Category Archives: Internet of Things

Progressions and Predictions of Marketing Technology

Progressions and Predictions of Marketing Technology

Predictions of Marketing Technology

In Gartner’s 2015 Data-Driven Marketing Survey we saw three new technologies entering the hype cycle, Predictive B2B Marketing, Ad Blocking, and Mobile Wallet. Further, the 2016 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising suggested that the combination of four key data-centric marketing driving forces including personalization, real-time marketing systems, the employment of contextual clues, and the convergence of Martech and Adtech would lead to more appropriate uses of IoT devices and analytics, and machine learning and personalization bolstering data-centric marketing tactics. As Gartner’s 2016-2017 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Spend Survey predicts higher marketing budgets in 2017, one wonders what marketing technology holds for us in the year to come.

Early Adopters

ws_martech_leverage-stackIn the second annual State of Marketing Technology report from Walker Sands, it’s suggested that marketers are becoming more comfortable with the ever increasing variety of tools at their disposal, many adopting martech devices more quickly. Unfortunately, more than half of today’s marketers aren’t managing to keep up with these changes. Though many marketers are seen jumping in with both feet, taking advantage of what one expert summed a landscape of nearly 4,000 solutions, just as many others are entirely overwhelmed by the new technology and requirements of the evolving digital marketing space. Surprisingly, this tremendous array of tools has not led the majority of companies to seek a single vendor for their marketing cloud, a solution which might offer greater ease of use and comfort. Instead, the majority of organizations both large and small are focusing on the integration of best-of-breed architecture to provide the best solution for each requirement, no matter the mix required.

Integration and Best-of-Breed

Along with the data suggesting best-of-breed architecture leads in martech selections, Walker Sands’ study finds that integrated best-of-breed marketing technology is the most popular and the majority of respondents believe their companies are well able to leverage the power of integrated best-of-breed tools. But fragmented best-of-breed stacks shouldn’t be disqualified just yet; currently, 21% of participants indicated use – just 6% less than those using integrated best-of-breed stacks. In fact, integration didn’t rank particularly high when respondents were asked what would better help them leverage the full power of their current marketing technology stack; instead 39% of respondents submitted that better strategy was key to this improved leveraging, and improved analytics and more training also ranked high on the list of ‘keys to fully leveraging martech stack.’

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have recently been moving toward the mainstream with a range of industries developing methods to incorporate the once ‘science fiction’ tech. The advertising and marketing industries are no different. According to the IDC’s annual tech projections, “in 2017, 30% of consumer-facing Global 2000 companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts.” As marketers recognize the value of interfaces for direct customer engagement, this evolution is occurring faster than expected and the IDC expects virtual and augmented reality adoption to reach mass levels by 2021. In just five years it’s projected that over a billion people globally will regularly use a virtual or augmented reality platform to access data, content, and apps.

It appears that, despite martech concerns such as ad-blocking tools and the effectiveness of some of the digital marketing and advertising tools, the role of digital marketing advertising moves from strength to strength and the plans for spend in this area remain high. A shift of offline media spending to digital channels is also being noted, suggesting that in years to come some of the better digital marketing tools we’re just coming to grips with today will hold an important position in the martech stack. 2017 will probably only see the foundations of a few of these innovations.

By Jennifer Klostermann

How Wearable Devices Are Making A Healthy Society Around Us

How Wearable Devices Are Making A Healthy Society Around Us

Wearable Devices

Having smartphones to smarter the way we communicate or stay connected is an old fable. Technology has evolved itself impeccably and over its boulevard, it has created footprints on the health industry in form of wearable devices.

A few decades back, wearable technology started to mold not only itself but the way humans used to live.

How and when it started?

For the former question, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, I believe is the perfect answer. Here necessity points towards the need to live a comfortable life while the invention is nothing other than our wearable devices.

Turning the pages of time and a little after juggling the nerves in my brain, I can recall the calculator watch that got released somewhere in the 1980s. I’m sure many of you might have noticed their entrance. However, things changed with time, and technology started to create new benchmarks. This is where the need to create new standards raised.

In lieu of the same, I can recall the HugShirt (release at the CyberArt festival in Bilbao, Spain in 2004).

Since then wearable technology didn’t look back. Around ten years after this, Statista published a report, which shared 75 million wearable devices got sold in 2012. If this excites you, sit back and be prepared, as the figures for the year 2015 rose in an unmatched manner and exceeded the 2 billion mark. Sounds pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Wearable devices and healthy society

Apart from contributing into travel and entertainment segment, wearable and mobile devices have commendably created their space in the world of health care. Wearable devices today have a remarkable place in the healthcare industry. They not only track your fitness but also recommend you required things and share the same with your doctor. They can work as a remedy and can assist you and your doctor by monitoring your health issues and sharing the reports.

If we talk about the figures, according to a report in 2014 around 29.7 million people were using the wearable devices for fitness, while the very next year it almost doubled and touched the mark of 58.7 million.

stat

Wearable devices have faced a massive acceptance in the United States and this is why it generates maximum revenue of over one billion dollars from the region.

The role played by wearable devices in making a healthy society?

A study reveals that wearable devices are widely preferred for living a healthy life. The figures are expected to increase for all good reasons. However, to attract millennials it might take little more time but the parents have shown huge interest.

Let us have a look at some of the ways in which wearable devices are making us live a healthy life:

  1. Creates awareness: Wearable devices don’t get partial and thus they share the truth. Someday you might feel tired after walking for let’s say 15 minutes, but this doesn’t mean that you walked some extra steps. While you might consider it this way, wearable devices will share the exact number of steps you have taken and the calories you burnt.
  1. Educates: With a wearable device housed around your wrist you can monitor your health at any time while being anywhere. With this, you can understand the loopholes better; subsequently, make better decisions to improve your health. Imagine having a personal nutritionist with you 24 hours a day, guiding you as per your body requirements.
  1. Competition: Let us accept the fact we humans need a push in order to achieve goals, and I believe competition indeed could be a remarkable way. For this, you can have a wearable device that kicks you towards having positive competition with your near and dear ones. Imagine yourself stepping out of the gym with dual feelings; winning over your competitor and burning some extra calories.
  1. Check your sleep: ‘The subconscious state’ is what describes sleep in the best way. At such a stage if you have a device that stays awake for you, just to check if you slept well, your heart rate has been smooth, and the movements throughout the duration, this definitely gives a relaxed feeling. Not only these, but wearable devices can also accordingly plan your wake up time and make sure you follow it by reminding you.
  1. Workout becomes easy: Someday you might be tired, someday active. The same results in fluctuating workouts. While the odd days make you exhausted early, the other days you are a storm. On one hand while being in the former state you work out less and get whacked early, on the other the latter allows you to work more. With a wearable device, you can easily check your workout and eventually maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  1. Assistant for physicians and patients: Some wearable devices are designed to share your health data with your physician. Like this, your physician can’t just have a deep sneak into your health issues but also can diagnose you better. While on one side this allows you to remotely get yourself checked, on the other hand, it saves the time of your doctor without compromising with the health vitality.

Conclusion

Wearable devices aren’t just a new trend that is gaining all the attention due to their design and style, but they have proved their entity by assisting, guiding, and motivating the general people towards the health. Maybe this is why the wearable device market is increasing high above with every passing day.

By Shahid Mansuri

What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

Data Warehousing

There is no denying it – we live in The Age of the Customer. Consumers all over the world are now digitally empowered, and they have the means to decide which businesses will succeed and grow, and which ones will fail. As a result, most savvy businesses now understand that they must be customer-obsessed to succeed. They must have up-to-the-second data and analytical information so that they can give their customers what they want and provide the very best customer satisfaction possible.

This understanding has given rise to the concept of business intelligence (BI), the use of data Big-Data-Santa-CloudTweaksmining, big data, and data analytics to analyze raw data and create faster, more effective business solutions. However, while the concept of BI is not necessarily new, traditional BI tactics are no longer enough to keep up and ensure success in the future. Today, traditional BI must be combined with agile BI (the use of agile software development to accelerate traditional BI for faster results and more adaptability) and big data to deliver the fastest and most useful insights so that businesses may convert, serve, and retain more customers.

Essentially, for a business to survive, BI must continuously evolve and adapt to improve agility and keep up with data trends in this new customer-driven age of enterprise. This new model for BI is also driving the future of data warehousing, as we will see moving forward.

Older BI Deployments Cannot Keep Pace for Success

As valuable as older BI applications and deployments have been over the years, they simply cannot keep pace with customer demands today. In fact, decision-makers in IT and business have reported a number of challenges when they have only deployed traditional BI. These include:

  • Inability to accurately quantify their BI investments’ ROI. Newer BI deployments implement methodologies for measuring ROI and determining the value of BI efforts.
  • A breakdown in communication and alignment between IT and business teams.
  • Inability to properly manage operational risk, resolve latency challenges, and/or handle scalability. While BI is intended to improve all of these, traditional BI is falling behind.
  • Difficulty with platform migration and/or integration.

Poor data quality. Even if data mining is fast and expansive, if the quality of the data is not up to par, it will not be useful in creating actionable intelligence for important business decisions.

Keeping Up with Customer Demand Through New BI Deployments

So how can combining traditional BI, agile BI, and big data help businesses grow and succeed in today’s market? Consider that big data gives businesses a more complete view of the customer by tapping into multiple data sources. At the same time, agile BI addresses the need for faster and more adaptable intelligence. Combine the two, along with already existing traditional BI, and efforts that were once separate can work together to create a stronger system of insight and analytics.

Through this new BI strategy, businesses can consistently harness insights and create actionable data in less time. Using the same technology, processes, and people, it allows businesses to manage growth and complexity, react faster to customer needs, and improve collaboration and top-line benefits – all at the same time.

The Drive for a New Kind of Data Warehousing

data-cloud-1

A new kind of data warehousing is essential to this new BI deployment, as much of the inefficiency in older BI deployments lies in the time and energy wasted in data movement and duplication. A few factors are driving the development and future of data warehousing, including:

  • Agility – To succeed today, businesses must use collaboration more than ever. Instead of having separate departments, teams, and implementations for things like data mining and analysis, IT, BI, business, etc., the new model involves cross-functional teams that engage in adaptive planning for continuous evolution and improvement. This kind of model cannot function with old forms of data warehousing, with just a single server (or set of servers) where data is stored and retrieved.
  • The Cloud – More and more, people and businesses are storing data on the cloud. Cloud-based computing offers the ability to access more data from different sources without the need for massive amounts of data movement and duplication. Thus, the cloud is a major factor in the future of data warehousing.
  • The Next Generation of Data – We are already seeing significant changes in data storage, data mining, and all things related to big data, thanks to the Internet of Things. The next generation of data will (and already does) include even more evolution, including real-time data and streaming data.

How New Data Warehousing Solves Problems for Businesses

So how do new data warehouses change the face of BI and big data? These new data warehousing solutions offer businesses a more powerful and simpler means to achieve streaming, real-time data by connecting live data with previously stored historical data.

bi-data-a

Before, business intelligence was an entirely different section of a company than the business section, and data analytics took place in an isolated bubble. Analysis was also restricted to only looking at and analyzing historical data – data from the past. Today, if businesses only look at historical data, they will be behind the curve before they even begin. Some of the solutions to this, which new data warehousing techniques and software provide, include:

  • Data lakes – Instead of storing data in hierarchical files and folders, as traditional data warehouses do, data lakes have a flat architecture that allows raw data to be stored in its natural form until it is needed.
  • Data fragmented across organizations – New data warehousing allows for faster data collection and analysis across organizations and departments. This is in keeping with the agility model and promotes more collaboration and faster results.
  • IoT streaming data – Again, the Internet of Things, is a major game changer, as customers, businesses, departments, etc. share and store data across multiple devices.
  • To Thrive in the Age of the Customers – Businesses Must Merge Previously Separate Efforts

Now that we are seeing real-time and streaming data, it is more important than ever before to create cohesive strategies for business insights. This means merging formerly separate efforts like traditional BI, agile BI, and big data.

bi-data

Business agility is more important than ever before to convert and retain customers. To do this, BI must always be evolving, improving, and adapting, and this requires more collaboration and new data warehousing solutions. Through this evolution of strategies and technology, businesses can hope to grow and improve in The Age of the Customer.

Examples of the Future of Data Warehousing

And what exactly will the future of data warehousing look like? Companies like SAP are working on that right now. With the launch of the BW/4HANA data warehousing solution running on premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others like it, we can see how businesses can combine historical and streaming data for better implementation and deployment of new BI strategies. This system and others like it work with Spark and Hadoop, as well as other programming frameworks to bring data and systems of insight into the 21st century and beyond.

Want to learn more about BI, agile BI, the future of data warehousing, and all things big data?

(Originally published November 1st, 2016. Are you an influencer? If so, contact us for more information regarding our syndication programs)

By Ronald van Loon

Data Management and the Internet of Things

Data Management and the Internet of Things

Data Management

The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken software development to new levels and with the many points of contact it provides creates a myriad of opportunities and, of course, challenges. The number of developers working on IoT applications are consistently increasing as businesses across industries recognize the value of such apps and search for new ways to keep ahead of their competitors. In the past, SAP SQL Anywhere has operated as an embeddable database option for mobile devices, but the upsurge of IoT has seen constant evolution of this product and the latest version delivers ‘mission-critical services to Internet of Things systems and data-intensive apps.’

Managing the Data

The number of Internet of Things devices and applications being managed today is prodigious, and Gartner estimates that by 2020 we’ll have 25 billion connected devices. This will undoubtedly provide many positive gains for our day to day personal and business lives, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when considering the massive volumes of data collected and sent off by each one these devices. Due to the processing, sharing, and analysis requirements of data, it’s become essential to implement effective database management systems to help developers structure new builds and manage applications going forward.

cloud-sap

For developers building database-powered IoT applications, data management, synchronization, and data exchange technologies are essential to swift design, build, and deployment. Moreover, database management software ensures data is synchronized across mobile devices and remote offices meaning that vital data can be accessed from countless locations at any time. Working together with SAP HANA or SAP Business Suite software, SAP SQL Anywhere offers data management and collection solutions for mobile and remote environments through data synchronization technology that helps ensure transactions are replicated between the enterprise and remote devices in a consistent and scalable manner. Deployments consisting of tens of thousands of devices can be carried out, involving complex operations over the long term with zero data loss. Furthermore, because SAP HANA provides communication via satellite locations organizations are now able to collect and access data from locations with only intermittent connections or low bandwidths. Thanks to smart and secure synchronization for both on-premise and cloud systems, along with always-on and always-available operations, organizations benefit from reduced downtown and improved data protection encryption and data isolation.

Secure & Always On Solutions

When considering the volume of data flowing into and out of our connected devices a primary concern is security. Countless data breaches have come to light in recent times, and due to the often highly private nature of data, it’s essential that data management systems provide the necessary level of security. Customized mobile and IoT applications certainly have their advantages, but when controlling and synchronizing data across numerous IoT systems, mobile devices, and remote environments, it’s essential that the chosen data management solution is able to provide secure and reliable processes when required. SAP SQL Anywhere manages these needs through data protection encryption and data isolation and allows intelligent devices to connect to the enterprise securely while collecting data reliably and safely delivering it into the SAP HANA platform for consolidation and analysis. The strong encryption capabilities of SAP SQL Anywhere ensure data is protected and secured even during transmission and exchange.

For professionals needing progressive and reliable SQL database solutions, SAP SQL Anywhere provides an extensive range of tools and features able to create data-drive applications for remote operation, collection, and aggregation of massive amounts of data generated by IoT devices and applications, flexible, standards-based platforms, and much more. And due to increased developer productivity and optimized performance and availability, developers are able to swiftly release new applications and accurately monitor them going forward, thus ensuring businesses make the most of today’s IoT opportunities while surmounting the relevant challenges.

You can now purchase SAP SQL Anywhere in the SAP Store, and until Dec 31 receive 15% off your purchase with promo code SQL15.

Sponsored spotlight series by SAP

By Jennifer Klostermann

Will Chatbots Finally Make Mobile Payments Popular?

Will Chatbots Finally Make Mobile Payments Popular?

The Future of Chatbots

We’ve profiled several digital wallet platforms that aim to change how we make payments. Apple, Samsung, and Google all have mobile wallet apps hoping to convince users to use their smartphones instead of credit/debit cards and bank accounts to send money and pay for purchases. By 2020, analysts project 56 percent of the consumer population to use mobile payments.

However, digital wallet adoption is still low. Avivah Litan, an Analyst at Gartner, credits the ease of use of current payment systems with this slow transition.

It’s incredibly easy to swipe or dip a credit or debit card at a payment terminal and U.S. consumers are used to this mature payment application where they know they are well protected from financial loss…..It will take a lot of persuasion and financial incentives to get consumers to change their payment habits.

And it looks like this persuasion isn’t going to come from digital wallets, but rather chat programs.

The Rise of Chatbots

Chat bot

(Infographic discovered via LinkedIn)

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular mobile chat apps in the world, with over 900 million registered users on the platform. To compete with other messaging apps like Kik, Line, and Telegram, Facebook added chatbots to the service in April 2016, its enterprise partners quickly created over 11,000 chatbots on the service.

These chatbots are a faux form of artificial intelligence – human-like interactions with a conversational tone powered by a backend database the bot navigates based on user responses. The natural feel and personality of these bots made them instantly popular among users.

It wasn’t long before brands like Domino’s and Taco Bell allowed customers to place orders using these chatbots. Media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and CNN implemented bots to help readers browse the news. Retailers like Sephora and Target implemented personal shoppers.

Soon, the financial industry caught on and major players are now working on their own bots.

The Coming of Financial Chatbots

During the recent Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, MasterCard announced its upcoming Facebook Messenger chatbots. One MasterCard Bot, named Kai, is for consumers, allowing users to check account information, monitor spending levels, and even learn good financial habits. The other MasterCard Bot for merchants uses its Masterpass digital wallet to complete Messenger transactions.

Although launching on Facebook’s Messenger platform, MasterCard intends to eventually release its bots on every major messenger platform. Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America, agrees with MasterCard’s direction.

“What will banking be in two, three or four years?” Moore asked. “It’s going to be this.

Moore is referring to Erica, Bank of America’s newly launched chatbot that can give advice on bills, initiate money transfers, and more. Although not yet available to customers, Erica is being fervently tested at the bank as a way to reduce operational and customer service costs.

Allowing customers to navigate their bank account through an automated Messenger program not only saves money, but it helps overcome the hurdles encountered by digital wallets and other mobile payment options.

Unlike a mobile wallet, chatbots are more convenient than traditional plastic cards, because they provide more information and utility in a conversational interface. You can’t check your balance or transfer money using just your card, but you can with a chatbot.

Chatbots in Small Business

Although major brands are used as examples in this article, it’s small business that will inevitably benefit from chatbots. With such a solid infrastructure being built, smaller businesses can take advantage of this new technology to provide innovative services not yet available by major brands.

MasterCard’s secure Masterpass platform acts as an infrastructure that can be used by smaller teams to enable mobile messenger payments and purchases to open a new sales avenue. Initial costs are minimal, as are operational costs, as the bots run on the servers of the messenger platform.

Facebook’s developer tools walk you through how to create a chatbot for FB Messenger, as do Kik, LINE, and Telegram. Using these APIs, businesses can create powerful chatbots to keep users engaged and generate an ROI.

The Final Word

While the conversational interface of chatbots makes them attractive to both investors and users, there’s still a long road ahead. There are already tens of thousands of chatbots crawling around messenger programs, and many users still aren’t aware they’re available. Widespread adoption is still several years off.

Still, experts in both the financial and technology sectors are keeping an eye on chatbots, which have prominently featured in Facebook’s F8 conference, the Money 20/20 conference, and CES 2016. Businesses looking to disrupt the financial industry need look no further for the perfect avenue to do it.

By Brian Penny

How IoT, Wearables, and Mixed Reality May Disrupt Banking

How IoT, Wearables, and Mixed Reality May Disrupt Banking

Banking Disruption

Technology and finance have always gone together. It takes the best, most secure technologies to keep stockpiles of money safe.

We don’t often consider banking and technology together, but it’s the banking industry that stands to be disrupted most by emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and wearable technology.

Whether that disruption comes from established players or new ones is yet to be determined, but it’ll be interesting to watch things take shape.

Changing the Face of Consumer Payments

Payment processing

Millennials are one of the most difficult groups to pin down. Younger generations like doing things new ways, and a recent survey found 73 percent of millennials are looking to Google, Apple, PayPal, and other tech companies for new financial offerings instead of their banks.

It’s millennials that drive the push for mobile, contactless payments. Both established tech and financial companies along with startups like Adyen, TransferWise, and Currency Cloud are rushing to create intuitive ways to use mobile phones for payments.

Now that most major merchants are equipped to handle contactless payments, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need neither your card nor phone to make a purchase in store. Keychain dongles with timed, regenerating passcodes have long been used to secure financial information on the enterprise side.

Introducing these to the consumer side brings a cryptocurrency level of verification and encryption to mobile payments, and thanks to two-step authentication implemented in popular consumer platforms like Gmail and Steam, understanding of this technology is somewhat ubiquitous.

And it’s not just consumer banking that’s seeing rapid changes.

Evolving the Trading Floor

When the second Oculus Rift development kit was released, Fidelity Labs created an innovative new way for people to view their investment portfolio with Stock City. Instead of stale, boring graphs and charts, each investment is translated into an equivalent building that builds a town. Like Sim City, Stock City requires a carefully planned and executed balance to maintain and grow.

This was just one taste of one direction investment firms are taking virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.

Over the summer, Citigroup released a video showing proof of concept for an AR application that extends the desktop into the real world. It utilizes Microsoft’s Hololens, which, like the Rift HDK2 isn’t ready for the consumer market. Using AR to pull stock quotes, graphs, and other visual data into a 3D world makes it easier to see patterns and optimize trades.

Polish company Comarch is taking things even further. Comarch designed a virtual reality investment newsroom for their wealth management clients. Creating a virtual space gave the feeling of virtually meeting with clients and reviewing their portfolio one-on-one even though it’s in the digital space.

Providing Marketing and Education

It’s not just the financial industry involved in these new technologies. From artificially intelligent chatbots like Taco Bell’s Tacobot helping consumers shop to location-based augmented reality games like Pokemon Go motivating record numbers of people around the globe to get outside and explore, every industry is finding value in the new Internet.

This makes it more important than ever for the financial industry to provide consumers with financial education and other refined services. While using AR to find imaginary creatures, consumer can also locate ATMs, money management services, and more. Not only do customers need to be educated on how to utilize technical aspects of these platforms, but how to pay for them.

Microtransactions, subscription services, and even fraudulent schemes are going to occur using these technologies. Consumers need to be provided with ways to responsibly navigate this new world with all its gadgets and technologies.

These technologies represent new marketing avenues as well. Instead of creating flat, YouTube-style videos, brands can now create immersive, 360-degree experiences that fully engage consumers from every angle. IoT devices like Amazon Dash help you bypass search engines entirely to create a direct connection to customers.

Understanding Emerging Technologies

Of all companies, it’s likely to be Microsoft that jumpstarts the VR revolution. With its announcement in October 2016 that Windows 10 will soon be compatible with its $300 headset, Microsoft is hoping to bridge the gap between consumer and enterprise and make VR as ubiquitous as the flat-screen monitor or smart TV.

The first step to getting started with these new technologies is to explore their capabilities firsthand.

Smartphone-powered VR headsets are available practically everywhere for as little as $10 and as much as $200 while desktop-powered VR starts at around $500. Spherical cameras can be found for as low as $100. IoT sensors, Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards, and development kits are readily available to create smart devices, applications, and experiences. Or just wait for Microsoft’s headset.

Experiencing the technology firsthand helps in understanding the full capabilities. I can spend all day describing to you the feeling of being surrounded by 3D holograms of spreadsheets, databases, and more, but you can’t understand it until you see it for yourself.

So check them out – maybe you’ll see something these other companies didn’t and kickstart your own tech revolution.

By Brian Penny

Key Takeaways From Dyn’s DDoS Attack

Key Takeaways From Dyn’s DDoS Attack

DDoS Attack Takeaways 

If you tried to access some of the world’s most popular websites, such as Twitter, Spotify, CNN, Netflix and The New York Times last Friday, you may have run into some trouble. Millions in the U.S. and Europe lost access to much of the internet in the wake of a cyberattack.

Hackers targeted Dyn Inc., a major provider of Domain Name System services in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The hackers used a malware called Mirai to flood Dyn’s servers with fake traffic through a botnet of internet-enabled devices including DVRs, storage devices and cameras.

Researchers do not yet know the motive for the attack and are unsure of who the perpetrator is. However, they believe that users of  a hacking forum may be responsible, and not the foreign governments, WikiLeaks supporters and political activists who were originally suspected.

Looking back at Friday’s cyberattack, here are four key takeaways.

The ‘Internet of Things’ Presents New Challenges

spybot-IoT

Devices such as webcams, DVRs, video doorbells and refrigerators that can connect to the internet are known as the Internet of Things (IoT). These devices provide us with new opportunities and make our lives easier, but also present new, unexplored security risks.

After the recent attacks, Chinese company Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology, recalled 4.3 million internet-connected cameras, which hackers infiltrated.

Many IoT devices (especially the cheaper ones) are unsophisticated and susceptible to hacking. Many users also never change their passwords from the default settings on IoT devices. Buying devices that allow you to change the default password, and changing the default password when possible, may help to stop these kinds of attacks in the future.

DDoS Protection Is Becoming Centralized

When it comes to DDoS attacks, whoever has the most computing power wins. This makes smaller companies more vulnerable. Larger companies can usually fend off hacking attempts. The use of the botnet in the recent attacks presented a new challenge, however, that Dyn was not prepared for.

Since being bigger makes a company more effective at preventing DDoS attacks, and the attacks are getting larger and more difficult to manage, websites must increasingly seek refuge with large, powerful companies. This is causing a centralization of DDoS protection.

These powerful companies can protect against these hacks more effectively, but the centralization also creates a risk. As demonstrated in Friday’s attack, a single attack can now disable a greater portion of the internet.

Imposters Can and Will Take Credit for Cyber Attacks

hacker-cloud

It can be difficult to ascertain who exactly is responsible for cyberattacks, and this creates the opportunity for imposters to take the credit.

Researchers at Flashpoint believe they have linked the attacks to users of the site Hack Forums. Users of this site frequently hack just for attention or fun, but sometimes also charge money for hacking services.

At first, many believed that Russia or WikiLeaks supporters were behind the attacks. A group called “New World Hackers” took credit for the attack, saying that they did it in response to the Ecuadorian government’s removal of Julian Assange’s Internet connection. WikiLeaks seemed to accept this assertion as true in a tweet. Activist group “Anonymous” also apparently took credit in a tweet. However, researchers believe these claims are false.

It’s Time to Take Cyber Security Seriously

Companies, schools and other organizations provide safety training and conduct fire drills, tornado drills and active shooter drills. Many also have metal detectors and security guards.

But these organizations rarely provide cyber security training. However, as the recent attacks show, cyber security is important and increasingly at risk. IoT technology presents us with new risks and places the responsibility for security more heavily on the average consumer.

Individuals and companies should ensure they are educated about their cyber security risks in order to protect themselves and other internet users.

Friday’s large-scale DDoS attack represents the opening of a new chapter in cyber security. As technology changes, new challenges arise that must be met to keep the internet secure. Hacking and cyber security will likely become an increasingly important issue, so it is imperative that individuals and companies educate and protect themselves however they can.

By Kayla Matthews

Part 2 – Connected Vehicles: Paving the Way for IoT on Wheels

Part 2 – Connected Vehicles: Paving the Way for IoT on Wheels

Connected Vehicles: IoT on Wheels

As vehicles become the hottest “thing” in IoT, the automotive, heavy equipment, and machinery industries face some of the most significant opportunities in decades.

I’ve previously explored some connected car use cases and the opportunities and challenges that need to be considered when developing a monetization strategy.

Specifically in Part 1, I covered the four main business offering categories: 1) Transportation as a Service; 2) Post-Sale/Lease Secondary Services; 3) Road Use Measurement Services; and 4) Secondary Data Stream Monetization.

Here, in Part 2, I offer further guidelines, best practices, and guardrails to maximize commercial success of major players in this technology marketplace.

Who are the main players?

General Motors

So who are they? There are many systems and vendors that belong in the back-office stack and are required to make a connected car initiative successful. The following represents lead players who are already on the front line, offering monetized connected car services of all types to a growing market.

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) – The actual makers of vehicles themselves stand front and center in the connected car world, arguably better positioned than anyone to realize secondary monetization potential from a captive audience with high propensity for brand loyalty. Examples include household names: General Motors, Audi, BMW, Subaru, Caterpillar, and Komatsu, and John Deere.
  • Third-Party Device Manufacturers – These devices often connect to vehicle systems using the existing capabilities of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) ports, which have been mandated since 1996. Along with the connectivity offered by WiFi, cellular networks and Bluetooth, this group includes entities offering everything from aftermarket telematics devices to personalization and safety systems like Verizon Hum, and mobile phones themselves. Ubiquitous mobility providers Google and Apple loom heavily within this broad group of players determining how exactly to stake their ground.
  • Third-Party Service Providers – Included here is any service provider that is largely agnostic to a car or the device’s manufacturer. Insurance and maintenance providers are perhaps the most well-known members of this group. However, the broadest definition of this category also includes any service not directly offered by OEMs or third-party devices themselves: the popular Waze mapping app and the fleet management service offered by companies like WEX are two examples.

Where are the opportunities and challenges?

Below are some high-level challenges and opportunities, with some real-life examples:

OEMs Monetizing Transportation as a Service

  • Opportunities – Viable opportunities differ depending on the exact OEM and the exact TaaS model. For example, luxury brands such as Audi, BMW, and Bentley are best positioned to offer services which benefit from brand affinity and prestige. OEMs with a broader install base and lower ASPs are better positioned to benefit from models like group, and peer-to-peer sharing models (e.g. the “airport sharing” component of Ford’s new Ford Pass offering).
  • Challenges – Existing system infrastructure for selling/leasing cars was designed for no more than two names on a title or lease and must be dramatically enhanced or replaced. Managing vehicle inventory for subscription or on-demand access requires fleet management strategies and systems that must be tightly tailored to individual marketplaces, in terms of geography, demographics, and days/times. Effective and comprehensive fleet management direct to consumers, perfected by entities like Zipcar, remain elusive to OEMs entering the game, and will require a significant amount of trial-and-error — potentially resulting in the disintermediation of the entrenched dealer networks.

Aftermarket Device Manufacturers Monetizing Secondary On-Board Services

  • Opportunities – Most cars on the road now (and for a few years to come) do not benefit from OEM-provided connected services, but are being driven by consumers who will demand them nonetheless in what can be called a ‘retrofit’ model. Due to both the long lifespan of vehicles and the extensive amount of time it takes any OEM to go from concept to production, the aftermarket is inherently positioned to be far more agile and much faster to market. Aftermarket devices are far more natively bound to drivers than to vehicles, so the services can move from one car to another as desired.
  • Challenges – OEMs are natively positioned to deliver these offerings at point of initial sale/lease, even to the point of treating them as ‘loss leaders’ and effectively giving them away in order to incent the vehicle purchase itself, or to make money solely on the accompanying service subscription that enables their ‘embedded’ devices, whereas aftermarket devices require stickiness to encourage an additional purchase and/or relationship on the part of the customer above and beyond what they are already paying for the vehicle.

Third-Party Service Providers Monetizing Road Use Measurement Services

  • Opportunities – Insurance companies are already leveraging the available data streams from embedded OBD systems to provide usage-based insurance to infrequent drivers (potentially opening up a new market segment), or to reward safe drivers with additional discounts on their premiums. Government entities, suffering from declining fuel tax revenues due to more efficient (and non-fuel-consuming electric) vehicles are looking to compensate with direct taxation models based on actual public road use, using data streams from embedded or ‘add-on’ telematics devices (e.g. the trial ‘OReGO’ program underway in Oregon). Unlike many other on-board services which require an ‘always connected’ or ‘almost always connected’ state in order to work properly, most Road Use Measurement Services work with just intermittent connectivity by using a data ‘store-and-forward’ model, thus removing the cost of and dependency on cellular or satellite network providers.
  • Challenges – Effective market penetration will likely require ‘device agnosticism’, which will in turn require sophisticated data stream management platforms capable of organizing and transforming data from myriad sources and formats. Third-party device manufacturers may opt to offer their own (i.e. proprietary) accompanying secondary services, which may supplant the possibility of a vibrant ‘open’ market in which device-agnostic service providers can play.

OEMs Monetizing Secondary Data Streams

meta-data

  • Opportunities – The sensors on vehicles can produce data streams that the OEM may choose not to share with third parties. This data may be used to provide ongoing revenue streams to dealers. On a granular level, this data can be used to build driver profiles, which in turn can drive individualized direct marketing efforts for available add-on services, or the suggested purchase of a more suitable next vehicle when the time comes. On an aggregate level, this data can be sold to third parties for subsequent commercial or informational purposes.
  • Challenges – OEMs tend to possess neither the mindset nor the infrastructure required to think and act like purveyors of data, as they are historically purveyors of steel. Consumers are ever more wary of implicit data collection, from a privacy standpoint and a security standpoint.

Regardless of the kind of business or the offerings, all the players are working to create new revenue streams from connected services and monetizing alternatives that are tied to the customer rather than traditional purchasing and leasing streams that are tied to the product. The winners will be the ones that provide the best customer experience.

The road to success has its share of potholes. The biggest ones have little to do with the technology itself but constructing a viable business model (along with processes and supporting technologies) where monetization and recurring revenue streams are profitable.

While we aren’t sure whether the next big buck will come from – inside the vehicle or outside of it – we are clear that the IoT is igniting new and more revenue tracks for the automotive industry. The themes and scenarios offered, which are nearly universally applicable across all potential connected car go-to-market efforts, can help the category on their journey towards IoT nirvana.

By Tom Dibble

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