Will Tech Companies be the Next Big Car Companies?

It’s no secret that connected cars are already on the market. When it comes to IoT it doesn’t get much more controversial than the autonomous vehicle.  These connected vehicles however are a different story. While the self driving vehicle is causing consternation from young people to older people, connected cars are something that the world seems to be ready to embrace. Nevermind that some of them have already been hacked and will likely be so again, people want them and the demand has dramatically increased for connected vehicles that make people’s lives easier.

Over the course of the past year these cars have become much more connected and are creating a really good income for the auto makers. What’s more as internet technology grows and advances, the automobile as we know it will be vastly different and will continue to become more controversial.

The next decade alone is projected to change the way that we drive, the way that we travel and the entire car ownership experience.

A new report from BI Intelligence examines every aspect of the  metamorphosis of the car, inclusive of the market, the benefits, the consumer response and demand as well as strategies and projections.

Some of the key elements of this report are:

Connection is offering new and clear business opportunities

Consumers are adopting the cars and adapting to them much more rapidly than anyone had dared to dream.

More than 380 million connected vehicles will be traveling our roads by  2021 and many of them will be self driving. The market is nearly guaranteed because automakers who are creating vehicles today plan to connect most of what they have on the market in the next two years alone.

Completely autonomous cars are only a few years in the future and all of us may be “driving” them quite shortly. Technical companies are playing a huge role in the development of automobiles. Which begs the question,  in the new future are we going to see tech companies which are actually developing and manufacturing cars?

How to Mitigate Your Company’s Cyber Risk

It’s a given that with the many different types of IoT and connected devices that we’re using and the massive advances in IoT that one of the biggest issues we’re going to run into is cyber security.

Organizations are going to be spending millions of dollars this year alone on cybersecurity. They are seeking ways to help their company to find intruders in their networks.
The problem is that in todays outsourced and hyper-connected world, even the most sensitive data can—and must—be seen by hundreds or thousands of people. Business partners abound today and in many cases, most of them must access data or services inside the company’s networks.

With so many people who require access, how can you keep effective control of these third parties to minimize risk to your data?

Third parties pose a very significant risk to companies and their data. If you aren’t aware of the many hazards that they can pose, you’ve missed the major news briefs  and the headline- worthy breaches that have taken place—many of which were caused by third party access companies who were less than responsible with their security.

The response from governmental entities as well as regulators has been very clear. It’s time to get the risks managed and the cyber security under control. In just the past few years alone the OCC, SIFMA, SEC and NAIC as well as the DOD have set forth new guidelines or new requirements or recommendations that will provide for managing third party risks when it comes to cyber-security.

With so much at stake, medical, financial, legal data, not to mention company reputations  at stake, companies are encouraged to consider four key elements when they are building their third party risk programs.

Build a team. Use the best that you have to help you to identify all of the third parties that are going to pose a major risk to you.

Have your team focus on the parties that will be the biggest risk first and then assess which of them are the most critical to you.

Choose standards that are applicable. Select the right security standards and make them doable and applicable to the company at hand.

Use a trust but verify methodology with the higher risk third party companies and assess and reassess them on a regular basis.

Put together your own team and your own management plan and ensure that you manage every aspect of risk that are part of your company. Those who adopt a good security management plan will invariably stand out and remain ahead of the pack while those who do not going to be left in the dust.

Deep Learning Vs Machine Learning And Its Affect On Jobs

Machine learning and Deep learning. Two analytic and data building concepts that have changed the game in many ways when it comes to jobs and how they are received, achieved, and handled. First, we need to cover our basis here and explain to those that don’t know the difference between the two, exactly what those differences are.

What is Machine Learning (ML)?

Before AI came machine learning. The basis for machine learning is that a collection of data is put into a specific system(this system doesn’t even have to be great) and once that data is placed, the machine will use what data it has to form an outcome. To break it down, consider the concept of storm prediction. Much data is placed within the system and from there it’s possible predict an upcoming storm.

What is Deep Learning?

Deep learning is the feeding of data into a computer system. One this is done, the computer then begins making decisions in regards to other data. These data decisions are then fed through the neural networks just like with machine leaning. However, unlike machine learning, it’s quite a bit more complex in it’s binary true and false questions due to its logical constructions.

How Machine Learning And Deep Learning Affects Jobs

We’ve been developing AI for quite some time. Machine learning and deep learning and its affect on the job industry really depends on the industry, what these AI’s will be doing, and countless other concepts. For the moment, while AI has been put into place in various areas, those jobs that AI has “taken over” has opened up avenues for different jobs and has forced millions to simply add another area of expertise to the table of skills.

Some believe in the theory that AI will simply take over and leave thousands, if not millions, of people out of work. It’s possible that there will be a mild level of displacement for certain areas, but again, this theory isn’t sound enough to merit the “horror” that some have of AI. The entire concept of AI is to aid in the process of advancement and not to simply bring forth an army of robots to “do it all”.

Consider the duel partnership of surgeons and AI systems that save lives on a daily basis. It’s highly doubtful that doctors will become extinct from Machine or Deep Learning. This concept, alone, labels certain areas of success with the incorporation of AI. Without a doubt, the thought of too much artificial intelligence within the job industry is a fear for many people of varying industries. Some experts are concerned that AI and all that goes with it, will have a negative impact on the work force.

While it is true that AI has replaced specific roles in the job industry, the pros and cons can be measured in equal balance. There are areas that will see a decrease in the need of workers, yet there are also greater advances and areas of expertise to fill in the process of keeping up with the future of AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning. Thus far, the idea of AI is still looked upon in a positive light.

IoT and IT Regulations on the Rise. Is Your Company Ready?

It’s no secret that data breaches are on the rise. In fact, there have been more data breaches than ever before. Medical data breaches are  proven to cost more than any other type of breach, costing about 400 dollars per record.

Data breaches are rising dramatically putting them on the agenda for most C-suite and corporate boards. Customer information is being lost, trade secrets are being sold and confidential assets being breached can significantly lower customer loyalty and trust as well as definitely lower the reputation of those companies which were breached.  They can also give the competition a significant advantage.

These aren’t the only things that companies have at stake. The many different types of cyber-security risks make cyber-security a vastly complicated problem. In fact attempting to protect the many different frameworks and CMS and private networks is fraught with other complications to layer on top of the complexities.

Today, governments are seeking ways to stem the tide of breaches and break-ins by creating new legislation that provides for specific levels of security and best practices for companies.

This tidal wave of  governments and new cybersecurity regs and recommendations make additional problems in and of themselves. The United States government alone has proposed more than  200 bills (actually 240 at last count.) This includes legislative proposals for ways to deal with cyber-security. This number of  mandates and proposals have taken place  in just the past three years alone and the number continues to rise.

The proposals fall into a wide range of categories. In some cases the proposals are that companies implement direct requirements for protection. One example of this is that companies in the critical infrastructure arena are going to be facing requirements for security in the US and in the UK and EU as well. They will have specific  requirements for risk assessment, control and for  personnel training. The question is how can a country legislate a level of security when that level cannot be guaranteed by any company. There are even “trade secret” protection laws in the works that require companies  to take “reasonable steps” in order to keep information about the programs and devices safe from cyber threats—though what those steps are is another unknown.

In addition to legislating the devices and services that are being legislated, share holders  are becoming more demanding that companies safeguard medical and technical information. That means that securities laws as they relate to new IoT devices and services are also being legislated. In the United States, some measure of shareholder litigation as well as SEC proposals and enforcement are already launched and seeing some effect.

With all of the changes and the advances in technology, it’s no surprise that legislation will follow. Is your company ready for the changes that are being made in IoT and internet services?

According to Brink News, “The rising tide of cybersecurity regulation and recommendations complicates the landscape for companies.”

The National Institute of Standards or NIST, offers one of the most comprehensive tools for managing the risks involved in information security. Even the federal government agencies of the US are embracing it wholeheartedly. In a survey undertaken by Dell, more than 80 percent of professionsl in the security arena are using the NIST framework for improving their own security, which makes it a great place to start for companies which are trying to come into line and ensure their compliance to the expected new regulations.

According to the experts, the NIST method and framework may well be the guideline that the courts and legislators will use to determine whether companies in the IoT and IT business are doing their best to secure devices and provide for data security.

There are other standards that are entering into play such as the ISO 27001 which is being used by many companies. The standard is different structurally than the NIST Framework though NIST makes reference to the ISO requirements in their own framework.

What is your company doing to secure their data and IoT devices? How are you set up to come into line with the regulations and legislation that is sure to be just around the corner?

Every company should be taking steps now to implement some type of protection to meet the ever changing threats as well as the ever changing cyber-security regulations.

The Risks of Tech Innovation—Do They Stand up to the Rewards?

Connected vehicles and self-driving automobiles sounds a lot like science fiction doesn’t it? The reality is that even though it sounds like something out of a Jules Verne book, we’re already using them and we’re seeing massive benefits to both the driver as well as the companies who are using them.

What’s the Down Side?

Autonomous vehicles do have a down side in that they can be hijacked or hacked as we have seen happen in the past. The many naysayers of the technology cite the hacking of automobiles and the bad technology that allowed motorcycles to stop in mid traffic, causing accidents in the past.

It is very possible that loads of goods could be stolen via a hacker or hijacker and that goods that are not meant to be publicly available could become so. This is a real concern and one that car makers and autonomous vehicle creators are addressing.  There is simply nothing out there that cannot be hacked.

What’s the Up Side?

These cars and other vehicles are offering the drivers a safer trip as well as a lower insurance cost and considerable data that is telling us more about how people use their cars and how to make them much safer along the way.

Analysis of the big data that we get from autonomous cars is also helping us to provide information for other technology and other innovation.

Autonomous technology is in broad use today. It’s being used  in many ways to help to make the world and people much safer.

Loads of items that are dangerous in nature may be driven by autonomous vehicles, keeping people much safer in their jobs.  As these autonomous vehicles become more popular and are used more frequently the data that they provide, both in amount and in type will change, giving us a better look at new ways to make the world safer and better for humankind. Is the risk worth the reward? Time will tell, but so far, the rewards seem to outweigh the risks.

Privacy and Wearables in the Workplace – Is There an Issue

Wearable devices have become hugely popular in recent years, to the point where it’s no longer novel to see people wearing smartwatches and fitness trackers out in public, or even in the workplace. As much as these devices have allowed for new experiences and added convenience in business and professional settings, they also come with a certain level of risk.

Illustration of a isolated smart watch icon with a 2016 sign

In business cases, a number of companies are now considering wearables as devices to use in their health and wellbeing strategies, or even for staff tracking and other operational functions. Is this a good thing for the employment relationship, and should employees have concerns regarding their privacy and the use of mandated wearable technology?

Full Disclosure Will Be Key to the Acceptance of Workplace Wearables

In an age when the majority of electronic devices are becoming increasingly connected, it is reasonable that the average person should have some concerns regarding their privacy. In personal life, a user can take their own steps to protect their personal data; so what happens when it’s an employer that controls the collection, storage, and use of personal data?

For any organization to be able to make use of wearables for any kind of employee tracking or data collection, it is important that full disclosure is made. Employees need to know what data will be collected, how they are expected to provide it (through wearables or other biometric devices), and how that data will be used. Employers have an obligation to provide all of this information upfront, and an element of transparency will help to facilitate the acceptance of any new workplace policies regarding mandatory wearable devices.

Data Protection is a Non-Negotiable Obligation

Being transparent is the first step, but it’s not enough on its own. Employers need to have an appropriate security solution that will prevent data loss, unauthorized access, or even data theft by third parties. The intent to protect data should be outlined in contractual employment agreements, and should comply with any local or federal laws regarding information collection and storage. While organizations do have some rights to collect data with employee agreement, they should also be aware that employees have the right to decline participation in any new wearable device data initiatives, which could lead employment disputes and loss of valuable staff.

With such a fine balance between making use of new technology and data, privacy, and the employment relationship, organizations will need to be careful when developing strategies regarding wearable devices. It needs to be clear how such devices and data collection will benefit an organization, and appropriate messaging should be in place to achieve employee buy-in for any new initiative.

With the right approach, wearables could allow companies to better track staff attendance, manage workplace incidents, and even ensure the health and wellbeing of employees. However, without the right management, the push for wearables could easily damage the relationship between employees and employers, making strategic planning and communication an essential aspect of implementing any new technology in the workplace.

About Bill McCabe/ Internet of Things Recruiting – Executive Search/ Retained Search for the Internet of Things/ Machine 2 Machine/ Big Data Markets

IBM IOT Futurist – see you at #IBMInterconnect – March 19-23 Las Vegas

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What is BlockChain

Blockchain is a form of technology that had over $1 billion invested in it in 2016 alone. While this technology is far from new, it is one that grew in popularity thanks to Bitcoin. With it, a digital ledger is created that allows online records to record transactions, and ensure that all information is verified by another source to confirm accuracy. The network created by blockchain scans a number of computers within the same network. With each transaction, the size of the database grows and the number of users that access and manage the transactions increases.

Unique software is required for a blockchain to be run. When it is created, it is near instantaneous, and that means there isn’t the ability to alter transactions before they become recorded. This cuts down on the risk of fraud in most sectors which makes it appealing. It is also encoded and hashed in batches, so that the blocks of several bits of data create a chain. This allows for validation to occur at the same time, and protects the security of the system running it. Each time a transaction takes place, a unique transaction number is encrypted that show everything that took place in the transaction. Since several computers make up the different portions of the blockchain, it is nearly impossible for fraudulent activity to occur.

While Bitcoin and virtual currency is still where the bulk of blockchain is used, many companies are searching for ways to add it to their own applications beyond currency. This would help to reduce conflicts that are the results of disputes and even things like land rights, or legal items could be verified and the accuracy and lack of fraud would ensure that sensitive items such as these would constantly have more authenticity and reduce many legal woes.

However, not everyone is on board yet. Some companies are still concerned that since this technology is still in a relatively infancy, there is a need for proven transparency and someone to remain accountable for the data that is obtained. Since the process is also labor intensive, there would need to be dedicated users who solely work on the blockchain that is being handled. This would need to be people who have a basic understanding of IT and the way that it would be used for blockchains.

Another concern is the amount of resources it would take. There would need to be high end machines that handled the resource intensive nature of the software. Additionally, companies would need frequent access online to continue update and building the information. With more countries blacking out sections of the internet, this could prove to be a problem.

Blockchains are destined to become a more significant part of our industry. It is important that the technology is continued to be advanced, so more companies have a chance to benefit from it. After all, it is the technology that will help to boost security and ensure that there is something in place we can depend on. With Bitcoin showing it is already possible to succeed with this technology, there is little doubt that success will be had.

IOT – Think Big – Start Small – Scale Quickly

Double exposure of night cityscape with technology graphic design. 2017 smart city concept

Think Big, Start Small, Scale Quickly

There’s an old philosophy that business coaches often use. It’s the saying that you think big, start small, and then scale quickly. If you follow it closely, you have the potential to make a lasting impression in an industry and achieve actual results in the process.

Let’s look at this in terms of the internet of things to see how it pertains to this industry. The first thing we do is think big. This means to think about the transformation in the industry and how it will not only impact you, but others. With this, you’ll know what technology you need to be successful, and have the building blocks in place that others can come to you as they need your technology in order to operate more effectively.

Now that you understand the big picture, you can start small. Begin to work a process into the latest trends. Identify any weaknesses the competition has, and work to design and processes to help combat these weaknesses. Consider adjusting the structure and then release products that address these concerns. You can begin to gain attention as you do this, and others will follow your suit. Chances are, other technology companies will be willing to work with you to address their own internal concerns.

It’s at this point, you scale quickly. You begin to unroll solutions quickly, release prototypes, and aggressively work to be the leader in the industry. The goal at this time is to show you are on the cutting edge of things and to drive the process further harder. As you do this, make sure you keep looking at the future, especially since you know the direction you are taking trends and work on building from this. Even though you did start small, you have cornered a section of the market at the head. That way, people will keep looking to you in order to determine the future of things.

The thing to remember is that as long as you are innovative, and follow through with the process, there is no reason why you cannot succeed. Mobile technology has used this approach for years and it continues to propel the smart phone industry. With more devices headed toward total connectivity, it will pay to be the company who decides to start small and scale quickly, and unleash the new popular trends that will propel the internet of things into the future.

For another real-world example of this check out this post from Cisco/Jasper.


Expanding your IOT Horizons

DIY Applications that Could Expand the Reach and Mindshare of IoT

There are some in the IoT industry who see certain technologies as prohibitive, especially for the average user. There are a number of areas that are currently unserved by IoT technologies, sometimes due to a lack of innovation, and at other times due to there being a lack of network support in a particular geographic location.

With the increased penetration of 4G cellular coverage around the world, there is huge potential for DIY IoT services that are independent of any major branch of technology. Learning about the companies that are preparing niche devices can help you to expand your vision of what IoT is, and who it can benefit.

Here are three exciting areas that have already been embraced by the DIY IoT community.

Environmental Tracking for Agriculture

Agricultural operators could gain a lot from IoT sensors, and independent developer Mesur would like to provide the technology. This startup company creates simple sensor devices that can track atmospheric and environmental conditions to help with seeding and harvesting, allowing operators to minimize waste and increase crop yields. They also provide tailored analytical sensor software to benefit turf management, vineyard management, and even mining operations.

Private Car Telemetry Tracking

Telemetry tracking can be hugely beneficial when used for legal defense or during insurance claims. One driver who wanted to put the power of data in his own hands, went as far as creating a device that tracked his vehicle behavior, detecting speed, location, and acceleration/braking patterns. Using simple components like gyros, a GPS module, and a transmitter, individuals could create their own vehicle tracker with telemetry, and connect it to a cellular network for extensive urban and suburban coverage.

Plant Health Monitor for Home Gardeners

By combining a GSM connected microcontroller module from Particle, along with a temperature and moisture sensor, home DIY enthusiasts could create a simple device that tracks soil quality in home planters or gardens, letting them know when it’s time to get out and water the plants. With the Particle microcontroller, alerts can be sent via SMS, email, or to a mobile app. An electron 3G kit from Particle costs less than $70 USD, and as demand for DIY devices increases, these costs are likely to come down even further.

Using a Particle Microcontroller for Almost Any Application

Particle is one of the leading companies when it comes to home and small scale IoT development. Their electron IoT microcontroller kit can provide cellular service in virtually any country that has coverage, and the microcontroller can be used with multiple sensors for virtually any application. Whether a user wanted to create a GPS tracker for their vehicle, or a door sensor for their home, the Particle would be perfect for the job.

As other companies develop DIY-friendly kit sets and technologies, it is likely that the number of home-based IoT enthusiasts will increase, and devices like the Particle could even find their way into schools and tertiary education facilities, where they will inspire the next generation of IoT designers and innovators.

Smarter Cities with The Internet of Things

Parking meters, information signs, CCTV, traffic signals – almost everywhere that you look in a modern city, there’s a microchip embedded device, connecting to what has now become known as the all-encompassing Internet of Things. Although we often overlook the fact, cities are, in essence, huge and complex businesses. Cities compete for residents, investors, tourists, and even funding from central government. For cities to remain relevant, they have to become smarter, leaner, and more connected. The IoT is helping the world’s largest cities to do this, and it’s all happening on a grand scale, and at a phenomenal rate.

According to Gartner Research, in this year alone, 5.5 million new ‘things’ are expected to become connected every day. From consumer devices like smartphones and fitness devices, to interactive flat panel displays and information kiosks, IoT is seeing huge adoption rates and staggering investment. Just over a year ago, an IDC FutureScape report predicted that local government bodies would represent up to a quarter of all government spending, specifically because of investment into the research and implementation of connected technologies.

Simple Ideas are Changing How Cities are Run

Looking at just a few of the innovative technologies from the last five years, it is possible to start developing a picture of what smart cities will look like within the next decade. Bitlock is an innovative technology that uses proximity keys to automatically activate or deactivate bike locks. At the same time, the system uses an owner’s smartphone to record the GPS location of the lock and bike. Such a system could be utilized on a large scale, such as in a bike sharing program in heavily congested cities. Private and government organizations could track bikes for better management, and they could even use the uploaded data to provide real time updates for bike availability, while also recording patterns of utilization.

Streetline is another smart city technology that shows great promise. Using networked parking sensors, Streetline can record parking availability in real time, and report to city officials and publicly available smartphone apps, simultaneously. The technology is in widespread use around Los Angeles, and as of May this year, over 490 million individual parking events had been recorded and reported using Streetline sensors. Studies have shown that smart parking systems can reduce peak parking congestion by up to 22%, and can reduce total traffic volume by 8%. With other technologies like IBM’s Intelligent Transportation Solutions, local governments could utilize devices to gather real time aggregated data which can be used to measure traffic volume, speed, and other metrics, which could be used to design better policy and city planning.

Opportunities for IoT Skilled Professionals

Innovative technologies like these are just the beginning of what is possible in a smart city. Emerging technologies have the potential to make major cities more functional and convenient for residents and visitors, and more manageable for government bodies. Even so, there are still challenges to overcome. Infrastructure is a major challenge, and cities will need to plan and implement high speed networks, as well as the servers that are necessary to support their sensors and other systems. Storage and processing needs will increase as IoT becomes more widespread, and security will need to become a major area of focus. Security is not just necessary to safeguard systems, but also to protect end user privacy and data.

It’s clear that smart technologies and IoT are the future of the world’s major cities. Which in turn means that experienced developers, operations professionals, engineers, and IT security specialists will be in high demand, with growing opportunities in the immediate future, and in the coming years.