Top IoT News From 2016

2016 will go down as being part of the golden era for the Internet o things. This last year has experienced incredible advancements like cars that drive themselves, and cities that actually smarter. It has also been a learning experience where major security breaches threatened us, but we worked past them, and ultimately built stronger systems. So what were some of the top stories of the year?

The first was the Mirari code. This historic attack utilized the internet of things to take down massive websites, through unsecure devices. Amazon, BBC, and other websites felt the crushing blow of this DDoS attack. When things settled down, there was still the concern of what could happen if another attack were to happen.

Our vehicles also experienced an upgrade in 2016. Several fleets of autonomous cars (or those that drive themselves) were unveiled. These cabs would provide the most effective driving experience for passengers and could cut down on accidents, and avoid delays in traffic. This means the future of getting to and from work will be incredible.  That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t gone off without a hitch the Tesla that was running on autopilot did already claim the life of one man who was in the vehicle as it drove in July.

Reactions were mixed this year in August when a pair of hackers revealed more security concerns for Jeep. While these individuals brought the information to the attention of the industry to help prevent a deadly encounter, it was still sobering for most to see just how dangerous these vehicles could be when connected to the internet of things. Fortunately, this information can be used to help establish a stronger set of code that makes it incredibly difficult for people to hack and to cause havoc on the roads.

But not everything has grey clouds over it this year. In Columbus, Ohio the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the city would receive federal funding to become a smart city. This technology would allow transportation to be more effective in the area and to ensure that the experience both residents and visitors is incredible.

This has been a year that has seen some definite improvement with the internet of things and what it can do. While the year is coming to an end, we still have 2017 to look forward to with the entire world of possibilities that it holds for us.

What’s Coming in 2016 IoT Devices?

It’s no secret that IoT, IoT devices and data are changing dramatically. Industry experts believe that 2016 is going to be a year of action and change as trends move forward dramatically. Technology changes are happening faster than many companies can react or adapt to them. Data Security, IoT Security, Cloud computing and mobile computing are where the top changes are expected to be.

MobileIron’s VP of strategy says that we can expect to see dramatic changes in every area of computing. Ojas Rege says “2016 will be a challenging year for IT devices as mobile and cloud force CIOs to adopt a more agile model of information security, policy design, technology evaluation, and lifecycle management,” “2015 saw more mobile malware than ever before, with a string of exploits such as Stagefright, KeyRaider, XcodeGhost, and YiSpecter. In 2016, we will see hackers continue to figure out clever ways to make apps appear “trusted,” Rege believes. “As a result, expect that Apple in particular will continue to shut down untrusted ways of distributing apps to devices, such as side-loading, and become much stricter about controlling the use of private APIs.”

Nearly every security specialist believes that two things will change in IoT in 2016 that are more important than any other. These two things will pave the way forward for IoT.

Customers are going to insist on better applications for use. Customers are insisting on applications that are proven secure, rather than put together in rapid and insecure ways.

In spite of all of the attention that it’s getting, the IoT is at this moment in time more experimental than end run perfection. Every vendor is striving for IoT perfection but some of them aren’t even sure what it is.

Companies are all seeking to ride the wave of IoT but many are not sure how to accomplish that and aren’t certain whether or not they are on the right pathway. Rege believes that by the end of 2016, companies are going to change how they view IoT and realize that it is not a game, but an imperative for any company that is going to move forward. He states that “A set of high-value IoT use cases will emerge, and vendors will enter 2017 with the ability to deliver commercially useful solutions.”

Rege believes—and most companies believe along with him, that Iot energy, security, and innovation are going to be necessary parts of the computing landscape in 2016. The enterprise requires developers of IoT to completely rethink the business and IoT processes rather than just porting apps to Iot platforms that are not secure and not worthwhile. The users of today are rapidly growing tired of hearing that their application or their IoT product has been found to be insecure. It has changed their trust in the products and will continue to do so in a way that will prevent them from using IoT devices that have not been proven to be secure.

Rapid changes in technology, user demands and methodology changes and the need for more secure IoT and mobile applications mean that companies are going to need talented developers and security personnel in IoT on a level not previously seen.

Where is your company so far as IoT development and what kind of plans have you made for the changing IoT landscape in 2016?

The IoT Job Market: Who’s Getting Hired, and Why?

IoT ProfessionalsAs the Internet of Things becomes more important for companies of all sizes, Information Technology professionals are beginning to seek out roles related to this growing niche. The Internet of Things is built on many of the technologies that professionals are already familiar with. Internet Protocol (IP) experts, hardware engineers, and even GUI designers could find themselves working on IoT projects in companies ranging from startups, to the technology giants that are driving the industry.

If one were to ask; “what kind of field do I need to be in to land a job in IoT?”, the answer would not be simple. IoT works on many layers. Software plays a key role in usability and functionality. Network layers are key to infrastructure, and hardware layers define the capabilities and development opportunities involved in any IoT system. Perhaps a better way to find out what is required of IoT professionals, would be to take information from some of the opportunities that are available in the job market right now.

Take Amazon as an example. Amazon AWS is the online retail giant’s cloud services arm. Cloud systems like Amazon S3 power some of the most widely adopted cloud computing systems in use today. To be considered for a role on a team working within AWS, the qualifications are no different to most IT development roles. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, professional experience (4+ years is a must), fundamentals in object design, and programming proficiency in a contemporary programming language will at least ensure a candidate’s resume is looked at.

But this doesn’t paint the full picture. Businesses who engage in IoT technologies are businesses who are invested in the future. This means that they’re seeking forward thinking professionals. Meeting the requirements where it comes to academic achievement is only part of what it takes to make it in IoT.

Last year, Forbes published a number of articles on what it would take to make it in the growing IoT industry. According to Forbes, the necessary qualities go beyond academia, and incorporate more soft skills and innovative thought.

High on the list was associative thinking. Collaborators who can integrate varying strategies and concepts were also tipped to be in demand. Finally, professionals who can communicate complex ideas easily through speech, written word, and abstract methods were considered more likely to be successful in the IoT niche than those who were only proficient in their technical field.

Take a look at the job market on any given day, and you will find dozens of IoT related jobs advertised by high profile tech companies. The second quarter of 2015 has seen positions opening at Dell and IBM (Software Development), Verizon (IoT Product Management), and Accenture (IoT Delivery Consultants), to name just a few.

The reason these companies are hiring in IoT is simple; it is the next big thing. Technology firms like Dell and IBM have a vested interest. Their core products and services are built around delivering and facilitating IoT. With companies like Verizon and Accenture, it is more about preparing for the future. IoT will allow Verizon to better deliver the services that they already have. Customer billing and customer experience can be improved by incorporating IoT into the ways that customers can interact with the company, but there’s also the fact that Verizon is a cellular network leader. Their consumer and business devices (i.e. smartphones) are key to incorporating IoT into daily consumer life. Wireless payments, mobile banking, home automation, and sensor interaction can be achieved through smart devices from Verizon. The talent that these companies recruit will be actively involved in designing, maintaining, and delivering IoT in the immediate future.

Although IoT hasn’t completely changed the face of Information Technology, it has created new opportunities for jobseekers in the market. Existing professionals with transferable skills will find new challenges and progression opportunities within the Iot Job Market, and also in smaller companies that are incorporating IoT concepts into manufacturing, packing, logistics, and even medical.

International Data Corporation has predicted that IoT will be a $7 trillion industry by 2020. With growth as fast as it currently is, IoT job market is the perfect platform from where jobseekers can showcase their skills, and where companies can form relationships with the talented professionals who will take them into the future.

Connected Motorcycles and IoT

Connected Motorcycles and IoT The Internet of Things

Connected cars are becoming more common these days, but only in the past few years has the IoT expanded its horizons to other vehicles. A California based company, Zero Motorcycles produced a prototype of its first electric motorcycle in 2006 and began marketing them in 2008. In 2013 the company produced a mobile app enabling communication with the bike using Bluetooth; effectively using the Internet of Things to connect owner, motorcycle, and service facility.

The app allows the rider to configure his or her motorcycle in a number of different ways. For example, it can be configured for a more energy efficient ride or for a higher performance using only the app. One of the rider benefits is that the app can also tell you your current battery capacity as well as an estimation of how far you can travel on the charge.

Another boon to riders is that the motorcycle can communicate directly to the manufacturer, dealer, or repair shop. Most vehicles today can communicate with the mechanic by being plugged into a computer, but it entails a trip to the garage. The available app allows the motorcycle to send that diagnostic information directly to the mechanic over the internet no matter where you are. Anyone who has ever paid to have a vehicle diagnosed via a garage computer can appreciate the value of this particular feature.

In addition, if a rider experiences mechanical problems with the motorcycle, all they need do is to tap the help button located in the app. The information is transmitted and the rider can get troubleshooting advice on location as well as having the company schedule a service appointment if desired. Rather than taking days to get your motorcycle into a mechanic for diagnosis, it is all done in minutes. The company currently has four models of connected motorcycles on the market, including bikes that are designed specifically for law enforcement and military use.

With all of the information being passed back and forth online, many potential users (myself included) will have concerns about security, and rightly so. According to Zero’s director of customer experience, Aaron Cheatham, security is always the company’s top priority. To ensure the privacy of both customer and data, access to the bike is curtailed through the use of a short range Bluetooth connection. In Cheatham’s own words, “A user must have physical access to the motorcycle to pair the mobile device to the bike and enable the communication.” The logs that are taken from the motorcycle are then sent in a format that is proprietary and to review them requires a decoder.

As more of our daily life is handled by computers, it’s easy to dwell on the things that could potentially go wrong. While those things are always possible, you should also think of the benefits that we as a society can reap. This single application of the Internet of Things may provide benefits that range from a reduction in motorcycle fatalities to a more energy efficient future.

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The Impact of Smart Machines on the Workforce

Ever since the industrial revolution, there are those among the working class who have held a fear of machines, and their potential to take away the jobs of humans. With the advent of the Internet of Things, connected smart machines have advanced to a stage where similar fears are resurfacing and some of them may be valid. Many are asking themselves, could a machine do their job? Perhaps the question that is much more appropriate, is whether machines will be taking jobs, in the near future?

What Do Industry Insiders Think About Smart Machines and Their Potential?

Smart machines that are connected to IoT infrastructure are becoming more common in every industry. Whether we look at automated checkouts at supermarkets, self-serve check-in machines at airports and train stations, or even ATM machines, we are seeing examples of how smart machines have, at least in some part, taken over functions previously performed by human workers. Does this mean that people would naturally be accepting of an automated, machine driven future? It’s possible, but not necessarily the case.

Gartner Research surveyed influential CEO’s in 2013, asking whether they considered that machines would be capable of taking over millions of jobs within the next 15 years. Surprisingly, 60% of these CEO’s said no, and referred to the situation as a ‘futurist fantasy’. (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2605015)

Two years later, and we’re seeing more acceptance for the role that smart machines will play. The researchers at Gartner believe that machines will have a widespread and profound impact on the market, even as early as 2020. Gartner even predicts that due to the rising intelligence of machines, job losses will be present within highly skilled industries.

IBM’s Watson, an advanced artificial intelligence machine, is already working with doctors at UT MD Anderson, helping to provide treatment plans for Leukemia patients. The computer program can diagnose therapies based on genetic footprints, and it can do so in minutes, where it might take doctors weeks to devise similar treatment plans. Of course there is still room for error, but the technology is rapidly advancing, and has left some in the medical field, stunned. (http://www.businessinsider.com/r-ibms-watson-to-guide-cancer-therapies-at-14-centers-2015-5http://www.businessinsider.com/how-ibm-watson-is-transforming-healthcare-2015-7)

Impacts of a Machine Driven Future

It looks increasingly likely that smart machines and computer algorithms will disrupt traditional job markets in the near future. What does this mean for employers and for those in employment?

Gartner suggests that CIO’s, professionals, and executive stakeholders must begin to investigate smart machines today, for a number of reasons.

The adoption of smart machines and technologies will be key to competitiveness, by driving down costs and increasing efficiency.

Decision makers will need to investigate the impact on human resource. Likewise, professionals may need to diversify or seek other opportunities as they are forced to compete in machine driven industries.

The loss of human jobs will lead to social issues, union issues, and possible political fallout.

(http://www.zdnet.com/article/smart-machines-will-they-take-your-job/)

Are Smart Machines a Negative or Positive Trend?

While it is easy to view the loss of skilled and labor intensive jobs as a negative, there are also benefits to a future that is largely driven by a computerized and robotic workforce. Product prices may fall as companies are able to produce more efficiently, at lower cost. New jobs will also be created. Programmers and engineers will be in high demand, to design and maintain smart machines and infrastructure.

It is yet to be seen whether the analyst’s predictions will become reality. The evidence however, suggests that industries will need to adapt to smart machines and technology, even if it is on a small scale. Analyzing the risks and benefits should be a key strategy for any business that wants to be prepared for a future where machine procurement and implementation might be just as, or more important than talent recruitment is today.

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