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Hybrid smartwatches to make up over 50% of smartwatch shipments by 2022, as fashion beats function

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report by Juniper Research found that hybrid smartwatches such as Fossil Q and Nokia Steel, which appear to be analogue watches but integrate some smartwatch functionality, will make up over 50% of the smartwatches market in 2022.

This means that nearly 80 million hybrid smartwatches will be shipped by 2022, up 460% from an estimated 14 million in 2017. However, digital display smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit Ionic, will increase by a more conservative 160%.

For more vendor insights, download Juniper’s complimentary whitepaper, Why Most Smartwatches ‘Fail’.

Smartwatches: A market of many niches

The new research, Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2018-2022, found that slower growth for digital display smartwatches has caused several manufacturers, like Motorola, Huawei and Sony, to leave the space. Those that remain are pivoting towards specific use cases, chief among them fitness, which Apple, Casio, Samsung and others have emphasised strongly in recent releases.

“The smartwatch market is refining itself into a series of specific use-cases”, remarked research author James Moar. “This is having an impact on every aspect of smartwatches, from their design for increasingly specialised uses to their sale in specific retailers. While most vendors cannot necessarily hope to reach a broad coverage, the industry as a whole is here to stay.”

Despite the renewed interest in hybrids, Juniper expects individual players to produce few smartwatches, with hybrid watch manufacturers generally shipping less than 2 million devices annually. Fossil, having released many display and hybrid smartwatches throughout its portfolio, is the exception here, and is forecast to ship over 6 million smartwatches annually by 2020.

More use cases, more connectivity

The report also found that different connectivity technologies are becoming more prevalent in a variety of smartwatches, with GPS expected to be present in nearly 50% of all smartwatches by 2022. In comparison, NFC’s growth will be small, as they are currently locked into specific ecosystems. Juniper do not expect this to change in the foreseeable future.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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NCR and PTC join forces to create total premise service offer

By Zenobia Hegde

NCR Corporation, a global provider in omni-channel solutions, and PTC announced that they have joined forces to create a next generation service offering that spans a store’s entire operation. The new digital connected services enable retailers, financial institutions, and restaurant chains to optimise the total cost of ownership of their IT infrastructure, as well as their administrative spend. PTC and NCR will be showcasing the new offering at NRF 2018 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, January 14-16.

Enterprises have to converge physical and digital channels to provide the continuous engagement and experience that their customers expect. By outsourcing store IT asset management, combined with near real-time transparency and insights, NCR enables retailers, quick service restaurants, and financial institutions to drive consumer centric outcomes.

“Having an IoT centric platform that can scale with the complex needs of secured ubiquitous connectivity is key in driving digital connected experiences,” said Venkat Ramamurthy, general manager, Digital Connected Services Portfolio and Commercialisation, NCR Corporation.

“Adding PTC’s ThingWorx platform to the NCR portfolio strengthens the services lifecycle management capabilities to be more proactive and predictive in nature. This enables our customers near real-time insights to help minimise their IT spend and elevate their consumer experience.”

NCR has one of the world’s largest services data warehouses with the intelligence of servicing more than 2.5 million devices from over 300 vendors. By integrating PTC’s technology, NCR can now connect all active and passive devices across the front and back end of a store into its database and provide real time insights through advanced analytics to help optimise spend and improve decision making precision.

Darren Glenister

“We are excited to continue our relationship with NCR and to collaborate on the next generation of IoT offerings for the retail and hospitality industry,“ said Darren Glenister, vice president of innovation, retail, PTC. “With the IoT, retailers have the opportunity to shape the future of retail and optimise the consumer experience. We look forward to working with NCR to drive the convergence of physical and digital commerce.”

The selection of ThingWorx continues the true enterprise relationship between NCR and PTC. In addition to ThingWorx, NCR uses PTC’s Creo software to help with product design, modeling and simulation and PTC’s Servigistics solution to plan and deliver service parts.

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IoT Tech Expo: Leading IoT Event Announces Its 2018 World Series!

By IoT – Internet of Things

The World’s Leading IoT Event Series will bring together key industries from across the globe for 2 days of top level content and discussion. Exploring the latest innovations within the Internet of Things and covering the impact it has on many industries including Manufacturing, Transport, Supply Chain, Healthcare, Insurance, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive, this […]

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Toyota to Introduce Amazon Alexa in its Vehicles

By IoT – Internet of Things

Toyota announced at CES 2018 it will introduce Amazon Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent cloud based voice service, within select Toyota and Lexus vehicles with Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 in 2018. Additional models will be available in 2019. This feature will allow Toyota and Lexus customers in the United States […]

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2018 CES: Ride-share fleets to map cities around the world through Mobileye 8 Connect

By Zenobia Hegde

At CES 2018, Mobileye Aftermarket announced a series of partnerships and collaborations with ride-share leaders, municipalities and government administrations that will enable the mapping of city streets around the world, including London and New York, through the deployment of Mobileye 8 Connect™ in thousands of for-hire vehicles.

Mobileye 8 Connect™, Mobileye’s next-generation aftermarket collision avoidance system powered by the EyeQ4®, is capable of collecting dynamic data to make cities smarter, safer and Autonomous Ready™. Beginning early this year, the Mobileye 8 Connect-equipped fleets will harvest valuable information on city streets and infrastructure to create high-definition crowdsourced maps through Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM) – a critical enabler of full autonomy.

New partnerships using data to build HD maps and enable smart cities include:

Gett: The global on-demand mobility company is expected to equip approximately 500 London black cabs with Mobileye 8 Connect. In addition to important safety features, the technology will be used to create the first HD map of London through REM.
Buggy TLC Leasing: The large lessor of for-hire vehicles servicing popular ride-share apps such as Uber is expected to outfit approximately 2,000 New York City-based vehicles with Mobileye Aftermarket. Through the REM system, data will be collected resulting in a high-definition map of NYC.
Düsseldorf, Germany: The city of Düsseldorf is expected to equip 750 vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect. Financed by the German federal government, this project will test models of data collection and investigate the suitability of Düsseldorf’s existing infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and connected driving.
Country of Spain: Mobileye and Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) will collaborate to enhance road safety and prepare Spain’s infrastructure and regulatory policy for autonomous vehicles.
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD insurance: The business insurance provider is expected to equip approximately 1,000 to 2,000 trucks with Mobileye 8 Connect to reduce damage and claims costs. Data collected through the embedded REM capability of these systems will result in a rapidly refreshing HD map of the areas where these vehicles operate.

Launching this year, Mobileye 8 Connect offers an increased level of safety, connectivity and data-collection capabilities to empower management of fleets and city assets on a much larger scale. Building on insights and expertise, the improved algorithms and new suite of safety tools of Mobileye 8 Connect bring collision avoidance safety and smart city data collection to the next level.

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Mobileye and NavInfo to bring REM localisation to China

By Zenobia Hegde

Mobileye, an Intel company, the global provider in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving technologies, and NavInfo, the autonomous driving solution providers in the China market with core businesses in HAD mapping and high accuracy positioning, announced they have agreed to a collaboration intended to build and distribute Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM®) product in China. Specifically, the partnership’s purpose is to use Mobileye’s REM technology to generate a RoadBook™ in China that is integrated and aligned with NavInfo’s mapping solutions.

Mobileye’s REM system is a cost-efficient solution to enable autonomous vehicles (AV) to localise themselves much more accurately than traditional approaches can support. Low bandwidth, anonymised data packets from vehicles equipped with front-facing cameras are used to crowd-source a RoadBook of drivable paths, including road/lane boundaries and the stationary landmarks used as reference points.

This is a critical sensory input to automated vehicles all the way from Level 2+ systems to Level 5. This innovative, low-cost solution to one of autonomous driving’s largest challenges (precision localisation/mapping) has garnered significant interest from OEMs and mapping companies worldwide, and through this arrangement will now be coming to China.

NavInfo’s skills and products are highly complementary to Mobileye in terms of productising and distributing REM in China. The RoadBook contains no navigational or geographic information, therefore it needs to be delivered as a layer within NavInfo’s map products. NavInfo software and other technology can also support alignment of the rapidly updating RoadBook inside NavInfo’s standard map and Highly Automated Driving (HAD) map. Distribution of this aligned product will enable future AV systems in China to gain the localisation capabilities needed for real automation.

“Mobileye has a history of pursuing partnerships with innovative companies which we believe results in faster-to-market products that support the pillars of safety and economic scalability,” said professor Amnon Shashua, CEO and CTO of Mobileye. “We are very pleased to announce our relationship with NavInfo as the latest example. NavInfo’s technology and market position make it a natural fit to assist in building RoadBook in China, and thereby accelerating the next steps of autonomous driving.”

“We are always excited about joining forces and uniting market leaders to fuel innovation and inspiration across the world,” said Patrick Cheng, CEO, NavInfo. “We truly believe with Mobileye’s vision and technology, together we can offer state-of-the-art solutions to connect our customers with best-in-class services and take the autonomous driving industry to the next level.”

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Robots will make logistics 10 times faster once L4MS has done its job

By Zenobia Hegde

The European Union (EU) is offering smaller manufacturers €8 million to close the funding gap and make their logistics 10 times faster. Better still, says Nick Booth, the money is ear-marked for spending on mobile robotics systems. This ‘open call’ is more like an open goal, surely.
The new Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs initiative (L4MS) is supported by the European Commission and promises to ‘accelerate’ the automation of intra-factory logistics of small- to medium-sized manufacturers.

It will achieve this by completely digitalising logistics automation in factories, allowing suppliers to create logistics systems that are 10 times faster and cheaper than now. But will L4MS really open the door to robotics, artificial intelligence and virtualisation?

According to project co-ordinator Ali Muhammad in Finland, L4MS will work with no infrastructure change, no production downtime and no in-house expertise.

Ali Muhammad

“Investment in logistics automation will become extremely attractive for European manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps,” says Muhammad.

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics, which is half the production cost, but will also provide ‘unprecedented flexibility’ on the factory floor for batch production.

There’s more on the web site about the OPIL (Open Platform for Innovations in Logistics) and the 3D simulator that will virtualise the intra-factory logistics automation.

Big manufacturers are racing ahead as they can quickly adopt mobile robots to increase productivity. Meanwhile, the number of SMEs using advanced technologies is less than 2%. The L4MS initiative aims to raise their game. The first step is to help them to visualise the improvements that could be made – which is where the 3D simulator does its work. In tandem with an IoT platform, they can then automate much of the transport of goods and materials between factories and warehouses. This will speed up the process, improve safety and cut costs.

With the help of L4MS this ‘fork lift upgrade’ becomes a lot less painful and risky. In doing so it creates more competition in the IoT of Transport, which could otherwise become the domain of the behemoths. Which would ultimately stifle innovation.

Nick Booth

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics – making up half of any manufacturer’s production costs – but create the flexibility needed to compete. Wasn’t flexibility the one major advantage that SMEs had over giant corporations? Automation threatens to neutralise that, which is a shame because we need SMEs to keep stoking up the competition.

The theory of the L4MS scheme is sound, says Nigel Smith, CEO of TM Robotics, because it is harder for SMEs to automate because of the investment needed. You need £50,000 (€56,600) at least and funding comes hard in the current climate. It’s the inflexibility of the big system integrators or robot providers that’s worse, says Smith. Finding a supplier that suits the SME’s production line needs, rather than dictates them, is the crucial battle in the war on costs.

So, it’s the people that may be intransigent. If only there was a way to automate their jobs!

By Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer

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AI-Infused Beauty Products Enthrall at CES

By Alex Woodie

You may use shampoo infused with a certain blend of proteins and moisturizers, but is your shampoo data-driven? Can your bathroom mirror detect unsightly wrinkles on your face, and recommend a product to cover them? These are some examples of how artificial intelligence is being adopted in beauty products introduced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Here are five new beauty products introduced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas this week that are using data, artificial intelligence, and IoT tech in creative, innovative, and sometimes creepy new ways:

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Kohler received a lot of press for Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, a connected vanity that runs Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant technology.

Users can ask their smart mirror to stream music, give them weather updates, and do other voice-enabled tasks without requiring another device on the countertop. They can also use voice commands to control light settings with the LED lights, including putting it into “shaving mode.” Alternatively, customers can use the Kohler Konnect app to issue commands.

Kohler’s smart mirror is part of a series of connected bathroom products from the company

The 145-year-old manufacturer from Kohler, Wisconsin actually has plans to bring your entire bathroom into the Internet age. According to CNET, the company just opened a Smart Home Experience Lab where it’s building showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets that connect to a home network.

The idea is to allow users to turn on water and flush toilets using voice-controlled home assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa but also Apple’s HomeKit Siri and Google Assistant. The new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which reportedly debuts with a price tag of $999, is the only Kohler devices that actually houses Alexa at this time.

Hairy Algorithms

Henkel debuted SalonLab Analyzer, a handheld device that uses visible and near-infrared sensors to measure the condition, true color, and moisture level of hair. The data is then analyzed by a “proprietary algorithm” developed in association with Schwarzkopf Professional to recommend the optimal shampoo for a person’s actual hair.

Henkel uses “proprietery algorithms” to analyze hair data collected from its SalonLab Analyzer

The results of the algorithm are then fed into a shampoo-mixing machine that actually mixes the optimal blend of ingredients for that person’s hair. (We assume it also auto-generates conditioner, but there was no confirmation of this at press time.)

The approach heralds the arrival of data-driven hair analysis and optimized hair products, according to the company.

“With SalonLab, we are reinventing hair care with a hyper-personalized solution empowered by a holistic application of connected devices,” stated Marie-Eve Schroeder, chief marketing officer at Henkel Beauty Care, in a press release.

No pricing was available for SalonLab Analyzer, which is expected to debut in Europe later this year.

It’s Too Cold, Siri

Meanwhile, Moen used the CES 2018 show to announce that it’s adding voice control to its smart shower system, dubbed U by Moen.

Users can initiate a nice, warm shower in a hands-free fashion thanks to Siri integration in its U by Moen line of shower controllers

When Moen’s new shower launched last year, it gave users the capability to control the temperature using the U by Moen app on a smart phone. But thanks to the new integration with smart assistants users will be able to voice their temperature preference verbally.

U by Moen is now integrated with Alexa and will be hooked into Siri HomeKit later this year. When it’s hooked up to Siri, users will be able to pre-warm their shower with a voice command in their iOS device.

U by Moen will let users set up to 12 customized shower settings in their iPhone app, and users can also control temperatures with the five-inch LCD screen. The price is $1,160 for a two-outlet model and $2,200 for a four-outlet model.

‘Best Skin Ever’

You may have heard of customer 360 initiatives that seek to provide more data on customers. Now Neutrogena gives us Skin360 to provide us with more data on our skin, with the hope of achieving “your best skin ever.”

The Neutrogena SkinScanner features a 30x zoom lens

The Skin360 product costs just $50, and includes the “SkinScanner,” a close-up camera lens that attaches to your iPhone and functions like a microscope for your skin. The images are uploaded to the Skin360 app, which uses computer vision algorithms to detect moisture level, pores, and lines.

The Skin360 app uses the results of those algorithms to rate your skin on a scale of 1 to 100. It also generates recommendations for how you can improve your skin quality, which (not surprisingly) involves buying Neutrogena skincare products.

Wrinkly Recommendations

Also making a splash at CES 2018 is the HiMirror Mini, a new smart mirror designed to help users assess their skin’s condition, pick out makeup, and “beautify with intelligence,” the company says.

When it ships later this year, the HiMirror Mini will be able to detect features of the user’s face. Or as the Telegraph puts it, the HiMirror Mini “will criticise a user’s face and pick out flaws, spots, and wrinkles for them.”

The HiMirror uses a camera and “cloud-based big data” system to detect features and make skincare recommendations

The company says its mirrors “provides tips and recommendations on products that have worked for people with your skin type in environments similar to yours, based on data gathered via our anonymous cloud-based big data system.”

And with a built-in Alexa assistant, it can also give users the weather and other information.

Consumer and electronic goods makers are adding AI to their products at an unprecedented rate. A Samsung executive was heard saying that, by 2020, every Samsung product will have AI and IoT connectivity. An LG executive also said that the company is “adding AI to all of our appliances.”

Analysts predict that in just two years, the average home will have more than 35 smart devices connected to the network, and that the industry will generate more than $100 billion. And if the products introduced at CES 2018 this week are any indication, we’ll all be much happier and better looking too.

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CES 2018: Smartvue IoT Platform Removes Challenges of Enabling IoT Video

By IoT – Internet of Things

Smartvue, the largest private IoT video services provider, unveiled at CES 2018 its newest IoT video services platform, Cloudvue version 12.2.2. Businesses are investing in IoT across all markets and video offers new revenue opportunities from residential and commercial to industrial and smart city markets. The key challenges preventing IoT video adoption are speed to […]

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Campari America taps Thinfilm’s NFC mobile marketing solution to drive eCommerce

By Zenobia Hegde

Thin Film Electronics ASA, a provider in NFC (near field communication) mobile marketing and smart packaging solutions, announced Campari America as a new customer. Campari America is using Thinfilm’s NFC mobile marketing solution to enable consumers to purchase its spirits brands by tapping their smartphone to a ‘connected’ refrigerator magnet.

Once tapped, the magnets – which feature Thinfilm’s NFC SpeedTap tags and fully integrate with its CNECT cloud-based platform – take consumers to a product page on Drizly, the popular beer, wine, and spirits consumer-delivery platform. Consumers are then able to add the item to their cart and immediately check out, all in one cohesive mobile experience.

Click here to view the press release published by Campari America.

The Campari collaboration marks a strong start to 2018 for Thinfilm and builds on the momentum the Company established through the fourth quarter of last year.

Key announcements, transactions, and updates include the following:

Growing customer base – Thinfilm now has a total of over two dozen in-market customers covering a range of vertical markets, including wine & spirits, craft beer, beverages, OTC pharma, cosmetics, tobacco, consumer electronics, and specialty foods
Compelling case studies – Thinfilm has now published four case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of using NFC for mobile marketing; consumer tapping activity is on the rise and NFC has been shown to outperform conventional marketing channels like social platforms and display banners
CNECT platform enhancements – Version 2.0 of the software is targeted for release in Q2 and will feature functionality enhancements and a new user interface; as of year-end 2017, 441 companies had registered on the cloud-based portal
More conversion partners and standard NFC conversion options – Thinfilm continues to add to its list of qualified conversion partners around the globe; the Company now offers more than a dozen NFC tag conversion options, including converted labels, folded cartons, ElastiTags, conventional hang tags, drink coasters, bottle neck-collars, coupons, magnets, and direct mailers

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