Spotless Hack @ the ‘G!

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If you live in Melbourne, or in Australia you have probably  been to the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium in one or even a few occasions, given that it’s a local must see. Most likely you visited the ‘G to watch a match, for a live concert or even to enjoy a nice meal at the Jim Stynes Grill. And how would you feel about attending a hackathon at the MCG? Although unusual it was the reason for the visit of nearly 100 people last week!

With the goal of bringing innovation to a whole new level within the services industry, Spotless, the largest service company in Australia and New Zealand, partnered with Startupbootcamp Melbourne and filled up the Jim Stynes room with dozens of hackers keen to face the challenge. Since no great game begins without a talk from the coach, we prepared an inspiring warm up session by the AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw, directly from the changing rooms.

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During two incredible days (including an all-night session at the MCG hacking the night away) we integrated hackers and entrepreneurs from different backgrounds with the best business and technology mentors in Melbourne, on top of the unbeatable support from great partners like Sigfox, Cradlepoint, Amazon Web Services and many others.

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As the outcome we expected to get cutting-edge solutions for some issues that have been a part of Spotless’ day to day operations in areas like Security, Cleaning, Catering and Waste Management, requiring a fresh approach. In return, not only the unique mentoring and networking opportunity but also an appealing 30k worth of prizes to the five teams that came up with the most innovative idea, that needed to be also scalable and easy to implement.

As you can imagine, a lot of energy was put into organising an event of this size and not to mention into the hacking itself, but not without a good dose of fun!  Between laughs, hula hooping sessions and loads of brainstorming, the teams surely lived up to the challenge.

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Out of ten teams, we picked the top five ideas, and from their live pitches chose the number one. Tough call for our judge panel composed by Spotless and Startupbootcamp leaders, as well as IoT expert Slade Sherman from CreatorGlobal, but these are the teams that knocked the ball out of the park:

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1st Place: My Cleanliness (short description)

2nd Place: MSG (short description)

3rd Place: Stadium Chatbot (short description)

 

We are proud to work alongside with Spotless in this great event, and would like to thank all the participant teams as well as the amazing mentors and tech partners that took their time and effort to help us make the first Spotless Hackathon a huge success!

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The biggest impact of IoT will be hidden from view!

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Much of the discussion about IoT is focussed on personal devices and home automation – that makes sense as it is something we can all relate to.  However, many of these solutions just build complexity into your life and home without offering any counterbalancing benefit that outweighs the hassle.

a 2016 report from Accenture tells a different story. Many consumers are hesitant to buy more devices, with price and security being just two of the barriers to purchase.

It is in the industrial applications where the real impact of IoT will be felt – it will be hidden, and it is already occurring. The City of Melbourne has installed Smart Bins that know when they need to be empty, thus reducing rubbish on the street and optimising the schedule for waste trucks (and therefore also reducing traffic). This sort of application becomes invisible, after the initial press reports, and the citizen comes to expect the benefit that is delivered.  This is how it should be and shows real value being delivered.

“The McKinsey Global Institute forecasts the economic impact of IoT reaching as high as $11 trillion by 2025, and a massive chunk of that is predicted to live in business and industrial applications. According to McKinsey, the real promise is in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).”

Developing IoT solutions that solve difficult problems and then making sure that these solutions work reliably and simply i.e. being invisible is the key to success for the IoT market

The McKinsey Global Institute determined that, “on average, 40 per cent of the total value [of IoT] that can be unlocked requires different IoT systems to work together.” It cited interoperability as the difference between IoT being a $7 trillion market or an $11.1 trillion market by 2025.

Integration is always an issue for any corporate systems. The integration domain is well known within the industry and is easily solved. The key to making integration work at various levels of the IoT architecture is standards and openness. The important thing is to understand the value of the integration and ensure that business case actually leads to unlocking the value in the data.

Hypercat in an interesting standards group recently, which recently launched its efforts as a counterpart to the UK-based alliance pushing the Hypercat standard, particularly for Smart Cities.  This comes against the backdrop of competing standards vying for dominance in the relatively new field of IoT.  I do not believe there will be one standard for the whole of IoT – that would be like stating that the whole of computing is based off one standard – however the more standardisation is achieved, the faster the industry will develop robust and scalable solutions.

 

Understanding Internet of Things (IoT) in under one minute

In case you are still wondering what IoT is and how it will be used, this simple infographic from Business Intelligence  provides a great primer.

IoT is the third wave of the Internet and will change our lives in as many ways as SmartPhones, social media and Web 2.0  have already.

If you are in business, you need to be thinking about how your world will look when all your products and services are ‘Smart’ – aware of their surroundings, connected to others and able to make decisions based on data.

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IBM and ARM collaborate on IOT

IBM  today announced an expansion of its Internet of Things  platform – called IBM IoT Foundation – through an integration with ARM, providing out of the box connectivity with ARM mbed-enabled devices to analytics services. This fusion will allow huge quantities of data from devices such as industrial appliances, weather sensors and wearable monitoring devices to be gathered, analyzed and acted upon.

IBM also announced the first in a series of IBM Cloud-based, industry-specific IoT services with IoT for Electronics. The service will enable

The IBM IoT Foundation is a platform upon which a family of fully managed, cloud-hosted offerings on the SoftLayer Infrastructure is built. IoT Foundation makes it simple to derive value from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It includes:

  • Analytics tools capable of dealing with large quantities of fast-moving data,
  • Access to IBM Bluemix, IBM’s Platform-as-a-Service, that is capable of handling the immense flow of data and provide anytime access for decision makers; and
  • Security systems capable of helping organizations protect IoT data as rigorously as they do their own confidential financial, IP and strategy information.

The integration between IBM and ARM will allow products powered by ARM mbed-enabled chips to automatically register with the IBM IoT Foundation, and connect with IBM analytics services. This unifies the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform and the IBM IoT Foundation at the point where information gathered from deployed sensors in any connected device is delivered to the cloud for analysis.  The IoT connection also enables delivery of actionable events to control equipment or provide users with alerts or other information. For example, the triggering of an alarm message on a washing machine to ask the owner to confirm a breakdown engineer appointment if a fault is detected.

This integration can help clients improve engagement, accelerate innovation and enhance operations through connected devices and analysis of the data.

Electronics manufacturers are already adopting IBM’s cloud services to connect everything from dishwashers to Smart TVs to pro audio equipment.

“Since 2008, IBM has helped thousands of customers embrace the Internet of Things — to help cities become smarter, hospitals to transform patient care and financial institutions to improve risk management,” said Pat Toole, General Manager, Internet of Things, IBM. “The IoT is now at an inflection point and it needs the big data expertise of IBM and little data expertise of ARM to ensure it reaches its global potential.

IoT Standards Groups merging – that has to be good news.

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“The AllSeen Alliance, one of the early industry consortiums aimed at creating open interoperability standards for the internet of things, is being absorbed by another group with similar ambitions, the Open Connectivity Foundation.Officials with both organizations announced Oct. 10 that the two groups are merging and that the larger consortium will keep the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) name.”

“At the same time, the merged group will continue working on the open-source IoTivity (OCF) and AllJoyn (AllSeen) projects, eventually merging them into a single IoTivity standard.”

“That said, there are other efforts out there aiming to develop interoperability standards, such as the Thread Group. In addition, Google is developing Weave, which is a common communications language for devices that is part of the larger Project Brillo to create an embedded operating system for such devices.”

“Other efforts include the OCF and Industrial Internet Consortium working more closely, and the Thread Group and ZigBee Alliance partnering.”

See link for full article. 

Let’s hope that we can have fewer standard groups, and kill off the ones that are just established to push their own proprietary technologies. 

Trev Townsend

 

LoRaWAN trials in USA are important

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Comcast will test LoRaWAN IOT Networks in two markets  is great to hear, as without the USA networks., LoRaWAN based IoT solutions are less likely to succeed.

We have SigFox, Lte and LoRaWAN networks in Australia, each rolling out and trying to gain customers. We will need to see which succeeds globally to ensure infrastructure spend here is made in the right areas.

“Commercial deployment would pit Comcast’s machineQ IoT business against AT&T and Verizon’s IoT divisions, which use 2G, 3G, and LTE networks and have been going after similar enterprise vertical markets for the past several years. In addition, it will compete with France’s SigFox, which has said it plans to be in 100 markets in the United States by year-end.”

LoRaWAN has gained traction with companies like Cisco, which has a LoRaWAN offering that is being used by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) in Germany.

Japan’s SoftBank is also deploying a LoRaWAN network this year to supplement its narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network.

The ThingsNetworks is also rolling out free, public IOT networks globally, with community teams in each city making the necessary investment. Search for your local meetup group to get involved.

Trev Townsend

 

 

ACMA sees large number of uses for IoT spectrum

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-8-44-56-amFor IoT, the ACMA is looking at a broad range of spectrum bands due to the large number of varied uses and users involved.

“Given the huge diversity of uses of IoT, there is no simple solution to providing spectrum for all of the applications which are likely to require access to it under a range of protocols from dedicated spectrum to commons spectrum, and options in between,” ACMA acting chairman Richard Bean said at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne this week.

“We are and have taken steps to make new spectrum available to support a range of low-power applications including M2M [machine-to-machine] applications in 900MHz band as part of the implementation of our review of the 803-960 band. Permanent arrangements in this band are not currently set to be in place until 2021, but we will consider early access applications.”

The ACMA is also examining IoT opportunities in the very high frequency (VHF) band.

The ACMA had previously argued in favour of a default spectrum band for all IoT devices across the globe, or, alternatively, sensors that can identify which country a device is operating in.

The government agency in December released a set of proposed changes to spectrum regulations aimed at providing easier access for M2M operators utilising spectrum for IoT, and outgoing ACMA chairman Chris Chapman in February emphasised the need for IoT spectrum.