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The 10 Best Books to Read Now on IoT

At IoT Central we aim to cover all things industrial and IoT. Our site is segmented into five channels: Platforms, Apps & Tools, Data, Security and Case Studies. If you’re going to connect everything in the world to the Internet you should expect to cover a lot. That means plenty of reading, sharing and discussing.  

To tackle the reading part we reached out to our peers and friends and put together the 10 best books to read now on IoT. From theoretical to technical, we tried to find the most important and current reading while throwing in one or two relevant classics.

Below is the list we compiled. What books would you recommend?

Shaping Things

By Bruce Sterling

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I first came across Bruce Sterling’s name when he wrote the November 1996 Wired cover story on Burning Man. I happened to attend the desert arts festival for the first time that year and Bruce’s prose nailed the the experience. I’ve been a fan of his ever since. "Shaping Things is about created objects and the environment, which is to say, it's about everything," says Bruce. This is a great higher level book that looks at the technosocial transformation needed to understand our relationship between the Internet of Things and the environment in which it exists.

The Hardware Startup

By Renee DiResta, Brady Forrest, Ryan Vinyard

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Consumer Internet startups seem to get all the media ink these days - think AirBnB, Instagram, What’sApp, Uber. But many forget that much of the technological innovation began with hardware - think Fairchild Semiconductor, Xerox PARC and the stuff that came out of IBM. With an emphasis on ‘Things,’ IoT is set to usher in a new era of hardware startups and any entrepreneur in this space should find this book to be a valuable read.

IoT M2M Cookbook

By Harald Nauman

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If IoT devices can’t communicate, you’re not going to get much use out of them. Someone pointed me to Harald Naumann’s book IOT/M2M Cookbook. Harold is an M2M evangelist with a primary interest in implementation of wireless applications. His blog is chocked full of technical tips on wireless communications.

IoT Central members can see the full list here. Become a member today here

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IoT Big Swings

Last week Tom Davenport, a Distinguished Professor at Babson College, wrote about “GE’s Digital Big Swing” in the Wall Street Journal. As he cites in his latest piece, there are many others taking big swings in digital and IoT overall. (BTW - If you’re not following Tom, you really should do so now. His thoughts are a perfect mix of research and practice covering big data, analytics and changes in the digital landscape.)

During my time at Pivotal, I was witness to the digital big swing that GE took and saw the energy, effort and resources they were committing to make sure that whatever they made that could be connected to the Internet - jet engines, power plants, surgical image machines - would capture all data to improve products and the customer experience. I don’t think GE watchers - investors, competitors, partners - fully understand yet the enormity of this bet.

They keep making moves. This week the company announced the creation of GE Digital, a transformative move that brings together all of the digital capabilities from across the company into one organization.

Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, said, “As GE transforms itself to become the world’s premier digital industrial company, this will provide GE’s customers with the best industrial solutions and the software needed to solve real world problems. It will make GE a digital show site and grow our software and analytics enterprise from $6B in 2015 to a top 10 software company by 2020.”

GE, the industrial giant, a Top 10 software company? That’s taking GE’s slogan “Imagination at Work” and making it real.

Much like the cloud trend before it, the IoT trend is something where all major vendors are investing.

Yesterday at Salesforce’s behemoth customer conference Dreamforce, the company announced the Salesforce Internet of Things Cloud. Based on a home-grown data processing technology called Thunder, Salesforce touts their IoT Cloud as empowering businesses to connect data from the Internet of Things, as well as any digital content, with customer information, giving context to data and making it actionable—all in real-time.

With perhaps a nod of guilt to marketing hype, other notable big swings include:

  • IBM - The company has created an Internet of Things business unit and plans to spend $3 billion to grow its analytics capabilities so that organizations can benefit from the intelligence that connected devices can provide. According to IBM, as much as 90 percent of data that is generated by connected devices is never acted on or analyzed.

  • Cisco - Its approach focuses on six pillars for an IoT System - network connectivity, fog computing, security, data analytics, management and automation and an application enablement platform. You can buy all the pieces of the system from Cisco, of course.

  • Samsung - They are betting on openness and industry collaboration. By 2017, all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices, and in five years all Samsung hardware will be IoT-ready. They also recently open sourced IoT.js, a platform for IoT applications written in JavaScript, and JerryScript, a JavaScript engine for small, embedded devices.

  • Monsanto - Their near billion dollar purchase of The Climate Corporation is combining The Climate Corporation’s expertise in agriculture analytics and risk-management with Monsanto’s R&D capabilities, and will provide farmers access to more information about the many factors that affect the success of their crops.

In the wake of these giant big swings will be new and exciting startups - sensor companies, chip players, software, analytics and device makers. If you know of a compelling start-up in the industrial IOT space, drop me a line at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you.




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Mapping the Internet of Things

You would think that in this day and age of infographics that finding a map laying out the ecosystem of the Internet of Things would exist. Surprisingly, a Google search doesn’t appear to return much. Neither does a Twitter a search.

Recently though I found two worth sharing. One from Goldman Sachs and the other from Chris McCann which I found very interesting - A Map of The Internet of Things Market.

Goldman Sachs’ map is pretty generic but it takes IoT related items all the way from the consumer to the Industrial Internet. In a September 2014 report, “The Internet of Things: Making sense of the next mega-trend”, Goldman states that IoT is emerging as the third wave in the development of the Internet. Much of what we hear about today are on the consumer end of the spectrum - early simple products like fitness trackers and thermostats. On the other end of the spectrum, and what I think IoT Central is all about, is the Industrial Internet. The opportunity in the global industrial sector will dwarf consumer spend. Goldman states that industrial is poised to undergo a fundamental structural change akin to the industrial revolution as we usher in the IoT. All equipment will be digitized and more connected and will establish networks between machines, humans, and the Internet, leading to the creation of new ecosystems that enable higher productivity, better energy efficiency, and higher profitability. Goldman predicts that  IoT opportunity for Industrials could amount to $2 trillion by 2020.

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Chris McCann, who works at Greylock Partners, has an awesome map of the Internet of Things Market (below). This is what venture capitalists do of course - analyze markets and find opportunities for value by understanding the competitive landscape. This map is great because I think it can help IoT practitioners gain a better understanding of the Internet of Things market and how all of the different players fit together.

The map is not designed to be comprehensive, but given the dearth in available guidance, this is a great starting point. The map is heavily geared towards the startup space (remember the author is a VC) and I think he leaves out a few machine-to-machine vendors, software platforms and operating systems.

Other maps I found that are interesting are:

Thingful, a search engine for the Internet of Things. It provides a geographical index of connected objects around the world, including energy, radiation, weather, and air quality devices as well as seismographs. Near me in earthquake prone Northern California I of course found a seismograph, as well as a weather station, and an air quality monitoring station.  

Shodan, another search engine of sorts for IoT.

And then there is this story of Rapid7’s HD Moore who pings things just for fun.

If you have any maps that you think are valuable, I would love for you to share them in the comments section.



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