IoT News Roundup

Tata Consultancy Services Releases In-Depth IoT Study
Internet of Things technologies are taking root well beyond their big=marquee proponents, such as General Electric and Caterpillar, according to the findings of Tata Consultancy Services‘ (TCS) latest global trends study. This spring, the firm queried 3,700 executives from North American, European, Asia-Pacific, and Latin American companies, 79 percent of which said that they currently have IoT initiatives in place.

The 795 executives who completed the full survey come from companies that will invest an average of $86 million, or 0.4 percent of revenue, on IoT technology and associated services and consulting in 2015. The report’s authors wrote: “This percentage may seem high, given that the average corporate IT budget is about 1 percent of revenue, according to Forrester Research. However, we believe that much IoT spending is coming from outside the IT budget – for example, supply chain automation (often found in the manufacturing budget) and mobile app monitoring (which is often a marketing expense).”

By 2018, the survey found, firms with more than $50 billion in revenues plan to spend, on average, $306 million on IoT programs; those with revenues between $10 billion and $30 billion plan to spend $110.6 million; and firms earning between $1 billion and $5 billion think they’ll spend $60.4 million on IoT programs.

TCS contracted online market research company Research Now to conduct a survey that focused on how firms are using IoT technologies to track their customers, products, premises and supply chains. More specifically, questions focused on how surveyed companies are creating revenue sources or new businesses through selling products that leverage IoT technology. They were also asked to describe how they are improving their products and services by incorporating IoT technology in them, and by tracking customers, the locations at which they do business with those customers, and their supply chains.

The survey found that 47 percent of responding companies track customers via mobile apps, whereas 45 percent use IoT technologies to monitor production and distribution operations. It is far less common for companies to use sensors inside their products to track customer behavior, the report found—only about a quarter do this.

TCS detected a correlation between IoT investments and revenue, with the revenues increasing by an average of 16 percent last year within the business departments that have invested in IoT technologies. “Nine percent of respondents attributed a revenue rise of more than 30 percent to their IoT efforts,” the report notes.

In addition to the survey, TCS conducted qualitative research by interviewing executives at General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and PTC. Summaries of those interviews are included in the full 186-page report, which is available for download here.

OIC Announces New Members and Standards Milestone
The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an Internet of Things standards and certification organization, has announced eight new member organizations, from a range of industries and geographic regions, including Argentina, South Korea, North America and Taiwan. These new members are IBM, Inside Secure, Kookmin University, Micosa, National Instruments, TA-I Technology Co., TelHoc and VU Security.

The OIC has also made its specification 0.9.1 and corresponding IoTivity code release available to members. The specification has passed IP review by all member companies and has been approved by the OIC’s board of directors. It allows members and industry participants to develop and certify interoperable products built using any implementation of the framework.

O2, Geotab Create Fleet-Monitoring Solution
Geotab, a vehicle-telematics technology provider based in Oakville, Ontario, has launched its GPS-based fleet-management solution with O2, in the United Kingdom. O2 is adding two new GPS fleet-management and vehicle-tracking solutions, O2 Track and Go and O2 Smart Tracking, to its Fleet Telematics portfolio based on Geotab’s technology.

The companies report that the new products will help fleet managers reduce operational costs, enable real-time remote vehicle monitoring and monitor driver behavior. The offerings leverage Geotab’s GO7 GPS device, which plugs into each vehicle’s OBDII port and tracks that vehicle’s location, trip distance and time, engine idling and speed, and MyGeotab, Geotab’s Web-based fleet-management software. The GO7 device will transmit vehicle data via O2’s cellular network. It also records the vehicle’s VIN, odometer and seatbelt status. The software collects and filters data and helps fleet managers to better understand their vehicles’ utilization, such as how fuel consumption is impacted by driving habits and the time of day spent driving, and also allows them to set rules or milestones intended to improve driver behavior or safety. Managers can use the software to convey these goal-setting programs through e-mail notifications or in-vehicle coaching and pop-up alerts.

In addition, the GO7 device can also detect when a vehicle has been in an accident, and customers can set up an e-mail or desktop alert if this happens. If a suspected accident is detected, detailed data will be automatically uploaded from the device to allow for forensic reconstruction of the event. According to Geotab, the GO7 also supports add-ons, such as a navigational device, an interface for NFC-based driver identifiers and other sensors.

Geotab and O2 are marketing the new products toward vehicle renting and leasing companies, as well as courier companies and beverages and utility fleets.

Redpine Signals Offering New Multi-Protocol Wireless Module
Redpine Signals, a fabless semiconductor company that develops machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and wireless system solutions, is offering a new range of wireless connectivity modules from its M2Mcombo family of products for IoT devices. Its new PCIe mini card wireless expansion board is designed to be used in gateway devices for IoT applications that require multiple-protocol support. Specifically, the PCIe mini card supports Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n), dual-mode Bluetooth v4.0, and ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4), all through a USB interface with the host device and in a half-size mini PCI form factor. It operates in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency band. By integrating multiple wireless protocols into a single device, the PCIe mini card is designed to help device manufacturers support multiple wireless protocols without requiring multiple boards and interfaces.

The PCIe mini cards also support enterprise security applications and embedded SSL/TLS encryption. It complies with Intel’s Moon Island and Bay Trail platforms with the company’s Quark and Atom processor families, as part of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.

Redpine’s PCIe mini cards are available now for less than $20 apiece in volumes of 10,000 units.

Verizon and Novatel Wireless Offering USB Modem
Novatel Wireless, a provider of broadband services for IoT applications, has partnered with telecommunications firm Verizon to offer the MiFi U620L 4G LTE Global USB, a mobile hotspot. The U620L offers 4G LTE, does not require drivers and can be slotted into any available USB port, whether that be in a laptop or a machine or device built for connectivity, such as a vending machine, a point-of-sale kiosk, a digital sign or a piece of industrial equipment. The MiFi U620L is smaller than a business card and measures 3.2 inches by 1.3 inches by 0.44 inch. Using Verizon’s Remote Device Configuration tool, users can manage the U620L using over-the-air configuration, diagnostics and firmware updates. It can be employed in more than 200 countries and can be used as part of a virtual private network for high-security applications.

The MiFi 4G LTE Global USB Modem U620L, available for purchase at the Verizon Wireless website, is free with a two-year contract or costs $199.99 without a contract. Monthly data-only subscriptions start at $20 as part of Verizon’s More Everything plan.