Alcatel Lucent Enterprise: Airports need to get smarter, not just bigger

Alcatel Lucent Enterprise: Airports need to get smarter, not just bigger

In a contributed article to Internet of Business, Kelly Allen, director of transportation for Europe North at Alcatel Lucent Enterprise, argues that intelligent airports don’t let lack of space hold them back.

Alcatel Lucent Enterprise: Airports need to get smarter, not just bigger

Kelly Allen of Alcatel Lucent Enterprise

Civil aviation is booming and airports are under constant scrutiny to maintain or improve safety levels as passenger numbers continue to grow and the number of routes and flights increase. In order to improve profitability and because of increased market pressures, airports are being driven towards operational efficiency and cost reductions. But capacity constraints, due to lack of space, mean that it is new technologies that are starting to introduce new efficiencies.

IoT, automation, big data, robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality are becoming part of the civil aviation ecosystem, along with integrated data collection and better real-time communications channels. To make the most of these technologies, airports need to put in place processes that simplify and speed up collaboration within aviation communities. And these of course are diverse, bringing together many different operators and interest groups together, from airlines, ground handlers and air traffic management to consumers, retailers and regulators.

Read more: IoT set to transform the airport experience

Managing a complex ecosystem

In both operational and customer-facing roles, the potential for IoT-enabled connected assets to streamline processes cannot be understated. There’s real-time visibility into the condition of assets, for example, or location-based services and beacons for wayfinding and asset tracking. There’s digital marketing and signage, live information sharing, remote sensors for monitoring runway or environmental conditions and IP cameras linking to facial recognition software or enabling whole digital control towers. There’s baggage handling, passenger tracking and self check-in – it’s everywhere.

It’s a near-impossible task to manage all these types of technology if they are rooted to individual subsystems which all need their own management and maintenance. No matter what digital tools, platforms or systems airports choose to adopt, they will never reach their full potential without the right network or communication building blocks. Further to this, ineffective implementation will increase the potential for these new devices to place a strain on network resources, introduce new vulnerabilities and negatively impact traveller experience.

Yes, aviation industry players need to align, but airports in particular need to evolve towards cost-efficient, IP-based solutions for most systems. This will immediately enable better connectivity between people, processes and smart ‘things’ – and also simplify IT management. This is where the connected airport comes in.

Read more: Cincinnati Airport uses Bliptrack to improve passenger wait times

Digital security

Whether it’s IP security cameras or heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems, or information boards, running all processes on a single network infrastructure is more cost-effective to manage and maintain and offers much greater visibility on an enterprise-wide scale. But there are dangers to poorly secured deployments and any compromized device can be a possible backdoor into the network. As more fixed and mobile devices connect to the network edge, it becomes increasingly important that these IoT devices are properly contained.

With network virtualization techniques, it is possible to create virtual isolated environments on a single infrastructure and make IoT more manageable. This enables different teams or departments to maintain their own IoT network deployments. Virtual segmentation on the network can create ‘IoT containers’ to group together, manage and secure devices and users, and in the event of a breach, can stop threats moving east-to-west across the network.

IoT containment also makes it possible for the different departments to enforce their own quality of service (QoS) policies on the network to optimise their own operational processes. In each virtual IoT container, it is possible to see and manage all the traffic and users, prioritize devices and applications, reserve or limit bandwidth, blacklist devices or monitor for suspicious traffic patterns. Quality of service policy enforcement can ensure that critical operational processes or network assets can always get the network resources they need to function properly.

Airports can manage passenger movement, optimize operations and implement better emergency communications. Airlines can provide a hassle-free customer experience by relying on infrastructure such as beacons for automated notifications. Passengers can get real-time updates about estimated waiting time at security lines, locations of specific airline check-in counters, gates or baggage belts.

Retail concessions and restaurants can use location-based services to promote offers which will lead to increased interaction with passengers and a subsequent increase in revenue. Critical passenger or situational information can be shared directly between relevant parties in real-time – getting the right information to the right people, exactly when it is needed.

Read more: Athens International Airport turns to IoT for environmental monitoring

Intelligent airports

The need for real-time information exchange will see airports adopt new technologies for a free-flow of communication. Innovations that integrate smart devices and share information at every point of a passenger’s journey, and enable greater communication between civil aviation stakeholders, will play a vital role.

But rolling out the right infrastructure needs careful planning, an eye on future developments and a security-first approach – from customer-facing services, right down to the hardware. The ‘intelligent airport’ is more than a vision, it’s a must. With the right infrastructure, it has the potential to become a global reality.

Read more: Billund Airport invests in IoT system to improve passenger experience

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Canonical argues IoT monetisation bigger challenge than security for professionals

You can try and clue up on the Internet of Things (IoT), read all the articles and go to all the meetings. But the question remains: can we make money on this?

According to a new study from Canonical, the company behind Linux operating system Ubuntu, more than half (53%) of industry professionals say quantifying return on investment (ROI) was their biggest immediate challenge. This was followed by device security and privacy, cited by 45% of those polled, and lack of IoT infrastructure, cited by 40%.

More than a third (34%) of respondents, comprising developers, vendors and enterprise users, added that ‘quantifying the business benefits’ of the IoT should be the primary goal to encourage greater adoption. A quarter (24%) argued an improved understanding of the technology’s benefits was key, while 17% opted for improved security.

Given monetising the IoT was seen as the biggest issue, the report delved into various routes for achieving ROI. Almost four in five (78%) said they would expect to make money through value added services, with hardware rentals (57%), one off hardware fees (55%), ongoing software and security fees (55%) and consultancy and deployment (54%) all much of a muchness below.

One other method considered by the report is an IoT app store, or an ‘app store for things’. Organisations can theoretically offer add-ons to existed connected devices, tying in to the 55% who said they wanted to make money through ongoing software fees.

“In a world where every connected device generates data, the opportunities for monetising this data are limited only by your access and your imagination,” the report notes. “We’re likely to see a number of until now unpredicted methods of monetisation emerge as the industry develops further.”

You can read the full report here.

Postscript: As part of its research, Canonical used Meltwater, a monitoring tool, to scrape a year’s worth of news and found more than 23,000 English language articles had been published on IoT security between June 2016 and 2017. This publication is responsible for 94 and counting.

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Video: The Impact of Machine Learning on Work Is Bigger Than You Think

On May 23, 2017, the MIT Sloan School of Management hosted the 14th annual CIO Symposium: “The CIO Adventure: Now, Next and… Beyond.” The one-day event brought senior IT executives together to discuss key technologies, including IoT, AI, blockchain, Big Data, DevOps, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. The main idea was to help prepare these tech leaders for challenges they face, including shepherding ongoing digital transformations, building a digital organization, and managing IT talent.

This series highlights insightful sessions from the event.

Despite much hype about artificial intelligence, we’re actually underestimating what’s coming, said MIT researcher Andrew McAfee in a fireside chat with his long-time MIT collaborator, Erik Brynjolfsson. This discussion, moderated by former MIT Technology Review editor in chief Jason Pontin, offers insights about the impact of technology-based innovations on business and society from two of the most influential thinkers in this area.

The MIT collaborators contrasted the effects of machines on work today with the effects of automation on labor during the Industrial Revolution. Whereas automation during the Industrial Revolution augmented physical work, allowing humans to be much more productive, machine learning today is augmenting knowledge workers, enabling new problems to be solved.

The business impact of machine learning is coming in waves. Brynjolfsson and McAfee spoke about the first wave of machine learning, during which humans codified their knowledge by learning to code and training technology to learn, thereby increasing their own efficiency. We’ve now entered a second wave where machines are learning and reaching insights on their own.

According to McAfee, we’re still underestimating what’s coming. He supports this claim by referencing the recent triumph of AlphaGo over a top-ranked player of Go, a game that humans have studied for 3,000 years. Speech recognition, a particularly troublesome activity for machines in the past, has made tremendous progress, Brynjolfsson observes, citing the achievement of sub-5% error rates by some technologies. Together with other recent machine-learning achievements, we are beginning to glimpse technological capabilities beyond the automation of routine tasks; these capabilities may transform the need for high levels of employment, raising questions about humanity’s role in the economy.

When asked if work as we know it will be rendered obsolete and if the solution might be a universal basic income, Brynjolfsson was quick to point out that people still want to engage in meaningful work to contribute to their communities.

Watch the video below for the panelists’ opinions on how to structure future income models, including an analysis of other countries leading the way.


MIT Sloan Management Review

We’re going to need a bigger slice

Around about the year 2020, 5G networks will start to supercharge the world of data services and the IoT. It sounds like IoT nirvana – data rates 100x compared to 4G, and latency reduced from 50 to just one millisecond. But it’s not just the turbo effect that makes 5G so different – it is […]

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Expanding your IoT offering into the US? Think bigger. Think globally.

Jonathan Smith, director of connectivity sales for Europe at IoT/M2M specialist Aeris, shares his tips on how European makers of IoT-enabled devices can successfully break into global markets.

If a European company is looking to launch an IoT offering in the US, it can, quickly become both a business and logistical nightmare, if not handled correctly. From technological barriers, to coverage issues, to certification requirements, launching a device in the country is no easy task.

The obstacles to overcome can be overwhelming, but a well-thought out plan, accompanied by expert help, can make the deployment pain-free.

It is predicted that within three years, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices and, as such, many businesses will be looking to create and globally deploy their own solutions. At Aeris, we have put together the following tips on what business leaders should consider when entering the American market.

2G or not 2G?

2G technology is used extensively by IoT devices, but this use needs to be carefully considered. 2G allows for wide geographical network coverage, which currently is not possible with 4G. The technology behind 4G still needs advancing to cover blackspots found in areas both in the US and across the world. This is a significant issue for companies looking to roll-out IoT solutions countrywide or worldwide.

Additionally, 2G is no longer supported by AT&T and is being quickly phased out by the other carriers in the US. Other countries such as Singapore, Australia, and the Netherlands have phased out 2G as well. While 2G technology provides good global geographical coverage, the technology likely will be superseded by 4G in the coming years, so businesses must think carefully about this upcoming scenario.

Should devices be designed for CDMA?

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobiles (GSM) are shorthand for the two major radio systems used in cellular networks. CDMA is used widely in America and in only a handful of other countries. In other words, it is not popular in most other nations.

For that reason, companies need to think carefully about product design. If they are a European company, they will need to design a new product specifically for the US market if they want to create a CDMA-only device. However, this should not be the biggest consideration. What decision makers must focus on is creating a solution that can be deployed worldwide.

Device certification and frequency selection

IoT and M2M devices need individual certification from US networks, such as AT&T. This poses additional headaches for European companies looking at a US launch. Businesses must research this area in depth to ensure a pain-free certification process and to prevent costly delays in getting their device to market. Each certification must be researched prior to entering the market.

Read more: Breed Reply CEO says UK remains best start-up market for IoT companies in Europe

Ensure devices can connect globally

By using a global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) and utilizing a global Access Point Network (APN), companies can ensure that their devices are operational globally and that data can be accessed constantly. This guarantees that US and global deployments run smoothly and can be managed easily, especially if all devices are accessed through a single management platform.

For example, by using an Aeris global SIM combined with Aeris IoT Connectivity Services, businesses are able to have mobile communication across more than 500 networks in more than 180 countries using a single Aeris global APN. Aeris AerPort also allows companies to have near real-time access to data usage, alerting, and management for the entire SIM lifecycle.

Think globally. Do not focus just on the US

These issues cover just some of the major considerations that face European organizations looking to deploy an IoT device in the US market. However, a global approach is necessary if these businesses want to achieve true success. Creating IoT products specifically for the US market can end up being a costly strategy, and actually could delay the global roll-out of a product, as creating country-specific devices slows the manufacturing process.

For these many reasons, we believe it is imperative that European companies create solutions with worldwide deployments in mind. Also, they must be able to access multiple cellular networks through a carrier-agnostic SIM. Furthermore, businesses must utilize a single global APN and be able to manage all devices through one platform to ensure heightened management capabilities in a dispersed deployment. This would alleviate concerns about designing new products for each separate country in which devices are deployed, thereby easing global deployment.

Read more: The rise of the IoT ‘megatrends’

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