1aim brings connected devices to workplace doors & beyond

connected security devices

In the era of connected technology Berlin company 1aim are carving a niche for themselves in connected security for commercial buildings. I met with Torben Friehe, CEO of 1aim to find out more.

1aim builds a complex array of hardware and software for a simple purpose: open any door by waving a smartphone in front of a retrofitted lock instead of needing a key, swipe card or access code. Administrators use a simple app interface to issue digital passes via email or SMS to anyone visiting including non-registered users like guests or contractors.

Friehe likens them to “a central nervous system for buildings” explaining that 1aim  has created an enterprise-grade access control system that serves two functions – first, to allow professional access and identity management and, second, to gather large amounts of valuable data to enable companies to identify space usage patterns in their commercial space.

lightacess_3Friehe explains that as the company ships more software, customers will be able to use the device to collect and analyze data and perform a suite of tasks to improve cost flows and efficiency, such as arm areas or turn off electricity to reduce utility expenses as employees leave their offices.Other features include allowing users to request conference rooms and automatically provide them with the ideal premises fitting their requirements.

“Since our platform knows who is where and when, it will also be able to allocate the right space to every employee on an individual basis and offer strategic work-layout suggestions to optimize operations.”

What are the cultural differences when it comes to smart locks in Germany compared to the US?

As an expat myself living in Germany I was interested to know the differences in how Deutsch and American people view security and technology. Friehe noted that:

“German homeowners would not trust doors that are seen as perfectly safe in America. In Germany, homeowners take enormous pride in the so-called “Resistance Class” that their door fulfills. But most U.S. doors would not even pass the lowest grade of such certification. The same goes for mechanical locks. Many German homeowners purchase high-quality lock cylinders that cost up to a few hundred euro per piece. Although there are security grades in America as well, German consumers have a much wider variety of choices and can select products offering more mechanical security. We have had meet extremely high-security standards in Germany as part of our partnership with the Hormann Group.”

Connected security in a crowded space requires complex solutions

Connected security is becoming a crowded space with the involvement of industry stalwarts like Honeywell and Yale. However, the majority are focused on the consumer market and fewer are equipped to respond to the challenges of older commercial buildings. Friehe explains that:

“In the building platform space, we see competitors attempting to build a “building operating system,” a software connecting all the hardware in a building. We don’t see this approach as working. Without a strong hardware foundation, there is just no way to connect legacy and modern systems. These companies might be able to supply middleware, but as long as they focus on software alone they will not be able to dominate this space. So our major differentiation point here is that we supply the hardware at the core of our system, providing quality ID-related data.”

Friehe also compares questions companies that monitor space utilization using sensor boxes as their hardware, noting that

“These companies cannot supply the same data quality that we can provide, as their data is not connected to the ID of users in any way and the number of potential data points is limited.”

The company sees the opportunity in the future to team up with companies in the HVAC and energy optimization sector where “We can make good use of their data, and they might require some of ours.”

How secure are connected locks?

One need only read the agenda of the latest DEFCON or Black Hat conference to know that there will be security researchers showing their prowess in hacking connected home security devices.  Then over the last week, we’ve seen spirited discussion after Amazon revealed they are sealing smart door locks that enable Amazon to deliver packages inside your home with a smart lock and connected camera. Walmart recently offered to deliver groceries straight to people’s fridges with a similar system. When polled about the idea of Amazon in-home delivery three different surveys suggested strong opposition to the idea, perhaps in the spirit of ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’

In regard to security, Friehe believes that:

“As an industry, we must guarantee that companies are not developing software to a negligent degree. They need to implement accepted industry practices, which should be enhanced to demand more regular audits when it comes to how data is collected and stored. Companies need to have security in mind and be held accountable if they fail to observe best-practices. This is especially so with connected devices, where extremely personal life data is concerned.

Ultimately, the free market will serve as the catalyst for ensuring that security in the IT sector catches pace, but there will be much more bloodshed and massive attacks.”

Presently, 1aim’s access control product LightAccess Pro can be purchased on Amazon Germany, UK and France, or by contacting their offices directly.

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Why you and your business needs VR analytics (Part 2)

vr analytics for business

 For part 2 of our series on Why you Need VR Analytics we will discuss the value behind users interaction and the very objects in the immersive experience and how this will ultimately become it’s own economy.

  1. If Data is democracy, Duration is the Ballot Box

**If data is the ballot box, duration is the democracy/user’s choice

It’s impossible to create engaging content without truly knowing what your users enjoy in the first place. Without this knowledge there is no way for content creators to monetize consumer engagement, let alone improve their work. It’s important to note that data itself is a manifestation of people’s attention, desires and interests, thus, drawing conclusions from the data is vital in order to move forward productively. Immersive Media analytics enables the creation of content that’s enjoyable, resulting in users consuming more content, meaning users are consuming that content for longer.

On average, the American smartphone owner spends around 2 hours and 26 minutes on applications each day. Recent competition amongst major platforms isn’t about the number of users they can recruit; it’s become a race to increase user engagement within their app’s ecosystem rather than their competitor. An app’s ecosystem includes all the networks, platforms, content, users, and everything else involved in the system’s process. The implementation of analytics into your immersive content will increase the duration in which users spend inside your ecosystem. Game, set, match. It’s all about the consumer, not the content. In other words, content isn’t king, the consumers are.

Polish their crown, bow to the throne, whatever must be done to make the King happy. The happier the consumer is viewing your content, the longer the King is in your court. The longer the user spends in your court, or ecosystem, the higher your return on investment (ROI).

Immersive Media (360 Video, VR, AR) has the potential to increase the duration of a user’s stay within an application or closed ecosystem. Done properly, strategically produced content can be used as a means of learning more about audiences by tracking viewing patterns. Knowing the focus points user’s on strategically placed products, in turn, may be used to optimize the placement of traditional mobile advertising content via targeted campaigns. When agencies and brands identify the role of immersive media amongst the rest of their marketing strategies, it will graduate from “experimental marketing budget land” to a standard category heading on a client’s service agreement.

Time is on the user’s side, not the content creators. Therefore, it’s entirely up to the user to decide the amount of time they spend within your ecosystem. If the collection of data is the ballot box, the amount of time a user spends in that ecosystem is their vote — and they’ll vote for what they want to see.

  1. Enter Mimetics and the Virtual Object Economy

In Derek Thompson’s Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction, the author explains the idea of exposure breeding familiarity, familiarity breeding fluency, and fluency often forming habits which can result in evangelization because of a sense of mastery. Right now, brands are figuring out how to present a virtualized version of their products for people to learn about and interact within virtual reality.

VR analytics provides a log of the amount of time people are exposed to product A, which results in familiarity of product A, which leads to fluency of product A. Having a log that depicts the duration in which people go through these three steps allows you to understand the relationship between the person and object in VR. There are different levels of marketing campaigns associated with one’s knowledge of the product in VR, who answers the question of which marketing materials to send to the different segments of consumers who have a relationship with your product or service. When you send out an ad explaining your product to someone who is already fluent in it, you have wasted valuable time and hard earned money, and have most likely bothered the fluent user.

Remember, user experience is key. Take advantage of knowing what people are fluent in to optimize their experience. In order to understand consumer levels of exposure, familiarity, and fluency with your brand’s product, create a virtual version of the product and measure the duration in which they focus and interact with it. Once you have that information, create different marketing strategies for consumers who have merely been exposed to the product, consumers who are in the familiarity stage, and consumers who have a master level of understanding of your product. When entering the object economy, this personalized layer of behavioral data puts your company ahead, very ahead.

  1. Contemplation is participation

Gazing at a Coca Cola bottle and picking up the bottle have equal value in virtual reality. These actions are contemplation and participation metrics, which are transmitted as behavioral data, identifying unique demographics. When consumers shop at virtual grocery stores (which may become the norm), they look at all the products on the shelves and focus on, or even participate with, certain items. These unique consumer contemplations and participations illustrate human differences, enabling producers to cater to each consumer segment sharing the same habits.

These individual actions and body language provide more context. The more context you have about your customers, the more aligned your strategic decisions will be with the preferences of your consumers. Traditional media analytics are event driven; immersive media enables the entire experience to be an event in which users may be engaged with. Companies have shifted from analyzing numbers to actual human emotion. VR has created a platform that, for the first time, ties behavior to purchasing contemplations and participation decisions. Take advantage of this knowledge and gain deeper insight into your consumer base in order to boost your ROI.

Let’s Recap:

  • If Data is democracy, Duration is the Ballot Box: It’s impossible to create engaging content without truly knowing what your users enjoy in the first place
  • Enter Mimetics and the Virtual Object Economy:Right now, brands are figuring out how to present a virtualized version of their products for people to learn about and interact within virtual reality. VR analytics provides a log of the amount of time people are exposed to product A, which results in familiarity of product A, which leads to fluency of product A.
  • Contemplation is participation: VR has created a platform that, for the first time, ties behavior to purchasing contemplations and participation decisions. Take advantage of this knowledge and gain deeper insight into your consumer base in order to boost your ROI.

Part 3 of this series will be released soon but if in the meantime you’d like to learn more about how you can use vr analytics feel free to reach out to the Thrillbox Team.

About the Author

Benjamin Durham is the COO and Founder of Thrillbox, an immersive media platform that provides actionable business intelligence and monetization capabilities for virtual reality and augmented reality through the power of big streaming data.

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4 Public Companies Investing Large Sums in IoT

investing in iot

The advent of fast and reliable Internet paved the way for a more interconnected world. People now have the ability to interact with one another, no matter where they are in the globe. But after “perfecting” interpersonal communications through the web, we’ve begun to experiment on interactions with common household and commercial products. By embedding electronic, software, and sensor technology in these “things,” we have made them “smarter” and are now able to do more than they’re original purpose. This is what we now call the Internet of Things (IoT,) and this is a growing trend that we can’t, and shouldn’t, ignore. Rather, we should make sure we are alongside the large public companies with investing in our own future.

IoT aims to improve our lives by leveling up some of the most common items that we use. By adding these devices into a network of interconnectivity, we are able to use them in ways we’ve only imagined a couple of years ago. Smart TVs, automated cleaning devices, and health-tracking apparel are just some of the things that IoT has given us. There’s a lot more coming up, and it’s only a matter of time before everything in our homes are “smart” and connected.

What this means is that there’s a boom in spending for anything related to IoT, whether it’s for smart home appliances or more automated tools for work. It is time to consider investing in IoT and taking advantage of its growth and success for financial gain. There is a huge potential for growth, so putting your money in an IoT-related company is a sound decision. There are publicly-traded companies related to IoT, choose one that you think has the best potential and buy stocks. Here’s a list of such companies:

The Companies Investing in IoT

  1. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) – Google’s parent company is definitely the leader in all of IoT. Aside from being the search engine authority, Google has its own home monitoring products in the form of Nest. Acquired in 2014, Nest is the leading name in home automation products like smart smoke detectors, thermostat, and surveillance cameras. Google also recently launched Google Home, a home automation device that “assists” you with all your queries and tasks for devices connected in your home network.
  2. Amazon (AMZN) – Right behind Google is Amazon, an undeniable IoT market leader offering quite a few home improvement and automation products. Amazon’s Echo speaker is actually what prompted Google to produce Home, because the latter has cornered the market for “always listening” devices that’s ready to answer your queries with the help of its Alexa home connectivity technology.
  3. Apple (AAPL) – The Cupertino-based company is best known for its sleek and powerful devices, and has a large following solely for its line of smartphones. In terms of IoT, the first thing that comes to mind is its smartwatch, the Apple Watch. They’ve taken wearable tech to new heights, cramming a multitude of features in a sleek wristwatch profile. Aside from this, Apple also owns patents related to IoT. One of this is a patent called “local device awareness,” which is about the automated relationship between close-range devices. This is definitely IoT, opening up possibilities for device position tracking, virtual reality, and more.
  4. Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) – Unlike the previous entries which have actual IoT products and devices, Skyworks is more into semiconductor manufacturing, and is primarily partnered with Apple. And even though they’re more known to produce a vital part of the iPhone, the semiconductors they produce are the backbone of IoT in general. It is a vital component of smart devices and interconnected home appliances.
  5. Cloud and telecoms companies – Telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon are now improving their communications infrastructure, to ensure reliable connectivity for their subscribers. These subscribers require the latest, fastest network, be it 5G or fiber, for their interconnected devices to work seamlessly. Cloud-based companies like RingCentral (RNG) plays a vital role in providing robust communications options to your network, which becomes more vital the more you get interconnected with people and “things” (Editor Note: author works for RingCentral).

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the Internet of Things. It is definitely one of the most exciting tech trends today, and it created one of the most lucrative markets in the business world. Don’t just settle with trying out and becoming part of IoT. Instead, use the opportunity to gain financially by investing in IoT. There’s a lot of untapped potential with IoT, and we can only expect it to grow further in the coming years.

About the Author

Francis has been writing for more than a decade now, focusing on Digital Marketing in the last couple of years. He is currently in charge of writing web-optimized content for RingCentral, an industry-leading cloud phone systems provider. Francis is also a voracious reader, spending most of his free time immersed on fictional worlds. You can reach him through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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4 Ways Big Data & VR Are Changing Professional Sports

sports in virtual reality

Whether from home, in the stands, or over the radio—Americans love their sports. Today, part of that All-American sports experience involves big data and new immersive technology like virtual reality (VR) to draw in more fans and improve gameplay.

There are dozens of ways sports teams can use data to their advantage—and both fans and players alike can benefit from advances in VR technology. Here are 4 reasons that big data and VR are starting to play a key role in professional sports.

See AlsoTake me out to the (augmented) ball game (A look at an immersive reality device for sports viewing)

1.) Headset VR Provides Immersive Access

How many people do you know who have VR headsets yet? Probably not many, but that’s sure to change as the technology becomes cheaper and more readily available. With this shift, VR technologies should become more popular amongst fans and athletes, with many industry insiders believing that the VR market could grow to $ 30 Billion by 2020.

One key to making VR devices more popular on the market is creating more VR content, which is just what Samsung and the NBA teamed up to do in 2015. In 2015, the VR was still more exploratory, but the league has become confident enough in the quality that they have offered one VR game per week as part of the NBA League Pass.

Partnering with NextVR, the league streams high-quality VR immersion—and reviews indicate it’s worth the hype. One reviewer even got annoyed when a waiting player blocked his view—just like being courtside!

2.) IoT & Big Data Helps Plan Lineups and Monitor Players

When it comes to top athletes, an incredible number of factors play a role in their overall performance, as well as the performance of the team as a whole. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), coaches and trainers can now monitor players’ health and stamina in revolutionary ways.

With sensors, cameras, and other equipment available that can be used during training, coaches can record vital data that can be analyzed and used to make strategic decisions for developing lineups, creating plays, and even revealing ideal calorie intake for optimal performance. With so many great teams vying for a spot in the playoffs each year, these little insights can give a competitive edge.

3.) VR Training is Safer for Players

Teams have been using video for years to help players review important plays, but VR introduces so much opportunity for safe training, especially in contact sports like football. Young players can use the technology as a “playbook”, while other players can review their own plays, or learn new ones. It helps players stay safer, since they can “practice” dangerous plays off the field.

Some NFL teams are using this technology, but college teams are also seeing great success, with Stanford’s quarterback Kevin Hogan’s completion percentage jumping from 63.8% to 76.3% after using STRIVR VR training.

4.) VR Will Allow Fans to See Through Players’ Eyes

As VR progresses, more options and interactive features will become available to fans. One eagerly-anticipated development is the advent of VR through players’ eyes. The hope is that one day, fans will be able to see the action from the perspective of their favorite players, further immersing them in the action on the field.

Smart wearables are being developed quickly for professional sports, with many artificial intelligence features, cameras, sensors, and more, which could be used in a better VR experience.

Future Changes in Big Data

Currently, the NFL does not allow sensors and trackers in games, so they’re only useful during training. However, there are signs of change that indicate the future may be quite different, and more welcoming to big data on the field. FIFA has begun to relax these rules, allowing players to use wearables during matches.

The NFL may not be far behind, since the NFL Players’ Association recently teamed up in a five-year partnership with WHOOP, a wearable that helps players monitor their bodies, and how much stress they’re putting themselves under in training. Big data is slowly but surely becoming one of the biggest players in professional sports—and this is just the beginning.

Sources:

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/15/how-virtual-reality-is-transforming-the-sports-industry/
http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/virtual-reality-sports-arkansas-kentucky/
http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/17/8052163/nba-all-star-virtual-reality-samsung-mobile-gear-vr
http://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/virtual-training-for-football-is-becoming-a-reality/
http://safetymanagement.eku.edu/resources/infographics/the-benefits-challenges-of-using-artificial-intelligence-for-emergency-management/
http://time.com/4591051/nba-basketball-virtual-reality-samsung-gear-vr/
http://www.sporttechie.com/2015/03/18/technology/sxsw-sports-the-future-of-virtual-and-augmented-reality-in-sports/

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Why AI and Viztech hold the key to a safer internet

viztech checks for adult content

Online media companies are chasing their tails when it comes to policing terrorist material, and other dangerous and offensive content. But there is artificial intelligence-based technology out there that can spot it before it goes live, says David Fulton, CEO of WeSee.

Leading figures in both government and academia have been focused on a common cause in recent months – how best to solve the growing problem of online terrorist content. However, the jury’s out on whether the big digital media players, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are up to the job, despite being under growing pressure from pending legislation. The good news it looks like a powerful new image-recognition technology based on deep learning and neural networks could provide a solution.

In the same week in June that German lawmakers passed a bill forcing major internet companies to banish “evidently illegal” content within 24 hours or face fines up to $ 57 million, a conference took place in Harvard University entitled: Harmful Speech Online: At the Intersection of Algorithms and Human Behaviour. It discussed how best to constrain harmful online content, and was co-hosted by the Harvard-based Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a London-based think tank.

The opening address stated that extremism in online spaces can have an enormous impact on public opinion, inclusiveness and politics. It also cited the enormous gap  –  in terms of resourcing, activism, and even basic research  –  between the problems of harmful speech online and the available solutions to control it.

Automated Detection

Just a few weeks later in September, the heads of state of the UK, France and Italy met with internet companies at the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss the issue. In a speech ahead of the meeting, UK Prime Minister Theresa May threatened the internet giants with huge fines if they could not come up with a way to detect and remove terrorist content within two hours. This time span is significant as within two hours two-thirds of the propaganda is shared – so you could question whether two hours is actually too long.

In response, Google and YouTube have announced they are increasing their use of technology to help automatically identify videos. Meanwhile the problem continues and is only going to get worse. A recent article in the Telegraph revealed that, according to official figures, 54,000 different websites containing advice on bomb making, and committing attacks using trucks and knives, were posted online by supporters of the so-called Islamic State group between August last year and May this year.

What’s more, Cisco has forecast that by 2020 there will be 65 trillion images and six trillion videos uploaded to the web, which will result in over 80% of all internet traffic being image or video-based in less than three years’ time. That’s a lot of content to monitor for extremist and other inappropriate material, but the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) could hold the key to unlocking this conundrum.

Emerging Field of Viztech

Pioneers in the new field of Viztech have developed a highly effective adult and violence video filter. It uses AI to identify terrorist and other harmful digital content automatically – and not within two hours of being published, but before it actually goes live. It can spot inappropriate digital content, such as an ISIS flag or face of a known hate-preacher. Viztech can also detect and categorize video, as well as still images, quickly and efficiently, processing information just like the human brain, but up to 1,000 times faster, so not just mimicking human behavior but performing far better.  

Driven by deep learning and neural networks, it’s similar to the technology behind the iPhone X’s facial recognition system, but much more sophisticated. Rather than being reactionary, it’s predictive, filtering, identifying and categorising video content before it even appears online. In Viztech lies the solution to curbing online terrorist material and its unfortunate effects, which is something governments, academics and, of course, digital media businesses are all desperate to do. Ultimately it holds the key to a safer internet for everyone.

David Fulton is CEO of WeSee.

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