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Can the Public Internet Secure Our Digital Assets?

There is a lot of talk, and, indeed, hype, these days about the internet of things. But what is often overlooked is that the internet of things is also an internet of shared services and shared data. What’s more, we are becoming too heavily reliant on public internet connectivity to underpin innovative new services.

Take this as an example. Back in April, Ford Motor Company, Starbucks and Amazon announced and demonstrated an alliance that would allow a consumer to use Alexa to order and pay for their usual coffee selection from their car. Simply saying, “Alexa: ask Starbucks to start my order,” would trigger the sequence of events required to enable you to drive to the pickup point and collect your already-paid-for coffee with no waiting in line.

Making that transaction happen behind the scenes involves a complex integration of the business processes of all the companies involved. Let’s be clear: this is about data protection. For this series of transactions to be successfully handled, they must be able to share customer payment data, manage identity and authentication, and match personal accounts to customer profiles.

Because all of that critical data can be manipulated, changed or stolen, cyberattacks pose significant data protection risks for nearly any entity anywhere. The ambition of some of these consumer innovations makes an assumption that the “secure” network underpinning this ecosystem for the transfer of all that valuable personal data is the public internet. And that’s the point – it’s not secure.

As we’ve talked about previously on Syniverse's blog Synergy, the public internet poses a systemic risk to businesses and to confidential data. In short, when we are dealing on a large scale with highly sensitive data, the level of protection available today for data that, at any point, touches the public internet is substantially inadequate.

And this alliance between Ford and Starbucks is just one example of the type of innovation, across many different industry and consumer sectors, that we can expect to see a lot of in the very near future. These services will connect organizations that are sharing data and information about businesses and about consumers – about their purchase history, their preferences and requirements, and also about their likely future needs. This is potentially a very convenient and desired service from a consumer’s point of view, but at what cost?

We need security of connectivity, security from outside interference and the security of encrypted transfer and protection for our personal and financial data. And we need to be able to verify the protection of that data at all times by ensuring attribution and identity – both concepts we’ll explore more deeply in an upcoming blog post. And that’s a level of security that the public internet simply cannot provide.

Last month, an internet-based global ransomware attack took down systems and services all over the world – affecting sensitive personal healthcare data in the U.K. in particular.

Whether it is personal health records, financial records, data about the movement of freight in a supply chain, or variations in energy production and consumption, these are digital assets. Businesses, institutions and government bodies all over the world have billions of digital assets that must be constantly sent to and from different parties. And those assets require the type of high-level data protection that is not currently possible because of the systemic risk posed by the insecure public internet.

As mentioned in my last blog post on Synergy, there is an alternative. Some companies using private IP networks were able to carry on regardless throughout the high-profile cyberattacks that have been capturing headlines in the last year. That’s because those companies were not reliant on the public internet. Instead, they were all using what we are beginning to term “Triple-A” networks on which you can specify the speed and capacity of your Access to the network while guaranteeing the Availability of your connection. What’s more, on a Triple-A network, Attribution is securely controlled, so you know who and what is accessing your network and the level of authority granted both to the device accessing the network and to its user.

The public internet cannot provide or compete with a Triple-A level of security, and nor should we expect it to. It cannot live up to the stringent data protection requirements necessary for today’s critical digital assets. We cannot remain content that so much infrastructure, from banking, to transport and to power supplies, relies on a network with so many known vulnerabilities. And we must consider whether we want to carry on developing an industrial internet of things and consumer services on a public network.

We will continue to explore these issues on this blog, to highlight different approaches, and examine the requirements of the secure networks of the future. And in the process, we’ll take a look at the work being done to build more networks with a Triple-A approach.

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Have We Already Bored of Predicting IoT?

If you have read my post “Will finally be 2017, the year of Internet of Things? I do not think so.” you will have confirmed there were some analysts and companies who guessed and others who did not hit the bullseye.

As usual, numerous predictions about the Internet of Things (IoT) appear at the end of the year, some with foundation, others by interests and others by opportunism. Although I notice a certain fatigue this year perhaps due to the appearance of other cooler technologies or very likely to the lack of success and few differences from previous predictions. 

It may also be the last time I write an IoT prediction article.

Let's start by reviewing some of the 2017 predictions.

Successes and failures of IoT 2017 predictions

Sorry Morgan Stanley but 2017 has not been The Year Of Internet Of Things however is true that there is less hype around IoT.

Yes Forrester, we continue worried that there will be a large-scale IoT security breach.

As not many large IoT projects in 2017, the role of System Integrators has not been as important as IDC predicted.

Have you seen, Analysys Mason, key developments in LPWA technologies, connected cars and smart cities?

Who now, MachNation if Internet of Things platform revenue grow 116% in 2017. There are only financial numbers but we all agree with Sandhill that still many doubts how “Choose your platform.

It is true Forbes “The Internet of Things (IoT) is still a popular buzzword, but adoption will continue to be slow.” 

I have to say that Judith Hurwitz and Associates, were right that the growth will be in industrial sector rather than the consumer sector.

Hard to fail if you consider what Moor Insights & Strategy predicted: IoT is still in its infancy in terms of dollars and deployments, and that can’t last much longer, before market frustration sets in

Brave, ADLINK and FreeWave Technologies, Inc predicted that Edge computing will become a mainstream term for IIoT. 

Internet of Things Institute - “Recruiting Will Remain a Challenge for Organizations with IoT Initiatives” and sorry Teradata not many companies looking for Internet of Things architect role.

Tier-1 operators in the US and Europe happy with Northstream because IoT revenues contributing up to 3% of total revenue in 2017. 

Telefonica IoT and Cisco Jasper trusted that LPWA expansion to harness the growing IoT.

What will be of IoT in 2018?

According with Ericsson, in 2018, mobile phones are expected to be surpassed in numbers by IoT devices.

It seems that 2018 will be the year when AI and IoT will converge. But it will also be the year in which the CIOs will be busy integrating device management into overall IT infrastructure in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the organization. This is where the adoption of application robots, natural language processing (NLP) and AI automation of processes will come into their own, offering intelligent management of IoT deployments cheaply and efficiently. 

However, 2018 will not be the year of Blockchain and the IoT, because although Blockchain-based IoT adoption rises to 5%, Blockchain is not yet ready for large scale deployments requiring reliability, stability and seamless integration with existing technology infrastructure. But promising pilot projects are beginning to emerge and the maturation of IoT and blockchain technologies and products will drive blockchain adoption in 2018.

To reinforce the ongoing investment across the industry Gartner’s Strategic Trends for 2018 back up the focus on IoT with Intelligent Things, Digital Twins and Cloud to the Edge all making the list for the coming year. 

On the other hand, Forrester affirms that finally 2018 will be the year in which the Internet of Things moves from "experimentation to business scale". Forrester also predicts that IoT platform offerings will begin to specialize in “design” and “operate” scenarios.

Punctual to his annual appointment, IDC makes its Worldwide IoT 2018 Predictions. 

One more year, Citrix leading thinkers also share their predictions.

A small  startup, Imagimob considers 6 trends in the IoT and Industrial IoT-IIOT in 2018. As you can imagine Low Power Area Networks (LPWAN), Edge computing, AI on the edge and Blockchain are included.

IoT Security repeat predictions in 2018. Forrester in the same line predict More cyber threats and design specialization.

Fog Computing, Security, and Smarter Decisions are IoT Predictions for 2018 by Saar Yoskovitz, CEO of Augury, a preventive maintenance company.

The State of IoT In 2018 for Marketers: We’re going to experience a massive increase in the number of digitally connected devices, changing the game for marketers across the globe.

IoT 2018 – the next stage: the IoT of integration, value and action

IoT Will Move From Experimentation To Business Scale - 

5 IoT trends that will define 2018 - In 2018, IoT-based ventures will have greater access to startup capital and be taken more seriously in the market. 

Only one wish for IoT 2018 from my side

In spite, I am not in this list of 17 Experts Tell The Most Exciting IoT Trends to Watch for in 2018, I have a wish for 2018: 

“I hope that in 2018, all proofs of concept become successful projects and that the most innovative startups resist the temptation to be acquired." 

Thanks, in advance for your Likes and Shares.

 

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An Open and Dangerous Place

Let’s just say it: The public internet is great, but it’s an unfit, wide-open place to try to conduct confidential business.

More and more, the public nature of the internet is causing business and government leaders to lose sleep. The global ransomware attacks this year that crippled infrastructure and businesses across Europe clearly shows the concern is not only justified but also growing.

As a result, internet and privacy regulations, like GDPR and PSD2, are front and center as governments around the world increasingly look at the web and how it’s being used. This is creating competing and contradictory objectives.

On the one hand, governments want to protect consumer privacy and data; on the other, they want to be able to monitor what certain folks are up to on the internet. And in both cases, they can at least claim to be looking to protect people.

Regardless of the difficulty of the task, there is no doubt the big governments are circling and considering their options.

Speaking in Mexico in June, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel touted the need for global digital rules, like those that exist for financial markets, and that those rules need to be enforceable through bodies like the World Trade Organization.

From a business perspective, I can applaud the ambition, but it does seem a little like trying to control the uncontrollable. The truth is that the public internet has come to resemble the old Wild West. It is an increasingly dangerous place to do business, with more than its fair share of rustlers, hustlers, and bandits to keep at bay.

The public internet connects the world and nearly all its citizens. When it comes to connecting businesses, national infrastructures, and governments themselves, trying to regulate the Wild West of the public internet simply isn’t an option. Instead, it’s time to take a step back and look for something different.

We believe organizations that want to conduct business, transfer data, monitor equipment and control operations globally – with certainty, security and privacy – should not be relying on the public internet. The sheer number of access points and endpoints creates an attack surface that is simply too wide to protect, especially with the increased trending of fog and edge networks that we’ve discussed on previous Syniverse blog posts.

Just last week, the online gaming store CEX was hacked. In an instant, around two million customers found their personal information and financial data had been exposed. Consumers in America, the U.K. and Australia are among those affected. As I said, the public internet presents an ever-widening attack surface.

Recently on the Syniverse blog, we’ve been talking about the need to develop private, closed networks where businesses, national utilities and governments can truly control not just access, but activity. Networks that are always on and ones where the owners always know who is on them and what they are doing. Networks that are private and built for an exact purpose, not public and adaptable.

Trying to apply or bolt on rules, regulations and security processes after the fact is never the best approach.  Especially if you are trying to apply them to a service that is omnipresent and open to anybody 24/7.

When we look at the public internet, we see fake actors, state actors, hackers and fraudsters roaming relatively freely. We see an environment where the efforts to police that state might raise as many issues as they solve.

Instead, it’s time for global businesses to build a new world. It’s time to leave the old Wild West and settle somewhere safer. It’s time to circle the wagons around a network built for purpose. That is the future.

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Embedded systems have become part and parcel of electronic equipment such as mobile phones, routers, modems, washing machines, microwave ovens, remote controls, RFID tags, PDAs, etc. They are low power consumption units that are used to perform some specific function of the device. For example, embedded systems are used in home automation with wired or wireless networking to control or regulate lights, security devices, sensors, audio/visual systems, sense climate change, monitoring etc. They are also used as networked thermostats in HVAC systems i.e. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems. Furthermore, in the coming years embedded systems will be the mainstay for the deployment of many IoT solutions, especially within Industrial IoT applications. The leading players in embedded systems are engaged in hardware and software development, and are looking forward to bringing these transformations into their products to take advantage of the thriving IoT market.

The chief areas which are going to be transformed are microcontrollers, microprocessors and Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS), followed by networking and memory devices, open source communities and developers. By 2020, humongous growth will be seen in the market for embedded systems. It is predicted that the market will grow with a CAGR of 22.5% to reach $226 billion by then. On the other hand, IoT will bring up a host of challenges for developers of embedded systems, as they need to develop devices which allow flawless and uninterrupted connectivity. To assist them meet the challenges posed by the internet of things, a real-time operating system (RTOS) must be designed that delivers flawless connectivity, scalability, modularity, and safety. 

What does internet of things, IoT mean for an embedded developer?

As the internet of things, IoT solutions are present across several industries, it gives a wonderful opportunity for embedded system developers too. For an embedded developer, it’s not all about linking multiple devices to the internet. There is much more than just connecting devices to the internet. Internet of things (IoT) for embedded systems is more about gathering, monitoring, and analyzing large amounts of disparate data from different sources and summarizing it into useful and actionable information to enhance the way services and devices are being used today.  

Hope you find this post helpful. If you did, share it with your colleagues and friends. For any query related to this post and career in IoT, you can comment down below. 

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The current political events in Barcelona provide us with a barely-needed reminder that we live in changing times.  I was in the city as part of the Trustonic team exhibiting at IoT Solutions World Congress last week and took some time to speak with fellow vendors. I soon saw some fantastic product demonstrations that drew my attention - I wanted to learn more. Frequently though, the response to: “This looks great - how is it secured? How do we know the data is trustworthy?” was a puzzled look and a “It uses our cloud and we secure that” or “It runs on a secure OS”.  Sometimes the response was worse: “It’s a closed network. You couldn’t attack it”.

It didn’t fill me with confidence. Everyone has a secure solution, it seems. But how do we know that it’s secure? Who has validated it? The questions and the perplexed looks continued. I slept uneasily.

I don’t want to criticise the IoT solutions that I saw – they were interesting and point to an exciting future for us all. Unfortunately, securing these solutions isn’t exciting and probably won’t draw a crowd to your stand. It’s rare to see ground-breaking security solutions making the news – consumers just expect it these days. Of course, you can expect a media frenzy if you’re breached. There have been some horrifying examples already and we are still in the early days of this industry. IoT solutions need to be secure by design – or, to put it another way, the components of the solution must already be secure when they are deployed. With the headache (and tedium) of security taken care of, the industry would be free to innovate and dream up even more exciting products.

I was showing an IoT security demo built on a Samsung ARTIK board, which already has Trustonic TEE technology embedded. It showed an IoT device connecting to Amazon Web Services (AWS), cryptographically proving itself to be secure and having a trusted identity, thus enabling it to become automatically registered on the system. Perhaps not as exciting as an IoT boat or sports bike sharing data in real time, but it demonstrated that, by embedding a truly secure OS (one that’s Common Criteria certified and FIPS-140-2 approved) combined with a Root of Trust installed in the factory (think of this like a digital birthmark), an IoT device can be trusted pretty much automatically. Once you have an inherently trusted device, you can be confident that data from its sensors is also trustworthy.

Shakespeare wrote “Love all, trust a few”. So, love all the cool and exciting IoT products – but only trust the few which are truly secure.

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A recent study by Cisco suggests that 75% of IoT initiatives will fail. However, there is growing pressure to invest in IoT. Ensuring the success of enterprise IoT initiatives is definitely not easy given technology immaturity, culture obstacles as well as well as the challenges of traditional organizational structure. So put the odds of success back into your favor using a customer-centric, integrated team (IT) philosophy.
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Why Edge Computing Is an IIoT Requirement

How edge computing is poised to jump-start the next industrial revolution.

From travel to fitness to entertainment, we now have killer apps for many things we never knew we needed. Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed tremendous improvements in terms of democratizing data and productivity across the consumer world.

Building on that, we’re entering a new era of software-defined machines that will transform productivity, products and services in the industrial world. This is the critical link which will drive new scenarios at even faster rates of innovation. By 2020, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to be a $225 billion market.

To jump-start the productivity engine of IIoT, real-time response is needed at the machine-level at scale and that requires an edge-plus-cloud architecture designed specifically for the Industrial Internet. From Google maps to weather apps, we’ve been experiencing the benefits of cloud and edge computing working together in our daily lives for quite some time.

But, what is edge? Edge is the physical location that allows computing closer to the source of data. Edge computing enables data analytics to occur and resulting insights to be gleaned closer to the machines. While edge computing isn’t new, it’s beginning to take hold in the industrial sector – and the opportunity is far greater than anything we’ve seen in the consumer sector, and here’s why:

Real-time data in a real-time world: The edge is not merely a way to collect data for transmission to the cloud. We are now able to process, analyze and act upon the collected data at the edge within milliseconds. It is the gateway for optimizing industrial data. And when millions of dollars and human lives are on the line, edge computing is essential for optimizing industrial data at every aspect of an operation.

Take windfarms for example. If wind direction changes, the edge software onsite would collect and analyze this data in real-time and then communicate to the wind turbine to adjust appropriately using an edge device, such as a field agent and connected control system, and successfully capture more kinetic energy. Because the data is not sent to the cloud, the processing time is significantly faster. This increases wind turbines’ production, and ultimately distributes more clean energy to our cities, increasing the value of the renewable energy space.

Big data, big trade-offs: The harsh and remote conditions of many industrial sites make it challenging to connect and cost-effectively transmit large quantities of data in real-time. We are now able to add intelligence to machines at the edge of the network, in the plant or field. Through edge computing on the device, we’re bringing analytics capabilities closer to the machine and providing a less expensive option for optimizing asset performance.

Consider the thousands of terabytes of data from a gas turbine. Sending this data to the cloud to run advanced analytics maybe technologically possible, but certainly too cost prohibitive to do a daily basis. Through edge computing, we can capture streaming data from a turbine and use this data in real-time to prevent unplanned downtime and optimize production to extend the life of the machine.

What’s Next

Today, only 3% of data from industrial assets is useable. Connecting machines from the cloud to the edge will dramatically increase useable data by providing greater access to high powered, cost effective computing and analytics tools at the machine and plant level.

Consider the fact that for years traditional control systems were designed to keep a machine running the same way day in and day out for the lifecycle of the machine. At GE Energy Connections, we recently debuted the Industrial Internet Control System (IICS), which successfully allows machines to see, think and do and will enable machine learning at scale. To take IICS to the next level, we’re creating an ecosystem of edge offerings to accelerate widespread adoption across the industrial sector. We’re advancing this ecosystem and empowering app developers who want to play a role in driving the new industrial era. 

Currently, to add value to a software system, a developer writes the code, ports it into the legacy software stack, shuts down the devices and finally, updates it. That’s all going to change. We are working on creating an opportunity for any developer to create value-added edge applications. Customers will be able port the necessary apps to their machine without having to shut it down, just like we do on our phones today. Companies will be able to download apps for their needs and update frequently to ensure their business is running smoothly. While no one likes to run out of battery on their smart phone, an outage for a powerplant is far more costly, so the ability to port apps without shutting down devices and being able to detect issues before it occurs will be a game changer.

From wind turbines to autonomous cars, edge computing is poised to completely revolutionize our world. It’s forcing change in the way information is sent, stored and analyzed.  And there’s no sign of slowing down.

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Your IoT platform is the heart of your entire IoT solution. Building a reliable and scalable IoT platform is not a piece of cake, which is why these days the market is booming with hundreds of thousands of IoT PaaS (Platform as a Service) vendors. Choosing the right IoT platform for your solution has become more complex than it was ever before. That’s why, in this blog post we have covered some of the best selection criteria to pick the right IoT cloud platform for your needs. Before we delve into this, you first need to know what an IoT platform is. 

What is an IoT Platform?

In simple terms, a platform is a comprehensive set of tools and services which allow developers to build and run an application. However, an IoT platform could have diverse meanings depending on whom you are talking to in the internet of things, IoT ecosystem. For instance, an IoT platform for cloud service providers is their infrastructure, where a developer creates an application. For hardware vendors, an IoT platform is the embedded board where you could write your IoT applications. For the sake of clarity, we are considering an IoT platform as the middleware layer responsible for consuming data from the devices and sensors and providing meaningful and actionable results based on that insight. Generally, an IoT platform offers a device software development kit a.k.a SDK or well defined APIs through which developers and programmers could easily connect to any hardware platform and avail of their cloud-based services.

If you have attended any IoT expo recently, most probably you would have noticed that almost every IoT platform provider claims to be better, faster, safer and smarter than others. Now, how do you make a wise decision in such a competitive landscape and pick the right platform that will reduce your solution risk? Don’t fret, we’ve mentioned below some key selection criteria to choose the right IoT platform. Let us take a quick look. 

Considerations In Choosing The Right IoT Platform

Alas! Today, a cloud IoT platform is opted for based on the effectiveness of the vendor sales pitch. This is mainly because the companies that are trying to get a handle on digital transformation do not possess the requisite knowledge or training in IoT specific areas, and IoT vendors usually woo their customers based on their impressive customer references.  There are some important technical evaluation criteria which are often overlooked.  These need to be kept in mind for choosing the right IoT platform. Let's take a look at them:

#1 Bandwidth

#2 Scalability

#3 Protocol

#4 Security

#5 System Performance

#6 Redundancy and Disaster Recovery

#7 Interoperability

#8 Edge Intelligence 

#9 Budget, developmental skills, and capacity of your in-house team

#10 Your business model and its specific requirements that must be met  

Hope you find this post helpful! If you did, share it with your colleagues and friends as well. For any query related to this post and IoT training in India, you can comment down below. Thanks for your time! 

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Believe it or not, but the possibilities that the Internet of Things, IoT brings to the table are countless. The internet of things, IoT continues to be the next big thing in technology, and now the new phase of the internet of things is pushing everyone hard to ask questions about the data collected by sensors and devices of IoT.  

Undoubtedly, the internet of things, IoT will generate a tsunami of data, with the swift expansion of sensors and devices connected to the IoT. The sheer volume of data being produced by the internet of things will rise exponentially in the upcoming years. This generated data can provide extremely valuable insight to figure out what’s working well and what’s not. Moreover, the internet of things, IoT, will point out the issues that often arise and provide meaningful and actionable insight into new business opportunities and potential risks as correlations and associations are made. 

Examples of IoT Data:  

  • Data that improves productivity of industries through predictive maintenance of equipment and machinery 
  • Data that assists smart cities in predicting crime rates and accidents   
  • Data that creates truly smart living homes with connected devices    
  • Data that provides doctors real-time insight into information from biochips to pacemakers 
  • Data that gives critical communication between self-driven automobiles          

That’s great news, but it’s not possible for humans to monitor, analyze and understand all of this data using traditional methods. Even if they reduce the sample size, it will simply consume too much of their time.  Undoubtedly, finding actionable insights in terabytes of machine data is not a cakewalk, just ask a data scientist. The biggest challenge is to find ways to analyze the deluge of performance data and information that the internet of things, IoT devices creates. The only possible way to keep up with the terabytes of data generated by IoT devices and sensors and gain the hidden insights that it holds is using Artificial Intelligence, commonly known as AI.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT    

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine intelligence (MI) is the intelligence that is exhibited by machines or software. John McCarthy, the person who coined this terminology back in 1955, describes it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". In a nutshell, AI is a branch of computer science that emphasizes the creation of an intelligent machine that thinks intelligently, the way intelligent humans think and works and reacts like humans.   

In an IoT environment, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can aid business enterprises take the billions of data points they have and prune them down to what’s really helpful and actionable. The general principle is akin to that in retail applications i.e. review and analyze the data you have collected from different sources to find out similarities or patterns, so that better business decisions can be made.  

To be able to figure out the potential risks or problems, the collected data has to be analyzed in terms of what’s normal and what’s not. Abnormalities, correlations, and similarities need to be identified based on the real-time streams of data generated. The collected data combined with Artificial Intelligence makes life easier with predictive analytics, intelligent automation, and proactive intervention. 

Artificial Intelligence in IoT Applications  

  • New sensors will enable computers and smart devices to “hear,” gather sonic information about the user’s ambience   
  • Visual big data will allow computers and smart devices to gain a deeper insight of images on the screen, with the new AI app that understands the context of images

These are some of the promising applications of Artificial Intelligence in the internet of things, IoT ecosystem. The potential for highly personalized services are countless and will dramatically change the way people live. For example, Amazon.com can suggest what other books and movies you may like, helping Saavn and Gaana to determine what other songs you may love listening, and your family doctor would receive notification if you’re not feeling comfortable.  

Here Are Some Challenges Facing AI in IoT

  • Artificial Stupidity
  • Complexity
  • Safety
  • Ethical and legal Issues
  • Compatibility
  • Privacy/Security 

What’s Next? 

Gartner has predicted that by the end of next year, 6 billion connected devices will be requesting support, which means that processes, technologies, and strategies will have to be in place to respond to them. It is important to think of connected devices less as ‘things’, but more as customers or consumers of services in themselves. The need for Artificial intelligence, AI will become more prominent at the stage when the number of connected devices and sensors increase manifold.

Hope you find this post helpful. If you did, share it with your friends and colleagues. For AI and IoT Courses Online, you can do some research on Google to find the best institute that suits your needs and budget.

For any query related to this post, you can comment down below. Thanks for your time. 

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Save IoT, Save The World

When looking for a title for this article, I remembered the famous phrase from TV serie Heroes, "Save the cheerleader,  Save the world". Sorry if one more time I abuse of shocking headlines to attract more readers. 

Is the Internet of Thing (IoT) in danger? In light of the latest events I have attended in Berlin and London and news like this "Intel To Amputate Three Modules For Internet Of Things, Including Joule", I really believe  IoT is falling into the Gartner´s Trough of Disillusionment phase  and we need IoT heroes to push it faster towards the Plateau of Productivity phase.

The other part of the article's title, "Save the World," may sound pretentious, but the world need to be save. This year hot spring and summer is confirming even the most disbelieving that Global Warming is very real (Read more at " Global Warming, Christmas and the Internet of Things" and in spite I do not consider that only IoT can save our blue planet, per recent events like "Portugal forest fire", IoT can help and much.

If we cannot control runaway pollution of our air and water, the world will end

Source: Ron Lake, Technology Evangelist at Galdos Systems Inc.

Let's go by parts.

Has the Interest in IoT Slowed Down?  Some Symptoms

The IoT no longer fills single events. Now events like Internet of Things World Europe 2017 or IoT Tech Expo Europe in Berlin need help from other technologies like AR/VR AI, Blockchain, or 5G to attract exhibitors and visitors.

The heroes of IoT have lost their past evangelizing enthusiasm. What IoT heroes need to do?

  • The IoT Industry heroes need to focus on Customer Value. It is important that IoT heroes address real pain points rather than creating something gimmicky.
  • IoT Heroes can not do it alone, partnership with other heroes are absolutely essential for success in the Internet of Things.
  • IoT heroes need to be more creative with new Use Cases. As sensors continue to decrease in cost and IoT-specific networks get rolled out, everybody expect the number of use cases to increase exponentially.
  • Raise awareness about the major concern, IoT Security
  • IoT heroes should follow the trends by pairing connectivity with AI/Blockchain/AR/VR heroes

How can IoT save us from world challenges?

Gary Atkinson, Director of Emerging Technologies at ARM, identifies five main challenges that the planet is heading towards:

1.       We’re running out of agricultural land

2.       Water is our rarest commodity

3.       Energy needs to be cheaper to be efficient. 

4.       Healthcare is a growing problem

5.       Transport - Everyone will be able to afford cars, but won’t be able to afford to pay for fuel.

Save IoT, Save Agricultural land

If we all expect that IoT Agricultural solutions will be cheap, will have a long-lasting battery (+10 years), and will emit signals at least 5 miles, the smart farming will be a reality and we will not have excuses to save agricultural land.

Additional info:

Save IoT, Save the Water

Water is currently the most precious natural resource on planet Earth.

On the occasion of World Water Day, tech giant IBM entered into a pact with Ireland’s Dublin City University for a collaborative R&D pilot to leverage the internet of things (IoT) technology to help protect water.

The IoT could for instance make desalinisation coming to a cost-effectiveness point. India uses mostly a pivot irrigation system, which means 30% of land is lost and 50 to 60% of water is lost by evaporation. The switch to tape based irrigation could save 2/3 of the water used.

Back in 2014, HydroPoint Data Systems utilised the Internet of Things (IoT) to help with water conservation efforts. According to the company and its partners, this system saved local people some $137m in expenses and 15 billion gallons of water in the first year alone.

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Save IoT, Make Energy renewable and cheaper

Smarter, more efficient energy consumption it’s been the dream of environmentalists for decades. Now, it’s possible through the power of Internet of Things devices. Because of their connection capabilities, energy consumption such as the power in a commercial building or even smart home can be constantly monitored and adjusted.

Energy consumption could be reduced thanks to a smarter consumption and the implementation of micro generation storage. Knowing that lightning is the second biggest consumer of energy (after motors), and that there are about 1 billion streetlights in the world, upgrading streetlights infrastructure would strongly impact the world consumption.

Experts said that thanks to the Internet of Things, we can move from about 13 percent aggregate energy efficiency to 40 percent in the next 25 to 30 years.

Creating a new connected economy powered by renewable energy will cause a temporary surge in productivity worldwide as grids are modernized and infrastructure is rolled out. Installing wind and solar is labor intensive, for example, so for two generations, people will have plenty of work to do.

Additional info:

IoT company SkyGrid which is based in Melbourne and Sydney, is developing a smart hot-water system in partnership with hot-water company Quantum Energy. The aim is to intelligently control when a building’s hot-water systems are switched on, so that energy isn’t wasted heating water when no one is around to use it – something that currently wastes as much as 50% of a system’s power.

  • EnLight works on streetlight efficiency
  • Freestyle has partnered with engineering firm PowerTec, on an intelligent energy grid for Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Sensors and controllers in the grid intelligently manage energy sources to sway energy consumption towards renewables without sacrificing the reliability of the supply.
  • Top 10 Internet of Things Companies Disrupting the Energy Industry -
    • PingThings is combining big data and machine learning to change the way that state utility grids operate.
    • Actility employs IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication to reinvent the way the energy sector operates.
    • Tibber is a personal assistant that can regulate a house’s energy consumption and buy more energy if the need arises.
    • Wattz is implementing solar power solutions that rely not on the sun’s light, but capturing ambient light from LED and compact fluorescent bulbs to recharge the batteries in IoT devices.
    • Positive Energy uses IoT devices and software to optimize the functional efficiency of industrial buildings and smart homes alike. 
    • Smappee allows users to turn devices on and off remotely. It also has the capability to monitor solar panel output values and gas and water usage in real-time.
    • GasZen allows customers to convert their traditional “dumb,” or non-networked, propane tanks into smart tanks that can be monitored by both the gas provider and the user remotely. 
    • 75Farenheit, beyond their ability to predict and adapt to changing climates, they offer analytics and suggestions on how to make the operation of a building more efficient.
    • Inspire Energy is giving citizens the power to become a part of the growing clean energy movement.
    • Verdigris Technologies primary target is energy consumption and waste.

Save IoT, Save Healthcare

Despite incredible improvements in health since 1950, there are still a number of challenges, which should have been easy to solve.

In a 2016 report by Deloitte we can read “Change is the new normal for the global health care sector. As providers, payers, governments, and other stakeholders strive to deliver effective, efficient, and equitable care, they do so in an ecosystem that is undergoing a dramatic and fundamental shift in business, clinical, and operating models. This shift is being fueled by aging and growing populations; the proliferation of chronic diseases; heightened focus on care quality and value; evolving financial and quality regulations; informed and empowered consumers; and innovative treatments and technologies — all of which are leading to rising costs and an increase in spending levels for care provision, infrastructure improvements, and technology innovations.”

The IoT has brought many exciting advances to healthcare, improving patient experiences, increasing the quality of care provided, as well as updating and streamlining healthcare operations. From digital assistants to ‘smart’ medicine bottles, a new wave of connected devices could help people live independently for longer.

According with Goldman Sachs, IoT functions would produce an estimated $32.4 billion in annual revenue (45% from remote patient monitoring, 37% from telehealth, and 18% from behavior modification). But Healthcare IoT not only increases revenue, IoT reduces this cost by offering a more cost-effective method of managing chronic illness. The $305 billion estimated savings is accounted for by a combination of chronic disease management and telehealth.

Additional info:

Save IoT, Save Transportation 

I leave this topic for a special post in the coming months.

Key Takeaway: Save IoT and IoT will enable Save the World

As I have commented many times the IoT is a Journey. Those who have been more time in the race know that there are easier and other more difficult stages, but not for that reason we abandon the hardness of climbing one of them.

 If we have not yet achieved that the IoT has a unique definition, it is not surprising that the term could disappear for reasons of business marketing. Nor does it matter that technologies such as AI, VR / AR, Robots, Blockchain, join to IoT to solve world problems. We could call it "Unified Information Technology".

The World of 2017 has some immense problems but It is scary to think about the challenges it for the next 10, 20 50 years. As we have seen IoT must play an important Enabler to Save the World. 

IoT heroes, save the IoT, Save the World.

 Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts ? Comments ?

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For all the value and disruptive potential that Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provide, corporate buyers face a dilemma. Today’s IoT technologies are still immature point solutions that address emerging use cases with evolving technology standards. Buyers are concerned that what they buy today may become functionally or technologically obsolete tomorrow. Faced with this dilemma, many defer buying even if the IoT solutions they buy today offer tremendous value to their organizations.

This post describes a planning strategy called “future-proofing” that helps managers, buyers, and planners deal with obsolescence.

What causes IoT solution obsolescence?

An IoT solution, whether you buy it now or in the future, can become functionally obsolete for several reasons, as described in Figure One.  Unlike more established technologies, today’s immature and fast evolving nature of IoT solutions, amplifies the risk of early obsolescence.

For example, today there are multiple Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) connectivity options – SigFox, LoRa, RPMA (by Ingenu), Symphony Link (by Link Labs), NB-IoT and LTE-M. While each option has advantages and disadvantages, a subset of these will eventually “win” out as technology standards, business models and use cases emerge.

Similarly, there are 350+ IoT platforms in the marketplace today (source: “Current state of the 360+ platforms”, IoT Analytics, June 9, 2016). While many of these platforms target specific applications and industry segments, consolidation is inevitable as there are more vendors than the market can eventually support. The major IoT platform vendors (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, GE, et al), currently on a market share land grab, will drive consolidation when they begin to acquire select vertical platforms to gain rapid access to those markets.

What is Future-Proofing?

According to Collins English Dictionary (10th edition), “future-proof” is defined as:

“protected from consequences in the future, esp. pertaining to a technology that protect it from early obsolescence”

Because of the high cost of enterprise technologies, many buyers perceive obsolescence as bad. To them, future-proofing means keeping the technology as long as possible in order to minimize costs and maximize return on investment (ROI). Their companies have standardized their business processes, policies and even their technical support on the technologies that they have bought. When a solution goes End of Life (EOL) and transitions to a newer version, it means that managers will have to recertify and retrain everyone on the “new” solution all over again. In general, transitions happen over a period of months (and sometimes years) in large global companies. During this time, multiple generations of the solution will co-exist, with each requiring different processes and policies.

In today’s fast moving IoT market, planned and unplanned obsolescence will be the norm for the foreseeable future. The traditional concept of “future-proofing” doesn’t apply, and can lead to significant, adverse business disruption.

In the era of cloud based solutions and IoT, future-proofing is not about outguessing the future, and choosing the “right” solution so as to never have to “buy” again. Nor is it overbuying technology now to avoid buying in the future. Finally, future-proofing is not about avoiding change. Future-proofing is a solution lifecycle management strategy. It is a continuous process to maximize solution flexibility and options, while making deliberate choices and managing risk.

What does a future-proof IoT infrastructure look like?

In planning the future-proofed IoT infrastructure, managers must first understand its key characteristics, and then define specific requirements for each of those characteristics. At a high level, these characteristics include:

  • Usable– the infrastructure and solutions achieve all functional needs with no loss in performance, security, service level agreements (SLA) over the desired time period.

  • Scalable – supports future needs, applications, devices

  • Supportable – resolves technical, performance, reliability, SLA issues

  • Changeable – addresses “lock-in” and facilitates migration to updated solutions on your schedule based on your needs

  • Economical – the total cost of ownership of the solution stays within forecasted ranges

A framework for future-proofing your IoT infrastructure

Change is constant and cannot be avoided. The driving principle behind future-proofing is managing change, not avoiding or preventing it. This principle recognizes that every solution has a useful functional life, and that what is functionally useful today may be obsolete and discarded tomorrow.

A properly designed future-proof plan provides the organization with options and flexibility, rather than lock-in and risk. It prevents suboptimal decision-making by managing the infrastructure on a system level, rather than at the individual component level.

Future-proofing your IoT infrastructure is a three step process (Figure Two). It is not a “once and done” exercise but must be done annually to remain relevant.

Plan and Design

The first step of the future-proofing process is to identify and place the various IoT infrastructure, systems and solutions into one of nine actionable categories. These categories are shown in Figure Three. The horizontal rows represent the “change” category, while the vertical columns represent the timeframe decision timeframe.

The actual classification of the IoT infrastructure solutions into one of the categories is determined in conjunction with IT, operations and the business units. Key considerations for determining the “future-proof category” include:

  • Usability/functionality – functional utility, compliance with standards, performance against needs, SLAs, and performance

  • Scalability – ability to meet current and future needs, anticipated change in standards

  • Support – resources, expertise, reliability

  • Ease of transition –contractual agreements, technology interdependence/dependence, specialized skills

  • Economics – maintenance costs, licensing/content/subscription fees, utilities, new replacement costs, transition costs

Source and Build

Once the proper categorization is completed, the second step is to procure the necessary solutions, whether they are hardware or software. This requires that a sourcing strategy be put into place over the desired time period. The terms sourcing and buying are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Sourcing is about ensuring strategic access to supply while buying is more transactional. In executing the future-proofing plan, procurement managers must understand the supplier product lifecycle, and develop specific tactics.

As an example, a large global company decides to standardize around a specific IoT edge device (and specific generation) and technology for the next five years. In order to maintain access to this supply during this time period, it employs a number of tactics, including:

  • Stocking of spare units to be deployed in the future

  • Placing large “Last time” orders before that version of the solution is discontinued

  • Sourcing refurbished versions of the technology

  • Incorporating leasing as sourcing strategy

  • Negotiating contractual arrangements with the vendor to continue the solution line

Support and Monitor

The third step in the future-proofing strategy is to keep the IoT infrastructure and solutions operational over the desired time period. This is relatively easy when the solutions and technologies are being serviced and supported by the vendors. However, as vendors transition to newer technology and solution versions, buyers may find limited support and expertise. This problem is amplified the further you are from the original end-of-life date.

To keep the infrastructure and solutions fully operational during this time, companies must employ various reactive and proactive tactics. Some of these include:

  • Incorporating and installing vendor firmware updates to maximize functionality, apply bug fixes and extend useful life. Vendors may issue firmware updates on both End of Life and current generation solutions.

  • Purchase warranty and extended warranty and maintenance service contracts to assure access to support

  • Develop in-house maintenance and repair capability

  • Negotiate special one-off engineering support services with the vendor or their designated contractors

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.

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Being direct part of the worldwide development community for "Internet of things" and connected device and working day by day on architectural topics and talking to many experts in this area, I've mentioned that indeed the technologies behind IoT are well known but the definition of IoT itself is very diverse. My key experience was while I was participating the Security of Things conference in Berlin this year. The discussions what IoT is and what is IoT not started already during the icebreaking session the evening before the first official day and continues in the same manner during the next two days. I've heard statements like "Every PC is an Internet of things device" over "Any internet connectivity must be disabled (to guarantee security)" up to "We log the values of a digital thermometer by hand and enter them in a specific AWS-based Back-End to run analytics on it ... therefore we converted our thermometer to an Internet of things device". This experience gave me the impulse fin
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An accurate and well-structured security analysis is the key for a holistic security concept and therefore for a secure product. But planing and performing a security analysis can be a hard nut to crack. After collecting experience in more than 6 big IoT projects over the last 2 years I decided to share some key facts that can make your life easier if you have to go the same way.
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The digital revolution has created significant opportunities and threats for every industry. Companies that cannot or do not make significant changes faster to their business model in response to a disruption are unlikely to survive
It is extremely important to do digital maturity assessment before embarking on digital transformation.
Digital leaders must respond to the clear and present threat of digital disruption by transforming their businesses. They must embed digital capabilities into the very heart of their business, making digital a core competency, not a bolt-on. Creating lasting transformative digital capabilities requires you to build a customer-centric culture within your organization.
This requires new capabilities that organizations need to acquire and develop which include disruptive technologies like Big Data,AnalyticsInternet of Things, newer business models.
Digital maturity model measures readiness of the organization to attain higher value in digital customer engagement, digital operations or digital services. It helps in incremental adoption of digital technologies and processes to drive competitive strategies, greater operationally agility and respond to rapidly changing market conditions.
Business can use the maturity model to define the roadmap, measuring progress on the milestones.
The levels of maturity can be defined as per multiple reports available and

adopt the ones which makes more sense to your business.

·     Level 1 : Project based solutions are developed for a particular problem, no integration to home grown systems, unaware of risks and opportunities
·     Level 2 : Departmentalized projects but still not known to organization, little integration
·     Level 3 : Solutions are shared between the departments for a common business problem, better integration
·     Level 4 : Organization wide efforts of digital, highly integrated, adaptive culture for fail fast  and improve
·     Level 5 : Driven by CXOs, customer centric and complete transformation changes happen to organization
Here are the 7 categories on which business should ask questions to all the stakeholders to gauge the maturity of Digital Transformation and identify the improvement and priorities.
1.   Strategy & Roadmap - how the business operates or transforms to increase its competitive advantage through digital initiatives which are embedded within the overall business strategy
2.   Customer – Are you providing experience to customers on theirpreferred channels, online, offline, anytime on any device
3.   Technology – Relevant tools and technologies to make data available across all the systems
4.   Culture – Do you have the organization structure and culture to drive the digital top down
5.   Operations – Digitizing & automating the processes to enhance business efficiency and effectiveness.
6.   Partners – Are you utilizing right partners to augment your expertise
7.   Innovation – How employees are encouraged to bring the continuous innovation to how they serve the customers
Finally you know when you are digital transformed?
·             When there is nobody having “Digital” in their title
·             There is no marketing focused on digital within the organization
·             There is no separate digital strategy than company’s business strategy
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Most IoT projects today are unsuccessful

A recent Cisco survey of 1845 business and IT decision-makers in mid market and enterprise companies, conducted in April 2017, found that nearly three quarters of Internet of Things (IoT) projects were not successful.

The top five reasons include:

  • Long completion times,
  • Poor quality of the data collected,
  • Lack of internal expertise,
  • IoT integration,
  • Budget overruns.

These results are not surprising given the immaturity of the IoT solutions, evolving technology standards, and limited expertise among the IoT community.

In light of these survey results, how do you ensure that your first IoT project implementation will be successful? In this post, I’ll share ten best practices for managers planning their first IoT project.

Best Practices for IoT Projects

Best Practice #1 – Solve a problem that someone cares about. Whether it’s a pilot project, or a mini IoT project added to a larger non-IoT project, make the project relevant by addressing a real need. This ensures visibility and support from the organization, whether it is something as simple as time to answer your questions, commitment from management, or contribute resources. Equally important, it gives you a foundation from which to build follow-on projects.

Best Practice #2 – Plan conservatively. As an early IoT adopter, your organization’s capabilities will be limited and the learning curve will be steep. Managers must plan for this in several ways. Don’t try to “change the world”, but instead focus on doing one or two things well. Define the requirements well and resist scope creep. Build in a larger than usual contingency for schedule, resources and cost.

Best Practice #3 – Fix outdated processes and policies. IoT solutions can disrupt existing organizational processes and policies. If you fix the technology but not the processes and policies, you will just get “bad news faster”. Implementing the technology side of IoT is only half the solution. Realize its full potential by updating affected, or in some cases, creating new processes and policies.

Best Practice #4 – Partner for success. IoT solutions affect multiple teams within the organization. Partner with these affected teams early in the planning process to get their requirements, gain their support (knowledge, resources, and budget), and leverage their influence to remove barriers during the execution stages. Partner with your organization’s digital transformation or innovation office, if one exists.

Equally important, partner with IoT solution vendors throughout the process. At this stage of the market, their solutions are still evolving. Work with your IoT vendor at a deeper level than you would with other vendors. Stay in close contact and leverage their product management and technical support teams throughout the project.  Co-design the solution and project with them – tell them what features you like to see, report bugs, and test updated versions of the product.

Best Practice #5 – Augment your capabilities with outside resources. Address gaps in your internal capabilities by leveraging outside resources. Build your IoT knowledge through information shared on industry blogs, publications and analyst reports. Augment your project planning and execution capabilities by contracting with subject matter experts, IoT consultants, and innovation labs.

Best Practice #6 – Address resistance to change. The more disruptive the IoT solution is, the more likely you will face adoption resistance both internally and externally. Whether the changes are small or large, ensure IoT project success with a change adoption plan early on in the project. Identify who is affected and how they are affected, then understand their objections. Craft a plan to address these objections, be transparent and communicate regularly, and implement well before the solution goes live. Be responsive and act with a sense of urgency to any concerns raised during the project.

Best Practice #7 – Define extended project success and goals. During the project planning stage, identify the key success outcomes of the project. Beyond the goals directly enabled by the IoT solution, consider goals around internal capabilities development, gaps identification (processes, policies, technologies, resources, etc.), organization readiness, channel and customer acceptance. Treat your early IoT projects as learning experiences, and use these projects to learn, experiment, uncover challenges, develop the organization and go faster on future projects.

Best Practice #8 – Drive shared ownership and accountability. IoT solutions affect multiple teams across the organization. Because of this, you must establish a structure of shared ownership and accountability to drive project success. Identify and secure the commitment of the critical executive sponsors and  business unit owners. Align the value and relevance of the IoT solution to their team’s goals and needs to drive their ownership.

Best Practice #9 – Establish a learning culture. To ensure that your subsequent IoT projects are successful, you must establish a rapid learning culture right from the start. During the project, establish a process for experimenting, prototyping and problem solving. At the end of the project, document the knowledge and expertise gained, and then develop a system to retain and transfer that knowledge. Identify who the “experts” are, the lessons learned, and project debriefs. Develop a system to share that knowledge across the organization, with solutions vendors, consultants, and other resources.

Best Practice #10 – Be flexible and adapt. Despite careful planning and risk management, your first IoT projects will still be significant learning experiences. You know what you know, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Your planning and risk management is based on what you know. Unforeseen things happen because of the things you, your consultants, or the vendors don’t know. In this type of environment, the project teams should be nimble and agile to respond to the unplanned. Incorporate larger contingencies in project plans. Prepare your sponsors and owners to expect change. Select your project team members for their ability to quickly adapt and learn, as well as for their knowledge and execution ability.

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.

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Top 5 uses of Internet of Things!!

While many organizations are creating tremendous value from the IoT, some organizations are still struggling to get started.  It has now become one of the key element of Digital Transformation that is driving the world in many respects.
It is really a time to look beyond the hype and get real about Internet of Things.
Just putting IoT in place may not help organizations but applyinganalytics is extremely essential for the success of IoT systems for better decision making.
Here are top 5 areas where IoT is making the disruption:
1.     Wellness - IoT helps continuously monitor the patients and symptoms to early detection, diagnosis & accelerate breakthrough drug development. Wearables like Fitbit, Apple watch, and Samsung have all created new revenue streams from giving their users workout analytics and the ability to set daily health goals. Mobile apps around wellness have been around for years now to track your sleep, weight, nutrition, and more. 
2.     Safety and Security – Sensor based monitoring of elevators, escalators improves travelers safety at airports.  Sensors, which are much cheaper these days, can let you know whether or not your water pipes are leaking or are about to burst. The droneswill allow the handful of rangers to quickly investigate reports of fires, than traveling into remote parts of the jungle over unpaved roads. Connected cars allows vehicle diagnostics and real time intervention from technicians for better safety.
3.     Marketing – with use of IoT, businesses can reach to right customer at at right time using geofencing. It is a virtual field in which apps are capable of sending alerts depending on your entrance or exit from a vicinity. With geofencing, your shopping experience can be more hyper-personalized to what you’re looking for. 1-800-Flowers covered the area around jewelry stores that were close to their flower shops to encourage customers to buy flowers with jewelry. Amazon Go is Amazon’s store concept without a check-out line. 
4.     Smart Cities & Smart Infrastructure – IoT is helping build the infrastructure which is really smart in quick response and improves the life of residents. Real time weather response systems, better traffic management, waste management, and optimal utilities management helps governments around the world.  Smart Homes helps people more peaceful life.
5.     Energy, Aviation & Manufacturing – Using IoT to do predictive maintenance can reduce downtime up to 50%. Companies like GE have put up 100s of sensors across the plant that provide round-the-clock monitoring and diagnostics of existing hardware. IoT enabled engines consume almost 15% less fuel than average jet engines, and also have reduced emissions and noise.  Smart grids helps in increasing the reliability and efficiency of grid, avoid thefts.
In future IoT will continue to enhance our lives more and more by tracking our needs in real time giving opportunity to businesses to react accordingly and immediately.
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Top 7 Virtual Reality Industry use cases

Today Digital Transformation has entered our life and we have subconsciously using it also in day to day life.
Virtual Reality technology has evolved dramatically in the past few years the costs of VR devices has gone down so it is all set to hit mainstream markets soon. While gaming applications like Pokemon Go have attracted most of the attention, there are many other use cases that could have a much larger impact on our lives.
Google Cardboard is a super low-cost headset ($15) to which a compatible, VR enabled mobile phone is attached to deliver the VR experience.
Other commercial product is Oculus Rift gear which has becomeextremely popular in gaming & business equally.
Here are some great VR use cases:
1.     VR for Tourism: do you want to sit on your couch and climb up the Eiffel tower? Or walk on the glass horse shoe at grand canyon? Wild Within is VR app available for experience of travel through rain forest in Canada. Travelers around the world are able to experience a helicopter flight around New York City or a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty.
2.     VR for Education: Over last decade eLearning had picked up very much. But it could not deliver hands on experience which is now possible with VR technology. Technicians can actually learn the real life examples and do their bit to solve the problems on the shop floor. Medical students can actually perform surgeries allowing them to make mistakes without any impact on actual patients.
3.     VR for Sales: Traditionally automakers have the showroom to show the cars to the customers and explain their features and sometimes a test drive is also possible. But customization of how the interior will look as per their choice was not possible which now can be done via VR.  Audi is experimenting this in London, where customer can configure their Audi with accessories as they want and drive virtually in real time.
4.     VR in Gaming: who does not know the excitement Pokemon Go had created and reached 50 million users in record time of 22 days.  Using AR/VR technology games have changed the life of seniors as well as teens. Game of Thrones has capitalized on VR and gone viral in various countries.
5.     VR in Designing: product designing is tedious task and changes to products based on the competition or customization is time consuming. This is where VR helps designers. They can now create the products easily, configure all the features and test them out. It is more popular in construction of buildings to see how the interior will look like.
6.     VR in Marketing: With Digital Marketing ads are becoming more intrusive. The best marketing campaigns use VR to create successful campaigns as users get completely immersed into the content, and create memorable experiences. Coca Cola created a virtual reality sleigh ride. New York times releases multiple immersive documentaries in their app. Finnair is showing their Airbus 350 via VR to attract more customers.
7.     VR in Sports coaching: The potential for VR in sports in endless. You get all the benefits of real-world interaction, but in a controlled environment. Showing is so much more effective than explaining, and experiencing something first-hand is that much more powerful again. Football, Cricket.

Virtual reality technology holds enormous potential to change the future for a number of fields, from medicine, business, and architecture to manufacturing. We are on the roller coaster ride !!
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Internet of Things (IoT) solutions offer tremendous and disruptive value for customers, but sometimes have the unintended effect of adversely impacting the channel that it is sold and serviced through. This results in slow adoption of IoT solutions, even if those solutions have significant and tangible customer value.


Common product-market fit mistakes

While many IoT vendors understand the concept of product-market fit, a common mistake that many product managers make is to overlook or understate the impact of the solution on stakeholders that “touch” the solution (Figure One) beyond the end user customer. When the needs of all the primary and secondary stakeholders are aligned with the solution, market adoption is facilitated. When the needs of these stakeholders conflict, market adoption is slowed or even stopped. 

One example of an external stakeholder is the channel reseller. Many manufacturers incorporate a channel strategy to market, sell and service their products in order to scale the business. The channel can be an one tier channel (manufacturer sells direct to reseller, who then resells it to the end customer) or a two tier channel (manufacturer sells to distributor, who then resells it to reseller, who finally resells it to the end customer). 

Consider an IoT based predictive maintenance solution for commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. With this solution, the channel resellers will now know when the parts in the HVAC system are wearing out and a proactive service call is needed. While this assures the customers that their HVAC system will have minimum downtime, it may not be so good for the reseller. Prior to the incorporation of IoT into an HVAC system, channel resellers may have set up a service agreement with the end user where they would perform routine maintenance four times a year. With the IoT solution in place, it may reveal that they only need to come out once or twice a year to do maintenance. The reduced number of visits mean that their revenues from service calls is also reduced. Given this reality, the channel resellers have no incentive to adopt the predictive maintenance solution. 

A second common mistake is to look at product-market fit from a static perspective. In fact, the product manager must look at the product-market fit over the solution’s entire lifecycle from purchase to retirement (Figure Two). At each of the stages over the lifecycle, there may be different people or organizations “touching” the solution and performing a slightly different task in support of common activities. Problems arise when the needs of each party are inconsistent or misaligned.

Conflicts, or friction arise between the buyer, the vendor and the other affected stakeholders when there is misalignment of their needs. These needs may include performance, cost, revenue, operating efficiency, roles and responsibilities. Some of these misalignments may be managed, while others may be more severe and require a solution redesign.


Best practices to remove the friction points


Practice#1 - Expand your product-market fit analysis over the entire solution lifecycle.

As you design your IoT solutions, map out the different stakeholders that touch your product, from the time it leaves your hands delivery to the time it is retired from use. Identify who they are, why the customer buys from them, the tasks they do, the value they add, and how they make their money.

 How does your solution impact the services the channel provides, their value, and their financials?  What is changed and disintermediated?

It is not always possible to avoid disintermediation. But with this understanding, work with the channel to co-create a solution that removes the friction points, creates new value and opportunities.


Practice #2 - Create new value beyond product innovation.

Product managers must think beyond product and technology innovation. IoT solutions can also provide business model, service, and customer experience innovation. When designing the IoT solution with the channel needs in mind, look for opportunities to create these forms of innovation that will provide significant value for all stakeholders.

Customer experience innovation transforms the “customer journey”. It re-imagines how a customer uses a product or service. It uses data collected to create new processes, business partnerships, organizations and technology to support the new journey. Examples include Apple iPod/iTunes changes how we buy and listen to music, Uber changes how we go from one place to another, Netflix changes how we watch television, and Amazon Echo ((“Alexa”) changes how we control devices.

Services innovation transforms how, what and when a service is rendered, and who it is being offered to. It enhances a current value, or creates an entirely new value that was not possible before. A product can also be transformed into a service (e.g. car rentals). Some examples include Software-as-a-Service changes how we buy software, Uber changes how we go from one place to another, and Amazon Web Services changes businesses use IT infrastructure.

Business model innovation. A business model describes how an organization creates and delivers value to its customers. It is defined by nine parts – customer types, value to customer, sales channels, customer relationship types, revenue sources, operating resources, operational activities, key partnerships, and cost structure. Business model innovation transforms these nine parts to create to enhance or create new value to existing customers or to an entirely new customer base. Some example include Amazon Web Services “IT pay for you use” model, ZipCar’s “car sharing” model and Apple iPhone’s app ecosystem model.


Practice #3 - Develop marketing programs that incentivize the channel to pursue “green field” opportunities.

It is not always possible to redesign the solution to eliminate the misalignment between the stakeholders. In this type of scenario, develop marketing and channel programs that allow the channel to target new opportunities where the solution provides a significant competitive advantage. This will allow them to create new revenue streams that will offset any loss of revenues from the current business.

Recalling the predictive maintenance example in which the reseller is reluctant to offer the IoT based solution because their services revenues would decrease. However, the reseller can offer the solution to new customers (those it never had, including those customers who use a competitor’s solutions). The new solution may give them an unique compelling competitive advantage and offset potential revenue decreases when their customers convert to the new IoT solution in the future.


Practice # 4 - Help your channel identify suitable niches within their existing customer base.

While the channel may be reluctant to offer your IoT solution to all of their existing customers, there may be pockets within their base where your solution is in alignment with the reseller’s needs. They may have existing customers where the cost to service them is high, or the revenue impact is minimal, or are considering alternative offerings from other vendors.  Help the channel understand what these opportunities are, identify the target customer profiles, and develop conversion campaigns that allow them to sell to these customer niches.

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.

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