San Diego gives green light to sustainability initiative with ‘machine network’

More and more cities are getting to grips with the Internet of Things (IoT) – and the latest cab off the rank is San Diego, California, who is pushing ahead with a ‘machine network’ dedicated to clean energy and sustainability.

The network is being powered by Ingenu, a company which provides IoT machine connectivity through its random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology. The network will cover the whole city, which amounts to 800 square miles and more than 2.6 million people, and builds upon San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which enables sustainability initiatives such as water conservation and improving air quality.

The San Diego region is leading the country in fostering the development of clean technology solutions,” said Tom Gregor, machine network president and general manager at Ingenu. “We are excited about the opportunity to extend our network connectivity throughout this innovative city and look forward to working with our ecosystem to bring smart, sustainable innovations to life.

Innovations in the areas of smart technology powered by IoT networks such as Ingenu’s RPMA will assist in delivering actionable data to align with these important environmental initiatives,” added David Graham, City of San Diego deputy chief operating officer.

San Diego will be by no means the only city involved in this initiative; according to Ingenu, the company’s machine network is set to serve more than 100 major metropolitan areas by the end of this year.

Speaking to this reporter last year, Jonathan Reichental, CIO of the City of Palo Alto, gave an insight into the various challenges with implementing technological initiatives into cities. “Our cities are woefully prepared for our needs today, and certainly not prepared for the needs of the future,” he said.

We’re a small city, but we’re a city that can be a test bed for a lot of interesting ideas. We look at it through a lens of lots of things; how you think about and create a vision for a city, what a city can be, and then specifically my team and I think about the problem and the way in which technology can play a part in solving those challenges ahead.

Author: James Bourne, Author, IoT News. Originally published here.

You can hear from Jonathan Reichental, CIO of the City of Palo Alto and Gary Hayslip, CISO of the City of San Diego at the IoT Tech Expo North America 2017, which is taking place in Santa Clara, CA on the 29-30th November.


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It Takes More Than Math to Design a Distribution Network

Distribution networks are the conduits that connect companies with their customers, so it is hardly surprising that the way these networks are designed has a critical impact on cost and customer service.

Companies commonly use mathematical optimization models to arrive at the best network design, but this approach is flawed in one key respect — it does not take into account changing market conditions during the several years it can take to complete a design project. This is particularly onerous in developing economies where markets tend to be extremely changeable.

Research carried out at the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) shows that supplementing mathematical models with analyses of external variables enables companies to develop the most efficient distribution networks. The research work was completed in collaboration with a leading Asian chemical manufacturer as part of a thesis project for the MIT-Malaysia Master of Science in Supply Chain Management.

Outdated models

Distribution network designs specify the locations of warehouses and how much product is allocated to each facility. A chemical company typically manufactures product in large plants to lower production costs by exploiting economies of scale. Product is shipped to numerous customer locations. The design of its distribution network, therefore, determines the total cost of delivering products to meet customer demand while maintaining the appropriate service levels.

There are many ways to configure a network to meet these goals. For example, a company can reduce its inventory holding cost by risk-pooling the inventory in a few warehouses. However, this option incurs higher transportation costs and longer lead times. Alternatively, a company could become extremely responsive to demand by stocking inventory in many warehouses. But such a strategy requires higher inventory volumes and hence higher carrying costs.

Mathematical models can be used to find the optimal solution, but this might not reflect real-world demands. External factors such as regional product demand, commercial real estate prices, and transportation costs can change markedly over the three- to five-year planning horizon that is common for these design projects.

Four-Stage Approach

The MISI research project tackled this problem in four steps.

First, an optimization model was designed to minimize total costs including the costs associated with transporting product, opening and closing warehouses in different locations, fixed warehouse operations, and maintaining inventory. The key consideration was deciding how many warehouses the company should support, and which time periods the facilities should operate within. The model also complied with various constraints such as the need to meet minimum safety stock levels.

Second, the researchers developed an exhaustive list of uncertainties that have a critical impact on the efficiency of distribution networks. Four business and macroeconomic factors were particularly relevant for the manufacturer’s operations: demand growth, oil price fluctuations, shifts in industrial real estate prices, and interest rate changes.

Third, we calculated a plausible range of values for each of these four macroeconomic factors over the planning horizon. The ranges were derived from an extensive search of industry forecasts and reports as well as expert opinion. Using these values, we ran the optimization model to create multiple scenarios based on market conditions driven by the macroeconomic factors. And we identified the optimal network design for each scenario using the mathematical optimization model. For each network design, the cost difference between each given scenario and its optimal version was calculated (known as the “regret”).

Finally, a comparison of the optimal designs — which specify which distribution centers should be operated in each period over the planning horizon — for the different scenarios suggested that one variable had the most impact on performance: the price of oil. A more detailed analysis of oil price effects was carried out.

When deciding which network design to adopt, the chemical company should look at the ones that minimize the regret for the different future scenarios.

Real-World Insights

This approach helps companies to design distribution networks that are aligned with real-world market conditions in two important ways:

  • It enhances quantitative mathematical models by considering a broad range of qualitative variables, employing techniques borrowed from scenario planning. The methodology provides a clearer picture of how a distribution network design might perform. Companies can focus on the key major environmental factors affecting the robustness of a network configuration, under various quantitative scenarios.
  • By using this approach, it is also possible to get a sense of which distribution scenarios are the most relevant, given the market changes that affect the way a network performs. It is possible to represent which of the scenarios considered are most likely to occur — a valuable insight for managers who are striving to develop the most efficient channels for distributing product to customers.

MIT Sloan Management Review

What’s wrong with the smart home?

The OFC asked attendees of CES, “What do you think is the single biggest limiting factor to universal adoption of connected devices?” Above is their response. There’s a lot of decent data in the full report.

I’ve been thinking for the last few months that we’ve misled people about the promise of the smart home, and perhaps as an industry, we need to focus on the basics before promising these intuitive homes of the future.

I recently built a presentation to this effect (which also digs into the reasons voice won’t save us) and was excited to see others discussing this topic as well.  Scott Jenson, a designer who works at Google, and Kai Kreuzer who works on the OpenHab smart home platform, both did a great job digging into the current state of the industry to explain why it’s not awesome.

Jenson’s point is that we’ve screwed up by not building the internet of things on the same principals of the open web. Instead, companies force consumers into their own apps and refuse to share data. The result of this is that nothing works together and the onboarding experience is terrible for most consumer devices.

He argues that we are missing essential underpinning technology to get the level of distributed intelligence the smart home needs. So not only do things need to be open, but we also need to think about how to make trusted, distributed systems.

Jenson’s not wrong. Not only does data (see chart above) bear this out, but I had a conversation this week with Alex Hawkinson, the CEO of SmartThings, and one of his big areas of focus was on device onboarding and how to make that seamless while still being as open as possible.

Apple has done the best job with onboarding devices, but it has done so in a closed system. This is unduly limiting for the internet of things (or for anyone who has an Android device). This is why I am eager to see what SmartThings comes up with.

While SmartThings and Jenson try to solve the problem of an open, data sharing model to bring devices together in the smart home, Kreuzer, of OpenHab, is asking if the smart home really should belong to the homeowner.

His pitch is that some of the issues Jensen brings up might be solved if instead of thinking of devices as personal and purchased by a user, we think of them as something that comes with the house. In this worldview, a device should work even if it isn’t cloud-connected and even if a user doesn’t register it.

His final suggestion is that the house’s smart device provide a local API interaction with other devices. This means that your AC might “speak” to your utility and maybe your light switches do too. It also means that inside the home, the HVAC system might speak to your window shades and light switches to figure out the best lighting situation.

I’ve chatted with both Kreuzer and Jenson about their visions, and I don’t believe they are that far off. In fact, Jenson introduced me to the idea that my home might have to have an email address so the smart devices inside weren’t dependent on a single user. Kreuzer is taking that concept to its logical conclusion without obviating the need for the device-data sharing and openness that Jenson craves.

Of course, should this ideal come to pass, we’ll have new issues such as how to charge for new services and how to handle people who don’t want to have a utility or connected device ruling over their home.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Ingenu Announces Rollout of Machine Network Across the Middle East with MEC Telematik

Ingenu Announces Rollout of Machine Network Across the Middle East with MEC Telematik

RPMA technology to provide IoT connectivity for Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of the Middle Eastern GCC countries.

Ingenu Inc. and MEC Telematik, a provider of professional and consulting services to the information and communications technology industry, today announced the rollout of the Machine Network™ for IoT (Internet of Things) network connectivity across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, based on RPMA® technology.

MEC Telematik has decades of experience in building networks in the Middle East, Africa and around the world, with involvement in nearly 100 projects to date. The company has developed strategic partnerships with leading vendors, government agencies and other organizations and has been affiliated with the GCC since 2003. With a track record of success with telecommunications industry leaders such as Etisalat, STC, Du, Qtel and Zain, MEC Telematik is uniquely positioned to deploy Ingenu’s RPMA network technology as the de facto standard for IoT connectivity in the Middle East.

When launched, the Middle East network will be the world’s largest multi-country M2M/IoT network serving the countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and others. It will provide affordable and reliable connectivity for applications such as asset tracking, logistics, environmental monitoring and smart city, among others. MEC Telematik will fund and undertake the build-out of the Machine Network which will be largely completed by the end of 2017.

Fred Wohl, CEO of MEC Telematik, said:

“The Middle East is embracing the Internet of Things faster than any other region as it expands its focus on sustainability and smart technologies.”

“We selected Ingenu because its network is specifically designed for machine connectivity and we are thrilled to bring RPMA to countries in the Middle East, and serve the myriad of IoT opportunities that are ideally suited for this innovative technology.”

Ingenu is currently building out its Machine Network in the U.S. and is on pace to have over 100 major metropolitan areas covered by the end of 2017. The company is also partnering with global companies, such as MEC Telematik, to build nationwide public networks specifically for IoT traffic in their respective countries.

“The expansion of Ingenu’s Machine Network to the Middle East provides robust, reliable coverage to support the growing IoT technology development taking place in the region,” said John Horn, CEO, Ingenu. “We look forward to collaborating with MEC Telematik to enable new business opportunities and expand the global availability of RPMA.”

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Honda Launches Connected Car Services in all European Countries

Honda Launches Connected Car Services in all European Countries

Honda Launches Connected Car Services in all European Countries to Increase Safety and Enhance the Driving Experience.

Honda is leveraging IoT solutions from Cisco Jasper and Bright Box to deliver the MyHonda Connected Car platform, which provides a suite of powerful services that enhances the driving experience.

MyHonda utilizes telematics solutions from Bright Box, powered by the Cisco Jasper Control Center automated IoT connectivity management platform, to deliver a variety of connected services that increase driver safety, simplify vehicle ownership, and enable new experiences for drivers. Honda will launch these Connected Car services across all European countries.

Sandra Hughes, Head of Marketing and Product Management at Honda Motor Europe commented:

“At Honda we are committed to optimizing safety, security and convenience for drivers with innovative connected services. The IoT services that Bright Box and Cisco Jasper enable us to deliver helps ensure that Honda drivers receive the best possible driving experience.”

Honda drivers benefit from the following IoT-connected services through the MyHonda Connected Car platform:

  • Vehicle information and diagnostics – Drivers have easy access to critical vehicle information via the MyHonda app, and diagnostic information is sent in real time to track the health of their vehicle.
  • Simple scheduling of maintenance – Drivers are alerted when maintenance is needed, and can easily schedule appointments with the push of a button.
  • GPS tracking for location-based services – Drivers are provided with information on their trips, push notifications to alert them when speeding, the ability to locate open parking spaces, and more.

Cisco Jasper Control Center is the global IoT platform of choice for 23 of the world’s largest auto manufacturers. These OEMs utilize Control Center to transform vehicles into dynamic hubs capable of delivering a variety of services that provide new, ongoing revenue channels for both them and their ecosystem partners.

Bright Box uses Control Center to decrease operational costs and guarantee the connectivity and responsiveness needed for Honda’s always-on IoT services. Honda experiences the following benefits of the Bright Box and Cisco Jasper IoT solution:

  • Best possible customer experience – Honda uses Cisco Jasper Control Center’s automated rules and APIs to continuously monitor and proactively service connected vehicles for pan-European drivers.
  • Optimized telematics – Bright Box is a market leading telematics service provider that is already using Control Center on four other continents with six OEMs. Bright Box has partnered with Post Luxembourg, who provides the connectivity for Honda’s pan-European project on Control Center.
  • Global scale – Control Center enabled Bright Box to easily extend the automated connectivity management for Honda’s vehicles across six European countries today, and Cisco Jasper’s partnerships with 50 service providers in more than 100 countries will enable Honda to expand their services globally as needed.

“Using Cisco Jasper Control Center in our Connected Car projects with Honda and other automotive OEMs significantly reduces our operating costs and increases the Bright Box service quality for our customers,” said Ivan Mishanin, CEO at Bright Box.

“Today’s most innovative auto makers are leveraging IoT to provide new services that enhance the driving experience for their customers,” said Kalle Ward, Managing Director EMEAR, IoT Cloud at Cisco Jasper. “With the MyHonda connected services, Honda is demonstrating its focus on building a better driving future where drivers will continue to benefit from new levels of safety and convenience.”

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