Archive for the ‘Emerging Tech’ Category

Top IoT Trends That Will Keep on Buzzing in 2018

IoT devices are around us in every direction we’d care to look. These devices are helping doctors monitor patients from far away continents, assisting factory floor managers in identifying assembly line parts that will need maintenance in the coming few days, and monitoring vehicle performance and driving improvements in prototypes. IoT technologies are re-shaping customer journeys in unimaginable personalized ways, helping businesses explore whole new vistas of business growth and service delivery. 2017 was an exciting year that witnessed the adoption of IoT technologies by all kinds of businesses. As we move into 2018, here’s a guide to help you identify the IoT trends that will make the buzz throughout the year.

Rapid IoT Growth Will Continue

Though this might sound ridiculously obvious, the trend deserves a mention nevertheless. That’s because some very specific industries and business processes stand to be transformed for the better by IoT devices in the very near future. Among these, retail is at the top, with smart devices already helping companies explore new service delivery and revenue generation channels. Healthcare and industrial supply chain are the other two industries where IoT is on the brink of bringing in revolutionary changes. Wearable devices for round the clock patient monitoring in health-care, and use of stock quality monitoring IoT technology in industrial supply chains are already a reality. Throughout 2018, we will witness more and more processes and applications bring driven by IoT devices and technologies in industries apart from retail.

Fragmentation as an opportunity as well as challenge

Much like what we observed in cloud computing software as a service (SaaS) space throughout 2011-2015, IoT service vendors will be driven by the need to differentiate. The result – there will be a wave of fragmentation sweeping across the industry. Though the availability of niche IoT players will benefit SMBs, enterprises will have to face the challenge of working with multiple vendors under multiple contracts for the execution of their IoT strategy. Compatibility issues will hit companies in abundance as they try to make things work with multiple IoT systems, all of which might not be made with a view to integrating with other systems. Industry giants, thankfully, realize this problem and are already calling out for standardization in IoT technology protocols. Qualcomm, for instance, is vocal about the potential security challenges that fragmented IoT infrastructures could imply. In 2018, it will be interesting to note whether any serious work gets done as far as standardization of IoT technologies is concerned.

Fragmentation Will Increase Concerns Around IoT Security

A vendor for predictive maintenance algorithms, another for data analytics, yet another from edge computing infrastructure, and still another for smart visual reporting – that’s not a far-fetched reality, and something that enterprises are likely to encounter and experience in 2018. Of course, this makes the IoT ecosystem very complex. The long-term integration challenges that such a complex system brings to the table are hard to appreciate and understand well after the implementation phase of IoT projects. Also, so many moving parts of your IoT vehicle mean that the threat surface area increases. In such a situation, the art of ensuring thorough system security and data privacy becomes a challenge for enterprises. This calls for IT leads to work in close conjugation with the CISO office, to anticipate and address compatibility, privacy, and security challenges for IoT systems.

Low Power Wide Area Network As a Growth Driver

Low power – Wide area network (LP-WAN) technology is advancing at rapid pace. This technology is all about enabling wide area network connectivity across a large area, without using much power. The impact of opening up newer markets and applications for IoT could be huge. Traditionally, the business processes and applications that have not been considered for IoT powered transformations because of lack of affordable internet connectivity, will be open and relevant for IoT projects once LP-WAN projects start getting commissioned at a commercial scale.

The Availability of SaaS-based IoT offerings

In spite of the rapid leaps made by IoT technology vendors in the past couple of years, implementations remain mostly on-premise. This makes the cost of entry from SMBs and small enterprises prohibitively high. However, there has been clear progress in SaaS-based IoT services, and the market is all set to expand throughout 2018.

For enterprises, this means that they can commission small IoT projects without spending a lot. Whether you wish to get started with localized telemetry data analysis or want a machine learning expert to help you draw out tremendous insight from your data lakes, you will have a SaaS-based IoT service to consider in 2018.

Device firmware, server-side scripts, different connectivity and communication technologies, machine learning – this is just the starting point. Instead of managing all this complexity on your premise, you’d want to consider affordable and scalable SaaS alternatives.

The Increasing Importance of Edge Computing

IoT means massive data. And the success of IoT projects invariably depends on the speed, accuracy, and costs of data processing. Among these, the speed of processing is crucial for certain important IoT applications such as unmanned areal vehicles. For all these, it’s important to perform data analytics close to the source of data, so that propagation delay to and from the central analytics engine and database.

To achieve this, edge computing is a practical option for enterprises. IoT leaders like Dell, HPE, and Cisco, for instance, are already investing in edge computing infrastructure. Of course, all the buzz around edge computing as a successor to cloud computing is mere hype, because both infrastructures need to co-exist for enterprises to be able to realize IoT projects with low latency tolerance.

Concluding Remarks

A Business Insider report suggests that business spending on IoT will be $6 trillion by 2021. Expect 2018 to be a milestone year in this roller coaster of a journey. Track the trends mentioned in this guide to make quick and smart moves for your enterprise.



Author : Rahul Sharma

Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for Enterprise – Jump on the Bandwagon?

The democratization of high-speed Internet coupled with the development of distributed information exchanges gave rise to the development of blockchain technology. Blockchain is the underlying technology that powers the crypto-currency Bitcoin; however, its uses transcend that. Simply put, a blockchain is public, shared distributed ledger that stores the complete transaction history of different types of records. The validity, uniqueness, and integrity of the stored data is preserved, without the need for a trusted third party to verify it. As such, blockchain has peaked the interest of several enterprises, especially those in the finance and banking industries. Large tech players such as Microsoft and IBM have begun exploring the opportunities blockchain presents in the form of Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) solutions in order to incorporate blockchain technologies into their cloud offerings.

Its no secret that the industry of blockchain based companies is still relatively young. Its future is currently being shaped by experimentation and R&D partnerships between large corporations and start-ups. The main driver behind the rise of blockchain apps, especially in the enterprise, is directly linked to time and cost efficiencies, that are still far from optimal in most industries.

“ Blockchain holds the promise to fundamentally transform how business is done, making business-to-business interactions more secure, transparent, and efficient”

– Amit Zavery, senior VP of Oracle Cloud Platform

What is Blockchain as a Service ?

A Deloitte survey conducted towards the end of 2016 concluded that Blockchain technology would become a crucial business focus for most industries in 2017. The survey, which involved 308 senior executives who were knowledgeable about blockchain, found that most of them placed blockchain among their organizations’ highest priority. 36 percent were convinced blockchain has the potential to significantly enhance system operations, by either increasing speed or reducing costs. 37 percent recognized blockchain’s formidable security features as the main benefit. The remaining 24 percent were of the opinion that it has the potential to facilitate new revenue streams and business models. While there is a consensus amongst enterprise tech decision makers that blockchain has immense potential to reshape entire industries, the adoption plan is not as clear or direct.

Building enterprise solutions powered by blockchain is not a simple undertaking. The setup and subsequent operation of a blockchain environment involves major development and infrastructure challenges. Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) is an intriguing trend in the blockchain ecosystem that aims to ease adoption for enterprises. The idea behind it is that customers can leverage blockchain cloud solutions to create a network of their own applications and smart contracts while the cloud provider handles all the heavy lifting needed to keep the infrastructure operational.

BaaS provides blockchain capabilities as a first class Platform as a Service (PaaS) services. From a functional perspective, a BaaS model enables developers to create solutions that effortlessly combine the aptness of blockchain with typical infrastructure and platform services like storage, messaging, middle-ware, and other functional building blocks of complex software solutions. Additionally, BaaS facilitates a seamless model to manage and scale a blockchain topology without the deployment of any proprietary infrastructure.

BaaS Market Outlook

Blockchain has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years, with good reason. As of Feb 2017, it was the second most-searched term on Gartners site, after a 400 percent increase in the 12 months prior. This shows an exponentially increasing interest in this rapidly developing market. The entire blockchain market is predicted to grow at an annual growth rate of 61.5 percent by 2021, with immutability and transparency as the driving factors behind the growth. Another thing aiding in the expansion of blockchain’s reach has been the proliferation of blockchain as a service (BaaS) solutions from major providers.

The major BaaS players include:


Microsoft first launched the Azure BaaS in November 2015. In 2016 it furthered its efforts with Project Bletchley blockchain middle-ware/ template, which was aimed at helping partners and customers build private consortium Ethereum networks. Microsoft is trying to aid business figure out the best way to build on top of BaaS with Enterprise Smart Contracts. The blockchain framework and middle-ware were created to help enterprises integrate and build distributed applications. Since Azure is a scalable, flexible and open platform, Microsoft claims to support a growing number of distributed ledger technologies that meet specific technical and business needs for performance, security and operational processes. They also claim the the Cortana intelligent service is capable of providing unique data analysis and management capabilities.


IBM’s BaaS service is based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger is an open source cross-industry effort to introduce blockchain to the enterprise; by utilizing it, IBM hopes that developers will be able to rapidly build and host secure blockchain networks through the IBM cloud. In order to solidify security, IBM blockchain is underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, a security based Linux server. The IBM blockchain platform claims to be the only fully integrated enterprise blockchain platform built to accelerate the governance, development and operation of multi-institution business networks. IBM plans to offer a framework for cooperate blockchain networks, that automatically scales as members are added to it. The company states that its blockchain platform will be capable of supporting large user ecosystems and transaction rates.


Shortly after joining the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, Oracle added blockchain as a service to its cloud offering. The plan to launch the service was initially announced when it joined Hyperledger in August 2017. Its goal at the time was to provide an advanced and differentiated enterprise-grade distributed cloud ledger platform for consumers looking to create new blockchain based apps and/or grow their current IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and on-premise applications.

In Closing

Conspicuously missing from the list of major BaaS providers is AWS. In 2016 AWS announced a collaboration with the New York City based Digital Currency Group (DCG), to provide a blockchain (as a service) experimentation environment for enterprises. So that the blockchain providers on the DCG portfolio can work with their clients, who include insurance companies and financial institutions, in a secure environment. However, this strategy is yet to end up with the development on a new BaaS platform within AWS. Scott Mullins, AWS head of worldwide financial services business development, says that their company is closely working with blockchain providers and financial institutions to prompt innovation while facilitating frictionless experimentation. Google has also been relatively quiet it matters concerning blockchain. However considering the direction other PaaS incumbents are going; we are likely to see BaaS capabilities incorporated into Google cloud in the future.


Auhtor: Gabriel Lando

Blockchain Beyond Crypto-currencies

Blockchain can disrupt cloud computing

Blockchain goes beyond crypto-currencies

On the 31st of October 2008, the still mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto (probably a pseudonym for an individual or group) published a white paper introducing the concept of a peer to peer digital cash system referred to as Bitcoin. Bitcoin marked a radical shift in the finance industry. It offers enhanced security and transparency by authenticating peers that share the virtual cash, generating a hash value, and encryption. The global financial industry, predicts that the market for security-based blockchain is will grow to roughly $ 20 billion by 2020.

More Than Just Crypto-currencies

Blockchain is widely known for powering crypto-currencies; it is the data structure that enables Bitcoin (BTC) and other upcoming digital currencies like Ether (ETH) to burgeon via a combination of decentralized encryption, immutability, anonymity, and global scale. However, its uses go way beyond that.

In a nutshell, blockchain refers to a continuously updated record of who holds what.

A blockchain is a distributed data repository or ledger that is decentralized and available for everyone to see and verify. In order to understand it in the context of a trust economy; you can equate it to public ledgers that were used to in towns to record important things like the transfer of property deeds or election results. Blockchain simply utilizes advanced cryptography and distributed programming to effectuate similar results. What you have in the end is a system with trust inherently built into it – a transparent, secure, immutable repository of truth; that has been built to be highly resistant to manipulation, outages, and unnecessary complexity. This consistent record of truth is facilitated by the shared and cryptographic nature of the ledger.

Blockchain’s social perception mainly revolves around crypto-currencies. Most people get encumbered by its perceived technological complexity, dismissing it as something for the intellectual tech-savy; but its basic concept is universal and simple. Its immense potential is nothing short of revolutionary. From financial ledgers and contracts to monitoring and securing all manner of data in the next generation of distributed applications.

Blockchain in the Enterprise

Blockchain is creating waves in the enterprise software market, with companies like Microsoft and IBM leveraging it in developer environments, cloud platforms, Internet of things (IoT) technology and more. Ethereum’s blockchain tech has largely been the gateway, nonetheless, tech giants are firmly in the blockchain business. The collective finance and banking industry is also adopting blockchain transactions in the form of smart contracts.

Blockchain was listed as one of the top trends in the Gartner hype cycle for 2017. The hype cycle takes a close look at technologies that have the potential to significantly increase a company’s competitive edge. According to Gartner, this technology will lead to the reformation of entire industries in the long term. Companies that are at the forefront of disruption, view blockchain as the driving force behind it. This was the key takeaway from a study of 3,000 executives, done by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, which examined the enterprise potential of blockchain. The survey concluded that 33% of the executives were already considering or had already adopted it. Most of the surveyed executives were counting on it to provide a competitive advantage – while creating a platform approach to innovation.

Potential In the Cloud

Cloud computing has been widely adopted in virtually every facet of IT; one can’t help but wonder how the decentralized and security features of blockchain technology can be used to further enhance the clouds appeal. Whenever CIOs begin discussing moving critical applications to the cloud, terms like security, compliance, accountability, reliability, auditability, and acceptance of liability among others, are thrown around. The main point of contention lies in the demand that there is a secure supply chain and that each step in that supply chain is verifiable in real-time, and when things go south it is possible to find out what went wrong and someone can be held accountable. Introducing blockchain into cloud computing creates a convenient service that offers enhanced security.

A Decentralized Cloud

A key characteristic of blockchain is that it was designed to be synchronized and distributed across networks. A blockchain based decentralized cloud facilitates on-demand, low-cost, and secure access to some of the most competitive computing infrastructures; while protecting your files, both on the nodes and in transmission, by utilizing encryption and cryptography. A major reservation for organizations when migrating to the cloud is trusting third parties to secure sensitive, private data.

For most cloud experts, the biggest draw to blockchain is the elimination of intermediaries. Mainly due to the fact that a well-designed and publicly accessible blockchain can easily replace most of the functions performed by intermediaries to ensure a secure environment, free of fraud. On a decentralized ‘blockcloud’ , where data is stored on multiple individual nodes intelligently distributed across the globe, it is virtually impossible to cause meaningful disruptions.

Blockchains like Ethereum provide a different approach to running distributed applications. Using Ethereum, developers can write smart contracts – code that is executed on the blockchain virtual machine, whenever a transaction is fired. The Ethereum blockchain inadvertently provides a distributed run-time environment with a distributed consensus over the execution.

In Closing

Blockchain’s power doesn’t lie in its heavy encryption; its distributive nature makes it hard to manipulate. It is essentially a sequential storage scheme that can verify itself, making it the ideal solution for immutably recording transactions and much more. While everyone remains fixated on the AI buzz, the blockchain is a dark horse that is running under the radar.

Author: Gabriel Lando

Image Courtesy of Freepik