For many industries, from transportation to utilities, manufacturing and more, field workers are pivotal to the success of business operations, the satisfaction of customers, and the growth of the bottom line.
Field workers are now at the forefront of digital transformation where artificial intelligence (AI), smart mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and business process management (BPM) technologies have created new opportunities to better streamline and transform traditional workflows and workforce management practices.
To better understand how these technologies are being applied and the impact they are having in the enterprise, Red Hat commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 300 IT decision makers from organisations in the U.S., Europe and Asia that employ a significant field workforce. The survey examined investment trends, current and future adoption patterns, use cases and implementation challenges.
According to the results, strong technology investment is expected by respondents with an average increase of 25% through November 2018, reflecting the importance of technology in transforming field service operations. Top business factors identified as influencing this investment include increasing field worker productivity (46%), streamlining or optimising field operations and processes (40%), and improving customer service (37%).
When we consider the current trends that are broadly driving conversations in the tech industry, AI is one of the leading topics. While still an emerging category—currently implemented by only 24% of respondents—we believe the technology has great potential across a variety of industries and use cases. It comes as little surprise that an additional 30% of respondents plan to implement AI in 2018, aligning with an average anticipated increase in investment of 26% for certain respondents over the same period.
The AI umbrella encompasses a number of specific technologies for those respondents that have either implemented already or plan to implement to address more specialised uses cases, including:
Predictive analytics (55%)
Machine learning (46%)
Chatbots or virtual digital assistance (45%)
Robotic Process Automation (44%)
Despite being more established technologies, mobile, BPM and IoT seem to defy their relative maturity in the market with respondents indicating double-digit growth across the board in both investment and implementations through November 2018. While 67% of respondents have already implemented mobile apps for field service operations, an additional 19% plan to implement new mobile apps, supported by a 20% average expected increase in investment by certain respondents.
The outlook for BPM and IoT is similar. Respondents expect implementations to grow from 61 to 81% for BPM and from 53 to 73% for IoT, fueled by 20 and 24% average expected increase in investment by certain respondents, respectively.
However, along with the appetite for technology investment and implementation growth, respondents are keenly aware of the technical challenges their organisations face in developing and implementing applications for field workforce management. Access to timely and relevant data is critical for field workers in remote locations, harsh environments, or areas of low network connectivity, as is the ability to protect that data as it flows between the field and back-end systems.
As a result, securing data access was the top challenge identified in the survey at 34%, followed by:
The pace […]
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Andrew Brown, the executive director of Enterprise and IoT Research at Strategy Analytics, recently interviewed Matt Bacon, the marketing and communications director at Actility, to discuss the company’s activities in IoT; its network, partners and customers and its efforts in industrial markets. Actility is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance and offers low power wide area (LPWA) infrastructure with its ThingPark IoT communications platform. The platform provides LoRaWAN longrange coverage for low-power sensors used in multiple vertical industry applications
Andrew Brown: What are the key IoT applications that Actility customers are implementing in industrial environments?
Matt Bacon, the marketing and communications director at Actility
Matt Bacon: To begin with, it makes sense to explain what we do at Actility and how we help our customers in IoT. Our core product is the ThingPark communications platform, which was initially focused on LoRaWAN, but will shortly also support licensed 3GPP technologies; first LTE Cat M and then narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for customers. With the platform, we manage data end-to-end, from the sensor via the gateway to customer applications in the cloud. We are able to handle various additional functions such as protocol translation, if required, also ensuring devices are correctly provisioned and sending their data packets end-to-end. We are not an analytics or visualisation company; we offer key ingredients in a complete IoT solution created by a range of partners. Our initial customers were network operators who chose us to build nationwide LoRaWAN networks in order for them to resell connectivity to their customers. They used ThingPark to manage the LoRaWAN component of their network.
Andrew Brown, Strategy Analytics
There are multiple applications that our customers, like KPN or Orange are enabling through connectivity for their industrial customers. For example, one industrial customer manages thousands of rat traps throughout The Netherlands. Connect them with LoRa and the traps only need to be checked and emptied when they have actually caught a rat, so there are far fewer truck rolls required, which dramatically improves the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of the project.
Our partnership with Inmarsat has enabled the first globally available LoRaWAN IoT platform and we are supporting the company in building smart city applications in Kigali in Rwanda. In the same country, we are also working with Inmarsat and Carnegie Mellon University on a mountain tea plantation and processing facility. There, IoT will deliver agricultural monitoring such as soil moisture levels, but also precise temperature and humidity monitoring in the processing facility, which need to be monitored and controlled to ensure the best possible tea.
We also handle more traditional plant monitoring projects, such as the work we are doing with IBM Watson and Cougar Automation, a UK systems integrator, for RS Components. RS has a large warehouse with thousands of metres of conveyor belts. It ships up to 44,000 parcels a day, which are moved by conveyor belts. As a parcel drops from one belt to another, it can marginally knock the belts out of alignment. As this is repeated with thousands […]
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NetApp has announced the findings of its study to uncover the true scale of digital disruption. In a survey of 501 UK information technology decision makers from the full spectrum of the enterprise, NetApp found that 82% of businesses are in the midst of digital transformation.
Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) emerged as the answer for digital transformation acceleration. In all, 22% of respondents adopted the technology for scalability, and 20% for access to data.
Digital transformation is a top concern for big businesses – The level of concern is high among larger businesses, with 42% seeing digital transformation as a primary concern. Only 2% say digital transformation is a low priority.
HCI is already in use for the majority of businesses – To navigate increasingly data-driven enterprises, HCI is the solution of choice, with 80% of UK businesses already using it and 11% planning to in the next 12 months. Only 4% say they have no plans to adopt HCI.
Security is a key motivation for HCI adoption – Security is the leading motivation for HCI adoption (54%), with ease of use (44%) and cost savings (41%) following close behind. However, 49% state hardware costs as a primary concern when considering HCI adoption. With 78% of IT decision makers indicating that they are ready for HCI technology, the market is ripe for a next-gen HCI solution.
“We are in the middle of a massive shift from hardware to software environments,” said Tim Pitcher, vice president, NGDC, NetApp. “It is clear from NetApp’s research that businesses are informed and making the move to more software-defined infrastructures. Digital transformation is leaving no business untouched, and it is encouraging to see the openness to change, with the majority of UK businesses already using HCI.
NetApp’s next-gen HCI solution is set to plug the market gap with its data fabric integration and automation capabilities. It is not only smaller businesses that benefit from HCI’s automation features, but big businesses too – such features could go some way to alleviating their concerns around digital transformation.”
NetApp HCI is claimed to be the world’s first enterprise-scale hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) solution that offers enterprise-grade performance, flexibility and scale and automation. Running on SolidFire technology and delivered on a NetApp designed architecture, NetApp HCI enables enterprises, midsize businesses, and service providers to maximise their infrastructure by simplifying management and independently scaling both compute and storage resources.
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Businesses in the mining industry are backing the Internet of Things (IoT) to help them retain their market share, as competition in the sector intensifies, the quality of seams decreases and profit margins are put under pressure.
According to the latest research from Inmarsat, the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a critical role in helping mining businesses to increase the level of automation and improve production efficiency, enabling them to compete with rivals operating in lower cost markets.
Market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large mining companies across the globe for Inmarsat’s ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise’ report, and found that 70% of mining businesses agreed that IoT would give them a significant edge against their competitors.
Mining operators further identified how IoT would help them to bolster this competitive edge, with 41% reporting that they would use IoT to increase the automation of business processes, and 44% saying that it would help them to identify cost saving and efficiency opportunities.
Joe Carr, director of mining at Inmarsat, commented on the findings: “It is no surprise to see that mining businesses are looking to IoT to help them gain a competitive advantage. Mining businesses across the world are under constant pressure to produce the same product at a lower price than their rivals. At the same time, it is becoming harder to find high quality deposits in lower sovereign risk countries.
“This pressure is amplified in developed economies, such as Canada and Australia, where labour costs are much higher than in emerging markets, leaving operators in these territories at a significant competitive disadvantage. These businesses must drive down operating costs and improve productivity to remain competitive, and the most effective way to do this is the adoption of IoT and automation.
“Using automation to reduce labour requirements can make a big difference to an operator’s bottom line. For example, an Australian open pit mine might employ 100 truck drivers each earning AUD$200,000+ per annum (€130144.19+ per annum), which is then replicated on staff working on the trains, and the maintenance personnel.”
“IoT will be critical in enabling mine operators to reduce the amount of manual extraction and transportation of raw materials, as it will allow for the introduction of more autonomous infrastructure, such as fleets of unmanned trucks and trains. Autonomous technology can also enable an around-the-clock, 365 days-a-year operation, removing the need for shift change and improving safety by removing the person from the environment, further increasing productivity.”
Carr concluded: “We are currently working with some of the mining industry’s largest operators to deliver increased automation, which in turn results in increasing speed across the mining process, helping to reduce average cycle times and improving productivity. Mining technologists are increasingly aware of the importance of satellite connectivity in their mines, understanding that IoT solutions cannot function without reliable connectivity to gather and transmit data from connected sensors and devices to control rooms.”
With many mines located outside terrestrial or cellular network coverage, satellite communication networks can offer more reliable connectivity that is central […]
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The transition to IPv6 is well underway. Most service providers have enabled IPv6 and run dual-stack networks offering their services in IPv4 and IPv6. There have been many talks about IPv6 in backbone networks, in residential networks and at peering points.
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London, UK. December 5, 2017 — The IoT Global Awards are to be sponsored in 2018 by IoT Global Network and Smart IoT. The organisers of the inaugural Awards (www.iotglobalawards.com ) and the hosts of the UK’s premier Internet of Things event, Smart IoT (www.smartiotlondon.com) report that the winners of the 2018 Awards will be announced at the event in London ExCeL on March 21st, 2018.
The winners in 12 Categories – ranging from Automotive, Transport & Travel to Smart Cities, Government & Utilities – will be announced on the Exhibition Floor. All nominees are warmly invited to attend, as are Exhibitors and Visitors at Smart IoT.
The Awards Ceremony will be held at 5.30pm (UK) and the results posted Live on social media. It will be free to attend. Following the announcements, all guests are invited to attend the Smart IoT Drinks Reception at 6.00pm. This will be held at The Fox at Excel, with guests offered free drinks and refreshments.
If you have not yet entered the IoT Global Awards there is still time. The Closing Date for Entries is Thursday February 15th, 2018. You can find the categories to suit your organisation at www.iotglobalawards.com/categories/ and details of How To Enter are shown on the website.
John Davy, Group Event Director, Smart IoT said: “We are delighted that IoT Global Awards will be sponsored by IoT Global Network and Smart IoT. This is a great way of exploring business excellence around the world in the Internet of Things.”
Charlie Bisnar, Director of Strategy and Operations at WeKnow Media Ltd, organisers of the awards added: “The Awards are a celebration of all that is best, both technologically and in business, in the Internet of Things. It is only right that we showcase these achievements at the UK’s premier IoT event.”
For more information contact:
For IoT Global Awards:
Charlie Bisnar (email@example.com)
WeKnow Media Ltd. +44 (0) 173 284 4017
For Smart IoT:
John Davy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CloserStill Media Ltd. +44 (0) 207 013 4978
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By Alex Woodie
As Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent show kicks off in Las Vegas this week, the anticipation is building for what kinds of data services the cloud giant will announce next. Will it drive a giant data-slurping semi-truck onto the stage like it did last year? Or maybe drone-based data delivery is the hot new thing?
Nobody knows what the company will announce tomorrow morning, when AWS CEO Andy Jassy takes the stage for the first keynote address, or what Werner Vogels, the cloud giant’s resident technology genius, will discuss during his keynote on Thursday.
But there’s one thing for certain: It will be big.
It’s hard to overstate the influence that AWS is having on the computer industry as a whole. When it began 11 years ago as a way to monetize the extra computing power that Jeff Bezos assembled for his ecommerce operation, it was small. But over the years since, it has come to dominate the public cloud category.
The scale of AWS is unimaginably massive. Back in 2014, Timothy Prickett Morgan, then the editor of Datanami‘s sister publication EnterpriseTech, estimated that AWS had anywhere from 2.8 million to 5.6 million servers running across 87 data centers in 28 availability zones. The company lashed them all together with its own custom-made networking gear to make it work like one humongous global cluster.
Since then, the company has expanded its global infrastructure footprint to 44 availability zones, with plans to add 17 more around the world. (And that’s not counting the GovCloud it built for the US government, and a second GovCloud now in the works.) If the ratio of servers to data centers and availability zones stayed constant going back to 2014, that would mean that AWS is now running anywhere from 4.4 million to 8.6 million servers across 136 data centers. Mind-boggling numbers, to be sure.
And then there’s the data (it’s always about the data). While AWS isn’t saying how much data it stores on behalf of customers in S3 and other storage repositories, the volume is almost certainly measured in zettabytes — and it might even be moving toward the yottabyte range.
Think a petabyte is big? Please. Storing exabytes has become passé for the world’s largest computer company. “We have a lot of customers who have exabytes of data,” Jassy said during last year’s re:Invent keynote address. “You would not believe how many companies now have exabytes of data that they want to move to the cloud…”
In the pantheon of data storage, there is “big data,” and then there is AWS data. Who else developed a semi-truck that customers can load 100 petabytes of data at a time to physically upload it into the AWS cloud because the Internet is too slow? (AWS).
Besides the Snowmobile semi-truck, last year’s AWS re:Invent brought a host of new services, including:
- Amazon AI, which uses pre-built neural networking models to automate computer vision, text-to-speech, and natural language processing (NLP) tasks;
- Amazon Athena, an interactive SQL-based query service for analyzing S3 data;
- AWS Greengrass, a framework for developing and running distributed applications across mobile device using the company’s AWS Lambda architecture;
- Lambda@Edge, a new framework that automates much of the low-level plumbing required to build sophisticated IoT applications.
Undoubtedly this year’s AWS re:Invent will bring updates to some of these products. Some insiders have heard ruminations that it could be cooking up some easy-to-use hosted machine learning service, something more like rival Microsoft’s Azure ML service.
AWS still has the scale advantage over its public cloud rivals, but can it keep a coterie of data-hungry developers, data scientist, and data engineers satisfied with ever more powerful capabilities? We’ll find out tomorrow.
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The top three countries that are leaders in manufacturing have remained fairly similar over the last few decades. The US, China and Germany have continued evolving to export a large amount of products to the world. To remain high in the ranks, these countries have adopted automation, optimised their manufacturing processes and advanced production processes.
Strong economy and large populations suggest that these countries will remain leaders in manufacturing and automation for years to come. However, as the industry grows, smaller countries are beginning to emerge as competitors in the industry, says Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at EU Automation.
North and South America
Many countries in South America are driven by manufacturing. For example, in Chile, manufacturing contributes towards around 16% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and over 14% of the working population are employed in a manufacturing role.
States in Northern America are also looking south to improve their manufacturing sector. As the world’s eleventh largest economy, Mexico excels in a range of industries such as aerospace, automotive and food and beverage. The automation industry in Mexico is growing rapidly, with over 6,320 robotic units sold in 2015, tripling previous figures.
Mexico is also looking to greaten its presence in the global manufacturing industry by increasing company growth.The country is the first Spanish-speaking nation to partner with Germany at Hannover Messe 2018. At the trade show, Mexico intends to exhibit its new technologies and strengthen its international trade relations.
Western European countries such as the UK and Germany are regarded as the manufacturing leaders of Europe. However, some central European countries have rapidly growing economies due to their investment in manufacturing. Poland, for example, has seen its economy triple in the last decade.
Manufacturing exports contribute towards 33% of the GDP in Poland, compared to an average of 22% among other emerging nations. With a population of over 40 million, more jobs are created to meet the industry demand and support the growing economy.
Poland’s increasing presence in the manufacturing industry was highlighted when they were invited to be the partner country exhibiting at Hannover Messe 2017. As one of the fastest growing markets for automation, the country is now one of Germany’s most lucrative trading partners.
The Asia Pacific region is one of the key players in automation, with Japan and China relying on automated factories to ensure a successful manufacturing industry. Smaller countries are beginning to invest in this technology to experience the benefits and grow their economies.
A group of countries known as the Mighty-Five are expected to rapidly evolve as manufacturing competitors over the next decade. Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam aim to invest in automation to offer the world low cost labour with high quality results.
The countries each excel in different areas of automation. India’s economy, for example, relies on the IT industry as the largest private employer in the country. Between 2013 and 2014, India exported over $167 billion(€143.44 billion) worth of IT and software services. The industry is expected to improve further as standard of living continues to improve in the country.
These countries still have a long way to go to compete with manufacturing giants, such as China or the US. Yet the rapid growth of automation in these countries suggests that the global manufacturing sector may look very […]
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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments grew 2% quarterly to reach 45 million units in Q3 2017. Apple maintained first position with 23 percent global tablet market share, while Samsung fell to 13% share.
Huawei was the star performer, with a continued run of 4 years of annual growth in tablet shipments. The new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share: Q3 2017” report from Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) service offers perspective on what is driving these results and how industry players can revitalise remaining soft spots in the market.
The full report with detailed market breakdown is available here.
Eric Smith, director – Tablets and Touchscreens said, “Global tablet shipments declined 5 percent annually from 46.9 million units in Q3 2016 to 44.6 million in Q3 2017, but grew 2% quarter on quarter from 43.7 million in Q2 2017. The global tablet market has reduced the high negative growth rates of the past couple of years and Apple just strung together two straight quarters of year-on-year growth.
Exhibit 1: Global tablet vendor shipments and market share in Q3 2017
During Q3 2017, Huawei and Amazon also kept up their pace of strong gains in their respective corners of the Android market, while Lenovo bounced back to positive growth with good footing in the Android and Windows segments. Windows tablet demand is experiencing a slump overall, compared to this time last year as consumer market pricing and marketing have failed to connect to consumers while enterprise demand is still swift for pricier 2-in-1 tablet form factors.”
Peter King, director – Devices Practice added, “Apple shipped 10.3 million Tablets worldwide in Q3 2017, rising an impressive 11% annually from 9.3 million in Q3 2016 and unit sales rose 25% year-over-year in Greater China and 39% in India.
Huawei maintained third position with 7% global tablet market share in Q3 2017, up from 5 percent in Q3 2016. Huawei continues to close in fast on Samsung, although the latter has just fewer than 13% market share in Q3 2017. If Huawei were able to penetrate the US market where it currently ships a single digit percentage of its total shipments, then it would become a major force in the tablet market.
Lenovo continued steady progress in the tablet market shipping 3 million units in Q3 2017; Lenovo is focusing on a higher-value product portfolio and de-emphasising lower-value offerings. Amazon reported record sales of its Fire tablets during the July Prime Day promotion early in Q3 2017. During the quarter, Amazon tablet shipments were 25% higher year-on-year at 2.5 million units. This resulted in Amazon’s market share rising 1.3 points during the same period to 5.6%.”
Tablet market dynamics by operating system
Apple iOS shipments (sell-in) came in above projections at 10.3 million iPads in Q3 2017, pushing its worldwide market share to 23% of the Tablet market. This represented an 11% increase annually but a 10% decline from last quarter’s high. Apple is pulling off a dual strategy of growing overall market share on […]
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CSG International, has announced results of its market survey The Future of the Digital Experience: Connected Service Edition. Through an independent research firm, CSG polled 2,000 consumers across five countries to learn how consumers will prefer to connect home automation and other smart devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). The survey results indicate that although consumers will seek both online and in-person help sources, when it comes to connecting multiple smart devices in their homes, consumers will seek skilled, in-person help.
“Survey respondents have predicted that professional, technical resources will play a significant role in bridging the gap between consumers and the world of devices around us,” said Chad Dunavant, vice president of product management at CSG International.
“CSG’s Workforce Express enables a mobile workforce of 65,000 of the Pay TV industry’s field technicians who are already receiving service requests for smart devices such as TVs, phones and home security. There is a clear opportunity for Pay TV providers to evolve the skills of their field service technicians to capitalise on the growing consumer-based IoT market.”
Key insights from the survey include:
Most respondents expect to connect home security and monitoring systems (49%) and smart home automation devices such as remote light controls and door locks (48%) in the next three years.
Help is wanted to make both simple and complex connections. Consumers cited both online resources and in-person help as resources for device installations.
Respondents reported that they believe 67 %of consumers will be not at all confident to do complex installations on their own, and 44% believe that consumers will be only somewhat confident to complete even simple (single device) installs on their own.
84% of respondents believe that consumers will want help from a skilled technical resource to connect just two to five devices.
A connected service provider needs a good app and a good reputation. When it comes to knowing that a technician is on their way, consumers expect a personal interaction will still be important.
74% prefer a phone call or text directly from the technician.
58% of respondents said that finding a reputable company to provide their technical help was their most important criteria – outweighing both on-demand access to help and the lowest cost option.
Consumers are open to help from Pay TV field technicians. According to survey results, consumers will seek in-person help to connect multiple devices in the home and are open to their Pay TV field technician as a source of technical expertise.
Existing Pay TV customers said that if their cable or satellite service technician could connect the smart home, 89% said they expect that consumers will be very likely to use the service and 87% held this belief for repair and troubleshooting issues.
Much like calling a taxi for nearly instant transportation, if professional technical help could be requested in the moment that installation or repair service was needed, 39% believe consumers will want on-demand installation or repair service ½ – ¾ of the time.
Countries polled included the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Malaysia. All survey […]
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