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Archive for October 2014

It is expected that within the next 5-7 years there will be billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). However, on the way to this bright future, there are certain practical barriers.

The traditional model of the Internet of Things requires a centralized system for data processing, which handles all the data from connected devices. Nevertheless, this approach is seriously flawed in terms of cost of lifecycle and business model in general. For example, a company that produces “smart TVs” should support a centralized processing infrastructure and data management of the device for more than 20 years. While it earns revenues only once, when selling this device. This imposes restrictions on the Internet of Things. So far it is available only in the premium devices or those that are rarely used.

Nowadays, most of the IT companies are competing in invention IoT platforms and systems.

IBM: Adept

IBM’s solution is to use the web’s most innovative p2p technologies to create distributed cloud environment which means that all the devices will be integrated together. Thus, every device will be self-sufficient for managing and will use distributed public infrastructure to communicate with other devices. In this way, producing company won’t have recurring costs in maintenance. Such a system will be stable for the lifetime of the devices, and it will be equal to its clouds. The network will be fully autonomous, while the device remains in it, without requiring the cost from producer. However, centralized control becomes almost impossible with all the potential billions of devices on the network.

Their system Adept will rely on three different technologies to resolve a number of issues related to IoT development and commercialization: Block chain, famous from the crypto currency bitcoin, will allow IoT devices to communicate and interact with one another, BitTorrent (provides a stable and capable data distribution system ) and Telehash (private messaging protocol with end-to-end encryption).

Apple: Homekit

Apple is not idle in the IoT field. They introduced a new ‘smart home’ platform – Homekit this summer (2014).

Homekit is a framework and network protocol for controlling devices in the home. It promises a seamless user interface for organizing and controlling connected devices, all part of iOS 8. As part of this announcement there is also a new microcontroller SoC (system on a chip), containing a low-power WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth. It combines what had been separate components into a fully integrated unit. As with many other Apple products you will need a certificate, in this case Apple’s MFi certification (Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad).

Google: Nest

In January 2014, Google showed its commitment to the emerging Internet of Things by purchasing Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest’s main product is a learning thermostat connected to the internet that uses sensors, regional data, and learning algorithms to preemptively change the temperature of your house automatically. Thus, Google gains a direct entry point into the home to collect data, learn, and possibly advertise to end users in the future. Google’s purchase of Nest was considered an important indicator that the Internet of Things is poised to explode.

Microsoft: Windows 8.1 for IoT

Microsoft does not want to be left behind and has its own plan to bring Windows Developers to the Internet of Things with its new version of Windows 8.1 – operating system tailored for the Internet of Things. This version of Windows is designed to use in microcomputers, wearable electronics, and possibly, toys and household gadgets. At this point the preliminary version is only available to developers. Windows 8.1 distribution for the Internet of things weighs only 174 MB. For comparison, the size distribution of the full version of Windows 8.1 is around 3 GB. Slim enough to work on a single-core processor Intel Quark with a clock frequency of just 400 MHz. But the boot time is poor – 2 minutes instead of the traditional 3-30 seconds.

Intel: Galileo

The first platform that is compatible with Windows 8.1 for the Internet of Things is Intel’s Galileo. It is built around a processor, Intel Quark has 256 MB of RAM, a slot for cards format SD, two ports USB, PCI Express interface and a network adapter Ethernet 10/100 Mbit / s, and a pocket friendly price of just $ 50.

Samsung: Smartthings, Smart Home

Samsung, Intel and Dell announced in July 2014 that they are combining forces to create a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things, connecting sensors, appliances and gadgets to the Internet in the home, business and automobile. The Open Internet Consortium will include hardware component builders Broadcom and Amtel as well as embedded software provider Wind River.

Also it would be unfair not to mention the fact that Samsung has bought an internet of things (IoT) company called Smartthings (the startup that makes smart-home controllers) for about $200 million. Samsung is planning to use it to bolster its smart home plans. Smartthings will run as an independent entity within Samsung, and will continue to support its existing customer base. This system provides a smartphone app that users can employ to control features and functions around the house.

Smart Home platform will provide users with three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. Device Control will allow users to access customized settings for all of their devices on their smartphone or on their Smart TV. Home View allows users to take advantage of the cameras built into many of Samsung’s connected appliances to take a look at what’s going on at home. Smart Customer Service will notify users whenever it’s time to service an appliance, and also provide assistance in after-sales servicing.

Other companies such as Vodafone, Cisco, MediaTek, etc are also a part of this great revolution in IT environment, and most of them have very prospective projects.

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IoT Top10 Companies

Nevertheless, one should accept that the Internet of Things requires some technical and educational level from the society, and while in some countries this seems to be difficult to put it into practice, the Scandinavian region, more specifically – Sweden, invests in such projects at the national level. The vision of its industry is to increase competitiveness and to use innovation effectively in such social spheres as healthcare, welfare and sport. Business life is focused on getting benefits by implementation of IoT technology as well.

The connected world is too big to belong to somebody exclusively. So will Apple, Windows, IBM, Oracle, Google and others be able to all work together in this IoT universe? Or will the grand idea of a seamlessly connected Internet of Things environment slip away?

Will be thankful to hear your opinion on this subject. Share your thoughts here in comments or send me a message.

 

Svetlana Pozdnyakova

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

The mobile world is continuing its rapid growth while we are becoming more and more reliant on our mobile devices in everyday life.

By 2016, it’s expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use, so the mobile application industry will grow tremendously to match the demand and keep up with ever evolving technologies.

Let’s have a look at obvious technologies trends continuing to influence the mobile world nowadays.

Three main platforms and architectures

In a short period of time a majority of big companies will need a special set of development tools to support three key platforms – iOS, Android, Windows and three application architectures – native, hybrid and mobile Web. Tool selection won’t be that easy, rising up technical issues and nontechnical ones such as productivity versus vendor stability. Undoubtedly most big organizations will need several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.

HTML5

Being fragmented, immature and thus possessing many implementation and security risks, HTML5 won’t be a simple solution for mobile application portability. However as it matures, the mobile Web and hybrid applications will become more and more popular. So despite many challenges HTML5 faces, we could expect that it will be rather essential for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.

Advanced mobile user experience design

A vast majority of new techniques and methodologies such as motivational design, “quiet” design and “playful” interfaces contribute to exceptional user experiences most leading mobile apps have. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or “wow” factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organizations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.

High-precision location sensing

Knowing the location of a person to within a few meters is a key factor in the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Applications that use the precise indoor location currently exploit such technologies Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. Such technologies as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing  in combination with mobile applications will create a new generation of highly personalized services and information.

Mobile phone as a universal remote

Some time ago we had to stay in front of TV in order to turn channels. Later remote controls were sold with every TV and stereo on the market. Nowadays, our homes have become smarter and many people manage their homes with the help of a smart phone. In 2015, mobile applications are expected to move to the next level, becoming a universal remote control for your life. Air conditioner controls and alarm systems are heading the list with cars and door locks to go behind soon. With all the different data including financial, electronic, home and automotive deeply embedded in your phone, the general remote seems to be a usual extension.

Apps will start thinking for you

Artificial intelligence is going to influence mobile applications in 2015, initially with smarter apps that think for you. The ability of apps to forecast behavior and lessen manual work is amazing. In the year 2015, apps will begin to foresee where you are going, what thoughts you are having and the types of information you might require. Imagine future applications less of a tool and more of an associate.

Wearable Devices

The smartphone will become the center of personal-computer network consisting of wearable devices such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewelry, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass and different sensors embedded in clothing and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and include a wide range of products and services in such areas as sports, fitness, fashion, hobbies and health.

What are your predictions on mobile technologies trends for the upcoming time? Eager to hear your thoughts 🙂

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

People are increasingly making use of their mobile terminals (tablet and smartphones) to connect to the internet and it is important to adapt websites to the new browsing habits. Each terminal has its own features and limitations (such as the screen size) which will determine how a website will be displayed. The Responsive Design is a compelling solution if you want to have your website smoothly displayed on multiple screen sizes.

Responsive web design (RWD), is an important evolution in an increasingly on-demand world. RWD is a design approach that lets you view content in a way that is optimized for the screen size that you are viewing it on. For example, if I access a RWD website on my laptop, I will see the content formatted in a way that is optimal for a larger screen. And if I access that same website on my smart phone, I will see the same content reformatted to fit that screen size. The important thing about this is that it is showing me the same content whether it is on a large screen or small screen, only the layout is different.

It wasn’t long ago that the prevailing practice, when considering how to make your website mobile friendly, was to create a separate website for mobile devices along with separate content. The content would be pulled from the existing site and edited down for brevity with some sections being omitted entirely. All of this was based on the assumption that visitors to the mobile site would only want certain kinds of information and not others. Specifically information that would be consumed while “on the go,” and therefore needed to be short, to the point, and informative. Anything less, wouldn’t make it into the mobile site. The implications are that some of the content on the non-mobile site may be potentially long, pointless, and ultimately not very valuable.

One interesting aspect of responsive website design is that it forces us to think about the value of content. If it’s going to be shared across all devices, then anything other than short, to the point, and informative, doesn’t make the cut.  This is a great filter because it helps us focus on the purpose of the information.

Does this mean you should convert your website to a Responsive design? Let’s consider the Advantages of Responsive web design:

  • The advantages of Responsive Design are numerous. This technique allows a website to automatically adapt itself to the different screen resolutions.
  • Columns and images are automatically adjusted, resized and moved automatically according to the screen resolution. This technique allows optimum ergonomics in preserving the layout and the display of the information from the website.
  • The Responsive Design is a strategic long-term solution and you don’t have to worry about redirecting users to another version of your website. Once deployed, there is very little maintenance to perform and the cost of development could be often lower than creating and maintaining a dedicated mobile site.
  • Responsive Design also implies having a unique URL: perfect for promotional campaigns.

There are certainly some Disadvantages to Responsive web design so I thought I would list these along with pros for RWD:

  • If there are many benefits, there are still some drawbacks to Responsive Design. These include a longer loading time. Most of the time, users (browsers) are obliged to download useless a HTML/CSS codes. Similarly, the images are often stretched and not simply resized causing a negative impact on the loading time.
  • Responsive Design won’t allow you to easily adjust the titles, descriptions and other content on mobile phones. In addition, the development of Responsive Design websites takes more time.
  • The Initial Cost. It is obviously takes longer to code and test a website that is to work on a wide variety of screen sizes and devices so the initial cost of having a website designed is usually could be higher than having a non responsive site designed.

The Responsive Design is definitely an effective solution to provide an optimal user experience. This is a major evolution of web design inviting designers to take a new challenge. Disadvantages and limitations of using this technique are easily overcome by putting more emphasis on the design and development stages of your website. But still I have added the advantages and disadvantages above so that people can make their own mind up about the responsive approach, whether you might be an individual looking for a new web site or a designer considering the expansion of your own design services, it is always nice to know the pros and cons of any concept.

What are your thoughts on Responsive web design?

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com 
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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