Rolls Royce is Flying High with Azure IoT

Rolls Royce is Flying High with Azure IoT

Rolls Royce has over 13,000 engines in operation around the world, and they provide services to maintain those engines at peak performance. Today’s engines have thousands of sensors that can produce terabytes of data on long-haul flights. Making sense of all that data is critical in transporting customers safely and efficiently. That’s why they use a suite of tools from Microsoft to help iron out what all that data means. But adopting the right tools is easier said than done.

Avoiding operating disruptions is crucial to success at Rolls Royce. In fact, a single issue with a plane, and its inevitable effect to an entire airline, can cost up to one million dollars per day! Limiting these disruptions is the biggest reason for their investment in IoT technologies from Azure. Being able to identify problems before they arise has been invaluable for the manufacturer. With early notice, Rolls Royce can reduce inventory costs and maximize availability of parts. Saving airlines millions!

At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we know that it can be a challenge, that’s why we want to help you drive the transformation you need. Contact us today to find out how we can help.



Intelligence in the Cloud and on the Edge with Azure IoT

Intelligence in the Cloud and on the Edge with Azure IoT


Maximizing the impact of your IoT Proof of Concept Whitepaper. Download Here


The Internet of Things (IoT) is real and it’s here today, but to many of you, IoT may seem confusing and hard to understand how it applies to your business.

In this post, we hope to offer you further understanding on how Azure IoT could bring your business together in new, insightful ways – from generating new revenue streams, to increasing process efficiencies, and delivering better customer experiences.


What is IoT?

There’s a revolution underway that is positioning companies to take operational efficiency to new levels and inform the next generation of products and services. This revolution of course, is the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT, however is not a technology evolution. It’s a business revolution, enabled by technology. With Microsoft’s long history of driving business success and digital transformation for customers, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is also focused on powering the business revolution through its robust Azure IoT suite of products.

Azure IoT is for every business—it powers digital transformation by unlocking insights from connected devices. You can transform those insights into action through powerful applications to create new revenue and business opportunities.

With Microsoft’s IoT platform spanning the cloud, OS and devices, we believe it is uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer—regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors—can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world. The investment Microsoft announced just a couple of months ago will ensure that it continues to meet customers’ needs both now and in the future.

Microsoft’s IoT offerings today include what businesses need to get started, ranging from operating systems for devices, cloud services to control and secure them, advanced analytics to gain insights, and business applications to enable intelligent action. Microsoft has seen great traction with customers and partners who continue to come up with new ideas and execute them on their platform.

IoT isn’t one “thing”. It’s about an ecosystem of things or devices, the data and insights they generate, and the opportunity to take action based on the analysis of those insights.

  • Things: Build, manage, and monitor a network of physical objects by adding sensors and creating smart devices.
  • Insights: Collect data from your network and use advanced analytics to uncover new business insights and opportunities.
  • Action: Predict needs before they arise and act with precision based on unprecedented insights from your IoT network.

Why Azure IoT?

Microsoft has built a portfolio that supports the needs of all customers, and enables everyone to access the benefits of digital transformation.

Azure IoT Central is a fully managed SaaS solution that is best used when you need to get started quickly with minimal IoT experience. If your business is pursuing speed over customization, SaaS models could be the perfect fit for your IoT implementation needs. Organizations with fewer device models, more predictable scenarios, and limited IoT/IT capabilities can now reap the benefits of IoT through a SaaS approach. Those businesses that previously lacked the time, money, and expertise to develop connected products can now get started quickly with Microsoft IoT Central. Microsoft is leading the industry in providing a mature SaaS solution that meets common IoT implementation pain points.

azure iot lifecycle

Azure IoT solution accelerators is a customizable PaaS solution that is best used when you need a lot of control over your IoT solution. If your business is implementing IoT for connected operations, or have very particular customization requirements for your connected products, you can have the control you need with Azure IoT solution accelerators. Organizations with a large number of devices or device models, and manufacturers seeking connected factory solutions are examples of companies that can create highly customizable IoT solutions tailored to their complex needs.

In addition, Azure IoT Edge provides organization with the capacity to do local processing. When combined with a PaaS or SaaS solution, edge processing can offer faster calculations and reduce the cost of data sent to the cloud.


IoT Hub

IoT Hub is a managed service, hosted in the cloud, that acts as a central message hub for bi-directional communication between your IoT application and the devices it manages. You can use Azure IoT Hub to build IoT solutions with reliable and secure communications between millions of IoT devices and a cloud-hosted solution backend. You can connect virtually any device to IoT Hub.

IoT Hub supports communications both from the device to the cloud and from the cloud to the device. IoT Hub supports multiple messaging patterns such as device-to-cloud telemetry, file upload from devices, and request-reply methods to control your devices from the cloud. IoT Hub monitoring helps you maintain the health of your solution by tracking events such as device creation, device failures, and device connections.

IoT Hub’s capabilities help you build scalable, full-featured IoT solutions such as managing industrial equipment used in manufacturing, tracking valuable assets in healthcare, and monitoring office building usage.

  • Establish bidirectional communication with billions of IoT devices: Use device-to-cloud telemetry data to understand the state of your devices and define message routes to other Azure services without writing any code. In cloud-to-device messages, reliably send commands and notifications to your connected devices and track message delivery with acknowledgement receipts. Device messages are sent in a durable way to accommodate intermittently connected devices.
  • Enhance security with per device authentication: Set up individual identities and credentials for each of your connected devices, and help retain the confidentiality of both cloud-to-device and device-to-cloud messages. To maintain the integrity of your system, selectively revoke access rights for specific devices as needed.
  • Provision devices at scale w/ IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service: Speed up your IoT deployment by registering and provisioning devices with zero touch in a secure and scalable way. IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service supports any type of IoT device compatible with IoT Hub.
  • Manage devices at scale with device management: IoT Hub scales to millions of simultaneously connected devices and millions of events per second to support your IoT workloads. IoT Hub offers several tiers of service to best fit your scalability needs.
  • Multi-language and open source SDKs: Use the Azure IoT device SDK libraries to build applications that run on your devices and interact with IoT Hub. Supported platforms include multiple Linux distributions, Windows, and real-time operating systems. Supported languages include: C, C#, Java, Python, Node.js.  IoT Hub and the device SDKs support the following protocols for connecting devices: HTTPS, AMQP, AMQP over WebSockets, MQTT, MQTT over WebSockets.

Azure IoT Edge

Azure IoT Edge is a fully managed service that delivers cloud intelligence locally by deploying and running artificial intelligence (AI), Azure services, and custom logic directly on cross-platform IoT devices. You can run your IoT solution securely and at scale—whether in the cloud or offline.

Move cloud and custom workloads to the edge, securely: Azure IoT Edge moves cloud analytics and custom business logic to devices so that your organization can focus on business insights instead of data management. Enable your solution to truly scale by configuring your IoT software, deploying it to devices via standard containers, and monitoring it all from the cloud. With IoT Edge, your edge devices operate reliably and securely even when they’re offline or have intermittent connectivity to the cloud. Azure IoT device management automatically syncs the latest state of devices once they’re reconnected to ensure seamless operability.

Seamless deployment of AI and advanced analytics to the edge: IoT Edge allows you to deploy complex event processing, machine learning, image recognition, and other high-value artificial intelligence without writing it in-house. Run Azure services such as Functions, Stream Analytics, and Machine Learning on-premises. Create AI modules and make them available to the community.

Easily build AI at the edge with the AI Toolkit for Azure IoT Edge. Most data becomes useless just seconds after it’s generated, so having the lowest latency possible between the data and the decision is critical. IoT Edge optimizes for performance between edge and cloud while ensuring management, security, and scale.

Only a small fraction of IoT data acquired is meaningful post-analytics. Use services such as Azure Stream Analytics or trained models to process the data locally and send only what’s needed to the cloud for further analysis. This reduces the cost associated with sending all your data to the cloud while keeping data quality high.

Configure, update and monitor from the cloud: Azure IoT Edge integrates seamlessly with Azure IoT solution accelerators to provide one control plane for your solution’s needs. Cloud services allow users to:

  • Create and configure a workload to be run on a specific type of device.
  • Send a workload to a set of devices.
  • Monitor workloads running on devices in the field.

Compatible with popular operating systems: Azure IoT Edge runs on most operating systems that can run containers.

Code symmetry between cloud and edge for easy development and testing: IoT Edge holds to the same programming model as other Azure IoT services; for example, the same code can be run on a device or in the cloud. IoT Edge supports OS such as Linux and Windows, and languages such as Java, .NET Core 2.0, Node.js, C, and Python, so you can code in a language you know and use existing business logic without writing from scratch.

Secure solution from chipset to the cloud: Intelligent edge devices face security threats ranging from physical tampering to IP hacking. IoT Edge is designed for security that extends to different risk profiles and deployment scenarios, and offers the same protection you expect from all Azure services.


Azure Time Series Insights

Azure Time Series Insights is a fully managed analytics, storage, and visualization service for managing IoT-scale time-series data in the cloud. Instantly explore and analyze billions of events from your IoT solution.

IoT scale time-series data store: Time Series Insights manages the storage of your data. At its core, Time Series Insights has a database designed with time series data in mind. Because it is scalable and fully managed, Time Series Insights handles the work of storing and managing events. To ensure data is always easily accessible, it stores your data in memory and SSD’s for up to 400 days. If you’re building an application, either for internal consumption or for external customers to use, Time Series Insights can be used as a back-end for indexing, storing, and aggregating time series data.

Schema-less store, just send data: Today, many organizations are limited by siloed data that’s difficult to compare onsite in one location, let alone many. With Time Series Insights, you now have a view of your time-series data across all your locations. It’s built for IoT-scale data so that you can visualize and interact with billions of streams of sensor data from all your connected things.

Easy IoT Hub connection: Azure Time Series Insights requires no up-front data preparation. Connect to millions of events in your Azure IoT Hub or Event Hub in minutes. Once connected, visualize and interact with sensor data to quickly validate your IoT solutions. You can interact with your data without writing code.

Store, query and visualize billions of events: Time Series Insights provides a query service, both in the TSI explorer and by using APIs that are easy to integrate for embedding your time series data into custom applications. You can interactively query billions of events in seconds – on demand.

Get near real-time insights in seconds: Get more value out of your time-series data with storage, analysis, and visualization, all in one place. Time Series Insights ingests hundreds of millions of sensor events per day and makes up to 400 days’ worth of time-series data available to query within one minute to empower quick action. Gain deeper insights into your sensor data by spotting trends and anomalies fast, which allows you to conduct root-cause analyses and avoid costly downtime. Plus, unlock hidden trends by cross-correlating discrete data and viewing real-time and historical data simultaneously.

Build apps using Time Series Insights APIs: Integrate Azure Time Series Insights data into your existing applications or create new custom solutions with Time Series Insights REST query APIs. Adding Time Series Insights data into existing workflows will allow you to get more out of your time series data, and when you use this data to build custom solutions for your users, you’ll provide more value to your partners.


Azure IoT Central

Azure IoT Central is a fully managed global IoT SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage your IoT assets at scale. It allows you to bring your connected products to market faster while staying focused on your customers and it reduces the complexity of IoT solutions because it doesn’t require cloud solution expertise.

azure iot central

Fully hosted and managed by Microsoft: Azure IoT Central applications are fully hosted by Microsoft, which reduces the administration overhead of managing your applications.

As an operator, you use the Azure IoT Central application to manage the devices in your Azure IoT Central solution. Operators can perform tasks such as:

  • Monitoring the devices connected to the application.
  • Troubleshooting and remediating issues with devices.
  • Provisioning new devices.

No cloud development expertise required: You can build production-grade IoT applications in hours, without worrying about managing infrastructure or hiring developers with specialized skills. Reduce the complexity of customizing, deploying, and scaling an IoT solution. Bring your connected solutions to market faster—while you stay focused on your customers.

Device connectivity and management: Easily build and configure your IoT solution using Azure IoT Central without cloud development expertise. The easy-to-use interface makes it simple for you to connect, manage, and control access to millions of connected products remotely, throughout their lifecycle.

Monitoring rules and triggered actions: To monitor and manage the devices effectively, users can define the different types of measurements emitted by it and displayed by the application. Microsoft IoT Central supports measurements types such as telemetry including device-emitted numeric values, often collected at a regular frequency (e.g. temperature), events including device-emitted numeric or non-numeric values generated on the device, with no inferable relationship over time (e.g. button press and error code), and state including device-emitted numeric or non-numeric values which defines the state of a device or one of its parts and maintained until the state change is informed by the device (e.g. Engine ON). 

User roles and permissions: Roles enable you to control who, within your organization, can perform various Azure IoT Central tasks.

Analytics, dashboards and visualization: Microsoft IoT Central integrates Azure Time Series Insights – a fully managed analytics, storage, and visualization service for managing IoT-scale time-series – to enable users to explore and analyze billions of events streaming simultaneously from devices deployed all over the world. Microsoft IoT Central provides massively scalable time-series data storage and several ways to explore data, making it super easy to explore and visualize millions of data points simultaneously, conduct root-cause analysis, and to compare multiple sites and assets. Within an application, time-series visualization is available for a single device, for a Device Set – with the ability to compare multiple devices – and as a multi-purpose Analytics tool.


IoT Solution Accelerators

IoT solution accelerators are a collection of complete, ready-to-deploy, IoT solutions that implement common IoT scenarios such as remote monitoring, connected factory, and predictive maintenance. When you deploy a solution accelerator, the deployment includes all the required cloud-based services along with any required application code.

azure iot accelerators

The solution accelerators are starting points for your own IoT solutions. The source code for all the solution accelerators is open source and is available in GitHub. You can also use the solution accelerators as learning tools before building a custom IoT solution from scratch. The solution accelerators implement proven practices for cloud-based IoT solutions for you to follow. The application code in each solution accelerator includes a dashboard that lets you manage the solution accelerator.

All the solution accelerators follow the same design principles and goals. They are designed to be:

  • Scalable: letting you connect and manage millions of connected devices.
  • Extensible: enabling you to customize them to meet your requirements.
  • Comprehensible: enabling you to understand how they work and how they are implemented.
  • Modular: letting you swap out services for alternatives.
  • Secure: combining Azure security with built-in connectivity and device security features.

Preconfigured solutions

Remote Monitoring: Use this solution accelerator to collect telemetry from multiple remote devices and to control them. Example devices include cooling systems installed on your customers’ premises or valves installed in remote pump stations.

Connected Factory: Use this solution accelerator to collect telemetry from industrial assets with an OPC Unified Architecture interface and to control them. Industrial assets might include assembly and test stations on a factory production line.

Predictive Maintenance: Use this solution accelerator to predict when a remote device is expected to fail so you can carry out maintenance before the predicted failure happens. This solution accelerator uses machine learning algorithms to predict failures from device telemetry. Example devices might be airplane engines or elevators.


You Can Trust Azure

Microsoft understands every company, organization, and industry has unique needs and requirements. This is why they’re continuing to invest in their global infrastructure to provide the scale and performance needed to bring applications closer to users, keep them running with robust resiliency features to better meet your local data residency and compliance needs.


Still Have Questions?

The professionals at Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. can help. We’d like to talk to you about how your organization can leverage the power of IoT!


Practical Power BI Dashboard Design In 60 Seconds

Practical Power BI Dashboard Design In 60 Seconds

As one of the premier data visualization tools for the enterprise, Microsoft Power BI can become an indispensable tool. However, to make the most of Power BI, you must first consider your audience. Here are a few tips to help you build the best dashboard for your business.

  • Power BI is a dashboard tool to monitor the current state of your data using the included reports. Make sure to avoid unnecessary information – your users may experience information-overload.
  • Dashboards are intended to be used at a glance, your tiles need to be properly organized using the full-screen mode.
  • Try resizing your tiles to prioritize key metrics – larger tiles are naturally seen as more important.
  • Place the most important metric in the top left corner as it will be where viewers will start using the dashboard.

If you need a bit more help designing your dashboard, here are a few books:

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their data visualization problems.  Everything from designing data warehouses to implementing Power BI initiatives for the enterprise, we bring world-class consultants to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.

WEBINAR: Microsoft Power BI Solution for System Center Configuration Manager

WEBINAR: Microsoft Power BI Solution for System Center Configuration Manager


Microsoft Power BI Solution for System Center Configuration Manager

It is shocking how little the reporting functionality of SCCM is used in many enterprises. The amount of last minute effort a company will expend to obtain basic environmental information is also shocking. There is an extensive amount of data that is stored in the SCCM database. Hardware functionality, software configuration, patch compliance, end point protection, and bit locker state are just a few of the items that can be reported on from the SCCM database by using PowerBI. By using a platform such as PowerBI, not only do you eliminate the need to create scripts for collecting inventory but your data can be readily available when you need to report on it. Software and operating system roll out, for Windows 10, can also be monitored in a near-real-time fashion and ease some of the status reporting conflicts that you may experience. Microsoft provides a cloud based PowerBI template that links directly into SCCM and provides many benefits over traditional SSRS reporting. The Microsoft solution is extensible and is based on the PowerBI service in the cloud. However, this functionality can also be also be brought on-premise using PowerBI Desktop.


About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

4 Ways the Internet of Things Will Help You, Your Business and Your Customers

4 Ways the Internet of Things Will Help You, Your Business and Your Customers

The Internet of Things helps your business.  So, what exactly does that mean?  Mobile isn’t just about connecting people. It’s about connecting things and perhaps one day ALL things. The concept has a name: “The Internet of Things”. It is a development of the internet in which everyday objects are capable of “talking” to each other through network connectivity and constant data transfer.

The Internet of Things

This doesn't necessarily mean your refrigerator gets a Twitter account, or your dishwasher can log in to your Facebook account to tell friends you're cleaning dishes. The IoT is bigger, much bigger.

Here are a few everyday examples of the Internet of Things on a consumer level:

  • A smart door that delays locking for 30 seconds to allow you to enter and grab the keys you just left.
  • An internal heart monitor implanted in your arm that is powered by your body's own thermal energy. It monitors your heart rhythm and detects the smallest arrhythmias. It will even send a text alert when it detects alarming changes.
  • A smoke alarm that sends a message to motion detectors throughout your house. If no movement is detected, it sends a signal back to the smoke detector which then sends a signal to the local fire department.
  • An app that uses color and motion to attract shoppers to certain products in a grocery store. The LED lighting system is a revolutionary concept changing the way you shop and how stores sell. View the video demo:

Hussmann Video



Yes, the Internet of Things is a hot new area that's changing business.  As most business owners have at least heard or read about the Internet of Things, many of these decision makers miss the big question: HOW? How can the Internet of Things help you, your practice, and most importantly your customers?

The Internet of Things Helps Your Business

1. Competition – Do you want a jump start on your competition? Businesses are already taking advantage of the IoT by connecting devices whose data help form insights that lead to better decision making. Maybe it is real-time troubleshooting of remote devices or enabling an irrigation system to provide just the right amount of water for the conditions at that moment – the possibilities are limitless.

2. Assets – Want to get more from existing assets? We all know that replacing devices is costly, but what if you didn’t have to go through the refresh? Make simple additions to your current equipment. These connections allow them to talk to each other, your employees and your customers. The insights from this data collection can help you determine what your employees and customers want and need before it’s too late to make adjustments.

3. Returns – Would you like larger returns on smaller changes? Things often start small and the IoT is no exception. Connecting devices in a factory could help you cut seconds off of a process that leads to thousands of hours reclaimed. Adding heat sensors to connected devices could help you monitor and better maintain your equipment saving you from costly outages. The IoT doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can see big returns from small changes.

4.  Agility – Want to increase your agility? IoT is all about connecting devices to gather and analyze data and make better business decisions. It’s no surprise then that these insights would help you respond more quickly across the board. Whether it be customer demand, changes to your supply chain, maintenance schedule, or sourcing materials, the IoT can help you make informed decisions, in the now, without the wondering.

The IoT is happening as we speak. Agility and business intelligence is increasing.  All around the world more and more devices are being connected.  Looking to transform your business?  The IoT might just be your starting point.


About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

Disruptive Innovation: The Internet of Your Things

Disruptive Innovation: The Internet of Your Things

Internet of Things versus Internet of Your Things.  What's the difference?  It's driving a new wave of technical innovation. We are seeing the relevance of this technology in customers across the board, but what exactly is the internet of things?  If you ask an analyst, it’s billions of interconnected devices. Consequently, if you ask a business leader, it’s a new source of gadget-driven revenue. Then ask us, geeks?  Well, it’s about drones with lasers being piloted by robots. Each is somewhat true.

The Internet of Things vs. The Internet of Your Things

While other industry experts might disagree, I see the IoT a little bit differently. The Internet of things is about your business. It’s about the devices that exist around you and how one device can drive disruptive innovation in your industry, not billions of device, gadgets, or lasers. Just one device.

What's Really Going On?

In reality, the Internet of Things is an analyst concept. True disruption comes from the internet of YOUR things. The following are a few examples of ways our customers have changed their business through the ioYt.

Hussmann Example

  • Hussmann: Identifying that lighting influences buying decisions, Hussmann and Oakwood were able to partner together to build an ioYt solution that subtly changes lighting colors, intensity, and animation to showcase products in a new way.
  • With little change to their product line, we were able to help them start a journey from commodity manufacturing to industry innovator. Leveraging the power of devices connected to the cloud, they are able to shape the customer's experience.
  • This has already proven to increase sales for the customers deploying their Splash case product. See the product demo:
 A St. Louis Leader in the services space took a more traditional approach to the internet of your things. By geo-tagging equipment and integrating mobile devices, they are better able to manage their remote workforce and have freed their employees from busy work at the desk. The cost savings of this minor change to operations has paid off 6-fold in the year one alone.

For the geek in all of us: Bizzby (not an Oakwood client) took a very advanced approach to the internet of your things. They decided to “pull a Netflix” & knock the resident giant in the shipping industry out of their ivory tower. Taking UPS head on, they ARE using drones, piloted by robots, to tackle challenges. Bizzby is offering a service that works with your smartphone to request a drone, insert your package, & ship it out. You can read more about that here.


Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.


About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

IoT Technology: Quadriplegic Race Car Driver Tops 100 MPH at Indy 500

IoT Technology: Quadriplegic Race Car Driver Tops 100 MPH at Indy 500

Ready to learn more about IoT technology?  The Internet of Things is a broadly defined new concept that is getting significant attention. But, what is it? As a basic definition, it is connecting disparate “things” to communicate together to improve people, processes, and business.

Internet of Things Technology

 


Video courtesy of Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics, a company that focuses on machine to machine intelligence, helped a quadriplegic race car driver complete qualifying laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway using the Internet of Things technology.

The Internet of Things is a broadly defined new concept that is getting significant attention. But, what is it? As a basic definition, it is connecting disparate “things” to communicate together to improve people, processes, and business.

Real World Example

Arrow Electronics' CEO, Mike Long, set a goal for the company in June 2013 to have an experimental car ready for the 2014 Indy 500. Then the idea came: Why not modify a Corvette so it could be driven by a person with quadriplegia. Arrow Engineers got together with the Craig Rehabilitation Hospital and Ball Aerospace to brainstorm how to create a “working human-machine interface”. Not too long after, SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) was created.

The next step was to find someone to drive the car. Before long, Joe Verrengia, director of corporate responsibility, found Sam Schmidt. Schmidt was a successful Indy-car owner and former driver, who because of a crash during off-season testing is now a quadriplegic. Schmidt's response to the request: “Make sure the car can go faster than 100 mph”.

The IoT

SAM is a great example of the broadly defined Internet of Things. It has sensors, infrared cameras, actuators and GPS transceivers that all work together to allow Schmidt to drive. The steering was the tricky part. Schmidt only had the ability to move his head, this presented quite the challenge for engineers.

Engineers at Ball Aerospace took the challenge head-on and designed a computer to convert the driver's head movements into code that translated to the computer when to speed up, steer and slow down the car. The Ball website describes it as “An infrared camera mounted in the car, and sensors placed on headgear worn by Sam tracked the angle and movements of his head; a bite-sensor device brakes the car when he bites down.” The engineers programmed the computer to ignore a list of certain head movements including sneezing. Schmidt also had a co-pilot who could take over if needed.

Read the full article

Interested in the Internet of Things? Wonder how you can utilize it using your existing infrastructure, devices, and processes? Join Oakwood and Saint Louis University for a complimentary event on the Internet of Things for Retail, Manufacturing, and Healthcare

Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace and the Indy 500 are not affiliated with Oakwood Systems Group.

Case Studies

Review our case studies and see how we have helped companies conquer business projects and challenges.


Next Steps…

Contact one of our line of business or sales specialists.  Let's have a business conversation about your key challenges.  Our qualified staff is skilled at moving quickly to develop a scope of work and align the best resources for the job.  We will spend 15 minutes identifying your needs, business goals, budget, and timeline.

Internet of Things: It’s Not Just About Connected Devices, It’s the Change in Business Model

Internet of Things: It’s Not Just About Connected Devices, It’s the Change in Business Model

The Internet of Things: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?


There has been a lot of talk about the Internet of Things.  What's going on?  Why is it important to you?  How is it going to affect your business and your company's future?

Enjoy this video and learn more about what is going on.  Microsoft's Modern Workplace episode features Frank Burkitt, the author of “The Strategists Guide to the Internet of Things”, and Kevin Ashton, the 'Father of the Internet of Things.'






About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Internet of Things

A Beginner’s Guide to the Internet of Things

Well, you've likely heard the phrase “Internet of Things” — or IoT — at some point, but you might also be scratching your head figuring out what it is or what it means.  The IoT refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fares such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things grows in the next few years, more devices will join that list.

Business Insider, a leading trade publication, focuses on the growing and evolving trends in digital, offers this compelling and insightful overview of what the Internet of Things will do for us in the near future.  Below is an overview of understanding key positioning points for IoT. Business Insider has compiled a guide to the IoT to help you navigate the increasingly connected world.

Terms and Basic Definitions

Below, we've provided a glossary defining the Internet of Things:

  • Internet of Things: A network of Internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.
  • Internet of Things Device: Any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location.
  • Internet of Things Ecosystem: All the components that enable businesses, governments, and consumers to connect to their IoT devices, including remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, data storage, and security.
  • Entity: Includes businesses, governments, and consumers.
  • Physical Layer: The hardware that makes an IoT device, including sensors and networking gear.
  • Network Layer: Responsible for transmitting the data collected by the physical layer to different devices.
  • Application Layer: This includes the protocols and interfaces that devices use to identify and communicate with each other.
  • Remotes: Enable entities that utilize IoT devices to connect with and control them using a dashboard, such as a mobile application. They include smartphones, tablets, PCs, smartwatches, connected TVs, and nontraditional remotes.
  • Dashboard: Displays information about the IoT ecosystem to users and enables them to control their IoT ecosystem. It is generally housed on a remote.
  • Analytics: Software systems that analyze the data generated by IoT devices. The analysis can be used for a variety of scenarios, such as predictive maintenance.
  • Data storage: Where data from IoT devices is stored.
  • Networks: The internet communication layer that enables the entity to communicate with their device, and sometimes enables devices to communicate with each other.

IoT Predictions, Trends, and Market

There will be more than 24B  IoT devices on Earth by 2020. That's approximately four devices for every human being on the planet.

And as we approach that point, $6B will flow into IoT solutions, including application development, device hardware, system integration, data storage, security, and connectivity. But that will be money well spent, as those investments will generate $13 trillion by 2025.

Who will reap these benefits? There are three major entities that will use IoT ecosystems: consumers, governments, and businesses. For more detail, see the Industries section below.

IoT Industries

Several environments within the three groups of consumers, governments, and ecosystems will benefit from the IoT.  These include:

ManufacturingTransportationDefenseAgriculture
InfrastructureRetailLogisticsBanks
Oil, gas, and miningInsuranceConnected HomeFood Services
UtilitiesHospitalityHealthcareSmart Buildings

IoT Platforms

One IoT device connects to another to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols.  These platforms serve as the bridge between the devices' sensors and the data networks.

The following are some of the top IoT platforms on the market today:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • ThingWorx IoT Platform
  • IBM's Watson
  • Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
  • Salesforce IoT Cloud
  • Oracle Integrated Cloud
  • GE Predix

IoT Security & Privacy

As devices become more connected thanks to the  IoT, security, and privacy have become the primary concern among consumers and businesses. In fact, the protection of sensitive data ranked as the top concern (at 36% of those polled) among enterprises, according to the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report.

Cyber attacks are also a growing threat as more connected devices pop up around the globe. Hackers could penetrate connected cars, critical infrastructure, and even people's homes. As a result, several tech companies are focusing on cybersecurity in order to secure the privacy and safety of all this data.



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