August 2019 IoT news

By Pilgrim - August 15, 2019

Welcome to my fifth monthly IoT update.

In hot content news, the minimum viable ecosystem in IoT was the topic of conversation with Gaye Soykok, Head of Emerging Technologies at Legal & General this month, and kindly picked up by Stacey Higginbotham for her epic IoT blog. I highly recommend you give it a read - Gaye had some fascinating insights to share with us all. 

Earlier this month, I joined 15 IoT leaders for a breakfast hosted by headhunters Erevena and PE house LivingBridge to discuss “demonstrating the value of your IoT business to investors". The importance of agility and even "pivoting" in matching your company proposition to the fast-changing IoT market was a strong theme, with the most interesting example being given from our partner, Eseye, who have successfully grown from beginning in SIMs to acquiring hardware and then focusing on cloud. On a related note, it was interesting to see this piece about how Waylay and Salesforce have teamed up to improve customer support for connected products. 

We’ve been giving a lot of thought to the porosity/meaninglessness of the term "IoT" which now seems to have become a seamless part of so many businesses that it’s hard to tell where the IoT bit ends and regular business starts. Certainly, most of our customers don’t identify as IoT businesses - in the most part they’re revolutionary businesses for whom connected products are a vital part of being revolutionary. And then, how they use DevicePilot increasingly extends beyond the narrow confines of visualizing, analyzing, and managing just their devices - instead, they must visualyze, analyze, and managing their whole connected business, ingesting more than just IoT data to achieve a "single pane of glass".

For example, say you're looking at optimizing energy use in commercial buildings by measuring energy and occupancy to explore how much energy is used when parts of the building are unoccupied. An important input might be the ambient external temperature, and although you could add an IoT device to measure that, you could also take a live stream from a weather service to achieve the same ends. The IoT device has become virtual – so is it still IoT?

The core streaming analytics engine at the heart of DevicePilot lends itself very well to streaming and combining multiple live sources of data of all sorts, and increasingly we’re having interesting conversations with customers and analysts around the idea of “perishable insights". The Forrester report on streaming analytics is good background, as is their analysis of perishable insights in particular. Expect some more news from DevicePilot on this soon.

On another tangent - whilst buying summer sports clothing for my children at a UK branch of French sport supplier, Decathlon, I was delighted to be able to pay for my entire basket of goods by simply moving them one-by-one into my bag at the checkout – no overt "scanning" required and 100% accurate - thanks to ubiquitous RFID throughout their supply-chain. The most remarkable thing about this is how long it’s taken to achieve, given that the technology and standards have been mature for a couple of decades. They do have nifty Tageos 100% paper tags though (well, 99.999% paper I guess).

Edge computing continues to be a thing and we noted that Balena (aka Resin) recently raised $14m to accelerate its CI/CD-for-IoT proposition.

Security continues also to be a thing. Last year the UK government issued its "Secure by Design" best practice guidelines for Consumer IoT, with lots of input from our friends across the IoT ecosystem, and now NIST in the US has similarly issued its "Core Baseline" security recommendations. We’re all familiar with GDPR but far less well-known is the NIS directive passed into EU law on the same day, focused on ensuring that critical national infrastructure is secure – something any CISO might worry about. Once it’s enforced in UK law, main providers of infrastructure will carry the liability (including personal liability of the directors) - but their technology vendors currently don’t, so we can expect some push-down of responsibilities. I recently caught up with Jitsuin’s progress in this area, with their concept of "continual compliance" – they’ve done a lovely job of mapping a lot of complex legislature into a core set of product benefits.

Summer is sometimes when development teams become more productive as the execs go on holiday and stop bothering them (!), and this August is no exception, with a bunch of exciting new DevicePilot features, all requested by customers:

  • Calculated properties – create virtual channels of streaming data which are then calculated on-the-fly from real ones, rather like using a formula in an Excel cell. Calculated properties are even more powerful than this because they can also be calculated from the previous value and timestamp of other properties, enabling you to do cool stuff such as true integration and differentiation on the fly e.g. useful for converting between energy and power.
  • Zoom into the past – DevicePilot has always had powerful, zoomable time-series analytics but the right-hand side of any chart was always anchored at "now". The new capability allows you to unlock that to zoom in on any moment in the past: explore your week-by-week performance a month ago, or zoom in to analyse your business performance around the time of a product launch or technical outage.
  • Manual actions – DevicePilot’s rules system has long been able to automatically trigger actions in external systems when certain situation arises, e.g. raising a ticket in your CRM if device availability falls. Now we’ve given users the ability to manually trigger such actions live from within DevicePilot, so for example to reset a device.
  • Folding tabular view – KPI results can now be viewed as simple, exportable data tables, which can be "folded" by one or more columns. For example, explore how many products you’ve sold in the last month, rolled-up by country, then drill-down within countries by locality, product-type etc.
  • Absolute boundaries – you’ve long been able to automatically apply "traffic-light" colours to percentage KPIs (e.g. colour the chart bars red if device utilisation over the past day falls below 10%). Now you can set such colouring boundaries even for non-percentage KPIs (e.g. colour the chart bars red if device comms bandwidth exceeds 4MB/day).

That’s all for now, do send me your news for next month.

CEO, DevicePilot



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