Retail

Ingram Micro Digital Signage Solution Brief

Create: 01/11/2017 - 00:00

More than just a means of advertising, digital signage is a powerful tool for any organization that wants to disseminate information and communicate messages to a large audience in a timely manner. The ability to strategically place and deliver targeted content in a wide variety of locations makes digital signage integral to the success of many businesses.

View Ingram Micro Digital Signage Solution Brief

Intel's Compute Card mini-computer is so small that you may lose it

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 16:49 -- Anonymous (not verified)

 

It's so thin, it could be easy to lose.But it's a full blown computer, crammed with a 7th Generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, memory, storage, and wireless connectivity. It's so small, it can't accommodate USB-C or other ports to power up or connect to displays. The Compute Card will work only after being plugged into a slot of a larger device, much like smart cards.Here's the bad news: It's not targeted toward PCs. However,...

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IoT Devices and Big Data Offer Path to Better Population Health

Create: 12/14/2016 - 12:00

New data streams from IoT medical devices and wearables may help patients and doctors in the fight against chronic disease, including diabetes.

Population health management is turning out to be a hotspot where data collected from IoT sensors has the potential to bring broad rewards. With a bevy of IoT-based fitness and certified medical devices available in 2017, data streams from wearables and health monitoring devices can be used alongside clinical data to provide doctors with a clear, near real-time picture of a patient’s health.  

Once this type of data is integrated into the clinical workflow and dashboard for physicians, it will have a major impact on disease management and treatments, especially for chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Seeing Diabetes More Clearly

Diabetes management is one of the more expensive healthcare challenges for patients, doctors and healthcare networks. About 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to WHO, and the cost of treating diabetes is estimated to be $500 billion worldwide.

IoT devices that help with diabetes management and patient monitoring are hitting the market in force in 2017. One example is the Google and Novartis/Alcon smart contact lens, which was first announced in 2014 and is now in the development stage at Verily, which is Alphabet Inc.’s research organization devoted to life sciences. The design was recently granted a patent, according to Time, and the lens will soon be ready for human testing.

The contact lens contains an embedded wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor and antenna that can rapidly measure blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. The radio antenna is thinner than a human hair. The chip and sensor are embedded between two layers of contact lens material, and a tiny pinhole in the lens lets tear fluid from the eye reach the glucose sensor.

The sensor can measure levels every second, which is key. Google points out that sudden fluctuations in blood sugar cause the worst outcomes for diabetes patients, such as heart disease, strokes and nerve damage. The contact lens will provide an easier, frequent and noninvasive way to monitor blood sugar levels.

Google smart lens

Photo: Google

Physicians who have weighed in on the Google contact lens technology note that the largest benefit is being able to offer patients a pain-free alternative to either pricking their fingers or using a continuous glucose monitor. The company has not yet specified how the data from the lens will be transmitted.

Data-Driven Approaches

Other companies are focused on improving diabetes management via patient monitoring and real-time data analysis. By using apps to monitor adherence to drug and treatment regimens, physicians can detect trends or changes in the health of a diabetic. One example of this type is the app created by SAP and Roche Diabetes Care that enables doctors to follow the progress of their prediabetes patients in real time.

The app works with Accu-Chek view, a healthcare management program and kit that includes blood testing as well as fitness tracking tools for patients. The app utilizes the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to enable doctors to monitor and analyze current patient data via a dashboard on their tablets or computers.

With the meters and sensors in place, if a patient’s indicators and parameters change, the health expert or physician receives an alert and can send messages or set new goals for the patient. They can also send a request to schedule an appointment to discuss further treatments. Sharing the data online with the doctor allows for constant management and provides the diabetic patient with a feeling of collaborative care. 

A similar solution for diabetes management is in the works from Cognizant and Kaiser Permanente, who have developed a prototype remote patient-monitoring system based on Microsoft Azure IoT services. The system connects the medical device, such as a glucose reader in a patient’s home, to a smartphone. Functioning as a gateway device, the smartphone sends data to the cloud for integration with an existing analytics and data visualization program used in Kaiser Permanente data center hospitals and clinics. Clinicians can access the data via a dashboard for near real-time view of a patient’s health.  

“You are reducing the cost of care, because there’s far less expense in having the patient record their vitals remotely from home, instead of coming to the clinic where a nurse or doctor physically collects the data,” says Mehul Shah, associate director of product engineering, Cognizant Technology Solutions, in a statement.

These new devices and sensors have the potential to simplify health monitoring, which could result in lower costs and fewer unexpected trips to the ER. For millions of diabetics, the Internet of Things might be just what the doctor ordered.    

Find out more about the smart lens technology and other healthcare IoT sensors on the Verily blog. Read the Cognizant report, Transform Patient Care with the Internet of Things

Avoid Attacks: Protecting Hackable IoT Holiday Gifts

Create: 11/30/2016 - 12:00

Streaming sticks, drones and smart home IoT devices all made the McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gift list of devices that can compromise security if left unprotected.

The odds are high that all kinds of IoT devices will be wrapped up and handed out this holiday season. One list solution providers should check twice before buying anything for the home or office is this one: the second annual McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gift list, which includes several types of network-ready IoT devices.

Before compiling the Most Hackable Gift list, Intel Security with its McAfee product line enlisted OnePoll to conduct a survey of what types of technology the average consumer plans to purchase and what they know about securing these new devices. According to the survey, consumers plan to buy all types of Internet-connected devices, including smartphones and tablets, smart home automation devices and apps, laptops and PCs, security camera and drones, and streaming sticks and media players.

The survey also revealed a big challenge that users have from the time these technology gifts are unwrapped: how can they be secured? While a majority of consumers are aware of the vulnerabilities in older connected devices such as laptops (76 percent), mobile phones (70 percent) and tablets (69 percent), they know less about IoT device security.

The survey notes that the average buyer lacks awareness about the potential risks associated with emerging connected devices, including drones (20 percent), children’s toys (15 percent), virtual reality technology (15 percent) and pet gifts (11 percent).

Mitigating Risks for IoT Devices

In the IoT department, smart home automation devices such as locks, climate control and cameras made the list of most hackable gifts. The anxious enthusiasm to start using the devices can lead to security issues. Almost 79 percent of those surveyed said they connect the devices immediately, within the first day of receiving it. And only 42 percent said they take the proper security measures to protect these devices.

“Unsurprisingly, connected devices remain high on holiday wish lists this year. What is alarming is that consumers remain unaware of what behaviors pose a security risk when it comes to new devices,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist, Intel Security, in a recent Intel Security statement.

Intel notes that cybercriminals could use this lack of attention to security to gather users’ personal data, exposing buyers to malware and identity theft. Hackers could also use unsecured IoT devices to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. For example, the recent DDoS attack was carried out by a botnet made up of unsecured webcams and other IoT devices and crippled many popular websites connected to the Dyn domain. Intel notes that anyone installing and using IoT devices understand they can help fight these attacks by ensuring their devices are updated and patched, which helps mitigate risks from the latest threats.

Camera Captures and Drone Jackings

Intel also notes that an IoT security camera can become infected with malware as quick as 98 seconds after being connected online. If solution providers are setting up a fleet of cameras, Intel security experts note that changing the default password is always a recommended first step. However, doing so doesn’t necessarily protect a smart device from becoming infected by the Mirai malware. Solution providers should stay educated on this malware, which turns systems running Linux into remotely controlled bots that can be used as part of a botnet in large-scale network attacks.

Intel Security for safe holiday
Photo credit: Twitter @IntelSecurity #safeholiday

Drones are another hot item on the Christmas list for 2016 that made the Most Hackable lineup. Intel Security notes that drone sales are expected to grow to $20 billion by 2022, propelled by their ability to provide overhead perspectives for shooting video and photographs. Intel warns that not properly securing drones could allow hackers to disrupt the GPS signal or hijack the drone through its smartphone app.

Be Security Aware

Intel Security recommends that buyers and solution providers providing installation and management of IoT devices and networks stay wise about securing and using these popular new IoT devices. The suggestions include:

  • Secure each device. The device is the key to controlling personal information. Make sure you have comprehensive security software installed, such as McAfee LiveSafe™.
  • Only use secure Wi-Fi networks. Using IoT devices, such as smart home applications on public Wi-Fi could leave the home or office open to risk.
  • Keep software up-to-date. Apply patches as they are released from the manufacturer. Install manufacturer updates right away to ensure that the device is protected from the latest known threats.
  • Use a strong password or PIN if available for the apps and devices. If the device supports it, use multi-factor authentication (MFA), as it can include factors like a trusted device, face recognition or fingerprint to make the login more secure. For devices such as drones, using a complex password at least eight characters long with random numbers, letters and symbols is necessary for safe operation.
  • Check before you click. Be suspicious of links from people you do not know, and always use Internet security software to stay protected. Hover over the link to find a full URL of the link’s destination in the lower corner of the browser.

See the full analysis from Intel Security of the McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gift list. Follow @IntelSecurity on Twitter for live online safety updates and tips, and use hashtag #safeholiday to discuss the Most Hackable Gifts of 2016.

Drag and Drop Your Way into the SMB Digital Signage Market

Create: 11/22/2016 - 12:00
digital signs Bailey's Taproom

Digital signage is dramatically changing business as usual for SMBs. The numbers are in: Businesses are installing them in record numbers, and customers are attracted to their real-time information. In fact, eight out of 10 customers who entered a store did so because of a digital sign, according to a survey conducted by FedEx, “What’s Your Sign: In the World of Small Business, Just How Attractive is a Sign?” And once customers venture inside, businesses in a Nielsen study reported that they had up to 33 percent in additional sales through the use of in-store digital signs.

(Photo credit: Bailey’s Taproom, photographer Marc Smith, 30dayadventures.ca)

Tapping into Location-Based Marketing

One particularly effective use of digital signs for retailers is in digital menus, which may quickly become the replacement to the restaurant chalkboard or sandwich board. SignStix reports that 29.5 percent of customers said that digital menus influence their purchasing decisions. The marketing power of a digital menu is particularly effective when real-time menu information is combined with mobile applications and location-based services. Used correctly, digital signs and menus provide integrated messaging that engages consumers and enables them to connect with the businesses they frequent.

A good example of this type of interactive digital signage is in Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, OR. According to a recent blog from Asik Khan, president of the Location-Based Marketing Association, the Taproom enlisted a .Net programmer to develop a digital menu board that displays brewery and beer name, beer style and color, brewery location and the approximate level of beer remaining in each keg. The menu also displays which Foursquare friends have checked in at the Taproom and sends out a Tweet as soon as a new beer is added, so customers can hop in and immediately know what’s on tap.

Overcoming Obstacles for SMBs

While the brewery may make the digital menu implementation look easy, many retailers are still hesitant to make the move to digital on their own.  According to a recent report from Intel’s Arthur Chang, Segment Business Development Manager for Connected Home and Commercial Clients, the challenges that SMBs cite for not moving to digital signs include:

  • Cost.  Initial cost starts in the few thousand dollars. Digital signs are difficult and expensive to scale. The best options are subscription-based, requiring an additional monthly cost.
  • Installation. Setup is complex and requires an outside provider with technical expertise. The process can be invasive and disruptive to daily business. Wireless connectivity and/or a reliable network are required.
  • Maintenance. Most of the software is proprietary and difficult to personalize. The industry is highly fragmented and has wide-ranging offerings, costs and products. Updates and fixes likely require a technician.

Small Business Digital Signage Solution Kit

Solution providers can help their clients overcome these obstacles with the small business Digital Signage Solution. It has three ingredients:

  • A PC powered by a 6th Gen Intel processor with HDMI input and pre-installed with SmarterSign software;
  • An Intel Compute Stick pre-installed with SmarterSign software;
  • A client’s own monitor or TV with HDM input.

SmarterSIgn software allows the owner or the business manager to control the message and its timing. The software helps the owner to more easily create content for the sign, build a schedule and publish the content. Plus, the software contains design tools and a template library, so users can drag-and-drop a customized message for the digital sign.

SmarterSign also has management tools, so the user can determine when and which monitors to run content on and set the content to play on specific days at a specific time. The SmarterSign player application is pre-installed on the Intel Compute Stick.

 
   (Photo credit: Intel)

Using this Intel digital signage kit, solution providers can benefit from increased incremental sales to SMBs and offer new sell-up opportunities on large monitors and displays along with high-margin content management services. The Compute Stick requires less time and cost required per digital sign installation. Most importantly, the kit connects you to the growing digital sign opportunity in the large—and still untapped—small business retail market.

Learn more about the Intel Compute Stick and Intel Digital Signage for Small Business

IoT News Roundup: November 9-November 16, 2016

Create: 11/15/2016 - 12:00

 


Industrial Internet Consortium Unveils Enterprise IIoT Framework
The Industrial Internet Consortium has released a free reference document, The Business Strategy and Innovation Framework for IIoT,  for organizations planning to engage in IIoT. The research document addresses IIoT strategy and goals, describes a structured framework to target and select the right IIoT opportunities and explains a system to identify, assess and initiate IIoT opportunities.   

Data is the New Oil in Autonomous Driving
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich writes in this editorial that “Just as oil has transformed our world over the last century, data is poised to transform our world for the next hundred years—and beyond.”  He explains the inside-out data, the societal and crowdsourced data and personal data that is the new currency in the automotive world. And, to make autonomous driving a reality, Intel Capital is targeting $250 million of new investments during the next two years.

GE Digital and IoT
GE Digital is making a name for itself in IoT by staking out a home in the Silicon Valley and partnering with the leaders in the quickly growing and fast maturing IoT ecosystem. In the past few weeks, the company has made a slew of announcements including new applications for its Predix platform, a longer list of ISVs, and two acquisitions that further its IIoT strategy.

Honeywell Turns Up Heat in IoT
Multi-occupancy buildings serve large and small populations who have different needs and comfort levels. In smart buildings, facility managers and occupants can now enjoy more control over entering the facility and adjusting the temperature. A new Honeywell app provides digital identification and integrates with core building functions. Honeywell is also collaborating with Encycle as a Total Connect Comfort partner. The two companies will focus on commercial and industrial customers to integrate Honeywell thermostats into the Energy as a Service by Encycle solution and the SwarmStat service. One pilot with a national retailer is expected to deploy 1,500 thermostats.     

More Possible Threats to IoT Networks
Smart cities, home networks and SMB networks are possible targets for IoT attacks. This proof of concept attack from security researchers shows the vulnerability in Internet connected lightbulbs and the insecurity of IoT network protocols. Solution providers should know and be comfortable with the protocols—ZigBee, Thread, WeMo and Z-wave—that communicate and control IoT devices.   

IoT News Roundup: November 2-November 9, 2016

Create: 11/08/2016 - 12:00

 

The Internet of Things—Driving the Need for Data Reconciliation
Data is coming, and lots of it, with the IoT. Organizations are already struggling with unconnected silos of data, and we can expect that managing that data will become more difficult as sensors collect temperature, vibration, heartbeats and more and send that data through edge devices. Technologies are available to bring those data sets together, and organizations are looking for solutions and services that help them turn their data into business value.  

Watson IoT and Node-Red Join First Responder Team
In Galway, volunteer leaders are accessing first responders’ skillsets, availability and ETA during life-threatening emergency situations along its coast. The project team used design thinking to build a mobile app that shares critical information with Watson IoT and a Node-Red cognitive engine. This in-depth use case explains the four primary applications and the solutions used to build this life-saving solution.

Top 11 Measures that Can Save You from IoT Threats
Your customers know that the IoT poses a real security threat. Cameras, cars, medical devices and even the power grid have proven to be vulnerable.  Here is an overview on why the IoT is at risk and 11 safety measures that will help prevent your customers from experiencing an attack.

10 Solution Provider Superstars with the Coolest Applications for the Internet of Things
Solution providers are bringing all types of interesting IoT apps to market for transportation, agriculture, healthcare and other industries. These 10 IoT superstars showcase how sensors, networks, analytics software and data analytics can create new revenue-generating IoT solutions.

Intel® IoT Developer Hub and Automation at the Edge Network Workshop Webinar
This online webinar explains how to interact with the Intel® IoT Gateway. You will learn system management and visual programing with the Intel® IoT Developer Hub. Register now for the Tuesday, November 15, session. 

IoT News Roundup: Week of October 26-November 2, 2016

Create: 11/01/2016 - 13:00

 

Top 5 Things to Know about Recent IoT Attacks


IoT botnets continue their assaults on websites and the Internet. These threats aren’t going away, so start planning a defense now and arm yourself with these five things to know. Hacking IoT devices is a problem for everyone and requires serious attention to the architecture, configuration and management of IoT devices.

Internet of Things Not that Connected       

Standardization is much needed if we are to connect all the planned IoT devices. How will enterprises orchestrate and manage the incoming IP connected devices? Companies are already looking at standardization on the consumer side, and it could impact what happens in enterprises. These six do’s and don’ts speak to how to create standards that will seamlessly connect the millions of coming IoT devices.

10 Blockbusters from IoT Solutions World Congress

Last week’s IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, brought together known and unknown names around IoT. With so many announcements and launches, here are 10 new and noteworthy products that cover security, IoT platforms, IoT devices, sensors and more. Intel, ARM, Microsoft and Dell are among those earning attention from attendees and editors.

IoT Solution for Auto Dealers

Bloodhound, from Atlanta-based MyDealerLot, combines Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, license plate recognition and drones (to be added in early 2017) in a solution that monitors vehicles on dealership lots. Employees can track vehicle location and inventory through their smartphones or tablets. Other dealer-focused solutions combine digital signs to welcome incoming guests and RFID to streamline servicing. The company is looking for partners to take its solutions to a broader base of dealers.

ABI Builds IoT Partner Program Database

How mature is the IoT value chain? The services of solutions providers that can build end-to-end solutions that integrate device components, connectivity and value-added services are critical in the IoT. This database from ABI Research includes 450-plus IoT system integrators, VARs and partner programs at Cisco, Dell, Intel, IBM, SAP and others, plus it ranks their expertise. Based on the research, IoT leaders are responding to market and customer expectations, as 54 percent of listed organizations received a high IoT maturity grade from the research firm.  

IoT News Roundup

Create: 10/25/2016 - 13:00

This week’s top takeaways in IoT: Microsoft Azure catalogs IoT devices, AR keeps elevators going up and down, Intel releases new IoT chips, fast paths to IoT ROI.

Smarter Cities and Cleaner Air: A Quick Guide to Intel IoT Environmental Monitoring Solutions at IoTSWC
Environmental monitoring, which covers air, noise, water and soil monitoring, is expected to have a major impact on human life and safety. Considering that 7 million people die worldwide due to air pollution, urban centers and governments are turning to effective IoT-based environmental solutions and air quality management solutions that monitor environments, send timely alerts and provide analysis of trends. Intel and partners are bringing their expertise to these issues and more at this week’s Internet of Things Solutions World Congress

How to Get Started on the IoT Journey: Four Fast Paths to Payback
The IoT journey often starts with a small implementation that solves a business problem. As solution providers, your biggest challenge is helping customers identify how and where to apply IoT. Connecting devices, adding remote monitoring/operations, predictive analysis and predictive maintenance are four paths that deliver payback. These four use cases merge savings and ROI with real-world examples of IoT solutions that can be replicated across multiple industries.  

Microsoft Supercharges Azure IoT Suite for Partners
Microsoft chose IoT Solutions World Congress as the launching ground for its new Azure IoT certified device catalog. Solution partners can use the catalog to navigate through devices from the Azure Certified IoT program and select the best options for their customer solutions. The catalog also removes lots of the guesswork in designing an IoT solution by describing how devices connect to the Internet and identifying compatible sensors and protocols. 

Intel Chips Build IoT Solutions that See, Think and Act
Intel introduced its Atom E3900 chips with improved computer vision and industrial-grade timing. Designed for a range of applications, the chips are expected to both sense and act in commercial applications. Devices can stop a manufacturing line when they detect a defective part, for example, or set off an alarm in a car if a driver is drowsy. Industrial systems are especially interested in IoT solutions built with these capabilities.  

Bringing Augmented Reality to Elevator Service with HoloLens
Technicians are completing service maintenance interventions by as much as four times faster when using HoloLens, holographic computers running Windows 10. ThyssenKrupp is putting the augmented reality technology into the hands of more than 24,000 elevator service technicians worldwide. Built with the IoT-enabled MAX, a predictive maintenance solution, companies in construction, manufacturing and design are ready for more commercial applications.  

Creating New Revenue Streams with Digital Signage

Create: 10/06/2016 - 13:00

Digital signs are everywhere—in retail stores, school buildings, hospitals, fitness clubs, hotel elevators and highways. Digital signage is a way for businesses to display information and advertising as well as gather relevant consumer data. Digital signage is also becoming more affordable and easier to use, so that businesses of all sizes can take advantage of interactive media.

“Digital signage allows businesses to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience,” explains Alex Khalil, Business Development Executive, Advanced Solutions at Ingram Micro.

Solution providers who understand all the parts and pieces of digital sign solutions—and know how to sell it into various vertical industries—can tap into this growing market and earn high margins. According to Khalil, customers turn to solution providers for technical guidance on many different aspects of digital signage, including site surveys, system design, content creation, installation, programming and break/fix. 

Ingram Micro notes that the size of the digital sign market is estimated to be $35 billion in North America, with 40 percent of that revenue coming from services. Sales in display technology are skyrocketing this year. “We are seeing upwards of 27 million displays being shipped out in 2016 among the leading brands, such as Samsung and LG,” says Khalil. This figure represents double-digit annual growth.

Photo credit: Ingram Micro

Margins for solution providers on the front-end hardware for digital sign bundles are typically between 4 to 8 percent, with other parts of the solution much higher, says Khalil. “Media players and content management can yield 30 to 40 percent margins, depending on how intensive the installation is.”

Talking Points to Selling Digital Signage

Selling digital sign technology starts by overcoming obstacles. “A business customer may push back on buying displays from a solution provider and think they can just purchase them at Best Buy or other Big Box stores,” says Eric Kenyon, Senior Sales Executive, Pro AV / Digital Signage at Ingram Micro. He notes that display technology for commercial usage is different from consumer/prosumer models in many ways:

  • Runtime. A commercial display needs to operate 24x7x365, while a prosumer display needs to operate 12 to 16 hours a day and a consumer model approximately 12 hours or less.
  • Warranty and durability. A commercial display should have a more extensive warranty, one that covers hardware that will be turned on and operating 24 hours a day.
  • Orientation. Commercial displays need to have portrait or landscape options.  
  • Security features. A commercial display needs to have higher levels of security, especially if it is located in a high-traffic area such as an airport or retail store.
  • Brightness. Consumer displays are not as bright, and they may not work well (in terms of visibility) if placed in a professional setting, retail marketplace or outdoors.

Making the Sale: What’s Required

Ingram Micro outlined four requirements that will help solution providers make the sale in digital signage:

  1. Knowledge. Big retailers use digital signs in their stores. So do small businesses, schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants, sports/entertainment complexes and more. Get to know specific markets—the language and hot buttons—to sell effectively.
  2. Education. Digital signage is familiar to most people, but not well understood. The technology is evolving (displays, media players, software), and so are the form factors: traditional signs, touch screens, kiosks, embedded signs and menu boards. Be prepared to educate your prospects and explain all the different possibilities for using it.
  3. WIFM: What’s in it for me. You may be selling to the owner of a company, the head of sales/marketing, the CFO or one person who does all three jobs. IT may or may not be involved. A decision maker may have an A/V background.  Be prepared to tailor your sales presentation to different hot buttons.
  4. ROI. Digital signage is not just about flashy graphics and bells and whistles. It represents a significant investment that offers proven ways to increase sales, enhance customer experiences and turn inventory faster. Talking technology alone won’t get you far—be prepared to talk value and bottom line impact.

Kenyon also suggests that if a solution provider is just getting started selling digital signage, use a manufacturer demo program and set up a working system. “Have something to show customers. Getting a demo in your own office will help you in long run, as people need to touch and feel it.”

Get more advice from Ingram Micro by listening to the Social Chat or downloading the full presentation

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