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PM Trudeau Launches Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge

Today at the Canadian Federation of Municipalities conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau soft-launched the much anticipated Smart City Challenge, an idea that has been circulating since the fall, with today’s announcement laying out the details of the prize structure.

The Smart Cities Challenge is a Canada-wide initiative for communities to get together and generate ideas for how their city can better live, work and play. Communities of all sizes will compete to win government grants to implement the very best of the ideas. The prize pool was announced today and is tiered with prizes for large, mid-sized and small communities as well an additional prize for the most innovative Indigenous community.

As a proudly Canadian company, we’re pleased to see Canada proactively making these investments and taking a leadership role on the world stage. For the past several years, Solace has worked with countries around the world on deploying technology that improves information flow and implements new services for citizens in Japan, the United States, Taiwan, Spain, Switzerland and Singapore. … Read the rest

Emphasis on SAP Leonardo at SAPPHIRE NOW 2017

This week at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando the focus was on SAP Leonardo, an “innovation services platform” that offers advanced services in the areas of IoT, machine learning, big data analytics and blockchain. It’s an ambitious project that builds on SAP Cloud by adding business services designed to help companies embrace IoT at scale and modernize their traditional workloads while transitioning to the cloud.

In addition, SAP has started layering vertical projects on top of Leonardo, such as SAP Connected Goods for retailers and SAP Vehicle Insights for firms managing fleets of connected “planes, trains and automobiles.” It’s all a logical path forward for a company with such deep industry expertise and customer relationships.

These applications are all layered above a set of core PaaS services within the SAP Cloud Platform, including SAP Enterprise Messaging. As we have previously announced, Solace is the messaging foundation of that service, at the core of all these high-volume real time data streams.… Read the rest

“Industry 4.0” is Driving Event-Driven Architecture to the Forefront of Modernization in Europe

The term “industry 4.0” originates from a German government initiative focused integrating the manufacturing industry with internet technologies.

The initiative aims to accelerate the integration of next-generation technologies like big data, cloud, high-performance computing and the Internet of Things with advancements in areas like artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and 3D printing. It aims to achieve this goal by fostering public-private partnerships, encouraging interoperability standards, and reducing or removing outdated regulatory restrictions.

The concept of this “digital transformation” of manufacturing has spread to include many industries such as logistics and transportation, oil and gas exploration, building maintenance, utilities, traffic management and even healthcare. The concept has caught on in a big way, as shown by this map that highlights a number of industry 4.0 initiatives, some of which refer to the trend as “Smart Industry.”

Whatever it’s called, the effects will be far ranging on both businesses and consumers as companies modernize through embracing these transformational technologies.… Read the rest

Integrating IoT Devices with Datacenter Resources on the SigFox Network

We’ve recently been doing some work with a French company called Sigfox that has some ambitious goals for enabling the Internet of Things. Rather than using a general-purpose IP-based cellular network, which requires significant power and silicon for basic connectivity, they’ve developed a purpose-built network designed to meet the needs of millions or even billions of low-powered IoT devices. They believe they can reduce power requirements enough that many devices can run without batteries (powered by solar for example) and with a fraction of the communications silicon required to connect via other wireless networks. Exciting stuff!

At Solace, we have taken a similar approach to tackling the challenges of data movement by tackling the right tools for the right jobs. Sophisticated messaging and streaming in the back office, WAN optimization for efficient cloud synchronization and lightweight protocols and APIs for IoT devices.

This shared vision is what brought our two companies together and what has led to some of my efforts building a proof-of-concept application that shows the capabilities of our combined solutions.… Read the rest

Infographic: Meeting the Diverse Data Movement Needs of the IoT

The Internet of Things is finally happening at mass scale as the cost of the sensors, networks and computing power has made the economics work. There are many articles on the web that focus on the sensors, the processes and the opportunity for analytics to drive new efficiencies using IoT, but not much has been written about the many protocols you can use to get data flowing between them.

Solace’s Young Kwon has written a pair of articles that focus on how real-time data moves from place to place within IoT architectures: the introducctory “Why IoT Needs Messaging” and Understanding IoT Protocols – Matching your Requirements to the Right Option.

The second post, which is introduced and summarized by this infographic, explains the four different ways data moves around the Internet of Things (device to device, device to gateway, gateway to data system and between data systems), and breaks down how well some of the most popular data movement protocols apply to each kind of interaction.… Read the rest

Can Blockchain Secure the Internet of Things?

In December, a group of companies interested in using blockchain as a tamper-proof method in IoT applications held a meeting, New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit, in Berkeley, California. The goal was to define the scope and implementation of a “smart contracts” IoT protocol layer. This consortium includes startups like Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, along with a few large companies like BNY Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, Gemalto and Foxconn.

The consortium agreed thatsecurity, trust, identity and registration and verification would be the cornerstones of any common protocol, while also acknowledging the need for integration and interoperability across multiple chip types, communication protocols, proprietary platforms, cloud service providers, and blockchain systems.

Currently participation in the group is voluntary without any formal membership or governance structures, emphasizing fast-moving open source collaboration.… Read the rest

Understanding IoT Protocols – Matching your Requirements to the Right Option

The Internet of Things is finally happening at mass scale as the cost of the sensors, networks and computing power has made the economics work. There are many articles on the web that focus on the sensors, the processes and the opportunity for analytics to drive new efficiencies using IoT, so I will focus on how the data moves from place to place within the architecture. I have also written a blog post called  “Why IoT Needs Messaging” that you might find interesting.

In an IoT architecture there are four different kinds of connections across which data moves:
1) device to device, 2) device to gateway, 3) gateway to data system and 4) between data systems.

iot-protocols-diagramRead the rest

Why the Internet of Things Needs Messaging

The number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) surpassed the number of smartphones and personal computers some time ago, and will overtake the number of people on the planet this year.  Gartner estimates that over 20 billion devices will be connected to IoT by 2020, growing at about 30 percent annually.

Most IoT projects involve only a few hundred or thousand connected devices, but even a seemingly simple application can require hundreds of thousands of connections between devices and generate millions of information updates a second depending on the frequency of updates from those devices.

An IoT architecture with many devices, intermediary nodes (where aggregation and processing may occur) and back-end systems like applications and analytics engines was once an extreme example of distributed computing, but is the new norm.

iot-architecture

With so many nodes as part of a single application, you can be sure that something will always be wrong somewhere – devices will need repair, the aggregating nodes will break or reach capacity, or some datacenter asset will be offline. … Read the rest

GOES-R Launch Today – Calling all Space Nerds and Weather Channel Junkies!

Sometimes when I come home, I find my wife watching the weather channel. “We live in California.” I point out, “The weather is the same every day. Why are you watching the weather channel?” Of course I am (mostly) kidding. For centuries the weather has been a central connection to the planet and a daily experience we share with each other. A moment-by-moment reminder that we live as part of a complex ecosystem that is at times the source of great pleasure and at other times of great destruction.

Meanwhile, I am a bit of a geek about space. Early in my career, I heard Gene Kranz tell the story of the ground team in Houston bringing Apollo 13 back to earth using slide rules and impromptu calculations done in real time on paper. With pencils. Amazing. I’m equally inspired by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic as they bring space within reach, probably within our lifetime.… Read the rest

Smart City Meetup: Lessons Learned from Singapore

wazerwcDo you live in a smart city?
Do you wish you lived in a smart city?

Every time I venture out here in Silicon Valley, I wish all sorts of data and services were readily available, on demand and in real time. I’d like my water company to tell me I have a leak, my power company to tell me how my systems are doing, my traffic lights to intelligently decide their cycles for traffic.

That is the start of a smart city.

A smart city uses connected devices and sophisticated communications to deliver innovative services, reduce costs for service providers and allow citizens to improve the running of the city. With sensors planted measuring everything from traffic congestion to street lights, from water delivery to bus route and coverage and even energy demand and pollution, a smart city can really meet the demands of the next megatrends in urban needs.… Read the rest