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Archive for the ‘IoT’ Category

 
Machine learning

A breakthrough in the technology of artificial intelligence and its active use in practice is the trend of the last two-three years. If earlier the creation of a high-quality machine translation system required a decade, now startups can offer consumers quite a competitive product in this area within one year.

Machine learning is a new approach to information processing, it turns the machine into an intelligent device very fast. In many ways, the development boom based on machine learning programs happened due to the fact that almost everything you need can be found among free software. It is enough to download the development environment, a number of libraries and read the manual. For a week or two, you can write, for example, a program recognizing wine labels or even individuals.

AI opened a completely new universe that humanity will explore for centuries. This means that robots are getting smarter and can learn independently. They are even capable of transmitting their knowledge to each other. To do this, of course, communication infrastructure is necessary. With its help, the program, which has recently invented a new universal language, could teach the other machines.

By the way, people did not expect artificial intelligence to create a new language, it was a by-product performed while teaching machines to translate from different languages. The program has learned how to translate from the languages it hadn’t been asked to by itself. Hence, the researchers concluded that a computer system uses meta-level language for communication, a new sort of Esperanto, a universal language.

 
Robots and VR
 

Analytical agencies called 2016 the year of virtual reality technologies. According to the Digi Capital forecast, by 2020 the virtual reality market will come up to $ 30 billion. Today we have every reason to believe that in 2017 VR-technology will finally become mass.

This trend has affected robotics as well. Complex machine control via VR-helmets and screens shows that augmented reality is gaining popularity. At MWC in Barcelona 2016, all visitors were offered to try themselves as excavator operators, controlling real excavators via Oculus Rift helmet.

This is one of the main scenarios of applying VR in industry and business, which will be used in a variety of situations: unmanned vehicles control (trailers, drones, trucks), surgical operations, exploring out of reach places (the ocean bottom, mines, permafrost). However, the automation trend of the last decade is increasing in order to completely avoid people’s participation in these processes.

 
Artificial Intelligence
 

The idea of intelligent robots has been exciting minds for a long time. We are used to different fiction anthropomorphic golems, androids, perfect voice assistants. Moreover, the success of HBO Westworld recent show demonstrates that the interest in artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing.

Meanwhile, the representatives of different professions were asked to imagine AI as a professional assistant at work or even in the role of a leader. Intelligent Apps have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier and its users more effective. The prospect of getting help from the robot frightens 25% of people, 40% are against the robot leader. However, the majority of people can easily imagine robots among their colleagues- 35% want to see a robot as a personal assistant. Every fourth looks positive on robots to take a leading position.

 
Internet of Things

The internet of Things has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, have fun and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.

Most of us are used to applications, which allow us to switch tracks on the audio system, to open our cars, turn on the lights, change the temperature in the room. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab research, two out of five people expect applications to remember users’ preferences and configure home appliances in the nearest future. It is as a good way to save personal time that can be spent on tasks that are more important.

 
Unmanned vehicles
 

They can either be remote controlled or remote guided, or they can be autonomous vehicles which are capable of exploring the environment and navigating on their own. With the right technology, multiple cars could “talk” to one another and reduce the chance for crashes.

Every fourth interviewee said he would feel safer if all the cars would be driven by robots. Meanwhile, 65% said they would prefer to have an autonomous vehicle rather than drive themselves.

Self-driven cars – futuristic, comfortable and safe. However, at the moment none of the existing systems can completely take over driving. Even the most sophisticated systems can fail.

 
Augmented reality
 

Approximately four out of five users believe that a complete blending of real and virtual worlds will happen just within three years. Half of the respondents are already interested in buying special gloves or shoes that would control VR-objects (for example, for playing virtual instruments).

A well-known game Pokemon GO is a good example to demonstrate the real potential of augmented reality. Many people want to use similar possibilities not only in the games but in real life as well. More than half of users would like to have AR-glasses to see better in the dark and, for example, to be able to observe criminals. One out of three would like to use augmented reality to get rid of unpleasant elements of their landscape, such as graffiti and litter. Many people dream of not seeing street signs, uninteresting shop windows and billboards.

 
Security Paradox of “smart” devices
 

More than half of the respondents use applications and trackers that transmit alarm and danger warnings. Using such apps people expect to increase their personal safety level. The paradox is that 60% of those who feel more secure with a smartphone admit that would try to avoid those situations while not having a phone in the pocket. People rely on their smartphones capabilities too much. Meanwhile, they won’t know what to do if they lose the device or the battery dies. Three out of five people, who believe that the smartphone makes their lives safer, are in a bigger danger.

 
Social fragmentation
 

For every third respondent social networks have become a main source of information. However, social networks do not connect people from all around the world, on the contrary, they form small groups and communities. There is a chance that this fragmentation will only increase: every week, every day individuals exclude each other from friends or refuse to accept connection requests based on the opinions of other people.
 
We all know that making predictions about the course of technology’s future is challenging. Surprises can appear in any direction. Now we can only imagine those amazing opportunities we are going to explore in the nearest future.

Feel free to share your thoughts about technology prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

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By 2020, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally — that’s more than 4 devices for every human on earth.

The Internet of Things first reached users on PCs. Then it migrated to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and TVs.

This growth surely brings several benefits, as it will change the way people fulfill everyday tasks and potentially change the world. Having a smart home is undoubtedly cool and will amaze your guests, but smart lighting can also reduce overall energy consumption and lower your electric bill.

New developments would allow connected cars to link up with smart city infrastructure to create an entirely different ecosystem for the driver, who is simply used to the traditional way of getting from Point A to Point B. And there are many other examples of positive changes IoT may bring to our lifes.
But with all of these benefits comes risk, as the increase in connected devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.

Late last year, a group of hackers took down a power grid in a region of western Ukraine to cause the first blackout from a cyber attack. And this is likely just the beginning, as these hackers are looking for more ways to strike critical infrastructure, such as power grids, hydroelectric dams, chemical plants, and more.
 

 
What is already being done to Secure The IoT?

The great thing about IoT security is that previously ignored, it has now become an issue of high concern, even at the federal government level. Several measures are already being taken to gap holes and prevent security breaches at the device level, and efforts are being led to tackle major disasters before they come to pass.

Now security firms and manufacturers are joining ranks to help secure the IoT world before it spins out of control. IT giant Microsoft has started taking measures and has promised to add BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot technology to the Windows 10 IoT, their operating system for IoT devices and platforms such as the Raspberry Pi.

BitLocker is an encryption technology that can code entire disk volumes, and it has been featured in Windows operating systems since the Vista edition. This can be crucial to secure on-device data. Secure Boot is a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer. Its implementation can prevent device hijacking.

The IoT security issue has also given rise to new alliances. A conglomeration of leading tech firms, including Vodafone, founded the Internet of Things Security Foundation, a non-profit body that will be responsible for vetting Internet-connected devices for vulnerabilities and flaws and will offer security assistance to tech providers, system adopters and end users.

Other companies are working on setting up platforms that will enable large networks of IoT devices to identify and authenticate each other in order to provide higher security and prevent data breaches.

 
What should we know to protect ourselves and minimize risks of hacking attacks?

Security must be addressed throughout the device lifecycle, from the initial design to the operational environment:

1. Secure booting: When power is first introduced to the device, the authenticity and integrity of the software on the device is verified using cryptographically generated digital signatures. In much the same way that a person signs a check or a legal document, a digital signature attached to the software image and verified by the device ensures that only the software that has been authorized to run on that device, and signed by the entity that authorized it, will be loaded. The foundation of trust has been established, but the device still needs protection from various run-time threats and malicious intentions.

2. Device authentication: When the device is plugged into the network, it should authenticate itself prior to receiving or transmitting data. Deeply embedded devices often do not have users sitting behind keyboards, waiting to input the credentials required to access the network. How, then, can we ensure that those devices are identified correctly prior to authorization? Just as user authentication allows a user to access a corporate network based on user name and password, machine authentication allows a device to access a network based on a similar set of credentials stored in a secure storage area.

3. Firewalling and IPS: The device also needs a firewall or deep packet inspection capability to control traffic that is destined to terminate at the device.

4. Updates and patches: Once the device is in operation, it will start receiving hot patches and software updates. Software updates and security patches must be delivered in a way that conserves the limited bandwidth and intermittent connectivity of an embedded device and absolutely eliminates the possibility of compromising functional safety.

What is evident is that the IoT will play an important role in our lives in the near future, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed via active participation by the entire global tech community. Next several years will show whether all of the innovations will revolutionize the world or will bring us to a new era of digital insecurity and chaos. Time will tell.

 

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Yana Khaidukova

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altabel

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Augmented reality – AR, is a world-known term nowadays. Nonetheless it is not that new as we are used to think. We’ve been seeing versions of AR for quite some time already. The concept is pretty simple: take a real-life scene, or a video of a scene, and add some kind of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on there, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go, for example sports coverage on TV.

“AR has been around for ages,” says Andy Cameron, executive director of Fabrica, an interactive design studio which works with Benetton, “maybe going back as far as the 1970s and art installations that overlaid real spaces with something virtual.” He mentions in particular the work of pioneering computer artist Myron Krueger.
 

 
Nonetheless AR changed a lot in recent years. It became much more accessible. AR has come within reach of all sorts of developers – and millions of people gained access to using AR every day, often in the palms of their hands.

The appearance of powerful smartphones and computers with high-resolution photo/video cameras means that you don’t have to wait for the AR effects as you do with sports TV channels. They can simply be added into real life.

Without doubt, in next few years we will see rapid development of AR and experience it in various spheres of our lives.
 
Industry/military/medicine

Industrial, military and medical applications concerning the validation of designs or plans are a specialization of Augmented Reality. When soldiers need information on their surroundings they can receive detailed 3D maps. If a doctor is performing surgery, a live image of a human subject is accessible. Important occupations in need of crucial information use Augmented Reality tools to visually superimpose their solutions.
 
Navigation

A surgeon performing a complicated procedure or a firefighter trying to find his way out of a burning building can visualize a much more accurate and safe course of action with the help of augmented reality. Similarly, you can see a particular place through your augmented reality incorporated smartphone camera, and immediately find out the nearest cafes, bookshops, dining places.
 
Education

Educational resources are emphasized by Augmented Reality systems and can be used to re-create historical events, activate regular books into 3D images, or even present structures of the galaxy; all superimposed in real-time. Augmented Reality is extremely useful for educators in classroom settings or during presentations and allows students to gain a deeper understanding on the topic at hand. By merging content to media the reading experience is enhanced and the reader is fully engaged. The text and images are on a page as usual, but Augmented Reality allows you to see dynamic, 3D computer graphics “hovering” over it.
 
Shopping

E-Commerce / M-commerce applications will offer a virtual fitting room where apparel can be tried on live.
 
Housing/interior decoration

Innovative technology is providing value for all audiences in the interior design industry. Manufacturers, designers, and the end consumer are all finding use in these technologies in relation to traditional methods. Soon new tech will become the standard, as it helps shoppers make quicker, more informed purchase decisions through personable experiences. If you are interested in creating a more interactive and meaningful experience for your clients or customers, Augment offers custom AR solutions to allow your shoppers to bring your products to real life.
 

 
These are just several spheres where AR solutions will be further developed. At Altabel Group we are keeping track of AR innovations and are ready for new challenges in AR development. And what about you?

Feel free to share your thoughts about AR prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

yana-khaidukova

Yana Khaidukova

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altabel

Altabel Group

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Technology is winning its everyday challenges at a pace faster than ever before. As compared to the previous year, tech trends have become embedded to practically every sphere of digital business. There is constant growth of software spending on technologies because technology is now rooted in every sphere of digital business. For entrepreneurs and self-starters it is necessary to leverage strategic technologies to reach target audiences next year.
 

What is to become mainstream in 2017?

AI & Advanced Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning (ML) are represented by many technologies and techniques such as deep learning, neural networks, natural-language processing. They have a potential to create more advanced systems that are able to adapt. Such systems will be able to change future behavior, leading to the creation of more intelligent devices and programs. But the trend is to develop ML and AI to autonomously operated systems in long-term perspective. These techniques are likely to be introduced into almost every sphere of digital business as inborn components within a decade.

Virtual & Augmented Reality

The world is now ready for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology while early-stage devices are springing up in different spheres. Much work is done to transform interaction of human beings to the next level by moving them to immerse environment with the help of VR. It allows undergoing training in remote places or creating certain scenarios under pre-established criteria. As for AR, it can blend the real and virtual worlds, which has great potential for application in lots of businesses. It is estimated by market researchers that worldwide revenues for the AR/VR market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020. That is why many observers claim that the year 2017 to be a starting point (or at least a transition period) of AR/VR versions of practically every application to emerge.

Intelligent Things

Robots, drones and vehicles-these intelligent things have spread tremendously through the current year. But what potential do they have for the coming year? It is predicted by Gartner agency and other research firms that the apps that control IoT devices will also use machine learning and AI. This means that all the ordinary elements of environment, from toothbrush to your car, may become interconnected and collaborate to make decisions in everyday practice. Major advancements are yet to come. Experts claim that solutions to tie every app which controls intelligent things together into a single, seamless user experience are to be made in the year 2017.
 

Digital Twins

Next year is predicted to be the time when digital twin’s idea will spread to most remote parts of the world. It is a software replica of a physical thing or system which uses sensor and physics data. The sphere of application of a digital twin will widen with the time and by the year 2020 they will likely to be used for improving operations and creating new things.

Conversational systems

Intelligent objects are predicted to have some form of conversational interface in the near future. And the coming year, in particular, is likely to produce a device mesh when there will be a merge of different interaction techniques resulting in innovative digital user experience. It is now represented by a trend in app development which lets users interact with apps through texting. The next year is likely to provide such solutions to other intelligent objects which surround us in everyday life.

Mesh App and Service Architecture

MASA- or “Mesh App and Service Architecture” is considered to be an IT-system which enables communication, collaboration and learning within some digital ecosystem. Such architecture will hold together and interconnect different services to enable users gain experience through shifting across different sections (e.g., desktop, smartphone, vehicles).

Adaptive Security Architecture

There is much room for new smart devices for better learning and protecting. It is especially necessary in the vulnerable system of IoT which can be brought down by DDoS attacks. The idea behind adaptive security architecture lies in recruiting AI smart solutions within security tools. IoT is now becoming a special frontier for security specialists. Will 2017 become a year when new remediation tools and processes will be embedded into IoT intelligent devices? The answer is to be given soon.

These are some of major tech trends we’re in store for in 2017. They seem strategic and have lots of potential to grow to autonomous systems, like in case with AI and advanced machine learning. Some of the abovementioned trends are likely to take off next year; others will boost their presence in the digital business in several years. But even ordinary people will soon be able to experience the world where boundaries between real and digital blur.

What’s your idea of the tech trends for 2017? Please feel free to share your thought in the comments below.

 

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach

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Internet of Things(IoT) is extremely broad phrase, and can mean a great many different things. But it does not change the fact that each day more and more devices all over the world are being connected to the Internet. At that rate, Internet of Things (IoT) development projects are gaining popularity to say the least.

It is definitely the trend. This brings up a question: what programming languages are the most popular for IoT project? Well, according to the Eclipse Foundation survey, Java, JavaScript, C, and Python are the top four programming choices for developers who are building IoT solutions. Let’s look into them!

Java

Though some people question the use of Java in IoT it is not surprising to see Java as being the most popular among developers who are working on IoT solutions. The practicality of the statement “write once, run anywhere” still predetermines the choice in a great measure.

Java advantages are apparent. It is an object-oriented and platform independent language. Thus coding and debugging can be done on desktop and moved to any chip with a Java Virtual Machine afterwards. Therefore code can be run not only on places where JVMs are common (servers and smartphones), but also on the smallest machines. Minimum hardware dependency is a huge plus. This also means that Java is great from an economic standpoint: devotion to Java coding can pay back across various platforms.

Besides, by now Java has attracted an active community of millions software developers and is being taught as one of the primary programming languages in the majority of engineering degree programs. Consequently, finding someone skilled in Java programming should not constitute a problem.

Last but not the least, maturity and stability of this language make it even more attractive. When there are devices that are going to be remotely managed and provisioned for a long period of time, Java’s stability and care about backwards compatibility become important.

It should be taken into consideration thought that your choice of IoT platform should support Java. You should make sure available hardware support libraries should have control functions according to your requirements too.

Javascript

Combining some knowledge from other languages JavaScript has not only proven itself worthy on both the client and server side of the web, but it also has a huge potential in the growing Internet of Things domain.

The main difference between Javascript and Java is that JavaScript is a scripting language that has a range of existing libraries, plugins, and APIs, and many of them can be used to create complicated IoT apps easier and faster. Instead of building a range of new libraries and plugins, developers are free to reuse and further develop existing solutions around the web for absolutely new implementations.

Remarkably, applications that listen for events and respond when events occur are a strength of a JavaScript. Effective and secure communications and interactivity are of paramount importance in the IoT, and there are great systems for dealing with requests and events. For example, Socket.io maintains an open connection between the server and the browser and thus enables the server to push updates to the browser as they happen. This gives you a chance to see the changes in the IoT network without a page refresh. By providing real time event based communication across multiple devices Socket.io really comes in handy.

Additionally, much of the Internet is built on JavaScript and huge portion of the web functionality is enabled through JavaScript. Connecting up the web to our IoT devices and using the language that web pages and web apps already speak lead to simplicity in management.

It’s important to mention however, that Javascript would be a bad choice for lightweight embedded controllers.


C

Created to program the telephone switches C programming language has almost monopolized embedded systems programming. Its proximity to machine language makes it impressively fast.

C can create compact and faster runtime code. Still it should be noted that runtime speed isn’t the primary aspect of development to consider. Development speed should also be takes into account (and other languages may be much more efficient in that).

Another vote for stems from the fact that majority of the modern languages follow the syntax of C, which means that it is easy to learn and effective in accomplishing advanced tasks.

As both completing complex tasks and finding developers with extensive experience in C is relatively easy, its applicability to IoT projects speaks for itself.

Still, there are some drawbacks of C that make it less preferred in today’s development world, e.g. poor data security and no run time checking mechanism.

Python

Although Python originally is widely chosen for Web development, it has significantly gained popularity in the IoT coding arena for the past few years. Such huge advantages as its flexibility, writability, error reduction, and readability contributed to that greatly. Distribution of compact executable code is easy. Working in programming teams is easy. Known as organized and neat, its elegant syntax is great for database arrangement. Sure, Python is a good choice for building applications that take data, convert it into any sort of a database format and draw upon the tables for control information. Python also has libraries for all 3 main IoT protocols such as TCP/IP, Bluetooth and NFC.

Additionally, IoT projects involve lots of data analytics and Python has rich modules for that.

Finally, major IoT hardware platforms and micro-controllers, e.g. Arduino, Raspberry PI, Intel Galileo, are enabled for interactive communication through Python.

Probably, the main problem for Python is its runtime speed, especially in comparison to C. Still there is a number of ways to optimize the code so it runs more efficiently.

Steady increase in popularity of Python for IoT is evident.

So which programming language is the best for IoT?

No definite answer, guys… All the above languages influence the IoT space up to an extent. However, the preference of language today depends on the end use of the app, product or service you want to create. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

alexandra-presniatsova

Alexandra Presniatsova

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altabel

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We see this “Is Java out of business?” question pop up year after year. They say that Java is the least feature-rich language of the popular languages on the JVM and the slowest to move on new features in the last decade. There are also people who believe that because so many new JVM languages are being invented is proof that the Java language is lacking and that Java is no longer meeting the needs of many developers. And yet, by all external markers, Java is alive, well, and growing.

Here are several proofs for it:

1. TIOBE ranked Java as its top language of 2015 currently shows it enjoying 5% growth in use since 2014, more than any other programming language.

2. RedMonk has recently published the latest edition of its bi-annual list of the top programming languages. Compiled with the help of data obtained from GitHub and StackOverflow, this list tells us about the usage and discussion of a language on the web. Just like the previous years Java is among the top of the programming languages.

3. Further, the PYPL Index, which ranks languages based on how often language tutorials are searched on Google, shows Java clearly out in front with 23.9% of the total search volume.

Since Java first appeared it has gained enormous popularity. Its rapid ascension and wide acceptance can be traced to its design and programming features, particularly in its promise that you can write a program once, and run it anywhere. Java was chosen as the programming language for network computers (NC) and has been perceived as a universal front end for the enterprise database. As stated in Java language white paper by Sun Microsystems: “Java is a simple, object-oriented, distributed, interpreted, robust, secure, architecture neutral, portable, multithreaded, and dynamic.”

So here are the most common and significant advantages of Java that helped it to take its high position in a quite competitive environment of programming languages:

  • Java is easy to learn.
    Java was designed to be easy to use and is therefore easy to write, compile, debug, and learn than other programming languages.
  • Java is platform-independent.
    One of the most significant advantages of Java is its ability to move easily from one computer system to another. The ability to run the same program on many different systems is crucial to World Wide Web software, and Java succeeds at this by being platform-independent at both the source and binary levels.
  • Java is secure.
    Java considers security as part of its design. The Java language, compiler, interpreter, and runtime environment were each developed with security in mind.
  • Java is robust.
    Robust means reliability. Java puts a lot of emphasis on early checking for possible errors, as Java compilers are able to detect many problems that would first show up during execution time in other languages.
  • Java is multithreaded.
    Multithreaded is the capability for a program to perform several tasks simultaneously within a program. In Java, multithreaded programming has been smoothly integrated into it, while in other languages, operating system-specific procedures have to be called in order to enable multithreading.

Nonetheless things changed since the time when Java was created. In the recent years, many important languages have appeared and left an impact on the technology world. Due to their simplicity and user-friendliness, they have managed to surpass the more established languages. So we tried to make a list of reasons why Java is going to stay on the grind in the nearest future:

1. Java is time-proved.
You generally need a strong reason to switch from a language you’re currently using: it requires time to practice and learn new languages, and you have to be confident that the language you’re considering switching to will be supported in the long term. Nobody wants to build software in a language that will be obsolete in five years’ time.

2. JVM and the Java Ecosystem.
The Java Virtual Machine, or JVM. compiles programs into bytecode, which is then interpreted and run by the JVM. Because the JVM sits above your specific hardware and OS, it allows Java to be run on anything, a Windows machine, a Mac, or an obscure some flavor of Linux.

The big advantage granted by the JVM is in this increased compatibility and the stability it affords. Because your application runs in the VM instead of directly on your hardware, you can program said application once and trust that it is executable on every device with a Java VM implementation. This principle is the basis for Java’s core messaging: “Write once, run everywhere.” And it makes Java applications very resilient to underlying changes in the environment.

3. Java and the Internet of Things.
“I really think Java’s future is in IoT. I’d like to see Oracle and partners focused on a complete end-to-end storage solution for Java, from devices through gateways to enterprise back-ends. Building that story and making a success of it will help cement the next 20 years for Java. Not only is that a massive opportunity for the industry, but also one I think Java can do quite well,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation.

Oracle agrees. Per VP of Development Georges Saab, “Java is an excellent tech for IoT. Many of the challenges in IoT are many of the challenges of desktop and client Java helped address in the 1990s. You have many different hardware environments out there. You want to have your developers look at any part of the system, understand it and move on. Java is one of the few technologies out there that lets you do that.”
 
Thus, Java might have its detractors, and some of their arguments might even be reasonable. Nonetheless Java has evolved a lot since its inception, holds the lead in many areas of software development and has more prospects for the future. So, in our opinion, its survivability is not in doubt.

And what do you think? Is Java going to become one of the dead languages? Or it has all chances to survive? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below!

 

yana-khaidukova

Yana Khaidukova

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altabel

Altabel Group

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As the Internet of Things begins to revolutionize businesses, economies and our society, IoT platforms are coming up being the core basis in the overall IoT infrastructure. IoT platforms, in simple words, are just about connecting the sensors to data networks and integrating with back-end applications to provide insight into huge volumes of data.

However developing for the Internet of Things is a complicated undertaking, and almost nobody chooses to do it from scratch. IoT data platforms provide a starting point by integrating many of the tools needed to operate a deployment from device control to data prediction and grasp into one service. Ready-built IoT platforms can meet the needs of any company and smoothly accommodate constant growth and change. In the light of the possibilities offered by IoT, many high tech companies started taking advantage of it. For the time being there are more than 300 hundred various IoT platforms on the market and the number is continuing to grow. So, let’s see what features of IoT platforms take into consideration while choosing one for your business.

Before selecting an appropriate solution which may be suitable for your organization, you must determine:

1. Three different types of IoT platforms. Here they are listed from most complex to least complex:

  • Application enablement and development (AEP/ADP): This encompasses platforms that offer modules, widget-based frameworks or templates for producing (with minimal or no coding) actual end-user applications. These platforms are capable of turning data into either intelligence or action very quickly. The vivid examples of such platforms are Oracle, ThingWorx and etc.
  • Network/Data, and subscriber management (NM): In the wireless carrier and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) space, this kind of platforms try to streamline connecting cellular M2M data, so you don’t have to build much of the data infrastructure behind it. For instance Cisco and Aeris do network management as well as device management, while Jasper and Wyless do more sheer network management.
  • Device management (DM): These platforms are more about monitoring device statuses, troubleshooting issues, configuring embedded device settings and administrating the provisioning and health of the endpoints. Usually in the IoT space this fairly elementary software is provided by hardware vendors. Like both Digi and Intel provide pure device cloud management.

While these platforms can be found as distinct standalone products, it is becoming increasingly common to find vendors that combine two or all three types in a single offering.

2. Implementation, integration support and device management. Device management is one of the most significant features expected from any IoT software platform. The IoT platform should maintain a number of devices connected to it and track their proper operation status; it should be able to handle configuration, firmware (or any other software) updates and provide device level error reporting and error handling. Ultimately, users of the devices should be able to get individual device level statistics.

To make implementation smooth, the provider should possess convincing manuals, blogs and feasibly lively developer-community around the IoT platform.

Support for integration is another vital feature expected from an IoT software platform. The API should provide the access to the important operations and data that needs to be disclosed from the IoT platform. It’s typical to use REST APIs to achieve this aim.

3. Comprehensive Information Security. There are four main technological building blocks of IoT: hardware, communication, software backend and applications. It’s essential that for all these blocks security is a must-have element. To prevent the vulnerabilities on all levels, the IoT infrastructure has to be holistically designed. On the whole, the network connection between the IoT devices and the IoT software platform would need to be encrypted and protected with a strong encryption mechanism to avoid potential attacks. By means of separation of IoT traffic into private networks, strong information security at the cloud application level, requiring regular password updates and supporting updateable firmware by way of authentication, signed software updates and so on can be pursued to enhance the level of security present in an IoT software platform. Nonetheless while security ought to be scalable, it is unfortunately usually a trade-off with convenience, quick workflows and project cost.

4. Flexible Database. There are four major “V” for databases in IoT space:

  • Volume (the database should be able to store massive amount of generated data)
  • Variety (the database should be able to handle different kind of data produced by various devices and sensors)
  • Velocity (the database should be able to make instant decisions while analyzing streaming data)
  • Veracity ( the database should be able to deal with ambiguous data in some cases produced by sensors)

Therefore an IoT platform usually comes with a cloud-based database solution, which is distributed across various sensor nodes.

5. Data analytics.

A lot of IoT cases go beyond just action management and require complicated analytics in order to get the most out of the IoT data-stream. There are four types of analytics which can be conducted on IoT data:

  • Real-time analytics (on the fly analysis of data),
  • Batch analytics (runs operations on an accumulated set of data),
  • Predictive analytics (makes predictions based on different statistical and machine learning technologies)
  • Interactive analytics (runs numerous exploratory analysis on either streaming or batch data)

While choosing the right IoT platform, it’s better to keep in mind that the analytics engine should comprise all dynamic calculations of sensor data, starting from basic data clustering to complex machine learning.

6. Pricing and the budget. The IoT platform market features a diversity of pricing methodologies underlying various business strategies. And sometimes providers’ costs aren’t always transparent. Thus it’s very important to check out all the nuances of your provider’s pricing pattern, so you are not plainly bought into introductory teaser rates or into the prices for the base model.

Further you should bear in mind that you licensing cost for the chosen platform is just the beginning. The major expense can turn out to be the integration itself, as well as hiring consultants (if you are not able to do it on your own) to support the system.

Therefore, it’s extremely vital to brainstorm what your entire IoT system will look like at scale and choose which features are most critical to you chiefly — and only afterwards decide what sort of platform you need.

A lot of companies do this backward. They get the IoT platform and believe they’re getting the complete necessary solution—then realize the mistake half a year into development. Thus it’s critical to be aware of this before you get started.

Also it should be mentioned that some companies don’t use IoT platforms—they’re developing their own platforms in-house. Yet, depending on how you want to go to market, it may be clever to research pre-built options. Depending on your situation, you may save a lot of time and money by partnering with one of these platforms.

Have you ever faced the difficulties of choosing the IoT platform for your business? If yes, can you please let me know what kind of difficulties? And what do you think is it better to use a ready-built IoT platform or develop your own from the scratch? Looking forward to getting your ideas and comments.

 

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Business Development Manager

E-mail: anastasiya.presnetsova@altabel.com
Skype: azakharchuk1
LI Profile: Anastasiya Zakharchuk

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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


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