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Purposeful and Obvious Design: Part 2

In my last blog post, I wrote about how choosing ‘different’ design can pose some risks in market adoption. The same has been true in the connected lock market.

While the bLock is a solid padlock that looks and feels like the traditional lock, there have been other locks that have tried to bring a wildly different look to market. For one in particular, their downfall has been in the creation of a lock that is too different – people had to be told it was a lock. The essence of the product got lost. Even if the design and function of a product work well, people need to understand what it is. If they can’t identify with it they won’t buy it. When a similar product came out a few months later, that had similar technology and similar capabilities, it fared better with consumers to a large degree because it looked like a lock. For industrial design to work it has to bridge the understanding of what it does and what is new.

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – June 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • The next wave of innovation, the IIoT, is about to wash over the connected world. “Forward-thinking businesses are applying the concept of IoT to complex, physical machinery,’ states this article from VentureBeat.
  • The IoT is moving beyond consumer gadgets and onward to its true potential: the Industrial Internet of Things. This article from Information Age provides three steps for the IoT to leave the world of bedroom fanatics behind.
  • The future of the emerging Machine to Machine (M2M) is looking bright. This article from CloudTweaks outlines the future of M2M technology and some of the opportunities for development.
  • Still wondering where the IoT all began? This article from Forbes provides a very short history of the Internet of Things.
  • Bonus: bbotx CEO and Co-Founder Paul Hanson was recently featured on Manufacturing.net. Check out his discussion on the industrial growth of the Internet of Things in ‘Smokestack Meets IoT.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below.

 

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Purposeful and Obvious Design: Part 1

bbotx is a startup making hardware and software. Our software is created to manage and control hardware, and all our hardware includes state awareness and reporting capabilities. We are intensely focussed on design and how we present our products. We set three goals for all our products under development:

  • They have to be useful. What we make has to meet the test of practical and solve meaningful problems. Useful carries the additional burden of easy to use – anything that is difficult to use won’t be used.
  • They must be secure. It is fairly obvious that a padlock has to be secure, but security is not a feature, it is an element that must be considered and designed in at every level and stage.
  • How they work must be obvious. We don’t think “intuitive” is realistic. Everything has to be learned, but we can express a thing’s function through its appearance to minimize the learning required to use it effectively. This equally applies to hardware and the software that controls it.

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bbotx in the News: Manufacturing.net

bbotx CEO Paul Hanson recently had an article published on Manufacturing.net, a site which offers the latest news, trends and business analysis on manufacturing and product development. Here is an except from his article, ‘Smokestack meets IoT,’ discussing the industrial growth of the IoT:

Pretty much everyone is aware of the enormous growth predictions for the Internet of Things (IoT). My team at bbotx and I have been vocal in our argument that this change won’t come from the “tin foil hat” end of the spectrum. It will be industrial applications — practical applications — that lead this growth.

To accomplish this, the IoT has to be merged with what are traditionally seen — and in some quarters is sneered at — as “smokestack” industries.

Click here to read the full article on Manufacturing.net.

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – May 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • As stated in this Forbes article, “Where does one even begin to capitalize on such a growing monstrosity as the IoT? Where can you begin to see value?” As the IoT continues to grow and encompass many different industries, this question is more important than ever.
  • What challenges may delay the future of the IoT? This article from Information Week highlights 6 obstacles that companies building the pieces of the Internet of Things should be aware of.
  • “Industry 4.0 is the next phase in manufacturing – a so-called fourth industrial revolution,” says this ZDNet article. This era is all about information technology and how it will change the face of manufacturing as we know it.
  • Is the technology of the IoT the easy part? This article from GCN describes the policy and cultural implications that must be taken into consideration – the human elements that can make or break a program.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below.

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bbotx in the News: AT&T Developer Blog

bbotx Co-Founder and Lead Technologist Geoff Kratz was recently featured in AT&T’s Developer program blog titled ’15 Unbelievably Helpful Expert Tips for Developing IoT Apps.’

The biggest limitation may be the battery, and the most power-hungry component is typically anything with a radio (Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, Wifi, GPS).

Check out Geoff’s full tip (he’s #6) here.

Thank you for including Geoff!

 

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – April 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • As stated in this Forbes article, we have reached an inflection point for the IoT and a little perspective is in order. The Internet of Things is not new, as companies in the process industries have been exploring how to use sensors to make their industries more reliable, efficient, and safe for years.
  • Everything seems to be connected to the internet now: shoes, glasses, homes, cars. This article from TechCrunch points out that if the IoT stays on its current course, more and more people will become skeptical of the value it can truly provide.
  • “The IIoT is set to transform companies and industries by opening up a new era of economic growth and competitiveness,” states this article from Technical Review Middle East. This economic growth will drive the creation of new products, services, and markets around the world.
  • This article from M2M Now begs the question: Why do we need more M2M standards? Quite simply, more standards will help the world realize the potential of the IoT.
  • April 9th was IoT Day. bbotx Founder and CEO Paul Hanson describes what exactly is the much hyped Internet of Things, its history, and where it is going.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below.

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IoT Day

What is the Internet of Things?

The unfortunately named “Internet of Things” has been much hyped in the past year.  What is it? The definition provided on Wikipedia is:

The Internet of Things (IoT, also Cloud of Things or CoT) refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. 

This is still not that helpful. Last summer, Fast Company published a longish piece about GE and Jeffrey Immelt titled “BEHIND GE’S VISION FOR THE INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS.” The subtitle, and the theme of the article, was “CEO Jeff Immelt is pushing to turn jet engines, locomotives, and other giant machines into data-spewing computers.”

We have a couple of obvious problems with the title and the general thrust of the article. The article was well written, and GE is a company with a tremendous record of technology development and innovation. Just because something has a computer in it doesn’t make it a computer. The term becomes meaningless if everything is included under the ‘Internet of Things’ umbrella. As today is ‘IoT Day’ we wanted to take a minute to discuss the IoT, its history, and where it is going. Read more

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Our Wonderful Modern Age: To Whom do We Owe A Debt?

To a surprising degree our debt is owed to two men who shared little in common other than inquiring minds and great character. Chester F. Carlson was born first, in Seattle in 1906, and Alan Turing was born in 1912 in Paddington, London.

Each made disproportionate contributions to our lives. Carlson made one of the largest personal fortunes ever earned from an invention, and died at the age of 62 having given it away. Turing, the subject of the The Imitation Game, a film that has been recently released, was persecuted during his life for being gay, and died just short of his 42nd birthday. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – March 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • The Industrial Internet of Things is more than smart fridges and other consumer gadgets. This article from TechRadar describes how the IIoT is actually improving the efficiency, safety, and productivity of operations with a focus on return on investment.
  • This article from Livemint says it best: the IIoT could be the largest driver for economic growth and employment in the next decade. It will create new markets and generate new streams for the manufacturing ecosystem and could add as much as $14.2 trillion to 20 of the world’s major economies.
  • ‘Digital ecosystems’ are re-shaping entire markets, changing the way we work and live. This article on Forbes points out that this shift is highlighted best by the rapidly growing Industrial Internet of Things, as companies embed computing devices within their existing ‘Internet infrastructure.’
  • South by Southwest, an event known in the tech community for new social media technologies, products and services, took place in March. This Forbes article breaks down this year’s three IoT panels to bring you the event’s top 15 IoT takeaways, security being one of them.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – February 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world over the last month.

  • Innovation stems from finding growth in unexpected opportunities. This article from TradeArabia describes how companies will use the IIoT to capture net growth, including increased production and creation of new hybrid business models.
  • The Industrial Internet of Things is a very board topic, encompassing everything from sensors to networks to machinery. Automation World has provided four critical factors for successful IoT deployment in this competitive ecosystem.
  • Though this article from Gigaom was actually published in January, it describes the complexity and coordination IIoT holds over its consumer counterpart.  Consumer IoT is rolling out more quickly than industrial IoT – but only because consumer products have quicker product cycles than industrial applications do.
  • An interesting read about innovation from Quartz. The man who developed the lithium-ion battery, now 92, has one last big idea.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – January 2015

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

Bonus: Although this article doesn’t talk about the IoT, we wanted to share it as it discusses ‘The Myth of the Tech Whiz Who Quits College to Start a Company’ (via Harvard Business Review). If you take a look at the bbotx team page, you may notice that we ourselves disprove this myth.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below. Read more

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Crowdfunding – What is it good at?

My background is creating financial markets – end-to-end markets for IPOs and secondary trading. It included emerging markets and senior markets, cash, debt, and derivatives. It has given me a perspective from which to understand the underlying proposition of any market:

  • What is the nature of the offer?
  • What is the contract?
  • Who are the real buyers and sellers?
  • What roles do the participants play and what and value do they create?
  • Is the market fair?

It really comes down to – what is the market good for? Not surprisingly, the buyers often don’t understand the true nature of the market, surprisingly, the sellers often don’t either. This is accurate in crowdfunding. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – December 2014

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • The meaning of the word ‘Edge’ – a word which has “traditionally been used in the description of networks” – in relation to the IoT is discussed in the article ‘IoT Ring Theory’. (via Electronic Engineering Journal)
  • From M2M to IoT: Old industries have to learn new tricks examines how the industrial sector can ‘bridge the gap’ between legacy M2M communication systems to the current (and future) IIoT. (via PC World)
  • This post from TechCrunch echoes some of our sentiments and thoughts about how people are misconstruing the impact that the IoT will have on the world.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – November 2014

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

  • This article from strategy+business posits that “The digital interconnection of billions of devices is today’s most dynamic business opportunity.” The article is also a ‘Strategist’s Guide to the Internet of Things’.
  • The evolution of the next generation mobile system will depend on the creativity of the users in designing new applications. This article from TechCocktail examines how the IoT is shaping our future.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon find its greatest challenge yet in the “Internet of Things.” The ‘things’ in the IoT need connectivity, and “For the FCC and the world’s communications regulators, this means freeing up more spectrum—and at a time when the airwaves are running out of free space.” Check out the full article on this issue here. (via Bloomberg BNA)
  • There have been high profile security failures, there has been much written about it, and security is a problem. Having said that, are security concerns really what is shaping behaviour in IoT adoption? Other experiences suggest otherwise. This post from our CEO Paul Hanson takes a look at the question “Is security the be-all end-all issue for the IoT?”

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below. Read more

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If IoT Security is Everything, Why Don’t We All Drive Volvos?

This year we have seen some bad security breaches related to the Internet of Things. Smart fridges meet smart villains – no surprise, smart villains win.

There has been a good deal of comment about this problem, even the Economist sat up and took notice. This is an easy problem to understand, and it is serious, so it has generated a lot of comment and hand wringing in the media. One could be forgiven for assuming that security will be the be-all end-all issue for the IoT.

We are not so sure. First, the knowledge exists to solve it. My friends and I created a major piece of U.S. financial market infrastructure that handles tens of thousands of orders per second, and trades billion of dollars daily. Like most significant financial markets, it has never been hacked. The technologies we create are designed to be secure at every step. The recent high profile failures of major corporations and government departments to protect their sensitive information are more a condemnation of those organizations ability than a credit to the hackers. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things – October 2014

This is the latest post in a blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the past month.

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx or in the comment section below.

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50 Billion Connected Things by 2020 – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Cisco, McKinsey, and others are predicting big things for the IoT – 50 billion connected state reporting things by 2020 with an economic impact of between $14 and $33 trillion by 2025[i]. This will be an explosion of creativity, large corporations rushing to be early, if not first. Not to mention the small inventors and startups trying to gain attention and market share for new ideas. What could possibly go wrong?

Disruption usually refers to an emerging technology or business model that undermines an existing industry. It can be an entrenched, dominant player, or a fragmented industry that gets transformed – for example, Airbnb organizing the fragmented hospitality business. The Model T disrupted the transportation industry. Disruption doesn’t have to be bad – disruption can be a creative force that generates new opportunities, and creates new markets.

Disruption shouldn’t mean the users are disrupted, but that is what the IoT is threatening to do. Early examples include a sad litany of bad planning, poorly conceived products, and horrifying security failures. Samsung’s smart appliances were turned into spam bots by smart hackers, parents have found strangers talking to their children over baby monitors[ii], and technology has given governments unprecedented access to invade our privacy[iii]. The IoT is giving hackers enormous numbers of targets of opportunity. Read more

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What Experts are Saying About the Internet of Things

This is the first post in a new blog series here at bbotx that highlights what happened in the Internet of Things world during the month. This month we focus on how enterprise is using the IoT, and how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is ripe with potential.

  • Accenture has released a new report that outlines the possibilities for the Industrial Internet of Things. Key findings include the opportunity for growth in enterprise digital services.
  • Who would have guessed that an explosion of new, Internet connected devices rushed to market by both big companies such as Samsung and small inventors seeking attention would provide new attack vectors for hackers. The need for people to be able to trust their devices is becoming more and more important, as cyber-attacks become greater risk, say 9-11 commission chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton.  This is especially relevant with sensitive corporate data. (via The Wall Street Journal)
  • Though an oldie this white paper from Cisco is still relevant. It predicts there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. We characterize this future vision as large companies rushing to be first then small inventors with good product ideas (and a huge creative burst of energy). What could go wrong?
  • This article from Paul Hanson, our CEO at bbotx, takes a look at how the IoT started and gives a rundown of how bWare fits into it (naturally we think this one is rather insightful).

What other articles caught your interest about the IoT space this month? Let us know on twitter at @bbotx.

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Alibaba and Oculus – Our Failed Capital Market

Alibaba is in the news – running an IPO aimed at raising $21 billion. Oculus, the once darling of crowd funding fans, sold to Facebook for $2 billion after raising $2.4 million on Kickstarter. The Alibaba IPO won’t fund Alibaba’s growth or create employment, and the Oculus deal snuffed out an independent company and does nothing for its early supporters.

Let’s start with first principles – what is the purpose of the capital market? Cynically, and with some reason, we can say it exists to enrich a very small segment of our society, but a better answer is the capital market exists to fund the nation’s enterprises and generate prosperity. Clearly this is not what they are doing. To our mind, prosperity comes from distributed wealth, and today’s market serves to concentrate wealth.

I have a background in financial markets and tech startups. I’d like to be able to fund my current company in the public market, and I’d like small investors to have the chance to buy our stock. We would have a better chance to pursue our strategy without a dominant investor, and if we succeed as we intend, small investors would be able to come along with us. The market I have in mind financed the creation and growth of the tech sector from the 1970s through the late 90′s. That market no longer exists, IPOs are now reserved for exits, not beginnings, and crowd funding is no substitute.

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