Smart Innovations heading to the Mobile World Congress 2018

As Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Limited is getting ready to participate in the Mobile World Congress (“MWC”) 2018, from 26th Feb – 1st Mar, 2018. With the theme of, ‘On the Road to 5G Enabled Smart Cities,’ Comba Telecom is presenting a range of innovative solutions at the event, including 5G, public safety, smart city and multi-operators’ solutions.

Comba Telecom is ready for the coming of the 5G era with the Massive MIMO/ Beamforming technology for 5G antennas and Digital DAS to be unveiled at the event. The Massive MIMO/ Beamforming technology minimizes interference of mobile signals, improving network capacity and data rates per user. To support its development, technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), debut of 5G Digital DAS can help to realize the objective of networks, providing high-performance 5G indoor coverage

Comba Telecom’s public safety solutions enables construction of reliable and secure in-building communications systems all thanks to the advantages of CriticalPoint BDA and DAS combined with other passive components. It enables responders and other public safety professionals to save lives in emergencies and disaster situations. At MWC, a new series of CriticalPoint public safety BDA and DAS solutions developed for global markets are also to be introduced to visitors.

As a smart city uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information, Comba Telecom will bring the latest smart and artificial intelligence (“AI”) solutions namely ScanVis Computer Vision AI Solutions for Enterprises, Smart Pole, UWB Location Tracking and Scalable HetNet Base Station Solution with onsite demonstrations to the show, forging their customers’ connections to the road to 5G.

Mr. Simon Yeung, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Comba Telecom and the President of Comba Telecom International, said, “This year, we are delighted to introduce our smart solutions and 5G technologies in addition to turnkey wireless solutions. To implement our business objectives, Comba Telecom is now allocating greater resources in the R&D for new technologies such as IoT and AI in recent years. We believe that our efforts can add value to our customers and facilitate their further success in the future.”

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I’m heading to the smartest building in the world

Although I try to minimize business travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are always events that I see as critical. The evolution of “smart building” technology is interesting to watch, and this year, I am heading to what could be one of the smartest buildings in the world. I am heading to TRIMax, hosted at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA later this month. So, you’re probably wondering – what makes it so smart?

Bringing together the smartest for 3 days

The Crystal City Gateway Marriott will transform into the “smartest building” in the world for 3 days. Buildings and facilities management leaders from some of the most transformative facilities in the world will come together to learn and network.  Representing billions of dollars in facilities and real estate, these leaders will converge on November 29th through December 1st to share the secrets of their successes.

For those who are not familiar with TRIMax, you will want to check out the agenda here. It is the penultimate event for Maximo and TRIRIGA clients, business partners, and IBM leaders. These are leaders of asset-intensive industries, who manage thousands of costly buildings, plants, stores and the plethora of assets that make their operations possible.  They leverage technologies to help them optimize cost, reduce efforts, and engage employees or clients through smarter facilities and services. They’re basically superhuman individuals.

What to watch at TRIMax this year

This year, there are three critical areas that I will be watching the evolution of, through our customers’ eyes. These are:

  • Capital Planning and Lease Accounting;
  • Energy Optimization; and
  • Occupancy Experience

Lease accounting changes on the horizon

While the overall costs of managing a facility rose only 1% in 2017, according to BOMA, there were jumps in controllable expenses, in addition to escalating real estate taxes.  In addition,  the unprecedented impacts to the balance sheet expected in 2019 from lease accounting changes are cause for concern. Lessons from leaders like TD Bank, EDI, Chipotle, and Umpqua Bank (see speaker spotlight blog) will be critical to maximizing the building lifecycle. See the IBM webcast on this subject.

Cutting utility costs through energy optimization

On average, 29 percent of a buildings operating expenses is spent on utilities. Many occupants are demanding energy efficiency and/or alternative energy sources in their contracts.  Managing the interactions and integrations with building control systems is one area organizations are working on.  They are also striving for the ability to record sentiment using sensors and applications.

I will be watching how Tampa Bay Water uses Maximo Asset Health Insights in the Maximo keynote, as well as University of Massachusetts Amherst’s innovative integrations to manage all aspects of their campuses. There will also be several folks from IBM there to talk about how we used tools like TRIRIGA Real Estate Environmental Sustainability Manager to save over $ 5M in 2016.

Reshaping how people experience buildings

Lastly, the expectations of occupants and lessees continues to ramp up. As the cost per square foot continues to increase year over year, so do the expectations for the ties between space optimization and occupancy experience. This will be a key theme, with ISS, Boeing and IBM Real Estate Site Operations discussing how we “connect the dots” to client value during the keynote.

Mobility, analytics and cognitive play key roles in occupants experience as well. I am looking forward to learning more about these topics during talks from Fidelity, Utah Army National Guard, the Smithsonian Institute, and Verizon.

So much to learn in so little time

This is just a small subsection of 100+ speakers that will be at the event. There will be several hundred other attendees to mingle with, who are all driving change across their large real estate and asset portfolios. This is why I am looking forward to TRIMax 2017. Let us know if you too will be at the smartest building in the world!

There is still limited space available to attend TRIMax, for more details, please check out http://www.trimaxusergroup.com

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IoT is heading for mass adoption by 2019 says Aruba

IoT is heading for mass adoption by 2019 says Aruba

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has published the results of a survey looking at adoption levels, security concerns and business use cases for the Internet of Things across EMEA. Among its findings is that mass adoption of IoT is expected by 2019, with better than expected business results a key driver. The study was conducted with Kevin Ashton, creator of the term Internet of Things.

IoT is consistently over-delivering

The research revealed that IoT deployments delivered benefits that vastly exceeded expectations in the two key performance areas of business efficiency and profitability.

It found that while 16 percent of business leaders projected a large profit gain from their IoT investment, after IoT had been adopted 32 percent of executives said they saw profit increases.

And, while 29 percent of executives expected their IoT strategies to result in business efficiency improvements, after deployment 46 percent said that they experienced efficiency gains.

Internet of Business spoke to Morten Illum, EMEA Vice President at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company about this anomaly. He told us this “shows that the hype is not misplaced when IoT is used in the correct manner. The only way that IoT can fall short of expectations is if we don’t sufficiently use the data that the sensors are gathering from their surroundings. The onus is on us to make use of the data created to realize our own high hopes.”

It’s an obstacle race

Despite the gains to be made from implementing IoT, the research revealed that there are still many obstacles that stop it being implemented. Cost of implementation was reported as one of these by 50 percent, maintenance by 44 percent and integration of legacy technology by 43 percent.

Data, which is the central plank of the IoT, also presents issues for many organisations. While 98 percent of organizations that have adopted IoT claim that they can analyse data, 97 percent feel there are challenges to creating value from this data.

Security is also a significant issue, with 84 percent reporting that they had experienced an IoT related security breach. Not surprisingly with that figure in mind, more than half said that external attacks are a key barrier to moving forward with an IoT strategy.

Reacting to this, Morten Illum told Internet of Business, “It’s clear that companies need more information about the devices connecting to their network. Network managers require the ability to create policies/permissions around each of them, so that if a device is compromised by malware or human error, it can be identified and removed from the wider network.”

Read more: 5G will drive IoT adoption, Ericsson claims

The situation in 2019

Despite these challenges the report concludes that 85 percent of businesses plan to implement IoT by 2019, driven by a need for innovation and business efficiency.

77 percent of businesses believe it will allow them to transform offices into smart workplaces. 59 percent say IoT will allow them to increase employee productivity, 40 percent expect it to help with growing the business, and 20 percent see it as improving worker’s ability to collaborate.

The challenge, Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing at Aruba, points out, is working out the right strategy for IoT. Commenting on the report he said, “With many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT are well positioned to gain a competitive advantage.”

Read more: Connected tech adoption in manufacturing set to double

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Where is AI in the auto industry now – and where is it heading?

(c)iStock.com/Bakal

The shape-shifting, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cars seen in futuristic films aren’t appearing anytime soon but AI technology certainly exists today in the auto market and will be increasingly visible in the future.

Industry observers are saying that AI and machine learning have reached a tipping point and will cause enormous advances through the next few years in many markets.  In the automotive sector, these technologies will be transformative. Analysis firm IHS Markit predicted that the installation rate of AI-based systems in new vehicles would rise by 109% in 2025, compared to a modest 8% adoption rate in 2015.  In February 2017,  Ford paid $ 1 billion for artificial intelligence start-up  Argo AI. 

Over the next five years alone, AI-based systems will become standard in the areas of infotainment systems including speech and gesture recognition, eye tracking and driver monitoring, along with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles using camera-based machine vision, radar-based direction units, driver condition evaluation and sensor fusion engine control units. 

In tracking the future role of AI in the auto industry, it’s useful to focus on where these predictive, smart technologies already exist and how they will expand their functionality. 

Machine learning

With the ability of computer systems to improve their performance by exposure to data without the need to follow explicitly programmed instructions, machine learning is already becoming so pervasive that many of us probably use it every day without knowing it. This technology is a key component in the driverless cars now cruising down some roadways in pilot projects as well as in actual autonomous vehicles and related services from companies like Uber and Volvo. 

One ripe area for machine learning in vehicles is cybersecurity systems, which have self-learning and self-healing capabilities.  Some experts say we could start to see this technology appearing in enterprises in 2017-18.  The ultimate aim for automakers are AI-based security systems that are self adapting and self defending with ways to guard against hacks and new threats without any humans needing to program the system. 

Voice recognition 

Already common in everything from our smartphones to those annoying call centers, voice recognition  is in our vehicles now and this trend will continue unabated – most recently seen in Ford adopting Amazon’s Alexa for Sync, a voice-controlled communications and entertainment system.  However, there are challenges in moving from today’s level of speech recognition to technology that can truly understand context and thus serve a driver’s needs safely and accurately. 

Companies are busily working on this problem, adding intelligence to AI systems so that cars will be able to more deeply understand context.  Technologies such as extensive parallel processing, advanced algorithms and massive data sets to feed the algorithms in future cars will enable vehicles to continue learning as we drive them. 

Computer vision 

Computer vision – the ability to identify objects, scenes and activities in unconstrained environments – is one of the key technologies in today’s autonomous vehicles and will play a key role as well to support drivers of AI-equipped cars.  

Computer vision in today’s driverless cars from companies like Google demonstrates how this AI technology works, although the car’s “eyes” – just like in humans – depend upon the “brains” found in massive compute power, complex algorithms and deep learning.  The vision in such a car is handled by cameras to detect traffic lights, signs and moving objects like pedestrians and bicyclists. Meanwhile, radar sensors and lidar units send beams to measure the distance to obstacles.  

Of the various AI technologies in vehicles, computer vision is the most complicated and advanced.  Given the profound safety requirements of cars, whether manned or unmanned, this isn’t surprising but various vision features are already out there. These include things like collision avoidance systems, drifting warnings, blind-spot detectors, enhanced cruise control and self-parking but the capabilities of computer vision in cars are just beginning. 

Optimisation

Involving highly refined algorithms, databases and powerful computing capabilities, optimisation technology has been used in the business sector for years to predict and improve outcomes. Optimisation technology can also benefit vehicles by helping cars automate complex decisions and make trade-offs to best use limited resources like system bandwidth. An example is algorithms to help car systems make intelligent choices by selectively pulling only relevant data from the cloud to improve fast, accurate decisions.

Another example is using adaptive delta compression to improve a car’s ability to keep its software updated. This near-future technique involves efficient differential compression algorithms that take a delta, or status, of current car software systems and adapt updates according to the needs of a particular car at a particular point in time.  With incremental changes to software, this concept takes what is already there and adds the differential, achieving faster, smaller updates.

Rule-based systems

Another important technology long used in the commercial sector, business rules engines are programmed to follow defined orders to make smarter, faster decisions. In the vehicle world – and where AI is concerned – rule-based systems add a layer of intelligence.  As cars receive more and more data, the rules adjust to become better and more granular over time. 

Consider rules in adaptive cruise control, in which the car will take the data from its surroundings and make automated decisions but will have the ability to improve these decisions.  Automated parking and adapted automated parking are examples. 

Planning and scheduling technologies

Yet another key tool widely deployed in the business sector, planning and scheduling systems utilise optimisation and other algorithm-driven software to automatically define a sequence of events to meet defined goals.

Such systems are already used by car manufacturers for their supply chains but as the technology moves forward, they will appear in other areas such as improving over-the-air automatic software updates to a vehicle’s many electronic control units. For example, planning and scheduling systems can determine the status of a car’s software and define the best update sequence. This is an area ripe for AI technology.

Smart robotics

Robotics on the manufacturing floor have transformed vehicle production. Robots have been used in auto manufacturing for years but the increasingly intelligent robots being produced today and tomorrow will have far-reaching impact on the industry.  With their ever-improving cognitive abilities, smart robots will be introduced to undertake more complex problems and will contain intelligence that enables decision making.  It’s predicted now that robotics will move from the manufacturing assembly line to the dealership with the goal being that the robots will assess, analyse and then repair vehicles module by module.

Industry analysts are unanimous about the increasing intelligence of cars in years to come. These smart, networked computers on wheels will improve our lives in many ways. Gartner Group predicts that in just four years, there will be a quarter of a billion connected vehicles on the road, which will make possible new in-vehicle services and expanded automated driving capabilities.  AI technology will enable tomorrow’s car to better understand our needs and be able to react to and learn from us just as fellow humans do.  Ideally, AI-driven cars will improve on us humans and actually learn from the mistakes they make. 

Imagine a car with windows that can show the outside view or display movies or reveal information, depending on our wishes.  We may be able to rotate our seats however we desire, including making them into comfortable beds.  In fact, future autonomous cars might have such advanced built-in safety features that the seatbelt might not even be needed. This brave new automotive world may move beyond being a science fiction movie staple into reality within most of our lifetimes.

Read more: The AI paradigm: How can we make unmanned cars much more intelligent?

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IoT Heading for Mass Adoption by 2019 Driven by Better-Than-Expected Business Results

IoT Heading for Mass Adoption by 2019 Driven by Better-Than-Expected Business Results

International study reveals IoT adopters are seeing strong gains in innovation and business efficiency, yet security remains a key concern with 84% reporting an IoT-related security breach.

A new global study ‘The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow’ published by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, reveals that IoT will soon be widespread as 85% of businesses plan to implement IoT by 2019, driven by a need for innovation and business efficiency.

While the analysis confirms the clear business benefits from investments in IoT, Aruba’s report cautions that connecting thousands of things to existing business networks has already resulted in security breaches for the majority of organizations.

The research questioned 3,100 IT and business decision makers across 20 countries to evaluate the current state of IoT and its impact across different industries. The study shows that while virtually all business leaders (98%) have an understanding of IoT, many are unclear of the exact definition of IoT and what it means for their business.

In his new eBook ‘Making Sense of IoT’, commissioned by Aruba, technology visionary Kevin Ashton—who coined the term ‘Internet of Things’— presents the following definition:

“The ‘Internet of Things’ means sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way by making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely and allowing unexpected applications, so computers can understand the world around them and become humanity’s nervous system.”

The Expectations Dividend

When examining the business benefits of IoT, Ashton discovered that the real-world benefits gained from IoT exceeded even the original expectations. This ‘expectations dividend’ is evident in two key performance areas: business efficiency and profitability.

As an example, only 16% of business leaders projected a large profit gain from their IoT investment, yet post-adoption, 32% of executives realized profit increases. Similarly, only 29% of executives expected their IoT strategies to result in business efficiency improvements, whereas actual results show that 46% experienced efficiency gains.

Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing at Aruba, comments:

“With the business benefits of IoT surpassing expectations, it’s no surprise that the business world will move towards mass adoption by 2019. But with many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT are well positioned to gain a competitive advantage.”


How Global Organizations are Using IoT

Aruba’s research reveals varying levels of IoT maturity across different industry sectors. The following five vertical industries are leaders in their adoption of IoT and have realized tangible business benefits from a focused, use case approach to adoption.

Enterprises create a smart workplace for productivity and efficiency:

  • Over seven in ten (72%) enterprises have introduced IoT devices into the workplace. Indoor location-based services ranks as the second most promising use case to improve employee productivity, after remote monitoring. Twenty percent report remote operation of building lighting and temperature as a key use case, but that number more than doubles to 53% when asked about future IoT implementations.
  • Looking at the tangible results being realized today, 78% say the introduction of IoT in the workplace has improved the effectiveness of their IT team, and 75% find it has increased profitability.

The industrial sector increases business efficiency and visibility through IoT-enabled monitoring and maintenance:

  • More than six in ten (62%) respondents in the industrial sector have already implemented IoT. Using IoT to monitor and maintain essential industrial functions was identified as the most impactful use case in the sector. Today, the use of IP-based surveillance cameras for physical security within industrial organizations is still in its infancy, with only 6% having implemented it. However, when asked about future implementations, surveillance jumped five-fold to 32%.
  • Across the sector, 83% report increased business efficiency and another 80% have found improved visibility across the organization.

Healthcare introduces IoT to improve patient monitoring, reduce cost and foster innovation:

  • Coming in as the third most advanced in its implementation of IoT, 60% of healthcare organizations globally have introduced IoT devices into their facilities.
  • Across the sector, 42% of executives rank monitoring and maintenance as the number one use of IoT—higher than all other sectors. This underscores the importance of IoT-enabled patient monitoring in the modern healthcare industry.
  • Eight in ten report an increase in innovation and another 73% report cost savings.

Retailers engage with customers and boost sales using indoor location technology:

  • Just 49% of retailers are using IoT technology, but 81% of these report improved customer experiences. An improved customer experience is likely to have a significant impact on customer loyalty and ultimately, revenue.
  • In-store location services delivering personalized offers and product information to shoppers was touted as the number one implementation for IoT, alongside monitoring and maintenance. Four in ten retailers ranked surveillance in their top three key use cases.

Governments lag in IoT adoption, struggle with legacy technology but still reduce costs:

  • The slowest sector to adopt IoT, only 42% of municipalities have deployed IoT devices and sensors. A third (35%) of IT decision makers claim their executives have little to no understanding of IoT, double the global average, suggesting that lack of education is the biggest barrier to mass adoption in this sector.
  • While nearly half (49%) of government IT departments are struggling with legacy technology, seven in ten IoT adopters in the public sector report cost savings and improved organizational visibility as the major benefits.

The Data Context and Security Challenge

Alongside these positive returns, the study also uncovers a number of obstacles that IT leaders feel are preventing IoT from delivering greater business impact. In particular, the cost of implementation (50%), maintenance (44%) and integration of legacy technology (43%) were highlighted as key issues.

Most notably, security flaws were found across many IoT deployments. The study found that 84% of organizations have experienced an IoT-related security breach. More than half of respondents declared that external attacks are a key barrier to embracing and adopting an IoT strategy. This confirms that a holistic IoT security strategy, built on strong network access control and policy management, will not only protect enterprises but also simplify the security approach for IT.

The ability to capture and effectively use data is described by Kevin Ashton as “what defines the Internet of Things”, but this appears to be another clear challenge for global organizations. While nearly all (98%) of organizations that have adopted IoT claim that they can analyze data, almost all respondents (97%) feel there are challenges to creating value from this data. Well over a third (39%) of businesses are not extracting or analyzing data within corporate networks, and are thereby missing out on insights that could improve business decisions.

Kozup comments:
“While IoT grows in deployment, scale and complexity, proper security methodologies to protect the network and devices, and more importantly, the data and insights they extract, must also keep pace. If businesses do not take immediate steps to gain visibility and profile the IoT activities within their offices, they run the risk of exposure to potentially malicious activities. Aruba is enabling customers to rapidly assess IoT deployments within their facilities and determine any potential threats that may be present.”

Ashton concludes:
“Since its inception in 1999, the Internet of Things has been ridiculed, criticized, and misunderstood. And yet here we are, less than two decades later, in a world where tens of thousands of organizations are saving and making hundreds of millions of dollars from the Internet of Things, using cars that drive themselves, subway stations that sense passengers, algorithms that diagnose deadly diseases using phones, and many other once apparently-impossible technologies. The future promises far more amazing things. The most important decision you can make now is how to be a part of it.”

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