What It Takes To Make IoT Implementation A Success – Robert Plant & Cherie Topham

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Organizations around the globe understand the importance of IoT. In fact, in a recent Forbes Insights/Hitachi survey of more than 500 executives worldwide, over 90% said IoT will be important to the future of their business. What’s more, of all emerging technologies, executives said IoT would be the most critical, ranking it above others like artificial intelligence and robotics.

While executives acknowledge the importance of IoT, 49% remain in the early stages of planning or are only operating pilot programs. We spoke with John Magee, Hitachi Vantara’s vice president of product and solutions marketing, to get his perspective on this state of development and how organizations can make IoT a larger part of their strategy and operations going forward.

If an executive is looking to invest in IoT and understand the economics behind it, what does he or she need to know?

Most organizations are looking to IoT projects to either improve operational efficiency or drive new revenue streams. A lot of organizations are seeking to use the data they can get from IoT sensors and connectivity to provide better visibility and help them understand what’s going on in their operations. For product companies, they’re often looking to optimize how their products are being manufactured or used, and to offer new data-driven services with those products.

The goal for most of these companies is to transform the way they operate and the way they compete. For business leaders looking to take advantage of IoT, the most important thing is to begin with the business outcome goals first and then determine what data IoT can provide that can help deliver those outcomes. It’s the new data that delivers the business value. So that should be the starting point for any project. Then you can work back from there to the technology required to meet the objective.

For example, manufacturers might want to understand why quality issues are creeping into one of their manufacturing lines but not the other. Logistics companies may want to understand the location of parts and deliveries to optimize scheduling. Product companies may want to sell new value-added software services that help customers get more value from their products. Whatever the goal, by understanding what data you need to collect and who needs access to it, the technology requirements will fall into place more easily and you won’t over- or underspend for success.

When executives are thinking about what data is most important to achieving their desired outcomes, what do they need to know? How should they approach this?

IoT is essentially a rich source of new business data. Data that comes from machines and devices, and from the spaces and environments those machines operate in. In many situations, just having access to real-time data about what’s going on—in a manufacturing plant, on a remote oil rig or in a city train station—can be transformative. In most situations, though, some analysis of the data is going to be needed to gain the insights that lead to business value.

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This is where technologies like big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence come into play. Analytics is the key to not just understanding what is happening but also learning and getting smarter so that your IoT solutions can predict when a problem will occur or find the root cause of product quality issues that would have been unsolvable without analyzing the mountains of data that IoT can deliver.

The right way to think about IoT is as an extension of the business analytics that your organization is probably already doing in other areas. At the end of the day, IoT is a means to accessing and interpreting more data. And data management, data integration and data science are all key enabling technologies for IoT, just as they are for most other areas of business today.

One new twist on IoT data that differs from traditional business data is the idea of a “digital twin.” The digital twin is the software representation of a physical device, such as a pacemaker, an elevator or a dump truck. As data streams in from the physical device, it is collected and stored in the corresponding digital twin. The digital twin knows everything about that asset: where it was manufactured, how it has been operated, when it was last serviced.

By using software to analyze hundreds or even thousands of these digital twins, data scientists can build powerful analytic models that can optimize the corresponding physical assets. Organizations are using this approach to enhance asset uptime and performance, extend the useful life of critical assets and optimize maintenance and operations.

Once you’ve aggregated data into a single version of the truth and are drawing conclusions, how can companies best integrate that information into broader networks?

There’s a sort of stairway to value in many IoT scenarios. The first step of the stairway is the physical devices themselves. The second step is the operations around those devices. And the third step is the business processes and ecosystem around those operations.

Think of a manufacturing plant. If you use sensors on critical plant equipment, you can get data that can help you operate that equipment more effectively. If you collect enough data, you can even start to predict when it will fail so you can service it before that happens. So that’s the next step – using the data insights about the equipment into optimizing your maintenance and repair operations.

But that data can also be useful at the next step in the stairway, which is how your supply chain responds to requirements for parts or materials being delivered based on the performance of the equipment and operations in the factory. The more data you have, the more visibility you have, and the more opportunity to optimize every part of the operation. Sort of like air traffic control for the factory.

This stairway, or hierarchy, of value—from asset to operations to business process—is one we see play out in industry after industry.

When it comes to IoT, which is a complicated endeavor, research shows that it’s best not to go at it alone. What should executives be looking for in a partner when they’re considering making this transformation?

Working with a partner who understands your industry and has a methodology to help you think through your data strategy are the real enablers for success. IoT is a hot technology right now, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype and invest in the wrong areas. Working with an experienced partner who has a pragmatic approach that starts with understanding how IoT data and analytics will drive the desired business outcome is the key to success.

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5 Digital Marketing Benefits That Every Business Should Know – Martin Sumichrast

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Marketing is concerned with connecting with your target market at the right place and at the right time. We are living in a digital world and the best strategy for a business is to make efforts to connect with their customers online as that’s where they are spending most of their time.

Digital platforms are no longer just limited to your regular life and are now being used for marketing purposes as well. Therefore, it is essential to understand the key benefits associated with digital marketing and realize how important it is for a business’s success. In very simple terms, this form of marketing is concerned with use of electronic media for promoting products and services.

As compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing refers to the use of methods and channels to get a proper understanding in real-time situations. This means that digital marketing gives businesses the opportunity to assess the performance and effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and make adjustments accordingly. No matter what you are selling, the techniques involved in digital marketing can be applied to any industry. It can provide you with quicker and effective results due to its interactive nature.

Some of the top benefits a business can reap through digital marketing are:

  • Measurable results

One of the top reasons why digital marketing has succeeded in surpassing traditional marketing is the fact that it offers measurable results. You cannot measure how many people looked at your billboard in a day or how many people read your flyer before it ended up in the recycler. On the other hand, when you opt for digital marketing strategies, you can get reliable and solid reports with numbers that tell you the how many people checked your email or even clicked on a specific link. This enables you to cut out the excess and focus on areas that give results.

  • Flexibility

By nature, traditional marketing has always been generic, but these days, customers are more interested in a personalized and customized journey for satisfying their needs. This is where digital marketing can be incredibly helpful because it enables you to use the preferences and interests of an individual client for sending them a unique marketing message.

You can tailor messages for different groups of customers and this kind of personalization is the biggest asset you can get because it makes clients feel special and draws them in. This flexibility has particularly helped financial companies, such as fnbnorcal.com and several others that mainly rely on internet marketing for business.

  • Reach a bigger audience

You can get access to a larger and global audience by using digital marketing methods as the internet has made every country accessible. In contrast, traditional marketing is limited to a specific geographical area.

  • Low barrier to entry

Perhaps, one of the biggest problems of offline marketing methods like TV ads, billboards, and radio commercials was the fact that they came with huge price tags. This meant that most small businesses couldn’t afford to use them and that gave bigger businesses an edge.

The same cannot be said for digital marketing products because you can find them in scalable size for every kind of business. This has definitely increased competition in the market because now every business can reach a larger number of people, regardless of its size.

  • Increased conversion rates

It takes only a couple of clicks to convert a customer online. People don’t have to come to your shop or pick up the phone to become customers. Now, they can find out everything about your business and its offerings right from the comfort of their home and can easily be converted into customers, as long as you use the right strategies. Hence, digital marketing can prove to be very valuable for a business if it is used in the right way.

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How the European Union’s GDPR Rules Impact Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Mike Kaput

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This Regulation lays down rules relating to the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and rules relating to the free movement of personal data.”

It’s no “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” but when the European Union (EU) drafted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018, they definitely had individual freedoms in mind.

In this case, it’s freedom of individuals to control their personal data.

The GDPR is a broad regulation that outlines how companies may legally collect and use individual personal data—and what rights EU citizens have concerning their data.

It’s a major regulation with major effects. Companies that collect data from EU citizens must follow a number of regulations around collecting that data in order to legally use it. They must also respond to citizen requests to alter that data in certain circumstances.

Notes Elizabeth Juran, a consultant at marketing agency PR 20/20 (which powers the Marketing AI Institute):

“The GDPR is a European privacy law that protects consumers from unfair, unclear and unethical uses of their data. You may have noticed updates in your automation software or data collection tools like the one below from Google Analytics:

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These aren’t your average skim-and-delete email notifications. The GDPR will change how we, as marketers, use data. Historically, companies haven’t been required to disclose information like the following:

  • What kinds of data they store about consumers.
  • What they’re using consumer data for.
  • Why they ask for (or require) the data they do.

Starting May 25, the rules about data will heavily favor the consumer. The law is specific to individuals who reside in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Community (EEC), but companies all over should be aware. If you have even one person on your contact list from the EU or EEC, your forms, privacy policy and email tactics will likely have to change to avoid breaking the rules for that contact.”

This is big for marketers of all stripes. But what effects might GDPR have on the use of artificial intelligence?

Turns out, a significant part of the regulation also deals with AI and algorithms. Like the rest of GDPR, the language may be construed broadly. No precedents have yet been set with the regulation. So a lot is up in the air as to what will actually be enforced and how it’ll be enforced.

GDPR and AI

According to the Brookings Institution, a US think tank:

The GDPR being implemented in Europe place severe restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. According to published guidelines, “Regulations prohibit any automated decision that ‘significantly affects’ EU citizens. This includes techniques that evaluates a person’s ‘performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behavior, location, or movements.’” In addition, these new rules give citizens the right to review how digital services made specific algorithmic choices affecting people.

This statement alone creates substantial uncertainty if you know anything about artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Lots of AI systems run into the “black box” problem, in that they’re not very transparent about how their machine learning algorithms reach decisions. For consumers, this means you don’t necessarily know why AI may recommend what it recommends or take the actions it takes.

There’s no doubt the black box problem becomes troublesome the more AI is adopted in marketing and other industries. At some point, marketers will want some idea of how systems make decisions, especially as these systems recommend more sophisticated marketing actions.

For instance, if I have an AI system that prescribes how I should allocate my marketing budget, I’ll at least want some idea what inputs the system uses to make those decisions. (At least, I will if I need to explain any of this to my executive team or board.)

Does that mean you need to know exactly how the AI’s algorithms work? Probably not. But there’s a balance here that likely needs to be established.

Another problem, however, is that sometimes the creators of AI systems can’t always explain fully why AI makes its decisions. For sophisticated AI, like deep learning and neural networks, it is sometimes extremely difficult for the people who created these systems to pinpoint each and every step in the decision-making process.

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Says AI expert Pedro Domingos, author of The Master Algorithm:

“The best learning algorithms are these neural network-based ones inspired by what we find in humans and animals. These algorithms are very accurate as they can understand the world based on a lot of data at a much more complex level than we can. But they are completely opaque. Even we, the experts, don’t understand exactly how they work. We only know that they do. So, we should not allow only algorithms which are fully explainable. It is hard to capture the whole complexity of reality and keep things at the same time accurate and simple.”

Hard as it is to believe, he’s right. There may not be an easy way for an AI system’s creator to explain how the system works. In the meantime, regulations like GDPR that require such explanations may limit the amazing efficacy of these systems, Domingos points out:

“Let’s take the example of cancer research, where machine learning already plays an important role. Would I rather be diagnosed by a system that is 90 percent accurate but doesn’t explain anything, or a system that is 80 percent accurate and explains things? I’d rather go for the 90 percent accurate system.”

GDPR presents some interesting conflicts and considerations for the companies that build AI. Brookings notes that it could hold back AI development in the EU:

“If interpreted stringently, these rules will make it difficult for European software designers (and American designers who work with European counterparts) to incorporate artificial intelligence and high-definition mapping in autonomous vehicles. Central to navigation in these cars and trucks is tracking location and movements. Without high-definition maps containing geo-coded data and the deep learning that makes use of this information, fully autonomous driving will stagnate in Europe. Through this and other data protection actions, the European Union is putting its manufacturers and software designers at a significant disadvantage to the rest of the world.”

Now, a lot of the effects will utterly depend on how lawmakers within the EU interpret GDPR.

Somewhat ironically, it’s not at all clear how they’ll come to their decisions, as they operate in a bit of a black box of their own.

Disclaimer: We love talking about everything related to AI—even legal regulations—but we’re not lawyers, nor should this content be construed in any way as legal advice. We recommend all companies consult with legal counsel about GDPR-related questions and actions.

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How to Lower Business Costs Using VOIP Technology

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If you are looking for a way to lower your business costs it may be worthwhile to consider how much you may be able to save if you make the switch from standard telephone systems to VOIP service.

For many people they may have heard the term VOIP but may be unaware of what it means and how it can benefit them. Here is what you, and they, need to know

What is VOIP?

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It sends the packets of digital information that make up what you are saying in your call through the Internet instead of through traditional phone lines.

Not only does it make it possible for a company to lower your rates there are many different additional functions that can be possible using VOIP technology. A VOIP setup may allow you to send and receive messages that would otherwise not be possible under a standard telephone set up.

How can VOIP save your business Money?

Employing Voip can save you money in a number of Ways:

  • Saving on Line Fees

There are several different ways that using a VOIP system can save you money. The first is that they can often allow users to get rid of using a cellular phone and a desk phone. Because calls can be sent to a cell phone quite easily with VOIP there may not be the need to use both of these communications devices. Because you are not paying for both lines your monthly billswill automatically go down.

  • Saving on call charges

Also there is the saving on your phone calls using VOIP. The rates for using VOIP are normally substantially cheaper than standard fixed telephone providers. You can obtain price packages that can include all local, national and even international calls for a fraction of the price.

Even without a price  package sometimes these national & international calls can be for free as they avoid using the normal phone network where the charges are incurred.

  • Saving on infrastructure costs

Another reason is that the cost of VOIP service is much lower than comparable services from a standard telecommunications provider. If you are just starting up you will not need to add the same wiring and infrastructure that can increase start up costs to the point where some companies are unable to afford them.

Part of the savings comes from the fact that there is no longer a need to establish wiring for data and telephone.

  • How it can Increase your Productivity

Using VOIP for your business can also increase your productivity. Not only can you access your telephone calls from your computer whether you are in the office or not you can also access things such as phone messages and faxes that you may receive at the same time as you are accessing your email.

This means that regardless of whether you are actually in the office or not you will be able to continue to deal with business decisions quickly and effectively. There are many reasons to choose VOIP for your business. Choosing the right provider is only the first step in getting the flexible and affordable telecommunications system that your business needs.

How a Vehicle Tracking System Can Benefit Your Business

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A large number of people see the value of vehicle tracking systems from a security standpoint.While it can be extremely helpful to be able to tell where your vehicle has gone, there are also commercial applications and uses where a GPS vehicle training system can be very helpful.

Here is what you need to know in order to tell whether one of these systems will help your company and how having them in your vehicles can help you streamline your vehicle usage and reduce some vehicle-related expenses.

How do vehicle tracking systems work?

While these systems may seem complicated, they are not as complex as one may think.
A tracking device is located inside a vehicle. This device then communicates with a server that is maintained by the company. This server uses software which records where the GPS devices are broadcasting from and can put together a picture or record of where vehicles traveled during the day and which routes they used.

How can vehicle tracking systems help your company

There are a number of ways that a vehicle tracking system can help your company.

More efficient route and journey planning

By recording where a vehicle travels, how long it takes them to travel their assigned routes and whether there were any delays, a company can begin to find ways to make a vehicle’s route much more efficient.

Doing so can help minimize the fuel consumption of a vehicle fleet, help reduce delivery times and also help prevent loss or theft by making it possible for a company to know exactly where their vehicles are at all times.

Fuel Savings
One major delivery and shipping company used vehicle tracking systems in order to follow their fleet of trucks. They discovered that by eliminating left turns, they were able to reduce the amount of time a vehicle would idle in an intersection.

This allowed them to reduce their delivery times and substantially reduce their fuel consumption. This, in turn, saved the company a substantial amount of money on a yearly basis. A vehicle tracking system may be able to have a similar impact on your company’s expenses.

Vehicle maintenance can also be simplified
If a vehicle’s lifespan is going to be maximized, it is critical to service it properly. Many service milestones are based on the distance that a vehicle has travelled. By using a GPS vehicle tracking system, it can be easier to record exactly how far a vehicle has travelled. Because of this, it can be serviced on a regular basis and vehicles will not be sent in for servicing more frequently than is required.

Customer service benefits
It can also be easier for a company which uses a vehicle tracking system to improve their customer service. Because a company is able to tell exactly where their vehicles are and what the status of any delivery or service call would be at any given moment. If there are likely to be any delays, it is possible to contact a client and notify them so as to avoid developing a negative reputation.

Vehicle tracking systems benefits are relative

The ways that these systems can benefit your company will vary depending on what the nature of your business is and how you are using your fleet of vehicles.

Thanks the TIB Team

Problem Solving in the Digital Age: Getting Started with Computational Thinking and Design | Educational technology , Erate, Broadband and Connectivity

Source: Problem Solving in the Digital Age: Getting Started with Computational Thinking and Design | Educational technology , Erate, Broadband and Connectivity

WPDigiPro

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Today, people pay good money for something that has no smell, taste, weight, or volume – a product with no physical presence. We live and work in an era of digital downloads, which are an enduring mark of our information age. The buying and selling of such intangibles is commerce as we know it today.

According to elearning industry , the eLearning market is growing at an unprecedented rate, an incredible 51.5 billion revenue in 2016. And eLearning is just one of them… just one kind of digital products. Enough said, digital product is a BIG thing today, and for the future!

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WPDigiPro Plugin Quick Walkthrough

Do you like recommending awesome, luxuriously high-quality products? Do you love brilliantly designed and coded software? Then this is a promotion for you! This product is genuine and unique, loaded with full amazing features. It’s going to convert very well! This is a serious value for money, and your lists will absolutely love it.

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#Tribune : La culture digitale, une question de génération, vraiment ? – Maddyness — Patrick Bouillaud Blog , L’univers du Cloud et du Digital

“La préparation d’une conférence sur le management intergénérationnel m’a amené à repenser au concept de “digital native” et de “culture digitale”. Les jeunes sont-ils vraiment digital natives ? Si oui, comment les aider à transmettre aux aînés ? Y a-t-il réellement un fossé générationnel autour du digital ? Si non, comment remettre en question ce […]

via #Tribune : La culture digitale, une question de génération, vraiment ? – Maddyness — Patrick Bouillaud Blog , L’univers du Cloud et du Digital