Microsoft has announced that the company will invest $5 billion in the Internet of Things [IoT] globally over the next 4 years. This increased investment will support continued research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge. With Microsoft’s IoT platform spanning cloud, operating system and devices, Microsoft is simplifying the IoT journey so any customer – regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors – can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world.

Image Source – IoT

This will support Microsoft’s technology platform, as well as supporting programs thereby enabling continued research and development in key areas, including securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT and the edge, and investments to grow our partner ecosystem. Customers and partners can expect new products and services, offerings, resources and programs.

IoT gathers momentum in India with Microsoft and its partners

Microsoft in India is committed to helping everyone bring their digital transformation vision to life across every industry. The investment will ensure that the company continues to meet all its customers’ and partners’ needs, both, now and in the future as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions. IoT is gathering momentum in India, and impacting daily lives: saving electricity, resources, predictive healthcare, automobile safety and more. Microsoft Azure is the preferred platform powering a variety of IoT devices.

IoT Monitoring of Water Quality – Authorities across States have turned to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens. TechSpan Engineering has implemented a monitoring system built on the Azure IoT platform, using sensors provided by the Austrian firm s::can and their India Partner Aaxis Nano. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, IoT and data, the solution taps into the robust s::can sensors to provide measurements across 17 parameters – from Chemical Oxygen Demand [COD] and Biological Oxygen Demand [BOD], Chloride and Fluoride levels to temperature and color. The solution is currently being used for

  • Monitoring drinking water quality online by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board [125 stations] and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board [KUWSDB] in Hubli, Dharwad and Bijapur [3 stations]
  • Online surface water quality monitoring by Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi [44 stations] and Central Water Commission, New Delhi [3 stations]
  • Online industrial pollution monitoring [1500+ stations]
  • Online sewage treatment and flow monitoring by Delhi Jal Board [36 stations]

IoT based Smart Lighting – Microsoft Azure IoT is powering India’s first Smart Street Lighting Project for the pink city of Jaipur, underscoring Microsoft’s mission of transforming public spaces digitally. The Jaipur Municipal Corporation [JMC] operates and maintains over 100,000 public street lights within the city. However, one of three in these lamps did not work and many others functioned poorly, leading to several areas of the city being in the dark. Microsoft’s partner Samudra LED has now deployed a customized Microsoft IoT-platform-based solution created by ISV Precimetrix to monitor, control and manage smart LED public street lights. The project will benefit 1.65 million people through improved street lighting and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 36,750 metric tons/year. It will also result in $1 million per year in fiscal savings accrued to the government due to reduced energy consumption.

Researchers at IISc Bangalore are also using a network of IoT sensors coupled with Microsoft Azure analytics to find how cloud technologies can help tackle water scarcity in cities.

IoT in Agriculture Microsoft FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. It comprises two broad areas viz., a, data-acquisition system consisting of drones and sensors and a data-analysis system consisting of connectivity pieces, cloud storage, and predictive analysis.

IoT in the Automobile Sector – Earlier last year, Tata Motors announced it will leverage Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies that bring together AI, advanced ML, and IoT capabilities on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, to create a highly personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a vehicle owner.

Tyre Express, a startup pioneering life-cycle management for fleet operators, has developed an IoT based Tyre Performance Management Solution. Powered by the Azure IoT Hub, Tyre Express is helping build operational efficiency for commercial vehicle fleet operators by tracking tyre performance. In India, procurement of new tyres for a commercial vehicle approximately costs about Rs 1-1.5 lakhs. Fluctuations in pressure and temperature can have a dramatic effect on their life span. Tyres are one of the largest consumables for fleet operators after fuel. Operating a vehicle with tyre pressure 20% below rated pressure increases fuel consumption by 5-10% and reduces tyre life by 15% to 20%. The new IoT platform helps monitor tyre performance in real time to help customers take suitable action and improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve profitability.

IoT in Manufacturing for Predictive Maintenance – Tetra Pak is employing new, digital tools that enable its cloud-connected machines to predict exactly when equipment needs maintenance, averting many breakdowns. Sensors on more than 5,000 Tetra Pak filling machines at customers’ sites globally, all connected to Microsoft Azure, feed real-time performance data to the company for monitoring and analysis – nearly 700 million data points each year. As a result, maintenance can be scheduled precisely and efficiently. During a recent, six-month period involving 11 packaging lines, the company predicted future breakdowns in five of those lines, spurring preventive maintenance and saving those customers more than $30,000.

Microsoft IoT Central

IoT will lead to a $1.9 trillion productivity increase and $177 billion in reduced costs by 2020 (A.T. Kearney). This effect will be pervasive, from connected homes and cars to manufacturers to smart cities and utilities—and everything in between. Pre-empting this, Microsoft announced Microsoft IoT Central, the first highly scalable IoT SaaS solution, that has built-in support for IoT best practices and world class security along with the reliability, regional availability, and global scale of the Azure cloud. Microsoft IoT Central allows companies to build production-grade IoT applications in hours and not worry about managing all the necessary back-end infrastructure or hiring new skill sets to develop the solutions.

Gearing up for the Indian summer season, Bajaj Electricals Ltd., India’s leading consumer durable and lighting company, today launched the first of its kind IoT enabled air cooler– Bajaj COOL.iNXT. With the launch of this IoT product, Bajaj Electricals aims to improve customer’s experience through smart technology and intuitive designs. In the next two years, the company expects a huge potential for IoT enabled air coolers, not only from the residential space but also commercial.

Image Source – Bajaj Electricals

The unique features of Bajaj COOL.iNXT can be accessed through a smartphone from anywhere in the world. The specially designed app provides complete control to its unique features and functions at the fingertips of the user making the cooling experience smart and convenient.

Being the pioneer of new age intelligent IoT technology, Bajaj COOL.iNXT has the following features that differentiate it from other air coolers:

  • 3 Methods of Control: With the state of the art mobile app; IR remote and digital control panel
  • Easy ‘Wi-Fi  & Internet Enabled’ operation with the mobile app
  • Intelligent Sensor that reads the temperature and humidity of the room
  • Auto mode to automatically adjust the fan and cooling speed on the basis of the temperature and humidity of the room
  • 5 level speed control and 4 cooling levels
  • Digital control and display panel
  • Digital low water level indicator
  • Honeycomb cooling media for efficient cooling
  • Ice Chamber for faster cooling
Mr. Anant Bajaj, JMD, Bajaj Electricals Ltd. at the launch of India’s first IoT enabled Air Cooler in Bengaluru

Anant Bajaj, JMD, Bajaj Electricals, speaking on the launch said

We are extremely excited and proud to launch India’s first IoT enabled Air Cooler. Real intelligence is when technologies interact with one another to make things effortlessly happen. We want the technology to earn a permanent place in everyday life, where IoT technology will play a crucial role making the process of cooling homes and commercial spaces smarter, effective and effortless. Realizing the market dynamics and the ever-evolving consumer needs, we at Bajaj Electricals Ltd. promise you to bring in technology that will improve consumer lifestyle.

About Bajaj Electricals Ltd

‘Bajaj Electricals Limited’, a trusted Indian company is a part of ‘Bajaj Group’. A globally renowned company, Bajaj Electricals is present across Consumer Products [Appliances, Fans and lighting], Luminaires, EPC [Illumination, Transmission Towers and Power Distribution] and Exports divisions. The company has 19 branch offices spread across the country with approximately 462 customer care centers and around 70 exclusive showrooms called ‘Bajaj World’. For more information, please visit Bajaj Electricals Ltd.

In a move designed to promote the adoption of Internet of Things across sectors, leading IoT platform and solutions provider Aeris Communications has announced the launch of an exclusive solution developed for the social/not for profit sector.

The first of its kind IoT solution for the not for profit sector offers a range of benefits to stakeholders connected with NGOs and similar organizations. Among other benefits it helps promote efficiency, operational transparency and better engagement between all stakeholders at all times. It provides aid from a single source including disaster relief and reconstruction support to long-term development cooperation projects with local partner organizations.

The launch customer for this solution is Welthungerhilfe, one of Germany’s biggest private organizations for development and humanitarian aid, which is working on water conservation in India.

Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris India, said

At Aeris, we have always worked towards broadening the spectrum of IoT adopters. IoT will be able live up to its potential only if it moves closer to mass adoption. Many social enterprises have already embraced technology to further their development agenda and with this solution, they will be able to use Internet of Things as well. This will not just help social enterprises but also the beneficiaries they work with.

The solution has been developed in association with Aeris’ solution partner Manacle. A variant of this solution is already powering enterprises ranging from large FMCG majors, logistics, telecom and manufacturing firms. With the availability of this solution, social enterprises will be able to leverage Internet of Things to achieve their goals around sales, order and cash management.

About Aeris

Aeris is a global technology partner with a proven history of helping companies unlock the value of IoT. For more than a decade, we’ve powered critical projects for some of the most demanding customers of IoT services. Aeris strives to fundamentally improve businesses by dramatically reducing costs, accelerating time-to-market, and enabling new revenue streams. Built from the ground up for IoT and road tested at scale, Aeris IoT Services are based on the broadest technology stack in the industry, spanning connectivity up to vertical solutions. As veterans of the industry, we know that implementing an IoT solution can be complex, and we pride ourselves on making it simpler. For more information, please visit Aeris

DeloitteTouche Tohmatsu India LLP’s [DTTILLP or Deloitte India] eighth edition of signature publication on Technology, Media and Telecommunications [TMT] predicts major advances in machine learning, VoLTE technology services and Over the Top [OTT] platforms, apart from othertrends.

VoLTE is expected to be the most prevalent voice technology in the future. It is also estimated that more than 90% of all mobile subscribers will comprise of broadband subscribers by 2023. OTT platforms are witnessing an explosion in original content due to increase in consumption and viewership, the report says, adding that they will gradually become a preferred medium over television,with the consumers of vernacular content likely to become over 2.5 times that of English language content by 2021.

The publication highlights the fact that ‘Machine Learning’ will intensify among medium and large-sized enterprises. Compared to 2017, the number of implementations and pilot projects using machine learning technology is likely to double in 2018 and then doubling again in 2020.

As enterprises in India embrace technology to bring transparency and efficiency in business operations, data assumes center stage in decision-making, setting the stage for tools such as advanced analytics and machine learning to ushervalue-chain efficiencies, a Deloitte India spokesperson said. In 2018, technologies like OTT, VoLTE and Machine Learning will make significant progress and as organizations take steps to realize the potential of the Internet of Things [IoT] for their businesses, predictive analytics and intelligent data mining technologies are set to become mainstream in India.

PN Sudarshan, Partner, Deloitte India, said

India is one of the fastest growing technology market in APAC, with the on-going digital transformation of public sector and private sector enterprises enabled by changing market dynamics and policy interventions. Enterprises across industries are increasingly adopting technology driven solutions to improve customer experience, optimize business operations, and compete effectively in the market.

Catalyzed by the availability of cost effective computing infrastructure and flexible business models through Cloud computing, and the adoption of exponential technologies such as AI, ML, AR, IoT etc., technology sector in India is truly at an inflection point. Trends such as IoT will catalyze the emergence of analytics at the edge. Digital revolution, also known as ‘The Internet Economy’ is creating a new market for digital first services, which has the potential to optimize value chains, bring transparency, and improve overall productivity in the economy.

Newer technologies like LTE, LTE-A, LTE-A Pro & 5G will make wireless internet commercially more viablefor home internet users. The smartphone riding on new innovation will consolidate its position as the primary access to digital services and content, and live streaming and OTT video content arelikely to gain popularity.

Here are some more highlights from the TMT Predictions 2018 India edition:

Internet of Things, Realizing the Potential

IoT-driven point solutions will be adopted to solve a specific business issue. IoT-driven enterprise solutions would help organizations redefine their business models and provide innovative services for their customers; investments will not only be assessed on KPIs, but also will involve new product launches, new supply chains and a new operating model that enables organizations to monetize their services across value chains, leveraging IoT.

Analytics [finally] travels Beyond the Back Office

Enterprises will combine external perspectives, social inputs [surveys, social media comments, response to a feedback questionnaire] to the internal data sources to improve customer service. Device data will be integrated faster and on-demand to answer immediate field needs; information dissemination for decision-making will be faster and simpler using digital delivery; paying for results and provisioning on demand is the new normal [on cloud].

VoLTE: Enabling Next-gen Voice Services

Deloitte predicts that more than 60% of all broadband subscribers would be utilizing Voice over LTE [VoLTE] technology for voice services by 2023 surpassing 5 billion subscribers globally. IoT appliances can be enhanced with VoLTE improving the productivity and efficiency of applications and especially effectiveness in emergency situations, one example is a smartwatch with feature to automatically dial an emergency contact in case of abnormal heart rate.

Wi-Fi would be essential part of service provider network strategy to enhance access and extend coverage. With VoLTE supporting VoWi-Fi [Wi-Fi calling], it would be an opportunity to monetize hot-spots especially relevant in the Asia-Pacific region which would constitute 45% of global hotspots.

Sports Media in India Set to Unlock New Horizons

Indian sports business will continue to attract global investments. With broadcasters paying as much attention to rural segment, these geographies will continue to lead the way for Sports sector in India, especially with Tier 2 leagues beginning to receive widespread attention. Data analytics will increasingly play a significant role in managing all aspects of sports, especially on initiatives such as fan engagement and viewership on digital platforms. Governance related matters will continue to be in focus in Indian Sports ecosystem, and topics such as legalizing betting will be discussed more than before.

Mobile only: Wireless Home Internet Bigger Than You Think

Due to challenges in deployment of fixed broadband networks, current rural internet penetration stands at ~ 17%. In future, demand for fixed broadband would be limited to consumers with higher bandwidth/QoS requirements, with majority of home internet requirements catered through wireless network.

Augmented Reality [AR]: On the Cusp of Reality

The Indian market is witnessing the emergence of AR service providers helping enterprises embrace AR as part of their digital experience strategy. India’s $150 billion technology services industry has the potential to play a key role in increasing the adoption of AR for global businesses by building a robust supply of talent, business models, and frameworks to accelerate deployments. The public sector also has the opportunity to leverage the product and talent ecosystem in the country and adopt AR for improving the quality of experience in areas such as Education and Healthcare.

To access the complete report, refer to the link Deloitte India

Microsoft India showcased several projects that make use of the company’s cloud-based artificial intelligence, cognitive services and Internet of Things [IoT] technologies that can change the way citizens, enterprises and governments engage in healthcare services, agricultural practices, education and everyday work.

Image Source – IoT

Many of these applications are being tested out or used in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Haryana among others.  The company also put the spotlight on use of artificial intelligence in Indian language computing.

Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director of Microsoft Research India, said

These AI, cognitive technologies and IoT applications can help in India’s inclusive growth. The world is today powered by an intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge.  We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to benefit society. We are committed to ensure that technology is defining and shaping the future, and is a combination of unbridled innovation and digital inclusion.

Some of the examples of transformative technology for a Digital India showcased were

  • Project FarmBeats: Microsoft FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. It comprises two broad areas viz., a, data-acquisition system consisting of drones and sensors and a data-analysis system consisting of connectivity pieces, cloud storage, and predictive analysis.
  • AI for farming: Microsoft and ICRISAT announced the results of the second phase of the pilot of their AI-based Sowing App for farmers. The program was expanded to touch more than 3000 farmers across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka during the Kharif season of 2017 for a host of crops including groundnut, ragi, maize, rice and cotton, among others. The increase in yield ranged from 10% to 30% across crops.  The Sowing App was developed to help farmers achieve optimal harvests by advising on the best time to sow using data about weather conditions, soil quality and other indicators.

Commenting on this season’s results, Dr. AVR Kesava Rao, Honorary Fellow and Senior Scientist, Agro-climatology, ICRISAT, said

We are excited about the results that have emerged from the use of the Sowing Application and Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard. We have strengthened our partnership with Microsoft to help small holder farmers and give a boost to our AI-powered agriculture initiative in a big way.  The application of the Intelligent cloud is a significant start for digital agriculture and we look forward to expanding this further.

  • HAMS [Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety]: A virtual harness for vehicles that focusses on two factors that are critical to road safety—the mental state of the driver-including distraction and fatigue, and his /her driving relative to other vehicles.  It employs the front and back cameras of a dashboard-mounted smartphone, the phone’s GPS and inertial sensors, and an On-Board Diagnostics [OBD-II] scanner. Project HAMS is being used by Institute of Driving and Traffic Research [IDTR] – a joint venture between the Department of Transport of State Governments and Maruti Suzuki India.
  • Interactive Cane: This AI-powered Interactive Cane to aid people with visual impairment.  Microsoft Research is experimenting by adding several sensors to existing canes, and adding gesture recognition to the cane. Interestingly, Microsoft Research is doing these using sensors added to the cane, and an AI agent on a micro-controller with very low resources on the cane itself, thereby making the cane an intelligent edge device. We believe that more such applications of ML on edge will become feasible in the coming years.
  • IoT monitoring of water quality: Authorities across states have turned to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens. Indian ISV TechSpan Engineering has implemented a monitoring system built on the Azure IoT platform, using sensors provided by the Austrian firm s::can and their India Partner Aaxisnano. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, IoT and data, the solution taps into the robust s::can sensors to provide measurements across 17 parameters – from Chemical Oxygen Demand [COD] and Biological Oxygen Demand [BOD], Chloride and Fluoride levels to temperature and color. The solution is currently being used for
  1. Monitoring drinking water quality online by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board [125 stations] and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board [KUWSDB] in Hubli–Dharwad & Bijapur [3 stations],
  2. Online surface water quality monitoring by Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi [44 stations] and Central Water Commission, New Delhi [3 stations]
  3. Online industrial pollution monitoring [1500+ stations]
  4. Online sewage treatment and flow monitoring by Delhi Jal Board [36 stations]
  • Smart Lighting in Jaipur: Microsoft Azure IoT is also powering India’s first Smart Street Lighting Project for the pink city of Jaipur, underscoring Microsoft’s mission of transforming public spaces digitallyThe Jaipur Municipal Corporation [JMC] operates and maintains over 100,000 public street lights within the city. However, one of three in these lamps did not work and many others functioned poorly, leading to several areas of the city being in the dark. Microsoft’s partner Samudra LED has now deployed a customized Microsoft IoT-platform-based solution created by ISV Precimetrix to monitor, control and manage smart LED public street lights. The project will benefit 1.65 million people through improved street lighting and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 36,750 metric tons/year. It will also result in $1 million per year in fiscal savings accrued to the government due to reduced energy consumption.
  • AI for local language computing: Starting with Project Bhasha in 1998, Microsoft has been consistently working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft Office and Windows support 11 Indian language scripts and overall supporting 22 Indian languages. Bing allows users to browse in nine Indian languages. With the help of its AI technologies, Microsoft is now making translation and speech recognition across several Indian languages. Here are a few examples:
    1. Microsoft’s SwiftKey, which allows text input in as many as 24 Indian languages and dialects including Marwari, Bodo, Santali and Khasi, brings AI in the keypads to enable faster, predictive writing.  It also allows mixed language typing in English and Hindi
    2. Indian English and Hindi speech recognition is available as part of Microsoft Cognitive Services as well as Bing App for Android
    3. Text to speech translations currently includes such capabilities in Hindi and Tamil on Microsoft Narrator, on Windows 10.
    4. Microsoft PowerPoint uses AI to translate full presentation decks from English to Hindi, Bangla and Tamil.

Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. released its key business and Technology Trends for Asia Pacific in 2018. These trends are jointly predicted by Hubert Yoshida, chief technology officer, and Russell Skingsley, chief technology officer Asia Pacific.

Image Source – IoT

The adoption of IoT platforms will dominate enterprise IT strategies in 2018, alongside a number of other areas. Yoshida & Skingsley have identified ten key trends for the Asia Pacific technology market in 2018.

IT will adopt IoT platforms to facilitate the application of IoT solutions 

IoT solutions deliver valuable insight to support digital transformation and are rapidly becoming a strategic imperative in almost every industry and market sector. IT must work closely with the operations side of the business to focus on specific business needs and define the scope of an IoT project.

According to Yoshida

Building IoT solutions that provide real value can be difficult without the right underlying architecture and a deep understanding of the business to properly simulate and digitalize operational entities and processes. This is where the choice of an IoT platform and the choice of an experienced service provider is important.

According to Skingsley

Enterprises should look for an IoT platform that offers an open, flexible architecture that simplifies integration with complimentary technologies and provides an extensible “foundry” on which to build a variety of industry applications that companies need to design, build, test, and deploy quickly and with minimal hassle.

Object storage gets smart

Enterprises started their digital transformation this year but the first problem that they ran into was the ability to access their data. Data is often locked in isolated islands that make it costly to extract and use. These islands were built for purpose and not to be shared, and many contain data that is duplicated, obsolete or no longer used because of changes in business process or ownership.

According to Skingsley

Data scientists tell us that 80% of the work involved in gaining analytical insight from data is the tedious work of acquiring and preparing the data. The concept of a data lake is alluring, but you can’t just pour your data into one system, unless that data is properly cleansed, formatted and indexed or tagged with metadata so that the data lake is content aware. Otherwise you end up with a data swamp.

While object storage can store massive amounts of unstructured data and provide metadata management and search capability, the ability to be context-aware is missing. Object storage now has the ability to be ‘smart’ with software that can search for and read content in multiple structured and unstructured data silos and analyze it for cleansing, formatting and indexing.

According to Skingsley

Hitachi Content Intelligence can extract data from the silos and pump it into workflows to process it in various ways. Users of Content Intelligence can be authorized so that sensitive content is only viewed by relevant people and document security controls are not breached. Content Intelligence can create a standard and consistent enterprise search process across the entire IT environment. It can connect to and aggregate multi-structured data across heterogeneous data silos and different locations and provides automated extraction, classification, enrichment and categorisation of all of an organisation’s data.

Analytics and artificial intelligence

2018 will see a growth in analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) across the board as companies see real returns on their investments. According to IDC, revenue growth from information-based products will double the rest of the product and services portfolio for a third of Fortune 500 companies by the end of 2017.

According to Skingsley

AI became mainstream with consumer products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, and Hitachi believes that it is the collaboration of AI and humans that will bring real benefits to society. Through tools like Pentaho Data Integration, our aim is to democratise the data engineering and data science process to make Machine Intelligence – a combination of Machine Learning and AI – more accessible to a wider variety of developers and engineers.

Pentaho’s machine learning orchestration, with integrations for languages like R and Python and for machine learning technologies like Spark MLlib, are steps in that direction. Lumada, Hitachi’s IoT platform, enables scalable IoT machine learning with flexible input and outputs, standardises connections that can automatically configure and manage resources, and is compatible with Python, R and Java for machine learning.

Wider adoption of video analytics

Video content analytics will be a ‘third eye’ for greater insight, productivity and efficiency in a number of domains beyond public safety. Algorithms that automatically detect and determine temporal, spatial and relational events combined with other IoT information, like cell phone GPS and social media feeds, to apply to a wide range of businesses like retail, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, education and entertainment.

Yoshida believes that video can provide unique functions like egomotion – 3D motion used in autonomous robot navigation – behavior analysis and other forms of situational awareness.

According to Yoshida

Retailers are using video to analyze customer navigation patterns and dwell time to position products and sales assistance to maximize sales. Video analytics relies on good video input so it requires video enhancement technologies like de-noising, image stabilisation, masking and super resolution. Video analytics may be the sleeper in terms of analytics for ease of use, ROI and generating actionable analytics.

Extension of agile methodologies across the enterprise

Digital transformation is all about efficiency and working together to drive faster and more relevant business outcomes. This is why more information technology organizations are adopting agile methodology.

IT organizations have a legacy of siloed operations with server, network, storage, database, virtualization, and now cloud administrators passing change notices back and forth to deliver a business outcome. In fact, many would argue that IT was more focused on IT outcomes and not business outcomes.

According to Skingsley

Even when data centers used technology to create shared data repositories to break down the data silos, the different functions were still focused on their own objectives and not on the overall business objectives. Now with cross functional teams using iterative agile sprints of two to four weeks, IT can focus on relevant business outcomes and deliver it more efficiently.

Under the leadership of Chief Information Officer, Renee McKaskle, Hitachi Vantara has been using agile methodologies over the past two years to drive digital transformation, and the results have been highly impactful.

According to Yoshida

Agile provides us with a nimble approach, where small cross functional teams, with a clear direction and strategic milestones, can iterate through short sprints to ensure alignment across the board, communicate effectively, and focus on problem solving and achieving our common business goals.

He also noted that 2018 will see more enterprises move to agile and DevOps in software development, with agile methodologies being used across the enterprise.

Data governance 2.0

2018 will see new challenges in data governance which will require organizations to implement new frameworks. The biggest challenge will come from the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR], which will give EU residents more control over their personal data. This regulation will drive up costs and increase the risks involved in collecting and storing personal data. Violations of the GDPR could face fines totalling up to USD 21.75 million, or 4% of EU’s total annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year.

Skingsley commented

Previous data governance was based on the processing of data and metadata. New data governance must now consider data context. If a user invokes their right to be forgotten, a company must be able to locate that individual’s data, eradicate it and provide proof that this has been done. GDPR’s mandatory breach notification of within 72 hours also means organizations face a very short window to respond.

The ability to do this is impossible if the data is scattered in different application silos and cannot cover data stored on mobile devices or in the cloud. In 2018, data governance frameworks will need to be updated to include content intelligence tools.

Containers enable movement to the next level of virtualization

Container-based virtualization is the latest virtualization technology that will gain wider acceptance in 2018. Considered a new generation of virtual machines (VMs), which abstracted an entire device including the operating system (OS), containers consist only of the application and all the dependencies that the application needs.

Yoshida added

Containers are lightweight, in that they do not need a dedicated OS for each container, which helps to reduce costs. Their open configuration also means that they can run on numerous platforms and they allow applications to run isolated from one another, resulting in greater security. Monolithic applications can be written as micro services and run in containers, for greater agility, scale, and reliability.

Enterprises are migrating and developing new applications with containers in order to be competitive in today’s market that is defined by agility and efficiency. As an organization, we have built our IoT platform, Lumada, on containers and micro services and are fully embracing the benefit that they bring by moving our management software for Pentaho worker nodes, Hitachi Content Intelligence and Hitachi Infrastructure Director to containers as well. Storage Virtualization Operating System [SVOS] for Virtual Storage Platforms [VSP] also has a plugin to provision persistent VSP storage in containers – a trend we expect many storage vendors to follow next year.

Blockchain projects will mature

According to Yoshida, blockchain will be in the news in 2018 for two reasons-

First is the use of cryptocurrencies, which saw growing acceptance this year as a stable currency in countries that were plagued by hyperinflation. Japan and Singapore are also indicating that they will create flat-denominated cryptocurrencies in 2018 that will be run by banks and managed by regulators. Consumers will use this for P2P payments, ecommerce and fund transfers. This will lead many banks to turn to blockchain to help them build the capacity needed to manage accounts in cryptocurrencies.

Second is the growing use of blockchain in the financial sector for routine processes like internal regulatory functions, customer documentation and regulatory filings. Interbank fund transfers via blockchain ledgers are also expected to expand in 2018, and other sectors will begin to see prototypes with smart contracts and identity services for healthcare, governments, food safety and counterfeit goods.

Time is right for biometric authentication

The increasing numbers of passwords required by today’s consumers will also support the shift towards biometric authentication in 2018.

Skingsley added

In reality, most of us use the same password for the accounts that we don’t think are very important. Unfortunately, hackers also know this, so once they discover a password, they will use it to successfully hack other accounts. Businesses are coming to the realization that proxies that represent our identity – like passwords, ATM cards, and pin numbers – even with two-factor authentication, are hackable.

Smart phone vendors and financial companies are moving to solve this problem by using biometrics which represent the real user. But choosing the right biometric is important. If a biometric like a fingerprint is hacked, there is no way to reset it in the same way you would a pin number or password. Since we leave our fingerprint on everything we touch, it is conceivable that someone could lift our prints and reuse them. Hitachi recommends the use of finger vein, which can only be seen when infrared light is passed through a live finger to capture the vein pattern and is the most resistant to forgery.

Co-creation of value

Traditional business thinking starts with the premise that the producer autonomously determines value through its choice of products and services. Consumers have typically been consulted through market research and were passively involved in the process of creating solutions and value. In 2018, Yoshida thinks we will witness a shift in value creation, away from producer-centric, solution-value creation to a co-creation paradigm of value creation.

Yoshida commented

Producers and consumers can no longer survive in the digital world with this traditional approach to value creation. In the digital world, the pace of change is relentless and problems span across multiple domains, with a blurring of industry domains and boundaries. Producers cannot take years to develop a solution and consumers cannot plan their business on multi-year road-maps that may not deliver what they need. If consumers and producers are to innovate, they must be active participants in the value creation process as co-creators.

Hitachi sees co-creation as the process of collaborating with customers and ecosystem players in order to innovate and create new value for business stakeholders, customers and society at large. The company has been co-creating with a number of customers and has developed a co-creation methodology that it expects will see further uptake in 2018.

Internet of Things [IoT] has become one of the most popular technologies, especially when the discussion is about creating an overall connected eco-system. Be it homes, offices, vehicles, etc. most of them are now becoming ‘smart & connected’ and are able to generate data on which actionable steps can be performed.

Image Source – IoT

Most of this is possible due to the wide range of Sensors that are very important part of the IoT setup. Some of these sensors are Temperature Sensor, Pressure Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometers, Gyroscopes, etc.

As per a report by Gartner on IoT, there might be around 20 billion connected things by 2020. Things in IoT would not only be limited to smartphones, PC’s, etc. but also extend to other appliances. The meteoric rise of IoT and IIoT has resulted in evolution of new business models, thereby resulting in number of startups trying to solve ‘customer centric’ problems via IoT.

We take a look at ‘11 Internet of Thing Startups to Watch‘, a useful compilation created by Wrike, a company that specialises in project management software and has interesting set of tools with which you can manage projects online.

11 “Internet of Things” Startups to Watch
Infographic brought to you by Wrike manage projects online

The world population is growing to upwards of 10 billion people by the middle of the century. This growth combined with the accelerating urbanisation will require the agricultural production to double. To succeed, we need smart solutions from farm to fork for healthy, fairly produced, and sustainable food, feed and fibre, which is the mainstay principle of CropIn Technology, a leading agri-tech company based in Bengaluru.

Image Source – Agritech

As an initiative to disseminate information and know-how about how CropIn can change the face of agriculture at a global level, the company conducts a series of webinars. The latest webinar titled From Agriculture to Agtech would take place on the 7th of December, 2017.

  • Live Webinar on December 7th, 2017 at 3 PM IST by Bhavesh Barot, AVP [Sales & BD], CropIn Technology.
  • Register for the Webinar here
  • Learn more about CropIn & Request for Demo here

The Webinar will cater to Agri-businesses, Agronomists, as well as ICT and IoT enthusiasts. The discussion will cover the evolution of agriculture from old growth drivers to new growth drivers, the way agricultural technology has progressed over the past decade and how CropIn is harnessing technology to revolutionize the agri-ecosystem.

The Presenter : Bhavesh Barot – After working with renowned Industries for over a decade, Bhavesh Barot, Associate Vice President [Sales &BD], CropIn Technology, decided to take up a role which stands to impact the lives of millions of farmers and make a difference to the global community of the future. He currently spends most of his time meeting Agri-Business stakeholders and explaining how Technology stands to Transform Agriculture.

About CropIn Technology

CropIn Technology, a leading agri-tech company based in Bangalore, provides SaaS based services to agribusinesses globally. CropIn enables its clients to analyse & interpret data and derive real time actionable insights on standing crop and projects spanning geographies. The company harnesses cutting-edge technologies – Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Geo-tagging & Satellite monitoring to revolutionize the agri-ecosystem. Providing sustainable solutions for food, feed and fibre and ensuring farm to fork traceability across the agriculture supply chain are the mainstay principles that drive the company. For more information, please visit