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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Faster Product Recalls: How To Reach More Customers

There is nothing more disruptive to a manufacturer than dealing with a quality issue. Production lines come to a screeching halt if the severity of the problem could cause the product to injure a customer. This situation is especially true for products that cause immediate harm such as cars, toys, pharmaceutical products, and especially food/beverage products. In the United States, about 2 million illnesses occur annually caused by contaminated poultry and meat products that reach consumers’ plates, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

For manufacturers, the best case scenario is that the problem is discovered before one product gets sent out. Unfortunately, safety and health issues could take days, weeks, months, and even years before they are discovered.

The complexities of consumer recalls

Once a product problem is discovered, informing the public is a top priority. Yet again, as a manufacturer, you can run into a roadblock. Reaching as many customers as you can has become a daunting task, since sometimes there is no way of knowing how many products have been sold or used. Also, finding a means to contact people about the recall requires a concentrated effort.

Most manufacturers normally post product recalls on the main company website. You may also issue recall information to the media and through print media. Local, state, and federal governments may become involved either through contact from the manufacturer, through other government organizations, or by discovering the product issue during inspections of the manufacturer’s facility. They then will issue a press release, hold a news conference, and post the recall on their website. Yet not all recalls are announced to the general public.

Even if you post the information online and talk about it in the media, there still may be people who miss the recall alert. They may be at work during the hours when the news is on television or at home watching a different channel. They may also have no reason to visit the manufacturer’s website for product updates or visit any online sites where they will learn about the recall.

In these instances, you need a better way of reaching out to customers. A more direct method of communication can lower the risks of people using unsafe products. You can provide information on how a customer should return the product or how to get a refund. Other times, you can provide emergency instructions in case they use a defective product and become injured or eat a food that makes them sick, such as instructing them to go to the emergency room or see their doctor immediately.

Product registration platforms streamline the emergency recall process

What would you say if there was a central platform where you can connect with consumers who have purchased your products? With this central platform, you can immediately send out information about a particular batch of items that have quality issues. This information can go to the person’s email or be sent via SMS to their mobile devices. You could even use push notifications through company mobile apps or through app messaging systems such as WhatsApp.

Through this platform, you could provide all the information that the person needed to deal with the defective product. Your company can tell people how to return products to stores where they were purchased. You can also warn people to check food packages in their refrigerators for batch numbers that would indicate contaminated food.

Such a central platform can do more than what news media sources can: reach people anywhere and at any time. A manufacturer would know who to target with their emergency recall information by allowing customers to register their product through the centralized platform. They could type the serial number into the registration form on the platform or simply scan the product’s barcode using a mobile app on their smartphone.

But what about people who don’t want to share personal information during registration? With the central platform, they could register their purchase anonymously. The platform would record the product’s serial number and the mobile app’s unique identifier. When a recall occurs, the central platform issues the recall alert based on serial number batches and sends out the message through the mobile app.

Reaching more people to increase safety during product recalls

While ensuring that only safe and high-quality products reach consumers is manufacturers’ primary goal, appropriate risk management when issues are discovered needs to also take center stage in a company’s policies and procedures.

Seeking out new technologies that will help alert people about product recalls can be a tremendous benefit. Central platforms, anonymous registrations, and mobile apps can be used by these manufacturers to reach everyone who is affected by the emergency recall. These central platforms can lead to greater alert coverage so people are protected if a quality issue is discovered.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative for Consumer Industries. Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today by reading Industry 4.0: What’s Next?


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How AT&T migrated more than 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT connected products

For any telecom provider, avoiding system downtime is usually job one. So when AT&T decided to migrate more than 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT-enabled connected products—with the goal of supporting internal software development and replace its existing disparate solutions—the company knew it was in for a long slog.

Over the course of about three years, the company used an agile business planning model to pull off this monumental project. AT&T agile tool product owner and team lead Tiina Seppalainen detailed how it all unfolded at the recent IBM Continuous Engineering Summit in New Orleans.

Seppalainen CE Summit

AT&T’s Tiina Seppalainen describes her company’s Rational migration at the 2017 CE Summit.

Connected products buy-in and planning

Seppalainen said the keys to success lied in broad buy-in from all levels of the company and a meticulously planned process for executing and managing the changes at various stages. We had an aggressive and changing schedule, and we did this without any kind of formal training,” she said. “We were given the tools and told to have at it, so that’s what we did.”AT&T had to account for about 3,000 applications that support different parts of the company. “We ended up [affecting] about 100 project areas and 57 servers. And they all needed to be built in time for the migrations to the Rational tools,” Seppalainen said. “It was all planned very carefully and sequentially because of the dependencies between our servers.”

This included setting up between five and 10 scrum teams with a total of about 100 people who were primarily dedicated to the project. “This allowed us to be nimble and change as needed, which was frequently,” Seppalainen said. “We regularly adjusted either what we were doing or when we were doing it, and we had a team to engage user groups and keep people apprised of the progress.”

She added that a critical component of the endeavor was strong leadership commitment at multiple levels and very active support. This included internal communications, webcasts and town halls. “It was very clear from the top down that this was going to happen, and quickly, and everybody needed to support it,” Seppalainen said.

In keeping with the agile model, the migration teams rolled out the new solutions in phases, received feedback from early adopters provided input, and adjusted accordingly. Naturally, such a large organization has many stakeholder groups that wanted different things. Seppalainen said they couldn’t fulfill everyone’s wish list, but they were able to prioritize the most critical requests.

Coordinating the calendar

The volume of users necessitated scheduled releases and automations, which the agile team spread out across the calendar so as not to overwhelm everyone with the build-outs and iterations. (Seppalainen said the crucial help IBM provided in the project area design work was “a key to our success.”) “We had a lot of concurrent and dependent activities and multiple work streams, and they all had to be managed,” she said. “It was a major challenge to coordinate interdependent and overlapping work efforts.”

This meant having frequent meetings, almost all of them virtual, including check-ins at the beginning and end of every work day. “It was a very agile mindset,” Seppalainen said. “That’s what made this happen; just doing that day in day out.”

Testing and training

Once new roll-outs were in place, AT&T conducted extensive testing, established training courses that included certifications, and created “small-bite” videos so users could quickly refresh their skills as needed.

Now that the heavy lifting has concluded, Seppalainen said her company views this massive endeavor as a success. “Using the agile approach was one of the key factors because it’s team oriented, very iterative and gives you the ability to adjust to changing needs,” she said. “Our strong program and project management is what brought this three-year odyssey to fruition.”

To see how you can streamline your organization’s operations and improve productivity with IBMs Continous Engineering and IoT solutions, visit our landing page. And join us at Think 2018, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.

The post How AT&T migrated more than 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT connected products appeared first on Internet of Things blog.

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As connected cars gain traction, consumers are more concerned about their security

As rollouts and developments in the connected car space continue, consumers are becoming more fearful of their influence.

That is according to the latest study from Thales, in association with Wakefield Research, which finds that three out of five respondents – with 1,000 adults in the US and UK polled – say they are more concerned about the security of internet-based vehicle technology now than compared with five years ago.

In total, 29% of US and 24% of UK respondents said they were ‘much more concerned’ around the overall security of connected cars compared with half a decade previously, while 32% and 35% respectively were ‘somewhat more concerned’. Only 4% of those polled in both the US and UK said they were ‘much less concerned.’ When it came to specific security issues, the most concerning – and immediate – for respondents was the car’s technology failing, followed by viruses or malware.

With this fear comes the hope of regulatory intervention. An overwhelming majority – 87% of US and 92% of UK respondents – said they agreed that their respective governments should implement stricter data security regulations for connected cars.

Writing for this publication earlier this month, Remy Cricco, chairman of the board at SIMalliance, said that hacking of connected vehicles ‘cannot be overstated’. “It is imperative that the authenticity and integrity of the software and firmware within a connected car is not compromised, and that both can be updated regularly – sometimes even immediately – to counter attacks in a rapidly evolving threat landscape,” Cricco wrote.

“As adoption of connected cars and development of autonomous, self-driving cars soars, there is a tremendous business opportunity for automakers. However, with more connectivity comes new pathways for cyberattacks,” said Peter Galvin, vice president strategy at Thales eSecurity. “While we’re starting to see IoT and connected car regulatory frameworks in the US like the SELF DRIVE act, manufacturers should proactively consider these consumer qualms as they get ready to bring these cars to our streets instead of waiting for laws and regulations to pass.”

Read more: Connected cars: The road to security and flexibility

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New Electric Imp Dev Center Features Enhanced Database Searches, Improved User Interface, and Much More

Electric Imp has a large and growing IoT developer community which now extends to more than 20,000 users. Consequently, we need to support ever wider ranges of experience and expertise among our developer community. That is the task of the Electric Imp Dev Center, which has evolved into a world-class hub for IoT product creation and Squirrel documentation. The Dev Center now hosts more than 900 pages of content — three times the number of pages three years ago. In that time, the IoT has matured, and our developers are innovating quickly.

Now the time has come to lay the foundations for the expansion of our communities and the Dev Center over the next three years and beyond. So we are excited to bring you our next-generation Dev Center.

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A colorful new paint job overlays a powerful engine

The brand new site, created from the ground up, uses Drupal. For those who haven’t heard of it, Drupal is one of the leading lights in the world of online publishing content management systems. It is an open source product that has many big-name users around the globe and is backed by a diverse community of coders who keep it up to date, secure and ensure its relevance for many years to come.

Drupal brings some immediate benefits to Dev Center users:

  • More rapid updates
  • Faster, more accurate search
  • Responsive user interface
  • Platform for great new developer features

Drupal also allows us to provide a Dev Center that can continue to grow at the pace we’ve experienced over the past four years — roll on the next 900 pages! — while remaining responsive to developers accessing its resources from their browsers, and to Electric Imp’s engineers and writers as they keep the existing content up to date and add more.

You can get a taste of this flexibility in the new Dev Center’s Knowledgebase, which provides a speedily searchable database of technical notes, known issues, hints and tips, and FAQs organized by subject matter. We couldn’t offer that with Jekyll, the system we currently use to build the Dev Center.

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The new Electric Imp Knowledgebase

We have also taken the opportunity to brighten up the design. In particular, we have made finding your way around the site much more intuitive and quick. The site has been reorganized into functional areas: getting started, software development, hardware design, manufacturing information, tools documentation and, with the Knowledgebase, a beefed up help section — all with the intention of making it easier for a given user to get straight to the information they need.

The primary site navigation — moved from the right to the left of the screen — is section-specific and expandable, enabling you to reach the content you want quickly without cluttering your workspace. New and updated content is flagged on the homepage, and within each of the sections, along with popular documents and library refreshes.

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Improved navigation

Finally, we have given the new site its own location on the web, so please update your bookmarks. The new Dev Center can be found at https://developer.electricimp.com/

For an initial period, we’ll continue to host, but not update, the old Dev Center, so please begin making use of the new site straight away. All the content from the original site is available in the new one, which is already being updated as Electric Imp’s impCentral™ rollout continues. We’re aware of some small presentation issues, which we’re working on at the moment, but please feel free to drop us a line via the Electric Imp Forum if you spot any issues.

You are Electric Imp’s community of developers and customers, and the Dev Center is your resource. All the changes have been implemented to create a site that is more responsive and accessible for makers, engineers and manufacturers, so please do let us know if  you have comments or suggestions for improvements.

We appreciate you helping us build a resource that is here to assist you for the long haul.

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