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Why Device Management is Crucial to Successful IoT Innovation – ReadWrite

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John Keever


It’s easy to understand why people at all points on the technology spectrum get so excited about the latest and greatest developments in the Internet of Things. Essential is IoT device management. Done right, it’s the perfect marriage of cutting-edge technology and innovative design – used to seamlessly improve so many of the things we do as part of our everyday lives.

But what happens when we pay too much attention to the Internet part of that equation – and not enough attention to the things (from the IoThings) that make it all possible?

Why Device Management is Crucial to Successful IoT

The concept of device management certainly isn’t a new one – but in recent years, it’s a concept that’s been overlooked. Far too often, we focus too much on what physical devices can do in an IoT setting and not nearly enough on making sure that the device functions properly.

It’s one thing as a consumer to restart a smart speaker or replace a smart light bulb, but it’s something else entirely to dig up a smart moisture sensor because the battery died after two months.

Far too many would-be IoT breakthroughs are often doomed from the start because the otherwise brilliant people involved didn’t plan for what to do about device management.

So what does device management mean from a practical standpoint in an increasingly advanced IoT landscape? In a nutshell, it focuses on three key principles:

  • An effective combination of components in the module and components in the portal working together
  • A clear distinction between data about the device and data from the device, completely independent from application data
  • Single-pane control of full deployment status and operations

Practically speaking, those principles take us fairly seamlessly from the “what” to the “why” of effective device management. This is a quote from Amazon IoT Device Management:

  • “Ensure IoT devices work properly and securely after they have been deployed
  • Secure access to IoT devices, monitor their health, detect and remotely troubleshoot problems, and manage software and firmware updates.”
  • Increase operational awareness about what is happening in each device at any given moment and get exceptions alerts
  • Reduce total cost of ownership through remote management of devices, which reduces the amount of operational effort required to maintain the device through physical on-site maintenance

Now that we have the “what?” and the “why?” it’s time for the real work – the “how.”

In its simplest form, proper device management has four key pillars:

Firmware over the air (FOTA)

We’d all love to think that when we launch a new IoT initiative, the devices we use will be perfect right from the start, but at some point, the device will have to be updated. The update will not just be the behavior of the device or the way it generates data, but the device’s foundational firmware platform.

If that device is installed 50 feet above the ground – or 10 feet under it – you’d better be able to update its firmware remotely, especially when you’re also dealing with multiple devices.

Connection management

In most cases, data is the fruit of the IoT tree, so if we’re going to harvest that fruit and use it in some meaningful way, connection management is crucial.

If one or more of your devices goes offline, do you have a mechanism in place to restore that connection without having to send trucks all over town? And more importantly, are your devices properly configured to queue data so that it can be transferred to you once the devices’ connections are reestablished?

Configuration management for your IoT Device

Whatever device you’re designing, building, or using should be able to reset itself for remote configuration for software updates and other basic tenets of device management.

This is essential for making sure that you can maintain these devices regardless of scale and ensure that you’re able to customize subsets of devices that might require different configurations based on location, use case, or other factors.

Remote access

Of course, nothing else really matters if the device itself is unhealthy, which is why the ability to access it from an overall standpoint is absolutely necessary. Through proper remote access, you’ll be able to monitor devices in the field and measure things like data transfer rates, temperature, battery life and more. Of course, you’ll want to anticipate most problems before they happen.

Orienting IoT Device Management as a Non-Linear Process

Because device management is meant to be a non-linear, ongoing process, it’s not necessary for these pillars to happen in any particular order or even for them all to be happening at any given time. Effective IoT devices mean that these devices should never be thought of as “install and forget,” they should always be part of the overall platform.

When you set to design or deploy an IoT platform for the first time, you know deep down – or maybe even closer to the surface – that you’ve got to think about the electronics on a board.

You also must consider the communications over the air, software and behavior embedded at the edge. You’ll take the time to ensure a back-end solution to help gather and process the data generated.

But What About Scale?

But even the smartest, most level-headed IT professional on Earth isn’t immune to the excitement of thinking about the end results first. The end result is that idyllic garden path commonly known as scale – where that small idea gets bigger and better over time.

But what happens if the lifecycle of your devices can’t keep up with that pace?

Most of the time, people assume that the device itself is just the means to an end, and that it’s simply going to work right all of the time — forever. Not so!

The lifecycle might seem counter-intuitive to think about when you are all excited and building your project. On the other hand, who wants to think about the worst-case scenarios before you even start a project?

The Tanking of, or End of The Company — Because You Didn’t Plan Ahead for Device Management

Planning ahead for your device management beats the alternative of ending very badly. It can be hard to truly appreciate the complexity of what you’re dealing with in device management until you’ve suffered the kind of mistake that can financially tank not only the project but also the entire company right along with it.

Your end could come from something as small as an environmental factor that wasn’t taken into account and couldn’t be anticipated or replicated in a lab setting.

The fact that you “didn’t think of that” simply doesn’t matter once you have dozens or even hundreds of devices in the field.

Now you’re left with the worst kind of decision — one that’s purely about economics: Is the cost to repair the devices even justifiable, and if not — can you afford to replace them all? (See how fast you can tank? Snap!)

Of course, these might seem like very simple concepts at first glance, but plenty of incredibly smart people have been brought to tears by the crushing hindsight of not thinking about them at the outset of their own projects.

The best idea on earth means nothing without the means to execute it effectively and efficiently at scale. Scale really means – the right people and the right technologies to make it happen in the real world.

Device management is a key part of the right people and the right technology in the real world.

Because as exciting as it might be to see all of your data in the cloud if that little device at the edge that’s supposed to be generating the actual information that you’re using to make decisions isn’t working properly and can’t be repaired — then you’ve got a major problem before you ever get off the ground.

Image Credit: miguel á. padriñá; pexels; thank you!

John Keever

Chief Technology Officer, Telit IoT Platforms Business Unit

John Keever currently serves as the CTO of the Telit IoT Platforms Business Unit. He came to Telit from ILS Technology, a company that Telit acquired in 2013. Mr. Keever founded ILS Technology and began serving as an executive vice president and chief technology officer in October 2000. He has more than 30 years of experience in automation software engineering and design. Mr. Keever holds patents in both hardware and software.
Mr. Keever came to ILS Technology from IBM Corporation where he was a global services principle responsible for e-production solution architectures and deployments. Mr. Keever enjoyed over 18 years of plant floor automation experience with IBM and is the former world-wide development and support manager for Automation Connection, Distributed Applications Environment, PlantWorks and Data Collection hardware and software products. His prior experience within IBM includes lead marketing and solutions architecture responsibilities for General Motors, BMW, Chrysler, Tokyo Electron, Glaxo-Wellcome, and numerous other global manufacturing companies.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, with minors in both electrical engineering and mathematics, from North Carolina State University. He has also completed post-graduate work in computer engineering and operating systems design at Duke University.
I’ve always been passionate about mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, having pursued them in my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Founding my own company, ILS Technology, and working for a global IoT enabler like Telit has given me valuable insight into both the business and technical sides of IoT and technology that I would like to share with the ReadWrite community.
Along with founding my own company, I hold over 30 years of experience in automation software engineering and design and 18 years of plant floor automation experience with IBM. This experience, coupled with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, gives me the foundation and knowledge necessary to contribute valuable insights for ReadWrite’s audience that can help improve their technical knowledge and share new ideas on legacy practices.
ReadWrite strives to produce content that favors reader’s productivity and provide quality information. With 30 years of experience in automation software engineering and design and 18 years of plant floor automation experience with IBM, I believe I have the foundation and knowledge necessary to contribute valuable and quality insights for ReadWrite’s audience that will not only help improve their technical knowledge, but also share new ideas on legacy practices.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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