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Skills shortage in the agritech sector holding back IoT innovation, finds Inmarsat

By Zenobia Hegde

The potential for Internet of Things (IoT) technology to drive innovation, efficiency, and increased productivity in the agricultural sector is at risk, as agritech businesses must urgently upskill current employees and embark on recruitment drives to ensure they have the capabilities to deliver the technology. According to independent research commissioned by Inmarsat, while the vast majority of agritech companies are moving towards IoT, a significant proportion lack the staff and skills needed to take advantage of the technology.

Market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large agritech businesses across the globe and found that while over 46% of agritech businesses reported full deployment of IoT solutions and a further 16% have initiated a partial deployment, many currently lack the skills needed to do so effectively. Additionally, agritech businesses require an uplift in skills at the strategic level, where 65% of respondents identified a shortfall, as well as the management and delivery of IoT deployment, where over 50% of respondents said they lacked staff.

The research also revealed the specific IoT skillsets that agritech companies are lacking. 55% of agritech companies reported a shortage in cyber security personnel, with analytical and sscience skills coming in second in demand at 53%.

Chris Harry-Thomas, director of sector development agriculture, Inmarsat, commented on the findings: “IoT is the frontline of the Fourth Agricultural Revolution, providing a digital nerve system with a network of connected and automated devices and sensors. Farmers are leveraging these technologies to dramatically improve the efficiency and precision of their operations, automating irrigation systems so that water is only delivered to where it is needed, and optimising fertilisation to improve yields.

“The automation of these processes is reducing the need for manual intervention on the ground, but creating new requirements for staff skilled in areas such as data analysis and cyber security which, as we have seen from our research, the industry is currently lacking.

“With the digital transformation in full swing, many traditionally mechanical-physical industries, such as agriculture, find themselves in a race to recruit digital specialists to support their IoT ambitions. Competing with the likes of Silicon Valley tech companies for skilled staff will be a challenge for the agritech industry, but as these businesses look to take on the burden of data security to build market share in the agriculture sector, it is critical that they recruit staff with the capability to do so.”

Chris concluded by stating that forming strategic partnerships with third parties can help agritech companies to bridge the gaps in their IoT skills portfolios: “Argitech businesses must upskill their existing staff and attract new talent if they are to develop successful IoT solutions.

However, longer term, the focus needs to be on establishing strategic partnerships with IoT specialists. With greater economies of scale, specialist partners can draw together complex IoT solutions across multiple communication networks, including satellite and cellular data, to deploy sophisticated, automated IoT networks across the agricultural industry.”

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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Smartrac showcases what the ‘Internet of Your Things’ has in store

By Zenobia Hegde

At Retail’s BIG Show in New York, Smartrac is not simply showing the way toward the ‘Internet of Your Things’. Together with its partners Blue Bite and Temera, the RFID and IoT pacesetter is also presenting innovative solutions and real-world examples of how brand owners and retailers can utilise it here and now.

Once products are digitised via embedded RFID technology and the digital IDs associated with the tags are securely married with the product data, the stage is set for the profitable utilisation of the newly created ‘Internet of Your Things’. On the occasion of NRF’s annual event in New York, January 14-16, 2018, Smartrac’s booth (#1675) is the showcase for several real-life applications.

Improving consumer experience

Digital content provision specialist Blue Bite is demonstrating solutions it has developed for many leading brands like Spyder and Dyne. These solutions leverage Smartrac’s NFC technology and provide enhanced product value and an improved consumer experience.

“We are excited to be featured as part of the Smartrac NRF showcase. In terms of a product’s full lifecycle from concept to production, and from a store into a user’s hands, our combined ability to provide a fully integrated, end-to-end solution is something truly unique in the marketplace”, says Mikhail Damiani, CEO and co-founder of Blue Bite.

Simplifying logistics and production processes

Luxury software applications specialist Temera is presenting an array of latest solutions tailored to the needs of the high fashion and luxury markets, for instance Interactive Fitting Room and Digital Warranty. Temera joined forces with Smartrac almost one year ago.

“It is our pleasure to join Smartrac at Retail’s BIG Show and to showcase our services and solutions that simplify our customers’ logistics and production processes, while providing anti-counterfeiting functionality and end-customer market analysis”, says Arcangelo D’Onofrio, CEO and founder of Temera.

Redefining product authentication

Besides its own Experiences customer loyalty and engagement solution, Smartrac is providing live demos of its comprehensive product authentication solution called Proofs. This solution leverages innovative NFC tags that provide a proof of authentication.

Amir Mobayen

Each time an NFC-enabled mobile device is tapped on these tags, one-time authentication tokens are generated and transmitted as a new, unique portion of a URL. Since that link cannot exist twice, it is for the very first time possible to identify copied links. To leverage that ability, Smartrac has created a Web Service that verifies the tokenised web link and hence empowers brand owners to react appropriately.

“During Retail’s BIG Show in New York, Smartrac and its partners are convincingly substantiating the claim that the ‘Internet of Your Things” not only exists, but that it also pays off for our customers. The possibilities for its utilisation are truly limitless, and we invite brand owners and retailers to visit our stand and to benefit greatly from gaining deep insights into our offerings”, says Amir Mobayen, chief revenue officer at Smartrac.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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LG Innotek offers the future of retail IoT solution

By IoT – Internet of Things

LG Innotek recently announced it will participate in ‘NRF Retail’s Big Show 2018′ (NRF 2018) at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from January 14 to 16. NRF 2018 is the one of the biggest retail trade fairs and it receives participants from 500 distribution companies and about 95 countries around […]

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Data, dashboards and decisions

By IoT Now Magazine

Cloudleaf enterprise solutions orchestrate the flow of assets across the three dimensions of data, dashboards and decisions, writes Nitesh Arora, the head of marketing at the company

Cloudleaf IoT solutions are predicated on the most robust, secure and interoperable technologies available today. However, our story doesn’t end there. Although we’re undeniably a tech company, our solutions approach is decidedly non-technical; we view technology as the means not the end. In fact, we can extend this idea by saying that, for us, the success of an IoT implementation is measured, not by the number of sensors or cloud analytics apps, but by the degree to which it provides sustainable and measurable value to society, the environment and on the bottom line. By adopting a Three Ds solutions approach, we’re able offer rich live data, accessible from intuitive mobile dashboards from which operations managers can quickly make critical resourcing and prioritisation decisions.

Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s come back down to earth and talk nuts and bolts in terms that both engineers and everyday folk can understand. If you read our other article on page 16 of this issue, you’ll get a good idea of how the Cloudleaf Sensor Network helps those running industrial operations derive maximum business value in the areas of:

Asset utilisation – Serialised management, location tracking and monitoring, utilisation, inventory control and dwell-time management
Factory operations – Product quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), audit and regulatory compliance, safety and loss management, work node control and work in progress (WIP)
Complex assemblies – Multi site/party workflows, supplier conformance, on-time delivery and penalty mitigation
Condition monitoring – Predictive/prescriptive management, environmental monitoring and fault management

So let’s get further down into the weeds and talk about our tech.

The Cloudleaf family of products is made up from a collection of end-to-end hardware, connectivity, cloud services and apps that solve distributed manufacturing challenges and harmonise workflow relationships between people, systems and things. Our endpoint sensors, zone sensors and gateways form an intelligent-mesh that orchestrates the flow of realtime asset data, elegantly bridging the operation technology (OT) domain processes with back-office information technology (IT) business systems. We call this the CloudLeaf Sensor Fabric. Let’s take a closer look at the components:

Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric The Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric is composed of patented, easyto-deploy, purpose-built and location aware sensors and gateways, to enable smarter operations, with indoor, outdoor and in-transit coverage.

Cloudleaf Sensors – Long-range sensors that securely collect and share asset location and condition data over our patented Bluetooth Smart technology.

Each Cloudleaf-enabled asset in the Sensor Fabric generates a unique digital fingerprint with location and contextual metadata (such as temperature, shock, vibration and more). More assets-sensors results in the more accurate data and better intelligence. There is virtually no limit to the number, class, location or mobility of assets that can join the fabric. Moving containers of raw materials, lab samples, sub-assemblies, components, finished products, high-value handheld tools and fixed industrial robots are all excellent candidate asset types. And given a two-to-five year battery life, long-range Bluetooth connectivity and sensor provisioning from the […]

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The Best of TeamARIN: 2017

By Erin Scherer

2017 was an amazing year here at TeamARIN! We collaborated with guest bloggers from the community and subject matter experts inside ARIN to bring you lots of great content. As we look forward to a brand new year, we wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the most popular posts from 2017.

We’re always looking to improve what we do here and we wanted to share what we’re doing right – according to you! So, we rounded up the top ten posts our readers found to be the most helpful or interesting from this past year on TeamARIN. Enjoy!


16 Years with IPv6 – Torbjörn Eklöv, Co-Founder and Owner of Interlan, was an early adopter of IPv6. He shares the benefits of IPv6 adoption and offers advice to anyone who wants to enable IPv6 in their network with a static configuration from an ISP.

Tech industry Takes Strides Toward IPv6 – Looking back over the past year, we’ve seen some exciting news of increased IPv6 activity from major tech companies. While 2015 marked the year the ARIN region ran out of IPv4, 2016 marked the year more companies made a push toward its successor.

12 Steps to Enable IPv6 in an ISP Network – Jordi Palet Martinez summarizes the 12 fundamental steps necessary to achieve native IPv6 support and maintain IPv4 as a transparent service.

IPv6 is Not Optional – Mattias Lindgren, Senior Network Engineer at the University of Colorado Denver, details how he spearheaded the effort to enable IPv6 across two campuses and explains why adopting IPv6 is no longer optional.

Stop Procrastinating and Do IPv6 – Mike Milne of Carleton University takes us through the IPv6 planning process, highlighting why working on a complete end-to-end network design is enjoyable.

Let’s Talk About Quick and Easy Way to SWIP – James Ricewick, Resource Analyst, talks about a new, quick and easy method of submitting reassignments from your ARIN Online account.

Stay on the Cutting Edge with IPv6 – Rob Carsey explains how Monmouth University went from IPv6 zero to IPv6 hero in less than one summer and why IPv6 is important to stay on the cutting edge in the education field.

Using the Market to Obtain or Release IPv4 – A few pointers on how to navigate the IPv4 transfer market, whether you are interested in obtaining or releasing IPv4 address space.

Why Does DNS Security Matter? – Securing DNS is critical to ensuring online safety. We discuss the importance of DNSSEC and share the services ARIN offers to help you secure your reverse zones.

Implementing RPKI: It’s Easier Than You Think – Andrew Gallo, Principal IT Architect and Network Engineer at George Washington University, explains the importance of implementing RPKI and why it may be easier than you think.

We hope that if you don’t already have IPv6, you are including it in your plans for 2018. We have plenty of resources to help you achieve your organization’s goal in the new year. Check out our Get6 page to learn more. And if you are interested in contributing a guest post on TeamARIN, get in touch with us. We love collaborating with our readers and community. Happy New Year!

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