Category Archives: Internet of Things

Ford deploys connected car platform on Microsoft’s cloud

Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have teamed up to create the Ford Service Delivery Network, a cloud-based connected car platform for Ford vehicles the companies said would make it easier and faster to add more in-car digital services.

Microsoft said the service will provide Ford a global platform to enable over-the-air software updates and expand availability of MyFord and MyLincoln Mobile connected services, which ships with features like scheduled remote start, vehicle finder, and vehicle status (fuel or charge level, tire pressure).

The connected car platform will be hosted on Azure-based technology in a combination of Azure and Ford datacentres.

“As consumers shift toward more cloud-based services, the Ford Service Delivery Network architecture is a strategic approach to keep vehicles up-to-date and relevant throughout the vehicle ownership period by making it easy to add or evolve services. Microsoft Azure provides a global common cloud platform that allows Ford to deliver services worldwide and scale quickly to reach its broad customer base,” explained Sanjay Ravi, senior director of worldwide manufacturing at Microsoft.

“This means that Ford can send updates as they become available, ensuring customers will have the latest technology as it becomes available,” Ravi said.

Customer deployment will begin later this year, the companies said.

Microsoft is among a growing fleet of technology firms looking to capitalise on growth of the connected car market. According to global telecoms association the GSMA the size of the market will nearly triple over the next four years to $53bn.

UK IoT startups could generate over £100bn in ten years but barriers persist, Cisco claims

UK IoT startups could generate billions of pounds for the economy, but only if stakeholders are willing to incubate and accelerate innovation

UK IoT startups could generate billions of pounds for the economy, but only if stakeholders are willing to incubate and accelerate innovation

A recently published report commissioned by networking specialist Cisco suggests Internet of Things startups could generate over £100bn over the decade as their offerings catch on in industries ripe for IoT-centric transformation (healthcare, retail, transport and energy). But Tom Kneen, head of business development, the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) at Cisco told BCN the industry needs to overcome key barriers in order to enable the market to flourish.

The report, The Internet of Everything: Unlocking the Opportunity for UK Startups, looks at the potential opportunities for IoT startups in four key sectors: healthcare, retail, transport and energy.

It claims the healthcare industry currently has the greatest opportunity, with the potential to access over £48bn over the next decade through IoT innovation. This is followed by the retail industry with £37bn, transport (£11bn) and energy (£7bn).

Cisco has not shied away in past from dropping large numbers to illustrate the potential of a segment in which it has vested interests – the company famously claims there will be around 50 billion IoT devices by 2020.

But it said that large firms, SMEs, and government organisations in the UK need to cultivate more joint innovation partnerships if any industry stakeholders are to reap the financial benefits of such a proliferation in internet-connected devices.

“UK companies of every size are devoting time and ingenuity to designing and building IoE applications, from the smallest SMEs to the largest enterprises. These companies are not just digitising in the conventional sense but finding completely new ways to connect people, processes, data and things, from their supply chains to their office spaces and their customers,” said Phil Smith, chief executive, Cisco UK and Ireland.

“The UK’s startup community is a great source of innovation, and we’re confident that we’re only witnessing the first wave. In the coming months and years, we can expect these businesses to be at the forefront of the transformation of the UK economy as we fully embrace the possibilities of a digital future,” Smith said.

Cisco’s Tom Kneen told BCN there are still a number of barriers preventing the IoT market from really kicking off – and that access to technology isn’t one of them.

“The hardest part for today’s tech savvy entrepreneurs when developing an IoE startup is not writing the code or building the infrastructure, but being allowed to play at all,” he said. “But while many traditional tech start-ups can build entire businesses using little more than free developer tools and rented server space, most IoT start-ups typically need much broader business-focused skillsets. Particularly when you factor in aspects like dealing with regulatory and standards bodies, which are more prevalent in some industries than others.”

“In addition, a typical customer for an IoT startup may not be your single app-focused consumer, but a large enterprise or government department. Even finding the right person to talk to, or the appropriate level to engage at can be a challenge in such large organisations – let alone talking the same language.”

Kneen said to succeed in the IoT space companies need both hardware and software-based skills, but that the UK has a number of areas cultivating these simultaneously – “such as Cambridge and the Midlands, where the development of low-cost, low-power processors to pioneering connected car technology are in full swing.”

Microsoft reveals Office 2016, Skype for Business, Azure IoT services

Microsoft chief exec Satya Nadella previewed a number of new services at Convergence this week

Microsoft chief exec Satya Nadella previewed a number of new services at Convergence this week

Microsoft revealed a slew of new cloud offerings and updates to its productivity offerings at the company’s annual Convergence conference this week, including a developer and enterprise preview of Office 2016, a re-branded Microsoft Lync (Skype for Business), and an Azure-based suite of Internet of Things services.

The company was keen to show off Office 2016, which will be available later this year and ship with a few new services – notably Office Delve, which uses machine learning algorithms to surface corporate Office 265 documents and files that are relevant to specific users in a cloud-based collaboration environment.

“You know how Facebook has a newsfeed? Think of this as your work newsfeed,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “It’s about enabling anyone in the organisation to find useful information without having corporate hierarchies get in the way.”

Microsoft also announced the general availability of PowerBI, it’s analytics and dashboarding platform, which will come with new connectors for Google Analytics, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Zuora, Acumatica and Twilio – with connections for other analytics platforms coming in the near future.

Microsoft Lync, the company’s enterprise collaboration and communications platform, has been re-branded to Skype for Business and been given a noticeable facelift.

The company also unified its Azure-based analytics and machine learning offerings into what Microsoft is calling the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite. The suite combines Azure Stream Analytics and Azure ML (machine learning) and is being aimed at developers creating real-time data services.

“Devices will come and go. But the most interesting thing is the data being collected,” Nadella said, adding that the rapid increase in the volume and velocity of data requires better and more unified tools for developers.

“We’re going to have something like 26 billion internet-connected devices and 44 zettabytes of data in the cloud by 2019,” Nadella said. “How do we make sure that the ability to have access to that data, the ability to act on the insight – those small patterns that, we as humans, recognise in data? The real power comes from our ability to act on those insights.”

The Internet of Things – There’s no stopping it!


This post was written by ConnectEdu CTO Rick Blaisdell and was originally posted on . You can follow Rick on Twitter @RickBlaisdell


“The Internet of things is coming, be the disrupter or prepare to be disrupted. There’s no stopping it” said Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC, during this year’ Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The term “Internet of Things”(IoT) emerged as a buzzword over the last year to describe the phenomenon of network-connected sensors incorporated into devices that in the past were standalone appliances. Basically, the Internet of things is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

There are many specialists that say just about every business will become an IoT business, and the benefits are so profound that it is inevitable that this will happen. By connecting devices over the Internet and wirelessly over mobile networks, companies can manage a wide range of new services for their customers. This is why Google announced in January that it would pay more than $3 billion for Nest’s smart thermostat and smoke alarm technology.

The numbers being forecasted for the Internet of Things are truly spectacular. BI Intelligence finds that the number of everyday and enterprise devices that will soon be connected to the Internet — from parking meters to home thermostats — will be huge: 1.9 billion devices today, and 9 billion by 2018, roughly equal to the number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined.

In the consumer space, many products and services have already crossed over into the IoT, including kitchen and home appliances, lighting and heating products, and insurance company-issued car monitoring devices that allow motorists to pay insurance only for the amount of driving they do.

Here are some of the top business-to-business and government applications for the IoT:

  • Connected advertising and marketing – How would Internet-connected billboards look like? This will sure be one of the top three IoT categories, along with smart factories, and telecommuting support systems.

  • Intelligent traffic management systems – Machina research sees $100 billion in revenue by 2020 for applications such as toll-taking and congestion penalties. A related revenue source will be smart parking-space management, expected to drive $30 billion in revenue.

  • Waste management systems – According to BI’s research, in Cincinnati, residential waste volume fell 17% and recycling volume grew by 49% through use of a “pay as you throw” program that used IoT technology to monitor those who exceed waste limits.

  • Smart electricity grids that adjust rates for peak energy usage – These will represent savings of $200 billion to $500 billion per year by 2025, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

Finally, what we need to keep in mind is that the Internet of Things is a vision, it is being built today. The stakeholders are known, the debate has yet to start.

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Big Data Future Spurs Acquisitions

In October 2011, Oracle announced its acquisition of Endeca Technologies, an enterprise search and data management company providing enterprises with non-structured data management, e-commerce and business intelligence technology.

In November 2011, IBM announced its acquisition of Platform Computing, an HPC software company with excellent performance in cloud computing and big data.

In February 2012, Groupon acquired Adku, a startup that uses big data to personalize online shopping experience for people visiting e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon.

In March 2012, EMC announced its acquisition of Pivotal Labs, a private agile software developer and tool provider headquartered in San Francisco.

In the past two years, international IT giants, including IBM, Oracle, EMC and SAP, have been engaged in an upsurge of acquisition in the big data market, spending more than $1.5 billion in acquiring related data management and analysis companies. Big data becomes a new hot term after “cloud computing” in the IT and financial sectors.

The upsurge of big data results from the integrated development of the new-generation information technology, and the processing and analysis of big data in turn becomes a key support for the said integrated development.

The Internet of Things (IoT), mobile Internet, digital home and social network services are the applications of the new-generation information technology. Big data is continuously increasing together with these applications, whereas cloud computing provides the storage and computing platform for massive and diversified big data. It is estimated that the global data storage volume was 1.8ZB in 2011, and it will hit 2.7ZB in 2012 and exceed 8ZB in 2015. The growth rate of structured data is around 32%, and that of non-structured data 63%.

In the retail sector, analysis on big data enables retailers to master the real-time market trends and promptly take corresponding measures. Walmart has started analyzing the massive sales data of all its chain stores in combination with weather data, economics and demography, so as to select proper products for each chain store and determine the timing of discounts.

In the Internet sector, analysis on big data helps manufacturers develop more precise and effective marketing strategies. Facebook and eBay are analyzing and exploring massive data from social networks and online transaction data, with an aim of providing personalized advertising services.

In the utility sector, big data have begun to play a significant role. Many European cities guide drivers to select the best routes by analyzing real-time traffic flow data, thereby improving traffic conditions. The United Nations also launched “Global Pulse”, a program aiming to accelerate global economic development with big data.

The enormous commercial value of and market demand for big data are driving transformation of the information industry. New big data-oriented products, technologies, services and models are constantly emerging.

On one hand, the challenges such as effective storage, fast read-write and real-time analysis will have significant impacts on the chip and storage industry as well as incubate the integrated data storage & processing server and memory computing markets.

On the other hand, the enormous value of big data will lead to urgent needs for fast data processing and analysis as well as give rise to the unprecedented prosperity of data exploration and business intelligence markets.