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Francisco Maroto's Posts (17)

One year ago, I wrote the first part of this article: “Who need an IoT Analyst?. In those first part, I classified the different types of analysts who are involved in one way or another in the Internet of things (IoT).

In this second part, I will address the special case of analysts specializing in IoT Platforms. For them, I have created 4 categories of IoT Platform Analysts (The Powerful, the Specialists, The Opportunist and the Intruders) and then I ranked them following two high level criteria: Technical Experience criteria and Business Experience criteria.  The level of influence is a subjective value based on my own research and perception.  Likewise, the position in terms of technical and business criteria is also subjective. As usual in these graphics some will feel comfortable and I will receive critics from others. Nothing new under the Sun.

Let us start for the Powerful category:

The IoT Platforms Powerful Analysts' Firms

We will never remove at 100% the shadow of doubt flying over the reports and recommendations that prestigious and powerful firms like McKinsey, Gartner, IDC or Forrester continue to publish. But it also true that these multinational companies count with great analysts and they have the contacts with the right people in the Big IoT platform vendors, so they can get not only marketing info but strategic info from these vendors that is nearly impossible to get for others.

Not all the Powerful always agree, just read the Forrester reports of Q4/2016 and Q4/2018 and compare with Gartner report 2018 or IDC report 2017 to see the differences and the reasonable doubts for customers that only read these reports.

In Forrester reports from 2016 and 2018 we see some leaders maintaining their positions while other companies are losing moment, or they are not anymore in the picture.

Surprise even more if you see the Gartner graphic below with no leaders and most companies in the Niche players segment.

Finally, in the IDC Marketspace IoT Platforms picture dated in 2017 we see that Microsoft, PTC and IBM repeat as Leaders but new companies are included. No Contenders neither participants are interested for the guys of IDC.

Recommendation –  In terms of methodology and scope the reports of these Powerful analyst is not so bad, but they lack the in deep analysis firms required for a customer to take a final decision. These reports are valuable to shortlist candidates in RFIs/RFPs and of course the report is an excellent sales tool for companies that appear in the picture. My recommendation is used it for a first filter.

The IoT Platforms Specialist Analysts' Firms

Some of them started with the M2M market and have evolved to the IoT in a gradual way, without losing its essence like ABI Research, Berg Insight, Beecham Research, Harbor Research. Others like MatchManation or IoT Analytics, however, focused from the beginning in the IoT platform market analysis.

The populated market of IoT platform vendors and the need of these startups for brand recognition with low cost marketing, have made it bloom IoT platform specialist analyst firms offering their services.  Their suspense sales strategy can be annoying. Go discovering who is who is not easy and put all the tracks together is expensive. Some examples below. Nevertheless, I want to thanks to some vendors included in the report that allow download partial reports.

Recommendation - The reports of IoT Platform specialists will help us discover some jewels that the Powerful have overlooked or have not wanted to pay to appear in their famous reports. I do not like how these companies use a game-strategy offering partial pictures or partial reports through their most valuated clients or generic pictures with no names. I believe they need to be courageous and present graphics will all companies’ logos. Otherwise they will be continuing in a niche market that soon will be owned for the Big Players.

The Opportunistic Firms

These analyst firms want to take advantage of the IoT platform moment. Companies such as Navigant, IHS market, 451 Research or Constellation Research have published reports on this topic.

Recommendation - I find their IoT reports useful from a vertical or an individual vendor analysis.

The Intruders Firms

There are other firms (The Intruders) that in my opinion are aggregators of content. Companies like Markets and Markets or Data Bridge deliver big reports with excellent pictures, tables and infographics.

Recommendation - Sometimes they provide for free a Table of Contents with dozens of tables, and a list of dozens of IoT platforms info but I am afraid that in 1 page per platform the info sounds irrelevant for take a decision. They facilitate the multi search in Google to identify IoT platform vendors.

Note: I have not included in this article Universities that produce very interesting to read reports including more granular technical criteria than most of the powerful or specialist analyst firms. 

Key Takeaway:

Recommending a client an IoT platform is a very delicate matter. The IoT platform will play a key role in the execution of its IoT strategy. Giving good advice on the choice of these platforms requires a lot of time and dedication with the client to understand their objectives, identify their use cases, know their organization and their IT / OT systems.

The reports of the analysts of IoT platforms, both those of the Powerful and those of specialists help to make a first filter and to select 3 or 4 vendors that best adapt to their needs. Thereafter, these finalists need to be analyzed in greater depth. That is why I decided to create our IoT Platforms services, which have been so successful and well received by our customers.

We value positively that this combination of IoT Platform vendors and IoT platform analysts exists. The Powerful ones help them as always and the small ones help them in their efforts to be noticed in a technological world as little democratic as the present one.

Thanks in advance for your Likes and your Shares.

 

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Those who regularly read my articles know that I like movies and TV series. Just remember my article "About IoT Platforms, Super Powers Methodology, Superheroes and Supervillains".

This time my article is dedicated to the two trilogies: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World (the latter still pending the third movie).

 

Have not passed millions of years since the appearance of the first telemetry species and their evolved cousins of Machine to Machine (M2M.) But the tempo in technology is measured differently. The unit of time here has to do with Gartner Hype Cycle. For Gartner the technologies pass quickly from Innovation Trigger to Productivity. Companies that want to appear in Gartner´s  Magic Quadrants have to adopt successfully these technologies or are condemned to  disappear.

 

Large companies that have been in the IT world for more than 15 years seem like dinosaurs and they themselves are afraid of disappearing because of a meteorite (IoT metaphorically).

 

In this article I present some technology companies that we could consider as dinosaurs and that are undergoing a cloning (transformation) to adapt to the new world of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence(AI) or Blockchain.

 

As usual in this type of articles, the included companies and the classification is subjective. Therefore, not all dinosaurs are represented (47 species of cloned animals have been portrayed in the novels and films) nor all companies can feel be represented by the dinosaur that I have chosen for them.

 

Welcome to my Jurassic World of IoT.

The threats to these cloned dinosaurs are constant. Despite its size and strength many predators lurk to take down these giants (Uptake digital safe package over GE Digital).

Some species go in packs (Google and Ayla Networks or Microsoft and Electric Imp) to survive and others seek alliances with other cousins giants (Rockwell to take $1 billion stake in software maker PTC) the best way to reign in its territory.

 

There are also dinosaurs in the WestWorld of the Telcos and in the world of Industrial companies that are adapting or cloning, but that is another story.

 

Your comments and suggestions can vary my Jurassic World table of the IoT.

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The dream of making money with IoT, AI and Blockchain

Have you ever think about how could you make money with the Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of course with Blockchain?  What would happen if you could use the three of them in a new business model?.  Apparently, Success, Success and Success.

In the next sections I provide information of some business models implemented with these three technologies.

IoT Business Models

As IoT moves past its infancy, certain trends and economic realities are becoming clear. Perhaps the most significant of those is the realisation that traditional hardware business models just don’t work in IoT. Take a look at “The top 5 most successful IoT business models” that have emerged as particularly effective applications for IoT.

If any of you is building an IoT product, this article ” IoT Business Models For Monetizing Your IoT Product”  show how to make money with IoT.

Zack Supalla, the founder and CEO of Particle, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup, suggest “6 ways to make money in IoT”.

Finally, in “How IoT is Spawning Better Business Models” we can read three ways companies like Rolls Royce, Peloton, MTailor or STYR Lab  was rethinking their business model and have created revolution in the marketplace. 

Blockchain Business Models 

It sounds repetitive, but yes "Blockchain technology may disrupt the existing business models”. The authors´ s findings concerning the implications of blockchain technology for business models are summarised in the following picture.

 

Do you think that blockchain will likely to cut into big-players’ revenues? Then, this article: “New Blockchain-Based Business Models Set to Disrupt Facebook and Others”, is for you.

If you are ambitious and you are planning to build a viable business on blockchain, then read “Building an International Business Model on Blockchain”.

I am also an advocate of the coming era of decentralization (at least in my most optimistic version) and Blockchain is a step more to create value when the End of All Corporate Business Models will arrive.

AI Business Models 

Companies from all industries, of all shapes and sizes are thus faced with an important set of questions: Which AI business models and applications can I use ? And what technologies and infrastructures are required?.

It seems that we all are convinced that artificial intelligence is now the most important general-purpose technology in the world that can drive changes at existing business models. Not surprised then, that  AI is Revolutionizing Business Models.  The “data trap” strategy, that in venture capitalist Matt Turck’s words consists of offering (often for free) products that can initialize a data network effect. In addition, the user experience and the design are becoming tangibly relevant for AI, and this creates friction in early stage companies with limited resources to be allocated between engineers, business, and design.

This article introduces  some good examples of AI business models :

New Business models with the intersection of IoT, AI and Blockchain

With IoT we are connecting the Digital to the Physical world. Connected objects offers a host of new opportunities for companies, especially in terms of creating new services. The amount of data generated by the billions of connected objects will be the perfect complementary feed to many AI applications. Finally, blockchain technology could be used to secure the ‘internet of things’ and create smart contracts in a decentralized infrastructure that boost the democratization of technology and creation of sustainable communities.

You must remember that new business models that include IoT, AI and blockchain need among other characteristics: Volume and Scalability. Volume of devices, Volume of data, Volume of customers, volume of developers and powerful ecosystems to escalate. 

Good luck in your search and implementation of your new business model.

Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares

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Too much time waiting for the IoT year

After years of waiting for my wishes to finally come true that it was finally the year of IoT, I give up. There will be no IoT year. Other technologies are usurping the dubious privilege of leading the technology bubble. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are now much cooler.

As has happened on many previous occasions, the IoT will be replaced by other acronyms that will make you forget bad experiences and failed expectations. And with the new acronyms the illusions of those of us who continue to trust in the beneficial implications that the "new IoT" will bring to society will appear again.

Event Organizers were the first to notice the decline of IoT

The first to realize this situation were the organizers of IoT events. If a couple of years ago the weight of the new secondary on stage (Blockchain and AI) did not seem worrying to detract from the main actor (#internetofthings). Now they are the stars and the IoT is marginalized and surrounded by other technologies, badly hurt and melancholy.

Quo Vadis IoT events ?

Will IoT events disappear? Sure. Doesn’t matter if is in 2 or 3 years, but IoT only events will not make sense. In the last 3 months I attended several IoT events in London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Bilbao. I see a slow decline and transformation of #IoT events. Most of them do not satisfy my expectation. I am tired and saturated of see the same tired case studies parroted over and over again.

As my friend Rick Bullotta, I'd like to see some more innovative stories, some failure stories/lessons learned, some HARD FACTS about how long it looks to build, what it cost to build, return on investment.

Of course, we will continue seeing IoT companies, products and services in the Big Events like CES in Las Vega, MWC in Barcelona or Cebit and Hanover Messe in Germany or in industry specific events or company specific events like PTC LiveWorx or Bosch ConnectedWorld .  But the same way that we do not see today Internet events we will not see Internet of Things events beyond 2020. It will be a good sign because the Hype will have disappeared and the reality and the market will have been imposed.

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We are in the dawn of a new cyber society. A society where organizations shall design plans to utilize the unique skillsets of both AI Systems and humans. A society where Humans and AI systems shall work and live together and without fear. A society where humans shall use newfound time and freedom to advance strategic skills and individual talents.
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After years of evangelization waiting for the promises of the Internet of Things (IoT) to come true it seems that we are finally close to reaching the trough of disillusionment phase, we begin to forget all the hype generated so far and focus on reality. A harsh reality that involves selling IoT and not continue selling smoke anymore

THE TIME TO SELL IoT IS NOW

The sale of IoT is perhaps more complex than the sale of other disruptive technologies such as Big Data, Cloud or AI and maybe as complex as Blockchain today.  In the article “ Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!” I commented how it should be  the evolution of M2M Vendors for sell IoT and how should be the evolution of IT Technology Vendors for sell IoT. However, many of these companies still have difficulty in forming and finding good sellers of IoT

The truth is that nowadays it does not make any sense to sell IoT as a technology. Enterprise buyers only want to buy solutions that provide measurable business outcomes while, in the other side, many IoT Vendors only want to sell their portfolio of products and services that have been categorized under the umbrella of IoT, either as quickly as possible or at the lowest possible cost.

During last 5 years, I have been analysing how IoT companies sell their products and services. Some of my customers (Start-ups, Device vendors, Telco Operators, Platform vendors, Distributors, Industry Applications, System Integrators) requested me to create IoT sales material to train their sales team about how to sell their IoT solutions and services. And sometimes I also helped Head Hunters or customers searching for IoT sales experts

Based on this varied experience I have launched this year a new service: “IoT Sales Workshops” to help companies train their internal teams in how to sell IoT. Here are some of the lessons I learned

  • There is a time for act as an IoT Sales generalist and a time for act as an IoT Specialist.
  • You need to adapt the IoT storytelling based on your audience.
  • Being an IoT expert is not synonymous with being successful in selling IoT.
  • You need to show how companies can get more out of IoT by solving a specific business problem.
  • Make it easy for the customer to see the benefits of your IoT product or IoT service and what is the value you are adding.
  • Given the complexity and specialization of IoT by vertical, explain companies the need to focus more closely at business cases, on their IoT business model as well as the ROI over three to four years before jumping into technology.
  • You need to be patient because IoT selling is not easy and takes time align strategy and business needs with the IoT products and services you are selling.
  • Build a strong ecosystem and make easy the customer the adoption of end to end IoT solution collaborating with your partners.
  • Train your IoT Business and Technical experts to get better at telling stories. Design a new marketing and sales communications playbook. Keep it simple. Build your narrative from the foundation up – one idea at a time.
  • If you want an IoT sales expert you need to pay for it (not expect miracles from external sales agents working on commission base).
  • IoT Sales is a full-time job. You will not have time to other enterprise activities.
  • Selling IoT to large enterprises is a teamwork process.
  • Be Persistent. Do not expect big deals soon.
  • Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT.

Summary

I do not consider myself an IoT sales expert. And of course, neither a superman of sales. In fact, I have shied away from classifying myself in the role of a pure salesperson even though over time I have given a weight and value to this work that once seemed derogatory to me.

Sell IoT is not easy. In a few years we will have forgotten of the word IoT and we will be selling new hypes, but in the mean time you need to be prepared for disillusionment moments, long sales cycles and a lot of work with sometimes poor results. However, I do not know if will be 2020, suddenly if you persevere you probably will be awarded as the best IoT sales expert and you finally will earn a lot of money.

Be Persistent, Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT

 

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IoT Evolution or IoT Revolution

During all these years evangelizing on the Internet of Things (IoT), I have been explaining to customers, partners and friends that IoT can positively change the way we do business and the way we live our lives.  I have been asked if IoT is a new revolution in our society, or it is just one more step in the technological evolution of the he digital revolution. Today, the debate continues but whether evolution or revolution, The Internet of Things is here to stay.

If you have read AIG´s whitepaper entitled “Internet of Things: Evolution or Revolution?” you learned IoT, from its origins, to its applications in business, the risks associated with its inevitable arrival and how with the IoT is coming bringing dramatic changes. In the whitepaper we discover that in spite IoT is often presented as a revolution that is changing the face of society or the industry in a profound manner. It is an evolution that has its origins in technologies and functionalities developed by visionary automation suppliers more than 15 years ago

I definitely think it’s an evolution

The development of the Internet of Things is a bold move. IoT is not just a leap from the Internet. The Internet of Things brings with it an evolutionary force that we rarely see in technology.

It is important not scare the most conservative enterprises. It is not about ripping out current automation systems to replace them with new technologies. End users will resist rapid and radical change because of the increased risk of downtime and associated costs.

I think that this debate should be framed in a more general question. What Age period are we living?

 

The Connected Age or the Age of Sensorization

I consider the start of the Connected Age when the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Probably Kevin envisioned that the move to sensorization will transform every industry in the world.  In the Age of Sensorization, it’s possible to make more accurate and quantifiable assessments using real time sensor based information.

The main driving force behind the Connected Age is data – data that can be collected, data that can be analysed, data can be shared and data can be used to improve many service offerings.

Data is the new oil in this AgeThe global sensorization is driving new ideas and thoughts that will ultimately drive innovation in our personal, business and working lives. Sensor´s data is opening up new opportunities, driving new business models and taking innovation to new levelsNo doubt that sensors’ data is a valuable commodity. The European Commission has proposed to impose a tax on the revenue of digital companies based on their users’ location, on the grounds that “a significant part of the value of a business is created where the users are based and data is collected and processed.”

We are still living in the Connected Age. I expect this Age ends in 2025, no because there will not be more things to connect but because is when most of things will become intelligent and start controlled by robotsThe Robotic Age or the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Reading Genesis of AI: The First Hype Cycle, I  rediscovered how Artificial Intelligence (AI) was born and evotution till now. But it was after I read Your Data Is Crucial to a Robotic Age. Shouldn’t You Be Paid for It? I realised maybe I was wrong and we already living the final years of the Connected Age and we are entering before 2025 , not without a certain fear, the Robotic Age.

According to IDC: ”By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives – and 100% of IoT initiatives – will be supported by AI capabilities.

Qualcomm envision a world where edge AI makes devices, machines, automobiles, and things much more intelligent, simplifying and enriching our daily lives.

AI has emerged as the most exciting capability in today’s technology landscape. It’s potential is rich in large, complex organizations that generate massive amounts of data that can be fed into AI systems.

Data is the crucial ingredient of the AI revolution. We can envision that  AI -driven companies will represent the future of broader parts of the economy and  we may be headed for a world where labor’s share falls dramatically from its current roughly 70 percent to something closer to 20 to 30. At the same time the number of robots will increase and be part of the society.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence have reached a crucial point in their evolution. A robot is no longer just a mechanical device capable of interacting with its environment and carrying out an assigned task. At present, the main research laboratories all over the world are developing and implementing in sophisticated robots technical, practical and even philosophical tools. Nevertheless, we can not forget that there are still problems in the land of AI.

Could we avoid psychopath and sociopath robots?

Companies need to move quickly to embrace AI so that they can support the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) and deliver the kinds of services customers are demanding.

Finally, if your company is thinking about Build or Buy Artificial Intelligence, take a look at this article.

The Cognitive Age

The cognitive revolution was a period during the 1950s-1960s when cognitive psychology replaced Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis as the main approach in psychological fields. Increasing focus was placed on observable behaviours in conjunction with brain activity and structureFor those of you who believe the mind the centre of all things, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, wrote two editorials  that point to wider transformations that are shaping the world in which we liveWe could consider the start of Cognitive Age when Facebook abandoned an experiment after two artificially intelligent programs appeared to be chatting to each other in a strange language only they understood. The two chatbots came to create their own changes to English that made it easier for them to work – but which remained mysterious to the human.

Are we sure Facebook shut down Its Artificial Intelligence Program?  Facebook not the only company or government running secrete AI programs. Are you scaredThere are many myths about Cognitive. This article pusblished by Deloitte the Consulting company help dispel five of the most persistent myths.

  • Myth 1: Cognitive is all about automation
  • Myth 2: Cognitive kills jobs
  • Myth 3: The financial benefits are still remote
  • Myth 4: AI is overhyped and bound to disappoint
  • Myth 5: Cognitive technology is just for ‘moonshots’

We need to start thinking how to  prepare ourselves and our business for the Cognitive Age.” As I explain in “Bring Your Own Cyber Human (BYOCH) – Part 1: Augmented humans” we are in the path to being cyber humans. To live in the Cognitive Age, I encourage companies to invest in how to enhance our senses and to increase our intelligence to compete and win over robots.

Key Takeaways

The Connected Age is a fact. ARM is predicting 1 trillion IoT devices will be built until 2035.  For those who think that the IoT is a revolution, not be worried because we are just simply in an evolutionary process.

With the introduction of AI and machine learning, enterprises will be able to embark on projects never thought possible before. The Robotics Age is going to be a great challenge for humanity. The fear of being inferior to our creation, not being able to control them, to compete with machines for a job, to have to obey them will really mean the beginning of a revolution.

What does AI mean for the future?. What will be the implications and the risks? Will AI really understand humans?. With the current skills humanity will be in inferiority to face the cognitive systems that will populate Cognitive Age.  That is why I encourage governments, private laboratories and researchers to work on  Augmented Humans projects if we do not want to be slaves to our uncontrolled inventions.

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The White Knight of IoT Platforms

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

 

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

Google the White Knight of Xively

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

 

Another White Knights

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

There will not be White Knights for everyone

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

Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts ? Comments ?   

 

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One of my LinkedIn contacts suggested me last year not to write more articles about MWC event. However, a couple of weeks ago talking with another contact that not attend this year told me he was expecting my article. So here it is, my fourth MWC article in a row since 2015. Am I a MWC addictYou can read previous articles here:

Unfortunately, the Powerful GSMA rejected my ticket request as Analyst / Press (LinkedIn please help me next year) and of course I did not pay the prohibitive prices of Silver Pass, Gold Pass and Platinum Pass. At the end, conference sessions content is very generic and I can read free the content. I cannot justify the ROI for pay these tickets. Can you?

Avoiding the politics issues between Catalonia and Spain, it was the first MWC where the snow was probably the biggest surprise of the show. The snow and the rain did not allowed visitors to spend some time outside.

A painI do not know the final numbers, but I notice this year less attendants than 2017. No doubt GSMA will try to find excuses eg, political issues, but the reality is that the cost of the show do not convince to many usual large / medium / small companies. It is a fact that some big companies did not attend or send less delegates and use less square meters

Again, visitors that attend 1 or 2 days do not have had time to move to other parallel events like 4YFN.  Running from meeting to meeting, bad lunch as usual. I'm sure I've lost weight these days

The MWC18 has been an evolution of what we saw last 2 years. Not revolution. We need to wait another 5 years to see some notorious technological advances although GSMA should continue helping to create a better future

Before #MWC18

I was angry with the Search exhibitor page of the web . Please GSMA you have 1 year to improve. None exhibitor has included any product in the category of Blockchain or Internet of Things. Duplicates filters, etc. I read some LinkedIn post and articles and talked with people to plan my visit and capture their feeling this year.

During the #MWC18

The euphoria of 5G has dropped – More info about 5G at MWC18 here “ Intel, Qualcomm Talk About Accelerating 5G Efforts at MWC 2018 

IoT - The word that describes my feeling is disappointment. Although expected, something sad because the word IoT begins to lose brightness and disappear from the stands. The Pavillion 8.0 dedicated to the IoT, was not star this year. Do you really deserve to be exhibitors at the MWC

At least it was good to pulse the evolution and transformation of the IoT / M2M market. A new impulse will be necessary before 2020

Unfortunately, I could not attend any of the Top 7 IoT Activities at Mobile World Congress. Please tell me if any of it was worth it.

It was funny to hear how Operators trying to explain the use cases of Blockchain in Telco sector.

Artificial Intelligence, Connected Vehicles and Robots the starts of MWC18.  It was interesting discuss with some Operators about the practical potential of Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots in this sector.  The conclusion in this article “ You Can't Teach an AI to Run a Telecom Network—Yet.

MWC18 was in my opinion the year of the Connected Intelligent Vehicle. Operators, Technology Vendors and Car Manufacturers need to cooperate to avoid a technology nightmare for future drivers/passengers.   

After #MWC18

I cannot resist to compare this congress with the Groundhog Day festivities. I make no secret of my discomfort for the continuous decisions of GSMA to make this show useless for many. My unpleasantness for the prohibitive cost of the tickets, hotels in the town, and the arrogant executives who attend the event as movie stars and finally for the many parallel events that I have missed or meetings of 15 minutes because I had spent hours daily walking by the walk sides of Fira Halls and my frustration for not finding some companies in the labyrinth of  the pavilions

Like Bill Murray in the movie, I discover year after year that MWC's events repeating almost exactly. I feel I am trapped in a time loop that probably most of you are aware of

I am glad if you have spent these days indulging in night parties, looking for new jobs or cheering you for the work you have in your great company.  Luckily for me, I do not return depressed, but my mind do not escape for some days to the MWC loop. Am I a MWC addict?

See you next year at MWC19 Barcelona

 

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With so many companies and people on the search for the "IoT killer app” for a decade, and nobody has found it yet ☹. You can be sure that I do not either, otherwise I would not be writing this article and I will be furiously developing it.

Most companies are anxiously looking for the killer IoT app/solution, which their IoT reps could sell in volume to their enterprise customers. The bad news for them: “ there’s no true “killer app” for IoT and that any company can create the right killer app to solves a business need of a customer or a whole industry.

Nevertheles we can not avoid that some people think pet care or fitness could be the "killer app" for IoT, while others instead think that the killer IoT app winners will be in Verticals like predictive maintenance in manufacturing, smart home or smart city solutions and also I had read funny opinions that considers measuring Temperature and Humidity seem the killer application for most of the IoT industry. The comment is comical but at the same time ironic. In the absence of bright or innovative ideas it seems that we would have discovered the fire when we install sensors and we are able to visualize temperature and humidity in real time on the screen of our smartphone.

Instead of continuing to dream of finding the Holy Grail of the IoT, I think it will be more productive to analyse by categories what are the possible IoT applications that exist and if I am enlightened try to guess which application would be the milk to launch myself to develop it without fearThese are the 5 categories to search for the IoT horizontal Killer app:

  1. IoT-Search
  2. IoT-Messaging
  3. IoT-Security
  4. IoT-Commerce
  5. IoT-Social

Summary

Search for the killer IoT horizontal application is a chimera given the definition of the IoT. However, the challenges that the IoT has to achieve that 50 billion machines can be found, communicate safely through various networks, socialize and favour the monetization of its services, open great opportunities for hardware and software engineers to develop different killer applications. And I'm sure some will find it. I wish I could be part of one of them.

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Be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT

Those who follow my articles know that I like to make comparisons between the IoT and TV shows and movies. For this article, I have selected the famous show "The Walking Dead" (TWD).

When preparing this article, I read this piece “The Real Walking Dead: Surviving the Software-Defined Zombie Apocalypse” by Scott Noteboom and I thought, well, I am not alone. As Scott, I see a lot of similarities between IoT technology and biology.

Many companies are thinking about their survival after the apocalypse that will be produced by the mix of IoT, AI and Blockchain. CEOs, must make decisions that prevent their companies from disappearing or worse becoming walking dead. And one of the most important will be choose their travel companions well, in order to build a strong ecosystem capable of resist the most adverse scenarios one might think.

IoT solutions that companies need to implement to survive the apocalypse are composed of many apparently simple blocks (devices, protocols, edge computing, fog computing, communication networks, platforms, cloud, analytics, AI, Machine Learning, blockchain, security, applications). But the selection of the vendors and the integration of all of them in the business processes, systems and organizations of companies is complex and there are few companies who can boast of having achieved it.

You probably are tired of hearing that the IoT is very complicated and the ecosystem is very fragmented. You feel that many will become walking dead. But, no one has the crystal ball to know who will be the IoT companies are going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years. Some of them are perhaps in the phase of becoming, when just a couple of years ago they were in good health and of they enjoyed the sympathy of the analysts.

If you have been living in a sanctuary, isolated, it will not last for a long time. You will receive soon the visit of survivors and walking dead. You have to decide to accept or fight the survivors and you must protect your community against the zombies.

The good news is that you are not alone. During the last 5 years I have lived 24x7 by and for the IoT. I have been monitoring and analyzing the IoT landscape. I have seen many IoT start-ups appear and some disappear. We have seen large companies make absurd purchases, or sell IoT businesses when they have not been able to obtain the expected return.

That´s why I am able to provide wise advice and recommendation to avoid from being trapped by partnerships with potentials Walking Dead of the IoT and help you build robust and scalable IoT solutions.

Do not walk blind alone among The Walking Dead of IoT

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The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.       Emphasize digital citizenship and individual responsibility

2.       Share knowledge and resources across departments

3.       Collaborate to create guidelines for tech development

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

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

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

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

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

The Human touch of IoT´s CEOs to ensure democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

 

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Have We Already Bored of Predicting IoT?

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

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

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

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

Successes and failures of IoT 2017 predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will be of IoT in 2018?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IoT Will Move From Experimentation To Business Scale - 

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

Only one wish for IoT 2018 from my side

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

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

Thanks, in advance for your Likes and Shares.

 

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“In memory of my brother Juan”

I have not intended to abuse of one more time of a shocking headline in IoT but the fact is that per Gartner´s 2016 Hype Curve” the Internet of Things (IoT) had falling into the dreaded Trough of Disillusionment and the Powerful analyst firm decided to not mention IoT anymore in 2017. Also, corroborated for many pessimistic articles of IoT project failures .

So it is our responsibility as IoT influencers to continue evangelizing about how the “The Internet of Things will Change our World”.

In the article “The Internet of Things… Are We There Yet?” , Cees Links points out that “The IoT is suffering today from a lack of understanding of its true value proposition and even if we are currently in the Valley of Disillusionment, we should not be distracted. We still have a lot to learn but we are in the middle of shaping a better world for the next generation”.

IoT 1.0 or the time of the Systems

It seems prehistoric. I'm talking about the world of Telemetry, Machine to Machine, Industrial Control Systems (PLCs, SCADAs, HMI,..) . But IoT 1.0 is still the one that holds the largest number of devices connected so far. Simple solutions for departmental, very controlled business needs, designed without security as a priority and not easy to integrate and of course with the objective of create new business models.

One interesting outgrowth was the emergence of the “IoT engineer” version 1.0. This was an embedded engineer, cloud SW developer, mobile app developer, or networking specialist that has gained knowledge and skills in one or more of the other disciplines within IoT.

IoT 2.0 or the time of the Platforms

Scott Nelson and Paul Metaxatos published an article in Harvard Business Review on the importance of design in creating value in the next phase of the Internet of things (IoT). IoT 2.0 was the natural next step in the technology adoption curve and brought in a new wave of IoT-facilitated solutions that still have not demonstrated a higher rate of adoption and return on investment.

Many companies have been able to check during the last three years that IoT projects are complex and adoption of the technology can be harder because of the lack of standards, security issues and competitive and fragmented nature of the IoT ecosystem.

See below a list of characteristics and judge yourself what still missing to overcome IoT2.0:

IoT 2.0

  • Standards are respected
  • Separation of content and design
  • Machine Content syndication
  • A simple programming language for non-intelligent machines
  • A programming language for intelligent machines
  • Network of Social Machines
  • Machines responsible for the management and security of its information
  • Hierarchy of Machines (APIs)
  • Search Engine - Facilitate positioning with specific URLs for machines

In Design Elements for the Internet of Things 2.0 you will find some design elements that had been introduced to actually make things intelligent and not just “Smart.”

But above all,  the IoT 2.0 has been a mediatic pulse between IoT Platforms and Artificial Intelligence.

New breed of IoT 2.0 engineers, vendors, product managers, developers, analysts,… are stripping the daisy. Take a look at  “IoT Generalist vs IoT Specialist, Who will survive to the era of Robots? “  if you did not read yet.

IoT 3.0 or the time of Business Optimization

In Salesforce blog, we can find some of the IoT 1.0 and 2.0 limitations. The writer of the article indicates: “Much of the IoT technology available today does not make it easy to add value or generate ROI. To date, most IoT technology has been focused on networking devices together (IoT 1.0) or analyzing data that is streaming from those networked devices (IoT 2.0).
Both IoT 1.0 and IoT 2.0 are critical for a business to succeed in the connected world, because they provide the foundational layer for how a business collects and analyze their data. However, to provide true returns on IoT investment you have to be able to connect all of those analyzed and networked devices back to business value
. “

For Salesforce obviously, the IoT 3.0 - is related with “The connected customer experience. But the focus on almost every company working with IoT today is how its use IoT data to improve business processes or change business models.

By enriching device/objects data in near real time with context data, companies have a very powerful set of data from which they can build business rules to generate actions and measurable outcomes.  Many examples of highly interesting rules could be created with this new rich data set.

Also in  “Internet of Things 3.0 scaled by Robotic Process Automation (RPA)”  the author explain how The Internet of Things and RPA can function together and examine the ways in which RPA and the Internet of Things can foster collaborative, efficient business processes.

IoT 3.0 is the bridge from things to humans, whether they be your customers, partners, suppliers, or employees to drive measurable outcomes and ROI.

IoT 4.0 or the time of the Social IoT

We have seen how the different stages of IoT have been providing an increasing degree of intelligence to the machines. The technology allowed move enterprises from an experience that consisted of a simple monitoring and remote control of machines to an integration of the outcomes of these machines into enterprise processes  that has allow create new business models.

IoT 4.0, which is already emerging, will add machine learning and artificial capabilities to the value chain to make experiences truly seamless and part of everyday life.

The sheer volume of data from IOT 3.0 will be a rich source to really power IoT 4.0, using AI to make the connected chain truly intelligent.

Most of the robots, machines, equipment, devices and countless objects that have been designed, built and sold to the heat of the IoT have focused the functional and technical requirements in reducing the costs of connectivity, increase battery life, provide end security (here not so much) and usability, but not in the capacity of self-learning or provide artificial intelligence.

But this time will be soon over, and intelligent machines (I am not thinking in 50 billion simple devices) but millions of let call by now “Any kind of purpose Robots or AKPR“ will be a reality, And these AKP Robots will need their own social networks.

The fear of intelligent machines persists in our collective memory and companies like Facebook forced to shut down it AI project after it invents its own language they couldn’t understand.! But we can not stop evolution and AKPR Robots are the next step in the evolution of Industrial or home robots.

I'm not the only one thinking about social machines. The Social Internet of Things (SIoT) organization has defined SIOT as an IoT where things are capable of establishing social relationships with other objects, autonomously with respect to humans.

The objectives being pursued by the Social Internet of Things (SIoT) paradigm are clear: to keep separate the two levels of people and things; to allow objects to have their own social networks; to allow humans to impose rules to protect their privacy and only access the result of autonomous inter-object interactions occurring on the objects’ social network.
In their vision, smart objects (even though extremely intelligent) will not make a difference, but social objects will make it!

Only when we decide to turn Smart Objects into Social Objects the Internet of Things will boost its economic and social value

The Internet of Things IoT 4.0 or Social Internet of Things need agnostic networks and protocols that guarantee performance, scalability or security. The Social Objects must be able to interoperate among the IoT Cloud Platforms.

There is no doubt that many applications and services should in the future be associated with groups of objects, whose individuality will be 'sacrificed' to the overall interest of providing services to users.

We need to think in new scenarios where interactions among social objects assume the shape of social interactions that mimic the four "elementary relational models" observed in human behaviour.

It will not be easy to reach the IoT 4.0 level. The interests of corporations, governments inefficiencies, lack of citizen preparation and other short-term factors to which our society is subjected will delay the adoption of the Social Internet of Things.

Key Takeaways

We are very far of IoT 4.0. Today most objects are unconnected, only a few connected objects are intelligent, enterprises continue working on silos, governments services are inefficient, interoperability is a chimera, robots do not have their protocols and social networks, humans are still limiting the promises of IoT.

The Internet of Things promises to be a source of great benefits to our lives but it will definitely take more time than expected.

Only when we decide to turn Smart Objects into Social Objects the Internet of Things will boost its economic and social value.

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How to avoid that a handful of companies can dominate IoT

Possibly be the US technology companies the most commonly use the word “democratization” as a marketing and sales argument. Influenced perhaps by the famous quote of President Abraham Lincoln "Democracy is the Government of the people, by the people, for the people”, US Tech companies have been abusing of the term to sell more. I wondering if their intentions are closest to the no less famous Oscar Wilde´s sentence “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”

Democratization of technology refers to the process by which access to technology rapidly continues to become more accessible to more people. Thomas Friedman argued that the era of globalization has been characterized by the democratization of technology, democratization of finance, and democratization of information. Technology has been critical, facilitating the rapid expansion of access to specialized knowledge and tools, as well as changing the way that people view and demand such access.

Nowadays, with the combination of Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the promise of democratization of technology for all companies, not only the big ones, and government and citizens looks like more feasible.

It's no wonder, given my long career, which I have had to evangelize many times in front of customers and partners the idea of democratization of technology, an idea that has always fascinated and motivated me. Now I am doing the same for the “Internet of Things”.

The journey towards the Democratizing the Internet of Things

For companies like Inex Advisors, ”Data Democratization Migrates From Aspirational to Empirical With the Internet of Things”.   Most consider that democratizing the IoT will come by leveraging the sensor data wave and using that data to create solutions (IoT Platforms and Application Vendors), but for other democratic IoT technology should make it easy for users to build connections (Connectivity vendors).

One of the companies most active in Internet of Things, PTC, has used the concept Democratizing the IoT during LiveWorx event last July,2016. “I think what we’re most excited about is the opportunity to democratize IoT…making [solutions] really fast and really easy,” said Rob Gremley, Group President of Technology Platforms at PTC. The same company that is aimed to 'Democratize' Augmented Reality.

At Microsoft Ignite, Satya Nadella the former and prudent CEO of Microsoft outlined the 4 pillars for democratizing AI, and so on and so forth.

But, democratizing the Internet of Things is not just technology, is to ease new business model, is enabling sharing economy, is providing power to ordinary citizens, is provide a level playing field where small business owners can compete with large enterprises, is collaboration between humans and machines. The journey just started.

We need to fight to achieve and maintain the Internet of Things open, innovative, and free.

Democratizing Smart Cities through the Internet of Things

The most important thing about smart cities is not the technology—it is their effect on democracy. When we hear that smart cities can improve citizens’ quality of life, we want they give us the power to make decisions. For instance, if cities can monitor air pollution cost-effectively, as citizens we can play a role in making decisions based on that data.

The process of integrating data into decision making can also make cities more rational. Right now, our cities are too political and, very often, mayors don’t think long-term. They just worry how an investment will affect them or the next mayor.

While the design of smart city ICT systems of today is still largely focused on passive sensing, the emergence of mobile crowd-sensing calls for more active citizen engagement in not only understanding but also shaping of our societies. For instance, the Urban Civics Internet of Things (IoT) middleware enables such involvement while effectively closing several feedback loops by including citizens in the decision-making process thus leading to smarter and healthier societies.

Data assimilation, actuation and citizen engagement are key enablers toward democratization of urban data, longer-term transparency, and accountability of urban development policies. All of these are building blocks of future smart cities and societies.

Democratization of Water Data through the Internet of Things

The "democratization of water data" is not only timely but essential if we are to move from 19th century water policies and 20th century infrastructure to 21st century solutions.

We are still challenged to deliver safe drinking water to everyone. A few statistics frame the challenge: globally, 884 million people worldwide don’t have regular access to safe drinking water; 2.4 billion people lack improved sanitation facilities resulting in about 842,000 deaths per year, of which 361,000 are children under age 5.

Will Sarni, Director and Practice Leader, Water Strategy at Deloitte Consulting, consider that “Now it's time to democratize water data and IoT can help by allowing everyone had access to water quantity and quality data on a real-time or near-real-time basis, driving innovation and allowing collaboration between Public sector, civil society, investors, cross industry collaborations, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Entrepreneurs.

“IoT will move us towards the goal of universal access to water data to accelerate solutions to universal and equitable access to water.”

Democratization of Farming through the Internet of Things

With cheap sensors now allowing us to connect to and understand the physical world in a way that’s been impossible on such a scale previously, we are seeing how the democratization of farming is coming, and the Internet of Things promises a revolution or reformation potentially larger than the internet revolution of the late 1990s.

Lance Donny – CEO of agtech startup OnFarm Systems – is one of a handful of innovators who have highlighted the potential for, as he calls it, Ag 3.0, a data-rich approach to farming that utilizes inputs from diverse sources – sensors on plants and farm equipment, weather stations and satellite images – to make better farming decisions

In this interesting article, Lance considers that the Internet of Things will be key in the democratization of farming because it offers the promise that some of the specialized knowledge that commercial farming requires today will be available to all, regardless of their farming prowess or economic situation.

Democratization of Healthcare through the Internet of Things

Beyond the trendiest fitness consumer gadgets, there’s a more significant healthcare revolution emerging right now at the convergence of affordable devices and tech and widespread broadband network connectivity. The Internet of Thing health revolution, will empower developing nations with more affordable, accurate and accessible healthcare than ever before, but also must allow the developed nations to guarantee better healthcare for all citizens.

Healthcare have a long way to go to prepare an infrastructure that could actually make use of the enormous amount of data that will be available, but many barriers like local policies should be removed, Implementation of IoT in healthcare can be expected to be slow and painful.

Democratization of Industries like Retail through the Internet of Things

With seemingly unlimited access, knowledge and power, connected consumers dictate and control the terms of retailer engagement. In this distributed, disruptive and democratized operating environment, retailers must effectively extend their unique brand experience beyond their physical and virtual four walls to wherever and whenever consumers demand.

Can the Internet of Things be democratized?

In the last three years, we have seen IoT escalate into the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, and American Tech Giant companies have been quick to take advantage of their leading positions in the digital world to rush into the IoT. The IoT promises a profound impact on individuals and society and none of Tech Giant companies and Old Industrial firms, with power and influence do not want to be out.

Can we avoid that a handful of American companies can dominate the Internet of Things?.

Until now despite the regulation it has been impossible prevent a few companies have dominated information technologies and later the Internet and Social Networks. Looks like that it is impossible compete against their price wars and its ability to attract talent or acquisitions of Start ups. 

The only serious challenge to U.S. domination comes from China where the government has invested heavily in Internet of Things technologies and made them a part of its overall policy and planning.

Why IoT need to be democratized? - The Risk of Surveillance states

“Talking about IoT sounds futuristic. And depending on your point of view either dystopian or utopian.”

The recent largest DDoS attack ever delivered by botnet of hijacked IoT devices reinforces the ideas and recommendations expressed in my post “Do not stop asking for security in IoT” . Even with the current limited state of connectivity, similar incidents will be a regular feature of the emerging Internet of Things and even supporters worry that security issues may slow its development. Similarly, privacy and security concerns rise exponentially as greater connectivity increases opportunities for technical breakdowns and criminal hacking. One tech journalist referred to the IoT as “the greatest mass surveillance infrastructure ever”.

How can avoid that data-hungry businesses and governments collect data on the behaviour of people and the performance of objects. These offer opportunities for an enormous expansion in both surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state, with businesses refining targeted advertising and product development well beyond the crude systems that even today’s Internet makes possible, and governments deepening tracking and control of citizen behaviour and attitudes. 

Consider the commercial benefits to insurance companies that will be able to continuously monitor the health of customers, their driving habits and the state of their homes; or to governments that can adjust benefits and other services based on citizen behaviour registered in their actions, as well as their interactions with one another, and with the things that fill their lives.  Scare isn’t.

Read more at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/can-internet-things-be-democratized

Will Blockchain be the solution?.  Maybe, but at least we need to convince ourselves and persuade others not to allow our personal data from falling into the hands of a few BIG companies and surveillance states.

The impact of IoT on jobs

It is a topic that fascinates me. I have written several posts “Will Machines replace our White Collar Jobs?” , and be assured that I will continue writing.

Why democratizing IoT is essential for its survival

In this interesting post, Ryan Lester (Director of IoT Strategy, Xively by LogMeIn) alerts that IoT feels only achievable to those companies with unlimited resources to make it happen. 

We can not afford to leave out of the IoT revolution 90% of the companies out there. I agree with Ryan that in order to deliver on the true promise of IoT, “It’s up to the vendor community to democratize IoT and make it more available and accessible to companies of all sizes.”

Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts ? Comments ?

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Do not stop asking for security in IoT

Almost three years ago, I wrote in my IoT blog  the posts “Are you prepared to answer M2M/IoT security questions of your customers ?. and “There is no consensus how best to implement security in IoT” given the importance that Security has to fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT).

And during this time I have been sharing my opinion about the key role of IoT Security with other international experts in articles “What is the danger of taking M2M communications to the Internet of Things?, and events (Cycon , IoT Global Innovation Forum 2016).

The Security has been always a tradeoff between cost and benefit

I am honest when I say that I do not known how McKinsey gets calculate the total impact that IoT will have on the world economy in 2025, even on one of the specific sectors, and if they had taking into account the challenge of the Security, but it hardly matters: “The opportunities generated by IoT far outweigh the risks”.

With increased IoT opportunity comes increased security risks and a flourishing IoT Security Market (According with Zion Research the IoT Security Market will growth to USD 464 million in 2020).

A decade of breaches and the biggest attack target yet is looming

We all know the negative impact that news about cyber-attacks has in the society and enterprises. In less than a decade and according to Data Source: ICS- CERT (US) have gone from 39 incidents in 2010 to 295 incidents in 2015.

In a survey published by ATT, the company has logged a 458% increase in vulnerability scans of IoT devices in the last 2 years.

It is a temptation for hackers to test their skills in connected objects, whether connected cars or smart homes appliances. But I'm afraid they will go far beyond attacking smart factories, or smart transportation infrastructure or smart grids.

With the millions of unprotected devices out there, the multitude of IoT networks, IoT Platforms, and developers with lack of security I am one more that believes the biggest attack target yet is looming.

 New Threats

With the Internet of Things, we should be prepared for new attacks and we must design new essential defences.

The complex IoT Security Threat Map from Beecham Research provides an overlayed summary of the full set of threat and vulnerability analyses that is used to help clients shape their strategies. This Threat Map “summary” many of the top 5 features from each of those analyses.

1.       external threats and the top internal vulnerabilities of IoT applications

2.       the needs for robust authentication & authorisation & confidentiality

3.       the features and interactions between multiple networks used together in IoT;

4.       the complexities of combining Service Sector optimised capabilities of differing Service Enablement Platforms;

5.       the implementation and defences of edge device operating systems, chip integration and the associated Root of Trust.

 New Vulnerabilities

The OWASP Internet of Things Project is designed to help manufacturers, developers, and consumers better understand the security issues associated with the Internet of Things, and to enable users in any context to make better security decisions when building, deploying, or assessing IoT technologies.

The project looks to define a structure for various IoT sub-projects such as Attack Surface Areas, Testing Guides and Top Vulnerabilities. Bellow the top IoT Vulnerabilities.

 Subex white paper presenting their IoT solution add some real examples of  these vulnerabilities.

Insecure Web Interface: To exploit this vulnerability, attacker uses weak credentials or captures plain text credentials to access web interface. The impact results in data loss, denial of service and can lead to complete device take over. An insecure web interface was exploited by hackers to compromise Asus routers in 2014 that were shipped with default admin user name and password.

Insufficient Authentication/Authorization: Exploitation of this vulnerability involves attacker brute forcing weak passwords or poorly protected credentials to access a particular interface. The impact from this kind of attack is usually denial of service and can also lead to compromise of device. This vulnerability was exploited by ethical hackers to access head unit of Jeep Cherokee2 via WiFi-connectivity. The WiFi password for Jeep Cherokee unit is generated automatically based upon the time when car and head unit is started up. By guessing the time and using brute force techniques, the hackers were able to gain access to head unit.

Insecure Network Services: Attacker uses vulnerable network services to attack the device itself or bounce attacks off the device. Attackers can then use the compromised devices to facilitate attacks on other devices. This vulnerability was exploited by hackers that used 900 CCTV cameras3 globally to DoS attack a cloud platform service.

Lack of Transport Encryption: A lack of transport encryption allows 3rd parties to view data transmitted over the network. The impact of this kind of attack can lead to compromise of device or user accounts depending upon the data exposed. This weakness was exhibited by Toy Talk’s server domain which was susceptible to POODLE attack. Toy Talk helps Hello Barbie doll4 to talk to a child by uploading the words of a child to server and provide appropriate response after processing it. Though there was no reported hack on this, such a vulnerability could easily lead to one.

Privacy Concerns: Hackers use different vectors to view and/or collect personal data which is not properly protected. The impact of this attack is collection of personal user data. This vulnerability was exemplified by the VTech hack5 wherein in hackers were able to steal personal data of parents as well as children using VTech’s tablet.

Who owns the problem?

With the IoT we are creating a very complicated supply chain with lots of stakeholders so it's not always clear 'who owns the problem'. By way of an example with a simple home application and not Super Installers around; if you buy a central heating system and controller which requires you to push a button to increase the temperature then if it stops working you contact the company who supplied it. But if you buy a central heating boiler from one company, a wireless temperature controller from another, download a mobile App from another and have a weather station from another supplier then whose job is it to make sure it's secure and reliable? The simple cop-out is to say 'the homeowner bought the bits and connected them together therefore it's their responsibility' – well I'm sorry but that isn't good enough! 

Manufacturers can't simply divest themselves of responsibility simply because the home owner bought several component parts from different retailers. As a manufacturer you have a responsibility to ensure that your product is secure and reliable when used in any of the possible scenarios and use cases which means that manufacturers need to work together to ensure interoperability – we all own the problem!

This might come as a shock to some companies/industries but at some level even competitors have to work together to agree and implement architectures and connectivity that is secure and reliable. Standardization is a good example of this, if you look at the companies actively working together in ISO, ETSI, Bluetooth SIG etc. then they are often fierce competitors but they all recognize the need to work together to define common, secure and reliable platforms around which they can build interoperable products.  

If Cybersecurity is already top of mind for many organizations, is justified the alarm of lack of security in IoT?

In this three last years of evangelization of IoT, it has been no event or article not collect questions or comments on IoT Security and Privacy.

The good news is that according with the ATT State of IoT Security survey 2015, 85% of global organizations are considering exploring or implementing an IoT strategy but the bad news is that only 10% are fully confident that their connected devices are secure.

Source: ATT State of IoT Security survey 2015

And if we consider the report of Auth0, it scares me that only 10% of developers believe that most IoT devices on the market right now have the necessary security in place.

 

Source: Auth0

In a publication from EY titled “Cybersecurity and the IoT”, the company define three Stages to classify the current status of organizations in the implementation of IoT Security.

Stage 1: Activate

Organizations need to have a solid foundation of cybersecurity. This comprises a comprehensive set of information security measures, which will provide basic (but not good) defense against cyber-attacks. At this stage, organizations establish their fundamentals — i.e., they “activate” their cybersecurity.

Stage 2: Adapt

Organizations change — whether for survival or for growth. Threats also change. Therefore, the foundation of information security measures must adapt to keep pace and match the changing business requirements and dynamics otherwise they will become less and less effective over time. At this stage, organizations work to keep their cybersecurity up-to-date; i.e., they “adapt” to changing requirements.

Stage 3: Anticipate

Organizations need to develop tactics to detect and detract potential cyber-attacks. They must know exactly what they need to protect their most valuable assets, and rehearse appropriate responses to likely attack/incident scenarios: this requires a mature cyber threat intelligence capability, a robust risk assessment methodology, an experienced incident response mechanism and an informed organization. At this stage, organizations are more confident about their ability to handle more predictable threats and unexpected attacks; i.e., they anticipate cyber-attacks.

 

What enterprises needs to do

If you are thinking only in the benefits of IoT without consider the Security as a key component in your strategy you will probably regret very soon. Here below some recommendations either before start your IoT journey or if you are already started. Hope is not too late for wise advices.

Key Takeaways

With the proliferation and variety of IoT Devices, IoT Networks, IoT Platforms, Clouds, and applications, during the next few years we will see new vulnerabilities and a variety of new attacks. The progress in the security technologies and processes that prevent them will be key for the adoption of IoT in enterprises and consumers.

In the future Internet of Things world an end to end security approach to protect physical and digital assets. The ecosystems of this fragmented market must understand the need of Security by Design and avoid the temptation to reduce cost at the expense of the security.

Do not stop asking for security when you buy a connected product or use an IoT Service, the temptation of time to market, competitive prices and the lack of resources must not be an excuse to offer secure IoT solutions to enterprises, consumers and citizens.

 

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As if the Internet of Things (IoT) was not complicated enough, the Marketing team at Cisco introduced its Fog Computing vision in January 2014, also known as Edge Computing  for other more purist vendors.

Given Cisco´s frantic activity in their Internet of Everything (IoE) marketing campaigns, it is not surprising that many bloggers have abused of shocking headlines around this subject taking advantage of the Hype of the IoT.

I hope this post help you better understand what is  the role of Fog Computing  in the IoT Reference Model and how companies are using IoT Intelligent gateways in the Fog to connect the "Things" to the Cloud through some applications areas and examples of Fog Computing.

The problem with the cloud

As the Internet of Things proliferates, businesses face a growing need to analyze data from sources at the edge of a network, whether mobile phones, gateways, or IoT sensors. Cloud computing has a disadvantage: It can’t process data quickly enough for modern business applications.

The IoT owes its explosive growth to the connection of physical things and operation technologies (OT) to analytics and machine learning applications, which can help glean insights from device-generated data and enable devices to make “smart” decisions without human intervention. Currently, such resources are mostly being provided by cloud service providers, where the computation and storage capacity exists.

However, despite its power, the cloud model is not applicable to environments where operations are time-critical or internet connectivity is poor. This is especially true in scenarios such as telemedicine and patient care, where milliseconds can have fatal consequences. The same can be said about vehicle to vehicle communications, where the prevention of collisions and accidents can’t afford the latency caused by the roundtrip to the cloud server.

“The cloud paradigm is like having your brain command your limbs from miles away — it won’t help you where you need quick reflexes.”

Moreover, having every device connected to the cloud and sending raw data over the internet can have privacy, security and legal implications, especially when dealing with sensitive data that is subject to separate regulations in different countries.

IoT nodes are closer to the action, but for the moment, they do not have the computing and storage resources to perform analytics and machine learning tasks. Cloud servers, on the other hand, have the horsepower, but are too far away to process data and respond in time.

The fog layer is the perfect junction where there are enough compute, storage and networking resources to mimic cloud capabilities at the edge and support the local ingestion of data and the quick turnaround of results.

The variety of IoT systems and the need for flexible solutions that respond to real-time events quickly make Fog Computing a compelling option.

The Fog Computing, Oh my good another layer in IoT!

A study by IDC estimates that by 2020, 10 percent of the world’s data will be produced by edge devices. This will further drive the need for more efficient fog computing solutions that provide low latency and holistic intelligence simultaneously.

“Computing at the edge of the network is, of course, not new -- we've been doing it for years to solve the same issue with other kinds of computing.”

The Fog Computing or Edge Computing  is a paradigm championed by some of the biggest IoT technology players, including Cisco, IBM, and Dell and represents a shift in architecture in which intelligence is pushed from the cloud to the edge, localizing certain kinds of analysis and decision-making.

Fog Computing enables quicker response times, unencumbered by network latency, as well as reduced traffic, selectively relaying the appropriate data to the cloud.

The concept of Fog Computing attempts to transcend some of these physical limitations. With Fog Computing processing happens on nodes physically closer to where the data is originally collected instead of sending vast amounts of IoT data to the cloud.

Photo Source: http://electronicdesign.com/site-files/electronicdesign.com/files/uploads/2014/06/113191_fig4sm-cisco-fog-computing.jpg

The OpenFog Consortium

The OpenFog Consortium, was founded on the premise based on open architectures and standards that are essential for the success of a ubiquitous Fog Computing ecosystem.

The collaboration among tech giants such as ARM, Cisco, Dell, GE, Intel, Microsoft and Schneider Electric defining an Open, Interoperable Fog Computing Architecture is without any doubt good news for a vibrant supplier ecosystem.

The OpenFog Reference Architecture is an architectural evolution from traditional closed systems and the burgeoning cloud-only models to an approach that emphasizes computation nearest the edge of the network when dictated by business concerns or critical application the functional requirements of the system.

The OpenFog Reference Architecture consists of putting micro data centers or even small, purpose-built high-performance data analytics machines in remote offices and locations in order to gain real-time insights from the data collected, or to promote data thinning at the edge, by dramatically reducing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to a central data center. Without having to move unnecessary data to a central data center, analytics at the edge can simplify and drastically speed analysis while also cutting costs.

Benefits of Fog Computing

  • ·         Frees up network capacity - Fog computing uses much less bandwidth, which means it doesn't cause bottlenecks and other similar occupancies. Less data movement on the network frees up network capacity, which then can be used for other things.
  • ·         It is truly real-time - Fog computing has much higher expedience than any other cloud computing architecture we know today. Since all data analysis are being done at the spot it represents a true real time concept, which means it is a perfect match for the needs of Internet of Things concept.
  • ·         Boosts data security - Collected data is more secure when it doesn't travel. Also makes data storing much simpler, because it stays in its country of origin. Sending data abroad might violate certain laws.
  • ·         Analytics is done locally- Fog computing concept enables developers to access most important IoT data from other locations, but it still keeps piles of less important information in local storages;
  • ·         Some companies don't like their data being out of their premises- with Fog Computing lots of data is stored on the devices themselves (which are often located outside of company offices), this is perceived as a risk by part of developers' community.
  • ·         Whole system sounds a little bit confusing- Concept that includes huge number of devices that store, analyze and send their own data, located all around the world sounds utterly confusing.

Disadvantages of Fog Computing

Read more: http://bigdata.sys-con.com/node/3809885

Examples of Fog Computing

The applications of fog computing are many, and it is powering crucial parts of IoT ecosystems, especially in industrial environments. See below some use cases and examples.

  • Thanks to the power of fog computing, New York-based renewable energy company Envision has been able to obtain a 15 percent productivity improvement from the vast network of wind turbines it operates. The company is processing as much as 20 terabytes of data at a time, generated by 3 million sensors installed on the 20,000 turbines it manages. Moving computation to the edge has enabled Envision to cut down data analysis time from 10 minutes to mere seconds, providing them with actionable insights and significant business benefits.
  • Plat One is another firm using fog computing to improve data processing for the more than 1 million sensors it manages. The company uses the Cisco-ParStream platform to publish real-time sensor measurements for hundreds of thousands of devices, including smart lighting and parking, port and transportation management and a network of 50,000 coffee machines.
  • In Palo Alto, California, a $3 million project will enable traffic lights to integrate with connected vehicles, hopefully creating a future in which people won’t be waiting in their cars at empty intersections for no reason.
  • In transportation, it’s helping semi-autonomous cars assist drivers in avoiding distraction and veering off the road by providing real-time analytics and decisions on driving patterns.
  • It also can help reduce the transfer of gigantic volumes of audio and video recordings generated by police dashboard and video cameras. Cameras equipped with edge computing capabilities could analyze video feeds in real time and only send relevant data to the cloud when necessary.

See more at: Why Edge Computing Is Here to Stay: Five Use Cases By Patrick McGarry  

What is the future of fog computing?

The current trend shows that fog computing will continue to grow in usage and importance as the Internet of Things expands and conquers new grounds. With inexpensive, low-power processing and storage becoming more available, we can expect computation to move even closer to the edge and become ingrained in the same devices that are generating the data, creating even greater possibilities for inter-device intelligence and interactions. Sensors that only log data might one day become a thing of the past.

Janakiram MSV  wondered if Fog Computing  will be the Next Big Thing In Internet of Things? . It seems obvious that while cloud is a perfect match for the Internet of Things, we have other scenarios and IoT solutions that demand low-latency ingestion and immediate processing of data where Fog Computing is the answer.

Does the fog eliminate the cloud?

Fog computing improves efficiency and reduces the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud for processing. But it’s here to complement the cloud, not replace it.

The cloud will continue to have a pertinent role in the IoT cycle. In fact, with fog computing shouldering the burden of short-term analytics at the edge, cloud resources will be freed to take on the heavier tasks, especially where the analysis of historical data and large datasets is concerned. Insights obtained by the cloud can help update and tweak policies and functionality at the fog layer.

And there are still many cases where the centralized, highly efficient computing infrastructure of the cloud will outperform decentralized systems in performance, scalability and costs. This includes environments where data needs to be analyzed from largely dispersed sources.

“It is the combination of fog and cloud computing that will accelerate the adoption of IoT, especially for the enterprise.”

In essence, Fog Computing allows for big data to be processed locally, or at least in closer proximity to the systems that rely on it. Newer machines could incorporate more powerful microprocessors, and interact more fluidly with other machines on the edge of the network. While fog isn’t a replacement for cloud architecture, it is a necessary step forward that will facilitate the advancement of IoT, as more industries and businesses adopt emerging technologies.

'The Cloud' is not Over

Fog computing is far from a panacea. One of the immediate costs associated with this method pertains to equipping end devices with the necessary hardware to perform calculations remotely and independent of centralized data centers. Some vendors, however, are in the process of perfecting technologies for that purpose. The tradeoff is that by investing in such solutions immediately, organizations will avoid frequently updating their infrastructure and networks to deal with ever increasing data amounts as the IoT expands.

There are certain data types and use cases that actually benefit from centralized models. Data that carries the utmost security concerns, for example, will require the secure advantages of a centralized approach or one that continues to rely solely on physical infrastructure.

Though the benefits of Fog Computing are undeniable, the Cloud has a secure future in IoT for most companies with less time-sensitive computing needs and for analysing all the data gathered by IoT sensors.

 

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