Tag: Internet of Things

The IoT is a mess

Monday, 12 November, 2018

The problem with the IoT (Internet of Things) is the huge gulf between hardware and software. So proclaims the blog Digits to Dollars, which is a product of “a multi-purpose consulting firm” called D2D Advisory Inc. that helps companies “achieve their long-term financial and strategic objectives.” D2D was founded by Jonathan Goldberg, who can be found at the “intersection of Technology and Finance.”

What makes the IoT so complicated is that an oil company might want to collect data from thousands of different sensors over hundreds of miles of pipelines, while a shipping company might want to track thousands of pallets thousands of miles away.

Why is IoT such a mess? Snippet:

“IoT networks need two things, they need a network for communications, and then modules, attached to ‘things’, that communicates to those networks. But compare that to all the use cases possible. That oil company needs a long range network, cellular will not work because of the remote locations involved. The module can probably have power, but needs someone to go out and install them. By contrast, the cellular might work for a local delivery fleet, but then everyone fleet will need different sensors built into the module (e.g. temperature, location, activity, camera, whatever). Then remember that none of these companies actually build their own modules for anything, so they have to find someone capable of that. For those of in the technology business, the idea of finding a manufacturer in Asia to build a module is not too remote, for everyone else it is literally the other side of the world. Further complicating all this is the fact that there is no company on the planet capable of providing all the electronics needed — including four or five different flavors of radios and a dozen categories of sensors. The combinatorics behind this are one of those math problems with more answers than there are atoms in the universe.”

Bottom line: There will be no IoT platform. Instead, different solutions for different industries will emerge. “Time to stop dreaming and get building,” say the D2D writers.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Sunday, 2 October, 2016 0 Comments

“The prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully,” is the popular variant of a famous quote by Dr Johnson. And the prospect of making a presentation on the topic of the language of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in early November means this blog will be focusing on all things i4.0 in the coming weeks. So let’s get going with some basic terminology:

  • The First Industrial Revolution: The steam engine freed people from relying on their own muscular strength or that of animals for manufacturing and transport.
  • The Second Industrial Revolution: Electricity powered spectacular improvements in productivity, innovation, comfort and well-being.
  • The Third Industrial Revolution: The microprocessor, the computer and the internet led to dramatic developments in efficiency, commerce and creativity.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution: The smartphone, the Internet of Things, 5G, genetic engineering, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, unmanned vehicles, robotics, nanotechnology, machine learning… will affect how we live and work for the remainder of this century.

“Our ancestors could believe that their achievements had a chance of bearing up against the flow of events. We know time to be a hurricane. Our buildings, our sense of style, our ideas, all of these will soon enough be anachronisms, and the machines in which we now take inordinate pride will seem no less bathetic than Yorick’s skull.” — Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work


The IoT of farms, cities and 5G

Monday, 22 February, 2016 0 Comments

On Friday here, farming was mentioned in connection with everything being connected at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Now, Nokia is getting in on the act with the announcement of a $350 million fund for investments in IoT (Internet of Things) companies. The focus will be on connected cars, digital health, the enterprise, big data, analytics and farming. Presenting the fund to the press, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said:

“For example we have worked with KT in Korea on the application of real time analytics and automated action to increase farming productivity. We have conducted a market trial for connected bus terminals in New Zealand. Trying new business models for smart cities that go beyond advertising and that improve the overall transportation experience. We have worked on providing intelligent transportation on the highways of Germany with real-time hazard warnings and other safety information, enabling vehicle to vehicle and other infrastructure communication.”

Smart cities are found in smart nations and Ericsson, Nokia’s Nordic rival, is making an IoT move in Singapore in partnership with Singtel, a Singaporean telecommunications company, with a combined mobile subscriber base of 500 million customers. Snippet:

“IoT connectivity is an important part of Singapore’s enterprises and supports the Singapore Government’s Smart Nation initiative. We anticipate a growing demand to connect a multitude of sensors and devices in a cost-effective manner… With the early introduction of low-powered IoT devices, this brings us a step closer to 5G goals, where new device and sensor technologies can leverage network connectivity to power a variety of use cases, such as lighting and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity.”

The common factor in the Nokia and Ericsson moves is 5G — the next generation of cellular technology. After all, if you’re in the network business, you need to get customers to upgrade to 5G so you can make more money. The carrot and stick of the IoT is a clever way of persuading them to spend.


Trump antics, analytics and the vision thing

Tuesday, 2 February, 2016 1 Comment

A week ago, TechNewsWorld published a piece by Rob Enderle titled “How Trump Wins: Master Manipulator, Meet Analytics.” Snippet: “There is no doubt Trump is a master manipulator, and he has figured out how to use social media to turn this advanced skill into a near superpower. If this skill disparity holds, he won’t just win the election — it will be a rout.”

A week is a long time in politics. Donald Trump lost in Iowa last night, Marco Rubio is heading to New Hampshire with the wind at his back and we’re now looking at a “Three-Way Republican Race,” according to Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal.

Marco Rubio Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group and he “provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market,” among other things. He also writes for CIO, which serves the needs of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and his latest column is titled “The Internet of Things has a vision problem.” His very valid point is that the the Internet of Things is more a tech term than a convincing argument about how life would be better in a world where all imaginable devices talk to each other. Quote:

“With the Internet of Things (IoT) the problem starts with the name, which doesn’t convey a core value but a technical state (connected things) and focuses people again on quantity rather than quality. ‘Smart’ was far better because it implied a solution that made things better as opposed to just made things different. A connected device isn’t inherently better than a disconnected device unless you somehow add intelligence or additional needed functionality.”

Perhaps the IoT needs a Steve Jobs to sell the concept to the masses? Talking of the Apple genius, Rob Enderle concluded his column on The Donald and analytics thus: “Trump may be the best indicator of what would have happened had Jobs run for president in a social media/analytics world.” Doubt it. After all, a connected device isn’t inherently better than a disconnected device unless you somehow add intelligence.

Bottom line: Marco Rubio’s strong third position in Iowa is very significant. If he does well in New Hampshire and wins in South Carolina, the nomination is his.


Word of the Year

Wednesday, 16 December, 2015 0 Comments

It’s time for the annual Rainy Day Awards and we’re launching this year’s series of seven with our Word of the Year. First, however, and to avoid confusion, a brief note on what the word is not. Although it resembles iota, which means “a very small amount”, and is related to the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet, it’s not iota. And while it looks a bit like jot, which is related to iota, and means to write down something briefly and quickly, it’s not jot, either.

The Rainy Day Word of the Year award goes to… IoT. The acronym means the Internet of Things, which is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in objects, empowering them to send and receive data. This is going to be huge and the International Data Corporation predicts that the IoT will include more than 200 billion things globally connected by the end of 2020.

The key driver of the Internet of Things is the ease with which we can wirelessly connect mobile items to the Internet using WiFi, Bluetooth or proprietary wireless communications protocols. Farewell, then, forever to the days when Internet devices had to be wired to a fixed location.

But what does it mean for me, for you? Well, IoT devices coming our way include home automation like Google’s Nest, the Vessyl intelligent cup that monitors what you are drinking, the Beam tooth brush that reports on your dental hygiene history and the HAPIfork that records one’s eating habits. Added to all that, we have wearables: fitness trackers, smart watches, clever clothes and healthcare embeds such as pacemakers and glucose monitors. Automated cars will also have lots of IoT capabilities.

Beam toothbrush

Perhaps the most disruptive thing about the IoT is its ability to unbundle products and systems. Unbundling? Think of the MP3 audio format, which unbundled individual tracks from albums. That upended the music business. Airbnb has revolutionized the concept of renting homes and rooms and the iOT will enable all kinds of devices and services and products to be leased on demand.

The tsunami of data generated by the IoT will pose enormous privacy and moral questions that are only starting to be addressed. Who owns the health-related data streaming from your wrist? Should cars that monitor driving habits report road behaviour to employers and insurers?

While that’s being debated, the IoT will be creating job opportunities for people with the right (Big Data) skills. These include data analysis, network design and security management certification. The research companies have been predicting tech job growth in the order of millions for years now so a good IoT Christmas present for someone you love (?) might be Getting a Big Data Job For Dummies.

Tomorrow, here, the Rainy Day Drink of the Year award.


The new energy vampires

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 0 Comments

Most homes use a lot less energy to heat or cool indoor air than they did in the 1970s. “That’s the good news,” says Matt Power of Green Builder Media, “But the bad news is that during that time we’ve added electric gadget after gadget to our ‘normal’ household environment.” These are the new energy vampires that drain away power in standby mode and they’re abetted by the digital devices that are constantly running or charging. Around the corner is the Internet of Things that will draw down even more electricity to to churn out Big Data.

Today, it was announced that the technology giant IBM and the chip designer ARM are marketing a “starter kit” designed to speed up the invention of internet-connected things. They say that “it can take just five minutes to unbox the equipment and start sending readings to online apps.” Not a word about the energy needed to make all this happen, though.

Internet of Things