Tag: IoT

Mobile is everything, everywhere

Friday, 19 February, 2016 1 Comment

On Monday, the annual Mobile World Congress begins in Barcelona and the slogan this year is “Mobile Is Everything.” Those who follow the industry, will be aware that the Barcelona motto echoes the title of a presentation made by Benedict Evans in October 2014: “Mobile is Eating the World.” Both claims sound somewhat bombastic, but that’s only because many people are unaware of how powerful smartphones have become.

Most mobile phones today are equipped with an array of sensors and these enable completely new kinds of connected experiences. This can be seen in the title of a Barcelona event titled Digital Farming and Connected Car. Visitors to the “Digital Farming” presentation will see how “how field sensors transfer data directly to the farmer — with important information on water needs, fertilizer supplies and the right time of harvest.” The informed farmers will then drive (laugh?) all the way to the bank in their SEAT Connect cars, which will “initiate parking and fueling transactions,” while “Payment will be conveniently done in-car through Samsung Pay.”

“Where there’s muck, there’s money” was the old saying about farming. The updated version goes, “Where there’s data, there’s money.”

Looking at the bigger picture in which connectivity is redefining farming and transport, we find ourselves in a world where our bodies, homes and factories are becoming part of an invisible network of sensors called the Internet of Things (IoT). Is mobile a subset of this Fourth Industrial Revolution or is it the catalyst? That’s the debate that will rage this year. In Barcelona, it seems that they’ve made up their minds: Mobile is everything.

Mobile World Congress


The Google IoT Technology Research Award Pilot

Monday, 15 February, 2016 0 Comments

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Google is interested in the Internet of Things (IoT). With experts estimating that the IoT will consist of 50 billion objects by 2020, Google cannot afford to miss the Next Big Thing. The 1,2 and 3 of the Google Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Research Award Pilot are:

(1) explore interesting use cases and innovative user interfaces
(2) address technical challenges as well as interoperability between devices and applications
(3) experiment with new approaches to privacy, safety and security

The Google mission statment: “To connect our physical world to the Internet is a broad and long-term challenge, one we hope to address by working with researchers across many disciplines and work practices.”

Commentator Mike Downes: “for anyone even vaguely interested in the stuff in their home or around a shopping mall, a car or walking down the street — this is fascinating.”

Google can expect stiff competition in this space from Microsoft, which recently announced the general availability of its Azure IoT Hub suite: “This service provides capabilities for securely connecting, provisioning, updating and sending commands to devices,” wrote Nayana Singh last Monday. “IoT Hub enables companies to jumpstart their IoT projects by controlling millions of IoT assets running on a broad set of operating systems and protocols.”

IoT


Cisco + Jasper = $1.4 billion IoT bet

Thursday, 4 February, 2016 0 Comments

Why has Cisco just spent $1.4 billion on acquiring Jasper Technologies, the developer of an Internet of Things cloud platform? $1.4 billion is an awful lot of money and an “Internet of Things cloud platform” sounds very nebulous, so what’s the big deal? Well, for its money Cisco is buying a company that really knows the booming Internet of Things (IoT) industry and that’s a big deal, indeed.

Terminology note: IoT means connected machines talking to one another via the internet. Example: a factory floor equipped with intelligent robots, a road filled with smart cars, a wind farm stocked with connected turbines or a home furnished with thinking thermostats.

Rob Salvagno, Cisco VP of Corporate Business Development, wrote a blog post yesterday stating that “Cisco’s Intent to Acquire Jasper is All About Making IoT Simple, Scalable and Interoperable.” Snippet:

“When I first met the CEO, Jahangir Mohammad, I was immediately impressed with his visionary approach to the opportunities available in IoT and his foresight in building a unique business to capture those opportunities. 10 years ago, when everyone was focused on flip phones and the early adoption of smartphones, Jahangir and team focused their energies on connecting everything else, including GPS units, cars, security systems and point of sale devices. This early insight has proved fruitful, and now many millions of ‘things’ are connected to the network and working on Jasper’s platform.”

IoT systems generate huge amounts of data and a platform is needed to process, manage and make sense of it all. The cloud is where the action is because companies can scale up as the IoT-generated data volume grows and grows and grows. Acquiring Jasper is a big bet, but a smart one from Cisco’s point of view because its core strength is networking and the IoT is all about the network.


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.


In the year 2025

Sunday, 17 January, 2016 0 Comments

As CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation and Chairman of the Singularity University, Peter Diamandis is ideally placed to make predictions about the future of humanity. In fact, No. 17 on his list of Peter’s Laws states: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” And that’s what he does.

Last year, Peter Diamandis selected eight areas where “we’ll see extraordinary transformation in the coming decade.” His second choice is going to be one of this year’s big stories as it incorporates two hot trends: the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0:

2. A Trillion-Sensor Economy: “The Internet of Everything describes the networked connections between devices, people, processes and data. By 2025, the IoE will exceed 100 billion connected devices, each with a dozen or more sensors collecting data. This will lead to a trillion-sensor economy driving a data revolution beyond our imagination.”

Back in 1969, Denny Zager and Rick Evans from Nebraska had a go at predicting the future, but they went further out on the limb than Peter Diamandis, 500 years in fact, with their song, In The Year 2525. It sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. The future is fascinating and the demand for predictions is insatiable.


Industry four point oh/zero

Sunday, 3 January, 2016 0 Comments

Backgrounder: For people learning English, the pronunciation of the number 0 can be a challenge. Consider: tennis 30–0 (“Thirty love”); phone number 504 7721 (“five oh four double seven two one”; soccer: 3–0 (“Three nil”); temperature 0C (“zero degrees”), and, of course, the number 0.4 (“zero point four” or “nought point four”).

This brings us to what Germany calls “Industrie 4.0,” which is going to be big in 2016, especially in Davos later this month. By the way, Industrie 4.0 can be translated and pronounced as “Industry four point oh” or “Industry four point zero”, depending on one’s preference. Then there are the #hashtag rules: because spaces or punctuation in the words preceding or following a hashtag will break the link, we’re left with “#Industry40,” which looks awfully like “forty”. Oh dear.

So what is this Industry 4.0 that everyone is talking about? The German Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech, offers this definition:

“The first three industrial revolutions came about as a result of mechanisation, electricity and IT. Now, the introduction of the Internet of Things and Services into the manufacturing environment is ushering in a fourth industrial revolution. In the future, businesses will establish global networks that incorporate their machinery, warehousing systems and production facilities in the shape of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). In the manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently. Smart factories that are already beginning to appear employ a completely new approach to production. Smart products are uniquely identifiable, may be located at all times and know their own history, current status and alternative routes to achieving their target state. The embedded manufacturing systems are vertically networked with business processes within factories and enterprises and horizontally connected to dispersed value networks that can be managed in realtime – from the moment an order is placed right through to outbound logistics.”

A shorter definition might go like this: “The next stage in the organization and management of the entire manufacturing value chain process.”


Time passes, love fades and Dylan meets Big Data

Wednesday, 30 December, 2015 0 Comments

Although he’s a poet and a philosopher, Bob Dylan is not so ivory-tower that he scorns advertising, especially if it helps the Bob Dylan business. Back in 2004, he appeared in a commercial for Victoria’s Secret lingerie. In 2008 he did ads for Cadillac, and in 2009 he partnered with will.i.am for a Pepsi spot that aired during the Super Bowl. In October, IBM pulled off quite a coup when it coaxed Dylan into appearing in a commercial for its artificial intelligence software Watson. “I can read 800 million pages per second. My analysis shows your major themes are time passes and love fades,” Watson tells Dylan as the two riff on a song idea.

According to IBM, five Watson services analyzed 320 songs from Dylan’s archive and came up with the key trends of time passing and love fading. The message of the ad is that Watson not only thinks but learns about a topic. Among those topics are Big Data, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), all of which will be major themes here on Rainy Day in 2016.

The IoT is about connecting devices to the internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from phones to washing machines to wearables and almost anything else you can think of. The concept also covers machine components such as an airplane engine or the drill of an oil rig. According to Gartner, more than 20 billion devices will be part of the IoT by 2020.


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.


IBM brings Watson to Munich

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015 0 Comments

It would be an exaggeration to say that Germany has bet the farm on the Industry 4.0 concept, but the country certainly is investing a huge amount of credibility along with significant sums of money in its variant of the Internet of Things (IoT). That willingness to take manufacturing into the cloud and beyond got a big vote of confidence today when IBM opened its Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich. The city will also host IBM’s first European Watson innovation centre.

The declared goal is to add the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors and systems that make up the IoT. The campus environment at the Highlight Towers on Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße will bring together a thousand IBM developers, consultants, researchers and designers and will also serve as an innovation lab for data scientists, engineers and programmers “building new connected solutions at the intersection of cognitive computing and the IoT,” according to the IBM press release.

Along with the facility in Munich, IBM announced today that it is opening Watson IoT Client Experience Centres across Asia and the Americas. Locations include Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas. These will provide clients and partners access to technology, tools and talent needed to develop and create new products and services using the cognitive intelligence delivered via the Watson IoT Cloud Platform.

As Thomas J. Watson Jr. once said: “Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.”

Watson