The Connected Effect

Why "Connected Products" will soon be the norm...

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jul 15, 2014 9:55:00 AM

By Bill Zujewski

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is real, delivering value, transforming industries and here to stay… and connected products from product manufacturers are at the heart of it. So what’s driving the interest and momentum?   Clearly, the coolness of “Connected Homes” and the fitness benefits of “Wearables” are sparking some of the interest.  But what other macro trends and changes in consumer and customer behaviors are accelerating the demand for Connected Products?  Here are some key trends that I see that are driving the need for Connected Products:

  • Mobile Apps – There’s an app for everything.   Need a cab? Grab a taxi with Uber on your smart phone.  Want to play some tunes in the kitchen? Bring up your Sonos app.    We are becoming accustomed to interacting with things via our phones.  SIoT connected productso I expect we’ll hear this from consumers from now on: “What do you mean … this product doesn’t come with an app?”
  • Early “Connected Products” – We’ve tasted connected products.  My TV is connected.  My Nest thermostat is connected.  My fitness band is connected.  My Music player is in the cloud.  So I expect we will hear this a lot: “What do mean … this product is not connected? Ughh.”
  • “Use” vs. “Ownership” model – Who needs to buy anything?  Need a ride?  Just use  Zip Car today.   Music? Just sign up for a streaming music service.   Need an alarm system? The camera, sensors and system are free… just pay the monthly subscription.  So I expect to hear this more often in the future: “What do mean… I have to purchase this product?  I just want it use it for a while.”

My point is this… people are going to expect what they buy to be connected.  They‘ve tasted connected products.  They’ve tasted products-as-a-service.   They love their mobile apps.  Companies who can deliver a connected product experience have a chance to differentiate and capture buyers who are hungry for connected products.

And guess what… there will be IoT consumerization of commercial and industrial products.  Tractors, windmills, trucks, buildings, projectors, generators, engines… you name  it…. they’ll be connected, come with a mobile app, and be available as a service.   The expectations from the consumer B2C world will spill over into the Industrial B2B world.  It’s already happening.  Just ask our customers… GE, Philips, EMC, Diebold, NCR, Medtronic, Tyco, Hitachi, Agilent and Stryker.

Topics: Axeda, Connected Products, IoT, Internet of Things, Apps

The Internet of Secure Things: Vulnerabilities Beware!

Posted by Brittany Calvanese

Jul 8, 2014 10:26:00 AM

By Rob Black, CISSP

I hope you are enjoying the summer as much as I am, and that you have some well-deserved time off ahead of you.  But before you take off, I’d like to play out a security scenario with you. Imagine your company manufactures mission critical machines and a couple of days before you depart on your dream vacation you discover that 10,000 machines deployed across hundreds of customer locations have a software flaw, the result of which could be a serious security problem for your customers and a significant risk to your organization.  The engineers on your team have developed a patch for the vulnerability. Do you: Internet of Secure Things

  • Send out an email advisory of the problem and hope that customers will download the patch while you are on vacation, and there will be no major headaches for customer support during your absence. (If this is the case, you should worry if you will have a job when you return.)
  • Cancel your vacation and start copying the patch to thousands of USB memory sticks to be mailed out to every customer location. (If this is the case, that “well-deserved” vacation doesn’t seem to apply)
  • Something else.

Given that you are reading a blog on an IoT and you are interested in security, I am betting that you picked c) Something else.   

That something else is the IoT.  The ability to connect to a machine is critical to being able to ensure that it is secure. An unconnected machine is one that is likely unpatched and therefore vulnerable.

While connecting to your machines is laudable, it is not enough.  There are many components to a IoT project including the means to update the software, what we at Axeda call Connected Content.

Not only does your solution need to be aware of the version, the right steps to perform, what to do if an error occurs, but also needs to consider what network bandwidth constraints may exist.   Unless your customers have unlimited bandwidth you might want to limit how many are being deployed at a given moment in time.

Now what if the machine is performing a critical operation like for instance “in surgery” literally opening up someone’s chest in an operating room? It might not be a good time to perform a software update. You need the ability to put the device into a mode that prohibits it from doing the update at that time.

Up to this point we have assumed that all machines were the same. What if machines have different configuration, different boards, different chips, different modules, or different software? Can the same patch be applied identically to all your machines? You need software that can differentiate between the various versions and apply the appropriate software.

Now that we have sent out updates to thousands of machines we need the ability to audit, monitor, and report on the results and identify any problematic machines that might need additional intervention. The software has to have the tools to track which machines were updated and which ones had problems that require manual intervention.

It sounds like a tall order for any solution to be able to meet all of these requirements. And it is. The Axeda Connected Content solution was designed for product manufacturers to be able to meet the rigorous requirements outlined above. Our customers that utilize Axeda Connected Content are able to update content on thousands of machines managing vulnerability fixes, other software updates, as well as pushing configuration data. You can learn more about how Axeda Connected Content is solving real world problems with ecoATM from the posted webinar.

With Axeda Connected Content helping to protect your machines you can enjoy your summer!

Topics: Axeda, Internet of Things, IoT security, Internet of Secure Things

The Internet of Secure Things

Posted by Brittany Calvanese

May 19, 2014 11:31:00 AM

By Rob Black, Axeda

Here at Axeda we just finished a very successful Connexion 2014 conference where global thought leaders in the Internet of Things (IoT) gathered in Boston for our multi-day event. IoT securityOne of the themes that I heard again and again from practitioners of IoT is that their security story needed improvement in order to assure customers that their IoT solution could be utilized safely. There is a lot of noise from the entertainment world and popular press about killer pacemakers and spam-sending-refrigerators that has crowded out the less sensational reality that  -- IoT Security is not fundamentally different from network security, and there are a plethora of strong security practices that can be readily applied to IoT.

Many customers who are deploying IoT are frustrated by the resistance that some IT and security departments exert when an IoT solution can clearly help them solve business challenges for their deployed machines. Lack of connectivity is not the solution to a security problem, and that thinking should be turned on its head. If companies are concerned about security and compliance here are the questions that they should ask. These questions are based on real-world events that our customers have observed and not based on theoretical thinking.

  • How can you be certain that machines are being used for their appropriate business purposes and not for gaming or other (worse) personal activities?
  • How can you ensure that the appropriate policies have been applied to the machine? Are policies applied in a consistent manner or does it depend on the technician and date of machine provisioning/servicing?
  • What is your update strategy should a software vulnerability be found on thousands of your machines? Does your plan involve running around with a USB stick to every machine?
  • How do you connect to the machine for remote service support? Do you use web meeting tools? Does that mean that the remote user has an elevated level of access? Are the changes audited?

If your answers to the questions above are unfavorable perhaps you should consider using an IoT solution to help you solve your security and compliance problems. Connectivity and diligent management is the key to successfully managing devices in your enterprise. Axeda has helped many customers to examine and address the challenges listed above. For instance the ability to log every significant action at the device level can help organizations to ensure compliance with regulations and protect against rogue employees utilizing remote desktop applications to perform non-authorized activities on business critical machines.

Once you have decided to pursue an IoT solution, there are a number of steps required to ensure that it is secure. The first and most important step is to get senior management buy-in. While this might not be the most obvious path for technically minded folks, it is the one that can help you to solve a number of problems long term. Senior management needs to be sold on the business value of this project. If there is sufficient business value then they can help you get the appropriate resources to address security or other requirements that might be a part of the project.  They can help to move obstacles that may be in the way of a successful project.

Before getting the buy-in, however, management may ask for an assessment of a particular IoT solution. Since an IoT solution is comprised of so many parts, we break it down into seven key segments to more easily perform analysis for security purposes:

  • Device
  • Inside the firewall software and communications
  • Outside the firewall communications
  • Cloud operations
  • Cloud platform
  • Cloud development
  • Cloud applications

Over the next several blog posts we’ll dig into key security topics utilizing the above framework and provide you with an understanding of what you can and should expect from an IoT vendor, and which challenges are better addressed from within your own organization.  If you can’t wait until the next post, check out our security white paper in the interim. Stay tuned!

Bio:
Rob Black is Director of Platform Product Management at Axeda where he overseas the direction of the Axeda Machine Cloud Platform. In addition to his expertise in Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Rob has extensive experience in security, web services, and cloud solutions. Rob’s product management and product marketing background includes positions at RSA Security, 3Com, and Vertical Communications. Rob received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in Computer Science and System Science and Engineering. He is the inventor of three security related patents and is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Topics: Axeda, Axeda Connexion, Internet of Things, IoT security

Making Internet of Things Connections at the Axeda Connexion 2014 Conference

Posted by Brittany Calvanese

May 12, 2014 9:41:00 AM

By Jeff Kaplan, THINKstrategies

The increasing attention and accelerating innovation in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) marketplace was clearly on display at the Axeda Connexion 2014 conference May 6-7 in Boston. The event brought together over 600 attendees from more than 150 companies Axeda Connexion 2014worldwide to share perspectives and best practices regarding how to capitalize on the rapidly expanding consumer and commercial opportunities created by the IoT.

Axeda has been at the forefront of the IoT movement as a pioneer of the previous generation of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. In the same way the vision of the ‘connected world’ has expanded from connected devices and systems to a broader set of connected objects and services, Axeda’s mission and product portfolio has also widened.

Over the past few years, Axeda has broadened its focus from helping its customers and partners more easily connect remote objects, devices, systems and services to enabling them to better manage and ultimately monetize the value of their connected worlds as well. It has also shifted its technical focus from hardware-oriented to software-driven solutions, and moved from primarily on-premise to Cloud-powered solutions.

Today, Axeda’s IoT portfolio includes three major components to address three key IoT requirements:

  1. Connect – Middleware
  2. Build – Platform
  3. Manage – Analytics

At the Connexions 2014 conference, Axeda unveiled five new offerings that strengthen its ability to satisfy its customers and partners’ needs in these three areas:

  1. Axeda Connected Builder which moves IoT agent mgmt to the Cloud.
  2. Adaptive Machine Messaging Protocol to provide a standard language for IoT.
  3. Machine Streams for streaming high volumes of data in IoT networks.
  4. Connected Asset Management for Salesforce.com to improve customer support, sales and marketing effectiveness.
  5. Axeda community.axeda.com to encourage greater peer-to-peer collaboration and information sharing of IoT best practices.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Axeda story is the ecosystem of customers and partners it has built. AT&T has been a strategic partner for many years and played a prominent role at Connexion 2014. In fact, the two companies co-hosted a special luncheon on the first day of the conference for the industry analysts attending the event where they shared information about the growing number of customer success stories they are generating together across a variety of vertical markets.

Oracle, Intel, GE, Salesforce.com, Deutsche Telekom and Broadcom also gave keynote presentations at Connexion 2014. In addition, the conference expo included Wipro, Dedicated Computing, Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation, Appirio, Software AG, TeraCode, CaseBank Technologies, HP Vertica, Integron, Lantronix, Mitsui Technologies, Option Wireless Technology, SAS, ServiceMax and Venetia Systems.

While there was plenty of excitement about the boundless opportunities created by the IoT, there was also a healthy amount of practical perspective about the technical, organizational and market barriers to success that still exist.

First, there is no single standard or vendor that can satisfy the end-to-end requirements of most IoT deployments. Therefore, industry collaboration and integration is essential for success.

Second, there are just as many security vulnerabilities as there are network connections in IoT deployments. Many product innovations and policy decisions will be required to combat the rising security threats.

Third, many organizations must understand how the IoT redefines their customer relationships. Capturing and properly utilizing a new level of customer data carries tremendous responsibilities in addition to creating incredible new business opportunities.

Axeda’s Chief Marketing Officer and EVP of Product Strategy, Bill Zujewski, suggested during his keynote presentation that these challenges make it imperative that the IoT vendors and the industry as a whole adopt policies to ensure their products and business practices are in harmony with their customers’ needs to alleviate their concerns. In his view, “harmonize” is the latest level of value created by the rapidly evolving IoT market.

Topics: Axeda Connexion, Internet of Things, IoT Conference, Boston, Jeff Kaplan, THINKstrategies

Observations from Axeda Connexion 2014

Posted by Brittany Calvanese

May 6, 2014 10:39:00 AM

Axeda Connexion 2014 (Twitter hashtag #CX14) is a who’s-who of enterprises and technology companies that have embraced or are learning how to embrace the connected future. The key themes from this year’s show span business/strategy and technology characteristics of IoT. Let’s take a look at some of the top ones.

Impact of IoT solutions on business process. No doubt that IoT solutions pack all sorts of value for enterprises, but oftentimes we overlook the challenges that enterprises have in re-designing their business processes to take advantage of connectivity, connected devices, sensors and the richness of the data provided by these IoT solutions. Business processes touching all aspects of operations, finance, marketing, sales, customer support and product development can be impacted by new IoT solutions. Enterprises must prepare for these changes -- changes that impact technology, but also human factors within the enterprises. As such, it is critical that enterprises create appropriate change management and training plans. In addition, they need to address additional security and compliance issues that might be impacted by changes in particular business processes. These changes impact large enterprises as well as small/medium businesses that march down the IoT path.

Moving enterprises from product to services companies: striving for competitive differentiation. An age-old adage for many businesses is, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” But those enterprises that adopt IoT solutions realize that there is something that needs improvement. Sometimes identifying those problems and taking the risks to change require great foresight and executive commitment. Many enterprises that are product-centric recognize the difficulties in creating a sustainable competitive advantage solely based on a product-only business model. So in order to help differentiate their products, these enterprises are adding connectivity to their products and becoming hybrid product/services companies. These changes help diversify the overall revenue characteristics of these firms while building competitive differentiation through enhanced customer loyalty, difficult to replicate product/service offerings and reducing the time-to-market for new service solutions.

Innovative technology solutions being deployed today: enterprise examples. There is tremendous diversity in the types of IoT solutions being deployed today. A quick perusal of attendees and speakers at the Axeda Connexion 2014 event attest to this fact. There are hundreds of enterprise attendees from sectors including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, automotive/transport, software, distribution and others. The IoT solutions vary from those that have been generally available in markets for years -- like, fleet management -- to those that are in beta-stage today -- like several healthcare solutions in various stages of medical testing. As we expected there was strong presence of IoT solutions in the industrial sector -- the industrial sector being one of the hottest IoT sectors in 2014 according to recent MachNation research. There is a heightened focus on the quality and useability of the data collected from these IoT solutions, recognizing that collection and analysis of data must lead to actions that seek to improve business outcomes.

Application integrations: To reach the goal of extracting maximum value from IoT solutions requires careful integration of enterprise business applications -- like CRM/SFA, ERP, inventory management, accounting/finance, distribution systems and other -- to IoT platforms like the Axeda Machine Cloud. Very few enterprises are implementing IoT solutions as green-field deployments. Most enterprises have existing business applications that require integration with IoT applications and application platforms. Simple approaches and careful project planning are required to ensure data is mapped and shared appropriately between applications. Look to cloud application vendors like Axeda and Salesforce.com that are creating deep business and technology partnerships to ensure the success if these integrations.

Axeda Connexion 2014 continues to attract some of the most progressive enterprises and technology vendors that have embraced the connected future.

About the author -- Steve Hilton is the Managing Director and
co-founder of MachNation, the only Steve Hiltondedicated insight services firm covering the future of the Internet of Things, Internet of everything and connected device ecosystems. His primary areas of expertise include sales enablement, competitive positioning, marketing media development, cloud services, small and medium businesses and sales channels. Steve has 20 years’ experience in technology and communications marketing. Prior to founding MachNation, he built and ran the IoT/M2M and Enterprise practice areas at Analysys Mason. He has also held senior positions at Yankee Group, Lucent Technologies, TDS (Telephone and Data Systems) and Cambridge Strategic Management Group. Steve is a frequent speaker at industry and client events, and publishes articles and blogs in several respected trade journals. He holds a degree in economics from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

About MachNation -- MachNation is the only dedicated insight services firm covering the future of the Internet of Things, Internet of Everything and connected device ecosystems. MachNation specializes in understanding and predicting these technology sectors including developments in hardware, platforms, communication services and applications. MachNation specialists have provided sales tools and marketing support services to the majority of the world’s leading IT and communications firms.

Topics: IoT, Internet of Things, Steve Hilton, MachNation, Connexion

How to Select the Right IoT Platform

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Mar 13, 2014 9:34:00 AM

By Bill Zujewski

During the growth and hype phase of any new technology comes customer confusion caused by the exaggerated claims of vendors.   That is certainly the case with the Internet of Things and IoT platforms where every week new definitions emerge, new claims are made and new Axeda Go Kittechnologies are touted.   Axeda is right in the center of this IoT ecosystem and we owe it to our customers, our partners and the industry to make sense of the confusion and bring reality to the forefront.

Last month we launched a webinar series entitled “Selecting the right platform for your Internet of Things (IoT)” to help companies understand what an IoT platform does and how to evaluate them.   It no longer makes sense for companies to build your own IoT platform… to design and develop their own connectivity agents, messaging protocols, machine data management and storage systems, rules engine, alarm and event processing engine, APIs and other development tools.   These elements are now pre-integrated, hardened and available in IoT platforms like Axeda.

But not all platforms are equal.  Some focus on communication and sending data from a device to a server… others focus on collecting and storing the data and making it available via APIs and tools… other IoT platforms focus on tools for managing, configuring and monitoring devices and connected things.

Since selecting the right IoT platform is such an integral step in an IoT strategy, Axeda will continue to identify the key factors to pay attention to when evaluating platforms.  Our next webinar with ARM and VDC Research, will focus on the connectivity and capabilities you need at the edge.   It will cover the various ways to gather, process and filter data at the edge and how to efficiently, reliably and securely send that data to the cloud.   Consideration will include Java vs. C, Wired vs. Cellular, UDP vs TCP vs SMS, Linux vs. Windows vs. other OS, and standards vs proprietary protocols.   I’m sure most product managers, developers and architects will find the webinar useful.

Topics: IoT, Internet of Things, Axeda Customer

IoT vs. M2M... There's a Difference

Posted by Bill Zujewski

Jan 22, 2014 2:59:00 PM

By Bill Zujewski

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is red hot… it stole the show at CES, the world’s largest Consumer Electronics event.   It is grabbing the headlines with stories about Google, Nest and the connected home and “Wearables”, one of the poster children for the internet of things.  The IoT buzz is hitting the blogosphere with new views on the future connected world we will live in.

One observation… IoT has leap-frogged Machine-to-Machine (M2M) as the new buzzword.  Is there a difference between IoT and M2M?  Yes.  Axeda defines M2M as the communication between a machine or device and a remote computer.  M2M is about connecting a device to the cloud, managing that device, and collecting machine and sensor data.  In essence, M2M is about connecting and communicating with a “thing” where a thing can be a machine, device or sensor…. Basically anything that can send data.

IoT goes beyond M2M… beyond computers connecting to things.   IoT represents things connecting with systems, people and other things.  To be clear, here are our definitions:

  • Things – Includes machines, devices, sensors, consumer products, vehicles, etc.
  • Systems – Include business applications, ERP/CRM/PLM systems,  analytics systems, data warehouses, and control systems
  • People – Includes workers and consumers; employees, partners and customers
Internet of Things

Axeda provides an IoT Platform for orchestrating data between things, systems and people.  Our IoT platform is the technology that enables things to connect to the cloud and then interact with business systems, people and other things connected to the cloud.  What might be confusing is that part of our platform includes M2M capabilities for connecting to things and managing devices, but our platform also includes the key capabilities to integrate systems and people and implement IoT solutions.   Some of our key  IoT Platform features are:

  • Extended  Objects – To store any data; Includes the ability to go beyond machine/device data and store data related to other business objects like accounts, cases, policies, configurations, warranties, service requests, and rate plans
  • Associations – To define a data model that associates business information with devices and associates sensors with physical objects;  For example, Axeda can associate an OBD tracking device with a vehicle, driver and insurance policy and store that complementary information natively in the Axeda platform
  • Groovy Scripting Engine – To provide a development environment to handle business logic in our platform.  The scripting engine also provides an easy way for developer to write scripts that interact with other external systems and applications.
  • Web Services – To provide APIs for accessing data and software application services in Axeda
  • Scripto – To provide API’s for sending non-device data to Axeda.  This could include sensor and device information from other IoT solutions or business information from enterprise systems.  This essentially enables the mash-up of web services from multiple systems with Axeda as the central point of integration.
  • Message Queue – A secure way to interact with other systems and clouds in an asynchronous way

Net/net: Axeda provides an IoT platform that includes M2M capabilities.   In my next few blogs, I will discuss customer examples of IoT solutions.  Unlike other platforms hyping what’s possible in the Internet of Things, I’ll share with the readers, real world customer success stories of Axeda integrating things, systems and people to deliver innovative new solutions that change business outcomes.

Topics: Axeda, M2M, IoT, Internet of Things

Best of the IoT Web - January 14th 2014

Posted by Ian Lee

Jan 14, 2014 2:47:00 PM

By Ian Lee

Following on from my last roundup, there is another whitepaper from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Internet of Thingssponsored by our partners at Salesforce.com, they cite the number one reason companies are investing in connected products is not to boost sales, but to improve their customer engagement. Of the 1,300 executives who took part in this global survey, 55% say their number-one goal was better customer service, 51% said it was to provide a superior customer experience and 45% believed it was a competitive necessity.

The survey also said that over the next three years the percentage of companies using the cloud to connect products and services will almost double. Some 79% of those in our survey said cloud would be their go-to platform.

An article in Adweek last week, suggests that the 'Internet of Things' heralds the arrival of the Jetsons age. The article, prompted by the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), goes on to discuss the three technologies that will provide this intelligence to the IoT: sensors that can track temperature, movement or speed; systems that integrate the control of devices; and a shared syntax that allows them to talk to each other. And that we can reach the Jetson age because once these devices can talk to each other through the Internet, they will be able to anticipate what consumers want rather than having to push a button to make something happen.

Another of the many articles to come out from CES 2014, was FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen's remarks about the Internet of Things, and their view on this "next chapter" in consumer privacy and data security.  She talks of the FTC’s approach of doing policy R&D to get a good understanding of the technology, educating consumers and businesses about how to maximize its benefits and reduce its risks, and how as Commissioner for the FTC, she is able to encourage the agency to help facilitate the successful proliferation and adoption of these technologies.

An article in Bloomberg by Chris Strohm, continued to discuss the effect of the Internet of Things meeting the government, and how the two may be working at different paces. Strohm interviews several analysts for the article, and Robert Enderle of the Enderle Group says that “If we’re thinking this genie can be put back in the bottle we’re fooling ourselves.” The article discusses various agencies of the US Government from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the FTC and how they are dealing with the influx of connected devices in their jurisdictions.

Wearable Device using Intel ChipIntel’s CEO Brian Krzanich also spoke at CES 2014, where his company had a large presence. He shared news about Real-Sense 3-D technology, a souped-up earpiece named Jarvis, and a new circuit board for wearable computing products.  Most impressive?  Krzanich's pledge that all materials used in Intel microprocessors will be from "conflict free" mines in Africa.

Intel was certainly making the most of the media opportunity, as in a separate article, Matt Warman of The Telegraph, interviewed Intel President Renée James.  “The most interesting thing that’s going on at CES is this massive expansion of computing,” says James. “Think about the past three years versus the past decade – there’s the use of electronics in novel and previously unimaginable ways. All the crazy weird stuff is a cycle of invention out of which comes the next wave of computing.”

One of the best overview pieces from CES 2014 was by Tim Bajarin of Time Magazine, where he describes what he saw happening on the 2 million square feet of exhibit space, and how it was hard to find any products that were NOT displaying some form of connectivity. He talks of smart cars, smart beds, smart appliances, smart watches smart crock-pots…the list of smart devices goes on and on. In his summation, Bajarin goes on to say that although we have been talking about connected devices since the mid ’90s, this year was where the Internet of Everything (IoE) finally hit the mainstream. Well… as I noted in a blog last year, whether you call it IoE, IoT, M2M or the industrial Internet, it certainly feels like this industry is picking up steam.

Topics: M2M, IoT, Internet of Things, CES

When the Tool Just Fits – A View From the AT&T Hackathon

Posted by Brittany Calvanese

Jan 9, 2014 4:08:00 PM

By Sara Jarjoura

It’s 2014 and the tech scene is a-buzz with the outcome of the AT&T Hackathon at their Developer Summit in Las Vegas, just prior to CES.  Partners present at the Hackathon - ARM, Qualcomm, Intel, Netgear, SparkFun, MultiTech, Plantronics - all brought great hackable hardware.   As a developer coach for the AT&T M2M Application Platform powered by Axeda, I worked alongside hackers through the night and ultimately had the amazing privilege of seeing one of our teams win an overall grand prize. AT&T made it obvious that they know how to put on a Hackathon, and the result was happy developers unleashing their inner Einsteins (or Teslas if you prefer :)

Teams using our platform were able to build working, end-to-end solutions quickly.  When the SafeNInternet of Thingsecklace team (click here for WSJ coverage) had set up the sample code and hardware, I saw them working out the problem with the tools on the platform and realizing that those tools matched how they were thinking about the problem.  When a DATA VALUE crosses a threshold distance we want to create an ALARM that needs to stay active until CLOSED. We want to set up a RULE that an ALARM will trigger code to run and send alert messages.  They could do everything on the AT&T M2M Platform with no other server needed.

With the agent running on the Kontron M2M Smart Services Developer Kit, an Arduino Due handling simple sensor data, and Axeda’s simple HTTP API protocol called AMMP , (Adaptive Machine Messaging Protocol) I could say yes to any question developers asked. "Can I add a camera?" Yes, plug it into the USB on the Kontron and the agent will send up image files based on a timer or event. "Can I read a simple temperature sensor?" Yes, plug sensor into Arduino and send data up through Kontron. "Can I just use the platform to record data from an Android app?" Yes, simple HTTP POST.

I sensed initial skepticism from several groups of developers. "Just show me how to get data in and out of your platform and I'll code up the rest myself." The developers who looked a little deeper stuck with the platform once they found it could do everything they wanted to do.

AT&T Hackathon
A few of the AT&T and Axeda Sensai's at the AT&T
Hackathon: Chris Meringolo, D'Lani Jean, Sorin Netu,
Joe Rogers, Kevin Holbrook, Sara Jarjoura, Mark
Scheel

Another project was ReportIt, a social emergency notification system that reduces the strain on first responder communication channels.  Kevin Holbrook coded up a working system for theteam in less than 3 hours that was very similar to a system I created 5 years ago with another developer in 3 weeks – an 80% productivity increase gained by leveraging the AT&T M2M Platform.  The system Kevin created had not just dots on a map but also Geofence creation and alerts.  I know it sounds unbelievable but a physical analogy would be like 2 guys with shovels trying to do the same job as 1 guy in a backhoe.  In that example you would believe an 80% productivity difference.  The millions and millions of lines of code and over a decade of real world use in the AT&T M2M platform are not visible but like a backhoe they are there for someone who knows how to use them.

What hardware inspires you?  What could you build with the AT&T M2M Platform?

Topics: M2M, IoT, AT&T Developer Hackathon, Internet of Things, AT&T

Best of the IoT Web – December 2013

Posted by Ian Lee

Dec 23, 2013 4:55:00 PM

IOT Intro
Welcome to this new blog, where I endeavor to find some of the most interesting articles relating to IoT that I have come across in the past few weeks, and pull them together in an easily digestible form for you…

First up our friends and partners at ARM sponsored a global survey by the Economist's Intelligence Unit of 779 business executives from 19 different industries. The result of which is that “a mere 6% of business leaders believe that the idea of IoT is simply hype”, and that the Internet of Things (IoT) is an idea that has finally come, with the result that the business community is beginning to look seriously at the IoT.

Leading the charge in terms of industries according to the Economist’s IoT business index for internal operations and process is Manufacturing followed by Construction with external products and services being led by the IT and technology sector. 95% of respondents believe IoT will have a significant impact in the next three years, and 75% of businesses surveyed were already exploring the space.

Within the survey, they also include the top 5 actions companies are taking to increase IoT usage the top responses were:

•    Learning from the successes or failures of early movers
•    Seeking advice from third party experts/consultants
•    Training existing staff to work with the IoT
•    Hiring talent with IoT capabilities
•    Conducting or sponsoring research to establish market size/demand

To read the top 5 obstacles, you’re going to have to check out the report itself.

Next on my list for you to review is a paper from Harbor Research on the IoT Impact on Diversified Industrial Manufacturers. In this paper (called a storyboard) Alex Glaser of Harbor Research  many businesses that have moved to smart remote services programs utilize less than 10% of the data value that is being collected, and that the programs focus primarily on services delivery efficiencies. Alan goes on to say that as machine-to-machine systems and technologies evolve from the “simple” monitoring applications and related tracking/location of today that a lot of manufacturers are using today, future development will be focused on collaboration between devices, people and systems. Along with this, the opportunities that can be opened up to forward thinking product and service organizations are nearly infinite, and businesses can begin to explore many new possibilities for system solutions unthinkable just a few years ago.
Axeda Maturity Curve
All of that goes along nicely with Axeda’s own Connected Product Maturity Model whitepaper, where we explain how companies can leverage the data and intelligence from connected products to create smart business processes that will transform their businesses and drive improvements in efficiencies and effectiveness, and then move up the value chain to change the customer experience and to differentiate their offerings.

Third on the list worthy of review was a column in Fast Company. With the Internet of Things  changing the way companies built products, interact with customers, and run their business , four experts in the IoT space were asked to talk about how to have the best shot at bringing a successful product to market, with the answers to their questions providing a roadmap to ensuring your connected device will be well received.

Fourth to take a look at this week is a blog by Cisco executive Wim Elfrink. Wim is Cisco’s Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief Globalization Officer, and he recently participated in two smart city forums, one in Hamburg, and one in Amsterdam, and while in those cities, he saw validation that IoT adoption is spreading to those mature cities as well as to new greenfield metropolises such as Songdo in South Korea.

HafenCity, Hamburg’s innovative, award-winning “city within a city” has 163 acres of newly intertwined residences, shops, restaurants, offices, parks and canals, which will evolve into an IoT showcase for the 21st century. In the centuries-old city of Amsterdam Wim tells us that there is already an installed IoT base to improve sustainable working/living, public spaces and mobility, they are exploring new LED-connected street lighting.

Finally for this post, I’d like to draw your attention to an article written by Christopher Mimms on Quartz which is the first in a series, where he tells us that 2014 will be the Year of the Internet of Things. You probably heard the same for 2012 and 2013 – but next year will be different. Why? Because devices are getting cheaper, and tech titans are focused on making the industry explode.

Topics: M2M, IoT, Internet of Things

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