June 2020 IoT News

By Pilgrim - June 16, 2020

This is my 15th monthly IoT update, and it's been another very busy month in IoT.

A long time ago – at an IoT trade show that now seems a galaxy far far away – I was put on the spot by ARM's Head of Marketing when they asked me to define what DevicePilot does in ONE word. An impossible challenge, but after a couple of seconds of intense brain effort I blurted out "Truth!". And perhaps that's not a bad answer – seeing for the first time the (sometimes ugly) truth about how you're serving your customers is the starting point on every journey to improve it.

But (with the benefit of a couple of years to think it over, and a lot of learning along the way with our early customers) I now think a better answer to that one-word challenge is... "Quality." The best tools reveal not just where you are, but also give you the power to get where you want to be. And for companies deploying connected devices, that's about delivering on your brand promise, hitting your internal KPIs (and perhaps meeting an external customer SLA), earning revenue, growing as promised – in a word, it's about delivering quality.

I just loved this passionate post from Mathilde, Head of Customer Happiness at Sencrop, about "automation without dehumanisation". We couldn't agree more.

In the early 1990's the telco market was quite disorganised. A watershed moment happened when analysts started agreeing on a canonical "functional architecture diagram" which identified all the blocks needed to build a complete telco system. At last, customers could say "I need this bit" and vendors could say "we do this bit", which enabled market growth by helping customers and vendors to identify each easily. So it was good this month to see the respected global IoT testing and benchmarking firm MachNation update their functional architecture diagram for IoT systems - and here I've coloured-in the blocks that I think comprise Service Monitoring.

Energy storage and EVs: Much excitement that Model 3 & Model Y Teslas might already come with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) inverters built in, though this may now have been debunked. Octopus and Tesla launched a new tariff for home battery owners (they manage the battery and guarantee you a fixed energy cost). Battery storage has long been excluded from the UK's sustainability market mechanisms due to confusion over whether it's a generator or a consumer - but now that is being sorted out. We'll still need long term storage for multi-day wind lulls in winter though (as per my 2012 talk). If you're using batteries in your IoT device then check out WiseBatt's design tools.  POD Point's CEO Erik Fairbairn believes we're "half way there" on EV adoption.

The interesting world of decentralised (peer-to-peer) IoT networks has started to adopt cryptocurrency as a way to reward participants for crowd-funding the network. Nodle has created a dongle for COVID proximity-tracing within Enterprises, and its mainstream service (using people's smartphones for "drive by" reading of any IoT device) is apparently now getting good-enough coverage to allow daily reads in some parts of the world. Do also see Stacey Higginbotham's excellent write-up of the Helium peer-to-peer network.

In other news:

  • Now COVID has helped us break our bad old habits, e-mobility looks set to come back with a bang (and we're ready for it).
  • I just heard someone update the old adage about rats, with "You're never more than 6 feet from a micro-controller" - which makes the IoT cyber-security book Click Here to Kill Everybody all the more terrifying!
  • ARM previewed Device Sentry, a new Pelion feature which provides a structured way for devices to gather telemetry and internal state and pass it into the Cloud – all ready for DevicePilot to manage.
  • Team Viewer now have an IoT-specific version and we have customers in common. When an operator has identified and characterised a problem in DevicePilot, and then wants to reach out remotely to the device to fix it, using a Team Viewer remote connection, they can do so with just a single click.
  • In the world of supply-chain and asset-tracking, Aeler is a new entrant. The UK's Digital Catapult centre did a recent round-up of case-studies and technology providers (though they missed Sensize). 
  • My friend Usman updated us on IoT search engines.
  • Our customers Charged-Up whose core business stopped in its tracks due to COVID, then executed the most amazing pivot to launch the Cleaned Up range of hand sanitising stations, are now in every London Tube station and many Costa coffee shops
  • Finally, if your IoT application is mobile, you may be excited to see FocalPoint (I'm an investor) removing the wraps from its amazing SuperCorrelation technology which is dramatically improving GPS/GNSS positioning as it arrives in chipsets, modules and devices.

Until next month, 

-Pilgrim 

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Erik Fairbairn, CEO at POD Point:
Achieved 99% uptime across device estate

"We're totally data driven at POD Point, and if we can answer a question using data then we think that’s the best way - there’s no guesswork and you can use the facts.

Our DevicePilot dashboards have really let us get that actionable insight out of our devices."