Subscribe to our Newsletter | To Post On IoT Central, Click here


iot (230)

Internet of Things as a concept attracts all the frenzy right now! Don't believe us? Perhaps this will help: experts say that the global spending on IoT will grow past the $1 trillion milestones by 2020. That's next year, by the way. So, yes, it is essential! Hence, it is not surprising to see IoT making its way into different industries and sectors, such as education, healthcare, and energy. It has made inroads into the mobile app industry as well. How? The answer lies in the fundamentals of IoT: it is a network of devices that enables previously-unimaginable functionalities and features.

Also, where there are devices helping people, can mobile apps be far behind? No, because they typically serve as the interface that facilitates the interaction between IoT-enabled devices. Moreover, with today's crop of smartphones boasting a plethora of novelties besides apps, such as NFC and sensors, is it astounding to see that the two virtually go hand-in-hand? So, without further ado, let's get on with what we came to discuss: how IoT is changing the face of app development.

1. Security: Security concerns among customers and businesses have existed pretty since we first became familiar with the phenomenon of mobile devices. Then came the cloud, bringing along with it, its own set of security issues. So, it isn't hard to see why people would be nervous about security when presented with a network of interconnected devices. IoT involves a sea of data that is both sensitive and confidential. Hence, the risk. Moreover, with IoT mobile apps on the rise, developers have had much thinking to do. App developers are now tuned in to the security aspect, delivering high-quality solutions that help assuage security concerns for not only users but also companies.

2. Convenience: Quite unlike what you may have been led to believe, IoT has made life simpler for not just users, but app developers as well. Allow us to explain -- see, it enables devices to interact with mobile apps to help users execute tasks. As a result, app developers are freed from the laborious task of developing apps instead of allowing them to focus on user-friendliness and global innovation.

3. Necessitates expertise: IoT may be highly prevalent in our lives now, but it continues to be a novelty. It means, to properly leverage it, one needs high-quality expertise. So, for app developers who want to retain their edge among their contemporaries, they must skill up. It is vital to take a break out of their comfort zone and work on acquiring skills requisite for building consummate IoT apps.

Both the Internet of Things and mobile app development have the world's attention right now. Several other studies have amply demonstrated their potential and that their relevance will only grow for the foreseeable future. It is why, no matter if you are working on custom iOS app development or any other OS, it would be wise to factor in IoT into your plans.

Read more…

In spite of the fact that it has been with us in some structure and under various names for a long time, the Web of Things (IoT) is abruptly the thing. The capacity to interface, speak with, also, remotely deal with a limitless number of arranged, mechanized gadgets by means of the Web is getting to be inescapable, from the production line floor to the emergency clinic working space to the private cellar. The change from shut systems to big business IT systems to the open Internet is quickening at a disturbing pace—and legitimately raising cautions about security.

 As we become progressively dependent on insightful, interconnected gadgets in each part of our lives, how do we shield conceivably billions of them from interruptions and obstruction that could bargain individual security or undermine open wellbeing? 

As a worldwide innovator in inserted innovation arrangements, Wind River® has been profoundly included since its beginning in verifying gadgets that perform life-basic capacities and conform to stringent administrative necessities. This paper inspects the limitations and security difficulties presented by IoT associated gadgets, and the Wind Riverway to deal with tending to them.


The IoT development is driven by business needs as a feature of big business advanced change 

As indicated by Machina Research, the absolute number of IoT associations will develop from six billion of every 2015 to 27 billion by 2025. It implies a compound yearly development rate (CAGR) of 16%. As far as market development, the Berg Insight report predicts an expansion of the worldwide third-party  IoT platform from €610m in 2015 to €3.05bn in 2021.

IoT Security Risks and Challenges 

Three classes of IoT dangers include: 

 

  1. Dangers that are common in any Internet framework 

 

  1. Dangers that are explicit to IoT gadgets 

 

  1. Wellbeing to guarantee no mischief is brought about by abusing actuators, for example. 

 

Conventional security practices, for example, securing open ports on gadgets have a place with the first class (for instance, an industrial refrigerator associated with the Internet so as to send alarms about the item stock and temperature may utilize an unbound SMTP server and can be undermined by a botnet).

The second class incorporates issues explicitly identified with IoT equipment, for example, the gadget may have its safe data traded off. For instance, some IoT gadgets are excessively little to bolster appropriate unbalanced encryption. Moreover, any gadget that can interface with the Internet has an inserted working framework sent in its firmware and a significant number of these installed working frameworks are not structured with security as their essential thought. 

Adaptability: Managing an enormous number of IoT hubs requires versatile security arrangements. 

 

Availability: In IoT interchanges, associating different gadgets of various capacities in a safe way is another test. 

 

End-to-end Security: End-to-end safety efforts between IoT gadgets and Internet has are similarly significant.

 

Validation and Trust: Proper ID and confirmation abilities and their arrangement inside a complex IoT condition are not yet adult.

 

This counteracts foundation of trust connections between IoT parts, which is essential for IoT applications requiring impromptu availability between IoT segments, for example, Smart City situations. Trust the board for IoT is expected to guarantee that information investigation motors are sustained with legitimate information Without validation it is beyond the realm of imagination to expect to guarantee that the information stream created by an element contains what it should contain. 

Personality Management: Identity the board is an issue as poor security practices are frequently executed. For instance, the utilization of clear content/Base64 encoded IDs/passwords with gadgets also, machine-to-machine (M2M) is a typical mix-up. 

This ought to be supplanted with oversaw tokens, for example, JSON Web Tokens (JWT) utilized by OAuth/OAuth2 confirmation and approval structure (the Open Authorization). 

Assault Resistant Security Solutions: Diversity in IoT gadgets results in a requirement for attack-resistant and lightweight security arrangements. As IoT gadgets have restricted process assets, they are helpless against asset enervation assaults.

Conclusion

IoT has already taken the market by storm. If you want to consider getting into the niche, IoT based mobile applications and devices are the best entry point for entrepreneurs. A reputed mobile application development company can help you develop a robust IoT based application.

Read more…

How Covacsis is changing the Manufacturing?

Internet of Things (IoT) began as an emerging trend and has now become one of the key elements of Digital Transformation that is driving the world in many respects. we are evolving to a more connected, digitized world. Leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies is a necessity if you are going to meet consumer’s demands and maximize efficiencies. Now is the time to redefine how we look at gathering and analyzing data across machines and the supply chain to enable fast flexible, and more efficient processes.

General Electric coined the term Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in late 2012.

While many of us are familiar with the Internet of Things used by Nike FuelBand, FitBits, Nest and Samsung as connected devices, there’s much more going on in connecting industrial devices in the world of IIoT.

The Industrial Internet is still at an early stage, similar to where the Internet was in the late 1990s. The IIoT, through the use of sensors, advanced analytics and intelligent decision making, will profoundly transform the way plants & factories connect and communicate with the enterprise.

Industries impacted by IIoT are Manufacturing, Aviation, Utility, Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Transportation, Energy, Mining & Healthcare.

One of the key opportunity that early adopters of the Industrial Internet are pursuing is the improvement of worker and equipment productivity, safety and working conditions in the factories.

The IIoT will revolutionize manufacturing by enabling the acquisition and accessibility of tons of data, at lightning speeds, and far more efficiently than before.

There are several challenges factories are facing:

  • Manual data collected by floor person in a shift has human delays, errors

  • It is not continuous and also not real time

  • Data is not comprehensive enough to do analysis and provide insights to senior management

One such framework available to factories is Intelligent Plant Framework provided by Covacsis.

The benefits are tremendous:

  • It collects real-time data from all the factory machines

  • It is completely automatic so no human errors

  • The data collected is comprehensive to provide actionable insights to the factory in charge

  • With predefined algorithms, the productivity and costs are calculated automatically and recommendations are made for improvement

While systems like MES can only synchronize the operations of the factory, IPF does the performance measurement and management.

Business benefits by implementing IPF:

  • Conversion costs are reduced by 20-30% from raw materials to finished goods

  • Production productivity is improved by up to 30%

  • Plug-n-play with minimal or no customization hence no impact on running factories

  • Implemented in 3-4 weeks compared to months and years of competitive products in the market

With solid experience of implementation in over 70+ factories and 15+ sectors across manufacturing such as Pharma, Chemical, Textile, FMCG, etc; IPF is a clear winner and the need of an hour for factories of future.

The path to Industry 4.0 is via Industrial Internet of Things IIoT and implementation of automation via IPF.

Read more…

Newest Trends For Internet Of Things

Now that the Internet of Things has become a social and technical phenom, it is time to check out some of the coming year trends for app developers and the Internet of Things.

Due to the massive amounts of data that is able to be moved through the Internet of Things airways, app developers will continue to develop apps that help as far as artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is not because of the massive amount of information and data that is sent through, rather because of the amount, app developers are working on applications that are able to make logical sense from the information and data.

Storing information and data in the cloud has become firsthand to people and businesses alike. Due to the high amount of bandwidth required to save information in the cloud, businesses are looking for ways to expand on the cloud. All have used private clouds, public clouds and even a private data center, however app developers are working on ways to combine all of those options. When looking for ways to streamline all the business needs, connected clouds are becoming more of a trend. App developers are designing more of a multi-cloud habitat for information and data.

There is a simulation tool that works alongside machine learning, or artificial intelligence. The DTT, Digital Twin Technology is known as a hybrid twin, is a virtual imitation of real products, processes, system or asset used for certain purposes.

Although cloud storage will remain popular in use, app developers are getting real close to edge architecture. This brings the centralized system and the cloud to a further expansive advantage. Not only cheaper but able to be more effective, edge architecture is able to store more data in a micro center.

This is the year of advancement for the 5G mobile devices and their improvements. Last year we witnessed 5G brought to life in applications. Now we see that the new 5G cellular networks will gain massive attention in the Internet of Things. Which will ultimately begin the change of the landscape for the IoT?

We are facing the age of Social acceptance or denial for the Internet of Things. The longer that the Internet of Things develops, the more we will find that some groups are questioning the social, ethical and legal issues. This is because the Internet of Things is very broad-based and capable of changing all business areas.

Infonomics is moving data ownership or monetization to brand new heights. All this data in the Internet of Things will become more of an asset.

The user experience of the Internet of Things is going to be led by factors such as new sensors, new experience edge architecture and context, and of course new and different algorithms. We will then need to adopt new ways without the use of screens or keyboards, and definitely no voice assistant.

There will also be a massive increase of the Smart Homes. App developers have increased the Smart apps that we use, and are developing apps that will make our homes interact with people. Imagine a world where the home is not only where the heart is, but also the home that directs it’s people on what to do.

This means it will not be too far off before app developers have found a way to make smart cities or smart towns. This possibility that the Internet of Things can mix with responsive cities to lighten the traffic congestion, improve the safety in its community and also look for ways to maintain sustainability.

It is also coming closer to the time when the Internet of Things combines with Artificial Intelligence and we produce the robotic assistants. They will help make all critical decisions that need to be made. This self-learning system will read all analytics and derive any important changes.

App developers already have created many apps for Artificial Intelligence. There is a little robot like ‘friends’ that will assist in teaching your children, they interact with the child and some can have little conversations with the child.

A huge improvement that will be soon possible with the help of app developers is what we can call predictive maintenance. This can prevent the labor costs associated with routine maintenance when it is not necessary. Predictive maintenance could be intelligent apps designed by app development companies to notify before maintenance is needed. This could be helpful in automation businesses as a warning before there is a big issue or major break in a piece of equipment. Maintenance will only be necessary when any change is noted in the process or working gears of the machines.

The benefits of predictive maintenance or predictive skills will help auto and health insurance industries to lessen risks or have payouts when the vehicle, home or health issue would have been maintained as needed.

It may not be too far into the future when we are living like George Jetson and his family did, in the days of our youth and on the television. Was that truly foresight, or just a dumb cartoon made up for kids to laugh at? All the technology that has developed to this point, and app developers continue to make our lives easier with smart apps, I do truly think we are very near George Jetson and his wife. Maybe we will be in flying cars real soon too? Dare we say that we do have skywalks, and some automated ones.

Read more…

The topic of the evolution of technology over the years is a vast one, and any discussion in this matter is bound to be extensive. For this article, we will narrow down our focus to three products of this rapid evolution: the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and mobile app development. To be more precise, we will discuss the impact of cloud computing and IoT on mobile apps and how they have transformed the latter ever since they first burst onto the scene.


Everyone knows that mobile apps are a crucial part of the digital world that we live in, and their development is bound to be affected by factors in the ecosystem. In this context, there are currently two 'factors' that have been in the limelight -- IoT and cloud computing. Among other things, these two phenomena have had a significant impact on the development process and completely transforming how programmers and companies behind mobile apps go about it.


So, let's jump into it and take a closer look at how the Internet of Things and cloud computing have changed the face of mobile app development.

1. Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms: A mobile enterprise application platform, or simply MEAP, is an IoT tool that is meant to ease support for mobile apps and enable developers to make use of cloud computing. Put, it is essentially an extensive collection of multiple resources and services aimed at helping developers quickly build hybrid cross-device mobile apps. MEAPs also ensure that data stored in the cloud is delivered to different devices without a hitch.


2. Enhanced security: Cloud platforms today come fortified with high levels of encryption along with other modern security measures to make sure that data stored in it as secure as it can be. So, what is the cardinal rule when it comes to mobile apps? Ensure thorough and absolute security! So, with the cloud, companies can administer centralized security. Also, let's not forget that the integration of advanced security measures means that any data transfer is utterly safe and secure, thus further fortifying the cloud's position as a leading and trusted resource for mobile apps. Oh, and did we mention the bonus of security? Thanks to more secure mobile apps, business users are more open to adopting enterprise apps.


3. Cross-platform apps: Considering the growth in popularity of cross-platform apps, it isn't surprising to see that the cloud has had a role to play in this context as well. Such apps are necessarily web apps wrapped in a native container, which, interestingly relies on the cloud for data transmission so they can operate on most platforms available in the market.


There is no doubt that mobile app development is nothing like what it used to, say, a decade ago. However, to ensure the success of the mobile apps you build, it is imperative that you continually stayed clued into the latest trends in the market. It will allow you to deliver A1 apps to the demanding customers of today.

Read more…

For those who do not know this famous Goya´s painting: 'Saturn Devouring a Son', it belongs to the series of Black Paintings of the artist. It's the best comparison I can make after returning from the TechXLR8   --- IoT World Europe Summit in London.

In the painting we see the god Cronos, who immutable governs the course of time, devouring a son. The act of eating your child has been seen, from the point of view of psychoanalysis as a figuration of impotence.

Saturn is the Artificial Intelligence (aka AI) and his impotent son is the Internet of Things (IoT). There are other brothers waiting their turn to be devoured by this hungry father. Soon it will be the Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR), the Blockchain and Digital Twins. Not even the 5G will be spared. 

If you are still waiting for the IoT boom, this event is confirmation that the IoT is badly wounded at least in Europe. The few IoT companies that exhibited their products and services at Excel London showed nothing that could overshadow the big winner, the ubiquitous father AI. Although the Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR) does present itself a great rival for the other brothers.

Every time I find it more difficult to justify coming to these events. Neither being a speaker or moderator has allowed me to win a project. I keep doing it to maintain my influence and keep informed my followers on social networks, but I already tell you that physical and economic effort is not justifiable.

The organization this year has sought speakers that mix vendors presentations with success stories of clients. But this year neither of them was able to raise this event.

The few large IT firms present such as Microsoft, SAP or Oracle are on the side of the father "AI" although they show demos IoT many times repeated.

The discussions of the first years of the IoT boom revolved around connectivity, security, IoT platforms, even business models. Now, nobody is interested in these matters anymore. I am sorry for my many friends and myself advising in these areas, but all the fish has sold in West Europe.

Nor have the great integrators been present here. Those who should have implemented IoT solutions for years but never risked investing and continue to squeeze clients with digitalization projects, cloud migration projects, products updates and customized developments. I believe most of them have done a disservice to the acceleration of the IoT.

There was no great IoT news during the event. Perhaps the most important announcement was given by Marc Overton who took advantage of his presentation to announce the recent collaboration agreement between Sierra Wireless and Microsoft to claim industry’s first full-stack IoT offerings. Something that happened far away from here.

As for my sessions, they mixed IoT and Blockchain, something that would have guaranteed success for attendees two years ago or last year but that did not arouse great enthusiasm this year. It is evident that they are becoming a commodity. Something that is not bad, since we would stop speculating about possible use cases and we could be using transparent in our lives and businesses.

Do not worry, the life of IoT events continues, and so this week there are three more:

I believe that Organizers and exhibitors need to try to reinvent the IoT events to make more attractive to visitors and generate qualified leads. We need to see an IoT event where IoT is present in every corner of the floor, in every stage, in every service (cafeteria, rest rooms, transportation, etc). We need to breath IoT every minute.

Otherwise the IoT events will continue driving away visitors and exhibitors and 'Saturn (AI) Devouring a Son (IoT).'

Thanks you all for follow me and read my articles.

Read more…
The recent advent of additive manufacturing for printed electronics, for example, has made engineering and design labs game-changing R&D enablers. Engineers will soon find themselves able to quickly, accurately and cost-effectively design and build functional electronics in new shapes with added functionality without having to wait weeks or months to understand whether their smart device works or not. The greater design freedom, compressed project timelines and fully in-house workflows afforded by 3D printing are setting the stage for the long-awaited IoT revolution. These advantages ultimately increase product and cost efficiencies and reduce time to market, meaning consumer can enjoy the benefits of these products faster than ever before.
Read more…

The Internet of Things is a beautiful phenomenon, enabling things one would have never thought to be possible until only a decade ago. Now, we have the convenience to turn on home appliances with our mobile phone before you even enter your home. Alternatively, perhaps you use it to turn on your car's ignition and air conditioning a few minutes before you exit your house and leave for work. It is truly extraordinary -- the Internet of Things. Thankfully, the scope of its use isn't limited to the examples we have listed; when used in combination with other solutions, like Drupal, there is no limit of how much your business stands to benefit.

Drupal offers a superb content management framework, which, when brought together with the Internet of Things, can prove to be an exceptionally effective means of establishing and enabling a seamless workflow across the entire business. Among a vast number of things, Drupal can be used as a back-end for the connected things in IoT. Furthermore, its API system enables several interfaces to be connected to it. So, you see why the coming together of Drupal and IoT is highly recommended? Nonetheless, let's walk you through some more reasons why you can't ignore this potent combo.

1. Efficiency: A business that isn't efficient is bound to struggle. However, that can be dealt with IoT devices, with features such as GPS, that are capable of not only collecting and analyzing data but also sharing it, sending the critical data wherever it is needed. Now, a Drupal website can be used to receive it and then set off or prompt specific actions aimed at facilitating significantly better performance.

2. Improved customer service: The ultimate success of the service team is when it delivers better customer experiences, ones that give them exactly what they need, it is imperative to understand them better. It again can be done by leveraging connected devices to gather data and then route it to a Drupal-based mobile or web apps to collate and glean insights. An excellent example of this in action is the Amazon Dash Button, which allows users to order their preferred products with just one click/tap.

3. Ability to function remotely: Sometimes, a business may require project(s) to be monitored remotely Or perhaps there's an equipment that needs to be powered on or off albeit remotely. No points for guessing who can help. Yes, IoT and Drupal. Devices connected to the internet, together with a Drupal website or app, stand to enable a vast variety of functions, such as the ones mentioned above and so much more.

The idea of using Drupal in combination with the Internet of Things is still, admittedly, relatively new. However, the fact that the market has only recently started exploring the applications of this combo doesn't mean there is a dearth of scope. So, as you can see from the above discussion, there’s no telling what your business can achieve with it. Our advice? Find yourself a reputed Drupal company ASAP and get started on leveraging it for the benefit of your business right away!

Read more…

Considering that the IoT is in its infancy and due to the last years wasted in predictions that have not been fulfilled, in disappointing statistics of successful projects and with most companies without clear strategies, it is normal to think that R & D is today so necessary for boost and accelerate this increasingly sceptical market.

R&D should be an essential part of bringing innovation to any company via IoT projects. And though we can all agree how important R&D is, it requires a great deal of experience, senior experts, and specific toolsets—resources that not every company can say they have handy.

However, there is a risk when deriving the strategic decisions that the executive directors consider to be technological towards the R & D departments. Many times, oblivious to the reality of the markets, those responsible for R & D with the invaluable aid of the subsidies of the different Administrations, they launch to develop products and technologies for problems that do not exist, just for the fact of obtaining recognition or to continue living without pressures of the Top Management. I am enemy of granted subsidies granted most of the time by unqualified Administration organisms that does not understand that need to prevail the utility, the business model, the business case and the commercialization over the innovation that R & D said to be developed.

Now, if we ask the sellers of IoT technology, products and services, they may not be so happy with the idea of having to talk with the R & D areas instead of with other areas of the company more likely to buy. Most time, R &D departments decide to do it themselves. Vendors know, that with great probability, they will not to close deals due to lack of budget of the R &D or the low visibility of this area by the rest of the departments of the company.

The Importance of R&D for the Internet of Things

Innovation in IoT is a major competitive differentiator. See below some advices to have a decisive advantage over competitors:

  • IoT-focused companies need to invest in R&D to keep up with the rapidly changing and expanding market. It is important that an organization’s R&D iteration turn times are quick, otherwise the company is not going to be able to keep pace with the expected IoT market growth. However, it’s not enough to simply speed up R&D—innovative IoT firms, both start-ups and established companies, must also make sure their R&D processes are extremely reliable.
  • You can’t solve R&D speed issues just by increasing budget.
  • Executives must maintain strong, steady communication with R&D regarding the department’s priorities over a particular time frame and how progress will be measured.
  • Guidelines are invaluable: The more structured and streamlined R&D procedures are, the better IoT companies will be able to move from conception to delivery.
  • Design innovative IoT products but accelerate time to market.
  • Internal collaboration: R&D team should share real-time data across internal departments to spur intelligent product design
  • External collaboration: Connect with customers and partners to ensure success
  • Differentiation: Drive overall business value with IoT.

 

 

Outsource or not Outsource R & D for your IoT project

Just like any other technology, IoT products and solutions require thorough research and development, and it better be done by professionals. Despite the noise generated by analysts and companies around the IoT, the reality is that there have not been many IoT projects and therefore it is not easy to find good professionals with proven experience in IoT to hire.

When I think of Outsourcing IoT projects, Eastern European and Indian companies immediately come to my mind. No doubt because the R & D talent seems to be cheaper there. Spain could also be a country to outsource IoT, but at the moment I do not see it.

The benefits of Outsourcing R&D for IoT Projects:

  • Expertise and an Eye for Innovation
  • Bring an IoT Project to Market Faster
  • Optimize Your Costs
  • Control and Manage Risks

I am not sure about the quality of most of these companies or the experience of their teams in the development of IoT products or in the implementation of IoT projects, but there is no doubt that there are benefits to Outsource R & D for some IoT Projects. You should select any of these companies after a careful evaluation.

Recommendation: Do not stop your IoT projects if you do not have the skills and professionals in house. Luckily, there are companies who offer outsourcing R&D for IoT projects.

Note: Remember I can help you to identify and qualify the most suitable Outsource R&D for your IoT project.

Spain is not different in R & D for IoT

I have not believed in R & D in Spain for years. There are exceptions without a doubt, but it seems evident that the prosperity and welfare of Spain is not due to our R & D. Fortunately we have sun and beach and a lot of brick to put in houses that are not sold because of high prices and low wages.

With the entry into the EU, I thought that we had great markets open to us. I was also optimistic that we would have great opportunities in the Latin American market, thanks to the fact that our research and development capacity would have been consolidated effectively in our companies and universities because it would be profitable and worldwide recognized.

But it has not been that way. The technology developed in Spain and more specifically that relating to the IoT has little chance of being commercialized in France, Germany and not to mention in the UK. If we add the development gap of the countries of South America and that our local market is averse to technological risk, it is difficult to flourish R & D in IoT or Industry 4.0 here in our lovely Spain.

That does not mean that we do not have public R & D budgets for these areas. What happens is that the same thing that happened during the last 30 years has happened. The incentives and aids are few and for the most part used to finance large companies with little return to society. There is no rigorous control of the aid granted and, above all, there is no plan to encourage the local and global marketing of the products developed with the talent of our scientists and researchers.

I have stopped believing and trusting in our successive Governments for the change in R & D but there are exceptions that are worthwhile to follow and work with them. For this reason, I continue help them demonstrate that “SPAIN CAN BE DIFFERENT”.

Key Takeaway

After years of unfulfilled expectations, companies are sceptical of the potential growth of the IoT market or the benefits in their business. R&D department can be a cure to boost IoT initiatives but also a poison to kill IoT initiatives.

 

IoT may have started in R&D, but their benefits don’t have to end there. To drive overall business value, it’s important to share IoT data – both internally and externally. Facilitating open collaboration, discovering new ways to innovate products, and accelerating time to market, you can differentiate R&D and your business.

As fast turn times and reliability becomes a focal part of companies’ R&D processes, these companies will be well-positioned to thrive within the IoT market.

Thanks for your Likes and Comments

Read more…

Heavy equipment is mainly used extensively in industries such as construction, oil and gas, mining, forestry, energy, civil engineering, military engineering, transportation, and many others. Industrial heavy machines include construction equipment, wheel loaders, oilfield pieces, manufacturing equipment, earthmovers, hydraulic cranes, bulldozers, oversized trucks, forklifts, and more. Organizations rely on heavy machinery to speed up production and to avoid human errors or health risks.

With developments in IoT, it is possible to decrease equipment downtime while improving the efficiency of the output. Companies that supply industrial machinery and components are seeing strong interest in connected machinery and components which providing many IoT consulting Companies. IoT-powered asset management solutions offer a host of benefits, including predictive maintenance to prevent equipment failure, increased asset reliability, improved asset health, accident avoidance in the workplace, and downtime reduction.

Smart Asset Monitoring with IoT

Safety of personnel and assets, theft or pilferage of assets, accidents and resulting injuries, and bottlenecks in the supply chain are some of the common challenges that are prevalent in asset-intensive industries like manufacturing, utilities, construction. By improving visibility into day-to-day operations, replacing legacy systems with an integrated solution and automating manual processes, many of these challenges can be overcome. 

Digitalization, combining connected devices with IoT-based solutions, can help to overcome these issues. End-to-end clarity on the status of the equipment enables improved decision-making, increases asset reliability, and also improves the people and process efficiency. With the advances in technology, mature organizations have heavy machinery that is computerized, automated and enabled with connectivity and big data analytics, which increases the efficiency of the overall product development process.

Use cases: IoT in heavy machinery management

Let’s take a look at some of the use cases where IoT is transforming the way heavy equipment and related assets are managed.

Smart heavy equipment in warehouse management

Material handling equipment like trucks, forklifts, pallet trucks, and pump trucks are very important for any warehouse to perform daily activities such as loading, unloading, transporting goods to different areas, and picking goods from risky areas. Needless to say, these machines and their operators need to be managed properly to minimize the chances of accidents. Warehouse operators need to take preventive measures for vehicle accidents and injuries that occur while from shifting material, and take proper care while handling hazardous materials.

Today, futuristic warehouses are using driverless robotic equipment to assist in picking and moving operations. Guidance systems like global positioning system (GPS), lasers, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) are used in such warehouses and equipment.

For example, advanced driverless pallet trucks and forklifts are equipped with audible warnings and lights and have built-in sensors to detect obstructions. These sensors come with lasers or camera systems, which are positioned to detect objects and activity from the floor and are able to determine the height and distance around all sides of vehicles and warehouse corners. This makes the equipment intelligent – it knows when to slow down and stop to avoid a collision.

With the recent advances in IoT for warehouse equipment, the market has a new breed of smart forklifts that come equipped with 360-degree detection forklift antenna, which is able to detect when the workers come into forklift zone. When a worker is detected within the predefined danger zone, audio and visual alarms are set off inside the forklift cab to alert the driver. This helps to reduce the risk of injuries and property damage.

Smart heavy equipment in the construction sector

According to a MarketandMarkets report, the heavy construction equipment market size is estimated to grow from USD 121.46 Billion in 2015 to USD 180.66 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 7.0%. Depending on the construction application, heavy machines are mainly categorized into four types:

  • Earth moving equipment
  • Construction vehicles
  • Material handling equipment
  • Construction equipment

Wireless technology has a huge impact on the construction industry to provide connectivity for heavy equipment. These machines use technology-enabled devices combined with cloud computing, allowing storage and sharing of data.

IoT is playing a key role in boosting productivity, improving preventive maintenance, minimizing downtime, and reducing repair costs. Sensors integrated with the equipment are able to detect and send automated alerts related to the status of the equipment systems and parts. They can also compile and analyze usage and maintenance data, helping with preventive and predictive maintenance.

 

One of the major problems in the construction industry are injuries caused due to accidents involving people and heavy equipment. As the number of heavy equipment continues to rise, the risk also increases. IoT can help to make the equipment smarter and safer.

Additionally, IoT can help to track assets as they move around the site, or to a different site, ensuring that the assets are never stolen or lost – an ongoing issue on large construction sites that causes delays and decreases productivity.

Smart heavy equipment in transport and logistics

Transportation and logistics businesses want to optimize the supply chain. Many transportation companies are already using mobile devices, such as barcode scanners, mobile computing devices, and radio frequency identification (RFID) to solve challenges related to the supply chain. With RFID, many companies are achieving a high level of shipping and receiving accuracy, inventory accuracy, and faster order processing, along with a reduction in labor costs.

However,  due to drivers’ careless behavior, while driving heavy trucks or conveyors, company owners have to shell out a big amount for accident-related injuries, material loss or shipping delays. By using advanced technology that is capable of monitoring driver’s behavior and delivering alerts in case of possible collisions, the risk of these issues can be minimized.

Computer vision-based techniques and ADAS solutions, with a number of onboard sensors, can help with lane detection, traffic signal detection, driver behavior detection, GPS tracking, fuel management, report generation, notification alert, and predictive maintenance.

Using such solutions, the driver receives support to detect and avoid accidents. It is also possible to monitor a driver operating a heavy machine and automatic alerts can be generated if the driver is sleepy or inactive for a long duration.

Another effective solution for tracking of heavy machines/vehicles is based on installing GPS fleet tracking devices on the vehicles to gain real-time data updates. This is an efficient and secure solution that helps to resolve issues related to operational inefficiencies, theft, and fleet maintenance, increasing the overall productivity of the machines and vehicles.

Read more…

There is no overstatement in the saying that that Internet of Things (IoT) is reshaping business processes and workplaces in a never-before way. Connected devices are increasingly pushing the boundary of innovation for the enterprises and industries of all niches. Thanks to these connected devices and a huge upsurge of IOT mobile app development, consumers are being benefited most through frictionless user experience.

No wonder in the fact that the IoT software development is exploding with all possibilities and promises. Just like ever before, the market is brimming with a whole array of scalable, feature-rich, secure and user-optimized connected solutions that are transforming the way we interact with devices and use software solutions at the workplace.

In spite of such huge promise and possibilities, IOT software and app development faces some hefty and crucial challenges that developers of the present-day need to be aware of. Here we are going to explain some of these challenges in brief.

  • Operating System (OS) Considerations

The first technical challenge and pulling factor that IOT app development companies need to deal with is the consideration of the operating system of the devices. Since IOT devices have mostly shorter memory capacity and a single track operational capacity, developers need to approach the development challenges for such devices in a different way than with the desktop solutions. The developers need to pick an OS that perfectly fits the device capability and the objective of the application.

As of now, most of the IOT developers surveyed for their OS preferences have clearly chosen Linux. Linux according to most IOT developers, offers the perfect OS for IOT devices with a lot of memory constraints, microcontrollers, and IOT gateways.

  • Selecting the Gateways

The gateways in the IOT landscape plays the most critical role by connecting almost all the constituent elements ranging from connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, ports, IOT sensors, cloud systems, etc. Naturally, for the whole IOT ecosystem gateways really play the mission-critical role. 

When it comes to the choice of appropriate gateways for your IOT application, you have several well-known choices from renowned technology companies like Dell, Nexcom, Intel, etc. These gateway providers as if now are proved to be highly effective for end number of applications. Some of the key aspects that you need to consider in gateways include the particular specifications for the network, supporting development environment, power rating, memory capacity, etc.

  • Security & Privacy

One of the key aspects that IOT app developers should give utmost priority is the app security and privacy. The security here not just refers to the network security but practically security of every different component. As IOT devices penetrate the personal spaces of the users, they are often vulnerable to misuse and breaching of data security through cyber-attacks.

Maintaining optimum data security and safeguarding privacy are two aspects that always remained to be the contentious areas for the IOT app developers worldwide. Let us have a closer look at various security aspects of an IOT app.

  • Data Exchange Security: The data generated through an IOT app through the IoT sensors and devices pass through the gateway and is finally stored at the cloud server. To ensure optimum security to this data it is important to use encryption for safeguarding the data.
  • Physical Security: The IoT devices unlike other computing devices are normally used in private and remain unattended most of the times. This is why they remain vulnerable to a lot of security threats from hackers at the device level.
  • Cloud Storage Security: A cloud storage solution normally remains secure from threats and intrusions. Even then, the developers of the IOT apps need to make sure that the data in cloud storage remain safe and secure.
  • Privacy Updates: To protect the privacy of the user data processed and fetched by IoT devices, there need to be certain compliance rules. For instance, all fitness tracker devices collect user data on the basis of HIPAA guidelines. Such regulations and compliance standards basically safeguard the privacy of the user data.
  • Network Connectivity

The quintessential aspect of IOT app development is the fast and real-time data transmission between the device and the IOT gateway and the gateway to the cloud server. Poor connectivity will only render most of the critical app features to be ineffective. The connectivity issues and server breakdown still remain to be the major problems for too many IOT devices.

Actually, connectivity remains to be the first and foremost area of importance for connected devices that work hand in hand with gateways and cloud platforms. For meeting this challenge corresponding to connectivity with appropriate measures, the app design and device app environment play an important role. The connectivity solution should be considered as per the device constraints and capacities.

  • User-Optimized App Design

Another major focus area for IOT app development should be on the app design. The app design should be thoroughly intuitive and user-focused so that the users do not need to study manuals for using an IOT device. Even for industrial IOT devices, simple and clean design is extremely important to ensure faster decision making and visualization of the data. In this respect, close and mutually reciprocating cooperation between the developers and designers is a must for building IOT apps. Some of the key attributes that design inputs should ensure include the following.

  • Safe and secure user authentication
  • Frictionless transition across devices and applications
  • Personalized user experience based on user behavior and preferences
  • A consolidated IOT environment comprising all the elements in the pipeline.

 

  • Cross-Platform Deployment

Last but not least of all the major challenges that IOT app developers must deal with is deploying the app across multiple OS platforms. Since the IOT ecosystem comprises of a variety of device architectures, protocols, and operating systems, the app should be built to fit with all these variables for a seamless and efficient performance. This is why experts of international organizations such as the Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) have already come up with explicit cross-platform development standards and architecture models to help smooth deployment across multiple OS platforms.

Conclusion

In spite of the overwhelming growth of the IOT applications and the ecosystem of connected devices, there is a multitude of challenges that the IOT app developers need to encounter regularly. By focusing on these challenges beforehand, they can at least take appropriate precautionary steps to ensure optimum quality and efficient output.

 

Read more…

In 2016 in my article “ The future of “The Internet of Olympic Games”, I considered Rio as the first Internet of Things (IoT) Olympic games. In Rio we could see how athletes, coaches, judges, fans, stadiums and cities benefited from IoT technology and IoT solutions and somehow changed the way we see and experience sports. Next year we will have opportunity to verify if my predictions for Tokyo 2020 will become a reality and we will name Tokyo as the first Artificial Intelligent (AI) Olympic Games.

During my presentation in Dubai, I explained the audience the incredible way IoT and AI technologies are impacting sports. I dedicated some time explaining how IoT and AI are playing an increasingly significant role in boosting talent, managing health and improving coaching and training. Today these technologies are already enabling athletes to improve performance, coaches to better prepare games, judges to fail less, fans enjoyed with new excited experiences. I also remarked the importance that teams clubs and cities collaborate to make the stadiums more secure and more exciting for fans.

I emphasized how we are creating smart things, the importance of use AI and IoT to make every thousandth of a second count for athletes and coaches and how AI and IoT are used to predict the future of a race, a match or a bet.

I introduced different examples how all sports are using IoT and AI, and of course I share my vision in 10-15 years from now. Can you imagine integrated virtual and real world for sports? Can you imagine mixed teams of robots and humans or super-humans playing new games?

I did not forget to talk about the challenges involved in building machine learning models in sports and the challenges that IoT and AI still have.

I used my speech to raise awareness to the attendants that there is also a dark side in these technologies. We cannot forget that Sport is also a business and therefore enterprises, Governments and individuals can make a wrong use of these technologies.

In summary, it was a great session in which I shared my point of view about:

  • How we want IoT and AI transform coaches, athletes, judges and fans.
  • How we want IoT and AI continue attracting people to the stadiums
  • How we want IoT and AI transform Sport Business.
  • How AI is changing the future of sport betting?

How we want IoT and AI transform athletes, coaches, judges and fans?

Athletes

While the true essence of sport still lies in the talent and perseverance of athletes, it is often no longer enough. Therefore athletes will continue demanding increasingly sophisticated technologies and more advanced training techniques to improve performance. For instance, biomechanical machine learning models of players will predict and prevent potential career-threatening physical and mental injuries or can even detect early signs of fatigue or stress-induced injuries. It can also be used to estimate players’ market values to make the right offers while acquiring new talent.

Coaches

Coaches are using AI to identify patterns in opponents’ tactics, strengths and weaknesses while preparing for games. This helps coaches to devise detailed gamelans based on their assessment of the opposition and maximize the likelihood of victory. In many leading teams, AI systems are used to constantly analyze the stream of data collected by wearables to identify the signs that are indicative of players developing musculoskeletal or cardiovascular problems. This will enable sports teams to maintain their most valuable assets in prime condition through long competitive seasons.

Judges

We tend to think that technology helps make the sport more just when we are victims or witnessed of unjust decision. That´s why we approve inventions like Paul Hawkins - creator of Hawk-Eye, a technology that is now an integral part of the spectator experience when watching sport live or more recently VAR in soccer.

The use of technology allows watch in real time multiple cameras, with aggregated info from sensors (stadiums, things and athletes) to make their decisions more accurate and objective.

We as spectators or fans need more transparency about the exercise’s difficulty, degree of compliance and final score. And we have the technology to do it.

The IoT and AI technology doesn't claim to be infallible - just very, very reliable and Judges also need to be adapted to new technologies.

Fans

Without fans, sports would find it difficult to exist. It is understandable companies are also targeting fans with IoT and artificial intelligence to keep them engaged whether in the stadium or at home.

How we want IoT and AI continue attracting people to the stadiums?

Within the stadiums, sports clubs and many leagues across the globe are incorporating inside and outside the stadium technologies to boost fans unique experiences for fans and not only the 90 minutes.

The challenge is how to combine what the oldest and newest supporters are looking to attend to the stadiums?

How will the stadiums of the future be? I read numerous initiatives of big clubs and leagues, but I am exciting about the future stadium of Real Madrid. I wish the club would allow me to advise them how to create a smart intelligent Global environment to provide each fan with an individual experience, know who is in the crowd, learn fan behaviors to anticipate their needs

How we want IoT and AI transform Sport Business.

“As long as sports remain a fascination for the masses, businesses will always have the opportunity to profit from it. As long as there is profiting to be gained from the world of sports, the investment in and incorporation of technology for sports will continue.”

I read an article warning about the new entirely new world order that is being formed right now. The author explained how 9 companies are responsible for the future of AI. Three of the companies are Chinese (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, often collectively referred to as BAT), while the other six are American (Google, Amazon, IBM, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, often referred as the G.Mafia). The reason is obvious, as far as AI is about optimization using the data that’s available, these 9 companies will manage more of the sport data generated in the world.

Collaboration is needed now to stop this danger and to address the democratization of AI in sports. It is urgent companies and governments around the globe to work together to create guiding principles for the development and use of AI and not only in Sports. This mean we need regulating it but in a different way. We do not want AI becomes in the hands of a group of lawmakers, who are very well read and very smart people but overwhelmingly lack degrees in AI and IoT.

Will AI change the future of sport betting?

The impact of technology on sports cannot be specifically measured, but some technological innovations do raise questions about fairness. Are we still comparing apples with apples? Is it right to compare the speed of an athlete wearing high-tech running shoes to one without?

Whether we like it or not, technology will continue to enhance athlete performance. And at some point we will have to put specific rules and regulations in place about which tech enhancements are allowed.

There is a downside to advanced technology being introduced to sports. Machine Learning models are now used routinely to predict the results of games. Sport betting is a competitive sport itself among fans, but AI can substantially tilt that playing field.

I analyzed many IoT and AI companies for Sports in order to prepare my session. I am scare about the game result predictions capabilities but more scare about the manipulation of competition using AI algorithms with the Terabytes of data collected daily from IoT devices and other sources like social media networks, without the permission of the users.

The sport business market is generating billions of US$ every year but without control and education we could find future generation of ludopaths and a small number of Sports Service Providers controlling the Sports.

Read more…

E-commerce, much like every product of technological evolution, has made headway at a mind-boggling pace. Here are some stats that will help you gain a better perspective on this industry: e-commerce sales stood at $1.86 trillion in 2016. Also, researchers believe that this figure will grow up to $4.48 trillion in two more years, i.e., by 2021. While multiple factors contribute and continue to drive this fast-paced growth, there is no one that not many people pay close attention to the Internet of Things.

IoT has quietly revolutionized the e-commerce market by facilitating significantly better logistics as well as an enhanced user experience. It isn't surprising though -- especially when you consider the fact that over 30 billion devices are set to become 'connected' by next year. A constantly growing network of such devices means IoT has helped e-commerce businesses to not only deliver better products and services but also achieve better outcomes with their marketing initiatives and enhance customer's overall experience among other things.

Here's a closer look at what IoT means for e-commerce and how it enables companies in this sector to achieve robust growth.
1. Better inventory management: Managing inventory is an understandably challenging task when there are multiple warehouses involved. IoT has tackled that issue with the provision of things such as 'smart' shelves, which track the products sold and automatically place orders when products, especially high-performing ones, are about to go out of stock. It, in turn, boosts the levels of customer satisfaction.

2. Transformed consumer experience: IoT allows companies to leverage devices such as smart mirrors to allow clients to try out their products from the comfort of their home, thus delivering completely novel and distinctive customer experience. IoT can also be used to glean insights from social media platforms to understand which of the company's products are preferred and if there are any issues customers face. Implementing such data facilitates a deep shopping experience, resulting in better customer engagement as well as satisfaction.

3. Enhanced product ecosystem: Sensors, a crucial part of the phenomenon that is IoT, can be utilized to foster new opportunities for better product ecosystems. Furthermore, it can be used to provide customers with access to maintenance services or perhaps even recommending related products and services once the sale has been made.

4. Seamless delivery: Bigwigs from a broad variety of industries, including Amazon, are already using IoT to streamline their delivery processes. How? For starters, there are autonomous warehouse robots, which can be integrated with the business' warehouse management systems and then used to enhance order picking throughput, improve the warehouse's inventory density, and cut down labor costs among other things. All of these factors, together, help ensure a substantially more organized delivery system.

While IoT has already changed the face of the e-commerce industry, in the future it will further enable companies to better their marketing efforts, deliver better support to customers, and more, resulting in superior experiences for customers. So if you too want to jump on this bandwagon, we suggest you select a trusted e-commerce websites development company at the earliest possible.

Read more…

At differnet layers, IoT and connected devices uses different communication and messaging protocols. While developing an IoT device, the selection of the protocol largely depends on the type, layer and function to be performed by the device. 

In today’s time, networking with smart devices and IoT is increasing largely due to the ongoing technological revolution across the globe. People are increasingly using IoT and connected devices to automate industrial operations, control city traffic, track health, control home appliances, manage the fleet of vehicles, etc. Smart devices like phones, wearable devices, kiosks, appliances, and automobiles use the internet to connect with other devices and exchange information and data with servers to perform different operations.

There are two ways these devices can connect to the internet. Some devices may connect through a gateway, while others may have network capability built into the devices itself. It is interesting to note here that for establishing the connection with the internet, these devices use messaging and communication protocols at each layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Depending on the function of the device, the communication protocol at each layer varies.

When it comes to selecting a protocol for the application layer of the IoT system, there are several protocols available. However, the most common types of IoT application protocols include, MQTT, XMPP, DDS, AMQP, and CoAP.

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport)

MQTT is a machine-to-machine (M2M) protocol. It is a publish-subscribe-based messaging protocol, used to communicate device data to the servers. The main purpose of MQTT is to manage IoT devices remotely. It is mainly used when a huge network of small devices needs to be monitored or managed via Internet i.e. parking sensors, underwater lines, energy grid, etc.

It should be noted that not all control packets have the variable headers and payload. A payload can be up to 256 MB. The small header overhead in MQTT makes this protocol appropriate for IoT.

Pros:

  • Lightweight for constrained networks
  • Flexibility to choose Quality of Services with the given functionality
  • Standardized by OASIS Technical Committee
  • Easy and quick to implement

Cons:

  • High power consumption due to the TCP-based connection
  • Lack of encryption

Use Case:

A parking lot where there are a number of parking sensors installed to identify the number and location of empty or vacant parking spots.

XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)

XMPP was originally developed as a messaging protocol known as Jabber. It uses an XML format for messaging. The main feature of this protocol is its addressing mechanism. It identifies the devices/nodes in the IoT network using the address known as Jabber ID (JID). JID follows the standard i.e. [email protected] This addressing mechanism enables two nodes to exchange information, regardless of how far the nodes are in the network.

XMPP messages are usually transmitted over the underlying TCP connection. It uses a polling mechanism to identify the destination of the message. XMPP is implemented using a client-server architecture. The client starts an XML stream by sending an opening <stream> tag. The server then replies with an XML stream back to the client. Since XMPP is an open protocol, anyone can have their own XMPP server in their network without necessarily connecting to the internet.

 

Pros:

  • Addressing scheme to identify devices on the network
  • Client-server architecture

Cons:

  • Text-based messaging, no end-to-end encryption provision
  • No Quality of Service provision

Use Case:

  • A smart thermostat that can be accessed from a smartphone via a web server.
  • A gaming console with instant messaging between the two online players.

DDS (Data Distribution Service)

DDS is also based on a publish-subscribe model. DDS connects the devices directly, unlike MQTT, which connects them to the server. This is why DDS is faster than MQTT. Apparently, it can deliver millions of messages to a number of different receivers in seconds as it eliminates the communication with the server. DDS can be utilized for providing device-to-device communication over the data bus.

It provides detailed Quality of Service and reliability.

Pros:

  • Based on a simple “publish-subscribe” communication paradigm
  • Flexible and adaptable architecture that supports “auto-discovery” of new or stale endpoint applications
  • Low overhead — can be used with high-performance systems
  • Deterministic data delivery
  • Dynamically scalable
  • Efficient use of transport bandwidth

 Use Case:

Military systems, wind farms, hospital integration, medical imaging, asset-tracking systems and automotive test and safety.

 

AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol)

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) is an open standard application layer protocol for sending transactional messages between servers. As a message-centric middleware, it can process thousands of reliable queued transactions.

AMQP is focused on not losing messages as messages can be transferred using TCP or UDP. The use of TCP provides a reliable point-to-point connection. Further, endpoints must acknowledge the acceptance of each message. The standard also describes an optional transaction mode with a formal multiphase commit sequence. True to its origins in the banking industry, AMQP focuses on tracking messages and ensuring each message is delivered as intended, regardless of failures or reboots.

Pros:

  • Messages can be sent over TCP and UDP
  • Provides end-to-end encryption

Cons:

  • Relatively high resource utilization i.e. power and memory usage

Use Case:

AMQP is mostly used in business messaging. It usually defines devices like mobile handsets, communicating with back-office data centers.

CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol)

CoAP is an application layer protocol with a client-server architecture. It is a document transfer protocol, which runs over UDP (User Datagram Protocol). It is specifically developed for the resource-constrained devices. Clients and servers communicate through connectionless datagrams. It is useful in low power application as it uses minimal resources. DTLS (derivation of SSL protocol) can be used for security of the messages.

 

Pros:

  • Use of DTLS for security
  • Fast device-to-device communication
  • Smaller packet size
  • Well-designed protocol

Cons:

  • No broadcast message facility as it is a one-to-one protocol
  • Reliability is application’s responsibility

Use Case:

Smart energy grids and smart homes.

Conclusion

All the above-listed protocols are uniquely applicable to different operating scenarios. Any protocol can be handpicked based on their pros and cons for IoT application development. The main factors to consider while choosing any one of them for your application is quality of service, security, and reliability your application requires.

Read more…

 

A new wave of technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), is transforming cities into smart cities. Many of these cities are building innovation labs and zones as part of their new civic landscape. Smart city innovation labs are vital components of the smart city ecosystem (Figure One). They provide an organized structure for cities, communities, experts, and vendors to come together to create solutions. Successful solutions piloted in smart city innovation labs are then scaled and deployed into a city’s operations and infrastructure.

Figure One. Strategy of Things Smart City Ecosystem Framework.

 
Many municipalities are considering and planning smart city innovation labs today. Over the past year, we helped to create, launch and operationalize San Mateo County’s Smart Region innovation lab (SMC Labs). From this experience, we share ten best practices for civic innovation leaders and smart city planners.
 
 
Ten Smart City Innovation Lab Best Practices
 

Develop a well defined innovation sandbox. Every smart city innovation lab has an unique mission. That mission is specific to its community, capabilities, priorities, and surrounding ecosystem. However, it is easy to get distracted and work on the “next shiny object”, vanity projects and “me too” innovation pilots. These projects don’t add value, but take resources and focus away from the problems the lab was created to address.

Build innovation discipline and focus by defining a “sandbox” from the start and updating it annually. The innovation sandbox defines clearly what types of projects are in-scope and which ones are not. The criteria includes alignment with city or department priorities, problem set type, problem owner(s) or sponsors, budget availability, cost, resource requirements, and organizational jurisdiction.

 

Create procurement policies and processes for innovation projects. Innovation pilots fall outside the “sandbox” municipal procurement processes and policies operate in. These pilots may work with start-ups with limited operating history, use immature and evolving technology, or bought in non-traditional ways (“as a service”, loans, etc.). This mismatch leads to higher risks, extra work and long sourcing times. Due to this, many vendors choose not to work with cities.

Effective smart city innovation labs are agile and responsive. They employ new procurement policies and practices designed specifically for the unique needs of innovation projects. This includes simplified processes and compliance requirements, new risk management approaches, faster payment cycles and onboarding models.

 

Build a well defined plan for every innovation project. Many innovation pilots are “successful” during the pilot phase, but fail during the scaling phase. This is because the pilots were not fully thought out at the start. Some test a specific technology or solution, and not the approaches. Others test the wrong things (or not enough of the right things). Some are tested in conditions that are not truly reflective of the environment it will be deployed into. Still others don’t test extensively enough, or over a sufficient range of conditions.

Successful projects in smart city innovation labs involve extensive planning, cross-department collaboration, and a comprehensive review process throughout its lifecycle. They have well defined problem statements. They define a targeted and measurable outcome, a detailed set of test requirements and specific success criteria. While innovation projects contain uncertainty, minimize project execution uncertainties with “tried and true” project management plans and processes.

 

Continuously drive broad support for the lab. A successful civic innovation lab thrives on active support, collaboration and engagement from stakeholders across the civic ecosystem. However, many city departments and agencies operate in silos. Launching and having an innovation lab doesn’t mean that everyone knows about it, actively funnel projects to it, or support and engage with it.

Successful smart city innovation labs proactively drive awareness, interest and support from city leaders, agencies, and the community. This includes success stories, progress updates, technology briefings and demonstrations, project solicitations, and trainings. They engage with city and agency leaders regularly, host lab open houses and community tours. They conduct press and social media awareness campaigns. Regardless of the “who, how and what” of the outreach, the key is to do it regularly internally and externally.

 

Measure the things that matter - outcomes. There are many metrics that an innovation lab can be measured on. These range from the number of projects completed, organizations engaged, number of partnerships, investments and expenses, and so on. Ultimately, the only innovation lab metric that truly matters is to be able to answer the following question - “what real world difference has the lab made that justifies its continuing existence and funding?”.

All innovation lab projects focus on solving the problem at hand. It must quantify the impact of any solutions created. For example, many cities are monitoring air quality. A people counting sensor, mounted alongside an air quality sensor, quantifies the number of people impacted. Any corrective measures developed as a result of this project can now point to a quantifiable outcome.

 

Build an innovation partner ecosystem. A smart city innovation lab cannot address the city’s innovation needs by itself. A city is a complex ecosystem comprising multiple and diverse domains. Technologies are emerging and evolving rapidly. New digital skills, from software programming to data science, are required to build and operate the new smart city.

Successful smart city innovation labs complement their internal capabilities and resources by building an ecosystem of strategic and specialist partners and solutions providers, and subject matter experts. These partners are identified ahead of time, onboarded and then brought in on an as-needed basis to support projects and activities as needed. This model requires the lab to build strong partnership competence, processes, policies and the appropriate contract vehicles. In addition, the lab must continuously scan the innovation ecosystem, identify and recruit new partners ahead of the need.

 

Test approaches, not vendors or solutions. Real world city problems are complex. There is no magic “one size fits all” solution. For example, smart parking systems use sensor based and camera based approaches. In some cases, both approaches work equally well. In other cases, one or the other will work better. A common innovation mistake is to only test one approach or fall in love with a specific vendor solution and draw a generalized conclusion.

Effective innovation lab projects focus on testing various approaches (not vendors) in order to solve problems effectively. Given the rapid pace of technology evolution, take the time to identify, test and characterize the various solution approaches instead.

 

Employ a multi-connectivity smart city strategy. There are many options for smart city connectivity. These include, but not limited to cellular 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, SigFox, NB-IoT and Bluetooth, and so on. Use cases and solutions are now emerging to support these options. However, some smart city technologies in the marketplace work on one, while others work on more. There is no “one size fits all” connectivity method that works everywhere, every time, with everything.

To be effective, smart city innovation labs need to support several of these options. The reality is that there is not enough information to know which options work best for what applications, and when. What works in one city or region, may not work in another. Pilot projects test a possible solution, as well as the connectivity approach to that solution.

 

Make small innovation investments and spread them around. Open an innovation lab and a long line of solutions vendors will show up. Everyone has a potential solution that will solve a particular problem. Some of these solutions may even work. Unfortunately, there is not enough budget to look at every solution and solve every problem.

Focus on making smaller, but more investments around several areas. Overinvesting in one vendor or one approach, in a market where technologies are immature and still evolving, is not wise. Invest enough to confirm the pilot outcomes. A more detailed evaluation of the various solutions and vendors should be made when the pilot moves out of the innovation lab and into a formal procurement and RFP phase.

 

Simplify administrative and non-innovation workloads. While innovation pilot projects are challenging, interesting and even fun, administering and managing the projects are not. These unavoidable tasks range include managing inbound requests, proposals and ongoing projects. These tasks increasingly consume time and resources away from the core innovation activities.

Effective smart city innovation labs get ahead of this by organizing, simplifying and automating administrative activities right from the start. For example, SMC Labs reviews inbound proposals once a week and organizes follow up calls and meetings on a specific day once every two weeks. In addition, the lab uses a tracking and pilot management tool (Urban Leap) to track innovation projects. Administrative and management activities are unavoidable. However, advanced planning and tools help reduce the burden to keep the lab's focus on innovation.

 

Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping cities become smarter and more responsive through its innovation laboratory, research and intelligence, 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.

Read more…

Studies that by next year, we will have more than 20 billion IoT devices connected to the internet. Also, that's not just limited to, say, mobile devices or even household device. The evolution of IoT has come to the point that we now also have vehicles that are connected to the internet, as carmakers strive to give their customers better creature comforts and conveniences within their automobiles. So, you can see, that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers immense possibilities for web development as more and more such devices come online.


How? It is quite simple. First, the nexus of IoT devices depends on web servers. Then there's also the data gathered from the sensors, which is saved in the cloud. So how do you think the connected devices communicate with each other? They rely on experimental messaging protocols. Finally, users need a UI to engage with the connected devices. Long story short, web development is a critical part of IoT.


Now, let's get into the details of how IoT has already and continues to revolutionize web development.
1. Data collection: One of the essential elements of IoT devices is the massive amounts of data they work with. The tools gather real-time data from sensors, then filter and process them, before relaying it to the cloud and back again. In the context of web development, this data can be leveraged to fine-tune the web development project, allowing companies to offer products and services that improve with time.
2. User interface: Since IoT devices depend on dynamic UIs to serve the individual needs of various users means that web developers must now take an entirely new approach to design UI. The micromanagement of the UI necessary for correctly displaying all types of data results in IoT devices offering multitasking abilities and overall versatility to users.
3. Enhanced focus on security: While it is miserable to realize, the truth remains that IoT devices, despite their prevalence, suffer at the hands of lack of robust security. It is one of the biggest reasons why users are still reluctant to embrace them. Thankfully, the solution to this conundrum is found in web development. Developers can help fortify IoT devices by integrating certain security features in their code. It can include user identification, identity verification, access management and more.
4. Hybridization of development teams: Ask any developer and will tell you that a hybrid team is practically a death knell for the development project. Nonetheless, work requires completion when IoT is involved. To deliver successful IoT web app development projects, web designers must work together with experts proficient in IoT. It will allow them to concatenate code with the data.


One may be inclined to deem the impact of IoT on web app development as damaging, but you still can't deny that every time such integrated event occurs, it eventually leads to ultra-modern technologies that profoundly affect and transform our way of life even further.

Read more…

According to global management consulting firm Bain & Company, long-term prospects for the industrial Internet of Things remain ambitious. However, many executives are resetting timeline expectations for reaching scale due to early adoption struggles. Notably, certain “darlings of IoT” like predictive maintenance have not lived up to the hype. And while Bain’s survey of 600 industrial customers shows increasing traction with ‘workhorse’ scenarios like remote monitoring and asset tracking, it exposes areas where many teams and vendors are struggling to deliver the goods. In the end, an iterative strategy focused on specific business outcomes remains critical.

Notably, Bain’s survey finds increasing concerns around integration with existing enterprise systems and data portability. Executives worry their visions for digital transformation will be restricted by internal skill gaps and proprietary vendor services. Understandably, they fear losing control of any data not managed by their own enterprise IT departments. Despite this, confidence remains high that an estimated 20 billion devices will be successfully connected by 2020.

Many executives feel the value proposition for industrial IoT is still emerging. For them, the ability to capitalize on this value and achieve better business results remains elusive. To address these challenges, Bain calls for organizations to build a new operating model and position themselves for long-term success in a connected world.

Recommendations for accelerating IoT adoption in the enterprise

First, Bain recommends industrial organizations choose specific, high-value use cases to tackle upfront. Prove out your ability to address security and other valid IT concerns. Then, adopt an iterative approach for demonstrating ROI and ease of enterprise integration.

Second, use experienced partners to address your gaps. Don’t try building everything yourself. Differentiation comes from the combination of acquired data with your industry-specific domain knowledge. We’ve seen manufacturing digital transformation initiatives stall out when internal engineering teams try to build their own IoT infrastructure. Software for collecting data (and system integration services) can be bought. Build your value, not your tools.  

Third, don’t expect overnight success. You’re building up organizational capabilities and working with a new set of specialized partners. Commit to a realistic investment timeline and prepare for change. You’ll likely need to bring in new, more entrepreneurial talent to drive your connected business model. At a minimum, empower your existing teams to think differently. Remember, you’re not rolling out a new CRM application. You’re transforming your enterprise. Act accordingly.

Fourth, industrial IoT revenue starts at the top. Executives must ensure the entire organization is aligned for transition to the new operating model. This requires both vision and clear communication. Unsurprisingly, those responsible for existing products and revenue streams fear cannibalization. Furthermore, IoT initiatives take time to meet traditional P&L requirements. If executives don’t create an environment where the new operating model can take root, prevailing forces will prevent its maturation while competitors move ahead.      

Prepare to scale the business

Eventually companies reach the point on their digital transformation journey where they’ve proven out their connected product technology and business concepts. Now what? Bain concludes with a method for assessing readiness to scale up your industrial IoT efforts.

To begin, how well do you understand the full potential of industrial IoT to your enterprise? IoT can dramatically impact the quality of manufactured products, service offerings, maintenance  procedures, and other areas of your enterprise. But what will this cost, and what will revenue look like once the system is deployed to production and fully commercialized?

Never forget, your competitors aren’t standing still. You can be sure they’re working on their own industrial IoT initiatives. What is your plan to win in this new arena?

Additionally, scaling IoT requires incentives alignment and coordinated execution across the enterprise. Engineering, IT, service, sales, and business teams must work together for organizations to realize the benefits of digital transformation. Make sure everyone understands their part and is rowing in the same direction.

Bain summarizes their last recommendation with a sentiment that we refer to as “strategy over software.” By strategy, we mean not just a plan, but a comprehensive roadmap, organization structure, and business model across the enterprise to support the success of your industrial IoT initiative.

Digital transformation is a journey

As you start your journey, you’re going to need an industrial IoT platform. Whether it makes sense to build your own or buy one depends on a variety of factors. But digital transformation isn’t just about technology. As Bain notes repeatedly, it’s about so much more. Business models and sales strategies, along with clear user stories, team roles, and responsibilities are equally critical to successful IoT initiatives. Beyond a platform, an experienced digital transformation partner can accelerate planning, implementation, and successful commercialization of your connected systems.

 
Read more…

Why need to look for OT-IT Convergence?

IT-OT convergence can deliver a number of benefits, including improved customer experience and better operational efficiency. In order to achieve this convergence, a number of challenges need to be overcome. Most of these challenges arise from the siloed functioning of traditional IT and OT departments in most industries. Organizations that are able to bridge the gap between the two will have a major competitive advantage.

Data is the new currency and organizations that are able to gather and process data intelligently will have the ability to quickly outpace the competition. Understood in context and properly conditioned, data is at the heart of every connected system. However, data collection and processing are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of operational efficiency and business opportunities.

Organizations, today, need to be able to use data effectively to respond quickly to consumer demands as well as manage production, resources, and infrastructure. For this to happen, organizations need to converge their information technology (IT) infrastructure with their traditionally isolated operational technology (OT) networks. Easier said than done, right?

Gartner defines OT as: “The hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical devices, processes, and events in the enterprise.” For OT, the focus is on establishing and maintaining control over processes with physical impact. The importance of OT continues to grow as more machines and their components are connected.

On the other hand, IT infrastructure is responsible for the creation, transmission, storage and security of data.  IT refers to the range of systems that are used to manage and process electronic data in an organization. This includes the computers, infrastructure, network systems and several other physical devices.

 

IT-OT Convergence Challenges

Despite being aware of the advantages of IT-OT convergence, it would seem surprising that not many businesses are working on integrating the systems. The reason is simple: converging IT and OT is a highly complex and challenging undertaking.

Technical Challenges

    • Compatibility: IT continually updates itself. As a consequence of ever-evolving computing and networking standards, and a rapid rate of innovation, IT places a high value on error-checking, fault-tolerance, and failover capabilities.

OT devices, on the other hand, work as per defined communication parameters. Compatibility is seen as preferable, but 100% compatibility is not possible to achieve in all situations. So, preparedness for mismatched credential exchange is considered a basic cost of doing business.

    • Environmental: OT devices function in all sorts of geographical locations and have evolved with a different set of priorities. They are often subject to extremes in pressure, humidity, and temperature. Also, they are designed to perform highly specific functions; e.g. a temperature sensor is designed to measure temperature only, and with exceedingly high reliability metrics.

IT devices, on the other hand, are usually placed in office spaces which are clean and temperature-and-humidity-controlled, with either failover systems and/or local support staff available to respond quickly to resolve performance issues.

In this context, reliability and integrity are absolutely the primary considerations while discussing OT-IT convergence.

  • Specialized skillset: OT devices are generally older and this leads to the need for engineers with the specific skillset to work with such technologies. IT, on the other hand, need varied and dynamic software skills to keep pace with the continuous advancements in technology. The different skillsets and language specializations among IT and OT professionals add to the complexity in combining these two units.

Organizational Challenges

    • Business Silos: IT infrastructure is owned and managed by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). OT usually falls under the ambit of Chief Analytics Officer, Executive Vice President of Gas/Electric Operations, and Executive Vice President of Utilities.

While the OT team may have IT personnel as a part of the mix to maintain critical IT systems, they still function as a part of OT and do not have much contact with the core IT team. The separation between the OT and IT staff can often pose a major challenge to an organization’s convergence initiatives.

  • Risk Tolerances: In IT, the loss of data confidentiality impacts corporate reputation, loss of data integrity requires expensive recovery procedures, and loss of data or system availability directly cuts off the flow of money. OT performance directly impacts the corporate’s top and bottom lines. When the systems are integrated, all these factors need to be taken into consideration.

OT-System Integration: Expertise is Essential

Many IT providers lack the ability required to address the challenges of OT integration. Hence OT systems integration specialist and an expert on device connection and management will be required for building a complete IoT solution.

Without the expertise of a proven OT systems integrator, many IoT projects stall or fail owing to connectivity challenges or the lack of qualified resources. When you work with an experienced OT integrator, your devices can talk to your automated systems, you gain the scalability to grow, and you can get your project up and running within weeks, instead of months.

With a versatile portal and a robust set of middleware, it is possible to connect a wide variety of new and legacy devices, sensors, and machines, and streamline secure data transmissions to the cloud. The data can be filtered at the gateway, sensor or cloud level, keeping in mind the organization’s specific needs. This can help streamline analytics down the line.

To get started with OT-IT Convergence, it is necessary to create a customized architecture, because IoT demands both OT and IT capabilities and a wide variety of expertise across multiple technologies and systems. Unfortunately, most system integrators are experts in IT integration and often do not have the skills or depth of knowledge required for OT integration.

When you take into consideration the fact that OT provides the majority of data required to drive informed decision-making across an enterprise, you realize how important such skills are. Without this expertise, you are likely to miss project deadlines, run over budget, and fail to deliver high-quality results.

An experienced OT systems integrator delivers solution architecture and design, incorporating high availability, scalability, security, device management, connectivity management, and more.

Use cases of OT-IT convergence:

1. OT-IT integration for Warehouse Management

Integration of supply chain technology with IT boosts efficiency and speed throughout the supply chain. Here are the benefits of this integration:

  • Maximizing equipment up-time & asset life
  • Predictive maintenance – improve after-sales service and enhance customer delight
  • Reduced downtime
  • Improved operational efficiency – reduce the technician’s trips

2. OT-IT integration for Smart Farming

Agriculture has become more industrialized and technology-driven over the past few decades. By using smart agriculture devices and by integrating Dealer Management and Farmer Management, farmers have gained better control over the process of raising livestock and growing crops, making it more predictable and efficient.

3. OT-IT integration for Smart Home

Smart homes make it possible for users to connect with devices and appliances in their home. OT-IT integration allows the devices to communicate with each other and with the user. The benefits of OT-IT integration for smart home are as below:

  • Improved customer service with automated alerts on system component failure, power disruption, connectivity loss, failure of sensors, security breaches, and with proactive alerts on low backup battery.
  • Cost savings with alerts on energy consumption dashboards from thermostats, lights and other devices
  • Improved security by integrating alarm systems and video monitoring devices into one personalized platform to monitor and protect the home
  • Increases operational efficiency for businesses providing services to homes, which saves significant expenditure.

To create a truly seamless connected IoT system that maximizes business value, there is an impending need to build a strong nexus between OT and IT data. However, harmonizing OT and IT systems come with significant challenges due to differences in business functions, technology stack, and the inherent culture of the departments. 

Read more…

IoT Open Discussion Forums

Upcoming IoT Events

More IoT News

How wearables can improve healthcare | TECH(talk)

Wearable tech can help users track their fitness goals, but these devices can also give wearers ownership of their electronic health records. TECH(talk)'s Juliet Beauchamp and Computerworld's Lucas Mearian take a look at how wearable health tech can… Continue

IoT Career Opportunities