Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020

The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC. What can we expect in 2020?

Take a closer look at the PDF version.

internet-things

Is The CIA Concerned About The Internet Of Things?

Is The CIA Concerned About The Internet Of Things?

Is The CIA Concerned About The Internet Of Things?

A recent forum on the future of warfare at the Aspen Security Centre in Colorado established that one of the major geo-security threats of the coming decades would be the internet of things – specifically the embedding of computers, sensors and internet capabilities into everyday objects. But why is the CIA worried?

Dawn Meyerriecks, the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology, said today’s concerns about cyber war don’t address the looming geo-security threats posed by the Internet of Things. “Smart refrigerators have been used in distributed denial of service attacks”, she said. “At least one smart fridge played a role in a massive spam attack last year, involving more than 100,000 internet-connected devices and more than 750,000 spam emails”.

IoT

She believes we are currently at a position where the physical and virtual are merging into one single reality – a situation which will inevitably create security and access problems for those within the organisation. Nonetheless, Meyerriecks says the CIA have no excuse for being caught out by technological growth or “punctuating technological disruptions” that can be easily predicted by today’s trends. She used the example of the mobile phone to define a ‘disruptor’, saying “when it goes from the brick to something I can’t leave my house without, then it’s disruptive”.

The CIA also believe the internet of things can make people vulnerable. Dick Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, had a wireless pacemaker installed in his chest in 2007 that would have allowed his doctor to monitor his heart online – but he didn’t enable the Bluetooth broadcasting feature for fear of it being hacked. The CIA is clearly concerned that – given our inability to secure data on our desktop computers – there could be an entire generation of baby boomers who are becoming vulnerable to lethal cyber attacks because of internet-enabled medical devices. It sounds far-fetched, but it’s becoming a reality.

These latest claims of supposed worry lie in sharp contrast to a 2012 interview given by then CIA Director David Petraeus in which he enthused about the possibilities. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus said, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft”.

With the rise of the smart home, the CIA is undoubtedly more than happy for you to send tagged, geolocated data that the agency can intercept in real time. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters – all of which will be connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.

Which is the truth? Is the internet of things good or bad for the CIA? Let us know in the comments below.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Daniel Price

Google Glass; Privacy Fear And Embarrassment

Google Glass; Privacy Fear And Embarrassment

Google Glass; Privacy Fear And Embarrassment
google-glass-embarrasing

Google Glass is extremely high tech and can be very beneficial to users. However, Google had to send out a reminder to such users to take them off during intimate and very, very private situations. During a conference in San Francisco for Google developers in 2013, a few attendees had forgotten to take their Google Glass off while in the bathroom. This resulted in a private situation being documented. This just goes to show that although this piece of technology proves extremely useful, wearers need to remember that they have it on at all time.

Originally, Google Glass had privacy fears surrounding it because the device can record video less noticeably than a device that is handheld. This makes it extremely difficult for others to know whether or not they are currently on camera. Others have worried about general safety, such as a cyclist trying to do something on Google Glass and not paying attention to where they are going.

Those who are spotted wearing Glass can also be subjected to what the Internet likes to call ‘trolls.’ “I was screen-casting on a huge display, and while at the OK Glass menu,” says Shazafar Khaja, a Glass user, “Someone in the audience yelled, ‘OK Glass Google pictures of naked girls’, and Google picked up on it. I quickly unplugged the cable. If I’d been a bit late, the Google search results would have flashed on the huge display.”

Reading user stories such as this one just goes to show that being a user of Google Glass can have some very unexpected, and embarrassing moments.

Kadeaus Couloute, another Glass user, tells his story about an embarrassing moment while in Japan. “The first time some teenagers saw me wearing it, they started pointing and laughing. I got closer to them to hear what they were saying, and they said in Japanese, ‘Look at him! Look at him! He is trying to be Vegeta!’. Not being a Dragonball Z fan, I thought Vegeta was a Japanese word that I had not learned yet. So I tried to translate, which failed, then I Google searched it and saw the character. I felt extremely awkward.”

Not only are hundreds of thousands of people mocking Glass, and Glass users who call themselves ‘Explorers’, all over the Internet, but there are also videos constantly being posted. These videos are parodies on Google Glass, such at filmmaker Tom Scott’s video titled, ‘A New Way to Hurt Yourself,’ which can be found here.

So all in all, it would appear that Google Glass is quite the fuel for making non-users, or non-Explorers, laugh their heads off. Sure, the device is nothing but high technology that gives users an extra boost through their day, but Glass does make a lot of people laugh. It’s no doubt that there are always going to be embarrassing Glass stories, mainly for users who are wearing their Glass in countries that might not know much, or anything at all, about the device.

By Linda Green

Cloud Infographic: What’s On The Market In Wearable Tech

Cloud Infographic: What’s On The Market In Wearable Tech

Cloud Infographic: What’s On The Market In Wearable Tech

As the potential for technology continues its sprint outside of the boundaries that society once thought to be far more than possible, it became very apparent that there would no longer be a natural progression for the gadgets of the future. It wasn’t a matter of limitations–there were none–but more of a matter of convincing consumers that they needed a gadget that was perceived as a luxury; something marketers have been doing since the dawn of time.

Wearable technology is an optimistic field. As innovative as it is, the Google Glass has a negative stigma, one that many associate with pomposity. Despite this, it’s host of features will eventually become completely normal to society. Wearable technology presents something more than just a gadget you can wear; it’s the future of technology, bridging luxury with efficiency in one unobtrusive device. This infographic, provided by TollFreeForwarding.com, takes a look at the future of wearable technology, and how companies are attempting to address needs that consumers never knew they had.

WearableTech

By Nick Rojas,

Nick is a business consultant and journalist from Los Angeles, CA. He is a passionate writer, and his work often covers social media, technology, and globalization. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

Powering The Internet Of Things

Powering The Internet Of Things

Powering The Internet Of Things

The Internet of Things is designed on the premise that sensors can be embedded in everyday object to help monitor and track them. The scope of this is huge – for example, the sensors could monitor and track everything from the structural integrity of bridges and buildings to the health of your heart. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to widespread adoption at the moment is finding a way to cheaply and easily power these devices and thus enable them to connect to the internet.

Luckily, engineers at the University of Washington have a potential solution. They have designed a new system which uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing WiFi infrastructure to provide the connectivity. The technology is called WiFi Backscatter and is believed to be the first of its kind.

Building on previous research showed how low-powered devices could run without batteries or cords by obtaining their power from radio, TV and wireless signals, the new design goes further by connecting the individual devices to the internet. Previously it wasn’t possible, the difficulty in providing WiFi connectivity was that traditional, low-power WiFi consumes significantly more power than can be gained from the wireless signals. This has been solved by developing a ultra-low power tag prototype which has the required antenna and circuitry to talk to laptops and smartphones.

“If Internet of Things devices are going to take off, we must provide connectivity to the potentially billions of battery-free devices that will be embedded in everyday objects”, said Shyam Gollakota, one of University of Washington’s Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department. “We now have the ability to enable WiFi connectivity for devices while consuming orders of magnitude less power than what WiFi typically requires”.

The tags on the new ultra low-power prototype work by scanning for WiFi signals that are moving between the router and the laptop or smartphone. Data is encoded by either reflecting or not reflecting the WiFi router signal – thus slightly changing the signal itself. It means that WiFi enabled devices would detect the miniscule changes and thus receive data from the tag.

“You might think, how could this possibly work when you have a low-power device making such a tiny change in the wireless signal? But the point is, if you’re looking for specific patterns, you can find it among all the other Wi-Fi reflections in an environment”, said Joshua Smith, another University of Washington professor who works in the same department as Gollakota.

The technology has currently communicated with a WiFi device at a rate of 1 kilobit per second with two metres between the devices, though the range will soon be expanded to twenty metres. Patents have been filed.

By Daniel Price

Cloud Networked Manufacturing

Cloud Networked Manufacturing

Cloud Networked Manufacturing

Cloud Computing provides a new way to do business by offering a scalable, flexible service over the Internet. Many organizations such as educational institutions, business enterprises have adopted cloud computing as a means to boost both employee and business productivity. Similarly, manufacturing companies found that they may not survive in the competitive market without the support of Information Technology (IT) and computer-aided capabilities. The advent of new technologies has changed the traditional manufacturing business model. Nowadays, collaboration between dispersed factories, different suppliers and distributed stakeholders, in a quick, real-time and effective manner are significant. Cloud manufacturing, as a new form of networked manufacturing, encourages collaboration in any phase of manufacturing and product management. It provides secure, reliable manufacturing lifecycle and on-demand services at low prices through networked systems.

manufacture

In the literature, there are various definitions of Cloud manufacturing (CM). For example, Li, Zhang and Chai (2010) defined cloud manufacturing as “a service-oriented, knowledge-based smart manufacturing system with high efficiency and low energy consumption”. In addition, Xu (2012) described Cloud Manufacturing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable manufacturing resources (e.g., manufacturing software tools, manufacturing equipment, and manufacturing capabilities) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction“. According to Tao and his colleagues (2011), one of the key characteristics of cloud manufacturing is service-oriented. Manufacturing resources and abilities can be virtualized and encapsulated into different manufacturing cloud services such as Design as a service (DaaS), Manufacturing as a service (MFGaaS), Experimentation as a service (EaaS), Simulation as a service (SIMaaS), Management as a service (MaaS),  Maintain as a service (MAaaS), Integration as a service (INTaaS). Cloud users can use these services based on their requirements via the wide Internet.

Furthermore, Cloud manufacturing can provide various and dynamic resources, services, and solutions for addressing a manufacturing task. Like Wikipedia, Cloud manufacturing is a group innovation-based manufacturing model. Any person or company can participate in and contribute their manufacturing resources, abilities, and knowledge to a cloud manufacturing service platform. Besides, any company can use these resources, abilities and knowledge to carry out its manufacturing actions. It would seem that within a Cloud manufacturing environment, an enterprise does not need to possess the entire hardware manufacturing environment (such as workshop, equipment, IT infrastructures, and personnel) or the software manufacturing ability (such as design, manufacturing, management, and sales ability). An enterprise can obtain the resources and abilities, and services in Cloud manufacturing platform according to its requirements after payment.

Cloud Manufacturing consists of four kinds of cloud manufacturing service platform which are:

  • Public CM service platform: manufacturing resources and abilities are shared with the general public in a multi-tenant environment.
  • Private CM service platform: manufacturing resources and abilities are shared within one company or its subsidiaries. It is managed by an organization or enterprise to provide greater control over its resource and service.
  • Community CM service platform: manufacturing resources and abilities are controlled and used by a group of organizations with common concerns.
  • Hybrid CM service platform: it is a composition of public and private cloud. Services and information which are not critical are stored in Public CM, while critical information and services are kept within the private CM.

Cloud manufacturing consists of technologies such as networked manufacturing, manufacturing grid (MGrid), virtual manufacturing, agile manufacturing, Internet of things and cloud computing. It can reduce cost of production and improve production efficiency, distribution of integrated resources, and resource efficiency.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Mojgan Afshari

Cloud Infographic – Google Glass Wearable Tech In 2015

Cloud Infographic – Google Glass Wearable Tech In 2015

Cloud Infographic – Google Glass Wearable Tech In 2015

There has been much discussion surrounding Google Glass. From the actual cost of the parts to a DIY faux glass version to some of the wondrous things you can do with them.  It’s safe to say that this is an intriguing product with millions and possibly billions talking about it.

Provided is a very cool infographic discovered via GoGlasses.fr which presents a thorough listing of Google Services that may play a part in the connectivity to Google Glass in 2015.

google-glass-2015

Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Mind the gap between the vision of automation and the reality

Automation of IT procedures and services holds the promise of bringing tremendous efficiencies to the organization. Being able to deploy automatically, update, and repair your IT infrastructure according to approved and consistently applied procedures is key to realizing the full potential of cloud computing. Without functioning automation and orchestration procedures on the back end, all the innovation on the front end with software-as-a-service and agile, cloud-enabled applications is like trying to implement a state of the art command center supported by a bunch of frantic IT guys in the back room running on ever-accelerating treadmills.

A better long-term strategy would be to implement automation aligned with effective IT service management. This is the path you will need to navigate, but, don’t assume it’s going to be a walk in the park. Unless you tightly integrate your technology with associated processes and procedures, automation can set loose any number of devils from the details within your IT environment.

I know this from experience. Within every IT infrastructure, there are so many layers accessible by so many people with a wide range of skills and intentions that you need to approach automation very carefully.

automation

Here are four key steps you need to take to prepare your IT environment and your staff for automation:

Learn to walk before you run

  • The best way to get hands-on experience with automation is to begin with purpose-built tools that are easy to deploy, access and use. Don’t rush into the assortment of one-size-fits-all tools in the market. Without the experience, the wide array of capabilities of big tools can be overwhelming. Give yourself time to develop some understanding of what automation can do for your IT organization before you commit to a more systemic automation approach implicit in a comprehensive toolset. Start by implementing automation on a small scale, and use that direct experience to help you evaluate which capabilities you really need. Before you throw the harness over a big toolset, you need to understand strategically what you want to accomplish.

Avoid Obstacles 

  • Look for firewalls and other obstructions that could prevent automation from reaching specific areas of your IT environment. If you access a multi-tenant cloud, you have the advantage of separate environments running on shared resources, but you have also walled off each of those environments from the reach of automation. Automation has the potential to give your systems an intelligent way to respond to changing demands and capacities, but the intelligence has to come from you. Automation can’t think for itself. If you don’t tell it about the firewall, or any other impediment, the best automation script will run right into the wall.

Centralize Information

  • Look for existing processes that have built in inefficiencies. A classic example is the necessity of faxing documents for non-electronic approvals. It may be great for controls but it’s very clunky to use. If the process isn’t efficient, it isn’t going to be much improved by automation. It’s often not a technical issue. You may have a contract that requires some manual process between steps. Or you may have billing information that is isolated from the system you are automating. Automation can do a lot of things, but it can’t walk over to your accounting office and ask for data that only lives on your CFO’s laptop. You need to centralize information and have one source for the truth.

Untie The Knot

  • Look for existing controls that would conflict with automated procedures. Controls are great, but they can also be problems that need to be worked around. A good example is monitoring. You may automate a procedure for the user to turn off a Windows server, but, if you have monitoring in place, you will end up sending high-urgency alerts when the server is shut down unless you have a way to suspend monitoring as part of the automation. Basically, the left hand has to know what the right hand is trying to do, or it will have a tendency to undo it…or worse. As the scope of your automation effort expands, you have to carefully untie the knots of processes within your IT environment. Eventually, you’ll need to know everything about everything.

All these things I say with great pain because I have bumped into each one of them. Automation is an adventure. Prepare to run into the unexpected somewhere along the way.

And that’s just looking at the technical issues. Automation has to take into account all the technical complexities within your IT environment. It also has to be rolled out with a high degree of diplomacy if it is to earn the support of your IT team. Automation has the potential to free technologists and others from repetitive and/or mundane aspects of their jobs—which seems like a good thing. Eliminating aspects of what employees do for a living, however, can also make them very uneasy.

My next column will provide some guidelines to help you navigate the challenges you will encounter on your automation journey. As with any journey, setting out is not without risks, but it’s not as if you can decide to stay safe at home with the status quo. Ever increasing demands on the performance, flexibility, responsiveness, security and financial accountability of your IT environment leave you no realistic choice but to set out from wherever you are on an IT transformation journey toward the goal of a fully-realized, self-service cloud environment for your organization. It needs to be in your future.

By Brian Day

As Senior Director of Cloud Dev/Ops and Solution Development for Logicalis, Brian is responsible for managing the Logicalis Cloud and the development of new solutions.

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