How Thought Leaders Envision The Future Of IoT

When researchers assembled the “network of networks” in 1983, they created what would become the modern Internet, something that would forever change business and the world in unknown and exciting ways, including the dawn of the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea of the IoT is to  connect a seemingly endless array of devices worldwide to enable automatic machine-to-machine communication for revolutionary purposes and productivity. The data that is collected from these connected devices can improve efficiency, automation, and replenishment and create new product-as-a-service business models—not to mention help run our lives, our businesses, and our world.

But what does the IoT mean for businesses today?

Even in its relative infancy, IoT is transforming businesses and industries of virtually every type, often in an unprecedented end-to-end manner. Companies that manufacture, distribute, and sell goods are being connected with the shipping industry, across ships, ports, and terminals using sensors that monitor vessel location, speed, temperatures for heat-sensitive cargo, and more, all in real time. As Christina “CK” Kerley, innovation speaker and futurist, said, “IoT grants us the ability to convert anything into a ‘smart’ marketing object.”

Healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely 24/7 to help lower healthcare costs and improve lives. Bob Egan, CEO and founder of the Sepharim Group, noted, “In healthcare, we’ll see automatically connecting IoT data streams to AI systems. This could mean hospitals collecting data streams from things like heart-rate monitors, oxygen monitors, respiratory systems.”

Agricultural practices are being managed from seed to soil to improve farming productivity and better feed the world population.

So what does the future look like with IoT? We reached out to 21 thought leaders (some mentioned above) who bring deep domain expertise and insights from around the globe. They span various industries and disciplines, from industry experts, academics, entrepreneurs, engineers, and research writers. They are continually exploring topics like smart devices, the customer journey, digital transformation, Big Data, data intelligence, and more in their discussion about our technological future.

Read what they have to say in Insights on the Future of the Internet of Things (IoT). The eBook captures some of their thoughts on where IoT is headed and its impact on business and life, while also considering some of the challenges.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Leveraging IoT To Boost Business

Today‘s businesses implement IoT (Internet of Things) tools for a variety of purposes. IoT platforms provide access to integrated hardware and cloud tools that let companies perform remote inventory management, for example, and gather data-based insights, which in turn enables more autonomous business operations and improves profitability.

IoT is an advanced ecosystem that incorporates hardware, software, networking, and security, and it‘s easy for a business to underestimate the complexity of its implementation process. The fact that it overlaps multiple specialized sectors, from data science to sensor manufacturers, makes it vital for companies to collaborate with experts throughout their IoT deployment.

Gathering data from the physical world

From construction firms to retail stores, employers can collect useful data throughout their daily operations. Remote construction sites can gather weather conditions, for instance, and retail stores can collect product counts at multiple locations. IoT technology can not only gather data, it can also alert employers of abnormal situations, such as when temperatures reach over 100 degrees. Common IoT components include intelligent devices, communication networks, cloud services, application platforms, and security protocols. Companies that are implementing new IoT technology often choose to work with an existing platform rather than starting from scratch.

Existing IoT business solutions

Helium is an established IoT firm that specializes in integrated smart sensing solutions. One of its products is an intelligent refrigerator that senses temperature data and alerts clients when the temperature might cause food to spoil. IBM Watson IoT is another option for companies looking for practical IoT solutions. The company tailors its cloud-based platform for the automotive, electronics, insurance, manufacturing, and retail industries.

IBM’s IoT for Insurance package, for example, gives participating insurance companies information on policyholders’ location, security, weather, traffic, and health. This data, in turn, allows the insurer to provide personalized and immediate protection and services when necessary. Other well-known IoT solution providers include Microsoft, Google, VMware, and Harman.

Optimizing IoT technologies

It’s important for companies that are considering IoT implementation to align IoT development with their business needs. Often, this means ensuring that the IoT platform is optimized for actionable insight. For example, instead of asking a smart refrigerator to send data every five minutes, embedded logic enables it to send only abnormal temperature alerts. This approach will not only free up server space, it also decreases energy consumption.

The cost benefits of IoT optimization is especially pronounced when scaled for thousands of IoT devices. Leveraging an IoT solution provider that values secure software optimization and development can help a company’s long-term IoT aspirations.

IoT security is essential

Because IoT technology communicates through a network, businesses need strong security measures to prevent infrastructure intrusions. For client and business data, data encryption is a must; for IoT technologies, so are network security, authentication, encryption, PKI (public key infrastructure), API (application programming interface) security, and security analytics. A recent report by Forrester Research recommends using an end-to-end IoT security approach to protect proprietary data and prevent breaches. Companies should also ensure that their IoT platform is robust, scalable, and upgradable for future connectivity developments.

IoT benefits

For any industry, IoT integration requires careful planning, deployment, and management. According to experts at VMware, successful implementation requires a solution built upon a foundation of collaborations and partnerships of multiple digital spectrum; the right tools and team are needed to reap its benefits with efficiency and security.

Consulting established IoT experts can help companies avoid costly errors while achieving their technological goals more quickly. Conducting different types of employee training for IoT implementation and putting together a talented data team can also effectively complement a company’s future IoT development.

For more on the business value of IoT, see The IoT Transforms The Sum Of The Parts, Not Just The Whole.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Flash Briefing: IoT And Connected Infrastructures

Today, we’ll talk about the Internet of Things and how it can help create connected infrastructures and develop more smart cities.

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Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Artificial Intelligence: The Future Of Oil And Gas

Oil prices have fallen dramatically over last few years, forcing some major oil companies to take drastic actions such as layoffs, cutting investments and budgets, and more. Shell, for example, shelved its plan to invest in Qatar, Aramco put on hold its deep-water exploration in the Red Sea, Schlumberger fired a few thousand employees, and the list goes on…

In view of falling oil prices and the resulting squeeze on cash flows, the oil and gas industry has been challenged to adapt and optimize its performance to remain profitable while maintaining a long-term investment and operating outlook. Currently, oil and gas companies find it difficult to maintain the same level of investment in exploration and production as when crude prices were at their peak. Operations in the oil and gas industry today means balancing a dizzying array of trade-offs in the drive for competitive advantage while maximizing return on investment.

The result is a dire need to optimize performance and optimize the cost of production per barrel. Companies have many optimization opportunities once they start using the massive data being generated by oil fields. Oil and gas companies can turn this crisis into an opportunity by leveraging technological innovations like artificial intelligence to build a foundation for long-term success. If volatility in oil prices is the new norm, the push for “value over volume” is the key to success going forward.

Using AI tools, upstream oil and gas companies can shift their approach from production at all costs to producing in context. They will need to do profit and loss management at the well level to optimize the production cost per barrel. To do this, they must integrate all aspects of production management, collect the data for analysis and forecasting, and leverage artificial intelligence to optimize operations.

When remote sensors are connected to wireless networks, data can be collected and centrally analyzed from any location. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the oil and gas supply chain stands to gain $ 50 billion in savings and increased profit by adopting AI. As an example, using AI algorithms to more accurately sift through signals and noise in seismic data can decrease dry wellhead development by 10 percent.

How oil and gas can leverage artificial intelligence

1. Planning and forecasting

On a macro scale, deep machine learning can help increase awareness of macroeconomic trends to drive investment decisions in exploration and production. Economic conditions and even weather patterns can be considered to determine where investments should take place as well as intensity of production.

2. Eliminate costly risks in drilling

Drilling is an expensive and risky investment, and applying AI in the operational planning and execution stages can significantly improve well planning, real-time drilling optimization, frictional drag estimation, and well cleaning predictions. Additionally, geoscientists can better assess variables such as the rate of penetration (ROP) improvement, well integrity, operational troubleshooting, drilling equipment condition recognition, real-time drilling risk recognition, and operational decision-making.

When drilling, machine-learning software takes into consideration a plethora of factors, such as seismic vibrations, thermal gradients, and strata permeability, along with more traditional data such as pressure differentials. AI can help optimize drilling operations by driving decisions such as direction and speed in real time, and it can predict failure of equipment such as semi-submersible pumps (ESPs) to reduce unplanned downtime and equipment costs.

3. Well reservoir facility management

Wells, reservoirs, and facility management includes integration of multiple disciplines: reservoir engineering, geology, production technology, petro physics, operations, and seismic interpretation. AI can help to create tools that allow asset teams to build professional understanding and identify opportunities to improve operational performance.

AI techniques can also be applied in other activities such as reservoir characterization, modeling and     field surveillance. Fuzzy logic, artificial neural networks and expert systems are used extensively across the industry to accurately characterize reservoirs in order to attain optimum production level.

Today, AI systems form the backbone of digital oil field (DOF) concepts and implementations. However, there is still great potential for new ways to optimize field development and production costs, prolong field life, and increase the recovery factor.

4. Predictive maintenance

Today, artificial intelligence is taking the industry by storm. AI-powered software and sensor hardware enables us to use very large amounts of data to gain real-time responses on the best future course of action. With predictive analytics and cognitive security, for example, oil and gas companies can operate equipment safely and securely while receiving recommendations on how to avoid future equipment failure or mediate potential security breaches.

5. Oil and gas well surveying and inspections

Drones have been part of the oil and gas industry since 2013, when ConocoPhillips used the Boeing ScanEagle drone in trials in the Chukchi Sea.  In June 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued the first commercial permit for drone use over United States soil to BP, allowing the company to survey pipelines, roads, and equipment in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In January, Sky-Futures completed the first drone inspection in the Gulf of Mexico.

While drones are primarily used in the midstream sector, they can be applied to almost every aspect of the industry, including land surveying and mapping, well and pipeline inspections, and security. Technology is being developed to enable drones to detect early methane leaks. In addition, one day, drones could be used to find oil and gas reservoirs underlying remote uninhabited regions, from the comfort of a warm office.

6. Remote logistics

As logistics to offshore locations is always a challenge, AI-enhanced drones can be used to deliver materials to remote offshore locations.

Current adoption of AI

Chevron is currently using AI to identify new well locations and simulation candidates in California. By using AI software to analyze the company’s large collection of historical well performance data, the company is drilling in better locations and has seen production rise 30% over conventional methods. Chevron is also using predictive models to analyze the performance of thousands of pieces of rotating equipment to detect failures before they occur. By addressing problems before they become critical, Chevron has avoided unplanned shutdowns and lowered repair expenses. Increased production and lower costs have translated to more profit per well.

Future journey

Today’s oil and gas industry has been transformed by two industry downturns in one decade. Although adoption of new hard technology such as directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has helped, the oil and gas industry needs to continue to innovate in today’s low-price market to survive. AI has the potential to differentiate companies that thrive and those that are left behind.

The promise of AI is already being realized in the oil and gas industry. Early adopters are taking advantage of their position  to get a head start on the competition and protect their assets. The industry has always leveraged technology to adapt to change, and early adopters have always benefited the most. As competition in the oil and gas industry continues to heat up, companies cannot afford to be left behind. For those that understand and seize the opportunities inherent in adopting cognitive technologies, the future looks bright.

For more insight on advanced technology in the energy sector, see How Digital Transformation Is Refueling The Energy Industry.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

The CIO’s Cheat Sheet For Digital Transformation

You didn’t sign up for this, but your company needs you—desperately.

As CIO, you figured you’d merely lead your IT department. You’d purchase equipment and create new systems. You’d implement policies and procedures around device usage. You’d protect your enterprise from dangerous cyberattacks.

But with new, groundbreaking technologies emerging every day—from the Internet of Things (IoT) to machine learning—your role within the organization has changed. In fact, it’s growing in importance. You’re expected to be more strategic. Your colleagues now view you as an influencer and change-maker. You’re looked upon to be a driving force at your enterprise—one who can successfully guide your company into the future.

The first step in making this transition from IT leader to company leader is to team up with others in the C-suite—specifically the COO—to drive digital transformation.

Increase CIO-COO collaboration and prepare your enterprise for the digital age

The precise roles and responsibilities of a COO are difficult to pin down. They often vary from company to company. But two things about the position are generally true:

  1. The COO is second in command to the chairman or CEO of an organization.
  2. The COO is tasked with ensuring a company’s operations are running at an optimal level.

In other words, the COO role is vitally important. And as technology continues to become more and more essential to a company’s short- and long-term success, it’s crucial for the COO to establish a close working relationship with the CIO. After all, the latest innovations—which today’s CIOs are responsible for adopting and managing—will unquestionably aid an organization’s operational improvements, no matter their industry.

Take manufacturing, for instance. The primary duty of a manufacturer’s COO is to create the perfect production process—one that minimizes cost and maximizes yield. To achieve this, the COO must ensure asset availability, balance efficiency with agility, and merge planning and scheduling with execution. This requires using a solution that provides real-time visibility. It involves harnessing the power of sensor data and connectivity. It encompasses capitalizing on analytics capabilities that enable businesses to be predictive rather than reactive.

And there’s one particular platform that makes all of this—and more—possible.

Experience the sheer power of IoT

In a recent white paper, Realizing IoT’s Value — Connecting Things to People and Processes, IDC referred to IoT as “a powerful disruptive platform that can enhance business processes, improve operational and overall business performance, and, more importantly, enable those innovative business models desperately needed to succeed in the digital economy.”

According to IDC research:

  • 80% of manufacturers are familiar or very familiar with the concept of IoT.
  • 70% view IoT as extremely or very important.
  • 90% have plans to invest in IoT within the next 12 to 24 months.
  • 30% already have one or more IoT initiatives in place.

So while most manufacturers appear to be on the same page about the importance and urgency of adopting IoT technology, there are stark differences in the kind of value they believe it can provide.

Nearly one-quarter (22%) of companies view IoT as tactical, meaning it can solve specific business challenges. Nearly 60%, however, see IoT as strategic. These organizations believe the technology can help them gain competitive advantages by enhancing the current products and services they provide, reducing costs, and improving productivity.

One thing all businesses can agree on is that IoT is essential to spurring enterprise-wide digital transformation—particularly as it pertains to reimagining business processes and products.

Innovate your organization’s business processes

Companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to run their operations smarter. In recent years, IoT has emerged as one of the most formidable methods for achieving this. It paves the way for increasing connectivity and business intelligence.

So what’s the endgame to all of this? Process automation.

While fully automated business processes remain a pipe dream for many companies, plenty of manufacturers are already making great strides in transforming their existing business processes with IoT.

Here are just a few ways IoT is enabling process improvements:

  • Predictive maintenance: IoT offers manufacturers real-time visibility into the condition of an asset or piece of equipment through wired or wireless sensors. By taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to maintenance, businesses can reduce asset/equipment downtown, minimize repair costs, and increase employee productivity.
  • Real-time scheduling: IoT technology empowers manufacturers to evaluate current demand and capacity availability in the moment. This allows businesses to continuously modify production schedules, resulting in higher throughput levels, lower unit costs, and greater customer satisfaction.
  • Environmental resource management and planning: IoT-enabled sensors provide manufacturers with the ability to capture and analyze energy use. By applying cognitive technology across the enterprise, companies can take the proper steps to reduce energy consumption and promote more sustainable environmental practices.

Develop and deliver innovative products

Creating smarter business processes isn’t enough for companies today. They must aspire to develop more intelligent products, too. This capability can help modern-day enterprises provide greater value to consumers, increase revenue, and separate themselves from the competition.

IoT is tailor-made for helping businesses build innovative products. With greater connectivity between organizations and goods, manufacturers can go beyond merely producing products to producing products and selling as-a-service add-ons.

Here are few ways manufacturers are creating smarter products and experiencing greater business success with IoT:

  • Remote management: IoT enables businesses to continuously monitor the health of their products. With remote management, organizations can identify problems, implement corrective actions, and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Quality feedback loop: IoT-connected products keep design and service teams loaded with useful data. Based on the information they collect, manufacturers can continue to refine products and prevent potential product recalls.
  • Product as a service: IoT technology presents organizations with myriad revenue-generating opportunities. Selling as-a-service add-ons with products allows manufacturers to take advantage of more continuous revenue streams throughout product life cycles.

Forget best practices—embrace next practices

When it comes to a company’s digital transformation, the buck stops with its CIO. After all, the CIO is responsible for adopting and managing the cutting-edge innovations that enable organizations to fuel business growth and stay competitive.

But to achieve this, CIOs need to forget about best practices and instead embrace next practices.

IDC describes next practices as “innovative processes that enable businesses to remain successful in the evolving industry landscape and at the same time prepares them for future challenges and disruptions as the scale of innovation speeds up.”

Today, there’s no better way for a company to stay innovative and competitive than by adopting game-changing IoT technology.

Want to learn more? Download the IDC whitepaper.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine