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Tech innovations can sometimes originate in simple ideas. They can also reproduce natural solutions. By observing similarities and connecting apparently disparate things, a Eureka moment is sometimes not far away. SAP Digital Interconnect shares an interesting parallelism between bees and sensors, and consequently between a smart city and a hive.

The common denominator consists of secure and efficient communications. When designing the IoT systems, this is often the underlining scope – getting the right data where you want it, while avoiding unauthorized access.

Let’s follow this story and see why SAP thinks that designers and managers have a lot to learn from the way bumblebees are organized.

 

Connected cities – the super-organisms of tomorrow

The overall tech weaving that goes into any smart city structure is impressive. The result is a sum of subsystems, a mega-system. With all the data flows taking place, the interconnections, and the necessary coordination – we may see it as a super-organism. How can the professionals design and program it, so that it would work as such?

It wouldn’t be for the first time in human progress that nature inspired humans in solving complicated problems. By getting our inspiration from the natural structures that work just fine for centuries, the easiest answer is often the best one.

The source article’s coauthors are also beekeepers. In this quality they have noticed how a beehive is in fact a collection of different cells. It’s the relationship between these cells and the way the bees understand to enact it that makes sure the whole system works together in a flawless way.

In a similar way, the design and management of IoT networks could make sure that all the sensors communicate seamlessly, that their hierarchy is respected, and their functions fulfilled.

What drew the attention of the two authors (one a Head of IoT products, and the other a Mobile Evangelist), are the pheromones. They are the common element that may activate or block communications, depending on the necessity. In a network packed with sensors that have a double function – independent and interconnected, this is critical.

 

Looking forward for a highly functional, organized IoT environment

The perspective of a medium packed with sensors, devices, data flows and streaming information does not rhyme with functionality, nor does it inspire an ergonomic structure.

However, layering, categories and distributed activities could make it so that the sensors take turns in communicating with each other. For example, when collecting data that is not needed in real time, the sensors could save activity and bandwidth and stay in a local mode. When receiving the designed signal, they could go into transmit mode.

By using the bees’ behavior as a model, the authors recommend three scopes in planning various systems that go in a smart city structure:

  • Simplicity;
  • Security;
  • Smart communication.

Following these guidelines (that you may see explained, by accessing the source article), any involved professional may get a better version of the system he/she is in responsible for.

 

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Tech

City planners and technologists joined forces at Smart Cities Week 2018 in an exercise of simulation for businesses. The theme was the future the smart city, which is not at all far-fetched. All around the globe initiatives for intelligent, connected IoT-based urban centers are in various stages of development.

To understand the full scale of requirements, challenges and multiple tasks involved by such a mega structure, we browsed a recap of the simulation, as featured on IoT for All.

 

Things to expect when involved in a smart city project

Although the increased specialization in the technical field over the years may not equally put all participants in a project in a similar strategic posture, certain major challenges are bound to affect all. Even if layered in complementary projects, micro projects and various team types, the professionals who are part of the overall team do have to acknowledge the bigger picture.

What would a few of the common challenges might be? Lateral thinking is one of them. For the success of such a venture, those who make decisions, as well as those who decide for their own subsidiary area of responsibility need to bring an indirect and creative approach to the table.

Balancing the budget against what are indeed the much needed strategic investments is yet another must. Investing in new technologies blends together with retrofitting older structures. However, blending means seamless integration. The participants need to think things through. They also need to have a can do attitude, to grasp the big picture, as well as be quickly aware of the possible pressure or blockage points.

 

A process of bartering and flexible adaptation

The simulation in cause was extremely interesting due to the fact that it reunited city planners with the specialist in technology.  While the professionals in urban planning brought an approach forged during the specifics of their everyday activity, some of the technologists had their first opportunity to see how and why this type of project is different.

City planners are often reluctant to changes, stick by their budgets and need to understand the technology and translate it into financial lines. Understanding the technology alone took a while for some of the participants. The technologists had to meet them halfway in relation with certain issues.

Collaboration and strategy are key on the road to a functional smart city – as the author repeatedly underlines it. The aim and the measurement elements is the citizen quality of life – a notion that seems at hand, but needs defining. It also requires a sustained activity on the line of planning, so it would indeed materialize into better services, better living conditions and so on.

 

Keywords for activities related to the smart cities of the future

We selected a few keywords that might not be the first things that come to mind when contemplating the idea of smart city:

  • Multiple stakeholders
  • Constrained budgets
  • Challenging social dynamics

Other keywords are less surprising:

  • Economic growth
  • Intuitive infrastructure
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Collaborative processes

Materializing smart city projects may involve a sum of integrations. Some software solution can be adopted into such a project, while they previously existed in the private environment. Others can regard custom-made software programs and applications.

Whatever the case, having the right partner in software engineering is of great use. Our company is an example of such a partner – with the experience accumulated in our projects along the years, we can tackle IoT and mobile challenges related to the major ventures of the future.

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Tech

Starting from its own report, Automation World details this week on a phenomenon of interest for all owners and developers, whose activities are linked to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In what the online publication deems a key fact, it seems that

Manufacturers are mapping out a route that covers both (cloud & edge), each an integral on-ramp for new predictive maintenance and performance monitoring applications at different stops on the journey.

 

Where is IIoT taking place, according to the AW report?

Not so much taking place, but evolving, operating, being deployed with all its features, data flow, stream of communications – of course. However one would call it, here is what the numbers say:

  • 43 % of the respondents revealed they have edge computing implementations underway;
  • 51 % of the respondents already use cloud computing in their IIoT implementations
  • 20 % of the respondents mentioned fog computing, “ a superset of edge computing used to bridge the traditional operations (OT) world with enterprise IT” – according to AW
  • 29 % of the respondents marked their answer under the “none of the above section”.

While some of you may be momentarily surprised by the over 100 % total, this is due to the fact that the survey respondents could pick more than one answer.

 

The user’s maturity degree in using edge and cloud computing in IIoT, according to the same study

The angle here is that the amount of time since starting to use either one of the options, or both, entitles the users to a more firm and valid verdict when it comes to comparing the mediums they employ for IIoT.

  • 48 % of the users employ these technologies for more than 3 years
  • 39 % of the users hold an experience of over 2 years in edge/fog or cloud computing technology
  • 12 % of the respondents are still at the beginning with using these above-mentioned technologies

 

Which environment is predominant?

When asked which their most preferred path for production/manufacturing data analysis applications is, the survey respondents placed their preferences as such:

  • 52 % cited edge computing
  • under 20 % mentioned equipment data analytics—for capacity or overall equipment effectiveness

In what their “preferred paradigm for enterprise effectiveness analysis” is concerned,

  • 5 % chose cloud computing
  • 18 % went for edge computing
  • 27 % mentioned fog computing

 

The relationship between the types of IIoT deployment and the overall benefits

Since their experience with one or the other of the deployment environments is around 2-3 years, the surveyed companies could provide an image of the overall benefits:

  • 50 % of the responding companies vouched for significant reductions in downtime
  • 38 % mentioned “measurable improvements to production output”
  • 37 % witnessed a considerable profitability increase
  • 30 % mentioned a decrease in the production costs

A typical rollout pattern involves a cloud – edge – cloud again (mixed version) for the IIoT deployment operations.

For other relevant numbers, as well as for perspectives in the related hardware field, you may access the source Automated World article here.

 

 

 

 

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Tech

The LASTING Software Big Data experience spans from pharmaceutical industry projects, to the business software and consultancy collaborations we are part of. Digital data is our field of action.

While auditing companies and being part of the preliminary consultancy stage, one can notice in time how the needs and requirements of each partner vary, even if the ultimate goals bring us all together. Staying ahead of the competition, getting a firm grasp on the industrial revolution phenomenon and keeping or making their organizations successful are all common traits for companies, even for industries.

Reaching these goals allows for a wide range of software solutions to come into play. The best solution for you is the one that provides the most suitable, actionable answer to your current needs. Being scalable is a big extra, because what you invest in now will also deliver tomorrow, the next year or in 5 years. Provided you specify this in the consultancy & design phase, a sustainable software solution should always be an integrated scope.

On this line, we ran into an article that deconstructs the Big Data needs – and we want to share a few ideas out of it with you.

 

 

Operational data, a preliminary step to Big Data

While Big Data involves a great deal of external data purchasing, operational data is internal. The ReadWrite article that caught our attention underlines the importance of harnessing this type of data, before making the leap for Big Data.

Mining data for actionable information requires attentive management, accurate analysis, and continuous adjustment, and buying software and raw data doesn’t provide companies with the skills necessary to master these processes overnight”.

In other words, the companies that are new to this need guidance. So do those that have reached the conclusion that something needs to change for the better in the way they do things.

This, as well as trying your hand at the data game by processing operational data, could both use the right partnerships.

The consultants in this field put their know-how and experience at your disposal. Once you successfully deploy operational data solutions, it may be time for big data, or not. Often the optimal solution combines both of the types of data. It all depends on the specifics of your activity.

 

The smaller-scale solutions for digital data, between creativity and customization

Let’s say your organization has a certain operational need. The answer takes the shape of a potential project. Creativity points out a certain type of solution, perhaps even a completely innovative one. When further going into the matter, some aspects become limited by technical elements. You customize down, so to say. What you imagined at a first glance can change. It happens, once confronted with budgeting, resources, compatibility, and project duration or other reasonable expectations.

When done in-house, this stage can be too harsh, or in some cases, not harsh enough. Both are dangerous, because instead of getting things done the right way, you would either settle for a more limited solution, or delay the problem solving by chasing a less realistic projection. By partnering with a software solutions company, you can test these “could be”-s against a backdrop of hands-on experience, industry know how and updated knowledge in the software solutions field.

The second stage of customization can take place when already having a certain skilled software partner. Your operational need can prove one that is familiar across your industry or field. Then the answer to it need not start from scratch. Building upon an already validated solution involves customizing up and the team creates and/or activates new features. Cost-saving and faster, this way of getting a personalized solution is perhaps the most frequent nowadays.

Contact LASTING Software, let’s talk about this and see where it takes us! We are here for your projects!

 

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Tech

5G links to Smart Manufacturing, which links to Industry 4.0. In fact the last two may be seen as one and the same thing.


Smart manufacturing and the Smart Factory is a broad category of manufacturing with the goal of optimizing the manufacturing process. Smart manufacturing is the process that employs computer controls, modeling, big data and other automation to improve manufacturing efficiencies.

Source


Although some big players are still reticent, important 5G promoters continue to develop this technology. Moreover, hands-on demos illustrate its key qualities. Continuous process monitoring is one of the areas 5G should bring shorter lead-times, while returning higher yield.

We took a look at one article occasioned by this year’s Industrial Manufacturing Show held in Chicago:


Industry 4.0 will rely on increasingly fast, secure, and often wireless, data transfers to optimize operations, increase automation and mitigate risk in manufacturing environments.

 

Potential 5G early adopters


Various sensitive industries that would highly benefit from a reduction in the production errors are potential early adopters.


The 5G article mentions the aeronautical industry and the manufacturing industry – when focusing on the production of sophisticate components.


The scope here is to make the collecting and processing of the sensor data, as well as the action of cutting control, take place in under one millisecond.


Research has pointed out that for this type of demands, “5G and cellular wireless can deliver, with its ultra-low latency and high reliability”.

 

What does 5G mean for industrial production?


As mentioned above, no network solutions before 5G have been able to provide instant monitoring and adjustment during production.


An extra benefit is that by storing production and sensor data for each manufactured product, the 5G supported manufacturing enables real-time digital twins. Whenever needed, this data is available and ready to serve in research, analysis, and risk assessment, or to answer other possible demands.

 

While waiting for 5G future developments


As our colleague Ionel Petrut, Project Manager at Lasting Software, mentioned in his presentation held this year for the SACI conference (IEEE 12th International Symposium on Applied Computational Intelligence and Informatics, SACI 2018, Timisoara, Romania):

 

The Internet of Things had a very big impact on the technology as we know today. One important aspect, not yet standardized, is the way in which objects connect to the network to function together. In particular, in the medical field, the Internet of Things faces a high number of technical limitations, most of them related to the electromagnetic emissions.

Until the 5G network will create the infrastructure for sensors to directly connect to the Internet, the connection through Bluetooth Low Energy remains the most suitable solution for Internet of Things connectivity.

 

We prove our software engineering skills and professional commitment by mastering the current technologies involved in the projects we are part of. But we also keep an eye on the latest developments, dreaming of the bold new world of fully deployed IoT capabilities.

 

Contact us for consultancy and partnerships – the future awaits!

 

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