Wine is a Mocker (Jan Steen, 1663–64)

The Industrial Internet of Things: When the Party is Over

By | AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Mergers & Acquisitions | No Comments

IoT Industry Snapshot and Predictions

The industrial Internet of Things community is finally beginning to sober up from the bacchanalia of counting connected IoT devices and terabytes of cloud data storage that has dominated the IoT narrative for too long.

IoT platform vendors and consultants are shifting their focus from the lower rung of the IoT technology stack that focuses on device connectivity to the other end of the stack, to technologies that provide meaningful business value: multidisciplinary data aggregation, complex data analytics and higher capacity for optimal decision-making.

Robust articulation of the business value of industrial IoT has been absent from much of the narrative, in the vein of “if you build it, they will come.” Many IoT platform vendors provide tools to draw snazzy dashboards, plot complex data graphs and display virtual gauges. But their data analytics tools are not as robust and trending and predictive capabilities are over optimistic. And the recent rush to add statistical analysis tools (often linear regression tools masqueraded as artificial intelligence and machine learning) will face real-world challenges of data biases, inconsistency and scale. Read More

Airstream by Ralph Goings (1970)

Get Real: How to Build a Useful Augmented Reality Application

By | AR/VR, Internet of Things, Service Technology | 2 Comments

Gauging Value in AR Service Applications

You know I have been very vocal in criticizing augmented reality (AR) applications that, in my opinion, demonstrated too little business value.  You have heard (or read) me referring these as righty-tighty lefty-loosey systems.

From time to time, clients and attendees of my public lectures challenge me for guidelines to help them gauge the potential business value of AR applications. If a simple air filter replacement procedure isn’t useful, then what is? Read More

King Alphonso Jean-Michel-Basquiat

Virtual Reality—Content is King

By | AR/VR | 4 Comments

We continue to be dazzled by eye catching virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies such as Facebook Oculus, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens. And we conveniently forget that these viewers are essentially just that — viewing contraptions; they have no intrinsic value without the appropriate content. They come to life, if you pardon the choice of idiom, only when they have content to display, virtual worlds to visit, business value to deliver. Think of the role of virtual reality content in Inception, in which Ariadne, an architect, is brought in to design three dream “layers” with paradoxically intertwined architectures and maze-like layouts. This design does not simply provide the visual backdrop—it becomes the plot.

(If you need a refresher on AR/VR display technologies, now may be a good time to pause reading this article and visit “A Gaggles of Goggles” in an excellent article on AR in Wired Magazine.)

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Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey

Augmented Reality and the Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey Demo

By | AR/VR, Field Service, Service Technology | 4 Comments

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology seems like a natural fit for personnel performing intricate assembly, maintenance and repair jobs. AR technology is used to annotate physical objects by superimposing physical objects, in real-time, with virtual information from documents, databases and sensors to assist technicians in performing complex tasks. For example, the AR annotation layer could highlight a part to be replaced, identify special tools needed for the task, prescribe detailed work instructions, and display warnings about potentially hazardous materials and activities.

Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the physical world, AR adds information that augments and enhances the real-world experience.

Work on using augmented reality in industrial settings dates back to the 1990s. The renewed interest in applying AR in service and maintenance tasks stems from two converging trends. Read More

2016: Trends, Predictions and Opportunities

By | AR/VR, Automotive, Internet of Things, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) | 5 Comments

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Still More Talk Than Walk

The torrent of breathless headlines, rosy economic predictions and novel business ideas will continue in 2016, but, overall, there will be more talk than walk. At the same time, the promise, even if overly optimistic, is real, meaningful and worth pursuing, and the number of companies exploring it will continue to grow.

Excitement over IIoT, bolstered by increased corporate budgets, will continue to fuel new initiatives and projects, although they will be mostly driven by the lines of business, resulting in one-off non-scalable implementations. Lack of adequate standards, and sometimes the availability of multiple of standards will contribute to the proliferation of “limited edition” IIoT.

Security and privacy concerns will linger.  Demonstrations of hackable devices and vulnerable industrial networks, especially with the United States presidential election campaigns that keep cybersecurity and rogue forces in the public eye, will impede large scale implementations, especially of public IIoT systems.  Companies that offer robust methods for securing the IIoT will get the attention of investors and industrial companies alike. Read More