Industry 4.0 and the Promise of Smarter Operations Using IoT

J. Marcus

This piece first appeared first on the official blog of RAD.

Summary Bullets:

  • IoT’s role in Industry 4.0 isn’t about making connectivity or sensors smarter. It’s about making an enterprise’s operations smarter, integrating advanced control and automation capabilities by connecting industrial assets.
  • Increasingly, that means updating and connecting existing industrial control systems, with the promise of further automating thousands of operational endpoints.
  • Top Industry 4.0 applications include basic on/off commands and security functions.
  • Optimization of processes and of productivity is the main benefit that manufacturers see.

Is the Internet of Things (IoT) getting smarter? That is often how ‘Industry 4.0’ is described as digital technology is deployed in production or other industrial processes to take advantage of advanced platforms and devices (including analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence). Differing from machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions that use network connectivity simply to monitor the condition or location of an object, Industry 4.0 goes further to describe applications which actually control or operate connected things via networked connectivity. While sometimes the connected ‘thing’ refers to newer machines and devices such as robots, autonomous guided vehicles (AGV), or augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) headsets worn by industrial workers, the ‘thing’ might also refer to core production equipment that has been installed for decades. Either way, the aims of Industry 4.0 remain the same: connecting machines to provide essential information and insights to allow companies to make smarter decisions, automate processes, and reach specific ROI goals related to efficiency and cost control. Continue reading “Industry 4.0 and the Promise of Smarter Operations Using IoT”

Powering the Integrated Smart City with LoRaWAN

J. Marcus

This piece first appeared first on the official blog of RAD.

Summary Bullets:

  • The smart city is one of the key use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT), with the connected urban environment and infrastructure providing benefits to both local government and its citizens.
  • LoRaWAN is especially useful in large-scale, integrated smart city deployments because of its availability, cost, and reach.

While the public sector isn’t usually considered the most advanced technology vertical, until recently, it accounted for more Internet of Things (IoT) deployments than any other. Much of that activity has been focused on the smart city, where local governments – and their contracted agencies – have sought to use connectivity to monitor, track, or control city assets, with an overall goal of providing citizens with more efficient services. Continue reading “Powering the Integrated Smart City with LoRaWAN”

COVID-19: Mitigation Comes Ashore – Video Monitoring for Social Distance Management on European Beaches

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Surveillance tools are being used for maintaining health and safety as public beaches reopen in Europe this summer, but connected video cameras are only counting people and their locations, not scrutinizing their actions or identities.
  • Telefonica in Spain and Citymesh in Belgium have both announced new solutions this week.

Just as retailers and restaurants are limiting the number of customers entering their locations at any one time, local authorities are also seeking a way to safely re-open public spaces such as playgrounds and beaches as stay-at-home restrictions are gradually lifted. Limiting numbers of people in a given space is seen as essential to maintaining social distancing in the wake of the first wave of the coronavirus, in order to prevent it from spreading and causing new cases of COVID-19. While people-counting sensors at doorways and gates are useful in spaces with controlled or dedicated entry points, open spaces are more difficult to monitor – especially in beach environments where visitors arrive from multiple directions and where access is not tightly controlled. Continue reading “COVID-19: Mitigation Comes Ashore – Video Monitoring for Social Distance Management on European Beaches”

COVID-19: Using Mobile User Location Data to Understand and Mitigate the Pandemic

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

• Mobile operators have been offering aggregated location data for several years, with limited uptake from sectors like tourism, retail, and transportation.

• Those big data analytics solutions could be very useful to authorities and essential services in fighting COVID-19.

Telecom providers are finding their networks used in different ways since the start of measures being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. For mobile operators, that now includes the use of user location data analytics to help governments and other entities to understand—and fight—the spread of the virus.

In the last three or four years, mobile network operators have been investing in big data analytics technologies in order to leverage the potential value of the vast amount of network and user data they collect. Accessing the technology was the easy part: the availability of open source tools, hyperscale cloud platforms, and investments already being made in the telcos’ own digital transformations led to innovative solutions launching as early as 2014. Some players in Europe went further, acquiring analytics start-ups and digital consulting firms, helping them to offer both standardized solutions providing insights on visitors, events, and journeys, as well as customized projects. Continue reading “COVID-19: Using Mobile User Location Data to Understand and Mitigate the Pandemic”

IoT Deployment Trends in 2019

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

• The biggest regional change in 2019 was the frequency of deployments with a global remit, most of which are undertaken by global companies operating in multiple countries and regions around the world.

• In 2019, the most common project goal for IoT deployments was improved operational efficiencies (79% of all deployments), while advanced automation was the most common use case.

GlobalData has been tracking data on deployments of Internet of Things (IoT) technology by enterprise organizations for several years, via its IoT Deployment Database. While collecting available data on deployment projects undertaken in 2019 will continue throughout 2020 as more information becomes available, the data collected so far provides useful insights on where activity is occurring regionally, by sector, and for each common use case. Below are highlights—including how enterprise IoT market activity in 2019 looks compared to the previous three years. Continue reading “IoT Deployment Trends in 2019”

Face Payment Means Never Having to Open Your Wallet

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Telia and the digital labs of bank OP Financial in Finland have been working on adding ‘face payments’ to the Pivo payments app.
  • To be successful, 5G adoption may or may not be needed, but consumer acceptance of facial recognition technology will.

Retail is about separating people from their money, and recently, we’ve been seeing how advances in payment systems technology could soon separate innovators in the financial sector from laggards. At Telia, the Nordic telco’s engineers are putting its brand-new 5G network to use in combining these two innovation tracks for what may seem inevitable: face payment. Continue reading “Face Payment Means Never Having to Open Your Wallet”

Vendors Find Pace of Tech Change Causing Tension Within UK Public and Businesses

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • According to a new survey, citizens feel overwhelmed by rapid changes in technology, making for cautious purchasing and declining trust in business.
  • Business leaders are more positive, but they are keenly aware of public confusion around new technologies; as a result, they are moderating their adoption planning.

The well-established promise of a digital future for society is welcomed by most people and businesses, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t accompanied by a certain level of confusion and concern. While the disruption caused by technological change has revealed new opportunities for UK citizens and companies, it has also exposed the limits of tech knowledge among both individuals and organizations, often necessitating what feels like ill-prepared decision making. A recent survey by Fujitsu captured public opinion on the importance of digital transformation to the success of future generations. It also tapped business leaders across the UK’s major industries to gain insights on how they view the advantages and challenges of increased digital adoption. Continue reading “Vendors Find Pace of Tech Change Causing Tension Within UK Public and Businesses”

Alibaba Cloud Aims for Platform Integration with Digital Industries; New Retail Deployment with El Corte Inglés Highlights Success Beyond China

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Deployment with leading Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés represents the potential of Alibaba Cloud’s ‘New Retail’ solutions beyond China (and beyond Alibaba’s own e-commerce business).
  • Retail is just one of many industries where the company is positioning to deliver integrated AI-driven digital solutions.

Ahead of its annual Apsara Conference in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba Cloud announced a key enterprise customer engagement in Europe. While the deployment of its AI-driven retail solution with leading Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés is described as a pilot, the two companies were already working together, having signed an agreement last year that covers commerce, smart payments, cloud computing, and retail-specific digital solutions. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Aims for Platform Integration with Digital Industries; New Retail Deployment with El Corte Inglés Highlights Success Beyond China”

HPE in Industrial IoT – Moving Away from a Catch-All Platform to Collaborative Solutions

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

• HPE has discontinued marketing and development of its IoT platform.

• HPE is instead moving forward in supporting IoT deployments with infrastructure and consulting, working directly with customers as well as third-party SIs and platform providers.

HPE was in Berlin this week as a primary sponsor at Industry of Things World 2019, a hands-on conference focused on industrial IoT and digital transformation for enterprises.

Despite the clear importance of IoT to HPE’s strategy, HPE Universal IoT Platform, which the company had been promoting aggressively for a few years since its launch in 2016, has been discontinued (although it is maintained in a few deployments where it is still being used). HPE found market requirements to be so diverse that attempting to provide a horizontal solution across all sectors and use cases won’t resonate with enough customers to make it worth it. Key industrial verticals – for example automotive manufacturing, which represents a large market opportunity for IIoT – expect a vertical template, and HPE never had much traction with its platform in manufacturing. With its origins in telco OSS/BSS systems, HPE’s solutions have worked well with large scale smart city deployments, although it found adding connectivity to devices challenging. Continue reading “HPE in Industrial IoT – Moving Away from a Catch-All Platform to Collaborative Solutions”

Q-loud’s Data Hub for Techem Is a Prime Example of Telcos’ Platform Business Aspirations

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Q-loud developed an IoT solution for energy provider Techem, which it will deploy and operate.
  • Techem will offer IoT-enhanced smart building services to its customers in the real estate industry, leveraging Q-loud’s platform.

It seems like a pretty modest news item at first glance, a deal between a smaller German challenger in the IT and connectivity space and a specialist energy provider. Q-loud is the IoT unit of QSC AG, a business-oriented network operator and system integrator which has recently shifted its strategy away from traditional telco services for SMEs toward digital opportunities. The largest telcos in Europe, of course, are doing the same, trying to build new platform-based businesses. Some have made multiple acquisitions to get there (Orange invested EUR 1 billion in such acquisitions in 14 months), while the smaller QSC has taken a different approach: selling off a significant part of its telco assets to reinvest the proceeds in digital (the sale of subsidiary PlusNet earlier this year to EnBW Telekommunikation for EUR 229 million euros is funding development of its cloud and IoT businesses). Continue reading “Q-loud’s Data Hub for Techem Is a Prime Example of Telcos’ Platform Business Aspirations”