I’m a huge fan of Blue’s microphones and premium wired headphones: the company knows how to build equipment that sounds as good as it looks. Naturally, I was excited to try its newest effort, the Satellite wireless headphones. At $ 400, they’re not cheap – but they do offer Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in amplifier, active noise canceling, and a premium over-the-ear design and build. But with a range of similar options out there, I wanted to be sure that these were worth their asking price, and spent a month with them to find out. Design With the Satellite, Blue wasn’t going…
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.
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.
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.
The post Centrica: Machines are ready to talk, but are we good listeners? appeared first on Internet of Business.
Basic analytics are (finally) coming to Apple’s podcast app in an upcoming refresh. It’s a big deal.
Big changes coming to podcasting: Apple is going to let the people who make podcasts learn what podcast listeners actually like — and what they ignore.
A new version of Apple’s podcast app will provide basic analytics to podcast creators, giving them the ability to see when podcast listeners play individual episodes, and — crucially — what part of individual episodes they listen to, which parts they skip over, and when they bail out of an episode.
The reason all of that is important is that up until now, Apple has provided almost no data at all about podcast listening behavior — just the fact that someone has downloaded an individual episode.
And since Apple’s Podcast app accounts for the majority of podcast consumption, that means podcast creators — and podcast advertisers — have almost no idea how people are interacting with podcasts. They’ve been creating — and paying for — this stuff in the dark with almost no feedback.
So this is a subtle but very big change. Here’s Matthew Lieber, CEO of Gimlet Media, the podcast studio behind hit shows like Startup and Crimetown:
It may look obscure, but this is the biggest thing to happen to the podcast business since Serial first went nuclear https://t.co/4tWfvckKM9
— Matthew Lieber (@mlieber) June 10, 2017
Podcast creators like Lieber (and myself) have been asking Apple for this kind of information for a long time, but prior to yesterday’s podcasting session at Apple’ developer conference, there was zero indication Apple was interested in providing it.
Apple didn’t make much noise about it yesterday, either. James Boggs, an Apple business manager who works on its podcast team, mentioned the new features briefly at the end of the session, and said the company would have more info later this year. Here are some screenshots from a video of that session:
Other than laying out the basic idea behind the episode analytics, the only other detail Boggs provided was that Apple will provide aggregated, anonymized performance data, not pegged to individual users.
That means a podcaster — or podcast advertiser — will be able to see general listening behavior, but won’t be able to create content — or ads — targeted for individuals, or even groups of listeners.
That kind of precision targeting and analytics is the kind of the thing most digital content creators — and advertisers — expect from platforms like YouTube and Facebook. But Apple’s pro-privacy stance — and general disinterest in the advertising business — makes it unlikely the company will ever provide that kind of detail.
But just the rudimentary data Apple says it is going to provide will be a huge change for the podcast world. Now podcast creators will be able to see if people are listening all the way through the stuff they make, or bailing out after the first 10 minutes. And while advertisers won’t be able to see who is listening to their ads, they’ll at least be able to see what percentage of listeners are skipping past them.
That second premise has obvious downside for the podcasting business, at least in the near-term: If podcast advertisers learn that they’ve been paying for stuff no one hears, they’re likely to stop paying for that stuff.
And as a podcast maker, it’s been a refreshing novelty to make stuff without the instant — and often disheartening — feedback you get when you work on other digital media: I worked on that thing for that long and no one cared?
In the long run, of course, more data is better: You’d rather make — and pay for — stuff people want to consume. And knowing how they consume it gives you the ability to make more of it.