Tag Archives: M2M

Unearthing the IoT in Agriculture

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IoT M2M connectivity specialist Eseye has partnered with Burkard, designers and builders of air samplers for agricultural research since 1953, to harness the power of the IoT. Burkard has developed a piece of real-time pathogen monitoring equipment to predict and provide an early warning system of crop disease risk. The collaboration with Eseye and its AnyNet Secure™ SIM and technology, delivers highly secure and reliable global cellular network data through its AnyNet Secure™ SIM, and provides automatic routing onto up to 440 cellular operators in 190 countries and links seamlessly to the AWS Cloud.

Increasing the world’s food supply is a major issue, crop diseases can have a devastating humanitarian and economic impact and with sustained global population growth it is estimated that by 2050, a 70 per cent increase in food production is required to ensure the world is fed. Jeremy Potgieter, regional head, SADC, Eseye says that 20-40 per cent of crop losses are attributed to disease: “The accurate prediction and prevention of diseases is a vital area to address in the battle to enhance yields, and is now an area in which cellular IoT and the AWS Cloud is providing support to an innovative solution.”

Traditionally, the method of identifying signs of crop disease has been time-consuming, cumbersome and costly, involving research scientists assessing the contents of in-field samplers under a microscope. Preventative pesticide spraying is also used to protect crops from possible disease, with weather or planting dates informing decisions on the chemicals to be applied. This is less effective and more costly than targeted spraying, it may be detrimental to consumer health and the environment, and over time, sees pests and diseases becoming resistant to the treatment.

Burkard’s innovative product uses Eseye’s AnyNet Secure global cellular connectivity and AWS IoT to enable farmers to receive tailored information from their own fields, whenever they want it, and to have full control over that data.

Potgieter says that the Burkard Auto Sampler sits permanently within a farmer’s field remotely collecting DNA release and uses a LAMP assay to quantify airborne spores: “Crop data is transmitted, over-the-air via the AnyNet Secure SIM, back to the AWS Cloud where it is analysed and reported in a matter of minutes using AWS IoT Gateway tools, which do the mathematics behind the forecasting. Information is stored and presented back so farmers can see exactly which fields are at risk and act accordingly to treat the crops.”

Historically, for similar agricultural projects, Burkard used a general modem and SIM card to send texts to alert on potential crop risks. However, Burkard found this unresponsive because the lack of reliable connectivity across different locations resulted in the frequent need to change providers.

Stuart Wili, managing director at Burkard, says, “While working on a similar project a few years ago, we had to send operators out with mobile phones from as many different providers as possible to find out which had the best signal in certain fields. It was not only extremely inefficient but often connectivity was lost anyway. This time we knew we needed a reliable connectively solution to make the project a success.”

The AnyNet Secure™ SIM enhanced features also enable IoT devices to remotely and securely activate, provision, authenticate and certify devices or ‘things’, in field, over-the-air. Integration with AWS Cloud Services, further simplifies project set up and deployment by reducing the need for investment in specialist in-house infrastructure and development resources. By adding AWS’ software tools and cloud the business establishes the means to simply and quickly analyse data and to scale instantly and securely, on demand.

Wili says: “With the AnyNet Secure SIM, farmers don’t need to rely on single local network coverage, which often can’t be guaranteed. Instead they can be assured accurate data from the field is being securely and accurately transmitted back to the server, without any concern over connectivity, the AnyNet Secure SIM will utilise any and all connectivity available. Farmers can completely trust the system data will forewarn about any potential issues with their crops, they can then act quickly to resolve them.”

The module deployed, an Eseye Hera 604 with add-on logger functionality, can store all data and publish to AWS as required, ensuring there is no loss of information. A key challenge to the solution is to deliver secure and resilient connectivity, otherwise the farmers’ data will be void.

Wili explains, “We are finally giving farmers an answer to their concerns over the ramifications of crop disease. This not only provides peace of mind, but the solution also supports the environment and saves precious time, resources and ultimately money. Looking to the future, we plan to roll out the technology across the globe, particularly in developing countries, where the importance of farming is far higher, and therefore the need to prevent disease to ensure a healthy crop is even greater.”

Paul Marshall, Chief Customer Officer at Eseye, says, “Eseye’s work with Burkard and AWS is a prime example of the range of economic, social and environmental benefits which can be reaped through IoT. By using AnyNet and AWS solutions, the agricultural industry can harness the knowledge and foresight from accurate data in making informed decisions. We are delighted to be part of this project and look forward to seeing the benefits rolled out across the globe.”

Source: eseye

PodM2M Signs Deal with ForaCare to Provide Mission Critical Connectivity for IoT Telehealth Solution

PodM2M (a division of Pod Group), a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)

 specializing in global data connectivity solutions for the M2M/IoT market, has today announced an agreement with ForaCare Inc. a company dedicated to developing products for chronic disease management by combining innovative technologies and clinical applications.

PodM2M will provide a highly resilient connectivity solution for ForaCare´s Telehealth platform and range of connected healthcare monitoring devices designed for both the patient and the practitioner. These devices include the Test’N Go Glucose Monitoring Meter, allowing patients to see trends in their blood glucose levels and plan their treatment and the VSM100 Vital Signs Monitor, which remotely monitors key patient indicators such as blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels and reports back to the physician. Devices are connected via the Fora 24/7 HealthView Platform, a secure, web-access management system giving physicians real-time access to patient data.

The need to quickly and securely share data between patients, physicians and hospitals means a highly resilient and secure network connection is required between the devices and the platform. ForaCare also requires a fully scalable solution to enable the company to expand into new growth markets. PodM2M´s resilient network connectivity with intelligent switching, combined with access to over 600 networks worldwide made it an obvious choice to provide the connectivity of the solution.

Adrian Alexander, Sales Account Manager at ForaCare commented, “Pod offered a cost-effective solution and always gave us a quick response to our questions. We also like the fact that Pod can operate globally as we’re in the process of expanding into other markets outside the US. Thanks to our confidence in the service that Pod provides we will continue to plan our growth and recommend the service.”

PodM2M´s specialist focus on remote and mission critical applications is based on its “No Single Point of Failure” network topology, whereby multiple core networks (IMSIs) are included on the same SIM card and can be automatically switched to provide back-up networks using Pod´s Multi-IMSI app on the SIM. Pod´s extensive experience in this area has led it to develop a special “Pod Profile” which can be used as a bootstrap IMSI on eUICC SIM cards, providing an extra layer of resilience.

Sam Colley, CEO of Pod Group USA commented, “Our expertise in providing connectivity for mission critical applications makes our solution a perfect fit for healthcare IoT applications such as ForaCare´s TeleHealth System. We are constantly researching new and innovative ways to increase the resilience and security of IoT connectivity which is vital for the growth and uptake of IoT solutions.”

About PodM2M

PodM2M is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) specializing in global data connectivity solutions for the M2M/IoT market. Our expertise, dedication to innovation, and comprehensive range of products and services help companies develop resilient, future-proof M2M/IoT solutions, generating innovative new revenue streams for IoT communications.

About ForaCare:

Based in Moorpark, California, Fora Care Inc. is a technology company dedicated to the design, development, and marketing of products for chronic disease management. The aim of Fora Care Inc. is to complete the cycle of chronic disease management by combining innovative technologies and clinical applications. We embrace modern technologies and experience to focus on diabetes and hypertension. By utilizing the advanced information technology and integrated diabetes/ hypertension monitoring, we establish an efficient and effective healthcare management platform to serve professionals and patients.

Source: PodM2M

Siren Marine Launches Next Wave Of Connected Boat Tech

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New Technology Brings Peace of Mind to all Types of Boaters, Benefits Fleet Operators and Boat Builders

Siren Marine LLC, a pioneer in Connected BoatTM technology, has announced a late-May 2017 release date for its breakthrough MTCTM boat monitoring and tracking system, and companion iOS and Android apps.

More than two years in development, Siren Marine’s MTCTM technology enhances the overall boating experience by eliminating worry. This next generation 3G cellular system gives boaters the power to know — wherever they are — that their boat is safe, secure and ready to enjoy. Because it is affordable, easy to install and comes with a choice of cost-effective subscription options, the MTC is a practical solution for boats ranging from center consoles and bass boats to cruising sailboats and trawlers.

“As long-time boaters, we understand how valuable time on the water is,” said Siren Marine CEO and Founder Daniel Harper. “Our technology connects people with their boats in ways we’ve now become accustomed to with our homes and cars — empowering them to predict and prevent problems, rather than just react to them. With the MTC, boaters have the peace of mind that when they arrive at their boat with family and friends, they won’t find dead batteries, a flooded bilge, or worse,” added Harper.

A sophisticated base unit engineered and constructed for marine use is at the heart of Siren Marine’s MTC system. Paired with a variety of wireless and wired sensors, the MTC lets boaters “check in” on their vessel from their home, office or on the road. GPS tracking makes it easy for owners to see where the boat is, for added security and peace of mind when family members and friends are using it. Even when they’re not thinking about their boat, the MTC will automatically alert owners via the Siren Marine app to a variety of critical conditions, such as unauthorized entry/motion, battery voltage, bilge status, temperature and vessel location. No longer will boaters have to stress over such everyday situations as dragging anchors, leaky through-hull fittings or pesky marina neighbors “borrowing” their shore power cable.

 

In addition to the confidence and security that come with remote vessel monitoring and tracking, the MTC gives boaters unparalleled ability to control key onboard systems. The ability to remotely trigger an alarm or control cabin and cockpit lights, air conditioning, battery switches and more from a smartphone or computer not only enhances security, but also reduces prep time and helps get boaters out on the water and having fun faster.

This ability to monitor, track and control vessels remotely bring a range of important benefits to boat builders and fleet managers, as well. Siren Marine’s MTC will help charter companies, boat rental clubs and commercial fleets stay on top of where vessels are located, how they are being used, and how key systems are functioning — improving safety while minimizing down time and maintenance.

Affordability, ease of installation and intuitive operation were key design goals for the MTC — making the technology accessible to a wide spectrum of boaters. A choice of wired or wireless sensors lets boaters configure the optimal system for their vessel, needs and budget — as well as their personal DIY capabilities. MSRP for the MTC is $599, and the MTC-Plus, which will be available later this year, includes the base unit and four wireless sensors for just $799. With affordable yearly, monthly and seasonal (April-October) wireless subscription plans, boaters can find the most cost-effective option for their boating lifestyle.

To ensure the best possible coverage for boaters, Siren Marine has partnered with global cellular provider Vodafone. With reliable 3G service from a world communications leader, cruisers using the MTC will benefit from seamless international roaming as they travel from country to country. Wherever the destination or port along the voyage, the peace of mind that comes with the MTC will be along for the journey.

Siren Marine plans to expand its offerings later in the year with the addition of two new products. The MTC-Pro will offer even greater functionality and capabilities, while the MT will provide a scaled-down version of this technology, ideal for yacht tenders and other small boats.

Source: Siren Marine

 

Nokia introduces worldwide IoT network grid as a service

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  • Nokia worldwide IoT network grid (‘WING’) enables communication service providers and enterprises to take advantage of new business opportunities that will become available through a multi-country federation of IoT connectivity services
  • Draws on Nokia’s extensive technology and services portfolio including a global services command center which uses the Nokia IMPACT IoT Platform with new subscription management for eSIM, and Nokia’s M2M Core as a service
  • Enables enterprises to take advantage of a global IoT connectivity and services grid with a unified view of IoT devices, subscriptions, billing and customer care

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has created the Nokia worldwide IoT network grid, a ‘one-stop-shop’, full service model offering seamless IoT connectivity across technologies and geographical borders to address the transport, health, utilities and safety markets.

Nokia WING  will manage the IoT connectivity and services needs of a client’s assets, such as connected cars or connected freight containers, as they move around the globe, reducing the complexity for enterprises who would otherwise be required to work with multiple technology providers.

Drawing on Nokia’s comprehensive technology and services expertise, Nokia WING can be easily and quickly implemented to provide enterprises with ubiquitous connectivity, subscription and device management, security and analytics. Connectivity is enabled by intelligent switching between cellular and non cellular networks. For example, a shipping container linked by satellite in the ocean could switch to being connected by a cellular network near a port.

Nokia will offer a full service model including provisioning, operations, security, billing and dedicated enterprise customer services from key operations command centers. The company will use its own IMPACT IoT platform for device management, subscription management and analytics. Nokia IMPACT subscription management for eSIM will automatically configure connectivity to a communication service provider’s network as the asset crosses geographical borders.

Customers are served on a multi-tenanted basis using a Nokia M2M Core that includes the Nokia Cloud Packet Core, which gives an enterprise customer access to their own discrete segment of the network core.

Communication service providers can quickly take advantage of new business opportunities that will be made available by joining a global federation of IoT connectivity services. By leveraging their excess network capacity they will be able to serve enterprises that require near global IoT connectivity, rapidly and with little effort, to realize new revenue streams. For service providers planning to launch a new IoT business, Nokia can fast track time to market as WING also provides a full white label managed service model, allowing them to offer the service to their customers under their own brand.

Consumers will be able to benefit from a wide range of seamlessly connected IoT applications and devices as Nokia takes the lead in collaborating with communications service providers to create one global IoT grid.

Alexandra Rehak, head of Ovum’s IoT Practice, said: “Nokia is offering an innovative approach to IoT enablement with its IoT connectivity as a managed service offering. The complexity of IoT deployment, service development and business models makes it imperative for market participants to play to their strengths and build long-term, flexible partnerships. Nokia’s managed IoT service offering fits well with this requirement. The new offering leverages Nokia’s broad portfolio of technologies and strong expertise in network design and management, and should open up new business opportunities for operator customers and large enterprises alike.  It offers a new approach to helping service providers extend their existing network and partnership agreements and quickly address new markets while focusing on their core competencies.”

Igor Leprince, head of Global Services at Nokia, said: “IoT connectivity as a managed service is an answer for enterprises to the current IoT deployments that are hampered by the patchwork of business agreements to connect devices around the world. Nokia WING will provide one global IoT grid. We cannot do this alone, and we are reaching out to communication service providers across the globe to collaborate with us so that we can extend the benefits of the connected world to more industries.”

Source: Nokia

Nokia, Vodafone and Telit collaborate to expand the IoT ecosystem using NB-IoT technology

  • Nokia NB-IoT system built in Vodafone Open Lab in Dusseldorf using Nokia radio access network and cloud packet core solution
  • System to be used by device manufacturers and applications developers to expand the IoT ecosystem
  • Nokia teamed up with IoT technology enabler Telit to use its NB-IoT system to demonstrate transmission of data from residential gas meters over a 4G network at the Vodafone Innovation Day. 

 Nokia has deployed a fully integrated NB-IoT system at Vodafone’s ‘Open Lab’ in Dusseldorf, Germany using its radio access network and elements from its Cloud Packet Core solution. The system leverages IoT technology from Telit and will be used by device manufacturers and applications developers in trials of innovative products and solutions to expand the IoT ecosystem.

In a trial during Vodafone’s recent Innovation Day event in Dusseldorf,  Nokia and Telit used the technology to demonstrate how NB-IoT will meet the connectivity needs of devices. The companies used an Intel chipset integrated in a NB-IoT  module, which was embedded in a Shitek technology ultrasonic gas meter. The system connected with a meter to transmit data on gas flow over a 4G Vodafone test network, demonstrating how NB-IoT technology can be used to manage an integrated network comprised of components from multiple vendors.

NB-IoT will optimise 4G networks to meet the dynamic demands of billions of connected devices. It enables wider coverage indoors and outdoors, for example allowing the radio signal to reach further inside buildings such as factories and hospitals to connect sensors and devices and transmit information. Lower power consumption allows device battery life to be prolonged for up to 15 years, optimising the cost of maintaining the myriad devices that will be found within homes and enterprises.

Luke Ibbetson, Head of Research & Development and Technology Strategy for Vodafone Group, and Chair of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum, said: “NB-IoT will be commercially available from early 2017 and, because it has strong support from across the telecoms industry, will be the technology used to connect millions more things to the Internet. We are very pleased to make the Vodafone Open Labs available to companies that want to exchange ideas and to develop and test connected products and services powered by NB-IoT.”

Marco Argenton, Product Marketing Manager, Telit, said: “We have the industry’s broadest portfolio of integrated products, platforms and services to support IoT deployments. With the collaboration in this trial, we demonstrated real and tangible benefits of automation in the residential energy market, the nature of  which can be leveraged in many other industries and verticals.”

Roberto Loiola, global customer business team head at Nokia, said: “The low power attributes and reach of NB-IoT make it an ideal technology to connect the Internet of Things. The trial with Telit showed how NB-IoT is perfectly suited to manage a network comprised of devices and sensors from multiple vendors. At Nokia we are constantly innovating to allow our customers to evolve their offer and anticipate the needs of their subscribers and our work with Vodafone at the Open Lab is a prime example of this.”

About the technology in Nokia’s NB-IoT system 

  • Nokia Cloud Packet Core: the Cloud Mobility Manager (CMM) supporting the Mobility Management Entity (MME), and the Cloud Mobile Gateway (CMG) supporting the System Architecture Evolution Gateway (SAE-GW) network functions.
  • Intel XMM7115 NB-IoT chipset
  • Telit NE910 module
  • Shitek Technology UGM-01 G4 Ultrasonic Gas meter

Did you know?

  • NB-IoT is a 3GPP Rel. 13 radio access technology. The enhanced coverage of NB-IoT compared to conventional LTE will allow for the tracking of objects deep within buildings and in rural areas.
  • NB-IoT will co-exist with operators’ existing networks to benefit from mobile security and privacy features. All major network infrastructure, component and device manufacturers support the standard.

Source: Nokia

Telefónica becomes Nestlé’s worldwide IoT communications provider

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Telefónica Business Solutions, a leading provider of a wide range of integrated communication solutions for the B2B market has signed an agreement with Nestlé, the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, to provide IoT communications in more than 50 countries for their Nestlé Professional coffee solutions, aiming to support the company´s  digital transformation.

Nestlé’s main objective is to monitor the coffee solutions’ parameters to optimize customer experience and increase business efficiency. To do this, they have integrated Telefónica’s Smart m2m Solution, a best-in-class platform to manage and control IoT communications developed entirely by Telefónica, which is already serving more than 2,500 customers globally, across all industries. New Nestlé Professional coffee solutions will incorporate the telemetry solution while legacy versions will have an add-on module that will provide them with the same capabilities.

Telefónica will provide Nestlé with best global IoT connectivity, enabling Nestlé Professional to interact with their coffee solutions. Nestlé will be able to control all key solutions’ parameters, optimizing the end user experience – for example adjusting the coffee taste. Additionally, Nestlé operations will be more efficient thanks to remote configuration and predictive maintenance models.

Henri de Roo, Global Head of Business Applications, at Nestlé commented: “Telefónica enabled us a new way of communicating and interacting with our coffee solutions at a global scale, allowing us to personalize our customer experience. We trusted their capabilities to deliver this project and they were able to respond to our needs beyond their own network footprint.”

José Luis Gamo, Telefónica Business Solutions’ European Corporates & Multinationals Director, stated: “This key commercial deal demonstrates our global reach and enduring relationship with Nestlé who has trusted Telefónica this time to provide cutting-edge connectivity across the globe. We aim to empower all-sized companies with prominent communications to help them lead the digital revolution ahead and consequently better serve their own customers”.

Source: Telefonica

Sequans and Gemalto revolutionize IoT connectivity with first genuine LTE Cat M1 technology

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World first demonstration at GSMA Mobility Live! highlights greatly improved efficiency
and significantly reduced complexity of LTE-M

 

Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, is partnering with LTE chipmaker Sequans Communications S.A. (NYSE: SQNS) to revolutionize Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity with LTE-M technology. The companies are demonstrating at GSMA Mobility Live! in Atlanta, the first Cat M1 IoT solution, based on Sequans’ genuine Cat M1 chip, delivering the greatest level of network efficiency and simplicity achieved to date. The solution significantly improves power saving capabilities to extend the lifespan of IoT devices while boosting performance in indoor environments. It is ideal for low bandwidth IoT use cases including alarm systems, asset trackers, smart meters, smart city controllers, wearables and industrial sensors. New low-power, wide-area (LPWA) network technologies like LTE-M will give network operators the opportunity to generate significant revenues from the billions of connected things[1].

The LTE-M demonstration leverages a Gemalto wireless module that uses dedicated Cat M1 technology based on Sequans’ Monarch chip to enable a whole new level of low power, low bandwidth IoT connectivity. The module connects to Ericsson’s RBS6000 Multi-Standard base station updated with Cat M1 software. The solution is capable of supporting more than 10 LTE frequency bands from a single hardware device allowing for true global coverage. Dynamic power management technology enables more than 10 years of battery life for standard IoT devices. Samples of Gemalto’s forthcoming LTE Cat M1 wireless module are expected to ship in Q4 2016.

“Gemalto is the ideal partner to deliver evolving IoT-optimized LTE solutions enhanced by digital security expertise,” said Georges Karam, Sequans’ CEO. “Our successful Gemalto-Sequans partnership has led to major first to market LTE innovations that combine our respective key capabilities and offer customers distinct competitive advantages not available elsewhere.”

“Cat M1 will enable a wide range of new IoT applications to the benefit of Industry and Society at large. We are pleased to work with Sequans and Gemalto to foster the development of an early Cat M1 ecosystem to support, for example, a multi-function Vehicle Telematics application as enabled by this demo” said Thomas Norén, VP Business Unit Network Products, Ericsson.

“The potential of next generation LTE technology to expand the IoT market presents an enormous opportunity for low power, low bandwidth Cat M1 devices, as well as for applications best addressed by LTE Cat 1,” said Andreas Haegele, Senior Vice President M2M at Gemalto. “Together with Sequans, Gemalto is continuing to deliver first to market IoT connectivity solutions that drive the market forward.”

Source: Gemalto

 

NEW BMW MOTORCYCLE WITH CONNECTEDRIDE POWERED BY VODAFONE

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  • BMW K 1600 GT with built-in Vodafone SIM card for emergency calls
  • Connected riding improves road traffic safety

BMW have launched its new performance touring bike, the K 1600 GT. It’s the first BMW model with an optional eCall service via the Vodafone SIM card on board. The BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide eCall/ ACN (Emergency Call/ Automatic Collision Notification) system uses networks throughout Europe – to get help to accident scenes as quickly as possible and improve road traffic safety. Over 2.5 million BMW cars are already digitally connected by Vodafone as standard.

“The first BMW motorcycle with the eCall system shows just how many possibilities there are for the Internet of Things. And this is just the beginning. It is estimated that by 2020 around 20 billion devices will be sharing data,” said Vodafone Internet of Things Director Ivo Rook.

BMW‘s new K 1600 GT has a Vodafone IoT SIM card under its seat. It ensures that if the bike is involved in an accident, the BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide system can immediately contact the BMW call centre. Developed by BMW Motorrad, the system has various sensors that monitor the bike’s speed and angle to identify when it is involved in an accident and trigger an emergency call. The rider can also use an SOS button on the handlebars to contact the BMW call centre. At the same time, other important information such as the bike’s location is transmitted. Depending on how severe the accident is, the BMW call centre alerts the emergency services or attempts to contact the driver via the bike’s built-in audio system. This system allows the rescue services to arrive at the accident site up to 50% faster.

Vodafone transmits the emergency calls Europe-wide via its international mobile communications network. When calls are made from abroad, the caller is always assigned to a BMW call centre agent who speaks his language.

BMW Motorrad has made a video demonstrating how the eCall/ACN system works. You can watch it here.

Source: Vodafone

DHL now delivers parcels to Smart car trunks

  • DHL Parcel and Smart to start joint pilot in selected German cities in autumn
  • Customers receive parcels straight to the trunk of their cars

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DHL Parcel and Smart today announced a joint pilot in which owners of Smart cars can use their vehicles as mobile addresses for car drops starting in autumn. The project partners have worked in recent months to develop and test a solution to ensure high security standards for merchandise and vehicles.

An expanded market test will be conducted in the German town of Stuttgart in autumn this year. The car drop service will be offered a few months later in Bonn, Berlin and Cologne. By attracting several hundred participants in each city, partners DHL Parcel and Smart aim to collect feedback under near-reality conditions. Smart owners wanting to take part in the pilot can go to www.smart.com/drop for information and submit their applications from September. Installation of the devices needed to participate in the pilot will be performed at local distributors, with Smart assuming the costs. When registering their car for the pilot with Smart, customers can also fill out the necessary DHL car-trunk delivery agreement in just a few simple steps. DHL Parcel’s customer portal www.paket.de has been linked with Smart’s own customer portal to combine the two processes into one.

“As a leader of innovation in the parcel sector, with DHL Parcel we are pursuing the goal of developing new ideas to supplement our diverse range of solutions to make it easier to send and receive a parcel, and to personalize the process to meet customers’ needs,” says Jürgen Gerdes, CEO Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Having successfully tested car-trunk deliveries as part of a pilot in Germany, we are using the knowledge we have gained to work with Smart to develop a new and attractive service for a young, extremely online savvy target group.”

Smart CEO Annette Winkler agrees: “With the new service, we are expanding the ways in which our vehicles can be used to offer a broader mobility model that goes beyond the car itself. The pilot also kicks off our campaign to improve the quality of urban life.”

Smartphone based solution

The joint solution from Smart and DHL Paket is smartphone based, with the Smart driver and the DHL parcel courier using specially designed apps. The vehicle owner uses the Smart app to generate a single-use transaction authorization number (TAN) which they enter in the “c/o” box when stating their delivery address for purchases in an online shop. For the car drop to take place, the vehicle simply has to be parked in the vicinity of the owner’s home address.

The DHL parcel courier is informed of the preferred delivery location via an app, receiving time-limited access to the recipient’s car. The single-use TAN the online shopper enters when placing their order enables the courier to locate and open the vehicle within a set period of time. Having gained access to the trunk, the courier can either deposit a parcel or retrieve a shipment for return. Once the courier closes the trunk, the TAN authorizing them access is cancelled. A push message sent via the app notifies the car owner that the delivery has taken place.

By allowing customers to use their cars as mobile delivery addresses, DHL Paket is adding yet another attractive option to its unique range of automated parcel receipt services in Germany. With the DHL Packstation service, parcel boxes for single-dwelling and multiple-dwelling homes, deliveries to a predefined, preferred location – plus car-trunk deliveries to Smart cars from autumn onwards – DHL Paket serves growing consumer demands for more mobility and more flexibility in meeting their every-day needs.

Disruption endures in Industrial Internet of Things

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What do a bulldozer and a hospital MRI scanner have in common? Both are high-value assets and both are utilized to a fraction of their potential. But that is about to change. The rise of the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) — technology that allows objects to send and receive data — promises to increase hugely the shareability of such assets, triggering a surge in utilization rates.

The idea of connecting industrial assets to digital networks is not new, but according to Paul Brody, EY Technology Sector Strategy Leader, ”We’re now shifting from older, proprietary models of interconnection that tend to be limited to a factory or occasionally an enterprise toward more of a standardized, internet-accessible mode of connectivity and collaboration.”

The GE Foundation predicts that the collision of machines, data and analytics will become a US$200b global industry from 2015—17. And Research firm Gartner predicts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30% from 2015.

This explosion of all-pervasive connectivity is set to boost shareability, making it easier to generate new revenue streams from industrial assets that have traditionally lain idle between jobs. This paves the way for industrial-sharing apps built along similar lines to consumer offerings such as those of transport network company Uber and accommodation-sharing site Airbnb. It allows companies to provide access to assets without needing to own them.

“Our research shows that a lot of industrial assets are very lightly used,” says Brody. “For example, a lot of high-value enterprise assets such CT scanners, MRI machines and office space, have fairly low utilization rates. Industries that depend on assets of this sort are likely to face the biggest levels of disruption.”

Taking up the slack

So how will the rise of the industrial IoT transform asset utilization rates? “The first step is instrumentation,” says Brody. “Very quickly, we’re going to see that many industrial assets are not very busy. So we move to the second stage: optimization.” Not knowing what assets you have got or who is using them is a widespread problem. A study of US hospitals by GE Healthcare found that the average utilization rate of hospital medical devices was just 42%.

One of the reasons for Uber’s swift and disruptive success is its ability to leverage two vast and lightly used assets: private motor vehicles and people prepared to drive them. Utilization is staggeringly low: cars are the second-most valuable possession most people own, yet are only used 4% of the time.

Few industrial assets are as lightly used as this, however, the rise of the industrial sharing economy is still expected to have profound consequences. “Asset-intensive industries where assets are not highly utilized will experience supply shocks,” predicts Brody.

Industrial evolution

For established businesses, getting an early foothold in the sharing economy is not only a chance to tap into new markets, but also insurance against the threat of future disruption. This is fuelling an uptick in dealmaking. “Right now, we’re seeing people preparing for this wave,” says Brody. “You see companies with assets buying companies with technology capability and market-maker experience.”

Construction and mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar’s investment in US start-up Yard Club, a company that has developed an online peer-to-peer equipment rental platform, hints at the kind of partnerships that are likely to become widespread. Yard Club allows contractors to rent machinery to each other between jobs, converting slack periods into cash. “Idle time is hard to swallow,” Yard Club’s founder and CEO, Colin Evran, told CNBC.

Business-to-business sharing platforms work by creating a user-friendly marketplace for resources that were previously only accessible through ownership or via long leases. And it is not just idle construction equipment that is finding new outlets. US logistics startup Cargomatic connects shippers with licensed carriers through the web and mobile apps. Cargomatic’s backers include Volvo Group Venture Capital AB, the corporate investment arm of the Swedish vehicle manufacturer.

New value creation

Sharing underused assets is the most common way that value is being created at the intersection of technology and assets. But it is just the start. “I think we’re going to see more and more cross-enterprise digital integration,” says Brody. Digital integration is not only about making better use of existing capacity, but also about building entirely new capabilities.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) hold the key. These are digital bridgeheads for accessing software applications and tools. APIs make it possible to build hybrid business models easily, using information and services provided by others to create new value.

“Logistics is an example,” says Brody. “With a company like Uber, you can access its services via an API, so I can arrange a pickup from other apps communicating directly through Uber. Imagine a mash-up of two different companies — a short-distance transport company and a long-distance transport firm — all through APIs. You can assemble a national point-to-point delivery network that’s digitally integrated, without having to build a national delivery network.”

Mash-ups are likely to be one of the main drivers in the next wave of innovation. “We coined the term ‘industrial mash-ups’ to describe this new form of dynamic and often automated partnering,” says Jeff Liu, EY Global Technology Industry Leader, Transaction Advisory Services. “Mash-ups will enable important benefits within the digital economy.”

Industrial mash-ups accelerate innovation by reducing dealmaking friction, so collaborative participants can build scale and capabilities quickly. “The result is that organizations are able to migrate more rapidly to comprehensive, end-to-end solutions,” says Liu. “It’s tempting to see these emerging types of deals merely as alliances or JVs, but this is too narrow. Over time, we expect these relationships to become increasingly automated. Driving business friction down should in turn, drive innovation up.”

Examples of industrial mash-ups are already appearing. IBM has partnered with fellow US tech giant Apple, multinational medical devices and pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and medical devices company Medtronic to optimize consumer and medical devices for data collection, analysis and feedback. “Industrial mash-ups are very flexible,” says Liu. “Partners can bring specific portions of their broader value propositions to the deal, and then narrowly define deal parameters in a way that insulates other areas of the business.”

Source: EY