The Digital Age Takes Over: Top 5 Predictions for Reshaping Value in 2018 and Beyond

What’s happening in technology? How is technology changing society and business? Check out 5 predictions that will reshape how value is created and determine the winners of the digital age.
IoT – Cisco Blog

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.

The post 1aim brings connected devices to workplace doors & beyond appeared first on ReadWrite.


How voice calls could move beyond smart watches into a range of wearables

Next month will be the third anniversary of Samsung Gear smartwatch, one of the first mass-market wearables with phone capabilities. We’ve since seen two successor devices from Samsung as well as several Android Wear watches with voice capabilities, and most recently, the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE.

I’ve been using the latter for nearly two weeks, having purchased one. I’ve also tested many of the Samsung and Android Wear devices over the past few years. Throughout all of these experiences, one thing is becoming clear to me: The decoupling of voice calls from actual phones is gaining momentum and it’s quite liberating. I don’t have to worry about carrying (or dropping) an expensive phone when leaving the house to walk the dog or run errands. This connected freedom, combined with technology advances can lead to brand new opportunities for future wearables of every shape, size and budget.

Before looking to the future though, it makes sense to look back in the past. How did we get to where the “Dick Tracy communicator” is essentially now a reality? The short answer: radical evolution in chip, radio, network and other technologies.

Smaller and faster “things” over the past 25 years

For example, the current state of taking phone calls on the wrist couldn’t happen without the gradually disappearing SIM card. You may not remember what SIM cards looked like in the early 1990’s so let me refresh your memory. Take a credit card out of your wallet. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Got it? Good. The first SIM card I had in my mobile phone was exactly the same size as what you have in your hand and had a surface area of 3,512 square millimeters.

It truly was a “card” although only a small part of it had the electrical circuits to store subscriber information and contacts. In 1996, we saw the useless plastic card go away, leaving just the gold circuitry, but even that was big by today’s standards. Seven years later, the micro-SIM appeared, making the module even smaller. Then in 2012, the nano-SIM used in most phones today arrived, but even these take up more space than necessary in a wearable device, so the industry has turned to embedded-SIMs, or e-SIMs for today’s voice-enabled wearable devices. These e-SIMs measure 5 mm x 6 mm, or 30 square millimeters, which is 100x less area than the first SIM cards.

Even as the SIM cards for voice devices got smaller, our mobile broadband networks became faster. Fifteen years ago, I thought the EVDO cellular modem I used was blazing fast. And compared to prior wireless technologies, it was.  At roughly 2 to 3 Mbps. Now, we’re hearing about Gigabit-capable networks — that’s 1,000 Mbps — phones and tablets, or roughly a 500x increase in transfer speeds.

I’m sure I don’t need to illustrate the advances in mobile chips in detail, but for a simple example, Apple’s touts its new A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X phones as 70 percent faster than its predecessor, the A10 Fusion. And according to Apple, the 2016 A10 Fusion is 120 times quicker than the chip in the original 2007 iPhone.

Everything we need for voice calls in wearables is here

Add all these developments up and combine them with other recent evolutionary ideas and you have the perfect storm for bringing voice calls to any number of form factors.

For example, moving voice from traditional cellular technology to VoLTE, or Voice over LTE, completes the “voice is just another form of data” transition. And even though many mobile broadband networks are blazing fast (and getting faster) you don’t need much bandwidth, i.e.: throughput speed for VoLTE calls. Using a new codec — capable of HD Voice quality — a call only needs about 49 kbps of bandwidth: 24 kbps for the voice information and the remainder for overhead. Note, that’s not Megabits per second, but kilobits per second.

That reminds of me of the often minimal bandwidth requirements for today’s IoT devices. These don’t send gobs of data through the internet like web pages and video streams on a phone, tablet or connected TV. Instead, small bits of information, often only when there’s actually information to send or receive. Indeed, we have new networks just for the internet of things that use much less bandwidth than our mobile devices. Think CAT-M1, Sigfox and narrowband IoT, or NB-IoT networks. It makes me wonder if we eventually see mobile “slowband” networks just for VoLTE and/or messaging wearables in the future.

Of course, the more devices that can handle phone calls, the more phone numbers we might have, right? Nope, that obstacle is going away too thanks to advanced call forwarding and number linking carrier services. My Apple Watch does have its own unique phone number, but it’s tied to my main T-Mobile phone number. T-Mobile calls their number linking service Digits, while AT&T has NumberSync; other carriers have their own branded solutions.

What are the remaining challenges?

New networks aside, there are still some issues to tackle before we see wearable communicators in various form factors similar to today’s Bluetooth headphones, fashionable connected jewelry and other devices we put on instead of carrying around.

First and foremost is battery life. That’s the one technology that has made the least progress relative to everything else in a voice call wearable.

Currently, using the Apple Watch for voice calls roughly drains the battery by 1 percent per minute in my testing, so there’s more work to be done here. Some of this challenge could be mitigated by application specific processors that are engineered for efficiency of a given task such as voice calls. Frankly, it doesn’t take much processing power to run the basics of a cellular phone these days. Nor would the chip need to be large. The S3 and W2 system on a chip in the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE isn’t much bigger than the e-SIM, for example.

Then there’s the need for an antenna to stay connected to an LTE network. Apple has wrapped the antenna of the Apple Watch Series 3 around the edge of the display. It works well, but we’ll need smaller amplified antennas if we want smaller wearables with voice capabilities.

Once those two challenges are mitigated however, you might be able to leave your phone behind and simply take calls from a fashionable bracelet, your glasses or some other everyday device similar to today’s headphones that can store music for playback and just leave the phone behind. After all, not everyone wears a watch.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Moving Beyond the Silicon Valley State of Mind

To steal a phrase from Anton Chekhov, the great danger of the Age of the Algorithm is that we will know everything and understand nothing. In his new book Sensemaking, a polemic defending the need for the liberal arts in business, Christian Madsbjerg, a founder of strategic consulting company ReD Associates based in Copenhagen and New York, argues that leaders shouldn’t try to know everything. Instead, they should try to make sense of something.

Madsbjerg offers up sensemaking as the antidote to algorithmic thinking — “a Silicon Valley state of mind” that relies exclusively on data for direction. Relying on data alone is taking “a journey determined by the reductions of a GPS,” according to the author. Sensemaking is the North Star: It provides the essential context for data — the rationale for collecting it and the perspective needed to gain insight from it.

In the excerpt below, Madsbjerg tells the story of Napa Valley’s Cathy Corison, comparing her approach to wine making with the data-driven approach of Leo McCloskey, founder of Sonoma, California-based Enologix, Inc., to illustrate the difference between traveling by the North Star and the GPS.

MIT Sloan Management Review

Beyond Industry 4.0

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Industry 4.0 technologies address key challenges facing manufacturers—from extreme variability in supply, demand, and design to emerging markets of one and the growing need for rapid innovation.

A new whitepaper, Industry 4.0: What’s Next, looks ahead to Industry 5.0, where further restructuring of product development and production will redefine not only manufacturing processes, but also what a product is and the value it provides.

Industry 4.0 today

Leveraging the principles of Industry 4.0 and its enabling technologies to automate, integrate, and optimize manufacturing processes, companies have cut cycle times, improved product quality, and increased efficiency across operations—while manufacturing highly customized products on a global scale.

What makes all this possible is the way Industry 4.0 has disrupted and deepened relationships across manufacturers, customers, and suppliers.

Organizations are now adding sensors and microchips to tools, machines, and products—making “smart” things able to receive and share real-time information. The data they generate is being merged with enterprise data and product flows across internal borders. This enables companies to decrease cycle times, improve product quality, and boost factory efficiency.

For example, companies can:

  • Operationalize mass personalization. Manufacturers are automating production using advanced digital technologies on the shop floor to quickly change configurations and adapt to the needs of specific customers.
  • Perform condition-based maintenance. Organization can now perform maintenance not on a fixed schedule, but according to actual operational conditions, usage levels, and predictive insights that prevent downtime.
  • Improve inline quality control. Companies can now identify deteriorating quality in time to “save” the product and minimize scrap costs.
  • Identify patterns and root causes for customer complaints. Businesses can pinpoint issues such as product color deviations and surface defects—and then trace their relationship to process parameters, maintenance, and raw material suppliers.

The big question is, what’s next?

Taking Industry 4.0 to the next level

The above examples—which focus on optimizing what happens within the four walls of a manufacturer—represent only the first stage of Industry 4.0. Soon everything will be connected: every asset, material, supplier, worker, warehouse, delivery truck, stakeholder, and customer.

At the same time, products are rapidly becoming more intelligent and even interactive, which creates more opportunities to apply emerging technologies in ways only imaginable before.

Three developments are pushing Industry 4.0 to the next level:

  1. Intelligent digital products: Companies can now develop intelligent, connected, and self-aware products capable of sharing information about wear and tear, usage level, and storage conditions—as well as data on the health, location, or even mood of the customer.
  1. Emerging technologies: New technologies are reaching a tipping point in terms of readiness and availability. Some of these include cognitive computing, 3D printing, augmented reality, blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, voice-controlled user interfaces, and robotics.
  1. Shifts in customer attitudes, behaviors, and expectations: From wearables such as networked running shoes to connected cars and industrial products, the Internet of Things is positioned to give companies and organizations even more opportunities to collect data and use it to improve customer outcomes.

Looking ahead: Industry 5.0—platforms for value creation

These developments are making it possible to bring the customer into the product value chain as an indispensable “user contributor.”

Looking ahead to Industry 5.0, we can expect the further restructuring of product development and production in ways that will redefine not only manufacturing processes but also what a product is and the value it provides to customers.

As more products incorporate digital technologies, they will move from being a bundle of functionality and become platforms for value creation—both for the user and the maker of products.

We will begin to see tightly integrated ecosystems of companies in different industries working together to provide distinctive, significant value to customers. This will be achieved through the creation and delivery of more complete offerings, thanks to:

  • The pervasiveness and exponential growth of data and the software that uses it
  • Increased standardization of application interfaces, integration points, and automation technologies, which reduce friction and simplify the creation of mashups

Looking ahead, we expect Industry 5.0 will create new and more agile offerings centered around customers’ demands, likes, needs, and preferences.

As more products become platforms for innovation and value creation, opportunities will open for companies to become platform adopters that drive innovation in their own right. Because as we’ve witnessed time and again, no single company can own innovation on platforms.

To learn more about Industry 4.0 and what’s next, download the whitepaper here.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine