Cellular IoT connectivity is not an internet experience, it’s a secure, dedicated connection

Analysys Mason’s research director Tom Rebbeck caught up with Arkessa chief executive, Andrew Orrock, to talk about how the barriers to IoT adoption are gradually falling, and how mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) can succeed in a market with numerous large global mobile network operators (MNOs)

Tom Rebbeck: There’s a general feeling that IoT has been a bit slower than expected to take off. Is that your feeling as well and if so, why do you think that’s the case?

Andrew Orrock: With enterprise that has been the case. We have seen concerns – around sourcing, the business case, scaling, security and platform integration – but gradually these barriers are coming down.

A lot of people think about mobile connectivity based on their experience with internet on a smartphone. This has coloured views as to what cellular means as people do not see it as a secure dedicated connection. But, once you get into the discussion about managed services, and we show that we can give customers the tools to manage and monitor the data connections, manage the billing, and provide a secure private network we can show that we are not simply connecting our customers devices to the internet – far from it. When we explain all of this to our channel partners, they realise they can go to their customers and get around the problems they have had in the past – they can show how our network infrastructure works and that it is secure and private.

TR: So it has been slow as it has taken time for people to realise what it means to using a mobile network for IoT connectivity?

AO: Yes, there has had to be some education. The idea of the traditional SIM card provided by a mobile operator essentially locks a customer in. If you are deploying devices around the world, or even across one country then the idea of single sourcing from an MNO with traditional SIM cards has been a problem.

Today the role of an MVNO is much clearer. We can provide multiple networks through a single relationship, a single contract providing commercial, technical and customer support. That creates a much better reaction in companies both small and large.

In the near future, the reprogrammable embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) will give enterprises more comfort and more control and flexibility. The same solution will work globally with a range of different cellular technologies, from 2G to 5G and the cellular flavours of low power wide area (LPWA) technologies, like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT).

TR: Earlier you talked about the challenges of sourcing. What did you mean by that?

AO: The companies that have deployed IoT and that have shown most growth tend to be small to medium enterprises (SMEs). From a sourcing point of view, the larger enterprises manage their supplier lists quite closely and it can be difficult for SMEs to get onto these lists.

What we have found works well is to work with finished goods distributors or IT systems integrators. They are often already […]

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It’s Time for a Collaborative G20 Digital Agenda

The G20 member states account for 85 percent of the global economy and are home to half of the world’s Internet users. From artificial intelligence to personal data protections, our physical world is being shaped by our digital world. As current president of the G20, Argentina has put a range of digital challenges on the table. But to tackle these, we need credible commitments and a long-term roadmap.

As three leading organisations from the Internet community, we welcome that Argentina continued the G20 digital work begun by Germany in 2017. Last year, Germany and the other G20 members outlined their aspirations for the development of our digital societies. And the Argentine presidency has identified five priority areas — digital inclusion, future job skills, digital government, SMEs and entrepreneurship, and Industry 4.0 — all dependent on a strong digital economy and society. Now is the year to turn these aspirations into actions.

We call on Argentina to build on this consensus with a dedicated G20 digital agenda. This roadmap must include milestones to the next G20 presidency, to be held by Japan. Priority commitments should include:

Thoughtful and proactive digital policies are needed to reap social and economic benefits for all, the G20 and beyond. A G20 digital agenda can help us to address the challenges facing the health of the Internet and future of the web and establish trust in the development of our digital lives.

The new challenges we face are complicated, but can be tackled through collaboration among all stakeholders to find the right solutions. Argentina can lead this effort through the G20. It must create a convening space, invite participation and ensure transparency and trust — from sharing documents to providing opportunities for inputs from across the spectrum.

The G20 member states are in a position to set the parameters for a global digital agenda that puts the individual first and makes the most of technology for society. We hope they will live up to this responsibility.

This is a joint blog post by the Internet Society, Mozilla and the World Wide Web Foundation.

Cathleen Berger, Global Engagement Lead, Mozilla
Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy, Internet Society
Craig Fagan, Policy Director, Web Foundation

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Never mind the tech, it’s all about the money

An increasing number of companies across many industries are adopting IoT, but their reasons for doing so are very different, writes Peter Dykes. One of the primary reasons, it seems, is making cost savings through efficiencies such as monitoring remote plant or tracking assets as they move around the world. But should they be focusing more closely on generating new revenues?

A lot of people seem to think so. So far as digitalisation in general is concerned however, many companies do seem to be aware of the need to think in terms of revenue growth through investment in technology, but a significant proportion are having problems in achieving that end. While there are distinct advantages to using a new technology to make a business more efficient, it’s important to make sure the initial investment can be recouped. This is particularly important with IoT because, so it would appear, it is not widely understood by its potential beneficiaries.

Peter Coleman, a partner at consulting firm Simon-Kucher, says a recent cross-industry survey conducted by the company, which included IoT deployments, found that 81% of those questioned had made investments in digitalisation in the last three years. When asked what they were trying to achieve, 21% said they were trying to reduce costs, a similar number said they were looking to increase revenues and 54% said it was a combination of both. However, taking all those who said they were trying to increase revenues to some degree – 75% of respondents in total – only 23% said they had seen any degree of top-line impact. Coleman puts this down to a lack of adequate planning.

Jonquil Hackenberg, the head of Advisory Practice at Infosys Consulting.

“It may well be that someone has set themselves a goal without clear targets,” he says. “But we know from the same survey that unit cost reductions are not realistic and that they will stay the same or increase. So we’ve got a dichotomy where they know the opportunity is on the revenue side, they know the cost position isn’t likely to get better and may even get worse, they know they want this stuff to affect the top line, but what they’ve done so far hasn’t been sufficient.”

Of course, the situation that Coleman describes could just be because many IoT deployments are just at the proof of concept stage. Jonquil Hackenberg, the head of Advisory Practice at Infosys Consulting believes that many companies are just dabbling in new tech, just to see how it can be used in different scenarios, although there is a good case for profitability in the future. This is especially true in things like proactive, automatic stock reordering ordering where a company may make more sales as a result. “There is a massive opportunity for a return on investment, increasing revenues and introducing new lines of business,” he says. “However, once they stop dabbling with proof of concepts and start working out the end-toend consumer journey they’re trying to create, that’s when it will stop being […]

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It’s alive!! 5 ways buildings are taking advantage of the IoT

After spending a few days at TRIMax immersing myself in all things around facilities management and buildings of the future, one thing was clear. I need to take my building out for a coffee and pick its brain. Our buildings carry so much information about how they are used and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities of what we can do with that data. It’s time to bring our buildings alive!

For many years, we’ve relied on our own interpretations of our observations. As we walk around a building, we may notice that our co-worker, Johnny, doesn’t come into the office very often even though he has his own corner office. We may get annoyed when we go to book a conference room but everything is taken – though they all appear empty most of the time. The frustration is real when you drag yourself out of bed at 6am to hit the hotel gym only to find all three machines are taken. What if we could improve that visibility and get the most accurate data possible?

Bringing your buildings alive

As we saw in the Kone video, it is possible for our buildings to either interrupt or improve the flow of our days. The applications span far beyond elevators and doors. Sensors can be infused in ice cream coolers, coffee machines, bathrooms, conference rooms, parking lots, and much more. Using the ice cream cooler as an example, consider the impact on a retailer if their ice cream cooler goes down on a hot day in July. That’s going to be a bad day for that retailer. But had they used IoT sensors and capabilities, this breakdown could have been predicted and prevented. In essence, we want our buildings to speak to us and the technology exists to make this possible.

“My sole focus is to bring your buildings alive” – John Smart, Program Director, Cognitive Building & Retail Solutions, IBM

Voice is the next big thing for smart buildings

“What if your building could listen and respond to your needs and wants? Voice is the next big thing in smart buildings.”  – John Smart, Program Director, Cognitive Building & Retail Solutions, IBM

Not only can our buildings talk to us, but we will also be able to talk to our buildings. Using the power of voice, we develop a whole new set of experiences for the employee. Imagine if you need a whiteboard for your meeting. You will be able to simply ask for it, your voice will be captured, and a service request is automatically generated.

Putting Watson in the walls

To fully optimize the capabilities of Watson, he really needs a place to stay. Since you will be optimizing your unused space, the only place left will be the walls. When we say Watson in the walls, we’re not talking about a new blockbuster hit, but rather the partnership we are working on with HARMAN.  IBM is working with Harman on My Personal Concierge, powered by Watson assistant. This is intended to optimize hotel stays and follow you wherever you are on your journey. Need to check if that elliptical in the gym is free without walking down? Check. Ran out of towels? Watson has your back.  Want to make a reservation for dinner at 7pm at the hotel lounge? No problem.

Update room vacancies in real-time

We’ve all been there. We need a conference room but everything is booked. We’re also all guilty of booking a conference room and then not needing it or using it. Do we take the time to cancel the room reservation? If you do, you’re a better person than I am. Most often, there is just a big discrepancy between what rooms are on hold and which are actually being used.

Watson Workplace Concierge can help update room vacancies in real-time. It uses the power of the device and the power of the IoT with little needed involvement by the employee. If you don’t show up to the room, you will get a notification on your phone asking if you still need the room. If you say no, it will automatically unlock the room for others to use. Similarly, if you leave a room mid-way through your reservation, Watson will ask if your meeting is complete and will free up the room.

Space occupancy tracking saves major headaches

The world of commercial real estate is very complex. There is a vast amount of space. In fact, there is 12B square feet in the U.S. alone; but only 67 percent is utilized.  How do we address this gap?

According to Susan Chace from Fidelity, having a strong space assessment depends on mobile tools and the ability to compare physical space to space information with TRIRIGA and make real-time updates as you walk the floor. Just walking around the building and observing is not enough and it is not accurate. Space needs can change daily and having technology in place to capture those changes can make all the difference in whether your space allocations are accurate.

Are you bringing your buildings to life?

The ability to capture key information from our buildings and use that data to optimize customer experiences, employee engagement, and your bottom line are very real. It was a hot topic at TRIMax this year and I look forward to seeing where 2018 will take us.

Don’t forget to catch up on all the activities you missed at TRIMax this year.

To see what others are doing with smart buildings, visit our buildings zone and facilities management hub.

To learn more about IBM TRIRIGA, visit the IBM Marketplace.


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Apple Watch KardiaBand accessory shows it’s time for IoT in healthcare

Apple Watch KardiaBand accessory shows it’s time for IoT in healthcare

A new watch band from KardiaBand by AliveCor has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out electrocardiography (EKG).

When the first commercial electrocardiography (EKG) devices were introduced over 100 years ago, they took up considerable space and often required patients to submerge their limbs in jars of salt solution.

A century later, EKG equipment has advanced to the point that it can be integrated into a smartwatch that’s capable of far more besides. AliveCor, the watch band’s creator, is alive to the healthcare opportunities that come with technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and electronics.

The Califonia-based company has just announced FDA approval for its device, making it the first sanctioned medical device accessory for Apple Watch and a milestone for IoT in healthcare. The KardiaBand is a replacement watch strap (and accompanying software) for the Apple Watch, containing an sensor module that can discretely capture the wearer’s EKG at any time.

Read more: New wearables options for UnitedHealthcare customers

The KardiaBand smart accessory

The Apple Watch’s integrated heart-rate senor (a photoplethysmogram) uses green and infrared LEDs to measure your arteries expanding and contracting. This is limited to recording what happens after each heart beat. An EKG differs in that it can measure the electrical activity in your heart muscles, revealing a whole host of information on how the heart is behaving, including existing issues and past events.

A touch of the integrated sensor on the KardiaBand accessory triggers a 30 second EKG reading. The results from the Kardia App are then displayed on the Apple Watch.

AliveCor has also introduced SmartRhythm, a new feature that uses AI alongside data from the watch’s heart rate and activity sensors to constantly evaluate the correlation between heart activity and physical activity. When the feature detects that there are disparities between the two, it advises the user to capture an EKG.

“KardiaBand paired with SmartRhythm technology will be life-changing for people who are serious about heart health,” said Vic Gundotra, CEO at AliveCor. “These capabilities will allow people to easily and discreetly check their heart rhythms when they may be abnormal, capturing essential information to help doctors identify the issue and inform a clear path of care to help manage AFib, a leading cause of stroke, and other serious conditions.”

Read more: Real-time medical imaging AI platform Lunit Insight to aid radiologists

Getting to the heart of IoT in healthcare

The most common heart arrhythmia and a leading cause of strokes, atrial fibrillation (AFib) affects over 30 million people worldwide. Many people are unknowingly living with AFib, yet two out of three strokes are preventable when AFib is detected and treated. There is therefore huge scope for accessible real-time monitoring solutions to help prevent major heart-related health issues.

Preventative measures that utilize IoT in healthcare not only stand to benefit the patient, they also go a long way to lowering costs for healthcare services. expensive treatments are avoided and hospital beds freed-up.

“This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare,” said Dr Karlsberg, Cardiologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. “Today, EKGs are available only in offices and hospitals, using complex equipment, and usually only after a life-threatening event, for example a stroke. With an EKG device on the wrist, AFib can be detected wherever the patient is, 24 hours a day.”

Existing mobile EKG products have limited lifetimes, are highly sensitive to proper placement, can be uncomfortable to use and are often invasive and expensive. For example, EKG patches and Holter monitors can only be worn for a very limited time and loop recorders require surgery to implant them.

KardiaBand is available from $ 199. A $ 99 annual subscription on top offers several optional extras. The service includes SmartRhythm notifications on Apple Watch, unlimited EKG recordings, email sharing, cloud history and reporting, weight and medication tracking, and a mailed monthly report on that period’s readings.

Read more: Healthcare’s three IoT pain points

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