Category Archives: Big Data

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors In The Last 5 Years

Most Active Internet Of Things Investors

A recent BI Intelligence report claimed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to becoming the largest device market in the world.

Quite naturally, such exponential growth of the IoT market has prompted a number of high-profile corporate investors and smart money VCs to bet highly on this comparatively still nascent industry.

IoT-InfoGraphic11

A recently discovered CB Insight report via Twitter stated that the funding of  IoT startups has more than doubled over the last five years. Amongst the most active IoT startup investors since 2010 were Intel Capital at number one, followed by Qualcomm Ventures at the second spot.

Interestingly, the venture arms of both the tech giants have been particularly focused on sensor companies and wearable startups. Industry observers are of the view that because their core business model is heavily reliant on the design and manufacture of ever-smaller chips that power, both Intel and Qualcomm are more inclined to see IoT startups as strategic assets.

In 2015, Intel Capital led a particularly successful round to BodyLabs, a startup that deals in 3D body-scanning sensors. Apart from that, the company invested in Sano Intelligence, another fast-growing developer of biometric sensors.

Other IoT infrastructure startups that bagged rather lucrative investments from Intel Capital include Bocom Intelligent Network Technologies, SigFox, and Stratoscale.

Similarly, Qualcomm Ventures have also been showing great interest in emerging brands such as drone manufacturer 3D Robotics and Whistle Labs, a dog wearable manufacturer. In addition, the company also have invested in sensor networks made by Placemeter, Panoramic Power and Streetline.

Foundry Group and KPCB made it to the third rank in the list of top IoT investors. While Foundry Group seemed particularly focused on hardware manufacturers such as Fitbit, MakerBot and LittleBits, KPCB has been investing across a diverse range of IoT niches including auto, home automation, as well as wearables.

By Brent Anderson

4 Industries Being Transformed By The Internet of Things

4 Industries Being Transformed By The Internet of Things

Compelling IoT Industries

Every year, more and more media organizations race to predict the trends that will come to shape the online landscape over the next twelve months. Many of these are wild and outlandish and should be consumed with a pinch of salt, yet others stand out for their sober and well-researched judgements.

Online business publication Business Insider has a solid track record in the game of predictions, and there are some extremely interesting predictions with regard to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ways that it is shaking up global business.

Connected Cars

Connected carsComic-Driverless-Cars are set to become ever more popular in the coming months. A recent surver revealed that two-thirds of new cars shipped in the US will be connected to the internet. That’s strong growth and it happens for many reasons.

On the supplier side, the auto industry benefits from the big data generated by thousands of connected cars in the real world, while consumers are in thrall to the media, data and applications which are geared specifically to people on the move. During 2016, it’s predicted that automakers will start to push updates and fixes to cars through the internet, which will be a massive change and signal the beginning of the end for mass recalls to deal with a problem.

Security

The surge in the Internet of Things implies more devices are connected to the internet, and this brings with it greater security threats than ever before. Devices can be hacked, controlled remotely and data can be stolen. “As a result, as IoT devices become more common, and as companies become more wary of their vulnerability to data being stolen by hackers, we expect a huge surge in demand for insurance policies that protect against cyber hacks,” claims the report.

Insurance

On the subject of insurance, the Business Insider Intelligence Report predicts that insurers will rely more and more on IoT to minimize their risk and inform their decision making.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

In 2015, insurers used IoT to track the driving habits of those they insured, and were extremely pleased with the results. You can expect the same sort of data-driven research from insurers when it comes to homes, offices, and even personal health data through devices such as FitBit and Apple Health.

Big data and the internet of things are going to have a profound impact on the insurance industry, and all the signs are that this change is already underway.

Oil Efficiency 

The collapse in the oil price during the last year has meant a major shakeup for oil producers around the globe. Producers don’t expect much of a recovery this year. As a result, maximizing efficiency has become a watchword for the industry. “We believe many of them will utilize IoT devices and analytics systems throughout the oil supply chain (upstream, midstream, and downstream) to improve their profits.”

By Jeremy Daniel

The Evolution Of The Connected Cloud

The Evolution Of The Connected Cloud

The Connected Cloud

Cloud computing is interesting first, but not only, because of the prevalence of cloud projects. There are many of them launched every day. Some have lofty expectations for business benefits (cost saving of 20 percent or more) and others carry even more intriguing goals.

In 2005 “the cloud” was new. Shared computing services were a novel idea. People weren’t sure they would catch on. There were many concerns about the initial reality of cloud, but the big one was security. Many business owners felt that cloud computing wouldn’t be as secure as their on-site system was.  Yet, from a purely tactical perspective, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, knowing where something is makes it more vulnerable than something with an unknown location.

The Community Cloud

The cloud ended up catching on, and eventually became an accepted reality. What may be coming, however, changes the cloud forever. There are US Government Agencies that have put two to four—or even more—petabytes of information into dedicated cloud solutions. “Dedicated cloud,” in this case means the community cloud as defined by NIST. In this case, there are multiple organizations using the resources, but they are all from the same group or agency. This makes having their data shared in a cloud less risky. There are also agencies that have data that gets leveraged around the world—for instance, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey Agency (USGS). Data these organizations generate is concrete: we know when there is an earthquake (you feel the earth move under your feet) and we all know what the weather is outside. Of course, these agencies do produce and generate more data than that, all of which is shared with various groups around the world.

DataStorm-comic-cloudtweaks

Soon, however, there is a change coming to cloud computing. The concept of cloud service providers is going to change, with the advent and inclusion of data from Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), sometimes called the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, IoT devices produce more data that virtually every other producing system. Most of the data they produce isn’t used or even noticed. For example a remote thermite monitoring a specific location (say a volcano) publishes the temperature 4 times a minute or more than 5760 times in a day. We can discard the majority of those data points because they are not significant. If it is 82 degrees 10 miles from the volcano and 81 degrees on the volcano, that data is not useful or unique. Estimates place the volume of CPS/IoT generated data at around 110 zB today. Experts project that in less than 5 years there will be roughly 5 times as many CPS/IoT devices deployed.

As we get smarter, though, the sensors we deploy will produce more intelligent data. For example, that volcano thermometer may stop sending 5700 pieces of information and only send information when there is a significant change. The group that placed that sensor will be able to determine what “significant” means. For instance, with a volcano, you don’t care if it is suddenly 20 degrees colder at night. You do care if the temperature rises above the air temperature, even if that rise isn’t sudden. The concept of CPS/IoT device intelligence will reduce a lot of the overall data produced. That 5700 messages a day/35000 messages in a week may drop to 1.

The Cloud Future

Connected

(Infographic Image Source: Intel)

The future of cloud is in the transportation, manufacturing, analysis and consumption of CPS/IoT produced information.

Yes, cloud will continue to provide computing services and storage, as more and more of its overall capacity will be consumed by CPS/IoT data. The rise of intelligent sensors will keep the amount of data flow at a lower level than the increase in the number of CPS/IoT devices would suggest. But even intelligent sensors will have to check-in from time to time, sometimes simply to validate that the connection is still viable and working. The more critical the sensor the more frequently it will need to check-in. This won’t result in 35000 data points a week, but it will still produce some.

The Next Big Thing

data-big

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The next big thing in cloud computing will be the hosting of billions of little things—or, actually, the data from billions of little things. Analyzing and compiling all that information will also change how the cloud is consumed by companies, governments, and individuals. There will need to be a throttle that pays attention to the data you are requesting, and a pipeline for getting you that data. Intelligent sensors will produce smart controlled data. Intelligent cloud solutions will allow the device connecting to receive the amount of data it can process effectively, so as not to drown the messenger in data.

The new cloud will be just like the old cloud, just doing new things a little differently.

By Scott Andersen

Is Fear Holding Back a Next Generation of Cyber Security Approaches?

Is Fear Holding Back a Next Generation of Cyber Security Approaches?

Next Generation of Cyber Security

As I walked through RSA last week, I was struck by the usual fear laden messages “You’re not safe and never will be but I (vendor) have a silver bullet that will protect you.” And, I wondered if this fear-based approach is deterring a badly needed next generation of cyber security approaches.

For as long as I have been in the security industry, the focus has been on selling fear and today that fear is firmly anchored around cyber attacks and what could happen when attackers compromise your network and get a hold of your data. As much as the specter of cyber attacks is real the paranoia and hysteria that accompanies it often gets in the way of finding real solutions. While there were some new and innovative technologies on show at RSA this year, many vendors are still touting yesteryear technologies and approaches.

Expanding Data Networks

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In the workplace, digitization has changed how we work – it goes beyond the devices we use and where and when we work, and more to the tools and data and our interactions with a expanding networks of people and data. Yet, despite the fear around security breaches, there are few security approaches that truly focus on securing at the data layer with a contextual focus on people and the expanding number of applications in use today.

Digitization increasingly shapes our everyday lives. It’s changed how we manage our personal finances and how we form networks and connect with people socially. Yet despite much media hype around increasing cybercrime, approaches to staying safe online are seem lax compared to the precautions that people might take with their physical safety. For example, parents who would not leave their children unsupervised while outdoors will let young children play on Internet-connected tablet devices, without adequate safety precautions, potentially putting their children at risk at being exposed and in the longer term being exploited online.

So how do we usher in a next generation of cyber security approaches

  • Children need online safety programs as part of their curriculum. And, to do this successfully, requires that resources also be injected into teacher training and awareness of where to focus and how to make cyber security enticing.
  • Parents and families need to get involved. A key finding from a recent study Addressing Gender Gaps in Teens Cyber Security and Self Efficacy was that teen girls were likely to develop confidence and interest in cybersecurity through informal approaches. It’s a great opportunity for cybersecurity practitioners to become role models and mentors to a younger generation.
  • I noted earlier that many cyber security approaches lag as much as 10 years behind the business landscape. Overhauling industry approaches is difficult when approaches and toolsets have been in use for decades. That’s where reverse mentoring can play a role. Partnering with young people is not just about them learning from us; it’s about what we can learn from them.
  • It’s time to finally drop the fear-based messaging. That would help us focus on what really needs to be fixed versus exploiting fear.

By Evelyn de Souza

IoT: Connected Manufacturing Leads To Service as a Product

IoT: Connected Manufacturing Leads To Service as a Product

Connected Manufacturing

A car is driven back to its home garage for the night, and its data port is plugged in. Then, some exciting things happen. First off, the car sends diagnostic information back to the manufacturer to cross-check against any systems that require repair, maintenance, or replacement. The manufacturer then downloads a selection of new driver experiences, including a different acceleration style (choice of sporty or smooth), improved navigation and mapping software, and new stay-in-lane safety features.

This is not a vision of some distant future. These things are happening now with certain brands of cars, and they will expand quickly across much of the retail and industrial automotive landscape. It is a subtle example of the power and diversity of the Internet of Things – the capacity for all types of machines, not simply computers and phones, but every kind of device or tool to communicate, primarily by way of the Internet.

IoT-IDC

(Image Source: IDC)

A vital observation from a business standpoint is the fact that so much of the value of this car company now lies with the transfer of data. The car is as physical a product as ever, but the current that drives everything forward, from design to manufacturing to sales to aftermarket monetization, is data.

Connected Manufacturing

From an outside perspective, the Internet of Things offers an unlimited selection of innovations, ranging from an electric toothbrush that monitors correct brushing style, through to tire pressure sensors in truck fleets to geolocation sensors attached to livestock. The potential for their use is limitless, and this includes on the factory floor. Connected Manufacturing is the industrial application of the Internet of Things. It ushers in a revolution in manufacturing, on par with Ford’s development of mass production and the mid-20th-century development of Just-In-Time logistics.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Proactive analytics, for example, helps a device identify future needs, such as when a part might fail, when it requires service, or when supplies need to be ordered. When the machine itself can dispatch the appropriate commands to a human or another machine, it ensures smooth, safe and economical operation.

Distributed intelligence allows for greater degrees of personalization. In healthcare, medical device dashboards can reflect an individual patient’s information and requirements. At home, an intelligent refrigerator can automatically add needed items to a grocery list or grocery delivery service. In manufacturing, greater capacity opens up for customized production according to an individual customer’s requirement without extensive retooling or downtime. The machines themselves can decide how best to approach the project and self-organize to get each job done.

Intelligence Through Data 

The universal availability of data and its intelligence allows decision-makers, designers, account reps and everyone else in the supply chain to share necessary information, opening up opportunities for enhanced sales and support, improved internal management, customer service, and innovation.

brain-data

Connected manufacturing is a type of cornucopia, a perpetual source of sustenance for every business and manufacturer primarily because of the data that it makes available. But it demands a change in mindset, even for those that deal in heavy tangible goods, since the same intelligence that powers the manufacturing process now modifies the management model.

Companies are now becoming purveyors of information and providers of services. Rather than sell, or even lease a piece of heavy machinery to a customer, a business may realize greater overall revenues by providing services, such as maintenance, training, and supplies. They can attract and retain essential customer data to facilitate up-sells, and innovative aftermarket monetization opportunities. This idea of not selling a product, but retaining ownership of it and delivering services instead, requires significant flexibility on the part of corporate decision-makers, long used to a more traditional approach to commerce and business. It is the result of a chain of processes that starts with the Internet of Things, moves through connected manufacturing and winds up in the service industry.

Business leaders who are contemplating a move into the world of the Internet of Things must ensure their education travels along two streams: first is understanding the sheer diversity and versatility of IOT technologies, and how to implement them into the manufacturing and delivery stream. Second and arguably the most important is the flipped notion of “you-as-a-service.” No matter how tangible or long-standing a company’s products may be, their value now lies in the information halo that surrounds it. Machine-to-machine communication leads to data; data leads to information, and information becomes the key to every company’s future.

For more on this topic, go to http://businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

By Steve Prentice

Cloud Tools For Managing Your Virtual Office

Cloud Tools For Managing Your Virtual Office

Virtual Office Cloud Tools

Today, those with the necessary skill sets and employment experience are scattered across the globe, and virtual offices allow you to employ the right person for the right job, even if your head office is far from a particular talent pool. But managing remote offices and personnel requires a certain finesse not necessarily needed in a physical office. Thankfully, the cloud provides the structure and tools necessary to ensure fast communication and collaboration, reliable project management, and secure storage and operations.

Collaboration & Communication

collaborate

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Efficient business environments require regular, often real-time, communication, and various cloud-based software and app solutions make this possible. Organizations are able to go so far as archiving employee discussions for later reference via ‘chat rooms’ that make inter-office communication easy, and these solutions typically include mobile apps which let employees stay in touch wherever they are. A few solutions such as Convo, Flowdock, Slack, and Yammer provide basic versions at no cost, as well as a range of upgrades for purchase once you’re sold on their functionality.

Once the underlying communication system is in place collaboration is a lot simpler, but there’s a separate range of cloud tools designed specifically to enhance the cooperation of various virtual teammates. Allowing your workforce to collaborate on documents, presentations, code, and whatever else they might be teaming up on, cloud collaboration tools help prevent overlap while ensuring the job gets done. Hackpad and Evernote provide many document collaboration tools; Github stands as a fast and secure code receptacle and version control system; and XMind and MindMeister are some of the big players used for brainstorming ideas.

Project Management

Depending on your preferred development method, a comprehensive collection of cloud-based project management tools are available, but a few of the major providers are Asana, Basecamp, Jira, and Trello. These tools allow the delegation of tasks and progress monitoring, and the primary interface typically acts as the command hub with projects listed and linked to associated tasks. Project managers can create teams, assign tasks, and set deadlines, and those involved in each project are then able to update their own progress and track that of other project members.

Storage & Security

Cloud Comic

It’s important to understand the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup, but ultimately, they’re both necessary tools. Storing files on the cloud provides access across remote offices, and both SpiderOak and TeamDrive offer encrypted cloud storage solutions – along with many, many others. Using a storage service that offers synchronization is a must, as these solutions ensure the most up-to-date versions of files are available to all connected devices. Backing up workstations is a separate, essential function allowing the storage of the contents of multiple devices in one account. IBackup, Carbonite, and Mozy are a few of the enterprise solutions with easy management for multiple devices, fast upload speeds, and a host of useful add-ons.

Finally, just as in physical offices, security is a necessary element that needs to be considered. Along with the obvious anti-virus software requirements and reliable and responsible service provider testing, password control needs to be implemented. LastPass, Dashlane, and KeyPass are password managers with business and team capabilities that help employees follow correct password protocol and keep your remote offices protected.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Road To Cloud Billing As A Service

The Road To Cloud Billing As A Service

The Road To Cloud Billing

With cloud services becoming more widespread and complex, cost management and billing require greater consideration and better facilitation, and just as one-size-fits-all cloud solutions are no longer practical, so too must pricing structures evolve and be tailored to individual clients. The global cloud billing services market features an array of vendors, and competition is fierce between the top players seeking to gain pole position while smaller vendors emerge with their own innovations and allures. Making sure the service you choose ticks the right boxes can mean the benefits of time saving, cost reduction, and superior client service, to name but a few.

Cloud Billing as a Service

Though CFOs have traditionally preferred capital expenditure over operating expenses thanks to the advantages of amortization and depreciation of investments over time, the tendency to shift IT investment from CapEx to OpEx is growing as the rapid advancement of technology makes IT infrastructure needs less and less predictable. Just as cloud computing promises flexible IT solutions that allow businesses to react quickly to changing circumstances, so cloud billing links the essential components of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) to provide the tools to monetize cloud offerings, along with the necessary agility to adapt and develop with the ever-changing landscape.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Managing cloud consumption within a company or service provider requires a culture shift, and cloud billing helps make this move by providing organizations with the correct set of tools to manage functional accounting requirements such as quotations, invoices and statements, payment schemes, and user identification via the cloud, combined with the non-functional but as essential security and scalability requirements so advantageous in a cloud environment. The change in relevant management processes further allows organizations to leverage robust cloud billing solutions, providing usage-based and recurring revenue models through user-friendly and flexible platforms. And cloud billing solutions help ensure accurate usage metering, allow defined multi-service and multi-level costing, enable maximized revenue through accurate billing, and offer customers value thanks to relevant promotion and discount functions.

Optimizing AWS Cloud Resource Management

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading secure cloud platform with an annual revenue of around $10 billion and approximately 2,500 certified partners. It delivers database storage, compute power, content delivery, and further functionality to help organizations scale and grow. Along with the broad range of core cloud infrastructure services provided, AWS promises to accelerate cloud success through their rich platform services such as analytics, mobile services, enterprise applications, and Internet of Things (IoT) while improving operational efficiency and developer productivity through management and developer tools.

IoT

However, any offering with such a range and depth of features is consequently intricate, and many users find it difficult to navigate. Herein lies a sub-industry of organizations able to optimize cloud platforms such as AWS and ensure better utilization. CloudMGR is one such organization reducing AWS bills considerably while ensuring the day-to-day management of cloud resources is easier, faster, and more automated.

Optimizing AWS Billing and Cost Management

Providing solutions for both next-gen MSPs with their cloud-first approaches and successful integration of SaaS and DevOps key to their managed service business models, as well as Managed Service Providers (MSP), CloudMGR has launched new services including AWS Billing and AWS Cost Management to provide existing partners with the ability to offer new recurring models and new providers quicker entry into the market. The AWS Billing service lets partners manage their cloud billing relationship with the customer, further augmenting CloudMGR services which simplify AWS cloud management and assist AWS cost optimization. Additionally, the AWS Cost Management service caters to customers billed directly by AWS, providing the opportunity for cost consulting. These solutions can be employed with either AWS direct billing or AWS distribution partners billing services, further assisting companies to capitalize on cloud computing by making AWS easier to use.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Encryption – The First Line Of Defense For Big Data

Encryption – The First Line Of Defense For Big Data

Encryption and Big Data

According to estimates by Hewlett Packard, the average U.S. firm can expect to lose $15 million each year as a result of cybercrime. This number is twice the global average, but it is a preventable expense. As data continues to migrate to the cloud, the cost of bad security will only continue to rise. Threats to digital commerce are no longer as simple as email attachments or phony messages from Nigerian princes. DDOS attacks can bring your entire business to a crawl. Social engineers can gain access to admin level accounts with a five minute phone call. Packet sniffer programs can let hackers pear into private data to gain access to information needed to steal an identity. By using strong security protocols and in depth encryption, companies can avoid the massive impact that cybercrime can cause.

TSL and SSL

The Transport Security Layer and Secure Socket Layer are both part of the standard suite of internet protocols. The term SSL is used to refer to both, and encrypting the SSL is one of the main ways that businesses try to guard against unlawful access. The simplest kind of protection is a key exchange. In this method, both parties hold a public and private key. The public key works similarly to a padlock where the private key is the matching key.

password

When data is sent, the sender encrypts the data with the public key of the receiver, and the receiver will use their private key to unlock the data. This is a difficult encryption to break, but it is not foolproof.

The SSL will also use Cipher suite encryption to further protect data. This process begins by both the sender and recipient “handshaking“; establishing the desired method of encryption and other protocols to be used in their communication. This handshake includes a key exchange but it also has three other key features: the bulk encryption of all data sent (including the keys), the message authentication code (so hackers can’t insert their own false messages into the conversation), and the pseudorandom function (which defines a random starting point for the values of all keys used in the encrypted session).

With the full Cipher suite in deployment, most data can be deemed mostly safe. No security system is perfect, and data being mostly safe is often as good as it needs to be. However, for some of the most important transactions, mostly safe is simply not enough.

It is impossible to be 100% secure against a hacker, but it is possible to be not worth the effort. Once your data becomes so secure that hackers have no profit margins from breaking in, they will stop expending the effort. To that end, a further level of security is needed. While the basic SSL suites are effective, they are also common targets of attacks. What is needed is a third party proprietary suite that encrypts data in more advanced ways.

Monitoring Encrypted Traffic

According to Blue Coat, the first key beyond standard suites is the monitoring of encrypted traffic. Many attacks on the cloud are encrypted to make detection without opening the data difficult. Advanced security suites are able to scan for these encrypted suites without allowing the dirty data onto your network. In the event an attack does make it into the network, modern suites are equipped with highly advanced analytic tools that help to quickly identify the breach and work to prevent this attacker from gaining unrestricted access.

security watch

(Image Source:Shutterstock)

After the attack, third party protection companies provide the analysis of what happened that is needed to identify and close loopholes in security. They look at how the attacker got in, what they could access, when the threat was detected, and help to detail the actions needed to ensure this sort of attack can cause no further harm.

In an age of cloud based companies and global workspaces, bad cyber security is even more costly than leaving the front door unlocked all night. With due diligence, SSL encryption methods, and the help of a third party software suite, companies can mitigate large portions of the cost of cybercrime.

cameron-johnsonBy Cameron Johnson

Cameron a business consultant specializing in cybersecurity and big data. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 experts to follow on social media.

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Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…