Enterprise IoT: Strategies and Best Practices for Connected Products
My job is to look at Futuristic Technologies that are used to solve challenges that we have today. When I say challenges, it could be challenges in cities, where smart cities are coming up or challenges at manufacturing side or in businesses that we do.
Dell has a framework called Future Ready Economies, where we talk about a few areas. One is Human Capital, improving the life of humans by making them more future ready, which again brings us to the topic like how can we enhance the digital knowledge of people specially in countries like India. Second part is Infrastructure, for e.g. Digital India or Smart India, improving infrastructure in the cities or in villages as well, by leveraging technology. And last but not least we talk of business processes, the commerce part of it, how can technology create simplistic but robust processes. For example, you talk of mobile banking or you talk of e-commerce platforms today, so the whole idea is to use technology to leverage and create a better future for everybody.
Evolution, Revolution and Value
Uber is world’s biggest cab company but do you know that Uber doesn’t own even a single cab. Flipkart is India’s biggest online shopping site, but it doesn’t own even a single asset. So you have created multibillion dollar businesses in the last 7 years and none of these are traditional. Otherwise the kind of items you see on Flipkart, there are billions. Can you imagine a store selling such items? Perhaps you need half of Gurgaon to store those many items. But in spite of not having a store, not having a single item, Flipkart is the biggest shopping portal, today. Can we think about this kind of model without technology? We cannot. But Flipkart is doing what Uber or Ola are doing. They are using a Technology or a Digital Platform to connect everybody together and that is the biggest Disruption. Now the question is, can technology do this? Exactly, technology is not only disrupting, but technology is creating new business models, today. Take the example of Airbnb, the world’s biggest hotel booking company. Today if you want to go to a city, you go to the hotel’s website, where you see hotels and for example you don’t have budget for that or you don’t want to stay in that hotel, Airbnb makes it possible. You go to their website, you can search for any hotel or you could also search for a home, again, connecting people together to get booked for staying at somebody’s home at minimum charges. It saves money, it saves you a lot of hassle and more than that it gives you a local cultural perspective. This is a technology driven platform where these couldn’t have been possible without using the digital technology in a disruptive way.
Now if you talk about future, if we talk about India let us say Digital India, then what is Digital India? Digital India is first of all connecting 2,50,000 villages through a hard fiber, where once the fiber is in range, you know what you can do. You can bring doctors, online, farming experts, or agricultural experts online. What is this going to do? One, it is going to make the life of people better. Second and the big impact is that it will stop people from moving from villages to cities so cities will not have load. In a country like India, in regions where we have seen unfortunate incidents of farmers committing suicide because the crops fail, this Technology will give them an access to global information sitting in their own village, about monsoon coming, or not. The whole idea is giving information to people using Digital Technology.
Trends shaping the IoT landscape
IOT has been there for a long time. We call it IOT now but before IOT, it was M2M, like how can we make a light bulb to talk to my phone, so that I can use my phone to switch on the light. Today it’s possible, but 10 years back when this whole process started, the biggest problem was the bulb talking in a different language. For e.g. if I talk in Hindi, English or Punjabi and the other person doesn’t understand any of the languages, so how do we communicate, as we need a common medium? Similarly, this bulb can’t talk to a phone as phone is on a different technology platform and bulb is on a different technology platform, so what we did by Machine to Machine was to bring in something that can convert a language you know like an interpreter. So lot of companies in the world brought in those systems which could convert bulb’s language into this phone’s language or vice versa. So that is where IoT started. So initially IoT was restricted to some of these easy to use devices like bulbs, energy meters, street lights but today, IoT is in the new avatar, as its going to connect everything, for which we call it the Internet of Things. Similarly, you can do everything around you by connecting information between one device and the other. IoT today has become very prominent in Manufacturing, in Oil and Gas and Healthcare. As we move forward we see Smart Cities, Oil and Gas, Retails adopting this in a big way. And more or less Education adopting it in a big way. So as we go five years from now, we will see IOT collecting the mechanism for almost every industry.
The SMAC Code - Embracing new Technologies
I can’t say that one is important than other because ultimately if we look at it today, going back to the same example, Flipkart’s example, it’s nothing but a social website and at the same time it is a shopping mall and the mobility is inbuilt so you don’t have to sit on a PC and shop, you can do this on your app.
What happens today, information comes from Data, where data is on online forums. Facebook, one of the most profitable companies, what do they do, they don’t sell anything but they have a social platform where they have 1 Billion+ people, using that data. When we go to a website and look for tickets from Delhi to Bangalore, without booking them, on one of the sites we use the most, in the corner we see an advertisement saying cheaper tickets from Delhi to Bangalore. Now how does that website know that you are looking for a ticket? So Internet is a tracker, and it is tracking your behavior. It knows that you are looking for tickets which means that you are going to travel so it will throw advertisements called Context-Aware Advertisements. Data is going to drive the behavior. It is going to make the businesses more profitable. So SMAC is nothing but Data in different verbs. You are on a social platform, where you generate lot of data, you use mobile to access it, and do analytics because somebody has to analyze.
When we enter a shopping mall and look at products, we go to different shops and then come to the same shop where we started as it was better, but a lot of time is wasted. Today what happens when we enter a shopping mall, we immediately get a message saying there is a 25% discount on products on the 3rd floor, where we directly go to that floor. Now the question is how does the mall know? One you are there for those products, second you are looking for a certain kind of category, that’s Data Analysis. With the help of a video, the camera on the main gate tells who is this guy: woman or a man, and then it tracks your number. There are technologies available today in case your Bluetooth is on you can automatically throw an advert the moment someone enters the shopping mall. The problem is Data Analytics has to be there to make the ad relevant. See throwing ad is easy but it should be a relevant one and that can only be done by data analytics. So Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud is going to drive not only the behavior of people but everything around us in next 5 to 7 years. They all need to work in sync to give you the desired benefit.
Pivoting to the Future: Emerging Technologies
Data is going to be the next Gold and Diamond. Now, how are you going to use that data? For that the biggest thing that is happening today is Intelligence, building intelligence into Data. Like for example when I use this example of Analytics, Data is taken, sent to a software which does analysis, the time you collect the data, the time it takes to go there, time it takes to analyze and come back. So analytics needs to be done soon, that’s what we call it Edge Analytics.
Looking in the future, analytics has been changed into something called Edge Analytics or Analytics at the origin, that’s the biggest revolution that data is going to do. That’s one future technology that is going to happen. Second is putting intelligence in every device. Example is today we talk of traffic light, we say intelligent traffic light, so how does a traffic light know that there are another 300 vehicles coming so I should clear, it should talk to the first traffic light so it does quick analysis that out of those 300 vehicles, 200 have gone this side because that signal has said the rest 100 are coming forward as these are not peak hours so it can go green. That is Edge Analytics. That can be done by a camera and a traffic light. You don’t need a person to manage it manually. The third important aspect of technology which is going to change is what we call Embedded. For example, you have a TV at home, along with TV you put a set top box, so that the when the signal comes, set top box will know what to do, which channels to throw, which channel you have subscribed to. So you need a TV and a separate box. The future, the way technology is behaving, it’s going to embed that box into the TV. So you got a TV now with an internal set-top box, a SIM card slot so that you can call and tell your TV to record that channel because I am not coming home and I want to watch it later.
So the word smart TVs are actually made for that. TV should connect to internet, to me, putting everything inside the TV - that’s call Embedded. Tomorrow when you have everything, your camera is embedded in your phone, your email is embedded, your calendar is embedded, your car booking app is embedded, so you don’t need separate systems. Convergence is the word. Future of the technologies is converging in with everything.
Many countries have started the process of converting the passport into a smart card. Adhaar card is a good example in India. It is not only your address proof or ID proof, the moment you say I have Adhar your passport is ready in 4 days, no questions, no documentation, no verification nothing.
Intelligence in every device, everything getting embedded and you have less devices to bother and finally your Data at the Edge. These are the three waves of revolution that technology is bringing.