Zebra: European firms lack solid plans to achieve IoT goals

Zebra: Many European firms lack solid plan to achieve IoT goals

Spending on IoT set to rise in Europe, but do companies have the right strategies in place to achieve their goals? 

Research published this week has found that more than half (53 percent) of companies based in Western Europe lack a solid strategy to turn their IoT goals into reality, according to Zebra Technologies’ Intelligent Enterprise Index, which surveyed over 900 IT decision makers worldwide about IoT vision, investment and strategies.

According to Zebra, this suggests that Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world, where it found that only 39 percent said they lack a solid IoT strategy. 

The good news from the study, however, is that IoT is evolving quickly in Europe, with 25 percent of companies planning to invest $ 5m (£3.4m) or more in connected technologies.

On top of this, 66 percent of respondents said they have plans to increase that investment within two years and 83 percent believe that their deployments are more than half complete.

Three quarters (74 percent) of respondents expect that their IoT deployments will be completed by the summer of 2019.

Read more: Business leaders find IoT economics “increasingly compelling”, says Verizon

Struggles ahead

There seems to be a big issue, however, around planning. Instead, businesses seem to be focusing more on the opportunities and benefits that IoT presents, and less drawing up  rock-solid implementation plans to help them achieve their goals.

For example, around a third of European firms said they have no plans to address the cultural changes posed by IoT. Six out of ten, meanwhile, don’t have plans to address internal resistance to adopting IoT solutions, which could potentially throw a further spanner into the works.

Although 65 percent of European firms are actively educating their staff about IoT technologies, only 18 per cent are offering them incentives in a bid to encourage their use.

European firms lack proactive security methods, too, with almost every respondent (98 percent) saying they regularly monitor IoT security, but almost half admitting they rely on limited, reactive measures.

Read more: IoT projects driving IT budget decisions, 451 Research finds

Real-time intelligence boom

That said, real-time analytics is creating new opportunities and a sense of hope for firms in Europe. Over three-quarters (79 percent) of respondents said this technology is extremely important, and 59 percent aim to use IoT data to increase revenues.

“The ability to sense, analyze and act in real-time on insights generated by IoT technology is one the of the most significant advantages businesses can claim in an increasingly competitive, global market,” said Richard Hudson, vice president and general manager for EMEA at Zebra.

“Our research shows how enthusiastic European businesses are to gather actionable insights and become what we call ‘Intelligent Enterprises’.”

Enthusiasm is great, of course – but many business leaders could find that their goals out of reach without a clear strategy for achieving them.

Read more: Six out of ten IoT projects fail at trial stage, says survey

The post Zebra: European firms lack solid plans to achieve IoT goals appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

IIoT Platform-as-a-service ADAMOS launched by leading German firms

German software and industrial companies launched ADAMOS, an alliance formed around an open, white-labled IIoT platform. It has two main components, one is the digital marketplace and the other is the App Factory.

ADAMOS structure

The digital marketplace based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) consists of 200 experts, 5 digital marketplaces (of respective ADAMOS partners) and more than 30 apps in the App Factory. The App Factory has a development environment where platform partners can use a common technology infrastructure to build apps.

The key capabilities provided by the ADAMOS platform include machine learning (for predictive maintenance in manufacturing processes), real-time analytics, data storage, device connectivity, customizable dashboards, integration with various IIoT scenarios, and security.

The key companies behind the launch of IIoT Industry 4.0 platform include DMG MORI, Dürr, Software AG, Zeiss and Singapore-based ASM PT.

“As a machine builder, we know our customers’ requirements and know what is important. In the ADAMOS App Factory we bring industry knowledge for intuitively operated applications together with the design of digital marketplaces. The ADAMOS App Factory is a cooperation between machine builders and software companies that are closely linked with the partners.”
Ralf W. Dieter, CEO, Dürr AG.

The platform is aimed at SMEs and plans to launch first apps for planning, predictive maintenance, and machine cockpit from the beginning of 2018.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

The future is here and tech firms own it

Google’s line of new hardware, including stuff that used to have nothing to do with computing.

My obsession with the internet of things is in part an obsession with understanding the future. It’s awesome when a moment comes along that perfectly encapsulates the future you’ve vaguely envisioned. Wednesday’s Google event was such a moment for me.

It wasn’t the phones or computers that clarified the future, it was the new speakers, the earbuds that can translate 40 languages in real time, and the weird snippet-taking camera device. I’ve spent years talking about how connectivity and machine learning (or AI) will generate a business transformation for everyone.

I usually focus on business models and what it means for companies when they have more access to data, but Google showed what it means for product development. In doing so it also clarified what it means to embed technology into everyday products — a phrase that gets tossed off in everyday conversation without much meaning attached. But these three devices show how connectivity and machine learning change everything.

With the $ 399 stand-alone Home Max speaker, Google has taken its research in machine learning and audio codecs to build a speaker that understands where it is in the room and what is happening around it. It then adjusts.

Essentially, Google has made a context-aware speaker that adapts to its environment. That’s amazing. And other than Sonos, I can’t really see another speaker company coming close to truly changing the game on speakers. Even if Google doesn’t sell many of these speakers, it has clearly applied technology that should push every other speaker company to think differently about how it’s improving on the audio experience.

A similar question might be asked of the Apple AirPods or Google’s Pixel Buds. Both take the concept of turning a bluetooth headset into an extension of your computer.  Why didn’t JBL invent the Max Home speaker? Why didn’t Bose invent something like Google’s Pixel earbuds with their real-time translation capabilities?

In the case of the headphones it’s likely because, as owners of the phone, both Apple and Google can easily offload compute-intensive tasks to smartphones while limiting others’ access to the hardware. But in other cases, like the speakers and the Google Clips, it’s a question of culture,  and a lack of deep technical expertise outside their core business.

For example, Bose has innovated plenty with noise cancellation technology that also reacts to the volume of the world around the headphone wearer.  These Bose hearables also use algorithms to help tune headphones so people can hear better in crowded or noisy environments. So why stop there and not recognize that making context-aware, in-room speakers might also improve sound quality. One option is that the Home Max speakers are a gimmick that won’t change the experience much. Another reason might be because Bose simply doesn’t have the data or data scientists needed to make the tech work, because it hasn’t had connectivity in its products for as long or thoughts about using them in that way.

And this leads us to the Google Clips, a $ 249 tiny camera that will record photos and video snippets with the press of a shutter, or on its own. It’s designed so a user can set it up and forget about it. Google Clips has the “smarts” to recognize the people who matter to the user as well as the ability to recognize when to take a photo (so says Google). What’s notable is all of those smarts run locally on the device.

Clips is confusing because it’s expensive and the market seems limited. Yes, parents might think this is neat, but parents generally have connected baby monitors snapping photos of their kid as well as a fast finger on the smartphone camera button. But when viewed as a research project in shrinking computer vision on a device, or a way to get more training data to help computers learn what makes a good picture, Clips makes sense.

There are few companies that can invest in producing a piece of hardware that has a limited market value with a goal of getting the right kind of data to train and test a new computer vision model, or a smaller computer vision module. This is why, as tech invades more and more of our devices, the giants of the technology world are stretching to build products outside of computers.

Does this mean we’ll get that Apple television or a Google washer? Maybe not anytime soon, although Amazon has applied for a patent on a spoilage-sensing fridge. Tech is coming for everyone’s business and it’s not clear if anyone outside of tech has the resources it takes to win.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Survey: Life insurance firms face hurdles in digital transformation race

Life insurers face hurdles in digital transformation race

Life insurance in the US lags well behind other insurance product lines when it comes to digital transformation – but IT leaders in the sector are struggling to make the case for innovation and change.

These are the findings of a recent survey of life insurance IT leaders, all members of LOMA (the Life Office Management Association), conducted by market research firm Gartner. The study aimed to assess the impact of emerging trends on IT investments and decisions in the sector and found that almost half of respondents (49 percent) are working at firms that don’t even have a digital strategy.

On top of that, many don’t have a clear understanding of how digitalization could help transform their business models, Gartner said, and in this respect, they are trailing other areas of insurance.

Read more: Q&A: Blue Cross Blue Shield MA – how IoT is changing health insurance

Digital laggards

“While other insurance sectors, such as property and casualty (P&C) and health, are transforming at a faster pace, the life insurance industry continues to be more risk-averse and traditional in its business approach,” said Gartner analyst Kimberly Harris-Ferrante.

“IT leaders in North American life insurers often underestimate the impact of technologies and trends such as disruption from insurtech companies, changes in consumer lifestyle and growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) among consumers for health and lifestyle management.”

According to the study, participants believe that heightened security and cybersecurity risks will have the biggest impact on the industry during the next three years. Less predictable risks, such as changes in consumer lifestyle, spending and savings, were considered less threatening.

Read more: UK insurance market lags on digital, says LexisNexis

Long-term risks

“The failure to understand the pace and breadth of industry change will be risky in the long term to life insurers, which will find that it is increasingly difficult to respond to new market entrants and keep up with consumer financial and life insurance needs,” said James Huffman, LOMA’s second vice president, management solutions.

“Our research demonstrates that companies that do not aggressively establish an enterprise-wide digital program will fall behind, leaving them vulnerable to traditional and non-traditional competitors.”

The advice from Gartner to US life insurance companies is to focus on the needs of the digital consumer. For IT leaders in the sector, that means building modern platforms that use mobile and other digital technologies and enhancing the customer experience through behavioural analytics and the use of artificial intelligence, Gartner says.

But, its analysts acknowledge, a major barrier here is the reliance of the life insurance sector on ageing legacy systems. “These systems undermine openness and the ability to develop next-generation insurance products (such as those leveraging wearables) and build digital front-end platforms.”

The Gartner/LOMA study found that the top two challenges for the next three years will be dealing with older systems that cannot support new business needs and legacy modernization.

Five weeks to go: On 26 & 27 September 2017, Internet of Business will be holding its Internet of Insurance USA event in Austin, Texas. This event will focus on how insurance carriers can capitalize on IoT.

The post Survey: Life insurance firms face hurdles in digital transformation race appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

Five ways healthcare firms can get ahead in the race to the Medical Internet of Things

The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has become so popular that its impact is being felt across a huge number of industries, and healthcare is no exception. Five years ago, the medical device connectivity market was largely insignificant, but is now expected to grow at a CAGR of 38% over the next five years by adopting the capabilities of the IoT. With this in mind, here are five recommendations for healthcare organizations to ensure they fully embrace the power of the IoT: 

Embrace the cloud

Today, the cloud has become the default platform for digital innovation, and the IoT is no different. IT departments have often been accused of holding innovation back in the past, yet nowadays it’s hard to find a single fast-growing health app which utilises in-house IT departments and ignores independent cloud platforms. The latter is favoured not just for its scalability and cost advantages, but also for promoting rapid adoption amongst like-minded pioneers and entrepreneurial communities. This has allowed them to pitch in with new value-added services, which has led to the value of the network within the IoT ecosystem increasing exponentially.

Open solutions up to all relevant stakeholders

It is vital that IoT medical equipment, applications or solutions are designed in a way that democratizes the big data they generate – thus allowing all the relevant stakeholders to join the party. This should be done by creating open architectures which allow stakeholders to freely interact with the product in question, permitting them to record the number of people who interact with it and making the information surrounding the use of that equipment completely open. This allows entrepreneurs and other leaders to open up innovation to numerous stakeholders within healthcare organizations including patients, doctors, service engineers, dealers and so on. 

Don’t rule out remote monitoring

From tracking hospital assets and patients with real-time location systems and radio-frequency identification to remotely monitoring hospital equipment, the global healthcare sector is in for a dramatic change. Soon patients won’t need to visit the doctors for a blood-pressure reading: machines will be able to automatically take their readings and inform both them and their doctor if any anomalies arise. Compare that to your bank notifying you when your account is overdrawn, and it doesn’t seem such a crazy suggestion.

Collaborate with unlikely partners

We are living in an age of knowledge spillovers, where innovation within one firm/sector often has the unintended effect of stimulating growth within a neighbouring sector or rival firm. These spillovers make spectacular innovations possible, as firms begin to identify seemingly unrelated players collaborating with them to create value. For example, Ford is working with the healthcare industry on a solution that would notify a nearby hospital if a person suffers a heart attack in their car, and can send an ambulance before the person is even aware they are having one.

Extract secondary and tertiary value from data

Many people exercise unevenly, distributing more weight on one leg than the other, which can lead to injuries. Wouldn’t it be beneficial if your shoes could warn you about your unhealthy exercise habits so that you can do something about it and avoid an injury? Second, surely a running shoe manufacturer would benefit from knowing how their products are being used, how often, and where most wear and tear occurs, so that they develop better shoes? What’s more, the data that these devices generate will only help to improve their quality, as this intelligence is added back into the devices and other healthcare applications. This could help create a cycle of improvement, which is undoubtedly a positive development and could see the MIoT market really explode into life.

By following these recommendations, firms can give themselves a definitive head-start in the race to the Medical Internet of Things.  It’s clear that medical devices will soon become commonplace within the healthcare sector, and that they will form part of an enriched and broad MIoT. Furthermore, with this exponential increase in both connected medical devices and the continual improvements being made in processing data showing no sign of abating, imagination is the only remaining hurdle to overcome if developers are to bring the next big app to market, and bring to the world the healthcare of tomorrow.

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