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#IoT, a perspective on Realms

IoT_Handshake

This post may seem a little chaotic and irrational. Bear with me, it was a sequence of twits that I posted sometime in 2011. I had tried to find them a couple of years later with no luck, however a few days ago I noticed a wonderful button in one’s twitter profile, that allows to download all of your twits! 🙂 et voilà!

#IoT will definitely be an ingredient of web 3.0

The term Internet of Things, aka IoT, has been evolving significantly during the last 15 years, it was conceived in the Auto ID Centre, sometime back in 1999 when the first vision of EPC (Electronic Product Code) was drafted. Since then, many future-looking organisations have provided different angles to the concept of joining the real & cyber worlds with IoT.

EPC has been one of the visions behind the advent of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the next step from optical identification (barcodes) of objects. When UHF RFID Gen 2 was mandated by Wall Mart back in the early 2000s, there was a strong market demand that dictated the limits of the technology and the scope of innovation in areas like RFID inlay production, reader & middleware technologies, etc. Since then, I have not come across a real, significant market driver to evolve the technology further. Don’t take me wrong, there are numerous applications and groups working in solving vertical problems that one can say are early IoT examples. These range from smart energy meters, to logistics track & trace systems, to traffic management, you name it!

What I don’t see is the emergence of an overall concept, a paradigm which perhaps touches the core of Man Machine Interface. What does IoT would look like to the ordinary people? How would you interact with your training equipment, your fridge, your heating system or your box of cereal? I don’t know if this comes from Star Trek or from my involvement in developing custom UIs early in my career, but  the interaction of IoT objects with people needs to be tech natural and perceived in ubiquity .

Few days ago I read an article by Tim O’Riley touching this very topic, he named it #IoTH: The Internet of Things and Humans. Tim and IBM’s Rod Smith came up with an interesting notion of an entity named Nest, where a set of sensors, apps, actuators and networks would do things for you. They talked about weak and strong devices (in terms of intelligence autonomy) as well as the modus of weakly or strongly connected. Yet again, I failed to see an attempt to touch the Man Machine Interface paradigm.

Hello, it’s me!

 #IoT objects should have a universal discover & hello protocol, covering  basic ID function and coms capability

I come from the auto-id, telematics and telecoms worlds and one of the basic principles that prevail is that any two elements in a network that need to transact, must be able to identify themselves and communicate. Hence, each IoT object should at least have a unique ID and a communication capability.

The discover & hello protocol of #IoT should be short range (up to 3 meters) and have enough energy to activate passive objects

As our senses have limits, so the discovering senses of IoT objects may have limits too. Why would an IoT object want to discover and say hi to another IoT object 50 miles away? Also, lets open our mind and think of passive objects like a table, a handbag or an artwork. Why should we exclude them from the IoT world?

Can you see me?

Only #IoT objects with UI capability can allow the interconnection of a discovered object with a person’s realm.

In an IoT world humans are the masters and each person creates his IoT realm by discovering and using IoT objects relevant to his needs. There will be IoT objects that will not provide any function to a person, these may be talking and working together with other IoT objects. Such objects can be seen through other IoT objects that provide UI capabilities to the person.

#IoT objects can participate in more than one realm

IoT objects have uses just like real world objects. A person can own and use an IoT object or he can use someone else’s IoT object. As per real world objects, the use of IoT objects may be shared or be exclusive to a person, regardless of ownership. An easy to understand paradigm is an IoT wifi router that can be shared with all people who are inside my house but with no one else outside of the house. This extends to a person discovering IoT objects for public use, like ePOS for payments or gym equipment in health studios.

Can you trust me?

The hailing UI of an #IoT object must have an extremely simple dialogue with minimum q&a related to trust, info share & connection

IoT ubiquity is a characteristic of one’s IoT realm. Minimal interaction when discovering and trusting IoT objects is a key ingredient of ubiquity and as such it should be done in a consistent way, perhaps using a natural gesture, through any IoT object with UI capabilities.

The information type and direction between the human and any IoT object is another key attribute to the basic hailing & acceptance of the IoT object in one’s IoT realm. Issues of privacy, anonymity and intrusion must be dealt at this level, as the very first priority of IoT.

Do you need me?

A person’s realm can connect through any #IoT UI object to common share #IoT objects

In our IoT ubiquitous world each one of us exist in his own IoT realm, a connected physical-cyber domain, where one’s owned IoT objects and common-share IoT objects interact between them and provide an enhanced life experience to the person.

It is not the purpose of this post to describe what an enhanced life experience is, nor the ethics behind the ever increasing “intrusion” of technology in human life. One thing is for sure, IoT will have a viable future only if it can address a real human need.

Why do you need me?

Throughout the history of technological evolution, we have seen any significant technology innovation happening  in a very specific industrial sector and then expanding beyond this sector and flooding the society with products and services that eventually transform the world as we know it. Refrigeration is a good example of this, as it has changed dramatically human’s interaction with food production over the last 2 centuries and has enabled the formation of urban life as we know it.

Over the past years technology has been repeatedly changing our life, making obsolete old ways and introducing new, exciting products and services that liberate humans. Refrigeration liberated us from food production, electricity from darkness, cars and transportation from geography, telecommunication from distance, computers from ignorance (?). IoT must be a liberator too, if it is destined to prevail.

So, what do you think? What will IoT liberate us from?

ICT4GrowthLogo

ICT 4 Growth

This is a summary of the key aspects of the “ICT 4 Growth” state funding program, from the Special Secretariat for Digital Planning. The “ICT 4 Growth” program aims to provide guaranteed state funds through the NSRF framework, to private enterprises or consortia of private enterprises that are planning to implement significant development plans (300k€ – 20m€) for developing innovative technology products and value added services in Greece, which are based on ICT. Development plans may be up to 24 months in duration; the state cash subsidy can be OPEX & CAPEX and may reach up to 80% of the expenditure budget, for specific situations.
The program is geared to help existing and startup Greek enterprises to create consortia with enterprises from abroad, the state aid will be provided only to the Greek enterprises that are investing in Greece. There is no domain restriction with respect to the product / services that will be developed, the following examples are provided as guidelines:

  • Energy and Green development (products & services for smart grids, energy resource management, renewable energy resource management, etc.)
  • Agriculture, Fisheries, Foods (traceability & food safety, automated management of agricultural installations, etc.)
  • Tourism, Culture and Entertainment (on-line gaming, destination management, virtual tours, etc.)
  • Health & Social Security (support for the elderly or long term patients, telemedicine, etc.)
  • Electronic Communications,
  • Transportation,
  • Internet (social web, semantic web, internet of things, etc.)

The value added services that will be created in the scope of the program should exploit modern Information and Communiation Technologies like:

  • Virtualization (Servers, Storage, Networks, Apps, Desktops)
  • Cloud Computing
  • Energy Efficiency & Monitoring (IT efficiency & reuse, Reduce of energy consumption,)
  • Unified Communications (Technology issues (Mobile platforms / Integration of corporate and social media streams), Organizational issues)
  • Big Data (Unstructured Data, Duplication of Data, Storage – thin provisioning, Security, Backup – Storage Resource Management, Compression etc)
  • Cloud Computing
  • Grid Technology
  • Web 2.0
  • Internet of Things
  • Open platforms & Open Source software and applications
  • Social Networks and business
  • Media / digital marketing
  • Mobile services – smart devices and applications evolution
  • Location based services / GIS

Program Overview

Funding Body Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping, Special Secretariat for Digital Planning, InfoSociety S.A.
Target To strengthen existing and augment new businesses through the implementation of technological innovation investment projects, aiming to develop new, value added products & services. These investments will be aimed mainly to:

  • Foster healthy enterprises with the appropriate use of ICT.
  • Substantial strengthening of the ICT services sector of the Greek economy (in terms of competitiveness and extroversion).
  • Creating new products, services and added value content which may have commercial potential and viability.
Beneficiaries & Conditions The beneficiaries are private enterprises (existing, newly established, startups) or consortiums, regardless of legal form, operating legally in Greece. Note that the participation of enterprises operating outside the Greek territory (foreign companies) is possible through the formation of a consortium, provided that:

  • The consortium includes at least one enterprise operating legally in the Greek territory, which will assume the role of Coordinator,
  • Foreign enterprises are not subsidized by the project and their funding must originate from their own resources,
  • Foreign enterprises participation brings mutual benefits for participants in the consortium (eg technology transfer, etc.), as well as wider benefits for the Greek economy in line with the aims and objectives of the funding program.

Any enterprise wishing to participate in the funding program, individually or in a consortium, has the right to make / deliver only one project proposal.

Eligible Project Categories The eligible development projects are divided into 2 categories:

  • Category I: Medium-sized projects, budget from 300.000 € to 5.000.000 €
  • Category II: Development projects of significant scope, budget from 5.000.000 € to 20.000.000 € (special conditions apply)
Project Maturity Phase The funding proposals to be considered by the program may be in the following maturity phase:

  • Phase A: Research, Planning and Development of new products / services (R & D stage)
  • Phase B: Commercialization of new products / services (commercialization stage).

Submitted proposals can either include Phase A and Phase B or only Phase B. Proposals for Phase A only will not be considered.

Activities Eligible for Funding Eligible Activities Phase A

  • A1: Preparation & planning.
  • A2: Industrial research.
  • A3: Operations Development.
  • A4: Acquisition of industrial property rights (eligible only for SMEs).
  • A5: Operations management, support and coordination of research & development.

Eligible Activities Phase B

  • B1: Installations and commissioning of production facilities.
  • B2: Preparation of end product / service.
  • B3: Business networking (eligible only for SMEs).
Project Duration The total project implementation period may not exceed 24 months. Phase A cannot exceed 18 months, starting from the date of approval of the investment proposal. The total duration of project implementation of investment plans that cover only Phase B cannot exceed 18 months.
Eligible Costs & Funding Rates

Eligible Expenditure in Phase A

Activity Small Enterprise Medium Enterprise Large Enterprise
A1: Preparation & Operations Planning (up to 5% of budget)

50%

50%

40%

A2: Industrial research (individual enterprise, up 25% of budget)

70%

60%

50%

A2: Industrial Research (consortium, to 25% of budget)

80%

75%

65%

A3: Development (individual enterprise, up 25% of budget)

45%

35%

25%

A3: Development (consortium, to 25% of budget)

60%

50%

40%

A4: Acquisition of industrial property rights (individual enterprise, up to 5% of budget)

45%

35%

0%

A4: acquisition of industrial property (consortium, up to 5% of budget)

60%

50%

0%

A5: Operations management, support and coordination of research & development (individual enterprise, there are limitations on the budget)

45%

35%

25%

A5: Operations management, support and coordination of research & development (consortium, there are limitations to the budget)

60%

50%

40%

Eligible Expenditure in Phase B

Activity Small Enterprise Medium Enterprise Large Enterprise
B1: Installations and commissioning of production facilities 35% S. Greece, South Aegean
40% Attica
50% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
60% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
25% S. Greece, South Aegean
30% Attica
40% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
50% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
15% S. Greece, South Aegean
20% Attica
30% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
40% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
B2: Preparation of end product / service (up to 50% of the budget of Phase B except B3) 35% S. Greece, South Aegean
40% Attica, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
50% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean
60% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
25% S. Greece, South Aegean
30% Attica, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
40% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean
50% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
15% S. Greece, South Aegean
20% Attica, Western Macedonia, Central.Macedonia
30% Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Crete, Peloponnese, North Aegean
40% of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Western.Greece
B3: Business networking (up to 30% of the budget of Phase B)

50%

50%

0

Financial Scheme It is mandatory to prove the ability of the enterprise or consortium to finance with its own contribution at least the 25% of the total project budget. This means: 

  • For existing enterprises, either an increase of the company’s capital by cash contribution of the shareholders, or use of existing taxed reserves (not the the statutory reserves)
  • For newly established enterprises the initial capital and any increases with cash contributions
  • For startups the amount of planned capital resulting from contributions in cash, the future shareholders must produce evidence of capital availability.
Approval, Contract, Performance and State Subsidy Payments After the approval of the proposal, the following schedule will be followed: 

  • A Contract between the intermediary body and the Enterprise will be signed. The Enterprise must deposit a performance guarantee of 10% of the budgeted cost.
  • The Enterprise may receive up to 30% of the subsidy in advance by submitting a Bank Guarantee Letter.
  • Every 6 months the project will be audited (physical and financial progress) and partial payments of the grant will be made.
  • The 20% of the grant will be retained until the final audit & certification, a formal acceptance will be the evidence of contract fulfillment and the remaining subsidy will be paid.

 

ICT 4 Growth – Unofficial Announcement

Summarizing the key aspects of the “ICT 4 Growth” state funding program, based on preliminary information from the Special Secretariat for Digital Planning, indicates that there is a significant opportunity for International Enterprises to jointly invest with Greek enterprises and develop innovative products & services, using ICT as the enabler.

The “ICT 4 Growth” program aims to provide guaranteed state funds through the NSRF framework, to private enterprises or consortia of private enterprises that are planning to implement significant development plans (300k€ – 20m€) for developing innovative technology products and value added services in Greece, based on ICT. Development plans may be up to 24 months in duration; the state cash subsidy can be OPEX & CAPEX and may reach up to 80% of the expenditures budget, for specific situations.

The program is geared to help existing and startup Greek enterprises to create consortia with enterprises from abroad, the state aid will be provided only to the Greek enterprises that are investing in Greece. There is no domain restriction with respect to the product / services that will be developed, the following examples are provided as guidelines:

  • Energy and Green development (products & services for smart grids, energy resource management, renewable energy resource management, etc.),
  • Agriculture, Fisheries, Foods (traceability & food safety, automated management of agricultural installations, etc.),
  • Tourism, Culture and Entertainment (on-line gaming, destination management, virtual tours, etc.),
  • Health & Social Security (support for the elderly or long term patients, telemedicine, etc.),
  • Electronic Communications,
  • Transportation,
  • Internet (social web, semantic web, internet of things, etc.)

Contact for further info here.