Late last year, we published an article that drew parallels between the early days of broadband and where we stand today with the autonomous vehicle. That article triggered Abraham Chen to ponder the similarities between Internet Protocol addressing and telephone network numbering. Since then, this MIT graduate and Avinta CTO has been researching, refining and evaluating with industry peers an idea for extending the existing IPv4 protocol to solve for the explosion of “things” in the so-called Internet of Things.
Alan Weissberger provides an excellent summary of the Grand Keynotes at the 2015 TiECon, which featured corporate icon Jack Welch among others. Telecom providers will find Weissberger’s summary of comments from Gary Gauba’s of CenturyLink Cognilytics. Cognilytics was acquired by CenturyLink and Gauba provides insight into CenturyLink’s transformation into a major cloud player and how they are proving out their ideas in places like their Technology Center of Excellence.
“It’s what a cooperative is about; sharing ideas and bringing a community together,” said Corey McCarthy, CFO and SVP of Business Development of the National Cable Television Cooperative. He was referring to the NCTC’s efforts to crowdsource ideas from its members, as well as bringing together members to devise technology solutions that would be impossible for an individual member to undertake.
Brian Nordtvedt of FARR Technologies discusses some of the techniques he and his group uses to more efficiently design outside plant for their clients. Additionally, he talks about the nuances of building in rural areas versus relatively urban areas. He also provides insight on relatively recent state legislation that has eased the cost of railroad crossing easements and rights of way. Nordtvedt emphasizes the importance of planning for all the contingencies and including these in the project schedule.
The biggest challenge we face right now is a proposed [FCC] rule-making that would potentially open up that spectrum to other users that might, through their operations, effectively jam the safety messages,” according to Ken Leonard, Director of the ITS Joint Program Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposed FCC rule making Leonard refers to would expand the spectrum available for WiFi and encroach into the 75 MHz (5.85-5.925GHz) band that the FCC allocated in 1999 for Intelligent Transportation Service. This FCC rule making, which has been open since 2013, made the national news this week in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Most people would think that self-driving and race car are terms that do not go together, according to Michael Robinson, Creative Director and CEO of ED Design. Robinson points out that in the early days, the race track was a petri dish of sorts for testing and stretching innovation in the automobile field. In the above video, he explains that ED Design’s announcement of the TORQ, autonomous race car is part of a bigger project to test and refine autonomous vehicle concepts into real-world prototypes and products.
The MAAL (Mobile Autonomous Automobile Laboratory) approach Robinson is advocating is an open architecture environment for multiple disciplines and organizations to understand the impact of autonomy on mobility. As he mentions in the above interview, he believes Silicon Valley has an important role in the development of his unique vision for the revolutionary changes we will experience over the coming decades.
The biggest challenge we face right now is a proposed [FCC] rule-making that would potentially open up that spectrum to other users that might, through their operations, effectively jam the safety messages,” according to Ken Leonard, Director of the ITS Joint Program Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The proposed FCC rule making Leonard refers to would expand the spectrum available for WiFi and encroach into the 75 MHz (5.85-5.925GHz) band that the FCC allocated in 1999 for Intelligent Transportation Service. The safety messages refer to the Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communications that would occur using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC); radios that essentially act as mouths and ears for vehicles and associated fixed infrastructure, such as traffic signals.
This FCC rule making, which has been open since 2013, made the national news this week in an article in the Wall Street Journal. That article emphasized the friction between telecommunications providers and the automobile industry as to how this spectrum should be used.
Also, as widely reported in the past week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx committed that by the end of 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will provide the OMB with proposed rules requiring V2V communications on new vehicles. In that same speech, Secretary Foxx indicated that,
“The Department is committing to complete a preliminary test plan [testing whether the 5.9 GHz can be shared with unlicensed users] within 12 months after industry makes production-ready devices available for testing.”
In the above interview, filmed April 9th, 2015, Leonard provides an important overview and brief history of V2V communications and how the Department of Transportation, the automobile industry and academia have been working together to understand what is needed to for a successful implementation; success being measured in accidents avoided and lives saved. Leonard points to the 3,000 vehicle pilot performed in Ann Arbor, Michigan that provided a proof-point that the technology can work in the real-world. Still, this testing just scratches the surface in terms of understanding how the technology works at scale.
Thus, the next tranche of testing is a two-phase, Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program, that will be larger scale and will continue to 2020. It has parallels to the FCC’s Rural Broadband Experiments program in the sense that multiple organizations are submitting proposals and the DOT has a pool of money that will be award to an estimated 2 to 5 groups with the proposals that will give the best return. The awards are expected to be between $2 to $20M. This testing will occur in parallel with the commercial roll out of DSRC, as, at least one manufacturer, Cadillac, is planning on introducing this technology in the 2017 model year.
The potential benefit of DSRC goes beyond safety and includes a range of application categories according to the DOT’s website:
Agency data (e.g. road maintenance)
Environment (e.g. eco-traffic signal timing)
Mobility (e.g. dynamic ridesharing)
Road Weather (motorist advisories)
Smart Roadside (wireless inspection)
Leonard is excited about the new applications that DSRC potentially will enable. Similarly, he explains that the DOT is supportive of the greater use of WiFi and is open to proposals that would share the spectrum between WiFi and DSRC.
Still, Leonard reminds that reliability and latency are critical for V2V to be effective and to save lives and that stakeholders should keep that as the priority.
“We need to make sure that this portion of the spectrum that is used for life saving technologies and life saving communications, that, if there is additional uses of that WiFi that they don’t interfere with the safety messages of cars talking to each other.”
He indicates the DOT is working across the government, as well as industry, to reconcile this need for more broadband with the need for reliable V2V and V2I communications. He is optimistic that there is a tremendous opportunity and synergy between the once disparate automotive and communications industries.
Over 4,300 delegates attended 2015 TiECon¹ –the largest global conference on entrepreneurship. The conference was held May 15th and 16th in Santa Clara, CA.
In this first TiECon article, we summarize the two Grand Keynote conversations from the first day (Friday May 15th of the conference. Future articles will cover keynotes and panel sessions from various tracks, such as Cloud, Security, IoT, and Breakthrough Thinkers.
Note 1. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), which creates the event, has its headquarters in Silicon Valley and has chapters in 61 cities in 20 different countries. It is the world’s largest non-profit organization for entrepreneurs.
Highlights of Grand Keynote 1. – Jack Welch (ex CEO-GE) and Suzy Welch (co-author of “Real Life MBA”):
Jack: Since the 2008-2009 recession ended, companies are trying to do more with less and the pace of change has accelerated. An employee shouldn’t wait over one month in a non-creative company environment if he or she is an innovator.
Suzy: Corporate America has thousands of different ways to say NO, while entrepreneurs are YES people who must get out and start their own companies.
Jack (about his experiences in India): I couldn’t believe the intellectual capacity of India. The people are smart, aggressive, courteous, and always searching. I’m basically an Indian salesman.
Suzy: There seems to be herds of unicorns (startups valued in excess of $1B) galloping between San Francisco and Santa Clara. At the SF Four Seasons bar, we overheard tech startup talk that made our heads spin.
Jack: Startups today are different from the DOTCOM era (1998-2001) in that they have real cash flow, cause disruption (of industries and products/services), and are entering large markets. They are not “follies” or “just apps companies.”
Jack: A PhD in tech is a ticket to the moon (this author STRONGLY DISAGREES), but it’s also nice to have an MBA.
Avoiding “career pergatory:” The status quo is dangerous. Set a time-table for how long you (the employee) is going to stay with a company if stuck with a bad boss or an indifferent organization/bureaucracy. Don’t be negative during your stay at the company you may soon leave.
Suzy: Over the past few years, only about 10% of employees generally know where they stand within their company and have a sense of a career trajectory. At Google, it’s 60%. Most employees feel disillusioned and disengaged. Many hate come to work each day hating their job.
Leaders need to be turned on by the success of their people. The key is to build great product teams. Get smart people, energize and excite them, then let them go (and progress their agendas/initiatives).
Jack: There’s much quicker speed in the workplace today, because “everyone knows everything.” [Presumably that’s because of lightning quick information flow due to the Internet, social networking, mobile apps, instant messaging, texting, etc]. Companies need to be more transparent than ever before due to global competition. It’s imperative to get bureaucracy out of the company. Flatter (organizations), faster (decision-making) is needed to compete today in all types of companies.
Lessons learned: Act faster, fail fast, if it doesn’t work – fix it. There’s no room for caution in any business today.
When asked about his life and noteworthy accomplishments, Jack said he can’t address his legacy, because “legacy is a bore.”
Suzy said Jack has an incredible curiosity about what’s happening and why. She gave an example of Jack interrogating a taxi driver in a 3rd world country everything about the place. When they arrived at their destination, the taxi driver was completely overwhelmed by Jack’s close questioning.
Jack’s closing remark: “India is all about brain power. We went there for (lower) cost, but found intellect.”
Grand Keynote 2. – Aamir Hussain (EVP & CTO, CenturyLink), Tom Reilly (CEO Cloudera) Gary Gauba (Founder & CEO CenturyLink Cognilytics) –Transformational Journey Towards New Data Economy:
CenturyLink is the 3rd largest telco in the U.S.and operates in 5 continents. That despite only having a wireline footprint. In recent years they’ve acquired Qwest/US West, Embarq (formerly Sprint Local), Savvis, and CenturyLink Cognilytics. CenturyLink’s serves 98% of Fortune 500 companies and 20% of the world’s internet traffic flows through its network.
Cloudera is revolutionizing enterprise data management by offering the first unified platform for Big Data. It uses (Apache Open Source) Hadoop, which enables distributed parallel processing of huge amounts of data across inexpensive, industry-standard servers that both store and process the data, and can scale without limits.
Cogniltyics (now part of CenturyLink) is a Big Data/Analytics as a Service company.
Century Link (CTL) recently opened a huge “Technology Center of Excellence” in Monroe, Louisiana. It includes a technology research and development lab, a network operations center and collaborative office and meeting space. In the Center, employees with network, cloud, information technology and other skills will work together to create innovative products and services for CenturyLink’s customers.
Aamir, who hold 11 telecom related patents, said CTL has transformed itself from a traditional telco (providing only network connectivity) to an IT services company (with a full range of managed services). There are thousands of applications running on the CTL network (we suspect most of these came from the Savvis acquisition in 2011).
“More data is being created today then companies can process,” Mr. Hussain said. And that trend will only accelerate with IoT devices sending massive amounts of collected/monitored data to the cloud. While old data was said to have “gravity,” new data (from sensors, mobile/wearable/IoT devices) will be processed by cloud resident compute servers
Hussain believes there’s a huge market for hybrid (private + on premises) cloud. His very credible thesis is that the older IBM mainframe applications will continue to run in premises customer data centers, while new applications will be developed and invoked from a hosted private cloud. That makes for a “static” hybrid cloud solution, which doesn’t have to deal with the thorny (and unresolved) problem of bursting from private to public cloud with data results being stored back in the private cloud for security, safety, and governance/compliance.”
“Cyber security is seen as a huge opportunity for CTL. It’s on top of every customers mind who ask: How to protect my business? “ As 20% of global data traffic passes through the CTL network, the company strongly believes they have a responsibility to protect it, Hussain said.
[Tom Reilly said that Cloudera was using on chip encryption from Intel and cyber security intelligence in Hadoop to protect their customers’ data.]
Summing up, Hussain provided this advice to service provider companies: “Be agile, nimble, listen to customers. Big data has and will continue to change (disrupt?) many business models.”
Gary Gauba gave this advice for entrepreneurs: “Dream big and go make it happen. Take the ups and downs of your entrepreneurial journey in stride. Believe in yourself.” Gary suggested that CenturyLink and Cloudera were good companies for entrepreneurs to partner with.
In a post conference email to this author, Gary expressed his thoughts on the TiECon session and its relevance for the “new data economy.”:
The transformational journey for the new data economy is a common theme and has sparking a lot of interest. The thesis behind this topic is big data, the evolution of technology and serving the omni-channel customer. At TiECon, Aamir Hussain, Tom Reilly and I presented at a grand key note discussing the implications of the cloud, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The question on everyone’s mind is: How does my organization embark on the journey of the new data economy? Organizations are hoarding terabytes of data — only a small fraction is actually being monetized, and the rest gets lost.
As technology leaders, Cloudera and CenturyLink Cognilytics are looking at ways to transform processes and interactions with customers to ultimately reduce costs and improve efficiency. CenturyLink Cognilytics and Cloudera are working together on a mission to help businesses of all sizes monetize this data as a strategic asset, transforming raw data into actionable and valuable insights that help them leap-frog their competition.
CenturyLink showcased itself as an 80+ year old, entrepreneur-like company that has built grand-scale technology centers of excellence and is leading the charge on enterprise-grade technology solutions
On TiECon 2015:
It was a great turnout at TiECon. Thousands of budding entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, executives and inquisitive minds listened to keynotes, participated in breakout sessions and engaged with start-ups.
On May 19th CTL announced it has been identified by industry analyst firm Gartner, Inc. as a visionary in the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service- Worldwide, report.
“In the fast-moving cloud market, CenturyLink continues to differentiate in hybrid IT innovation with our advanced cloud services and complementary agile infrastructure, network and managed services,” said Jared Wray, senior vice president, platforms, at CenturyLink. “The velocity of our cloud innovation continues to intensify, with our agile DevOps approach delivering new features and functionality that delight our customers.”
With the recent acquisitions of Orchestrate, Cognilytics and DataGardens, as well as global expansions of its cloud node locations and data center footprint, CenturyLink continues to advance its managed services, cloud and collocation offerings for enterprises.
Gartner analysts Lydia Leong, Douglas Toombs and Bob Gill authored the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide, report, published on May 18, 2015. Evaluation for the report was based on vendors’ completeness of vision and ability to execute.
The Internet of Things is the next step along a path where technology is woven into our every moment and into our very being. Even the simpler things in life, like fishing, are not immune to the invasion of connected sensing and intelligence that we are seeing in formerly mundane devices. Skip to the Korner to read about an IoT fishing accessory that its maker hopes will help facilitate deeper connections between family members by making an old-time pastime even more enjoyable.
The Internet of Things (known as “IoT” or for Cisco, Qualcomm and others “IoE”) was the driving theme throughout this superb symposium. GSA says: “the IoT is driving the expectancy for ubiquitous connectivity and universal access to data, immersive technology is changing our expectations on how we interact with the physical and virtual worlds.” The excellent GSA summit offered two intriguing IoT sessions this year.
In this second of a two-part article series, Alan Weissberger reviews the afternoon IoT session at the April 15, 2015 GSA Silicon Summit. The topic was MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) and Sensors, Shaping the Future of the IoT and featured speakers from GE Global Research, InvenSense, Atmel and Virtuix. This conference points to the future – a future where, according to one of the speakers, “Our new machines will augment human desires…immortality, omniscience, telepathy and teleportation.”
It is the construction of the network that is sometimes the biggest barrier to realizing FTTH. Fortunately, technology, such as GPS, is helping outside plant engineers be more efficient in the design process. In part one of a two-part interview, Brian Nordtvedt of FARR Technologies discusses some of the techniques he and his crew use to help their clients build FTTH networks.
“A free-floating car-sharing service…it is a total hack of the car-sharing model,” is how Peter Dempster describes DriveNow. Dempster, Business Development and Sales Manager for DriveNow, Gmbh, KG, goes on to explain that DriveNow allows one to pick up and drop off cars in different places, keep the car as long as they wish, while paying by the minute ($12 for the first 30 $0.32/minute thereafter)¹. It turns out, the DriveNow service can be very affordable, compared to alternatives, as, for instance, taking DriveNow from the San Francisco Airport to Union Square would typically $12, as compared to approximately $60 via taxi.
In this interview filmed at IP Possibilities, Jeff Leslie of ITS Fiber suggests that providing businesses superior speed and quality bandwidth leads is a foundation that can lead to new services. Leslie talks about how ITS Fiber has used that bandwidth to become a supplier of IT services to local businesses. He also talks about the importance of defining the scope of the services, so that the customer has clear expectations of what is included in a given project.
The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener began yesterday and represents the start of the summer tourism season. As its name would suggest, a big part of this event is about Minnesota fishing and opening of fishing season. It is fitting that the above video, about a high-tech way to catch fish, made its debut on the ViodiTV channel at the 2015 Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Annual Convention and Conference.
Although Friday Lab, the developer of the Deeper Fishfinder, is based in Lithuania, the problems it solves is universal. As Friday Lab co-founder/CMO, Rolandas Sereika, explains, their device floats on the water and uses Sonar to detect the location of fish and Bluetooth to communicate information to a smart phone app. He describes how they have recently enhanced their app to provide additional data for ice fishing.
Given that the MN Governor’s Fishing Opener falls on Mother’s Day weekend, the Deeper Fish Finder could be a great present for the mother who likes to fish. And their excellent YouTube video describes the fishing experience as much deeper than what appears at the surface (the video is reminiscent of the iconic Harry Chapin song about a father-son relationship).
MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) and Sensors, Shaping the Future of the IoT:
Todd Miller, Microsystems Lab Manager, GE Global Research
Behrooz Abdi, President and CEO, InvenSense
Steve Pancoast, VP, Software and Applications, Atmel
David Allan, President and COO, Virtuix Inc.
Todd Miller told the audience what GE cares about for the IoT. One concern is that ~40% of skilled U.S. manufacturing workers will retire in the next five years. That’s a huge challenge for the Industrial Internet, because there’ll be an acute shortage of workers to make the devices/controllers. More outsourcing of high-tech manufacturing to Asia?
Other important challenges include: performance, mitigating cybersecurity threats, scale, and interoperability via open standards. Costs that don’t scale well will limit the value created, Todd said.
GE’s Industrial Performance and Reliability Centers maintain critical asset operations with 6K+ assets in 770 world-wide sites which are monitored 24/7. A wind power site was given as an example.
Sharing best practices, reference architectures, case studies
Influencing global standards development to ensure interoperability
Building confidence around new and innovative approaches to security
Other founding members include: AT&T, Cisco, IBM, and Intel
Miller said that the value of IoT to customers will be huge. Connected machines could eliminate up to $150 billion in waste across industries, he said. Five such industries were cited: Aviation, Power, Healthcare, Rail, Oil and Gas. There are IoT/connected machine benefits provided for each.
GE Global Research provides innovation via “breakthrough device concepts, which become real working devices… from prototypes to low volumes.” A GE MEMS Relay Product Line was established in 2014 with external shipments scheduled for Q4 2015.
Of course, the biggest threat for industrial control is security. In this author’s opinion, the vulnerability of critical infrastructure such as energy and utility is vastly underestimated. A report by Ponemon Institute and Unisys titled “Critical Infrastructure: Security Preparedness and Maturity,” highlights the striking disparity between awareness of cybersecurity risks and the implementation of security protocols in critical infrastructure sectors. More information on this important topic is here.
The Industrial Internet Security Working Committee will establish a security framework to be applied to every technology adopted by the IIC. The framework shall ensure sufficient cyber security and privacy for the various users of the industrial internet. The Security Working Group will also point to best practices and identify gaps. Good luck!
Behroz Abdi characterized IoT as a new form of “Ambient Computing” – AlwaysOn with Intuitively Interactive Apps and Services. Another descriptor given was “The Internet of Sensors,” with functions [f(x)] for location determination, activity, time, and environment.
InvenSense was said to be a company that integrates sensors on a SoC, develops algorithms & software, as well as doing systems integration. “The fabless model for MEMS is based on process technology and sensor integration,” he said. The SoC functions from InvenSense often include on-chip building blocks like FIFOs, a digital motion processor, activity classifier, inertial sensors, a tilt sensor, device context gestures, and wake-up sensors.
Abdi said that MEMS technology for a “motion tracking solution” has become more of a software business with 2/3rds of InvenSense’s hires involved in algorithm development for deep learning and software integration.
“Sensors are transformative and are fueling the Internet of Things,” according to Behroz. That’s illustrated in the chart below.
Wearables are a very promising market for the company. Wearable computing, sports equipment, fitness/activity tracker, virtual reality, head mount displays, extreme sports cam (GoPro camera?), fitness watch and smart pods were cited by Behrooz as wearable IoT products.
Steve Pancoast talked about MEMS and Sensors, Shaping the Future of the IoT. There is a lot of non-digital information processing in the IoT that’s doesn’t follow Moore’s law, he said. That includes: sensors, RF and passive/discrete components.
In particular, edge sensing nodes are and will be a large part of the IoT, Steve said. Some examples are provided in the graphic below:
Those IoT edge nodes have a broad range of applications and that diversity mandates the following:
A very broad portfolio of low power MCUs and MPUs
A diverse portfolio of easy to use, secure, relevant wireless products
A complete solution where the system software becomes a key differentiator
A complete IoT solution from Atmel will usually include: Wireless Connectivity, Security/Privacy functionality, Low Power Embedded MCUs and MPUs, Sensors, and Software/Tools
IoT Communications Topology will be very dependent on the industry vertical, whether the end device is in a building/home or in the field (different network connectivity) and what type of gateway (if any) is needed to connect things/ endpoint devices to the Internet. This is depicted in the chart below:
Atmel SmartConnect was said to bridge the gap between embedded hardware/firmware/ software developers and backend services/software developers, as shown in the illustration below:
Sensor’s big technology ally was said to be “contextual computing,” which will determine “Where, When, Who, How, and What.” Atmel says that “Contextual computing will be the driving force behind the next wave of new technologies.” We’ll see…
A very comprehensive IoT layered security diagram is shown below. It illustrates each protocol stack layer and the corresponding security function/protocol. The key point is to provide critical security for each and every IoT edge node.
IoT endpoints were said to be “a natural fit for Atmel MCUs.” Steve stated that Atmel has:
Complete Range of Processing Cores: ARM Cortex M0+, M4 & A5/A7 MPUs
Industry leading Low-power, SmartConnect Solutions: Wifi, BT/BLE, 15.4 coupled with Cloud Solutions
Sensor Hub Solutions & SW with wide industry support
Large selection of Robust IoT Crypto Solutions & Security software
In closing, Steve told the audience to “dream big about IoT” as he showed a photo of a fish wearing what looked like an IoT harness with embedded sensors.
David Allan was very poised as he delivered his closing conference presentation by welcoming attendees to the “Second Machine Age.” Hello: smart house, connected car, connected person, and even a connected cow!
After quoting Broadcom’s founder & CTO Henry Sameli, PhD that “Moore’s law is coming to an end” David boldly claimed that “Moore’s Law doesn’t matter!” He believes that the rise of distributed computing makes transistor densities and processor clock speeds less relevant than before.
[Coincidently, an article in the Economist magazine made the same point: “With the rise of cloud computing, the emphasis on the speed of the processor in desktop and laptop computers is no longer so relevant. The main unit of analysis is no longer the processor, but the rack of servers or even the data centre. The question is not how many transistors can be squeezed onto a chip, but how many can be fitted economically into a warehouse. Moore’s law will come to an end; but it may first make itself irrelevant.]
Mr. Allan defines IoT as wireless sensor networks connected to the cloud, thereby harnessing the power of distributed computing.
[But not all the wireless sensors/IoT endpoints will directly connect to the cloud. Many will communicate with a local controller/ gateway or to each other. For example, the Intelligent Proximal Connectivity (AllJoyn) is a collaborative open source project of the AllSeen Alliance that aims to enable apps to connect, control and share resources with other nearby apps and connected smart things.]
Deep Reactive-Ion Etching was said to be important for MEMS, but also for advanced 3D wafer level packaging technology, which might be used for IoT sensors and endpoints.
MEMs are used a great deal in mobile devices, as illustrated by the schematic diagram below:
Mr. Allan is quite concerned about IoT standards and non-conformance of sensors to performance specifications. David wrote in an email:
“Yes, we see a great need for standards, in particular harmonized performance standards for sensors. Sensor devices which—according to datasheets—have equivalent performance, often differ in reality.
For example, after the iPhone 5S switched from a three-axis STMicro LIS331DLH accelerometer to a seemingly equivalent Bosch BMA220 part, many applications (mostly video games) suffered a loss of accuracy of as much as five degrees! Some magnetometers didn’t perform according to specs.
In the future, we’ll decide which part to populate after extensively testing our production boards. Clear performance standards would make this decision possible up front.”
Somewhat whimsically, David asked the audience: “What will the second machine age look like?” His futuristic answer:
“Our new machines will augment human desires…”
Personally, I’ve been waiting for teleportation since I watched the original Star Trek in college. “Beam me up Scotty.” Over and out….
This two-part article series summarizes the highlights, key points, and take-aways from the IoT tracks at the excellent GSA Silicon Summit, held April 15, 2015 at the Computer History Museum in Mt View, CA.
The Internet of Things (known as “IoT” or for Cisco, Qualcomm and others “IoE”) was the driving theme throughout this superb symposium. GSA says: “the IoT is driving the expectancy for ubiquitous connectivity and universal access to data, immersive technology is changing our expectations on how we interact with the physical and virtual worlds.”
The excellent GSA summit offered two intriguing IoT sessions this year. We review the morning IoT session in this article. Part II will summarize the afternoon IoT session.
James Stansberry, SVP and GM, IoT Products, Silicon Labs
Rahul Patel, SVP and GM, Wireless Connectivity, Broadcom
Dr. Martin Scott, SVP and GM, Cryptography Research Division, Rambus
In the leadoff presentation, Gregg Bartlett opined that silicon technology will be an enabler of IoT innovation at the edge node. Areas to be improved include: reduced power consumption, cost, complexity, integration with other components, and security.
Gregg noted that the IoT already exists in many diverse market segments, such as: energy, home automation, healthcare, and factories. He said “the IoT demands continuation of Moore’s law” and offered a processing method called “fully depleted silicon on insulator” (ED-SOI) technology. Bartlett believes that ED-SOI could lead to breakthroughs in power, cost, and integration. “It’s ideal for IoT,” he added.
James Stanberry identified three critical issues for IoT in his talk titled Engineering the IoT:
Energy efficiency IoT device uses only 10% of the power of a cell phone yet must operate for 5 to 10 years
Connectivity- including WiFi (perhaps a low power version), Zigbee, BlueTooth, Thread (IP v6 addressable end nodes), 3G/LTE cellular, and proprietary wireless. 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and sub-GHz frequencies will all be used. (There’s also PoE and low cost Ethernet in connected cars)
Level of integration- an IoT SoC might include: multi-protocol radios, MCU, sensor interface, energy management, non-volatile memory (NVM) and mixed signal control.
Stanberry said we should expect many IoT technology advancements in 2015, including:
Dramatic reductions in energy consumption
Low power connectivity as standards gain traction, and
Introduction of IoT SoCs (this author believes that there will be many types of IoT SoCs, perhaps optimized for industry vertical markets)
Rahul Patel talked about Connecting Everything in Health Care, a vertical market where this author sees tremendous potential and power. Rahul defined three primary IoT markets:
Medical includes: Clinical Health, Telemedicine, Biometric, Medical Devices, etc. Patel said that VC funding for connected health increased over 400% in the last four years. Please refer to the chart below. Notice that the leading segment for Connected Health VC funding has been big data/analytics and Rahul said that’s likely to continue in the future. He said that the intersection of IoT and big data/analytics would create new opportunities, citing body borne sensors and computing coupled with big data/analytics in the cloud (via software running on a compute server in a cloud resident data center).
IoT device requirements identified were:
Data/network security, encryption, authentication
Reliable, consistent across operations
Interoperability across open standards based devices (this includes minimal protocol stacks as well as the PHY/MAC for connectivity)
Compliance with regulatory bodies such as the FDA, NIC, FCC, FTC, etc.
Broadcom aims to be a major IoT player- not just at the end node, but also with analytics and “app ready” software (presumably for the cloud). Their emphasis, of course, will be on connectivity which Rahul said “will drive innovation like never before.” He cited security, reliability, standards driven, and regulatory compliance as key areas for innovation.
Summing up, Rahul said that:
The IoT value proposition (presumably for Broadcom) lies in data and wireless connectivity
Opportunities will inspire new technologies and business models
Creates a new paradigm, “Healthcare in a connected world”
During the Question and Answer portion of the panel, Rahul said that the key silicon issue for IoT is the integration of CMOS Non-Volatile Memory (NOT Flash!) with RF functionality. When asked why not Flash, he said, “it doesn’t scale to the small geometries needed for IoT.
Dr. Martin Scott’s talk was titled: Secure Root-of-Trust- Feature Management Provides Foundational Security for the IoT.
Dr. Scott says we don’t even have to wait for the 50B+ connected devices in 2020 to be aware of the huge IoT security problem, which is evident today in unprecedented security breaches at all levels: Data Center, network and “edge,” as well as device “end points.”
Martin noted that all endpoints are not created equal. “Obviously, a refrigerator isn’t analogous to critical national infrastructure such as a power grid or pumping station. Nevertheless, the security of any complex system is defined by its weakest link,” he explained. “Imagine if someone gained unauthorized access to a home WiFi network via a smart refrigerator or washing machine. Once on the network, an attacker could theoretically assume control of a wide range of sensitive devices and systems, including pacemakers, insulin pumps and even connected cars.”
Security at the endpoint should be of paramount concern to IoT device makers, systems integrators and users. If a system relies on software, says Scott, it is inherently hackable. In contrast, a hardware-based approach, such as one offered by Rambus’ CryptoManager, is one of the most secure ways to protect sensitive keys, data and infrastructure.
Of the three levels of security depicted in the graphic below, the highest level is silicon-based security integrated into the IoT endpoint device (as Intel and Freescale claim they’re also doing).
Dr. Scott made some very important statements regarding the importance of good IoT security:
“It’s important for us to address the inevitable security vulnerabilities that go along with the rapid deployment of smart edge nodes and sensors. According to IDC, 90% of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach within two years. To make matters worse, there is fresh motivation for those seeking IoT-related vulnerabilities…”
“Money, greed and the desire for power are some of the usual suspects, although there are also people who are interested in exploiting security vulnerabilities and causing national harm as a way to express an ideology. The good news? Silicon, in the form of a hardware-based root-of-trust, can go a long way in helping to secure the IoT.”
Dr Scott concluded with a very informative slide depicting security in silicon:
The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) is the voice of the global semiconductor industry with nearly 400 member companies throughout 32 countries and representing over 75% of the industry revenues. GSA provides a neutral environment for semiconductor executives to meet and collaborate on ways to improve efficiencies and address industry wide topics and concerns.
Stay tuned for Part II –MEMS and Sensors, Shaping the Future of the IoT.
“Economic development is at the heart of what we do,” said Dave Osborne of VTX, a rural broadband operator serving a large swath of south Texas. Osborne was part of a panel at NTCA’s 2015 RTIME that focused on how operators are using their broadband networks as a basis for new applications that are helping their communities compete.
This idea of putting community and customer first was a recurring theme throughout the many conference sessions. Keith Larson of CTC of Minnesota explained that their decision to work with the city of Little Falls fit into their mission. Similarly, Gary Johnson of PBC explained that their expansion to Gig services was fundamentally about helping their members and it is already helping their local economic development efforts. This “overnight success” was the result of a Fiber to the Premise plan that began in 2004.
The advanced fiber-based networks these operators are building will facilitate the Internet of Things, which will overshadow the use of the Internet of Humans in terms of end points, according to VTX’s Osborne. Mobile tech trucks are one way that VTX is helping their customers understand how they can use their network and the associated technology and applications the network enables.
With only 0.75 lines per mile and sometimes hundreds of miles of windshield time, these trucks play a key role in helping their members learn how to get the most from the VTX network. Diversification of revenue is clearly an important motivation for expanding the number of services offered, as well as expansion into new service territories beyond their existing exchanges.
Regarding revenue, there seemed to be a sense of optimism among the operators that the FCC’s recent actions will open the door for financial support of rural broadband, instead of today’s approach of basing rural build outs on Plain Old Telephone Service. Bob Debroux of TDS suggested that the FCC is considering two basic plans; a plan based on models and one a rate of return. He suggested that the FCC first must fix how the monies are distributed and then solve for the contribution side.
In the short-term at least, the FCC’s Title II rules seemed to be of minimal concern in that these operators have been complying all along with the “bright line rules”. Still, some expressed concern that a different FCC could change the rules in the future.
One of the biggest regulatory challenges, particularly when expanding outside an existing serving area, is working with local communities. Former Kansas City, Kansas Mayor, Joe Reardon, talked about some of the benefits his city has seen from the Google fiber deployment. One example of success is an area termed “start-up village” where they have seen small businesses and entrepreneurs move into this Gig-capable area from other cities.
Economic development and betterment of schools are two drivers that will motivate local elected officials to facilitate an operator’s roll out of broadband. Citing his Kansas City experience, he indicated that a city doesn’t need to subsidize a rollout, but streamlining permitting and other regulatory hurdles will go along ways to smoothing out the rollout of gig networks. He said that the Google experience spurred a review and refresh of regulations and that was a good thing beyond the fiber project.
Reardon warned against municipal builds, as it is difficult for municipal entities to keep up in a very competitive and dynamic business. There are some interesting examples of public-private partnerships, such as the aforementioned Little Falls, MN example, as well as TCT and the city of Powell, which TCT’s Don Jackson deemed a successful public/private partnership.
And local broadband networks are important to keep a community vibrant. Don Macke of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, suggested that 35 to 50% of young people who moved away from their communities would return, if they could (e.g. if there were jobs, etc.). This reinforces the point made by Gary Johnson of Paul Bunyan Communications when he stated the reason they built FTTH/Gig everywhere is that, “It’s the right thing to do [for their members].
Stay tuned for video interviews with Gary Johnson, Don Jackson and others who made NTCA’s 2015 RTIME an informative and thought-provoking event.
Overload; one word to describe everything going on regarding the activity surrounding telecommunications regulation and policy in Washington D.C. Carri Bennet and Jill Canfield, two very knowledgable people on these topics drove home the point of how complicated telecom policy is when they described where the FCC stands with next year’s auction for 600 MHz spectrum. Fortunately, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Carri after her presentation at the Wireless Symposium and have her give a thumbnail for this release of spectrum that could be a critical piece to helping bringing broadband to unserved remote rural areas.
Even more important than the policy and regulatory turmoil in the Beltway is the war with the fanatics who will use any means possible to enslave or eliminate the rest of us. And, as we know, their terror goes beyond physical weapons as the Internet allows these thugs new opportunities to impose their twisted will. It will take a united front of citizens, business and government to stand against these evil forces.
Silver Star Communications has been a leader and on the forefront of working with government to fight this war. Jeff England, CFO of SIlver Star Communications is relatively new to the telecom industry, coming to it from a firm that dealt with cybersecurity audits. He has been representing the Silver Star and, by extension, independent operators through his work with the NIST and the FCC. His perspective is sought out because he brings a broader perspective to cybersecurity as compared to the typical IT representation. England explains that cybersecurity is about “risk management” and that, “The NIST Framework provides a bridge between the technology and leadership and where an entity stands on risk.”
England believes there is an opportunity for service providers to use cybersecurity as a competitive advantage. Operators attending the event Viodi is producing in conjunction with ITS Fiber will get a chance to learn Jeff’s thoughts on this topic.
Speaking of Silver Star Communications, the Governor of Wyoming recognized Silver Star Communications in his state of the state address last Wednesday for their efforts in expanding broadband in the Cowboy State. Late last year, we caught up with Representative Marti Halverson who spoke of the importance of Silver Star to the region she represents. In doing so, she relates an amusing story about a misconception one reporter had about the Equality State.
One of the best things about the Wireless Symposium, that was held in conjunction with International CES 2015, was the opportunity to meet with old and new friends. In this video, Steve Pastorkovich, VP of Training and Development for NTCA and Tanya Sullivan, CEO of RWA, explain that the Wireless Symposium, co-produced by their organizations, is a great way to ease into CES.
The Internet of things has transformed International CES 2015 into the show of everything. In 2015, CES continued its expansion in way that is similar to how electronics are increasingly making dumb objects into smart sensors, controllers and indicators. Wireless connections were clearly a key building block for connecting the multitude of devices seen at this enormous conference.
Despite filming 35 video interviews and being at CES and its associated conferences and other events from Sunday to Wednesday, I was in the main convention center for about an hour and a half. That’s the nature of CES; there is too much to see over too wide an area. In some ways it may be easier to get the big picture by staying home and reading and watching coverage. Of course, one wouldn’t be able to see a blue-tooth shoe that gives directions, shoot a basketball that tells you how to improve your shot or taste a craft beer from an Internet-connected, personal brewing machine.
Apollo 11 is a distant memory in the rear view mirror of life for those old enough to remember the glory days of America’s space program. It was a privilege then to meet someone who was involved with that historic program. Space, however, was not the final frontier for Dr. Alain Kornhauser, a Princeton Professor, as, in the decades since, he has been looking forward to how technology could help the transport challenges here on earth.
In the above interview, filmed at International CES 2015, Kornhauser discusses how decades of theory are rapidly turning to reality, as new features are making cars safer and setting the stage for full autonomy; as Kornhauser says, “At some point, they [cars] become so good, that they chauffeur us.”
To the naysayers, he suggests that the,
“Technology will pay for itself through the insurance savings….It will essentially allow the consumer to have the technology for free, as long as they continue to pay the insurance premiums.”
He points out that the technology is following cost curves that are similar to consumer electronics and will follow trends similar to Moore’s Law; hence, one of the reasons CES has become such an important conference for automakers.
Click here to read the complete summary and view the interview.
The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making on modifying the definition of MVPD to include certain type of OTT providers wasn’t exactly the top choice for reading over the break, but it was informative. This document does a good job of raising the right questions and looking at the potential implications of a change of the definition of Multichannel Video Programming Distributor to include Over the Top (OTT) video providers. Still, from the layman’s perspective, it seems like the FCC is having to contort things to fit into laws that were written before anyone dreamed of the changes the Internet would bring (haven’t we heard this before with other regulations).
This may be naive, but perhaps 2015 could be the year for a comprehensive rewrite of telecommunications’ law by Congress. It happened in 1996 with a divided legislative/executive branch, so maybe it can happen again. Even today’s Wall Street Journal is suggesting there might be an opportunity for a pivot in the relations between these two branches of government.
Register here for a one-plus day event on how to transform from a central office, telephony-focused operator to one that is a data center, all-fiber, multi-service provider. Hosted by ITS Fiber, an independent operator that has developed a state-of-the-art data center and fiber network, the agenda is geared for the independent operator wanting a competitive edge in this evolving market. This event will be right after NTCA’s TEF event on February 10th and 11th in sunny and warm Florida.
As is now common knowledge, Sony Pictures Entertainment revealed that it had been hacked by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace, which the FBI claims was an agent of North Korea. Apparently, that repressive Communist country was using cyber-terrorism in an attempt to repress free speech in the United States. Few remember that between April and May 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment’s online gaming service, PlayStation Network, and its streaming media service (Qriocity), along with Sony Online Entertainment (the company’s in-house game developer and publisher), were hacked by LulzSec – a splinter group of the hacker collective known as Anonymous.
Gigabit network announcements are fast becoming non-announcements in that they are occurring so regularly and gigabit will soon (2015?) become a must-have for most North American service providers. What makes Silver Star Communications’ recent announcement about expansion of Gigabit service into Idaho Falls unique is how they brought service to this Eastern Idaho Berg of 56,000+. Silver Star is using the fiber network of Idaho Falls Power, Idaho Falls municipally owned power provider, to extend its Gigabiz service offering to Idaho Falls’ businesses.
Part of Silicon Valley’s mystique is the way companies treat their staff. From free to subsidized lunches to on-site daycare to gymnasiums, the Silicon Valley egalitarian and work-play culture is definitely part of the draw that attracts people from around the world and part of the reason for this region’s continual reinvention. Recognizable names such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo are the face of today’s Silicon Valley, but, if not for the foundation laid by pioneering companies, such as ROLM, Santa Clara Valley might not be known as Silicon Valley.
Thanks to Barb Ostrander of Finley Engineering for pointing out this gem about North Dakota leading the U.S in fiber deployment. The report, published by Dakota Carrier Network, North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives and the USDA Rural Development, predicts that, “Every rural North Dakotan will have access to gigabit speed by 2019.”
The personal highlight of last year’s International CES was a comment that ViodiTV coverage CES 2013 videos was the impetus for one person’s trip to CES2014. With that in mind, here are three videos from CES2014 that point to the Internet of Things theme from last year; a theme that will probably be even more pervasive at CES2015. Please send a note if there is anything in particular that you think we should cover at CES2015.
The Internet of Things doesn’t always mean new things. In the above video, OKIDOKEYS spokesperson Kristin Berry demonstrates OKIDOKEYS’ smartphone/cellphone or RFID-controlled door lock that fits over most existing door locks enabling electronic locking and unlocking of a door. It will provide notifications that a door has opened (e.g. alert that child is home from school) or an alarm if an unauthorized user is attempting to open the door.
One of the worst surprises for a homeowner is to discover water in her basement. Pentair aims to solve that problem by adding connectivity to the sump pump. Combining battery back-up, an Internet connection and the obligatory app, Pentair’s Brian Alexander explains that the sump pump, shown in the above video, will send messages to its owners, such as when it is operating (indicating that it is pumping out water) or if the back-up battery needs replacing (a good thing to know before the battery is needed).
Business failure, policy changes and security breaches are some of the dark sides of the cloud. At the same time, having one’s data backed up at off-site locations can be convenient and provides the physical diversity that protects data from single points of failure (e.g. hard-drive crash, theft, fire, etc.). Connected Data‘s approach to solving this problem is an on-site storage device that automatically connects to other devices, whether on the same Local Area Network or some other place via a Wide Area Network.
The melding of broadband and the cloud with the physical world; the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) will be bigger than the Internet. The resulting creative destruction caused by this next wave will be even bigger than what the Internet has caused over the past 20 years. Scroll to the bottom to learn about a presentation with one thought-leader on what happens when broadband, the cloud and sensors combine with mobility. It feels like we are at the beginning of something similar to where the Internet was about two decades ago.
The West Coast version of a Smithsonian is one way to characterize the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, CA. This was one of many take-aways from an excellent discussion of this Silicon Valley institution with CHM president and CEO, John Hollar, and CHM chairman, Len Shustek. Organized and moderated by IEEESiliconValley Technology History Committee Chairman, Alan Weissberger, this panel covered a wide-range of topics from computer history to how the Computer History Museum is providing computer learning opportunities to disadvantaged youth.
At long last, Sprint has confirmed it will be turning off of its WiMAX service on or around November 6th, 2015. That’s a little over 1 year for owners of WiMAX mobile devices (including laptops with WiMax cards/dongles) to switch to LTE . WiMAX mobile devices will still work in 3G mode after that, but one doesn’t buy a 4G device or interface to use it in 3G mode, especially after a few years of ownership. Alan predicted this sort of outcome years ago.
The BroadbandVision 2014 show, while smaller than the TelcoTV show that used to be held for a similar audience until last year , the BroadbandVision show was nonetheless fairly well attended and continued the tradition of being a wealth of good information. One much discussed topic was Over-The-Top Television (OTT TV) and the ability to bring OTT video to all screens.
“We all need content. We all need a platform for that,” said Edward Hinson of the video exchange. The video exchange was created by Skyline Membership Corporation, a North Carolina Communications Service Provider, to address the challenge of providing enough fresh, quality content for its local content channel. The video exchange made its debut at the 2014 BroadbandVision conference, intends on being the marketplace for independent content that Viodi has been advocating for, for years.
Imagine if cable companies had put in micro-ducts years ago when they installed coaxial cable. Instead of waiting for sometimes months or years for permits and extensive engineering, cable providers would be able to react to opportunities and competitive threats by installing fiber deeper into their networks via already installed ducts. Deep Fiber Solution’s Executive Vice President of Technology and Business Development, Mark Davis, describes the process for how they turn an ordinary coaxial cable into a fiber duct.
“It was a long-term solution,” said Catherine Moyer, General Manager of Pioneer Communications, a Communications Service Provider (CSP) serving rural Western Kansas. Moyer was referring to their decision to offer its customers the Google platform for email and associated applications via the Google Apps Partners Edition™ program. They chose the platform both because of its quality, as well as the stature of the company; that is, they expected Google and its offering to be available for its customers for the long haul.
Exede’s latest offering in select rural areas. The big deal about this offering, besides the speed, is the significant loosening of the data cap. The $70/month plan would probably meet the needs of many with regards to downloading (20 Gbytes + plus unlimited web & email). The $100 package provides a 150 Gbyte cap, which will be adequate for most. Additionally, its $100 price drops to $80 package when bundled with voice and satellite video. Wow. 12 MB/s down, 3 Mb/s up
The cloud is blurring the lines between things that were once disparate. This was the high-level message provided by renowned automobile designer, Michael Robinson, as he gave his vision of the future at the Belron 2014 conference. With 24,000 employees, Belron is the world’s largest dedicated glass repair and replacement company. And, of course, the Belron senior managers in attendance were interested in Robinson’s message about the autonomous car, as he has pondered the significance of the transition of the automobile to automatic-mobility (as he puts it) for decades.
With his perspective as a hall of fame car designer, Robinson says that the automobile ecosystem must embrace providing an experience for its customers and go beyond selling products. He shares a concern this author has heard from many that removing the steering wheel will take away the fun of driving. He suggests that the paradigm shift caused by autonomy offers many new opportunities to turn this negative into something exciting; different from what we know today, but exciting (think motorcycles as a wearable, for instance).