Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Interview: The Evolution of the Internet of Things with David Cuartielles, Co-founder of Arduino

One of the problems of IoT is that a really useful application hasn't yet been found. Who wants to have a fridge that tells you that you need milk?

I worked on a European investigation project in which we designed a connected kitchen. We hacked electro domestic products and connected them to the internet through circuits made for us by Arduino LLC. When we finished the project we invited people from the electro domestic companies to come and see them. Someone from Electrolux told us that they weren't interested in IoT because 30 years ago they had experimented with connected kitchens and they thought that the market wasn’t ready, or willing to pay extra for electro domestic products with internet connections.

One of the problems of IoT is that a really useful application hasn't yet been found. Who wants to have a fridge that tells you that you need milk? However, there are some home devices that have been very successful like Nest thermostats or Point fire alarms; but these are dedicated to monitoring.

Regarding standardization, the problem is that there are a series of large long-standing organizations held back by inertia and a series of small businesses with good ideas, between them it is hard to find a meeting point. This has generated friction and different approaches to the problem.

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Will IoT change how we interact with mobile apps?

Mobile apps try to keep you glued on the screen for as long as possible, but in the future these experiences will become focused and unified, as they interact more seamlessly to become extensions of your IoT system.

That’s according to Frank Palermo, the VP of digital solutions at Virtusa, who says the growth in momentum surrounding IoT will change UX design for mobile applications and consumer systems.

Palermo makes a few points on the future of UX design in the IoT age, including what might be the most shocking to users today: No more screens.

Screens are a thing of the past, according to Palermo, in a design world focused on integrated context. Everything is always running and UX design needs to make operations simple for the end user, removing clutter found on apps currently. The UX needs to change as well to make sure only a few connections are occupying the space, and Palermo claims data-driven design might help towards a cleaner interface.

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How the Internet of Things helps build brands

Brands are poised to benefit greatly from the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next several years, as companies are being connected with their consumers in ways they never could before.

Engagement is at the heart of IoT. It isn’t a dusty server sitting in a back office, it isn’t your laptop or even your smartphone. It is a concept built around connecting the various items we interact and engage with throughout the day in a way previously only reserved for what we would describe as computers.

This means that brands have a variety of new methods by which they can connect with and deliver value to the consumer, and to create a lifestyle around interacting with their brand and the environment around consumers.

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Intel looks beyond PCs to the cloud and Internet of Things

Cloud, connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) are key focuses for Intel, its CEO Brian Krzanich has said, as the company looks to realign for the future.

Just last week, the chipmaker announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs - a figure representing 11 percent of its workforce - as part of a significant restructure brought upon by a decline in sales of PCs and other hardware.

Now, writing in a blog post, Krzanich has set out his vision of how Intel can transform from a PC company to "a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. That, he claims, will be achieved by focusing on five core themes - connected things, memory, connectivity, Moore's Law and cloud - with the final element seemingly forming the core of the company's plans.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Internet of Things – sleeping giant or thoroughbred?

I once heard someone describe the Internet of Things (IoT) as a sleeping giant. Is it fair to describe the IoT as some kind of barely moving creature with massive potential and unimaginable strength, but far from gaining any momentum?

Is the Internet of Things a two-speed phenomenon?

The Smart IoT London painted the picture of IoT as a two-speed phenomenon. On one hand you have companies that are making enormous leaps forward and have already integrated IoT into their everyday processes. On the other you have many people across various business verticals and levels who look at it like my grandma would look at an iPad. Curious, interested, utterly bewildered.

So it’s no surprise that even at an event that gathered the cutting edge of the IoT world, when Andy Mulholland opened his brilliant talk by asking if anyone had clarity on what the IoT was, the answer was total silence, despite the sizeable audience.

What’s the hold-up then? IoT is still clashing with several crucial obstacles but smart companies are thinking ahead.

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What utilities expect from the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is the concept of everyday objects – from industrial machines to wearable devices – using built-in sensors to gather data and take action on that data across a network. Thierry Godart, General Manager of Energy Solutions at Intel, describes IoT as “taking the best of IT into the operational world.”

IoT devices are indeed flooding utility operations. From synchrophasors to smart meters, new assets installed in the energy grid are highly sensored, due to the declining cost of the sensor technology. And customers aren’t left out either. Home automation technology can sense and respond to the needs of an individual or family, even when they are not present.

For utilities, the smart grid era unleashed not only millions of these new IoT devices, but also more data that utilities need to analyze and understand to make better decisions about their networks. In fact, 63 percent of utility respondents in a recent SAS survey indicated that IoT was critical to their companies’ future success.

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10 Billion Items Of Connected Clothing: The Internet Of Things Just Became A Lot More Fashionable

Author and journalist Bruce Sterling reportedly once asked: “Why can’t I Google my shoes when I can’t find them?” Well Bruce, now you can. Not just any pair either, but your exact pair.

Some 10 billion products in the apparel, accessories and footwear market are currently being individually digitally connected, and the ability to locate items is just one of the benefits that will surface from the deal.

So what does that actually mean? Essentially our physical wares will come with digital applications accessible via our phones. We will indeed be able to find our shoes when we’ve lost them, but also do such things as figure out how to wash clothes properly, look for style tips on how to wear items, even search for how to buy a new version of the same piece. In fact, the limitations of what’s possible lie entirely in the hands of the brands whose products will now have such digital identities, and not the partners facilitating it.

“This is a big leap forward. From an IOT perspective it’s a major milestone. We’re talking about billions of apparel items having a digital capability, enabling a whole vertical industry to be able to act,” says Niall Murphy, CEO and co-founder of EVRYTHNG, who was inspired by that early Bruce Sterling quote. “We’re taking the manufacturing complexity out of the challenge list by pre-solving it for brands. No longer is it about how am I going to get my 500 million pairs of sneakers to have a digital capability, because it’s already there. Now it’s about what applications you’re going to create, and a focus on real end value for the user.”

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

The top-country early-adopters of the Internet of Things, ranked

The internet is infiltrating all of our devices, from thermostats to stoves. Yet, the technology seems to be more popular in other countries than in the US.

The Koreans, Danish, and Swiss have more things tethered to the internet, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and search engine Shodan.

Still, IoT technology hasn’t gone mainstream. Changing behavior is difficult, and many technical issues like security need to be solved. But the OECD says that IoT devices can help governments make their operations more efficient, and transform transportation monitoring, eHealth, and energy.

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What is Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) starts with your things—the things that matter most to your business. IoT is about making your things and your data come together in new ways. Tap into data. Uncover actionable intelligence. And modernize how you do business. Welcome to the Internet of your Things.

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Internet of Things: Are We There Yet?

Is the Internet of Things the world’s most confusing tech trend? On the one hand, we’re told it’s going to be epic, and soon – all predictions are either in tens of billions (of connected devices) and trillions (of dollars of economic value to be created). On the other hand, the dominant feeling expressed by end users (including at this year’s CES show, arguably the bellwether of the industry) is essentially “meh” – right now the IoT feels like an avalanche of new connected products, many of which seem to solve trivial, “first world” problems: expensive gadgets that resolutely fall in the “nice to have” category, rather than “must have”. And, for all the talk about a mega tech trend, things seem to be moving at the speed of molasses, with little discernible progress year on year.

Part of the problem is perhaps one of semantics. While gadgets are indeed part of the category (and quite often very large markets onto themselves), the Internet of Things (which we define as any “connected hardware” other than desktops, laptops and smartphones) is a much broader, and deeper, trend that cuts across both the consumer, enterprise and industrial spaces. Fundamentally, the Internet of Things is about the transformation of any physical object into a digital data product. Once you attach a sensor to it, a physical object (whether a tiny one like a pill that goes through your body, or a very large one like a plane or building) starts functioning a lot like any other digital product – it emits data about its usage, location and state; it can be tracked, controlled, personalized and upgraded remotely; and, when coupled with all the progress in Big Data and artificial intelligence, it can become intelligent, predictive, collaborative and in some cases autonomous. An entirely new way of interacting with our world is emerging. The importance of the IoT perhaps emerges more clearly when you think about it as the final chapter of “software eats the world”, where everything gets connected.

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The Internet Of Things Is Coming, Hang On To Your Hats!

I recently completely a deep dive on the Internet of Things (IoT) space for one of my Red Rocket clients, and I was blown away with what I learned.

If we think the consumer internet as we know it is a big deal, IoT will become an even bigger deal, over time. Gartner predicts the IoT industry to be $1.9TN in size by 2020, and McKinsey thinks it could be as large as $6.2TN by 2025, in terms of economic impact. Yes, trillion. Intel forecasted 15BN devices were already connected to the internet in 2015 alone. That’s a lot of demand for embedded smart modules, cloud computing, connectivity, data security, mobile apps and analytics reporting alone.

To be clear, when I talk about IoT, I am largely talking about devices connected to the internet (e.g., think a Nest thermostat), or Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies. IoT applications run across these primary sectors: Consumer, Commercial, Industrial, Buildings, and Government. And, get further segmented across these major industries: Retail, Transportation, Security/Safety, IT, Manufacturing, Automotive, Energy and Healthcare, to name a few. Research suggests Manufacturing and Healthcare are the largest two of these industries, in terms of potential and investment to date. From there, it drills down even further. For example, in the Security/Safety space, it splits out into Real Time Alerts, Asset Tracking, Fire Safety, Environmental Safety, Elderly/Child Protection, Power Protection, Supply Chain Visibility and beyond.

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