Five things that are bigger than the Internet: Findings from this year’s Global Cloud Index

The scale of the Internet is awe-inspiring. By 2021, there will be 4.6 billion people and 27 billion devices connected to the Internet, and Internet traffic will reach 2.8 trillion.
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Analysis: 7 New Year’s resolutions for the Internet of Things

Analysis: 7 New Year’s resolutions for the IoT

The New Year is traditionally a time for taking stock and, for some, committing to focus on improvements to our lives in the form of resolutions. The IoT could stand some improvement, too – so here are just 7 resolutions that the IoT industry might think of making for 2018. 

#1 – Develop enough humility for interoperability

The IoT is still young and this means that standards, protocols, network functions and all points of interconnectivity may still be forming. All vendors need to exhibit enough humility to appreciate and perceive the place their technology could ultimately have in the total IoT universe. This means never assuming interoperability will be a given. Keeping an open mind and an open approach to open standards will be among the most crucial resolutions for 2018. 

#2 – Move towards a higher purpose

All IoT technologies should be built with a higher purpose for society. This imperative is not simply related to IoT tech that goes towards building ‘smart cities’ where the higher purpose is our motive to create a better living environment for all – although it does absolutely include that work too. Companies should be focussing on resolutions around their contributions to social initiatives, philanthropic causes and environmental protection.

Read more: Korean Red Cross labels aid deliveries with smart tags from Thinfilm

#3 – Appreciate quality more

As we enter 2018, we know that business margins will be tighter and company-wide operational systems will be increasingly precision-engineered. This means that, where IoT devices are implemented, the quality of the software code they run will become even more important. We are entering a new era of accountability where software makers will need to provide evidence for functional efficiency like never before. The IoT needs both device (physical) and software (code) ‘build’ quality to up its game.

#4 – Buy into blockchain, with caution

We knew that the immutable ledger technology behind blockchain could soon prove to be particularly useful for the handling of payments and guaranteeing the integrity of transactions across IoT systems. We must now work to understand what blockchain is, but, at the same time, we must also remember that immutable does not mean unhackable. Even blockchain can be reverse-engineered through log file analytics. We must go forward, with cautionary caveats depending on the use case.

Read more: Opinion: Why blockchain matters for the IoT

#5 – Embrace the subscription-based business model

As the IoT grows, connectivity embedded within products will increasingly disrupt the idea of ownership – with connected autonomous cars for instance, consumers buy the journey, not the car. This is the view of Mike Bell, executive vice president of devices & IoT at Canonical, an Ubuntu operating system services specialist. Bell suggests that we’re moving towards ‘outcomes over assets’ and ‘consumption over capital investment’ – and this will go way beyond cars into all products. 

#6 – Make services first-class IoT citizens

Our first years of IoT development have been characterized by a fascination with devices, sensors, gadgets and gizmos. Our next responsibility is to look below the surface and appreciate the data that moves through the IoT. This is not just about bolstering IoT data security (although it is that too, obviously), it is about the need to appreciate how we weave a new fabric of software-based services out of the IoT data lake and start to understand where we can use the applications that will feed on those services to live better and work better.

#7 – Understand automation

Automation will now become increasingly important to all technology and the IoT is no exception. As we look ahead to 2018, we must understand what automation means. On the one hand it means automated updates for IoT devices. At a deeper level, it also means automating code and process workflows (that serve the software on our devices), based on defined reference templates and best-practice playbooks.

Read more: Ten IoT predictions for 2018 from Cisco’s Maciej Kranz

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How Boeing is taking more than 100 years of history and driving innovation through the IoT

As the world’s largest aerospace company, and having been in business for more than 100 years, the continued need for innovation has been at the heart of Boeing’s success. With the increasing possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and more, this innovation remains undimmed.

Like many organisations of its size, Boeing generates huge amounts of data. The question, of course, is how much you can get out of it to improve both company efficiency and customer satisfaction. Ted Colbert, Boeing’s CIO, told an audience at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in May that companies have to ‘both improve the skill set within the IT organisation and raise the digital IQ of our business leaders, so they pull on recognising the tech enablement opportunities to transform their business.’

“Al Salour, who is speaking at the IoT Tech Expo event in Santa Clara on November 29-30, is a technical fellow at Boeing Research & Technology. His role, as he puts it, is to “establish strategies and systems for the enterprise production systems.”

So what does this mean? Al Salour, who is speaking at the IoT Tech Expo event in Santa Clara on November 29-30, is a technical fellow at Boeing Research & Technology. His role, as he puts it, is to “establish strategies and systems for the enterprise production systems.” In practice, this involves automating previously manual processes, putting in sensor-based technologies, and establishing standards that will flag deviations from engineering requirements.

A McKinsey article from earlier this year explains how the company’s workers are now using wearables and augmented reality tools on wiring-harness assembly lines. Yet there is so much more potential. As Salour explains, while 3D modelling and model-based design has been around for some time in a variety of industries, from aviation, to construction, and to entertainment, Boeing is taking steps beyond the traditional use cases.

“Our effort will go beyond that, to virtually create our manufacturing process and make important producibility plans in terms [of] our facility and equipment utilisation before we introduce a new product,” he explains. “Our linkage to engineering design will continue as we manufacture parts, so we can compare physical conditions against their digital twin model.”

It is therefore an iterative, constantly evolving process which Boeing is undertaking. But there are plenty of hurdles to cross in the meantime. Salour says he works in a ‘technologically challenging’ environment, with advancements taking place more quickly than the industry can keep up, but adds the changes are ‘exciting and interesting’. Another issue, that of cost, is pragmatic – “I consider my contributions to R&D advancements will bring results but at the same time they must be affordable or else they won’t survive,” says Salour – but the other is comparatively far-reaching.

It is therefore an iterative, constantly evolving process which Boeing is undertaking. But there are plenty of hurdles to cross in the meantime. Salour says he works in a ‘technologically challenging’ environment, with advancements taking place more quickly than the industry can keep up, but adds the changes are ‘exciting and interesting’.

“We need to be able to trust the digital data,” says Salour. “The issue is for the developers not to stop early before their work can be fully validated. We also need to consider the cultural change in relying and accepting the digital data.

“There are important compliance issues and procedures that will not quickly change, and the best way is to accept them and include them in our implementation plans.”

Partnerships are key, too. Last year, Boeing teamed up with Microsoft to ‘enable further integration between humans and machines, leveraging AI to streamline business operations while enabling airline operators to be more efficient, competitive and attractive to consumers’. Boeing’s partners include industrial leaders, academia, and government-sponsored research centres. “We believe our investments will be rewarded through internal and external advancements and technology maturity from our labs to the production floor,” says Salour.

Salour is speaking on the topic of manufacturing and ‘smart factories of the future’, a topic he is well-versed in given the day to day routine at Boeing. Expect various examples of how Boeing’s factory systems are moving towards the digital world. “We understand many of our traditional efforts in planning, manpower utilisation, and production flow decisions can be simplified through connected systems and real-time information,” says Salour.

“We would want our operation and support personnel to have instant access to their work-in-progress data so they make better decisions.”

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How will M2M services make more billions in a few years?

On the back of this development in connectivity for vehicles will come other business opportunities which will add to the demand for traffic on this network. The research agency Technavio prepared a report on the market of machine to machine (M2M)-services, defining them as Value Added -services for operators.

The scope of the research included all world markets except for those in European countries. According to Technavio, in 2021 M2M-services will earn $ 38 billion(€32.37), and the average annual growth of the market will be 41%, says Suren Arustamyan, COO at JeraSoft.

The main factor behind this growth will be demand from business and city authorities for new mobile services, which will cause serious replenishment in the revenue streams of players in the mobile market. Mobile operators will be the winners here , since they will own the road and traffic networks, while satellite operators are assigned the sector of Internetisation of aircraft and provision of communications in the sky.

Another important direction for the market will be monitoring of transport, where all cars will include sensors to allow tracking of movement via satellite.

The researchers see the penetration of M2M-services into vehicle retail as new directions in mobile network markets. First of all, we are talking about marketing tools to inform consumers around or inside different locations and and involve them in the buying process. In due course everything else will follow – from advertising to special marketing offers.

In addition to the more traditional outdoor advertising (stands, leaflets, posters), mobile M2M-services will allow advertisers to instantly change the message content according to the tracked location of a vehicle and personalise it for the driver’s known preferences.

The entire market research has been divided into several types of industries: providers of M2M-applications and solutions, communication operators, equipment manufacturers, system integrators and manufacturers of sensors. Some mobile operators are already working to occupy specific niches in these new markets, which increases the level of competition. Companies form strategic alliances and jointly develop a solution based on the convergence of their competencies.

In addition, the researchers note that the market enters the stage of mergers and acquisitions, which in turn will allow large players to increase the geographical coverage of their solutions and services. The largest players in the M2M-market according to these researchers are; AT & T, Sprint, Verizon and Vodafone. In addition to these, Amdocs, China Mobile, China Telecom, Digi International, Gemalto, KDDI, Numerex, Orange Business Services, Sierra Wireless, Rogers Communications, Tech Mahindra, Telefónica, Telenor, Telit and T-Mobile USA are noted.

The author of this blog is Suren Arustamyan, COO at JeraSoft

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Dell to pump in $3 billion to further its IoT vision in coming three years

Dell Technologies has unveiled its Internet of Things vision and strategy which includes a new IoT division as well as new IoT-specific products, labs, partner programmes and consumption models. The company plans to invest a total of $ 3 billion in IoT over the next three years.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, said: “IoT is fundamentally changing how we live, how organizations operate and how the world works. Dell Technologies is leading the way for our customers with a new distributed computing architecture that brings IoT and artificial intelligence together in one, interdependent ecosystem from the edge to the core to the cloud. The implications for our global society will be nothing short of profound.”

The new IoT division will be headed by Ray O’Farrell, CTO at VMware. It will work on developing IoT products and solutions across the Dell Technologies Group.

O’Farrell said: “Dell Technologies has long seen the opportunity within the rapidly growing world of IoT, given its rich history in the edge computing market. Our new IoT division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem – to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.”

The company is already gearing towards its goal with the launch of a slew of new product development initiatives. Project Nautilus enables real-time ingestion and querying of data streams from IoT gateways. Project Fire, a hyper converged platform and part of the VMware Pulse family of IoT solutions, offers simplified management, local compute, storage and IoT applications such as real-time analytics. Project IRIS, a security analytics offering, is under development by RSA Labs. The company is also investing in five start-ups dedicated towards IoT, AI and machine learning: Edico Genome, FogHorn Systems, Graphcore, Moogsoft, and Zingbox.

Some of the new IoT services initiatives include the IoT Vision Workshop, which identifies and prioritises high-value business use cases for IoT data, and the IoT Technology Advisory which develops the overall IoT architecture and roadmap for implementation.

What are your thoughts on Dell’s IoT investment and vision? Let us know in the comments.

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