Analysis: Dell EMC IoT revenues in Asia Pacific hit $1bn mark

Dell’s investment in the IoT is paying big dividends in Asia. Sooraj Shah explains why.

Revenues from Dell EMC’s Internet of Things and OEM business in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) have passed the $ 1 billion mark, announced the company this week. The results highlight the importance of IoT, smart city, and connected industry applications in the region.

Read more: Analysis: Airbus Skyways delivery drone completes first flight demo (VIDEO)

According to Glen Burrows, Dell EMC’s VP and general manager for OEM and IoT solutions in Asia, the $ 1 billion milestone shows how important the region is for the company. “Organisations in APJ are keen to realise the potential benefits of IoT, which is driving market growth faster than other regions,” Burrows told Computer Weekly. “With a $ 583 billion market opportunity by 2020, Asia is set to be the hub of IoT.”

Read more: Internet of Business’ exclusive interview with Dell IoT VP Dermot O’Connell.

The Asian IoT tiger

Analyst firm IDC recently suggested that Asia-Pacific would be at the forefront of all IoT investment in the coming years, with spending expected to reach $ 455 billion in the region by 2021 – nearly one-third of all IoT spending globally.

However, Asia-Pacific IoT spending is not restricted to the private sector. In a report last year, IDC found that 40 percent of Asia Pacific government organisations would be investing in IoT solutions within one year.

“IoT enables access to new and granular data sources, empowered by swift connectivity and quick data-gathering capability. This gives access to a wider range of information that enhances the quality of government services, at a scale previously thought unattainable,” said IDC analyst Shreyashi Pal.

“This eventually impacts every single stakeholder of government eServices — citizens, visitors, and business owners, who interact with government entities and their services.”

Internet of Business says

Dell recently announced that it was investing the same sum, $ 1 billion, over the next three years in a new central IoT division. This will focus on developing next-gen products, research, and partnerships, across everything from driverless cars to smart light bulbs, with a focus on edge computing and the distributed core, it said.

It seems that IoT investment has been timely, and is already paying dividends.


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Analysis: Airbus’ Skyways delivery drone completes first flight demo (VIDEO)

Airbus’ unmanned drone delivery project, Skyways, has completed a successful demonstration flight in Singapore. A full-scale trial is pencilled in for later this year. 

For an aerospace giant with tens of billions of dollars in revenue to play with, it took a while for Airbus to get into the commercial drone sector – publicly, at least. Work on drone delivery concepts was well underway at the likes of Amazon and Google when Airbus launched the Skyways project back in February 2016.

Eager to make up for lost time, the Skyways platform has reached its first major milestone: a successful flight and delivery demonstration at the National University of Singapore.

Taking to the skies

The setting is important. Instead of trialling the technology in rural areas, Airbus is heading straight for the drone-delivery heartland. Its focus is on last-mile urban logistics, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has been a willing partner.

During the demo (see video below), the Skyways machine took off from a dedicated maintenance centre and landed on the roof of a parcel station. There, a parcel was loaded onto the drone using a robotic arm. The drone then took off and flew back to the maintenance centre to show off its automatic unloading capability.

Airbus’ experimental project was launched in Singapore, with the support of the CAAS, to explore the potential of urban drone delivery. The collaboration was extended in April 2017, when Singapore Post (SingPost) became the project’s logistics partner.

“Today’s flight demonstration paves the way positively to our local trial service launch in the coming months. It is the result of a very strong partnership among the stakeholders involved, especially with the close guidance and confidence from the CAAS,” said Alain Flourens, Airbus Helicopters’ executive VP of engineering and CTO.

“Safe and reliable urban air delivery is a reality not too distant into the future, and Airbus is certainly excited to be a forerunner in this endeavour.”

Read more: Airbus launches commercial drone service Airbus Aerial

Read more: Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular smart city transport

The Airbus advantage

Being an established name in aerospace has helped Airbus to trial its drone delivery technology where the action is. But key to the progress being made in Singapore is the city state’s willingness to embrace new technologies.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Rigid regulations and a culture of fear and scepticism have already pushed Amazon Prime Air out of the US and into the UK. Add in the assistance of the National University of Singapore, and the Airbus project has been able to flourish in an ideal setting.

More trials will take place later this year to deliver packages between students and staff within the university campus, which is the size of 150 football fields.

“The Skyways project is an important innovation for the aviation industry,” said Kevin Shum, director general of CAAS. “We have been working closely with Airbus on the project, with an emphasis on co-developing systems and rules to ensure that such aircraft can operate in an urban environment safely and optimally.”

“This project will help to develop innovative rules to support the development of the unmanned aircraft industry in Singapore. We are pleased with the good progress that Skyways is making and look forward to deepening our partnership with Airbus”.

For NUS, the Skyways project is a chance to fulfil the university’s own vision of being a test bed for innovation.

“Project Skyways aligns with NUS’ vision of serving as a living lab to pilot innovative technologies and solutions,” said senior deputy president and provost, Professor Ho Teck Hua. “The NUS community is very excited to be the first in Singapore to experience this novel concept of parcel delivery by drones – an endeavour that could redefine urban logistics.

“Students from the NUS Faculty of Engineering also have the opportunity to gain valuable experience as interns with Airbus for this project. We look forward to working closely with Airbus, CAAS, and SingPost to carry out the campus-wide trial.”

There are several autonomous vehicle concepts in the works at Airbus. Skyways is currently under development alongside the Racer helicopter, the Vahana passenger drone, and the CityAirbus autonomous flying vehicle.

Internet of Business says

Supportive cultures and light-touch regulation are essential for drones and autonomous vehicles to succeed worldwide, establishing new markets and businesses.

In some nations, the aerospace authorities are known to be more conservative and to have the ears of government in suppressing unmanned flight, which hands the power to those that can take more risks. That said, many of the more conservative organisations are already managing overcrowded skies.

Despite these organisations’ worries, commercial drone delivery appears to be a matter of when, not if – along with full-scale cargo services and passenger transport. But the regulatory hurdles and technology challenges facing companies such as Amazon and Google remain significant.

Safety and security will be paramount. Cities are crowded in every direction, and autonomous, rotary-wing, battery powered devices are inherently dangerous and have multiple points of failure. Our MIT NanoMap story (link below) reveals that the technology is advancing rapidly, but a 98 percent no-crash rate is still not safe enough. We wouldn’t accept 98 per cent uptime from a cloud provider, so it’s clearly not acceptable for a drone that could kill someone.

Airbus benefits from its established aerospace reputation and the selection of Singapore as its testing ground. The closest comparison is Flytrex’s delivery service in Iceland, but Reykjavik can’t be compared to the world’s major cities in terms of scale. Elsewhere, there has been pushback to urban tests.

No doubt the full-scale trial of Skyways on the NUS campus later this year will be closely watched by Airbus’ competitors.

Read more: MIT’s NanoMap helps drones to navigate safely at high speed

Read more: EHANG passenger drone boasts successful manned test flights

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Analysis: Oracle says autonomy now, AI with everything by 2020

Oracle is automating and AI-enables its cloud platform. But is AI simply the new direct debit? Chris Middleton reports.

Oracle has announced that it is rolling out AI-based automation across its Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud offerings.

The enterprise vendor says that the new machine-learning-based additions will enable its cloud platform and developer applications to self-optimise, maintain, update, and patch.

The move follows the launch of its ‘self-driving’ database last year, and extends Oracle’s autonomous capabilities across much of its cloud product line.

Cutting the drudge

Oracle’s stated aim is to reduce customer costs while enabling in-house IT teams to refocus on adding value to the business – in traditional ‘cloud hype’ style.

“We want to provide autonomous capabilities to eliminate the human labour associated with provisioning, upgrades, backup, recovery, and troubleshooting,” said Amit Zavery, executive VP of product development for Oracle Cloud.

A core challenge with PaaS is that “a lot of patching doesn’t happen automatically and a lot of systems don’t get upgraded regularly,” he added.

Also included in the product refresh are tools to enable developers to add chatbots to applications more easily, with a library of use cases that can be customised.

“Once a user defines the kinds of things he wants to integrate, we can take over connecting systems, doing the mapping, and providing endpoint connectivity,” said Zavery.

Securing the automated cloud

New security tools also use machine learning, said Oracle, and analyse user behaviour patterns to intercept data leaks.

This is in line with the new security trend of behaviour modelling. This is essential in large IoT applications, for example, where it may be impossible to secure a range of smart devices independently.

“The future of tomorrow’s successful enterprise IT organisation is in full end-to-end automation,” said Zavery.

“We are weaving autonomous capabilities into the fabric of our cloud to help customers safeguard their systems, drive innovation, and deliver the ultimate competitive advantage.”

Oracle also announced that it is opening 12 new data centres worldwide.

Another big bet on AI

Oracle is making a big bet on machine learning and autonomy in the same way that IBM has refocused its business on cognitive services and Microsoft is putting AI centre stage.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd emphasised the point on Monday when he predicted that more than half of all enterprise data will be managed autonomously by 2020. “AI will become integrated into everything. It’s not a question of if, but when,” he added. “This has everything to do with macroeconomics, business model strategy, and technology,” he said.

In other words, business innovation and agility will be essential if and when traditional sources of growth dry up.

Which brings us to Oracle itself…

Internet of Business says

While its on-premise revenues remain five times higher than those of its cloud portfolio, Oracle’s traditional growth in on-premise tech has hit a plateau. However, its quarterly cloud revenues are up 44 per cent year on year.

So Oracle itself is being forced to get smart. After 10 years of Oracle supremo Larry Ellison slamming the cloud as vapourware, the all-too-public u-turn is complete. In traditional Oracle style, it has simply branded its logo on the cloud and pretended the previous decade was a dream.

But buyer beware. When it comes to the new mantra of ‘AI with everything’, all enterprise buyers of platform, infrastructure, and software services should consider this. As automation grows, transparency and trust will become critical issues, regardless of who the vendor might be.

When any services can simply upgrade themselves or add new features autonomously, who is approving any extra costs and any new vendor revenue streams? In these circumstances, AI could simply become the new direct debit, with all the associated problems that may ensue.

There’s no suggestion that any vendor would use AI to print money for themselves; merely that customers should manage their deals carefully and keep an eye on Ts & Cs.

Read more: Police need AI to help with surge in evidential data

Read more: An AI for an eye: DeepMind focuses on eye disease diagnosis


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Exhaustive acoustical analysis demonstrates HomePod is ‘100 percent an audiophile-grade speaker’

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The audiophile community now has their hands on the HomePod, and one Reddit user has thoroughly examined the device from an acoustical standpoint, calling it ‘witchcraft" plus "100 percent an Audiophile grade Speaker."
AppleInsider – Frontpage News