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If you’re looking to ‘do’ digital transformation, read this first

By Jon Collins

Barely a day goes past in the tech press without some mention of the importance of digital transformation to businesses; each accompanied by a caveat that nobody really knows what it is. Without engaging further in this debate, what are the absolutes and what really matters?

1. That it’s all about the data. Everything.

How ever we phrase things, the singular, most significant change that technology has brought over the past 100 years is the ability to generate, store, process and transmit inordinate quantities of data. Whatever ‘revolution’ or ‘wave’ we might want to say we are in right now, be it digital, industrial or whatever, there is only really one — the information revolution.

Despite exponential appearances (and resulting perceived impetus for dramatic change), this trend continues with a certain linearity: even as we double the number of pixels on a sensor for example, or transistors on a processor, our abilities increase at a more steady pace. In business terms, the challenges of integration, capacity planning or service level management are the much the same now as they were a decade ago; we are simply working at a higher level of resolution.

2. That technology is enabling us to do new things

This still leaves room for breakthroughs, when technology passes certain thresholds. We saw, for example, the quite sudden demise of the cathode-ray television in favour of LCD screens, or indeed that of film versus digital cameras. What we see as waves are quite often technologies passing these thresholds — so, for example, the Internet of Things is a consequence of having sufficient connectivity, with low-cost sensors and ‘edge’ processing. We may be seeing another approaching with machine learning and AI.

It’s useful to compare these moments of “release of innovation” with the previous point, that many consequences are subject to evolutionary, not revolutionary impact. This dichotomy drives much technology-related marketing: a new advance can have significant specific impacts even if it does not change the world; however it will be presented as enabling the latter, even if it will only really achieve the former. Case in point — digital cameras have not made us better photographers, and nor has CRM made organisations better at customer service.

3. That we tend to do the easy or cheap stuff, as consumers and businesses

Many innovations happen through ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’. We can spend our lives putting together complex business cases that demonstrate clear ROI, but even as we do we know they are really lip service to due diligence. In work as at home, a great deal of technology adoption happens because it makes our lives easier — those explaining the extraordinary rise of Amazon, Facebook and so on emphasise ecosystems, platforms and networks and treat our own laziness and desire for a simple life as an afterthought. In business meanwhile, money saving is a far greater enabler to technology adoption than the potential for business growth.

The CBA factor is of inordinate importance, and yet gets little mention: it’s like we are embarrassed to admit our own weaknesses. Interestingly, its corollary (that of “Resistance to Change”) does get a mention when looking to explain large project failures. But here’s the fact: many of the great technology advances occur because they are easier, and they stumble when they are not. The fact people still like books or printed reports can be explained as much through ease of use, as through the need to hold something physical. The perceived need for ‘transformation’ comes from the idea that against such inertia, some big, aspirational change is necessary.

4. That nobody knows what the next big thing will be

As my old boss and mentor once said however, innovations are like route markers — it’s important to see them as points on a journey rather than a destination. However, doing so goes against two major schools of thought. The first comes from technology vendors who want (you) to believe that their latest box of tricks will indeed bring nirvana. And the second, from consulting firms, whose thought leadership role diminishes significantly if their advice is framed in terms of observational mentoring (a good thing) as opposed to somehow holding the keys to the kingdom.

There is no promised land, and neither is there a crevasse we will all fall into, but we still persist in looking through the wrong end of the telescope, framing business needs in terms of solutions rather than putting the former first. Sometimes this is done so subtly by marketers it can be difficult to spot: back in the days of “service oriented architecture” for example, it took me a while to realise that its main proponents happened to have a specific product in mind (an “enterprise service bus”). Doing so isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s worth following the money.

5. That we are not yet “there”, nor will we ever be

As a species, particularly in times of great change, we need a level of certainty at a very deep, psychological level. And it is messing with our ability to act. It’s too easy to pander to the need for a clear answer, buying into current rhetoric with a hope that the latest advance might really work this time. All sides are at fault — those purveying solutions, those buying them and those acting as trusted third parties — but who wants to hear anyone say “it’s not going to work”?Each time round the cycle, we come up with new terms and subtly change their definitions — industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing might mean the same, or very different things depending on who you ask, a symptom of our desperation to understand, and adapt to what is going on (after all, haven’t we been told to ‘adapt or die’?).

Interestingly, the companies that we applaud, or fear the most, may well be those who care the least. Amazon, Uber, Tesla, the rest of them don’t know what’s around the corner, and what is more they don’t see this as a priority — they simply want to still be in the game this time next year. Rightly so, as they are were born into uncertainly, forged through some indecipherable and unrepeatable combination of factors. Why did Facebook succeed when Myspace, Bebo or any other high-valuation predecessor did not, for example? Above all, these organisations have an attitude to change, a mindset that sees uncertainty and therefore responsiveness, as a norm. Jeff Bezos’ articulation of Amazon’s “Day One” approach to business strategy offers a fantastically simple, yet utterly profound illustration.

6. Responsiveness is the answer, however you package it

Where does this leave us? The bottom line is that “digital transformation” is the latest attempt to provide a solid response to uncertain times, and as such remains empty words for many. It isn’t actually relevant what it is, other than a touchstone term which will soon be replaced (you can thank the marketers for that). So debate it by all means, just as you might once have debated business process management, or social networking, or hybrid cloud, or whatever tickles your fancy. As you do so however, recognise such procrastination for what it is.

And then, once you are done, take action, over and over again. Transformation doesn’t matter, unless we are talking about the transformation of mindsets and attitudes, from build-to-last to do-it-fast. That’s why agile methodologies such as DevOps are so important, not in themselves (yes, that would be putting the cart before the horse again) but because they give businesses an approach to innovate at high speed. As we continue on this data-driven journey, as complexity becomes the norm, traditional attitudes to change at the top of business, or indeed our institutions, become less and less tenable. The bets we make on the future become less and less important; what matters more is our ability to make new ones.

Terminology matters not a jot. But are you and your colleagues, at whatever level in your organisation, prepared to change? If the answer is anything other than yes, you have a bigger challenge on your hands than understanding the latest set of buzzwords.

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NEC highlights 5G deployment for creating a future beyond imagination at MWC 2018

By Zenobia Hegde

NEC Corporation announced the presentation of technologies and solutions for working together with telecom carriers in the co-creation of new business models and the implementation of 5G solutions at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 at the Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, from February 26 to March 1, in Hall 3, stand #3M30.

In today’s business and social climate, telecom carriers are constantly being required to process greater volumes of data at increasingly faster speeds, while also ensuring that transmissions are secure. At the same time, the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are placing even greater demand on carrier resources.

At MWC 2018, NEC is demonstrating solutions and technologies that help address the needs of both telecom carriers and businesses alike through its “5G. A Future Beyond Imagination,” concept, which positions NEC and telecom carriers as service enablers for the co-creation of new business models for a wide variety of vertical industries, including the security, agriculture and transportation fields, that maximise resources and reinforce earnings.

At the NEC booth, the company’s cutting-edge portfolio of AI technologies, “NEC the WISE,” will be introduced, as well as NEC’s series of biometric authentication solutions, “Bio-IDiom,” which includes some of the world’s fastest and most accurate facial and fingerprint authentication technologies. This is in addition to highlighting NEC’s participation in the FIDO Alliance, which aims to standardise Fast IDentity Online (FIDO).

Moreover, NEC will demonstrate its advanced solutions for being a leader in mobile backhaul, network optimisation through traffic management solutions (TMS) and edge computing, as well as software-defined networking (SDN) / network functions virtualisation (NFV) that contribute to the growth of telecom carriers.

For more detail on NEC’s participation in Mobile World Congress 2018, please click here.

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High luminance, small format-capable microLED tech from Plessey expected to enable AR and VR Head-Up Displays

By Zenobia Hegde

Plessey Semiconductors, a developer of optoelectronic technology solutions, has successfully demonstrated how its monolithic microLED technology can be used to deliver the next-generation of Head-Up Displays (HUDs), enabling new augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) applications.

MicroLEDs are emerging as the only technology that can provide high luminance in a small format. Makers of wearable technologies are currently pursuing manufacturers that can deliver an ideal microLED solution. With this demonstrator, Plessey has confirmed it is ready to enable its partners to move into production of a monolithic display based on microLEDs using the company’s proprietary GaN-on-Silicon approach.

Speaking at CES 2018, Dr Keith Strickland, CTO at Plessey said: “Monolithic microLED technology is the only viable solution that can enable products that are not only compact enough to be worn without restricting the overall experience for AR and VR applications and in HUDs, but also provide the size, weight, power and luminance needed.”

The demonstrator, which has been produced in collaboration with Artemis Optical, combines Plessey’s monolithic display, based on an array of microLEDs integrated alongside an active matrix backplane, with the patented film technology and a single lens arrangement from Artemis.

The combination of technologies removes ambient light in the wavelength matching the microLED display output, resulting in a HUD that delivers very high display brightness with low power consumption, in a format that is considerably smaller than existing HUD designs, yet still offers significant cost savings.

During CES 2018, Plessey Semiconductor and Artemis Optical presented the demonstrator to many companies developing VR and AR electronics. Headsets and eyewear outfitted for AR and VR applications are set for record sales this year of US$1.2 billion (€0.98 billion) in the US market alone, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

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Sensors in the security & surveillance market expected to reach US$12bn by 2023, Frost & Sullivan believes

By Zenobia Hegde

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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Why is the connection piece so hard?

By IoT Now Magazine

Increased usage of digital technologies by the manufacturing industry is inevitable but, while the shift is gradual, the pressure to go faster is greatWhen Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and the Industry of Things World Conference conducted a survey to find out how successful industrial IoT (IIoT) projects have been in the last 12 months, the responses uncovered that only 53% of respondents thought their IIoT projects had met or exceeded goals. The remaining 47% said their goals had not been reached.

IIoT isn’t about companies buying a technology and suddenly they’re digital. It’s an entire architecture which encompasses an ecosystem with careful communication across various touchpoints within an organisation, all of which requires common standards as well as new technology architectures to create convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT).

One critical and common chokepoint is a lack of understanding about device connection. Even if devices are connected, there are often no simple tools to manage the devices in order to extract and transmit the data out of one language into another; for example the transmission and translation of programmable logic controller (PLC) data into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Let’s look at the top five things to consider about the connection puzzle and how to weave them into your overall plan.

1. Getting things connected is easier said than done

During the discovery phase, many IIoT vendors gloss over this. Once manufacturers decide to take the plunge, they suddenly realise that connecting to all these different devices – legacy and modern, proprietary and open source – is really difficult, and results in significant delays which blow up the original projected timeframe.

If you’ve ever engineered systems on the plant floor, you know there are those things down on the plant floor that are a nightmare to connect to and integrate with a variety of other applications. A simple data collection task can end up taking weeks of custom coding.

2. Embrace complexity

There is no single standard way of connecting everything together. Over time, the industrial plant floor has evolved as technology has changed. For better or for worse, this advancement also means more complexity and it is not going away; in fact, it will increase.

As a result, plant floors have a mixture of device brands, different protocols, and different proprietary data sets. Embracing complexity means we accept there are a lot of moving parts in IIoT solutions that we need to link together for success and that requires a level of expertise which is better addressed as a holistic solution versus a complicated system of patch work.

3. Prepare for latency

One piece that addresses complexity is open platform communications (OPC). OPC was designed to provide industrial automation with a standard networking protocol that requires polling to receive data from devices. Polling is where the system must ask the device for data at a preset rate, such as once every second or once every half hour.

OPC requires multiple steps to send data; it is not point A to point B. A typical path looks like this: PLC […]

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Milton Keynes first city to get gigabit-speed fibre broadband from Vodafone and Cityfibre

By Zenobia Hegde

Milton Keynes is set to become a hi-tech city, with news that it is the first community to benefit from Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband under the new Vodafone and CityFibre Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) programme. The project will see a private investment from CityFibre of at least £40 million (€45.2943 million) into a state-of-the-art digital infrastructure for Milton Keynes.

Today’s news follows the announcement two months ago of a strategic partnership between Vodafone and CityFibre. Milton Keynes is the first location to be announced as part of this partnership, which will involve FTTP being made available in approximately 12 cities and reaching one million homes and business across the UK.

By using fibre-optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home to the Internet, Vodafone will be able to provide residents of Milton Keynes with extremely fast and reliable broadband services capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 mbps).

At that speed, hospitals will be able to download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in just 17 seconds instead of 11 minutes over a standard broadband connection and film fans will be able to download the latest 25 gigabyte Ultra-HD blockbuster in 8.5 minutes instead of 6 hours.

With population and employment growth and high levels of productivity, Milton Keynes has been identified by the Centre for Cities as one of five Fast Growth Cities in the UK, with significant potential for the future. Vodafone and CityFibre are committed to helping the city, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, to meet this potential through the provision of a future-proofed digital network on a par with the best connected cities in the world.

CityFibre will start construction of the new FTTP network in Milton Keynes in March this year. This will be an extension of its existing 160km full fibre network in the city. CityFibre will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly and minimise disruption. Once completed, nearly every business and home in Milton Keynes will have FTTP access.

Customers in Milton Keynes will be able to pre-register for the service from today from this link, with the first live services expected towards the end of 2018.

Milton Keynes was chosen as the first city because of the city’s strong tech sector, the council’s forward-looking commitment to ‘smart city’ initiatives, and the strength of its support for the project. The extent of CityFibre’s existing fibre network in the city and the absence of any alternative digital infrastructure, helped make Milton Keynes a prime candidate for selection.

Nick Jeffery

Cllr Peter Marland, leader at Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are delighted that Milton Keynes has been selected as the first city in this full fibre roll-out by Vodafone and CityFibre. As a modern city that prides itself on its smart city ambitions and projects, we are perfectly positioned to make the most of this major private investment in our digital infrastructure. We know that the city will get behind this project to ensure that every home and business unlocks their digital potential.”

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery commented: “Milton Keynes is fast becoming a UK […]

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IANA Functions Customer Survey Results Available

LOS ANGELES – 18 January 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) published the results of an annual survey that measures the perception of satisfaction among Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions customers regarding the services they receive. This survey is the first completed since the ICANN organization affiliate Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) started performing IANA functions on behalf of the ICANN org and accounts for transactions completed between September 2016 and August 2017.

The IANA Services Customer Survey measured satisfaction in relation to documentation quality, process quality, transparency, timeliness, accuracy, reporting, and courtesy. In the 2017 survey, customers identified accuracy as the most important measure of performance for the fifth consecutive year. Notably, 94 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with the accuracy of their transactions. Timeliness and process quality, were identified as the second and third most important measures by customers, both stayed consistent with the previous year with 89 percent satisfaction.

View the IANA Services Customer Satisfaction Survey Report [PDF, 1.33 MB].

While the results of the survey are generally positive, the ICANN org continues to explore opportunities for improvement, including on the survey format and methodology. In response to conversations with key stakeholders within the community, an option to select “not applicable” was added to each question in the survey and open-ended questions were introduced to better capture feedback. There were also improvements to capture the geographical location of the IANA functions customers, and to further segment the top-level domain (TLD) operators.

“Over the years we have refined our approach to surveying our customers, and we’ve received increasing feedback that it can be difficult to recall the details of their PTI interactions up to a year later. This feedback has prompted us to start planning to survey our customers shortly after our interactions, to obtain more timely and actionable feedback,” said Kim Davies, Vice President of IANA and President, PTI.

The ICANN org commissioned Ebiquity, a leading independent marketing and media consultancy, to administer the survey, analyze the results and compile an independent third-party report, to keep with PTI’s goal to improve transparency in its processes. This year, Ebiquity issued 4,070 invitations during the survey period to IANA functions customers — top-level domain operators, regional Internet registries, RFC authors and other protocol parameter registrants, Internet Engineering Steering Group members, DNSSEC KSK trusted community representatives, and .INT domain registrants — and 7 percent responded.

About ICANN

ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

Read more here:: www.icann.org/news.rss

What’s Behind Qualcomm’s Huge New Profit Promise

By Aaron Pressman

It seemed like quite the stunner: besieged mobile chipmaker Qualcomm promising this week that it could earn as much as $7.50 per share next year, almost twice what Wall Street expects. But dig into the numbers and the assumptions and the promises, and there may be less there than meets the eye.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf is already dancing as fast as he can. He has to revive the company’s core mobile business that has seen revenue shrink for three consecutive years. He’s also fighting off an unwanted $105 billion takeover from Broadcom and its hard charging CEO Hock Tan. Oh, and Mollenkopf still needs to close on Qualcomm’s own $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, and all the while engaging in a fierce legal battle with Apple, once the company’s best customer.

So there was Mollenkopf, looking sharp in a navy suit and blue tie, perched on a high stool alongside his top lieutenants on Tuesday, appearing in a surprise, half hour video presentation to investors. The CEO promised Qualcomm would bring in $6.75 to $7.50 per share in adjusted profit in 2019 (versus the current average analyst forecast of just $3.77 according to FactSet), largely due to the coming adoption of the next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, he said.

“Qualcomm today is at an important inflection point. Think about a world in which everything is connected…This is the world of 5G, which will impact almost every facet of people’s lives,” Mollenkopf explained. “Only a small handful of companies invest in the R&D that enables each generation of mobile technology. As we did with 3G and 4G, Qualcomm has been leading the development of 5G.”

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The aggressive stance perked up investors. Qualcomm


qcom



with its shares gaining almost 5% in mid-day trading on Wednesday. But at $68.57, the stock remains slightly below Broadcom’s current $70 offer price. It’s hard to tease out just what the price level means-some investors could be discounting the takeover bid because it would take a long time to get antitrust approvals, while other may believe Qualcomm will successfully fend off the suitors and bring in the larger profits it is promising.

Broadcom’s


avgo



stock price has risen about 1% since the presentation.

And the unwanted suitor also issued its own response to the presentation by saying that Qualcomm management had “repeatedly overpromised and under-delivered” on past financial forecasts. “Qualcomm’s approach is a transparent attempt to sell a quick fix by the Qualcomm Board of Directors and management team and an obvious tactic to deny its own stockholders the opportunity to receive a compelling premium for their shares and significant upside potential in the combined company,” the company said in a statement.

When analysts dug into Qualcomm’s 2019 profit promise, however, they discovered that it relied on several key assumptions that had nothing to do with 5G.

First, about $1.50 per share relied on completing the acquisition of NXP, which sells chips to automakers and makers of connected gadgets in the Internet of Things market. Though European regulators where NXP is based are reportedly on the verge of approving the transaction, some NXP


nxpi



stockholders have complained that Qualcomm’s $110 per share offer is too low and may have to be raised. If the deal doesn’t go through, Qualcomm said it could boost earnings per share via a massive stock buyback instead.

Analysts typically don’t include the profit contribution from a company being acquired until the deal is closed, so that component of Mollenkopf’s profit promise wasn’t really much of an upside surprise.

Another almost 60 cents would come from a new $1 billion cost-cutting program Mollenkopf unveiled on Tuesday without giving many details.

And, most uncertain of all, a final $1.50 to $2.25 would come from settling outstanding legal disputes with Apple


aapl



and another unidentified phonemaker. There has been no evidence that Apple is much interested in coming to the table without huge concessions from Qualcomm that may undermine its entire business of collecting royalties from licensing its technology to phonemakers, however.

Deduct those three less-than-definite components, and Qualcomm’s promise is equal to only about $3.18 per share in 2019, analyst Stacy Rasgon of Bernstein Research calculated–considerably less than Wall Street currently expects. That’s because Qualcomm may have to pay higher taxes under the new corporate tax rules adopted last year that limit the use of some kinds of international tax avoidance strategies. And Apple is likely to cut its purchases from Qualcomm further as it looks for alternative chip suppliers for the iPhone, Rasgon noted.

Even Qualcomm’s projected gains from 5G may be overly-optimistic, Tim Long, an analyst at BMO Capital wrote. “Management likely believes that the core mobile business will grow faster, but we are more cautious on 5G,” Long said in a report after the presentation. “Management expects (earnings per share) to grow at twice faster than revenues, though the company has struggled in the past growing EPS faster than sales.”

Qualcomm’s recent history doesn’t give investors much confidence, either, the analysts said. With the burgeoning legal battles over royalties paid by phonemakers and a slowing of sales growth of mobile phones, Qualcomm’s revenue has dropped from $26.5 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $5.27 at its peak in 2014 to $23.2 billion and $4.28 per share last year. Wall Street expects revenue to bottom out at $22.8 billion this year and then rebound to $23.4 billion next year, according to FactSet (not including the NXP deal, which would add another $9 billion or more of annual revenue). Adjusted earnings are forecast to hit a low of $3.48 this year and then rise to $3.77 in 2019.

But the fight with Broadcom, which has nominated its own slate of candidates for Qualcomm’s upcoming board election, seems to have lit a fire under underperforming Qualcomm, Nomura Instinet analyst Romit Shah noted.

“Qualcomm leadership is very smart, but over the last several years, the San Diego-based management team at times has been unassertive and complacent,” Shah wrote in a report on Tuesday. “Though now with Broadcom’s hostile takeover attempt analogous to a ‘gun to the head,’ we expect the company to more aggressively focus on driving shareholder value in order to remain a standalone franchise.”

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Enterprises look to monitor, manage and optimise the IoT ecosystem

By IoT Now Magazine

Nitesh Arora, the head of marketing at Cloudleaf, reveals the benefits of the divide and conquer approach to digitally transforming complex enterprise operations

Global adoption of industrial IoT hardware, connectivity and services is soaring. In fact, over the next few years, investment in IoT technologies will experience a whopping 15.6% CAGR worldwide, reaching projected spending of US$1.29tn by 2020. Nowhere is this more true than in the manufacturing sector, where the IoT is helping enterprises to digitally transform their legacy plant operations. The potential benefits are compelling, including near-zero downtime operations, sixsigma certified product quality, and streamlined asset maintenance. To put things in perspective, manufacturing related IoT spending alone, accounted for US$178bn in 2016 – more than spending in transportation and utilities, combined.

It’s understandable, therefore, that the manufacturing sector is keen to embrace IoT in order to take advantage of obvious benefits. These include addressing the challenges of total cost of ownership (TCO), competition, complexity and risk, but increasingly, early-movers are also using it as a vehicle for generating growth and as a hedge against increasing global competitive pressures. According to Vernon Turner, an IoT research fellow and senior vice president at IDC: “investments by China and the United States in IoT solutions is driving these two countries to account for double-digit annual growth rates and over half of the IoT spending.”

On paper, this all seems perfectly reasonable and straightforward, but in practice, manufacturers are finding that adoption is a relative and loaded concept. Implementing IoT across the enterprise ecosystem in one fell swoop is a tricky business and better left to larger, well diversified outfits able to absorb front-loaded costs and risks. Instead the trend is in smaller compartmentalised industrial IoT (IIoT) implementations that solve a narrow set of business challenges, rather than trying to boil all oceans at once. By adopting a disciplined implement, measure, optimise and replicate approach, manufacturers are able to take short manageable sprints towards solving industrial process automation challenges in a scalable and purposeful way.

The promise of IoT to provide powerful cross-boundary visibility, real-time monitoring and granular control across the entire manufacturing value-chain of people, assets and workflows, is generally well understood. But the real challenges are the next step: How do manufacturers choose an IoT provider? How do they execute? And how do they measure success, scale growth and replicate their gains? Cloudleaf was founded to specifically answer these questions and provide solutions that elegantly solve real-world business problems in manufacturing and distribution, pharma and life sciences, and other process automation industries. Our solutions are designed to simplify the manufacturing processes and solve emerging asset and workflow challenges in a measurable, value-added and sustainable way.

Increasingly, we are finding that manufacturers are investing in IoT technologies that bolster their manufacturing operations management (MOM), enterprise asset management (EAM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) capabilities. In fact the push right now is to get a better understanding of all the assets, processes and skilled labour in play on the plant-floor and at the operational level of the enterprise. […]

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Driving the transition to Smart Transport Networks

By Zenobia Hegde

Global surveillance solutions provider Synectics has published a white paper to help transport operators gear up for an increasingly urbanised future. With estimates suggesting that 70% of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities in just three years’ time – the free resource aims to help operators handle and secure ever-increasing urban flows, and implement significant safety improvements, towards the goal of a Smart Transport Network.

The Synectics white paper – entitled ‘Smart Transport Networks: Integration, Interoperability and IoT’ ‒ looks at how evolving surveillance, data management, and edge-device technologies can be used to unify disparate technologies and systems, to create Smart Transport Networks, meet Smart City objectives and deliver connected services to customers.

The paper helps operators make the most of current data, surveillance and safety assets by providing practical advice about integrating both IP and analogue technologies, particularly those responsible for the operation of bus, rail, and light rail transport networks. It also illustrates potential customer improvements by taking the reader on a fully-connected passenger journey, highlighting where converged technology can play an important role such as sending alerts to an individual’s phone if their luggage is unexpectedly moved.

Iain Stringer, divisional director – Mobile Systems at Synectics said: “Transport is perhaps the most critical of all urban services given the imperative need to maintain the flow of people and goods. As our transport systems get busier, technology frameworks that unify systems and technologies are providing live, 360-degree oversight of journeys, as well as a platform to communicate more effectively with passengers and third-party operators.

“Not only can this streamline operations by delivering all relevant information at a glance, such as during an incident, but it can also help operators to reduce costs and more efficiently handle information requests from Police and other authorities.

“This white paper explains the practical steps towards systems convergence for those charged with the management of transport or surveillance data.”

Synectics designs and deploys field-proven systems for both infrastructure (stations, stops, control rooms) and on-vehicle (trams, trains, buses, coaches), making the company one of only a handful of suppliers able to deliver end-to-end, surveillance and security solutions spanning all aspects of transport.

Every year its solutions protect over 1 billion passengers travelling on one of Europe’s busiest metro networks, and over 3 billion worldwide, providing Synectics with a frontline view of changing industry requirements and expectations.

For more information on Synectics’ surveillance solutions for transport operators, please click here.

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