Tag Archives: Internet of Things

Cloud-Powered Microdroid Expands Possibilities for Android App Developers

Android developers have a lot to look forward to in 2021, 2022, and beyond. Blockchain may decentralize how Android apps are developed, Flutter will see increased adoption for cross-platform development, and we expect big strides in AR and VR for the platform. Among the top trends in Android development, one potential innovation has caught the attention of savvy app developers: Microdroid.

Android developers and blogs were astir earlier this year when Google engineer Jiyong Park announced via the Android Open Source Project that they are working on a new, minimal Android-based Linux image called Microdroid.

Details about the project are scant, but it’s widely believed that Microdroid will essentially be a lighter version of the Android system image designed to function on virtual machines. Google is preparing for a world in which even smartphone OS’s require a stripped-down version that can be run through the cloud.

Working from a truncated Linux, Microdroid will pull the system image from the device (tablet or phone), creating a simulated environment accessible from any remote device. It has the ability to enable a world in which users can access Google Play and any Android app using any device.

What does this mean for developers?

Microdroid will open up new possibilities for Android apps in embedded and IoT spaces which require potentially automated management and a contained virtual machine which can mitigate security risks. Cloud gaming, cloud computing—even smartphones with all features stored in the cloudare possible. Although we will have to wait and see what big plans Google has for Microdroid and how Android developers capitalize on it, at this juncture, it’s looking like the shift to the cloud may entail major changes in how we interact with our devices. App developers are keen to keep their eyes and heads in the cloud.

Although no timeline for release has been revealed yet, we expect more on Microdroid with the announcement of Android 12.

AIoT: How the Intersection of AI and IoT Will Drive Innovation for Decades to Come

We have covered the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the years as they have gained prominence. IoT devices collect a massive amount of data. Cisco projects by the end of 2021, IoT devices will collect over 800 zettabytes of data per year. Meanwhile, AI algorithms can parse through big data and teach themselves to analyze and identify patterns to make predictions. Both technologies enable a seemingly endless amount of applications retained a massive impact on many industry verticals.

What happens when you merge them? The result is aptly named the AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) and it will take IoT devices to the next level.

WHAT IS AIOT?

AIoT is any system that integrates AI technologies with IoT infrastructure, enhancing efficiency, human-machine interactions, data management and analytics.

IoT enables devices to collect, store, and analyze big data. Device operators and field engineers typically control devices. AI enhances IoT’s existing systems, enabling them to take the next step to determine and take the appropriate action based on the analysis of the data.

By embedding AI into infrastructure components, including programs, chipsets, and edge computing, AIoT enables intelligent, connected systems to learn, self-correct and self-diagnose potential issues.

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One common example comes in the surveillance field. Surveillance camera can be used as an image sensor, sending every frame to an IoT system which analyzes the feed for certain objects. AI can analyze the frame and only send frames when it detects a specific object—significantly speeding up the process while reducing the amount of data generated since irrelevant frames are excluded.

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While AIoT will no doubt find a variety of applications across industries, the three segments we expect to see the most impact on are wearables, smart cities, and retail.

WEARABLES

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The global wearable device market is estimated to hit more than $87 billion by 2022. AI applications on wearable devices such as smartwatches pose a number of potential applications, particularly in the healthtech sector.

Researchers in Taiwan have been studying the potential for an AIoT wearable system for electrocardiogram (ECG) analysis and cardiac disease detection. The system would integrate a wearable IoT-based system with an AI platform for cardiac disease detection. The wearable collects real-time health data and stores it in a cloud where an AI algorithm detects disease with an average of 94% accuracy. Currently, Apple Watch Series 4 or later includes an ECG app which captures symptoms of irregular, rapid or skipped heartbeats.

Although this device is still in development, we expect to see more coming out of the wearables segment as 5G enables more robust cloud-based processing power, taking the pressure off the devices themselves.

SMART CITIES

We’ve previously explored the future of smart cities in our blog series A Smarter World. With cities eager to invest in improving public safety, transport, and energy efficiency, AIoT will drive innovation in the smart city space.

There are a number of potential applications for AIoT in smart cities. AIoT’s ability to analyze data and act opens up a number of possibilities for optimizing energy consumption for IoT systems. Smart streetlights and energy grids can analyze data to reduce wasted energy without inconveniencing citizens.

Some smart cities have already adopted AIoT applications in the transportation space. New Delhi, which boasts some of the worst traffic in the world, features an Intelligent Transport Management System (ITMS) which makes real-time dynamic decisions on traffic flows to accelerate traffic.

RETAIL

AIoT has the potential to enhance the retail shopping experience with digital augmentation. The same smart cameras we referenced earlier are being used to detect shoplifters. Walmart recently confirmed it has installed smart security cameras in over 1,000 stores.

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One of the big innovations for AIoT involves smart shopping carts. Grocery stores in both Canada and the United States are experimenting with high-tech shopping carts, including one from Caper which uses image recognition and built-in sensors to determine what a person puts into the shopping cart.

The potential for smart shopping carts is vast—these carts will be able to inform customers of deals and promotion, recommend products based on their buying decisions, enable them to view an itemized list of their current purchases, and incorporate indoor navigation to lead them to their desired items.

A smart shopping cart company called IMAGR recently raised $14 million in a pre-Series A funding round, pointing toward a bright future for smart shopping carts.

CONCLUSION

AIoT represents the intersection of AI, IoT, 5G, and big data. 5G enables the cloud processing power for IoT devices to employ AI algorithms to analyze big data to determine and enact action items. These technologies are all relatively young, and as they continue to grow, they will empower innovators to build a smarter future for our world.

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 2: Bluetooth 5.1’s Angle of Arrival Ups the Ante for BLE Beacons

In the last installment of our blog series on indoor positioning, we examined an overview of the top indoor positioning technologies. This week, we will examine the most precise and popular method: Bluetooth BLE Beacons and how Bluetooth 5.1 enables them to be the most popular indoor positioning tool on the market.

As the world transitions into a wireless society, Bluetooth technology has evolved and gained more and more popularity. Apple’s decision to remove 1/8th inch audio ports from their devices, while irksome to many consumers, was a definitive move in the direction of Bluetooth.

The growing market for indoor positioning has incentivized an evolution in the landscape of Bluetooth technology. The first consumer bluetooth device was launched in 1999. This year, the world is forecasted to ship more than 4.5 billion Bluetooth devices worldwide. Behind the scenes, manufacturers are using Bluetooth technology for asset tracking and warehouse management. Bluetooth 5.1 technology, in concert with Bluetooth BLE Beacons, is the most popular indoor positioning method.

Nordic nRF52840-Dongle

Nordic nRF52840-Dongle

BLUETOOTH 5.1

Announced in January 2019 by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Bluetooth 5.1 is the latest and most powerful iteration of Bluetooth technology yet.

Bluetooth 5.1 can connect with other devices at a distance of 985 feet, quadruple Bluetooth 4.0. Bluetooth 5.1 improves upon Bluetooth 4.0’s indoor positioning capabilities with Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) features. When used for indoor location, Bluetooth 5.1 can provide up to 1-10 centimeters of accuracy with very little lag. At 48MBps, Bluetooth 5.1 is twice as fast as Bluetooth 4.0.

In addition to being faster and more powerful, Bluetooth 5.1 is the continuation of Low Energy LE, consuming less power than previous iterations of Bluetooth.

INDOOR POSITIONING

Bluetooth BLE Beacons are attached to objects, vehicles, devices, etc. and used to track their location. Bluetooth BLE beacons enable Bluetooth devices to communicate with IoT products and other devices. The top suppliers in the  beacon space include Kontakt, Blukii, Minew, Gimbal, Estimote, and EM Microelectronic.

AoA and AoD features are at the core of what enhances positioning technologies in Bluetooth 5.1.

Angle of Arrival diagram via ScienceDirect.com

Angle of Arrival diagram via ScienceDirect.com

In AoA, the  device or tag transmits a specific direction-finding packet using one antenna. The receiving device receives the incoming signal with multiple antennas, each antenna receiving the signal at slightly different times relative to each other. An algorithm factors in the shifts in signal and yields precise coordinate information.

AoD flips the scenario. The device sending the signal has an array of antennas and transmits a packet via the antenna ray. The receiving device then makes an IQ sampling of its antenna to determine the coordinate calculation.

USE CASES

Enhanced indoor positioning enables a number of use cases. In sports stadiums and music venues,  a locating hub near the center of the arena can receive signals from devices using AoA technology and determine location coordinates. Keys, perhaps the most commonly lost object, can be embedded with a sensor and located using a locator hub equipped by a smart home.

Bluetooth BLE Beacons, harnessing Bluetooth 5.1, remain the most cost and energy-efficient method of attaining precise indoor positioning locations.

Stay tuned for the next entry in our Indoor Positioning blog series which will explore the wonders of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology!

A Smarter World Part 4: Securing the Smart City and the Technology Within

In the last installment of our blog series on smart cities, we examined how smart transportation will make for a more efficient society. This week, we’ll examine how urban security stands to evolve with the implementation of smart technology.

Smart security in the modern era is a controversial issue for informed citizens. Many science fiction stories have dramatized the evolution of technology, and how every advance increases the danger of reaching a totalitarian state—particularly when it comes to surveillance. However, as a society, it would be foolish to refrain from using the technical power afforded to us to protect our cities.

Here are the top applications for smart security in the smart cities of the future:

Surveillance

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Surveillance has been a political point of contention and paranoia since the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s. Whistleblower Edward Snowden became a martyr or traitor depending on your point of view when he exposed vast surveillance powers used by the NSA. As technology has rapidly evolved, the potential for governments to abuse their technological power has evolved with it.

Camera technology has evolved to the point where everyone has a tiny camera on them at all time via their phones. While monitoring entire cities with surveillance feeds is feasible, the amount of manpower necessary to monitor the footage and act in a timely manner rendered this mass surveillance ineffective. However, deep learning-driven AI video analytics tools can analyze real-time footage and identify anomalies, such as foreboding indicators of violence, and notify nearby law enforcement instantly.

In China, police forces use smart devices allied to a private broadband network to discover crimes. Huawei’s eLTE system allows officers to swap incident details securely and coordinate responses between central command and local patrols. In Shanghai, sophisticated security systems have seen crime rates drop by 30% and the amount of time for police to arrive at crime scenes drop to 3 minutes.

In Boston, to curb gun violence, the Boston police force has deployed an IoT sensor-based gunfire detection system that notifies officers to crime scenes within seconds.

Disaster Prevention

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One of the major applications of IoT-based security system involves disaster prevention and effective use of smart communication and alert systems.

When disasters strike, governments require a streamlined method of coordinating strategy, accessing data, and managing a skilled workforce to enact the response. IoT devices and smart alert systems work together to sense impending disasters and give advance warning to the public about evacuations and security lockdown alerts.

Cybersecurity

The more smart applications present in city infrastructure, the more a city becomes susceptible to cyber attack. Unsecured devices, gateways, and networks each represent a potential vulnerability for a data breach. The average cost of a data breach according to IBM and the Poneman Institute is estimated at $3.86 million dollars. Thus, one of the major components of securing the smart city is the ramping up of cybersecurity to prevent hacking.

smart-city-1 graphic

The Industrial Internet Consortium are helping establish frameworks across technologies to safely accelerate the Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) for transformational outcomes. GlobalSign works to move secure IoT deployments forward on a world-wide basis.

One of the first and most important steps toward cybersecurity is adopting standards and recommended guidelines to help address the smart city challenges of today. The Cybersecurity Framework is a voluntary framework consisting of standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risk published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory agency in the US Department of Commerce. Gartner projects that 50% of U.S. businesses, critical infrastructure operators, and countries around the globe will use the framework as they develop and deploy smart city technology.

Conclusion

The Smart City will yield a technological revolution, begetting a bevy of potential applications in different fields, and with every application comes potential for hacker exploitation. Deployment of new technologies will require not only data standardization, but new security standardizations to ensure that these vulnerabilities are protected from cybersecurity threats. However, don’t expect cybersecurity to slow the evolution of the smart city too much as it’s expected to grow into a $135 billion dollar industry by 2021 according to TechRepublic.

This concludes our blog series on Smart Cities, we hope you enjoyed and learned from it! In case you missed it, check out our past entries for a full picture of the future of smart cities:

A Smarter World Part 1: How the Future of Smart Cities Will Change the World

A Smarter World Part 2: How Smart Infrastructure Will Reshape Your City

A Smarter World Part 3: How Smart Transportation Will Accelerate Your Business

A Smarter World Part 3: How Smart Transportation Will Accelerate Your Business

In the last installment of our blog series on smart cities, we examined how smart infrastructure will revolutionize smart cities. This week, we will examine the many applications which will soon revolutionize smart transportation.

A smarter world means a faster, more efficient and environmentally-friendly world. And perhaps the biggest increase in efficiency and productivity will be driven by the many ways in which AI can optimize the amount of time it takes to get where you’re going.

Here are the top applications in smart transportation coming to a city near you:

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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Some say autonomous vehicles are headed to market by 2020. Others say it could take decades before they are on the road. One thing is for certain, they represent a major technological advancement for smart transportation. Autonomous cars will communicate with each other to avoid accidents and contain state-of-the-art sensors to help keep you and your vehicle safe from harm.

Although autonomous vehicles are arguably the largest technological advancement on the horizon, they will also benefit greatly from a variety of smart transportation applications that will accelerate navigating your local metropolis.

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SMART ROADS

What if we could turn roads into a true digital network, giving real-time traffic updates, supporting autonomous car technology, and providing true connectivity between vehicles and smart cities?

That’s the question tech start-up Integrated Roadways intends to answer. Integrated Roadways develops fiber-connected smart pavement outfitted with a vast amount of sensors, routers, and antennae that send information to data centers along the highway. They recently inked a 5 year deal to test out patented fiber-connected pavement in Colorado.

Smart Roads represent a major advancement in creating vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity. With 37,133 deaths from motor vehicles on American roads in 2017, the combination of AI applications in smart roads and autonomous cars could revolutionize vehicular transport and create a safer, faster world.

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SMART TRAFFIC LIGHTS

The vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity spans beyond the roads and into the traffic light. Idling cars generate an estimated 30 million tons of carbon dioxide. Traffic jams can make it harder for first responders to reach emergencies. Rapid Flow proposes that the answer may be their AI-based adaptive traffic management system called Surtrac.

Surtrac uses a decentralized network of smart traffic lights equipped with cameras, radar, and other sensors to manage traffic flows. Surtrac’s sensors identify approaching vehicles, calculate their speed and trajectory, and adjust a traffic signal’s timing schedule as needed.

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SMART PUBLIC TRANSIT

There are a variety of smart applications which are revolutionizing public transportation.

In Singapore, hundreds of cameras and sensors citywide analyze traffic congestion and crowd density, enabling government officials to reroute buses at rush hour, reducing the risk of traffic jams. In Indianapolis, the electric Red Line bus service runs a 13 mile path that travels within a quarter of a mile of roughly 150,000 jobs.

One of the major disruptors which has seen rapid adoption in the smart public transport are electric scooter sharing services like Bird and Lime. Electric scooters fill in the public transportation gap for people looking to go 1-3 miles without having to walk or take a taxi. Electric scooters have seen adoption in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Brooklyn, and more cities around the globe.

CONCLUSION

Smart cities will have a host of revolutionary applications working in unison and communicating through smart infrastructure with municipalities to ensure maximum efficiency and safety when it comes to transportation. In our next installment of our series on smart cities, we’ll examine how smart security will help keep city-dwellers safe.

A Smarter World Part 2: How Smart Infrastructure Will Reshape Your City

Imagine a city that monitors its own health, identifies potential fail points using AI algorithms, and autonomously takes action to prevent future disasters.

This is the smart-city of the future. In our first installment of our blog series on Smart Cities, we ran through an overview of how Smart Cities will change our world. In this second entry of our blog on smart cities, we’ll examine perhaps the biggest building block necessary to create a smart city: smart infrastructure.

The construction of a smart city begins with developing a vast, city-wide IoT system, embedding sensors and actuators into the infrastructure of the city to create a network of smart things. The sensors and actuators collect data and send it to field gateways which preprocess and filter data before transmitting it through a cloud gateway to a Data Lake. The Data Lake stores a vast amount of data in its raw state. Gradually, data is extracted for meaningful insights and sent to the Big Data warehouse where it’s structured. From here, monitoring and basic analytics will occur to determine potential fail points and preventative measures.

Check out the breakdown below:

Breakdown

As you can see, it all begins with the construction of smart infrastructure that can collect data. Here are some of the big applications in the smart infrastructure space:

STRUCTURAL HEALTH

One of the major applications of smart infrastructure will be monitoring key data points in major structures, such as the vibrations and material conditions of buildings, bridges, historical monuments, roads, etc.

Cultivating data will initiate basic analysis and preventative measures, but as we gather more and more data, AI and machine learning algorithms will learn from vast statistical analysis and be able to analyze historical sensor data to identify trends and create predictive models to prevent future disasters from happening with unprecedented accuracy.

Learn more about how Acellant is building the future of structure health monitoring.

ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS

There are a multitude of potentially environmental applications for smart infrastructure designed to optimize city activities for environmental health. For example, embedding street lights with intelligent and weather adaptive lighting will reduce the amount of energy necessary to keep roads alight.

Air pollution monitoring will help control CO2 emissions of factories and monitor the pollution emitted by cars. Ultimately, earthquake early detection can help monitor distributed control in specific places of tremors.

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WASTE MANAGEMENT

Boston is well-known as one of the top college cities in the United States. Every fall, over 160,000 college students from MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, BU, BC, Berklee School of Music, and more move in to their new living spaces, causing undue stress on the city’s waste management administration. ANALYZE BOSTON, the city’s open data portal, provided key data points such as housing rentals, trash volume and pick-up frequency, enabling a project called TRASH CITY to reroute waste management routes during this trying time.

CONCLUSION

Projects like Trash City show the many ways in which we can optimize city operations by analyzing data effectively. As smart infrastructure enables the collection of more and more data, projects like TRASH CITY will become more efficient and more effective.

Of course, the biggest application of Smart Infrastructure will be the many ways in which it will change how you get from A to B. Next week, we’ll focus in on smart transportation and how it will reshape metropolitan transportation.

How the Revolutionary Mechanics of Blockchain Technology Could Serve Your Business

In the last entry in our cryptocurrency series, we explored how to secure your cryptocurrency with the right wallet. This week, we’ll take a look at the mechanics of the Blockchain across industries.

While the debate over whether Bitcoin will become the dominant cryptocurrency is far from over, the mechanics behind Bitcoin are unquestionably revolutionary. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt more than just currency, but industries ranging from healthcare to Wall Street.

The Blockchain is a secure ledger database shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. The Blockchain decentralizes the process of validating transactions, allocating the duties to computers throughout the network.

Blockchain is revolutionary because it eliminates the need for a central authority, allowing for a real-time ledger that is not dependent on a single entity governing the transactions.

Imagine if in order to make changes to a text document, you had to email a colleague who would then update the document on Microsoft Word and send the updated file out to all relevant parties on the team. The updating of information would quickly become an inefficient process that is heavily dependent on the central entity (the colleague). Blockchain posits a workflow that is more like Google Docs in that it allows updates to be made in real time and shared across the network instantly without the need of a central authority. Blockchain enacts this principle by relying on computers within the network to independently validate transactions through cryptography. Thus, the validity of the ledger is determined by the many objective computers on the network rather than a single powerful entity.

The idea of decentralization can also be applied to WhatsApp, the popular messaging app that revolutionized texting and cut the cost of transactions globally. WhatsApp cut out the central authority of phone carrier companies by building the same functionality on a decentralized network (the Internet).

If you’re still confused about Blockchain, check out this awesome video by Wired breaking it down in 2 minutes:

Blockchain has already found usages in many different industries.

  • SMART CONTRACTS

Smart contracts are coded contracts embedded with the terms of an agreement. They are a method for businesses and individuals to exchange money, property, materials, or anything of value in a transparent way that avoids the services of a middleman (such as a lawyer). Smart contracts not only define the rules of an agreement, they automatically enforce the obligations provided in the terms of the contract.

Smart contracts have revolutionized the supply chain and threaten to eliminate the use of lawyers for enforcing contracts. Smart contracts and blockchain ensure data security that could also lead to the transferring of voting to an online system, potentially increasing voter turnout significantly.

  • HEALTHCARE

Within the healthcare industry, Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize data sharing between healthcare providers, resulting in more effective treatments and an overall improved ability for healthcare organizations to offer efficient care. A study from IBM showed that 56% of healthcare executives have a plan to implement a commercial blockchain solution by 2020.

  • SUPPLY CHAIN

Both within the Healthcare industry and elsewhere, blockchain is redefining supply chain management. Blockchain can provide a distributed ledger that tracks the transfer of goods and raw materials across wide-ranging geographical locations and stages. The public availability of the ledger makes it possible to trace the origin of the product down to the raw material used. For this reason, blockchain has also been applied to track organic produce supply chains.

The boon of the Internet of Things and smart objects means that blockchain technology can be extended to process data and manage smart contracts between individuals and their smart devices or even smart homes. Imagine a world where your refrigerator automatically orders eggs when it senses you are running low based on your egg eating habits. This world will be facilitated by a smart contract run on Blockchain technology embedded in an IoT device.

CONCLUSION

While the first blockchain was created for Bitcoin, applications for blockchain are constantly being implemented across industries. As Harvard Business Review smartly points out, the question in most industries is not whether blockchain will influence them, but when.

Many different cryptocurrencies are utilizing variations on Blockchain technology in order to process transactions—some of which are doing so in a more efficient manner than Bitcoin. Next week, we’ll explore the top cryptocurrencies on the market right now and which ones your business should accept.

Everything You Need to Know About Machine Learning

A calculator can solve complex problems which would take even the most savvy mathematicians an incomparable amount of time. Artificial intelligence has become one of the most hotly debated and highly funded aspects of technology because the speed at which machines can process information yields innumerable possibilities and applications which can and will benefit humanity. One of the first popular incarnations of AI is Machine Learning.

Machine Learning is the ability for a computer to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on computer programs which can identify patterns and create its own algorithms when exposed to new data. It is used in self-driving cars, in newsfeed algorithms on social media, in evaluating job candidates, in recognizing faces on your phone, and more.

The most powerful form of machine learning currently active is called “deep learning”. “Deep learning” builds a complex mathematical structure known as a neural network out of vast quantities of data. Machine learning’s ability to handle mass amounts of data makes it crucial to the advancement of IoT. The IoT collects enormous amounts of data which require computers with machine learning to recognize patterns and create algorithms.  In self-driving cars, IoT cameras and sensors in each autonomous vehicle absorb their surroundings and turn them into huge amounts of data. The data is then sent to the cloud where it is accessible to all autonomous vehicles on the road. Thus, when one self-driving car makes a mistake, all of them learn. In conjunction with the Internet of Things, machine learning will be vital to the building of a smartworld.

TOP PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES

Machine learning requires a great deal of statistical analysis; it demands an intelligent programming language which can process a number of complex issues and general paradigms.

R: Considered a statistical workhorse, R has emerged as one of the top programming languages for machine learning. R is intended for advanced users because of its complex nature and wide learning curve.

Python: A rising star for machine learning, Python is a data science book which has been in use in the manufacturing industry for awhile. Python gives users direct access to predictive analytics, making it the foremost data science language. Developers turn to Python when they are looking to frame better questions or expand the capabilities of their existing machine learning systems.

MATLAB/Octave: Millions of engineers are already using MATLAB, a matrix-based language, to analyze and develop cutting edge systems. MATLAB has emerged as the simplest way to demonstrate computational mathematics.

MACHINE LEARNING AND iOS 10

Machine learning laid much of the groundwork for the biggest upgrade in iOS 10. It is very difficult for computers to comprehend the intricacies of the human language. Machine learning has enabled iPhones to sense contextual clues with increasing confidence, improving iMessage’s ability to autocorrect and for Siri to understand the particulars of your vernacular. In the iPhone 7 camera, machine learning allows the device to separate the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras.

MACHINE LEARNING AND ANDROID

Google is among the dominant forces in machine learning. Much of Google Search’s prominence is owed to advances in the machine learning field. In November 2015, Google released TensorFlow, an open-source software library for machine intelligence. TensorFlow effectively simulates “deep learning” neural networks across different computer hardware and offers a straightforward way for users to train computers to perform tasks by feeding them large amounts of data.

Google uses Tensorflow in many of their internal processes, including RankBrain for information retrieval, image classification, SmartReply, and more.

MAXIMIZING MACHINE LEARNING IN MOBILE APPS

Now that mobile devices have the high productive capacity level to perform tasks to the same degree as a traditional computer, the question of what machine learning can offer apps has arisen. Large retailers like Amazon and eBay use machine learning in their mobile apps to improve customer experience with smarter product search and recommendation features, along with the ability to forecast buying trends with analytics.

While Machine Learning algorithms require a high level of programming experience and a ton of data to be effective, integrating apps with Siri & iMessage for iOS 10 allows developers to take advantage of the vast deep learning neural networks embedded into Apple’s 1st-party apps.

While the future of machine learning  on a commercial level remains to be seen outside of tech titans like Facebook, machine learning algorithms will be crucial in conjunction with the IoT in building a new SmartWorld with unparalleled predictive capabilities.

Securing Your IoT Devices Must Become a Top Priority

The Internet of Things has seen unprecedented growth the past few years. With an explosion of commercial products arriving on the marketplace, the Internet of Things has entered the public lexicon. However,  companies rushing to provide IoT devices to consumers often cut corners with regard to security, causing major IoT security issues nationwide.

In 2015, hackers proved to Wired they could remotely hack a smartcar on the highway, kill the engine and control key functions. Dick Cheney’s cardiologist disabled WiFi capabilities on his pacemaker, fearing an attack by a hacker.  Most recently, the October 21st cyber attack on Dyn brought internet browsing to a halt for hours while Dyn struggled to restore service.

Although the attack on Dyn seems to be independent of a nation-state, it has caused a ruckus in the tech community. A millions-strong army of IoT devices, including webcams and DVRs, were conscripted with a botnet which launched the historically large denial-of-service attack. Little effort has been made to make common consumers aware of the security threats posed by IoT devices. A toy Barbie can become the back door to the home network, providing access to PCs, televisions, refrigerators and more. Given the disturbing frequency of hacks in the past year, IoT security has come to the forefront of top concerns for IoT developers.

SECURING CURRENT DEVICES

The amount of insecure devices already in the market complicates the Internet of Things security problem. IoT hacks will continue to happen until the industry can shrink vulnerable devices. Securing current devices is a top priority for app developers. Apple has made an effort to combat this problem by creating very rigorous security requirements for HomeKit compatible apps.

The European Union is currently considering laws to force compliance with security standards. The plan would be for secure devices to have a label which ensures consumers the internet-connected device complies with security standards. The current EU labeling system which rates devices based on energy consumption could prove an effective template for this new cybersecurity rating system.

ISPs COULD BE THE KEY

Internet service providers could be a major part of the solution when it comes to IoT Security. Providers can block or filter malicious traffic driven by malware through recognizing patterns. Many ISPs use BCP38, a standard which reduces the process hackers use to transmit network packets with fake sender addresses.

ISPs can also notify customers, both corporate and individuals, if they find a device on their network sending or receiving malicious traffic. ISPs already comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which requires internet providers to warn customers if they detect possible illegal file sharing.

With the smarthome and over 1.9 billion devices predicted to be shipped in 2019, IoT security has never been a more important issue. Cyber attacks within the US frequently claim the front page of the mainstream media. CIO describes the Dyn attacks as a wake-up call for retailers. The combination of a mass adoption of IoT and an environment fraught with security concerns means there will be big money in IoT security R & D and a potential slow-down in time-to-market pipeline for IoT products.

Will the federal government get involved in instituting security regulations on IoT devices, or will it be up to tech companies and consumers to demand security? Whatever the outcome, this past year has proved IoT security should be a major concern for developers.

Sink or Swim: Why Google Needs Andromeda to Compete with Apple

Andromeda summed up in a graphic (Via thehackernews.com)

App developers commonly cite device fragmentation as one of their biggest peeves about the Android platform. While Apple keeps a stronghold on all iOS devices, Android allows third-party developers to create hardware for the platform. With a number of different devices all with different screen sizes, tech specs and OS capabilities, developers cannot efficiently optimize the end user experience of their apps for all devices as they can with iOS. However, Google is making a major move to create a more streamlined app ecosystem with Andromeda.

Rumors of Andromeda began when multiple independent sources revealed it would be announced at Google’s October 4th announcement. When October 4th turned out to be hardware-focused, the heat died down on Andromeda. However, in the big picture, Andromeda represents a necessary move in order to prevent Google from losing potentially billions of dollars to Apple in the years and decades to come.

WHAT IS ANDROMEDA?

The idea of Andromeda is to combine Google’s laptop OS (Chrome OS) and their mobile and tablet OS (Android). Chrome OS is not Google Chrome, the web browser you may or may not use every day, but their desktop operating system which works with Chromebooks. For the skinny on Chrome, check out this awesome breakdown:

Rather than integrate Android features on Chrome OS, Andromeda will do the opposite and enable mobile devices with Chrome OS features. Mobile devices will begin to feel like an extension of one’s desktop. Rumored features include file organization, multi-modal windowing and compatibility between mobile and desktop apps. While the details have yet to be revealed, the concept behind Andromeda makes it a huge, necessary step for Google’s long-term future in the OS market.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Andromeda will put Google in direct competition with the Mac OS X and Windows platforms. Apple has long been focused on device Continuity, the interchangeability between iOS devices. Their mobile (iOS) & desktop (OS X) operating systems are optimized to work together. By merging Google’s mobile platform with their desktop OS, Google increases cross-device functionality  and creates a strong incentive for consumers to keep all their devices within the Google brand.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS MAKES THIS SINK OR SWIM FOR GOOGLE 

The good news for app developers is in Andromeda’s long-term potential. Andromeda will enable developers to create apps which seamlessly function across devices: smartphones, tablets and desktops. As the IoT becomes domesticated, having a unified OS will mean big bucks for software companies looking to capitalize on home automation and commercial IoT products. In 10 years, consumers will be incredulous if they can’t control their coffee machine, change the channel on their TV and lock their doors on any of their devices. They want cohesive simplicity. If Google loses the OS battle with a less cohesive strategy than Apple, they will also lose the smartphone, tablet, TV and laptop.

CONCLUSION

Dennis Jones, CEO of payments technology company Judopay, put it this way for Developer-Tech: “Andromeda will be the foundation for omnipresence for Google-powered hardware, similar to Apple’s ecosystem… Andromeda is the foundation to enable this omnichannel world.”

Without Andromeda, Google would be dead in the water against the future omnichannel world Apple has been developing over the years. Who will execute better? Until the public sees Andromeda in action, the answer remains to be seen.