Hello all, thank you for viewing this post. Recently I’ve watched my first webinar, in which I was pleasantly surprised at the informative nature and conveyable format of the channel. It was a unique learning experience, as I could watch the video, whilst listening to the presenter and take notes in a crossover podcast style.
The webinar which I watched, was about disruptive Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, in which providing current insights into the technological climate, whilst exploring the consumer and business opportunities the IoT can facilitate; furthermore, the webinar speaker explored their companies current IoT platform development project, in which demonstrating the prototype system.
The Webinar Background
The webinar is available at Techgig and was presented by Adele Beachley, who is the managing director of the Asia-Pacific and Japan regions for SOTI, has 20 years experience in telecoms, mobility, hardware and software services, can speak 5 languages and has been voted in the top 20 IT women in India; therefore, I felt the knowledge that the presenter was exploring was accurate, reliable and based on current events, further reinforced by the recent webinar airing date (19th September 2017) and the prototype analysis of her companies IoT analytic and monitoring platform.
The format of the webinar was clear and precise, in which combining very informative slideshow images and a professional explanation, whilst speaking in a manner as to not over complicate the explanations or use too much technical jargon; furthermore, Adele even criticised the IT industries use of ‘buzz words’, denoting that the words lose meaning, thus Adele further demonstrated a breath of knowledge within the IoT topic, as she was able to manipulate words and create explanatory scenarios to examine the topic of conversation further.
The Webinar Topic
Upon searching for webinars to lose my viewing virginity too, I instinctively searched for webinars on the topic of the IoT. Iv’e recently explored two posts about the IoT, including the current impact of medical wearable technology and my own hypothesis of an autonomous diabetic management system using the IoT; therefore, I wanted to further explore the IoT, in which enhancing my knowledge on an area that I feel will disrupt and revolutionize the world.
The Current IoT Climate
The webinar began with an introduction to the current IoT technological climate, in which explaining the use of the IoT for a business advantage, including the use of hardware, software and sensors to create intelligent decision-making capabilities; furthermore, Adele estimated that 70% of the IoT value will be to businesses, whilst the remaining 30% to the consumer.
Adele spoke about the consumer IoT ‘buzz topics’ such as autonomous vehicles, smart appliances and devices, whilst explaining that the bigger picture is that business industrial sectors, such as refineries and aeronautical engineering, have been utilizing the IoT for years; furthermore, this business use of the IoT was elaborated further with five business ways in which the IoT will create opportunities and efficiencies, which are shown in the below image.
The five business opportunities that the IoT can facilitate envelop the behavior and business decisions of companies, which was further explored by Adele as satisfying the “triple bottom line”; this expression, is an extension of stakeholder value, in which looking beyond profitability at other implementation strategies for social, economic and environmental stakeholders.
Adele used a IoT enhanced motorway example to explain this theory further, in which understanding and extracting driver behavior data, to understand road congestion, speed averages and bottlenecks; therefore, businesses, government bodies, NGO’s and the actual drivers can learn and self educate of a best practice. The bigger picture behind the example, was the collection of small data to create big data, which would provide intelligent solutions and very much evolve and enable customer choice; therefore, explaining that the IoT is not just about gathering smart data, but being able to use this smart data effectively, thus developing a smart world, a theory that I personally explored in my previous IoT impact post.
Internet of Things and Agriculture
Adele explained that the IoT can be evolutionary or revolutionary, in which adding something or looking at something a different way respectively, thus creating new things; therefore, the exploration of the IoT and the agricultural industry was used as a topical scenario, which generated many personal critiques and queries.
A personally previously unknown topic of Agri-tech was explored, in which trying to maximize efficiency of farming instead of culminating more land mass. Adele explained that the United Nations (UN) expect 9.6 billion people to exist by 2020, thus a requirement of a 70% food production increase will be needed by 2050; therefore, data gathering of the climate, fertility, water levels and chemical composition of soil, can create a smart farming system, in which maximizing yields of the same land mass. This is further shown in the below image.
Adele explained that it is not just about industrializing farming, but reinventing practices, however I disagree with this connotation, as I feel this is essentially industrializing farming with technological innovation. For this technological advancement to work, farmers must relinquish much of their farming independence to corporate entities whom supply the technology; furthermore, for th technology to make a substantial difference, it needs to be implemented on a large-scale, thus many previously independent farms will now be connected and under the reliability umbrella of a corporate entity, thus organizing the production into an industry.
A further critique of this smart farming utopia are the fixed and variable costs. Farmers are not wealthy entities, in the sense of being able to heavily invest in process improvement technology, thus, what will the costs of this technology be? Including the running costs and depreciation costs; furthermore, will this technology be in the form of a package deal or an incremental rollout? The latter seems more logical, so the costs can be staggered out in a timely manner, but this results in a slower roll-out of technology.
In my opinion, for a real agricultural IoT systematic innovation to happen, external bodies must intervene with sources of funding, such as governments and NGO’s, but, this further alienates emerging economies which have already received much external investment for growth; moreover, emerging economies such as regions of Asia and Africa are predicted to contain the majority of the growing population, so this advancement in agricultural technology for ‘those who can afford it’, could very much create an ethical conundrum of global human equality and rights.
Future of The Internet of Things
Adele explored her companies prototype analytics and monitoring portal, in which showcasing the ability of fleet management using Google Maps and analytics generated from embedded sensors, which is depicted in the below image. The platform enabled a complete monitorisation of a fleet of ambulances (as an example), in which the overseer could check analytics such as driver behavior, vehicle utilization, previous trips and real-time viewing of the ambulance interior with cameras.
The system is data driven from embedded sensors and cloud-based IS, which create a fully visual virtualization of an ambulance fleet, essentially evolving individual reporting teams of workers and vehicles into a connected system at the control of an overseeing entity, thus maximizing efficiency.
To conclude, I felt the webinar was a valuable exploratory source of information, something that really allowed me to work at my own pace and explore my own ideas and critiques, in which further enhancing my knowledge of the IoT topic, whilst opening further avenues of future information exploration.
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