Amazon Dash – this genuinely deserves the ‘Internet of Things’ tag

The Internet of Things hype continues unabated, with companies allegedly hiring Chief IoT officers, though a quick search on the Indeed website failed to throw up any ads. However, today I came across a news item that genuinely deserves a bit of hype. While all sorts of technologies and products get pitched as an IoT play, Amazon’s Dash service is a genuine internet of things application. In a nutshell this service allows companies to use Amazon as a fulfilment service … Read more…

Blockchains – from Digital Currency to Physical Things

A sure sign that a once-emerging technology is becoming mainstream is it being given the full front-page treatment by The Economist. This is what happened to “blockchain” technology, the set of cryptographic techniques that underpin Botcoin, the digital currency, when The Economist referred to it as The Next Big Thing. While I am pretty certain that most that esteemed magazine’s readers would never have come across the term blockchain before, the article was not short of hyperbole, equating its invention in the … Read more…

Qualcomm and Samsung in new IoT chip product announcements

This has been a busy couple of weeks in terms of Internet of Things technology announcements. In particular, two titans from the mobile space, Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm are attempting to catch up with Intel with processors aimed at all manufacturers of ‘things’. Qualcomm announces two new products for its $1 billion IoT segment Qualcomm are making a very strong push in its “Internet of Everything” as its smartphone technology portfolio which is no longer benefiting from growth rates it was previously accustomed … Read more…

The march of the Smart Home – big numbers ahead!

There is no shortage of forecasts on the market growth for connected devices, and last week BI Intelligence, an analyst firm added their half-penny’s worth to the mix. According to their analysis, the market for connected home devices is set to grow from around 400m units in 2015 to 1,800m units 2019, a compound annual growth in excess of 65%, far exceeding smartphones and tablets, whose time in the limelight as the darlings of the tech world is on the … Read more…

Facebook extends its platform through messaging and ‘things’

I am playing catch-up with the news from Facebook F8 developer conference, but looking at some of the (excellent) press reports, a couple of things stand out as being of interest as providing pointers as to where Facebook is heading. 1. Messaging as a Platform One of the announcements that got most coverage was the release of an API to allow third-parties to integrate their apps and experiences into Facebook. To the cynical (a grouping I sometimes find myself associated with), this … Read more…

Postscapes – A one-stop-shop of IoT knowledge

I have referred to this site in previous posts, but I have been remiss in providing it with the credit it deserves. Postscapes is probably the most reliable and comprehensive guides to the Internet of Things landscape, covering news, companies, and events. For anyone interested in sourcing a supplier, or getting some guidance, this is an essential stop. The open-source / maker space is well covered, including Arduino, Raspberry Pi and crowdfunded projects, and applications are categorised into body (i.e. health), … Read more…

Please welcome the Wireless IoT Forum

It is a new week (well, nearly) so it must be time for a new Internet of Things consortium or standards initiative. Please welcome the Wireless IOT Forum which is being established with William Webb, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) as its head. Wireless IoT Forum launches to drive Internet of Things development This blog has already addressed the multitude of standards in the Internet of Things space. In fairness this new grouping aims to bring … Read more…

IBM – $3billion in IoT and Weather Company tie-up

While there is nothing particularly exceptional about an Internet of Things – related announcement, this one is pretty big, at least in dollar terms. IBM has announced this morning that it will create a new Internet of Things business, consolidating its existing activities in its Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities initiatives. The numbers are quite striking – $4 billion to be invested over three years, and 2000 consultants, developers and researchers assigned to it. The key capabilities IBM will bring … Read more…

ARM, IBM and Freescale in new IoT partnership

In the quest to get mindshare of the maker movement, ARM and IBM yesterday announced an Internet of Things starter kit based on an ARM Cortex M4 powered board, connected to the IBM BlueMix cloud service. ARM’s aim, similar to a previous initiative by Intel covered on this site is to help migrate the IoT enthusiasts who may be the founders of the next big thing away from Arduino towards ARM-based development platforms that can then be easily productised. Intel’s Edison-based development … Read more…

IoT Network Sigfox secures $115 additional funding

Sigfox, the low-power wide area network being deployed by Arqiva in the UK secured a new round of funding to drive its international expansion. As discussed in a previous post, Sigfox allows devices to remain in contact with a network for several years using normal AA-style batteries, and represents a much lower cost alternative to cellular networks for applications such as metering. This makes it quite interesting that NTT Docomo, Telefonica and SK Telecom are amongst its investors, clearing seeking to … Read more…

50 Smart City Applications

Libelium, a manufacturer of sensors and connected devices provides a useful list of case studies and applications for smart sensors, covering urban applications, environmental monitoring, water management, smart grid and energy distribution, security applications, retail, logistics, industrial control and agriculture. Top 50 Internet of Things Applications – Ranking | Libelium    

The Internet of Things – A conceptual model

Earlier this week, we saw how TechCrunch attempted to model the Internet of Things ecosystem. In this post I propose an alternative model, albeit one quite similar in structure . I will not attempt to reproduce in comparable detail the vast number of companies and organisations involved, but will simply provide a representation on how the overall model can be represented. In common with many other models, I too split the connected things ecosystem into industry verticals and horizontal enablers. … Read more…

Mapping the IOT Ecosystem – 612 companies at a time

One of the most ambitious attempts to pull together the key players in the IoT space can be found in TechCrunch, courtesy of Matt Turck of FirstMark Capital. Originally compiled in 2013, their ecosystem is divided into verticals, enablers and building blocks. Like any attempt to make sense of such a complex web of players, it is imperfect – see ARM, Amazon and Sony grouped rather randomly into a ‘Corporates’ bucket. What is startling is that this version has increased … Read more…

CES 2015 – Internet of Things goes Mainstream

Reviewing the various round-ups on what was big at CES, most agree that the Internet of Things was pretty high up the agenda of the companies attending, and was the underlying theme for the event. Not that this is a reliable predictor – don’t forget that 2012 was the year that supposed saw 3D TV come of age. The Absentees It is perhaps worth starting with a reminder of the notable absentees, Apple, Google and Microsoft, the three industry’s largest platform and … Read more…

CES 2015 – Blackberry’s Three-Pronged IoT Strategy

In the first of a series of posts on noteworthy announcements at this year’s CES, we look at what Blackberry have been talking about. In November, we discussed the prospects of Project Ion, Blackberry’s umbrella Internet of Things play, where we talked up the applicability of Blackberry’s core expertise in embedded systems, mobile messaging and security to the world of connected ‘things’. Well, this week, John Chen, Blackberry’s CEO has been filling in the gaps, and it has been getting … Read more…

2015 in Tech – Crystal ball gazing

Tech Trends for 2015 Now that we’re into the new year, it is worthwhile to have a look at what industry-watchers and analysts are forecasting as being important and significant in 2015. Here is a summary of what some of what is being said regarding 2015 Technology Trends. Gartner – Top 10 ICT Trends Gartner, the IT research firm focuses on three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact … Read more…

Business Models for the Internet of Things

I unsuccessfully tried to avoid calling this blog “Business Models for the Internet of Things” as there is no shortage of web articles on this topic. A recent Harvard Business Review online issue on the Internet of Things has triggered a fair deal of debate on whether IoT radically changes business models or to what extent unlocks new value. Like all technologies in the hyped ramp-up phase, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction, and prediction from fanciful guesswork. Here I … Read more…

New wireless networks for M2M and IoT

Earlier this year, Arqiva, a UK company that owns most of the broadcast masts in the UK announced that it was building a nationwide wireless communications network for the Internet of Things. As we are accustomed to hearing mobile operators tell us how many billions of pounds are invested in their networks, how can it be profitable to build such a network from scratch just to provide low-cost connectivity to connect meters, trackers and the like? The answer is to … Read more…

Blackberry’s Project Ion

A year ago Blackberry was in what appeared to be terminal decline and attempts to find new owners failed. Newly-appointed CEO John Chen sought to turnaround the company by reconnecting to its core enterprise customers, stemming the losses that were haemorrhaging the company, and outsourcing manufacturing to China’s Foxconn. The rather bizarrely shaped Blackberry Passport phone has been somewhat emblematic of Mr Chen’s first year at the company – slightly more successful than expected. One pillar of Blackberry’s overall strategy … Read more…

Internet of Things and Big Data – The concept of Data Gravity

A number of posts in this blog have dealt with the increasing variety and sheer number of ‘things’, be they sensors, wearables, appliances, actuators, industrial components etc. that will gain connectivity over the coming few years. There will however be no point adding connectivity to these items if they do not produce meaningful data, and in turn there will be no point collating this data unless insights are obtained that can be acted upon. This is why the ‘Internet of Things’ is invariably coupled with its close relative in the family of hyped buzzwords –  Mr ‘Big Data’.

To give an example of the scale of data being produced, Cisco estimates that by 2018, connected devices will generate 400 zettabytes of data annually. (I too needed to look that up. Apparently a zettabyte is 1021 bytes or 1 billion terabytes).

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Gartner predicts 25 billion connected devices by 2020

Today Gartner released a report forecasting the number of connected “things” – i.e. excluding phones, tablets and computers that will be in use until the end of the decade. This year, Gartner estimates that there will be 3.7 billion devices in use, while this will jump to 25 billion by the end of the decade. This estimate is somewhat higher than that provided by Cisco, who predicted 7.3 billion devices by 2018. Gartner believes that the single three largest industry … Read more…

The Internet of Things standards tussle – A phoney war?

  One thing that all commentators on the ‘connected everything’ space agree on is the need for common standards to allow a wide range of sensors, appliances and devices to talk to each other. This is nicely captured in an article in the Economist magazine, where the key problem is described as there being too many overlapping and conflicting initiatives. This is nothing new, and most new technologies which benefit from network effects, starting with the battle between direct and … Read more…