Thursday, September 11, 2014

Internet of Things Conference 2014 in Berlin

Build Create Connect Things

From 31 August to 3 September 2014 was the Internet of Things Conference held in Berlin. My goal was to build new ideas on the Internet of Things Conference and to pursue the development of the Internet of things.

During the conference days there were many possibilities in form of keynotes, power workshops, sessions, many discussions and networking to get an overview of the current state and the future trends.

As our company engages in the innovative data, system and process integration services I payed a particular attention to security, standardization and user experience oriented topics from the IoT world.

Let's connect all the things!
Due the large variety of devices, protocols and syntax is the data and system integration needed more than ever. The communication protocols as MQTT, XMPP, CoAP are considered as standards for the transmition and event distribution between devices and applications.

During the conference many of frameworks have been introduced. The very interesting one was the project Ponte. It is a sort of bridge for the M2M communication that defines a simple REST API to expose the machines needs through REST, exposing multiple protocols like MQTT or CoAP through the same API. More than that multiple data formats such es JSON, XML, Msgpack, Bysant are supported and automatically converted between each other.

The conference has shown the fact that there is still a long way before the real use cases can be rolled out. At least 5 things have to get solved before the IoT can become successful:
  1. User acceptance
  2. Security and safety
  3. Standardization
  4. Latency
  5. Law and regulation

Although we are active in the field of systems, data and business process integration for years thare some challenges and specific features for the IoT world:
  • the longevity of the device (updates hard or impossible)
  • the size of the device (capabilities are limited - especially cryptography)
  • the fact there is a device (without user interface)
  • the data (highly personal)
  • the mindset (functional designed without any security applied)

The conference in Berlin was a great platform to meet the nerds from the IoT world and to get up-to-date about the current status of the standards in this domain.

Based on my experiences collected during these three days I have got a lot of impulses and new ideas, how we can get closer to the reality and what we can offer to our customers based on our innovative and integrative technology.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ZUGFeRD - standard for electronic invoices

The use of electronic invoices has not been established in small and medium-sizebusinesses. This is mainly due to the unclear and changing law situation. There is a cost saving potential in the electronic billing for companies compared to paper invoices.

What makes ZUGFeRD easier (FeRD Version 1.0 - © AWV e.V. 2014) 

The default ZUGFeRD offers a unified invoice format. As a transport container a PDF / A-3 structure is used. This enables  to combine the human- and machine-readable data (XML and PDF).  

Creating and process the invoice ZUGFeRD (FeRD Version 1.0 - © AWV e.V. 2014)

After the abolition of the duty of a qualified signature in electronic bills in 2011 it is a further attempt to support the dissemination of electronic invoices in business.

Receipt of invoice processing at the BVA (FeRD Version 1.0 - © AWV e.V. 2014)

Through the support of the German IT industry association BITKOM and by standardizing authorities of the EU who want to work for a Europe-wide eInvoicenorm, the ZUGFeRD standard is extremely promising.

German Version


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Concept of Jointness in Business

Jointness in Business

The construct of Jointness is known for a military application and the need for globally integrated operations.
As described in the Capstone Concept for joint operations: joint force 2020:
"... The military force is only one element of national power. In many cases strategic success will turn on the ability to operate in concert with the rest of the U.S. Government and nongovernmental partners."

The Jointness has arrived also in the business area as we can see in a couple of M&A deals that have been reported in the last weeks.

The obvious example is the jointness in the Novartis-GSK case. That two companies are trading assets (literally, swapping) in a mutually coordinated effort to optimize their respective portfolios: 
      1. Novartis buying GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer drug business
      2. GlaxoSmithKline buying Novartis’s vaccine business

So that the two companies are combining their over-the-counter pharmaceutical and consumer drug business businesses

Thursday, May 15, 2014

AWS Summit 2014 in Berlin

An interesting location has been chosen for the AWS Summit in Berlin, the old poststation (Postbahnhof).
The registration at the beginning was a little bit crowdy, but the speed of the lane was ok.

I like the hall with the sponsors and the spaces offering a lot of talks.

The event starts with the keynote of the CTO at Dr. Werner Vogels. His speech was combined with customer reports by Kaercher, Software AG or talanx. 
The reports demonstrated some business cases and demonstrated by example that AWS and the cloud approach arrived also in big enterprises.

One of the Werner's messages:
"Reduce the experimental costs to create a new products designed by customers. "

The crucial point of the presentation was the Security and AWS. For Amazon as a service provider is the security topic the most important one. Not just in Germany or Europe, but worldwide.

The AWS infrastructure complies the highest security standards like ISO 27001 and SOC1 and many more.

"Cloud computing is defined by benefits not by functionality. 
Private cloud has none of these benefits!"

As a summary and the final impression of the AWSSummit I would say, it was a worth of the time and I had some interesting points. The event tries to reach a broad public and it is not easy. Every visitor has to do the best on his own. Find the right partners for experience exchange and interesting talks.
If you like to bring your customer into the cloud then it would be a good idea to take them to such event.

If I would participate at this event also in the future? I thing, I will but then as an exhibitor:-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Industry 4.0 is a real productivity driver

The business location Germany can benefit from the fourth industrial revolution strongly. The value added chains are changing by the digitization and networking of production and intelligent products.

Industry 4.0 applications extend from product development through production and logistics to support areas such as quality assurance, customer service, or human resource planning.

Increasingly shorter product cycles and increasing product variants with small lot sizes to unique can be economically handled.

With Industry 4.0 the complex production processes can be monitored in near real time. This creates greater transparency and reduces storage costs. In addition may be easier to set up and adjusted the globally distributed production processes according to the motto "plug and produce".

Opportunities arise mainly from new products and services for a simple, flexible and near real-time production planning and control.

Industry 4.0 has the potential to revolutionize our industrial valuechains as the Internet revolutionized the knowledge work.

So far, however, we could classify only a small part of the expected potential. Much will depend on whether and how it will be possible to introduce new business models in traditional industries in Germany.

In order to exploit the full potential of the Industry 4.0 , the "ecosystem" of man, technology and organization must be viewed holistically.

Requirements for the successful use of Industry 4.0 are standards on the technology and application side as well as rules for fast and interface-free communication, data protection and data security.

Source: Kräftige Wachstumschancen durch Industrie 4.0

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Acquihires - Apple acquires someone's startup to extend own team

Apples's M&A strategy is different from the strategy of other internet gigants like Google, Microsoft or Facebook.

Timothy D. Cook, the company’s chief executive, has said in the past that Apple would have no problem paying billions for another company if it would help Apple make more high-quality products.

And that is exactly what they do. The very specialized companies get aquired by Apple if they can bring the need technology for the better products in the future.

In the most of the cases there are essentially tiny acquisitions where Apple buys someone's startup in order to get that person to work for them.

It seems to be a better strategy than so called big deals. The history of the tech industry is littered with big deals that turned out poorly. As example we could take the example from the year 2010 as Hewlett-Packard bought Palm. Or other example from the year 2012 as Google bought Motorola Mobility.

A lot of the tech acquisitions, in my opinion, have gone way off the tracks...

Apple bought the one-man company SnappyLabs this year and made the founder and electrical engineer Mr. Papandriopoulos a software engineer at Apple.The goal is an app development to make the iPhone’s camera take high-resolution photos at a faster frame rate.

But also other deals are made in an effort to quickly blend new technology into existing Apple products.

The acqui-hiring or a talent acquisition is the process of acquiring a company to recruit its employees, without necessarily showing an interest in its products and services (or their continued operation). Sometimes also called "being acqhired".

It is a new dimension of M&A and definitely an interesting one with a bright future!

Some more sources:
For Hints at Apple’s Plans, Read Its Shopping List
For Buyers of Web Start-Ups, Quest to Corral Young Talent

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Predict fires in the cities by using big data

The best-known examples of big data implementations is the analysis of customers' behaviour enabling to support the customer during a buying process very effectively.

So I was very happy to read about the usage of big data increasing the proactive measures in fight against the fire in the cities.

Based on certain factors like neighbourhood income, age of the building, electrical issues etc. authorities in New York City can identify the critical buildings with high probability of fire.

In the mean time the NY fire department has defined about 60 of these factors and based on them a ranking buildings database has been created in order of their risk of fire and which ones should be inspected first.
Before this big data analysis the NY firefighters inspected with high-priority buildings like schools and libraries more frequently. But all other inspections were random.

The new system makes it possible to reduce the number of fires and make fires less severe, according to the fire department.

Although one thing stays difficult...
How to evaluate the impact, the results and merits of the big data approach to prevent injuries or fire.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

EDI without Mapping

Our company offers B2B integration know-how that has been built up over 15 years - and deals with the entire process chain in EDI in different branches.

It does not matter in which part of industry, there is still the same challenge if two companies try to establish an electronic data interchange (EDI).

The most painful and costly step in the on-boarding process of a B2B integration are the mappings from one message to the message understandable by the enterprise applications (CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence, ...) of the particular business partner.

And it is not just one time operation (expense), every time the data structures in the enterprise has been changed the associated mappings have to be modified.

Another challenge is the dependency of the developed mappings to one translation tool, without any easy possibility to be ported into another translation tool. The mappings need to be rewritten completely new.

Wouldn’t it be possible to find a way to do B2B integration without having to manually develop any mappings?
Does it sounds like Sci-Fi to you? Not to me!

Just think about technologies behind such products like Siri, Shazam, Google Translator, OCR, IBM Watson, and many more.

In case of EDI we are talking about structured data based on identifier what the data fields in the source file map to the respective fields in a target structure.

One approach could be developing such an algorithm with enough sample data to test and optimize it until it reaches 99.999999% rate. Sort of "learning".

In my opinion the time is ripe and some products from different areas show us, what is actually possible today. So this type of transformation is certainly within reach!

... and the vendor that can master this challenge will have no competition. It will be possible to save a huge budget in B2B integration projects.

The one will be the winner!