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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The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing about a new era of connectivity in the digital age, say analysts Frost & Sullivan. It is connecting critical business sectors through a network of secure data flow, analytics, and management. It is also bringing numerous opportunities for sensor participants through security technologies required for remote services and enhanced accessibility of devices.
The total sensors market in security and surveillance applications was worth $6,267.9 million (€5112.16 million) in 2016, with image sensors holding the largest market share at 23%. The market is expected to reach $12,012.1 million (€9797.19 million) by 2023.
North America and EMEA dominate the market, driven by aging infrastructures, but APAC is the fastest growing due to rapid infrastructure development, strong economic growth, and favourable government regulations. However, challenges for sensor manufacturers and suppliers include increased competition, leading to pricing pressures, lack of product differentiation, and lack of common global standards.
The growth of IoT is contributing to rapidly evolving security requirements, with the areas of robotics and biometric and RFID sensors offering the greatest opportunities. Robotics is expected to be the future of security and surveillance, with considerable investments in research and development in this space. In addition, the demand for drones and AGVs remains strong, especially in defense, commercial, and institutional spaces.
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis report, Sensors in Security & Surveillance, Global Forecast to 2023, covers global trends for sensors used in security and surveillance applications across industries such as industrial, commercial, institutional, building automation, infrastructure, and security and defence. The analysis also explores the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) on security and surveillance.
“In commercial and residential applications, biometric recognition used in access control systems is also witnessing a gradual increase in interest,” said Ram Ravi. “In addition, cloud networking, a revolutionary two-way interactive service delivery platform, is expected to create a technological explosion in the homes and buildings services market, particularly in commercial and residential security applications. This will enable homes and buildings participants to adopt new business models to provide attractive cloud-based services through a secured network.”
Three big predictions for sensors in the global security and surveillance market:
Internet of Things (IoT) is paving the way for industry convergence and enabling machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for better business decisions. Sensors form the physical layer of the IoT architecture;
Development of new communication protocols will ensure interoperability and provide standardisation, particularly in applications for perimeter security, intrusion detection, and access control systems; and
Retail, healthcare, and finance are all expected to offer considerable growth opportunities for sensors in biometrics.
Sensors in Security & Surveillance, Global Forecast to 2023, is a part of Frost & Sullivan’s Measurement & Instrumentation Growth Partnership Service programme.
For more information on this analysis, please click here.
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There are relatively few venues today for the development of public international cybersecurity law among Nation States. One was the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) at which the U.S. several months ago announced its de facto withdrawal with some concern expressed. A much older, well-established venue is newly assuming considerable significance — the Expert Group on the International Telecommunication Regulations (EG-ITRs). The EG-ITRs activity has the ability to shape the evolution of public international cybersecurity law that has existed over many decades to which most of the nations of the world accede and generally abide by. Indeed, within that treaty provision ensemble, it was the 1988 version of the ITRs that enabled datagram internets to be lawfully implemented across borders globally when the provisions came into effect in July 1990.
China has rarely undertaken a role in developing public international cybersecurity law over the many years the provisions have existed. Only once did it submit a formal proposal — fifteen years ago to the 2002 Plenipotentiary Conference where it introduced a resolution concerning “rapid Internet growth [that] has given rise to new problems in communication security.” Thus, a China formal submission to the upcoming third EG-ITRs meeting on 17-19 January 2018 in Geneva is significant in itself.
Furthermore, what China did submit represents a cogent, visionary focus on the key challenges of cybersecurity today, and it deals with the most critical issues facing every nation. Additionally, the participation from China in the EG-ITRs includes knowledgeable senior staff from its key Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), with a supporting submission from China Telecom.
The action suggests that China seems now willing and able to assume leadership in the evolution of public international cybersecurity law. The step also is also bolstered by its investing more resources globally in collaborating on related technical specifications in multiple international industry activities than any other nation over the past decade.
The principal focus of the China EG-ITRs submission is cybersecurity — with so-called Over the Top (OTT) virtual services as the prime example. China notes that “the safety and security of the world telecommunications/ICT networks have become a global concern in respect of sovereignty, security and development interests of all nations.” It goes on to observe that “there’s a severe lack of [public international cybersecurity law] provisions…in relation to the governance of the international telecommunications/ICT network security.”
The OTT exterritoriality example that China chose is compelling. OTT implementations present some of the most difficult public international law challenges today because they enable any arbitrary party from outside a Nation State’s jurisdiction to autonomously engage in an unfettered array of network-based actions within that Nation State, including deployment of software agents and management of IoT devices. Some of those actions are commercial in nature or otherwise benign, albeit within the remit of most countries to control as public offerings. Other actions are frequently criminal and cause significant harm on remote systems or devices through malware.
OTT implementations through encrypted tunnels — which frequently occur — are especially problematic. The concern was underscored by statistics provided at a recent international meeting in Singapore by a leading cybersecurity vendor which noted that half of all the attacks today are implemented using these methods. New OTT vendor transmission protocols like QUIC and Transport Layer Security 1.3 exponentially exacerbate the cybersecurity challenges and expand the threat surface. The encrypted OTT attack vectors include recent Russian meddling in the U.S. national elections highlighted by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.
Looking ahead, the real ultimate “new trend” is the implementation of fully virtualized NFV-SDN architectures across national borders. Massive industry efforts occurring worldwide to bring this about are coming to fruition. Initial mobile network 5G implementations partially using NFV-SDN have been introduced. The platforms enable entire virtual network architectures of multiple datagram internets to be orchestrated from cloud data centers and altered at-will using temporary addresses among any desired endpoints. However, nations will be reticent to allow the orchestration of these capabilities across their national borders from other nations without effective public international cybersecurity provisions. The alternative is complete Balkanization where NFV-SDNs are only allowed domestically which transnational providers would be forced to replicate repeatedly in each national jurisdiction. The stakes here are high for the enormous number of major industry participants. China seems to be positioning itself to take leadership in facilitating the global NFV-SDN marketplace through enabling public international cybersecurity law. The step is measured and visionary by any measure – in a world where multilateral solutions and knowledgeable leadership are badly needed.
By contrast, at the same third meeting of the EG-ITRs, the U.S. position is a traditional one over the past two decades – rejecting “the rationale for a treaty addressing [the provision and operation of international telecommunication services and the] potential effects.” It further eschews any treatment of “new trends” asserting that doing so would “render [the provisions] obsolete.”
The problem here is that cybersecurity is not exactly a “new trend,” nor are many of the basic network developments underway worldwide. A position of doing nothing is untenable for many reasons. International telecommunication via networks in different national jurisdictions are under absolute sovereign control of those jurisdictions. Transporting traffic to and from endpoints in different countries inherently requires global cooperation. Every nation has a sovereign right to inspect and stop foreign communication traffic — the very first public international cybersecurity provision agreed when the first networks were interconnected in 1850 and reaffirmed at every treaty conference since. Over the decades, stable, enduring public international cybersecurity law has grown in importance — especially in today’s interconnected global information-based economy. Transnational providers of network-based services today are vitally dependent on effective public international law arrangements that enable providers to engage in their own commercial agreements to transport and terminate traffic.
The obliviousness to new trends position of the U.S. seems unlikely to head off further dialogue on essential new public international cybersecurity law, and stands in stark contrast to pleas by major global IT enterprises like Microsoft at international forums calling for a Digital Geneva Convention on cybersecurity to facilitate the global market for their increasingly data centre based offerings.
The U.S. views on public international cybersecurity law and facilitating intergovernmental organizations like the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are extremely varied and have witnessed wild swings over the decades. Even today, the U.S. strongly supports radio-related, mass media, and transport layer security activities while depreciating those dealing with telecommunications and datagram internets. The latter views largely arose from a U.S. strategic decision in the 1990s to abandon its previous support for secure OSI internet platforms and facilitate the DARPA internet ones in an unfettered global marketplace. Stable, enduring global multilateral venues like the ITU were abandoned and the obligations ignored in the process.
History shows that many of the key existing public international cybersecurity law provisions were first articulated and significantly advanced by the U.S. after both World Wars, as well as when they were essential to introducing new global communication platforms. Indeed, after the Harding Administration rejected such provisions in the early 1920s for the new global cybersecurity challenges of radio communication, the Herbert Hoover Administration completely reversed course near the end of that decade and led the world to institute innovative cybersecurity treaty provisions and the subsequent creation of the ITU.
Times change. Today, the virtualization of network infrastructures represented by OTT offerings and NFV-SDNs, together with exponential IoT device proliferation, are rather dramatic developments from an international cybersecurity law perspective. However, they are quite similar to challenges once faced with the introduction of global radiocommunication internets a century ago. That technology enabled the orchestration of virtual networks anywhere in the world that were capable of causing significant harm in other national jurisdictions. The creative, necessary public international cybersecurity legal solutions developed then, may well be applicable today. In any case, effective solutions are essential today.
The pursuit of a leadership role in public international cybersecurity law by China today is one once manifested by the U.S. to facilitate the global introduction of new technologies. Doing nothing is not really an adequate answer, and bilateral agreements among 193 countries or inventing another body to accomplish the same objectives are arguably even worse avenues. The U.S. and its allies, as well as major industry representatives, should take a fresh look at the institutional options today. Evolving existing enduring multilateral law and institutional mechanisms seem like a pragmatic and sensible step.
China’s closing metaphor on emerging public international cybersecurity law seems chosen to describe a long-term leadership role in international cybersecurity law with unusual, elegant poetry at the end of its submission. “China believes, the whole process will go forward continuously like a wave on the sea, high and low at different times, but it will make progress along with the new telecom development trends, and it will, of course, pave the way for the good development and security of the telecom industry…”
Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC
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It is once again time for our annual review of posts that received the most attention on CircleID during the past year. Congratulations to all the 2017 participants for sharing their thoughts and making a difference in the industry. 2017 marked CircleID’s 15th year of operation as a medium dedicated to all critical matters related to the Internet infrastructure and services. We are in the midst of historic times, facing rapid technological developments and there is a lot to look forward to in 2018.
Top 10 Featured Blogs from the community in 2017:
Top 10 News in 2017:
Top 10 Industry News in 2017 (sponsored posts):
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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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