#AccessibleOlli drives us forward at CES

Did you know that 15 percent of us live with disabilities? That jumps to 25 percent for people 50+. And by the time we’re 65, half of us will have one or more impairments.

That’s why #AccessibleOlli was such a draw at this year’s CES with it’s very worthy mission: autonomous for all of us.

What is Olli

If you aren’t familiar with Olli, it’s an all-electric, partially 3D-printed, self-driving vehicle with a cognitive rider experience. Holding up to 10 people, this autonomous shuttle is the result of a co-creation challenge and rapid prototyping. Taking it a step further with a collaboration between Local Motors, IBM and CTA foundation and 17 other partners, #AccessibleOlli was created. This #AccessibleOlli is 90 percent 3D-printed, and uses technology to provide solutions for those with vision and hearing loss, cognitive disorders and mobile constraints.

#AccessibleOlli showed up at this year's CES to demonstration how IoT technology can create better mobility options for people with disabilities.
#AccessibleOlli on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor at this year’s CES.

An immersive experience

The always-packed CES booth gave visitors an immersive #AccessibleOlli experience to help them, as someone said, “put on their empathy hat.” Because, as Eric Jenney, program director of corporate strategy, SPEED program for IBM, explained, “One of the things we learned early on is that transportation can be a very segregating experience for people with disabilities.”

Attendees met and talked with Erich Manser, part of the IBM Research team. Erich is legally blind, and serves as one of the four personas that #AccessibleOlli can help. He’s also a heavy user of public transportation. And under normal circumstances, finding an unoccupied bus seat can be a problem. But part of the beauty of #AccessibleOlli is its ability to personalize the experience for each user.

Erich Manser, part of the IBM Research team, helped immerse visitors in the #AccessibleOlli project.
IBMer Erich Manser set the immersive stage for visitors to the #AccessibleOlli booth.

Thanks to an RFID card, similar to a bus pass or metro card, that a user like Erich would carry, riders are “known” in advance to the vehicle. Then, as Erich explained, “Our ability to use things like text to speech, really helps to create audible experiences.”

Designed by people with impairments, for people with impairments

As all well-designed product do, #AccessibleOlli started with research. Thousands of people with disabilities provided input. Sheila Zinck, IBM accessibility programs director, talked to retirement communities to find out how willing its residents would be to try autonomous transportation.

Concerned that older adults would be resistant to self-driving technology, Shelia was surprised to discover just how willing they were to be early adopters. “You can be in the most beautiful facility in the world, but if you can’t have the agency to go out and go shopping, or go to your own doctor’s appointments or go out to dinner, your life just contracts.”

The IBM role

So why is IBM involved in this project? Because the Internet of Things (IoT) offers promising ways to enable people with disabilities through new technology. Olli uses Watson APIs and a Watson-powered assistant, along with IBM IoT for Automotive. And with IoT, you can acquire data through sensors to understand people’s needs. Then you can combine it with additional information through the cloud to create new solutions for extending mobility.

#AccessibleOlli was an amazing conversation stater for creating a more autonomous and accessible world.#

Disability personas

At this year’s CES, the #AccessibleOlli display focused on four disabilities, and each was summarized through a persona:

  • Erich, who we met earlier, has degenerative vision loss as he is nearly blind.
  • Brent has hearing loss. Partner KinTrans provides a solution to understand and communicate via sign language, which was demonstrated in the booth. Eventually, Watson will help with sign language recognition.
  • Katherine is confined to a wheelchair. For her, Olli has a smart retractable wheelchair ramp and securement system.
  • Grace suffers from early dementia and has a cognitive disorder.  Technologies will help recognize her and give her gentle reminders to help keep her on track.

What’s next for #AccessibleOlli?

After CES, the journey continues, literally.  #AccessibleOlli will be moved to National Harbor, MD, near Washington DC, where it will continue to be a lab, integrating new technologies through ongoing labs and workshops. Along with our partners and contributors, we’ll all continue to build out solutions.

Thank you, #AccessibleOlli, for creating a true “autonomous for all of us” experience. And in the words of our special booth attendee, the musical legend Stevie Wonder, “We all have ability. The difference is in how we use it.”

Musical legend Stevie Wonder, made a surprise stop at the #AccessibleOlli booth at CES 2018.I
IBMer Eric Jenney and Local motors EVP, Matthew Rivett, posed with musical legend Stevie Wonder,
who made a surprise visit to the #AccessibleOlli booth at CES 2018. 

Musical legend Stevie Wonder made a surprise stop at the #AccessibleOlli booth at CES 2018.
Stevie Wonder and Lighthouse for the Blind CEO, Michael May, take a seat at #AccessibleOlli during 



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Internet of Things blog

On Approaches to Internet Security, Cybersecurity, and the Path Forward

On 5 October, I had the pleasure of speaking at the New York Metro Joint Cyber Security Conference, which brings together a community of security practitioners from the New York Metro area. Two talks stood out for me. First, the keynote by Maria Vullo, Superintendent Financial Services for the state of New York, who explained her drivers for regulating cybersecurity requirements for the Financial Sector [link to the presentation]. Second, a presentation by Pete Lindstrom from IDC, who, in a presentation on how perimeter security needs a thorough rethink, kept returning to the economics of security.

The reason I refer to these two talks is because I can appreciate them for their own, almost diametrical approaches for improving security. Pete Lindstrom making a strong economic and risk-based approach, questioning whether patching every vulnerability that comes along makes any sense from an economic risk and scale analysis. Maria Vullo, on the other hand, using capacity-based regulation to incentivise stronger security controls.

Those two points resonate strongly with what I was trying to get across: There is no magic security bullet, there is no security czar, and maintaining trust needs an active approach from all stakeholders.

Starting off with how our community thinks about the future, I zoomed in to what is seen as one of the most important cyber threats. In order to tackle this, we need to work in in a distributed matter. That is what the Internet is still about. We need creative ways for agreeing on what needs to be done; some call this norm entrepreneurship. In the presentation, I give three examples of trying to deal with the hard security problems on the Internet that were identified in the futures report.

  • Risk that online freedoms and global connectivity will take a back seat to national security
    Cyberstability is a piece of the puzzle, a traditionally interstate debate, but now seeking to be broader. The work by the Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace is an example – an experiment in opening up the creation of cyberstability norms in a multi-stakeholder setting.
  • Need for new accountability, incentive, and liability models
    These are tricky, specifically when we talk about externalized risks. Where taking action has no immediate individual reward, and remaining passive imposes great risk to the environment. Where do incentives come from and how can we be creative in an environment where one does not want to stifle innovation? In this context, I talked about MANRS as a creative incentive developed by the network operator community.
  • The Internet of Things will create new security challenges
    We believe that innovative approaches like the OTA Internet of Things framework contribute to establish broadly carried norms around the security of these devices. The framework provides 40 measurable principles around security, privacy, and sustainability. Not only from a device but also from a data and supply chain perspective.But even then, there will always be security issues to which we may not have good answers. The recent BlueBorne vulnerability is an example. How do we deal with these sort of vulnerabilities? At this moment, I do not know of any attacks that exploit this vulnerability, but I think we all agree that these sorts of new challenges will be popping up.On the other hand, there will also be positive evolution in IoT and security, as my colleague Andrei Robachevsky wrote about recently.

Internet security is more than cybersecurity, because we focus on the security of the Internet as a whole. And if that landscape seems complex and confusing, then that is indeed the case.

There are no ready-made answers and that is the Internet Way: distributed, with good approaches winning from the worst ones, piecemeal, and informed. This is the path to good security, to learn from each other’s experiences, and get better.

All the easy problems were solved 20 years ago.

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Internet Society

Users wary of security in driverless cars as autonomous driving lurches forward

A quarter of UK respondents believe driverless cars will become the dominant form of transport over the next decade, according to a new study from Gemalto.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, of more than 2,000 consumers, argued that cost efficiency was the primary driver when taking a connected car on lease, cited by 34% of respondents, ahead of ease in manoeuvring the vehicle (31%) and secure Wi-Fi access (28%).

Many advanced features such as automotive grade secure wireless module can be installed in the cars, allowing communication with traffic management and road infrastructure systems. These systems provide consumers with information on live traffic updates, road tolls, road safety or emergencies and also suggestion on parking places. Apart from these features, 59% were interested in getting real-time traffic updates.

Other important features respondents are looking for includes theft protection (58%), receiving parking space information (54%), access to accurate maps (49%), biometric authentication to unlock their car (33%) and personalisation and enhancements in car features through software updates (25%).

In spite of these benefits, 64% of consumers are wary of their safety in driverless cars. 34% of consumers are apprehensive of their cars getting hacked, losing control and causing accidents. Moreover, for 9% of consumers data privacy is of major concern. They want their car manufacturers to handle their data collected via connected cars to be secured.

Car manufacturers, in order to gain consumers’ trust, must embrace a multi-layer security-by-design approach. PKI infrastructure, key management services and identity issuance should be utilised to secure the car, its firmware and software applications. High-speed data encryption technology needs to be used at all times to lay at rest data privacy concerns. 

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UK government pushes forward with driverless vehicles program

UK government pushes forward with driverless vehicles program

The UK government has announced a cash injection for a consortium aiming to get driverless cars on our roads by 2019.

Since announcing its £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund, a scheme to develop connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), the UK government has shown significant willingness to assist in the push to get driverless cars onto Britain’s roads.

The first trials of driverless car technology have already taken place on UK streets, with further projects in Greenwich and Milton Keynes well underway.

Now, a new cash injection of £12.8 million has been pumped into another scheme to get driverless cars on UK roads by 2019, in a programme of investment as part of the government’s modern industrial strategy that will eventually cost £23 million.

This scheme will be led by the StreetWise project, a consortium that consists of Cambridge-based start-up FiveAI, which uses artificial intelligence software to run driverless vehicles, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Oxford University, Transport for London and the insurer Direct Line.

These organizations were chosen as part of CAV2, the second part of the government’s connected and autonomous vehicle competition, to test the technology in London.

Steve Boland, CEO of FiveAI, said that, with the funding, “We can look to become a technology leader and catch up with countries such as the US, Germany and Sweden that have already staked their claim in the market.”

In addition to developing a fully driverless transport system, the consortium plans to demonstrate how citizens could order automated rides using a smartphone app, as well as showcase insurance and safety protocols, during the third quarter of 2019.

Boland added that the trial in South London targets commuters who drive to work and would use roughly 10 electric cars. According to The Times, the trial will test a “personal mobility service” to cut congestion and pollution, improve safety and free up parking spaces.

Read more: Driverless cars a ‘big step forward’ for smarter travel

Further investment in driverless and AI

Rob Wallis, CEO at TRL, noted that, “We continue to see a major industry shift towards automation, connectivity and electrification of vehicles, and the use of shared mobility schemes. Such market disruption is transforming the way people will travel, especially in cities, and it is vital that the UK remains at the forefront of this development.

“TRL believes the UK Government’s CAV ambitions, in partnership with British businesses, remains critical in ensuring the UK plays its role as a major global innovator within this fast-changing market.”

The announcement coincides with a speech made at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders by business secretary Greg Clark at the end of last week. Mr Clark confirmed that, with the driverless car market predicted to be worth £63 billion by 2035, the government will be investing a further £38 million in new collaborative research and development projects.

He added it would be working with industry partners to develop the next generation of AI and control systems need to “ensure the UK is at the forefront of the driverless cars revolution.”

Read more: AECOM launches £4.2 million driverless car trial

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Internet of Business

How Digitization Is Disrupting Construction: Strategies Forward

From 3D printing to prefabrication and assembly, the digitization and industrialization of construction is already underway. Knowledge and technology developed by the other industrialized industries is enabling construction to leapfrog to the latest, proven methods at breakneck speed.

Today’s construction industry is at an inflection point. Digitization is changing everything, including barriers to entry. In the new digital world, new business models are emerging, disrupting the industry and requiring new processes for the way we work and deliver services.

Digital technologies changing the construction industry: 3D printing & IoT

From supply chain to workforce planning, digital technologies are bringing greater efficiency and scalability to the construction industry. Robotics and 3D printing, for example, require 30% to 60% less building materials and can be completed 50% to 80% faster. The market for portable and modular buildings is growing as digital technology powers faster completion rates. Portakabin, a UK-based construction company building, uses 3D building information modeling (BIM) and a factory-like setting to construct portable and modular buildings 50% faster than conventional buildings. This allows Portakabin to obtain a higher level of precision, delivering construction on time and within budget.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is powering new efficiencies and smarter asset utilization. For example, CCC, a large Middle Eastern contractor, faced weak demand in 2008. The company had two choices: become more efficient or go out of business. Today, CCC uses IoT to monitor and improve the utilization of its assets, saving approximately $ 15 million per year.

Digitization of construction: does your business have the right strategy?

Construction companies that shift to digital stand to realize significant gains over the competition. These are the five key areas being most impacted by digitization and industry transformation:

1. Expertise and knowledge

As a new generation enters the workforce and more experienced craftsmen retire, there is an urgent need to make up for the resulting experience gap. Capturing and utilizing best practices can no longer be just a goal; it must be a reality. Otherwise, accidents, rework, and delays will become more commonplace – jeopardizing safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Technology-savvy millennials expect digital rather than paper-based processes. For example, consider the knowledge and experience that helps determine the amount of consumables or small tools required for a job. This knowledge will need to be translated into a format, such as tablets, that can be easily accessed at the job site.

2. Construction sites

Many activities traditionally performed piecemeal onsite will be consolidated and moved to efficient factory-like settings with safety and equipment availability greatly improved. The use of modern, lean techniques, including a major role for robotics, will improve quality, greatly reduce waste, and improve costs and schedules

Prefabricated “Lego-like” components will be produced with great precision and transferred to the job site. Here, 3D models and wearable technology will direct “skilled-enough” labor to quickly and accurately assemble the components.

Sensors gathering up-to-date information will transform the construction site, improving safety, monitoring progress, and reducing unnecessary downtime by anticipating and correcting potential problems, like a lack of materials or equipment issues.

The project status will be continuously transmitted back to headquarters to ensure contractors are paid faster and that their pay is based on progress.

3. Project collaboration

Owners, contractors, architects, and other members of the construction team will work on contracts designed to improve information sharing. They will be compensated based on the project’s success, rather than individual accomplishments. For example, project-as-the-tenant collaboration systems will be available to everyone on the project. This includes up-to-date structured (2D/3D renderings, job cost, etc.) and unstructured (documents, procedures, manuals, etc.) information.

With project collaboration, case studies show that change orders can be virtually eliminated. RFIs will document decisions already reached in the field. Under this new digital model, trust and respect are commonplace, driving the shared stakeholder collaboration that is paramount for greater success.

4. Skilled labor network

Labor unions are evolving. A digitally networked workforce may replace some aspects of their role. Skilled craftsmen and staffing firms will post online for available jobs with large contractors. Contractors, in turn, will be able to compare the costs, track record, skill set, availability, etc. of every person before the hire, similar to Angie’s List in the consumer marketplace. Pre-negotiated contracts based on volume and certified suppliers will save contractors time and money. An Uber-like availability and simplicity will be accompanied by reliable feedback.

Unions, in turn, will implement new training programs to help members better understand these new technologies and enhance skill level.

5. Commissioning and operations

The handover of critical information from the construction phase to the operational phase will occur seamlessly and without having to re-enter the information into asset systems.

BIM data is linked to the ERP and project management information, providing visual components throughout the process that will help minimize errors and costly rework.

Information captured in the design phase will have a common thread that will be used to populate the information in the asset management systems.

Equipment installed in the construction will have information on warranty and maintenance stored in an open network that operators will be able to access well after the construction phase is completed.

Next steps: moving towards full digitization

The digitization of expertise and knowledge, intercompany collaboration, commissioning and operations, and the construction site as a whole demands new business models and construction methods. Companies must be prepared to embrace these changes or risk being out-performed and out-innovated by the competition.

For more insight on the new digital age, see Building a Sustainable World, How to survive and thrive in a digital construction economy.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine