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Distributed Computing
Industry Association

CES 2015

DCIA's Internet of Things at CES 2015

Cloud Developers Summit 2014

Cloud Computing East 2014

Marty Lafferty interviewed on Digital Production BuZZ

Stop Your Privacy Rights from Vanishing

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The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) is an international trade organization focused on commercial advancement of cloud computing and related technologies, particularly as they are deployed for the delivery of high-value content. Member companies include industry-leading software developers and distributors, broadband network operators, content rights-holders, and service-and-support firms. Please click here for membership information. Follow us Tumblr and Twitter, join us on LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.

DCINFO
Weekly Newsletter

November 24, 2014
Volume XLX, Issue 6

Internet to Hit 3 Billion Users in 2015

Excerpted from eMarketer Report

The number of Internet users worldwide will surpass 3 billion in 2015, according to new figures from eMarketer, increasing 6.2% next year to reach 42.4% of the entire world's population.

This year, the Internet will reach more than two in five people in the world for the first time as the online audience hits 2.89 billion users globally. By 2018, eMarketer estimates, nearly half the world's population, or 3.6 billion people, will access the Internet at least once each month.

"Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are driving Internet access and usage in countries where fixed Internet has been out of reach for consumers, whether that's due to lack of infrastructure or affordability," said Monica Peart, Senior Forecasting Analyst at eMarketer.

"While highly developed markets are nearly saturated in terms of Internet users, there's significant room for growth in emerging ones; for example, India and Indonesia will both see double-digit growth in each year between now and 2018."

eMarketer's latest Internet user forecast added 19 new countries, bringing its total to 41— including its first breakouts for individual countries in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, eMarketer significantly expanded its coverage of countries in Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

On a country-by-country basis, here are year-by-year other milestones eMarketer anticipates during this forecast period: 2014: Brazil will supplant Japan as the fourth-largest Internet user population. 2015: Mexico will settle firmly into the eighth spot, eclipsing Germany. 2016: India will jump the US as the second-largest Internet user population. 2017: Indonesia will reach the top five, overtaking Japan. 2018: China will eclipse three-quarters of a billion users, after showing accelerating growth in each year in this forecast.

Internet of Things — The Next Big Thing

Excerpted from the Straits Times Report by Han Kwang

What happens when you gather more than 300 journalists from all over the world at an exotic Turkish resort complete with a fully lit 18-hole golf course, heated swimming pool, and spas galore?

When the event is the annual IFA Global Press Conference, you talk for two days about consumer electronics and home appliances, as well as the future of curved television panels. For more about the TVs, please click here.

This media pow-wow is held every year ahead of Europe's main consumer electronics fair in Berlin, which together with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, are the industry's two annual shows which attract all the major companies in the business.

They are where the big guns - think Sony, Samsung, Philips, Panasonic, Electrolux and other household names you grew up with - announce major product launches and their plans for the future.

So, what made the news in Antalya, Turkey, this year?

Here's my round-up of the talking points at the two-day conference and what to look-out for in the year ahead:

You think the Internet already dominates everybody's lives and that too many people spend too much of their waking hours on their smartphones? Wait till the Internet of Things (IoT) takes over your kitchen and living room.

That's the next big thing in consumer electronics, according to almost every presenter at the conference. It means your everyday appliances are connected to the World Wide Web, so you can also spend whatever time you have left talking to your fridge, microwave oven, and vacuum cleaner.

BSH, one of Europe's largest appliance manufacturers, will soon launch Home Connect. It says it will be the first in the world to be able to do this for all brands, with one app on your smartphone.

Get ready to be able to adjust the wash-cycle on your washing machine and fill your bathtub with water at the correct temperature, remotely from your mobile.

New Report: Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a super-important, growing trend which will affect the whole digital economy. This new, detailed report will deliver fresh, innovative insights - guaranteed. Indeed, Generator Research is confident that its insights and analysis will change your perspective on IoT, and you should expect many "Ah-ha" moments as you review the report content.

With all the major Internet power-brokers already investing tens of billions of dollars in IoT, it is imperative that companies understand IoT now — in order to benefit from the trillions of dollars of pent-up value that will be released when 10 billion individuals, devices, and services are connected together.

This hard-hitting, 140-page report provides very clear answers to the following questions: What exactly is IoT? Why is IoT so important now? How will IoT affect my business this year and over the coming 5 years? What will be the economic impact of IoT this year, and beyond? How does IoT compare with the Internet as it stands today? Is IoT mainly about connecting billions of devices, or does it go deeper? What changes will we see as IoT develops in the coming years?

Packed with a wealth of current applications and future usage scenarios, this report brings IoT to life by painting a vivid picture of what IoT will mean in practical terms to your company. You will find extensive forecasts, market data, genuinely powerful insights, and a lot of new thinking, all of which are conveyed in a rich, highly-readable narrative.

Click here to learn more about this report, or to download it now.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe question I've been asked the most this week is how will the emerging "Internet of Things (IoT)" phenomenon impact the distributed computing industry?

Industry analysts project a steep growth trajectory for IoT.

Gartner forecasts 26 billion IoT devices by 2020; ABI Research projects more than 40 billion by then; and others — and the DCIA counts ourselves among the bullish on this — estimate the figure to exceed 50 billion.

Nearly 12.5 billion Internet-connected devices are already in use: currently, about 100 things connect to the Internet every second, and the number is expected to reach 250 per second by 2020.

A Pew Research Internet Project said 83 percent of information technology (IT) professionals agree that the Internet/Cloud of Things will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025.

IoT will bring a level of connectivity of devices, systems, and services that will far exceed the current norm of the objects that we already expect to provide Internet access — like smartphones, phablets, tablets, laptops, and game consoles.

IoT in fact will lead to a new class of smart devices, protocols, domains, and applications that will be deployed and interconnected, ushering in new kinds of automation for nearly all fields of human endeavor.

"Things" in this context can refer to a wide variety of devices ranging from wearable fitness-enhancing monitors to implanted medical devices from the healthcare sector, from self-driving automobiles with built-in sensors and artificial intelligence to airborne drones handling payloads for many industries, to smart thermostat and home security systems that support controlling many different types of residential appliances from remote locations.

Since 2010, there have been notable advancements from pioneers including industry leader Google, which introduced a self-driving vehicle project that year, a major milestone in the development of a connected and autonomous car.

Also that year, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) was introduced, enabling applications in the fitness, healthcare, security, and home entertainment industries.

In 2011 Nest Labs (Now Google) introduced sensor-driven, WiFi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors; and IPv6 launched, a protocol to exponentially expand the number of objects that can connect to the Internet by introducing 340 undecillion IP addresses.

Last year, Google Glass, controlled through voice recognition software and a touchpad built into the device, was released to developers; and this year, Apple announced HealthKit and HomeKit, two health and home automation developments, while the firm's iBeacon advanced context and geolocation services.

The DCIA identified IoT earlier this year as an emerging area for support and development as a natural extension from the commercial advancement of cloud computing.

As a CEA Allied Association, the DCIA saw a unique opportunity to examine and promote IoT with a four-day marathon webcast of this newest and arguably largest-ever industry phenomenon during CES from January 6th through 9th.

Twelve hours of IoT demos, displays, and discussions will be recorded in HD-video at the DCIA's exhibit-booth studio for widespread industry viewing.

Topics covered will include: smart objects for fitness and healthcare; programmable homes and energy management; media entertainment and social networking solutions; geolocation services and vehicular automation; retail, public space and manufacturing environments; and power consumption, cybersecurity and interoperability.

Delegates involved with connected consumer device innovations, wearable creations, machine-to-machine (M2M) advances, radio-frequency identification device (RFID) developments, remote monitoring and maintenance solutions, micro-sensor discoveries, trusted computing services, smart environment architectures, and related examples of the emerging IoT phenomenon will be included.

The webcast will feature IoT industry leaders ranging from executives of multinational corporations such as IBM, Samsung, and Verizon to founders and entrepreneurs from exciting start-ups and small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) such as Airborne Robotics, Caeden, and Interface Foundry.

In short, we've recruited the top IoT players — the newest and most promising as well as the largest and most established.

There will also be industry analysts and observers to provide their perspectives and insights, including into the primary obstacles that must be overcome for IoT to reach its full potential.

Besides an enormous expansion of Internet-connected automation, IoT will also generate large amounts of high-velocity data from diverse locations that will need to be stored, indexed, and processed.

Among other uses, this data is expected to be able to help drive the development of more and more personalized and therefore valuable IoT services.

The stakes grow exponentially larger with these advancements, beyond data security now also to include actual physical safety.

And so do the opportunities to enhance people's lives in unimagined ways. Share wisely, and take care.

How Big Will the Internet of Things Grow?

Excerpted from CMS Wire Report by David Roe

How many devices are likely to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) — and which industries are most likely to be affected by its growth? At its Symposium/ITxpo 2014 in Barcelona last week, Gartner offered answers.

By 2020, the most forceful impact will be with consumer goods, outstripping its nearest rival category of generic business goods by 250 percent.

That consumer goods should be the top area of IoT penetration is no real surprise given the amount of investment that vendors in this space are making. But the fact that generic business goods should best the automotive industry is an interesting development.

After all, automobile manufacturers predict cars of the future will enable drivers to control their entire lives, including household and workplace applications.

Another interesting point: Whether businesses like it or not, they are going to have to follow the IoT wherever it takes them. "The digital shift instigated by the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social, and information) and boosted by IoT threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue the IoT, like they've done with the consumerization of IT," Gartner Vice President Jim Tully said.

IoT total services spending is expected to top $69.5 billion in 2015. By 2020 this will have quadrupled to $263 billion. Over half of the connected applications will be in consumer goods.

Gartner breaks this down further and has identified the top three verticals that will experience the greatest impact from the IoT. While the top three at the moment are manufacturing, utilities, and transportation, by 2020 that will have changed again.

Utilities will be the top vertical by 2020, with manufacturing second.

The development of the IoT depends on the development of processors that are cheap enough to be embedded in every device and that critical point where economy of scale enables the insertion of processors into common devices appear close.

Gartner predicts that over the next few years, this kind of connectivity will be considered standard. But this will be a disruptive event and will require a rethinking of business.

CIOs must understand that the most disruptive impact and competitive threats — and, equally, the greatest competitive opportunities — arise not from simply digitalizing a product or service, but from creating a new business model and value proposition," Gartner VP Steve Prentice said.

Clearly it is impossible to say for certain that this is the future of the IoT. There are many things about it that are still far from clear, including when the inevitable standards emerge, how enterprise and industry will adapt, and how they will incorporate all this into their business models.

It also depends, of course, on securing the IoT and, as we have seen in the past, there are still many areas of IoT development where security has yet to arrive at a satisfaction level to ensure widespread adoption. In this respect, think how long it has taken enterprises, for example, to take to the cloud with many still dragging their heels even now.

There are also questions over the use of the IoT. Yes, it has the potential to produce vast amounts of data that offer the possibility of developing superior customer experience, or better customer engagement strategies, but even with big data analytics, there are still questions as to how useful all this information will be in practice.

Internet of Things to Gain Momentum in 2015: Verizon

Excerpted from The Hindu Business Line Report by KV Kurmanath

Broadband and wireless communications service company Verizon Enterprise Solutions has said the Internet of Things (IoT) will gain momentum in 2015 as small and medium business markets (SMBs) will take to services through devices and gadgets that are connected to the web. Some large organizations that were not early adopters, too, will come on board.

Enhanced tools in cloud computing, big data and analytics — combined with more rigor in IoT cybersecurity — will begin to decrease machine-to-machine (M2M) complexity.

Chris Formant, Verizon Enterprise Solutions' Global President, said CIOs will refocus on the fundamentals in 2015, securely embedding innovation in their global network in order to make sense of big data outputs and fuel business growth.

Releasing technology trend predictions for next year, he said enterprises would concentrate on strategic network and IT investments in 2015.

"The growing demands of data, cloud, video, and mobile solutions require enterprise networks to become more agile and scalable, without compromising performance," he said.

Verizon said other key trends include the growing importance of predictive analytics, harnessing data to offer insights into how products and services would be received. Adoption of cloud will further increase and focus on tackling cybercrime, too, will get attention in 2015.

"Device proliferation, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, an increasingly complex threat landscape, and extended computing environments will make network security more complex than ever in 2015," the firm feels.

A holistic, integrated, multi-layer security strategy will be critical for mitigating risk and establishing trust among devices, networks, people, and systems, it said.

Verizon Cloud Marketplace Opens Its Doors

Excerpted from CloudWedge Report

Popular cloud service providers have opened up cloud marketplaces at a rapid pace over the past year. Not one to be outdone, Verizon decided to follow suit with its plans and open its own marketplace which is aptly dubbed Verizon Cloud Marketplace.

Verizon's new offering of cloud services leverage its partnerships with some of cloud's biggest players. Verizon mentions that the first products it will offer in its cloud marketplace are products and services made by AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, Tervela, and pfSense

Verizon's cloud marketplace gives business leaders a powerful line-up of cloud-based apps that they can begin using within their environment immediately. Verizon's Cloud Marketplace has many of the hot technologies associated with cloud covered including apps that help with Big data, cloud security, software development, and software defined networking (SDN).

Verizon designed its cloud marketplace to require less administrative effort than what normally would be required, which frees-up IT staff from having to constantly recalibrate the cloud services that they have purchased.

Siki Giunta is the Senior Vice President of Cloud Services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Giunta recently stated, "The launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace is an important milestone in the ongoing evolution of our cloud ecosystem. Verizon Cloud Marketplace is all about simplifying and streamlining migration to the cloud, and enterprises using Verizon Cloud will now have access to a growing number of industry-leading cloud-based applications required to power their businesses in the digital age.

You could consider this to be Verizon's Cloud Marketplace 1.0 as Verizon representatives mention that they plan on offering more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in their marketplace in the future. Verizon also plans offering cloud services that are powered by data center appliances that Verizon would host and maintain for the end-user.

BitTorrent to Go after Leading Cloud File-Sharing Services

Excerpted from CNET News Report by Seth Rosenblatt

BitTorrent wants to make it easier for you to control your data. The company, best known for helping people share large files incredibly fast, is now applying the technology to syncing very large files across devices.

BitTorrent announced Wednesday a premium version of Sync that will pit BitTorrent Sync against cloud-based services such as Apple iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

BitTorrent wants Sync 2.0 to appeal to two key groups: individuals and businesses wanting to share unlimited-size files, and people worried about privacy and security in the cloud.

"We developed the product for things that need to be kept very, very private," said Erik Pounds, Vice President of Product Management in charge of Sync.

Sync 2.0 Pro will offer dedicated tech support, business-grade work-group features and the ability to sync terabyte-size files for more than $40 less than its cheapest cloud competitor.

BitTorrent plans to charge $39.99 annually for the premium service.

Sync 2.0 will be available in a few months, and people can sign up now to test it and the upcoming mobile sync apps.

BitTorrent said it expects to release Sync 2.0 in early 2015.

The free version of Sync 2.0, which is designed to simplify the syncing and sharing of folders, has an updated interface from the current Sync version 1.4 and comes with a 30-day trial to Sync Pro. Users can toggle folder permissions and ownership, sync files automatically and receive technical support.

BitTorrent is working on building two new services based on Sync's technology, Pounds said. One is a mobile app for syncing very large files, and the other will help businesses distribute files. Both are expected to be released next year.

DataDirect Networks Collaborates with Intel in Lustre Appliance Solution

Delivering best-in-class performance and density, DataDirect Networks (DDN) today announced the latest generation of EXAScaler, the company's high performance Lustre appliance, with full support from DDN and Intel.

In a single 45 unit rack, the new EXAScaler today delivers over 4.8 PB of usable storage using 6TB disk drives, 100MB/sec sustained scalable per-drive performance, up to 40GB/sec sustained throughput and up to 1.5 million IOPS.

The latest version of the EXAScaler appliance offers the world's highest sustained Lustre metadata performance, capable of exceeding 100,000 file creates per second, even when creating millions of files under intensive load.

To meet the large-scale storage and analytics needs of Enterprise and HPC environments today, users require the mixed I/O performance and concurrent client access of a parallel file system in combination with high performance storage, backed by 24x7 enterprise-grade support.

The ability to scale to tens of thousands of clients and petabytes of storage with DDN's highly optimized Lustre v2.5 client and support for dual-rail infiniband makes the EXAScaler appliance, in particular, attractive to both academic and scientific research organizations, as well as enterprises that are scaling at HPC levels such as those in oil and gas, financial services, and manufacturing industries.

DDN's Lustre expertise and decade-long support for the world's largest file storage systems, coupled with the company's long-standing relationship with Intel, makes DDN the de-facto standard for Lustre-based environments.

Powered by Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre software (Intel EE for Lustre software), DDN EXAScaler integrates file system and storage media into one extremely high performance file storage appliance to provide massive throughput and highly parallel access that traditional enterprise SAN and NAS storage technologies lack today.

Designed specifically for businesses with large scale, high-bandwidth storage needs, the EXAScaler appliance allows users to tap into the power and scalability of Lustre, but with simplified installation, configuration and monitoring features to slash Lustre deployment time from weeks to hours even for Petascale systems.

Built on DDN's unique Storage Fusion Architecture (SFA), EXAScaler includes a number of enhancements to help customers simplify the deployment of high performance, high availability configurations including improved drive rebuild times, self-encrypting drive (SED) support, online drive firmware features, and enhanced remote diagnostics tools that provide world-class reliability, availability, and serviceability.

Data Storage Makes All Things Possible — Storage Visions 2015

Data Storage is the key enabler for virtually every facet of modern society. Storage Visions 2015 is the place where you will meet and hear from the innovators driving this technology forward.

Join CEOs, industry Leaders, manufacturers and end users at Storage Visions 2015 taking place January 4th and 5th at the Riviera in Las Vegas, NV. Network with the companies and people that will create the next generation of hardware and software at Storage Visions.

Learn about the latest storage technologies and methods to improve performance and efficiency, lower costs, and increase reliability.

For a limited time, click here to receive a $100 registration discount and please note that SV '15 management has negotiated rates as low as $55/night for event attendees at the Riviera.

The Internet of Things and the Future of Storage

Excerpted from Data Center Knowledge Report by Stefan Bernbo

A "smart and safe city" initiative was recently launched in Kazan, Russia. The goal of this initiative is to transform the city gradually by creating a network of Internet-connected sensors and devices that will serve its population with greater efficiencies and better quality of life. As an example, connected cameras have been installed in the famous Gorky Park to enhance security and safety.

Kazan provides a real-world example of what the Internet of Things (IoT) means for the data storage industry. Imagine all the new data the city's interconnected devices and sensors will generate, and the storage it will require. Current storage approaches are already bursting at the seams, and the requirements for scaling up have proven costly. Service providers need to think about how to accommodate the incoming data deluge at a price they can afford.

Appliances are the primary architecture of most modern-day data centers. Storage appliances come with proprietary, mandatory software that is designed for the hardware and vice versa, and come tightly wedded together as a package. The benefits of this configuration include convenience and ease of use.

Redundancy is built into the appliance model as backup for failure caused by reliance on a single point of entry. Traditional appliances typically include redundant copies of expensive components. This model is effective but expensive. These redundant extra components also bring with them greater energy usage and additional layers of complexity. When companies, in anticipation of growth events like the IoT, begin to consider how to scale out their data centers, costs for this traditional architecture skyrocket.

These standard appliances also suffer from vertical construction. All requests come in via a single point of entry and are then re-routed. Think about a million users connected to that one entry point at the same time. That's a set-up for a bottleneck, which prevents service providers from being able to scale to meet the capacity needed to support the IoT.

Another option in data center architecture is software-defined storage (SDS). By taking features typically found in hardware and moving them to the software layer, a software-defined approach to data center architecture eliminates the dependency on server "appliances" with software hard-wired into the system. This option provides the scalability and speed that the IoT demands.

Because software and hardware do not have to be sold together as a package, administrators can choose inexpensive commodity servers. This provides a real cost savings. When coupled with lightweight, efficient software solutions, the use of commodity servers can result in substantial savings for online service providers seeking ways to accommodate their users' growing demand for storage.

In addition to choosing commodity servers, administrators can also choose the specific components and software that best support their growth goals; they are no longer bound to the software that's hard-wired into the appliances. While this approach does require more technically trained staff, the flexibility afforded by software-defined storage delivers a simpler, stronger and more tailored data center for the company's needs.

Please click here for the full report.

Telefonica Offers Secure Line to Equinix Cloud Exchange

Excerpted from LightReading Report

Telefonica today announced that it will provide enterprises with dedicated connectivity to multiple cloud service providers through the Equinix Cloud Exchange, an advanced interconnection solution that enables seamless, on-demand and direct access to multiple clouds and multiple networks inside Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers.

Organizations are increasingly moving business IT infrastructure and applications to external data centers and cloud service providers to address the proliferation of data growth, streamline operations, and reduce costs.

Telefonica will support multinational companies in their digital transformation by helping them accelerate their Cloud and Hybrid computing solutions. In addition to its Telefonica Cloud offering, the company will facilitate highly secure access to major cloud application providers taking advantage of its global network.

Telefonica will offer this connectivity through its global IP MPLS network to Equinix's ecosystem of cloud service providers in select Equinix IBX data centers across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific via the Equinix Cloud Exchange interconnection service.

Why the IoT Needs the Process of Everything to Work

Excerpted from Information Age Report by Ben Rossi

For a long time, our imaginations have been captured by nightmares of a world taken over by intelligent machines. Indeed Hollywood is already dusting off plans for yet another Terminator movie about cyborgs ruling over humans. Our appetite for the machines taking over is insatiable and clearly makes for good box office fodder.

Thankfully, outside of popular media, such fears aren't a likely scenario, but in this increasingly digital world of ours, there is a quiet machine revolution happening.

Constructive, less assuming and smaller "things" are taking over at an exponential rate. Undoubtedly, the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of today's most substantial technology trends.

IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, and the "Industrial Internet" involves millions, even billions, of devices or "things" connected over the Internet. These devices are all continuously generating data, sensing, creating and consuming events — all the while, they are controlled remotely.

From modernizing cities through intelligent buildings and transportation, to connected homes, to industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, automated cars, farmlands and industrial plants, IoT is changing the world as we know it.

The emergence of IoT is an important phase in the evolution of the Internet — the age of intelligent devices. Every day, new intelligent 'things' are joining the data systems and expanding the digital revolution.

Researcher ABI believes that there will be over 40 billion "things" or units connected by 2020. Some other industry voices are speculating a figure closer to 50 billion.

Does this trend have anything to do with intelligent business processes? Yes, just about everything.

First of all, we're seeing how the physical world of smart devices, machines and "things" is coalescing with the digital word of systems and software. IoT is not just about connectivity technologies or even the predictive analytics models discovered from the enormous amount of data generated by the myriads of devices or "things."

Simply because they connect, communicate and analyze doesn't make an IoT thing productive or useful. To be impactful, IoT technologies need to solve real problems that typically involve multiple collaborating activities that include people, systems, and "things."

In other words, IoT needs orchestration through automated intelligent processes or what might be called the "Process of Everything" (PoE). Through PoE, IoT will realize its full potential and have the capabilities to solve real problems that will change our personal lives and businesses.

Business process management (BPM) has its roots in workflow systems that focus on human participants (people). Now, emerging intelligent BPM (iBPM) is extending the orchestration of participants from people, to systems, to intelligent 'things' that all coordinate harmoniously towards specific business objectives.

iBPM provides both the context and the container for intelligent "things" to collaborate and succeed in achieving goals.

Please click here for the full report.

Dell Embraces Internet of Things as Key Way Forward

Excerpted from The Irish Times Report by John Holden

The only thing less anticipated by this reporter than heavy downpours in Austin, TX, was Simon Le Bon's lively attempts at convincing the 5,000-strong DellWorld 2014 crowd of nerds to dance to Duran Duran. He mostly failed.

Talk focused a lot around big data, the cloud, and disruption. Unsurprisingly, it was almost impossible to find anyone, anywhere, prepared to say anything negative about Dell or its founder and chief executive. But then again there's plenty of reasons for Michael Dell to be happy right now.

He reacquired 75 per cent ownership of his business in October 2013 — spending $24.9 billion buying it back from shareholders — so it is an exciting time to be in the organization.

Going private has allowed the tech giant to draw its attention away from profit margins into R&D and listening to what customers want. In an interview with The Irish Times, Michael Dell admitted just how much fun he's been having. "As we look at our business we can now ask what are the opportunities and the unmet challenges. These are in infrastructure, security, the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, big data, and the fun part about being private is that we can embrace risk differently.

"So were pouring a ton of capital into innovation in terms of addressing those opportunities," he adds. "Here at DellWorld we've rolled out a whole bunch of new products."

Despite launching Dell in lots of uncharted waters over the last six years, his approach to success has not changed: do what the competition is doing, only better and cheaper.

The conference was also a showcase to "pooh pooh" the conventional wisdom that the PC is dead.

On the contrary, the PC is becoming "increasingly strategic" as a powerful local computer resource and hub for the IoT.

"There are around 1.8 billion PCs in the world right now," said Dell.

"They are deeply embedded in the infrastructure of how our world works. It is one of our stated objectives as a private company to invest in our PC business.

"There was 4.3 per cent growth last year in the industry overall — that includes commercial PCs, tablets, etc. Our US shipments grew 19.7 per cent. That means Dell represented all of the industry growth in the US in 2013."

Please click here for the full report.

The Internet of Things — Are We at the Tipping Point?

Edited from Online Social Media Report by Mark Chubb

The definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) is "intelligent interactivity between humans and things to exchange information and knowledge for new value creation." Try saying that after a glass of wine!

There's been a lot of talk about the IoT in the business world, and with good reason. It's chock full of potential to improve performance, reduce costs, drive innovation, and create new revenue streams. Of course, we've now reached the point where the talk is turning into action — technology is adapting and businesses are planning IoT strategies.

Forrester Consulting says: "We are at the tipping point for broader IoT adoption with 53% of organizations planning to implement an IoT solution in the next 24 months. Organizations in Asia Pacific and Latin America are more aggressive with 69 and 60 percent respectively, planning to implement over the same time period."

The IoT is exciting to talk about, but as is often the case with technological advancements on the cusp of becoming mainstream, it's hard for us right now to imagine day to day practicalities. So let us help you visualize how the IoT will make a difference:

1) Transport and Mobility - in downtown San Francisco, CA, 20-30% of all traffic congestion is caused by people hunting for a parking space. This congestion could be reduced in an IoT-enabled city, as wireless sensors in the parking lot could direct connected cars to an available space and initiate payment. If needed, the smart car could use the parking details to call a mobile mechanic to change the oil whilst the driver is away for the afternoon.

A connected transport system means that traffic can be effectively routed when there is a change in conditions. Users of public transport services such as buses, trains and trams could be instantly notified with service updates and receive relevant information about their journey. The IoT could also make a huge difference in the packing and shipping industries, making monitoring and logistics seamless.

2) Healthcare and Smart Homes - due to our aging population, it's estimated that 40 million people age 65 and over will be living alone in the US, Canada, and Europe. The IoT means that elderly people will be able to retain their independence and live at home for longer, whilst their families can be instantly reassured of their safety and wellbeing. This can be achieved by having wireless sensors throughout the house, which monitor things like activity levels, sleeping patterns and medication schedules. Alerts can be automatically sent to healthcare services and family members if there is cause for concern.

Better connectivity in hospitals means that patient care can be vastly improved, as doctors will be able to view test results and notes instantly using their own devices or even bio wearables. Cleaners can be alerted when an area needs attending to, improving hygiene standards throughout the building. Equipment can monitored and therefore allocated to the correct department according to demand.

3) Smart Buildings and Mobility - energy used by commercial and industrial buildings in the US create almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions for the whole country. With this in mind, businesses are under pressure to improve energy efficiency of their buildings. The IoT could help to achieve this using sensors which automate usage of lighting, water and gas according to the number of people in the building and their precise location, as well as the weather conditions.

4) Cities and Industry - Smart Cities can significantly reduce their impact on the environment by making services more efficient. Resources like electricity, water and gas could be distributed according to use and maintenance services can be alerted instantly if there are any problems on the network. Connected cars could also alert maintenance services when they pass a pothole, or a streetlight that needs fixing. The alert would automatically be sent to a staff member closest to the problem that needs attention, saving time and money spent on fuel.

How can the IoT create revenue?

The key to answering this all-important question is this — streamlining. The IoT is a catalyst for making services smarter, better and more efficient, therefore saving people time and money.

To illustrate, it's been said in an article by Telecom Reseller that the IoT could generate: $100 billion by reducing energy consumption in public buildings and therefore lowering operating costs. $108 billion in the gas and water monitoring industries, simply by reducing meter reading costs, improving accuracy and providing real time updates on use and status. And $42 billion with the introduction of smart parking, identifying availability of spaces and introducing demand-based pricing.

Samsung Hunts for Next Hit with Internet of Things

Excerpted from Bloomberg Business Week Report by Jungah Lee

Yoon C. Lee, a Samsung Electronics executive, is giving a tour of his US home in Oakland, CA. He shows off his living room and foyer, then takes a look outside to check the garden. He considers turning on the sprinkler system before deciding the plants have enough water.

The thing is, he's not actually in California. He's 8,000 miles away with a reporter in a Seoul conference room. Lee, a tall, 49-year-old, is at a huge table fiddling with a Galaxy S5 phone that's streaming live video from the US.

This is Samsung's next big bet as it works to build a future beyond mobile phones, where earnings are tumbling. Lee and his colleagues are trying to create another hit from what's known as the Internet of Things (IoT), technology that stitches together phones, cameras, sprinklers, and roads. If they succeed, the effort could propel sales of the company's electronics, appliances, and chips for a generation; if they fail, the troubles will likely deepen.

"Imagine if all the dumb things around you can be connected," said Lee. "For Samsung, this is a big new opportunity, a huge paradigm shift. It will benefit us across all businesses."

Samsung's Internet push comes just as Apple, Google, and dozens of others are sizing up the same opportunity. Tech's giants are all vying for leadership and collaborating where necessary. The market for the IoT is projected to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020, according to the research firm IDC.

In a sign of how seriously Samsung is taking the effort, the company is transferring about 500 engineers from its mobile-phone division and allocating them largely to the Internet initiative, according to people familiar with the matter. The shift also reflects recognition that the Suwon, South Korea-based company needs another hit after smartphones, they said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters.

"This is a must-have market for Samsung," said Neil Mawston, executive director of the research firm Strategy Analytics. "The IoT will be too big to ignore."

Please click here for the full report.

Setting Standards for the Internet of Things

Excerpted from Harvard Business Review Report by Thomas Davenport and Sanjay Sarma

Fifteen years ago, one of the first major initiatives in the Internet of Things (IoT) took place. In 1999, the Auto-ID Center was formed at MIT; it later became the Auto-ID Labs, a global consortium of researchers and practitioners.

The goal of both organizations was to research and help implement radio-frequency identification devices (RFID). That same year also marked the first recorded use of the IoT term by an Auto-ID co-director. (While the concept of connected things goes back at least two decades, to our knowledge it was Kevin Ashton, a co-founder of the MIT Auto-ID Center, who first used the appealing IoT term in 1999.)

RFID was arguably the first major IoT technology of any scale. While not all RFID devices are connected to the Internet, from the beginning the technology involved a networked collection of sensors that monitored physical devices.

One of us, Sanjay, was a co-director of the Labs and their MIT predecessor from the beginning, and worked with a variety of consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail firms to employ RFID devices in supply chain processes. The great success of that work was the development of a standard for data from RFID devices, which are still being implemented as the cost of each device falls.

However, that standard-setting process was difficult and time-consuming. It took 15 years to develop and implement this one standard, an electronic product code called EPCGlobal. This is our worry about the Internet of Things. If it takes that long to develop similar standards for other processes and industries where the IoT is relevant, the progress of this technology will be set back considerably.

We need to do something differently this time, while repeating the positive experiences of the RFID effort. Below, we'll describe the factors that worked well from the RFID experience, and then the things that need to change in order to make more rapid progress with other types of IoT applications.

Collaboration of diverse players. RFID and the EPCGlobal standard were created by a combination of academic researchers, executives from retail and CPG firms, and eventually a company (GS1) charged with overseeing the standard. Researchers proposed alternative standards and technology implementation approaches, and company sponsors gave rapid feedback on what would and wouldn't work in their context. This type of collaboration is essential in something as broad as RFID, and even more important for the general IoT, which is much more encompassing.

User companies in the driver's seat. While there were a few other groups working on RFID, the Auto-ID/GS1/EPC collaboration was the dominant standard-setting group by far. It was primarily driven by user companies, not vendors. The IoT, unfortunately, already has too many standards bodies, and in most of them technology vendors play perhaps too prominent a role.

Highly influential players. Some hugely powerful entities were involved in the RFID standard. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, was an early and active participant. Procter & Gamble was a leader from the CPG side. Even the Department of Defense was involved for military supply chain applications.

Tight focus on a desired outcome. There was a business process and a clear objective in mind from the beginning for RFID. The focus was on supply chain improvements, and reductions of stockouts—empty store shelves because of poor supply chain replenishment—in particular. Walmart was driven by an open acknowledgment that it had a high level of stockouts, when many other companies refused to admit any problem. The giant retailer was a strong driver of its own activities, as well as those of many suppliers. Although some suppliers resisted Walmart's moves on RFID, many that did adopt the technology generally achieved substantial benefits in stockout reductions.

A view beyond devices. The real benefits of RFID and IoT come from broad, sweeping implementations that encompass not just sensor devices, but also a combination of data integration, analytics, and process change activities. Companies like Walmart and Macy's that have embraced RFID, developed a vision for it, and aggressively implemented all of these types of change are the ones that have achieved business value.

Faster process. As we mentioned, fifteen years is too long to develop a standard that relates to one class of devices for one industry collaboration. Part of the issue with RFID was that every participating organization had to employ exactly the same data standards and formats. With modern cloud computing and application program interfaces (APIs), ecosystem members can do some translating on the fly between different standards and formats. That should speed implementation somewhat.

Bottom-up efforts. RFID approaches were largely driven from a centralized, collaborative effort of large organizations. But in this era of apps, "bring your own device," and ubiquitous computing approaches, we can speed adoption of consumer-oriented and small business IoT applications by leveraging bottom-up adoption as well as top-down standard-setting.

More carrots than sticks. While Walmart's aggressive embrace of RFID was on the whole positive, its decision to mandate that all suppliers use the technology by 2005 set the movement back when many suppliers felt they could not comply. Carrots for compliance rather than the threatened sticks would probably have been more effective, and would have prevented a highly visible setback.

Even if we learn from the positive steps of RFID and avoid the negative lessons, nothing with the IoT will be accomplished overnight. It will inevitably involve collaboration and adoption across complex ecosystems, and an array of technology and organizational changes within every participant. But if we learn from the IoT's early history, we can make the progress faster and make many companies' uses of the IoT more successful.

Coming Events of Interest

PDCAT 2014 — December 9th-11th in Hong Kong. The 16th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Applications and Technologies (PDCAT 2014) is a major forum for scientists, engineers, and practitioners throughout the world to present their latest research, results, ideas, developments and applications in all areas of parallel and distributed computing.

Storage Visions Conference — January 4th-5th in Las Vegas, NV. The fourteenth annual conference theme is: Storage with Intense Network Growth (SWING). Storage Visions Awards presented there cover significant products, services, and companies in many digital storage markets.

International CES — January 6th-9th in Las Vegas, NV. The International CES is the world's gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Held in Las Vegas every year, it has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

The DCIA's IoT Marathon — January 6th-9th in Las Vegas, NV. Twelve hours of demos, displays, and discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) in daily segments webcast live from the DCIA's CES 2015 exhibit-booth studio in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Internet of Things Conference — April 15th-17th in San Diego, CA. The IoT Con will focus on how companies are using a variety of technologies, including ZigBee radios, Wi-Fi, and machine-to-machine (M2M)software, to connect things to the Internet, and how they are achieving real business benefits from doing so.

Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) — October (2015 Dates TBD) in Dubai, UAE. IoTWF is an exclusive event that brings together the best and brightest thinkers, practitioners, and innovators from business, government, and academia to accelerate the market adoption of the Internet of Things.

Copyright 2014 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated November 23, 2014
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