ICYMI: IoT Opportunities, Cyber Security Insurance, Hacking iOS9 and More

The IoT is Staring at You in the Face

While it seems buzzwords like the Internet of Things  (IoT), the Industrial Internet, and Big Data are dropped everywhere these days, many manufacturers are still nervous to actually put the IoT into practice.

Mike Hitmar, a senior industry adviser in manufacturing, said in a recent article for Industry Week to these hesitant manufacturers and decision-makers: “Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.”

Hitmar argues that making the case for the IoT is actually right in front of you– on the production floor.

“Those expensive machines sitting on the production floor? They’re loaded with data-generating sensors poised to turn mundane operational and maintenance data into strategic breakthroughs,” said Hitmar. 

According to research from Gartner, 40% of companies believe that the IoT will have a significant impact over the next three years. Yet, only a small amount of them have actually put systems into production that draw from the IoT.


Photo courtesy, Alex – Flickr/CC

As Hitmar brings up, one of the simplest systems to implement is also one that delivers some of the most ROI: predictive maintenance analytics.

Imagine being able to schedule a critical asset failure– or being able to pinpoint the exact day,  even hour it happens on a calendar. Think about how this can save you an enormous amount of lost revenue.

Finally, Hitmar said that the IoT honestly shouldn’t even be news– after all, “manufacturers have decades of experience using machine sensors to ensure equipment operates as expected.”

Using Big Data to Classify Mood Disorders

Researchers at the University of Buffalo recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to use big data in the development of a new approach for the classification of mood disorders, according to a recent article in News Medical: Life Sciences & Medicine.

The research is said to provide more effective outcomes for psychiatric patients with mood disorders. Their goal is to incorporate big data in the methodology and visualization tools to cluster patients with the disorder.


Photo courtesy NEC Corporation of America

“Existing approaches often break or are inappropriate in big data settings for several reasons,” Rachel Hageman Blair, assistant professor and one of the researchers explains. “There is not a one-size-fits-all approach even for well-behaved data sets. Bringing together different methods under a single umbrella with strong visual interpretations holds value for a clinician.”

The researchers said that previous labels are no longer accurate because they simply don’t integrate all available data, something they want to change with their project.

Do We Need Our Own Cyber Security Protection Plan?

Data breaches at large entities like retail stores, banks, or government agencies have led many into cybersecurity solutions and programs. But does this mean we need our own, individual cyber security plan as an everyday citizen?

Priya Anand of The Wall Street Journal discussed the possibility in a recent article. 

Anand said that many homeowners’ insurance policies do additionally have identity-theft coverage– which might include anything from credit monitoring to a case manager on stand-by to help with the aftermath. Of course, some companies are now starting to push consumer cyberprotection.

“They’re [consumer cyberprotection companies]  offering home-security audits and checking whether computer systems are hack-proof, said Anand. “The pitch is that individuals with investments and sensitive data they access on home and mobile systems may be more vulnerable than they think.”

And Avivah Litan, a security analyst at Gartner Research asserted that those who have millions in “investible assets” should ultimately consider what is being offered at their banks or brokerages in terms of cyberprotection. She also said it’s important to simply weigh the odds– how much of a “drop” can you afford?

Continue reading about consumer cyberprotection here. 

$1 Million Offered to Hack iOS9


Photo courtesy Yanki01 of Flickr/CC

Speaking of cyber security, Apple offered this week a $1 million bounty for jailbreaks of their newest version of iOS. Jailbreaking refers to getting around security restrictions enforced by Apple to install applications that aren’t authorized or distributed in the official app store.

Zerodium, an exploit acquistion company, promises to shell out a million big ones to researchers who “can provide it with an “exclusive, browser-based, and untethered jailbreak for the latest Apple iOS 9 operating system and devices,” said Lucian Constantin, PC World.

The company is only interested in reliable and silent exploits– they must not require any user interaction except for accessing a Web page or reading a simple text.

“Eligible submissions must include a full chain of unknown, unpublished, and unreported vulnerabilities/exploits (aka zero-days) which are combined to bypass all iOS 9 exploit mitigations including: ASLR, sandboxes, rootless, code signing, and bootchain,” Zerodium said on its iOS 9 Bug Bounty page.

Media We Link To:

“No More Excuses: Transformative IoT Staring in Your Face” – Industry Week 

“Researchers to use big data to improve classification of mood disorders” – News Medial: Life Sciences & Medicine

“Do individuals need cybersecurity insurance?” – The Wall Street Journal 

“$1 million bounty dangled for Apple iOS9 jailbreak exploits” – PC World

ICYMI: How to Train Your Robot, Smart Sensors in the Automation Landscape and More

How to Train Your RobotICYMI: Robots-Smart-Sensors

Did you know that Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding platform, is host to more than 1,100 projects that aim to create robot bartenders, gardeners and more?

George Anders of Forbes reported this and the apparent growth of interest in robotics, quoting Silicon Valley entrepreneur and futurist Jerry Kaplan as he delves into the impact of artificial intelligence in the future in this podcast.

According to Kaplan, there are at least eight tips to consider when training your robot:

“Machines are natural psychopaths,” Kaplan declares. “They do not have the natural empathy for other people that we do. We’ve got to figure out how to get the machines to get along with other people.”

In addition, Kaplan suggests that it would be very easy for people to make bad choices when it comes to telling their robot what to do. Even something as simple as fetching coffee, he says, can be disastrous if there aren’t any standards in place.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a topic around since the 1960s, but Kaplan believes it’s still something that’s at least 20 years away.

Perhaps more in the horizon are self-driving cars– one day, they might need to make life-and-death decisions.

“Do they protect the driver and imperil pedestrians? Or do they choose paths that minimize total human injuries but leave the car’s own riders worse off? The right choice isn’t obvious, “We need a computational theory of morality,” Kaplan says. 

Kaplan also asserts that while not everything creative is out of machines’ capabilities, (press releases, even songs?) he still feels certain that passions or jobs such as jazz pianists are still “future-proof.”

Smart Sensors Reshape the Automation Landscape

In a recent article, Dave Lafferty and Tim Shea of Automation World, posits that the changing landscape of automation is due, in part, to smart devices.

Devices like smart sensors, in particular, have embedded computing and storage, wired/wireless communications and perform autonomous actions.

And many conventional sensors nowadays have “smart features such as pressure sensors that detect electrical loop issues, temperature sensors that can detect thermocouple degradation, and radar level gauges that include self-calibration capabilities.”

And today, smart sensors can generate 20-50 times more readings beyond the primary value (PV). Lafferty and Shea posit that these smart devices will be a push toward the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

“Smart sensors represent a natural technology evolution from simple, equipment-mounted mechanical indicating sensors to “dumb” pneumatic and analog electronic sensors capable of transmitting raw measurements to another device for “massaging” and transforming to today’s microprocessor-enabled smart field devices with onboard processing capabilities and often full, bidirectional digital communications,” said Lafferty  and Shea.

Automakers are Asked: What’s Your Cyber Security Plan?

Two US senators asked some of the biggest automakers an important question this week: what’s your plan when it comes to cyber security?ICYMI-Robots-Smart-Sensors

The question comes after more and more Internet-connected vehicles are on the road, potentially vulnerable to hackers.

“As vehicles become increasingly connected to the Internet, and to one another through advanced features and services, we continue to see how these technologies present vulnerabilities that can compromise the safety and privacy of drivers and passengers,” the senators’ letter said.

It’s common for modern cars to contain dozens of computers to control various systems, but as they become connected to more external networks,  it’s likely they will be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

In fact, two cyber security researchers demonstrated how they could remotely turn off the engine of a car mid-travel.

Of course, it’s not just automakers who should consider a cyber security strategy. As more devices becomes connected to the Internet, (see: Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet) the bigger the threat.

So what does this mean for the Industrial space?

We see water pumps, robotics, medical devices, and heavy machinery being connected to the same network that supports printers, PCs, and corporate servers. Historically, these two worlds have been separate, but the Industrial IoT is bringing them together quickly as the data these endpoints generate give way to valuable insight into the revenue-generating elements of the enterprise.

If you’re interested in learning more about the conundrum that Industrial IoT presents to CISOs with respect to meeting IT and OT imperatives, join our free webinar, “A ‘No Compromises’ Cyber Security Strategy for IT and OT Taking on the Industrial IoT” happening on October 1 with Rob Goss of Tempered Networks. We’d love to have you.

Learn More.

Of course, while you’re at it, consider joining us for the free webinar, “Best Practices and Approaches to Better Alarm Management,” hosted by our own senior engineer, Bill Weed on September 29.

Learn More.

Media We Link To:

Anyone Can Build A Robot; Who’s Ready To Teach It Ethics? – Forbes 
Smart Sensors Reshape Automation Landscape – Automation World 
Automakers asked to Explain Cyber Security Protections – Engineering & Technology Magazine

ICYMI: How the IoT Will Shake Things Up, Growth in the Industrial Robotics Market, and More

3 Ways the IoT Will Change Every Business

By now we’ve probably all heard how the Internet of Things will be a part of our lives one way or another in the next 3-5 years or so. Wearables, activity trackers, thermostats or even lights in your home that can be controlled with a smartphone are a step in that direction.ICYMI: IoT

But with all the predictions out there about everyday life changing with the onset of the IoT, Bernard Marr of Forbes points out that it’s really going to change business “at a fundamental level.”

Marr expects at least three effects:

1. The IoT will allow companies to make smarter products

As Marr points out, it used to perfectly reasonable to only expect phone calls from our phones. Now, of course, we know that that’s one of the last things smartphones are used for. With that in mind, new, smart products like “an Internet-enabled frying pan, a smart yoga mat or tennis racket,” just may be the new norm in the future, thanks to the IoT.

2. The IoT will enable smarter business operations and smarter decisions

Of course, we know this in the industrial space. Collecting and analyzing real-time data makes for smarter decisions, more efficient operations.

“A big part of the Internet of Things isn’t so much about smart devices, but about sensors. These tiny innovations can be attached to everything from yogurt cups to the cement in bridges and then record and send data back into the cloud.  This will allow businesses to collect more and more specific feedback on how products or equipment are used, when they break, and even what users might want in the future,” said Marr.

3. The IoT will change the business model as we know it

And finally, Marr said that the IoT will signal a change in the business model for most businesses.

Even in farming– the tractor manufacturer, John Deere, has added data connectivity to their equipment, giving farmers information like never before.

“Farmers now have information about which crops to plant where and when, when and where to plow, and even the best route to take while plowing.  They are essentially now in the business of selling data as much as they are selling tractors,” said Marr.

The IoT is not  just about the newest, smart products, or increasing operational efficiencies, it’s a shift in the way we view the business model and the industry.

The IoT: Could it Bring on ‘Notification Hell?’ICYMI: IoT

And speaking of the Internet of Things, Catherine Clifford of Entrepreneur reports that by 2025, the IoT will be much more mainstream with an economic impact between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion per year, according to a recent economic forecast from McKinsey & Company.

That’s an estimate for the next decade. Right now, Clifford points out, the IoT has plenty of potential but even more room for growth.

For instance, current Internet-connected devices are still using separate operating software, and that report details a future when devices can operate all on the same software system.

Think about the arduous task of managing dozens of software programs– let alone all the notifications and alerts.

“This is a fact of life that will likely get worse before it gets better,” said Gareth Price, panelist at the Northside Innovation Festival. “We are going to go through this phase where we have 10 to 15 different devices, and they will just be notifying the hell out of you, and you will have to turn them off manually.”

Clifford asserts that in addition to consolidating software applications, the very cities and buildings we live in must become hubs of reliable Internet connectivity for the seamless adoption of the IoT.

Industrial Robotics Market to Grow to $41.17 Billion

According to recent report from Allied Market Research on Automation World, the global industrial robotics market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% — to $41.17 billion by the year 2020.

Rapid growth in automation demands played a large role in fueling the expansion. Applications like nanorobotics in healthcare and other niche markets are also a large part of this growth. Some nanorobots even help in the mixing of compounds for making medicines.

“Among major robot types i.e. articulated robots, cylindrical robots, SCARA robots, and Cartesian robots; articulated robots is the largest segment, accounting for $12.97 billion in 2012, owing to increasing usage of these robots currently in emerging industries such as packaging and healthcare sectors. However, cylindrical robots and other types of robots such as customized and refurbished robots are expected to grow at significant pace in the coming years due to their increasing demand in industrial sectors in Asia Pacific region,” according to Automation World. 

Media We Link To:

“3 Ways the Internet of Things Will Change Every Business” – Forbes

“The Future of the Internet of Things Will Be ‘Notification Hell’ Before It Gets Better” – Entrepreneur

“Industrial Robotics Market Expected to be $41.17 Billion by 2020” – Automation World

ICYMI: Wearables Where You’re the Network, Google’s New IoT-Friendly Logo, and More

Future Wearables: The Network Could Be You

We already know that wearable technology fans sport the devices on their bodies. But what if one day they became the network themselves?

Stephen Lawson of PC World reported yesterday that researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have begun looking into just that. By using magnetic fields, wearable devices could communicate through a person’s body, rather than around it.ICYMI: Wearables, IoT and More

What’s the upside of this? According to the researchers, their work could lead to devices with smaller batteries and longer battery life– as well as strengthened security. Talk about a private network.

“There’s just one catch: Anything that goes on the network needs to be circular and wrap around a part of the body. So smartwatches or fitness bands could work, but a sensor attached to the user’s chest would need to be attached to a band around the chest,” said Lawson.

In terms of health and safety, the researchers assure the wearer’s health as the magnetic fields are weak– much weaker than an MRI or even the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field on the body.

The COM Effect on Automation

There’s been a major change in embedded systems technology in the past decade, according to David Greenfield of Automation World.

“Aside from motors and actuators, in the world of automation technology nearly everything exists in a box. Inside these boxes are the printed circuit boards (PCBs) that enable all the efficiencies and possibilities of modern manufacturing. Because these boards lie hidden inside boxes, we rarely think about them.”

However, computer-on-module (COM) technology has led to this change and has impacted system customization as well as application possibilities.

In an article recently published by Military Embedded Systems, Charlotte Adams of GE Intelligent Platforms wrote:

“COM modules were developed to insulate computer boards from processor churn. Before their invention, designers of single-board computers had to rethink their layouts each time their processors went out of production. Adopting a new integrated circuit required designers to develop supporting silicon, as well as low-level software and firmware. This setup typically entailed board redesigns with the accompanyingcostsand delays … The beauty of COM Express is that when a processor reaches end-of-life, it can be replaced with a new-generation, plug-in processor module without disturbing the underlying hardware.”

Read more on the COM impact.

Is Google’s New Logo a Fit for the IoT?ICYMI: Wearables and IoT

This week marked the official release of Google’s new logo. Despite mixed reactions, Google said it made sense for the company at this time.

Steven Vaughan-Nichols, however, suggested that the reprise is necessary for adapting to modern times centering around the Internet of Things.

“Google needed a logo that would work on phones, watches, and who know, even your refrigerator,” said Vaughan-Nichols.

The new identity reflects the need for Google to work for us “even on the tiniest of screens.” It’s currently being rolled out now– you can see it on Google Search, Maps, Chrome, Gmail and more.

7 Ways 3D Printing is Surprising Us All

When 3D printing was only first announced (around 30 years ago) it might have seemed more like science fiction than anything. Of course, today, more and more companies and organizations are taking advantage– taking their concepts from the drawing board to the table in little time, according to Joe Anand in a recent article for 3D Print. 


Did you know that the FDA recently approved the first 3D printed drug? It will go on to help adults and children alike who suffer from seizures caused by epilepsy. This approval may make room for even more 3D printed medicine in the future.


Size is not an issue here– The United Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee recently proposed the creation of the first 3D printed office building. It will require a 20-foot tall printer and plenty of creative people on board.


Popular Mechanics first made popular the idea of a car made of (mostly) 3D printed parts. The hybrid vehicle “would be comprised of about 20 pieces, and the body printed from basic white acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).”

Tools/Parts for the Space Station

Get this: NASA sent the first 3D printer into space back at the beginning of this year. Since then, we’ve found out that astronauts would receive an email from Earth, “throw it into their software and create tools on the spot.”


This idea’s still a little half-baked, pun intended. Since 3D printers typically use material from one cartridge, the printer would need to rely on multiple cartridges at once to make products like dough or cheese. Read more about NASA’s 3D food printer. 

Body Parts

By using 3D scans, bioengineers can actually create a mold of a body part in CAD software. They would then print the pieces using a gel made from 250 million bovine cartilage cells and collagen.

Nano Printing 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, 3D nanoprinters can “remove material rather than solely add it so that it can create anything from more energy efficient and faster electronics to nano-sized security tags to improve the prevention of forgery of currency documents, passports, and priceless works of art,” said Anand.

Media We Link To

“For future wearables the network could be you” – PC World 

“The COM Impact on Automation” – Automation World 

“Google’s new logo is fit for the IoT” – ZD Net

“7 areas in which 3D printing is surprising us all” – 3D Print



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