Contact Us

Highlights of 2015 TiECon Part III – IoT Track

Introduction & Backgrounder:

This is the third and final article on this year’s TiECon conference. It covers the Internet of Things (IoT) track with emphasis on Cisco’s closing Keynote presentation. The first two articles on TiECon 2015, as well as others by this author can be read here.

Gartner Research defines the Internet of Things as “the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states of the external environment.”

For years, the biggest issues for IoT have been worries about security and privacy. Despite lots of hype, there is no definitive set of standards and connectivity options for various IoT industry verticals. That includes the identification of MAC/PHY, protocol stacks and message formats.

In an excellent blog post, Chris Kocher- Founder and Managing Director of Grey Heron identifies five key IoT issues that are said to be challenges areas: Security; Trust and Privacy; Complexity, confusion and integration issues; Evolving architectures, protocol wars and competing standards; Concrete use cases and compelling value propositions.

Compliance will continue to be a major issue in medical and assisted-living applications, which could have life and death ramifications. New compliance frameworks to address the IoT’s unique issues will evolve. Social and political concerns in this area may also hinder IoT adoption. Related to entrepreneurs:

“Slower adoption and unanticipated development resource requirements will likely slip schedules and slow time to revenues, which will require additional funding for IoT projects and longer ‘runways’ for startups.”

Battle of IoT Platforms & Protocols:

This TiECon session promised to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of different IoT platforms and protocols that are available to build successful products. Three panelists from semiconductor companies (Intel, Marvell and MediaTek) described their own hardware/software portfolio without relating them to ongoing work in the various IoT consortiums and alliances. Representatives from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and WSO2 provided perspectives from a cloud service provider and middleware provider point of view, respectively.


  • Dr. Manas Saksena, Sr. Director of Technology & Marketing, Platform Solutions Group at Marvell Semiconductor
  • Geetha Dabir, Vice President, Internet of Things at Intel
  • Marc Naddell, Vice President MediaTek Labs at MediaTek
  • Jinesh Varia, Technology Evangelist at Amazon Web Services
  • John Mathon, Vice President of Enterprise Evangelism at WSO2

Mr. Mathon said that IoT value will be created by the integration of new devices with information from them analyzed in the cloud. Mr. Varia opined that would not always be the case as there might very well be on premises servers that provide control and data analytics for devices. There’s also the issue of IoT device to device communications as envisioned by the AllSeen Alliance.

Ms. Dabir noted that Intel’s IoT platform was not just silicon, but also included “intelligence analytics” that was being developed by Intel Labs. The goal is to understand the hardware environment of things (e.g. motors, sensors, etc), record status and do predictive maintenance¹ (the ability to accurately diagnose and prevent failures in real-time is a major advantage for companies and might be vital for critical infrastructure applications). Intel uses its WindRiver subsidiary’s Operating System as part of the company’s IoT platform.

Note 1. An example of predictive maintenance for a wind turbine farm for renewable energy production: A wind on-site sensor-equipped systems could collect data from multiple turbines, not just a single turbine, enabling failure analysis to be performed to predict when a system or component is likely to malfunction due to stress or overheating, and thereby enabling better operator or autonomous decision making for maintenance.

For example, if there is a high likelihood of the gearbox breaking down within a turbine, then switching to a lower performance mode and a reduced mechanical load, while still delivering 80 percent efficiency, could mean continued operation and further electricity generation for several weeks. This would allow scheduled maintenance that combines the repair and maintenance of more than just one turbine.

IoT Track Closing Keynote by Anand Oswal (VP Engineering, Cisco):

Here are the key points made by Mr. Oswal about IoT/IoE:

  • The pace of change is accelerating through digital content, the Internet and the mobile economy.
  • Disrupting tech trends are coming from social, mobile, big data/analytics, cloud and now IoT.
  • The Internet of Everything (IoE) includes: people, processes, things and data.
  • IoE is characterized by: cheap and reliable sensors/devices, ubiquitous wireless connectivity (which standard: 2G/3G/4G, WiFi, Zigbee, BlueTooth, Near Field Communications, other?)
  • Industries to be impacted by IoE include: aviation, rail, oil & gas, heavy machinery, power generation, health care, and smart cities.
  • The IoE future will bring: self refilling bottles, crop harvest alerts, smart carts, and driver-less cars.
  • IoE can be equated to the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the world (post TiECon comment – a very bold statement in this author’s opinion).

Cisco is working with partner companies on several real world IoE examples, which include:

  1. Mining precious metals: WiFi network combined with sensors on both workers and equipment; video surveillance of miners and engineers working underground.
  2. Asset monitoring: Tire company increases its efficiency in real-time.
  3. IoE ready retailer: Dynamic optimization of store staffing based on check-out line monitoring throughout the store. Big Data/ Analytics at the retail store combines the power of mobile, social, data and cloud.

IoE poses new challenges and opportunities for industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and smart cities. What’s needed for IoE includes:

  • A converged, managed network that might include both a closed proprietary network (vertical industry dependent) and an open IP-based network.
  • Operations and resilience at scale, including self management of devices/processes & automated self-healing/failure recovery.
  • Security for all industries and applications.
  • Distributed intelligence, especially at the edge of the network (oil & gas).
  • Application enablement (Cisco IoX was provided as an example).
  • Big data – geographically distributed with real time actions that affect business processes.

Cisco is a charter member of the IoT World Forum which is “an annual event that brings together the best and brightest thinkers, practitioners, and innovators from business, government, and academia to accelerate the market adoption of the Internet of Things.”

Cisco is working with entrepreneurs globally through a variety of new funds and initiatives – Entrepreneurship Residence Program, Startup Accelerators and IoE Innovation Centers. The company has funded² six IoT/IoE related start-ups in 2014 and has allocated $150M for early stage start-up investments.

The IoT start-ups funded by Cisco include:

  • Ayla Networks: “Agile IoT platform end-to-end solutions that allow manufacturers to turn home controls, HVAC, appliances, lighting and other everyday products into intelligent devices.”
  • Pawaa: “SecureCARE software for data leak prevention.”
  • ParStream: “Analytics platform built for large-scale IoT solutions utilizing massively parallel processing technologies.”
  • DGLogik: “Innovative software solutions that enable, drive and visualize the IoT; connecting and visualizing all things IoT”

Authors Note: “..” descriptions of the above start-ups was taken from their websites.

Note 2. Gartner Group has estimated that IoT companies will generate $309 billion in revenue per year by 2020, half of which will come from startups. A lot of that money will find its way back to companies like Cisco (Qualcomm, and Intel are also investing in this space) as IoT drives up demand for hardware components and network equipment. It certainly makes business sense for established tech companies to help the IoT/IoE market lift off and gain critical mass.

Cisco has started an Incubation Program Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) which supports early-stage business-to-business companies. This new entity will collaborate with Cisco and its global partner ecosystem to build IoE, Big Data/ Analytics and Smart City solutions. Anand said that start-ups Cisco has invested in are “paired with a business unit/group,” assumingly to work together on a combined solution for their IoE deliverables.

End Note:  We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive and detailed three part series on TiECon 2015. Please leave a comment in the box below this article and email me any questions you might have on the material covered:


Video interview at TiE TV lounge with Anand Oswal:

Highlights of 2015 TiECon Part II – Cloud Track


Photo of TiE event.
Photo of TiE event.

This is the second article on this year’s TiECon conference.  It is focused on selected presentations and panel sessions from the Cloud track on May 15th. That track covered planning, operational challenges of cloud infrastructure, business and technical challenges of migrating services to the cloud, and the still problematic state of cloud security (which is badly lagging the advances in compute, storage and even networking).

The first article on 2015 TiECon summarized the two opening Grand Keynotes. It can be read here.

Keynote on Enterprise Cloud Trends: Mark Interrante, VP of HP’s Cloud Business Unit Operations

Interrante is driving HP’s OpenStack movement directed at Cloud Computing. The HP Helion Platform¹  is a combined Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering for cloud-native workloads. Helion is based on very popular open source projects in OpenStack® and Cloud Foundry™. Mr. Interrante described HP’s Helion offering as a hybrid cloud, which combines the flexibility and convenience of public cloud with the security and control of private cloud.

Note 1. HP states that Helion is:

“A private cloud that enables IT to protect sensitive information, control and broker services across multiple clouds, and deliver exceptional cost advantages. A private cloud that is proven today and delivering on the vision for tomorrow. A vision for a Hybrid World. That cloud is HP Helion.”

“The path to hybrid begins with a private cloud, built on open-standards, using opens source software and designed for compatibility and interoperability from the start,” Interrante said. He enumerated several advantages of open source code, including: software transparency, increased security, being viewed by “many eyes,” code re-use, and open cryptography.

For years, security has been the biggest issue for cloud users – much more so for public than for private cloud. “Security is a prominent concern for all businesses and organizations of every size,” Mark said. The concern is certainly valid as 2014 was “the year of the breach,” which have accelerated since 2011.
“Cloud security is NOT one size fits all. It’s critically important to understand how to isolate a fleet of (cloud) services and applications you use,” he added. Other points Mark made related to cloud security:

  • Security must be provided in, under, across and to/from the cloud or interconnected clouds used by the enterprise customer(s).
  • The security strategy must go beyond compliance in that it has to go beyond just following compliance procedures.
  • Threats include: data breaches, data loss, account or service hacking, insecure interfaces and/or APIs, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, malicious insider attacks, abuse of cloud services, insufficient due diligence, shared technology vulnerabilities.
  • HP has active Threat Intelligence & Research teams that are working to improve security for their products and services.

In response to the moderator’s question on “dockers² and “containers,” Mark replied: “Docker type containers have had the fastest uptake and most interest than any new software) technology.”

Note 2. Docker is an open-source project that automates the deployment of applications inside software containers, by providing an additional layer of abstraction and automation of operating-system-level virtualization on the Linux real-time operating system.

In summary, Mark said:

“Cloud is driving innovation, changing the IT landscape, and transforming the way companies do business (e.g. everything “as a service”). Every organization is becoming a software company built on cloud computing and storage. The proliferation of mobile devices, connected consumers and machines has spawned new business models based on cloud. IoT will accelerate that trend.”

Cloud Market Trends and Needs:

This panel of IT managers & a CIO addressed issues related to large-scale cloud deployments and problems that they are facing, especially cyber security. Alan Boehme, CIO (Global IT) & Chief Enterprise Architect at Coca-Cola Co. provided by far the most valuable information. To wit:

  • It’s very hard to move legacy applications to the cloud.
  • Public cloud is a quick and easy way to develop new apps, especially for start-ups.
  • Hybrid cloud model is probably best for mid size companies that are able to segregate their computing and storage needs between private/mission critical and secondary/tertiary apps.
  • Level of security is limited on Public clouds.
  • Public cloud issues include: providing the equivalent of an indemnification clause; reliability, robustness, and performance of Open Source software used; skill set needed for cloud security.

Suneet Nandwani, Sr. Director of Cloud at Ebay, noted that Ebay/PayPal uses an internal Private Cloud. That’s largely because they can guarantee a higher level of security (vs a Public or Hybrid Cloud). Suneet mentioned that hardware level security (e.g. built into various SoCs) is desirable and available from ARM, Intel, Freescale, and others.

Nandini Ramani, VP, Engineering at Twitter, said “Twitter has a Private Cloud, but is finding it hard to absorb start-ups. We have a tendency to shift to Public Cloud, but will first move to a Hybrid Cloud.” Nandini noted what most public cloud users are well aware of: “the tools on Amazon AWS³  are not available anyplace else.”

Note 3: In the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide, Gartner Group placed Amazon Web Services in the “Leaders” quadrant and rated AWS as having both the furthest completeness of vision and the highest ability to execute. AWS groups its data centers into “regions,” each of which contains at least two availability zones. It has regions on the East and West Coasts of the U.S., and in Germany, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, and (in preview) China. It also has one region dedicated to the U.S. federal government. It has a global sales presence.

From the Gartner Group report:

“AWS has a diverse customer base and the broadest range of use cases, including enterprise and mission-critical applications. It is the overwhelming market share leader, with over 10 times more cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in this Magic Quadrant. This has enabled it to attract a very large technology partner ecosystem that includes software vendors that have licensed and packaged their software to run on AWS, as well as many vendors that have integrated their software with AWS capabilities. It also has an extensive network of partners that provide application development expertise, managed services, and professional services such as data center migration.

AWS is a thought leader; it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market. It has the richest array of IaaS features and PaaS-like capabilities. It continues to rapidly expand its service offerings and offer higher-level solutions. Although it is beginning to face more competition from Microsoft and Google, it retains a multiyear competitive advantage. Although it will not be the ideal fit for every need, it has become the “safe choice” in this market, appealing to customers who desire the broadest range of capabilities and long-term market leadership. It is the provider most commonly chosen for strategic adoption.”

Hybrid Cloud leaves the user in an “awkward state,” where you’re not managing your own destiny (on the Public portion) nor fully taking advantages of popular services and applications for Public Cloud.

Mr. Boehme said that orchestration is missing from many Cloud offerings, especially those that span multiple clouds.  [Orchestration involves the automated arrangement, coordination, and management of applications, services, processes, and workloads. A cloud orchestrator is “software that manages the interconnections and interactions among cloud-based and on-premises compute/storage. Cloud orchestrator products use workflows to connect various automated processes and associated resources.”]

“We have the same set of network technologies and tools for the last 15 years and need new ones.” Alan said.  He doesn’t believe SDN is the answer.  “SDN will take a long time to be adopted by large enterprise customers,” he added.

Mr. Nandwani says the cloud has had a huge impact on eBay/PayPal. Approximately 90% of PayPal’s front end customer facing interace is based on cloud. A key requirement for PayPal’s cloud infrastructure was the ability to scale quickly without compromising availability or agility. OpenStack is playing a major role in PayPal’s vision by enabling a Private Cloud that helps the company’s developers quickly respond to its customers’ increasing demands and constantly changing needs, while developing a stable platform for customers to pay for their purchases.

Cloud Architecture and Technology Trends:

The panelists in this session covered cloud architectural issues from both the vendor (HP, Cisco), networked data center operator (Equinix) and cloud start-up (The Fabric) perspectives. The participants were:

  • Atul Garg, Vice President & GM at Hewlett-Packard
  • Ken Owens, Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Infrastructure Services at Cisco Systems
  • Sindhu Payankulath, VP, Global Network Engineering & Operations at Equinix
  • Prem Talreja, Marketing & Business Development Advisor at The Fabric

Here were the key points made:

HP: Use cloud to automate routine tasks to improve data center operations. The real challenge is how to create a platform to automate delivery of web services that are customized to individual company demands.

Equinix: We manage a multi-vendor network that connects the data centers we rent. Our customers get: compute power, storage, space, power, interconnection of compute/storage resources. Sindhu is responsible for three Equinix regional operations areas (AMER, EMEA and APAC) as well as Global Service Delivery.

While not mentioned by Sindhu, Equinix offers “Cloud Exchange.” which provides “secure, direct, flexible connections to a wide range of cloud service providers.”  It’s described by Equinix as “an advanced interconnection solution that enables seamless, on-demand, direct access to multiple clouds from multiple networks in more than a dozen locations around the world.”  Please see Addendum below.

Cisco: The biggest problem cloud solves is “to help businesses become more agile to enable them to quickly change and pivot.” Cisco is trying to provide a “cloud interconnect” capability to meet that need. The goal is to let customers create, run, maintain, and change cloud resident applications.

HP: Large companies running IBM mainframe applications are NOT going to move to cloud computing. However, midsize companies can shorten the time to provision a server by moving to Private Cloud (which of course HP provides). Atul didn’t even mention Public Cloud which might be a better choice for SMBs.

Cisco: Public cloud is outside of a company’s security and governance policy and compliance domains. As a result, “Private cloud is much more popular than most people realize.” Cisco believes there’s a 60/40 split between Private and Public clouds, which might grow to 50/50 in the next few years. Interestingly, there was no mention of Hybrid cloud or where that might fit for medium size companies.

Mr. Owens identified two huge “gaps” in Cloud:

  1. Too many tools and options to quickly develop new applications that run in the cloud (resident data centers).
  2. Orchestration of legacy systems with new ones.

Cisco is using OpenStack, while VMWare and Equinix were said to be using Open APIs (?).

HP: Customers want to build a Private cloud to operate their compute/storage requirements and then optimize them. HP also sees two huge cloud gaps, but they are different from those identified by Cisco above. From HP’s perspective the cloud gaps are:

  1. Ability to dynamically move workloads from Private to Public Cloud (with the computational results often returned to the Private cloud). “We’re not there yet,” Atul said. There was no mention of the technique called “cloud bursting” which was supposed to accommodate such dynamic, back and forth movement of workloads and results between Private and Public clouds. Evidently, that isn’t happening – at least not on a large scale.
  2. Governance: how to abstract out policies and then develop security to meet them. “The industry needs to figure out how to automatically lock down servers that have been compromised,” he added.

HP recommends migrating workloads from Amazon or VMWare clouds to OpenStack based cloud platforms (like theirs, of course). They suggest the foundation of such a cloud platform be a combination of Open Source + Cloud Foundry4 + OpenStack.

Note 4. Cloud Foundry is the industry’s Open PaaS (Platform as a Service) and provides a choice of clouds, frameworks and application services. As an open source project, there is a broad community both contributing and supporting Cloud Foundry.


In a whitepaper titled: What to Know Before You Migrate to Cloud,  Lauren Gibbons Paul proposes a list of questions for cloud service providers that are related to security and compliance.  Specific questions should be specific to an organization, industry and compliance requirements, but Lauren suggest these basic one’s first:

  • How much experience do you have in data center services? And in what industries?
  • Do you have experience in our industry with customers that have similar compliance needs?
  • Where will my cloud data reside? Do you own your data centers, or do you lease from a third party?
  • Do you have industry-leading physical and logical security? Describe technologies used and best practices for both types of security.
  • Do you use industry standard methodologies like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)? What is your security and data reliability track record?
  • How fast could you recover in the event of a successful attack or disaster?
  • How transparent are you with customers?

Do you have a third party certify your security measures and compliance with industry regulations like SarbanesOxley Act of 2002?

Up Next:

The third and final article in this 2015 TiECon series will be on highlights of the IoT track and Cisco’s closing IoT Keynote speech, which clearly defined IoE (Internet of Everything) and gave a glimpse of where Cisco is investing in this space. That and all other Viodi View articles by this author can be read here.

.Addendum: Email received May 31, 2015 from Equinix on their Cloud offering:

“The cloud paradigm is not a passing fad. Most enterprises are in the process of figuring out how to adopt the cloud model for agility and elasticity reasons.  In many cases, their move to the cloud is also multi-cloud in nature. That is, the applications span across multiple private and public clouds because all the data and processing needs cannot be fully satisfied by the services hosted within a single cloud. For many of these workloads, the CIOs mention that they cannot use the public Internet because their high performance, availability and security requirements cannot be adequately satisfied. 
Equinix Cloud Exchange, an SDN driven platform, provides a high performance, secure, and highly available alternative to the public Internet that is available globally across multiple markets. Furthermore, Equinix Cloud Exchange allows enterprises to get access to all the major Network Service Providers and Cloud Service Providers in a timely (a couple of days instead of weeks) and cost effective (using a single port versus separate dedicated lines) manner. Equinix Cloud Exchange currently is integrated with most of the major Cloud Service Providers with respect to provisioning and service assurance, and it can be accessed both via a portal and also APIs.”




Viodi View – 05/22/15

IPv6 – Is There a Better Way? by Abraham Chen 

A diagram of what it would take to extend IPv4 , as an alternative to IPv6.
Click to read more

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.

Click here to read his abstract.

Highlights of 2015 TiECon Grand Keynotes by Alan Weissberger

The lobby of CenturyLink's technology center in Monroe, LA.
Click to read more

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.

Click here to read more.

A Cooperative Form of Crowd Sourcing

Corey McCarthy of the NCTC talks how  cooperation between independent companies can help them provide better solutions to their customers.
Click here to view

“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.

Click here to view

Technology Facilitates Outside Plant Construction – Part 2

A typical scene in cattle country  located in the middle of Florida.
Click here to view

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.

Click here to view.

Something That Can Transform Transportation

Cars talking to each other in a V2V world of tomorrow.
Click here to view

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.

Click here to read more and to view.

The Korner – Open Architecture, Mobile Laboratory in Silicon Valley

Am image of Michael Robinson talking to Doug Davenport at the ProspectSV event.
Click here to view

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.

Click here to view.

IPv6 – Is There a Better Way?

Editor’s Note:

Cyber threats, Internet of Things, privacy and Internet freedom are often front page news and are at the forefront of public consciousness. At the same time, IPv6, started almost 20 years ago and which promoters promise will address the aforementioned issues, began to gain traction in 2014 (e.g. Google IPv6 traffic doubling in use from 2.5 to 5% of traffic). But will IPv6 live up to its promise and is it even necessary?

This is the question that, MIT graduate and Avinta CTO, Abraham Chen asked late last year after observing the parallels between seemingly disparate technologies. His query led to several months of research, refinement and peer evaluation of an idea for extending the existing IPv4 protocol to solve for the explosion of “things” in the so-called Internet of Things. The following is his abstract of a longer paper that delves into the question.


This paper proposes tweaks to the existing protocol, IPv4, to achieve the same goals as IPv6 with less costly infrastructure upgrades and less burden on IT staff, while providing a simpler approach to offering privacy and support of the explosion of devices enabled by the Internet of Things. This study also uncovered certain philosophical disparities between Internet and telephony industries. It appears that Internet performance could be significantly elevated if some of the latter’s experience is utilized.

The following is an excerpt of the report:


As soon as Internet became popular, talks began to spread that its assignable IPv4 address pool (about 4.096B) would be exhausted before too long. Even with two companion technologies, NAT (Network Address Translation) and DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), the pressure still continued to build. IPv6 was thus developed and put into use. It turns out that IPv6 is not a superset of IPv4, nor is it capable of encapsulating the latter. Thus, the two systems have run side by side.

The main motivation for IPv6 commonly conveyed to the public is to create a big enough address pool for the upcoming IoT (Internet of Things) that will exceed IPv4’s capacity. Among publicly available literatures, however, it has not been clear about the number of IoT devices. A recent Cisco online paper provides the most up-to-date forecast that by Year 2020 the worldwide population will be 7.6 billion, while IoT in use will be 50 billion which averages to 6.58 IoTs per person. These provide us a good baseline for quantitative analysis.

Mimicking PABX (Private Automatic Branch eXchange) extending PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) numbering plan, a scheme of reclaiming part of the well-known re-usable private network address block to relieve the IPv4 pool shortage is proposed. By redefining the boundary between the public and private in the address space, the assignable public IPv4 addresses may be extended (by a multiplication factor of 256) to cover the projected IoTs. In fact, such an extended pool is so large (1048.576B) that only 1/16th of the original IPv4 public address space is sufficient to start with, freeing up the majority 15/16th of the pool for future applications.

The figure below depicts the proposed ExIP address assignment architecture:

A diagram of what it would take to extend IPv4 , as an alternative to IPv6.
Image courtesy of Abraham Chen, Avinta.

Implementing this Extended IPv4 (ExIP) address scheme consists of:

  1. Adding a new layer of simple (Semi-Public) routers to extend the Internet routing. These routers could be co-located with the existing Internet edge routers, or even be absorbed into them through software enhancement.

  2. As to encoding this proposed ExIP information in the IP packets, there is a recent IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) draft document called EnIP (Enhanced IPv4) that utilizes the existing option to carry double IPv4 address (total of 64 bits) in the IP Header. In comparison, ExIP format needs only 40 bits to fully identify a public entity on Internet.

  3. On each customer premise, the capacity demand on RG (Residential Gateway) will be accordingly reduced, while DMZ (De-Military Zone) may be utilized to work with NAT for accomplishing optional selective end-to-end connectivity. This is analogous to AA (Auto Attendant) capability for PABX.

Although IPv6’s direct end-to-end connectivity is enticing, it removes the basic buffer against intruders offered by IPv4 based practices. A close analogy for this comparison may be drawn between telephony’s CENTREX (CENTRal office EXchange) and PABX. A telephone station on the former is directly reachable from any PSTN telephone, thus having no defense mechanism against un-wanted/telemarketer calls. The latter is slower in setting up an incoming call due to the AA process, but allows only welcomed callers to get through.

Once the above analogies between Internet and PSTN are established, several subtle issues become evident through the parallelism between the two:

A. IP address assignment practice is counterproductive to the advertised Internet intention.

Contrary to common perception, PSTN numbers are not controlled by a few regulated telephone operating companies, but by respective governmental agencies. On the other hand, Internet IP addresses are assigned by ISPs (Internet Service Providers). The latter approach ties IP addresses to many unregulated business entities with frequent unpleasant experiences that consumer has no place to report. This will become an even more serious issue upon the extensive use of IPv6, because to benefit from it, the assignment will be not only static, but also permanent.

B. Locality information in device identification facilitates connection as well as locating perpetrator.

PSTN phone numbers, carrying significant locality information about telephone equipment in use, enable the switching system to not only efficiently establish a connection, but also promptly pinpoint the origin of a call to within a finite area. IP addresses on the other hand, being grouped under respective ISPs, carry hardly any locality information, making routing less efficient. Compounded by the extensive use of DHCP, locating an Internet hacker becomes a real challenge. If IP address assignment followed the same practice as PSTN, locating an Internet hacker will be a finite task. Even if the hacker created spoofed addresses, the governing backbone routers would spot the exception immediately, thus preventing the associated packet from entering the Internet.

C. Direct addressing invades personal privacy, while exposing terminal devices to attacks.

The Extended IPv4 addressing scheme utilizing NAT and DMZ to achieve end-to-end connectivity maintains a buffer mechanism that allows shared proxy security devices the chance to work. It is not clear why IPv6, which requires individualized security reinforcing software in every IoT, may perform better.

D. Divide and Conquer is the fundamental rule of a large system.

Both the existing and the Extended IPv4 addressing schemes shield the private network IoTs from the public Internet. These conform to the same demarcation line concept that has served well for all four existing utilities, water, gas, electricity and telephony. Encompassing all IoTs within the publicly addressable space for the sake of end-to-end connectivity, IPv6 will make the entire Internet less robust, more difficult to troubleshoot and harder to defend against intrusion, simply because the system becomes overly complex by the presence of a huge number of IoTs having nothing to do with the system’s performance, except introducing distractions. Why should the demarcation concept be not applicable to the Internet?

E. Root Cause vs. Manifestations

In summary, we believe that taking a hard look beneath the many symptomatic issues of the Internet to get to their root causes is what is required at this stage of its development. We also strongly believe that lessons learned from over a century of experience in PSTN can be gainfully applied to assist in laying the foundation for a robust Internet.

For detailed analysis, please see a full document at

Abraham Y. Chen

V.P. Engineering

Avinta Communications, Inc.

Milpitas, CA 95035-4401 USA

Something That Can Transform Transportation

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.

Highlights of 2015 TiECon Grand Keynotes


A photo of Hussain Aamir of CenturyLink.
CenturyLink’s Hussain Aamir

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.

The lobby of CenturyLink's technology center in Monroe, LA.
CenturyLink’s Technology Center of Excellence

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.   


Video of the 2nd Grand Keynote:

Interview with Aamir Hussain of CenturyLink

CenturyLink’s gigabit fiber expansion in 17 states targets SMBs:


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.


Open Architecture, Mobile Laboratory in Silicon Valley

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.

Viodi View – 05/08/15

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.

Summary of IoT Sessions at 2015 GSA Silicon Summit – Part I by Alan Weissberger

Click here to read more
Click here to read more

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.

Click here to read part 1

The logo for the BroadbandTV Conference.
Click to learn more about the BroadbandTV Event

IoT Sessions at 2015 GSA Silicon Summit – Part II by Alan Weissberger

MEMS in mobile devices from Virtuix.
Click to read more

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.”

Click here to read more.

16 Million Reasons to Challenge CAF

An image from rural Missouri where a fiber optic cable runs parallel to a dirt road.
Click here to view

With this headline, “Connect America Fund Offers Carriers Nearly $1.7 Billion to Expand Broadband to Over 8.5 Million Rural Americans,” a dispute over $16M would seem like a rounding error. It is a rounding error, unless you are in a place that can’t receive broadband. Making it even worse is if the $16M is to fund areas that not only already have broadband, but that have fiber to the home (FTTH), gigabit-capable broadband.

Click here to view and read more.

Technology Facilitates Outside Plant Construction – Part 1

Brian Nordtvedt talks about the technology for engineering OSP Services
Click here to view

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.

Click here to view.

One Step to a New Age of Mobility

Peter Dempster of DriveNow describes their unique car-sharing service.
Click to read more

“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.

Click here to view and read more.

Bandwidth is the Important Thing

A screenshot capture of ITS Fiber's Cloud University.
Click here to view

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.

Click here to view.

The Korner – The Internet of Fishing Things

An image of the Deeper Fishfinder app.
Click here to view

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).

One Step to a New Age of Mobility

“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.

This joint venture of BMW and German car rental company Sixt, uses a fleet of connected electric BMWs. What makes this model work is the electronic tether these vehicles have to the cloud. That connection allows drivers to find and unlock the closest car. Similarly, it allows the DriveNow team to reposition cars and ensure they are charged (Ka-ching, the driver doesn’t have to pay for electricity – it is included in the aforementioned pricing).

This service is in a handful of cities around the world, including, London, Berlin, Vienna and, in the United States, San Francisco. As Dempster describes, their initial target are locations where the population is less inclined to car ownership and are more concerned about mobility services.

Still, it isn’t difficult to see how the lessons they learn from these initial deployments will inform plans for their service in suburban markets, particularly as automation (e.g. automatically reposition cars without human intervention) further reduces costs associated with this type of service. Ultimately, they may meet their aspiration to some day, “make mobility service so cheap only the rich will buy cars.

¹There is a one-time, $39 registration fee.

IoT Sessions at 2015 GSA Silicon Summit – Part II


In this second of a two-part article series, we review the IoT afternoon session at the April 15, 2015 GSA Silicon Summit. Part I summarized the morning session and is available here.

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.

GE is a founding member of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an open membership, not-for-profit group of public and private institutions that focuses on:

  • Developing use cases and test beds
  • 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.

Sensors are transformative according to InvenSense.
Sensors are transformative according to InvenSense.

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:

Edge sensing nodes are a major part of IoT.

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:

The IoT communications topology is depicted in this diagram.

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:

What does it take to make IoT a reality?

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.

SmartConnect IoT layered security solutions is depicted

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.]

David cited Google’s work on “MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters” as being relevant for the IoT.

The key characteristics of MapReduce are to:

  • Scale down: to minimize number of nodes
  • Scale up: to maximize number of nodes
  • Assume failures are common
  • Move processing to the data (data locality)
  • Avoid random access

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:

MEMS in mobile devices from Virtuix.

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…”

  • Immortality
  • Omniscience
  • Telepathy
  • Teleportation

Personally, I’ve been waiting for teleportation since I watched the original Star Trek in college. “Beam me up Scotty.” Over and out….

Till next time……………..