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Energy storage can improve the delivery of smart energy solutions in smart cities, according to Navigant Research

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the relationship between energy storage and smart cities, providing an overview of relevant applications as well as drivers and barriers.

Smart energy technologies are increasingly expected to help address the sustainability needs of smart cities to reduce carbon-intensive peak energy use and to develop resilient energy systems.

“Smart energy technologies such as energy storage will increasingly be called on to address the sustainability needs of the urban energy transformation now underway,” says William Tokash, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “Specifically, energy storage is now poised to support the delivery of low carbon DER to reduce peak energy use and improve the resilience capabilities of urban landscapes by enhancing access to reliable electricity supply.”

According to the report, energy storage has experienced significant growth in the past 2 years due in part to its unique ability to support the deployment of flexible energy capacity. The emergence of energy storage’s ability to make DER more flexible, less carbon-intensive, and more resilient is redefining how smart energy solutions can support the sustainability needs of an integrated smart city technology and solutions platform.

The report, Smart Cities and Energy Storage, examines the role energy storage can play in smart cities and how smart cities can drive the deployment of energy storage. The study provides an overview of energy storage applications within smart cities, including drivers and barriers for energy storage, and discusses how energy storage works within an integrated energy as a service framework. It also analyses the role of energy storage in the delivery of low carbon peak energy and improving resilience.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Navigant Research report shows global Revenue for Lighting as a Service is expected to reach $2.6 bn by 2026

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for lighting as a service (LaaS) solutions in commercial buildings, providing market forecasts for revenue through 2026, as well as details on related services and the competitive landscape.

LaaS is the third-party management of a lighting system, including additional maintenance, financial, technical, or operational services. As more lighting products and controls come to market, LaaS is expected to experience a boost from customers who need assistance in choosing and maintaining up-to-date technologies that can provide cost savings to their businesses.

“We are seeing a shift in the LaaS market from a traditional financing model to an increased number of turnkey services, which provide the customer with a full-scale offering from audit and design to installation to management and maintenance of the system,” says Krystal Maxwell, research analyst with Navigant Research.

“The as a service business model, which shifts business spending from CapEx to OpEx, allows companies to focus on their core business areas and ensures the outsourced business (LaaS) is being kept up to date with market developments by the service provider, especially through the growing number of turnkey services.”

Krystal Maxwell

According to the report, this shift in business spending is the beginning of a trend that is anticipated to become more common over the next 10 years. Additional market growth is expected to be driven by a maturing LED market, interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and increases to the bottom line.

The report, Lighting as a Service, examines the LaaS market for commercial buildings, with a focus on financing, maintenance, and turnkey services. The study addresses market issues, including key drivers and barriers, related to LaaS solutions. Global market forecasts for LaaS revenue, segmented by service type, building type, and region, extend through 2026. The report also examines the key services related to LaaS, as well as the competitive landscape. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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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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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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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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Thundersoft Introduces E-Cockpit Solutions with Embedded Vision and Speech AI

By IoT – Internet of Things

Thundersoft introduced an industry leading e-cockpit solution built on Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820A platform with BlackBerry’s QNX® Hypervisor 2.0 technology, which will be demonstrated at Qualcomm’s automotive booth at LVCC North Hall, Booth #5616 at the 2018 International CES in Las Vegas. The company will have an invitation-only showcase of the new e-cockpit, a new on-device […]

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