NC Hospital Adds Futuristic Bluetooth Beacons, New Wayfinding App Amid Digital Transformation

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People visiting the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, which is based in North Carolina, can now use an iPhone app to find their way around the hospital, but that’s not all. With a new iOS and Android wayfinding app, the hospital said patients and visitors can now get around the hospital in 21st century fashion. […]
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Interview: Digital transformation impossible without IoT says Vodafone IoT chief

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Communications giant Vodafone says that two-thirds of users believe that digital transformation is impossible without the Internet of Things (IoT).

Eighty-one percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, adds the company.

Vodafone also finds that over half of IoT adopters say that the technology has either increased existing revenues by an average of 19 percent, or opened up new revenue streams.

Where businesses reported a reduction in costs via their IoT implementations, the average was 16 percent, says Vodafone.

The findings were published in Vodafone’s IoT Barometer report. Circle Research surveyed 1,278 enterprise and public sector executives from 13 countries to produce the report for the company.

“The proportion of adopters that have embraced IoT on a massive scale — more than 50,000 connected devices — has doubled since 2016. And the majority of adopters say they’re spending more on IoT than 12 months ago,” says the report.

With Vodafone also finding that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe most business processes will include IoT elements by 2022, Internet of Business asked Stefano Gastaut, IoT director at Vodafone Group Enterprise, for his insights on both Vodafone’s IoT strategy and how organisations are adopting these technologies.

Vodafone’s latest global IoT Barometer finds that 51 percent of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams. Do you think that figure will change in the coming years? And if so, what will drive that change?

Stefano Gastaut: “We absolutely expect this figure to continue rising. As IoT and connectivity moves higher up businesses’ agendas, we’re expecting to see more and more initiatives rolled out across all industries.

“Our research has found that 79 percent of IoT adopters believe that over 50 percent of business processes will include some form of IoT sensing or control systems by 2022. As the costs of implementing connectivity into devices decreases, we expect to see the rate of adoption grow.

As IoT delivers more insight to businesses we expect its use to expand not just within organisations but also in helping to form more connected ecosystems.

Can you share any concrete examples of companies whose revenue streams have changed thanks to IoT?

We have healthcare organisations that are now able to access new revenue streams from providing connected wearables to offer patients more independent lives. We have home protection service providers in the US that are selling information back to insurance companies to improve risk profiling on the basis of IoT-generated data.”

The IoT Barometer also says that two-thirds of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT. Why has IoT become so crucial to so many organisations?

Early adopters of IoT will definitely be leading the digital transformation journey. Businesses need to consider how IoT can be leveraged throughout an entire organisation, rather than developing it in silos. This will help organisations of all sizes develop business strategies to use the new technologies, allowing them to adapt quickly to different market challenges and changes.

Our research has shown that 81 percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, compared with 65 percent of organisations who are simply considering switching to IoT.

Last year Vodafone launched its NB-IoT network in Ireland. Can you explain why IoT needs special networks like this and what the benefits are?

“Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) offers another option for connectivity and provides a solution for applications which would not be viable using existing technology. It is a low-power, wide-area technology that uses licensed spectrum, and that means quality of service is maintained and interoperability is improved.”

Internet of Business says

London-headquartered Vodafone has embarked on a number of forward-looking Internet of Things (IoT) programmes in 2018, from putting 4G on the moon to partnering with Lamborghini and China Mobile, to trialling an air traffic control system for drones and working with retailer Mango on in-store digital fitting rooms.

It’s good to see a British multinational pushing the boundaries of IoT technology with such confidence and imagination, and putting the partnerships in place to bring about global collaboration.


IoTBuild is coming to San Francisco, CA on March 27 & 28, 2018 – Sign up to learn all you need to know about building an IoT ecosystem.IoT Build

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ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation

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Put great minds in one room, and over the course of a dinner, they’ll share some significant insights. This is exactly what happened at an event hosted by ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications in Silicon Valley this month. The topic on the minds of these thought leaders was Digital Transformation (DX), a concept, challenge, and opportunity being discussed among all industries, businesses, and demographics today.

Moderated by Kyle Ellicott of ReadWrite Labs, the group discussed why Digital Transformation (DX) is now becoming mainstream, the numerous challenges companies face on their transformation journey and where we are in term of life cycle across all areas of industry.

Redefining Digital Transformation

According to Ellicott, even though digital transformation began surfacing in the 2000s, the term was associated with existing initiatives driving radical changes from paper-driven manual processes to the ability to digitize existing forms, tasks, and processes.

But the significance of Digital Transformation in recent years is about redefining business models, strategy, and customer experiences. Nothing before could make such dramatic changes because previous digital transformation initiatives had only been used to address one part of one issue. Instead today, it’s about taking on all the interrelated issues in different industries at one time for the most disruptive change possible.

Technology is Not the Only Issue:

Common issues  with digital transformation are the technology,and the capability to integrate and migrate, as well as people’s unwillingness to embrace change. Many countries like China making the move willingly to digital across all generations and among consumers and businesses. However that’s not the case with industries and consumers in different areas of the world.

Another issue is the lack of openness around data, data sharing and ownership. In many instances, data has numerous parties that can access it. However, they are limitations about what they can do with it. The ability to be open to sharing data freely among partners or connected access points within the networked society has yet to happen. Until it does, there will be hesitation for select industries to take the step toward digital transformation.

Benchmarking the Best Industries

One way to get past these issues was to look at the top industries that are doing digital transformation well. Their best practices can educate other industries. Also, they offer a benchmark for companies that want to start on their digital transformation.

Many guests at ReadWrite Labs’s event most often named transportation as a benchmark digital transformation industry. That’s because of the recent strides in the connected vehicle market. The market has gone beyond the call button for assistance. It now provides data to manufacturers that help produce better vehicles. Also, manufacturers can personalize the experience a driver has with that car brand. Now, transportation is connecting to smart cities through street lights and other IoT infrastructure.

Additionally, healthcare, including digital health and telemedicine, is a great example of digital transformation. The migration started with medical records and an understanding that DX could enhance efficiency and service. Currently, the healthcare industry is enhancing the overall experience for patients. The digital transformation framework has changed how doctors are diagnosing patients. It’s also making healthcare more accessible to many patients around the world. The result is faster diagnosis and treatment, helping to improve the lives of many.

The IoT thought leaders also mentioned payments and e-commerce and logistics as other industries that are becoming more adept at digital transformations. Both have benefitted from digital transformation in terms of more satisfied customers, faster service, and lower operating costs.

Envisioning a Different Future

Ease of access to old world services with the likes of Uber, Airbnb and many other sharing economy successes have illustrated how technology is driving business models and how entire industry ecosystems can be leapfrogged in a matter of years. Technology is now driving the formation of new industries and business models. It is no longer the other way around where business models once figured out how to insert technology into their processes. Digital Transformation has become a subject for the c-suite and is part of the strategic process of many companies.

To these thought leaders, even with all the confusion in many companies, the gap is closing. Technology solutions are available and implemented incrementally changing how things work for a company and its ecosystems. Companies and organizations are also incorporating experience-led engineering both for their customers and employees to get the most out of the DX frameworks.  For these leaders, they agreed that use case-led direction clarifies what DX is capable of delivering.

The post ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Port of Rotterdam prepares for digital transformation with IBM IoT

The Port of Rotterdam is preparing for a digital transformation with IBM’s cloud-based IoT technologies – starting with the formulation of a centralised dashboard application that collects and processes real-time water, weather sensor data and communications data.

Previously, Europe’s largest port by cargo tonnage banked on conventional communication techniques such as radar and radio to establish communication between captains, pilots and terminal operators to make vital decisions on port operations. With the IBM alliance, IoT sensors in addition to augmented intelligence (AI) and smart weather data will be used to collect numerous data streams including weather, water levels, currents, temperature and check berth availability.

These data will be analysed by IBM’s cloud-based IoT technologies and turned into information. The port authorities can use this information to make decisions that can reduce wait times, manage traffic more efficiently, decide best time for ship docking, load and unload among other advantages.

The tech-giant is also deploying “Digital Dolphins” – smart quay walls and sensor-equipped buoys – to support ship-to-ship cargo transfer and provide insights into the condition and utilisation of a berthing terminal and the neighbouring water and weather conditions.

Under the transformation process, the port will be able to host connected ships in the future and IBM aims to host these ships at the port by 2025.  Like the self-driving cars, connected ships are also capable of operating autonomously and can communicate with one other to avoid collision.

Paul Smits, CFO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: "Here in Rotterdam, we are taking action to become the smartest port in the world. Thanks to real-time information about infrastructure, water [and] air, we can enormously improve the service we provide to everyone who uses the port, and prepare to embrace the connected, autonomous shipping of the future."

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Enterprises will spend $7 trillion on digital transformation by 2021

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Global enterprises will spend more than $ 7 trillion dollars in the next four years as they struggle to modernize, build a global technology foundation for growth, and support simple, secure, and reliable access to data and services, says the IDC.

The big drivers?

The usual suspects like cloud initiatives, big data analytics, and mobility. But, IoT is becoming a major investment focus, and so are automation or AI initiatives. Connectivity is always a part of the conversation here, as well as IT services and enterprise applications.


Join us for the Read/Write Digital Transformation Dinner in Silicon Valley: February 13
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Host: John Koetsier, Journalist, Analyst, Futurist; Sponsor: Tata Communications


In 2019 alone, global enterprises will spend $ 1.7 trillion on digital transformation. That’s up almost 50% from the $ 1.2 trillion they spent this year, according to IDC. Top industries include the manufacturing and transportation sectors, but professional services and healthcare firms are also driving increased investment. By 2021, investment will reach a staggering $ 2.1 trillion.

One thing is clear: A wide range of industries is investing in digital transformation.

Those top industries represent just slightly more than half of all the trillions of dollars of spending. The rest, about 46%, is spread among multiple other categories.

While it’s true that companies are investing in cloud and communications technologies to grow competitiveness in an era when every company is becoming a technology company, the sleeper investment might be what all this technology does to company culture.

Digital transformation, after all, improves speed to market, competitiveness, innovation capacity, and other critical areas of an enterprise. All of those depend on culture, and culture depends on people.

That’s the piece that’s often overlooked when transformation efforts yield mixed results.

Without the right people, and without the right culture, all the technology in the world won’t save a company. Collaboration tools enable cooperation and communication, but they don’t mandate it.

All of which means that enterprise transformation includes technology, but needs to consider culture.

We’re looking to bring together key executives for a collaborative round table on digital transformation over dinner in Silicon Valley. Comment here to join me on the evening of February 13th!

The post Enterprises will spend $ 7 trillion on digital transformation by 2021 appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Golden State Foods (GSF) delivers transformation with IBM Watson IoT

Golden State Foods delivers transformation with IBM Watson IoT

IBM has announced it is working with Golden State Foods (GSF), a restaurant supplier with a fleet of over 2,000 delivery trucks, on IoT-focused business transformation projects. 

GSF is using IBM’s Watson IoT platform in two main ways: to improve fleet management and to create connected restaurants.

Many of the food products that GSF delivers to restaurants are perishable – the company produces around 400,000 hamburger patties per hour, for example. But delivery delays caused by breakdowns or scheduling issues could mean spoiled beef and disappointed diners.

By equipping its trucks with IoT sensors, they become easier to track and maintain. Sensor data collected and analysed using Watson IoT ensures that issues are detected and tackled before they cause bigger problems down the line. In addition, by combining wearable IoT devices and predictive analytics, GSF expects to improve driver safety.

Read more: French railway operator SNCF signs up IBM Watson IoT

Smart diners

A connected restaurant project, meanwhile, is seeing GSF customers use IBM’s Connected Store solutions to make their establishments smarter. Door hinge sensors, digital signage, shelf weight sensors and Wi-Fi tags, for example, collect valuable data that help managers understand energy consumption, manage their inventory and keep restaurants cleaner.

For example, temperature sensors in food storage facilities could trigger alerts if food reaches an unsafe temperature. And with data from occupancy sensors, heating and lighting can automatically be adjusted to reflect the fluctuations in need at peak times, and provide only what is needed.

Read more: ZMP CarriRo robot to deliver sushi in Japan

Finer points of business

“Innovation in the food service industry typically refers to creating new items on the menu, but GSF is taking that same spirit and applying it to the way restaurants can use technology to transform their operations and supply chain,” said Bob Wolpert, corporate senior vice president and president at GSF Logistics.

“IBM is giving us greater insights into the finer points of our business, from predicting exceptions to recommending the best course of action. It’s this level of knowledge that will allow us set the new standard for the food service industry.”

The post Golden State Foods (GSF) delivers transformation with IBM Watson IoT appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Survey: Life insurance firms face hurdles in digital transformation race

Life insurers face hurdles in digital transformation race

Life insurance in the US lags well behind other insurance product lines when it comes to digital transformation – but IT leaders in the sector are struggling to make the case for innovation and change.

These are the findings of a recent survey of life insurance IT leaders, all members of LOMA (the Life Office Management Association), conducted by market research firm Gartner. The study aimed to assess the impact of emerging trends on IT investments and decisions in the sector and found that almost half of respondents (49 percent) are working at firms that don’t even have a digital strategy.

On top of that, many don’t have a clear understanding of how digitalization could help transform their business models, Gartner said, and in this respect, they are trailing other areas of insurance.

Read more: Q&A: Blue Cross Blue Shield MA – how IoT is changing health insurance

Digital laggards

“While other insurance sectors, such as property and casualty (P&C) and health, are transforming at a faster pace, the life insurance industry continues to be more risk-averse and traditional in its business approach,” said Gartner analyst Kimberly Harris-Ferrante.

“IT leaders in North American life insurers often underestimate the impact of technologies and trends such as disruption from insurtech companies, changes in consumer lifestyle and growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) among consumers for health and lifestyle management.”

According to the study, participants believe that heightened security and cybersecurity risks will have the biggest impact on the industry during the next three years. Less predictable risks, such as changes in consumer lifestyle, spending and savings, were considered less threatening.

Read more: UK insurance market lags on digital, says LexisNexis

Long-term risks

“The failure to understand the pace and breadth of industry change will be risky in the long term to life insurers, which will find that it is increasingly difficult to respond to new market entrants and keep up with consumer financial and life insurance needs,” said James Huffman, LOMA’s second vice president, management solutions.

“Our research demonstrates that companies that do not aggressively establish an enterprise-wide digital program will fall behind, leaving them vulnerable to traditional and non-traditional competitors.”

The advice from Gartner to US life insurance companies is to focus on the needs of the digital consumer. For IT leaders in the sector, that means building modern platforms that use mobile and other digital technologies and enhancing the customer experience through behavioural analytics and the use of artificial intelligence, Gartner says.

But, its analysts acknowledge, a major barrier here is the reliance of the life insurance sector on ageing legacy systems. “These systems undermine openness and the ability to develop next-generation insurance products (such as those leveraging wearables) and build digital front-end platforms.”

The Gartner/LOMA study found that the top two challenges for the next three years will be dealing with older systems that cannot support new business needs and legacy modernization.


Five weeks to go: On 26 & 27 September 2017, Internet of Business will be holding its Internet of Insurance USA event in Austin, Texas. This event will focus on how insurance carriers can capitalize on IoT.

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Tata Comms: Airlines on digital transformation journey as IoT takes flight

IoT takes flight airlines on digital transformation journey

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the opportunities that the IoT offers airlines – but ensuring a smooth take-off for these technologies is going to rely on airline executives identifying those areas that offer the best chances for increased profitability.

Anthony Bartolo of Tata Communications

For Anthony Bartolo, chief product officer for collaboration, mobility and IoT at networking and cloud company Tata Communications, these opportunities principally lie in two areas: better passenger experiences and smoother behind-the-scenes operations. 

“We’re talking here about a hugely competitive industry,” he told Internet of Business. “Airlines don’t invest in digital unless they fundamentally feel they can derive very material benefits, either on the operations side or on the customer side. But we see very high levels of confidence in IoT, with the majority of airlines believing it will provide these clear benefits for them in 2018,” he says.

Air New Zealand, for example, has significantly increased its investment in digital in its corporate mission to “transform travel”, and in 2015, appointed former Google executive Avi Golan as its chief digital officer. The airline already provides young unaccompanied travellers with a digital bracelet, the Airband, so that their parents or guardians can track their journeys. Virgin Atlantic Airways has also experimented with wearables. Emirates has work underway on augmented reality and motion sensors

Read more: Air China chooses Panasonic to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity

In pursuit of profits

Running an airline as a money-making venture is, after all, a notoriously tricky business. Aircraft are expensive, jet fuel prices fluctuate. Bad weather can have a major impact on profits, as can industrial action at airports. Many costs are non-negotiable, in the form of fixed tariffs for access to airports and air traffic control charges.

In fact, when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted “record profits” for airlines in 2017, for the third year in succession, the organization’s director and general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac simultaneously conceded that, in this respect, aviation is still the poor relation of other industries.

“Record profits for airlines means earning more than our cost of capital,” he stated. “For most other businesses, that would be considered a normal level of return to investors. But three years of sustainable profits is a first for the airline industry.”

That said, the potential benefits of IoT in aviation are far-reaching and profound, with huge implications for future profitability, Bartolo claims. “When you look at what IoT does, it fundamentally brings visibility to areas that might otherwise be in darkness and that, in many cases, remain in darkness today.”

Read more: TUMI and AT&T launch tracking device for travellers

Real-time data

In particular, Bartolo says, the IoT brings real-time data into situations where the norm has typically been reams and reams of paper: passenger lists, seating plans, flight operations manuals, flight despatch information, crew rosters. That has huge potential for making operations faster and less costly, such as flight turnarounds times.

Similarly, it can propel passengers into a state of near-on constant connectedness, enabling them to access inflight Wi-Fi, use their own mobile devices to access inflight entertainment and stay notified when it comes to the progress of their own journeys and those made by their luggage.

In IATA’s 2016 Global Passenger Survey, the three top areas that passengers would like to receive notifications on were flight status and changes (cited by 85 percent); baggage status and waiting times for delivery (60 percent) and waiting times at security/border control (58 percent). They clearly want to receive that information via their mobile devices – 53 percent by SMS text messages; 22 percent via a mobile app; and 21 percent by email.

“There will definitely be airlines providing apps by next year that show passengers exactly where their luggage is at any stage of the journey,” Bartolo predicts. “But to truly open up the Pandora’s Box of visibility, airlines will need to have a very reliable network infrastructure underpinning a huge range of IoT-enabled sensors and devices, from sensors on the aircraft itself to baggage tags and everything in between.”

These are the layers that that Tata Communications is working with airlines to add, he says. These companies are effectively supply chain businesses, he adds, moving passengers, luggage, cargo and crews from place to place – but they have much to learn from parcels companies, for example, about identifying the locations of individual entities and assets, understanding what condition they’re in and digging down into what they experience between Point A and Point B.

There is, in other words, much work still to do, not least of which will be the widespread replacement of legacy technology, aging and patchy network infrastructures and paper-based processes. But with firmer technology foundations in place, made easier and more affordable for airlines by cloud, mobile and IoT, says Bartolo, airlines will be much better equipped to provide a safe landing for new technology initiatives and digital services that deliver greater business value and, hopefully, more reliable profits.

Read more: FliteTrak launches smart seating for aircraft cabins

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