6 Cool, Connected Solutions At IoT Solutions World Congress

IoT Solutions From Around The World

Companies from around the world will gather in Barcelona this week to exchange ideas and show off their coolest solutions in the Internet of Things market.

This year’s IoT Solutions World Congress will feature 220 manufacturers, distributors and service providers. The applications vary widely but all are generally aimed at how IoT continues to bring efficiency to industries like retail, construction, and manufacturing. Several of the companies at this year’s show have worldwide channel partner programs.

This year, companies are focusing on their top security and industrial IoT solutions, showing how they integrate multiple technologies to provide one solution and how they are successfully bringing these solutions to market. Here are the six coolest connected solutions to look out for at the show.

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How do you fuel the IoT? Data, data, data

It is impressive that modern technology and the way that now, more than ever, it is able to learn and adapt. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast network of connected objects which, through real-time data, can continuously improve our everyday lives.

Take driverless cars for example, if you hit a bump in the road or there’s a diversion, the car will document this and not only inform that driver, but all other vehicles on the road using the cloud. That’s what happens when machine learning meets the Internet of Things. And it’s all fuelled by real-time data.

A new kind of data

Data is the lifeblood of the Internet of Things (IoT). It animates a new generation of powerful, connected devices that have already begun to dramatically impact our world, and self-driving cars are only one example.

Westminster City Council has converted over 14,000 street lights under the banner of their Smart Lights Project. The brightness of the lights is monitored by the council’s CCTV system, which dim the lights at less busy times and makes energy savings of about 20%. The council hopes to save £8.4 million over the 20-year lifespan of the lights, through reduced energy costs and maintenance requirements.

Moving away from London, Bristol is another leading smart city in the UK. City planners have created an appthat uses satellite mapping and planning data to provide alternative routes around the city that are suitable for wheelchair users. This means navigating dangerous routes are a thing of the past and citizen life is dramatically improved.

As computing power becomes increasingly distributed into the devices and infrastructure around us, the data generated by those devices will invariably play a larger role in our everyday lives. How much larger? Well, with IoT, a magnitude more.

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FinancialForce Appoints Chief Product Officer to Accelerate Product Strategy Development and Innovation

FinancialForce, the leading cloud ERP provider for the new services economy, has announced the appointment of Daniel Brown as Chief Product Officer (CPO).

The creation of the CPO role reflects how product innovation is driving FinancialForce’s accelerating business momentum. Brown will be responsible for guiding the company’s product strategy to deliver on its ambitious growth plans and expanding the size and scope of the product development organization.

Daniel Brown Financial Force

Daniel Brown Marks the Fourth C-Suite Appointment of 2017 as FinancialForce Enters New

Brown joins FinancialForce with more than 25 years of experience in the business software industry and with SaaS solutions, including 15 years at Microsoft Corporation.  Most recently, he served as General Manager of Corporate Strategy, where he led Microsoft’s internal digital transformation strategy. Previously, Brown ran Microsoft’s Dynamic AX and Dynamics NAV product teams, where he was responsible for their international business growth, product development, and shift to a cloud delivery model. Prior to Microsoft, he led the product group for Rivio, a Silicon Valley startup that built workflow-based SaaS applications, including financials management for small-to-medium sized businesses.

As the company’s fourth C-suite appointment this year, Brown joins other significant additions to FinancialForce’s leadership team in 2017, including CFO Gordy BrooksCMO Fred Studerand CEO Tod Nielsen.

“I was drawn to FinancialForce because our products are built on the concept of customer-oriented business processes,” said Dan Brown, CPO of FinancialForce. “We give our customers the agility to meet their customers’ needs, even when it requires new business models. This is one of the key reasons why FinancialForce’s business momentum is off the charts. I look forward to leading the team and continuing our track record of delivering great innovation to our customers.”

“Dan brings incredible international industry experience that further strengthens our senior leadership team, product roadmap and team culture,” said Tod Nielsen, President and CEO of FinancialForce. “His strategic emphasis on customer value-focused product delivery will propel FinancialForce towards even faster, smarter growth. Dan’s impressive track record demonstrates he is able to interpret market needs ahead of time and develop business applications to serve these, helping our customers stay one step ahead.”

About FinancialForce
FinancialForce is the leading cloud ERP provider for the new services economy. The #1 ERP native to the Salesforce platform, FinancialForce unifies data across the enterprise in real-time, enabling companies to rapidly evolve their business models with customers at the center. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, FinancialForce is backed by Salesforce Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, Advent International, and UNIT4. For more information, visit www.financialforce.com.

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Oracle promises SLAs that halve Amazon’s cloud costs

Oracle chair and chief technology officer has pledged to undercut Amazon Web Services pricing by 50 per cent for infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service, in part by increasing use of automation.

Big Red staged a Cloud event on Tuesday, at which Ellison said that the primary cost of running platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is labour and opined that human involvement in running databases or middleware is best avoided.

“The way we want to compete in PaaS is to deliver a high degree of automation to our customers,” he said. “By automating a lot of those services, we reduce the amount of labour a customer would need to expend to run the DB database or run the middleware and also reduce the amount of human error associated with that labour.”

“How expensive could an error be?” Ellison asked, then answered by saying “I don’t know … if you don’t patch the database at Equifax, that could be expensive.”

Oracle’s answer to this is a forthcoming “Autonomous Database” that Ellison said will debut in December and feature automatic, non-disruptive patching, will tune-itself as it runs, won’t ever miss a backup and won’t run without being satisfied it has a disaster recovery rig waiting to pick up the slack.

He also pledged 99.9995 per cent availability and said the 30 minutes a year the database won’t work will be planned downtime.

Ellison re-iterated Oracle’s claim that its cloud is twice as fast as Amazon’s, so can complete your job in half the time. As Oracle aims for price parity with AWS on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Ellison declared the Big Red cloud is already half the price of Jeff Bezos’ bargain bit barns.

The automated PaaS services are Big Red’s plan to beat AWS on price in that arena, backed by what Ellison said are prices that make detailed total cost of ownership calculations moot.

Ellison mentioned SLAs to hold Oracle to his 50 per cent cheaper than AWS pledge, but didn’t explain if there are any conditions to the offer.The Register has contacted Oracle representatives to clarify the offer, but has not received a reply at the time of writing.

You’ll pay for all of this in new ways. Oracle’s created a “universal credit” that you can use for any of its IaaS or PaaS services without having to pre-commit to any particular service.The company has also introduced new bring-your-own licence plans for existing Oracle customers.

Ellison’s presentation was a curiously unpolished affair. The CTO repeated himself many times, was out of synch with his slides, seemed a little confused about whether it was his job or a minion’s to advance to the next slide, and wore jeans and sneakers that have seen better days. He also needs a quick refresher course in microphone technique.

But despite the slightly shambolic tone of the presentation, one thing shone through: Oracle is going to dare its customers to choose a rival’s cloud, then challenge any pricing plan or technology talk they see as representing a viable alternative.

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Misco selects NetSuite for future success

Misco has announced that it has chosen to implement NetSuite OneWorld as its new ERP. This is a major decision by the new management team. It has now replaced the two legacy ERP systems in place as part of the company turnaround. The UK headquartered B2B reseller of IT products and Services changed hands in March following a management buy in backed by Hilco. The new management team is led by Alan Cantwell, CEO and three other ex Selection Services executives.

Paul Baldwin, CIO of Misco commented: “We wanted to replace our legacy systems with a modern cloud-based ERP system in a very short time frame. NetSuite provided a functionally rich platform that can scale with our growth and meet future market dynamics. We expect the automation of business processes through this implementation to create greater efficiencies and improve the customer experience.”

The final shortlist isn’t known. In March Cantwell spoke about looking at Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and other possible options.

Data sovereignty important

Misco has operations in UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden. It also has a shared services centre in Hungary. This deal does not cover its French division. According to the press release NetSuite was chosen for its multi-language and multi-currency capabilities to support its international requirements. NetSuite is hosted in the Netherlands and has a second European data centre in Dublin. This was important to Misco for both its data and that of its customers. Misco sells into government organisations in Europe and one suspects it did not want its data hosted outside the EU.

The project is expected to complete the migration off the legacy solutions by the end of the year. This is an ambitious timeframe. It is helped by the fact that the project is phased although no details of that phasing were given. The company could also take advantage of SuiteSuccess. SuiteSuccess is a transformative customer engagement methodology that aims to deliver benefits faster. Once the migration is complete it will have replaced financials, CRM, supply chain management, inventory management, order management and procurement. It is also looking to deploy the NetSuite ecommerce, marketing and professional services automation (PSA) solutions across its sales and service divisions. Whether this is SRP or OpenAir isn’t known.

Multi national project needs a regional partner

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Focus: Bahrain to become home for ‘big data’

The UAE scored a coup in July when Amazon bought homegrown e-tailer Souq.com. But Bahrain pipped its Gulf neighbours to the post with news last week that it is to provide a home for the reams of data held by the e-commerce giant.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the $10bn cloud computing subsidiary of US-listed Amazon, announced plans to build at least three massive data centres in Bahrain by 2019.

The data centres will be AWS’s first in the Middle East and are expected to boost the local economy by creating new jobs and facilitating public and private sector growth.

At a media event in Manama at which an estimated 1,500 delegates were in attendance, AWS said it intends to open three ‘availability zones’ in Bahrain by 2019. AWS has 44 such zones in various locations across the world and each houses at least one data centre.

AWS and its parent Amazon are notoriously private, with strict commercial confidentiality rules in place. Details including the exact number, size, cost and location of the planned centres are top secret. However, with AWS recording $16bn of revenues and 42 percent year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2017, as well as one million active users of its cloud computing services, the company claims, it is not hard to see the enormous scale of this project.

AWS is understood to have acquired land to build the data centres direct from the Bahrain government, which has a strategy to make better use of rapidly advancing cloud computing technology to boost its economy. If companies can store data in a more secure, cost-effective way, they can better serve their customers and innovate for growth.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of Bahrain’s inward investment agency Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), explained: “AWS’s commitment to expanding its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Bahrain is a major enabler for technology and data-driven business across the GCC.

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