3D Printing And IoT Usher In The Next Industrial Revolution

3D printing and Internet of Things technologies can help stop revenue disruptions and make companies more lean, resilient, and agile.

Many 20th-century companies enjoyed expansion, but they also suffered from a lack of “beginning-to-end connectedness.” If you think about industry, early farming communities lacked modern technology. They succeeded through direct human interaction. Farmers grew crops, brought them to market, and dealt with key stakeholders on a personal level. Mass distribution helped create a disconnect between the source and the end consumer. That lack of connection opens the door for leaner outfits to disrupt your operations. Business models that maintain strong start-to-finish connectedness are able to gain market share.

Internet of Things thinking provides competitive edge

Consider, for example, a pair of competing alternative newspapers in New England. The two companies went head-to-head at the turn of the century. One outfit grew to prominence in Boston. As its war chest swelled, the company expanded into Providence, RI, and Portland, Maine. The corporation was able to hold off competitors for years until it lost its agility.

Meanwhile, the small Rhode Island alternative publication used a lean business model to compete. It focused on connecting with clients and consumers. It disrupted the revenue streams of the established corporation with far fewer resources. The newspaper tapped team members with distribution responsibilities. Writers, sales personnel, editors, and even graphic designers were required to replenish distribution points. The larger outfit outsourced distribution. It sacrificed connectedness to clients and consumers in a cost-saving measure.

The smaller outfit electronically connected its sales staff to graphic designers and produced advertisements for on-the-spot client approval. This early form of Internet of Things (IoT) thinking linked various facets of the company in real time. The technology-based thinking shortened approval times and increased revenue. In contrast, the larger outfit relied on traditional 20th-century methods. Slow interdepartmental ad submission and approvals took up valuable sales time. Corrections and changes between clients and the design department were also tedious. The small company’s boots-on-the-ground approach blended human-based methods with IoT ideas.

In a radical move, the small outfit took down its Internet presence. The strategy forced readers to locate hard copies to learn about news and events. They became farmers, in a sense. But the faster-moving newspapers demonstrated the product’s growing popularity to clients. Advertising businesses also acted as distribution points. The company then restored the website with a downloadable, or 3D-like, printable page-by-page replica of the paper product. It delivers the final product to devices by rethinking its web presence in IoT terms.

The more powerful competitor stayed with a popular web design, but the standard site failed at efficiency and didn’t service its clients’ advertising needs. The lean, agile newspaper now controls the market, and the big corporation folded. Industry insiders saw this as a David vs. Goliath competition. As we all know, David’s lean slingshot carried the day.

The out-of-the-box thinking used by the upstart paper can be taken much further today. Merging IoT data collection and 3D printing can help organizations become lean and agile.

3D printing makes companies lean and efficient

In IDC’s report, “The IoT Imperative for Discrete Manufacturers: Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, High Tech, and Industrial Machinery,” the market analysis firm discusses the use of resilient, lean, 3D printing. The report points out that the automotive industry can improve its agility by shortening delivery times for parts. In-house or nearby 3D printing helps cut wait times and makes companies more efficient. In the aerospace sector, grounded or delayed airplanes cause revenue losses and dissatisfied clients. 3D printing technology can reduce delays due to part shortfalls.

High-tech and industrial machinery sectors follow the same line of reasoning. The benefits of 3D printing can strengthen a company and protect it from disruption. For every Goliath-like success, there is a David-like competitor looking gain market share.

IoT and 3D = Industry 4.0

Advanced digital manufacturing resources such as 3D printing comprise what many are calling Industry 4.0. These resources can be coupled with IoT data collection to enable advanced tracking. Business News Weekly recently published a story, “Industry 4.0: How the Internet of Things is Revolutionizing Manufacturing,” which describes this scenario as “the next Industrial Revolution.” Fortune magazine recently reported that HP Inc. plans to go big in the 3D market. HP CEO Dion Weisler believes 3D will spur the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” But without IoT-based connectedness, companies may suffer revenue disruptions from technology-smart outfits.

The potential of 3D printing has captured people’s imaginations. It will make companies leaner and more efficient. But that looks a lot like previous industrial revolutions, which lacked beginning and end connectedness. Blending IoT data collection and digital manufacturing can make businesses high-tech farmers. That position of strength can either make you a market-climbing David, or a Goliath with a bigger shield.

Learn how to innovate at scale by incorporating individual innovations back to the core business to drive tangible business value: Accelerating Digital Transformation in Industrial Machinery and Components. Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today: Industry 4.0: What’s Next?

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Empathic AI: The Next Generation of Vehicles Will Understand Your Emotions


Transportation will never be the same once our machines know how we feel.

We are all entering a wholesale, global disruption of the way people move from one place to another.  More than any other change in this sector, the one that is likely to have the most significant impact on human society is the rise of autonomous (i.e., self-driving) vehicles.

The transportation industry, historically dominated by a handful of large vehicle-manufacturing brands, is evolving into an ecosystem of ‘mobility services,’ underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI). A major step in the development of AI is to give it ‘empathy,’ allowing our physiological and emotional states to be observed and understood. This connection will mostly be achieved by connecting to wearable or remote sensors, the same way that fitness bands allow our physical state to be monitored.

By feeding this sensor data into AI systems, we can train them to know how we feel and how to respond appropriately. This kind of empathy can also be enhanced by giving AI its own artificial emotions, imbuing it with simulations of feelings.

Empathic technology will have no small effect on the mobility sector. How might an empathic vehicle look?

Safe Travels

There is already a growing body of research from top-tier auto companies into what kind of empathic interactions will protect drivers, passengers and everyone around them from harm. To investigate this, biometric sensors, cameras, and microphones are being used to detect:

  • Fatigue & drowsiness: e.g., monitoring head or eye movements, posture or heart/breathing rate.
  • Distraction: e.g., gaze detection to ensure the driver is watching the road.
  • Intoxication: e.g., using infrared optics or analyzing voice or breath.
  • Medical incidents: e.g., detecting a potential cardiac event from a wearable heart-rate sensor.

A Comfortable Journey

After ensuring the safety of the humans in the system, empathic tech can be employed to optimize the ride experience. There is a universe of auto-suppliers you’ve probably never heard of, who build all the components and systems that end up in the well-known vehicle brands. They are leading the way to a more empathic ride, with innovations such as:

  • Environmental controls: e.g., lighting, heating, AC, sound and olfactory output, customized to suit your current mood.
  • Physical controls: seat position, engine configuration, etc.
  • Humanising AI feedback: the virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri that are invading our homes and phones are also reaching into our vehicles. With empathic AI we can tailor their feedback to suit our preferred style of interaction.

An Entertaining Ride

Now that our customer is safe and comfortable, they can benefit from AI that knows how to push the right emotional buttons at the moment. This is particularly likely to apply to the onboard music and infotainment systems. Other subtle ways in which a vehicle could be designed to optimize the thrill of the ride include offering to increase the engine’s power output when the driver is feeling confident and happy.

The New Norms of Autonomous Society

An autonomous vehicle doesn’t exist in a bubble. Much of its intelligence is based on sensing its environment and making rapid judgments about how to act. Each vehicle will also be integrated with a global network of systems, able to share information ranging from weather forecasts to road obstructions. By connecting each vehicle to its neighbors and the wider world, we will see the emergence of a new type of ‘social’ structure with its own norms of behavior.

This AI-driven ‘society’ will involve interactions not just between the vehicles and their drivers or passengers, but also with onboard devices, nearby pedestrians, other vehicles, and their occupants, as well as surrounding infrastructure. The etiquette and rules of what the market calls ‘vehicle-to-everything’ (V2X) communications will establish themselves as we gradually let go of the wheel and hand our mobility needs over to ‘the machines.’

This mobility ecosystem is also likely to share data and processes with the rest of the AI in our lives, such as in our smartphones and home-automation systems. If coordinated correctly, this unified data architecture would allow empathic vehicles to know us much better, behaving ever more like a trusted friend.

This is not just a technological problem; it’s a monumental user-experience challenge too. Gradually increasing the empathic capability of the system will support the evolution of the transport experience towards one that is not only safe and comfortable but also delightful.

The future of mobility is emotional.

Editor Note & Disclaimer: The author is a member of the Sensum team, which is an alumnus of our ReadWrite Labs accelerator program. 

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Actian revolutionizes IoT With Next Gen Embedded Database Solution for the Developers

Actian has announced new multi-platform editions of the industry leading Actian Zen Embedded database solution family designed to address the demanding scale-down and scale-out requirements of data-centric IoT solutions. Actian claims that this will provide the industry with the first enterprise-ready embedded database solution that works across gateways and edge devices. Also, the developers will have a smooth experience of moving data across the enterprise.

As per the sources, this technology will tackle the problem of dealing with multiple databases and data management solutions on each application. Previously, this was done through custom data transformation and integration code for each data segment. Also, this will deliver a common data type and file format across multiple platforms. This compensates for customized Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) and integration codes.

IoT environments often suffer from being highly fragmented and disjointed, and there is certainly a market need to bring some data unification to these IoT systems. With Actian’s history in the database and data management space and with its recent Zen IoT offering, the company is positioned well to focus on the fragmented nature of IoT deployments, leading to reduced friction and better performance overall,” said Jim Curtis, Senior Analyst for the Data Platforms and Analytics Channel at 451 Research.

The Actian Zen database family has added two new platforms, Actian Zen IoT Server and Actian Zen IoT Core. The Actian Zen IoT Server will enable the developers target low-cost platforms like Raspberry Pi for addressing edge and gateway applications. Actian Zen IoT Core features an embeddable runtime library that can be incorporated into mobile device applications.

Action Zen is devoted towards increasing the speed of development for benefiting the developers. The flagship Integrated School Management Platform will provide more time to develop and deliver innovative platform updates for the customers. Zen IoT Core will help formulate the mobile application, Pluriportail. This application will remove the custom ETL code and extend the offline capabilities.

Taction Zen zero-dba, SQL and NoSQL, embeddable, nano-footprint database will be focusing on business critical applications in non-IT environments. Actian powers the enterprise IoT ecosystem via Vector high performance scale out analytics, Actian X and DataConnect integration hub premise and cloud solution. Actian X is claimed to be industry’s first native enterprise hybrid database.

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Cubic Telecom to develop advanced in-car services for next generation vehicles

Cubic Telecom to develop advanced in-car services for next generation vehicles

Cubic Telecom to develop advanced in-car services for next generation vehicles

Using the cutting-edge application processing and wireless capabilities of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ automotive modems, Cubic aims to offer a new advanced connectivity management solution to aid vehicle manufacturers, and content and system providers, to future-proof their products and technologies over the lifetime of the vehicle.

The solution is designed to support automakers with over-the-air feature updates and applications, network and vehicle analytics, and the ability to help drive connected vehicle services worldwide – using a single architecture that takes advantage of multiple wireless operator deployments across regions. The connectivity management solution has been optimized and showcased using a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X16 Gigabit LTE modem.

Barry Napier, CEO of Cubic Telecom, said:
“Qualcomm Technologies has been a steadfast supporter of Cubic Telecom and we are delighted to move our working relationship forward to offer an innovative solution to the automotive industry.”

“Joining forces with the leading semiconductor company in telematics means that our new Cubic Telecom’s solution can become widely available to automotive customers in the near future.”

“Cars are now platforms for innovation, new business models and services, and connectivity is the foundation,” said Nakul Duggal, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Cubic Telecom’s unique connectivity management solution complements our automotive platform to empower automakers with the ability to provide connected car services on a global scale, and the flexibility to work with multiple network operators per region.”

A demonstration of Cubic’s new connectivity management solution is planned to be exhibited during CES® 2018 at the Qualcomm Technologies’ automotive booth #5616.

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UK government explains next steps towards 5G future

UK government explains next steps towards 5G future

The UK government has published an update to its 5G strategy, first published at the Spring Budget 2017, which outlines its progress to date and the next phase of work in preparing the UK for 5G.

In October, the UK government launched a £25 million competition to fund a number of 5G test beds, where organizations could try out “new and innovative use cases for 5G in order to help identify new revenue steams and business models for all parts of the supply chain.”

The 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, a key element of ‘Phase 1’ of the government’s strategy, is also investing £16 million in the 5GUK project during 2017/18. This is a collaborative project between the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, King’s College London (KCL) and the University of Bristol. Each university brings specialist knowledge and capability to the project. Bristol University has expertise in smart cities and smart campus test beds, while KCL has a focus on pioneering 5G co-design approaches with various industries including smart cities and smart transport.

Read more: Huawei sets up Connected Factory group to push 5G in manufacturing

Phase 2 begins

Now, the government has announced that ‘Phase 2’ programme activity will include funding for the first large scale projects. As part of the project, it is launching a consultation on the appropriate scale and scope of deployment pilots that will help to establish the conditions under which 5G can be deployed in a timely way and help foster the development of 5G in the UK. This includes  timescales of delivery, the amount of funding contribution and the method by which funding should be allocated.

“We want the UK to be a global leader in 5G so that we can take early advantage of the benefits that this new technology offers. The steps we are taking now are all part of our commitment to realising the potential of 5G, and will help to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone,” said digital minister Matt Hancock.


The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is also launching a call for evidence to understand what makes investing in fibre and 5G attractive, and what government could do to support this.

Read more: Wait for 5G? The IoT needn’t hold its breath

IoT attraction

A big part of this attraction will undoubtedly focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). With enhanced mobile broadband via 5G, the government included a diagram in its 23-page document that referred to what the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) calls ‘ultra-reliable and low latency communications’ (URLLC).

This includes download speeds of gigabytes in a second, and support for: 3D video and ultra-high-definition screens, the use of cloud services for both work and gaming, augmented reality, industry automation, voice, mission-critical applications and self-driving cars.

5G would also support smart homes and buildings, and smart cities – or what ITU calls ‘massive machine-type communications’ (MMTC).

Read more: UK government pledges £16 million investment in 5G test network

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