Five key IIoT predictions for 2018: Collaboration, customer success, edge computing, and more

The global industrial IoT market is set to reach $ 933 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. Here, Sastry Malladi, CTO of FogHorn Systems, outlines what he think will happen in the space in 2018.

Momentum for edge analytics and edge intelligence in the IIoT will accelerate in 2018

Almost every notable hardware vendor has a ruggedized line of products promoting edge processing. This indicates that the market is prime for Industrial IoT (IIoT) adoption. With technology giants announcing software stacks for the edge, there is little doubt that this momentum will only accelerate during 2018. Furthermore, traditional industries, like manufacturing, that have been struggling to showcase differentiated products, will now embrace edge analytics to drive new revenue streams and/or significant yield improvements for their customers.

Additionally, any industry with assets being digitized and making the leap toward connecting or instrumenting brownfield environments is well positioned to leverage the value of edge intelligence. Usually, the goal of these initiatives is to have deep business impact. This can be delivered by tapping into previously unknown or unrealized efficiencies and optimizations. Often these surprising insights are uncovered only through analytics and machine learning. Industries with often limited access to bandwidth, such as oil and gas, mining, fleet and other verticals, truly benefit from edge intelligence. What’s more, those that apply edge intelligence are able to benefit from real-time decisions, as well as insights from voluminous streaming sensor data.

Due to the current pain points in the IIoT space and the edge technology availability to address them, we expect to see increased interest in edge analytics/ML from oil andgas, energy, utilities, transportation and other sectors interested in revamping their IIoT value.

Business cases and ROI are critical for IIoT pilots and adoption in 2018

The year 2017 was about exploring IIoT and led to the explosion of proof of concepts and pilot implementations. While this trend will continue into 2018, we expect increased awareness about the business value edge technologies bring to the table. Companies that have been burned by the “Big Data Hype” – where data was collected but little was leveraged – will assess IIoT engagements and deployments for definitive ROI. As edge technologies pick up speed in proving business value, the adoption rate will exponentially rise to meet the demands of ever-increasing IoT applications.

IIoT standards will be driven by customer successes and company partnerships

IIoT is just now getting attention from the major technology players. If anything, 2018 will see more new products coming to market, and there will be more to choose from in terms of standards. The next year or two will see stronger alliances, unlikely partnerships and increased merger and acquisition activity as the large technology companies seek innovation inside and outside their organizations. As for standards, they will be driven by success of customers and patterns of scalable IIoT solutions.

IT and OT teams will collaborate for successful IIoT deployments

IIoT deployments will start forcing closer engagement between IT and operations technology (OT) teams. Line of business leaders will get more serious around investing in digitization, and IT will become the cornerstone required for the success of these initiatives. What was considered a wide gap between the two sectors – IT and OT – will bridge thanks to the recognized collaboration needed to successfully deploy IIoT solutions and initiatives.

And will OT design affect IIoT apps? Yes, definitely. Recent research and field studies suggest that analytics tools are being made more accessible to end users, i.e. domain experts and plant operators. This means that advanced technology is now being made available to field workers, so operational decisions can be driven in real-time at the industrial location.

Edge computing will reduce security vulnerabilities for IIoT assets

While industries do recognize the impact of an IIoT security breach there is surprisingly little implementation of specific solutions. This stems from two emerging trends:

  • Traditional IT security vendors are still repositioning their existing products to address IIoT security concerns
  • A number of new entrants are developing targeted security solutions that are specific to a layer in the stack, or a particular vertical

This creates the expectation that, if and when an event occurs, these two classes of security solutions are sufficient enough. Often IoT deployments are considered greenfield and emerging, so these security breaches still seem very futuristic, even though they are happening now. Consequently, there is little acceleration to deploy security solutions, and most leaders seem to employ a wait-and-watch approach. The good news is major security threats, like WannaCry, Petya/Goldeneye and BadRabbit, do resurface IIoT security concerns during the regular news cycle. However, until security solutions are more targeted, and evoke trust, they may not help move the needle.

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Alchemy IoT launches with $4 million seed funding to ease IIoT via the use of AI

Alchemy IoT has launched with $ 4 million seed funding from Aweida Venture Partners to help make the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) easier via the use of AI.

Clarity, Alchemy IoT’s cloud-based application, is said to provide small- to mid-sized industrial customers with better returns on industrial assets by analysing asset performance through unsupervised machine learning and adopting proactive measures to boost productivity of industrial fleets and machinery.

The cellphone-enabled application introduces a novel "no-code" approach to IoT Asset Intelligence that eases the way how fleet management, plant maintenance and manufacturing performance can be enhanced through the use of AI and unsupervised machine learning. Some of the main features of the application are: monitoring of sensor data; AI-based analytics; and sending notifications and alerts about operational anomalies via web browsers, email or within the application.

Victor Perez, CEO for Alchemy IoT, said: "Our mission is to make AI-powered IoT a 'no-code' proposition, one that any industrial company can quickly start and put to use to gain fast value. Too many of today's IoT solutions require a massive budget and an extraordinary amount of customization to even getting started – we aim to disrupt and change that."

Alongside this, the company announced the introduction of a new industry approach "IoT Asset Intelligence” to address the complication and market fragmentation associated with Big Data, IoT and AI.

Talking about IoT Asset Intelligence, Perez said: "IoT Asset Intelligence combines our best thinking into an actionable framework to plan, implement and gain value from AI-based IoT initiatives – especially for smaller organizations that may lack the resources for expensive consultants and data scientists.”

According to Alchemy IoT, visibility and efficiency via a combination of data-driven processes and a renewed culture around innovation and critical thinking are the primary theme of the IoT Asset Intelligence framework.

Some of the core tenets of IoT Asset Intelligence are: leveraging data intelligence to make meaningful business decisions; working with existing tools to optimise and enhance current processes; identifying processes for the purpose of improvement and align new value streams and setting up top-line goals and ROI opportunities.

The most recent figures released by IDC estimate that there will be 30 billion connected devices throughout the world by 2020.

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Upstream Security secures $9 million to advance cloud-based connected car security

Upstream Security has secured $ 9 million in series A funding to advance its cloud-based cybersecurity platform for connected cars and self-driving vehicles, after securing $ 2 million in a seed funding round in June.

According to the company, the fresh amount will be utilised for expanding its R&D programme, strengthening research teams in the engineering and security divisions and opening marketing and sales offices in the US and Europe.

The funding was led by CRV (Charles River Ventures) and included expanded investments from Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility.

Izhar Armony, general partner at CRV, said: “Connected and semi-autonomous cars are already a reality, so it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ these self-driving technologies will be deployed at scale. Upstream’s engineers were the first to solve how to protect connected cars and autonomous vehicles using the cloud, crucial for near-term and future deployment of automotive cybersecurity at the fleet level.

"We believe in Upstream’s groundbreaking approach to secure connected and autonomous vehicles and in the abilities of cybersecurity veterans, Yoav Levy and Yonatan Appel, to build a rapidly growing business in this hot, emerging space.”

Talking about the increasing security threats in the connected car industry, Upstream CEO and cofounder Levy commented: “Security solutions for the car are undergoing rapid advances at an unprecedented rate. We’re using emerging technologies like AI and machine learning to carry out an evolutionary leap in cybersecurity for passenger and commercial vehicles.”

It’s not the only money going into this space of late. Earlier this month, Canada-based connected vehicle startup Mojio secured $ 30 million in Series B funding, which will be utilised by the company to expedite its connected-vehicle solution and for global expansion.

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Highways England details its V2I plans for roads ‘of the future’

Highways England has set out its plans on how V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) technology in connected vehicles will be used to improve the nation’s road network.

Connected cars offer a huge opportunity to optimise Britain’s congested roads to improve safety and reduce journey times. Roadside infrastructure can report data into cars such as traffic density, and the range of sensors in the vehicles can be used to relay information back  such as dangerous road conditions.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

This government is making people’s journeys better, faster and safer to give people better access to jobs, schools and their community.

We are planning to spend more than ever before to upgrade England’s motorways and major A roads from 2020 through to 2025.

As the government’s authority on the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the nation’s motorways, Highways England has been looking into how this data-sharing can be used. In a report today, it’s set out its vision.

'Safe, efficient, and reliable journeys'

If you’ve used Britain’s roads, you'll be all too familiar with potholes. In a car, they’re uncomfortable but don’t often pose much danger. For bikes, however, they can throw a rider off and cause serious injury — or even death.

Connected motorbikes are not something often brought up in conversations, but data from any vehicle type will help to improve the experience for all road users. Highways England wants connected vehicles to automatically report potholes so the most serious can be prioritised for repair.

The authority also wants to lay around 700 miles of high-speed fibre optic cables along the busiest motorways to beam live travel information to car dashboards. Some of the motorways specifically mentioned include the M1, M4, M6, M25, M40, and M42.

The system will be an update to the existing ‘smart’ motorway network introduced in 2016 which uses electronic gantries to close lanes and change the speed limit to ease congestion.

In the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring, 61 percent of motorists believe congestion and journey times on the motorways have worsened in the last 12 months. In October, a report claimed that jams cost the economy £9 billion per year.

Beyond using connected vehicles and roadside infrastructure, Highways England intends to employ drones. The drones will be used to fly overhead and report back on incidents to improve response times.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said:

We are delivering a record £15 billion of government investment to give people safe, efficient, and reliable journeys, and provide businesses with the links they need to prosper and grow.

Because people’s journeys are important to us we are setting out our high-level aspirations which will help ensure the network continues to drive economic growth, jobs and prosperity, and keeps traffic moving today, and into the future.

The report will be used to inform the government’s next road investment strategy which begins in 2020.

What are your thoughts on Highways England’s plans? Let us know in the comments.

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Rise of ‘smart wearables’ helps bolster overall market in Q3, says IDC

The total shipment volume of wearables globally saw a 7.3% year over year in Q3/2017 amounting to 26.3 million units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, while the overall wearable market is witnessing a consistent growth trend, a specific growth trend is noticed in the smart wearables (devices that have the ability to run third party applications) market but it is missing from the market associated with basic wearables (devices that cannot run third party applications).

For the quarter, the first place is jointly occupied by Fitbit and Xiaomi, followed by Apple, Huawei and Garmin. Fitbit and Xiaomi’s shipment volumes stood at 3.6 million, followed by Apple with 2.7 million, Huawei 1.6 million and Garmin 1.3 million. In terms of market share, Fitbit and Xiaomi led with 13.7%, Apple 10.3%, Huawei 6%, and Garmin 4.9%.

Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s wearables team, said: "Basic wearables – with devices coming from Fitbit, Xiaomi, and Huawei – helped establish the wearables market. But as tastes and demands have changed towards multi-purpose devices – like smartwatches from Apple, Fossil, and Samsung – vendors find themselves at a crossroads to adjust accordingly to capture growth opportunity and mindshare."

According to Canalys figures from last month, Apple has managed to reoccupy the lead position in the wearable band market due to the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3. A Canalys analyst said that in Q3/2017, the iPhone maker shipped 800,000 cellular-enabled Apple Watch units. The analyst Jason Low commented: “Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers’ doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers.”

In the meantime, the US wearables market will face a major threat from its Chinese counterpart as it will be overtaken by China’s market this year, according to eMarketer. As reported by The Drum, it has been projected by that 21% or 144.3 million residents of China will wear devices similar to the Apple Watch compared to 20.4% of US residents.

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