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Thursday 29 November 2018

Challenges, Designs and Implementations of the IoMT

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In continuation of our previous blog post titled Internet of mobile things: Things you need to know, we are going to build on that knowledge and expound on the various challenges facing the internet of mobile things(IoMT) including implementation and possible design systems to be used in its deployment.
The Internet of Things is a hot and trending topic that has-rapidly found relevance in various sectors and by extension its sub-niches like the internet of mobile things. It has been a revolutionary concept and considering the several ways in which mobile devices are being incorporated into the IoT , Its growth can only be left to imagination.
And when considering mobility of things, the difference between IoT and IoMT are major changes occurring in terms of:
1.      Availability of Energy considering parameters like access to the nearest charging spot, energy consumption level of the device or app, source of energy to be used by mobile devices among others.
2.      Privacy and Security of Mobile Devices with focus being on what kind of security infrastructure the mobile device encounters while in transit and protection of user data from IoMT service providers.
3.     Context, e.g., where the mobile device is located, in what hands it is now and what other device(s) it is connected to.
4.     Access to the Internet which means the mobile device’s connectivity has to be determined, as well as its connection time to whichever wireless or wired network, bandwidth level and the security level or protocol involved.
Hence, when considering IoMT, mobility becomes a first-class object and one has to look at the IoMT separately from IoT.

What are the challenges with the IoMT? 😬
  • User Privacy -- One threat to IoT application development is data security and integrity, and with interconnection between devices and device mobility, user data might just be vulnerable to hackers. This is possible because the hacker now gets access to other devices connected to that system. Hence, more effort should be spent towards the development of high integrity security systems, making devices adaptive to different contexts and environments and location privacy. Furthermore, complexity might arise as more and more devices are connected and with the influx of system-controlling sensors and apps, the amount of data moving throughout the enterprise will see a tremendous uptick as well. With increase in data volume, there’s a noticeable stress on the network as well as an increased challenge to secure the data at rest and data in transit.
  • Mobile Data Collection –- Nowadays, mobile phones, vehicles and other ‘things’ come equipped with advanced sensing and communication capabilities. These sensors are capable of capturing a wide range of information which include physical, personal, and social contextual information that can be used in data analysis and data management. However, managing and leveraging on these sensors efficiently remains a challenge since each of these sensors employs a different technology with distinct trade-offs in terms of energy consumption, connectivity, and sensing capability.
More importantly, the collected sensing traces are only useful if they are clean, complete, and privacy-preserved. Data collection in the context of Internet of Mobile Things (IoMT) thus become highly challenging since: (1) the wireless communication technology employed by these sensors is unreliable and error prone, (2) continuous sensing requires a persistent supply of energy and an extensive amount of data storage, (3) development of sensing applications are quite costly, (4)selecting the right set of sensors for each device and making them understand people mobility and context requires highly skilled technicians and (5) developing sensing applications is expensive.
  • Mobile Data Analytics -- As sensing data are collected from mobile devices, they can be transferred to a centralized server for storage and analysis. Different from analysing data of static sensor networks, the analysis of data from mobile devices poses a number of challenges that are centred around the mobility of devices:
1.     Mobility characterization: How to characterize the mobility of devices? this includes defining the right metrics (which is representation of mobility) and analysing the collected traces to characterize the mobility by those metrics. This is non-trivial because the collected data might be noisy and incomplete, and sometimes, lack important context information, such as location (e.g., because location sensor is turned off to save energy, or the device is indoor). In addition, the characteristics should be able to capture the realistic behaviours of people movements, which exhibit a high degree of repetition.
2.     Exploiting mobility models: Which involves how to leverage the mobility models of IoMT devices to improve the effectiveness of data analysis tasks.
  • Energy Management – In accommodating the vast amount of mobile things and their varying types, energy management is a critical issue because compared to conventional energy management strategies, energy management for mobile things such as phones and electric vehicles has several distinct features including energy source placement, energy exchange and cross-device energy management and monitoring.
One critical challenge of energy management in mobile things is allowing direct energy exchange between the different devices of different users as is commonly seen in airports where one charges their smartphone via a USB cable connected to their laptop. Both devices belong to the same user and there is no accounting or billing issues involved. However, with each user having access to multiple IoMT devices with different battery storage, it is likely that one sells energy directly to another in a device-to-device manner. Imagine the case where an electric vehicle runs out of battery and there is no charging station nearby. With proper support of accounting and billing protocols, the vehicle should be able to buy electricity directly from another electric vehicle by connecting their batteries via a charging cable.
Well, well, it’s been quite a ride down here and in a follow-up post to this, we'll cover up on the design systems and implementation models of the Internet of Mobile Things. Meanwhile, drop your comments down below and do ensure you click the link to our social media handles.
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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Trillionaire Apple: How tech companies have upset the global market

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A decade ago, when crude oil was over 100 dollars per barrel, oil companies dominated every list of the world’s top companies. Ever heard of PetroChina?  Well, the China based oil giant used to be the world’s largest company with a market value of $728 billion and becoming the first company worldwide to cross the 1 trillion-dollar mark in market value.

Fortunately, tables have turned in favour of another sector, Technology! Also a decade ago, just a single tech company, Microsoft, was listed among the ten biggest companies in the world and years after years after, half of the top ten are tech giants. This doesn’t imply stagnancy or a decline in other sectors, but establishes the fact that tech firms are growing faster.

Describing the tech industry’s history, the 90’s was the era of the Personal Computer; then comes the internet and related services, rapidly followed by mobile technology; and we are in the age of artificial intelligence. Unsurprisingly enough, the technology sector is the key catalyst for change in the world, with technology companies not only dominating our daily lives which is obvious in the number of  times you've checked your phone today but also the ranking of the world’s biggest companies.

The world is changing at an increasingly remarkable pace and nothing describes this better than observing globally, rankings of the  largest companies. Businesses today have learnt to move fast in a bid for survival despite always wanting to be ahead of competitors but unfortunately for others and luckily for tech companies, they are much quicker than those in other industries in gaining market share, controlling costs, and making decisions due to their insistence on empowering their staff to be continuously creative and innovative.

Undoubtedly, no recent graduate longs to work anywhere else anymore asides the T-shirt, sneaker wearing, fast moving internet giants like Amazon, SoftIngines, Google and Facebook. These technology giants are currently dominating the world and labour market by heavily investing in the development of new products and services leading to an explosion in innovation and faster growth.

 One common trend in the tech market is ‘prominence’, as each individual company tries to forge their own path unlike in the past where transnationals competed alongside one another at the top of the global market. Whereas, in today’s business world there is no second place which means coming second is not an option. And these large technology companies which benefit from globalisation, are always penetrating new markets to first lay their dominance.

In the tech world, there’s no space for competition as any promising small company that could compete is quickly acquired by its larger rival. For example, Facebook acquired upcoming threats WhatsApp and Instagram, while Google has made more than 120 acquisitions in the last 10 years.

What’s more, the tech market has billions of consumers eagerly awaiting the next big thing from these companies which means they only need to worry about user satisfaction and not customer acquisition. All the tech world requires is creativity and you don’t need to wait a century to build a top five company, which was what it took a decade ago. You can do it in your lifetime.

On average, these top five companies collectively are just 33 years old with them all being established and managed by entrepreneurs, even if they are large public companies and, in most cases, a considerable portion of their voting shares are held by their founders.

Bearing all these in mind, it’s therefore not surprising that Apple has become the first American company and the first tech company and also the first company after PetroChina to hit the 1 trillion-dollar margin. This is positive news for all of us in the tech industry and we hope to better improve the world as we try to better technology.

Watch out for our next post where we give you insight on how to invest in tech companies, which companies to invest in and which tech companies to follow so you don’t miss out on this moving train.