Insurance CXOs and smart home devices: one foot ahead, one foot back

Smart-home technology should be a win-win for both the insurer and the insured. After all, data helps to cut risks.
Yet, there is so much more that makes a customer wary: privacy-intrusion, too much monitoring, premium escalation etc.
Blake Kozak at the IHS Technology Group wonders rightly what will help or stop home policies with a smart-home device to attain good adoption-rates. Think of smart smoke-detectors, water-leakage sensors and a lot many other smart devices that can help avert risks; albeit, at the cost of initial customer-reluctance and skepticism about an insurer’s real intentions.
That said, Amazon Alexa Skill, Canary, Frontpoint, Fibaro, Deutsche Telekom etc. are already in the fray. The risks they are taking here can teach others a lot about how to get the balance right. After all, we are dreaming of jumping from just 1 per cent (2017) to 7.5 per cent smart-home technology’s global household penetration rate in 2022.

Sachin Tendulkar Bats For IoT, Invests In Smartron India

What happens when an iconic sportsman meets a new age firm, trying to disrupt technology? Interesting things for sure.

Cricket great Sachin Tendulkar has reportedly invested in Bangalore-based Internet of Things (IoT) company, Smartron India, also becoming its brand ambassador.

Announcing his decision, Tendulkar said he is always been fascinated by technology and wants to support brands that are designed and engineered in India by Indian entrepreneurs and engineers.

Founded by CEO and co-founder of US-based semiconductor company Soft Machines Mahesh Lingareddy, Smartron India is operating without much hullabaloo since August 2014 and is set to launch various Internet of Things (IoT) products in the next few months — from connected devices to high-end computers and smartphones.

Sachin Tendulkar joins the startup investment bandwagon following in the footsteps of fellow Indian sportsmen Yuvraj Singh and Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, who have shown a keen interest in tech-driven companies and have also invested heavily.


Microsoft Launches Lite Version Of Windows 10 To Powers IoT Devices

Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows 10 IoT Core, a stripped-down version of the OS that’s built to power Internet of Things devices.

Windows 10 IoT Core will run on the Raspberry Pi 2 and Minnowboard Max and the OS will function even when there’s no display attached to it.

There are no windowed interface of desktop experience like you’d expect from regular Windows. Instead, devs have to build their own universal app that functions as the interface of the device.

Microsoft released a preview build of Windows 10 IoT Core back in May, however, the company has now turned on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for wireless connectivity to the web.

Windows 10 IoT Core also brings improvements in the form of better support for Python and Node.js and brings APIs for Windows Universal Apps.

It’s clear that Microsoft wants to Windows 10 to be at the heart of every type of device type imaginable, with versions running even on wearables expected in the future.

Windows 10 IoT Core is available for download right now if you want to get along with the development of your very own IoT device.

iYogi Launches IoT Platform On Microsoft Azure [Free For Up To 1mn Devices]

iYogi has launched its IoT platform which is built upon Microsoft Azure to support the growth of IoT ecosystems.

Internet of Things

The company claims its Digital Service Cloud Open IoT Platform is the first enterprise grade IoT platform in India. Using a base of Microsoft Azure, the platform can be used to deploy, monitor and manage millions of connected products.

Further, customers can integrate devices with the growing IoT ecosystem and make use of its advanced analytics capabilities to project growth and make better business decisions.

Digital Service Cloud is based on the digital device management platform and uses various Azure modules including Azure Services Bus, Azure Event Hub, Azure DocumentDB and Azure Machine Learning as its foundation.

The end result is a fault-tolerant architecture that contains a proprietary Rules Engine, Reporting Engine, Event COnfiguration and a Universal UI that enables the creation of deep connections with the IoT ecosystem.

Health monitoring platform Cooey is one of the early adopters of iYogi’s IoT platform and used it to collect, analyze and provide insights about patient’s health.

SmartBuilding is yet another user of the platform. The system improves comfort, health and energy efficiency in commercial buildings via 24×7 monitoring and control of air conditioning systems.

iYogi has also launched a partner program to support the growth of the IoT ecosystem. Startups can utilize Digital Service Cloud Open IoT Platform for free for up to a million devices and will also receive additional support.

The company has tasked itself with creating a showcase of 100 IoT solutions over the next one year that have been built upon its platform.

The Internet Of Things Is The Key To Building ‘Living Services’ [Report]

The Internet of Things revolution will not only change the way consumers live, but also the way companies do business.

Internet of Things

No More Generic Services

With the high level of physical data that can be gathered through IoT sensors, brands will be able to make a radical departure from today’s approach of creating generic solutions for mass audiences.

Personalization will be one of the biggest changes the IoT will bring out in the way brands cater to a consumer’s need. It won’t be just consumers that benefit, but also organisations that use the IoT to solve a very specific problem unique to them.

Connected Intelligence

Services which learn and adapt according to a user’s needs and behaviour aren’t new, however, the IoT has enabled such services to be delivered at scale. These smart services will begin to grow on a new layer of sensors, the cloud and connected smart devices, along with real-time analytics.

Living Services

Given the deep level of integration of the IoT with consumers’ lives, they’ve been dubbed as “living services” according to Accenture’s latest report. The reason for this is they way the IoT will alter fundamental experiences and will affect lives at a more physical level given the proximity to wearables, etc.

While the rise of Living Services has been possible due to the advancement of technology, it’s also due to growing consumer expectations. People don’t just compare booking tickets through one airline with another but compare the experience with every other web service they’ve ever used.

Business Impact

The Internet of Things will also majorly affect businesses and is poised to have as big an impact on them as the Internet and mobile have been. Organisations will have to rethink their business practices in order to integrate IoT and other technologies such as machine learning that piggyback on it.

Understanding customers through data and analytics will become a dominant part of doing business. Moreover, they’ll have to adopt platforms that are flexible enough to combine products, services and information in many different contexts in order to build products that are as living as possible for consumers.

Consumer Impact

These living services will impact almost all aspects of a person’s life, including their health, home, shopping, travel and money.

Health – with wearable devices, people will not only be able to track their fitness, but also vital bio functions. Data collection will be key and will even be able to predict medical conditions people will suffer from such as depression based on their behaviour.

Further, embedded tech will be able to provide information on whether patients have taken their medicines and even personalise dosages etc based on how one’s body reacts.

Home – the home will be the central hub for living services, with sensors collecting valuable information about their habits and behaviour. There have been connected thermostats, security systems and smoke detectors in the market for some time now, however the future will see all of them communicate with each other seamlessly.

Shopping – Rather than bombarding a customer will every possible choice upon arrival, shopping will become more personalised based on data gathered about their likes and dislikes.

Travel – with the advent of connected and then self-driven vehicles, the whole idea behind transportation changes. Cars will become places of relaxing while getting from one place to another, much like trains, buses and airplanes.

Finances – with seemingly every object being connected to the Internet, customers will be able to pay for things without ever waiting in a queue at a supermarket. Further, introducing machine learning into the mix, banks will be able to predict a person’s financial state, which will allow them to offer a better service to customers.

This article is based on extracts from Accenture’s ‘The Era of Living Services‘ Report.

Google Announces Brillo, Its Internet Of Things Operating System

Google has announced Brillo, its operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, at its I/O 2015 developer conference held in San Francisco.


The developer preview for Brillo will come in Q3 of this year and while it’s derived from Android, Google has hacked off much of the OS to make it more bare bones.

For communication, the OS will support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and a few other networks that Android mobile OS supports, to keep everything compatible.

While Brillo is a huge part of Google’s IoT push, the company also Weave which is a common language that will allow devices running on Brillo, Android OS, and the Internet to talk to each other.

Google has already said that Nest devices will run on Weave, tying together the company so far seemingly disparate moves to make a dent in the home automation space.

For OEMs, Brillo and Weave will let them build IoT devices quickly without having to worry about software updates. Even if a manufacturer is utilizing another OS to run their devices, all they have to do is add a compatibility library to connect with Brillo devices over Weave.

For app developers, the prospects are huge, with them being able to take their services to the physical world more easily. Building one app to control multiple devices will become possible, while also leveraging on other Google services such as Voice.

For users, Brillo and Weave will ensure that all their connected devices will be able to talk to each other and work with their phone. Further, it enables automatic setup and sharing which reduces the learning curve and makes the whole process more seamless.

Broadcom In Advanced Stages Of Talks To Be Bought By Rival Avago

Avago Technologies is apparently in advanced talks to acquire rival chipmaker Broadcom, creating an entity with a combined enterprise value of about $70 billion.


The deal could be announced as early as Thursday according to a WSJ report, and would mark the latest acquisition in the rapidly consolidating chip-making industry.

With the Internet of Things revolution just around the bend, more companies are investing in manufacturing chips for smart objects such as wearables and household devices.

Broadcom is the supplier of mobile communication chips to Apple and Samsung, and the company has the potential to strengthen Avago’s presence in a segment that already accounts for 40% of its business.Following the report, shares of both companies jumped, giving Broadcom a market capitalisation of more than $33bn and Avago nearly $36bn. Both combined, the resultant company would be a massive $70bn juggernaut.

Following the report, shares of both companies jumped, giving Broadcom a market capitalisation of more than $33bn and Avago nearly $36bn. Both combined, the resultant company would be a massive $70bn juggernaut.

Google Is Apparently Building ‘Brillo’, An OS For The Internet Of Things

Google is apparently building a lightweight operating system called Brillo that will be able to run on devices with as little as 32 or 64 MB of RAM for Internet of Things purposes.


Brillo will be based on the company’s Android mobile OS and is expected to be launched at the Google I/O developer conference that is scheduled to be held next week.

By 2020, research firm Gartner expects there to be 26 billion Internet-connected devices in the world, with the IoT market alone being worth $3.04 trillion in the same time according to IDC.

Google will be hoping IoT device manufacturers will adopt its Brillo OS the same way they’ve taken to Android OS, only here the number of connections will be far more numerous.

The fight to power smart devices isn’t going to be easy. Just yesterday Chinese company Huawei unveiled its LiteOS – a 19KB OS designed to power everything from wearables to smart cars.

Other giants such as Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and Intel too are fielding their own IoT software strategies, expecting that just like the mobile sector the platform wars will favour just No.1 and No.2.

Huawei Launches LiteOS, A 19KB Internet Of Things Operating System

Huawei is preparing to launch its very own operating system that will power Internet of Things (IoT) devices called ‘LiteOS’ – named after the fact that it is just 10 kilobytes in size.


LitOS, is apparently the lightest software of its kind and can be used to power everything from wearable devices to connected cars, and will be open to all developers to create smart devices.

The company believes that there will be over 100bn Internet-connected devices by 2025, and has said that its game plan is to provide connections rather than the actual devices themselves.

This strategy is far from what many of Huawei’s closest rivals such as Xiaomi and Lenovo are planning, with both companies already releasing a host of IoT gear and planning more for the future.

Despite the small size of LiteOS, some of its key features are – zero configuration, auto-discovery and auto-networking.

Whether Huawei likes it or not, LiteOS will go head to head with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 10, which are being crammed into every possible smart device imaginable.

However, the company has already said it will not compete with other smartphone operating systems, but instead will focus on powering smart devices for consumers and businesses.

Union Cabinet Green Lights Modi Government’s Plan To Set Up 100 Smart Cities

The Union Cabinet has green lighted the government’s massive project to build 100 smart cities across India at a cost of Rs 48,000 crore.
Alongside PM Modi’s pet project, the cabinet also approved the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for which it will set aside an additional Rs 50,000 crore.
Under the Smart City Mission, each of the 100 cities selected will receive funds of Rs 100 crore per year for five years, in order to setup infrastructure which will in turn drive economic growth.
“With just 0.70% of the GDP being spent on urban renewal, the return on investment (ROI) in the form of contribution is most compelling at 70% of GDP. Planning and building cities itself is a high ROI proposition,” said Pratap Padode, Founder Director, Smart Cities Council India.
AMRUT on the other hand is the ideally the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Cabinet also approved centre funding under AMRUT to projects that were sanctioned under JNNRUM but haven’t been completed.
In order to select the 100 cities that will be turned into smart city, the central government will host a ‘City Challenge Competition’ in which each state will shortlist a certain number of smart city aspirants.
The states will then prepare smart city proposals for further evaluation for extending central support.

A Look At How Digital Ecosystems Are Re-Shaping Markets and Creating the “We Economy”

Individual companies are now evolving in to interconnected ecosystems using digital technologies like the Internet of Things combined with industry expertise to develop a We Economy, which is a major shift from the Me Economy.
The report by Accenture (Accenture Technology Vision 2015) points out that most companies are realizing that digital connections are not just limited to their employees and customers. They also have the potential to tie themselves into a global network of businesses, individuals, and things from every industry around the world creating a “digital ecosystem”.
image 1
The key trends that the report pointed out were:
1Internet of Me: Companies have realized that products have to reach deep within the consumer’s lives by being access points to individual’s experiences for them to reap benefits by engaging and exhilarating customers while also maintaining the customer’s trust. Products like connected TVs. Wearables, connected cars and smart objects are being developed and experimented by many manufacturers. The majority (60 percent) of such manufacturers are seeing a positive return on their investment in personalization technologies. Companies that succeed in this new “Internet of Me” will become the next generation of household names.
2Outcome economy: Intelligent hardwares is bringing closer the integration of digital with the physical world by providing better outcomes of services through the enormous opportunities that Internet of Things have opened up. Companies have now started selling better out comes out of services through embedded intelligence in products via sensors and connected networks to their consumers, more than selling the products. This is the new “outcome economy”.
3Platform Revolution: Platform based companies are capturing more of digital economy’s opportunities for growth and profitability. Rapid advances in cloud andmobility are not only eliminating the cost and technology barriers associated with such platforms, but opening up this new playing field to enterprises across industries and geographies.  In short, platform-based ecosystems are the new plane of competition.
4Intelligent enterprise: With big data, advances in processing power, data science and cognitive technology, softwares intelligence is helping machines make better decisions. Software intelligence will adapt to changing trends in the ecosystem and will form the base for the next generation of software intelligence that will propel innovationthroughout enterprises.
5Workforce reimagined: Advances in technology through wearables, smart machines and natural interfaces have opened new opportunities for companies to empower their workers. This has pushed the need for humans and machines to do more together also raising challenges for companies to manage the collaborative workforces.
Survey Data:

  • Four out of five respondents believe that in the future, industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems.
  • 35 percent of respondents are already using partner APIs to integrate data and collaborate with business partners, with an additional 38 percent planning to do so.
  • 60 percent of those surveyed said they plan to engage new partners within their respective industries
  • 40 percent said they plan to leverage digital partners outside their industry and 48 percent said they plan to engage digital technology platform leaders.­­
  • 87 percent of survey respondents acknowledged a greater use of more intelligent hardware, sensors and devices on the edge of networks, leading organizations to increasingly shift from selling products or services to selling outcomes.
  • 84 percent of respondents touted a deeper level of understanding of how products are being used and outcomes customers want resulting from embedded intelligence in products.
  • 75 percent of survey respondents believe the next generation of platforms will be led not by large tech companies but by industr­­y players and leaders.
  • 74 percent of respondents are using or experimenting with industry platforms to integrate data with digital business partners.
  • 80% of respondents believe that this is the era of software intelligence where applications and tools will take on more human-like intelligence.
  • 78 percent of respondents believe software will soon be able to learn and adapt to our changing world and make decisions based on learned experiences.
  • The majority of survey respondent companies (57 percent) are adopting technologies that enable business users to complete tasks that previously required IT experts
  • 78% of the executives surveyed agree successful businesses will manage employees alongside intelligent machines—ensuring collaboration between the two.
  • 77 percent of respondents believe that within three years, companies will need to focus on training their machines as much as they do on training their employees.

– Check out the report.

Is IoT A Fad? Take A Look At Coolest IoT Gadgets

Iot (Internet of Things), as some experts like to say is a fad. It’s just an old wine (i.e. automation) in a new bottle. But then, some are pushing the boundaries of IoT. Importantly, IoT is not about technology (for example sensor technology has been arounfd for several years), but it is the use-cases that makes IoT the mother of all trends.

Take a look at few coolest IoT gadgets around the world:

Intel, Samsung Come Together To Launch OIC, IoT Consortium

Though IoT is the new new tech jargon, the first version of it has been around for some time (home/industrial automation, as it used to be called). Till date, there are no clear standards or specifications around IoT (Internet of Things) and tech companies like Intel, Dell, Samsung, Atmel Corp, Wind River and Broadcom have formed an alliance to create an industry standard for IoT, which will drive seamless device-to-device connectivity.OIC-IoT

The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

IoT : OIC Specification
IoT : OIC Specification

Key Highlights of OIC

– This Open Source implementation will be designed to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Tizen, and more.

– Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT.

– The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

As far as the framework is concerned, it is being developed to enable a sense of proximity for the Internet of Things and Wearable devices and include support for Onboarding and Provisioning.

  • The framework must enable multiple new modes of communication, such as Peer-to-Peer, Mesh & Bridging, Reporting & Control, etc.
  • The framework should include a consistent implementation of identity, authentication and security across the modes of User ID, Enterprise / Industrial ID & Credentials.
  • The framework must support a “building block” architecture and provide an Open Source implementation.
  • The framework will support range of wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and NFC.

IoT : A Big Deal?

IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion “things” globally by the end of 2020. This is expected to include 30.1 billion installed “connected (autonomous) things” in 2020!

– Recommended Read : Challenges Indian IoT Startups Are Facing.

For an IoT primer, watch this video

Analyse Your Things With Internet of Things [A Primer on IoT]

When man couldn’t communicate ages back, they thought how wonderful and simple it would be if they could communicate their thoughts and feelings to each other that was easily understandable. Things would be moving faster, processes and system would be rolled out and life would be a tad simpler to manage.

After two millennia, man is at the brink of making one more revolutionary communication possible that is Internet of Things (IoT) as called so. How hassle free it would be if the last pill in the medicine pack would communicate about a need for new pack to the medicine store, instead of a person manually keeping a count of it and also avoiding a risk of missing medications on time!! That is exactly IoT : Passing of information between things in a language they understand without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.  The following diagram explains it in a subtle way:

HealthCare and IoT
HealthCare and IoT

Understanding its process of communication will be simpler if we compare it with how communication amongst humans evolved. Just as we have names to differentiate each other, the devices are given identification through RFID, Barcodes, QR codes and Digital Watermarking. Through these identification systems, the objects communicate their current status on a continuous or continual basis to the needy systems.

Rightly explained by Kevin Ashton in RFID Journal during the inception stages of IoT, ”The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world.” And that’s a big deal!

We’re physical, and so is our environment. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.

Applications of Internet of Things
Applications of Internet of Things

When a particular environment is monitored continuously for raising efficiency or preventing hazards, risks and costs diminish. They prove fruitful in a longer run.  For e.g. a sensor embedded in a rental car will increase revenues through making car centres irrelevant and higher efficiency and decrease theft cases.

With advent of IoT, the ATM can be checked from remote office whether it is running out of cash. Along with these important fields, IoT will come handy in urban planning, environmental sensing, social interaction gadgets, intelligent shopping et al. Songdo, based in South Korea, is an upcoming model of perennially and ubiquitously connected city with stream of data being continuously tracked with very little human intervention.

Having been talked about so much and being so beneficial, what is thwarting the pace and reach of IoT? It is cost of sensors and actuators that must reach an absorption level. Technologies absorbing the data must grow at the same pace as data, to make the flow smooth among sensors, computers, and actuators. Software to aggregate and analyze data, as well as graphic display techniques, must improve to the point where huge volumes of data can be absorbed by human decision makers.

According to Harbor Research,  nearly 2 billion connected devices will be shipped. This number will grow to 8 Billion in 2020, out of which Domestic, Infrastructure and Healthcare will constitute major segments. It estimates a market size of 180 Billion. When computer and Internet market grew, no one in their dream imagined it to be outpaced by the cyber security market.

In particular, as the Internet of Things spreads widely, cyber attacks are likely to become an increasingly physical (rather than simply virtual) threat. As mentioned in the U.S. Intelligence report, an open market for aggregated sensor data could serve the interests of commerce and security no less than it helps criminals and spies identify vulnerable targets. The cyber security market for IoT is estimated to be as large as the IoT market itself. Considered as a threat to consumer privacy in already a hyper connected world, IoT in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving for more authority shall make the common man hapless.

Whatever they say may be, if Internet was the body of networking era, IoT is going to serve as the nervous system of the next networking era.

References for Data: