Tuesday Jan 27, 2015

Top Five IoT Predictions for 2015 – Part II

In part one of our blog post series, Oracle Group Vice President Scott Armour discussed the obstacles and opportunities he sees on the horizon for Internet of Things (IoT). Here is the second installment of the Q&A, outlining the effects of IoT on customers, how Oracle can address the concerns IoT and M2M service providers face, and the use of intelligent devices in specific verticals.

Q. Welcome back, Scott. Now one of the promises of IoT is its ability to change the way businesses interact with their customers. How does Oracle expect this to change today’s customer service solutions and processes?

A. IoT allows businesses to better understand how they interact with their customers in the physical world. Organizations have been mining social media to understand what customers are saying about a company, and now IoT can help companies understand how customers use their products which allows them to follow the full product lifecycle from start to finish.

A great example is the automotive space. Twenty years ago, most automakers had very limited engagement with their customers and over time, provided warranty and service plans to help build a stronger connection and collect performance data about their vehicles. More recently, automakers have been downloading and storing diagnostic data when a car is in for servicing. Better data, without a great deal of context about where the car was driving, under what conditions, and by which driver. Today it’s possible to collect data remotely as the car operates and thus gain situational data in context which is much more valuable and also enables predictive analytics. The key here is that the business (automaker) now has the ability to offer a highly valued service to their customer by predicting issues and taking charge of getting repair work scheduled and completed.

This is all made possible by extending the enterprise programming model down to the devices themselves. Enterprises gain insights from data collected by devices and in turn can push rules down that help devices identify problems sooner and thus enhance customer experiences in new ways. Oracle leverages the embedded versions of Java, Databases, and Complex Event Processing to make all this possible.

Q. One of the biggest concerns for M2M and IoT service providers are making services scalable, secure and simple to deploy. How does Oracle address these issues?  

A. Oracle’s recommendation is to start with Java as a scalable, horizontal IoT platform that provides hooks into existing security architectures, service-oriented architectures, and application management/ provisioning systems. Java has a built-in security “sandbox” to ensure that only approved applications are allowed to execute. While Java scales from multi-core, multi-processor servers to small-embedded devices, many customers are also exploring the use of the smallest version of Java, Java Card, on integrated hardware security modules. Java Embedded technologies on that device can then easily use that security module to secure data, communications and applications via Java’s security framework.

Regarding simple deployment, Oracle is extending its server-side management and deployment tools to bridge between the IT and device worlds. Each IoT device needs to be securely and uniquely identified, provisioned, and managed through the full lifecycle merited by the device.  Oracle has a great deal of expertise regarding how to handle that process within IT – and we expect to soon roll out a seamless mechanism to help customers bridge the gap between devices and IT. This will, in turn, make it easier to set up devices to collect data, harvest that data, and integrate it with business systems.

Q. Are users best served by having more intelligent devices in specific verticals or should IoT service providers build the intelligence closer to the heart of the network?


A. It depends. Even in cases where practically identical IoT installations exist, some cases will be better served having strong intelligence at the edge and in other cases all data should be collected and analyzed in the enterprise. An example would be a company that is instrumenting a campus office building and a similar building located halfway across the globe in an area where power and connectivity aren’t as reliable. On campus, it’s convenient to analyze everything centrally and take actions from there.  In the remote case, local intelligence will aid in the proper operation of that building.

Therefore, the best solutions and IoT infrastructure are flexible and scalable. Choosing to operate two buildings differently shouldn’t require two completely different sets of sensors, gateways, and control systems. It’s better if they are as close to the same as possible to save design, installation, and maintenance time and money. But you will want solution flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Ultimately all important information should find its way to the heart of the network as that’s where broad-based analytics convert information and insights from multiple installations into new logic that is passed back down to the edge in a virtuous cycle of constant improvement.

An ideal choice is to use intelligent devices as they can help convert raw data from sensors to information and thus minimize traffic on wired or wireless networks. Intelligent devices offer future proofing in anticipation of new needs or functions not yet realized at installation time.

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No matter where your customers are located and what industry they’re in, you can help them reimagine their business, focus on their growth and drive innovation. And with software and hardware engineered to work together, they can shave months, or even years, off their integration timelines. Simplified IT can help them get there; Oracle can help you get them there.

All the best,
Your OPN Comms team

Thursday Jan 22, 2015

Top Five IoT Predictions for 2015 – Part I

You can seldom open a news website or newspaper today without seeing some mention of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). According to Gartner, “4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.” From our refrigerators to our vehicles, soon everything will be interconnected and sharing data that will change the way we live and work. But with the promise of massive digital transformation through IoT comes the potential for logistical and security nightmares.


In this two part Q&A, Oracle's Scott Armour discusses the obstacles and opportunities he predicts for IoT in the coming year. Armour is Group Vice President at Oracle, responsible for global Java and IoT go-to-market strategy.

Q. Scott, IoT is further fueling the creation of data that the industry will eventually have to manage. What are the challenges here for the IoT industry?

A. I think the key word here is “manage”. Yes, IoT in almost every form can generate a tremendous amount of data. The question is, how important is that data? Is the data basic or critical? Does it require immediate action? Is it personal or private and therefore must be treated more securely. No matter the case, Oracle believes that when the edge is more intelligent, the overall system is better able to manage the flood of data and convert it into a stream of valued intelligence – on everything from operations to customer interactions. Part of addressing that flood of data is to ensure it is categorized or labeled clearly and consistently. Standards exist for labeling data in flexible ways, but one issue that will plague IoT is that the industry is lacking agreed-upon standards needed to share data between different endpoints.

Oracle believes it can help address these problems by extending proven enterprise class solutions to devices, enabling simpler design and development, robust scalability, and data integration for IoT solutions. Oracle is investing in an IoT architecture that enables devices to participate in a business-driven decision making process which helps companies learn faster and react sooner – and which helps manage the vast amount of data coming into the enterprise.

Q. Which industry verticals will lead the way in deploying IoT applications? 

A. It won’t surprise you to find that those industries and verticals that can realize the largest immediate value from edge data and analytics are pushing the hardest to adopt IoT models. Certainly there is a lot of activity in the consumer space around fitness/wearables and home monitoring. Oracle is also beginning to see a lot of IoT interest in industries like Telematics, Healthcare, Industrial Automation and Building Automation.

For example, Healthcare has been working on IoT-like solutions for some time to better manage their equipment in hospitals, but an important trend is moving patients out of hospitals sooner to recover more effectively at home. These patients must have a reliable, secure, and flexible home monitoring system that can extend a hospital’s care and oversight to the home during the recovery period. Remote systems must be provisioned with the patient’s status and key set points requiring  alerts to be identified and processed quickly and reliably. The cost savings for this approach are tremendous for hospitals and patients alike creating intense demand for these solutions. Oracle is working with major care providers and device manufacturers to design solutions that care providers can use to connect to home health hubs and assorted medical equipment.

The Industrial Automation and Building Automation sectors have been implementing machine-to-machine (M2M) systems for many years now. IoT offers the ability to unlock the value of data that often never leaves the control systems for a factory pod or a building wing. Unlocking and sharing that data enables equipment users to apply predictive analytics to potential failures and to optimize operations across a much broader set of equipment than ever before. Managing failures is critical for industries as line stoppages due to equipment failure are extremely expensive and often dangerous. As in the above cases, Oracle is working with major equipment providers to use Java’s inherent communication features and a rich set of functionality to better share data and anticipate problems.

Stay tuned for the second installment of Scott’s Q&A, which will outline the effects of IoT on customers, how Oracle can address the concerns of IoT and the use of intelligent devices in various verticals.

Cheers,
Oracle PartnerNetwork

Wednesday Oct 23, 2013

Internet of Things Becoming Reality

The Internet of Things is not just on the radar—it’s becoming a reality. A globally connected continuum of devices and objects will unleash untold possibilities for businesses and the people they touch. But the “things” are only a small part of a much larger, integrated architecture.

A great example of this comes from the healthcare industry.

Imagine an expectant mother who needs to watch her blood pressure. She lives in a mountain village 100 miles away from medical attention.

Luckily, she can use a small “wearable” device to monitor her status and wirelessly transmit the information to a healthcare hub in her village.

Now, say the healthcare hub identifies that the expectant mother’s blood pressure is dangerously high. It sends a real-time alert to the patient’s wearable device, advising her to contact her doctor. It also pushes an alert with the patient’s historical data to the doctor’s tablet PC. He inserts a smart security card into the tablet to verify his identity. This ensures that only the right people have access to the patient’s data.

Then, comparing the new data with the patient’s medical history, the doctor decides she needs urgent medical attention. GPS tracking devices on ambulances in the field identify and dispatch the closest one available.

An alert also goes to the closest hospital with the necessary facilities. It sends real-time information on her condition directly from the ambulance. So when she arrives, they already have a treatment plan in place to ensure she gets the right care.

The Internet of Things makes a huge difference for the patient. She receives personalized and responsive healthcare. But this technology also helps the businesses involved. The healthcare provider achieves a competitive advantage in its services. The hospital benefits from cost savings through more accurate treatment and better application of services. All of this, in turn, translates into savings on insurance claims.

This is an ideal scenario for the Internet of Things—when all the devices integrate easily and when the relevant organizations have all the right systems in place. But in reality, that can be difficult to achieve. Core design principles are required to make the whole system work. Open standards allow these systems to talk to each other. Integrated security protects personal, financial, commercial and regulatory information. A reliable and highly available systems infrastructure is necessary to keep these systems running 24/7.

If this system were just made up of separate components, it would be prohibitively complex and expensive for almost any organization.

The solution is integration, and Oracle is leading the way. We’re developing converged solutions, not just from device to datacenter, but across devices, utilizing the Java platform, and through data acquisition and management, integration, analytics, security and decision-making.

The Internet of Things (IoT) requires the predictable action and interaction of a potentially endless number of components. It’s in that convergence that the true value of the Internet of Things emerges. Partners who take the comprehensive view and choose to engage with the Internet of Things as a fully integrated platform stand to gain the most from the Internet of Things’ many opportunities.

To discover what else Oracle is doing to connect the world, read about Oracle’s Internet of Things Platform. Learn how you can get involved as a partner by checking out the Oracle Java Knowledge Zone.

Best regards,

David Hicks




Monday Sep 23, 2013

Big Day! #OPNX13 Sunday Recap

Good morning, folks. Day One of OPN Exchange at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 is over, and we're already on to number two. It's been a blast here in San Francisco.

Yesterday we heard from executives and global partners about Oracle’s strategic vision for partners in the year ahead. We applauded 40+ Partner Award winners this year. And four Oracle leaders shared their insights on everything from hardware to the Internet of Things during the first round of #OPNX13 general sessions.

Have any thoughts about what you’ve seen so far? Tweet them at us (#OPNX13).

Onward!

OPN Comms