Retailers Get Big Sales Bump by Investing in RFID Technology

Overhead and handheld radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is transforming brick-and-mortar retail. Today, nearly 73 percent of all retailers are implementing RFID to track their inventory. The benefit is clear: As consumer shopping behaviors and expectations have shifted dramatically in the digital age, customers now expect to find whatever they want, when they want it, and RFID has helped retailers come a long way to delivering on these expectations. Those that have implemented RFID have seen an average of over 25 percent improvement in inventory accuracy and a profit margin boosted by 60.7 percent. RFID tech spending shows no signs of slowing down, either—it’s growing at over 22 percent per year.

RFID Technology and Handhelds Versus Fixed/Overhead Solutions
But within the RFID space, a debate emerges: Which is better, handheld or overhead (also known as fixed)? There is a common misconception that handhelds provide 80 percent of the RFID benefits at only 20 percent of the cost, implying that RFID handhelds are cheaper and easier to implement than overhead RFID. If retailers are considering only the cost of hardware when making a decision, they might think they’re getting a better deal with a handheld RFID, since only a few scanners are required per store. Fixed sensors might be more expensive and difficult to deploy initially, but over time, it’s handhelds that are likely to prove more expensive. While the upfront cost for an overhead might be, on average, 30 percent higher, ongoing labor cost can be 90 percent lower with an overhead solution.

Two women shop in a store.

 

Transforming the Brick-and-Mortar Store with Overhead RFID Solutions
While it’s certainly true that any RFID deployment will have its benefits, a retailer will unlock the full spectrum of usage models only with an overhead infrastructure, since it’s only with an overhead solution that retailers can truly automate processes, drive labor efficiencies, get enhanced in-store digital experiences for their customers, and get real-time data with actionable insights.

Tasks performed with a handheld will take substantially more time to do than with an overhead system, and consistency and freshness of the inventory information will be affected as well. In addition, only overhead solutions can provide added benefits such as real-time inventory tracking that enables unified commerce fulfillment or in-store pickup—not to mention the many other in-store value-adds for overheads, such as interactive experience applications like smart fitting rooms, digital interactions with products, dynamic planograms, merchandise flow tracking, self-checkout, and many more.

An overhead solution is also a future-proof investment that can be leveraged as new use cases become important, such as pick-path optimization for ship from store, item location, zone management for larger stores, and consideration tracking, to name some. There is also the added ability to audit employee tasks, ensuring items are not only moved to the floor, but in the right spot. Overheads also provide better information around loss prevention and item theft and have a better ability to track display effectiveness.

Three people shop in a store.

 

Getting to the Sale Faster
The cost of a handheld reader goes far beyond just the price tag of the hardware. The true cost can lead to inventory distortion, a fragmented, lackluster customer experience, and higher workforce and labor inefficiencies. Because the customer experience is driven by positive personal interaction—something made possible only through an efficient workforce and accurate inventory—it’s the quality of the customer experience that will ultimately bring the process full circle with the sales transaction.

Getting to the sale faster means automating many of the in-store processes that take the retail employee’s attention away from the customer. And the way to enhance the customer experience and get to the sale faster isn’t simply to add more associates to the fold or to make current associates do more handheld RFID scanning. That will only increase operating costs and reduce customer-facing experiences. Even once a retailer has spent the time and money to train an employee on how to properly scan a store with a handheld, the inventory accuracy is still only as good as the last scan.

Intel RRS
The Intel Responsive Retail Sensor (Intel RRS) is a smart retail solution that provides retailers with the best of both the physical and online worlds. It connects the store, bringing digital convenience and intelligence, while also driving revenue growth and reinventing the customer experience. It automates previous repetitive tasks by employees, instead allowing them to focus on customer service, and it optimizes inventory management by reducing out-of-stock and misplaced items. But it also creates new sources of data that can be used to understand shopper browsing and buying habits.

Visit intel.com/retail to learn more about how Intel technology is shaping the future of responsive retail. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Intel’s Vision for the Future of Smart Video

What is sight without the power to understand what’s being seen? As the Internet of Things  (loT) revolution continues, smart video technology keeps creating huge amounts of data. But even as these video technologies become more prevalent in cities, industrial facilities, retail stores, and even private homes, it’s still a major challenge to store and analyze that data. Intel answers this challenge with a scalable end-to-end (E2E) solution for secure collection, storage, and analysis of vast volumes of loT video data.

Smarter Industries and Smart Home

Can a better world exist without the proper resources to manage the exponential increase in 1/0?

Smart cameras are critical for making cities safer and more secure. Depending on the size of the city, this metadata can stack up into terabytes— and it all has to be analyzed in order to derive useful results. Within smart cities, smart transportation systems are generating tremendous amounts of data about vehicles, passengers and roads—often creating a full terabyte that needs to be securely collected, processed and stored every single day.

In a wide range of manufacturing sectors, virtualization technology is helping raise efficiency while  lowering the costs of doing business. Smart factories that use this technology can generate a terabyte of data every day. In smart retail,  video generated by digital security and surveillance systems helps keep stores secure and efficient—but  with  more than  75 million video surveillance cameras being sold to retailers in 2018, demand enormous storage capacity.

The loT transformation doesn’t end at the commercial space. The smart home revolution is already well underway. By 2020, the global market for smart home technology is projected to reach 100 billion, and most households will have more than 50 connected devices in the home. As smart homes become commonplace, the amount of data generated by smart devices will grow  exponentially—as will the storage and analysis systems required to deal with that data.

 

E2E Solutions

Fragmentation is a developer’s nightmare. That’s why Intel believes the only solution, is a holistic E2E approach.

As more industries adopt IP cameras, Intel’s integrated; hardware accelerators deliver the performance needed to process high-definition media in real time. These solutions ensure secure transmission and accurate analysis of data, with the help of a unique architecture in which connectivity, analytics and performance can all expand as needed.

Intel’s “develop first, port fast” toolset powers Intel’s Computer Vision software development kit (SDK). This SDK enables easy video processing, whether for in-store footage or handling security and surveillance applications. All Intel Xeon processors come ready to work with an entire portfolio of specialized libraries, saving developers significant time.

In the loT, security is at a premium. As many security experts know, hackers have already penetrated the ordinary layers of software security, and are now focusing their attacks on connected devices like IP cameras and network video recorders (NVRs). Intel’s entire architecture is designed from the ground up to defend against common forms of attack.

 

A Future with Intel

Intel technologies are making video data more accessible, analyzable, manageable and actionable for an entire ecosystem of developers. Each one of Intel’s video security and surveillance solutions delivers the performance required to process bandwidth-intensive video at the fastest rates possible.

Intel RealSense cameras are the “eyes” of this intelligent visual system. From handheld devices to snap-on PC cameras and beyond, RealSense makes 3D scanning and interior mapping simple, with imaging-and-feature tracking that make it easy to capture 3D models of real-world objects and rooms.

Movidius MyriadX vision processors (VPUs) are the “visual cortex” of the system, delivering top shelf performance with a very low power thermal footprint. In fact, MyriadX processors offer the best performance per watt of power of any processor under 1.5 watts—a full five times the capacity of Myriad 2 processors. These efficiencies allow more cameras to be installed, increasing in the amount of data captured, stored, and analyzed.

Finally, Intel CPUs act as the system’s “brain,” delivering best-in-class processing power packed into an ultra-thin and lightweight chip. Intel Xeon processors, for example, help deliver real-time analytics, processing for mission-critical tasks and big data insights.

Intel’s diverse portfolio of cameras, vision processors and CPUs provide the tools to make massive amounts of data easy to access, manage, analyze and transform into actionable insights.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Smart Agriculture: AI and the Right Compute Transforming Farming

As the director of public sector and agriculture for the Intel Internet of Things Group, I focus on technologies, ecosystems and partnerships that need technologies that solve problems in a range of areas. We believe the technologies that we focus on: retail, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and environmental monitoring, align well with the food and agriculture value chain. The investments and uptake in technology adoption in agriculture is somewhere that we can contribute and add value and one of the most promising industries where IoT can bring transformational changes.

At the recent Forbes Live Ag Tech Summit in Salinas, Calif., a gathering of some of the smartest minds from both Silicon Valley and the global agriculture industry resulted in a key takeaway – that most people don’t realize the numerous locations where processing of agriculture and food supply exists. Like farm equipment, where sensors measure everything from water management to nitrogen levels in soil. I not only found this encouraging, but believe that we at Intel are on the right track to supporting the technology evolution in the agricultural industry.

Moo. A dairy cow.

To that end, this past year we’ve been investigating who we can work with, who we can collaborate with and how we can add value in the context of the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) and agricultural. The potential for transformational change is tremendous.  We believe that IoT can drive greater insight to the physical world, like farming, enabling better decision-making with that greater insight to an interconnected strong and secure ecosystem. We can’t do any of this without partnerships. It’s in our DNA, to build ecosystems and partnerships that drive innovation and really increase the amount of choice in the marketplace.

We recently invested in a company called Filament who has applied blockchain to the agriculture space. Together with Intel, Filament successfully tested tracking fish, a process that begins with attaching IoT-enabled sensors to freshly caught fish, which then continues to track the fish across the supply chain, from monitoring real-time temperature and location all the way to consumers’ plate. We’re still in the early stages, but we believe that blockchain is a viable option and we hope to continue to evaluate it and contribute to this space.

Dell and Intel work to solve honeybee colony collapse.

From individual devices and new analytics opportunities like AI, machine learning, to the cloud, IoT enables sensing and the fusing of information from multiple sources, enabling informed actions for better results. Agriculture uses this entire spectrum, from sensing, analyzing the data and making decisions from the data.

To learn more about smart agriculture, read the Intel IQ article “Farming” or the case study “Keenan and the IoT create a new kind of data farm.” Watch Tony Franklin speaking about smart agriculture on Forbes Live. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Remote Patient Monitoring: A New Standard of Care for 21st Century Healthcare Delivery

I just came from the quadrennial meeting of the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, where I noticed some things worth sharing. There’s been a tectonic shift in industry framing of aging — from costs of infirmity to value of capability and contribution of elders. Not too long ago there was resistance to these notions. Today,  the World Health Organization Strategy on Ageing has codified and recast these and other concepts in a new action plan focused on functional ability that’s  being received with universal acclaim (HuffPost).

What strikes me most is that to achieve this collective vision of healthy & active living at all ages we must also see a tipping point in deployed infrastructure for care beyond the hospital setting. Providers and policymakers must accelerate and expand support for caring for people remotely and in their home. Unless remote care becomes ‘standard of care*’  with medical care, we will never get costs under control and society will forever lack a sufficient remote care digital infrastructure to support independent living into old age.

*Standard of Care: The quality of care that a health care provider should have provided, measured by the level of care that a reasonably skilled health care professional would have provided in similar circumstances. (According to MedicalMalpractice.com)

Enhancing Access

Remote patient monitoring could become a new standard of healthcare.

Don’t get me wrong. Remote and in-home care, especially remote patient monitoring (RPM) is happening, and faster than before.  In recent years, there has been an abundance of evidence demonstrating that RPM, integrated into a care plan, leads to benefits for patients, their families, communities and national health care systems overall. Through RPM, physicians, nurses, elder caregivers and other healthcare providers can gain deeper and more objective insights into patient health, and in many cases, help lead to earlier detection and diagnosis, and therefore earlier and more effective treatment and management of multiple conditions. As one ages, there are also benefits for RPM’s role in helping to maintain “functional ability,” itself essential for a healthier, more active and lower-cost aging process.

In an example of RPM delivering tremendous results, research from the University of Mississippi, Ascension Health and Care Innovations shows that RPM technologies can greatly reduce emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Such tested RPM applications include videoconferencing with healthcare providers, tablet-based patient education and devices that can prompt and track diet, exercise and medication adherence.

RPM in particular is saving medical costs for systems that use it and improving outcomes for their patients. According to the Veterans Health Administration, RPM can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 40 percent for some diseases, leading to annual savings of $6,500 per patient. The estimated annual cost-savings potential of RPM, if adopted widely, could be as high as $6 billion.

 

Transforming Healthcare Policy

Access to that level of care is elusive for most unless you happen to be within one of the few systems that have deployed it. Furthermore, most deployed systems are addressing just one or a few specific conditions. There are of course exceptions in some countries outside the United States (e.g. Singapore ), but largely, comprehensive RPM care is limited and inconsistently available.  Well-defined standards of care could help RPM reach its full potential.

I believe achieving RPM as standard of care is achievable and not in some distant idealized future. The rate of deployments is increasing, the evidence on efficacy and cost savings is overwhelming and irrefutable,  patient and clinician satisfaction when they have deployed is high, and payment systems are changing to recognize and reward  remote care use.

Consider that the average Medicare spending per person doubles between the ages of 70 and 96. Chronic conditions like COPD, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia, which often develop with age, account for nearly 90 percent of U.S. healthcare costs. By connecting patients with physicians and other care providers virtually and enabling quicker ability to address emerging health concerns, RPM can save enormous health costs with respect to reduction of physician and ER visits, early diagnosis of diseases, and mitigation of hospital admissions and readmissions. Over time, investments in the widespread adoption of RPM could help control costs and improve overall care – for governments, healthcare providers and families.

We believe that, to fairly and cost-effectively treat an ever-growing number of people needing care, RPM can and must become a “standard of care” targeting not only post-acute care management for heart attack, stroke and orthopedic and neurological surgeries, but also treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, heart disease, and dementia. Our hope is that by 2020, RPM is a medical standard of care and by 2025 at least 50 million people are benefiting annually in the United States from its deployment in medical and independent living use cases.  The technology industry is addressing the technical challenges and the remote care services vendor ecosystem has perfected the care workflows solutions.  Now, all key industry stakeholders must work together to proliferate and democratize access to remote care.  Platforms for RPM, initially deployed for medical uses, can be the digital bedrock of all distributed systems for medical and functional ability support on a national scale.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Building the Best Autonomous Brain

When I’m bumper-to-bumper in a sea of exhaust fumes and distracted drivers, it seems like autonomous driving can’t get here fast enough. Nor can the potential rewards that come along with fully autonomous vehicles, like far fewer accidents and mobility for people who struggle to get around on their own. To do my part, I’m focusing on how building the best autonomous brain for a car will get us there faster.

5 Things to Know About Autonomous Vehicles

Every day, we’re getting closer to the technology needed to power self-driving cars. But in-vehicle compute needs are complex, and autonomous driving algorithms are changing rapidly. So, the question is: What is the best long-term path to fast, safe decision-making? It all begins with the right compute for the right task. Here are five things you should know about the complex compute for autonomous driving.

 

It Takes More Than Deep Learning

Artificial intelligence is just one part of the story. And beyond that, AI is more than just deep learning. Yes, deep learning is key in teaching a car how to drive, especially when it comes to computer vision. But there will be several other types of AI at work in the fully autonomous vehicle, from traditional machine learning to memory- and logic-based AI. The fully autonomous vehicle will need a wide range of computing to support three intertwined stages of self-driving: sense, fuse and decide. Each stage requires different types of compute. In the first stage, the vehicle collects data from dozens of sensors to visualize its surroundings. During the second stage, data is correlated and fused to create a model of the environment. Finally, the vehicle must decide how to proceed. System designers need a flexible architecture to support all three stages, with an optimized combination of power efficiency and performance.

With a flexible, scalable architecture of CPUs, Intel Arria 10 FPGAs and other accelerators, our Intel GO automotive solutions portfolio leads the industry with a diverse range of computing elements that support all three stages of driving. But autonomous driving is much more than just in-vehicle compute; that’s why we offer a full car-to-cloud solution including 5G connectivity, data center technologies and software development tools to accelerate autonomous driving.
Smart AI consists of sensing, fusing and deciding.

 

No Fixed Architecture Can Keep Pace

Before system designers can achieve level four and five driving automation, they must determine how to best use different compute elements within the system to support each type of workload.

No fixed architecture can keep pace with the speed of innovation in AI and system design. Automakers and suppliers will need to be ready to change system designs down the road. Whether it’s to incorporate new algorithms or completely rethink compute to accommodate new workloads, system designers will need a flexible, scalable architecture. Simply put, they need interoperable and even programmable compute elements that don’t require them to start from the ground up every time they want to incorporate a new feature. With a flexible architecture of CPUs, FPGAs and other accelerators, future-ready solutions offer a diverse range of computing elements that can accommodate designs that may change long after hardware and vehicle design decisions have been made.

 

Driving the Future

Now is a time of tremendous opportunity as we continue to research and respond to the transformational changes before us. From powering Stanford University’s robotic car to serving as a premier board member of the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center’s Mcity, Intel is working alongside world-renowned research teams to understand the way people interact with connected cars. Intel has built autonomous vehicle labs in Arizona, California, Germany and Oregon. Here, we’re working hand in hand with our ecosystem partners to optimize customized solutions, road-test autonomous vehicles, and work toward common platforms that will speed broad industry innovation for the promising road ahead.

Learn more about the road to autonomous driving at intel.com/automotive. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Industrial Internet Creating Transformational Business Value

This is the second in a two-part blog series on trends in next-generation digital efficiency. In part one, I wrote about how commercial fleet vehicle management systems can drive efficiency while reducing CO2 emissions. To learn more, check out the eBook we created in partnership with GE Ecomagination titled “Digital Efficiency: Driving Decarbonization and Unlocking Business Value Across Industries.”

One of the most pressing global economic challenges today is the global productivity slowdown. That’s why I’m excited to share how the Industrial Internet has made marked advances resulting in both economic and environmental benefits, demonstrating the potential of what is to come as new solutions are developed, deployed and scaled across industries. There’s never been a more promising time for global, industrial digitization solutions.

 

Improving Digital Efficiency

Numers superimposed on a piece of machinery to represent a smart factory.

For most industrial segments, improving the efficiency of industrial machines by a mere 1 percent used to require a dedicated new technology introduction cycle that can take up to 10 years to develop. Today, thanks to the Industrial Internet, benefits are exceeding far beyond the traditional 1 percent target, without a lengthy technology introduction cycle or replacing hardware.

The industrial sector accounts for the largest share of energy consumption delivered and accounts for more than half of total delivered energy. This is why the Industrial Internet is transformative and opens the door to accelerated resource productivity and reduced environmental impact across global industrial systems such as power generation, oil and gas, aviation and rail transportation.

 

Renewable Energy: GE’s Brilliant Wind Farm

People in T-shirts and hardhats check out a laptop while wind turbines twirl across the landscape.

One of my favorite examples of the transformational change capable with the Industrial Internet is seen in the way GE’s PowerUp Platform has been extended to enable GE Digital Wind Farm. With this solution, GE extends analytics and optimization beyond a single wind turbine to the entire wind farm. GE harnessed the power of the emerging Industrial Internet to create the Digital Wind Farm, a dynamic connected and adaptable wind energy platform that pairs wind turbines in a wind farm with digital infrastructure to optimize efficiency across the entire wind farm. The GE Digital Wind Farm solution generates up to 20 percent more energy output thanks to the GE Predix-ready gateway with Intel technology.

This platform can account for the wind farm’s topology, surrounding geography, wake effects, and other inputs to control individual wind turbines and optimize the operation as a whole. Through these techniques, the Digital Wind Farm technology boosts a wind farm’s energy production by up to 20 percent and could help generate up to an estimated $50 billion value for the wind industry. The Digital Wind Farm uses interconnected digital technology to address a long-standing need for greater flexibility in renewable power.

 

The Future Looks Bright

A woman examines rows of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

As seen with GE’s Digital Wind Farm solution, Intel processors underline GE’s Predix solutions and provide both high power and flexibility. Powerful processors embedded in machines allow for software developed on Predix to run at the most effective point, embedded either in operations or in the cloud. Scaling out other solutions across industries in this manner, the combination of GE software and Intel hardware will provide the foundation for digital efficiency by enabling the development of Industrial Internet applications that provide the full range of potential economic and environmental benefits.

To be sure, a new world of possibilities is being unlocked through the Industrial Internet and digital solutions currently available and under development are just the tip of the iceberg. At GE and Intel, we are excited about the opportunity to play a role in helping to confront global resource challenges and accelerate the pathway to the low-carbon economy using digital technologies. The future has just begun and the best is yet to come.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Commercial Fleet Vehicle Management System Drives Efficiency, CO2 Reductions

This is the first in a two-part blog series on trends in next-generation digital efficiency. To learn more, check out the eBook we created in partnership with GE Ecoimagination titled, “Digital Efficiency: Driving Decarbonization and Unlocking Business Value Across Industries.”

Looking out across the vast Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, we’re seeing the emergence of digital technologies ushering in a new era of productivity for business and industrial operations, while also enabling new tools to approach global environmental challenges. Digital solutions, enabled by the Industrial Internet, can now lower operation costs, increase output, use natural resources more efficiently, and lower environmental impact enabling tremendous digital efficiency. The transformational opportunities made possible with digital efficiency as a critical differentiator are enormous.

Let’s look at fleet efficiency, for example. In a scenario where just a handful of digital solutions are scaled across key industries, such as fleet management, we estimate a potential return of $81 billion in annual cost savings to businesses, paired with a reduction of 823 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Let’s take a closer look at one such solution for improved cost-saving and energy efficiency.

 

Driving Fleet Efficiency

Truck wheels roll on, across an endless desert, sensing the future.

The big wheels of innovation were turning with a fleet management proof of concept enabled by Intel processors and GE’s Predix solutions for high power and flexibility. In this example, Intel assembled and tested a fleet management system proof of concept that can be customized to easily fit into a wide variety of commercial vehicles including taxis, school buses, and logistic freight vehicles. The architecture features an in-vehicle system based on the Intel Atom processor E3827 and sports data management, telematics, smart surveillance, and mobile applications.

Rather than fleet operators maintaining data manually, this solution collects real-time telematics data from sensors located inside the vehicle and sends it over as an Internet connection to the cloud, where it can be distributed to stakeholders or further processed by the data analytics software. The system gathers data associated with vehicles, terminals, stops, users, and driver schedules, allowing operations to run more efficiently and creating optimized routes.

Additionally, this proof of concept gathers driving pattern data. The occurrences of aggressive acceleration, braking, and turning were reduced by 57 percent, 30 percent, and 17 percent. As a result of the study, the drivers reduced their speed, which improved fuel economy. The application of data-driven insights also helped improve routes and driving behavior, as well as reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Digital Decarbonization

Sensors awaken, a bright car-to-cloud future, autonomous now.

As we’ve seen, the potential benefits of digital fleet management technologies, enabled by the Industrial Internet, to provide global environmental benefits will be dramatic and provide large market opportunities. Our analysis indicates that by 2030, the global gap between individual country carbon dioxide targets and carbon dioxide emissions is expected to grow to 2.6 Gt CO2 per year by 2030. This means that digital solutions alone have the potential to close nearly one-third of the gap between expected carbon dioxide emissions and stated country commitments!

This is a truly exciting time and the digital efficiency journey has just begun. The time is now for businesses around the world to lead their own digital efficiency revolution to increase their competitiveness and better manage the environmental impact of their operations.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Amazon Echo Show Ushers in Smart Home Transformation

We are closer to having autonomous homes, with advances in video, compute, and data processing capabilities being added to consumer products. This week marks the general availability of the Amazon Echo Show, which is notable not only for its popularity but also for delivering advanced sensing capabilities to a smart speaker. With a touchscreen, video capabilities, and a host of voice-enabled technology, the Echo Show is an evolution of the smart speaker, and it provides a peek into how our homes are evolving to be more perceptive, responsive and autonomous.

 

A family.

 

Computing Together

The silicon running the new Amazon Echo Show is the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, which delivers a low-power envelope, while also extending the classic product strengths and performance benefits of Intel technology. Some have questioned why Amazon needed this much horsepower. The answer is data. The Echo Show adds far-field voice, camera and display to the speech recognition processing of the original Echo. Smart Home technologies, such as the Echo Show, will traffic in terabytes of data.

There’s a lot of engineering involved in getting speech recognition at high degrees of speed and accuracy that deliver the best customer experiences. We worked with Amazon on this project for more than two years, and it required a massive team effort from hundreds of engineers and architects from all levels of Intel. We had great collaboration with Amazon and worked closely on the architecture, engineering and even marketing.

Collaboration is not only about bits and bytes, however. Our teams formed a lot of strong relationships and those were key to creating the foundation. As our corporate VP Gregory Bryant put it: “Intel and Amazon share a passion for customer experiences. This product is a reflection of the two companies coming together to drive innovation in the smart home and making these experiences come to life.”

 

Ease of Use is Key

One of the hurdles to smart home adoption has been the complexity. What happens now is someone orders a bunch of devices or buys some things in a big box store, and they plug them all in at home, and then something goes wrong. Their Wi-Fi isn’t efficient enough to support all the devices across the house, or the devices don’t all work together, or the homeowners can’t figure out how to set the network up, and, ultimately, they aren’t blown away by the potential of the smart home.

What the Echo has proven, is that when your devices go beyond answering questions to actually conversing with you and listening and learning your context, then they are proving their value. People are starting to appreciate the benefits from this initial round of speech-enabled products. They like the frictionless interaction through voice, and they are rapidly incorporating devices like the Echo Show into their day-to-day lives. Positive experiences are then encouraging them to take the plunge with other smart home technologies. According to Parks Associates, 53 percent of owners of smart speakers with personal assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, report having a smart home device as well.

 

It’s Only the Beginning…

With the growth of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing, Smart Home devices will continue to learn and improve and eventually automate many of the tasks of running the home, provide peace of mind and enrich daily life.

We’re seeing a lot of improvements in home connectivity, for example, which is absolutely critical to delivering excellent experiences. Foundational technologies transform the home from being merely connected to becoming smart — connectivity, speech, vision and cognition — and will bring about new ways for consumers to interact with technology and the world around them. With increasing speed, these and other innovations needed to power the smart home are within reach, and together with partners like Amazon we’re building the future, today.

For more information on connected smart homes, visit intel.com/smarthome. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Source: Network News

Intel and Rice Electronics Team up on Industrial Worker Safety and Productivity

Energy, manufacturing, utilities, and public safety are just some of the segments challenged by rapidly evolving technological, economic, and social forces. Combine these pressures with opportunities enabled by Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and we can create transformational changes to improve worker safety, accelerate productivity and efficiency, and lower costs. IoT won’t just empower things to perform efficiently—it will also empower workers to better perform their work and improve efficiency, safety, and health.

That’s why I’m so excited about Rice Electronics Connected Worker Solution with Intel IoT technology, designed specifically to increase industrial worker productivity and safety by combining smartphones from Rice Electronics with gas sensors used for toxic gas monitoring. By leveraging IoT devices—including wearables for workers, such as head-mounted displays (e.g., smart glass and smart helmets), devices worn on a wrist, belt, or body suit, smartphones, or tablets—the Intel IoT gateway aggregates information from connected workers for near real-time insights.

 

Creating a Safer Environment

Numers superimposed on a piece of machinery to represent a smart factory.

Connected worker solutions can make a world of difference. Did you know that the U.S. economic cost of worker injuries and illnesses is estimated to be more than $225 billion annually, with the bulk of the expense incurred after the accident happens. Industrial workers are at increased risk for accidents, exposure to environmental hazards, security threats, and even health emergencies. These workers may be found in mines, oil and gas refineries, factories, construction sites, warehouses, and in the field maintaining, inspecting, repairing equipment, and providing services to customers. They often work in settings outside the reach of traditional and cellular communication networks, leaving them without reliable voice or data communication.

 

Reducing Workplace Risks

A person wears connected weables for increased worker safety and productivity.

Intel conducted an extensive study, interviewing workers in the manufacturing, energy, public safety, warehouse, field service, and construction sectors. The resulting insight on key challenges found that many workers within industrial organizations:

  • Are unaware of imminent threats (e.g., toxins, weather risks) to worker health and safety until after safety has been compromised.
  • Lack real-time awareness of man-down situations or other incidents affecting worker well-being, resulting in delays in workers getting necessary help and putting them further at risk.
  • Do not know real-time worker locations (versus where they are expected to be). Companies are often unaware when unauthorized workers enter potentially dangerous areas, compromising security, and risking injuries or fatalities.
  • Lack real-time access to current information, so they may not be working with the latest data or missing key updates, resulting in costly rework or delays.

Whether dealing with threats to personal safety or accessing the latest information to maximize productivity, industrial workers need near-real-time communication and information to keep them productive and safe. Intel works closely with the ecosystem and system integrators (SIs) to deliver an effective, flexible, scalable end-to-end connected worker solution.

Tackling Tough Challenges


The Rice Electronics Connected Worker Solution with Intel IoT technology is already in use by industry. The solution includes an Android-based smartphone from Rice Electronics installed with connected worker applications, and an expert/supervisor online portal. The smartphone is designed to interface with various sensors and relays data to a remote command center via an Intel Atom processor-based gateway. Backend analytics and visualization complement near-real-time local intelligence and alerts from the gateway.

The solution helps significantly improve the productivity and safety of industrial workers. It provides robust two-way communication between workers and remote operation centers, while simultaneously sharing vital near real-time sensor data about the work environment. Data flows between the Rice Electronics smartphones, a sensor hub, the Intel-powered IoT gateway, and the remote command center, using connected worker applications for remote analytics.

 

Capabilities of the Rice Electronics Connected Worker Solution with Intel IoT technology:

  • Predicting imminent threats
  • Responding to potential man down or lone worker emergencies
  • Sending warnings and alerts in cases of gas toxicity
  • Sending notifications when there are imminent weather risks
  • Geo-fencing workers to monitor safety and keep communication lines open
  • Providing near-real-time communication to prevent accidents, support productivity, and offer timely training
  • Tracking worker locations Indoors and outdoors

 

Securing a Safer Tomorrow

A person wears connected glasses for near real-time insights in an industrial environment. With the Rice Electronics Connected Worker Solution with Intel IoT technology, workers are accounted for and their safety monitored with near real-time location tracking. Geo-fencing allows supervisors to help ensure that contract workers or trainees are not inadvertently trespassing into prohibited areas and putting themselves into danger.

In the case of an unconscious or injured worker, a generated alert can help ensure immediate assistance. With toxic gas monitoring capability, workers can be informed when thresholds are exceeded. This near real-time responsive capability is critical to save precious lives, as well as reduce damage in terms of insurance and equipment costs.

There are many reasons to be optimistic about a more connected future. Based on a pilot conducted at a utility company, Intel observed that location tracking and timely weather alerts speed responses to workers and can save lives. With Intel and Rice Electronics, companies have a feasible IoT solution to support, protect, and optimize work for a safer, and more productive, tomorrow.

Learn more about connected worker solutions at intel.com/connectedworker. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

The post Intel and Rice Electronics Team up on Industrial Worker Safety and Productivity appeared first on IoT@Intel.


Source: Network News

Why Cities Need to “Get Smart” About Pollution

When we think about protecting the environment, we often think of faraway issues like melting ice caps or dwindling rainforests.

The reality, however, is much closer to home. The World Health Organization estimates that 92 percent of the world’s population doesn’t have access to clean air. This is more than a health problem. The World Bank estimates that in 2013 air pollution was responsible for $225 billion in lost productivity.

Action must be taken by policymakers, the private sector, and citizens like you and me in order to safeguard the air we breathe. It falls to all of us because the conditions are worst in cities, where most of us live. Children are hardest hit by poor air quality, meaning that the pollution in major population centers is already affecting our future.

The good news is that we are building tools to tackle this problem head-on.

Intel worked with Bosch on the Bosch Air Quality Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS), an end-to-end solution that collects air quality information across large areas. At a fraction of the cost (and size) of previous systems, it can be deployed throughout a city or industrial zone, radically increasing the precision of air quality data.

While cities might have once paid $150,000-$250,000 for a single unit, the MCMS is affordable enough to be distributed throughout many neighborhoods or industrial areas. This is critical as disparities in traffic, population density, and industrial activity can mean drastically different levels of pollution across a city.

In fact, pollution levels can differ enormously from block to block. A new study used Google Street View cars to measure air quality in Oakland, collecting data every 100 feet. The results shocked researchers, demonstrating enormous variation depending on facts such as proximity to cement plants, auto body shops, and even restaurants. The MCMS offers a permanent solution to collect highly localized air quality levels.

Each device pushes measurements to the cloud, where they are broken down with analytics that are easy to understand. This puts large volumes of high-quality data in the hands of city or industry decision makers, giving them the tools to measure how well clean air policies are working.

In a major step forward, this data can also be shared directly with the public, empowering city inhabitants with real-time information about their surroundings. Knowing that pollution levels are high may lead some people to stay home, for example, or change their running route to avoid lung damage.

Things get even more exciting as we think through ways IoT systems will change the nature of city life. If we integrated an air quality monitoring system with a smart traffic network, we could detect traffic jams with high levels of air pollution as motors idle. It would be possible to redirect the flow of traffic, or instruct drivers to turn off engines as they wait.

This is only one opportunity on the horizon. Given access to large new pools of city data, entrepreneurs can transform issues like congestion into opportunities with traffic management solutions, connected lighting, and smart parking. City planners and developers will integrate connected features into their design process. There is much to be excited about; the rise of such smart cities will bring many positive changes to residents in tomorrow’s urban centers.

Smart cities are becoming a reality thanks to recent advances in technology. In the future our cities will depend on 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence, which offer the speed and compute power to deliver real-time insights to millions of city inhabitants.

This isn’t science fiction. In fact, 5G has already arrived; live demonstrations took place at Mobile World Congress earlier this year in Barcelona. Intel recently launched a residential trial of a 5G connected home in Speedway, Indiana, featuring livestreaming of high-resolution 4K 360-degree video, using VR headsets to showcase activity at the famed raceway nearby.

Before long, 5G  will offer better solutions to commuters as they begin their day, and before long 5G will be powering systems of autonomous vehicles, supporting a $7 trillion “passenger economy” by 2050.

We are ready for this revolution today thanks to the steady rise of processing power. Moore’s Law has brought the cost of powerful chips down to make the mass deployment of IoT devices possible.

Intel co-founder Robert Noyce once said, “Don’t be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful.” The rise of smart cities presents us an opportunity to do just that. Given that the health of our children is at stake, these technologies have arrived just in time.

To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

The post Why Cities Need to “Get Smart” About Pollution appeared first on IoT@Intel.


Source: Network News