Why most of data in the Internet of Things is going nowhere

It’s a little-known fact that much of the massive amounts of data coming off the Internet of Things (IoT) may never go anywhere. Its value will be lost if it is not processed immediately, and there’s just not enough bandwidth for it all to be transmitted, anyway.

“I think you’ll end up processing most data at the edge and throwing it away,” predicts Alexander Hill, co-founder of Senseye, a British company that develops Internet of Things (IoT)-based machinery failure forecasting for industry.

One area Senseye is working on involves reducing failure rates for auto manufacturing equipment. Vibration sensors can help to tell when a machine is about to break. But systems would get clogged transmitting the huge amounts of data this can generate.

Sending vibration data to a central warehouse is inefficient and you could lose interesting data in the noise, particularly if the information has to travel over a congested wireless connection or a low power WAN such as those being promoted by the LoRa Alliance or SIGFOX.

And the consequences of a catastrophic failure could be significant. “If one robot goes down you have a whole factory line that could be stopped, costing millions of dollars,” Hill says.

This is precisely the kind of data that is best processed in real time or near-real time, at the network edge.

Such ‘perishable’ or time-sensitive data “is only actionable within a short amount of time after being collected,” says Dima Tokar, co-founder and chief technology officer of the IoT analyst firm MachNation.

“It plays a key role in certain IoT solutions that rely on sensor data to generate rapid actionable insight,” he notes. “For IoT solutions focused on safety and automation, ensuring that data is acquired and processed with minimal delay is of paramount importance.”

Senseye hopes its improved monitoring techniques could help to cut automotive manufacturing machinery’s already extremely low fault rates by a further 50 percent or so. Elsewhere, Tokar cites the value of perishable data in accident avoidance at construction sites.

“The ability to receive and process data in near real-time is what makes the solution work,” he says. “Without processing data close to the source, the solution couldn’t provide actionable insight quickly enough to allow decisions to be made in time.”

Helping to reduce the risk of human injury or cut the cost of machinery failures are two obvious reasons why companies should embrace perishable data.

But, says Tokar: “The lowest-hanging-fruit applications for edge processing are scenarios where connectivity is unreliable or limited. Edge processing can increase automation and operational efficiency in environments typically considered too remote and complex to operate in.”  

Because of this, it is hardly surprising that sectors such as oil and gas, which have extremely high-value operations in remote, poorly connected sites, are already taking perishable data seriously.

More widely, 37 percent of Cisco customers believe most of their IoT data will be processed at the edge of their networks within three years. That should help increase the value of the data overall since, according to IDC, less than 1 percent of it is being analyzed at present.

Furthermore, the proportion of data that gets processed at the edge is likely to grow as the IoT expands. Cisco predicts 50 billion things will be connected to the IoT by 2020.

Trying to centrally process the data from each one would put an enormous strain on networks and computing systems. “Our vibration sensors produce tens of thousands of data points a second,” says Hill. “You don’t want to push that back up the 3G data link.”

Instead, intelligent network edge devices could process the bulk of data and then just a small portion could be sent on for further analysis within a data warehouse. 

“The most exciting thing about data processing at the network edge is that it opens up a world of new possibilities that simply couldn’t be achieved if all of the raw data had to make a trip to the cloud,” says Tokar.

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The contents or opinions in this feature are independent and may not necessarily represent the views of Cisco. They are offered in an effort to encourage continuing conversations on a broad range of innovative technology subjects. We welcome your comments and engagement.

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About Jason Deign @DeigninSpain

Jason Deign is a Barcelona-based business writer, journalist and author.

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How long before you step into a driverless vehicle?

There’s a scene missing from all those flash auto ads parading across our screens. You get the open roads, the panoramic curves, the grip of tire on tarmac. But you don’t get to see the stressed driver trying to squeeze their shiny vehicle into a tight parking spot.

No surprise: parking is the part of driving that even the most hardened petrolhead detests. But if you lay your hands on a Tesla then you need not worry about it any longer. In January, the Californian carmaker announced a feature called Summon, which allows the car to park itself.

Fully driverless cars are fast becoming a reality. The application comes on top of an already extensive array of autopilot features, including automatic steering, speed, and lane changing. In fact, a Tesla can practically drive itself. But in that respect, Tesla isn’t really leading the pack. Fully driverless cars are fast becoming a reality.

See also: A new kind of smart car

Take Google’s self-driving car program, which has been running since 2009. The search engine giant’s prototype electric vehicles can not only get about without the need for a driver, but can even take care of their own power requirements using a wireless charging system.

So far Google’s cars have been involved in 11 accidents: all caused by others. A low accident rate is perhaps to be expected when you replace error-prone, easily distracted human drivers with machines.

But reduced collision rates are just one of a long list of potential benefits with driverless cars, according to Brandon Schoettle, project manager for Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.  

“The main benefits [of driverless cars] are expected to be improved safety, reduced congestion, improved travel times, increased access to personal transportation, greater convenience, and the ability to share a vehicle more readily with other users,”

Schoettle says.

As if that weren’t enough, increased driving efficiency is likely to mean driverless cars will have a smaller environmental footprint than today’s gas-guzzlers. And even more so if, as is the case with Google and Tesla, the new models are all electric.

The numerous benefits of having robots at the wheel has led to strong interest from the trucking and supplemental transportation industries, and has prompted Travis Kalanick, CEO at Uber, to press ahead with plans for driverless vehicles within his rideshare service.

“It makes sense for Uber and other taxi-like services to show an interest in this technology,” says Schoettle. “The ability to more efficiently schedule and assign pickups could improve significantly with self-driving vehicles.”

And while Google’s cars look like something out of Toy Story, the impact that driverless vehicles could have on the traditional auto industry is deadly serious, according to some estimates.

Wall Street analyst Brian Johnson, managing director of Barclays Capital, believes sales from US automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could fall by 40 percent in the next 25 years as families switch from multi-car ownership to sharing a single driverless car.

“GM and Ford would need to reduce North American production by up to 68 percent and 58 percent, respectively,” he says. 

In a research note, Johnson compares the threat facing the auto industry today to that seen by horse-drawn transport from cars in 1920, a year he describes as ‘peak horse’. Schoettle agrees the future is increasingly looking driverless.

“I think we will see [driverless cars] in use one day,” he says. “The question, of course, is when? Right now it is still difficult to say who will lead production. Traditional automotive OEMs such as Audi, Daimler, and Delphi are among those taking the lead.”

But it is a technology firm that has “accumulated more miles by far than anyone else to date,” he says; “99 percent of all miles driven by self-driving vehicles have been driven by Google vehicles.”

As a company already famous for its maps, there might be some comfort in letting Google guide your journey. However, you won’t have to search far for an alternative, notes Schoettle: “As each day passes, more and more companies are getting involved.”

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The contents or opinions in this feature are independent and may not necessarily represent the views of Cisco. They are offered in an effort to encourage continuing conversations on a broad range of innovative technology subjects. We welcome your comments and engagement.

We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of “The Network” content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com/.

author-img

About Jason Deign @DeigninSpain

Jason Deign is a Barcelona-based business writer, journalist and author.

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Telstra Steps Up Automation Drive with Cisco Network Services Orchestrator

SAN JOSE, February 23, 2016 – Telstra has become the first carrier in Australia to introduce a software driven Orchestrated Assurance Solution for its enterprise and business customers, by announcing its intention to choose Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), enabled by Tail-f, to fully automate both provisioning and assurance of the IP networks and services.  

The deployment means that Telstra customers are now set to enjoy a new level of service as the Cisco NSO delivers a faster time to service and less delay in new service introductions or changes.

Cisco’s new automated solution deployed by Telstra turns older processes on their head and provides additional reassurance with its always on integrity check running in the background.

First of all it is software driven not hardware driven, so instead of manual detectors and probes a “virtual” probe is immediately installed providing the same, if not greater, level of carrier class assurance in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost. Upgrades and enhancements are also easily introduced to the automation process as software downloads ensure a continuous flow of enhancements, rather than the “intermittent” hardware upgrade, keeping the system consistently up to date.

Cisco’s NSO is also proactive not reactive: carriers currently respond to customer concerns by initiating a series of manual tests, with often limited resources, to ascertain the fault and then rectify any issue. This is not only inefficient, time consuming, and costly for the carrier but also for the customer. With automated assurance, a “virtual probe” can be immediately enabled on the system once it’s deployed, consistently monitoring the service and proactively notifying the carrier of potential problems before the customer notices them. The result is a better SLA, a happier customer and less cost for the carrier.

Although orchestrated provisioning is gaining traction with a number of carriers, Telstra has seized the initiative and will be the first to automate the full lifecycle of its network and enterprise services.

Telstra’s deployment of orchestrated assurance is based on a recent ETSI NFV Proof of Concept using open third-party software that is easily deployed and activated on demand. The implementation is part of Telstra’s strategic migration to cloud based services, leveraging virtual test agents and other software to ensure services are delivered right first time, and to provide constant measurements of QoS levels, individual end-to-end services and applications along with network KPIs.

The Telstra announcement is yet another example of how networking giant, Cisco is increasingly employing software and virtual resources as part of its offering to customers.

Supporting Quotes

Mike Wright, Group Managing Director, Networks, Telstra

 “This model-driven approach to network automation will enable us to dramatically increase our level of automation and assurance for our customers.  The flexibility and open nature of the Cisco solution will provide us some of the tools needed to innovate new services at a rapid pace in line with the expectations of our customers, particularly in the area of orchestrated assurance.”  

Gee Rittenhouse, SVP & General Manager, Cloud & Virtualization Group, Cisco

“Extending orchestration beyond just provisioning is a huge step for our customers as they make the transition to cloud-based infrastructures. Now for the first time, Service Providers will be able to see in real-time the health and performance down to a specific customer level, even for NFV-based services. A key component of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform, Network Service Orchestrator lets operators configure service activation testing, ongoing monitoring, and service-level agreement assurance functions synchronously with fulfillment—all using the same common data model.”

Cisco, NSO, Tail-f, Visual Networking Index Forecast, VNI, assurance, NFVI

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About Telstra

In Australia, we provide 16.9 million mobile services, 7.2 million fixed voice services and 4.1 million fixed data services. Telstra’s international businesses include Telstra’s global networks and managed services business and Telstra’s China-based search and advertising business. We understand our customers want technology and content solutions that are simple and easy to use – that’s why we have built networks like Australia’s largest fully integrated internet protocol (IP) network and Australia’s largest and most reliable national mobile network.

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO),  the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at http://www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

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