The AI and machine learning innovations taking John Deere to the next level of precision agriculture

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Plenty of companies are talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning today in vague, disconnected terms. It will certainly influence our strategy; not sure how, but everything’s coming up AI, right?

As a pleasant antidote to all that bluff and bluster, how about this from John Stone, senior vice president of the Intelligent Solutions Group at agricultural manufacturing giant John Deere? “AI and machine learning is going to be as core to John Deere as an engine and transmission is.”

Make no mistake about it, these are certainly exciting times for the 180-year-old Deere & Company. The company has in the past several months acquired Blue River Technology, a machine learning-centric startup, as well as opened up a lab in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Yet this is just the way things have been done for some time at the company – it’s just the technology has changed with it.

Than Hartsock, director of precision agriculture solutions at John Deere, has been involved with the company for much longer than his almost 17-year tenure, having grown up on a commercial grain farm in Ohio. In the late 1990s, his education – Hartsock has degrees in soil and crop science – involved working on projects around soil sensing technologies. Deere acquired NavCom Technology, a provider of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology, at around the same time. “It was clear, even when I was in high school, that John Deere was uniquely committed to precision agriculture,” says Hartsock.

It was the Internet of Things long before anyone came up with a proper name for it. Yet this initial investment translates to a serious advantage for the company today. “Those early investments have allowed us to, I would say, position the integration of those components into our equipment into our machines, across machines, and into our dealerships,” explains Hartsock. “It went from ‘okay, this is something Deere is doing [and] it may not be completely clear why we’re doing it’, [and] now it’s at the forefront of our company. It’s how we think about our value proposition to the industry, to farmers, crop producers, and customers.”

No stone is left unturned, no crop is left unfurled – and this is where Blue River comes in. The company provides what it calls ‘see and spray’ technology, which utilises machine learning to process, in real-time, images of weeds and crops and tell the sprayer what and where to spray. It makes for a vast improvement on anything a human can do – but it remains important to keep human expertise.

“Farmers, and their advisors and contractors – these are individuals that bring decades and generations of knowledge about the practices, about the land that they farm,” says Hartsock. “The way we see it is the technology – even artificial intelligence and machine learning – provides them the tools to essentially extend and scale their knowledge.

“Imagine the smart spraying scenario… you could imagine an agronomist, a farmer needing to come into that field ahead of time,” Hartsock adds. “What’s the state of the crop? How much input do I want to invest in this crop at this stage? The machine is going to be able to discern between weeds and crops, but I need to decide economically, agronomically, how much I want to invest.”

Hartsock will be speaking at IoT Tech Expo Global in London on April 18-19, discussing how agriculture has become a prime example of optimising on connected technologies. Inside the industry technological advancement has never been clearer – but what about outside it?

Take self-driving cars as an example. You can’t move for hype and headlines around them, but what can they actually do today? Compared to a smart tractor, one can argue it’s mostly child’s play – and Hartsock wants to make clear how smarter machines and the IoT have ‘infiltrated’ agriculture.

“When you look at a planter and a tractor, in many cases, nearly all cases, that planter or that seeder will have a sensor on every row that’s measuring every seed and every row that’s dropped into the soil,” says Hartsock. “It will have a sensor that measures the motion of the planter row unit to make sure the row unit is keeping in close contact with the soil, and if it’s not maintaining contact, the sensor informs an actuator to apply more pressure to the row unit.

“That’s just the planter,” he adds. “The tractor is equipped with many sensors around the engine and transmission, and then that tractor, like most of our large ag machines, is equipped with a 4G modem that then provides connectivity between those sensors and data that’s being acquired, and then connected to the cloud.

“Once the data gets to the cloud we give the user, the farmer, the contractor, the authority over the data to dictate control and share with other partners and other companies,” Hartsock says. “You really then have this ecosystem that evolves, develops, for usage of the data… all generated out of the work that’s being done in the field by that smart machine.”

Than Hartsock will be speaking at IoT Tech Expo Global, in London on 18-19 April. Find out more about the event here. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

FogHorn Systems and Google Cloud team up to offer IIoT solution

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

FogHorn Systems and Google Cloud have come together to expand business impact of Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications by combining the capabilities of Cloud IoT Core and FogHorn’s Lightning edge intelligence and ML platform.

This integration leads to the creation of a model foundation for optimising distributed assets and processes in several industries including manufacturing, O&G, mining, connected cars, smart building and smart cities. The partnership also aims to ease the deployment of IIoT applications.

The combined solution will be available at Google Cloud Next, from July 24 to 27, in San Francisco.

Antony Passemard, head of IoT product management at Google Cloud, said: “Cloud IoT Core simply and securely brings the power of Google Cloud’s world-class data infrastructure capabilities to the IIoT market. By combining industry-leading edge intelligence from FogHorn, we’ve created a fully-integrated edge and cloud solution that maximizes the insights gained from every IoT device. We think it’s a very powerful combination at exactly the right time.”

The FogHorn Lightning platform is a compact, advanced and feature-rich edge intelligence solution that can deliver low latency for onsite data processing, real-time analytics, ML and AI capabilities.

David King, CEO at FogHorn, said: “Our integration with Google Cloud harmonises the workload and creates new efficiencies from the edge to the cloud across a range of dimensions. This approach simplifies the rollout of innovative, outcome-based IIoT initiatives to improve organizations’ competitive edge globally, and we are thrilled to bring this collaboration to market with Google Cloud.” Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Can smart cities really save us all 125 hours per year?

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Smart cities, and the components which comprise them, will save us all time – and a new study puts the total at 125 hours per citizen per year.

The study, put together by Intel alongside Juniper Research, found that 125 hours, or 15 working days, will be claimed in four buckets. Mobility, such as smart traffic systems, smart parking, and ‘open data platforms’ – so users can pick the least congested bus and train services – will account for 60 hours. Greater public safety – predicting crime spots through machine learning – will account for 35, while healthcare comprises nine and productivity – digital services simplifying administrative processes – will account for 21.

What could inhabitants of smart cities do with all that free time, the report asks? They could take a long holiday, get active, or spend it with family and friends. What’s more, wounds will heal quicker – if you’re not stressed, the body can recover more easily – you’re less likely to get depressed, and you’re likelier to earn more money.

According to the analysis, Singapore is the city to beat across all areas of mobility, health, safety and productivity. London, New York, Chicago and Seoul were also well placed.

“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” said Windows Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research. “We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet the outcome will be much more complicated than this utopian vision.

Benedict Evans, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has made a very key point on this aspect in various blog posts: with a truly smart city, the entire rules of traffic can be changed, never mind how cars will be developed. What about parking? What about cycling? What about new cities which could be built in ways which will seem alien to us today?

Tom Rebbeck, research director for enterprise and IoT at Analysys Mason, says that while looking at smart cities in terms of time saved is an interesting angle – and that indeed the opportunities outlined by the report are broadly in line with his views – but the number crunching doesn’t take into account all areas.

“The figure seems to be based on some bold assumptions,” Rebbeck tells IoT News in an email. “For example, it suggests that open data will help reduce commuting times by 15% by ‘highlighting optimum routes’.

“Possibly this holds for some car-centric US cities – even there it seems like a stretch,” adds Rebbeck. “It is hard to see how that would apply to somewhere like London where only around half of people work, and where only around a third of workers commute by car.”

There is one other issue which the report doesn’t go into: how much time this process will take. Rebbeck notes that there is no way of measuring whether the predictions are correct, adding: “I’d guess they will never happen, but there is no way of testing this either way.”

You can read the full Intel report here. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Samsung enlists HARMAN to help expand SmartThings ecosystem

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

HARMAN International has announced an engineering partnership with Samsung SmartThings to enlarge the scope of the SmartThings ecosystem.

As part of the partnership, a group of HARMAN Connected Services (HCS) engineers will work together with the R&D team of Samsung SmartThings to develop and design the SmartThings app. In addition, the HCS team will integrate third-party sensors into the SmartThings ecosystem; work on feature development for SmartThings Cloud and drive initiatives for the IoT platform hub.

Since the time Samsung acquired HARMAN, both the parties are working hand-in-hand to formulate and implement state-of-the-art technologies for various industry verticals and customers. The new alliance is an illustration of the continuation of the successful bonding between the two parties to introduce a revolutionary spirit in the IoT and cloud space – expanding the scope to incorporate enterprises as well as automotive OEMs and not just consumers.

Commenting on the partnership, HCS’ SVP and GM Sandeep Kalra, said: “We’re thrilled to be an engineering partner for Samsung SmartThings and to help grow the SmartThings ecosystem. HARMAN Connected Services strives to deliver experiences at the intersection of design, data and devices. Together with Samsung, we are doing just that and bringing about next-generation IoT and cloud-based solutions for our customers.”

Robert Parker, CTO, Samsung SmartThings, said: “It’s more important than ever to be at the cutting-edge of digital transformation and connected devices. By partnering with HARMAN Connected Services for SmartThings application and device development, we’re able to bring the latest smart device innovations directly to consumers.” Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Self-driving Uber car strikes and kills Arizona woman, Uber halts tests

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

A self-driving Uber car has struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in what is believed to be the first known death of a pedestrian from an autonomous vehicle.

As reported by the New York Times, the Uber vehicle did have a human safety driver on board but was in autonomous mode when the collision occurred, according to a statement from Tempe police.

The company will pause its self-driving car operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The death comes almost one year to the day since Uber halted trials following a collision – also in Tempe, Arizona – between one of its vehicles and another road user.

Uber said in a statement: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with Tempe Police and local authorities as they investigate this incident.” This was a sentiment backed up by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who tweeted: “Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.”

The first known death to be caused by a self-driving car was in May 2016, when Joshua Brown, 40, was killed whilst driving a Tesla Model S in autopilot mode. Last September, the chairman of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said ‘operational limitations’ in the Model S played a ‘major role’ in the crash.

According to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) last month, there were 10.9 fatalities from road crashes per 100,000 population in the United States in 2015. Wyoming saw the highest total with 24.9, compared with the District of Columbia on 3.4, while Arizona scored 13.1. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Success of smart cities depends on citizen engagement, says Gartner

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The success of smart cities is very much reliant on the engagement of its citizens and discussions between the government and citizens are critical to ensure that the right issues are taken care of, according to Gartner.

At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, UAE, Gartner analysts have underscored certain recommendations that CIOs in local government need to consider for the success of smart cities. Among the recommendations underscored are identifying and prioritising the issues that are negatively impacting the citizens and using technology to resolve these problems. CIOs are also recommended pay attention to the problems faced by citizens who are less tech-savvy.

Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research VP at Gartner, commented: "The key to CIO success is building objectives by developing key performance indicators (KPIs) that detect stakeholder priorities and measure success and impact. The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, is a perfect example of how incorporating these guidelines help in the execution of the of the smart city framework.”

By 2020, KPIs will be incorporated in nearly 66% of all smart city execution strategies to visualise the impact of mobility-related urban services.

The VP concluded: "Business strategies must clearly focus on the development of a seamless citizen service experience through digital access to information and government services. While preparing for the World Expo 2020, the Dubai government is focusing on creating thought leadership by implementing the most innovative technologies that create new modes of transportation (Hyperloo), energy generation (in conjunction with Masdar), or health and safety experiences.”

Meanwhile, Gartner argues that enterprises often seem to overlook the necessity to introduce change to the mindsets of their employees while initiating for a digital business transformation. An enterprise’s digital business transformation moves may become unsuccessful or slow down with the "fixed" mindset of its employees. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

New report assesses global cellular IoT market through 2025

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

A new report by TMR Research looks into all possible aspects of the global cellular IoT market through 2025 – trends, market shares, market strategies, growth drivers, restraints, opportunities, regional outlook and key players.

According to the report “Cellular IoT Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017 – 2025”, Wireless area networks (WAN) will drive the growth prospects of the global market from 2017 to 2025. WAN, possible through cellular networks, is projected to connect majority of the devices.

Among the key drivers of the market are the growing demand for extended network coverage and outsized capacity to can connect countless devices.  TMR Research added that the growth of the NB-IoT segment is another driving force behind the global cellular IoT market. Also, the surging deployment of cellular IoT in smart meters and smart grids is likely to support the growth of the market.

On geographical basis, TMR Research has segregated the global market for cellular IoT into four regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and the Rest of the World. Further impetus to the global cellular IoT market will come from the mushrooming smart city projects in several Asia Pacific countries including India, China, South Korea and Japan. 

In the meantime, a RCR Wireless News story has complied four predictions for the cellular IoT market.  The first projection made by Berg Insight stated that the top 10 mobile operators globally account for 76% of the cellular IoT market. While Ericsson projected that the number of IoT devices with cellular connections is anticipated to touch 1.5 billion in 2022, Grand View Research estimated that the value of the cellular IoT market will go up to $ 9.65 billion by 2025 from almost $ 1.8 billion in 2016. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Healthcare gets personal: How health is shifting into the hands of patients

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

This year’s CES displayed a huge array of new developments and possibilities from the health and medical technology market. Many are not ready for public use, but they give us a glimpse into the future of healthcare. CNET’s ‘Next Big Thing’ panel was centred around “The Invisible Doctor” and what it means for consumers and the wider industry. It’s evident that the shift in healthcare monitoring (from hospital to patient) could overhaul the entire structure of patient care. 

From a physician-centric treatment to patient-preferred healthcare, technology is creating a positive impact on the ability to manage lifestyle diseases and personal health. As consumers take a pro-active interest in their own personal health and wellbeing, there’s huge potential for greater technology adoption and the creation of new devices. The results are beneficial to both parties, as patients generate more data which doctors can then use to make more accurate diagnoses and inform new research.

Personal health devices

Wearable medical devices sales are expected to globally top $ 55 billion USD in revenue in 2022, increasing from $ 10.5 billion USD in 2017, according to ABI research. Medical technology companies will need to keep up with creative, regulatory and quality compliance and value-driven engineering and manufacturing solutions if they want to enjoy growth in both expanding and emerging markets.

The continuous stream of physiological data received from devices such as glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, and BP monitors is playing a key role in helping doctors monitor post-hospitalisation recovery and other long-term health conditions.

Using Bluetooth technology, healthcare professionals are able to provide diagnostic monitoring, apply physical therapy and even adjust ongoing therapy of implantable devices. For example, caregivers can track movements of elderly patients and receive health measurements. Patients, on their part, can promptly send measured body values wirelessly to their doctors.

Data is then collected and transmitted to facilities such as monitoring centres in primary care settings, hospitals and intensive care units, skilled nursing facilities, and centralised off-site case management programs. Health professionals monitor these patients remotely and act on the information received as part of the treatment plan. Soon, there will be less of a need for someone to visit the GP’s practice.

Monitoring programmes are tools to help achieve the "triple aim" of healthcare, by improving patient outcomes, expanding access to care and making healthcare systems more cost effective. These devices then provide the clinicians access to current and ongoing data to track the health of their patients for developing and managing individual health plans or to study trends across a defined population.

Additionally, quality of life and patient experience are constantly improving through medical developments like minimally invasive surgeries and better monitoring systems, along with more comfortable scanning equipment.

Driving efficiencies in healthcare

Healthcare technology is also drastically reducing the need for travel time from a patient’s home to the place of treatment. Patients – especially those in areas not well served by certain physician specialties – can be monitored and their treatment plans adjusted remotely or at a local primary care facility, rather than traveling back to a specialty clinic a long distance away. The UK’s NHS also made moves to reduce the growing pressures on GP surgeries by launching the Babylon Health app in December 2017, which offers video consultations with GPs.

Additionally, inclusive or specialised medical devices support custom fitting and designing unique size body parts, such as hips and knees, using technologies like additive manufacturing for replacement and implantation of orthopaedic (musculoskeletal) body parts. The positive environment created by these technologies helps accelerate post-operation recovery in patients.

All these advancements in medical device manufacturing are enhancing personalised healthcare in numerous ways.

Learning from innovation in other industries

There is potential for medical device and imaging markets to leverage new technology platforms to reduce development time, save investment costs and lower barriers to market entry. Medical technology design must rely on distinguishing features and market adoptability to ensure it is in-line with global megatrends, with many innovations carrying forth a technology convergence that is prepped for a "smart" world.

This trend is creating an openness to innovation in a highly regulated industry, allowing new technologies and products to be developed by companies outside of the healthcare industry. The likes of Google and IBM, for instance, are investing in technologies and building partnerships to be a part of this growth. Google’s DeepMind now works with the NHS in the UK to provide mobile tools and AI research to get patients “from test to treatment” faster and as accurately as possible. We are moving to an age where knowledge spill overs and blending innovation between sectors will become more frequent. How each sector learns from the other will remain a strong factor in delivering value to patients by using data gathered to develop better experiences, delivered efficiently. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Assessing three pressing cyber threats for IoT in 2018

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Every year we see new pressing cyber threats, from new targets for hackers to new issues cropping up in the cybersecurity space. 2018 will be no different. One area that has recently got a lot of attention is IoT devices, as the use of such devices has increased in both the public and private sectors. Here at Silobreaker we are keen to highlight three pressing cyber threats to IoT devices that we believe enterprises need to be aware of:

Industrial take-downs

By 2020 it is expected that 25% of cyber-attacks will target IoT devices, many of which will be deployed in industrial environments. Infection and covert usage of IoT devices to mine cryptocurrencies or conduct DDoS attacks is a trend that isn’t slowing down, and one that is especially problematic in the industrial space because Industrial IoT devices tend to be both poorly secured and difficult to patch, especially across a distributed environment such as manufacturing.

It’s true that Mirai, and variants such as Okiru and Satori, pose a major risk to manufacturing, where the reduction of a connected device’s processing power can seriously impact safety or disrupt processes. But there is also the potential for untargeted, collateral damage in this space. The prospect of motivated attackers leveraging destructive malware such as BrickerBot to wipe devices is highly concerning, but such ‘attacks’ need not even be targeted to cause damage. A wormable exploit such as the one used by WannaCry could cause widespread infection of industrial IoT devices –  to devastating effect – quite regardless of the original intentions of the attacker. We expect to see a major event of this kind take place in 2018.

Bringing in the professionals

Another pressing threat for 2018 is a dearth of skills and resources. Humans are still the weakest link in the security chain, but hiring and training people who can understand and respond to issues in the threat space is only becoming more difficult. Demand is rising much faster than supply, with 3.5 million unfilled positions in the cyber security field expected by 2021. At the same time, the eternal catch-up game played between criminals and analysts continues, with threats becoming more sophisticated and widespread every day.

As we further integrate IoT technology into our lives and into sectors such as manufacturing and critical infrastructure, this problem is not going to go away – it is going to get worse. The skills we need to protect ourselves: analysing information, separating intelligence from noise, and understanding the motivations of threat actors, are in short supply. They need to be cultivated. And to some extent this is happening; we’re simply not doing it fast enough. If this skills gap widens too fast, and too quickly, it won’t matter how much companies are willing to pay to fill these vital positions; we will all become victims.

To mitigate this issue, we need to put more effort than ever into hiring, training and retaining the next generation of cyber security experts. Information security is increasingly being viewed as more than an IT-only problem, which is a big step, but budgets don’t always scale with intentions. Yes, working to improve the “cyber hygiene” of employees is important, but no organisation is unbreachable. And we need many more skilled people if we want to be prepared for when the worst happens.

The most tantalising treasure is data

Theft and manipulation of personal information from IoT devices is a growing concern for 2018. With IoT machines becoming ever more popular with consumers, we need to come to terms with the idea that our personal information is more at risk than ever. Devices such as Amazon’s Echo and other virtual assistants allow us to (often unwittingly) sacrifice convenience for security – as we learned when a researcher used malware to stream audio to a remote server. Or when a Bluetooth vulnerability rendered Echo, Google Home and billions of other devices vulnerable to hijacking. We don’t know all the potential methods by which our personal information – what we say and do in our own homes – can be used against us, because having one’s personal life potentially exposed in this way is brand new. Identity theft and the resale of shopping habits are all perfectly possible, but this data can also enable crime in the physical world. If you’ve suddenly stopped ordering your weekly groceries, maybe there’s nobody at home? Assuming such information can be accessed, it will certainly be sold.

Mitigating data theft from devices like Echo is both a manufacturer issue and a consumer one. The more these devices are sold and used, the more attractive targeting them becomes for criminals. At the same time, the longer consumers wait before purchasing, the more tried and tested (and secure) this technology becomes. Purchasing from quality vendors will also reduce the risk of security ‘oversights’ and make sure that vulnerabilities are patched. Fundamentally, it also comes back to the very personal question of convenience versus security; to what extent are the risks worth the rewards? Caveat emptor. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Las Vegas among US cities given grant by Smart Cities Council

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The names of the 2018 Readiness Challenge Grants winners are finally declared by the Smart Cities Council – Birmingham, Alabama; Cary, North Carolina; Las Vegas, Nevada; Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky; and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The victorious cities will get 365-day expert, vendor-neutral mentoring as well as free customised products and services from organisations including Qualcomm, Battelle, SYNEXXUS, CompTIA and IES. In addition, on-site Readiness Workshop will be carried out as part of the council’s initiative to receive information from each workshop and work towards the development of a shareable Readiness Roadmap which offers guidance for the community’s smart city programme implementation.

Using the Smart Cities Council’s Readiness Roadmap, Birmingham will provide a collaborative framework for many ongoing smart city projects including Open Data portal, smart street lighting and community Wi-Fi.  On the other hand, Cary will utilise the Readiness Roadmap to take forward several of its smart city projects including "One Cary” – a move to have a 360-degree view of the entire city via the creation of a single core platform.

With the help of the training and assistance received from the Council, Las Vegas will work towards its goal of becoming a fully connected smart city by 2025. Louisville/Jefferson County and the Council will work together to utilise smart technologies to overcome challenges related to transportation, telecommunications and public safety. With its Readiness Roadmap, the Council will support Virginia in creating the foundation for various initiatives including the establishment of a cybersecurity and privacy plan as well as the creation of sustainable funding for smart city projects.

Elsewhere, the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port by cargo tonnage, is getting ready for a digital transformation with IBM’s cloud-based IoT technologies. The preparation starts with the development of a centralised dashboard application which collects and processes real-time information related to water, weather and communications. Latest from the homepage

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app