IoT time series data is ‘of the hour’, says InfluxData

IoT time series data is 'of the hour', InfluxData

InfluxData, which specialises in time series data management, has shared details of recent customer implementations with a particular focus on IoT. 

Time series data is a big deal in the IoT. A time series is a series of data points collected at regular intervals and indexed in time order – the sort of reading you might see, for example, from a smart electricity meter in a home or from meteorology kit for forecasting the weather.

It is data that typically arrives in volume and requires careful handling. InfluxData may be one of many data analytics players, but with its focus on time series data, it’s a significant player in a small, but important subsector of that market. Its open source software enables developers to build monitoring, analytics and IoT applications.

The company’s product proposition centers on deployments where the data output of IoT devices and sensors sometimes necessitate changes to systems in near real time; that is, where developers will need to make changes or updates to IoT systems in order to address how those devices and sensor behave.

Read more: Basho CTO: It’s high IoT time for time series data

Unique? Well, different

The company says that IoT data is ‘unique’, in that sensors deliver time-stamped or time series data in order to measure change over time – for example, a rise in energy consumption when a family returns home or the different speeds of gusting winds over the course of a particularly stormy night.

So InfluxData works to provide managers of IoT deployments with a direct view into the state of each device at any given point in time.

Bboxx, for example, is a venture-backed company developing software to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world. Its core product is a plug-and-play solar system and the company is an InfluxData customer.

“Bboxx collects performance data from its portfolio of 50,000-plus IoT solar home systems currently deployed across East Africa,” explains David McLean, the company’s lead developer. “Performing real-time analytics on each incoming data stream, [we] can monitor system performance, analyze customer usage patterns and alert on unit failures or customer tampering events.”

Spiio, another InfluxData customer, provides a sensor and software solution for remote monitoring of vertical living ‘green walls’ and other high-value plant installations. Spiio uses sensors to understand plant performance from data.

“InfluxDB was a tech enabler for our vision of bridging the gap between things and people,” says Jens-Ole Graulund, chief technology officer at Spiio. “Having permanent access to time series data and plant analytics, InfluxData reveals trends and enables data-driven decisions, not only for green wall maintenance but also for its design – for green walls built to perform.”

Read more: Honeywell launches analytics hub to ‘listen’ to smart buildings

It’s time for time series data

So is time series data ‘of the hour’ when it comes to the IoT? Well yes, but InfluxData is by no means unique its willingness to embrace this subset of data analytics.

Hitachi Vantara (specifically within its Pentaho product line), works in this space, as do other companies, including Redis Labs, Microsoft (part of the Azure cloud is specifically offered in an optimization format for time series jobs) and IBM. Then there’s a whole host of small time series database specialists, too: RRDTool, Graphite, Prometheus and Druid. 

Regardless of who is spinning the spin about the importance of time series data, what they tend to have in common is an emphasis on building custom logic, user-defined functions (UDFs) and machine learning libraries. These allow customers to perform streaming analytics on time series IoT data and create alerts when dynamic thresholds are reached.

But InfluxData is clearly making a few waves, with a customer roll call that includes automaker Tesla, US department chain Nordstrom, and online auction site Ebay. Maybe it’s time to keep a closer eye on time series data. 

Read more: HPE Aruba weaves new fabric for analytics-driven IoT security

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Construction equipment telematics set to rise on building sites, says Berg Insight

Construction equipment telematics set to rise on building sites, says Berg Insight

As construction machinery manufacturers increasingly sell connected products, the building sector looks set to build a new image for itself as a technology enthusiast and embrace digitization. 

The construction industry has a reputation as a technology laggard, with dire repercussions for productivity and profitability.

Last year, researchers at strategy house McKinsey & Company singled it out as a sector “ripe for disruption”, calculating that large projects typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and come in 80 percent over budget. Worse still, productivity in the building industry has actually declined in some markets since the 1990s.

More digitization and the introduction of IoT technologies could do much to rectify the situation, McKinsey’s analysts say in their report, and this week there have been signs that the sector is starting to understand that. A report from Berg Insight forecasts healthy growth in the global installed base of construction equipment telematics systems, which reached 1.8 million units in 2016. By 2021, that number is set to reach 4.6 million units.

Read more: Dewalt powers ahead with IoT plans for construction workers

Towards telematics

Berg Insight’s report, The Global Construction Equipment OEM Telematics Market, covers all construction equipment (CE) telematics systems offered by equipment manufacturers, either built in-house or developed in partnership with telematics specialists. 

The European market accounted for almost 0.4 million units at the end of last year, with the North American market estimated to be slightly larger, and the rest of the world accounting for more than half of the global installed base.

“Most major CE OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] have introduced telematics offerings for its customers, either independently or in collaboration with telematics partners,” says Berg Insight’s report.

These are commonly factory-installed as standard, at least for heavier machines, it adds, with Caterpillar and Komatsu ranking as the leading OEMs in terms of the number of CE telematics systems deployed worldwide. These two companies together account for more than one million telematics units today, said Berg Insight analyst Rickard Andersson.

Read more: JCB uses IoT to control 10,000 construction machines

Other key players

Other key players include Hitachi Construction (based in Japan), Hyundai Construction Equipment (South Korea), JCB (UK), Volvo CE (Sweden) and Deere & Company (US). Smaller players include Doosan Infracore (South Korea), Liebherr (Switzerland) and CNH Industrial (UK).

“Notably, half of the top 10 OEMs have surpassed the milestone of 100,000 telematics units globally,” said Mr Andersson.

This is important, because these telematics systems can help construction firms locate equipment on busy building sites and assess their recent utilization and performance. Beyond that, the data collected can be used to detect maintenance requirements and send automated alerts for preventative maintenance.

In short, the construction industry has much to gain (and it seems, little to lose) by getting new insights into bulky and expensive machinery that firms typically hope to use for many years to come.

Read more: Clicks for bricks, Procore cements construction management software

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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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Consumers value IoT, but they don’t trust it, says Cisco

Consumers value IoT, but they don’t trust it, says Cisco

New research finds that fears over data privacy persist but aren’t enough to get consumers to pull the plug on smart devices. 

Cisco has announced the findings of new consumer-focused research, based on a survey of over 3,000 US and Canadian consumers, that the networking giant says is designed to help businesses that offer IoT-based products and services give the market a boost when it comes to customer confidence and adoption.

The message from the report, The IoT Trust/Value Paradox, is clear: consumers believe these products and services deliver “significant value”, but they don’t understand or trust how the data they share with providers is managed or used.

No change there, it seems: the same could be said of any of the major social networking sites. And, as with social networking sites, consumers are unwilling to disconnect from IoT services, even temporarily, despite their concerns.

According to Cisco, 42 percent of respondents said the IoT was too deeply integrated into their daily lives to simply ‘switch it off’. From this, the company deduces that they find it easier to tolerate uncertainty and risk than to pull the plug on IoT.

Read more: Study reveals in-person service essential in creating smart homes

What is the IoT, anyway?

A lot depends, of course, on how a consumer defines the IoT. In the Cisco report, respondents were twice as likely to recognize personal IoT devices such as wearables and smart home security systems than they were public ones, such as smart streetlights and wind turbines.

That stands to reason, given the hype around consumer devices and the relatively limited exposure to  IoT that many people have had in their working lives to date, unless they’re directly involved in making strategic decisions about their company’s digital direction.

But even at home, while it’s perfectly true that many people now have smart devices, others are perfectly happy to potter along in a relatively ‘dumb’ home that ‘just works’ for them, unless they see real value in making a switch. For a vast swathe of the world’s population, of course, this isn’t even an issue.

What does stand out, in Cisco’s research at least, is that respondents are overwhelmingly positive about the value the IoT brings to them, however they define it. Fifty-three percent say that IoT makes their lives more convenient, 47 percent say it makes them more efficient, and 34 percent say IoT increases their safety.

Read more: Survey: UK consumers wary of smart home products

A matter of education?

At the same time, only 9 percent of respondents say that they trust that their data, collected and shared through IoT, is secure. And only 14 percent feel that companies do a good job of informing them what data is being collected on them and how it is used.

According to Cisco, “As companies build their businesses around IoT services, they need first to understand the importance of educating their customers on the role of IoT in delivering new, valuable services that will enhance their lives. Only when customers understand the value of IoT – and trust that these new services can be delivered in a way that respects and protects their data – will mainstream adoption increase.”

There’s some truth in that, certainly. A great deal more work needs to be done by smart device makers on data privacy – and, while they’re about it, they should definitely cast an urgent eye over device security. But if “mainstream adoption” is truly the goal here, an education in the IoT might be overkill.

At Internet of Business, then, our take is this: the onus rests with smart product device makers to sort out privacy, tackle security – and do a much better job of explaining to customers what value might look like, in terms of the impact we can expect connected devices to have on our day-to-day lives.

And, here, interoperability is going to be key, because a thousand different apps to turn on lights, track our pets, measure our fitness efforts and curb our energy usage is unlikely to be workable for many in the longer term.

Read more: Smart home device metadata offers hackers insight into residents’ habits

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Global IoT spending to hit $772 billion in 2018, says IDC

A new update released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) projected that spending on IoT globally will increase 14.6% year over year to $ 772.5 billion in 2018.

IDC’s “Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide” has projected that IoT spending globally will increase at a CAGR of 14.4% through the 2017-2021, crossing the $ 1 trillion mark set for 2020 and touching the $ 1.1 trillion mark in 2021.

For 2018, IoT hardware will emerge as the biggest technology category followed by services, software and connectivity, IDC said. In the technology category, an amount of $ 239 billion will be dedicated largely toward modules and sensors in addition to infrastructure and security expenditure. In terms of software expenditure, application software will take the lead along with analytics software, IoT platforms, and security software. It is projected that software will be the fastest growing technology segment with a five-year CAGR of 16.1%.

Carrie MacGillivray, vice president, Internet of Things and mobility at IDC, said: "By 2021, more than 55% of spending on IoT projects will be for software and services. This is directly in line with results from IDC’s 2017 Global IoT Decision Maker Survey where organisations indicate that software and services are the key areas of focused investment for their IoT projects.

“Software creates the foundation upon which IoT applications and use cases can be realised. However, it is the services that help bring all the technology elements together to create a comprehensive solution that will benefit organisations and help them achieve a quicker time to value,” MacGillivray added.

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