The smart factory pipe dream

In early 2019, the UK’s first smart factory was created, using the newly launched 5G communications network to facilitate quick data transfer speeds. This might be a successful step forward for industry, but George Walker, managing director of industrial automation provider Novotek UK and Ireland, believes it doesn’t reflect the state of smart manufacturing for many UK businesses. In fact, he argues that most of UK industry is being priced out of the smart revolution.

Much has been made of the fourth industrial revolution that is supposedly upon us, ushering in an age of intelligent networked devices, efficient automation and a wealth of digital tools that will bolster productivity and strengthen efficiency. These systems will communicate directly to one another to monitor performance and control processes, effectively moving human workers towards more supervisory and product management roles on the factory floor.

The trouble is, we are not seeing businesses achieve these lofty goals on a substantial enough scale for it to be considered it a revolution. We are, no doubt, on the brink of revolution — and the ideas and technologies exist — but it is not being implemented effectively. If we look at the second industrial revolution, which saw the electrification of factories, the revolution really started when businesses had brought electricity into their plants. Once it was there, innovations could be made in electrical equipment and machinery.

In the fourth industrial revolution — or Industry 4.0 — data is the new electricity. Before we can truly begin to revolutionise industry, more businesses need to have the means of capturing, storing and analysing their industrial process and operations data. Unfortunately, a lot of companies are being priced out of this due to the current business model of historian software — when data is collected from various devices in a SCADA network and logged to a database.

Historian software is imperative in achieving the benefits of Industry 4.0, because it provides a robust and reliable platform to aggregate and analyse data. Each stream of data, such as the input from a specific SCADA system or the rotation characteristics of a connected motor, is stored as a tag in the software. The data sits there until ready for analysis by an engineer or plant manager, at which point the information becomes valuable because it provides insight. Until this, they are just numbers.

George Walker

Currently, the model is that businesses pay over the odds for historian software because they are required to purchase “X” amount of tags — or streams of data — irrespective of whether they are actively analysed or even used at all.

And because industrial operations are so large, a company will never know how many tags it needs before it begins to digitalise. The result is that medium to large size enterprises are paying high costs for 10,000 tags, when they might only need and use 400. Meanwhile, smaller companies are being priced out.

It’s fair to say that this model is not conducive to an industrial revolution. That’s why Novotek has recently teamed up with [...]

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The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 17.6mn by 2023

The number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in Europe was 9.1 million in Q4-2018, according to a new research report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1%, this number is expected to reach 17.6 million by 2023.

The top-22 vendors have today more than 100,000 active units in Europe. Webfleet Solutions’ subscriber base has grown both organically and by acquisitions during the past years and the company is the clear market leader on the European market and reached an installed base of about 770,000 units at year-end 2018.

Verizon Connect is in second place and had achieved an installed base of 300,000 units. ABAX and Masternaut follow and have reached more than 220,000 units each. Targa Telematics, Microlise, Gurtam, Viasat and Bornemann are also ranked among the ten largest providers with 174,000–192,000 units each.

Some notable players just outside of the top ten list are Teletrac Navman, Fleet Complete, Transics, Trimble, OCEAN (Orange), Macnil, GSGroup, Quartix, Eurowag Telematics, Ctrack (Inseego), Optimum Automotive, Ram Tracking, Cartrack, Radius Payment Solutions and Connexas Group.

The HCV manufacturers are now growing their subscriber bases considerably in Europe thanks to standard line fitment of fleet management solutions. FleetBoard by DaimlerDynafleet by Volvo and Scania Fleet Management are the most successful with active subscriber bases of 117,000 units, 128,000 units and 255,000 units respectively as of Q4-2018.

The consolidation trend on this market continued in 2019. “Twelve major mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the past twelve months among the vendors of fleet management systems in Europe”, said Johan Fagerberg, principal analyst, Berg Insight.

Project44 picked-up GateHouse Logistics and Microlise acquired a 20% stake in Trakm8 in December 2018. Year 2019 started off with a new FMS mega deal when TomTom Telematics was divested to Bridgestone Europe for a purchase price of €910 million. BigChange in the UK acquired Labyrinth Logistics and Trace Systems also in January 2019. Vehco bought Paetronics in Finland adding 350 clients in the same month.

In April 2019, Radius Payment Solutions announced the acquisition of Plant-i, a provider of tracking and telemetry solutions to the plant and construction sectors that tracks 25,000 vehicles. Radius Payment solutions also picked up Sure-Track later in November. The IT-company Triona acquired Fleetech in April.

Masternaut once again changed owner in May when Michelin announced the addition of the company to its commercial vehicle telematics investment. Masternaut is Michelin’s third major acquisition in the fleet telematics industry, with previous investments in Nextraq in North America and Sascar in South America.

Connexas Group (previously Isotrak) acquired the cold-chain specialist Seven Telematics in May before rebranding the company group as Connexas. The latest transaction was done in September when Vehco acquired Framlogic in Poland adding 650 clients and 25,000 equipped vehicles. Mr. Fagerberg anticipates that the market consolidation of the still overcrowded industry will continue in 2019–2020.

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Smart security: How to protect your smart home devices from hackers

The Global Smart Home Devices Market was valued at US$14.55 billion (€13.2 billion) in 2018 and is expected to reach $40.23 billion (€36.5 billion) by 2023, according to the 2019 Smart Home Device Market Report. It’s no secret that smart home technology is advancing at breathtaking speeds, with all sorts of devices now available from internet-connected bulbs to cameras that allow you to spy on your pet from thousands of miles away, says Jocelyn Brown.

However, as homes become smarter, keeping them secure will become harder, as every smart home device becomes a potential target for hackers. If hackers gain access to your smart home devices, they can do risky things like access personal information, disable your security system remotely, and spy on your home, among other disturbing things. Luckily, there are various ways you can boost security for smart home devices to keep hackers at bay.

Secure your network 

Your network is the most important component of your smart home system since it connects all devices. However, if it goes down or becomes compromised, everything else fails. As such, ensuring that your network is safe from hackers is the right way to begin your quest for security. You can start by setting up a separate network for your IoT devices.

You don’t want your IoT devices operating on the same network as your phone or laptop, which only exposes them to more risk. Luckily, most Wi-Fi routers allow users to create multiple networks with different names and passwords. Another thing that can help is enabling WPA2 wireless encryption. Without encryption, hackers tapping into your internet can easily read the data streaming in and out of smart home devices.

Purchase devices from trusted brands and consider professional installation 

Jocelyn Brown

Competition is heating up in the smart home devices industry and there are many players already making a wide range of products. While cybersecurity might be a top priority for customers, it’s not always the same for all manufacturers.

Before buying any smart home device, research to know how secure it is and what other customers who have used it think about it. You should also consider hiring a professional to install your smart home devices, especially the more sensitive ones like a smart garage door opener. This way, they can ensure that your device is properly set up and there are no security gaps in your system.

Don’t underestimate the power of strong passwords 

Incredibly, the old fashioned password system is still the main line of defense that protects your smart home devices. As such, you should take all your passwords seriously. Every time you add a new smart home device, change the default password promptly. Use unique, impossible to guess passwords with at least 12 characters comprising of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

As smart home technology advances, so will the tools and tricks cyber criminals use to hack into smart home systems. Before you consider unplugging any of your devices, think of the things you can do to add an extra layer of security to keep the hackers out.

The author is freelance technology writer, Jocelyn [...]

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Carbon appoints Ellen Kullman president and CEO, Dr. Joseph DeSimone named executive chairman

Carbon, the digital manufacturing platform, announced that Ellen J. Kullman, former chairman and CEO of DuPont, has been named president and CEO of the company and Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone has been named executive chairman of the board, effective immediately.

Kullman will also remain on Carbon’s board of directors where she has served since 2016. Today’s leadership announcements are the result of a succession plan that DeSimone, Kullman, and members of the board have worked on to prepare the company for its next chapter.

Carbon has been strengthening its leadership bench over the past several months to support the growth of the business. As president and CEO, Kullman will lead the development and execution of short- and long-term strategies, positioning Carbon to continue delivering value to its employees, customers, partners, and shareholders around the world. DeSimone is transitioning into the role of executive chairman to focus on growing mainstream adoption of the Carbon Digital Manufacturing Platform and evangelising the company’s vision to existing and prospective customers, partners, and the public.

“Today’s announcement is a great honor,” said Kullman. “I am privileged to have spent the last few years on the Carbon board working alongside Joe, one of the greatest entrepreneurs and scientists of our time. Joe has built Carbon into the world’s leading digital manufacturing platform, and as president and CEO of Carbon, I am excited to partner with Joe and build on the solid foundations he’s put into place.”

“For the last six years, I have led Carbon as chief executive officer and am enormously proud of what we’ve accomplished during my tenure,” said DeSimone. “I know what we will accomplish under Ellen will be even more extraordinary. Ellen is the right person to lead Carbon today. She has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles, and geographies. Her vision, outstanding leadership traits, and distinguished track record will continue to drive Carbon’s growth into the future. In assuming the executive chairman role, I will be able to focus on evangelising the platform and driving adoption more widely.”

Prior to joining DuPont in 1988, Kullman worked for Westinghouse and General Electric. DuPont’s board of directors elected Kullman president and a director of the company in October 2008 and chief executive officer in January 2009. As a business leader, Kullman led double-digit growth of the company’s Safety and Protection business portfolio and started two successful high-growth businesses known today as DuPont Industrial Biosciences and DuPont Sustainable Solutions. During her seven years as CEO, Kullman led the company’s focus on growth in emerging international markets and championed the power of DuPont science and global market knowledge to transform industries. She executed a strong plan and decisively positioned the company for its next generation of growth.

Kullman is co-chair of the Paradigm for Parity coalition and a board director of United Technologies, Dell Technologies, Amgen, and Goldman Sachs. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and past president of the U.S. China Business Council. She serves on the board of trustees of Northwestern University. Kullman has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune and one of the “World’s Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University.

As co-founder of Carbon, DeSimone took on 3D printing by bringing together insights from diverse fields to co-invent the core technology that now drives the Carbon Platform. Powered by Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology, the Carbon Platform is enabling companies to break free of traditional polymer manufacturing methods to advance product innovation. Just this week, he was recognised for his achievements by EY as the U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year.

Before founding Carbon in 2013, DeSimone was a professor at the University of North Carolina for over 20 years. DeSimone has made scientific breakthroughs in areas including green chemistry, medical devices, and nanotechnology, also co-founding several companies based on his research. At UNC, DeSimone built a strong culture in his research group centered on the notion that diversity is a fundamental tenet of innovation.

DeSimone has achieved international recognition as a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, earning major accolades including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and the Lemelson-MIT Prize. In 2016, president Obama awarded DeSimone the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor in the U.S. for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. He is also one of only roughly 20 individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies—the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering.

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Optiv and Veracode support application security with Software Assurance as-a-Service

Optiv Security, a security solutions integrator delivering end-to-end cybersecurity solutions, announced it has partnered with Veracode to improve application security at the development level.The new Software Assurance as-a-Service (SAaaS) offering leverages Optiv’s cybersecurity knowledge and Veracode’s robust program management framework and software testing automation technology to help organisations secure web applications without slowing down the speed of development.

“Considering that the majority of web applications are released without being tested for security, our new foundational application security program, in partnership with Veracode, gives organisations confidence to release secure software while reducing risk, time to market and reactive costs,” said Bryan Wiese, division vice president, advisory services for Optiv. “As a security solutions integrator, Optiv is uniquely positioned to help organisations’ plan, build and run any element of their cybersecurity programs, including application security.”

SAaaS assists with the detection, analysis and response to application vulnerabilities and the integration of security and development workflows through:

  • Static application security testing – Recurring analysis of source code is an application prior to it being compiled to find security vulnerabilities.
  • Dynamic application security testing – Securing vulnerability scans on web applications in a running state to identify common security vulnerabilities.
  • Software composition analysis – Management for open source repositories and libraries to prevent the use of insecure code in applications.

“The Optiv SAaaS offering, powered by automated software testing from Veracode, brings world class AppSec capabilities to satisfy market demand for software that is secure from the start,” said Leslie Bois, vice president, global channel and alliances at Veracode.

“Optiv SAaaS enables modern organisations of all sizes and maturity levels to take advantage of our highly scalable platform and seamless integration to build a customised AppSec program that delivers secure software faster. This offering can help companies empower their development and security teams, lower their security risk, and turn security into a competitive advantage.”

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Smart latch systems emerging as bellwether in automotive door latch market, says FMI

Significantly influenced by the efforts of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in development of smart latches that are IoT-integrated, the global market for automotive door latch will see a modest yet promising CAGR of 5% during 2019 – 2027.

A recent study suggests that the favorable policy framework related to vehicle and drivers’ safety and security will continue to influence the demand for automotive door latches in the near future.

The automotive industry is nearing maturity and expects to witness a remarkable number of collaborative alliances and consolidations among OEMs in the automotive door latch market space. The report opines that mid-sized cars would be the highly profitable sector for investors in the automotive door latch landscape.

Key takeaways – Automotive door latch market study

  • Increasing sales of mid-sized cars, particularly in Asia Pacific, make it a potential segment for manufacturers specialising in compact designs of automotive door latches.
  • Side door latch will continue to command a significant share in global automotive door latch market value through 2027.
  • The mega trend of electrification in cars and the ability to remotely operate vehicles have necessitated door latch manufacturers toward offering and devising compatible products aligned to the aforementioned technological advancements.
  • The market is witnessing a gradual shift from the installation of conventional latches to electronic or mobile app-based systems in premium and luxury cars.
  • The introduction of tracking and alert systems using GPS and IoT-based hardware for the security of vehicles has proliferated new avenues for value chain participants in the global automotive door latch market.
  • Owing to the negligible replacement rate of door latches in the aftermarket, winning OEM supply contracts holds the key for manufacturers to sustain and grow their market share.
  • Adding enhanced security features is the key focal point of automotive door latch manufacturers to meet the unique requirements of autonomous vehicle manufacturers.

With overall safety of passengers being a paramount and drivers relying on secured door locking systems, door latches find a crucial place in automotive manufacturing. The inclusion of mobile connectivity and GPS tracking technologies in existing products is revolutionising the automotive door latch space.

Know who is spearheading automotive door latch market

The global automotive door latch market is significantly consolidated, with the leading five players accounting for nearly one-half of the overall market size as of 2018. Key players in the market are focusing on developing latching systems based on smart technologies to retain their competitive edge in the landscape. Keikart AG, Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., and STRATTEC are identified as prominent players in the global automotive door latch market. Market participants are keen on developing door latches with minimal mechanical intervention. Companies are focused on developing door latches that reduce vehicular weight and locking system complexity.

OEMs engaged in tough competition

In the coming years, automotive door latches are expected to witness consistent demand. With the persistent trend of introducing smarter latches in door locking systems, OEMs are focused on keeping their product portfolios strong. East Asia, followed by Europe, remains the most crucial region in the automotive door latch market with a leading market share. With increasing demand from East Asia and South Asia, new entrants in the automotive door latch market are expected to find significant opportunities to invest in such target regions.

These insights are based on a report on Automotive Door Latch Market by Future Market Insights.

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New connectivity options give consumers more power and data throughput than ever, says Strategy Analytics

New technologies hitting the market in 2020 will give consumers better and more capable device connectivity options than ever before, Strategy Analytics 2019 In-Car Wired and Wireless Connectivity report finds.

Among some of the big developments in the space include the long-anticipated wireless implementations of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto finally going mainstream with the introduction of Ford’s Sync 4 system utilsing Wi-Fi, increased use of the versatile and powerful USB-C standard, and more cars using “phone-as-key” technology utilising Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and NFC.

“The influence consumer electronics and mobile devices is having on the automotive industry is undeniable,” said Edward Sanchez, senior analyst, Automotive for Strategy Analytics. “Although automotive validation and testing for some of these technologies is significantly more rigorous than for consumer electronics, customer demand is unrelenting. We’re seeing innovation happening in the in-vehicle connectivity space like never before.”

“OEMs and Tier 1s are significantly stepping up their game when it comes to connectivity,” said Richard Robinson, director, automotive infotainment and telematics, Strategy Analytics. “The connectivity features and capabilities now available in the car were the stuff of dreams just a few years ago.”

The report also looks at some automotive-qualified Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 5 combination chips coming on the market, as well as developments in the area of NFC, Ultra-Wideband (UWB), as well as global and regional shipment forecasts for Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi, and NFC.

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Life’s too short for IoT devices ‘that move’ when they are not managed properly

The Internet of Things (IoT) has long been predicted to be one of the main drivers of revenue within the fourth industrial revolution across a range of different industries. And it’s easy, says Gary Lee, chief revenue officer, B2M Solutions, to see why IoT has become the go-to technology for efficient data management and utilisation through the mass connection of devices.

More and more businesses are pushing their finances behind revolutionary IoT initiatives to drive customer engagement, enhance business processes, streamline workflows and increase profit margins. However, before companies can adopt this revolutionary technology, they need to have the right enterprise mobility strategy in place.

Why? Because the “Things” in IoT includes mobile devices. They are connected things in the hands of virtually every worker these days, and companies of all shapes and sizes have some sort of existing mobility device strategy, with many even having an effective mobile deployment strategy and onboarding processes in place. Despite this, many still fail to manage these devices efficiently and cost-effectively, something which should be placed high on the agenda before deploying expensive tech such as IoT.

Bad mobile device management equals bad deployment efforts

The main issue that companies need to deal with as a first port of call before deploying IoT technology is to assess the business need, the return on investment (ROI) and whether they can accommodate the integration of the technology. At first it’s easy to assess the business need and the potential ROI of IoT, but with regards to the possible accommodation of its overall ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO), it then becomes a whole different ball game.

IoT enables you to connect millions of devices and transfer data between them over an extensive network without the need for significant human interference. For this to work efficiently, the health and locations of these devices need to be monitored properly. The problem is that a large portion of companies are simply not monitoring the ‘things that move’. This includes some of the most ubiquitous products that we use everyday, such as mobile devices or tablets, each of which can be an important component of IoT.

This lack of effective mobile device monitoring is exacerbating what is already a debilitating problem for many businesses. That problem is mobile device failure in the form of a software or battery malfunction. This is so serious a problem that it is costing companies an incredible amount of downtime resulting in wasted resources and lost productivity, all of which increase the TCO.

For companies that don’t understand this before embarking on expensive IoT initiatives, failure to address this problem will mean money wasted on poorly managed devices prone to failure, resulting in bad ROI and unattainable business goals. The bottom line here for many companies is the loss of revenue and bad ROI, and this will continue to get worse if the issue is not addressed before deploying IoT.

Effective device monitoring to make the most of IoT ROI

Gary Lee

Once the tech is deployed, though, the job is not done. It [...]

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