Intel announces new IoT onboarding service

Intel's onboarding technology SDO

At the annual IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Intel has announced a new onboarding service to speed up and secure the process of connecting multiple devices. 

Intel also set a new IoT deployment projection, estimating that there’ll likely be 30 million connected devices by 2020, far lower than the original forecast of 50 million.

According to a statement, the scaled-down outlook is a result of real-time issues of scaling deployments and security. The response is Intel’s launch of Secure Device Onboard (SDO).

Read more: IoT is heading for mass adoption by 2019 says Aruba

Innovative solution

The tech giant’s new Secure Device Onboard service automates and connects IoT devices to the internet within seconds, instead of several hours.

This service is being targeted at IoT platform providers who wish to offer it as a service to customers who may want to onboard thousands of internet-enabled objects.

Intel SDO is based on a so-called “zero touch” model, allowing devices to register and recognize the customer’s IoT platform account during the power-on stage. As well as this, users also don’t have to preload provisioning configurations for every connected device installation – saving time and energy.

Read more: Frost & Sullivan: AI and big data hold keys to IoT security

A security focus

Security is one of the biggest concerns in IoT, so this is something Intel clearly takes seriously. The SDO comes with the firm’s IoT identity solution.

Called Enhanced Privacy ID (EPID), it prevents hackers from discovering the identity of the device owner by anonymously authenticating the device and creating an encrypted communication tunnel.

Since 2008, more than 2.7 billion EPID keys have been distributed in Intel and non-intel MCU processors. Companies like Infineon and Cypress Semiconductor are also planning to implement this technology in their hardware.

The service will automatically link the device to the owner’s preferred IoT platform. Cloud service and device management companies like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure plan to support SDO.

Read more: Sharpened edge needed for IoT edge databases

Breakthrough onboarding technology

Tom Lantzsch, senior VP and leader of Intel’s Internet of Things Group, said the company is excited to bring this breakthrough model to market in a bid to scale all IOT ecosystems.

“Intel provides the industry with a comprehensive portfolio of products, technologies, and roadmaps for building and deploying interoperable market-ready solutions… edge to fog to cloud,” he said.

“Intel Secure Device Onboard delivers the first step by connecting the unconnected, with maximum security designed in, and low implementation complexity.”

Antony Passemard, head of IoT product management at Google Cloud, said: “Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has partnered with Intel to launch the Intel SDO solution.

“At power on, our customers will be able to automatically, and securely, register devices and stream data into GCP for faster command, control, and analytics.”

Colin Tait, IT director at Weatherford, added: “The Intel SDO and Device Cloud enables us to create a secure, scalable oilfield ecosystem from zero-touch onboarding to continual gateway management.”

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Pour the electronic milk, turn off the IoT margarine

Smart packaging, in conversation with oliver wyman on the future of retail

Smart packaging has moved out of the conceptual prototyping stage and connected products small enough to fit in our refrigerators are starting to become a reality. Could our cartons of milk finally be about to tell us when they are going off?

And if so, could all this connectivity lead to data privacy concerns about us as individuals? Internet of Business spoke to Nick Harrison, co-lead of global retail and consumer practice at management consultancy Oliver Wyman to get a view on the matter.

Harrison has said that it can be easy to get excited by the potential smart packaging and Augmented Reality may bring to the customer experience. This potential includes additional information on products, ‘pop out’ special offers, promotions or even ‘gamification’. But actually, the biggest impact of smart packaging will be its role in changing how we shop.

Read more: Spanish winemaker Barbadillo launches NFC-enabled smart bottles

Electronic milk, at last

“As an example, a smart fridge that knows your milk is going to go off shouldn’t just re-order milk. It should review what else you have that can be used in a recipe for that night’s meal and liaise with a smart hub to order anything that’s missing. Smart packaging makes this possible by ‘telling’ the fridge what’s in there, how much is left and how much life each product has.”

“This will be part of a broader trend towards AI enabled solutions which help customers manage their food needs in an intelligent way based on recipes, requirements, and requests, rather than just buying products on a list, as they do today,” said Harrison.

Pointing to the wider application of these technologies, Harrison suggests that authentication of products and their quality is another role smart packaging can play.

For example, color-changing smart packaging can indicate if a pack of chicken fillets has breached a temperature threshold during transit. With the reassurance smart packaging provides, retailers can shift to passive cooling methods – like ice packs – rather than refrigerated vans which are more expensive.

“This unlocks a whole new range of logistics providers, lowering cost and increasing delivery options. This is what we see happening in AmazonFresh’s partnership with DHL in Germany. It also could aid the introduction of passively cooled lockers outside homes so people don’t even have to be in to receive the delivery,” said Harrison.

Read more: WestRock, EVRYTHNG launch connected packaging solution

Smart packaging could extend to clothing labels

In clothing, a smart label could help you keep track of what items are in your wardrobe. This could plug into something like the Cladwell app – which learns your style and knows what type of items you already own – to help you choose new items that suit you but aren’t duplicative. Furthermore, says Harrison, smart labels on the clothes you do decide to buy can assure you they are authentic and provide transparency on how and where they were made.

Furthermore, says Harrison, smart labels on the clothes you do decide to buy can assure you they are authentic and provide transparency on how and where they were made.

With smart packaging and smart home devices, some consumers may have concerns about data protection. Especially with regards to those that automatically replenish. Oliver Wyman research suggests that 19 percent of Brits are the type of people who want to tell big companies to mind their own business and keep their hands off personal data.

“Another 12 percent regard technology as too complicated and changing too fast for them to keep up. With this third of consumers unlikely to welcome smart technologies into their homes anytime soon, companies touting smart tech have some work to do to convince them,” said Harrison.

Read more: Feeling the chill: Bringing IoT to cold chain logistics in retail

Don’t forget to turn off the IoT margarine

There are implications here. How much do we want these big manufacturers to know about us, our buying and shopping habits, our consumption habits and our home lifestyle habits?

The smart money on smart packaging points to connected IoT products that are opt-in, opt-out or ones that can at least be turned off at will.

“In addition,” says Harrison, “any business models these technology companies want to run based on the consumer insights the devices gather must be able to do so in a way that adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018. Under the GDPR, consumers will have full control over what data is shared and stored with a company and the ability to edit and delete it. They are only likely to give these permissions where they see real value in return.”

While we aren’t quite used to turning off our home products down to the level of packaged goods yet, we are already used to turning off our home camera monitoring systems and home heating control apps. This is just the next logical step, surely?

Oh… and turn off that loaf of bread while you’re up, if you could please?

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Philips Lighting looks at city life in 2035

Philips smart cities forecast

Big companies often put thought into what life will be like in the future. It helps them plan their own development. Philips Lighting has undertaken a complex ‘scenario planning’ exercise to come up with four different possible futures. Its focus is on city life and how the public sector might adapt to meet future challenges.

Connected cities, many futures

In the introduction to its report, Philips Lighting says “As the public sector enters a new era of connected infrastructures and technologies, including connected lighting, thinking about the future of cities is essential. The convergence of digital LED light sources, the proliferation of mobile devices, the exponential growth of data, and the miniaturization of information and communications technologies create a broad set of new opportunities and challenges.”

The scenarios that are the meat of the report have been developed using ‘scenario planning’ techniques. They are broad reaching and wide-ranging – ‘macro’ rather than ‘micro’. So reading the report you won’t find much mention of lighting specifically. But the scenarios can be interpreted to infer implications for lighting. The same goes for other service sectors.

Read more: Smart city of Aarhus uses Bluetooth sensors to improve traffic flows

Four scenarios and an ambition

The ambition from Philips Lighting is that organizations use the scenarios to challenge their current assumptions, and think about how they might respond to them. They’re designed to be used by all kinds of organizations, not just those who are interested in lighting.

Read more: NEC wins contract for Lisbon smart city project

The four scenarios that emerged are:

  • Fablab. Cities where municipalities provide basic infrastructure and citizens create local and virtual communities under their own initiative. Communities ally to innovative local businesses rather than municipalities to bring innovation into their lives. Citizens are attached to global communities more than where they live.
  • Sandbox. Citizens lead, working with the municipality as their main partner. User-centric innovation is important, and businesses are involved to improve city livability and experience. Municipalities make connections between different citizens, and run services and initiatives. Citizens feel attached to their cities.
  • Resort. Municipalities provide a guided and regulated city experience, maintaining quality standards and delivering personal recommendations for leisure, education, work and lifestyle. Businesses are regulated and steered by the municipality, and a balanced business ecosystem that citizens can enjoy.
  • Campsite. A few major platform providers take the lead, and public spaces and city infrastructures are corporate owned. Local and global partners join forces to provide urban experiences. Global plug-and-play services allow a nomadic lifestyle, and citizens aren’t attached to any particular city. People are ‘digital nomads’.

Scenario planning helps to shape future smart cities

Read more: Dutch city of Dordrecht uses IoT for smart city planning

The scenarios – and they are presented in more detail in the report itself – are intended to help organizations think about how they respond to change. So, the latter part of the report offers some ideas on how organisations might use the scenarios to support their own thinking.

Kees van der Klauw, head of research at Philips Lighting, told Internet of Business “In our experience, this scenario planning approach facilitates the engagement of different stakeholders such as mayors and aldermen, city government departments, city planners, suppliers of infrastructure and especially citizens as end-users, in shaping their future smart city.

“We have no doubt that lighting will play a key role in any future smart city, whatever scenario will evolve. But there is a difference in how we work with stakeholders and how much they will be empowered to define their future. This may be different for various regions in the world. We have now created a framework in which we can discuss the implications of each scenario in order to create innovations that are meaningful to all.”

The report includes a fair bit of technical detail on the scenario planning process, and a reading list for those who would like to understand the technique more.

Read the whole report here.

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Cisco and Manchester Science Partnership open Mi-IDEA centre

Cisco and Manchester Science Partnership open Mi-IDEA centre

Manchester’s new 70,000 square foot Bright Building in Manchester Science Park (MSP) is host to Mi-IDEA, a new post-accelerator jointly run by MSP and Cisco.

The centre is part of a global network of Cisco innovation centres which also includes IDEALondon.

Mi-IDEA stands for Manchester-Inspired Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance. The Centre aims to help digital tech start-ups flourish and to act as a catalyst for co-innovation between businesses, academia and government agencies in the North of England.

In addition to Mi-IDEA, the Bright Building houses six innovative startups:

  • Hark – maker of an all-in-one monitoring system
  • Wattl – maker of a video discovery app
  • PlaceDashboard – location-based data for retailers and others
  • Steamaco – automation for modern utilities companies
  • KMS – connected healthcare products
  • Malinko – scheduling for mobile service businesses

A smart building in itself, the facility is also a centre of operations for CityVerve, the UK’s IoT smart city demonstrator, as well as the home of the Cisco UK and Ireland Innovation team.

Read more: Manchester Uni plans for robots to work on nuclear clean-ups

Bees with backpacks

In addition to announcing Mi-IDEA, Cisco confirmed its support for the ‘bees with backpacks’ initiative. By putting trackable RFID ‘backpacks’ on bees, Cisco is working with Data61|CSIRO to build on a project already underway in Sydney, Australia and join the Global Initiative for Honey bee Health (GIHH).

The decline of bees is of worldwide concern, and this project is helping to identify potential stressors to their health. The RFID-enabled ‘backpacks’ allow bee movement to be tracked.

In conjunction with local organisations in Manchester, the programme will use innovative technology to conduct research into bee habitats, pollination and sustainability in the UK.

Read more: Manchester CityVerve is like a neural pathway

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CSAIL team pairs robots with VR for smart manufacturing

mit manufacturing csail remote robotics using VR

Telepresence robotics and virtual reality are two exciting technologies, and by combining the two in a relatively inexpensive way, engineers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a smarter and safer manufacturing tool. 

Remotely operated robots are not new in manufacturing. But they tend to be highly specialized and, as a result, expensive to deploy and maintain. By combining Rene Descartes’ ‘homunculus’ notion of mind with off-the-shelf virtual reality equipment, researchers at CSAIL are hoping to navigate the barriers to widespread adoption across the manufacturing industry.

Read more: Tobii Pro combines eye tracking with VR to understand human behaviour

Virtual control room

In practice, this means that instead of operating machinery from a purely first-person perspective, the user is placed in a virtual control room. That position is ostensibly mounted inside the robot’s head, where a number of displays show the input from different cameras and the joystick controllers.

The result is a simplified, easy-to-use VR system that uses 2D images to provide the sensory information required to control the robot. Instead of relying on a powerful (and expensive) computer system to build an immersive (and often overwhelming) 3D space, the brain infers depth for itself and the user has a less daunting experience.

Read more: US researchers unveil Robogami; origami-inspired robots

CSAIL decouples physicality

The CSAIL team uses its VR platform with a two-armed robot, Baxter. So far, it’s been used for simple tasks such as connecting two blocks together. Testing has been undertaken in a number of network conditions, including wired, wirelessly from the next room and remotely from a hotel room in Virginia.

All tests have been successful and could soon offer a number of new manufacturing applications. One that has been raised is remote supervision: if a robot gets into difficulty on an assembly line, for example, a human worker might take control with a simple headset and joystick combination.

The CSAIL team has made a number of bold observations from the project so far. In the accompanying research paper, they conclude that “Teleoperated robotic systems will allow humans the ability to work at scales and in environments which they cannot accomplish today. Barriers to working such as physical health, location, or security clearance could be reduced by decoupling physicality from manufacturing tasks.”

“The ability of this architecture to leverage existing consumer-grade hardware and software frameworks to remote operate existing robot systems provides it with an ability to scale into wider deployment.”

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