Qualcomm Life: Remote patient monitoring is a tonic for healthcare challenges

Qualcomm Life: Remote patient monitoring is a tonic for health challenges

For many in healthcare, the answer to tackling chronic conditions lies in remote patient monitoring, explains Qualcomm Life’s Laurent Vandebrouck in an exclusive interview with Internet of Business.

Here’s the good news: in Europe, we’re all living longer. Over the past 50 years or so, life expectancy has increased by about 10 years for both men and women in the 28 countries of the European Union, to reach an average of 80.9 years – slightly more for women (83.6 years) and slightly less for men (78.1 years).

The flipside is that, as we age, we’re more likely to experience chronic health conditions – illnesses that can be controlled, but not cured. These include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, for example.

Laurent Vandebrouck of Qualcomm Life

Chronic illness places a terrific strain on healthcare systems, says Laurent Vandebrouck, managing director, Europe, at connected healthcare leader, Qualcomm Life. In many countries, managing chronic illness accounts for as much as 80 percent of healthcare spending, he says.

So for many clinicians, healthcare providers and insurance companies, the answer increasingly lies in remote patient monitoring, or RPM, using the latest smart, connected medical devices. These might include medication dispensers, blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters, for example.

This approach gives patients the benefits of being able to live independently, in their own homes, while their doctors continue to keep a close eye on their conditions.

Read more: Internet of Things the ‘most powerful disruptor’ in healthcare

Monitoring by exception

“It’s about monitoring by exception,” Vandebrouck explains. When a doctor or nurse using RPM is alerted to an issue with a specific patient, they can call that patient in for an appointment. “It enables healthcare providers, clinicians and insurers to focus on those patients who really need care, when they need it, with a view to reducing hospital readmissions,” he says.

Qualcomm Life’s role in this is two-fold. First, the company works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies on the development of the connected medical devices used in RPM programs, providing them with reference architectures and the wireless communications technologies that their devices will require to collect and transmit data.

Second, it provides the connectivity gateways in patient’s homes that collect, encrypt and transmit data from medical devices to Qualcomm Life’s cloud-based 2net Platform and to virtually any third party cloud-based system, where it can be accessed by authorized medical device manufacturers, healthcare providers, insurers and pharmaceutical companies. It’s through these cloud-based remote monitoring systems that a care provider might be alerted, for example, if a patient with diabetes had experienced a string of high blood glucose readings.

Qualcomm Life’s solutions extend across the care continuum, with connectivity platforms for in the hospital, at the patient’s home and everywhere in between. Last month, for example, Qualcomm Life announced that its Capsule solution will be used to connect and integrate medical device data at Hospital Unimed Recife III, a leading hospital system in Brazil. And in Europe, the company announced last year that its 2net Platform will serve as the medical device connectivity solution for Philips HealthSuite, the cloud-enabled health ecosystem of devices, apps and digital tools from Dutch technology company Philips. Philips selected Qualcomm Life to power all of the medical device connectivity for its remote care and home care solutions and services, such as Philips Respironics, and Philips Hospital to Home.

Read more: HIMSS17: US healthcare industry connects dots between AI, personalized care and precision medicine

A growing market

The rise in chronic conditions, often against a backdrop of constraints on healthcare budgets and hospital beds, means that RPM simply makes good sense for many organizations in the sector, says Vandebrouck. “There’s no escape here: healthcare providers are under great pressure to use their resources wisely, to reduce the number of readmissions and still deliver the best patient outcomes. These are the challenges that Qualcomm Life, as a technology enabler, is helping them tackle,” he says.

Many are already stepping up to the challenge and others will follow. According to a recent report from research company Berg Insight, the number of remotely monitored patients worldwide grew by 44 percent to 7.1 million in 2016 as the market entered a growth phase fuelled by rising market acceptance. That figure is set to rise to 50.2 million by 2021, the company’s analysts reckon.

Read more: Orbita looks to empower patients with Amazon’s Alexa

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Centrica: Machines are ready to talk, but are we good listeners?

Centrica machines can talk good listeners

John Hartley, head of propositions at Centrica Distributed Energy and Power, explains how the IoT can give critical assets a ‘voice’ and urges organisations to listen to what they say.

Just as the IoT is transforming all corners of our working and personal lives, it is also transforming the way organizations use, measure and manage their energy requirements.

John Hartley of Centrica Distributed Energy & Power

At Centrica, a key part of our offer to customers is Panoramic Power’s wireless sensor technology. Designed to be totally non-invasive, these tiny clip-on sensors turn virtually any energy-consuming device into a smart device, giving users real-time visibility of their energy use and insights to help them boost performance.

Panoramic Power is a global pioneer in energy management and has rolled out wireless sensors across 1,000 sites worldwide. Self-powered and wireless, they ‘snap and fit’ onto the outgoing electrical wire at the circuit breaker, tracking energy consumption and sending data to a cloud-based analytics system every 10 seconds.

Users are then able to monitor, measure, report, and understand electrical energy consumption. This information can be reported in three ways: first, via a mobile application that can be loaded on to a tablet or smartphone; second, through automatically generated reports that can be requested at regular intervals; and third, by logging on to an Internet-based application via a PC, which allows them to access highly specific data.

Listen and respond

This technology gives insights into real-time energy usage and allows users to optimize their operations, processes and maintenance resources, identifying which devices are using most energy.  With Panoramic Power, Centrica helps organisations find the insights in energy ‘big data’ to performance-manage their energy consumption. The level of granular detail available also means that it’s possible to proactively control and actively manage energy rates by shifting loads, or by reducing loads in real time.

Energy-intensive devices can be easily identified and improvements made, while benchmarks of consumption and historical data can be accessed, so that users can see what they used on the same day last year, for example, and identify anomalies at a glance. Automatically generated alarms and notifications can also be configured, so that users are alerted when energy consumption falls outside or exceeds pre-defined parameters.

The historical data created by this technology can be used to report on environmental impact and sustainability measures and objectives. Similarly, it can report accurate data to help comply with energy related regulations, environmental initiatives and industry standards.

Good communication skills

Adding intelligence to passive devices brings further advantages. Many of the machines and devices used across the workplace are smarter than we think, but they’re not very good communicators. Adding connectivity gives them a ‘voice’.

The benefits of that include making preventative and condition-based maintenance for plant equipment simple. So, if a chiller unit is short-cycling, the operator can be alerted and initiate measures to prevent damage and costly downtime. The technology can also highlight inefficiencies in the plant, thereby maintaining performance and productivity.

Put simply, empowering machines to capture information for analysis and action uncovers hidden value by allowing users to optimize their facilities and assets more effectively.

Read more: Teradata & Enedis: L’électricité for le smart city

Talking loud and clear

This technology is already being applied to a variety of industries from restaurants and retailers to manufacturers and universities, with some sectors reporting savings upwards of 50 percent on maintenance costs and prevented downtime.

The IoT is giving machines the ability to ‘talk’ and, in turn, it’s giving users in these sectors proactive control of their facilities, with a level of visibility that simply couldn’t have been achieved before. That visibility brings insights that will positively impact the whole organisation, inspiring better ways of working and informing fast, confident, business-building decisions.

Crucially, this new world of energy management is not reliant on single devices tapping responsively into the energy grid. Instead, it’s powered by the conversations between millions of IoT-enabled devices and the grid. This, in turn, allows suppliers and consumers to respond to energy demand in real time, increasing and decreasing generation, rates and usage as needed, instead of wastefully running at high capacity at all times.

At Centrica, our view is this: the IoT has given machines a voice. Those who want to control their energy should be listening closely.

Read more: Teralytics claims mobile network data lowers cost of tackling climate change

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With machine learning, Control F1 recognizes drivers within minutes

Control F1 machine learning system could recognize drivers within minutes

Digital technology company Control F1 has this week been granted a worldwide patent for its machine learning system for driver recognition.

The system supposedly uses connected car technology or alternatively technology that can be retrofitted into older vehicles, such as the colloquially known “little black box” used by insurance companies for telematics, to learn the driving style of each driver.

It works by recording data points, such as acceleration, braking, cornering and speed, as soon as a driver starts driving, and continues to collect data over a period of time and multiple journeys. The longer a driver uses a vehicle, the more quickly and accurately the system can recognize them.

Control F1 estimates that, having collected data about an individual driver over a few journeys, its system will be able to verify whether that driver is indeed behind the wheel within a few hundred meters. The company claims this is the first time machine learning has been used to identify drivers in such a short space of time.

Sharing economy

The system also opens up potential new revenue streams for the owner of the vehicle and for businesses operating vehicle fleets. As trends such as car sharing become more commonplace, due to the work of companies like Uber, ownership of major purchases such as vehicles is predicted to become less common. Control F1 has therefore provided a mobile application or web portal for vehicle owners to identify and register individual drivers of their car, and set up alerts for when and how the vehicle can be used. Should the vehicle be stolen or used by an unknown driver, the owner will be alerted.

Control F1 suggests that the benefits of this technology can be realized by insurers, but also parents who wish to limit access of their vehicles to their children, vehicle rental companies that need to ensure the registered drivers are the ones who actually use the vehicle, or law enforcement agencies.

Read more: Orange boosts Viasat’s telematics offering with IoT connectivity

Pushing for partners

“Control F1 has a long heritage in machine learning, the Internet of Things and telematics, and we’re delighted to have been awarded this patent,” said Carl Howarth, CEO, Control F1.

“The real-world application for automatic driver recognition is vast, and – having also recently secured a substantial investment from telematics veterans Machine to Machine Solutions (M2M) – we are extremely proud to be leading developments in this area.”

Control F1 is looking to partner with telematics hardware providers and gather data that will help it to test and refine the system. The company aims to launch its technology later this year.

Read more: BlackBerry makes inroads in IoT market with telematics device

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Discovery Ag and NNNCo create rural IoT network for Australia’s farmers

Discovery AG and NNNCo create rural IoT network for Australia’s farmers

Australian agritech business Discovery Ag and connectivity specialist the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo) are forming a new joint venture to develop and roll out an IoT network for Australian farmers.

Today, at conference held in Melbourne by the Australian Farm Institute, it will announce plans to form a new company called Connected Country.

This will work to build and maintain this nationwide IoT network, and also bring other high-tech agriculture solutions to farmers across Australia.

Read more: IoT on the farm: automated cow milking and more

Farming data solution

When launched, this long-range wide area network (LoRaWAN) will provide the crucial infrastructure for connecting sensors that report on farm metrics such as soil moisture, rainfall, crop health, water levels and livestock data.

The two companies are planning to roll out the network immediately across 1 million acres in New South Wales, covering dry land crops, horticulture and livestock and a number of rural towns.

Over the next 18 months, the joint venture partners will look at extending the network across other areas of the nation’s farming regions.

According to the partners, the key success factor of Connected Country will be its ability to provide farmers with the tools needed to collect and analyse large datasets in a bid to make more informed decisions.

Read more: Thinxtra provides Sigfox connectivity to IoT projects down under

Big opportunity

Many people see agriculture as being one of the key industries where connected technology can contribute to the future growth and competitiveness of the Australian economy.

Alicia Garde, CEO of Discovery Ag, said: “While hi-tech farming techniques are in use today, significant areas of Australia’s farming footprint lack adequate network coverage.

“For those that do have coverage, existing connectivity networks can make it too expensive for farmers to network their sensors and create a truly connected smart farm.”

Improving sustainability

Rob Zagarella, founder and CEO of NNNCo, explained that this network will give farmers the tools they need to solve challenges around connectivity and sustainability.

“The Rural IoT Network is an extension of the NNN that we’re building nationwide and will help to solve connectivity and affordability problems for farmers,” he said.

“Together with Discovery Ag, we will be providing low-cost, end-to end standards-based solutions, comprising on-farm networks, network-ready sensors and access to simple on-farm tools that farmers can use to monitor information and take timely action.”

“The joint venture is the first of its kind in Australia’s emerging IoT market. Connected Country is dedicated to providing carrier-grade networks to enable smarter, cheaper and more ubiquitous sensors by leveraging local innovation in conjunction with a global ecosystem of providers.”

Read more: Kigali IoT network provides blueprint for African smart city initiatives

Benefits

Although Connected Country is still in the early stages, it’s already begun working with key partners such as Cisco and the NSW Department of Primary Industries to get the network rolled out to farmers.

”Cisco has been collaborating with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to solve the digital drought in rural Australia. We see the Rural IoT Network as essential to this development,” said Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice president Ken Boal.

While there were other technologies the companies could have chosen to implement, they opted for LoRaWan because it’s well suited to agricultural requirements and is proven to be low cost. It also bodes well for low power consumption.

Zagarella added: “LoRaWAN’s capabilities are extremely well-suited to agricultural requirements. The technology is already used in farms across in Europe and the USA and has proven to be low-cost and effective.

“LoRaWAN-enabled sensors are available at a relatively low cost and a LoRaWAN on-farm gateway can cover large areas and connect to thousands of sensors at an affordable cost.”

Read more: Actility and Blink partner on national IoT network for Sweden

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Telefonica & Huawei launch NB-IoT open lab

Telefonica & Huawei launch NB-IoT open lab

Chinese telecommunications and networking giant Huawei is now working with Spanish telco Telefonica on a new IoT laboratory.

Dubbed the Open IoT Lab, this multi-location co-working space is specifically designed to focus on the the development of products and applications related to Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology.

The Open LAB will have a permanent showroom in Telefonica´s headquarters in Madrid and a second space at Telefonica’s R&D center in Chile.

Narrowband IoT

Narrowband IoT (often written as NB-IoT) is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) radio technology standard that has been developed to enable a wide range of devices and services to be connected using cellular telecommunications bands.

In less technical terms, NB-IoT works well for IoT devices that require small amounts of data over long periods and so are capable of existing on low power supplies. NB-IoT devices almost always exist ‘indoors’, or at least in defined spaces where network coverage parameters can be accurately tracked. NB-IoT is a two-way communication technology and can work well in products such as energy or water meters.

The NB-IoT Open Lab hopes to welcome equipment vendors, service providers, end-user OEM device makers and application developers.

The CEO of Telefonica’s I+D Centre is Hernán Orellana. Airing his views on the opening of the new lab, Orellana has claimed that this work will put Chile “at the forefront of technology” and added that his organization is “already recognized in the industry” as a key player in NB-IoT.

Read more: Vodafone starts on NB-IoT interoperability testing with vendors

Plug-fest

The Chile R&D Centre is in fact a joint initiative between Telefónica and the Chilean government. The lab organizers will now start organising events such as ‘plug-fests’ (events focused on software plug-in development, presumably), collaborative design and testing, tutorial sessions and co-development programmes for start-ups.

Telefonica and Huawei have already jointly deployed the first field NB-IoT smart metering service in Chile during 2016.

“Telefonica NB-IoT Open Lab is an IoT space that aims at building a complete ecosystem of partners, manufacturers, technicians, developers and designers to bring the best solutions to market around Mobile IoT networks. Chile NB-IoT Open Lab will accelerate the development of IoT commercial solutions and ensure they are supported by a broad ecosystem,” said Vicente Muñoz, chief IoT officer at Telefonica.

Read more: Telco DNA puts NB-IoT to the test for monitoring indoor air quality

‘Ecosystem maturation’

Huawei marketing and solutions department president Patrick Zhang has returned the pleasantries, by saying that his company is proud to be partnering with Telefonica in the creation of the NB-IoT Open Lab.

“The NB-IoT Open Lab will strengthen the strategic cooperation between Huawei and Telefonica on technology innovation and eco-system maturation relating to NB-IoT. Huawei will work closely with Telefónica to launch the NB-IoT Open Lab for the continuous technology evolution and acceleration of the commercial deployment,” said Zhang.

Huawei has already worked with Vodafone since 2016 to establish another Open IoT Lab. These facilities exist to provide pre-integration testing environments software application developers and OEMs. Huawei has initially said that it plans to open seven such centers around the world.

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Industroyer takes spotlight in latest IT security scare

Industroyer spotlight security scare

Another week, another IT security scare. This week it was the turn of Industroyer to take the spotlight, after researchers at security company ESET analysed the malware and said it was highly likely to be behind the attack on the Ukrainian power grid that robbed the country’s capital Kiev of power for one hour in December 2016.

In a blog post, ESET’s Anton Cherepanov dubs Industroyer “the biggest threat to industrial control systems since Stuxnet”, in reference to the malicious worm that attacked Iranian nuclear power plants in 2009.

Industroyer, he explains, attacks electricity substations and circuit breakers using industrial communication protocols standardized across the critical infrastructure systems that supply power, water and gas and transportation control. Lacking modern encryption and authentication, the security of these control protocols has relied largely on them being sequestered on networks not directly touching the internet – and in many cases, they’re no longer isolated in that way.

Read more: Entropy: a shot in the arm for IoT security?

Decades-old designs

“The problem is that these protocols were designed decades ago and back then industrial systems were meant to be isolated from the outside world,” Cherepanov explains. “Thus, their communication protocols were not designed with security in mind. That means the attackers didn’t need to be looking for protocol vulnerabilities; all they needed was to teach the malware to ‘speak’ those protocols.”

The December attack on Kiev was a pretty small-scale affair, to be sure – but may have been a ‘dress rehearsal’ for a wider Industroyer attack. Either way, Cherepanov says, the attack “should serve as a wake-up call for those responsible for security of critical systems around the world.”

It’s as scary as it sounds, with implications for every organization that relies on critical infrastructure, says Andrew Clarke, EMEA director at security firm One Identity.

“First, [Industroyer is] very difficult to detect, because it uses known and allowable code, yet in nefarious modes. In addition, we’re not talking about stealing some incriminating photos from some celebrity’s cloud storage location. This is controlling the power grid. It means that hospitals could lose power mid-surgery. Or traffic lights cut out causing accidents. The ability to alert citizens to bad weather halts.”

Read more: Pace of IoT innovation adds to security woes, says survey

New normal, new responses

At Tenable Network Security, however, federal technical director John Chirhart argues that this situation of constant security scares should be be viewed with some perspective.

“With all of the buzz around Industroyer being ‘the next Stuxnet’, you’d think it was one of the most sophisticated threats out there, but with no zero days in the Industroyer payload, the significance of this malware as a standalone event is small.”

But, he added, malware like Industroyer or WannaCry represent the “new normal” of today’s security environment and require a new approach to match. “There’s no way to be strategic about your security if you’re always reacting to the threat of the day.”

“As cloud and IoT break down the distinction between operational technology like ICS/SCADA and information technology like laptops and mobile devices, most security vendors have failed to innovate at the rate of change, so the convergence of modern IT and OT [operational technology] computing assets is leaving customers struggling to discover and secure all the devices on their networks.”

Read more: Half of US companies hit by IoT security breaches, says survey

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IoT spending to reach $1.4 trillion by 2021, says IDC

IoT spending to reach $ 1.4 trillion by 2021, says IDC

In the latest update to its Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, research company IDC has forecast that worldwide spending on IoT will grow 16.7 percent year over year in 2017, to reach just over $ 800 billion.

The company suggests that this increase in spending is set to continue over the four years to 2021, when it predicts that investments in the hardware, software, services and connectivity that enable IoT will total as much as $ 1.4 trillion.

“The discussion about IoT has shifted away from the number of devices connected,” said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president of IoT and mobility at IDC. “The true value of IoT is being realized when the software and services come together to enable the capture, interpretation, and action on data produced by IoT endpoints.”

Read more: Frost & Sullivan highlights five IoT growth areas for 2017

Industry snapshots

IDC says that the industries that will attract the largest investment in 2017 include: manufacturing ($ 183 billion), with manufacturing operations attracting $ 105 billion in investment; utilities ($ 66 billion), with smart grid technologies making up $ 56 billion of that spend; and transportation ($ 85 billion), with spend on freight monitoring totaling $ 50 billion.

Source: IDC Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, 2016H2

 

By 2021, the use cases investment picture looks much the same; however, spending on airport facilities automation and electric vehicle charging are set to experience the fastest growth rates at 33.4 percent and 21.1 percent, respectively. Spending on smart home technologies is forecast to grow by 19.8 percent to 2021.

Read more: IoT on course to dominate connected landscape, says Cisco

Technologies and regions

From a technology perspective, IDC claims that hardware, notably modules and sensors, will be the largest spending category until the last year of the forecast, when it will be overtaken by the faster growing services category.

By region, the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is set to be the biggest spender throughout the forecast period, with spending expected to reach $ 455 billion in 2021. The US will come a close second, with $ 421 billion spent on IoT in 2021, and Western Europe will be third, spending $ 274 billion in 2021.

IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide forecasts IoT spending for 12 technologies and 54 use cases across 20 vertical industries in eight regions and 52 countries.

Read more: Six out of ten IoT projects fail at trial stage, says survey

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Drone defibrillator ready to take off and save lives

drone Defibrillator drone in sweden study

The prospect of any drone delivery network is complicated by privacy concerns and a lack of infrastructure. But when lives are on the line, those details take a back seat. Getting from A to B – and fast – is what drones do best. Armed with a defibrillator, those precious seconds saved could be the difference between life and death. 

That’s the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which followed simulated uses of a drone defibrillator in Sweden.

Each year, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen to 55 out of every 100,000 people in the United States. Survival rates are so low (between 8 and 10 percent) because, more often than not, there is no equipment on hand and no qualified doctor to provide CPR. Every second counts; the longer it takes for a defibrillator to reach the patient, the less likely it is that they will survive.

In 2014, a team from Holland’s TU Delft University developed a drone for defibrillation. Now there’s concrete evidence to suggest that the rapid response times provided by these aerial ambulances could save lives.

Read more: Fujitsu and DHL to apply IoT to emergency services

Drone defibrillator 17 minutes faster than standard response times

According to the study, each minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation lowers the chance of a patient’s survival by 10 percent. With that in mind, the team from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden sought to test the potential of drones and compare their response times to conventional emergency services.

The technology is not yet at the stage where it can be tested in real-life scenarios. So the team attached a defibrillator to a drone and simulated the events of previous cardiac arrest emergency situations from the past eight years. After setting up at a fire station in Norrtälje, Stockholm, the drone was dispatched to locations in the area where actual cardiac arrests had taken place.

The results were clear. Across 18 flights, the average time from dispatch to arrival was 5 minutes 21 seconds. Records showed that emergency services responding to the same incidents from the same starting point over the years took on average 22 minutes to reach the destination.

“If we can decrease the time in cardiac arrest from collapse to defibrillation by a few minutes, hundreds of lives would be saved each year,” says study lead Jacob Hollenberg.

The timings measured in the study show how quickly a defibrillator drone can reach an emergency location. They do not account for the time needed for a person on the ground – presumably not a medical professional – to use the defibrillator on the patient. Having said that, the 17 minutes between ambulance and drone response times is a sizable enough gap to minimize that as a factor.

The Karolinska Institute team is now set to trial the technology alongside emergency services to see whether outcomes are improved. They expect to be conducting these by next year.

Read more: NASA tests drone traffic control system across the US

Regulations will bend to save lives

The results of this study show that drone technology has the potential to transform emergency response times in the case of cardiac arrests. And unlike with pizza or parcel delivery, it’s difficult to envisage any public backlash over the use of drones as flying defibrillators.

Despite effectively banning camera drones on privacy grounds, Sweden’s aviation authority granted the Karolinska Institute permission to fly its drones beyond the pilot’s line of sight as part of the tests.

Could it be that the proof of concept for drone delivery is borne of genuine necessity, not a need for pizza on demand?

Read more: IBM patents drone for aerial pass-the-parcel

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Asavie CEO: Faster prototypes will lead to accelerated IoT adoption

Asavie rapid prototypes accelerate IoT adoption

Internet of Business speaks to Asavie CEO Ralph Shaw on the company’s goal of helping manufacturers get their products IoT-connected – quickly, simply and securely. 

When Dublin-based Asavie launched its Industrial IoT Accelerator Kit at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, chief executive Ralph Shaw was confident of a positive response to the offering – but even he was impressed by the immediate results the company achieved.

Asavie CEO Ralph Shaw

“Within an hour, we had orders coming in from several Fortune 100 companies,” he says.

That points to a situation, he believes, where many manufacturers of industrial equipment are interested in equipping their products with IoT capabilities, but are held back by what they perceive as the complexity of providing connectivity and securing data.

Asavie’s Industrial IoT Accelerator Kit seeks to address those concerns by combining the company’s own PassBridge IoT connectivity management platform, with the Dell Edge Gateway device and industrial sensors from specialist EpiSensor.

Read more: Asavie continues global expansion with new APAC hub

Faster prototypes

This means that companies can innovate, iterate and deploy their IoT project without having to change their network infrastructure from the prototyping to final production phases. At a cost of around $ 1,000, Shaw adds, the accelerator kit also means they can get started fast.

“Essentially, you’ve a lot of very big businesses, manufacturing lifts or chainsaws or whatever, and they definitely recognize the benefits of having their devices connected, but a lot of them don’t know where to start. If you can give them a starting point, where they have everything they need to get connecting something, that helps them quickly establish a better handle on how, where and why they might also deploy IoT technology,” he says.

“You’re removing the fear factor,” he adds. A successful prototype is a much better way to get the boardroom conversation on IoT moving along than a request for budget based on not much more than guesswork. “If you start small, you can actually accelerate adoption faster,” says Shaw.

Read more: IoB Insiders: What jobs do we want IoT to do?

PassBridge at its heart

Established in 2004, Asavie is now a 130-person company with eight offices around the world and some €20 million in annual revenues. Despite its ambitious expansion plans, it has enjoyed 22 consecutive quarters of profitability.

The company’s PassBridge platform provides on-demand, pay-as-you-go network services that enable companies to provide a secure connection from the IoT edge to the cloud (such as Amazon’s AWS services) or alternatively, to their own on-premise servers. So even without the third-party add-ons that come in the Industrial IoT Accelerator Kit, PassBridge represents a fast track to IoT enablement for many companies.

PassBridge is the technology, for example, that provides a leading coffee shop chain with the ability to monitor coffee-making machines and predict when they may require maintenance work and helps Glanbia, a manufacturer of dairy products and nutritional supplements, to monitor its supply chain operations as products are transported from the point of manufacture to retail stores, says Shaw.

Read more: AWS launches IoT competency test for partners

Digital transformation

“Many of the end-customers who use are products are basically looking at digital transformation projects, although they may not state it in those terms. They want to take something that’s generally been a manual and often paper-based process and digitize it – and that digitization required information to travel between an end point such as a device or machine to a cloud or on-premise server. But they want a platform that can provide that easily and securely, so that they can get on with whatever it is that their own business specializes in,” he says.

In many cases, that involves Asavie working with network operators (it currently works with around 20 including AT&T, Telefonica, Vodafone and Three) as well as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

As many of those OEMs looking to IoT-enable the products they make are based in Asia, it makes sense that the company recently opened a new headquarters for that region in Kuala Lumpur.

Says Shaw: “A lot of IoT projects get stalled because companies can’t get connectivity up and running or find they can’t do it in a secure and scalable fashion. They’re looking for a specialist to handle that on their behalf, so they can focus on their core business, which is where we come in. What’s more, we offer the secure and scalable connectivity in a way that enables companies to get to market faster and to generate revenues sooner.”

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Herman Miller launches connected office furniture range

Herman Miller launches connected office furniture range

Just when you thought everything that could be connected to the internet had already been connected, along comes the connected desk.

The Herman Miller Aeron office chair

The Live furniture range has been produced by Herman Miller, a furniture design company with plenty of cachet. It’s the name, for example, behind the iconic Aeron office chair (pictured).

The company’s new connected desk concept is pretty straightforward. Desks, whether fixed-height desks or sit-to-stand desks, are equipped with sensors that monitor how they are used and this data is collected for analysis.

The connected system through which this data is stored and used is called Live OS. It aggregates anonymized usage information over time, and this data is used to provide insights into patterns of usage through dashboards.

In control

The Live OS app in action

Individuals can control over any desk via a smartphone app. The example Herman Miller gives is pointing the app at a sit-to-stand desk to make a connection, and then having it automatically set itself to the preferred height.

Users can set their own goals for moving between sit and stand at a particular desk, and receive alerts when it is time to change. This is designed to promote a healthier workplace, as awareness grows about the problems caused by remaining seated for hours at a time.

“Our initial testing indicates that employees using Live sit-to-stand desks have become more active, transitioning between sitting and standing six-times as often as previously recorded,” reported Ryan Anderson, director of commercialization for Live OS.

In a hot-desking environment or managed office space, building managers could use Live OS to check out which desks are currently occupied and then allocate those that are unused to workers as they arrive.

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All about insight

The Herman Miller blurb positions the benefits this way: “With the data insights captured through Live OS, organizations can better measure and manage workplace strategy to optimize real estate usage and improve employee experience.”

Sensors can either be fitted to a desk at purchase or retrofitted to an existing desk, making it easy to bring the whole office into the ecosystem.

“Live OS is an example of how Herman Miller continues to evolve to better serve our customers as they increasingly look to the workplace to drive their own business transformation” said Greg Bylsma, president of Herman Miller in North America.

“With decades of experience in human-centered design, we’re introducing services like Live OS to help our customers create workplaces that empower, energize and perform.”

Live OS is initially available in North America.

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