Personal Finance. Money. Investing.

As a set of technologies based on edge computing infrastructure and 5G or high-speed connectivity, it is rapidly becoming a reality with many real-world implementations. Statista estimates global IoT spending will hit 1.1 trillion dollars this year, predicting the number of IoT devices worldwide will shoot up from 13 billion currently, to more than 29 billion in 2030.  

Since it is based on “things”, its direct impact on the day-to-day work of senior management or finance departments may seem remote. But IoT can sustain AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning (ML) applications handling multitudes of data flowing from many types of sensors and devices, even when mobile. It opens up huge opportunities for everyone, whether supplying or using services.

For senior finance professionals, IoT provides dramatic new access to real-time data insights from every area of an enterprise. It delivers a level of transparency, immediacy and confidence unobtainable by any other means. This will transform asset utilisation and inventory management, no matter how large or dispersed the organisation is. Edge computing infrastructure ensures the old geographical barriers to the processing of data in remote locations no longer apply, democratising the use of advanced AI and ML tools.

On a more mundane level, finance departments will find record-keeping and reporting to become far more automated and efficient. Able to monitor and analyse data from sensors in almost every nook and cranny of the business, treasurers will, gain a much firmer grip on cost and performance, able to access a huge wealth of data at any level of detail.

With access to analytics solutions made possible by edge computing, organisations can react far more swiftly to events and opportunities. They can employ predictive and prescriptive analytics to extract critical insights from detailed information about inventory, specific financial flows, facilities, business units or assets.

Wider applications across insurance

In insurance and commercial banking, the ability of edge platforms to process and transmit data from 5G-enabled devices are likely to have a significant positive impact on the quality and speed of policy and credit approvals, providing accurate, verifiable data on everything from vehicle usage to agricultural, factory or mining outputs.

Telemetry is already well-established in the vehicle insurance sector and is certain to expand. With access to IoT data streams and the infrastructure to subject all this real-time information to advanced analytics, insurers will be able to offer policies that are far more closely tailored and much more flexible. This will extend to everything from consumer and health insurance to the underwriting of major extractive industry projects.

IoT in trade finance

In trade finance, data from sensors in ports, ships, and from containers and vehicles gives banks and insurers a new level of end-to-end transparency about the transactions, carriers and cargoes they are asked to fund and underwrite.

This will reduce costly delays and fraud whilst increasing insight into the efficiency of individual operators. All organisations engaged in trade will improve access to working capital. And the use of IoT technology increases the likelihood of small and medium-sized businesses obtaining trade finance and credit, based on rapid analysis of typical industry risk indicators.

Fund management, the markets and IoT

The direct use cases of the IoT are harder to foresee in fund management, investment banking and capital markets and are often confused with analytics and AI. There is, however, no doubt that companies operating in these intensely competitive arenas will have to accommodate themselves to the new volumes of data the IoT will generate from different industrial and commercial sectors. If they fail to build the capacity to analyse aggregated and refined IoT data, they will lose out significantly to financial institutions that have the infrastructure and the solutions in place.

Professional services 

For the professional services sector, access to streaming data and its analytics will enable firms to offer services and outsourcing on a near-real-time basis, eliminating unnecessary hours and increasing efficiency. In accountancy and financial management, the nature of auditing and consultancy is likely to change in industries such as discrete manufacturing, where sensor data will transform how organisations operate. Auditing in many sectors may well become a more continuous process, adapting to the constant flow of data.

The necessary IoT infrastructure – edge computing

IoT growth depends, however, on the expansion of edge infrastructure because it requires a platform with compute, low latency network connectivity and public cloud access. Without this, most use cases will struggle to get off the ground. In the UK, thankfully, the country’s edge infrastructure is advancing fast, bringing IoT technologies and services within reach of almost every business in the country.

Edge computing is vital because the IoT requires gateway hubs to process masses of data from sensors and devices. Because public cloud-based applications that orchestrate the IoT do not require all the data devices generate, IoT gateways are best-suited to edge data centres where they can filter out what is unnecessary and then pass on the critical information.

There are already live use cases in the transport and energy sectors, but large-scale adoption will follow once edge infrastructure platforms have fully developed their low latency connectivity, high-speed backhaul to the public cloud and local computing capabilities.

Applications focused on real-time and aggregated data analytics need connectivity that has either low jitter, loss and lag or has dedicated high bandwidth. Telecommunications companies have been the first movers in this market with 5G, but carrier fibre delivers more dependable waves.

As the IoT develops it will spread across a wide range of business applications that require different kinds of connectivity. This is where Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networks will deliver major change. SASE gives visibility over applications and enables organisations to securely control traffic intelligently based on continuous assessment of compliance to a policy. Unlike traditional WAN architectures which lack the visibility and control required for distributed IT environments, SASE offers flexibility and the opportunity for ensuring secure access at the time it is needed, which standard MPLS connectivity cannot match. MPLS will have its place but is unlikely to remain a central technology.

Enterprise architectures must accommodate the IoT

There are also remaining challenges to overcome in integrating the multiplicity of IoT devices and workloads into an enterprise’s current architecture. The shortage of staff with the requisite skills is also a barrier for many organisations. This is most easily overcome by collaborating with partners that understand fully the developing relationship between edge platforms and IoT implementations.

For any decision-maker in finance or within a corporate treasury, the evolution of IoT technologies operating on edge infrastructure is a development they must think hard about. Many of their work practices are set to change because of it. And their ability to make effective decisions that propel their organisation to greater efficiency and profitability may depend on how well they adapt to the IoT. They need to consider how their organisation should approach what will be a major advance in capability. With the right infrastructure in place and the right partnerships, all finance professionals stand to gain more control from the Internet of Things, enabling them to transform their organisations.

In 2010, people owned 12.5 billion networked devices; whilst it is estimated that by 2025 this number will have climbed to more than 50 billion.

While the IoT has already impacted sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare, it is still a nascent technology in the world of banking. Research has found that banks have still not implemented IoT technologies within their organisations or in their products or services. In the long term, however, this is set to change. Reports have shown that 40% of financial services businesses are currently experimenting with IoT and big data.

Given the wealth of statistical data which can be gathered from a range of devices within an IoT network, the applications of IoT and big data can go hand in hand. For example, retail banks can combine IoT and big data to offer increasingly personalised services to customers. Rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach, banks can create personalised offers to customers by using IoT capabilities to analyse various aspects of its customers’ behaviour - including the regularity in which they visit merchants or purchase from them - and offer bespoke budgeting plans or financial products relevant to their lifestyles. Furthermore, the data from wearable payments technologies, for instance, could be used to help build detailed customer profiles and enable fraud detection. The same data could also enable banking institutions to build partnerships with brands that can push relevant deals through to banking customers in the area, enabling even closer relationships with customers and providing more useful perks.

The benefits of IoT services within the financial sector aren’t just limited to retail banks. Insurers can use IoT capabilities to aid interactions with customers and to accelerate and simplify underwriting and claims processing, as well as default prediction.

The benefits of IoT services within the financial sector aren’t just limited to retail banks.

It can also help insurance companies to determine risk more precisely. Automotive insurers, for example, have historically relied on indirect indicators, such as age, address, and creditworthiness of a driver when setting premiums. Now, data on driver behaviour and the use of a vehicle, such as how fast the vehicle is driven and how often it is driven at night, are available. These new data sets can help insurers provide premiums that more accurately reflect their consumers.

Another application of IoT within the financial sector that has the potential for huge implications is in trade finance. International trade flows are currently expensive and predominantly paper-based due to the inefficiency of the supply chain in moving goods. IoT within trade finance can be used to make these processes quicker by tracking movement, supply and demand. This can significantly improve the efficiency of the process by reducing the cost and risk for the enterprise. However, in order to have any meaningful impact on trade finance, there would need to be a large scale, global adoption of IoT - allowing every part of the ecosystem to be accounted for and creating a seamless process.

If key issues around cybersecurity can be overcome, the IoT presents a huge opportunity for the banking sector. And there will certainly be disruptors willing to provide that access - so the time is now for banks to start thinking about technology development that will take advantage of this before a competitor gets there first.

Authored by David Murphy, Managing Partner, Financial Services EMEA at Publicis Sapient.

According to Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices by 2020 and as many as 75 billion connected IoT devices by 2025. Unfortunately, the safety and integrity of these devices are still widely ignored, and there are more and more cases of them of being hacked and used as part of a botnet.

“Things that were once the plot for a science fiction movie, such as household appliances being hacked and turned against humanity, now became a reality. IoT hacking can be extremely effective, producing DDoS attacks that can cripple our infrastructure, systems, and way of life,“ says Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “If you have multiple devices connected to the same network in your home or office, and a hacker gets access to one device, they could break into all of them.”

According to NordVPN’s digital privacy expert, even though it’s hard to believe that a baby monitor or a seemingly simple toy can do significant harm, it’s no longer only computers or smartphones that are at risk of cyberattacks. Take a look at these crazy examples of IoT hacking and vulnerabilities recorded in history:

A thermometer in a lobby aquarium

It always seems that casinos are some of the most secure organizations in the world, but they can be hacked as well. A few years ago, a group of hackers used a rather unconventional method to break into a casino. They managed to access its network via an internet-connected thermometer in an aquarium and extract its high-roller database with all sensitive details.

Parents nightmare: hacked baby monitor

Baby monitors started as simple one-way radio transmitters and evolved into sophisticated Wi-Fi-enabled smart devices with cameras, infrared vision, and other features. However, as everything IoT, those devices can be hacked as well. Late last year, a family from the US experienced a real nightmare. A hacker got into the wireless camera system used to keep an eye on the baby and threatened to kidnap him. This case is not an exception. There are several reported incidents of strangers' voices being heard over baby monitors.

Hackable sex toys

Last year, researchers from a tech firm SEC Consult announced that the private sex life of at least 50,000 users had been exposed by a sex toy ‘Vibratissimo Panty Buster.’ Multiple vulnerabilities put at risk not only the privacy and data but also the physical safety of the owners. All customers’ data was accessible via the internet in such a way that explicit images, chat logs, sexual orientation, email addresses, and passwords were visible in clear text. But it’s not the worst part. The ‘Panty Buster’ toys could be hacked to remotely inflict sexual pleasure on victims without their consent.

A spy in your own home

Earlier this year, CNN managed to access a variety of camera feeds using a search engine for IoT devices Shodan. One of the feeds showed a family in Australia and its daily routine, while other cameras captured a man in Moscow preparing his bed and a woman in Japan feeding her cat. All of them seemed unaware of the fact they could be watched through a camera in their own room. According to CNN, none of the cameras had had security checks and were open to anyone who knew the right address.

Insecure home thermostats

In 2016, hackers left the residents of two apartment buildings in Lappeenranta, Finland in freezing cold for nearly a week by launching a DDoS attack on their environmental control systems via thermostats. Because both the central heating and hot water systems were attacked, the environmental systems were rebooted in their attempt to fight off the attack and got stuck in an endless loop.

Hackable medical devices

In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that St. Jude Medical’s implantable cardiac devices could be easily hacked. Such devices are usually used to monitor patients’ heart functions and control heart attacks. However, due to transmitter vulnerabilities, hackers could control shocks, administer incorrect pacing, and deplete the battery. And it’s not the only time when the FDA issued similar warnings. Earlier this year a new alert was issued on the security of Medtronic insulin pumps,  which hackers could remotely access and control.

The spying doll Cayla

In 2017, Germany banned an interactive doll ‘My Friend Cayla’ because it contains a “concealed surveillance device.” According to the researchers, hackers can use an insecure Bluetooth device installed in the toy to listen and talk while a child is playing with it. This interactive doll opens ways for hackers to use its cameras and microphones to see and hear whatever Cayla does. The Cayla companion app also encourages children to share their parents’ names, what schools they go to, and where they live.

Backseat driver of your jeep

Back in 2015, a team of researchers was able to take total control of a Jeep SUV.  By exploiting a firmware update vulnerability, they hijacked the vehicle and made it speed up, slow down, and veer off the road - almost a scene from Fast and Furious. Luckily, this time, it was a team of researchers and not a real hacker. Four years later, we are still dreaming about autonomous cars and but many of the previous vulnerabilities still haven’t been addressed.

How to stay safe?

Internet-connected devices make our lives easier. However, most of them lack the security features that are standard in computers, tablets, and even smartphones. That’s why, according to the digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson, before acquiring a new IoT device and bringing it home, you should always consider whether it really benefits you.

“Of course, it doesn't mean that, if something can be hacked, it will be. Many of these cases are still theoretical, but staying cautious can do harm. If you have a smart device at home or work, read more about it and use network security technologies. Strong passwords and authentication methods reduce the risks as well,” says Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

From refrigerators and lamps to door locks and heating, the Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised the way we live and work, making a truly robust ecosystem of smart devices a reality. Here Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI, walks Finance Monthly through the developments of a ‘connected home’ and how these present opportunities for other sectors.

Indeed, IoT has quickly become one of the hottest technology topics around, expanding into all manner of industries as the rate of innovation shows no signs of slowing down.

Within the home, IoT has turned everyday objects into connected products designed to make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable. The likes of connected electricity meters and doorbells have already been around for some time, giving consumers a taste of the possibilities on offer.

And momentum in the industry is continuing to intensify, with the worldwide connected home market predicted to grow from its $24 billion valuation in 2016, to $53 billion by the year 2022.

Smart devices have certainly made their mark among consumers, but this isn’t the only place where IoT is having a significant impact. Connected devices are also quickly becoming more commonplace in industrial settings such as factories and hospitals, as well as in traditional office environments.

It’s an area that more and more device manufacturers are trying to exploit and one that has endless possibilities – especially for those businesses that can learn from what has already happened within the connected home.

IoT in business

As the Internet of Things has become more mainstream, vendors and businesses alike have taken inspiration from the smart home model and quickly realised that connected devices have plenty to offer a B2B environment.

From increased productivity and more accurate decision-making, to reduced production costs and a better understanding of customer needs, there are countless examples of how IoT is bringing value to enterprises around the world.

For example, manufacturing firms have started to deploy smart sensors in their factories for predictive equipment maintenance. This enables them to save valuable money in labour costs and lost revenue by proactively identifying issues before they become a major problem, rather than waiting for something to break down.

Similar ‘smart’ technology is also transforming vehicle management in logistics companies, with the data collected enabling businesses to become much more cost-efficient by reducing fuel spend and vehicle downtime.

Then there is retail, where IoT is being used at virtually all stages of the product journey. This starts with optimising the supply chain and using analytics to ensure the right products are in the right place at the right time, while also enabling brands to transform the in-store experience and connect with shoppers in a more personal way.

These are all hugely compelling use cases, but just the tip of the iceberg with regards to what the Internet of Things will make possible in the future.

So, it’s clear that IoT is set to gain substantial value within the enterprise over the coming years. But, in order for its potential to be realised, there is one key challenge that will first have to be overcome.

Solving the data dilemma

The main driver for enterprise IoT is that the large volumes of data created by connected devices present a huge opportunity. By leveraging the power of analytics – either on a small scale or across large deployments – businesses can gain additional layers of insight into their operations and make improvements.

This is exactly what the smart home enables. By using connected products to track energy usage, for example, consumers can learn where they are spending the most money and become more cost-efficient.

However, from an enterprise perspective, the challenge comes in being able to efficiently manage and control hundreds or potentially thousands of smart devices. Simply keeping track of the vast swathes of data being generated from devices in a range of different locations and from an assortment of vendors, is already a serious issue and is likely to be the biggest IoT challenge IT departments will face in the future.

What they don’t want is to have several platforms pulling in different data streams. Not only would this be hugely confusing to manage, the lack of coordination would create a fragmented picture of what is going on across the business.

Instead, enterprises need to have one integrated view of everything, through one pane of glass, to manage their IoT ecosystem as simply as possible.

Incorporating an effective device management strategy such as this would go a long way towards helping enterprises enable all that the connected future has to offer. IT teams would have full visibility into what is going on across every single endpoint, enabling them to maximise the value of the data being collected.

There may be challenges along the way, but developments in the consumer world have already shown the impact IoT can have on our everyday lives. By taking the concept of the smart home to the next level and putting systems in place to efficiently manage the data that is collected from a growing number of devices, enterprises will be able to innovate and take advantage of the tremendous potential the Internet of Things has to offer.

A recent survey shows 64% of organisations have deployed some level of IoT technology, and another 20% plan to do so within the next 12 months. This is an astonishing fact when you consider the lack of basic security on these devices, or any established security standards. Many companies are turning a blind eye to security issues, swayed by the potential benefits that IoT can bring. Here Ian Kilpatrick, EVP Cyber Security at the Nuvias Group, provides 10 key facts on IoT.

1. IoT - a cybercriminal’s dream

Any device or sensor with an IP address connected to a corporate network is an entry point for hackers and other cybercriminals – like leaving your front door wide open for thieves.

Managing endpoints is already a challenge, but the IoT will usher in a raft of new network-connected devices that threaten to overwhelm the IT department charged with securing them – a thankless task considering the lack of basic safeguards in place on the devices.

Of particular concern is that many IoT devices are not designed to be secured or updated after deployment. Any vulnerabilities discovered post deployment cannot be protected against in the device; and corrupted devices cannot be cleansed.

2. IT or OT

IT professionals are more used to securing PCs, laptops and other devices, but they will now be expected to become experts in areas such as smart lighting, heating and air conditioning systems, security cameras and integrated facilities management systems.

A lack of experience in this Operating Technology (OT) is a cause for concern. It is seen as operational rather than strategic, so deployment and management is often shifted well away from Board awareness and oversight.

Nevertheless, the majority of organisations are deploying IoT technology with minimal regard to the risk profile or the tactical requirements needed to secure them against unforeseen consequences.

3. Increase in DDoS attacks

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are on the rise, with 41% of UK organisations saying they have experienced one.

IoT devices are a perfect vehicle for criminals to access a company’s network. 2016’s high-profile Mirai attack used IoT devices to mount wide-scale DDoS attacks that disrupted internet service for more than 900,000 Deutsche Telekom customers in Germany, and infected almost 2,400 TalkTalk routers in the UK.

4. ... and ransomware attacks

There has been an almost 2000% jump in ransomware detections since 2015. In 2017, WannaCry targeted more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries, with damages ranging from hundreds to billions of dollars.

While most ransomware attacks currently infiltrate an organisation via email, IoT presents a new delivery system for both mass and targeted attacks.

5. Increasing intensity and sophistication of attacks

The sophistication of attacks targeting organisations is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, with criminals leveraging the disruptive opportunities the IoT brings.

According to Fortinet’s latest Quarterly Threat Landscape report, three of the top twenty attacks identified in Q4 2017 were IoT botnets. But unlike previous attacks, which focused on a single vulnerability, new IoT botnets such as Reaper and Hajime target multiple vulnerabilities simultaneously, which is much harder to combat.

Wi-Fi cameras were targeted by criminals, with more than four times the number of exploit attempts detected over Q3 2017.

6. The effects of an attack

The aftermath of a cyberattack can be devastating for any company, leading to huge financial losses, compounded by regulatory fines for data breaches, and plummeting market share or job losses. At best, a company could suffer irreparable reputational damage and loss of customer loyalty.

On top of that, IoT devices have the potential to create organisational and infrastructure risks, and even pose a threat to human life, if attacked. We have already seen the impact of nation-state attack tools being used as nation state weapons, then getting out and being used in commercial criminal activity.

7. Profit over security

It’s crazy to think that devices with the potential to enable so much damage to homes, businesses and even entire cities often lack basic security design, implementation and testing. In the main this is because device manufacturers are pushing through their products to get them to market as quickly as possible, to cash in on the current buzz around IoT.

Lawrence Munro, vice president SpiderLabs at Trustwave agrees IoT manufacturers are sidestepping security fundamentals: “We are seeing lack of familiarity with secure coding concepts resulting in vulnerabilities, some of them a decade old, incorporated into final designs,” he notes.

8. Can you see the problem?

Another huge problem is that once a network in attacked, it’s much easier for subsequent attacks to occur.

Yet, recent data shows just half of IT decision makers feel confident they have full visibility and control of all devices with network access. The same%age believe they have full visibility of the access level of all third parties, who frequently have access to networks; and only 54% say they have full visibility and control of all employees.

9. Turning a blind eye

Despite security concerns often cited as the number one barrier to greater IoT adoption, Trustwave research shows sixty-one% of firms who have deployed some level of IoT technology have had to deal with a security incident related to IoT, and 55% believe an attack will occur sometime during the next two years. Only 28% of organisations surveyed consider that their IoT security strategy is ‘very important’ when compared to other cybersecurity priorities.

10. Efforts to standardise

In the UK, the government’s five-year National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) is looking to work with the IT industry to build security into IoT devices through its ‘Secure by Default’ initiative. The group published a review earlier this month that proposes a draft Code of Practice for IoT manufacturers and developers.

While there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel, it may not be enough. Regulators won’t force device manufacturers to introduce the necessary security regulations and practices before thousands of businesses fall victim to attacks. Turning a blind eye to the IoT security risks could leave your organisation permanently paralysed.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us. From providing doctors with patient data in real time, to tracking vehicle performance, to automating building systems, IoT is transforming businesses and enabling organisations to create entirely new systems and services, engage customers and drive growth. Below Richard Smith, Regional Manager at SOTI, gives us a brief on the top three industries ready for IOT transformation in 2018.

Despite the huge rise in connected devices, there are still some industries that are hesitant to adopt new technologies, regardless of the business benefits. With nearly 20 billion devices[1] predicted to be connected to the IoT by 2020, it is essential that organisations invest in new IoT technologies to keep up with evolving customer demands.

With IoT’s growing maturity comes new approaches, business models, and solutions that will see organisations ramping up deployments and incorporating this technology into their products, processes and workflows.

Almost every industry can benefit from investing in IoT but the important thing to consider is that IoT cannot be deployed in silo. Connecting a business from a technology perspective is all about leveraging mobile (where the business information resides) with IoT. Mobility has taken functionality way beyond the four walls of a business but IoT stands to amplify this.

The communication between mobile and IoT allows even more information to be connected to back office systems even without the need for human intervention. As the adoption of this technology continues, these three industries are ripe for IoT transformation.


IoT has taken healthcare by storm. From wearables that track patient health, to providing remote care to patients who live in isolated areas, the shift towards the digitalisation of the healthcare industry has seen more healthcare workers getting connected and relying on mobile devices. The biggest benefit of IoT in healthcare is to keep patients out of the hospital by providing more effective home care. This is helping to reduce re-infections but also reduces costs, especially when it comes to monitoring patients with chronic illnesses.

Mobile devices are enabling doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners to monitor patients outside of the hospital; wearable devices track pulse rates and motion sensors and trackers protect more vulnerable patients. These remote patient monitors provide richer information in a timelier fashion. The ability to now track patients over a 24/7 period - compared to an hour’s assessment in a hospital room – can not only help to diagnose illnesses quicker, but can also measure the effect of treatment. If a medication impacts the patient’s readings, a doctor can be aware of this problem before a patient tells them.

This method of patient tracking not only reduces the complexity for the healthcare facility in offering an exemplary level of patient care, but also reduces the cost. Wearable devices are extremely cost effective and the accuracy of the data reduces patient time in the hospitals, which has another positive impact on costs.

As more and more medical devices become internet-connected with this evolving technology, it is vital that the healthcare industry ensures its compliant with data protection laws when it comes to the transportation of this data. Operators must ensure that medical grade devices are configured effectively, that passwords and encryption is in place and that the connection between the devices is secure to protect patient data from potential hackers.

Transportation and Logistics

Whether by air, ground or sea, transportation and logistics are essential components to many enterprises’ productivity, and access to real-time data is critical. There is a growing reliance on IoT and mobile devices to provide visibility into the supply chain right through to personnel, equipment and transactions that enable enterprises to better support peak operations in real time.

Transportation and logistics businesses are focused on maximising supply chain efficiency to sustain profitability and efficiencies. IoT has already begun to disrupt this industry through systems that are able to sense and respond to vehicle usage and changes in real-time, managing downtime to operate fleets at the lowest possible cost.

IoT provides the ability to track where vehicles are in their route, ensuring they are delivering packages and goods on time and being able to reroute trucks based on live situations such as accidents, road closures or weather conditions. With workers constantly on the move, visibility into where these assets are, and what they are doing can improve business operations.

With the announcement of driverless trucks, IoT will play a major role in tracking vehicles on their routes, deploying preventative maintenance, observing driver behavior and monitoring vehicle security with the goal of improving the bottom line.


Retail is one of the most fast-paced industries globally. According to Accenture[2], the IoT movement offers retailers opportunities in three critical areas: customer experience, the supply chain and new channels along with revenue streams.

IoT is already being used in retail, but 2018 will be the year where this technology really transforms the customer experience. We’ve already seen an increase in customer touchpoints – such as in-store tablets and online chatbots – but this will evolve rapidly over the next 12 months as shops become even more connected.

For example, we will increasingly see sensors being used for inventory management, allowing a connection to be made from back-end inventory to in-store and online. Also, the in-store customer experience is transforming to meet the demands of the digital consumer – as such, beacons will be used to push relevant messages at point-of-sale and sensors will be in operation to track patterns to develop better instore layouts

Consumers are now taking these features of the technology into account. According to our own research[3], 67 per cent of shoppers are more likely to shop at a store that integrates technology and over two-thirds believe retailers that utilise more technology enable a faster shopping experience.

What’s most exciting for the coming year is how extensive the applications of IoT in retail are. Robots will stack shelves, freeing up staff to add value to the customer, while smart mirrors will let customers virtually try on clothes and connected beacons will send out personalised offers to consumers immediately as they enter the shop.

Future-proofing IoT

This year will be a breakthrough in IoT usage and applications across a wide variety of industries. The ubiquitous nature of IoT will be evident and the technologies driving the usage will continue to emerge and evolve to meet the important needs of deployment, distribution and security.

SOTI MobiControl is an enterprise mobility management solution that secures and manages IoT devices, offering geo fencing functionality to track devices, allowing remote management and keeping both the device and connection secure.

As with any early technology deployment, the standardisation of IoT will be a critical consideration across all industry sectors, to avoid fragmentation and allow integration of all business operations that need to be built in.

Each industry will be uniquely impacted by IoT but essentially they will all experience a more streamlined business process because of increased connectivity, reliability and efficiency taking business connectivity to the next level.


For an insight into recent trends within the Internet of Things, this month Finance Monthly spoke to Alex Sutherland, innovator and CEO of UK-based Artificial Minds - a company dedicated to the advancement of technology for the connected world with a vision to create computers that interact with people. The company currently specialises within the Internet of Things (IoT), providing a secure and simple way to give households and industrial devices intelligence. Below, Alex tells us about the hottest topics being discusses in connection to IoT, as well as the potential implications of the further development of this technology.


Can you tell us a bit about the services that Artificial Minds provides and the clients that you work with?

Artificial Minds created an IoT operating system called Cortex, which is designed with plug and play connectivity, efficient data management and intelligent automation. This system can be installed on to any device, it will automatically configure itself to a network, allowing it to transfer data to a user, and thus - allowing a user to monitor information. Cortex will learn how best to make use of the connected devices within its environment by learning from the data they provide.

For example, one of our client is a hydroelectric company Derwent Hydro, which has used Cortex to monitor water presser, water flow and voltage information from its turbines. They have also been able to use Cortex to intelligently control a robotic arm to clear any debris from turbines. Cortex is currently being used by over 40 hydroelectric sites across the United Kingdom.


What are currently the hottest topics being discussed in relation to the IoT?

The hottest topics within IoT currently are security, voice assistants, cars and fifth generation wireless systems (5G). Security is a big issue with anything connected to the internet, due to hacking. This is an issue IoT will overcome in the coming years, maybe with the help of Blockchain or with offline methods. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Google and now even Cortana are entering the home. In the consumer sector of IoT, there seems to be an enjoyment controlling things with your voice - if you look at this year’s CES, a toilet that can be flushed with the aid of Alexa. Additionally, vehicles are becoming fully autonomous sooner than it was predicted with the assistance of AI.

And last but not least, it is of course worth mentioning 5G, which is set to transform the IoT landscape in terms of more secure networks and allowing devices to be connected without the need of Wi-Fi.

Looking into the near future, what do you anticipate for the development of the IoT?

I anticipate that once IoT would have solved its security issues. This will allow the healthcare industry to adopt IoT for hospitals for efficient operations and in hospital monitoring. Prisons could use IoT to monitor Inmates, identify contraband and alert for any behavioural or health issues. I also anticipate that there will be a lot more consumer adoption of IoT outside of wearables, so that more homes will in fact be ‘smarter’. For example, one will be able to interact with every room and object in your home or style your rooms based on your mood.

The world as a whole will be adopting IoT, so that the concept of Smart cities will be in full function and will begin to make an impact in society by providing greater benefits to it, such as safety. There will be more cars on the road that will encompass IoT for traffic management, fuel control and of course - self-driving. I believe that what is to come from the second generation of IoT is immeasurable.


What do you hope to achieve in the future with Artificial Minds?

Artificial Minds is growing the Cortex ecosystem into a fully capable AI for the world. We have started by implementing machine learning, which is designed to give your devices intelligence by learning, predicting, identifying and questioning the actions of devices and the environment around it. By the end of 2018, we would have Augmented Reality (AR) built into the platform and will grow it to see how we can evolve this with holography and further immerse the world into a full IoT experience. We’re taking steps to revolutionize IoT for the next generation. Within the next few years, Cortex will be the ecosystem of choice for IoT.

Here discussing the increased adoption of connected devices and sensors in banking and how IoT enables banks to respond in real-time to customer needs, is Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director at Toshiba Northern Europe.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology is on the rise both at home and in the workplace, and will soon significantly impact and empower the way we live and work. To date, such solutions have arguably made a bigger splash in the consumer landscape than B2B, with connected fridges, cars and thermostats all resonating with the public. As consumers awareness of IoT grows, so too does their expectation that it will blend into their everyday consumer experience. No business is seeing this effect more than those in the financial industry as more IoT technology incorporates payment capabilities.

The case for financial organisations to introduce IoT into their internal infrastructure and consumer facing technology capabilities is gaining in strength, with solutions providers continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of what such technologies can achieve. The whole concept of IoT is that it can be anything organisations want and need it to be – all it takes is the right app or piece of code to be built around it. At this stage in its adoption, many IT managers in financial organisations don’t necessarily understand the potential of IoT. Given the personal, and often sensitive, nature of the data these organisations manage a fear of data and network security persists, particularly in the wake of recent global cyber-attacks. However, such concerns aren’t projected to hold the market back for long, with IDC research predicting that global spending on IoT technologies is forecast to reach nearly $1.4 trillion by 2021.

The scope of IoT solutions is evolving to fuel this demand. Whereas stationary M2M (machine to machine) solutions, such as sensors, kick-started the connected device market and remain popular, mobile IoT solutions provide vast opportunities across numerous sectors – helping to improve workflows, enhance interactions with staff and customers, and even improve the safety of workers. Key to this development is the introduction of peripherals to the workplace, which can be partnered with mobile gateway solutions to ensure cross-machine collaboration.

One natural example lies within banking. The increased adoption of connected devices and sensors will bring increasingly rich data to banks about their customers, allowing them to provide more personalised products and services, even enabling them to respond in real-time to customer needs. As connected technology becomes imbedded in our environments, and the connected home and smart city market matures, banks could provide real-time spending advice. For example if you have overspent on your budget that month your bank might suggest you avoid your usual Friday lunchtime treat.

Elsewhere, peripherals like smart glasses (wearable display technology) can ensure a hands-free solution to workers across a range of roles. Augmented Reality could give insurance sales teams a in-depth view of customers homes geographical locations and provide them with a better analysis of potential risks in order to give them a better deal, or provide a hands free look at a customers financial history enabling the creation of bespoke products and services.

Beyond devices themselves, operating systems will also play a crucial role in the progression of IoT in the financial services world. Currently the focus is very much on writing software for iOS and Android – a smartphone-onus which again signifies the advanced stage of the consumer market. Yet the natural progression is for solutions providers to expand their focus to incorporate Windows 10 – this will serve as a catalyst in creating a greater number of solutions designed for professional use, which in turn will inspire more financial organisations to turn their attention to developing IoT coding and apps to address different business needs.

It is only a matter of time until IoT becomes a major enabler for organisations across the finance industry – with such game-changing potential, it’s important for IT managers to get ahead of the curve to understand how these technologies can empower their business.

Christopher Schorling, a partner in Bain's Technology practice, shares why Europe's focus on quality and security in a complex regulatory environment may be an advantage in the future.

Fintech now refers to the innovative use of technology that cuts across multiple business segments, including lending, advice, investment management, execution and payments.

The Internet of Things can be utilized to make systems interconnected and protect against information attacks, tampering and fraud. Another function is data generation.

Building on its strategy to drive innovation and adoption for IoT services in high-growth markets, Verizon recently announced that it has purchased Skyward, a private company based in Portland, Oregon. Skyward brings drone operations management to the Verizon IoT portfolio, simplifying drone operations and management for organizations of any size. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Internationally, companies rely on Skyward for managing operations, improving safety and lowering operating costs. Through this acquisition, businesses small and large will now have a single source for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations – linking all the people, projects and equipment involved into one clear and efficient workflow.

Mike Lanman, senior vice president - Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon, said: "Last quarter we announced our strategy to drive innovation and widespread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, a new service to simplify certification and connectivity of wireless drones. This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT."

Skyward founder and CEO Jonathan Evans said: "Drones are becoming an essential tool for improving business processes at large companies, but scalability has been a challenge. Skyward's drone operations management platform combined with Verizon's network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases."

Thanks to advances in technology and regulations, organizations are looking at drones to help run their business. From agriculture to telecommunications and from industrial construction to film production, major corporations, small businesses, and individuals are using drones to save time, improve safety, and operate more efficiently. The value is clear, but scaling and managing a drone program can be complex.

With Skyward's technology, Verizon will streamline the management of drone operations through one platform designed to handle end-to-end activities such as mission planning, complex workflow, FAA compliance support, supplying information about restricted airspace and pilot credentialing, drone registration and provisioning rate plans for drones on Verizon's network. All of this is designed to help developers and businesses create and manage a wide-range of services backed by Verizon's mobile private network, secure cloud interconnect and data analytics capabilities.

Through investments and strategic business and industry partnerships, Verizon continues to drive innovation via its Verizon Labs technology organization and Verizon Ventures, the company's venture capital division. Verizon Ventures brought Skyward in as a portfolio company and was the first wireless service provider to become a member of the Small UAV Coalition (SUAVC). The acquisition of Skyward speaks to Verizon's strategy to operate in innovative, high growth markets leveraging core assets to help accelerate IoT adoption. In 2016, revenue from Verizon's internet of things business approached $1 billion.

In connection with the transaction, GCA Advisors LLC acted as financial advisor to Skyward, and Perkins Coie LLP acted as legal advisor.

(Source: Verizon)

Eseye and Amazon Web Services  announced the launch of a breakthrough in IoT Security, AnyNet Secure™.
Eseye, a leading global cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity provider for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, saw the culmination of many months working with AWS at the global corporation’s Re:Invent convention in Las Vegas.
Demonstrated live onstage, the new Eseye AnyNet Secure™ SIM was introduced as a new cellular connectivity solution integrated fully with the AWS Cloud management console and Cloud platform.

Eseye, the UK based IoT specialist, provides AWS IoT customers with enhanced security and connectivity features that enables IoT devices across the globe to remotely, automatically and securely activate, provision, authenticate and certify ‘things’, over-the-air, and to then ingest data into AWS customers’ clouds.

This innovative British technology delivers several IoT breakthroughs. It launches devices or ‘things’ securely onto the global AWS Cloud network without the need for any physical configuration; no manual passwords or onsite intervention is required; and the need for the release of third party security keys to manufacturers is also now removed. The potential reductions in risk and costs for AWS customer IoT deployments are significant.

Julian Hardy, CEO at Eseye, says: “This new technology will ultimately allow more and varied products to go to market and to succeed by offering AWS customers the chance to take much of the cost, risk and time out of M2M IoT deployments. Collectively, we create a globally-available ubiquitous service layer through which projects can be deployed at scale, in a more secure manner and way that was previously impossible for customers. AnyNet Secure removes the need to make long-term sacrifices on security or go through a painstaking deployment process of manual intervention, one device at a time.”

The new ‘plug-and-play’ or ‘zero touch’ SIM delivers increased efficiency thanks to its simple installation and remote management. Through the multi-IMSI technology embedded within the solution, the SIM allows organizations to deploy almost anywhere in the world, while establishing more robust levels of security.

Find out how it works here.


(Source: Eseye) 

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