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Articles Autonomous Vehicles Technology

Long Range Commercial Drone Control in 5G Wireless Technology

In regards to long range commercial drone control, according to wireless technology company Qualcomm, “5G connectivity will enable a worldwide boom in drone use, for fun, research, and business.” But for now, U.S. drone activity is limited to line-of-sight control. Regulations will need to catch up to the fast-developing technology.to enable the future of long range commercial drone control.

“A Highway in the Sky”

 

Research on the control of drones parallels work being done on autonomous vehicle technology. Dr. Harita Joshi of the University of Warwick spoke to Telecom TV about the development of ultra-reliable and low latency 5G networks that would allow for accurate communication with self-driving cars. Others are talking about “self-flying aircraft”.

China Mobile used the term “flying automotive” when referring to the 5G drone network they were testing with Ericsson in 2016. Achieving end-to-end latency of 15 milliseconds, their 5G drone was able to make handovers between towers shared with normal cell phone users.Commercial long range drone control is in deep development.  Take Alphabet (aka Google) who’s been working on ways to deliver mobile connectivity from the air. In 2014 they bought Titan Aerospace and turned it into Project Skybender.

The aim was to launch a fleet of lightweight, solar-powered drones that would fly in the upper atmosphere for up to 90 days at a time.  Alphabet abandoned Skybender in 2016, preferring to concentrate on the use of balloons through their Project Loon.  Another venture in long range drone control is Qualcomm, who want their unmanned aerial system (UAS) to be autonomous through development of UAS Traffic Management (UTM) controls.  Director of Marketing Maged Zaki blogged about the “Path to 5G: Building a highway in the sky for autonomous drones”. “When UTM systems are deployed, we envision fleets of drones flying missions autonomously while connected to operators and regulators.”

Reaching Long Range Commercial Drone Control

 

No one wants to worry about drones falling from the sky. The FAA in the U.S. has restricted drone usage to Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). However, in 2016 the FAA granted an Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) operations waiver to commercial drone company Precision Hawk.

But for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) control of drones, operators need something more for long range commercial drone control. “Many of the anticipated benefits of drones, including delivery, inspections and search-and-rescue will require a highly secure and reliable connection,” said Qualcomm’s Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T, according to a press release.

Long-range-commercial-drone-control-with-5G-wireless-300x225

Dr. Joshi underscored in her interview the problem of latency and the need to service vehicles traveling at high speeds. The ITU published “IMT Vision”, a paper about 5G, in which they addressed these issues:  IMT-2020 would be able to provide 1 ms over-the-air latency, capable of supporting services with very low latency requirements. IMT-2020 is also expected to enable high mobility up to 500 km/h with acceptable QoS.

To achieve the goals of long range commercial drone control, researchers are experimenting with a range of bandwidth called millimeter-wave radio. The new band spans from 30 to 300 gigahertz.

Way back in 1895 the polymath Jagadish Chandra Bose was experimenting in this spectrum. An August 2014 article in IEEE Spectrum tells the story: The intrepid scientist “sent a 60-GHz signal through three walls and the body of the region’s lieutenant governor to a funnel-shaped horn antenna and detector 23 meters away. As proof of its journey, the message triggered a simple contraption that rang a bell, fired a gun, and exploded a small mine.”

Despite the early research, attempts at harnessing millimeter-wave frequencies turned out to be extremely expensive and infeasible. The spectrum propagated poorly between towers and was scattered by rain.  “The huge advantage of millimeter wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded,” says Jacques Rudell of the University of Washington. The Guardian writer Mark Harris wrote about it when he broke the story “Project Skybender: Google’s secretive 5G internet drone tests revealed” in 2016. Despite Skybender’s demise, plans to harness millimeter-wave technology continue.

Bold Long Range Commercial Drone Control Projections

 

Hobbyists have taken to drones as a new tech toy, but other use cases will contribute to the drone boom. Companies like Alphabet hope to deliver internet to remote and under-served areas. Drones are useful in disaster recovery, search-and-rescue, and hazardous material situations. Amazon has already done long-range test deliveries.  Pizza delivery by drone is not far away. And drone racing – like the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships in Hawaii – is a growing sport.

AT&T Foundry offered “10 Bold Projections on the Future of Drones”. These include swarming technology, onboard analytics, IoT support, AI and robotics, and the use of drones for dynamic communications networks.  Whatever commercial applications await drone technology, it’s clear that they will be dependent on secure, fast, and reliable communications. 5G technology will likely play a significant role in the evolution of long range drone control.

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Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Job References Real Calls vs. Automation

All companies expect job references, aka professional and employment references to be conducted prior to making an offer of employment or shortly thereafter. Nine times out of ten these are pre-determined references provided by the candidate. Some may well include former bosses, former or current colleagues, and industry references.

That is the real question. Many of these are in fact “personal relationships” where the person(s) providing the employment references will give a glowing reference (call it pre-defined or pre-arranged) that is neither spontaneous and often times misleading. Since I am obligated to deliver a short list of candidates, I do not wait for a pending offer to conduct employment references and comprehensive background checks.

Don’t Use Outdated Process for Job References

 

 

In the 21st century, we live in a constantly moving and increasingly social media world.  Employees’ reputations – both professional and personal – can impact a company’s corporate image, affect how they are viewed by customers and vendors, and can project either a positive or negative social image of the company.  With that in mind, the employment verification call that includes employment references aka job references directly from Human Resources or the supervisor of said former employee is useless fodder.

job-referencesSame goes for accepting verbatim without question those provided by the candidate as they are so often former colleagues who are great friends unwilling to look past a biased lense. After identifying a target list of potential candidates through my Rolodex, networking, and referrals, I conduct one to two pre-screening interviews with the objective of understanding the motivations, skills/experience, and accomplishments of those potential candidates. If I am satisfied, they move forward to deeper interviews on my candidate shortlist.

 

Use Behavioral Analysis Prior to Making Job References Calls

 

 

I have the potential shortlisted candidates take an online 10 minute behavioral survey. This customized testing produces a Behavioral Analysis on a candidate’s motivations, values, decision making traits, aptitudes, communications style, and whether they are a Natural Fit with the team AND the role.Once armed with that analysis, I have sufficient data needed to conduct professional job references calls that are relevant to the role itself. Most search firms simply accept employment references provided solely by the candidates.

What I ask from each candidate is for two each of the following current or former (within last 5 years) by name, phone, email, title, and relationship as follows:  superiors/managers they reported to, subordinates that reported to them, internal customers in their respective positions, external customers, peers or colleagues (professional references NOT like any of the above), and personal and/or community go one step further in validating the list of these employment job references requested of the candidates.

I research, identify, and cold call former internal/external customers, colleagues, and vendors that were NOT supplied. These validate the professional references the candidate provided while at the same time reveal the best unscripted job references possible.There are a growing number of companies who save time by automating job references checks.

Some are pre-defined standard Human Resources types of questions. Others allow you to add your own questions for professional references checking. Thee system sends out emails, the contacts answer the questions online, and you get the results.The problem here is that the human factor does not exist. You cannot hear and ask additional questions based upon what you actually hear and perceive, as well as lacks ability to build a relationship with these professional employment job references.  The truth is that I gain new relationships, fresh perspectives, and sometimes additional retained searches by conducting professional job reference calls the best way possible.

 

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Articles Leadership - Ethics

Meaningful Conversations Proper Email Marketing

Email has become a means for swift communication. In the world of business, it is crucial to open meaningful conversations to old and new clients. The usage of email has opened an essential route for marketers looking to invite, employ, and maintain their clients and prospects. This method of marketing has become quite challenging and competitive.

Companies need to know what their clients think and through email marketing they can reach out to the right marketing niche. Email has given the advantage of reaching out to numerous clients without the need for expensive production costs such as printing pamphlets, television commercials, and radio advertisements. Maintaining a healthy email marketing list is made to specifically target the right niche and sending them customized emails that fit what they want to see and what they are interested in. These meaningful conversations also help in promoting company reputation.

Simply sending out emails is not enough. When establishing good rapport with customers, marketers should know how to keep the line open and cordial. Communication does not mean that only one party is heard, but also the other. Sending out marketing emails should not just be about the company, but also the clients and prospects.

Clients, after all, are the most integral part of business; their feedback on customer service can determine how well the company would do in the future.

Email marketing should not be one-sided; it should always focus on meaningful conversations that attempt to open to customers, give them the choice to respond and allow their experiences to be shared to other networks as well.

Meaningful Conversations in Email

 

The audience of email marketing is vital. Marketers need to know who they are speaking to and how these people would like to be addressed.  Personalizing marketing emails and crafting them to show that the audience is not talking to a machine, but to an actual person, lets them know that they are heard and their feedback is appreciated, and are even implemented into the company. This will increase rapport and allow current clients to share their experiences with the company, which will open to new prospects.

Meaningful Conversations begin at Email Subject Line

 

Composing a catchy subject line is also an important part in opening a profound interaction. Usually, people would just scroll through their inboxes, not giving much thought for promotional emails. They are more focused in emails that are more personal. Marketers can get an idea from this habit. When marketing emails are fashioned to be addressed in a personal manner, customers are more compelled to open and read them. It piques their interest and attention. Not only that, it gives them the thought that there is a listening ear to what they want.

meaningful-conversations-through-emailAmong list of recipients means that there are many personalities that is addressed to. Email marketing may tend to derail with what is the initial focus due to its mindset onto building lists and sending out numerous updates.

Though this is a good method for promoting branding, it should never forget to understand about their customers’ stages of purchasing. It is also important to have that appeal with customers with regards to their purchasing rhythm. Not all the time customers have the finances to purchase goods or employ services regularly. Timing of these emails is important.

Deepening the rapport with customers with great content makes marketing emails interesting to read. Great content in addition to customization makes customers eager to open up their emails and strike a conversation with their marketers.

Knowing what customers want and what they need gives insight on what businesses need to promote and improve. Nurturing customer-company relationships with meaningful conversations will help with company success.

 

Categories
Articles Candidate Resources

Job Boards Pitfalls for Privacy

I receive dozens of calls and emails every week on the subject of whether posting your resume is safe or should send that job boards pitfalls and privacy issues in red flashing lights.  Here are a few job search tips to help you choose for a career search. Do NOT post your name, email address, resume, phone number, current and previous employer, and education information for all to view on a job board.With a labor participation rate at the lowest since the mid-1970s, there are millions of “wishers” (the un/under educated, inexperienced, under/over qualified), that make up a large chunk of the resumes on job boards. You simply get lost in the shuffle.

Job Boards Pitfalls – Overexposing your Resume

 

 

job-boards-pitfalls-in-prvacy-issuesThere are three types of job boards. First is the “major” such as Monster, CareerBuilder, The Ladders, etc.  Second are the niche such as oilandgaspeople who claims to have 5,843 Active Recruiters 163,926 candidates or MedRepCareers which focuses on medical services, medical devices, and pharmaceutical sales jobs. Third are the job aggregators such as Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. If you choose to use the former’ let this be a warning :  job boards pitfalls and privacy issues means you will likely to receive loads of emails about jobs related to “insurance and financial sales or analysts”, car sales, and “temporary full time jobs” offered by RPOs (recruitment processing outsourcing firms) or IT engineering services companies.

Job Boards Pitfalls of Suspect Privacy Issues

 

Never show WHO your current employer is; instead use “Fortune 500 Widget Manufacturer” or Mid-Cap Widget Vendor”.  Mention type of degree – not the university.NEVER post your resume/CV to a job board.  Avoid the job boards pitfalls by NOT posting your resume/CV itself as it is the worst one-size-fits-all presentation tool ever imagined.  Instead learn to create a ‘confidential profile”.  Do this in MS Word, but post it in PDF.  Here is what a careers focused profile should look like:

  1. Executive Summary – 200 word max overview of your experience and the top 2-3 accomplishments plus your career objective.
  2. Education, Amount of Travel willing to do (%), and Work Authorization Status
  3. Work Experience (always start with current and work backwards):  type of company, your title, # years, and any promotions or special recognition
  4. Product or Service Lifecycle experience and your accomplishments
  5. Project or Leadership Roles (w/ team size/budget/sales volume/IP developed/problem fixed, etc..
  6. Your depth of Relationships.  You do NOT need names; rather titles, last date connected, if internal or external customer/vendor, and if sales please include quota vs. actual numbers AND the sales cycles.
  7. Relocation Considerations
  8. This last one is OPTIONAL.  Desired Compensation – what you DESIRE to have in base and bonus and/or commission – NEVER mention what you are making now.

Now on the other side of job boards pitfalls in your careers search, we look at the executive recruiter side.  Here’s the tricky part – everyone thinks they are an “A Player” – reality check is less than 14% of the entire workforce is that.  Next in line are the “B Players”, who compromise 30% to 35% of the workforce BUT in fact produce 8 to 10 times LESS than “A Players”.

For the 55% or more of any workforce they are “C players”.  They can/will be replaced by automation or better people when production in the role becomes vital to the organization.If you speak with a retained search firm where they do not have a current search ideal for you, make sure you reconnect with them regularly every few months to get updated on potential careers and opportunities.

Choose to Post on Job Boards or Work with a Recruiter?

 

When choosing whether to use job boards in your career search or respond to an executive recruiter’s posting, another good reason for choosing the latter is that if your public resume is public or you have “I am seeking a job” or “I am looking for a career opportunity” in the title of your social profile, a good executive recruiter likely won’t touch you with a 10 foot pole. If you have your resume posted on several job boards, most recruiters will not be interested, but be forewarned, many corporate HR departments utilize RPOs (recruiting process organizations) usually based in some 3rd world country who will search and find your resume sending it to literally hundreds of companies.  Talk about overexposure – the read is “what;s wrong about this person?”.

If in the end of the job boards pitfalls vs executive recruiters choice, if you choose an executive recruiter, find a good one and then network using social media and offline events to develop a relationship with him/her to enhance careers search.

Categories
Articles Artificial Intelligence Internet of Things Wireless Ecosystems

Smart Objects: Blending Ai into the Internet of Things

It’s been more than a decade since the time when the number of internet-connected devices exceeded the number of people on the planet. This milestone signaled the emergence and rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm, smart objects, which empowered a whole new range of applications that leverage data and services from the billions of connected devices.  Nowadays IoT applications are disrupting entire sectors in both consumer and industrial settings, including manufacturing, energy, healthcare, transport, public infrastructures and smart cities.

Evolution of IoT Deployments

 

During this past decade IoT applications have evolved in terms of size, scale and sophistication. Early IoT deployments involved the deployment of tens or hundreds of sensors, wireless sensor networks and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems in small to medium scale deployments within an organization. Moreover, they were mostly focused on data collection and processing with quite limited intelligence. Typical examples include early building management systems that used sensors to optimize resource usage, as well as traceability applications in RFID-enabled supply chains.

Over the years, these deployments have given their place to scalable and more dynamic IoT systems involving many thousands of IoT devices of different types known as smart objects.  One of the main characteristic of state-of-the-art systems is their integration with cloud computing infrastructures, which allows IoT applications to take advantage of the capacity and quality of service of the cloud. Furthermore, state of the art systems tends to be more intelligent, as they can automatically identify and learn the status of their surrounding environment to adapt their behavior accordingly. For example, modern smart building applications are able to automatically learn and anticipate resource usage patterns, which makes them more efficient than conventional building management systems.

Overall, we can distinguish the following two phases of IoT development:

  • Phase 1 (2005-2010) – Monolithic IoT systems: This phase entailed the development and deployment of systems with limited scalability, which used some sort of IoT middleware (e.g., TinyOS, MQTT) to coordinate some tens or hundreds of sensors and IoT devices.
  • Phase 2 (2011-2016) – Cloud-based IoT systems: This period is characterized by the integration and convergence between IoT and cloud computing, which enabled the delivery of IoT applications based on utility-based models such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). During this phase major IT vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have established their own IoT platforms and ecosystems based on their legacy cloud computing infrastructures. The latter have alleviated the scalability limitations of earlier IoT deployments, which provided opportunities for cost-effective deployments. At the same time the wave of Big Data technologies have opened new horizons in the ability of IoT applications to implement data-driven intelligence functionalities.

 

AI: The Dawn of Smart Objects using IoT applications

 

 

Despite their scalability and intelligence, most IoT deployments tend to be passive with only limited interactions with the physical world. This is a serious set-back to realizing the multi-trillion value potential of IoT in the next decade, as a great deal of IoT’s business value is expected to stem from real-time actuation and control functionalities that will intelligently change the status of the physical world.

Smart-Objects-blending-Ai-into-IoTIn order to enable these functionalities we are recently witnessing the rise and proliferation of IoT applications that take advantage of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Objects.  Smart objects are characterized by their ability to execute application logic in a semi-autonomous fashion that is decoupled from the centralized cloud.

In this way, they are able to reason over their surrounding environments and take optimal decisions that are not necessarily subject to central control. Therefore, smart objects can act without the need of being always connected to the cloud. However, they can conveniently connect to the cloud when needed, in order to exchange information with other passive objects, including information about their state / status of the surrounding environment.

Prominent examples of smart objects follow:

  • Socially assistive robots, which provide coaching or assistance to special user groups such as elderly with motor problems and children with disabilities.
  • Industrial robots, which complete laborious tasks (e.g., picking and packing) in warehouses, manufacturing shop floors and energy plants.
  • Smart machines, which predict and anticipate their own failure modes, while at the same time scheduling autonomously relevant maintenance and repair actions (e.g., ordering of spare parts, scheduling technicians visits).
  • Connected vehicles, which collect and exchange information about their driving context with other vehicles, pedestrians and the road infrastructure, as a means of optimizing routes and increasing safety.
  • Self-driving cars, which will drive autonomously with superior efficiency and safety, without any human intervention.
  • Smart pumps, which operate autonomously in order to identify and prevent leakages in the water management infrastructure.

The integration of smart objects within conventional IoT/cloud systems signals a new era for IoT applications, which will be endowed with a host of functionalities that are hardly possible nowadays. AI is one of the main drivers of this new IoT deployment paradigm, as it provides the means for understanding and reasoning over the context of smart objects. While AI functionalities have been around for decades with various forms (e.g., expert systems and fuzzy logic systems), AI systems have not been suitable for supporting smart objects that could act autonomously in open and dynamic environments such as industrial plants and transportation infrastructures.

This is bound to change because of recent advances in AI based on the use of deep learning that employs advanced neural networks and provides human-like reasoning functionalities. During the last couple of years we have witnessed the first tangible demonstrations of such AI capabilities applied in real-life problems. For example, last year, Google’s Alpha AI engine managed to win a Chinese grand-master in the Go game. This signaled a major milestone in AI, as human-like reasoning was used instead of an exhaustive analysis of all possible moves, as was the norm in earlier AI systems in similar settings (e.g., IBM’s Deep Blue computer that beat chess world champion Garry Kasparov back in 1997).

Implications of AI and IoT Convergence for Smart Objects

 

This convergence of IoT and AI signals a paradigm shift in the way IoT applications are developed, deployed and operated. The main implications of this convergence are:

  • Changes in IoT architectures: Smart objects operate autonomously and are not subject to the control of a centralized cloud. This requires revisions to the conventional cloud architectures, which should become able to connect to smart objects in an ad hoc fashion towards exchanging state and knowledge about their status and the status of the physical environment.
  • Expanded use of Edge Computing: Edge computing is already deployed as a means of enabling operations very close to the field, such as fast data processing and real-time control. Smart objects are also likely to connect to the very edge of an IoT deployment, which will lead to an expanded use of the edge computing paradigm.
  • Killer Applications: AI will enable a whole range of new IoT applications, including some “killer” applications like autonomous driving and predictive maintenance of machines. It will also revolutionize and disrupt existing IoT applications. As a prominent example, the introduction of smart appliances (e.g., washing machines that maintain themselves and order their detergent) in residential environments holds the promise to disrupt the smart home market.
  • Security and Privacy Challenges: Smart objects increase the volatility, dynamism and complexity of IoT environments, which will lead to new cyber-security challenges. Furthermore, they will enable new ways for compromising citizens’ privacy. Therefore, new ideas for safeguarding security and privacy in this emerging landscape will be needed.
  • New Standards and Regulations: A new regulatory environment will be needed, given that smart objects might be able to change the status of the physical environment leading to potential damage, losses and liabilities that do not exist nowadays. Likewise, new standards in areas such as safety, security and interoperability will be required.
  • Market Opportunities: AI and smart objects will offer unprecedented opportunities for new innovative applications and revenue streams. These will not be limited to giant vendors and service providers, but will extend to innovators and SMBs (Small Medium Businesses).

Future Outlook

 

AI is the cornerstone of next generation IoT applications, which will exhibit autonomous behavior and will be subject to decentralized control. These applications will be driven by advances in deep learning and neural networks, which will endow IoT systems with capabilities far beyond conventional data mining and IoT analytics. These trends will be propelled by several other technological advances, including Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and blockchain technologies. CPS systems represent a major class of smart objects, which will be increasingly used in industrial environments.

They are the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution through bridging physical processes with digital systems that control and manage industrial processes. Currently CPS systems feature limited intelligence, which is to be enhanced based on the advent and evolution of deep learning. On the other hand, blockchain technology (inspired by the popular Bitcoin cryptocurrency) can provide the means for managing interactions between smart objects, IoT platforms and other IT systems at scale. Blockchains can enable the establishment, auditing and execution of smart contracts between objects and IoT platforms, as a means of controlling the semi-autonomous behavior of the smart object.

This will be a preferred approach to managing smart objects, given that the latter belong to different administrative entities and should be able to interact directly in a scalable fashion, without a need to authenticating themselves against a trusted entity such as a centralized cloud platform.

In terms of possible applications the sky is the limit. AI will enable innovative IoT applications that will boost automation and productivity, while eliminating error prone processes.  Are you getting ready for the era of AI in IoT?

 

Categories
Articles Internet of Things

Industrial IoT Predictive Maintenance – a Killer Application

Industrial IoT predictive maintenance is expected to generate the large scope of B2B transactions that require data analysis.  Indeed, IIoT is on such a growth pattern many of the billions of connected things in the coming years will be industrial assets, which will be deployed in settings like factories, agricultural, oil refineries and energy plants.

According to McKinsey the Industrial Internet has the potential to deliver up to $11.1 trillion on an annual basis by 2025 and 70% of this is likely to concern industrial and business-to-business solutions i.e. the Industrial IoT is expected to be worth more than twice the value of the consumer internet.

The Industrial IoT is at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), which is driven by the interconnection of all industrial assets and the ability to collect and analyze data from them. In the scope of the Industrial IoT, assets are cyber-physical systems, which enable the control of physical devices through their cyber representations and the processing of digital data about them.

The applications of cyber-physical systems span a very broad range, including production control, process optimization, asset management, integration of new technologies (such as 3D printing & additive manufacturing), as well as various industrial automation tasks. Nevertheless, the most prominent application is the ability to continually monitor, predict and anticipate the status of assets, with emphasis on industrial IoT predictive maintenance using predictions about when a piece of equipment should be maintained or repaired.

Industrial IoT Predictive Maintenance Key to Industry 4.0

 

Maintenance and Repair Operations (MROs) are at the heart of industrial operations, as they involve repairing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or other devices as a means of ensuring the continuity of operations. Nowadays, the majority of MRO operations are carried out on the basis of a preventive maintenance paradigm, which aims at replacing components, parts or other pieces of equipment, prior to their damage that could catastrophic consequences such as low production quality and cease of operations for a considerable amount of time. However, in most cases preventive maintenance fails to lead to the best usage of equipment (i.e. optimal Operating Equipment Efficiency (OEE)), as it maintenance is typically scheduled earlier than actually required.

In industrial IoT predictive maintenance (PdM) alleviates the limitations of preventive approaches. PdM is based on predictions about the future state of assets, with particular emphasis on anticipating the time when an asset will fail in order to appropriately schedule its maintenance.

PdM is empowered by models that estimate when the cost of maintenance becomes (statistically) lower that the cost that is associated with the risk of equipment failure.

Based on an optimal scheduling of maintenance, PdM leads to improved OEE, enhanced employee productivity, increased production quality, reduced equipment downtime, as well as a safer environment where failures are anticipated and repairs proactively planned. McKinsey & Co. estimates that the economic savings of predictive maintenance could total from $240 to $630 billion in 2025.

Nevertheless, there are still many industries that dispose with preventive maintenance, since they have no easy way to integrate and analyze data sets from thousands of heterogeneous sensors that are typically available in their plant floors. As a result only a fraction (i.e. 1% according to McKinsey & Co) of the available data is used, which is a serious setback to unlocking the potential of predictive maintenance applications, such as maintenance as a service, on-line calculation of OEE risk, maintenance driven production schedules and more.

The advent of Industrial IoT predictive maintenance is gradually unlocking the potential of PdM technologies facilitate the collection and integration of data from thousands of different sensors, while at the same time providing the means for unifying the semantics of the diverse data sets. Furthermore, IoT analytics technologies (notably predictive analytics) facilitate the processing of IoT data streams with very high ingestion rates based on machine learning and statistical processing techniques that can predict the future condition of components and equipment.

In several cases, IoT data are processed by Artificial Intelligence based techniques such as deep learning, in order to identify hidden patterns about the degradation of assets. Deep learning techniques are capable of leveraging (multimedia) data from multiple maintenance modalities such as vibration sensing, oil analysis, thermal imaging, acoustic sensors and more. Moreover, advanced deployments of industrial IoT predictive maintenance are not limited to deriving predictions about the future state of assets. Rather, they are able to close the loop down to the plant floor, through for example changing configurations in production schedules, altering the operational rates of machines or even driving automation functions.

Rise of Industrial IoT Predictive Maintenance Products and Services

 

PdM is looming as one of the killer applications for the Industrial IoT, which is evident not only on its potential savings but also on the rise of relevant IoT-based products and services. Most vendors have been recently releasing IoT-based solutions for PdM. In addition to empowering data collection and analytics, vendors are striving to enhance their products with added-value functionalities that help them stand out in the market. For example:

  • IBM predictive maintenance solution is able to perform root cause analysis in a holistic way, including predictions about where, when and why asset failures occur.
  • Software AG’s solution for industrial IoT predictive maintenance integrates with ERP and human resources systems to automatically plan the optimal allocation of tasks to technicians.
  • SAP integrates predictive maintenance information with business information (e.g., CRM and ERP systems) and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems. To this end, it benefits from its strong presence and installed base in the ERP market.
  • Microsoft offers PdM solutions over its Azure IoT suite in a way that offers preconfigured solutions (templates) for monitoring assets and analyzing their usage in real-time.

Recently, the DataRPM platform has been also established by a consortium of different vendors and manufacturers. DataPRM claims ability to deliver Cognitive Predictive Maintenance (CPdM) for Industrial IoT, based on the use of Artificial Intelligence for automating predictions of asset failures and closing the loop to ERP, CRM, and other business information systems.

Other major players in industrial engineering and automation, such as SIEMENS and BOSCH are offering their own platforms, while all major IT consulting enterprises have relevant services in their portfolio. Nevertheless, it is indicative of the market momentum of PdM and its positioning as one of the most prominent applications in the growing Industrial IoT predictive maintenance market.

Categories
Articles Wireless Ecosystems

Self Organizing Networks Driving down HetNet cost

As technology continues to advance, Self organizing networks drive down mobile Hetnets cost.  Known as SON, it has promise for the large cellular carriers that run LTE but additionally for smaller networks running on Wi-Fi and femtocells.  The goal of all carriers is to lower their overall operating costs and increase cost effectiveness.  Should SON use HetNet (heterogeneous networks), there are some advantages and disadvantages.  This article will look at each side.

Self Organizing Networks Advantages

 

The innate autonomous SON can function without users.  This means base stations and access points are configured and optimized automatically.  Macrocells still require technical interface, but the advent of self organizing networks within combination of small-cell technology meant a powerful shift in resource management – there was no reason to send a technician to each new small cell in a selected market area.

Ultimately, and the technology is still in its infancy if not even created, is to have the Self organizing networks implemented in the RAN.  The autonomous nature of SON means no human intervention for organizing and optimizing.  All a carrier would need is to create the cell site. The SON would handle all the RF frequencies and their channels, determine power levels, lists of neighboring elements and the other necessary configurations which historically required input.

In a sample case: a cell site within a SON-capable network goes down in an act of nature or accident.  The sites around the downed cell immediately and automatically organize themselves to provide coverage for the affected area. This gives carriers time to make logistical decisions or wait until normal working hours to dispatch technician for repairs. Clearly, the self-operating and repairing functions of the self organizing network have clear profitability for carriers.  This includes the larger service carriers and smaller ones who depend on communication besides LTE.

 

Self organizing Network Disadvantages

 

While the innate abilities of the self organizing networks to make the necessary reconfigurations to neighboring cells, the surrounding network within the down cell’s immediate area may prove difficult because of the SON’s sensing abilities.  There are two potential scenarios: a SON-capable base station passively finds and configures, or the information can come from queries around neighboring stations.

self-organizing-networks-for-HetNet

Here is the fundamental issue.  Base stations are uplink only; they receive transmissions from the carriers to the network, but stations additionally must be able to receive downlink signals for levels and neighboring parameters.

This means SON-capable stations must be frequency-agile for both links.

Receivers, set only for dedicated downlink and time-division-duplexed, TDD, systems, mean a SON-capable station will require time when it can receive downlink transmissions, a situation that can lead to unintended additional downtime during the process.

The disadvantages are not as harsh as they may seem.  So long as the SON is a part of a HETNET, the cost can be kept to a minimal amount.  Here is how. The HETNET is a web of base stations and wireless, up to and including macro stations, small cells, the preferred element of SON, and Wi-Fi.  The largest cellular carriers use HETNET in large, metropolitan areas (think New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) because of the user saturation macro base stations are grossly ineffective.

However, the needs of the many mean all markets, even smaller, rural ones, will eventually have a need for HETNET.  This means all the intricacies become of critical need for carriers in all wireless markets and mobile networks.

This is where self organizing networks is so important.  It is one technology that will meld the small and macrocells while providing a superior user experience for the carriers and their customers.  Expect the SON to evolve dramatically in the coming years. Some major U.S. carriers have plans to expand from 100,000 active sites to over 500,000.  This massive growth will require SON with the HETNET.

Initial upfront costs are a concern for some smaller carriers, but the long-term savings on technicians more than offsets the initial investment.  It should go without saying the profit margins will take a dip on the front end but will rapidly recover as self organizing networks saturation increases.  Success will depend on all the previous factors and full implementation with proper logistical planning.

Based on this, what is your opinion?  Is the potential upfront cost and dip in profits advantageous in the overall scope of the business or is the on-call skilled technician a safer and more dependable alternative?  Certain factors certainly must be considered on both, but exactly what are those factors outside of forces of nature?  Feel free to provide your personal thoughts on this.

Categories
Aerospace - Aviation Articles

IFEC Profit Margins Wireless Connectivity for Airlines

IFEC profit margins for business jets and commercial airlines is of  vital importance.  In the not too distant past, airlines depended on essentially the same technology for IFEC, aka In-Flight Entertainment Connectivity, as in most any movie theater.

A film was shot directly onto a screen using a projector, and customers could listen to the film via proprietary headsets or listen through in-cabin speakers.  For many passengers, this was not an ideal situation.

This has changed and changed drastically in a very positive way for all parties involved.  The main reason for going to this new system is the same as any reason a business makes changes – to increase IFEC profit margins and satisfy shareholders.  It all comes down to weight on the plane.  Weight is a major issue on flights.  Some airlines have removed the seat back screens from their airlines, cutting weight by 1,200 lbs.  A lighter plane means less fuel; less fuel means a better profit.

People have not seemed to mind this change for IFEC.  The main reason is the advent of newer and newer technologies as gone are the bulky, heavy laptops of old (remember that weight issue) requiring lots of storage space.  Touchpads, smartphones, and the like have changed computing in a way like Bill Gates did with Windows 3.1.  Research already points to handheld devices reaching over 2 billion this year based on previous information from 2014.

Weight is Equal to IFEC Profit Margins

 

This is a welcome change for airlines, where again, weight is equal to profits.  IFEC has certainly gone through its own growing pains from silent films to bulky 8mm, grainy machines to DVD’s and projectors.  Along the way, passengers have been kept happy, entertained, and not as concerned about long delays, waits and unforeseen circumstances that kept a plane grounded for an indeterminate amount of time.

IFEC profit marginsJump forward several years, and now we have streaming video, movies and more coming in over wireless and data from cellular providers.  For the airline industry, this is an absolute goldmine in IFEC profit margins.  

Gone will be the days of the same film showing for all passengers, young and old.  Finding a movie suitable to keep all passengers entertained for a flight can be virtually impossible.

Instead, passengers will be able to use personal devices to log into the plane’s on-board wi-fi system.  

Watching personal devices for Netflix, Hulu and YouTube is obviously a preferred method of IFEC over a single, one-size-must-fit-all movie.

 

 

Power of Choice will Increase IFEC Profit Margins

 

A customer, or in this case a passenger, who has some degree of choice in a situation is likely to be much happier and willing to accept certain situations and possible additional fees for the trade-off of continued in-flight entertainment.  Families traveling with young children certainly understand the value and power of a portable DVD or gaming system to entertain, and adults benefit just as much when left in a similar situation.  In other words, on a plane, everyone is a child wanting to know, “Are we there yet?”

On-Board Servers

 

The early Internet was certainly filled with its share of mistakes, drops and vicious lag that kept most everyone more annoyed than anything.  Companies who provided Internet needed vast storage often kept at temperatures where a jacket or coat would be necessary due to the enormous amounts of heat generated by the systems.  Today is a completely different story.  Adding a server and the wiring for a completely wireless system in an airplane is almost no different from wiring a new business and networking computers and printers.  The chief difference is the use of the Internet for pleasure over business, but one can realistically expect business to be happening as well during flights with free Internet as essential for IFEC profit margins.

Advertising Revenues

 

While many would like to think of the wireless as free, nothing is free.  Passengers interested in using the on-board wireless may have to listen to the occasional commercial interruption or pause during their movies or videos, but it is a small price to pay for the absolute convenience this offers.  Consider this: many of the YouTube channels that are run by commercial entities often preview their own videos with a brief commercial often about their own product.  An airline would do quite well with this content marketing strategy, particularly when they have a captive audience of sorts.

Future of IFEC Profit Margins

 

There is and will be plenty of room to grow from this point with IFEC profit margins.   Commercial lines still must balance their customer needs and wants with shareholder expectations and desires.  Wireless connectivity and IFEC on an airplane, however, is quickly advancing like the ideal window seat.

 

Categories
Articles Leadership - Ethics

Fundamental Leadership Training Key to your Company’s Success

Successful businesses are identified by their fundamental leadership training as they go hand in hand. Such executive managers are individuals who have been properly vetted, trained, and placed in positions where they can thrive. But getting there requires following a carefully crafted plan to ensure each leader’s success. By adhering to fundamental leadership training, companies can avoid mistakes and the consequences of the same. Appoint a mentor. Assign each new leadership a mentor, preferably a seasoned senior executive who can offer moral support, answer questions, and discuss solutions to problems.

Monitor and provide feedback. An initial key in fundamental leadership training is that every new leadership hire enters a learning curve and works toward a goal of becoming an independent leader.  Your company must outline concrete steps to help each individual reach expected goals or thresholds along the way. Monitor the new senior management hire’s progress and provide feedback as needed. Take corrective action when necessary.

Supply supplemental training courses. Courses including elevating decision making, best leadership ethics, problem-solving methodology, entrepreneurial leadership, and customer experience are just a few options available.    Review executive evaluation procedures.

Good Onboarding is Fundamental Leadership Training

 

 

fundamental-leadership-training-for-successWhile HR policies work for most employees, the executive evaluation process is unique in that it measures the impact on the company’s essential point.  Many companies make the fatal mistake of using a one-size-fits-all onboarding process driven by Human Resources which is really nothing more than an abridged orientation.

Onboarding must be customized for each new leadership hire.  Articulate management systems. Besides understanding HR policies, equip new leaders with the tools necessary to conduct performance reviews, and manage discipline issues. Understand work styles. No two leaders are alike, with unique personalities and work styles evident.

Make allowance for differences, while also helping trainees identify their strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to form management teams where different levels of managers complement each other. Solve problems before they spiral out of control. Conflict is a human element, although most people do not acknowledge it, choosing to avoid the same. Fundamental leadership training includes conflict resolution strategies in place and enable all senior managers to take their problems to the top.

Ensuring Success with Fundamental Leadership Training

 

 

A carefully implemented and executed management training program is your business’ assurance that the people you appoint are the best ones suited for the position. Anything less and employee morale, customer satisfaction, and business profitability will suffer, leading to high turnover costs and potential harm to your enterprise.

 

 

Categories
Articles Candidate Resources

Interview Thank You Letter Email or Snail Mail?

In this day of hyper electronic communication interview thank you letter by email can often be overlooked and deleted.  t’s easy for recruiters and Hiring Managers to get lost in the maze. While I have nothing against emails, texts, tweets, etc., etc. I tend to sometimes forget the advantage of personal touch of an interview thank you letter sent via snail mail, right to the interviewers door. Email lacks personality and effort.

It seems to me that the personal touch of snail mail is becoming the way of the dinosaur. But don’t discount the impact that a hand written interview thank-you letter can have on or influence a situation like an interview.

Interview Thank You Letter via Snail Mail Works

 

 

I know a Human Resource Manager with a renewable energy power provider who had set up an interview with three qualified people for a VP level position in her company. All three people interviewed with the CEO of the company.  All three did very well.It was going to be a tough decision for the CEO. Two of the candidates sent very appropriate emails to the CEO thanking him for his time and stating their intentions to want to join the company.Those emails were sent the day after the interviews. The third candidate went home and wrote a hand written interview thank you letter on professional looking stationary and sent it out snail mail that day. It also arrived the next day.

Snail Mail Kept Longer than Email for Interview Thank You Letter

 

 

job-Interview-Thank-You-LetterWell, as it happened, this CEO was very impressed by the actual hand written letter and was a big believer in the snail mail personal touch. Funny thing is the HR Manager told me she thought it was “old school” and out of touch.

How wrong she was. Suffice to say the third candidate got the offer and accepted the position.

Moral of the story for candidates and recruiters: don’t be so involved in the age of electronic communication as to forget that people still connect with you on a personal level.

This “personal touch” using snail mail tells someone about your customer relationships and your service delivery philosophy, especially in the interview thank-you letter.

 

How to Evaluate an Executive Search Firm
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