Filtered by category: Internet of Things

More people live in cities today than at any time in human history. Of the 82 biggest cities in the US, which account for a cumulative population of more than 59 million people, 87% of those cities increased in population between 2014 and 2015 as reported by USA Today. This population growth—and the pressures that arise from it—will result in cities working to develop efficiencies and strategies that help them remain viable and vibrant. Cities that succeed in improving their sustainability and adaptability will attract businesses and people that will work to improve their respective economies and overall quality of life.

More recently, the concept of social innovation is becoming increasingly important as it relates to the development of smart cities. Social innovation focuses attention on the ideas and solutions that create social value or wide-reaching positive impact—as well as the processes by which they are generated. Let’s look at some real-world examples of smart city applications leveraging the Internet of Things that are creating efficiencies amid the continuous growth of urban areas.

Smart Cities
A very relevant smart city example concerns water conservation based on the severe drought conditions that have plagued the west coast in recent years. Installing sensors into pipes allows for immediate detection of leaks, saving millions of gallons of water. In a similar manner, vertical farms are becoming very popular. These are farms that are built up rather than out and are connected to business networks, which allow farmers to track supply and demand, and utilize automated drip irrigation systems.

Another life-saving example of a smart city application involves bridge monitoring. Inserting a sensor into a bridge’s foundational cement enables 24 x 7 monitoring of the bridge’s stress levels, which enable early detection of structural issues. Similarly, sensors in streets alert drivers when there is ice on the road, and this information could be communicated through a car’s WiFi or a chosen smart phone application. The Internet of Things is currently being used to monitor traffic and to control lights based on traffic flow. The rate of technology advancement is rapid, and fast-growing cities are already becoming smarter and smarter. These innovations will allow for safer and easier commutes, waste reduction, and so much more. Wide-reaching positive impact is truly being attained with this innovation.

HDS Investing in Social Innovation

The Hitachi Data Systems Social Innovation initiative and solutions portfolio address critical business and societal challenges – including population growth and urbanization, aging public infrastructures and populations, rising healthcare costs and public safety concerns.

With thousands of relevant patents secured and new patent applications pending, Hitachi is an emerging global leader in the areas of IoT, operational technology (OT), big data and machine-to-machine (M2M) analytics, complementing its proficiencies in data infrastructure and IT. The company’s Social Innovation roadmap is now accelerating, buoyed by recent strategic software acquisitions that are providing the fundamental building blocks to deliver a smart analytics foundation that supports its growing solutions portfolio. Hitachi Data Systems plans to continue aggressively building its footprint in the IoT, OT, M2M and big data analytics markets in 2016 and beyond, with solutions and services for connected cars and connected energy, among others, that further leverage the expertise and the full breadth of products, services and industries served by the Hitachi family of companies.

IT Directors and managers, CIOs/CTOs, and systems engineers, network and storage engineers rely on ConRes for unbiased enterprise-class solutions ranging from server and storage virtualization, to disaster recovery, unified communications, cloud computing, security, networking and managed services. Contact ConRes today at 800-937-4688 to help you plan for the future.

Have you seen an IT innovation recently that makes your city smarter?

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What’s lurking inside your IT upgrades?

You’ve updated, automated, streamlined and optimized your IT operations for efficiency, agility and competitive advantage. And although you’ve succeeded in transforming your data center for modern demands, you may have opened the door to key risks—risks that may mean you need to upgrade your enterprise cyber security programs as well.

Truthfully, enterprise security is not static. The threat landscape is expanding every bit as fast as innovation. A recent CNBC article found that there are approximately a half-million cyberattack attempts every minute. So what cybersecurity threats could be lurking inside your newly optimized enterprise?

1. Virtualization Vulnerabilities

If you converged your compute, network and storage assets with virtualization for cost savings and higher efficiency, congratulations. But did you know that the virtualization that drives convergence comes with some real-world risks? There are many different layers of hardware, software and services involved in this complex deployment—any of which can be points of vulnerability. For example, cybercriminals often target hypervisors for attack. In addition, weakness can exist wherever your physical and virtual components intersect.  Any time a virtual machine is added or a workload is moved, there’s a new opportunity for a security breach.

2. BYOD Breakdowns

If you’ve adopted a mobile strategy to keep your on-the-go employees connected and give them anytime, anywhere access to key business applications, then you face several sets of security threats. First, the need to protect your data in the event an employee device is lost or stolen is essential.  The mobile operating systems on employee-owned mobile devices also have become a target for hackers seeking unauthorized access to corporate data. Remote device hijacking and eavesdropping can put your enterprise at risk for data leaks as well.

3. IoT Exploits

Webcams. Vehicles. Sensors. Smartplugs. Network elements. Tablets. If you’ve got devices streaming data across your networks, then you need to safeguard those endpoints. While Gartner estimates that 2016 will be the year  we reach 6.8 billion connected devices, it’s also going to give rise to machine-to-machine attacks. With IoT driving more devices connected globally, there’s a big payoff to hackers who can compromise these connections. And the weakest link is often the consumerized devices that aren’t using the right security settings.

Products like Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) security solutions can streamline and simplify end-to-end security for compliance and peace of mind. Download the Solutions Brief to explore your options and learn how ConRes can protect your business with enterprise wide cybersecurity solutions using HPE technology.

 

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Web-Scale IT

Language may be the only thing that passes through cycles of evolution as fast as technology. This is because, when a new technology or idea becomes different enough from its predecessor, we need newWeb-Scale IT terminology to define what it is we’re talking about. Cameron Haight at Gartner realized this in May of 2013. In a blog post, Haight references the newly coined the term web-scale IT and the blogosphere set fire (as it tends to do when there is something new to talk about.)

Since then, the concept of web-scale IT has been listed on both Gartner and Forbes lists of Top Ten Tech Trends for 2015. We’re going to do our best to define this term and give some examples. We will also discuss how web-scale IT is going to impact the way we use the internet in the future.

So… what is it and who is doing it?

Part of the online discourse regarding web-scale IT has been how hard it is to define. San Francisco based, application performance management (APM) company Boundary quoted Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in an opinion regarding pornography in their blog post on the topic of web-scale IT: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be (pornography)… But I know it when I see it…”

The problem with defining the term is that it has already become the norm among large corporations, so we see references to web-scale IT all the time. The simplest way to define web-scale IT is the utilization of a large, cloud-based infrastructure to power web-services and applications to provide accessibility to consumer and private users, at a higher frequency.

Look at Google, frequent leader in all things web. Google Drive provides global accessibility to documents and delivers a collaborative workspace for people to work together. Soon, we’ll be beyond the days of emailing text documents and spreadsheets to one another; we’ll rely on ready access to the same document because of the use of the cloud in lieu of local storage.

Apple is another great example of someone operating in the web-scale IT medium. You may be able to play every song and movie you’ve purchased on iTunes on your iPad, but do they actually exist on the hard-drive? Many customers have switched to streaming the music and movies they have purchased straight to their device rather than storing them locally, and that leaves more space for all the goofy photos of your pets!

A look into the future.

The web-scale IT revolution has already begun, and, after reading this post, you’ll begin to realize its pervasiveness in sites and services you use, but what are some of the other ramifications of web-scale IT?

Hardware

We’ll see changes in the way hardware is produced, not in a manufacturing sense, but on a purchaser level, why upgrade hard-drive space when all of your documents are saved in the cloud?

Specialized hardware for those who want to operate a web-scale IT style website will involve purchasing hardware and software with easy integration into cloud services, although buyers should beware of getting trapped into a provider who may not integrate with all partners – think of it like Apple’s feud with Adobe, you don’t want to be the person who was locked in to Flash when iPhone came out. Make sure you have flexibility, just in case.

DevOps

DevOps is going to become vital to your company if you want to operate in the web-scale IT game. You’re going to need a team dedicated to building the best applications possible to maximize the potential the cloud and web-scale IT can offer.

As discussed in the hardware section above, integration with hardware and software is vital to your application development. Many companies are having their DevOps teams start at the application level by purchasing pre-integrated hardware and software from which developers are to build from. In an blog post on DesignNews by Charles Murray, Jack Ganssle, founder of the Ganssle Group had this to say: “In the old days, [software] engineers were expected to do the whole thing from top to bottom… Today, managers don’t have the patience for that. They want their engineers to immediately start generating application-level code.”

Security

I don’t think I need to harp on this because we are all becoming painfully aware of the security threats we face when storing information in the cloud. This will become a leading selling point to companies that offer web-scale IT services and the integrators with whom DevOps teams choose to comingle technologies with.

The conclusion is simple – we have a term now for something you’re probably already familiar with. Gartner analysts predict that web-scale IT will become the architectural approach for 50% of enterprises by 2017. So get your developers ready and start your infrastructure building, you don’t want to be behind on this trend.

 

Do you know web-scale IT when you see it? How do you define it? And how is it impacting your organization?

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*This article is part of our series covering Gartner’s top 10 technology trends.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a wide variety of business opportunities. However, many businesses are still uncertain as to how it could apply to their business. Further confusing the matter is a diverse base of trials that may not seem applicable to businesses when, in fact, they can be.

“A recycling company or vending machine operator, for example, may not find any applicability for the Internet of Things when reviewing how a hospital is connecting its patient-monitoring equipment to the Internet of Things. However, on closer inspection, these companies will discover that the reason the hospital has connected its equipment is to cut costs on nurses’ rounds to monitor patients,” explained Hung LeHong, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Any company operating remote devices has opportunities to use this same model. Remote assets that require manual rounds for the purposes of emptying or replenishment, such as recycling bins or vending machines, can benefit from the same approach the hospital took. The underlying commonality is the business case to reduce the costs from doing the rounds, by connecting assets to monitor status.”[1]

Gartner makes the case that there are four basic usage models for IoT – Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend. Each of these models has its own application.

Manage

This model is predicated on the ability of an asset to communicate statuses. For example, is a room being used? Or is a bin full? Or is an engine failing? By using the status of an asset, the system around maintaining that asset can be refined and its use optimized.

Your turn: What assets in your organization require significant labor to monitor or control? Would the ability to instantaneously know the status of an asset reduce costs?

Monetize

Expensive capital assets are highly risky and, if not put to good use, overly costly.  By accurately measuring usage of an asset and then charging for it on an incremental basis, capital expenditure can become operating expenditure.  Taking it a further step, attaching additional data – such as location, speed and time – can help organizations more accurately assess risk and applicable charges.

Your turn: What capital assets are being under-utlized in your firm? Could you optimize their usage by charging for its usage? Or more accurately measuring risk?

Operate

Perhaps one of the more common applications, this model takes the previously established model of managing equipment and processes with manufacturing plants and extends it to remote devices that may not have been within an isolated infrastructure.  Using mainstream technology, software and architectures, operations can now monitor and control increasingly complex devices remotely.

Your turn: Are there any assets in your organization that could be operated more efficiently remotely?

Extend

The extend model demonstrates how supply chains are now extending. In the past, once a physical product was in the hands of a customer, the supply chain ended with further customer contact often initiated by the customer. Now, products can continue to be connected to the supply chain through digital assets, adding additional digital delivery nodes to the supply chain.

Your turn: What products do you deliver that could be extended by offering digital services?

Organizations can benefit continuing to watch IoT trials and boiling each use case down to the basics. In doing so, opportunities for your organization can emerge.

[1] http://mobileenterprise.edgl.com/news/4-Usage-Models-for-the-Internet-of-Things91977

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