businesses, people or processes will enable a sophisticated digital image of the real world, suitable for analysis, simulation, and control.

If you have questions about the topic do not hold back on them.

This post originally appeared here.

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Guest post by Jeffrey Lee.

In the early days of IoT, updating remote devices often caused intermittent disruption and performance degradation. As IoT platforms have matured, they have embraced a novel way to remotely and reliably update connected devices with little to no disruption: over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates.

Over-the-air firmware updates refers to the practice of remotely updating the code on an embedded device. The embedded hardware must be built with OTA functionality for this mechanism to work.

Why OTA Firmware?

Prior to OTA updates, you had to go out and retrieve the device, take it apart, connect it to your computer, reprogram it, put the device back together, and then take the device back.

However, this process is overly burdensome and unscalable for companies who have devices out on the field. Although, it hasn’t stopped some from trying . . .

  • In 2015, Chrysler was criticized for patching a software vulnerability via mailed USB drives. Chrysler’s method put many consumers at risk because the USB drives could be intercepted, modified, and resent.

On the other hand,

  • In 2016, Tesla drivers woke up to find substantial new features to their car after the company sent out an OTA firmware update. Consumers could now self-park their cars without having to manually update their vehicles.

You tell us which is the better headline.

OTA Firmware Benefits

  • Bugs and product behavior can be continuously improved even after the device is in the hands of your consumers.
  • Companies can test new features by sending updates to one or multiple devices.
  • Companies can save costs by managing the firmware across their fleet of devices from a seamless, unified interface.
  • Developers can deploy frequently and reliably, knowing that products will stay functional as updates are released.
  • OTA firmware augments scalability by adding new features and infrastructure to products after they are released.

OTA Firmware & Device Management

To send out OTA firmware updates, you need a device management system that can interface with microprocessors and local software on IoT devices. This is complicated to build because few companies have an IoT software and hardware ecosystem that can process OTA firmware updates and manage remote devices.

Implementing OTA firmware updates

There are two options companies can take: you can build your own OTA firmware system or buy a managed OTA firmware system. For the build route, it is imperative that you research, plan, and consult domain experts to help you add OTA functionality to your hardware and software. Implementing the proper industry encryptions, finding the compatible hardware/software, and finding domain experts who can actually help you will be some of your biggest concerns.

However, due to the complexities of transmitting of the data and security concerns, you could harness a pre-built managed platform solution like Particle.

Getting Started with Particle and OTA firmware

Particle is a full stack IoT platform that offers the hardware and software tools to connect everyday electronics to the internet. Part of this platform, Particle cloud and console, also allows consumers to control fleets of devices and products with wireless firmware updates. Here are some of the benefits of using Particle for OTA firmware updates:

  • Future-proof your products knowing that Particle is taking care of the infrastructure, hardware, and software.
  • OTA firmware updates are sent in chunks so your device won’t brick. If your device loses connection during the update process, it’ll just resume when the connection comes back online.
  • Firmware updates are delivered quickly because the update is just sent to the application layer and not the system layer. Particle only pushes parts of the application that have changed to the device.
  • Easily scale from sending OTA firmware updates from 1 to 1,000 devices without hardware scalability or software issues.
  • Test application updates by sending firmware updates to one or a controlled group of devices.
  • Deliver updates securely knowing all communication channels between the device and Particle cloud are fully encrypted and authorized.
  • Document each release throughly via Particle console to provide your team a comprehensive picture of what has changed in each version.
  • Devices can be set into safe mode so it doesn’t execute any application code, which can be useful if new application code contains bugs that stop the device from connecting to the cloud.

All and all

OTA firmware is the critical driver for IoT success because it is powering the reliability and scalability of connected devices. Companies must decide whether building their own OTA firmware system is worth the time and potential costs, or if purchasing a platform that has OTA firmware functionality is a more efficient and effective way to update remote wireless devices.

This post originally appeared here.

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Amazon Alexa has opened a new level of opportunity for small business and enterprises.

We all have experienced the panic attacks of remembering that the coffee maker is still on, the garage door wasn’t closed and then you started to doubt whether you have closed the main door. You are far away from the home and helpless. Smart homes are breaking this cycle.

Technology is making our life very easy and convenient, with each passing day you’ll get a new invention making your life easier. Today You can manage your Motion sensors, utilities, light appliances, switches, remote, doors and windows with your voice control. Just take your phone out of your pocket and turn off the coffee maker, check the lock status of doors and turn off the lights.

We all are aware about the popularity of Alexa; amazon Alexa is redefining virtual assistance. Alexa is a cloud based voice recognition service API that has the capability to enable next generation voice enabled IoT ecosystem. The basic features of Alexa are alarms and timers, checking for weather and sports, streaming music, and answering questions by using the Bing search engine and Wikipedia.

But we humans are never satisfied with the basics, Alexa is now trained to connect to smart home devices to provide a new level of experience to the users.

According to the investment firm Mizuho, “Amazon Echo can exceed a revenue of $ 11 billion by the end of 2020.”

This is the new revolution for businesses and enterprises; today people are opting for smart homes rather than traditional products. Companies like Philips, LG, Wink, Iris and much more have already integrated Amazon Alexa Skills with their Mobile Apps and their customers are loving their innovative approach.

How does Amazon Alexa skills work?

To use Amazon Echo we need to write a script and upload it to Amazon Lambda Server.

Whenever you send a command to Alexa; a call will be sent to Alexa skills set using message queuing transportation(MQTT) protocol.

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) allows, IoT Full Stack Developers, Programmers, coders, Consultants to create engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of tools, documentation, code samples, and self-service APIs that provides quick and convenient ways to add new skills to Alexa. ASK works with the field of field of voice design to leverage Amazon’s innovative work and knowledge. We have to write the skills that need to be implemented in ASK. These are known as intents like open, turn on, the commands we give to Alexa. And we create intents which match the commands.

With AWS Lambda, you can easily run code without managing the servers. Lambda doesn’t require administration, you can run code for virtually any type of Mobile Application or Mobile App backend service. You can set up your code to automatically trigger from other AWS services or call it directly from any web or mobile app.

Have a look at some trending Smart Home Amazon Echo devices enabled with an Alexa skills:

. Locks and home security:

ADT and Alexa have combined to protect your home in a smarter way. With Alexa, you can seamlessly arm and disarm your system, control door locks and even close your garage door. ADT is not the only company that supports Alexa, August Smart Lock and Scout Alarm are also in the competition. Although their functionalities are different, they have the same aim of home security with virtual assistance.

If you are having a home security equipment business, then you should upgrade to the latest trends before your competitor. Contact us now we will build mobile app and create new Alexa skills for your products.

2. Thermostats:

Amazon has recently upgraded its skill kit to support thermostats. You can control your home temperature just by commanding to Alexa. Companies like Ecoobee, Emerson Sensi and Nest Learning are leading in smart thermostats providers.

Honeywell is a startup that gathers the courage to step into smart thermostats by following Nest concept. And soon gained the limelight among the smart Alexa supported thermostats.

Why don’t you try for smart thermostats? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do much, We have IoT full stack Developers, who have deep understanding of make your thermostats smarter Talk to us now.

3. Lights:

Alexa doesn’t only turn on and off your home lights, it can change the color of the bulbs, adjust the brightness and much more. The trending smart product in lights in Lifx, it offers custom Alexa skills for voice activated color changes.

Do you think you can compete with companies like Philips and Lifx? Give it a try, enter into the era of voice based command for connected home devices and appliances.

Talk to our specialist and get the free quotation now Contact Us

Let’s talk about the services that are integrated with Alexa now, Alexa is supporting various interactive services for the users.

If you are thinking of a startup or you are already having a startup, then you can consider these services as an idea. Don’t worry, we will guide you whenever you need. Have a look at some interesting services of Alexa:

Spotify:

Spotify integrates with Amazon echo and allows control of your music with the voice commands. Thinking about how to play Spotify with Amazon Alexa? Just link your Spotify account to Amazon Alexa app in the settings section and then change your default music services to Spotify. That’s it you are done, all you have to do now is ask Alexa to play your songs and you will get your songs.


Spotify is the leading music provider, you can be the next. Tell us your idea and we will create one for you.

Uber:

Do you know you can ask Alexa to book a ride for you? Yes, Alexa can book your Uber ride just by voice control. Ask Alexa to book your cab, cancel your ride or how far is the cab; Alexa will have all the answers.

We have the right skill set to develop your next Uber clone app. Talk to our specialists to know more.

Domino’s

Domino’s has always been the fastest pizza chain with its online pizza trackers and ordering pizza from pizza emoji option. Ask Alexa to order your pizza and you will get your pizza delivered at your place without even touching your phone.

Do you have a food chain? Why don’t you try Alexa? Tell us your requirement and we will give you the most innovative solution.

Alexa skills are not limited to these services only; Alexa can be trained for any skill set.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

If you have any new idea that you think can integrate with Amazon Alexa to give a better experience to users then tell us. We are here for the help.

We have an expert team of fullstack developers that are well experienced in integrating Amazon Alexa with Mobile app and consumer electronics devices, services. Our developers will work extensively on your requirement to make your project innovative, and trending among your competitors. We are working on IoT solutions to enable IoT in home, schools, and office buildings.

This article was originally published here: How Amazon Alexa is Revolutionizing the Businesses and Enterprises

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It’s no secret that data breaches are on the rise. In fact, there have been more data breaches than ever before. Medical data breaches are proven to cost more than any other type of breach, costing about 400 dollars per record.

Data breaches are rising dramatically putting them on the agenda for most C-suite and corporate boards. Customer information is being lost, trade secrets are being sold and confidential assets being breached can significantly lower customer loyalty and trust as well as definitely lower the reputation of those companies which were breached. They can also give the competition a significant advantage.

These aren’t the only things that companies have at stake. The many different types of cyber-security risks make cyber-security a vastly complicated problem. In fact attempting to protect the many different frameworks and CMS and private networks is fraught with other complications to layer on top of the complexities.

Today, governments are seeking ways to stem the tide of breaches and break-ins by creating new legislation that provides for specific levels of security and best practices for companies.

This tidal wave of governments and new cybersecurity regs and recommendations make additional problems in and of themselves. The United States government alone has proposed more than 200 bills (actually 240 at last count.) This includes legislative proposals for ways to deal with cyber-security. This number of mandates and proposals have taken place in just the past three years alone and the number continues to rise.

The proposals fall into a wide range of categories. In some cases the proposals are that companies implement direct requirements for protection. One example of this is that companies in the critical infrastructure arena are going to be facing requirements for security in the US and in the UK and EU as well. They will have specific requirements for risk assessment, control and for personnel training. The question is how can a country legislate a level of security when that level cannot be guaranteed by any company. There are even “trade secret” protection laws in the works that require companies to take “reasonable steps” in order to keep information about the programs and devices safe from cyber threats—though what those steps are is another unknown.

In addition to legislating the devices and services that are being legislated, share holders are becoming more demanding that companies safeguard medical and technical information. That means that securities laws as they relate to new IoT devices and services are also being legislated. In the United States, some measure of shareholder litigation as well as SEC proposals and enforcement are already launched and seeing some effect.

With all of the changes and the advances in technology, it’s no surprise that legislation will follow. Is your company ready for the changes that are being made in IoT and internet services?

According to Brink News, “The rising tide of cybersecurity regulation and recommendations complicates the landscape for companies.”

The National Institute of Standards or NIST, offers one of the most comprehensive tools for managing the risks involved in information security. Even the federal government agencies of the US are embracing it wholeheartedly. In a survey undertaken by Dell, more than 80 percent of professionals in the security arena are using the NIST framework for improving their own security, which makes it a great place to start for companies which are trying to come into line and ensure their compliance to the expected new regulations.

According to the experts, the NIST method and framework may well be the guideline that the courts and legislators will use to determine whether companies in the IoT and IT business are doing their best to secure devices and provide for data security.

There are other standards that are entering into play such as the ISO 27001 which is being used by many companies. The standard is different structurally than the NIST Framework though NIST makes reference to the ISO requirements in their own framework.

What is your company doing to secure their data and IoT devices? How are you set up to come into line with the regulations and legislation that is sure to be just around the corner?

Every company should be taking steps now to implement some type of protection to meet the ever changing threats as well as the ever changing cyber-security regulations.

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IoT Gateway- Enabling Edge and Fog Computing

Connected devices are becoming essential components for enterprises as they can drive significant connectivity and integration between systems and data. The increasing number of devices getting connected to each other generates a huge amount of data.

However, when it comes to leveraging the full potential of these connected devices and data, it is necessary to have a scalable and robust environment which allows faster processing of data between systems.

The fundamental concern is on how to efficiently manage this data, as any data loss or delay in processing of data from a connected ecosystem can cause critical damage to an enterprise’s workflow.

Role of IoT gateway edge analytics in data processing & management

IoT Gateway is the key to any IoT deployment. It is a bridge between IoT devices and cloud that enables remote control of the devices and machines. The increasing number of devices propels the requirement for IoT gateways to solve the data management issues with Edge Analytics.

Edge analytics with IoT Gateway allows data processing before it is transmitted to the cloud. The gateway collects all the data from the connected devices and executes necessary algorithms or rule engine on it and sends actionable commands to connected devices. The actions allow for response to be taken in real-time and also helps in self-healing mechanism during faults/errors.

In large enterprises, having multiple geographical spread, there are a huge number of connected devices and generated data. This heterogeneous data, distributed at different levels (Devices and machines ) have high latency in cloud transferring due to the uncontrolled data flow. Here, distributed edge analytics is the solution as it allows faster data transfer and processing, resulting in the reduction of latency.

AWS Greengrass is the best example for the edge analytics setup. It allows enterprises to run local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. Greengrass ensures quick response of IoT devices at the time of local events, that reduces the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud.

How distributed edge analytics works in larger geographical areas

Let’s take an example of smart grids to understand the concept in-detail.

Smart grids are the combinations of smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy resources, energy efficient resources, and substations. In a particular city area, the number of smart meters is equivalent to the number of households in that area. These AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) continuously collects the energy consumption data and route it to the IoT gateways. The gateway enables edge analytics and then the processed data is rerouted to the cloud by the gateway.

As the number of AMI is high in a particular area, the number of gateways will be proportionately higher.

Merits of distributed edge analytics:

  • Reduced data transfer latency
  • Fast access to the faulty areas
  • Quick functional recovery and self healing capabilities that brings resilience in the system

Distributed edge analytics also enables fast response to the cloud in case of faults and failures with Fog Computing so that the recovery time can be minimal. Let us understand how.

How fog computing works with smart grids for faster data processing

Fog computing is the combination of two key components of data processing, Edge and Cloud both. The idea of combining edge computing with more complex computing (cloud computing) results into more reliable and faster data processing.

As smart grid tech is increasing rapidly, fog computing is the best tool for the data and information processing between consumers, grid operators, and energy providers.

In the edge analytics concept, the gateways form a mesh network. The individual mesh network of a designated area creates Fog Nodes. Each fog node is connected to each other, resulting in a fog network of smart meters and IoT gateways in the larger setups. The combination of these fog nodes then allows distributed fog computing, which gives the benefit of fast and real-time data analysis in any large geographical area. This further enables faster fault response time.

Use case of smart grids in distributed edge analytics

eInfochips developed a solution in which gateways are being connected into a mesh network with peer-to-peer communication. Mesh and cluster of gateways enable high availability and reliabilityof the IoT deployment in smart grids. Clustering enables distributed edge analytics. These distributed edge nodes allow processing of data at the edge before transferring it to the cloud.

According to the market research data, fog computing market is growing with the attractive amount of cost annual growth rate (CAGR), 55.6% between 2017 and 2022 (MarketsandMarkets).

With our edge and fog computing expertise, we help the IoT solution providers to optimise their computing infrastructure by distributing load between the cloud and edge devices in an intelligent way through our ready-to-use dynamic rule engine or custom solutions.

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Once a shepherd had two horses. One was strong and fast, another one was slow and weak. The shepherd instead of looking after the weak one and trying to make him fit, he preferred riding the healthy one and taking him almost everywhere. He also fed him better which in long-term led the healthy horse to become heavy and feel lethargic all the time. Later the healthy one became sick and the shepherd then instead of having healthy horse has to deal with two sick and weak horses.

What does this story have to do with digitalization? Well, this is our approach to the whole idea of digitalization and its implementation worldwide. Instead of investing time and resources and bringing the idea of digitalization to the underdeveloped nation or the “weak horse”, we are feeding the already “healthy horse” or the developed nation with fascinating ideas and projects which might result into sickness in the long term. The early symptoms of this sickness can already be witnessed. A World Economic Forum (ref:weforum.org) report says that labour markets will witness a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies. Is this in line with the idea of digitalization? 

The World witnessed more than 4.000 ransomware attacks per day in 2016 (ref:Justice.gov) which approx. 300% more than that in 2015. This since we made the whole IT infrastructure more vulnerable to such attacks by simply connecting every electronic device to the internet. Are we just simply neglecting the side effects of digitalization? 

Being not able to read your power meter values on your smartphone is not a problem as compared to not having access to water and electricity due to scarcity. Being not able to sit in a self-driven car is not a problem as compared to be stuck in traffic jam in peak summer for hours and breathing exhaust gases all the time. These are some of the typical problems of the underdeveloped or developing nations. The question which the Gurus of digitalization should address is that if the idea of digitalization/IoT for industry/IT giants are about to create business and thus pushing up the turn over, then why not boosting digitalization across such nations by diverting the resources there. This is far better than making own factories intelligent and then laying down hundreds or thousands of hardworking and loyal employees.  

Here are some of the typical problems of the under-developed or emerging nations, the answer to which could be well-implemented digitalization. 

Corruption: According to an IMF report more than $ 1 trillion dollars is paid in bribes each year around the world with underdeveloped and developing countries topping the list of being the most corrupt nations. People in these nations pay up to 13 percent of their income to bribes which later discourages them from services made available by the government. Corruption is the root cause of crime in many countries and acts like a fuel to poverty and social inequality. Institutes worldwide are trying their best to strictly monitor and thus eliminate corruption worldwide, unfortunately without much success until now. This, however, might change in future. Experts nowadays are betting on the invention of blockchain to fight corruption. The blockchain is a centralized technology which offers full transaction transparency, thus providing no room for fraud or capital manipulation. Blockchain implementation, however, demands a solid digital infrastructure which in my opinion is an area where IT communication network provider should look into.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

 

Commodity wastage or theft: Water and electricity to two important needs of every society. Their scarcity or theft leads to a major human rights problem. The figures about water scarcity worldwide are very alarming with some 780 million (ref: Water.org) people having no access to clean and safe water. One of the major reason for water scarcity is wastage or theft in emerging/underdeveloped nations. The electricity theft worldwide touched $89 billion (ref: Northeast Group LLC) annually in 2015 with India, Brazil and Russia being the top 3 nations with highest losses. With an introduction of smart water and electric meters along with in-built sensors, certain startups are trying to monitor the overall water and electricity supply and consumption. Based on which a customer profile can be generated so that any irregularities can be immediately reputed to the consumer as well as the respective authorities. This again needs support from government and the industry without which it will take ages to tackle the mentioned problem.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

 

Landfills: Seems like the never-ending problem of nations with poor or insufficient infrastructure People in some of these nations spend their lives in an area surrounded by a heap of waste or landfills. This is there exist no proper waste management plan due to lack of manpower or resources. This bottleneck can, however, be eliminated by daily tracking and monitoring of location (webcams) with landfills and adjusting the waste management plan accordingly. Here, for instance, the resources can be diverted to a location with a frequent buildup of waste. This, however, demands a strong digital infrastructure which can only be established if government and industry work together.

 Image courtesy: Wikicommons

Street crimes are on the rise in nations with higher social inequality. Authorities in these nations feel helpless due to the degree and frequency of crime happening every day versus the available manpower. Interestingly, the biggest problem is that many of these crimes go unreported since people in these nations have lost their faith in government/authorities/police. The legal structure in these countries needs a face-lift which can be achieved by digitalization the complete process of monitoring, documenting of crime and its prosecution. The street light camera or public surveillance camera project in the US is a good example of crime monitoring here. The public surveillance camera installed in Baltimore and Chicago (ref: Urban.org) region not only resulted in reduced crime but also proven to be cost-effective than the conventional way. A cloud-based complain lodging system can be established allowing the verified victim to lodge complain straight via smartphone. A digital platform managing all these complains based on degree or severity of the crime as well as the date of occurrence can be created.

Healthcare: Proper healthcare is still considered as a luxury in many of underdeveloped/developing nations. Approximately 80 percent (ref: facts and details.com) of people in these nations rely on public hospitals for treatment. These hospitals are often running over-capacity and are ill-equipped.  A healthcare digital platform which integrates the existing database of all the hospitals in the region along with a list of their respective treatment capabilities, services could ensure the even distribution of patient load in these hospitals. Thus allowing treatment to each and very needy individual without any delay. Access to a healthcare App coupled with the platform can allow the patient to see which hospital nearby has an available bed and a doctor and can provide him/her with an option of online booking. 

Uncontrolled traffic: Interestingly an ongoing problem of developing countries. With four-wheeler getting cheaper and infrastructure narrower day by day, the traffic condition in these countries is on the verge of a breakdown. Traffic jams and road accidents are on increase with pollution level due to an increased number of vehicles on road, reaching new peaks. Equipping traffic lights with infrared sensors or webcams can help the authorities to divert the traffic in case of traffic congestion. Moreover, long-term monitoring (analytics) can be beneficial in planning infrastructural change, road buildups in regions where traffic jams are frequent. Car sharing/renting/hiring apps should be promoted. By combing the complete transportation system along with consumer profile, one can monitor the user segment preferring public transportation over own. This segment can then be rewarded in form of discounted bus/train/metro tickets or by means of an annual grant.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

The list of problems of these nations is long but properly implemented digitalization along with the synergy between government and industry could be the answer to all of these problems. We should not repeat the mistake of the shepherd and should help the weak horse to be as fit as the healthy horse. Only this way we can achieve social and economic balance across the world. 

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