Four Key Trends IIoT Platforms are Enlisting as Businesses Race to Convert Data into Insights

Four Key Trends IIoT Platforms are Enlisting as Businesses Race to Convert Data into Insights

Four Key Trends IIoT Platforms are Enlisting as Businesses Race to Convert Data into Insights

Frost & Sullivan reveals participants with single complementing competencies will join forces to protect market share and boost customer value.

Coupled with rapidly advancing Internet of Things (IoT) techniques, IoT platforms are set to create new business models aimed at enhanced connectivity, control and convergence.

Businesses are now racing to convert raw machine and process data into actionable and useful insights in real-time. IoT platforms are at the core of this revolution, providing users with the flexibility and tools needed to develop application-centric functions unique to each industry.

Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Senior Research Analyst Sharmila Annaswamy, said:

“The IIoT ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and will witness acquisitions and collaborations on a large scale to close capability gaps. While major industrial participants with IT-OT expertise are leading the revolution, participants with single complementing competencies will join forces to protect market share and boost their customer value propositions.”

Four key industry trends in IIoT platforms:

  • Industry inclination towards self-service models is expected to advance Application Programming Interface (APIs) modules to the center of industrial IoT strategies;
  • Open cloud developer platforms such as Predix DOJO that allow collaboration between industry experts and in-house software developers is expected to accelerate proof-of-concept modeling for customers;
  • Satellite-based LPWAN technologies are expected to overpower cellular-based network technologies such as LTE-M,NB-IoT, and strengthen IoT use-cases for global asset tracking in oil and gas, and transportation; and
  • Artificial Intelligence engines and cognitive capabilities will soon become a hygiene factor in IIoT platforms primarily driven by the need to surpass the competition and boost solution performance.

“As factories and enterprises move toward a multi-cloud model, IoT platform providers will have to adopt automated load-balancing strategies to allow multi-cloud data transfers and elevate application performance across distinct cloud platforms”, noted Annaswamy.

Frost & Sullivan’s recent research, Landscaping IIoT Platforms—Vendor Clusters and Growth Prospects, compares and benchmarks Industrial IoT platforms and vendor clusters. It highlights the prevalent innovation hubs, key technology and business trends that are influencing the evolution of industrial IoT platforms, and profiles existing industrial IoT platforms such as Condence, Axoom, Losant, Datonis, Jasper, Bosch, Azure IoT, Thingworx, Mindsphere, Devicewise, Lumada, Leonardo, and Predix (GE).
To access more information on this analysis, please click here

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Smart speaker sales set to race past 50 million in 2018

Smart speaker sales set to race past 50 million in 2018

As the smart speaker market matures, Amazon and Google will face more competition and homegrown players will seek to ignite demand in China. 

“Alexa, tell me how many smart speakers there are in the world?”

By the end of this year, the answer to that question will be around 56.3 million, if recent predictions from research firm Canalys come good. By way of contrast, that’s up from an estimated 33 million sold in 2017.

Analysts at the company expect Amazon and Google to continue to lead the market, with their Echo and Home devices respectively. The two are fierce rivals in this market, which has meant that consumers have benefited from ruthless price-cutting. At the same time, smart speakers are quickly gaining in popularity as smart home ‘hubs’, providing a voice interface by which occupants can control lighting, heating and entertainment.

But Amazon and Google will likely face increased competition in 2018, says Canalys, as new vendors enter the race. These include Apple, which announced its HomePod speaker in mid-2017, before later admitting that the device wouldn’t ship until early this year, because it needed more work to make it ready-for-market.

Smart speaker sales set to race past 50 million in 2018, Canalys

Read more: Amazon onboards new recruit, Alexa for Business

2018: A defining year

All this means that 2018 is set to be “the defining year” for smart speaker adoption, according to Canalys research analyst Lucio Chen. “Smart speaker uptake has grown faster than any other consumer technology we’ve recently encountered, such as AR [augmented reality], VR [virtual reality] or even wearables.”

While 2017 may have been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, he adds, vendors will this year be looking to monetize the installed base in the US and beyond, with speaker-based services for which they can charge a fee. “The possibilities to do this are endless, be it discreet advertising, content subscription bundles, premium services or enterprise solutions,” says Chen.

Read more: IKEA to launch smart light compatibility with Alexa, Siri and Google

A question of ‘stickiness’

In terms of geography, the US is the largest market for smart speakers and looks set to stay that way into 2020. That’s down to high broadband penetration, low prices and “a keen proclivity” to adopt new technologies.

And once adopted, smart speakers demonstrate what some market watchers call ‘strong attachment rates’; in other words, this technology doesn’t wind up in the back of a cupboard or abandoned in a drawer after the honeymoon period. Smart speakers have a ‘stickiness’ that mean that users keep using – and fresh tie-ups with smart home tech are likely to strengthen attachment rates.

“Alexa’s multiple smart home integrations, Google’s partnership with Nest and Apple’s HomeKit initiatives will continue to excite consumers of the smart speaker and fuel sales in 2018,” says Canalys analyst Vincent Thielke.

In China, however, success could elude Amazon and Google. Instead, local vendors seem likely to prevail, with Alibaba, and Xiaomi all having launched their own versions to test the waters.

“Market dynamics in China can change very quickly,” says Lucio Chen. “Traditional hardware vendors have been cautious at the beginning, but with deep-pocketed Alibaba ramping up investment in the category, and Xiaomi launching lower-priced skews of its XiaoAI smart speaker, the market will be ignited in no time.”

Read more: Apple joins race for smart home supremacy with HomePod

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SAP to make Volvo Ocean Race plain sailing for Team AkzoNobel

SAP aims to make Volvo Ocean Race plain sailing for Team AkzoNobel

Crew members will be measured for fitness, stress and exhaustion in one of the world’s most gruelling sailing races, thanks to biometric sensors and technology from SAP. 

Software giant SAP has announced it has teamed up with Team AkzoNobel to equip all crew members during the 2017/18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race with biometric sensors.

The race itself is a real test of team spirit and human endurance. The 2017/18 edition will take the teams sailing 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 landmark host cities.

The first leg, from Alicante in Spain to Lisbon in Portugal, was completed last weekend and won by Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Today will see the staging of an in-port race in Lisbon, and the second leg, from Lisbon to Cape Town, is due to get underway on Sunday.

All sailors on Team AzkoNobel, which came fourth in the first leg of the competition, are being measured for fitness levels and exhaustion levels, with the aim of optimizing overall team performance. In effect, the sensors worn by team members are the ‘edge’ in an edge computing set-up powered by SAP’s Leonardo IoT Edge technology.

Read more: IoT gets tops scores from sports teams worldwide

Biometric data

Physical and mental exhaustion pose some of the biggest threats to crews during the eight-month race, so Team AzkoNobel’s biometric sensors provide valuable insights into aspects like fatigue, exhaustion, reaction to weather conditions and stress levels.

This is a real step forward, since typically, other aspects such as weather and routes that have been the main focus of sailing analytics efforts, according to Simeon Tienpont, skipper of Team AkzoNobel.

“The technology provided by SAP gives us a tool that allows us to get the best performance from the crew. These technological innovations will help push the boundaries of our sport and can finally make the difference.”

The biometric edge solution – which has access to the data recorded on board the team’s Volvo Ocean 65 race boat – will help to interpret this and the output will be presented to Tienpont during the race via a specially designed user interface.

Read more: Bloodhound Project teams with Oracle in world land speed record attempt

Machine learning analytics

Once the boats arrive at each of the 12 stopovers on the race, predictive and machine learning analytics can be run on the SAP Cloud Platform, using the Leonardo IoT Foundation. This, says SAP, will help Tienpont prepare his crew for the next leg of the race.

“This is an excellent example of how connecting people, processes and things with leading-edge digital technology can improve performance,” said Dr Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT and digital supply chain at SAP. “The physical condition and mental resilience of crew members are important factors in winning or losing. SAP Leonardo IoT Edge helps Team AkzoNobel gain insight to make the right decisions and compete at their best.”

Read more: Samsung debuts wearable tech for health and safety

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Netonomy wants to win in the race to secure the smart home

This week’s KRACK vulnerability brought to light many of the fears around connected gadgets proliferating in our homes. Perhaps the biggest one being that such gadgets could lead to some epic security flaws. KRACK, which is a flaw in the Wi-Fi protocol and requires an update to both router and client-side devices, is just the latest in a series of vulnerabilities disclosed in the last few years.

Others have targeted ZigBee, which is popular for sensors and lights, as well as Bluetooth, which is popular for wearables and speakers, and sometimes individual devices.

But consumers keep buying smart gadgets, with NPD Group suggesting that 15% of homes in the U.S. now have some type of connected device. This is up from 10% a year ago. And capitalizing on security fears are a host of services and devices that purport to track device traffic and stop the bad guys from compromising your systems. They range from services offered by router makers to physical devices and software.

On the router side companies like Eero and Securifi offer services that see how traffic coming from your devices behaves and where it’s heading. The idea is to flag odd behaviors. From the hardware side, companies like Cujo, Bitdefender, F-Secure’s Sense router, and Norton’s Core Secure Wi-Fi router offer network monitoring, firewalls and other elements to try to secure the home. Joining this crowded environment is Netonomy, a small Israeli startup that also hopes to secure the home.

The company is launching with a small round of seed funding and has hopes of raising about $ 2.5 million in its next round. It offers A software agent that lives on the router, an app for phones and a cloud back end that communicates with the router agent and handles some of the processing required. The idea is that it can do many of the things the other companies provide, but it also does some things the others can’t do, such as deep packet inspection for suspicious traffic.

Netonomy has been working with ISPs to put its software on their routers, which means that consumers could get the benefit of more security by downloading an app recommended by their ISP. Presumably, the ISP could charge a fee for providing the additional security. Another route to market would be to sell to Belkin, Netgear or D-Link which make consumer routers that retail customers buy.

The third option is the most challenging, and yet it’s what many of the smaller companies like Eero, Bitdefender and Cujo have done — go direct to consumer. Netonomy isn’t going to the consumer directly, yet, and frankly I’m not sure it should. While it’s easy to market security to consumers, it’s hard to get them to pay for it and for them to understand what makes one solution better than another.

If Netonomy is really delivering a unique product its best bet is to sell to a more expert class of buyers and let the larger ISPs do the work of educating customers about the need for more security. The downside to that plan is that many people dislike their ISP and don’t want to pay them for additional services. In an ideal world, security would be a problem that more device manufacturers, router makers and ISPs took seriously rather than placing the burden on the consumer, but that isn’t happening.

So in this world, Netonomy at least has a chance to join the fray.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

VMware, SAP team up for enterprise IoT adoption race

VMware, SAP team up for enterprise IoT adoption race

SAP and VMWare announce they will work together on a “pre-integrated, pre-tested solution” for fast IoT deployments.

VMware and SAP have unveiled a new partnership that they claim will result in an “enterprise IoT-ready architecture” for customers.

This term, according to the companies, refers to an offering that comprises both an infrastructure plane and an application plane. “The infrastructure layer refers to the IoT infrastructure itself, along with the capabilities to manage and secure it, whereas the application plane analyzes insight-rich data from connected things to drive business decisions and processes,” they said in a public statement.

In other words, it’s safe to assume that they’ll be combining SAP’s analytics cloud, which enables companies to explore business transactions and device data for new insights, with VMware’s systems for infrastructure management.

According to the companies, the agreement will enable the “fast deployment, scalability and on-schedule execution of IoT projects.”

Read more: SAP shifts gears of IoT into business ERP

Time to value

While details are sketchy, both companies say they are working together to develop a pre-integrated, pre-tested solution for fast IoT deployments, while providing the necessary security and management capabilities for IoT architecture across gateways, data centers and the cloud, in order to “drastically help speed up time to value”.

Through collaboration and testing, VMware and SAP plan to offer mutual customers real-time visibility by converging time-series device data with business transactional data via SAP, while VMware will enable IT to have visibility and control of the IoT use case from the infrastructure operations point of view.

Read more: VMware launches Pulse IoT Center

Working together

The premise here appears to be that IoT is not taking off as quickly as it should be and that, where it is happening, many projects prove to be more complicated, and less scalable, than initially anticipated.

“VMware and SAP have a long and rich history of working together to empower our mutual customers to transform their businesses with solutions that help to innovate, simplify and move toward a software-defined enterprise architecture,” said Mimi Spier, vice president of IoT at VMware.

“Companies win when they can make intelligent real-time decisions at the edge; SAP Leonardo supports that bold innovation,” said Nils Herzberg, senior vice president and global head of IoT go-to-market and strategic partnerships for SAP.

“As customers start to implement, one obstacle to realizing that vision is tackling infrastructure lifecycle and management outside of the traditional data centre,” he added.

Both companies have been working on IoT for some time, independently of each other. In May, VMware announced Pulse IoT Center, hailed by the company as a “secure, enterprise-grade IoT infrastructure management solution.” In the same month, SAP used its Sapphire 2017 conference to showcase a new iteration of its Leonardo digital innovation system.

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