On my recent trip to Asia, I spoke about the connection between mobile and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) fields. Many technology analysts, especially when describing market opportunities, define these as two distinct categories, often using the IoT interchangeably with machine-to-machine (M2M). I think of mobile and the IoT not only as closely linked, but also as one fueling and often integrated with another.
The visions and various implementations of smart, communicating objects are not new. The term itself, The Internet of Things, has been is use for, at least, 15 years [Kevin Ashton, a cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center, claims to have used the phrase first in 1999]
During the past several years the IoT has moved to the forefront and the hype has increased. Why? There are several converging factors that are fueling the rapid growth and attention to IoT. Among them:
Smaller and cheaper sensors that are powered by long-lasting batteries,
More ubiquitous, faster and cheaper networks,
Emergence of IoT programing environments that tap into creativity of consumers and enterprise users, and
Proliferation of cloud services that made computing resources and storage more accessible and affordable.
One of the key factors that fueled the recent interest in IoT (and hype around it) is the explosion of mobile devices.
Many IoT applications use mobile (and wearable) devices as the human interface, either to receive requests or to deliver insight from the machines being controlled and the data being collected. Furthermore, mobile devices can themselves participate in the IoT system as sensors to deliver information about location, locomotive activity, acceleration, noise, light, proximity, and even our mood. Accessibility and the proliferation of mobile devices has helped move IoT into our homes, gyms and cars.
I spent the last four days at the 2015 International CES, with some of the most talented engineers, imaginative brand marketers and creative digital publishers.
The show floor was dazzling with newest innovations – from flying drones, printed wedding cases, obligatory talking robots and curved TVs to the best in hi-fi, digital photography and connected everything. There were plenty of special events: the Last Gadget Standing that featured innovators in the pitch of their lives; the Hardware Battlefield where startups competed and the Mobile Apps Showdown. There was even a 3-day Innovation Policy Conference track that tackled hot-button topics such as e-waste disposal, patents and, of course, privacy in the age of the rising Internet-of-Things (IoT).
In the midst of all this buzz one event went almost unnoticed. On Wednesday, some of Industry leaders hosted an information session to discuss plans for the LoRa™ Alliance, aimed at creating a consolidated effort to enable IoT. The LoRa Alliance mission is to standardize Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) being deployed around the world. The Alliance members intend to collaborate in order to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN) by sharing knowledge and experience to ensure interoperability between operators.
What is LoRa and why form an alliance?
LoRa is a disruptive modulation technology for wireless bidirectional communication which enables public or multi-tenant networks to connect multiple applications into the same network infrastructure. LoRa will enable new applications for the IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M), smart city, sensor networks and industrial automation applications. Among LoRa’s key differentiators are
Long Range: distances of up to nine miles (15 km) in semi-rural environments and up to three miles (five km) in dense urban environments. This range, compared to traditional mesh networks, eliminates the need for repeaters, significantly simplifies system design and lowers the total cost of deployment and operation, thus reducing the overall total cost of ownership (TCO).
Low Power Consumption: Energy-efficient wireless communication extends the lifetime of a battery-operated device from days/month (with current technologies) to years.
· High Interference Immunity: Dynamic spread-spectrum modulation with high resistance against interference and excellent link budget.
Projected IoT volumes can only be reached with a global approach to driving TCO lower and creating an open ecosystem. With LoRa technology, device manufacturers and developers are able to build solutions at a much lower TCO with longer battery lifetime that often do not need a powerful cellular connection. The LoRa Alliance with the highly efficient LoRaWAN protocol will enable new business models, making IoT more attractive.
Among prospective Alliance members are several leading Telcos:
“The LoRa technology is ideal to target battery operated sensors and low power applications, as a complement to M2M cellular connectivity,” said Richard Viel, Chief Operating Officer of Bouygues Telecom. “The LoRa Alliance is an essential step to ensure interoperability and, therefore, mobility across Europe for our customers.”
“Standardizing the communication to allow interoperability between large scale low power wide area network (LPWAN) deployments is essential to unlock the volumes for IoT,” said Erik Hoving, CTO of KPN.
In addition to supporting the LoRa Alliance, IBM Research has released the IBM ‘LoRaWAN in C’as open source under the Eclipse Public License, which provides a solid foundation for the development of a broad range of end devices compliant with the LoRaWAN specifications. IBM researchers also built the Long Range Signaling and Control (LRSC) system, a scalable LoRa-based turn-key solution for IoT infrastructure.
At CES we've seen how technology can change the world and improve people's lives. With formation of the LoRa Alliance, we will get closer to creating an open ecosystem and helping realize the massive opportunities predicted for the IoT.
As the adoption of mobile continues, enterprises juggle many goals: they need to reduce IT expenses, optimize application development processes, improve transaction completion rates, increase customer retention and provide a more enhanced overall mobile user experience.
Understanding the performance of the mobile environment is more important than ever. Mobile infrastructure analytics must look beyond traditional mobile app performance management solutions by delivering an accurate end-to-end view into the entire mobile environment—from the individual device and apps running on it through the mobile network to the server. How? Read more here: http://asmarterplanet.com/mobile-enterprise/blog/2014/12/mobile-infrastructure-analytics.html
Today, I hosted a table topic at the “Internet of Things World Forum 2014” in Chicago. My topic titled “Mobility and The Internet of Things: Building Systems of Insight” brought together table companions from academia and industry, both device makers and users. We agreed that the IoT is maturing, moving beyond hype – as evident from many examples of industry solutions presented at the main tent , in breakouts and demonstrations. I can summarize the rest of the discussions in several paragraphs:
IoT ecosystem. IoT solutions require multidisciplinary collaboration and understanding and ecosystem is more important today than never before. IoT systems are bringing together OT and IT domains, as well as subject expertise from computing, business, analytics, and all kinds of engineering‹
Mobility is part of IoT. It is not useful to separate Mobile from IoT. IoT is not just about devices/machines. It includes places and people. Many IoT applications use nearly ubiquitous mobile devices as the human interface to the machines being controlled and the insights being created. Mobile devices themselves are sensors. Moreover, the line between mobile and other devices is blurring as device usage converges (e.g. Firbit is counting your steps but so is your smart phone).
Aren’t we already drowning in data? The IoT will produce even more data, taxing our already complex information management systems. Massive data volumes create challenges for data collection, processing, storage, management and manipulation. It is important to realize that you can’t “move all data to the analytics engine for processing”, you often have to distribute the process of analysis throughout the system and take the process to where the data is – to the edge.
Data ownership (and associated privacy) is a very important aspect to work through when IoT solutions/business models are being conceived. “You are sending your device into my home, now you want me to send MY data to you? Not so fast”.
Required advancements in wireless technologies. IoT Solutions demand longer battery life, lower cost, ease of use and longer distances – this necessitates significant advancements in wireless technologies.
Several days ago, the CEO of
a start-up in Italy, sent a delightful note saying that he “was inspired” to
start his company after reading article I co-authored for the IBM Systems
Journal, “Changing the corporate IT development model: Tapping the power of grassroots computing”.Aside from feeling a tad responsible for the
success of this start-up, his note made me think that we made the right call in
2006, that enterprises need to pay attention to the rise of grassroots
computing among both professional programmers and knowledge workers.
In the workplaces of the
future, I envision alternative approaches to software development: situational
applications or enterprise mashups are created rapidly by teams or individuals
who best understand their business needs. Not burdened by the overhead and
formality of traditional IT methods, these casual developers focus on fast,
good-enough results that can be refined later, if needed. Applications developed
in this manner may not be ideal. They may be slow or deliver only a subset of possible
functions; yet, they provide immediate relief for a given situation. Development
based on situational applications can present opportunities to encourage
innovation at departmental and individual levels and, at the same time, improve
the productivity of knowledge workers.
Along with tremendous
advantages, situational applications place new demands on the enterprise IT
environment. They put corporate IT in the position of managing enterprise
applications while trying to determine how to best facilitate development, deployment,
and management of situational applications. Community-based development
within the enterprise may significantly increase heterogeneity in the
environment and introduce more complexity into monitoring, event analysis,
root-cause detection, patch management, and other systems management tasks.
The challenges presented by the
rise of situational applications in the enterprise we described in our paper
then, still exist today (although, they are being slowly addressed by some
Access to data and data ownership
Data interpretation and provenance
Adoption among different user types
Systems Journal paper and following seriesof papers in developerWorks
shared IBM’s own experiences in building the Situational Applications
Environment (SAE) in IBM. They described both usage patterns and technologies
that contributed to the current rise of community-driven SA development in the
enterprise, and compared and contrasted it with the more traditional,
corporate-focused SOA initiatives. In the second article
we described the SAE architecture and different challenges we had to address in
order to build it. In the final article
we examined these applications that represent a wide variety of business
challenges that SAs can be leveraged to solve.
In the enterprise of the future, the corporate IT
role will change as it deals with the challenges and capitalizes on the
opportunities arising from grassroots development trends. Corporate IT will
gradually move from being the exclusive provider of enterprise systems to an
enabler and facilitator of solutions built by self-reliant employees. I argue that
this change is a necessity. The health, competitive power, and even survival of
an enterprise will largely depend on its ability to understand and harness the
power of knowledge workers, who are enabled to take responsibility for creating
solutions that meet many of their business needs.
I just arrived in Chicago for The Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum (IoTWF) The Forum is yet to start, but pre-forum discussions are already highlighting the opportunities and challenges that brought the industry exports and those who are yet to enter the IoT together for this event.
The repeating questions range from “How do I start experimenting quickly?” to “How do I secure my IoT systems?” to “Which standards will prevail?” Judging by the agenda, the IoTWF speakers and presenters plan to address all of these and more in the main tent, numerous breakouts and demonstrations.
On Friday, I
had an interesting discussion with the CEO and executive team of an
international distribution sector company about innovation management in the
enterprise.I started with describing
the insights of the IBM CIO study,
the largest known sample of
face-to-face conversations with 2,598 CIOs to understand their goals and
challenges. The study demonstrated that
CIOs spend an impressive 55% of their time on activities that SPUR INNOVATION
and help the business.One of IBM’s
former CIOs liked to say that CIO stands for Chief INNOVATION Officer – I
always liked when he said that.
describe the innovation management life-cycle as consisting of four phases: 1) you
come up with an idea, 2) have to get “buy-in” and mobilize others around it, 3)
pilot and incubate it, and 4) implement and deploy. In a traditional top-down
idea management model, management drives the selection process. Open innovation
follows the same basic phases as the traditional top-down-decision driven
model, except the community selects ideas through rating, commenting on them or
actually using the pilots. The community also helps to incubate the pilot
through a feedback loop.
In IBM, we piloted and
implemented many interesting programs and technologies to manage open
innovation, from idea creation to deployment. Two of the most successful and widely used are Jams and the Technology Adoption Program (TAP).
Jams are worldwide, online brainstorming sessions where all participants
can share, comment on, rate and follow each other’s ideas and discussions. A
jam is an event that takes place over a specified period -- usually a few days
-- where the entire workforce or a community (e.g. all IT Architects) comes
together to shape everything from new business ideas to core values.They are actually…addictive; you can
lose sleep over them. I remember last year participating in the IBM Academy of Technology Jam that lasted over 3
days.I thought if I go to sleep, I might
miss interesting real-time discussions and not able to catch-up with threads.
If an idea can be implemented as an application, a
service, or a widget, it can be piloted on TAP.TAP is a community
driven model for
introducing and managing access to new technologies and solutions (some are
early versions of products or situational applications).It consists of an intranet portal and a
shared centrally-managed infrastructure for hosting and promotion of innovation
offerings. Innovators share their innovation offerings through TAP with
everyone who has access to the intranet to access, use, and provide feedback to
We held the first Jam session in
2001; the TAP idea was conceived in early 2005.Talking to others who plan to implement tools and programs for open
innovation management, makes me realize that we sometimes take it for granted
that these open innovation tools exist and have flourished within IBM for many
We ended the discussion agreeing
that a successful CIO builds
a culture of open innovation in her enterprise and that open innovation is an
important ingredient of workplaces of the future….except some of us work in
those future workplaces now…
the poster presentation, I talk about environments we built inside the firewall
to support remote mentoring and learning, gaming-enhanced team building,
scenario driven rehearsals, and multipurpose global events with complex social
Virtual worlds are not a
recent development. Thirty-five years ago, the first digital 3D multi-user
first person shooter game Maze War introduced the concept of online players as
brought multi-user dungeons (MUD), which later grew into a successful Massively
Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) industry with recognizable names such as World
of Warcraft, City of Heroes and EverQuest II.In addition to goal-oriented games, social spaces such as AlphaWorld,
Blacksun, ThePalace, Traveler, WorldsAway, and virtual worlds like Second World
and There started to surface.
Emergence of social spaces
and non-game virtual worlds created new opportunities for exploitation of these
technologies and/or features introduced by them by enterprises within the firewall:
small team meetings to large formal conferences
social gatherings they engaging broader audience
travel and “down” time
meeting expenses and telephone charges.m
and knowledge exchange: social spaces and games to build stronger connections,
remote interaction with SME, cross-cultural and cross-generational networking,
exchange of knowledge, where in person exchanges would not be possible
New employee/intern on-boarding
of career opportunities
content co-creation and teaming activities
quick connections with both new and experienced employees
way to teach about company’s history, culture
English and other languages and presentation skills
simulation of complex business
execution, recording and playback
of business scenarios
efficient on the job learning
in a safe social environment
remote interaction with SME
visualization of software team activities
modeling without advanced
simulation of systems usage
and loads (e.g. CPU, memory)
visual representation of servers, racks, networks, power and cooling equipmen
alerts rendering through
integration with systems management software
remote monitoring, problem
determination and resolution
management, modeling and simulations of space, power and cooling
simulation if disaster recovery scenarios
common tool for collaborative problem
brainstorming ideas across different
boost productivity by generating,
categorizing and capturing ideas and generate solutions without the limitations
of the physical spaces and time
ideas shared across different media channels in real-time (2D and 3D)
data mining with persisted ideas
The global economic downturn – painful though it is –
provides a compelling driver for change, accelerates our transformation and
challenges some of the old ways of doing business.Through our experiments in virtual spaces we
have already demonstrated tangible
cost savings and softer benefits in
different areas of our business.
there are more reasons to use virtual spaces for business enablement.
Our communications are constrained by the flat,
print-based model of today’s web. Since we live in a 3D world and think
visually, we need to bridge the gap between the current flat internet and the
multi-dimensional reality by exploiting technologies that allow next generation
of immersion and integration between virtual and real worlds, which will be one
attribute of the WORLKPLACES OF THE FUTURE.