Monthly Archives: August 2014

M2M adaptation in US: Seeing more value delivery

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August 15, 2014

Published in Supply & Demand Chain Executive

Vodafone announced findings for the Americas from its second annual M2M Adoption Barometer, a global survey of the machine-to-machine (M2M) market. The study finds that M2M adoption increased by more than 80 percent globally in the last year and predicts that more than half of companies in the Americas will implement M2M by 2016.

M2M, which connects previously isolated machines or devices to the Internet to make the Internet of Things possible, is set to grow from 4.4 billion connected devices this year to 10.3 billion by 2018[1].

Vodafone’s head of M2M for the Americas, Andrew Morawski, stated, “We are continuing to see M2M adoption rise as organizations realize its potential for driving innovation, cost savings and productivity. Increasingly, M2M is moving from the back-office to customer-facing applications as companies look to drive competitive advantage and commercial value from the Internet of Things.”

Nearly all (96 percent) of the Americas organizations implementing M2M strategies experienced a return on investment (ROI), such as greater competitive advantage, customer service and productivity. Barriers for adoption do remain, including managing security concerns and the challenges of global deployment.

The proliferation of 4G is also expected to improve the ROI equation for many M2M solutions and enable new ones. Today, 81 percent of the Americas organizations say that 4G mobile is very or quite important for their projects.

On a global level, three sectors emerged as frontrunners in M2M with nearly 30 percent adoption rates: automotive, consumer electronics, and energy and utilities. Automotive is the most mature of the sectors in which M2M is now seen as an enabler for additional services, such as remote maintenance and infotainment. M2M adoption in energy and utilities is also growing rapidly as smart home and office services, such as intelligent heating and connected security, gain popularity.

Vodafone’s report shows that the consumer electronics sector is at the forefront of a shift from the warehouse to the living room. This uptake is being fuelled by the use of M2M in connected devices, such as smart televisions and games consoles. The research shows that nearly three quarters of consumer electronics companies will adopt some form of M2M by 2016, whether for new products, logistics or production.

Similarly, the report anticipates that 57 percent of healthcare and life sciences companies will adopt M2M technologies by 2016. Take-up in the transport and logistics sector will be driven by fleet management benefits, as M2M-led routing, job allocation and maintenance schedules become even more evident.

Principal Analyst at Machina ResearchMatt Hatton, said, “The most interesting finding from my perspective is the range of different reasons companies are giving for deploying M2M. Historically, M2M technologies tend to be bolted on to add an additional cool product feature or to monitor some kind of internal process. We now see M2M is becoming fundamental to how organizations do business; in some cases, M2M adoption is also creating new business opportunities. These technologies are radically changing the way in which companies serve, and communicate with, their customers.”

The survey, carried out by Circle Research, captured the views of more than 600 executives involved in setting M2M strategy in seven key industries across 14 countries, making it one of the leading global surveys of M2M implementation.


[1] According to Machina Research

IoT Innovations: Examples

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The statistic is sobering…

One in four auto accidents are caused by cellphone-related distractions – a stark reminder that our insatiable addiction to phones and “always connected” mentality can be dangerous and destructive.

So instead of letting technology continue to impair drivers, companies are inventing new ways for technology to improve road safety.

Like San Francisco startup, Navdy.

The company is using a technology once reserved for commercial and military pilots – head-up display (HUD).

In the air, it’s the best way of ensuring safety by projecting important in-flight data onto a transparent screen in front of pilots’ faces, rather than off to the side, where they’d need to look away from the window.

So it makes sense to employ this technology in cars, too. After all, there are millions more drivers than pilots. And it certainly beats the alternative – looking away from the road.

Given the growth of the “connected car” concept, we’ve discussed this head-up technology in cars before, with many major automakers working on incorporating this “augmented reality” into their models.

And Navdy’s in-car HUD is being called “Google Glass for car windshields.”

The after-market device pairs up with both Apple (AAPL) and Android-based operating systems to turn your windshield into an interactive screen. It projects GPS, phone calls, text messages, music playlists, and other functions onto a high-quality, transparent display in front of your face. And Navdy is hands-free, so drivers operate it with hand gestures and voice controls, and never need to look away from the road.

Navdy also displays trip information, like current speed and fuel range. And like an external GPS device, Navdy works in any vehicle.

Take a look…

#2: Say “Sayonara” to Counting Sheep…

They say sleep is the cousin of death – probably because we spend one-third of our lives doing it!

However, most of us don’t actually sleep well, due to a variety of disorders and disturbances.

Hello, Inc. wants to change that.

The company is about to disrupt “sleep disruption” by giving people answers to a simple question that nobody has yet asked: Why?

You see, while wellness tools like Fitbit, Jawbone, Sleep Genius, Sleep Cycle, and Dormio track your sleep, they only provide a historical log of your sleep activity.

For example, you’ll see that you woke up at 3:26 AM, but you won’t always know why.

Without that insight, how do you prevent it from happening again?

Hello has created a product called “Sense,” which not only tracks your sleep, it also monitors your surrounding environment.

Sense comes in two parts…

  • The Orb: This goes on your nightstand, where it listens for noise and monitors the lighting and temperature. Heck, it even picks up what kind of particles are in the air!
  • The “Pill”: This attaches to your pillow, where it tracks the activity and quality of your sleep, based on the motions you make during the night.

As a result, Sense assigns a Sleep Score for each night, giving users very specific details that answer the question, “Why did I sleep so badly?”

For example…

~What’s Your Wattage? Sense’s light sensor may note that you’re using 100-watt light bulbs instead of the 75-watt bulbs you typically use. And on nights when you left the 100-watt bulbs on, it disturbed your sleep way more than when you left the 75-watt bulbs on.

~Heat: If Sense’s “Pill” notices that you’re tossing and turning more than usual, and picks up on an increase in your perspiration, it recognizes that you’re sleeping in a stifling 80 degrees instead of your normal 75-degree range.

~Groggy: Perhaps you’ve felt groggy in the mornings a lot and can’t figure out why. You check Sense, and discover from the playback that its microphone picked up on a homeless man bashing a garage door with a stick at 3:00 AM every night (true story).

Sense also plays ambient noise and even acts as a modern-day Smart Alarm that wakes you up according to your specific sleep cycle.

See for yourself…

Sense is using Kickstarter to gain funding. And a $100,000 goal has catapulted to over $2 million in under 30 days from 16,700 backers.

There are only a few days left to become one of Sense’s initial backers – and first in line to receive the discounted product when it’s market-ready in November.

Plus, an investment in Sense isn’t just investing in your well-being, it’s also a thumbs-up to entrepreneurism and supporting such innovative projects through crowdfunding.

Stanley Black & Decker Retools Factory for the Internet of Things

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August 1, 2014

During the last two years, tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. has outfitted its manufacturing center in Reynosa, Mexico with sensors that spot problems and delays in the production line. While it has encountered a few challenges — more a matter of culture than technology — the company says the effort has led to a significant improvement in production.

The sensors catch problems on the production floor a lot faster than people do, eliminating the need for managers to spend as much time walking the huge facility. The effort, initiated by a Stanley CIO in 2012, has helped increase tool production by 10% and labor productivity by 12%, according to the company.

Stanley is one of several manufacturers, including General Electric Co. and Honeywell Inc., tapping the so-called Internet of Things in an effort to make themselves and their customers more efficient.

In Reynosa, where the company’s DeWALT power tools are produced, RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags and monitoring software provide managers “real-time feedback from the assembly lines so we can see how they’re performing every minute of every day,” said Nick DeSimone, vice president of operations for Stanley’s professional power tools division.

RFID tags along the assembly line monitor output of tools, such as jigsaws, planers and cordless drills. The tags wirelessly relay data, including product time stamps,  whether they will pass or fail, and number of products completed, to the plant’s computer network. Analytics software monitoring workflow takes note of when production lags, and it fires off alerts to supervisors’ desktops, smartphones or tablets. Assembly lines workers also push buttons to alert supervisors about problems.

Previously, the discovery of defects and other production problems was a manual exercise; the supervisors would walk the 500,000 square-foot plant’s floor to make sure the lines were operating as expected. This process proved inefficient and cumbersome for a plant that produces millions of tools each year. The technology “effectively removes all of the waiting time,” associated with manual problem discovery, said Mr. DeSimone. He said Stanley eventually plans to bring its sensors and software to seven manufacturing facilities around the world.

Stanley’s use of RFID tags could reduce the amount of time people spend “yelling at each other” on the factory floor to discuss problems, said Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research Inc. who researches the use of the Internet of Things in business. But he said the use of location-sensing technologies is gradually increasing because most manufacturers are already “pretty efficient.”

Implementation challenges associated with the sensor system were largely cultural, requiring Stanley to spend time educating plant workers how to get acclimated to the technologies, said Patrick Gilbert, director of product marketing at AeroScout Industrial, the Stanley division that makes the RFID tags and analytics software. He said Stanley notified workers that production was being tracked, and showed them what alert buttons to push when they detected a machine break down or other problem on a line. Ultimately, he said it empowered workers to “feel like they could make a difference in labor and quality.”

Stanley’s push for the Internet of Things began in later 2012, when Gary Frederick, CIO of Stanley’s industrial and automotive repair division, decided the company could benefit from using technology from AeroScout, which the company acquired in June of that year. “He said ‘you got to check this technology out,” recalled Mr. DeSimone.

Mr. Frederick, who was unavailable to comment for this article, calls the Reynosa technology system the “electricity for the business” in this video.

The Real-Time Sensor Networks Building a Complete Picture of Our World

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By PSFK Labs on July 29, 2014

The Real-Time Sensor Networks Building a Complete Picture of Our World

If knowledge is power, then each sensor that comes online offers an increase in human potential and enhanced decision making.

What if your car could monitor the conditions of the road you are driving on and use that information to alert other drivers, as well as road crews to potholes, icy spots, or other dangers? Imagine if the weather information delivered to you each day over your morning coffee arrived with greater accuracy courtesy of crowdsourced data offered up by millions of sensors coming online. Fortunately for us, a world we perhaps relegated to the realm of science fiction is not far off from becoming a feasible reality.

Embedding our objects and devices with more, and more varied, sensors means that collecting and organizing data, can become handled by dedicated systems. These systems organize the information of our world, and then analyze it in ways which help us make sense of the world around us. A ‘Distributed Intelligence’ in this sense, will give us greater freedom by letting us focus our powerful brains, and our precious time, on how it all fits together in the big picture.

PressureNET

Take PressureNET, a project by Canadian company Cumulonimbus, which is a crowdsourced attempt at collecting data from the sensors already embedded in the products we commonly use.

Have you ever left your umbrella at home only to find that the sunny forecast failed to catch those after work showers? Meteorologists make their predictions based on the atmospheric data available to them.

The app leverages the barometric sensor built in to many Android phones so that researchers can have a higher resolution view of weather formations. The more data they have, the more accurate the forecast. Instead of the current system of mostly stationary weather sensors, PressureNET would be a fluid network of data points passively gathering and broadcasting hyper-local atmospheric changes.

Some 18,000 phones worldwide are now contributing around 6,000 measurements every hour. That’s nothing compared to the total number of devices equipped with the right sensors. As more people download the app and connect to PressureNET researchers will be able to translate this data into highly accurate forecasts of thunderstorms and tornados, but smartphones aren’t the only way to add mobility to these networks.

cph_wheel049_small_2048

At the individual level, we only increasingly find ourselves being welcomed to participate in the digital murals being painted of our cities.

To crowdsource environmental reporting efforts, the Copenhagen Wheel features a built in hub to its back tire that collects data on pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time, in effect converting travelers into mobile sensing units contributing to a larger conversation around the health of city environments and key infrastructure.

After debuting four years ago as a conference at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference, the bike is finally available for purchase this year shipping for a little over the cost of a moderately priced road bike.

23 Car2Car communication

Volvo has been a longtime pioneer of automotive safety. It’s no wonder that the company is taking advantage of new technology to improve how we monitor and address unsafe driving conditions.

In a partnership with the Swedish and Norwegian governments, Volvo is putting a fleet of test cars on Scandinavian roads. These cars will be able to detect changes in road friction, signaling potentially dangerous conditions like icy or slippery roads, and broadcast that data over a cloud-based system to local maintenance crews as well as other cars nearby. Volvo hopes to make this technology available to consumers within the next few years.

“When the road administrator has access to information from a large number of cars, the data can be used to make winter road maintenance more efficient,” said Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System at Volvo Cars, explained in a recent press release. “The information could help to improve road safety further for all road users. This could also reduce the use of salt when not needed and minimize the environmental impact.”

Of course it’s our cities that will see the most immediate effects of this trend.

Earlier this year Intel and the Dublin City Council announced a joint project to transform Republic of Ireland’s capital into the most densely sensored city in the world. The plan is to place 200 sensor gateways-with up to six sensors each-at key points around Dublin to monitor environmental data such as air quality and micro-climate conditions.

“This is a very exciting development for Dublin and for Intel,” said the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn.

“People cycling to work or exercising during the day will be able to find the most environmentally friendly routes. In addition there will be the opportunity for smart phones to be used as sensors giving further real time information as to how people are using the city to move ab out and for exercise. I hope that the city will respond by providing better cycleways, more trees and making traffic adjustments to reduce areas where air quality is poor or noise levels high.”

The “what if” question of whether these sensors could help improve our roads, environments, or weather forecasts is now more accurately replaced by “how could”, leaving the bulk of our thinking around what challenges these systems will help us overcome. When each of us has access to such a large quantity of high-resolution data about the world around us we will be able to make more informed decisions.

Armed with the best information available, we can focus on the larger implications of global minutiae, and make the big picture decisions that can change our lives for the better.

In The Real World Web, iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs explore the role internet-enabled technologies will play in connected ecosystems of the future. This series, based on a recent report, looks at the rise of the internet of things and its impact on consumer lifestyles.  

Wearable Tech: Healthcare Win

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InformationWeek: HEALTHCARE // MOBILE & WIRELESS
7/28/2014
While most businesses still view wearable computers as little more than toys, healthcare has embraced them. Check out these interesting examples.

Recovery and therapyAfter surgery, you often face a recovery period that involves physical therapy. Along comes Google Glass again, this time with an app from a company called Wearable Intelligence. The app guides a therapist through a specific set of exercises for a specific patient, with exact instructions on such things as amount of flexion and limb rotation. The app also uses the camera to record video of the exercise, and even gives a check mark 'OK' when all steps have been accomplished. This should help reduce misapplied therapies, and help new therapists rapidly gain the right skill sets.</p>
<p>Image credit: wearableintelligence.com<br />

Recovery and therapy
After surgery, you often face a recovery period that involves physical therapy. Along comes Google Glass again, this time with an app from a company called Wearable Intelligence. The app guides a therapist through a specific set of exercises for a specific patient, with exact instructions on such things as amount of flexion and limb rotation. The app also uses the camera to record video of the exercise, and even gives a check mark “OK” when all steps have been accomplished. This should help reduce misapplied therapies, and help new therapists rapidly gain the right skill sets.

Image credit: wearableintelligence.com

The growth in M2M and Five Things to Consider When Considering M2M

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A world were everything can and will be connected is getting closer. Lower sensor and wifi cost as well as easier and higher speed network connections all speed up the everything and everywhere connected world. The focus has been on consumer applications but business has been using and benefiting for quite some time. Hertz is tracking their cars using M2M technology. Container shipments all over the world are tracked this way as well. Smart meters are providing information remotely in many neighborhoods. What should small business look at before they take the leap?

In M2M Communications, Technology to Transform Business, Nancee Ruzicka of OSS/BSS Global Competitive Strategies Stratecast, a Division of Frost & Sullivan writes the following.

Five Things to Consider When Considering M2M. By taking a business view before getting to the “how” of M2M, organizations in every industry can realize much more than the benefits of automation: 

1. What? What business are we in? What do we want to deliver to our customers? These are fundamental questions to consider before implementing the technology. Involving representatives from every part of the business reveals amazing insights and results in better alignment of technology goals with business strategies.
 
2. Why? M2M can make existing processes more efficient, as in the vending machine example. However, approaching M2M as a new growth area offers a clean slate on which you can define the next generation of the business. Not only can the vending route driver be informed, but inventory can be updated both on the truck and in the warehouse while suppliers are notified to restock. M2M does not have to be an evolution of existing processes and systems, although it may ultimately include those, but many organizations have tried unsuccessfully to extend existing infrastructure.
 
3. When? Not all M2M is ready today. It’s important to consider the maturity of the technology, stability of the provider, interoperability, coverage and IT requirements. Costs will continue to decline for components and devices, so if the return isn’t there now, it may be in the future. However, where the business case is obvious, there’s no reason to wait. Eliminating truck dispatches, reducing time spent by technicians or support personnel, or providing better data for customer self-service are all quantifiable savings that businesses can realize now.
 
4. Where? Most communication service providers will agree that wireless coverage is nearly ubiquitous nationally and even globally. CTIA reports that 74% of Americans have a choice of five or more providers. However, even in the most densely covered areas, service gaps exist. Although M2M devices will typically use the mobile network, the devices themselves may not move. A sensor on a levee pump in New Orleans can’t go around the corner to get a better signal during a storm. It is important to recognize where you’ll be deploying the M2M network, field-test the devices, and negotiate a service level agreement that ensures connectivity for critical devices.
 
5. Who? The beneficiary of M2M will ultimately be the business, but everyone is affected. You must carefully consider your customers. What changes are you asking them to make and how will it affect their lifestyles or business operations? Users across the business require process simplification and better access to correlated, accurate data. What are the training requirements? Whose job is it to keep all this working?
 
These new developments offer many opportunities for small businesses. It is not easy to take the first step and it requires many new skills that businesses often do no have.  New knowledge in IT and customer understanding will need to be developed, possibly with outside help. Careful planning and focus on the customer experience are important. In the end, standing still is not an option either. Better customer service resulting in revenue growth and hopefully a lower cost structure will be the results to focus on.