INTERNET 1 – INTERNET OF THINGS 3

Posted on : 28-02-2018 | By : richard.gale | In : Cyber Security, data security, IoT

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Each month we will be taking a more in depth look at our Broadgate Predictions for 2018.

Is there anything left which is not internet connected? Two years ago, there were very few people that had any interest in communicating with a lightbulb – apart from flicking a light-switch. Now IoT connected lightbulbs appear be everywhere and the trend will grow and grow. The speed at which this is happening is accelerating and the scope of connected devices is expanding beyond belief. Who would have thought we needed a smart hairbrush!

Use of IoT Devices Surges to 49%

Consequently, in the same way the Internet of Things has transformed our home lives, it has proved to be highly beneficial for organisations speeding up business processes, improving efficiency, service and process management. Gartner predicts the use of IoT devices will have surged to 49% by the end of this year.  As companies race ahead to become more connected in this way, few organisations are pausing to think about the enormous risks they face by embracing this technology. We are allowing these devices to listen, see, control parts of our lives and the data they gather has value both for good and bad reasons. There is no ‘culture of security’ for IoT. Many of the devices are cheaply designed and manufactured with no thought towards security or data privacy. We are allowing these devices into our lives and we don’t really know what they know and who knows what they know.

Devices Poorly Protected

For business the danger is that the adoption of these mobile devices creates an influx of additional entry points into the corporate network, using WiFi or Bluetooth technology creating a major security risk. These devices are poorly protected with little or no security measures applied. It is not always easy or even possible to install anti-virus software on all your IoT devices and there are no common security standards to follow which makes it very difficult for organisations to create an end to end security solution.

Hackers New Target

It is estimated that by 2020 25% of all cyber attacks will be via IoT.  In most cases hackers aren’t targeting the user, instead they use this lack of security loophole as a gateway into an organisations wider corporate network. This scenario was used in the well known Target attack where hackers stole valuable personal customer data by gaining access to the Target store system network via the internet enabled store heating system. Not all attacks are of this scale but it illustrates how easy it is to use these devices to gain unauthorised access to an organisation.

The  “Gold Rush”

The IoT is inherently insecure as the convenience far outweighs the security concerns. The current IoT landscape can be compared to the early days of the internet, when viruses, worms, and email spam plagued users. Many companies raced to join the internet ‘gold rush’ without necessarily considering the importance of internet security. We are now in a world where firms may need to double or treble their IT security budget, just to protect against the threat from wireless light bulbs and thermostats.

These maybe clichéd examples, but there are essential applications that organisations use IoT for, which include managing heating across locations and financial transactions. IoT is also be used in manufacturing, where devices operating in a machine-to-machine (M2M) environment, without underlying security, have the potential to cause major security breaches.

Standardisation

So, we can see that the very technology that can greatly improve the performance of your business is the same technology that if exploited poses a great security threat to your information. It is crucial that steps are taken to tackle this security issue but this is unlikely unless government, industry and consumers work together to drive forward the necessary changes to provide much needed safeguards.

In 2017, the United States proposed a new bill that would introduce standards for IoT devices purchased by the US government. The Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 would require IoT vendors to ensure the devices can be patched when security updates are available; that the devices do not use hard-coded (unchangeable) passwords; and that devices are free from known vulnerabilities when sold. This is a good start but many people think that legal enforcement of the bill maybe difficult with a great deal of reliance on individual users to adhere to the legislation.

Some industry leaders are also starting to take the issue seriously such as Cisco who are proposing an IoT’s Framework. 

Secure the IoT Revolution

There is no doubt that IoT can revolutionise the way we work, bringing many benefits to the way organisations operate. However, it’s crucial that the security concerns are addressed to prevent them from doing more harm than good.

For 2018, standardisation of IoT devices is a must. It is essential that devices are secure by design, rather than included as an afterthought. The failure of any business to act now to protect themselves is incomprehensible. If they don’t, they are sleep-walking into a security crisis.

The Internet of Things – An interconnected world

Posted on : 30-10-2017 | By : jo.rose | In : Innovation, IoT, Uncategorized

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Soon every device you own, and nearly every object you can imagine, will be connected to the Internet. Gartner estimate that 8.4Bn connected “things” will be in use this year, with estimates from various sources citing some 20Bn-30Bn by 2020.

Indeed, one of the difficult things about predicting the future growth in the internet connected devices is the unknown factor in terms of attempting to anticipate demand for devices that have largely not yet even been invented, let along commercialised.

At this point, even the strictest definitions of IoT remain fuzzy because companies are still working on the technologies and business cases. The pace of change is staggering, and so in reality making estimates is somewhat futile.

That said, whether it’s through your phone, wearable tech devices or everyday household objects, we will become connected in ways we can’t even imagine yet.

Many of us have dreamed of our daily life becoming less exhaustive and where our appliances carry out our requests automatically. The alarm sounds and the kettle or coffee machine starts the moment you want to begin your day. Lights come on as you walk through the house. Some unseen computing device responds to your voice commands to read your schedule and messages to you while you get ready, then turns on the TV news.  It lets you know about traffic or rail delays for your journey to work. Your car drives you via the least congested route, helped by video sensor-embedded stoplights adjusting their red and green lights according to the time of day,  freeing you up to get on top of your emails or prep for your meetings that day.

We’ve read and seen such things in science fiction for decades, but they’re now either already possible or on the brink of becoming so. And all this new tech is forming the basis of what people are calling the Internet of Things.

Changes are starting to take root in our cities as well. Better management of energy, water, transportation and safety are bringing people in closer touch with their surroundings and capturing our imaginations for urban bliss – a fully integrated, smart, sustainable city.

There are numerous IoT developments that are making smart cities a reality now, including;

  • Smart Parking – tracking of parking spaces availability in the city.
  • Structural health – Monitoring of vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges and historical monuments
  • Noise Urban Maps – Sound measuring in bar areas and centric zones in real time.
  • Traffic Congestion – Monitoring of vehicles and pedestrian levels to optimize driving and walking routes.
  • Smart Lighting – Intelligent and weather adaptive lighting in street lights.
  • Waste Management – Detection of rubbish levels in containers to optimize the trash collection routes.

We are also seeing dramatic increases in activity and innovation on the factory front.

An example of this is in York, Pennsylvania at the Harley-Davidson plant, where sensors linked to manufacturing execution systems are able to collect data and point to any methods that are inefficient and waste time while other sensors can tell when conditions such as air flow and moisture are best for painting and change them if necessary. These technologies may be expensive to adopt, but factories have seen results. Harley-Davidson has been able to make 25 percent more bikes with 30 percent fewer workers.

IoT is also having an impact on the farming industry  – John Deere tractors and machinery are installing sensors that collect data on air and soil temperature, wind speed, humidity, solar radiation and rainfall while smart watering systems save water by detecting leaks and watering only the most needed places in the fields. Sensors are being used to detect pests capable of destroying crops, which reduces the frequency and use of pesticides.

As you can imagine, life in ten years will look materially different from how it looks now as the pace of technology change accelerates, thanks in large part to the coming boom of the Internet of Things.

While these connected technologies take a huge financial investment from companies and from consumers purchasing smart products, the benefits of the “interconnectedness” of devices are seemingly endless.

The Internet of things continues to rapidly evolve and our everyday lives are along for the ride.

Digital out of Home – a growth and innovation market

Posted on : 28-09-2017 | By : jo.rose | In : Cloud, Innovation, IoT

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The acceleration of growth in the digital out of home market (DOOH) is impressive. As providers switch from traditional mediums to digital based technologies and with creative technological advances, such as programmatic and Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), it is an exciting time for the sector. Indeed, in 2016 the market was valued at USD 12.52 billion and is forecast to grow to over USD 26 billion by 2023.

According to William Eccleshare, chairman and chief executive of DOOH media provider Clear Channel International;

Globally, press has collapsed, TV is static and radio has declined. Outdoor though has been growing steadily

This growth naturally brings opportunities for the large incumbents (such as Clear Channel) as well as new startups, but at the same time there are challenges to switch existing inventory to the new distribution mediums, transform legacy systems and business process, as well as the requirements to design scalable and secure digital networks.

As with all industries, the DOOH ecosystem is shifting to cloud based platforms to allow for businesses to both flex with demand and also deploy campaigns to audiences on a global basis. These platforms are capable of processing increasingly large and complex data used in the delivery of more targeted audience driven products, which are more cost effective and allows for better integration with external systems. Indeed, as the internet of things (IoT) gathers pace, this data requirement and inter-connectivity will continue to grow at pace.

Let’s look at some of the trends in a bit more detail

Programmatic: Firstly, there’s a lot of talk about programmatic advertising and it’s major influence in the overall DOOH market. The programmatic advertising platform is an online auction where media buyers specify their targeting requirements, such as audience demographics, time of day and location, as well as their budgetary constraints. In itself this isn’t particularly innovative, with other markets such as retail auctions and financial services offering for many years. What it will do though is put pressure on the players (and margins) current value chain, from advertising creative to distribution. It will also provide further pressures on the incumbents who carry more legacy technical debt.

Data is everything: whilst (within reason) signs themselves remain static, the data regarding audiences and how they interact with their environment does not. It constantly changes based on numerous factors, from the time of day, to the weather and external new events etc. With over 75% of UK consumers owning a smartphone, and checking that c.80 times a day, harnessing and correlating this data as consumers go about their daily lives creates value. This plays naturally into the hands of the tech companies and mobile providers who have access to resource, networks and expertise to exploit this value. Here the providers of the digital infrastructure have a real challenge to maintain a foothold and become an integral part of the chain rather than a consumer of more and more costly data.

User Experience enrichment: DOOH is providing more opportunities than ever to touch, interact and engage with valuable consumers; helping to bring brands to life in creative and digitally disruptive ways. In todays “Experience Economy”, it is estimated that 65% of 18-34 year olds are more fulfilled by live experience than possessions. Digital advertising is already interactive in a lot of senses, through simple NFC, QR codes, facial recognition, context awareness etc. and we expect further innovations in a connected context to develop at pace.

Augmented Reality: the first big AR sensation was Pokemon Go. Within a week of its launch last year more than 28 million people a day walking around town and staring at their screens to catch a Pokemon (much to the bewilderment of many onlookers). Now technology partner and advertisers are rightly excited about the potential. Tim Cook recently said of AR that it presented;

broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven’t even thought of

Beacon connectivity: to facilitate the consumer personalisation journey and communication, beacons are becoming more prevalent through the DOOH infrastructure with presence in taxis, retailers, buses, billboards, kiosks etc. We see this further with Google’s Eddystone beacons to create proximity-based experiences for consumers as an open beacon format for both Android and iOS. These developments have shifted the trend towards a creation of a new channel of personalisation based on precision of time, location and so context based digital advertising.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in DOOH innovation with great potential for media tech disruption, but with some significant risks for traditional players, some of which will struggle to shift their operating model and compete.

 

 

Are we addicted to “Digital”?

Posted on : 28-02-2017 | By : john.vincent | In : Cloud, Data, Innovation, IoT, Uncategorized

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There’s no getting away from it. The speed of technology advancement is now a major factor in changing how we interact with the world around us. For the first time, it seems that innovation in technology is being applied across every industry to drive innovation, increase efficiency and open new market possibilities, whilst in our daily lives we rely more and more on a connected existence. This is seen in areas such as the increase in wearable tech and the Internet of Things.

But what is the impact on business and society of this technology revolution regarding human interaction?

Firstly, let’s get the “Digital” word out on the table. Like cloud before it, the industry seems to have adopted a label on which we can pin everything related to advancement in technology. Whilst technically relating to web, mobile, apps etc. it seems every organisation has a “digital agenda”, likely a Chief Digital Officer and often a whole department in which some sort of alchemy takes place to create digital “stuff”. Meanwhile, service providers and consultancies sharpen their marketing pencils to ensure we are all enticed by their “digital capabilities”. Did I miss the big analogue computing cut-over in the last few years?

What “digital” does do (I guess) is position the narrative away from just technology to a business led focus, which is a good thing.

So how is technology changing the way that we interact on a human level? Before we move on to the question of technology dependence, let’s look at some other applications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a big theme today. We’ve discussed the growth of AI here before and the impact on future jobs. However, one of the areas relating social interaction which is interesting, is the development of emotionally intelligent AI software. This is most evident in call centres where some workers can now receive coaching from software in real-time which analyses their conversations with customers. During the call the software can recommend changes such as with style, pace, warning about the emotional state of the customer etc.

Clever stuff, and whilst replacing call centre agents with robots is still something that many predict is a way off (if at all) it does offer an insight into the way that humans and AI might interact in the future. By developing AI to understand mental states from facial expressions, vocal nuances, body posture and gesture software can make decisions such as adapting the way that navigational systems might work depending on the drivers mental condition (for example, lost or confused) or picking the right moment to sell something based on emotional state. The latter does, however, raise wider ethical issues.

So what about the increase in digital dependency and the social impacts? Anyone who has been in close proximity to “millennial gatherings” will have witnessed the sight of them sitting together, head bowed, thumbs moving at a speed akin to Bradley Coopers character in Limitless punctuated by the odd murmuring, comment or interjection. Seems once we drop in a bit of digital tech and a few apps we stifle the art of conversation.

In 2014 a programmer called Kevin Holesh developed an app called Moment which measures the time that a user is interacting with a screen (it doesn’t count time on phone calls). The results interesting, with 88% of those that downloaded the app using their phone for more than an hour a day, with the average being three hours. Indeed, over a 24 hour period, the average user checked their phone 39 times. By comparison, just 6 years earlier in 2008 (before the widespread use of smartphones) people spent just 18 minutes a day on their phone.

It’s the impact on students and the next generation that has raised a few alarm bells. Patricia Greenfield, distinguished professor of psychology and director of the UCLA Children’s Digital Media Center in a recent study found that college students felt closest (or “bonded”) to their friends when they discussed face to face and most distant from them when they text-messaged. However, the students still most often communicated by text.

“Being able to understand the feelings of other people is extremely important to society,” Greenfield said. “I think we can all see a reduction in that.”

Technology is changing everything about how we interact with each other, how we arrange our lives, what we eat, where and how we travel, how we find a partner, how we exercise etc… It is what makes up the rich fabric of the digitised society and will certainly continue to evolve at a pace. Humans, however, may be going the other way.

Hey, Let’s Be Careful Out There!

Posted on : 10-06-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : Cloud, Cyber Security, Data, Innovation, IoT

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In the context of accelerated digitisation, especially the adoption of innovations in the areas of cloud computing, IoT and the growth of social networking, as well as with increased mobility of the workforce, organisational security and risk management need to be rethought.

The way we work is constantly changing; according to recent research by Gartner, within the next 1.5 – 2 years, ’25 per cent of corporate data traffic will flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud, bypassing enterprise security controls’. Digital users now spend 30% of all connected time, 2 hours a day, on social media (Global Web Index) – let’s not fool ourselves, some of it (whether it’d be using the seemingly innocent Messenger app or the boring meeting savior Instagram) is within the office environment. And it’s definitely not just the Millennials who are guilty of the Social Media at work crime! The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is also becoming more and more popular, even within the traditionally conservative work environments (employees who get to work on their own laptops/tablets are said to be happier and thus more productive than the company devices-strained ones). While (according to Code42’s 2016 Datastrophe study) 87% CIO and CISOs claim that their companies have a clearly defined BYOD policy in place, a shocking 67% of knowledge workers (organisation’s end users) disagree (Infosec Magazine). When things go wrong and the freedom to connect/work anyplace, anytime compromises organisational security, it is the company that takes the hit.

At the same time, organisations often primarily rely on CXOs to deliver enterprise security, managing the increasingly sophisticated threats, in times when companies (and devices used by employees, often at work and at home) are being constantly compromised. This is not sufficient. All employees, across all functions, are responsible for securing the organisations they are part of. As highlighted by Gartner in the Managing Risk and Security at the Speed of Digital Business report, it is crucial for organisations to apply resilience to not only processes and technology, but also people. We cannot afford to overlook the ‘human’ element of security. Best practices include regular training and digital security awareness campaigns for everyone, as well as extending protections to company’s employees within their home environments (Gartner), in response to the blurring of the tech we use for personal and professional purposes, as well as the flexible work trend. Gartner proposes a ‘people-centric security’, which is about aiming for a perfect balance between protecting the company with the need to allow increased employee agility and adopt new and often risky new tech to stay competitive.

For now, it seems like ‘seeking’ a balance and regular employee education is the best companies can do.

Laptops and smartphones get and will get lost or stolen (whether in a club on the way to work). Data which is stored on or can be accessed through these devices can often be worth a thousand times more than the actual device. This is not an exaggeration; one obvious example being the infamous iPhone, which stirred the Apple-FBI encryption dispute. Moreover, the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime – charges for stealing a phone or a laptop usually fail to take into account the value of potentially compromised data. This is going to have to change in the future, especially when the devices we carry will store more and more data (not only confidential due to being work-related but also highly intimate, for example health-related).

Striving for the sweet spot between data security and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the new tech/following the new working trends also means being clever about WHAT to protect. Not all data needs to be equally secure. As stressed by Richard Gale during ISITC’s General Meeting‘s security panel, companies need to focus on protecting their ‘crown jewels’. Utilising cloud tech and allowing employees the freedom to work flexibly won’t stop you from identifying and investing in protecting crucial data. Detection and response is yet another element which ought not to be overlooked. What would be the worst-case scenario and what your organisation do if the CEO’s mobile phone/laptop went missing? What steps is your company going to take if a Social Media app sends out phishing messages to employees? While it’s impossible to perfectly protect all the data, it’s worth having an action plan for when things go wrong.

Let your employees bring your own devices and go on, embrace the cloud – when doing so however, train, educate, invest more in protecting what’s most valuable and be prepared for when data does get compromised!

 

Talking about BYOD and training your employees about how to be digitally secure – a few months ago we shared a Cybersecurity Manual with 10 hands-on security tips, which you can read here.

A Few Thoughts on IoT and its Adoption

Posted on : 11-05-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : Innovation, IoT

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The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic both within and outside corporate environments. As Internet is becoming not only widely available, but even considered a right (as it enables citizens to enjoy their right to expression and opinion, among other basic human rights), the ground is being set for the world of connected devices.

Contrary to common belief, concept is not new (if you are old enough, you’ll remember the story of programmers connecting to Coke machines over the internet in the 1980s to check whether they were stocked before deciding to make the trip down a few floors…) – the term IoT was first used by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Centre at MIT in 1999, in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble.

Perhaps the best quote on the topic of IoT is one he made in an article for the RFID journal:

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best”.

So, where are we heading with the IoT? Following last year’s peak of the IoT hype (visible through both media and investment), 2016 is the time for a reality-check on IoT and establishing realistic expectations, according to Gartner. A full adoption IoT will be marked by the development IoT platforms and business solutions, the latter being still in an early stage of development.

Mind-blowing numbers. The numbers however suggest, that we have come a long way in terms of IoT adoption. As early as in 2008, there were already more Internet-connected things than people and it is estimated that by 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach a whooping 50 billion. We can also expect $19 trillion in profits and cost savings coming from IoT over the next 9 years (CMO stats).

So, what about the practical applications of IoT now? One exciting example of IoT application is Nest, which offers Thermostat Smoke + CO Alarm and Camera devices at home. The company’s offering delivers a lot more than just a smoke detector that does not just get attention by frantically swinging a towel at it when grilling sausages 😉

For instance, you can connect to the thermostats throughout the house from a remote app, adjust them manually or, more importantly, detect whether anyone is inside the house and then regulate the device automatically. On the smoke detection side the devices “speak” (or send alerts) rather than annoyingly just emit beeps, and are aware of environmental difference and severity of event.

This is the important piece which relates directly back to Ashtons vision. Indeed, Nest has been working on a smart fridge which can use the same technology to turn up the fridge when no one is at home (as it knows the door won’t be opened).

Other practical examples are in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. In the former, we already see sensors monitoring an individual’s vital signs such as heart rate, movement, blood pressure etc… and using this data either for personal fitness or medical analysis. There are plenty of smart, but simple, initiatives in this area.

One example of this is Hyginex. This start-up is tackling one of the biggest issues in healthcare, that of hospital acquired infections which lead to just shy of 100,000 deaths each year in the US. Of these, it is estimated that 80% are due to staff not washing hands. To combat this, Hyginex have developed a wristband which reminds them when to sanitise with special “over-bed sensors”  designating patient zones and soap and alcohol dispenser sensors interacting with the wristbands to monitor quality and duration of hygiene events. Simple and smart.

According to Soreon Research, smart wearable devices, which everyone is so hyped about, may help save 1.3 million lives by 2020.

In manufacturing, IoT has potential to radically redefine the supply chain and enable the leaders to provide more differentiated services to customers through a networked ecosystem. Ultimately this supply chain will be able to react intelligently to drive efficiency through changes in environment, circumstance, political landscape and the like. A way off maybe, but we are already seeing commercial telematics solutions delivering efficiency in fleet logistics.

Of course there are many challenges to overcome, not least being the never ending reliance on data and an increasing exposure to cyber-risk.

However, the IoT promises a very different world from that which human beings have orchestrated so far. We are getting closer and closer to its promises being delivered.

 

 

Featured Tech Startup – Interview With Allan Martinson, Starship Robots

Posted on : 26-04-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : 5 Minutes With, Cyber Security, Featured Startup, General News, Innovation, IoT

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What is it like to be part of a startup which brings robots to life (and to the streets of London)?

Our robots have been named #4 most anticipated tech product of 2016, right after Apple’s new iPhone. It is totally awesome!!! I have been part of many companies in my life but this one has completely spoiled me. It is such a ride.

 

starship woww

 

Starship Robots was featured in Forbes’ first episode of ‘The Premise’ tech podcast, during which one of the co-founders of Starship noted that the delivery industry is the largest undisrupted industry in the world and stated that “Millions of parcels are being delivered every day in a wasteful manner and its possible to automate this using today’s technology”. Could you please expand on this?

In EU and US alone the delivery firms carry 25 billion packages a year, plus we are doing 130 billion shopping trips on our cars. There is absolutely no point of moving a 2 or 7 ton gas-guzzling vehicle to bring somebody a few kilos of deliveries. You better put wheels to this package or bag and let it roll to you, with 0 emissions, 0 noise, 0 road congestion.

An average family loses an hour per day on shopping trips. We have a mission of giving people this 1 hour back. You can do your own math how many billions of hours we could release.

 

What do you consider as the most interesting insight you have learnt during Starship Robots’ trials? How prepared are consumers for their adoption?

People are MUCH more friendly towards those devices than we ever thought. And absolute majority takes them as the most natural thing on Earth.

 

starshipp

 

Each of Starship’s innocent-looking robots is equipped with 9 cameras, providing you with a 360 perspective. How would you respond to concerns over data privacy linked to what some could consider the introduction of surveillance machines to the streets and people’s doorsteps?

What is the difference between a driven looking at surroundings through the car’s window and our operator (potentially) looking at the sidewalk through cameras? Nothing. Following your logic, we should drive cars with closed eyes 🙂

 

As someone working in new tech, how do you imagine European metropolises in 10, 20 years?

European cities in 20 years will have self-driving cars and around 3 delivery robot per each such car. That is not a joke but based on our calculation on transportation needs.

 

When can we expect a launch of Starship Robots?

We expect a full launch in 2017. BTW We are looking for a name for the robot and feel free to submit ideas on www.starship.xyz.

Davos: On the Future of the Internet

Posted on : 29-01-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : Data, IoT

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In the context of widespread digitisation and the recent marriage of word ‘Internet’ with ‘Things’, the future of the internet was a natural topic of the World Economic Forum in Davos this January.

During the debate, The Transformation of Tomorrow, opportunities and challenges of the increased adoption and new uses of the internet were discussed. These fall under four key themes: transformation, access, governance and security.

The internet’s transformational impact on both the public and private sector lead to the creation of new markets and new businesses. New sources of income and value are created and new propositions emerge, a classic example being Uber, utilising data and connectivity to tailor its offer and disrupt a market.

While Internet connection is something the Western world seems to be taking for granted, less than 50% of the world’s population has access to it. It was noted that the UN recognised internet’s potential to support global development in its Global Goals.

The immense speed of technological change makes it difficult for govern the use of all the big data out there. One key consideration linked to the internet becoming increasingly commoditised is that it becomes challenging to find the balance between national interests and global ‘inter-operability’. During the WEF concerns over ethics, social benefits and costs linked to the internet were also raised.

Last but not least the topic of online security was covered. The more data is being generated, the greater is the demand for cybersecurity services. Individuals, companies, governments and educational institutions are all being targeted by attackers.

Anil Menon, CISCO, shared his belief that omnipresent connectivity, connecting all objects to eachother won’t have a transformational impact on our lives. The real gamechanger is “connecting things to processes, and then using the resulting data to change the way we behave – that is where you will see a dramatic shift. The IoT will be the foundation, but it will be the business models on top of it that will change our lives.”

 

The Internet of Things: A connected world

Posted on : 26-03-2014 | By : john.vincent | In : IoT

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The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is something that we haven’t really touched on yet in our monthly updates. However, whilst returning from a client meeting I saw an advert for Nest, the smart thermostat and smoke/co detector and, given the $3.2bn acquisition of Nest Labs by Google closed last month, I thought it was about time to explore the topic further.

Whilst he concept is not new (if you are old enough, you’ll remember the story of programmers connecting to Coke machines over the internet in the 1980’s to check whether they were stocked before deciding to make the trip down a few floors…) the term IoT was first used by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Centre at MIT in 1999, in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble.

The best quote is one he made in an article for the RFID journal:

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best”.

So, where are we heading with the IoT? Well, if you look at the future in terms of a truly connected world with almost any object being equipped with internet capabilities, then the possibilities are almost limitless. Indeed, there have recently been a number of organisations churning out stats/predictions, including: 

  • Gartner: by 2020 the IoT will have hit 26 billion devices
  • IDC: slightly higher at 30 billion in the same timeframe, with a market spend of almost $9 trillion
  • Cisco: estimating a value of $14.4 trillion by 2023

Big numbers, but not unreasonable. Looking at last year, the number of start-ups developing products in the IoT category attracted investments of $1.1 billion across 53 deals last year (according to data from CBInsights, a New York-based venture capital research firm). This represents a 11% increase from the previous year. According to the data, these firms were predominantly focused  on projects such as health-care sensor technology, energy management and home automation.

So, what about the practical applications of IoT now? Well, if we head back to Nest then it’s a lot more than just having a smoke detector that doesn’t just get attention by frantically swinging a towel at it when grilling sausages 😉

You can connect to the thermostats throughout the house from a remote app, adjust manually or more importantly, detect whether anyone is in and then regulate automatically. On the smoke detection side they “speak” (or send alerts) rather than annoyingly just emit beeps, and are aware of environmental difference and severity of event.

This is the important piece which relates directly back to Ashtons vision. Indeed, Nest are working on a smart fridge which can use the same technology to turn up the fridge when no one is at home (as it knows the door won’t be opened).

Other practical examples are in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. In the former, we already see sensors monitoring an individual’s vital signs such as heart rate, movement, blood pressure etc… and using this data either for personal fitness or medical analysis. There are plenty of smart, but simple, initiatives in this area.

One example of this is Hyginex. This start-up is tackling one of the biggest issues in healthcare, that of hospital acquired infections which lead to just shy of 100,000 deaths each year in the US. Of these, it is estimated that 80% are due to staff not washing hands. To combat this, Hyginex have developed a wristband which reminds them when to sanitise with special “over-bed sensors”  designating patient zones and soap and alcohol dispenser sensors interacting with the wristbands to monitor quality and duration of hygiene events. Simple and smart.

In manufacturing, the IoT has potential to radically redefine the supply chain and enable the leaders to provide more differentiated services to customers through a networked ecosystem. Ultimately this supply chain will be able to react intelligently to drive efficiency through changes in environment, circumstance, political landscape and the like. A way off maybe, but we are already seeing commercial telematics solutions delivering efficiency in fleet logistics.

Of course there are many challenges to overcome, not least being the never ending reliance on data and an increasing exposure to cyber-risk.

However, the IoT promises a very difference world from that which human beings have orchestrated so far. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadgate Predicts 2013 – Survey Results

Posted on : 27-03-2013 | By : jo.rose | In : Data, Finance, General News, Innovation, IoT

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In January we surveyed our clients, colleagues and partners against our predictions for 2013. We are pleased that we have now the results, the highlights of which are included below.

Key Messages

Infrastructure as a Service, Cloud and a shift to Data Centre & Hosted Services scored the highest, outlining the move from on-premise to a more utility based compute model.

Strategies to rationalise apps, infrastructure and organisations remains high on the priority list. However, removing the technology burden built over many years is proving difficult.

Many commented on the current financial constraints within organisations and the impact to the predictions in terms of technology advancement.

Response Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the total responses received, the vast majority concurred with the predictions for 2013. A total of 78% either “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” (broadly in line with the 2012 survey).

Ranking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The diagram above shows the results in order from highest scoring to lowest. The continued growth in Infrastructure as a Service had the top overall ranking with 91% and the least was Crowd-funding with 53% agreement.

Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sent our predictions out to over 700 of our clients and associates. Unlike our previous years’ survey, we wanted to get feedback from all levels and functions, so alongside CIOs, COOs and technology leaders we also surveyed SMEs on both the buy and sell side of service delivery organisations.

We would like to thank all respondents for their input and particularly for the many that provided additional insight and commentary.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please email jo.rose@broadgateconsultants.com.