By Mark Skilton, Global Director at Capgemini
Communications + Data protocols and the Next Internet of Things Multi-Platform solutions
Much of the discussion on the “internet of things” have been around industry sector examples use of device and sensor services. Examples of these I have listed at the end of this paper. What are central to this emerging trend are not just sector point solutions but three key technical issues driving a new Industry Sector Digital Services strategy to bring these together into a coherent whole.
- How combinations of system technologies platforms are converging enabling composite business processes that are mobile , content and transactional rich and with near real time persistence and interactivity
- The development of “non-web browser” protocols in new sensor driven machine data that are emerging that extend new types of data into internet connected business and social integration
- The development of “connected systems” that move solutions in a new digital services of multiple services across platforms creating new business and technology services
I want to illustrate this by focusing on three topics: multi-platforming strategies, communication protocols and examples of connected systems.
I want to show that this is not a simple “three or four step model” that I often see where mobile + applications and Cloud equal a solution but result in silos of data and platform integration challenges. New processing methods for big data platforms, distributed stream computing and in memory data base services for example are changing the nature of business analytics and in particular marketing and sales strategic planning and insight. New feedback systems collecting social and machine learning data are creating new types of business growth opportunities in context aware services that work and augment skills and services.
The major solutions in the digital ecosystem today incorporate an ever growing mix of devices and platforms that offer new user experiences and organization. This can be seen across most all industry sectors and horizontally between industry sectors. This diagram is a simplistic view I want to use to illustrate the fundamental structures that are forming.
Multiple devices that offer simple to complex visualization, on-board application services
Multiple Sensors that can economically detect measure and monitor most physical phenomena: light, heat, energy, chemical, radiological in both non-biological and biological systems.
Physical and virtual communities of formal and informal relationships. These human and/ or machine based associations in the sense that search and discover of data and resources that can now work autonomously across an internet of many different types of data.
Physical and virtual Infrastructure that represent servers, storage, databases, networks and other resources that can constitute one or more platforms and environments. This infrastructure now is more complex in that it is both distributed and federated across multiple domains: mobile platforms, cloud computing platforms, social network platforms, big data platforms and embedded sensor platforms. The sense of a single infrastructure is both correct and incorrect in that is a combined state and set of resources that may or may not be within a span of control of an individual or organization.
Single and multi-tenanted Application services that operate in transactional, semi or non-deterministic ways that drive logical processing, formatting, interpretation, computation and other processing of data and results from one-to-many, many-to-one or many-to-many platforms and endpoints.
The key to thinking in multiple platforms is to establish the context of how these fundamental forces of platform services are driving interactions for many Industries and business and social networks and services. This is changing because they are interconnected altering the very basis of what defines a single platform to a multiple platform concept.
This diagram illustrates some of these relationships and arrangements. It is just one example of a digital ecosystem pattern, there can be other arrangements of these system use cases to meet different needs and outcomes.
I use this model to illustrate some of the key digital strategies to consider in empowering communities; driving value for money strategies or establishing a joined up device and sensor strategy for new mobile knowledge workers. This is particularly relevant for key business stakeholders decision making processes today in Sales, Marketing, Procurement, Design, Sourcing, Supply and Operations to board level as well as IT related Strategy and service integration and engineering.
Taking one key stakeholder example, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is interested and central to strategic channel and product development and brand management. The CMO typically seeks to develop Customer Zones, Supplier zones, marketplace trading communities, social networking communities and behavior insight leadership. These are critical drivers for successful company presence, product and service brand and market grow development as well as managing and aligning IT Cost and spend to what is needed for the business performance. This creates a new kind of Digital Marketing Infrastructure to drive new customer and marketing value. The following diagram illustrates types of marketing services that raise questions over the types of platforms needed for single and multiple data sources, data quality and fidelity.
What all these new converged technologies have in common are communications. But communications that are not just HTTP protocols but wider bandwidth of frequencies that are blurring together what is now possible to be connected.
These protocols include Wi-Fi and other wireless systems and standards that are not just in the voice speech band but also in the collection and use of other types of telemetry relating to other senses and detectors.
All these have common issues of Device and sensor compatibility, discovery and paring and security compatibility and controls.
- Wireless: WLAN, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wireless USB,
- Proximity Smartcard, Passive , Active, Vicinity Card
- IrDA, Infrared
- GPS Satellite
- Mobile 3G, 4GLTE, Cell, Femtocell, GSM, CDMA, WIMAX
- RFID RF, LF, HFbands
- Encryption: WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS, other
These communication protocols impact on the design and connectivity of system- to-system services. These standards relate to the operability of the services that can be used in the context of a platform and how they are delivered and used by consumers and providers.. How does the data and service connect with the platform? How does the service content get collected, formatted, processed and transmitted between the source and target platform? How do these devices and sensors work to support extended and remote mobile and platform service? What distributed workloads work best in a mobile platform, sensor platform or distributed to a dedicated or shared platform that may be cloud computing or appliance based for example?
Answering these questions are key to providing a consistent and powerful digital service strategy that is both flexible and capable of exploiting, scaling and operating with these new system and intersystem capabilities.
This results in a new kind of User Experience and Presence strategy that moves the “single voice of the Customer” and “Customer Single voice” to a new level that works across mobile, tablets and other devices and sensors that translate and create new forms of information and experience for consumers and providers. Combining this with new sensors that can include for example; positional, physical and biomedical data content become a reality in this new generation of digital services. Smart phones today have a price-point that includes many built in sensors that are precision technologies measuring physical and biological data sources. When these are built into new feedback and decision analytics creates a whole new set of possibilities in real time and near real time augmented services as well as new levels of resource use and behavior insight.
The scale and range of data types (text, voice, video, image, semi structured, unstructured, knowledge, metadata , contracts, IP ) about social, business and physical environments have moved beyond the early days of RFID tags to encompass new internet aware sensors, systems, devices and services. This is not just “Tabs and Pads” of mobiles and tablets but a growing presence into “Boards, Places and Spaces” that make up physical environments turning them in part of the interactive experience and sensory input of service interaction. This now extends to the massive scale of terrestrial communications that connect across the planet and beyond in the case of NASA for example; but also right down to the Micro, Nano, Pico and quantum levels in the case of Molecular and Nano tech engineering . All these are now part of the modern technological landscape that is pushing the barriers of what is possible in today’s digital ecosystem.
The conclusion is that strategic planning needs to have insight into the nature of new infrastructures and applications that will support these new multisystem workloads and digital infrastructures.
I illustrate this in the following diagram in what I call the “multi-platforming” framework that represents this emerging new ecosystem of services.
Digital Service = k ∑ Platforms + ∑ Connections
K= a coefficient measuring how open, closed and potential value of service
Digital Ecosystem = e ∑ Digital Services
e = a coefficient of how diverse and dynamic the ecosystem and its service participants.
I will explore the impact on enterprise architecture and digital strategy in future blogs and how the emergence of a new kind of architecture called Ecosystem Arch.
Examples of new general Industry sector services Internet of Things
- Energy conservation
- The example of Nest http://www.nest.com Learning thermostat, founded by Tony Fadell, ex iPod hardware designer and Head of iPod and iPhone division, Apple. The device monitors and learns about energy usage in a building and adapts and controls the use of energy for improved carbon and cost efficiency.
- Lifestyle activity
- Lifestyle health
- Heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, heart rate variability, for cardiorespiratory monitoring are some of the potential that connecting Devices such as Zensorium http://www.zensorium.com
- Medical Health
- Biomedical sensing for patient care and elderly care management, heart, lung, kidney dialysis, organ implants, orthopaedic implants and brain-image scanning. Examples of devices can monitor elderly physical activity, blood pressure and other factors unobtrusively and proactively. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/garden/29parents.html?pagewanted-all these aim to drive improvements in prevention, testing, early detection, surgery and treatment helping improve quality of life and address rising medical costs and society impact of aging population.
- Precision global positioning, local real time image perception interpretation sensing, dynamic electromechanical control systems. Examples include Toyota advanced IT systems that will help drivers avoid road accidents. Http://www.toyota.com/safety/ Google driverless car http://www.forbes.com/sites/chenkamul/2013/01/22/fasten-your-seatbelts-googles-driverless-car-is-worth-trillions/
- Materials science engineering and manufacturing
- Strain gauges, stress sensors, precision lasers, micro and nanoparticle engineering, cellular manipulation, gene splicing,
3D printing has the potential to revolutionize automated manufacturing but through distributed services over the internet, manufacturing can potentially be accessed by anyone.
- Strain gauges, stress sensors, precision lasers, micro and nanoparticle engineering, cellular manipulation, gene splicing,
- Physical Safety and security
- Alpha Blue http://www.alphablue.co.uk Controlling children’s access to their mobile phone via your pc is an example of parental protection of children using web based applications to monitory and control mobile and computing access.
- Keyless entry using your phone. Wiki, Bluetooth and internet network app and device to automate locking of physical; door and entry remotely or in proximity. Examples such as Lockitron https://www.lockitron.com.
- Remote activity and swarming robotics
- The developing of autonomous robotics to respond and support exploration and services in harsh or inaccessible environments. Examples include the NASA Mars curiosity rover that has active control programs to determine remote actions on the red planet that has a signal delay time round trip (13 minutes, 48 seconds EDL) approximately 30 minutes to detect perhaps react to an event remotely from Earth. http://blogs.eas.int/mex/2012/08/05/time-delay-betrween-mars-and-earth/ http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/main/imdex.html . Disabled support through robotic prosthetics and communication synthesis. http://disabilitynews.com/technology/prosthetic-robotic-arm-can-feel/. Swarming robots that fly or mimic group behavior. University of Pennsylvania, http://www.reuters.com/video/2012/03/20/flying-robot-swarms-the-future-of-search?videoId-232001151 Swarming robots , Natural Robotics Lab , The University of Sheffield , UK http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/sheffield-centre-robotic-gross-natural-robotics-lab-1.265434
Mark Skilton is Global Director for Capgemini, Strategy CTO Group, Global Infrastructure Services. His role includes strategy development, competitive technology planning including Cloud Computing and on-demand services, global delivery readiness and creation of Centers of Excellence. He is currently author of the Capgemini University Cloud Computing Course and is responsible for Group Interoperability strategy.