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Open systems to shape the future of smart cities

Open systems will be key to unlocking value from different verticals and applications in future smart cities. Provided we can agree on what openness is.

Standards are a great way of ensuring interoperability in a mature and stable industry environment. In the case of smart cities however, the technological environment is still evolving, and fast at that. Interfaces should therefore be regarded as valid alternatives to standards to guarantee openness, at least until bottom-up and top-down standards initiatives eventually converge. “Open standards are reliable as they are developed through a consensus-driven process with all stakeholders of the industry: they are more thoroughly reviewed, evaluated and tested than proprietary solutions and are seen as neutral between particular vendors. In principle everyone can supply to a specification based on an open standard. But it can take a lot of time until a global formal standard has been developed and accepted throughought the industry,” said Machina Research in a new white paper commissioned by Philips.

Being locked in to an integrated solution from a single vendor is sub-optimal, according to the analyst firm, which argues that smart cities should favor an open systems approach. Such an open system should develop independently but integrate at a higher level, according to the analyst firm. “The new generation of systems needs to be capable of working together, to support some of the ‘smart’ use cases already envisaged, to allow the development of others as yet not conceived, and to enable the use of the new technologies and standards which are still evolving. Flexibility, and open systems, are the key to this,” said Machina Research.

For municipalities looking at developing into smart cities, the meaning of open systems can however differ a lot. The term “open systems” might seem self-explanatory but actually means different things to different people, according to Machina Research. For some, formal published standards guarantee an open environment, for others, this is the job of open APIs, while yet another group emphasizes open data or open source. The analyst firm proposes APIs as the best way to deliver openness. “Smart cities are very much in the evolving stage. Business models, interconnection methodologies, sensor and connectivity technologies are all in a process of rapid change. Here an open system means one that can inter-operate with others via defined interfaces such as APIs. This is the case both with respect to existing systems and applications and future ones.”

Future-proofing the development of smart cities

Machina Research proposes the following set of recommendation to future-proof the deployment of smart cities:

  • Interoperability as a guiding principle
  • Forward-compatibility more important than once-and-for-all platform choice
  • Prepare for open standards and APIs
  • Choose open and recognized standards

IIoT News Recap: Pan-European research to study attitudes towards self-driving vehicles; Wisekey acquires Inside Secure’s IoT integrated circuits and semiconductor business; Bosch, EMC and Huawei executives elected to IIC’s steering committee; Today’s forecast: The analytics of things market

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Expressway in Osaka, Japan

Autonomous driving: Pan-European research to study attitudes towards self-driving vehicles

Tire manufacturer Goodyear and the London School of Economics (LSE) have launched a pan-European research project that will look into drivers’ attitudes and readiness toward sharing the road with autonomous vehicles. “Self-driving cars are being designed to predictably adhere to the rules of the road, but less predictable is how human drivers may interact with computer drivers,” said Olivier Rousseau, vice president of Goodyear’s consumer tire business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “A key question for this year’s research is how the unwritten rules and driver behavior that we employ will apply to self-driving cars, and to what extent self-driving cars will need to learn the common sense humans use to make every-day driving situations work,” explained Dr. Chris Tennant, who is leading the research project at the LSE. Indeed, according to a survey conducted by Goodyear and LSE in 2015, 88 percent of respondents in 15 European countries said there are “unwritten rules” governing driver interactions with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on the road. Goodyear and LSE will publish their research findings in October 2016.

M&A: Wisekey acquires Inside Secure’s IoT integrated circuits and semiconductor business

Swiss cybersecurity company Wisekey announced it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire France-based Inside Secure’s semiconductor technology and business. The transaction is expected to close in September 2016. “The acquisition and technology integration will create the first ever comprehensive trusted end-to-end cybersecurity platform for people and objects (IoT),” said Wisekey in a statement. The acquisition entails that Inside Secure’s assets related to the development and sale of secure integrated circuits for the IoT market together with a complete team in R&D, sales, marketing and support will be transferred to Wisekey. Inside Secure’s activities within IoT, anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, EMV payment card and secure access generated unaudited pro forma revenue of $33.6 million in 2015. Wisekey will pay Inside Secure CHF2 million in cash plus bonds convertible into listed shares of Wisekey International Holding Ltd worth CHF11 million, upon completion of the transaction, stated Wisekey.

People: Bosch, EMC and Huawei executives elected to IIC’s steering committee

Dirk Slama, director of Business Development at Bosch Software Innovations, Said Tabet, chief architect for IoT Strategy at EMC and Wang Xuemin, director Standardization and Industry Department at Huawei have been elected to a four-year term to the steering committee of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). Other members of the steering committee include General Electric, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel, The MITRE Corporation, RTI, SAP and Schneider Electric. “At the IIC, we recognized the global value of diverse opinions and working relationships to facilitate continuous growth across industries and geographies,” said John Tuccillo, IIC Steering committee chair, and senior vice president of Global Industry and Government Affairs at Schneider Electric. “Bosch, EMC and Huawei have already been major contributors to the Industrial Internet, helping to drive IIC testbeds and working group activities. We look forward to their active leadership on the steering committee as the IIC continues to pave the way of the future of the Industrial Internet.”

Today’s forecast: Analytics of things market to reach $22.65 billion by 2021

The rapid increase in connected devices will be driving growth in the analytics of things market, which is expected to reach $22.65 billion in revenue by 2021, up from $4.85 billion in 2016, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.53 percent over the forecast period. Predictive maintenance and asset management application will have the largest market size in 2016 while retail is expected to have the highest growth rate during the forecast period, the new research report forecasts.

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