Mobile First Driving Adoption of UEM
‘Mobile First’ Driving Adoption of UEM

5/5 (6)

5/5 (6)

The nature of the workplace has changed over the years and so has the number of devices being used by today’s employees. More and more organisations are adopting a ‘Mobile First’ strategy – designing an online experience for Mobile users before designing it for the desktop/ Web. This is a paradigm shift from the past, where enterprises modified or adapted their websites, business processes and digital means of communications, to fit Mobile users.

 

Mobile First Drives the Adoption of UEM

Mobile First application designs take into consideration that Mobile users are constantly on the move. Information needs to be presented to them on smaller screens/displays with multi-media interfaces (voice/video), and multiple network connectivity options (Wi-Fi, cellular, and so on).

The global Ecosystm Mobility Study reveals that 73% of organisations have a Mobile First Strategy in place and are at various stages of implementation. About another 25% of organisations feel the need for a Mobile First vision and are formulating a strategy.

Adoption-of-Mobile-First-Strategy-Vision

With Mobile First strategies, organisations are adding a wide range of devices and operating systems (OSs), regular innovative mobile-centric workload rollouts, new mobile apps across multiple functions, and IoT initiatives. As a result, organisations now have the need to support multiple devices and endpoints (including IoT sensors and wearables) multiple OSs, applications, and mobility policies such as BYOD. Organisations struggle to manage these devices, their data, apps and software updates across heterogeneous OSs and platforms. “The way companies are growing and fuelling their teams with devices now, shows the trend that these organisations will follow in the next few years, which will require a higher level of sophistication from the Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions in the market,” says Amit Sharma, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm.

 

 How does UEM Help?

An UEM solution can configure, monitor and manage multiple OSs, devices including IoT sensors, and gateways, and

  • Unify application and configuration
  • Manage profiles
  • Monitor compliance
  • Enforce Data Protection policies
  • Provide a single view of multiple users
  • Collate data for Analytics

It can ease the burden of management activity of internal IT teams and allow organisations to create a more streamlined lifecycle that secures mission-critical technology. It can also offer proactive threat monitoring, access control and identity, and patch management.

A good UEM solution provides IT managers with a transparent and traceable overview of all endpoints within the network as well as the power to manage all connected devices from a single platform. It maps out the network setup and structure by carrying out a complete inventory of all network devices, configurations, installed software, and the drivers for endpoint subsystems.

There are simply too many endpoints within Industrial IoT (IIoT) for IT managers to efficiently monitor manually.  Mistakes will be made, and opportunities to stop breaches before they escalate will be missed. “An UEM solution not only shows the software and licensing situation but scans the IT environment for any irregularities or vulnerabilities and allows risk assessment and patch installation where it is necessary”, says Sharma. “Providing IT administrators with automated vulnerability management will enable them to filter and set search criteria by device, security vulnerability and threat level for the higher and most timely degree of protection.”

 

Industry Adoption of UEM

Customer-focused industries, with mobile workforces, are adopting UEM faster than other industries. The global Ecosystm Mobility study found the top industries that have implemented UEM or plan to in the near future. Most of the top industries cater to a high percentage of mobile workers. Their need to adopt UEM can come from different angles. According to the study, the Telecommunications industry leads in Mobile Content Management (MCM) adoption, and mobile apps for logistics and operations appear to be the key driver for the industry uptake of Mobile Applications Management (MAM).

Adoption-of-UEM Top-Industries

Other industries to look out for in the future are Banking and Healthcare, as they lead the pack when it comes to MDM adoption. Banks are incorporating technologies, such as mobile banking, and enabling payments via smartphones to provide enhanced services to customers. We have also seen the advent of Smart Point of Sale devices which are managed remotely on cloud infrastructure and these millions of devices will also be required to be managed by the banks that issued the devices.

The healthcare industry is another vertical where we can expect a higher uptake of UEM in the coming years. Clinicians and care providers are increasingly mobile, switching from device to device, depending on the task and location. Accessing mHealth applications and patient data from any device securely enables caregivers to focus on patients and outcomes. It also allows them to complete critical tasks from any device whether they are on call or off work. UEM makes HIPAA, SOC 2 and other healthcare regulation compliance easy for the providers.

 

Challenges of UEM Implementation

User experience must be at the centre of any mobility initiative. If the device, app management, or content is not something users want or are able to use, then it simply will not be adopted. The success of an UEM solution lies in the ability of users to quickly authenticate and gain seamless access to corporate apps and data from their devices. Users should also have access to self-service tools that help them manage basic device features and troubleshoot problems quickly.

“We can expect most Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and MDM suites to migrate to complete UEM suites that manage personal computers, mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) and Enterprise of Things (EoT) deployments,” forecasts Sharma. “Organisations should look for a purpose-built UEM solution which is platform-neutral and which cultivates a thriving ecosystem of complimentary mobile solution providers.”

However, there are several challenges that organisations face when they are developing and deploying an UEM solution. Sharma lists the top UEM implementation challenges that can be broadly classified into the following five categories.

“As AI finds its way into mobile devices and virtual personal assistants proliferate in offices and boardrooms, IT admins will have to manage more – and more sophisticated – endpoints. AI will continue its push into mobile hardware and enterprise communication devices, challenging IT shops’ EMM capabilities while at the same time offering potential security benefits.” Sharma adds. “Also, in 2019, voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Cisco Spark Assistant will find their way into more corporate offices and conference rooms – becoming yet one more enterprise device encouraging the adoption of an UEM strategy.”

 

Have you adopted an UEM strategy in your organisation yet? Share your experience with us in the comments section.

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Cisco betting big on mergers and acquisitions
Ecosystm Snapshot: Cisco betting big on mergers and acquisitions

5/5 (3)

5/5 (3)

Cisco is on a mission of market acceleration, market expansion, and new market entry points.

On 9th July 2019, Cisco announced it’s intention to acquire Acacia Communications in a deal worth USD2.6 billion. Acacia communications make optical interconnect technology and is an existing supplier to Cisco. This was Cisco’s biggest acquisition since its USD3.7 billion purchase of AppDynamics in 2017. Acquiring Acacia will enable its customers to drive more data over high-speed optical interconnect and the company is also looking to take advantage of the company’s optics, digital signal processing, transceivers and other gear used in networking equipment. The deal is expected to close in the second half of Cisco’s current fiscal year following which Acacia will become Cisco’s Optical Systems business.

In June 2019, Cisco announced that they will acquire Sentryo – a French industrial IoT company. The acquisition of Sentryo’s platform will combine their capabilities with Cisco’s offerings in order to better manage the challenges that customers face while deploying IoT projects, scaling production, and managing and securing infrastructure.

Similarly, in February 2019, Cisco acquired Singularity Networks – an analytics platform. Cisco has integrated Singularity Networks platform into its Cross Network Automation portfolio, a solution that embraces multi-vendor networks.

In 2018, Cisco completed the acquisition of a cybersecurity firm, Duo Security for USD2.35 billion and also announced that it will acquire Luxtera, a semiconductor company, for USD660 million which was fully acquired in Feb 2019.

 

Cisco’s underlying strategy

As technology evolves so quickly, new ideas can come from anywhere and its companies are always on the lookout for business models which may shape their future markets and direction.

While we saw an acquisition and merger strategy by media companies to acquire content companies, the same holds true for Cisco but from the perspective of network traffic data management. Cisco’s response to this is to buy companies that will ensure that Cisco’s network performance can scale for the predicted massive amount of IoT-based data from smart cities, 5G, Industry 4.0 and of course A.I,” says Ecosystm Executive Analyst, Vernon Turner. “Having stronger network and application performance analytics also feeds into its broader Intent-Based Networking strategy which recently has been extended to include Edge network devices as well as the Enterprise based devices.”

Cisco has established a highly structured innovation strategy consisting of 5 pillars – build, buy, partner, invest and co-develop – to drive its innovation engine.

Turner commented “Cisco has always based its network strategy on architectures and frameworks. This compliments CIO’s strategies on how to build a multi-cloud based infrastructure and they will look to Cisco for a single solution provider. Application and device management are the topics that companies generally don’t like to farm out to multiple vendors.”.

 

Market Gaps

Despite all the growth and acquisitions, there are still areas that Cisco can look at, in order to further strengthen their position.

The market is looking for full end-to-end solutions to manage devices, their network and application data traffic, security across multi-cloud service providers and communication services providers. Cisco has to look to companies such as VMware, and RedHat to take the discussion to levels such as container and bare metal server management. In addition, there are emerging needs within software-defined networks that will require Cisco to consider further acquisitions,” explains Turner.

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Ecosystm Snapshot: Acquisition of Wavecell Further Expands 8×8’s Footprint in APAC

4.9/5 (7)

4.9/5 (7)

8×8 an enterprise communications player in the areas of voice, video, chat and contact centre solutions announced the acquisition Wavecell, a Singapore-based global Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) provider last week. The deal is estimated to be for about USD 125 million in cash and stocks.

With this acquisition, 8×8 can leverage their CPaaS platform capabilities to enable companies to develop and embed communications features more easily. Enterprises can get direct access to pre-built features via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) leveraging CPaaS. These APIs let developers pay for the services they need when building voice, video, chat, SMS, and web capabilities. By using a cloud CPaaS, developers can also eliminate lengthy development times and reduce time to market.

What does this acquisition mean for 8×8 in the Asia Pacific region?

  • Establishes their presence in the rapidly growing CPaaS space. The CPaaS market is growing rapidly which includes key players like Twillio and Vonage. The Wavecell acquisition will allow 8×8 to offer a platform for providing SMS, messaging, voice, and video APIs globally to both enterprises and developers. Wavecell offers a complete CPaaS solution including a cloud API platform with SMS, chat apps, video interaction and voice APIs that enable mission-critical enterprise applications such as Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, omnichannel customer journeys and multi-factor authentication at scale.
  • Expands their footprint in the Asia Pacific region. With this acquisition, 8×8 will now have a good footprint in markets which includes Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong. 8×8 is active mainly in the ANZ region. Wavecell has more than 500 enterprise including names such as Paidy, Tokopedia and Lalamove. Wavecell also brings an R&D centre in Asia which allows 8×8 to further accelerate growth in product innovation and delivery.
  • Gives access to a large enterprise developer community.  Wavecell have built a robust enterprise developer community over the past several years which has leveraged their API platform and software development kits. 8×8 can now enable application providers, enterprise developers, and customers to access and natively integrate their enterprise applications with 8×8’s voice, video and messaging services.
  • Provides global coverage for multi-channel communications. Wavecell has established relationships with 192 network operators worldwide and business partners such as WhatsApp. Its carrier-grade infrastructure enables customers to share more than two billion messages per year across these channels. This global network enables Wavecell customers such as Lalamove, to use SMS to immediately notify customers of their ordering and delivery requests. The acquisition extends 8×8’s global carrier relationships and network support to hundreds of additional carriers, enabling 8×8 to further optimise their global service delivery for enterprise customers anywhere they operate around the world.
Ecosystm Comments

The CPaaS market is growing rapidly globally. Developers want to easily add real-time communication capabilities such as voice, video and chat apps through APIs with a faster time to market. The ability to do it easily and to be able to scale without a lengthy implementation cycle and at an affordable cost is becoming key. This acquisition will help 8×8 compete in the growing CPaaS market where players such as Twillio and Vonage are growing their presence rapidly.

The enterprise communications and contact centre segments are highly competitive spaces in Asia Pacific with several new entrants in the region in the last 18 months. These players, mainly from North America, offer strong capabilities in the areas of voice, video, collaboration and contact centres.  8×8 has been strong predominantly in the ANZ region.  They have plans to open an office in Japan later this year. The Wavecell acquisition will help 8×8 expand and open doors for their core product offerings in South East Asia and Hong Kong. Wavecell’s large customer base of over 500 customers will give 8×8 an opportunity to upsell their enterprise and contact centre applications.

Some customers are still buying enterprise and contact centre technology from various vendors depending on who is the right vendor for voice, video, contact centre and other applications as opposed to working with one vendor for their end-to-end solution. 8×8’s advantage against some of their competitors is that they own the entire stack of their offerings. That has been important to some of their customers who have said that it has also benefited them from a security perspective.  Most of their clients who have moved to their platform have done so due to scalablity, ease of implementation and fast deployment times.

This acquisition is definitely a step in the right direction for 8×8.

 

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IoT in Construction
Is Construction the Future Opportunity for IoT?

4.9/5 (7)

4.9/5 (7)

The construction industry employs about 7% of the world’s working-age population and although many people think that robots will take away their work, construction workers should not be worried at this time.

In 2017, McKinsey Global Institute published a surprising report: labour productivity in construction has decreased by 50% since 1970. In addition, McKinsey believes that productivity in construction has registered zero increases in recent years. While other industries have been transformed, construction has stalled. The effect is that, when adjusting to inflation, a building today costs twice as much as 40 years ago.

And although the construction industry is a growing market, there are still some problems that need to be handled to increase profitability and productivity. The main problems facing the construction industry in 2019 are:

  • Shortage of skilled labour
  • Rising cost of steel, aluminium, wood and other materials.
  • Decline in growth
  • Low performance projects
  • Sustainability
  • Security
  • Inconsistent use of technology

The construction sector has been positive for the past four years, mainly due to the recovery of residential construction. However, the growth can still be erratic. For example in Europe, after the precedence of the previous decade, a scenario is being predicted where 2020 still shows  positive growth (3.5%) but 2021 may not (-3%).

Adoption of Technology in Construction

The construction industry is notoriously slow in adopting technologies such as IoT that could boost productivity and, ultimately, profitability.

And although it is believed that construction companies that adopt this technology would also be able to attract new labour force to work for them over others and, in general, have a significant advantage over competitors, the reality is that it is not happening. The general vision insists on a reality: construction and engineering companies see the need for change, but in one way or another they resist.

One of the biggest opportunities of the construction sector is its enormous capacity to reinvent itself. Building Information Modelling (BIM), 3D printing and Virtual Reality (VR) can help architects and builders in creating a construction model. These technologies, along with drones and IoT can be of enormous help to construction workers, increasing their efficiency and ensuring their safety. Materials science is also developing newer material that can impact the industry.  The integration of technological trends such as IoT, will facilitate many of the tasks of the sector, optimising resources, improving compliance with deadlines and quality in projects and works.

The Opportunity of IoT in Construction

The appetite of investors for start-ups in the construction sector is growing, although not many are in the IoT box. There are still few examples of companies in the sector that are adopting IoT. And although I have no doubt that IoT will positively impact this industry none of the productivity, maintenance, security and safety drivers seem to be convincing them at the moment.

In the global Ecosystm IoT Study, participants from the construction industry were asked about the key business solutions targeted for IoT uptake. While the industry is aware of the IoT solutions and the role they can have in asset and people management, the actual uptake of these solutions is far lower. Around a tenth of Construction companies have some sort of an IoT-enabled asset control and management solutions.

There are ample examples of innovation with IoT in Construction.

  • Machine control
  • Construction site monitoring (Examples include)
    • Anchor load monitoring from installation
    • Control of the deformation of the ground during the construction of a tunnel
    • Monitoring changes in pore water pressure during soil consolidation
    • Monitoring of the settlement process during the soil recovery works
  • Fleet management
  • Wearables with AR capabilities and safety measures

Some practical examples of IoT in Construction have been covered in the article and include

  • Remote operation
  • Replenishment of supplies
  • Equipment construction and monitoring tools.
  • Maintenance and repair of equipment.
  • Remote use monitoring
  • Energy and fuel savings

Key Takeaways

IoT and other emerging technologies can improve productivity, reduce costs and security in the construction industry. Construction companies, real estate and engineering firms should continue their investments in IoT.

They should not fall back into the same mistakes of the past and should not fear the loss of jobs due to the new technologies like IoT or Artificial Intelligence (AI). The adoption of IoT is unlikely to replace the human element in Construction. Instead, it will modify business models in the industry, reduce costly mistakes, prevent injuries in the workplace and make construction operations more efficient.

Smart Construction is key to building Smart Cities and is an element in Smart Building, Smart Transportation and even Smart Healthcare. The limits of using IoT in Construction is our imagination.

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5 Compelling Use Cases for Blockchain
5 Compelling Use Cases for Blockchain

4.8/5 (4)

4.8/5 (4)

It can often be difficult to keep track of assets and transactions in a business, and that is where Blockchain is unleashing its potential. It is revolutionising enterprises with its shared ledger technology. There are numerous, and specialised, use cases of Blockchain but the adoption is nascent in most industries. There are a few early adoption use cases of Blockchain, however, which have the potential to replace traditional systems and processes.

In the global Ecosystm Mobility study, organisations are asked about the adoption of Blockchain as a means of authentication. Industries that appear most open to Blockchain adoption are those that have also embraced IoT for tracking and traceability.

Adoption of Blockchain for Authentication – An Industry Comparison

Adoption-of-Blockchain-for-Authentication-An-Industry-Comparison

 

Across industries Blockchain technology is being used primarily for these use cases:

 

Supply Chain Traceability

Supply chain traceability allows producers, retailers, and consumers to track products from source to consumer. It connects all points in the supply chain, creating transparency and trust in the product. When a business comprises complex processes, a large and dispersed workforce, multiple locations and different operations, a lot of administrative and regulatory frameworks are required to manage and control the supply chain. Functions such as order management, procurement, import, delivery, tracking, and invoicing have their own unique set of requirements and processes. In several cases, especially across primary and retail industries, business complexity has been reduced with the use of Blockchain. The technology allows for improving digital assets and inventory tracking for better services and processes.

Blockchain is ensuring food safety by providing a complete view of the supply chain and creating a real-time trail of products – allowing a ‘farm to fork’ view. Walmart is a good example of how retailers can use Blockchain technology to ensure that they sell fresh produce. Fresh produce shipments can be tracked as they change hands from the farmers to the middlemen, to the distributor and finally to the store. This can have an enormous impact on containing food-borne diseases and food contamination. Not only does Blockchain increase food safety, it ensures fresher food since it secures production and packing dates.

Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI), an organisation established under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, is an affiliate of Enterprise Singapore and focuses on technology innovations in the industry that can empower enterprises to develop new processes, products, and services. IPI has identified Blockchain Technology for Food as an area where the industry can benefit from innovation. The ecosystem will also benefit from the information gathered, with the potential to further improve the production chain.

 

Fraud Prevention

Taking supply chain visibility a step further, Blockchain technology is being used for fraud prevention – especially payment fraud.  Financial transactions are complex and involve multi-step processes and human intervention – involving collaterals, settlement, currency denominations, third-party mediation, and so on. It is often the prime target for fraudsters. The most common instances of fraud involve bank to bank transactions, mobile payments, and digital identity fraud, essentially by tampering with ID or using it an unsanctioned way – providing unauthorised access to digital systems and falsifying information.

Blockchain helps automate preventive measures enabling real-time information sharing which is transmitted on a chain of connected devices where all the nodes in a system verify the transaction. Since it stores the data on several nodes and every other user on the network has a copy of the entire data on the Blockchain, it is virtually impossible to hack or destroy it completely.

Earlier this year, Standard Chartered Singapore showcased their cross-border trade finance transaction which digitalises trade processes and financing documentation. Blockchain enabled the transaction between parties by digitally streamlining the documentation process while providing security and transparency between the partners. Not only does it support the clients’ entire supply chain, but it also creates a transparent way to provide same-day trade financing.

Non-profit organisation BitGive Foundation uses Blockchain technology to provide greater visibility to their donors into the receipt of funds and how they are used by sharing financial information and project results in real-time. The GiveTrack project is built on Bitcoin and Blockchain and is a user-friendly, data-centered and comprehensive user interface. People making donations can precisely track the donations and how the funds were used.

 

Legal & Compliance

In industries that have higher Compliance & Regulatory requirements, Blockchain can enable safe, secure, and scalable data-sharing.  The industry is seeing instances of self-executing contracts, smart registries, secure and time-stamped documents with Blockchain. Blockchain is introducing abilities to record events for a long duration which might include indisputable claims, criminal records, case procedures to support the potential legal work.

Dubai launched a city wide blockchain strategy. Dubai Land Department is implementing blockchain to make property transactions secure, transparent and immutable, thereby reducing fraud and eliminating reams of physical documents. This impacts the entire ecosystem – customers, developers, the land department, utility providers, payment channels, and municipalities – to work in collaboration.

Shipping companies that need to enforce global contracts daily are also benefitting from Blockchain. However, the biggest use cases will eventually come from the Public Sector – across citizen services and criminal justice systems. For instance, National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) is testing Blockchain e-voting facilities. The project is still at the pilot stage and aims to tokenised voting which makes it easy to conduct test and audit for the votes. This allows the regulating authorities to access real-time data, and at the same time, provides means to audit the regulators.

 

Cybersecurity

73% of global organisations believe that a data breach is inevitable, according to the Ecosystem Cybersecurity Study, and only 18% of them use some form of tokenisation and other cryptographic tools. Blockchain technology offers several capabilities in mitigating cybersecurity risks and detecting and combating cyber attacks. For example, Blockchain can be used to prevent DDoS attacks, and crypto secured biometric keys can replace passwords providing robust ID authentication systems, more secure DNS and decentralised storage. Blockchain implementation can also prevent man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks by encrypting the data in transit so it is not manipulated during the transmission or accessed by unauthorised parties – thus maintaining data integrity and confidentiality.

Lockheed Martin, a US security company, is implementing Blockchain into their protocol. The company is enhancing Blockchain cybersecurity protocol measures in engineering systems, supply chain risk management, and software development. This includes researching on expanding on Blockchain capabilities protect their weapons development unit and make it incorruptible.

eGovernment initiatives will also benefit from Blockchain. The biggest stumbling block for providing eservices has always been cybersecurity, where the Government cannot be sure that the citizens are able to access their own records in a secure manner. It has always been a question of responsibility and liability – is the Government liable for a data breach that happens because of a citizen’s fault? Estonia is using Blockchain to protect their digital services such as electronic health records, legal records, police records, banking information, covering data and devices from attacks, misuse, and corruption.

 

Customer Experience

The ultimate benefit of Blockchain will be realised when it is used to enhance Customer Experience (CX). It brings transparency in doing business, gives on-demand data visibility and fosters trust in customers. A company that shows all transactions between the company and the customer, and in a secure manner, can create a better relationship, increase overall customer satisfaction and retain their customers in a competitive market. For example, Blockchain technology can allow more secure and transparent loyalty programmes, through token creation that can be redeemed on-demand, without customer service intervention. Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer structures their payments and loyalty programme with Blockchain. Their digital wallet enables members to convert KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles instantly to pay for their purchases at partner merchants. The users can pay through an application by scanning a QR code at a merchant’s location .

Customers will increasingly look for ease of use and security in their transactions. Bank of America has filed a patent for Blockchain powered ATM, for securing records and authenticating business and personal data. This will boost the transaction rate and facilitate various transaction experience with full encryption and security. Blockchain-enabled transactions can be registered and completed with greater easy while lowering the transaction costs for customers and keeping the network safe.

 

While Blockchain technology is continuing to evolve for a range of applications and industries, it comes with its own share of risks. Adoption should not be based on the hype around the technology but should be evaluated carefully. The starting point should obviously be a real business needs analysis.

Speak with an expert today to evaluate whether your organisation can benefit from Blockchain.

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British Open Golf Royal Portrush
The British Open Golf & IoT : My Kind Of Work!

5/5 (2)

5/5 (2)

The Giants Causeway on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland has always held a special place for me. I was born just 8 kms from there and the hexagonal shapes of the rock formation made the volcanic outcrop wonderful stepping stones. Each connected column gave me the inspiration for my company name, Causeway Connections, and the hexagon used by many in the marketing of the highly connected Internet of Things (IoT).

In July, after 68 years, the British Open golf championship is returning to Royal Portrush, a beautiful, but gnarly links course just around the corner from the Giants Causeway. The course is a very traditional links course which means that the rough will be very rough, the wind could be blowing hard, or the well-drained fairways will make ball control a must have skill to win. After selling out in record time, the ‘Open promises to be an exciting, cheerful event that will highlight the hospitality of the region.

However, when we watch a sport like golf we don’t always appreciate the amount of technology that goes into making the experience as good as it is. The PGA Tour has embraced the IoT and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and with the help of Microsoft Azure launched the PGA Tour Content Relevancy Engine (CRE) captures over 32,000 data points per event and have about 174 million shot attributes in its database. All of this is the necessary input to keep broadcasters fed with color commentary about a player, a course, or a tournament.  So how are the data points collected? There are several sources, but perhaps the biggest belongs to Shotlink. In 2008, CDW became the official technology partner of the PGA Tour and powers Shotlink. Each golf course is mapped prior to the event so that a digital image of each hole is used as background information in order to calculate exact locations and distances between any two coordinates (e.g. the tee box and the player’s first shot).

Other data sources that are used by equipment manufacturers and clothing include Cobra Connect and its partnership Arccos who promise that you may never need a caddie again since all of your swings, both good and bad, will end up in the cloud with a layer of AI tips applied to them. Will this be the end of the ‘grip it and rip it’ swing J .

Golf courses are expansive amounts of land that require detailed management to make sure that the customer experience is the best that can be given. Knowing the state of the greens, the conditions of the fairways and the speed of play by the casual hacker, the weekend ‘play ready’ expert, or the corporate sales meeting at the opening tee all contribute to a profitable golf course. One company that uses IoT to improve the round of golf is FairwayIQ whose mission is to ‘equip every golf course with real-time information and insights to attract and retain more golfers, drive more revenue, and maximize course efficiency. (I also feel that there is a strong environmental sustainability message here). FairwayIQ is in the forefront of using low powered sensors (LoRaWan) from MachineQ  (part of the Comcast family).

Finally, what about the ball? Why doesn’t it have a sensor in it? Think of the stress on the ball at the time of impact from a driver and quickly you see that putting the sensor in the ball may need some protection. Second, the size of the ball makes real estate a prime challenge for any sensor, although there are some very tiny sensors that could be squeezed into a ball. Third is consistency. The professionals spend hours and hours practicing their swing and they expect the ball to behave in a very consistent manner. There are some startups that have test products tied to simulators but nobody has gone into full production. However, there are companies that put sensors into balls that take a lot of beating – Green Fields Digital Sports Technology . By the fact that a major ball maker such as Titleist hasn’t come out with a ‘smart’ ball indicates that IoT might be tinkering with the Holy Grail of golf. Golf balls stir a healthy debate on whether or not the ball should be a uniform product (just like almost every other ball sport). Purists might say that it’s the choice and uniqueness of each player and the type of golf ball that they play with that makes the game so hard to be copied or players to be programmed. We say, to that argument, by putting a sensor into a golf ball improves the uniqueness  of every aspect of the game while democratizing the details of what makes a great golfer great.

However, what is clear to everyone is that modern golf is kicking off lots of data that is being used by an elaborate eco-system to make the customer experience better for everyone. Enjoy the 2019 British Open! Sláinte

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VendorSphere-Cisco-IoT-at-C-Scape-2019-in-San-Diego
VendorSphere: Cisco IoT at C-Scape 2019 in San Diego

4.7/5 (3)

4.7/5 (3)

During the past 12 months, Cisco has worked hard at refining and relaunching their IoT strategy. Initial overall impressions of the progress are good with strong alignment with both Cisco and their customer needs. Launching IoT to three different audiences at Cisco Live Barcelona, Hanover Messe and Cisco Live San Diego was critical as it enabled Cisco to talk to network, industry and enterprise audiences in a focused and personalised manner. However, there are other market dynamics at play that will challenge Cisco’s IoT Edge strategy and ecosystem play. Both the progress and challenges are discussed in this review.

Overall Rating B+

Much of the 2018-2019 efforts may be collated under three main categories.

  1. Hardware. Establish a hardware foundation from which any IoT device or customer can reap the benefits of Cisco’s larger corporate strategy built around initiatives such as Cisco DNA Center, Intent Based Networking, ACI and Security. With the acquisition of Sentryo and the refresh and launch of their routers, Cisco is now well placed to have legitimate discussions with Industrial IoT or IIoT customers and prospects. Bringing IBN functions to the edge of the network will enable Cisco’s customers to begin to develop richer business outcomes from the network. Rating: A-
  2. Developers: Raise the availability of IoT-based applications through Cisco’s DevNet developer community. Cisco has a significant advantage over their competitors by having over 500,000 developers who understand how to write apps for Cisco’s product line and who now have access to new types of data that can enrich traditional network outcomes. Over time this advantage will become more and more valuable as data becomes utilised across markets as well as within markets thus creating wealth in a much larger ecosystem. Rating: B+
  3. Partners: Transform their partner management through the Customer Experience (CX) program. Much of Cisco’s business is conducted through partners. It is a critical success factor for Cisco to enable the partners to be IoT-data savy. IoT will enable Cisco to accelerate the transition from product sales to higher value subscription services. However, based on discussions with customers, partners and Cisco management, we believe that there is much more work to integrate an IoT strategy in to CX. Rating: B-

The Industrial IoT (IIoT) and Cisco

Cisco identified the IIoT market as one where Cisco’s strengths in hardware, software and partner ecosystem will play well with their customers and prospects. While having a strong foothold in the industrial space, we believe that Cisco’s success will be much dependent on the customer’s workloads and what they want to achieve with their data as it is reducing the complexity between IT and OT (Operations Technology) issues. Cisco has addressed the IoT connectivity and network security at the edge of the network through its ruggedized routers while their competitors are building distributed computing environments. Competitors who are adopting a full IT stack at the edge of the network aim to offer up more OT-based industrial services as well as emerging innovation services such as digital twin, augmented reality and robotic process automation. One key consequence of a customer choosing either approach will result in differing partner ecosystems to form and support the customer. These ecosystems will also be different in how they are managed and by who manages them.

Our recent IoT study shows that while security (a sweet spot for Cisco’s strategy) remains extremely important to an organisation’s solution, technology integration is equally important. When vendors are considering implementing an industrial solution, they need to be able to provide an end-to-end solution that encompasses both the IoT Edge and the IoT Enterprise while smoothly bringing together the OT and IT procedures.

This all starts with an easy on-boarding of any IoT device that is secured and managed with confidence and reliability. The good news for Cisco is that these challenges are also a natural opportunity for Cisco’s partner organisation and systems integrators by creating a new styled IoT ecosystem. However, despite which hardware path an end-user takes, we believe that Cisco and others do not have all of the necessary components of the full ‘IoT’ stack to fulfil a complete solution. To that end, everything will pivot to the vendor who either has the better systems integrations partnership, or, plays in the strongest ecosystem.

IoT Services

Most of Cisco’s business is driven through partners and therefore any success for Cisco’s IoT strategy is dependent on how well they execute it. IoT will accelerate the shift from product based solutions to subscription/as a Service deliverables as more information is generated from the connected devices. and as such the Cisco partner community should be trained/incentivised to offer up IoT. Cisco partners are already undergoing their own business transformation as Cisco’s Customer Experience (CX) strategy is introduced to them. Having the IoT hardware align with the broader Cisco vision was critical to enabling any CX IoT strategy. However, partners may be in ‘transformation’ overload as they embrace the traditional Cisco customer needs and requirements and may be slower to take up the IoT opportunities.

Our IoT study shows that customers believe that the transition from products to services innovation is the highest scoring benefit from an IoT implementation.

However, this is a difficult but critical part of any company aspiring to become a digitally driven business. An IoT strategy is a corner stone of this vision as it will provide the data to be able to run a services or subscription-based business model

Cisco is well positioned here but there is a maturity and readiness gap between Cisco and their customers. Patience will be a key asset as Cisco and their partners close technology gaps for their customers (e.g. adopting and implementing widespread analytics as part of the corporate digital strategy. Most customers are not ready to take advantage of IoT-based analytics outcomes and therefore the RoI case has not been fully articulated).

Finally, Cisco needs to address the mid-tier market with solutions that are compatible with budgets. While it is important to have an ecosystem of high calibre partners within systems integrators, we feel that there will be many customers who cannot afford Cisco’s end-to-end solution. As a result of this Cisco partners are still not ready to address the mid-tier market. Cisco will need to promote offerings across all markets by participating in high-, mid-, and low-end ecosystems. This may mean acknowledging non-5G licensed spectrum/ non WiFi solutions for the most cost sensitive customers for the sake of broader market and industry share.

Recommendations For Cisco IoT

The following are our recommended actions for Cisco IoT based on C-Scape and the prior 12 months of strategy rollout:

  1. Create stronger value proposition for network based IoT business outcomes. Customers are asking for end-to-end validation which means that Cisco needs to articulate a role with the likes of Salesforce, SAP and Microsoft to enhance customer’s enterprise management systems. This is where Cisco’s CX and partner organisation will also be challenged but can open up a lot of opportunity. Move the message up the value chain. More work has to be done with CX. More has to be done with developers.
  2. Articulate a stronger comprehensive Industry 4.0 solution that gives customers all of the application qualifiers to run on Cisco’s hardware. Cisco will be challenged by the IT-lead distributed IoT compute stack over its industrial strength routers. More marketing has to be invested in the IoT Edge campaigns.
  3. Segment the IoT market by customer maturity/readiness/size and their IoT connected assets. Based on asset churn and customer size will dictate the type of new IoT ecosystem that Cisco will either build, manage or participate. For example, an IoT solution of Capex intensive assets with longevity is very different for agriculture supply chain management. Segmentation is critical for Cisco to be successful.
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IT Cutbacks
The GBP 183 million fine that accentuates the false economy of IT cutbacks

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It’s been a tough couple of years for British Airways (BA). 2017 saw an IT failure that resulted in 726 flights getting cancelled and 75,000 passengers being stranded on a busy holiday weekend. The fallout from this incident was around GDP 80 million in compensation paid to passengers and an almost immediate 4% drop in the share price.

Then, in 2018, the British carrier fell victim to a security breach in which around 500,000 people had their personal data, including their credit card details, stolen by hackers.

It is this breach that British Airways is now told that it will be fined 183 million British Pounds for. The fine was announced by the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and if it stands, it will be the biggest fine ever imposed for a data breach in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. In fact, the fine dwarfs previous fines issued up until now.

The biggest fines issued by the ICO in the UK were to Facebook and Equifax – both of whom were fined GBP 500,000.

Facebook’s fine was for the notorious Cambridge Analytica data scandal, where the information of 87 million Facebook users was shared with the political consultancy through a quiz app that collected data from participants as well as their friends without their consent.

Equifax Ltd. fine was for something more similar to the British Airways case: In May 2017, hackers stole personal data including names, dates of birth, addresses, passwords, driving licences and financial details of 15 million UK customers. In its ruling, the ICO said that Equifax had failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the protection of this sensitive data despite warnings from the US government.

But these fines were all from before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. Now, under the new rules, fines can be as high as EUR 10,000,000 or 2% of total global annual turnover for the previous year (whichever is higher) for lesser data breach incidents. For significant data breaches and non-compliance, the fines can be double that: EUR 20,000,000 or 4% of total global annual turnover (whichever is higher).

British Airways’ GBP 183 million fine is the equivalent of 1.5% of its turnover in 2017. Had the ICO gone for the maximum limit, the fine could have been as much as GBP 489 million.

A lot can still happen before the fine is finally issued, and BA is likely to dispute the decision in court (Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA’s parent company, IAG, has said they will). But even if the fine ends up being significantly lower, there are obvious lessons to be learned from this case:

 

  1. “People’s personal data is just that—personal.” These were the words spoken by Elizabeth Denham, the ICO Information Commissioner, in response to media enquiries on the fine. In other words: companies will need to take data privacy extremely seriously from now on or expect very hefty fines.

 

  1. Attitude matters. British Airways chairman and chief executive, Alex Cruz, said in a statement that BA was “…surprised and disappointed in this initial finding from the ICO. British Airways responded quickly to a criminal act to steal customers’ data. We have found no evidence of fraud/fraudulent activity on accounts linked to the theft. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this event caused.”

Although we can’t know this for certain, the response may reflect what could be described as an “attitude problem” in how BA has been dealing with the ICO: a whiff of arrogance, blaming the breach on criminal hackers and failing to accept any blame or real responsibility for the incident.

We know from other GDPR cases in other countries that any failure to cooperate with the authorities may result in larger fines. Full transparency, full cooperation and accepting responsibility are the way to go. If it’s your data, then the buck stops with you.

  1. The risks associated with IT cutbacks just went through the roof. The operating losses following the financial crises of 2008 made the carrier slash back its IT budgets (as well as other “expenditures”). Airlines, in general, are notorious for under-spending on IT, but when combining that with further cutbacks on IT expenditure, disaster may ensue. BA’s recent IT related woes may or may not be a direct result of under-spending on IT, but in the court of public opinion, this connection has been made.

 

In any case, with the new fine regime under the GDPR, the risks associated with under-spending on IT – and on IT security in particular – have now gotten substantially bigger.

More than ever, the notion that IT is an expenditure that can be cut back on is a false economy.

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New Zealand digital transformation roadmap
Ecosystm Snapshot: New Zealand’s digital transformation roadmap

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To drive its digital transformation initiatives, the Government of New Zealand recently published a roadmap ‘Growing innovative industries in New Zealand: From the knowledge wave to the digital age’, which outlines the strategic objectives of the Government to uplift and drive innovation for the country’s industries. The policy is focused on achieving a sustainable and productive economy for the country. The central elements for the plan were developed in consultation with all the key industry players and include the ideas necessary for transitioning the economy.

The Government will primarily focus on four significant sectors for its Industry Transformation Plans: food and beverage, agritech, forestry and wood processing, and digital technologies. For this, the government will work with businesses, workforce, and Māori to determine the best path towards to achieve their goals.

 

Agritech Industry Transformation Plan

New Zealand’s agritech sector spans across a range of technologies including genetics, information and communications technology, machinery and equipment, including robotics. The government is working with industry body ‘Agritech NZ’ and other relevant entities to draft a strategy and action plan for agritech transformation in New Zealand. The objective is to support production, drive innovation and increase exports for New Zealand’s industry.

Commenting on the NZ’s digital transformation Ecosystm Principal Advisor, New Zealand-based Jannat Maqbool, said “the agriculture sector needs to focus on innovation in order to compete and thrive as global trends and consumer demand presents challenges in feeding the growing global population. Investment in programmes driving investment in technologies and related initiatives to boost innovation and productivity in the sector will support the growing Agritech sector including work to scale Agritech businesses internationally.”

 

Digital technology opportunities

To support the ongoing development of New Zealand’s technology and industrial sector, the NZ government is taking several actions. The government has plans for more coordinated action between industry and the Government. Including:

  • Continuing work with the IoT Alliance and the AI Forum to drive applications of digital technologies;
  • Implementing Industry 4.0 programmes to increase uptake technologies and processes across manufacturing sectors, improving productivity and competitiveness;
  • Coordinating, developing and rolling out a National Digital Infrastructure Model to generate value from data for all aspects of the economy–e.g. infrastructure management and development;
  • Supporting New Zealand digital technology firms by providing a level playing field for New Zealand firms to compete for government business;
  • Working through the Digital Skills Forum to ensure the digital technology sector, and the industries that rely on digital technology workers, can access the tech talent needed to support the growth of these sectors and the economy.

With Government setting itself for the fourth industrial revolution, there will be certain challenges and opportunities in the implementation, “the opportunity is for increased productivity and to focus more on value add to compete internationally whereas a key challenge will be finding the skilled employees that will be required as industry 4.0 is adopted” said Maqbool.

 

Journey of NZ industries for digital transformation

SMEs make up over 97 percent of enterprises in New Zealand and digital transformation presents an opportunity for accelerated growth and competitiveness, potentially contributing US$7 billion to New Zealand’s GDP. “Digital transformation requires awareness, adoption and effective change management but before all of this there needs to be a shift in mindset of those in charge or a changing of the guard so to speak to understand and appreciate that the move is necessary, not only for the business itself but for bridging the digital skills gap and supporting a region’s productivity and economic growth ” said Maqbool.

 

The Government has also created plans for tourism, creative industries, aerospace, renewable energy and health technologies for the digital push. These advances will facilitate the development of new industries in New Zealand.

“It essential that efforts through government initiatives align with other approaches already driving the move to digital in order to ensure available resources are effectively utilised and for ongoing sustainability,” says Maqbool.

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