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Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Local Motors unveils 3D printed autonomous car with drone

5 hours 26 min ago

Engineers from Local Motors have recently found a way to utilize a self-driving car, a 3D printer and a drone, all together in one amazing machine.

Working directly with Grant Imahara of Mythbusters, the engineers have produced a 3D printed, autonomous vehicle that comes equipped with its own 3D printed drone. Mouser Electronics provided the autonomous software, which allows the car to navigate alone, while the passenger operates the drone.  The drone then provides video feed back to the vehicle.  This allows the driver to discover possible traffic jam areas and enjoy the scenery in the area from a unique perspective.

See Also: US government says drones must now be registered

The drone has been created as the result of a recent contest.  The contest winner, Finn Yonkers, stated that he created “fly mode” due to wanting to flip the idea of autonomy on its side.

“So by introducing the element of flight, you are actually increasing the sensory experience of travel, giving you a viewpoint that’s out of context, so you’re not really inside the vehicle anymore,” he continued. You’re outside of it, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to expand on the experience.”

How Local Motors can use this in the future

According to Local Motors, the drone has other uses too, such as playing an augmented reality game, and sending the vehicle important information.

Who knows what the future will hold with this new technological breakthrough.  For now, it is certainly a cool machine for drone and autonomous car enthusiasts alike.

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Categories: Technology

UK’s Bristol wins laurels for its programmable city initiative

5 hours 57 min ago

The future-friendly city of Bristol received a notable Internet of Things (IoT) award for its programmable city initiative.
Globe Newswire said that the southwest U.K. city recently won the Smart City Award at the World Communications Awards & Internet of Things Awards in London.

The city was recognized for its Bristol is Open project, which is a joint venture between the Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol.

The ambitious initiative is essentially an open “programmable city” project that allows citizens to digitally contribute to the functioning of the city itself.

Specifically, the project creates an experimental high-performance software defined network. It achieves this using wireless networks, mesh networks and dedicated fiber deployed across Bristol.

The project was also hailed for its ability to draw together research organizations, technology companies, government and the public to develop and collaborate on next generation network research.

Bristol is Open included a number of notable partners such as Nokia, the University of Bath and InterDigital among others.

Showing the way for future smart cities

An example of industry involvement comes from wireless systems developer InterDigital which joined the project in late 2015. As part of Bristol is Open, the company capitalized on the project’s city-scale research and development network to determine how future cities can use programmable networks to solve large challenges.

As a result, InterDigital performed a live demonstration of a related video streaming innovation over the Bristol is Open test bed in February 2016.

The recognition of Bristol is Open follows a recent smart city research paper by Siemens Financial Services that identified nearly $7 billion in potential smart city funding.

After looking at private funding sources in 13 countries, the study concluded that the U.K. could rustle up $6.98 billion for smart city projects.

The paper modeled private sector financing opportunities to make up the shortfall in public funds that British smart city projects currently face.

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Categories: Technology

This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 10:49pm

Online clothes shopping has surged in the past few years, as consumers become more confident buying before trying. However, everyone has had one bad experience with size, length or fit and had to return or live with the mistake.

Wiivv Wearables wants to make the fear of a wrong size a thing of the past, by combining a 3D printer scanner with a smartphone. The measurements are then sent to the cloud, manufactured on a 3D printer, and sent to the customer.

See Also: GE spends billions to print 3D piles of IIoT money

The Vancouver-based startup only sells insoles at the moment, but the team is interested in expanding to fashion and sportswear in the future.

Cuts costs from $300 to $75

3D printing reduces the costs of insoles by nearly half, from $300-600 at an orthotics to $75 from the app. Wiivv also claims that the scanner is more accurate than an orthotics, so the insole may provide even more comfort to the customer.

The system only requires five photos of the foot at different positions to build an accurate model. We could see the same functionality being applied to the waist, chest, or legs to obtain accurate body measurements in a few minutes, though jackets and jeans may require more data than an insole.

3D printing has not democratized manufacturing in the way some would have liked, 3D printers are still too expensive for most people and too complex for beginners. Wiivv could be a nice midway point for manufacturing, allowing customers to customize their clothes to fit and look exactly how they want, and get them shipped at a reasonable price.

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Categories: Technology

Your business is already IoT-ready and here’s how

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:24pm

Chances are, your business is IoT-ready. Whether you are an information-based business, provide services, or sell products, you can improve your business by using the IoT even now.

Much of what we can do with the IoT is business analytics. This sounds fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as collecting a little data about your customers, employees, or business processes and then making changes based on what it says. Interestingly though, most businesses are collecting a lot of data.

See also: IoT and business models; building new tech and brands

Forbes recently reported that “80% of enterprises and 63% of small & medium businesses already have deployed or are planning to deploy big data projects in the next twelve months.”

The difference the IoT brings is that with low cost sensors, businesses can affordably collect data of their choosing from the physical world. The analytics wave was and is largely based on analyzing data that businesses already had sitting around in the cyber world. The IoT enables them to collect data from the physical world, not just their accounting or customer database.

Let’s get right to it. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of IoT applications that businesses can start using right now to gain value from the IoT. We’ll look primarily at two approaches using IoT applications—tracking and customer interaction—but there are many more.

If it moves, track it

Any business that deals with physical products or uses physical assets to render services deals with the problem of materials or inventory loss. In years past, tracking some items, like pallets or tools, was too expensive to justify and costly enough to make a dent in profitability. New low-power, wide-area technologies, which came of age in the last year or so, are more affordable and allow longer battery life.

This is important because it reduces the cost of maintenance and upkeep, allowing for a positive ROI for the first time. This means that you can now place trackers on inventory, tools, or other assets so that when it goes missing, you can find it. And more importantly, you can find out why it goes missing and address the actual problem, not just the symptom.

Another concern from some employers is tracking employees, their productivity, and keeping them safe. And this tracking doesn’t necessarily have to be about the employees. When collecting activity data on your entire workforce you can see patterns.

These patterns could show whether your company has laid out tasks in an efficient manner. Are forklift drivers taking too long in certain areas of the warehouse? Do employees have to wait for a certain task to be done before loading things up? Track them and find out. Of course, you can also find out which employees are more efficient than the others, and have quantifiable evidence. These can be used to help provide constructive feedback, thank the high performers, and for your performance reviews.

The IoT can improve workplace safety as well. If there are dangerous areas of the worksite, set your tracker to alert if anyone enters the area to notify them and management to keep them safe. Keeping track of a fleet of vehicles can also be done much more cheaply than in the past. Alerts can be set if vehicles leave a certain area, making sure employees stay on track.

Check in with your drivers without interrupting their work or distracting them from driving safely by automatically tracking the progress along their route. Vehicle gone rogue? Shut it down over the air. Track vehicle condition and perform preventative maintenance saving your company lost time and money. Using the IoT to improve your business doesn’t have to be off the wall and it doesn’t have to wait.

Engage with your customers…as IoT companies

The Internet of Things also allows for new ways to interact and engage with customers. Some companies, like Amazon, have gone about this in a very direct way. The Amazon Dash Button is a button you place in your home and when you hit the button it orders a product—like bags, paper towels, or whatever—that Amazon then delivers to you. It’s a simple idea, that makes shopping very simple for consumers. This is an example of using the IoT to interact with customers in new ways

Brick and mortar businesses can get involved as well. Suppose you are a store selling high-end pet products. You know that your foot traffic is pretty good, but you aren’t sure how that traffic relates to your customers’ purchases.

Customers come in, walk around, ogle your products, pick them up, put them back, think to themselves. You ask them if they need help, “no, just browsing” they say. During busy times these customers come and go so you can’t see what is being browsed, and it’s hard to remember anyway. Not all of these customers are browsing.

Some are checking out prices, comparing to other stores or online. And some are just curious what premium pet products even look like. In any case, with an instrumented sales floor you can now understand customer foot traffic and see where your customers, or rather, where your potential customers are going and what they are looking at. This combined with your sales data can give insight into how your store is “converting”.

Just like websites or presidential campaigns optimize their websites for conversions (downloads, or sales, or donations), stores can now do the same with low cost sensors.

Customer interaction can happen in other simple ways. Imagine again, you own a store and you would love to get some very simple feedback from your customers. So, when your customer finishes checking out you ask them to hit the green button on the counter if their customer service was satisfactory and the red if it was unsatisfactory. They smile (or frown) and tap the green or red button and go on their way.

This feedback could provide historical customer satisfaction data and enable you to track how well you are meeting the needs of your customers. You could also use this system to understand your employees to see if certain shifts have more difficult customers or have less service oriented employees.

The buttons could be more product-centric. They could have three options:

  1. I didn’t find what I wanted
  2. I found what I wanted, but it was too expensive
  3. I found what I wanted, and bought it

This on its own or combined with foot traffic data could be used to provide a profile for your company on its price competitiveness and customer satisfaction.

Much more is possible with a little creativity and your business is more likely than not ready to use the IoT to improve. Whether you sell products or services, specialize in information technology or premium pet products, you can put the IoT to work today.

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Categories: Technology

Alaska Air CIO flies off to build Dubai smart cities

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:35pm

Dubai is getting some high-flying help in developing smart cities by landing technology guru Veresh Sita

As reported by IDG’s CIO magazine, Emaar Properties recently wooed Sita away from his Chief Information Officer role with Alaska Airlines.

He will now take on the role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) with Emaar, one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest real estate developers.

Sita assist Emaar in developing digitally sophisticated residential and commercial properties using such cutting-edge technology as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

“We’re focused on transforming Emaar into a world class leader of digital and customer experiences,” said Sita.

This will culminate in the building out of “digital smart cities” that Sita explains will combine virtual and physical spaces seamlessly while anticipating the needs of its citizens.

“Imagine a city that embodies the convergence between a community of people and artificial intelligence, interacting together,” he said. “My current focus is to create customer experiences that are as iconic as the physical spaces that Emaar develops.”

Dubai Creek Harbour is a shining example

An example of Emaar’s future focus is Dubai Creek Harbour. Upon its completion the project will be among the world’s most digitally advanced residential developments.

As CDO, Sita will help enhance this and similar projects with emerging technology like robotic process automation, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, AI and machine learning.

Emaar’s move to up its digital game by hiring Sita is another reason why Dubai was recently crowned the Gulf region’s top smart city.

Instrumental in the city’s smart city leadership is the Smart Dubai roadmap. As part of this plan, Dubai aims to deliver 1,000 services via 100 initiatives by 2017.

Some smart city highlights from Dubai include: a smart mobility initiative for traffic control; improved power and water consumption through a smart grid program; smart health services; and mobile-enabled e-Government services.

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Categories: Technology

Data protection disputes set to surge in the next five years

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:09pm

With incidents of data breaches and other data protection issues on the rise, researchers are looking into just how much we can expect data protection disputes to rise in the next five years. This is the focus of a recent research study conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London in coordination with Pinsent Masons law firm.

The study found that disputes resulting from data and security breaches is expected to rise by as much as 191% in the next five years alone. 67% of respondents indicated that data breaches caused by employees was very common. This is compared to 70% that stated third parties are at least somewhat commonly responsible.

The study, which was conducted with 340 legal experts from around the world, also found that data protection disputes are also expected to increase as much as 104%.

Data protection issues currently make up 13% of all telecoms, media and technology (TMT) disputes. This increase would have a huge impact on IT companies’ bottom lines.

The importance of substantial data protection

For any company that deals with data of a significant and/or personal nature, data security and the legal costs that come with it are a big deal. When a large corporation such as a bank or a retail giant suffers a breach of its data stores, thousands and even millions of people are affected.

Information such as a person’s name, email address, financial information, health records, and passwords can be bought and sold on the black market quickly after it has been illegally obtained. This information can lead to a cascade of problems for the individual, including identity theft and financial ruin.

This became shockingly true for the 30 million people that used the popular infidelity site, Ashley Madison. A data breach on its servers had fallout that went well beyond simple identity theft. News of the breach, and the resulting data dump that outed thousands of government employees and officials in the United States alone, resulted in suicides and countless incidents of extortion.

For Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, this breach could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from class-action lawsuits being filed in several countries.

The challenge of protecting IoT data

Over the past year, the security of the Internet of Things has been brought into question. The widespread outage of popular websites like Amazon and Twitter that occurred in 2016 happened because IoT devices. These devices transmit and receive sometimes sensitive information, were found susceptible to malicious software injection.

Our home’s security systems, medical devices, and even our cars are becoming full-fledged computers with Internet connections. The type of data they gather and send to the cloud ranges from innocuous status updates to live video streams.

Protecting the IoT is paramount to preserving the security of its users’ data and the financial well being of their creators.

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Categories: Technology