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As demand for location services in all areas of the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so too has the requirement for precision location. For many applications, especially those that need to scale to cover large areas, providing ”proximity zone” types of location is simply not accurate enough. That means the old way of determining location—primarily using Bluetooth beacons—is no longer sufficient.

Bluetooth beacons have been the go-to solution for determining location for years, but they have three limiting factors:

  • Beacons only work with smartphones, not tags, which limits how they can be used
  • They are able to locate objects in best case within 3-4 meters, which is fine for determining a general location, but is not refined enough to meet the requirements for many of today’s applications
  • Beacons are battery-operated, which impacts their ability to deliver real-time location; frequent transmissions drain the device’s battery, meaning frequent replacements are necessary

The shortcoming of beacons and other location technologies that rely on smartphones has spawned an industry shift to a more network-centric approach, with the intelligence moving to the receiver antenna and a centralized software application, rather than the intelligence residing in a smartphone app. That, in turn, has launched the development of a wide range of active, low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags with long battery life and possible on-board sensors.

Another shift occurring is a change in how signals from these tags are measured to determine location. The traditional method—using signal strength to estimate location—does not take into consideration how the signal will be impacted by its environment.  While a weak signal could indicate an object is far away from a beacon, it’s also possible a physical object, such as a concrete pillar or wall, is impacting the signal. 

Two new approaches are emerging for BLE angle estimation. The first is based on the signal’s Angle of Arrival (AoA)—the precise direction the device is from the receiver antenna arrays. With AoA, multiple antennas are used within the same devices to measure the signal. This allows the antenna to locate a tag or smartphone with accuracy of 10 to 20 centimeters, not meters.

The second approach considers the signal’s Angle of Departure (AoD). In this approach, the location intelligence is moved back to the mobile devices. The AoD approach works like "indoor GPS," where the fixed infrastructure devices (aka Locators) are only broadcasting and are not aware of the receiving devices, similarly to how a GPS Satellite works. This means the capability to locate an unlimited amount of devices, and no privacy issues. 

As the use cases for indoor location services continue to grow, with every industry from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and retail, to law enforcement and beyond clamoring for more precision, new approaches beyond Bluetooth beacons need to be considered. The AoA and AoD methodologies are quickly gaining momentum as the next generation of location technology.

Guest post by Antti Kainulainen is CTO & cofounder of Quuppa. Before Quuppa, he was with Nokia Research Center (NRC) during 2005-2012, where he was the lead engineer in several projects related to indoor positioning. He also took part in the standardization work of the Bluetooth Wireless technology. Antti received his M.Sc. degree in technology from Helsinki University of Technology in 2007. He has 16 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications. More at www.quuppa.com

 

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"One day I'm in my cubicle, Steve shows up with someone I've never met before. He asks me, 'Guy, what do you think of this company Knoware?'. I said, 'Well Steve, it is a mediocre company, mediocre product, lot of drilling practises, doesn't make full use of graphics, just basic mediocrity, nothing that strategic for us.' He says to me, 'I want you to meet the CEO of Knoware.' So that's what was like working for Steve Jobs. ‘You always have to be on the ball.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. The flow of information has also changed the way we live in today’s world.

Your mark on the world begins…

Every morning when we read a newspaper having out so much information we came to know the latest happening in the world (of course in details), yeah you are right even the internet edition also. This is just a very basic example of IoT. All our Railways, Air and even sea networks are connected with the help of IoT. We can take the example of banking. It is very easy to transact any amount of money from part of the world to other with help of e-commerce. We can purchase anything online with help of debit and credit cards. This has made our lives more and more simple. People are working on the internet without really having to go outside to their workplace. IoT has changed the whole scenario. Companies can share technologies online. Even the doctors can guide the other doctors while operating on a patient with the help of Information Technology. A whole new world is coming our way. Technology is allowing us to reimagine our future transportation system. Advances in connected automation, navigation, communication, robotics, and smart cities—coupled with a surge in transportation-related data—will dramatically change how we travel and deliver goods and services. Automation in the field of transportation is everywhere. Have we as humans become an afterthought? We order service on our smartphones, we manoeuvre around in increasingly automated vehicles, we ride in driverless transport, and we will increasingly find ourselves sharing our highways and byways with drones and other unmanned craft.

1) SaaS & Bring Your Own Device

Global movements such as BYOD and SaaS, where consumerisation of IT and mobility are drastically changing the capabilities of employees and their expectations of a workspace. Building your own apps is the ideal way to mitigate the risk of BYOD and SaaS. An organisation can provide those that only allow the user to access what they need. The enter-prise’s concern is the data; the employee’s concern is the device. In the IT security world, we care about both. Now that most of the organizations started adopting BYOD in some form, it is not just their personal iPads and laptops that users are bringing into the office, they are also using the consumer apps available in their personal device for work purpose which leads to the next wave in mobility. In the very near future BYOD won’t be a ‘trend’ but a norm no one would think twice about.

2) The Emergence of Big Data

 "Big data" alluringly holds out the promise of competitive advantages to companies that can use it to unlock secrets about customers, website usage and other key elements of their business operations. Big Data now stream from daily life: from phones and credit cards and televisions and computers; from the infrastructure of cities; from sensor-equipped buildings, trains, buses, planes, bridges, and factories. It's estimated that 43 trillion gigabytes of new data will be created by the year 2020. 

3) Cloud computing: How it's transforming the role of IT

Market conditions require significant change and many organizations are using this driver as an opportunity to simplify their applications and data through rationalization and technology innovations such as Cloud Computing. Cloud is defined as any cloud service where consumers are able to access software applications over the internet. The applications are hosted in “the cloud” and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and organisations. Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all examples of SaaS, with users able to access the services via any internet enabled device. Cloud is also the fastest growing because it keeps pace with emerging and future business models than on-premise systems, the majority of which were designed for business models of the past.

The next step, moving towards virtual workspaces, can make organisations far more agile but only if those responsible for the IT (and in effect, the productivity) of the employees understand the relationship employees have with their devices and how these change throughout the day based on their personal preference – be it a smartphone for the train, a tablet device for a client meeting or a laptop for remote working at home.

4) Millions of sensitive IT services exposed to the Internet

All the more the Internet is becoming more and more important for nearly everybody as it is one of the newest and most forward-looking media and surely "the" medium of the future. These advances—in fields such as robotics, A.I., computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials—are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health, and security. Technology is, today, moving faster than ever. Advances that took decades, sometime centuries, such as the development of telephones, airplanes, and the first computers, now happen in years.

The macro trends that have changed the playing field in the past 10 years have been cloud, mobility, Big Data, and social networking. An even bigger trend ahead will be the Internet of Things that will extend information technology into every aspect of our lives. IT has become more agile and responsive to the needs of the business. While cloud was considered hype just a few years ago, the cloud in its many forms, private, public, hybrid, is transforming IT into a service model. IT leaders who embraced these changes have been able to do more with less and have proven their strategic value.

According to Steve, the iPhone was originally a tablet project. Partway through the R&D process, he said, “Hmm, we can make a phone out of this.” After the launch, many people rewrote history and said that the purpose of the iPhone was to reinvent the future of telephony.

Today, technology is, moving faster than ever. The ubiquity of network connectivity and the proliferation of smart devices (such as sensors, signs, phones, tablets, lights, and drones) have created platforms upon which every enterprise can innovate. Since the past few years we have also seen countless innovations that improve our daily lives. From Internet technology to finance to genetics and beyond - we have seen technologies such as mobile, social media, smartphones, big data, predictive analytics, and cloud, among others are fundamentally different than the preceding IT-based technologies. And advances in science and technology have changed the way we communicate, our thought processes, exchange views, understand the way we relate to one another and think about what it means to be a real Innovative change maker. Perhaps one day you too can be a part of reinventing something which is new, timely, relevant and useful.

 

Best Regards,

Raj Kosaraju

 

Raj Kosaraju specializes on Cloud Computing, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management, Big Data & IoT.

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What is a smart city? The answer depends on who you ask. Solutions providers will tell you it’s smart parking, smart lighting or anything to do with technology. City officials may tell you it’s about conducting city business online, such as searching records or applying for permits. City residents may tell you it’s the ease of getting around, or about crime reduction. Everyone is right. A smart city, built properly, will have different value for different stakeholders. They may not think of their city as a “smart”city. They know it only as a place they want to live in, work in, and be a part of. To build this type of city, you have to first build the smart city ecosystem.

 

A smart city is built on technology, but focused on outcomes

A scan of the various smart city definitions found that technology is a common element. For example, TechTarget defines a smart city as “a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare”. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) envisions a smart city as one that brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance.

But what does a smart city really do? Our scan of smart city projects worldwide showed that initiatives fell into one or more smart city “outcomes” (Figure One).

Figure One. Smart city projects are aligned to one of seven outcomes.

 

As a starting point, we define a smart city is one that uses technology extensively to achieve key outcomes for its various stakeholders, including residents, businesses, municipal organizations and visitors.

 

The smart city ecosystem framework

Figure Two shows our framework for a smart city ecosystem. A vibrant and sustainable city is an ecosystem comprised of people, organizations and businesses, policies, laws and processes integrated together to create the desired outcomes shown in Figure One. This city is adaptive, responsive and always relevant to all those who live, work in and visit the city. A smart city integrates technology to accelerate, facilitate, and transform this ecosystem.

Figure Two. The smart city ecosystem framework.

 

Four types of value creators

There are four types of value creators in the smart city ecosystem. They create and consume value around one of the outcomes listed in Figure One.

When people think of a smart city, they automatically think of services provided by municipal and quasi-government agencies, such as smart parking, smart water management, smart lighting, and so on. In fact, there are three other value providers and users that co-exist in the smart city – businesses and organizations, communities, and residents.

Businesses and organizations may create services that use and create information to create outcomes for its stakeholders. Some examples of “smart” businesses include Uber and Lyft for personal mobility, NextDoor for information sharing, and Waze/Google for traffic and commute planning.

Communities are miniature smart cities, but with very localized needs. Some examples of potential smart communities include university campuses, office parks, airports, cargo ports, multi-dwelling unit (MDU) or apartment complexes, housing developments/neighborhoods, business districts and even individual “smart” buildings. They have needs for smart services that may be tailored specifically for their stakeholders.

Residents or individual citizens are also smart services providers in the smart city. A resident living near a dangerous street intersection can point a camera at the intersection and stream that information live to traffic planners and police. Residents place air quality measurement sensors on their properties to monitor pollution and pollen levels during certain times of the year, and make that information available to other community members. Residents can choose to make these smart services temporary or permanent, and free or fee based.

 

The Smart City is built on layers

A smart city is an ecosystem comprised of multiple “capability layers”. While technology is a critical enabler, it is just one of many foundational capabilities that every smart city must have. No one capability is more important than the rest. Each capabilities plays a different role in the smart city. These capabilities must integrate and coordinate with each other to carry out its mission.

 

Value layer. This is the most visible layer for city residents, businesses, visitors, workers, students, tourists and others. This layer is the catalog of smart city services or “use cases”, centered around the outcomes (Figure One), and offered by value creators and consumed by the city stakeholders.

Innovation layer. To stay relevant, value creators in the smart city must continuously innovate and update its services for its stakeholders. Smart cities proactively facilitate this through a variety of innovation programs, including labs, innovation zones, training, ideation workshops, skills development and partnerships with universities and businesses.

Governance, management and operations layer. The smart city creates disruption and results in digital transformation of existing processes and services. Smart city management models must integrate a new ecosystem of value creators and innovators. They must plan, support and monetize new business models, processes and services. They must upgrade their existing infrastructure and management processes to support “smart” services. Finally, they must measure the performance of the city with a new set of metrics.

Policy, processes, and public-private partnerships, and financing layer. The smart city doesn’t just magically appear one day. An entirely new set of engagement models, rules, financing sources, and partners are required to build, operate and maintain the smart city. Cities must develop a new set of “smart” competencies in order to get and stay in the “smart city game”.

Information and data layer. The lifeblood of the smart city is information. The smart city must facilitate this in several ways, including open data initiatives, data marketplaces, analytics services, and monetization policies. Equally important, they must have programs that encourage data sharing and privacy policies to protect what and how data is gathered.

Connectivity, accessibility and security layer. People, things and systems are interconnected in the smart city. The ability to seamlessly connect all three, manage and verify who and what is connected and shared, while protecting the information and users is crucial. The highest priorities for smart cities are to provide a seamless layer of trusted connections.

Smart city technology infrastructure layer. Most people automatically think of technology when talking about smart cities. The smart city technology infrastructure must scale beyond the traditional municipal users and support a new class of value creators, and city/user stakeholders.

 

Leveraging the smart city ecosystem framework

The smart city is a complex ecosystem of people, processes, policies, technology and other enablers working together to deliver a set of outcomes. The smart city is not “owned” exclusively by the city. Other value creators are also involved, sometimes working in collaboration and sometimes by themselves. Successful and sustainable smart cities take a programmatic approach to engage its stakeholders across the ecosystem.

Our research has found that many cities are not taking an ecosystem approach to smart city projects. This is due in part to smart city projects being managed by the Information Technology (IT) organization where their charter is on systems development and deployment. In contrast, more experienced smart cities manage their smart city programs through internal cross functional “Transformation” or “Innovation” organizations.

Regardless of where cities are in their smart city journey, they must get ahead of the “curve” with smart city projects. They begin by thinking in terms of building the broader ecosystem in order to create a sustainable and scalable smart city. Key next steps include:

  1. Understand the smart city ecosystem framework and tailor it to the realities of their specific city. Incorporate this model into the development of their smart city vision, strategy and execution plans.
  2. Relative to the smart city ecosystem framework, identify current capabilities and gaps across the various layers. Understand what is needed to support the four types of value creators.
  3. Evaluate existing and new smart city projects and initiatives against the ecosystem framework. Use this framework to identify what is missing from the project plans and what is needed to make the projects fully successful.
  4. Prioritize and develop competencies across the various ecosystem layers. A smart city requires new skills and competencies. Augment existing capabilities through strategic partnerships and contracting with service providers, as required.

 

About:

Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.

This post was co-authored with Renil Paramel, an IoT Innovation Catalyst, Strategist and Senior Partner at Strategy of Things.

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The predicted growth of the IoT market in manufacturing is unprecedented. At the moment, Markets and Markets researchers predict it to reach $13.49 billion by 2020. Just to give you some perspective, in 2015 the value of this market was estimated at $4.11 billion. The main IoT technology applications in manufacturing revolve around enhancing connectivity and automation. The main goal of this tech is to maximize the efficiency of the manufacturing process while minimizing its costs. The benefits of utilizing digital solutions in this industry are a great motivation for the developers as seeing what has already been achieved prompts them to see how far they can push these solutions.

The most important benefits, no doubt responsible for such a tremendous growth of the IoT manufacturing industry, include:

Boost in Work Efficiency

 

Constant improvement of the manufacturing operation is one of the main goals for any industrial business owner. Implementing IoT technology on any level of the manufacturing allows to:

  • Automate the production process, or some of its steps
  • Pre-test new ideas and designs (using a combination of advanced modeling and testing solutions)
  • Analyze the production process and identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • Save time and money for the business by increasing the efficiency of both the production line and employees
  • Monitor the manufacturing business performance at all times, analyze the data, and use this information for accurate predictions

Steady Improvements in Performance

 

The most important benefit of the contemporary IoT solutions is their ability to improve constantly by simply ‘doing their job’. The AI that governs them is usually programmed to process data collected during the manufacturing process and optimizing that process based on it.

As the system is regulated by the AI developed specifically for it, the efficiency and accuracy of these changes and advancements are greater than any settings set by man. However, making manual adjustments is possible and this will add another layer to the machine’s betterment. The intuitive operation systems of today will memorize the most effective patterns in the production process and find a multitude of ways to achieve or even improve those results. They will do this with utmost accuracy and speed. Utilizing these particular solutions can make even a small manufacturing business into a big player on its market.

Creating the Perfect Environment for Innovation

 

Manufacturing facilities reigned by IoT technology are extremely flexible. This means that the business owner is able to integrate new solutions quickly and boost the production process’ efficiency right away.

Most importantly, implementing this technology allows to step away from the traditional linear production process. This, in turn, leads to the creation of more efficient singular production cycles organized into a cohesive system that can adjust to the change in manufacturing demand immediately. Such a scheme allows for the most efficient use of resources.

This kind of ‘cluster’ manufacturing also enables the owner to monitor the entire system more easily. One can determine where an issue occurs and have other sectors pick up the slack if possible. In any case, this scheme allows making quick and more accurate fixes for any problems.

Allowing for Predictive Maintenance

 

Predictive maintenance is a very efficient method of cutting the manufacturing costs. It is exactly what the name states, a maintenance based on predictions. It’s a step up from preventative maintenance as it’s more effectively targeted.

Predictive analytics drive this solution and allow you to maximize the equipment output while minimizing the costs for its maintenance. Note that using such technology also helps you save money you would have lost due to the manufacturing process stopping.

The IoT for the manufacturing industry develops extremely fast with dozens of solutions released for any kind of business. Embracing this technology now can not only give one an edge over the competition. With the high popularity rate of this tech, not using any of these solutions is sure to marginalize the business.

Adam Flamberg is a consultant at DO Supply.

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Two years back when my employer asked me to take over the role of an IoT project manager, my first reaction to that was “Why me”? It was quite an obvious response you get when ask a mechanical engineer to jump into the IT world and to start dealing with terminologies like data protocols, cloud, database, microservices and so on. There are then two ways to handle this kind situation: Either you quit or to take the challenge. I (luckily) went for the second option. 

The major issue which the companies, pursuing digital transformation around the globe, facing is the lack of expertise. You cannot fire 50% of your existing staff just because they cannot program or cannot describe a cloud. On the other hand, the market (still) lack some comprehensive training or courses which can help the individuals with no IT background to undergo the transition from non-IT to basic-IoT and finally to advance IoT. To sum up, it comes down to two issues: Companies want to pursue digital transformation, but they lack expertise, and the existing staff is not capable of filling this gap. 

Let’s not consider the worst case scenario (though they exist) in which firms fire thousands of their once loyal employees and outsource the development projects to IT service provides. There is another way out in which employees take the initiative in their hand and start teaching themselves IoT in an easy and at the same time productive manner. Here are my three (proven) tips in this regards to fellow non-IT colleagues. 

Tip 1: Learn something new and narrate it to your spouse: 

Try explaining to your wife what the terms cloud, gateway, data protocol, digital twin etc. means. Do this in a way that you can map it onto his or her daily routine. For instance explain your spouse the concept behind the smart home or an intelligence dishwasher which calculates the number of cycles executed, amount of water, load and so on. This dishwasher speaks a unique language which is called MQTT which allows him to talk to the internet which in turn using some analytics try to make this dishwasher intelligent. 

If you are lucky enough then your spouse has almost nothing to do with the topic of IoT. That makes the task more challenging but will have a better outcome. This since you have to break down every buzzword into a simplified form to make the explanation quite easy. The more and more in-depth you explain, better you will get with the topics of IoT. 

Tip 2: Write a blog on IoT or related topics: 

That’s one of the reasons I am here. I wrote my first blog in 2017 on RAMI 4.0 topic. The idea here was not to get people’s attention but to gain an insight on the subject. You cannot write an article on a topic before doing intense research on it. I was finding it difficult to understand the concept behind RAMI 4.0, so I decided to write on it. The best thing about these kinds of blogs is that they result in some discussion which in turn enriches your knowledge about the topic. 

Here again, I would like to the point that you are not writing to impress someone but to make yourself and other non-IT individuals understand the concept behind a particular IoT topic. Last but not the least, keep the article and the content as simple as possible as Steve House said: “The simpler you can make the things the richer the experience becomes”. 

Tip 3: Buy yourself a single board computer and start experimenting

I am not marketing raspberry pi or any other single board computer here, but these devices are small wonder box which can show you the way to a “self-developed” IoT use case. What you need is a small programmable computer or an IoT device which you can customize depending on the type of use case you want to try. I decided for pi 3 since they are lots of literature and videos available on the net explaining IoT projects with Pi. The next step is to get a demo version of a cloud service provider of your choice and visit the tutorial page. You do not have to be an IT expert to try some of the use cases mentioned there. The examples cited there are described a simplified way and is like putting LEGO blocks together. I used the Microsoft Azure platform and tutorial to program a use case which sends an alarm /e-mail notification in case of temperature higher than 25 degrees C. 

The step by step description of the use case can be found at Azure tutorial (docs.microsoft). If you follow these carefully then your solution would look something like this:

                                                              Dashboard Azure IoT

 

                                                Code running on Raspberry Pi 3

 

Here for instance, if the temperature is above 25 degrees C, the signal is set to “true” and is transferred to your IoT hub within Azure using service bus. There the logic –App takes this information, process it and trigger the notification (G-mail-send email 2 function) to my Gmail.

                                                                                     Logic App

 

                                                                         Trigger view in Logic App

 

The screenshot below shows the number of incoming requests (from Pi to IoT Hub) as well as the outgoing messages at one particular run.

 

                                                                        Incoming requests vs outgoing messages

 

                                                                                Email-notification

I did not program even a single line here. So what’s holding you back? Start writing a blog or grab yourself an IoT device and start experimenting.

 

 

 

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The world is flooded with digital innovation and technologies like IoT, 5G wireless network & embedded AI continues to increase the pace of change. At present millions of apps are coming online to monitor, measure, process, analyze, react to seemingly storm of endless data making the growth of IoT explosive as well as impressive. Now we all are aware regarding the fact that the internet of Things heavily relies on cloud technology not only to store large amounts of data collected from sensors but also process it.

What is Fog computing?

In simple words, Fog computing is a system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things. It can be summarized as:

Horizontal architecture- Support multiple industry verticals and application domains, delivering intelligence and services to users and business

Cloud-to-thing continuum of services- Enable services and applications to be distributed closer to Things, and anywhere along the continuum between Cloud and Things

System-level- Extend from the Things, over the network edges, through the Cloud, and across multiple protocol layers – not just radio systems, not just a specific protocol layer, not just at one part of an end-to-end system, but a system spanning between the Things and the Cloud

Its key benefits include:

  • Ultra-low latency
  • Business agility
  • Added security
  • Real-time analytics
  • Reduced costs
  • Less bandwidth and network load

Have you ever wondered how fog architecture leverages and extends edge capabilities? Here’s the answer

Compute Distribution and Load Balancing- Many edge architecture employs a strategy of placing servers, apps or small clouds at the edge. Fog simply provides a broader system-level architecture that also incorporates tools for distributing, orchestrating, managing and securing resources and services across networks. This provides a great balance of sophisticated computation, networking and storage capabilities and support for heterogeneous environments on any node (e.g., CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and DSPs for computing).

Hierarchical networking- Edge is often optimized for a single type of network resource at the network edges, such as edge gateways, routers, switches, or licensed spectrum wireless networks. Fog supports a physical and logical network hierarchy of multiple levels of cooperating nodes, supporting distributed applications. Fog nodes extend the edge with support for north-south, east-west and diagonal connectivity, including interfaces between edge and cloud. This could include, for example, analytics algorithms distributed up and down a hierarchy of nodes, or massively parallel applications that concurrently run on large peer groups of processors or highly distributed storage systems.

Universal Orchestration & Management- Edge orchestration and management are sometimes derived from specific legacy vertical practices, such as mobile network orchestration managed by the carrier. In these situations, the edge may deliver cloud capabilities but without orchestration for connecting edge nodes. Fog orchestration and management is intended to be more universal, modern, and automated. Fog orchestration enables resource pooling and permits interactions and collaborations between fog nodes at the same layer and at different layers in the hierarchy, which helps performance, fault tolerance, load distribution and load balancing. Fog network management considers a life-cycle management through a distributed service orchestration layer in each fog node. The fog architecture essentially validates IT (information technology), OT (operational technology) and CT (communications technology) approach.

Modular Architecture with Multiple Access Modes- Edge deployments are typically based on gateways with fixed functionality. Edge architectures favor one specific access network, such as either wireless or wireline. Fog has a highly modular hardware and software architecture, permitting every fog node to be equipped with exactly the resources its applications need, that can be dynamically configured. Fog embraces both the licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum, as well as copper and fiber wireline modes.

Reliability and resiliency- Fog architectures are inherently reliable, supporting many fault tolerance, network resiliency, and fully autonomous emergency operation scenarios. If an edge device goes down, the services it supports will often fail.

Security and privacy- Vertical application-specific and multi-vendor nature edge may offer uneven security protection. Whereas fog, on the other hand, requires every fog node to include a high-assurance implementation of its Trusted Computing Base using secure hardware or hardware-supported security mechanisms and a mandatory mission-critical class protection of communication and computation security mechanisms and a mandatory mission-critical class protection of communication and computation security.

Virtualization Support- Fog supports virtualization and uses enterprise and web-scale models. This provides hardware virtualization at each node level and allows loads to be moved from one node to an adjacent node if the node is down or overloaded. Edge computing looks at virtualization mainly from the perspective of distributing computing resources in a local manner per server.

 

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I think so.  

If you run a manufacturing factory, you have just a handful of variables that let you cut costs. Chief among them is energy use. Energy conservation saves money obviously, but turning off one switch at a time compared to controlling thousands, that would be interesting.

A lot of efforts are taken to save energy historically, for instance, use of motion sensitive bulbs, limited time use of air conditioners, or cutting the number of shifts and functioning hours is another way to save energy costs. But those actions require productivity/OEE boosting focus of the facility rather than effect energy conservation. Energy conservation is a byproduct of those efforts.

Adding IoT on the other hand, can enable direct energy savings for the smart factory of today.

Many experts recommend IoT-based real time monitoring systems to bring optimum use of energy. But the issue is more nuanced than that. Sure, real time monitoring helps you track energy consumption, but that might not lead directly to energy conservation. For that, the realtime energy monitoring should lead to better predictions of energy usage and guide to implement right load level energy equipment.

The 2 components of electrical energy billing

Let us take an example of electrical energy. Usually, electrical energy billing has two components:  Demand charge and runtime/consumption related charges. Demand load is usually the peak load provided by the electricity service providers from the power grid. This usually has a hard and fast limit. Crossing it will prompt penalties of around 20 times the usual rates.

To avoid this, there are usually two options: Reduce the total load required by the machinery. Or ensure that the threshold limit is never reached.

The problem of motors

One of the major sources of electricity usage in the plant are the electrical motors and HVAC systems. They consume a large chunk of the power. A motor is considered under-loaded when it is in the range where efficiency drops significantly with the decreasing load. Most electric motors are designed to run at 50% to 100% of rated load. Maximum efficiency is usually near 75%. Below the 50% rated load, the efficiency tends to lower dramatically.

In many cases, operating motors are either overloaded resulting in overheating or under-loaded, working at most at 40% of their capacity. That causes huge spikes in energy consumption. Oversized motors have a higher initial cost and are very expensive to repair and maintain. Undersized motors don't perform well and prompt higher losses than properly sized electric motors. Same goes with air conditioners if their tonnage and room size or room dynamics aren’t suitable, it leads to higher energy consumption.

Addressing a Wide Range of Energy Consumers:
Apart from regular electrical consumption of motors and HVAC, IoT can address a wider energy sources and resources, including: 

  • Air compressors, the source of air across plant.
  • Boilers, serving as the main source of steam used across plants.
  • Backup generators - an alternative electricity source in case of failure of the primary.
  • Fuel, including diesel, coal, wood, solar, and batteries that are used to run above systems

How the Industrial IoT can help

In the pre-IoT era, the traditional energy management system would collect a sample of energy usage at an interval. The traditional EMS is good to get energy consumption data, but it does not help you with alerts in case of spikes, curating usage pattern, predicting the seasonal demand, or suggesting appropriate configuration. Pre-IoT era, the motor load test was a lengthy and cumbersome affair. Engineers used slip tests and electrical tests with a digital stroboscope. They had to spend hours with the equipment to obtain samples. Even then, the data collected was only a sample, and not real time. With the IoT in place, the analyses can occur on real time data from the motor. That makes the analysis quick, painless and more accurate. IoT brings realtime alerts, ability to predict energy demand, usage patterns and ways to optimize energy consumption.

With the right IoT platform, you can recommend the proper sizing needed for motors. That saves money on the original investment. IoT-based conditional monitoring ensures the motor never reaches its threshold limit. That means the motor lasts longer and suffers fewer failures.

The IoT-based monitoring system gives early warnings of electric motor vibration/temperature problems. Condition monitoring saves time from unplanned production outages. And the unnecessary stress of carrying out urgent repairs can be avoided.

Additionally, a properly designed IoT system can not only track the energy consumptions at distribution points throughout a smart factory, but with the help of smart meters, they can track energy consumption right from its source to all the way consumption point. Moreover it can help predict leakages or voltage drops at nodes if any.

The ultimate goal of the smart factory is a generating a real-time energy audit that traditional Energy Monitoring Systems (EMS) cannot provide.  IoT enabled energy monitoring can solve a lot of issues that are core to hindering a plant from real energy conservation efforts. That not only saves money but paves the way for true implementation of Industry 4.0. If you run a factory and are looking to cut energy costs, then IoT is worth a closer look.

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Counterfeiting is a major concern for brands. Companies lose billions of dollars in revenue and consumers also suffer the consequences in situations where they are unable to verify themselves or their ownership over products.

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates the annual value of international trade in all counterfeit goods at $200 billion.”

Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year or around 2.5% of global imports, with US, Italian and French brands hit the hardest and many of the proceeds going to organised crime, according to a new report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.

So How Did HP Use The Concept of the Internet of Things to Combat Counterfeiting?

HP’s Tamper Evident Label and Security Label initiatives are a step towards enhancing its brand protection that customers can rely on.

Let’s take a look at how HP introduced a four-step method to easily authenticate products such as ink and toners.

  • To authenticate whether a product is a genuine HP product, customers can use their smartphones and scan the QR code placed on the HP Security Label on the packaging.
  • The QR code redirects to an online verification site checking the authentication number on the label against its online database which maintains records of the product down to the serial level.
  • If the IDs match the user is informed they have purchased a genuine HP registered product or offered a way to report a counterfeit in case the authentication fails.

 By providing its customers with easy to use, online and mobile validation processes, HP can ensure the sale of authentic products. HP is continuously working towards providing secure business solutions to its customers. HP anti-counterfeit is a great example of how brands are employing technical innovations based on the concept of ‘Internet of Products’.

“Counterfeit HP cartridges are predominantly refilled or remanufactured print cartridges packed in unauthorized or fake reproductions of HP packaging, that can’t compare to genuine HP cartridges. At HP, we are constantly striving to protect you from counterfeiters with new security measures.”

Being able to maintain a digital record of a product on an individual serial level enables HP customers to scan the physical counterpart of the product, pick the authentication code off the label and use the internet to run a check against the digital record.

This creates an authentication method which is tougher for counterfeiters to replicate.  Easing the product verification process and enabling customers to authenticate products via mobile devices, HP has successfully managed to deter fake products in the market and further strengthen its brand security/image.  

These technology-led initiatives which are capable of connecting the digital counterparts of physical products with their real-time values and status are redefining retail and product surveillance. HP has successfully built an anti-counterfeiting process based the concept of “internet of things” and as a result, other brands are also eagerly moving towards implementing internet of products led initiatives.

Such Internet of products enabled solutions are helping brands explore the possibilities that lie beyond the status-quo of usual product management.

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Consumers today are knowledge seekers who want to know exactly where their food comes from. Brands are going the distance to provide consumers with such traceable and transparent information. Let's look at how one such Italian brand uses the #internetofproducts to take customers on a #digital journey. #IOP #InternetofThings #ConsumerTransparency #SafetyforFood #Technology #Retail #Qliktag
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From smart devices and home automation systems to smart cars and smart buildings, the Internet of Things brings important innovations in our life. In the next years, IoT solutions will continue to take the center stage in the tech environment.

With huge investment in this technology, the global IoT spending is expected to reach $1.29 trillion by 2020 and $1.4 trillion by 2021 (IDC report).

For now, manufacturing industry is still the main investor in the Internet of Things. According to recent surveys, 66% of manufacturers say that the use of IoT solutions is essential for staying competitive and resolving various issues.


 

Smart factories

 

Capgemini research reported that smart factories are going to add $500 billion to $1.5 trillion in value added to the global economy in 5 years. By now, 56% of manufacturing companies have already invested $100M in smart factory initiatives.

Today the creation of smart factories with the Internet of Things is gaining momentum and so far, only 6% of manufacturers can be designated to “Digital Masters”, an advanced stage in digitizing various production operations with a strong foundation of smart management, process automation, and employee skills.

Analysts expect smart factories to revolutionize the industry by providing a 7X increase in overall productivity by 2022. Among the most interesting findings, Capgemini reports smart factories will be able to speed up on-time delivery of finished products by 13 times, with the enhancement of quality indicators at more than 12 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

Also, Capital Expense & inventory costs will be rationalized 12 times and material, logistics and transportation costs are predicted to be optimized at 11 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

On the graphic below you can see a comparison of manufacturer’s annual gains since 1990 versus expected annual gains referred to smart factory technologies in the next 5 years.

 

Besides the Internet of Things, contributing technologies to smart factories also involve Big Data Analytics, machine learning, advanced robotics, and 3D printing, while cloud computing platforms unify all of these technologies together, leading to more rapid smart factory adaptation and bringing revolution in the industry.

 

IoT use cases in manufacturing

 

With smart connections of multiple devices, equipment, and production processes, manufacturers get such benefits as minimized human intervention, remote machinery maintenance, employee safety, production automation, and reduced operational costs.

 

The main IoT applications include:

 

  • Production flow monitoring - leads to flow optimization, minimize waste, and reduced labor and operational costs.
  • Remote equipment monitoring & management - Results in saved energy and reduced costs. Predictive analytics allows repairs and replacements to be automatically ordered even before something breaks.
  • Condition-based maintenance notifications - enables to successfully maintain machinery health and increase throughput.
  • Supply chain management

    with the help of vehicle and asset tracking, you improve the efficiency of manufacturing and supply chain operations.

     

     

 

There is a plenty of other successful IoT use cases in manufacturing: equipment predictive maintenance, vehicle and asset tracking, temperature/energy conservation/air quality control, facility management, smart ventilation, production flow monitoring, and smart radiation monitoring and measurement.

By integrating a smart factory initiative, you can connect all production stages, accelerate production, enhance various management processes, ensure working safety, reduce operational costs, and improve the entire company performance.

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Cloud computing allows companies to store and manage data over cloud platforms, providing scalability in the delivery of applications and software as a service. Cloud computing also allows data transfer and storage through the internet or with a direct link that enables uninterrupted data transfer between devices, applications, and cloud.

Role of Cloud Computing in IoT:

We know that the Internet of Things (sensors, machines, and devices) generate a huge amount of data per second. Cloud computing helps in the storage and analysis of this data so that enterprise can get the maximum benefit of an IoT infrastructure. IoT solution should connect and allow communication between things, people, and process, and cloud computing plays a very important role in this collaboration to create a high visibility. 

IoT is just not restricted to functions of systems connectivity, data gathering, storage, and analytics alone. It helps in modernizing the operations by connecting the legacy and smart devices, machines to the internet, and reducing the barriers between IT and OT teams with a unified view of the systems and data. With cloud computing, organizations do not have to deploy extensive hardware, configure and manage networks & infrastructure in IoT deployments. Cloud computing also enables enterprises to scale up the infrastructure, depending on their needs, without setting up an additional hardware and infrastructure. This not only helps speed up the development process, but can also cut down on development costs. Enterprises won’t have to spend money to purchase and provision servers and other infrastructure since they only pay for the consumed resources. 

(Case Study: DevOps for AWS, Continuous Testing and Monitoring for an IoT Smart City Solution)

How Cloud Services Benefit an IoT Ecosystem:

There are several cloud services and platforms that play different roles in the IoT ecosystem. Some of the platforms also come with inbuilt capabilities like machine learning, business intelligence tools, and SQL query engines to perform complex analytics. Let us understand how these cloud services and platforms benefit an IoT ecosystem.

Cloud Platform for Device Lifecycle Management:

Enterprises create applications and software through cloud services (SaaS), which can connect devices and enable device registration, on-boarding, remote device updates, and remote device diagnosis in minimal time with a reduction in the operational and support costs. Cloud introduces DevOps within the IoT ecosystem, which helps organizations automate many processes remotely. As more and more devices get connected, the challenges with data security, control, and management become critical. Cloud services enable IoT remote device lifecycle management that plays a key role in enabling a 360-degree data view of the device infrastructure. Certain cloud providers offer multiple IoT device lifecycle tools that can ease the update and setup of firmware and software over the air (FOTA).

Application Enablement Cloud Platform:

Cloud enables application development with portability and interoperability, across the network of different cloud setups. In other words, these are the intercloud benefits that businesses can take advantage of. Intercloud solutions possess SDKs (Software development Kits) on which enterprises can create their application and software without worrying about the backend processes.

Enterprises can run and update applications remotely, for example, Cisco is providing the application enablement platform for application hosting, update, and deployment through the cloud. Enterprises can move their applications between cloud and fog nodes to host the applications and analyze & monitor the data near the critical systems.

Many cloud service providers are focusing on building the cloud environment on the basis of OCF standards so that it can interoperate smoothly with the majority of applications, appliances, and platforms, that will allow D-to-D (device-to-device) M-to-M (machine-to-machine) communicationOpen Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standardization makes sure that the devices can securely connect and communicate in any cloud environment, which brings in the interoperability to the connected world.

Digital Twins:

Device shadowing or digital twins is another benefit that an enterprise can avail through cloud services. Developers can create a backup of the running applications and devices in the cloud to make the whole IoT system highly available for faults and failure events. Moreover, they can access these applications and device statistics when the system is offline. Organizations can also easily set up the virtual servers, launch a database, and create applications and software to help run their IoT solution.

Types of Cloud Computing Models for IoT Solutions

There are three types of cloud computing models for different types of connected environment that are being commonly offered by cloud service providers. Let’s have a look:

Cloud Computing Models

 

Infrastructure as a Service
  • It offers virtual servers and storage to the enterprises. Basically, it enables the access to the networking components like computers, data storage, network connections, load balancers, and bandwidth.
  • Increasing critical data within the organization lead to the security vulnerabilities and IaaS can help in distributing the critical data at different locations virtually (or can be physical) for improving the security.
Platform as a Service
  • It allows companies to create software and applications from the tools and libraries provided by the cloud service providers.
  • It removes the basic needs of managing hardware and operating systems and allows enterprises to focus more on the deployment and management of the software or applications.
  • It reduces the worry of maintaining the operating system, capacity planning, and any other heavy loads required for running an application.
Software as a Service
  • It provides a complete software or application that is run and maintained only by the cloud service provider.
  • Users just have to worry about the use of the product, they don’t have to bother about the underlying process of development and maintenance. Best examples of SaaS applications are social media platforms and email services.

 

Apart from these, cloud service providers are now offering IoT as a Service (IoTaaS) that has been reducing the hardware and software development efforts in IoT deployment.

Example of implementing cloud computing set-up in a connected-factory:

There are different sensors installed at various locations of an industrial plant, which are continuously gathering the data from machines and devices. This data is important to be analyzed in real time with proper analytics tools so that the faults and failures can be resolved in minimal time, which is the core purpose of an industrial IoT ecosystem. Cloud computing helps by storing all the data from thousands of sensors (IoT) and applying the needed rule engines and analytics algorithms to provide the expected outcomes of those data points.

Now, the query is which cloud computing model is good for industrial plants? The answer cannot be specific, as every cloud computing model has its own applications according to the computing requirement.

Leading Cloud Services for IoT Deployments

Many enterprises prefer to have their own cloud platform, within the premises, for security and faster data access, but this might not be a cost-effective way as there are many cloud service providers who are providing the cloud services on demands, and enterprises just have to pay for the services which they use.

At present, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the leading cloud service providers. Let’s see the type of cloud platforms and services AWS and Microsoft Azure provide for IoT implementations

AWS IoT Services

AWS has come up with specific IoT services such as AWS Greengrass, AWS lambda, AWS Kinesis, AWS IoT Core, and a few other cloud computing services, which can help in IoT developments.

AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that allows devices to connect easily and securely with cloud and other devices. It can connect to billions of devices, store their data, and transmit messages to edge devices, securely.

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

AWS Kinesis enables data streaming that can continuously capture the data in terabytes per hour.

AWS Lambda is a compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. It executes code only when required and scales automatically from a few requests per day to thousands per second.

AWS DynamoDB is a fast, reliable, and flexible NoSQL database service that allows enterprises to have millisecond latency in data processing, enabling quick response from applications. It can scale up automatically due to its throughput capacity, which makes it perfect for gaming, mobile, ad tech, IoT, and many other applications.

AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. It provides automatic inline mitigation and always-on detection that minimize the application downtime and latency. This is why there is no need to engage AWS Support to benefit from DDoS protection. There are two tiers of AWS Shield — Standard and Advanced.

Microsoft Azure IoT Services:

Microsoft has come up with many initiatives in the field of IoT, providing industrial automation solutions, predictive maintenance, and remote device monitoring, etc. It is also providing services like Azure service bus, IoT hub, blob storage, stream analytics, and many more.

Azure Stream Analytics provides real-time analytics on the data generated from the IoT devices with the help of the Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Suite. Azure stream analytics is a part of the Azure IoT Edge that allows developers to analyze the data in real-time and closer to devices, to unleash the full value of the device generated data.

Azure IoT Hub establishes bidirectional communication between billions of IoT devices and cloud. It analyzes the device-to-cloud data to understand the state of the device and takes actions accordingly. In cloud-to-device messages, it reliably sends commands and notifications to connected devices and tracks message delivery with acknowledgment receipts. It authenticates devices with individual identities and credentials that help in maintaining the integrity of the system.

Azure Service Bus is a great example of cloud messaging as a service (MaaS). It enables on-premises communication between devices and cloud in the offline conditions also. It establishes a reliable and secure connection to the cloud, and ability to see and monitor activities. Apart from this, it protects applications from temporary spikes of traffic and distributes messages to multiple independent back-end-systems.

Azure Security Centre is a unified security management and threat protection service. It monitors security across on-premises and cloud workload, blocks malicious activities, advanced analytics system to detect threats and attacks, and also can fix vulnerabilities before any damages.

AWS and Microsoft Azure are providing a robust IoT solution to enterprises. An IoT Gateway can collaborate with multiple cloud service providers to maximize the advantages of the cloud solutions for IoT systems.

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The White Knight of IoT Platforms

In spite the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999, it was only when companies like Pachube (an early leader in the burgeoning “Internet of things” field) launched a web service  that enabled to store, share & discover real time sensor, energy and environment data from objects & devices around the world, when most of us believed that the time to IoT was finally had arrived.

 

Since its founding in 2008, Pachube pretended to be the leading open development platform for the Internet of Things.  In 2011 when the company was acquired by Woburn, Massachusetts-based LogMeIn in a deal that was worth "approximately $15 million in cash that re-branded the service as Cosm, but it was still a “beta” test version, to finally launch Xively that become a division of LogMeIn.  LogMeIn did not want or did not know how to incorporate the potential of Xively into its business. And in 2017 again Xively lost its charm.

Google the White Knight of Xively

On February 15, we wake up with the new that Google will acquire IoT platform Xively from LogMeIn for $50 million, according to Bloomberg, to expand in market for connected devices. Google has been the White Knight of Xively.

 

Another White Knights

In December 30, 2013 - PTC announced it had acquired ThingWorx, a PTC Technology for approximately $112 million, plus a possible earn-out of up to $18 million. The acquisition of ThingWorx positioned PTC as a major player in the emerging Internet of Things era. Later, in July 2014 PTC acquired Axeda Corporation for approximately $170 million in cash which Gartner estimated is an acquisition multiple of just over 6 times revenue.

In February 2016, Cisco Acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 Billion in cash. How wonderful White Knight.

A software goliath company like SAP acquires a small IoT startup like PLAT.ONE  now part of SAP?

In 2016, Microsoft did not disclose the sum for Italian start-up Solair acquisition. Th startup  expanded Azure capabilities.

In March 2015, Amazon was taking another step into the Internet of Things acquiring 2lemetry, a startup with a system for sending, receiving, and analyzing data from Internet-connected devices.  2lemetry had raised at least $9 million. Investors included Salesforce Ventures.   

 

We all know that the IoT Platform market need a quick consolidation

The M2M/IOT Platform market has changed in the last 10 years. The fragmentation is unsustainable and I can say that I do not see a clear IoT platform market leader yet that works as a plug-and-play fix for all kind of connected-device creators. Besides, the rush of investors for IoT platform companies trigger rumors of new acquisitions increasing significantly their actual valuation and encourages thousands of entrepreneurs and startups to create new IoT platform copies of each other. Although there is still room for new innovative IoT platform startups, the decision to trust in a company able to simplify the complexities of the IoT, with a scalable and robust infrastructure and drive real results for your business, will reduce the choice among a short list. The bad news is that the hundreds of IoT platforms startups must compete now with the platforms offered by Tech and Industrial Giant vendors.

 

Given the confusion that exists about the IoT platforms, companies need to approach experts’ advisors that will recommend which platform(s) is most suitable for your current and future business and technical requirements.

 

There will not be White Knights for everyone

In “Be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT, I alerted that in spite that no one has the crystal ball, it is almost sure that many IoT platforms are not going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years in this inflated market. As show in the picture below, some Tech Giants have been looking and found some of the best pieces. What will happen to the 700+ platforms out there? There will not be White Knights for everyone. At least for Xively it has been a happy end.

Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts ? Comments ?   

 

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The IoT is already shaping modern society in various ways. While many of these are positive aspects that result in streamlined communications, easier access to information and a greater quality of life, there are some major roadblocks in the push toward widespread IoT implementation.

One of the primary concerns revolves around the security of IoT-connected devices. A demonstration by Avast at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently uncovered a flaw in current-gen IoT infrastructure. Not only can they potentially gain control over tens of thousands of different devices, but they can also use the assembled processing power to mine $1,000 of cryptocurrency in a matter of days.

Identifying the Easiest Targets

Although Avast's demonstration didn't involve a full-scale replication, it underscores serious security flaws in the nature of current-gen IoT devices. If a widespread attack did occur, hackers would likely focus on the weakest targets.

Unsecured home networks are ideal for this sort of hack. As the average homeowner continues adding new smart-devices to the home, the hacker's job becomes even easier.

The task of hacking into thousands of unsecured home networks and taking over 15,000 or more devices might be insurmountable for a lone hacker, but a team of experts could readily pull it off and begin mining cryptocurrency without the owners' knowledge.

Some hackers might target small businesses or even larger corporations. As these networks easily contain the necessary number of IoT-connected devices, an individual could quickly gain control over thousands of different systems.

Mining, in this context, is a process of verifying transactions across a cryptocurrency-backed network. Cryptocurrency miners use various tools — including hardware and software utilities — to solve sophisticated mathematical algorithms and, as a result, generate digital monies that are tradable for real-world goods or cash.

Since coins are often used for nefarious or downright illegal activities, hackers try to use the accounts of unsuspecting victims whenever possible to maintain anonymity and cover their tracks.

Many popular coins, like Bitcoin, require advanced hardware that’s available in current-gen smart-devices. But other cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are made to harness the power of many individual machines simultaneously.

Similar Incidents in the News

A flaw like this isn't the first time that IoT-connected devices have been proven vulnerable to hacking. As reported by IBM X Force, a revised version of the Mirai botnet is programmed to take over a device and mine cryptocurrency via Linux.

Mirai is disheartening to security experts. It was the botnet responsible for a 2016 DDoS attack that caused massive service outages on sites like Netflix, Reddit, GitHub, Twitter and more.

According to a statement released by IBM X Force, the botnet gains entry into a system via the BusyBox program on Linux-based machines. Considering that Linux runs some of the largest and most popular websites, operating systems and software packages, the potential for exploitation is very serious.

Fighting Back

Fortunately, you can take some steps to secure your network from outside threats — including the latest botnet hacks. Always make sure your devices are on a secure network and protected behind a strong password.

Update your hardware with the latest updates as soon as they're available from the manufacturer, and use software protection — like antivirus and anti-malware utilities — on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

To make the job even harder for would-be hackers, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi whenever possible. Never keep your personal devices on the same network as your primary desktop or laptop, as this makes it easier for cyber-criminals to jump from one system to another.

Finally, make sure to change the default login credentials on any new device you add to the network. Many come with generic information that is easily exploited.

How the MWC Is Protecting Our Networks

The Mobile World Congress — dubbed the "world's largest gathering for the mobile industry" — is organized by the GSM Association. Sometimes known as the Global System for Mobile Communications or simply "the GSMA," the organization began hosting events in 1987. It remains the largest conference in the mobile industry, and it continues to highlight new security flaws and solutions — including problems with IoT connectivity — to this day.

Stay up to date with the trends of these devices and activity surrounding them, and you’ll have a better shot at fighting back against hackers.

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New Developments in IoT Connectivity

 

Guest post by Peter A. Liss.

Connectivity is wrongly thought of as a commodity, including in the IoT context. This article will give an overview of current developments in IoT Connectivity, and look at their effect on Network Operators, Platform vendors, IoT Solution Providers, and Enterprise & Consumer customers. 

I also cover the likely impact of 5G, Narrowband IoT and programmable SIM cards, and SDN (Software Defined Networks). These new connectivity technologies will bring differentiation, innovation and new revenue from IoT.

OVERVIEW – CONNECTIVITY AND DIFFERENTIATION IN IOT

These new IoT developments include:

1.   Newer networks such Sigfox, LoRA, Narrowband IoT, and soon 5G.

2.   IoT platforms that can manage all types of connectivity.

3.   The growth of eUICC (e-SIMs) or programmable SIMs.

4.   IoT connectivity platforms using SDN (Software Defined Networks).

There are two opposing views about connectivity. On the one extreme, some Vendors pitch that “IoT Connectivity is the foundation of differentiation” (recent Ericsson Webinar). At the other extreme, some Enterprise customers buying these services assume “all IoT connectivity is the same”. 

In my view, the truth is in the middle. On the one hand, IoT hardware such as sensors and IoT applications could drive even bigger differentiation and innovation than the type of IoT connectivity. On the other hand, IoT connectivity should never be viewed as just a commodity that is plug and play.

HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE WITH IOT CONNECTIVITY:

Let’s take a closer look:

1)   There are many different types of Connectivity to choose from (cellular, WiFi, Zigbee, Satellite, and different types of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks). The criteria for selection include data cost, device cost, data rate/speed, battery life, outdoor and in-building coverage, and latency. Some of the much talked about networks like 5G are not yet available, and Narrowband IoT is in its infancy.

2)   The variety of connectivity offerings are increasing. Even taking a single technology like 4G, the offerings in terms of coverage, cost, roaming, integration effort, and customer service do differ widely.

3)   Costs are declining– the cost per MB has decreased, however, this is not the same as connectivity being a commodity (i.e. indistinct service). On the contrary, with more offerings and price competition, there is a greater need to choose the connectivity provider carefully. Pricing models may differentiate not only on cost per MB, but also with additional charges for VAS, the period charged for (monthly, per annum etc.) or number of connections included, or amount of data included in a packaged price. In the case of LPWA, charging can be per message, and not just per MB.

4)   The IoT Connectivity platform is where some of the disruption is happening. This platform manages the cost of connection, quality of service, SIM and device status. Along with the type of connectivity chosen, hardware (gateways & sensors), and IoT Applications built, the connectivity platform will be a key differentiator to your business case or service launch. 

My scheme below shows the place of the IoT Connectivity Management platform as the foundation of the IoT technology stack. Some differentiation could be achieved at any level in the Stack, but the effort required to offer a total solution will depend greatly on the Connectivity chosen at the bottom of the stack.

WHAT USER CASES WILL NARROWBAND IOT SUPPORT?

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) greatly improves network efficiency and spectrum efficiency and can thus support a massive number of new connections. The same is true of the sister technology Cat-M1 in US, which may also play a role in Europe in future. The majority of these new IoT connections will be industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions that require long battery life, and ubiquitous coverage (including remote areas or indoors). These user cases also require competitive pricing models for low bandwidth solutions, since many industrial IoT cases are not data hungry. 

Some examples of Industrial use cases are monitoring of oil and gas pipelines for flow rates and leaks, noting that often there is no external power in inaccessible areas. Warehouses are another industrial user case for tracking goods with pallets equipped with an NB-IoT module. NB-IoT modules have a long service life, require no maintenance and have a link budget gain of 20 decibel compared with a conventional LTE deployment, giving approximately 10x more coverage than a normal base station, thus penetrating deep underground, and into enclosed spaces indoors. 

Consumer examples of NB-IoT are luggage tracking (click for link to Sierra Wireless Case study), air quality monitoring, and children’s communication devices, and parking solutions.

NB-IoT, is a software upgrade to existing cellular Base Stations (or if the Base Station is old, a new circuit board must be inserted). The Core network also needs some upgrading. NB-IoT is reliant on a SIM card in the IoT device/gateway and partly because of the SIM it offers the same security & privacy features expected of cellular networks. LPWA technologies, such as NB-IoT and category M1 (LTE-M), also offer increased network coverage over a wide area, at a low cost, and with very limited energy consumption. In the case of Narrowband IoT, a battery life of over 10 years or more, is promised by Vendors (it remains to be seen - in the field, it might need a larger battery at an extra cost of approximately 20 Euro).

NB-IoT networks are already becoming available, for example, Deutsche Telekom has rolled out its NB-IoT network to approximately 600 towns and cities across Germany since launch in June 2017. According to Telekom, more than 200 companies now trialling the technology already via commercially available test packages. Nationwide rollout in the Netherlands was completed in May 2017 and Deutsche Telekom brought the technology to six further European markets by the end of 2017. Other major operators have similar roll outs for NB-IoT.

As expected, many IoT platforms are now being designed or upgraded to offer Narrowband IoT connectivity management. Cisco already announced in 2018 the availability of NB-IoT on its Jasper Control Center platform.

WHAT WILL 5G BRING TO IOT?

5G is not yet available commercially, and we can expect the first roll-outs in selected countries in 2019, and even then, just city coverage, or home-based 5G. High speed, high reliability and low latency are the main benefits of 5G.  Whilst NB-IoT is targeted specifically at the IoT Market, 5G is targeted at business & consumer users too. Also, worth noting is that the NB-IoT roll-out is ahead of 5G.

Regarding the high bandwidth of 5G, example uses include security cameras and monitoring, computer vision used in Industrial production, connected car user cases (infotainment, autonomous vehicles, and safety), and traffic control in Smart Cities. The increase in speed between 4G and 5G can be as much as 100 times. This makes a big difference to user cases that require uploading and downloading of video-based content faster and in larger volume.  It remains to be seen whether IoT applications will need to use such high data speeds. Perhaps it will be the Augmented or Virtual Reality cases (AR and VR) that utilise this bandwidth.

With 5G there is very high reliability, which is important to support mission critical services in IoT (e.g. medicine, industry, traffic control). However, the real benefit for IoT is likely to be with the low latency of 5G. Low latency allows more of the computer processing or data analysis required by a device (IoT Gateway or Smartphone) to happen in the cloud. With latency of under a millisecond, there is almost no difference that the data is processed in the cloud rather than the device. This has perhaps more implications for the IOT Solution architect, rather than the user.

Indeed, the user cases that depend on 5G’s low latency are still to be proven in practice. For non-IoT user cases (i.e. human interaction), the latency (such as changing of a pixel on a TV, or response time for instant messaging and online Presence) might not be noticed. However, for an M2M or IoT application in theory there is a great need for low latency and a machine might notice the difference in latency when a human does not. For this reason, the low latency is being pushed by the 5G industry as compelling for IoT (but yet to be proved). IoT user cases that are expected to benefit are remote industrial control, and autonomous vehicles, where milliseconds could be critical.

As explained in the discussion of latency, one change with 5G could be more processing in the Cloud, especially with Edge computing being a focal point in the architecture, and this might help reduce 5G IoT device prices. Other Emerging developments that might affect IOT include virtualised RAN (Radio Access Network) and network slicing. Virtualised RAN is intended to offer bandwidth with lower network costs, since by “slicing” the RAN, it is not necessary to utilise the whole core network, but rather allocate a part of it and the associated costs, thus allowing for profitable use cases with 5G.

WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES A PROGRAMMABLE SIM OFFER IN IOT?

Programmable SIM cards (also called eSIMS or eUICC ) are not new. What has changed is the number of service providers that offer them for IoT. Some prominent examples are Stream, EMnify, Cubic Telecom, KORE, Nokia WING and Teleena. Furthermore, the new generation of Smart SIM and associated management platforms are challenging the MNOs in terms of quality of service and signal coverage. They might also challenge MNOs in terms of cost - see the section below on SDN.  

The “e” in eSIM can mean both electronic (it can switch network and be programmed over the air) and embedded (i.e. deep inside machinery, a car or a remote location). In other words, you do not need physical access to the embedded SIM to update it or to change network, service or security settings.

The advantages of an eSIM are that it can be programmed over the air to find the strongest signal, or according to customer network & service preferences. When a data-service failure is detected, the eSIM can switch dynamically to the best network service. Consider a user case such as Smart Metering. The meter is always connected by being programmed not only to select the strongest signal, but also to select the signal that is best for your Meter technology and customer requirements.

In sum, the IoT Service Provider does not own a network, but can still offer the following to its customers:

•Issue own SIM cards, that can be embedded and switch operator over the air.

•Attach to the best or cheapest radio signal (RAN) – automatically

•Billing capabilities, often in real time, for the pricing of new IoT services.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF SDN ON IOT?

As explained above, the e-SIM is the first disruptive step to being able to offer an IoT service, without being tied to one specific radio network (RAN). The second step is to bypass the Operator’s core network. This is now possible with some Service Providers using Software Defined Networks (SDN) and NFV (Network Feature Virtualisation). They have built their own virtualised core network that is cloud hosted. EMnify is one example that can offer the following advantages:

•Low cost, because designed for IoT, and using proprietary technology (therefore no licencing costs)

•Auto-configuration and scaling. Because it is Cloud Based the service is truly elastic (i.e. can be quickly and simply expanded to meet customer demand for increased data volume, or larger number of SIM cards)

•Pay-as-you-grow pricing

•Flexible and Real time billing that is accessible online

•Have own numbering resources (IMSI, IPv6, MSISDN)

•Manage your own virtual mobile IoT network including Elastic Packet Core, Subscriber Management, OSS/BSS, Management Portals and open APIs. 

•A private and secure device cloud and implement own security policies (such as own VPN – virtual private network - in the core network in the cloud).

The “Gorilla” MNO (e.g. Telekom, Verizon, Vodafone etc) is reduced to providing only the radio network, and with the eSIM you can actually switch networks. To be clear, you are not reliant on the operator for the core network at all, and you have a choice of radio network. In sum, the advantage is that such a virtual network in the Cloud allows IoT user cases that have lower revenues, because the IoT platform is designed for lower connectivity costs.

 

CONCLUSION – DISRUPTION IN THE IOT CONNECTIVITY MARKET

I have built the case that “boring” connectivity is going to be disruptive for IoT, and it will generate growth. In sum, this is because many IoT business models require lower costs for the lower “micro” or “mini” ARPU/revenue that they generate. Secondly, these new network technologies bring improved speed, latency, battery life, and coverage. Thirdly, new technologies like eSIM and SDN, give the customer choice and independence from the MNO.

Enterprise customers will need to get more knowledgeable about the types of connectivity on offer, and the pros and cons, and costs of each technology. Disruption in the market is starting, due to many new offerings from MNO, and MVNOs that are IOT focussed. 

Price declines for NB-IoT and 5G enabled devices will also be business drivers. Many connectivity platforms will struggle to distinguish themselves, but can do so, for example by focussing on particular Verticals, or a specific geographical focus, or own Cloud-based packet core. Enterprise customers need to get the balance between a price that enables the business case, but also choosing connectivity that provides the best service level. 

LPWA technologies such as Narrow-Band promise to open-up new business models due to lower device and connectivity costs better coverage and longer battery life. NB-IoT is still in its infancy and these benefits like lower device costs are still to be proven.  Importantly, the connectivity costs of NB-IoT (as well as module/device costs) will need to be low enough to support the proposed new business cases like parking meters, water meters, luggage tracking, pipe monitoring, and tracking goods in warehouses. 

5G for IoT will enable data hungry business models, insure against capacity constraints, and provide wider coverage and almost no latency. Since 5G roll-out is still in the future, it remains to be seen if (or when) the required network density (using such small cells) is enough to provide the wider coverage and higher data rates promised. Almost zero latency is likely to be the most interesting feature of 5G for the IoT World, especially for critical applications like autonomous driving and industrial control.

Big data, Analytics and Application Enablement Platforms/AEP might sound more exciting and promising for innovation and differentiation in IoT. They sound more compelling than a connectivity management platform and new types of connectivity. However, Connectivity is still the foundation of the IoT business case. It is not a commodity. In particular, Narrow-Band IoT, eSIM and SDN will drive new growth in IoT, together with the imminent roll-out of 5G.

Copyright: Peter A. Liss, an independent and commercially focussed IoT expert, based in Germany, who is also available for freelance consulting work.

This post originally appeared here.

Cover photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

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Within the few months of its release, Internet of Things (IoT) has taken everyone by storm in numerous ways. As a result, more and more organizations, industries, and technologists catch the IoT bug. Right from Data streaming to data collection, events, decisions, processes, messaging, and integration, everything is involved in the form of developer’s activities. Now, do you think that IoT is just another opportunity for vendors to sell or update developer tools? Well, according to several resources nearly 40 billion which is approximately 30 devices for each and every active social network user in the world. In addition to this, trillions of sensors will comprise the IoT.

What is Internet of Things?

It is the network of physical objects, whether in terms of devices, vehicles, buildings or even humans, which are embedded with electronics, sensors, and software and network connectivity. And of course, these devices help us to send, transfer and collect important data anywhere and at any point in time. I strongly feel that the technology, in particular, has turned out to be a growing sensation that’s captured everyone in the technology world. And it is assumed that companies, as well as individuals, are investing $6 trillion in IoT devices within the next five years.   

Bringing IoT to Developing Countries

Now you must be thinking that getting IoT technology to developing countries might be a major problem but in the actual scenario, there’s already a standard infrastructure in many countries. I am sure that you must be well aware regarding the fact that 95% of the world has basic 2G phone coverage, and while 29% of those in rural areas have 3G coverage, 89 percent who reside in urban areas are able to access 3G coverage with ease.

In addition to this, IoT is affordable with some saying that the IoT at its basic capability is already in place in developing countries, where citizens and government officials would bear little cost in tweaking it. Last but certainly not the least, IoT devices have a “plug-and-play” attribute to them, that doesn’t require proper setup from skilled laborer. This allows scalability within the devices. After all, technology grows only at the speed the city or the country wants to it.

What kind of Industries is gaining benefit from IoT?

With the increase in technology, more and more software development firms are establishing across the globe providing full-fledged IoT services among numerous industry verticals such as:

Healthcare

It seems like almost every year, there is an extreme health crisis in a developing nation. But what if that could be prevented? Wearable tech devices called “Sensor, technology, and analytics to monitor, predict and protect Ebola patients” are scaled and shipped to international aid offices worldwide. Such kind of devices collect all data regarding the patient, i.e. from body temperature to oxygen saturation. And once the data is complete, doctors can ship it to a central location, where people can track patient’s health over time.

In short, tracking a group of people or a city as a whole can help with disease containment as well as migrant population tracking. Over time these sensors can help predict where an outbreak is going to spread, allowing enough aid workers to get to the infected area before it's too late. 

Water delivery

Do you know that billions of people in developing countries are going through their day-to-day lives drinking unsafe water? IoT cannot just help in monitoring both water quality, and water delivery but also alert municipalities when a water pump breaks, allowing for a quicker replacement time to ensure that an area's citizens are still getting enough, and quality water.

Agriculture

I am sure you must be well aware regarding the fact that there are many countries in the developing world that are still agriculturally based, where plenty of people still prefer working out in the fields. Here’s a good news for these people, around 75 million IoT devices will be agriculture-related by 2020.

Which means with the help of such devices, farmers can easily place them in soil to track acidity levels, as well as temperature, and crop growth so they can create a successful harvest.

City living

Cities like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world are some of the densest cities in terms of population. IoT devices can help with the traffic flow, by regulating lights based on the number of vehicles on the road, sensors placed in homes can help warn residents of impending disasters like fast-moving fires, mudslides, or other disasters, helping to save lives, as well as personal property.

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