IoT Agenda

January 16, 2019  1:06 PM

IoT maturity in the new digital world

Medhat Mahmoud Profile: Medhat Mahmoud
Collaboration, Digital ecosystem, Digital transformation, Internet of Things, iot, IoT applications, IoT data, M2M, Maturity

Almost a decade ago, when those in the industry were explaining what IoT means (it was M2M at that time) and how it would transform many industries and processes, the market reacted with doubts mixed with confusion.

It was challenging for the market to connect the dots between the technological side and the expected long-term economic benefits of how IoT will eventually scale up and drive digital transformation, leading to a better outcome for humanity.

Since then, the market perception of IoT has changed to promising, with the dots getting more connected, not only because IoT technologies have significantly progressed, but also because the surrounding digital infrastructures have been developed. Along with enabling evolved technologies, such as AI and machine learning, innovation and new market-driven business models have moved in the same direction.

Most importantly, industry global awareness and business trust are reaching unprecedented levels.

Throughout the IoT maturity journey, we’ve seen phenomenal growth and successful IoT deployment in the global market, where it has accelerated the development process of many economies and has shown increased profitability, efficiency and enhanced outcomes.

Globally structured efforts have also successfully taken place to ensure IoT deployments are currently addressing, or have the potential to address, key global challenges for the humanity. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a perfect example of such an effort.

We’ve witnessed a broad range of proven success stories, from simple IoT farming systems that enhance the quality and productivity of crops to more advanced sophisticated systems in sectors such as manufacturing, energy, health, transportation and smart cities.

Although the different IoT maturity stages are region- and market-specific, the characteristics are common across the board. Obviously, the lowest maturity stage is recognized by simple data collection for standalone process improvement. Then, it moves up to the second level of maturity with data aggregation, analysis and integration to achieve measurable and sustainable business value.

The next stage of maturity is reached when engagement with industries and sectors outside the regular value chain are developed to open up data and drive cross-industry systems and bundled projects, and create value-sharing mechanisms among partners.

A technology-neutral and comprehensive digital ecosystem is the ultimate goal

In this highest stage of maturity, data is moved, integrated and shared, and value is contributed by ecosystem partners, resulting in a sustainable model. Technologies like AI and machine learning will play a key role in this stage, where the core of the value proposition is best realized in cross-industry and previously unconnected industry systems.

This will start in the early design phase of IoT projects, while business models are still maturing, through the creation of long-term data integration models, value-sharing and extraction mechanisms among partners.

With smart water or electric meters, for example, the data from meters is integrated with data produced by many different sources such as consumer devices, health, mobility, weather, home monitoring and third-party data sources. This improves water or energy use and also gives an awareness of consumption and supply at a basic level, and leads to the extraction of other key knowledge-based scenarios. For example, with in-home health services for the elderly or hospital patients, a change in usage patterns could indicate a problem requiring health intervention and inspire new types of citizen-assistance services. Data can also indicate any hazardous, safety or security conditions for alerts that serve the smart buildings, where early detection of malfunctions can be prevented. Service personnel and resources can be allocated, dispatched and linked to other new services.

New value can be extracted and expanded to commercial suppliers to create consumer service-based opportunities such as appliances that are charged based on energy consumption.

The same concept applies to industry verticals and domains, including supply management, manufacturing, farming, energy, transportation, smart cities, health and so on.

Multipurpose data-oriented value creation

In a well-integrated connected world, the increasing availability of reliable, secure, high-quality integrated and shared data is certainly shifting the value proposition. This shift will lead to technical, societal, scientific and commercial innovation that will accelerate digital transformation.

A multipurpose data-oriented model will become the cornerstone of a value exchange system, transforming the way value is created, exchanged and perceived.

Obviously, issues like data ownership, privacy, security, anonymization, legacy systems integration, and sharing business rules and digital policies still need to be addressed within their specific industry frameworks, alliances and regulations.

Openness and the cultivation of a collaborative culture are most needed to make the difference, and will become indispensable for value creation in the future. Global, regional and local bridges between business’s own boundaries, industries, partners, institutions and communities are likely become a necessity to shape a sustainable, inclusive and trustworthy digital future for all.

At this highest level of maturity, we can be certain that the long-term economic benefits coupled with a better outcome for human well-being will be achieved.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 15, 2019  3:07 PM

The true cost of wireless power

Hatem Zeine Profile: Hatem Zeine
cost, IOT Network, IoT wireless, OTA, power, Power supplies, Power supply, real wireless power, ROI, Wireless, wireless power

Before looking at the cost of anything, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you’re buying — especially when it comes to wireless power, because the term currently has several connotations and variations. The definition is evolving.

Real wireless power is power delivered over air, without wires or charging pads, to a device or sensor automatically, without any user intervention. It can be managed and secured via the cloud, and does not require the device to be within sight of the transmitter. In fact, with real wireless power the device can be moving around, in a pocket or handbag, within a wireless-power-enabled space.

Wireless power is a transformational step for society; it will eventually replace the electric wall socket and enable a whole suite of products and services that we can’t even imagine yet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to cost.

When people consider the cost of investing in a new technology, like wireless power, they naturally first think about hard costs:

  • How much will it cost to license and build the wireless power technology or purchase the hardware?
  • How much will it cost to integrate the technology to existing devices, networks and systems?
  • What will the cost impact of wireless power be on our electricity bills?

Those are all good questions, but there are many more costs to consider as well. For example:

  • What is the cost of the current wiring infrastructure in a new build?
  • How much are we spending on batteries, battery oversight and recycling management? (Energy stored in batteries costs thousands of time what the same energy costs from the wall socket).
  • What is the cost of employee downtime when a device needs charging?
  • What is the value for a consumer to not taking the time to recharge, and therefore use a rechargeable household device?
  • What is the cost of lost opportunity for future inventions that could use continuous low power without charging or oversight? (This also involves battery-less devices that could essentially outlive us).

This is just the tip of the iceberg; we could also talk about cost, especially with regard to lost opportunity of not using wireless power, all day. The thing is, cost isn’t just about price. It’s about getting a return on your investment in wireless power down the road. It’s about looking at the bigger picture to see how savings in other areas — societal, ecological, lifestyle — quickly surpass the cost of wireless power itself.

Here is one simple scenario to explore how wireless power will impact our lives and pocketbooks.

A wired consumer home device vs. wireless power

Consider a device that today receives power by wire, like a motion sensor for an alarm system, and power it with wireless power. Let’s say the wired power is, for the sake of argument, 80% efficient, because you have to convert 120 volts to the appropriate power for the motion sensor. Using wireless power in this scenario would only be 10% efficient. Powering this motion sensor wirelessly will be more expensive than using wired power, because the wireless power is not as efficient as a wire.

If you stop your research there, you might draw the conclusion that wired power would cost your organization less than wireless power. But you’d be wrong.

When you compare the actual costs of power, wired power for a sensor might cost you 43 cents for the year and wireless power might cost you $2.00. But there are missing costs in this scenario — the cost of wire itself (~$10), the labor costs of the electrician ($400+) and things like the environmental costs of the transportation of the electrician (gas, emissions, road wear, traffic) and the mining of the copper for the wire. For a home with six motion sensors costing $12 per year in wireless power, it would take more than 34 years of utility bills to equal the cost of the electrical installation for wired sensors.

Expand on this example and consider how many outlets are installed in a home. If we did not need 80% or so of these outlets, because all of our small devices were instead using wireless power, the electrical installation costs alone for building a home could decrease by 7 to 8%.

Seven or eight percent may not sound like much, but for a $400,000 home, that’s $28,000 to $32,000 of savings. Even if you’re powering 50 small devices wirelessly and your electric bill increases $78.50 per year, you’d need to live in that house for 407 years for the wireless power energy bill to begin “costing” you.

Making housing more affordable, and home ownership possible for more citizens, is just one example of the value wireless power brings to society.

The cost of wireless power: Negative

Wireless power is already making us rethink our societal and business infrastructures. The true cost of wireless power is a negative cost. It will take away a lot of what we pay for now and provide an unimaginable amount of opportunities for lifestyle improvements.

We are currently limiting our imaginations on what is possible because it seems crazy to consider automatic power over the air everywhere and for anything. But we don’t have to.

The value of wireless power increases over time

Wireless power is one investment that doesn’t follow the law of diminishing returns. The more devices that have wireless power capabilities, the more value we have.

And when we have more devices that are able to continuously collect data, then we’ll have more information to analyze and improve systems. When we have more devices that can connect and communicate, then AI and machine learning will advance further to make us safer and more productive.

The value of wireless power does not slow down or end, and the costs are negative. What we should be asking ourselves is: how much will it cost you — and us as a society — to NOT use wireless power?

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 14, 2019  2:24 PM

Does broad-based heart rate monitoring open up room for ‘Mickey Mouse medicine?’

Jiang Li Profile: Jiang Li
Apple Watch, Connected Health, connected healthcare, Consumer IoT, healthcare IoT, Internet of Things, iot, IoT in healthcare, wearable, Wearables

Apple’s entrance into the FDA-cleared wearable device market via the new Apple Watch has come with a slew of polarizing opinions from both the technology and healthcare communities. Many are excited by the device due to its enormous potential to provide healthcare data at our fingertips, while others largely focus on the problems it is likely to create with users. Apple is an easy target, though. The real debate revolves around opening up vital sign monitoring to consumers at large and letting them take a more active role in their health. Let’s take a step back and look at broad-based heart rate monitoring without Apple’s branding.

The naysayers are correct — we don’t want unreliable devices falsely alerting consumers about potential arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) or other cardiac-related conditions, unnecessarily sending them to their physician or the ER. But are the options really so black and white here? Is the only alternative in this argument to not offer more accessible monitoring simply out of the inconvenience of false alarms? It’s not. An industry-wide initiative to arm people with high-quality, accurate devices is the priority to avoid consumers practicing their own form of “Mickey Mouse medicine.” There is a balance that has to be struck between making the technology accessible to consumers without diluting the viability and usefulness of the information to the medical community. Without buy-in from the medical community due to the fear of too many false positives, moving the preventative health devices market forward will be challenging.

In 1996, WebMD launched as a tremendous medical resource to consumers. For the first time, we could easily look up health-related information on the internet with a site that was considered credible. However, it also sent consumers to the doctor’s office overconfident in what they found, or unreasonably frightened. Today, you still read headlines warning consumers about the dangers behind Googling diseases. However, the upside of this innovation that millions still use daily is that consumers are valuing health, wellness and particularly preventative, proactive care ever more. We’ve become a health-obsessed society that has gone so far as to be called The Wellness Syndrome. But it’s not coming in the form we expected: 93% of millennials do not schedule preventive physician visits, according to a survey conducted by ZocDoc. Instead, there is an interest and reliance on online content, blogs, apps and connected health. This is a trend that cannot be ignored by the medical community simply because it isn’t perfect. The traditional healthcare system isn’t perfect either. Today, providers and patients have to work together, using technology as the go-between for validating concerns and initiating action.

Doctors are the key to keeping this new world in check, and technologists need them to play along. The at-home blood pressure cuff is a prime example of the harmonious relationship that can exist and demonstrates the potential that connected health has for other vital signs, such as heart rate, in the future. Years ago, blood pressure cuffs were only available at the doctor’s office, requiring an appointment. Medical device companies owned the prescribed blood pressure cuff space until advancements and progress made cuffs widely available through local drug stores or a connected health device. Recent studies are demonstrating the benefit of this evolution in access, as a preliminary study on home blood pressure monitoring proved to be effective in getting hypertension under control. Participants in the new study had fewer doctor’s visits and lower ER and medication costs after regularly using a home monitor. The study needs to be expanded to a wider population, but it is a glimpse of how opening up broad-based vital sign monitoring and allowing consumers to play an active role in it can impact healthcare.

The argument against Apple’s latest watch is typical of new technologies that break traditional barriers. However, when an industry leader steps onto the playing field the way Apple did, it raises the tide for innovation and changes to consumer behavior. It is certainly important to recognize connected health shortcomings common among trailblazers, and also educate consumers about the real capabilities of devices. But at a macro-level, the Apple Watch and other connected health devices achieving FDA clearance and putting preventive, proactive monitoring into the hands of more everyday people is progress we should all be supporting.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 14, 2019  11:20 AM

The impact of IoT on big data

Shahid Mansuri Profile: Shahid Mansuri
Big Data, Big Data analytics, Data, Data Science, Data scientist, Development, Internet of Things, iot, IoT analytics, IoT data

As we move into the future, everything in the business world is getting automated. And if you think the internet has already changed your business, well think again! IoT is about to change your business all over again.

Now, before we explain the connection between big data and the internet of things, let’s first understand the basics about both.

What is big data?

Big data is a catchphrase that is mostly used in business, as well as the technology world. Big data is a vast of amount of data which is generated by connected technology.

Simply put, it is a large set of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that is analyzed to get insights about business trends. The business world defines big data as a tool to make operations, marketing and advertising efforts more effective.

What is IoT?

IoT is nothing more than a system of physical objects connected via the internet. The “things” in IoT can refer to any device that is assigned an IP address. This device or thing transfers data via the internet and without any manual intervention.

The connection between IoT and big data

Since the number of connected devices is growing at a rapid pace, it won’t be surprising to hear that by 2020 there will be more than 10 billion devices and sensors interconnected via the internet. And all these devices, according to a study, will generate around 4.4 trillion GB of data.

Now, there is no doubt that all this data will be difficult to comprehend. However, organizations are already getting ahold of this data through IoT for analysis purposes. And this is where the role of IoT in big data comes into the picture.

We all know that IoT holds great potential for business advancements, but at the same time, it also presents a couple of challenges as well.

Here are the best ways for businesses to meet those challenges head-on:

More data means businesses will need to re-strategize their data center infrastructure
To use IoT data, businesses must invest in long-term IT planning. Why? Because the abundance of data created by IoT will put more pressure on existing networks and therefore businesses will require more power to process it.

In simple terms, before your data analyst can even use IoT data, first it needs to be aggregated and organized, which, by the way, will not be an easy task.

So, whether you’re a product company gathering data from smartphone apps and wearables or an enterprise processing data from manufacturing equipment and sensors, the upgrade to a better data center infrastructure will be inevitable.

NoSQL databases will become mainstream for IoT data
As discussed, more data will mean the need for more places to aggregate that data. Moreover, since most of this IoT data will not be structured, it won’t be easy to sort it into tables using a relational database management system (RDBMS). Therefore, the best possible systems for this will be NoSQL databases and cloud-computing platforms like MongoDB, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Hadoop.

Unlike RDBMSes, these cloud-based computing platforms can offer the flexibility a business with vast data needs to organize in a way that makes the data usable.

The need for more — and more skilled — data analysts will rise
To make the most from the vast amount of data it has collected, your business will need more skilled data analysts. In simple terms, you’ll need to have the right people in your organization to analyze and make your business data into valuable insights.

This can be achieved through data infrastructure and processing, data learning, data mining, machine learning and complex event processing.

But before your data scientists can turn IoT data into valuable business insights, you’ll also need to have the right software stack in place to help them analyze the data. This is where tools like Hadoop’s pig component and analytics tools like Apache Storm come into picture. These tools help big time in preprocessing and analyzing IoT data.

With IoT, big data will offer quality, actionable data
There will be 4.4 trillion GB of data generated by 2020, but the problem is, what will be the key to all this data? Businesses that are collecting data from devices and sensors will soon likely have more data than they know what to do with it. And eventually, the vast of amount of new data is going to have an inevitable effect on the three important V’s of big data — variety, velocity and volume. That means less-structured data will be captured faster and in vast amounts. But is all of this data going to provide valuable business information?

Sifting through all the data IoT devices produce will be the job of your data analysts, who knows which questions they want the data to answer. For instance, a car having various sensors tracking its performance can create a lot of data. But being able to get valuable information that’s helpful for the growth and enhancement of the car manufacturer will be the responsibility of data analyst.

So, what does all this mean?

Data will continue flowing into businesses and more devices will join the internet of things in near future. So, for businesses, the key to growth will be learning how to harness business value and make informed decisions from the data through IoT app development. Overall, the convergence of big data and IoT can provide new opportunities in all industries, and along with that, it has the potential to revolutionize businesses in huge way.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 11, 2019  1:41 PM

Which IoT companies lost, kept and won their charm in 2018?

Francisco Maroto Francisco Maroto Profile: Francisco Maroto
Enterprise IoT, Internet of Things, iot, IoT companies, IoT market, IoT platforms, IoT vendors

In an article last year, I reviewed the companies that, in my opinion, lost, maintained or gained charm in the IoT sector in 2017. With more than 5,000 views, 200 likes and 70 shares, the acceptance of the article was good, and therefore I have decided to update the list for 2018.

Defining charm

Charm is the power of pleasing or attracting through strategy, investments, innovation, teams, products, events and media presence. A company’s attractiveness is well-received by investors, customers, developers and analysts.

Which companies lost their charm in 2018?

Cisco. According to a 2017 Cisco study, only 26% of companies surveyed said they had achieved success with their IoT initiatives. And maybe executives at Cisco felt it was time to get back to basics. Cisco took its intent-based networking concept, which it first revealed in June 2017, and extended it to the internet of things, specifically by using intent-based networking to rework IoT networks. Cisco is working on three areas in IoT: Identity Service Engine software that will help enterprises recognize devices connecting to the network; software-defined access; and its cloud-based Operational Insights service that allows companies to use location analytics to track assets and IoT devices in addition to collecting data. In 2018, some Cisco Jasper executives left the company and there were no clues of any other strategic acquisitions to lead the famous internet of everything. Maybe a cohesive IoT strategy began to take shape at Cisco last year, but I did not see expected results from its Cisco Kinetic platform, so I feel the company has not won or kept its charm.

GE Digital. In 2018, GE Digital´s leadership in industrial IoT remained in question. The parent company is expected to spin off the division into a standalone firm, and is selling a majority stake in ServiceMax, which was considered a strategic acquisition only two years ago. All the turbulence around GE negatively affected sales of its Predix IoT platform in 2018. No doubt, GE Digital lost its charm in 2018.

IBM. Despite IBM Watson IoT being named a leader in IDC’s MarketScape for 2017 Worldwide IoT Platforms, the results of its IoT investments in 2016 did not provide expected results; IBM continued to lose relevance in 2018 against other cloud IoT vendors. IBM is pushing to be a driving force in IoT and again become one of the most recognizable names in the IoT technology industry. I am confident that IBM acquiring Red Hat can help the company recover its charm in 2019. And while I have great expectations for next year, IBM lost its charm in 2018.

Dell Technologies. Dell’s Edge and IoT Solutions Division announcements in 2018 have particular resonance for the channel. But I did not see the scale I expected, perhaps because the company is launching specific IoT technologies with the appropriate reseller partners in phases. Dell could not repeat the momentum of 2017; it lost its charm in 2018.

SAP Leonardo. After investing $2.2 billion in IoT and partner opportunities, rolling out new applications and services around IoT and making efforts to reduce the complexity of developing and deploying IoT on SAP Leonardo, I did not see an increase in market share or winning of new customers for SAP. The company lost its charm in 2018.

Which companies kept their charm in 2018?

PTC. Since Rockwell and PTC announced their partnership in 2018 at Rockwell Automation TechED –including a $1 billion equity investment from Rockwell into PTC — the two companies have been hard at work bringing their respective offerings into alignment. Before the end of the year, they released their first collaborative offering, FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, which provides improved data insights through a single source of operations visibility and systems status. PTC also partnered with Microsoft to help customers accelerate their digital transformation strategies in IoT. The company announced in the fall of 2018 that it is preparing an $18 million restructuring plan. We will probably see the impact of that in 2019, but PTC deserves to keep its charm in 2018.

Intel. IoTSWC 2018 awarded Intel, Arm and Pelion for their innovative, jointly developed technology that enables users to connect any IoT device to the cloud in a matter of seconds. Reducing the complexity of IoT development, Intel revamped its IoT roadmap in 2018 to benefit developers and integrators. Other news that has helped Intel keep its charm included Intel Capital pumping $72 million into AI, IoT, cloud and silicon startups, with $115 million invested in 2018. Dell also combined tools from its portfolio with technology from Intel and partners in the Dell Technologies IoT Solutions Partner Program.

Did you know Intel processes more than a 5 billion data points a day in its factories? The chipmaker laid out a white paper talking about how it deals with data. Yes, it’s selling Intel products, but as a manufacturer that makes billions of chips a year, it’s also practicing what it preaches and can offer useful insights to others. Intel deserves to keep its charm in 2018.

AWS. At AWS re:Invent 2018, Amazon announced a variety of AWS IoT releases. Also 2018, AWS Greengrass extended functionality with connectors to external applications, hardware root-of-trust security and isolation configurations. Additionally, AWS IoT Device Management now provides new features for fleet indexing and jobs, and AWS IoT SiteWise became available in preview. I have no doubt that AWS kept its charm in 2018.

Which companies won their charm in 2018?

Microsoft. Microsoft is now the world’s most valuable company. It made a major statement earlier in 2018 when it announced a $5 billion commitment to IoT projects for the next four years. That new investment has already resulted in new products, such as Azure Sphere and Azure Digital Twins. The company also launched its IoT deployment and management platform, Azure IoT Central, to the general public. New customers, new partners and good recommendations from analysts helped the Redmond, Wash.-based company win its charm 2018.

Arm. The list of Arm’s acquisitions in 2018 includes enterprise data management leader, Treasure Data; IoT connectivity and device management company, Stream Technologies; and security company, ChaoLogix. These acquisitions and the new Pelion IoT Platform will give Arm businesses superpowers. For the second consecutive year, Arm is a top winner of IoT charm.

Google. Google I/O 2018 marked a new era for IoT devices with new Google Assistant capabilities. Also in 2018, Google bought Xively to improve its IoT platform; the company invested in creating a strong ecosystem by adding new IoT partners. Finally, Google forayed into edge computing with Cloud IoT Edge and TPU. These are good reasons to include Google in the winner’s list.

Of the list of potential candidates that I followed last year, only Google won its charm last year. The other top companies that I followed included Salesforce, Oracle, Hitachi Vantara, Sierra Wireless, Huawei, Bosch, Sigfox and HPE, none of which deserve to be in this list yet.

This year, besides telcos, IoT service providers and IoT startups, I will also follow top IoT vendors including C3IoT, SAS, Software AG, Uptake, FogHorn and Siemens MindSphere.

Which companies will be competing to win their charm in 2019?

As we continue to make IoT predictions in 2019, I will continue analyzing which companies will be on the IoT charm list in 2019.

Thanks in advance for your likes and shares!

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 11, 2019  12:35 PM

Looking ahead: Security implications of 5G and IoT

Jonathan Nguyen Duy Profile: Jonathan Nguyen Duy
5G, 5G and IoT, 5G security, Access control, Authentication, Digital transformation, Edge computing, edge computing security, Internet of Things, iot, IOT Network, iot security, IoT wireless, network segmentation, Segmentation

The advent of 5G networks is about much more than just incredibly fast speeds and more reliable connections. When combined with today’s powerful edge devices — whether consumer-grade smart devices or the new generation of industrial-grade IoT devices — the impact of 5G on business and networking strategies will be transformational. There are important implications for digital transformation that need to be considered, especially when it comes to securing the new network environments that 5G and edge-based computing will create.

The impact of 5G

As 5G begins to be widely available, several things will happen:

  • In addition to exponentially faster speeds, 5G will also introduce greater capacity, reduced latency and more flexible service delivery. This will enable organizations to provide better content, more real-time transactions and much richer user experiences across entertainment and commercial activities.
  • Lower latency and highly reliable connections will enable greater edge-based computing without the need for nearby data centers to support latency-sensitive transactions and workflows. Instead, by provisioning computing services closer to end users, 5G servers will acquire enough intelligence to act as application servers — supporting a wide array of edge-based applications, transactions and business processes.
  • Eventually, when 5G speeds and capacity are combined with the unprecedented power of edge devices, we will see the creation of new edge-based networks that can share and process information locally, as well as cloud-based resources.Because these edge-based computing resources will be highly distributed, they will need to be interconnected using enterprise-grade applications and high-speed connections to ensure that the huge volumes of data, workflows and transactions they will create are tracked and analyzed in real time. 5G networking will also offer application developers and content providers cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of mobile networks to create new services. However, these open, hyperconnected edge networks will also have serious implications for how devices, data, applications and workflows can be managed, along with how they connect to traditional and cloud-based networks.
  • 5G will also have an impact far beyond interconnecting endpoint devices. IoT devices will be enlisted to track other devices and users, monitor inventory, gather user and device information, and provide real-time data that can impact everything from agile application development and manufacturing floors to managing and coordinating resources in highly connected environments such as smart cities.

Examples of 5G and IoT

Enhanced communication services within connected cars, for example, will go well beyond the current set of interactions that already occur internally between onboard IoT devices such as braking, environment monitors, GPS and even entertainment systems. Live connections between drivers and businesses will enable financial transactions, such as paying for fuel, ordering food at a drive-thru restaurant or paying tolls, without having to pull out a credit card. Communications between vehicles and between cars and infrastructure-based IoT will enable enhanced traffic management and augment things like autonomous driving at highway speeds.

Likewise, there are significant implications for healthcare and medical IoT. 5G speeds will allow the real-time transmission of data to support things like remote surgery, the tracking of monitors and other connected medical devices, including wearable medical IoT, and the analysis of tests and scans by remote professionals. These advances will not only allow patients to have access to the best physicians in the world, but they will also extend 21st-century medical care to remote locations that currently lack reliable medical resources.

Security implications for 5G and IoT

These new connected environments will also have serious consequences for security. The biggest challenge will be the sudden, exponential growth of the attack surface due to the rapid expansion of IoT devices and edge-based computing. This will be followed closely by the fact that these devices won’t necessarily be connected to a central network in a traditional hub-and-spoke configuration. With literally billions of IoT devices interconnected across a meshed edge environment, any device can become the weakest link in the security chain and expose the entire enterprise to risk. Addressing this challenge will require some fundamental shifts in how we think about networking and security.

  • Security will need to be edge-to-edge, from the IoT edge, across the core enterprise network and out to branch offices and multiple public clouds. To do this, everything connected to the enterprise ecosystem needs to be identified, criticality rated and their state confirmed. Then, all requests for access to network resources will need to be verified, validated and authenticated.
  • Security must also support elastic, edge-to-edge hybrid systems combining proven traditional strategies with new approaches. While network segmentation is a proven technique for containing cybersecurity risks and protecting sensitive resources, old strategies may not be best suited for a 5G world. New segmentation strategies will need to navigate local and remote resources that mix segments for which organizations may or may not have control. IT teams will need to evaluate how to manage the complexity of multiple co-managed systems as they implement 5G networks and public cloud services.
  • Sharing threat intelligence, correlating event data and supporting automated incident response will require security technologies to be deeply integrated. This will require the development and adoption of a comprehensive, fabric-based security architecture. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation will be key to accelerating decision-making, thereby closing the gap between detection and mitigation.
  • Interoperability between different security tools will also require establishing new open 5G security standards, the adoption of APIs across vendors and agnostic management tools that can be centrally managed to see security events and orchestrate security policies.

These are just a handful of the security implications resulting from the adoption and deployment of 5G networks. But that is just the start of the impact of this new era of networking and computing. Security will also need to address the following scenarios:

  • Automated network application lifecycle management will require security tools to not only be high performing, but also highly adaptive to ensure that constant innovation includes consistent protection. It will also require organizations to transition from a DevOps model to a DevSecOps model to ensure that security is integrated directly into the development strategy.
  • Support for cloud-optimized distributed network applications will require security to move seamlessly between and across different network ecosystems without losing track of workflows or dropping security functionality.
  • Digital transformation will generate vast amounts of new data, most of which will be encrypted. Encrypted data currently constitutes more than 70% of network traffic. That percentage will only grow as encryption is used to protect data moving through open network environments. This will require high-performance security tools in IoT and other edge devices that can inspect encrypted traffic at both speed and scale.
  • New strategies, such as network slicing, will enable organizations to more efficiently consume resources moving through massive data environments. This will also require segmentation and edge-based microsegmentation to protect critical resources while isolating them from open and less secure environments.

Where to start

Many organizations are clearly underestimating the potential impact of the coming 5G revolution and the effect it will have on how they conduct commerce and compete effectively within the next iteration of the digital economy. However, there are a few things that organizations can do now to prepare. The most effective approach would be to migrate from traditional, isolated point defense products to a security fabric designed to be integrated, automated and open using open APIs and common standards. This approach also need to combine single-pane-of-glass management and control with security technologies that can move seamlessly across traditional, SD-WAN, multi-cloud and highly mobile endpoint and IoT devices for consistent visibility and control.

Organizations that begin preparing now for the security and networking implications of 5G, especially as billions of new IoT devices will be deployed in the next year, will be far ahead of their competitors. And in today’s highly evolving digital marketplace, that difference is likely to be critical.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 10, 2019  10:54 AM

Thanks to new wireless capabilities, the future of IoT rests only on our imaginations

Evan Cummack Profile: Evan Cummack
Internet of Things, iot, IoT developers, IoT devices, IOT Network, IoT wireless, low-power wide area, LPWA, product development, Wireless, Wireless communications

The internet of things reached the mainstream consciousness in 2018, moving from a geeky technical topic to something your relatives might discuss at the dinner table over the holidays. As consumers, we all gravitate toward connected home IoT devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, but the hype around this technology and its possibilities has graced media headlines and started to enter boardrooms. Analysts and IoT pioneers alike have promised a world of opportunity filled with smart clothing, advanced health trackers and digital assistants that will make our daily lives easier. But the truth is we’re just not there yet. IoT has not yet reached its full potential — but that’s about to change.

New advancements in low-power wide area (LPWA) wireless are making it easier for developers to create connected products. Only a year or two ago, limitations of connectivity and hardware scale would have made the idea of a connected electric scooter — let alone hundreds of them filling our city streets — completely unimaginable. But we’ve reached a tipping point in IoT innovation where connected products are limited only by developers’ imaginations. By solving key developer issues and lowering barriers to entry, industry leaders are unlocking new possibilities that will usher in a new era of IoT.

Roadblocks to a connected world

IoT is an inherently complex industry, with unique challenges for developers that make innovation about much more than building an app. One challenge that has held up IoT progress historically is that experimentation has been very expensive. After all, experimentation is the prerequisite to innovation. IoT hardware is unique, costs of manufacturing vary widely based on the device or system you’re building, and there are numerous carriers and connectivity options to choose from. It’s difficult for developers to innovate while navigating the complex interplay of hardware, software and connectivity.

Creating new IoT devices has never been as simple as “build once and deploy globally.” Since cellular areas and operators change drastically around the world, both software and hardware must be tweaked based on the region it’s being deployed in. It has been a challenge to manage IoT devices seamlessly on a global scale. These factors have made it difficult for new developers to enter the IoT world and be creative with the technology, but new advancements are solving for these roadblocks.

The impact of new technology

New wireless communications advancements are making the IoT developer experience more seamless by lowering cost and barriers to entry. One major factor has been the optimization of cellular networks for low-power devices that don’t require a lot of bandwidth. LPWA wireless does what it says in the name, providing low-power connectivity that uses a low bandwidth connection and is optimized for devices that transmit small payloads of data. This advancement means that batteries last longer. It also lowers the overall cost of IoT development by helping reduce the costs of modems and minimizing the burden of replacing devices.

The result has been to open up even more possibilities for IoT. Longer battery life can unlock a whole new set of use cases for devices that are away from a power source and not regularly serviced. Meanwhile, with networks starting to branch out and optimize for low-power, low-cost, low-battery use cases, billions of new devices have begun to come online. These advances mean that developers can experiment with new devices without high entry costs. This kind of experimentation is the only way we’ll reach the full potential of IoT innovation.

A new message for IoT developers: The sky’s the limit

What do these changes mean for developers? It’s time to get creative. Use your imagination to build the future of connected devices. Two years ago, some developers saw the opportunity to connect scooters to the internet, and we’ve all seen the impact. What will be the next everyday device we see become connected? I can’t wait to find out.

It’s truly an exciting time with more possible than ever before in IoT. While it’s up to developers to come up with the next IoT use cases, the industry must continue to provide them with the tools they need to experiment and create. Solving future barriers and making the developer experience more seamless will empower the next generation of innovators to experiment with new capabilities and fulfill the true potential of IoT.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 9, 2019  11:27 AM

IoT: An SOS for cruise lines?

Robin Raskin Profile: Robin Raskin
Access control, Authentication, consumer experience, Consumer IoT, cruise, customer experience, digital experience, Internet of Things, iot, IoT devices, smart locks, User experience, Wearables

More than 20 million people cruise on ships each year. Not surprisingly, the average age of the cruiser is pushing 50, which means it’s time for the cruise lines to double down and attract younger audiences. One way to do that is with technology.

I was invited as a member of the press to join the maiden voyage of Celebrity Cruise Lines’ new ship, The Edge. The high-tech pièce de résistance was a cantilevered restaurant that hung off the side of the ship and climbed up and down the ship’s decks for constantly differing views. There were also Cirque du Soleil-like inspired nightclubs and a large outdoor TV on a landscaped patio deck.

But it was the hands-on IoT experience that intrigued me. There’s no better way to get on the IoT bandwagon than to try it out. According to Jay Schneider, senior vice president of digital experience at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., IoT is used in predominantly two ways: in the stateroom experience and behind the scenes to provide intelligent operations.

The Celebrity Edge’s stateroom automation, digital key and TV experience are all IoT based. Together, they allow guests, either through a digital touch panel installed in every stateroom or through the Celebrity Cruises mobile app, to control their room temperature, lights and blinds, room access and in-room entertainment center.

IoT-enabled cruise ship

A restaurant that moves up and down the side of the Celebrity Edge ship. Source: Robin Raskin

Each room has “scenes” designed as custom experiences to orchestrate automation tasks. For example, the “sleep” scene turns off the TV, closes the blinds and shuts off all lights except bedside lamps that slowly dim until the entire room is dark.

The stateroom’s digital key-enabled door locks give guests in the stateroom the ability to unlock their stateroom with their smartphone. The TV can also be controlled from a smartphone, including the ability to stream content from your own device through Apple TV and Google Chromecast integration.

The IoT capabilities are a combination of an in-house-created app integrated with third-party systems. Stateroom automation is powered by Saia, a digital key is powered by Assa Abloy and the TV experience is powered by xControl.

Like all IoT experiences, the stateroom was not without its mental disconnects. Lying in a bed in a small stateroom and controlling your environment was the ultimate couch potato experience. My IoT-controlled windows never did open to let the sea breezes in. And opening your stateroom door with a phone app takes much longer than a key swipe. But the big double-edged sword is that staying connected meant carrying a charged mobile phone around the ship. Granted, the app also provided a valuable lifeline to see all activity and make reservations while aboard ship.

IoT-enabled cruise ship

A stateroom on the Celebrity Edge. Source: Robin Raskin

Carnival Cruise Line took a different approach. The company has been experimenting with frictionless, hyper-personalized experiences brought to you through its Ocean Medallion. The medallion is a disc the size of a quarter that can be worn in a variety of ways — as a wristband, pendant, clip or even in your pocket. The medallion serves as the key to everything you do on the ship. Because it’s a screenless location-based device, it’s not going to provide things like the ship’s activity schedule, but what it does is create personalized room services and contactless payments.

The Ocean Medallion system was created by Nytec, a design and engineering firm, as a wearable platform capable of just-in-time guest recognition, secure authentication and a variety of unique, personalized experiences. To enter their room, guests simply walk up to the door and it opens. When the guest gets to his floor, the cabin is aware. It begins to automatically ready the room as the guest prefers it — blinds open or closed, lights on or off, heat or AC set to his liking. An 8-inch display outside the stateroom greets you by name and welcomes you back.

“The medallion controls the stateroom lights, blinds and access automatically based on your preferences. The system learns over time based on who is in the room and what each guest does,” said Vince Ball, vice president of product innovation at Nytec. Ball said the medallion also feeds valuable data to Carnival about room behavior.

In addition to room access, the medallions can also be used to locate your family and friends while on the ship. It’ll even let you order food and beverages and then find you when it’s time to deliver. In essence, the medallion tracks your location while aboard and communicates the appropriate information to the devices ready to serve you.

Once you’ve whet your appetite for IoT on the ship, I’m betting you’re going to want these features at home, too. Carnival’s medallion system seems a bit more organic since it eliminates the need to haul your phone around, but Celebrity’s integrated app makes keeping up with activities onboard easy. Both make cruising with IoT a blast. Who’d have guessed that you’d get an IoT immersion lesson at sea?

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 8, 2019  3:50 PM

Intelligent messaging with your IoT device using WhatsApp

Sudha Jamthe Sudha Jamthe Profile: Sudha Jamthe
Bosch, connected camera, Consumer IoT, Enterprise IoT, Internet of Things, iot, IoT applications, IoT devices, UIB, Unified Inbox, voice, voice control, whatsapp

Imagine you’re hungry during transit at an airport. What if you could ask WhatsApp on your phone which restaurant has the shortest line? The security cameras watching the airport terminals know this information. Now, you can talk to the camera via WhatsApp and find information that gets you food or gets you to the restroom with the shortest line, or you could even ask a shop to hold the gift you want to buy for your kid. You can do this alone or with a group of colleagues who are coming from different terminals.

WhatsApp is one of the top messaging apps with voice, photo, location and group capabilities. But so far, the IoT devices and messaging apps used by people have been separate worlds. Unified Inbox has become one of the early WhatsApp Enterprise Partners and has integrated UIB’s intelligent IoT messaging platform using WhatsApp’s Business API. This allows users to chat with devices using WhatsApp and other channels such as voice, text and other messaging apps.

Human-computer interface with IoT messaging

Devices talk to us today by sending us notification on our phones. My phone gets a notification when my Nest Cam security camera notices a person. I cannot talk to the device, but have to open my phone, open the Nest app and click a few times to dig into what the camera saw at that timestamp. Such a human-machine interface is not natural and has lot of friction for customers to engage. Today, we can talk to voice assistants like Alexa to fetch information from the internet or activate predetermined actions. We need all our devices to become voice assistants to offer different services based on their capabilities.

Getting security devices to talk to humans using WhatsApp

UIB now brings messaging with WhatsApp to make devices communicate like voice assistants. For example, Bosch has security cameras for smart offices, warehouses and airports that have been integrated with the UnificationEngine intelligent IoT messaging platform. So now you can use WhatsApp and query security cameras like you would chat with a friend.

Source: Bosche

Michael Goh, Bosch Building Technology’s ASEAN sales director, said, “Bosch’s partnership with UIB allows our customers to easily communicate with our connected products through text and natural language. With Unified Inbox and WhatsApp, we query our intelligent cameras’ metadata for smart city and connected building use cases.”

Why would you message a security camera?

Chatting with a device using WhatsApp allows us to have a conversation with the device. This opens up creative use cases to query cameras about crowds and updates on what they see on shelves. Imagine a security camera reading car license plates to help locate your car in the garage. Adding WhatsApp messaging to Bosch security cameras using UIB changes the camera from a passive video streaming device to a conversational personality that you can query about what it sees in real time.

Business implications of chatting with security cameras

As we get a proliferation of devices all around us in offices, streets and airports, UIB’s partnership with WhatsApp allows the devices to be our eyes and ears. On the business side, this opens up new opportunities for airports, brands, real estate properties and smart cities to allow remote conversations with their customers to give them real-time information. It creates better engagement for the business with customers using IoT devices.

A conversation with an IoT device is the beginning of a connected world, where airport transit becomes as fun as walking through a mall.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

January 8, 2019  2:02 PM

The next frontier for IoT: Edge analytics

Sean Riley Profile: Sean Riley
Edge analytics, Edge computing, Enterprise IoT, IIoT, IIoT analytics, Industrial IoT, Internet of Things, iot, IoT analytics, IoT data, IoT edge

As any technological system grows, it can either be advanced or surpassed by other technologies. Sometimes, this lesson is learned the hard way. For instance, many legacy photography companies either pivoted or shuttered with the advent of cloud photo sharing, mobile phone cameras and the improvement of home printers.

Even the most buzzed about technologies of the past decade are seeing disruption rear its ugly head — including IoT, cloud computing, social media platforms, virtual reality and the like.

With the internet of things, we are at an inflection point. Data being collected from devices, buildings and sensors is vast, so massive that, a lot of the time, it never is used because the data isn’t understood. Part of the problem with IoT data — and more specifically, industrial IoT data — is that it is collected on central servers and not the IoT devices themselves. Most of the time, these servers are either on the cloud or part of an in-house data system.

For a manufacturer in need of real-time IIoT data analysis of a device or sensor, this creates added complexity and an unnecessary blocker to getting information directly from the system. If you need to retrieve data from a source other than the IoT device built into production, you may not know where the data is specifically coming from, or worse, you may not be able to connect to the device and its related information to make integral business decisions.

The solution is bringing the analytics to the edge, which allows data to be analyzed at the point where the equipment is actually transmitting the information and there is no networked cloud or server data to sift through.

Edge analytics is perfect for manufacturers who need to be able to analyze and take the corresponding action in response to the massive amounts of data transmitted by IIoT sensors or the data transmitted from the production line. Beyond cutting down reaction time and the sifting of vital data, edge analytics also increases data security, especially in production facilities that create a continuous stream of data ripe for data attacks.

Here are a few more benefits for manufacturers who implement edge analytics processes into their IIoT programs:

Varied connectivity and data mobility
Implementing edge technologies removes the potential downtime risks and connectivity issues often inherent in production lines and manufacturing centers. Edge analytics systems can operate in places that might limit or require intermittent connectivity to the cloud.

Instead of relying on access to networks or the cloud for computing, storage, backup and analytics in manufacturing facilities where the infrastructure is often weak, businesses can have more faith in their sensors or devices processing and collecting operational data than if tied to servers or the cloud.

Need for real-time decision-making
In manufacturing, decisions need to be made as quickly as possible. Additionally, any problems or complications to production lines or automated process need to be identified and managed as quickly as possible.

Edge analytics allows data to be processed instantly, at least in sub-second speeds. For technologies like advanced robotics or automatic manufacturing line machinery, for example, the quicker issues can be identified and data can be analyzed is integral to the business. IIoT devices and sensors need to be able to do analytics locally without first sending data to the cloud, so decisions can be made rapidly.

Localized compute power
Many IIoT sensors and devices have space constraints due to the nature of manufacturing. Edge analytics hardware is lightweight and rugged, which is ideal for production lines, warehouses and other manufacturing needs.

More than anything, this creates an environment in which fast, secure and confident decisions can be made at the device level without the support of bigger computing power. This ensures reliability and uptime performance.

New storage and security needs
If you peruse any cybersecurity industry journal or dedicated blog, you will see how recent technological advancements — IoT and the cloud, to name a couple — are prized by hackers with malicious. The reason being that all these nascent technologies have easily exploitable loopholes that have not yet been solved by the market and the industry security systems.

As the numbers of sensors and IIoT manufacturing devices generating data on remote and sometimes mobile devices grow, so does the need for not just efficient storage, but data that can be secured in a variety of environments. Limiting the transfer of data to one step versus moving to servers or the cloud eliminates an easily exploitable threat.

Edge analytics is not a fad to be ignored

By not exploring edge analytics, manufacturers are limiting the potential benefits they can reap from their IIoT platforms. When the transmission of data, the ability to quickly analyze data and information security are not localized to a device or product in the manufacturing industry becoming more reliant on IIoT, then the potential for disastrous lags in response time or the loss of key data analytics occur without any even noticing.

Limiting where IIoT data analysis can be completed affects not only what manufacturers can offer to their customers, but also the amount of value that can be derived by advancements such as an IIoT-enabled production operation.

How edge analytics improves the system

To understand how important edge analytics could be to manufacturing, imagine if you will, a remote monitoring operation of the paint spraying process on an automotive line. The amount of paint applied in this specific process is critical to quality. The under- or over-application of paint is unacceptable and requires significant reworking and sunken costs.

When the performance data of this process is analyzed by IIoT devices and is then relayed across the cloud, the ability to respond with the necessary amount of speed to detect these fluctuations and the take action is lost. Facilities undertaking this car production process also often lack proper connectivity, which makes data transmission beyond the location of the device unreliable. As such, fluctuations in the painting process can be missed or detected too late to elicit a response.

To overcome these issues, edge analytics can be employed at the local level, where the IIoT devices are operating, allowing for the measurement of specific, combined operating parameters and issue alerts when these complex parameters are breached.

Building edge analytics into manufacturing is similar to starting an IoT system; you need to start with a simple threshold alerting systems that are easily and quickly understood by production engineers, product managers or field service technicians. This allows for a shift from a proactive approach to IIoT to a truly predictive data collection and analysis model.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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