Smart Living beyond Smart Cities – Emotion Tracking

By Sairam Bollapragada & Rajesh Mohandas

If we time traveled a few years back and someone told us we would start wearing a chunky, black band on our wrist to monitor how many steps we take, our pulse and few other health stats, we might have been coming straight out of a hi-fi science fiction movie. We are there today and it’s a reality. Couple of years back Pew Trust published a report which found that 69% of adults track themselves. And, 21% use technology to do it. According to Statista, the fitness wearable’s market is expected to have a value of$19 billion USD by 2018.

emotion track

There has been no one definition of stress that everyone accepts, but still everyone acknowledges that we live in stress, one of the thoughts that ran past my mind which triggered to write this blog, can smart cities help stress free living  using technology like Google mind-reading. Maybe we can monitor the thought process and understand patterns of wary thoughts….in old age it is more the feeling of insecurity which causes the stress than anything else. Remember, when we were kids and living in joint family environment any emotion was easily caught by our parents, siblings, cousins, uncles/aunties if not any for sure by grandparents and very soon it was put to rest or given a directional correctness and we used to very soon come back to our normal self. In today’s so called modern day setup where kids live in a nuclear family often brought up either in a day care or under the supervision of a nanny, with both parents working and relatives living in different cities completely disconnected in the so called connected world…

Going beyond families, the corporates and the business are going thru a very different dimension of disruption and want to understand the customers better, what makes the customer more satisfied with their products, with their advertisements and campaigns that will trigger a right emotion to reach the product on the shelf.

Further beyond corporates and families, the healthcare practitioners have clearly understood and articulated often the impact of external forces on our bodies and mind and the way our mind and body reacts to it automatically. This automatic response developed in our ancient ancestors and exists in our genes today as a way to protect us from predators and other threats. Faced with danger, the body kicks into gear, flooding the body with hormones that elevate  palpitations, increase your blood pressure, boost your energy and prepare you to deal with the problem. These days, you’re probably not facing the same threats but similar one. But you probably do confront multiple challenges every day, such as meeting deadlines, paying bills and juggling childcare that make your body react the same way. As a result, your body’s natural alarm system — the “fight or flight” response — may be stuck. That can have serious consequences on your health.

As per the reports published by American Psychological Association 75% of people experience some or the other kind of stress daily, Approximately 1 out of 65 people may experience panic attack , 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.  Alarmingly 91% of adult Australians feel stress in at least one important area of their lives, An estimated 442,000 individuals in Britain, report to experience stress and visit a professional counsellor for help, Approximately 13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK due to stress factors. Geo political factors are causing a lot of stress in the MENA area and Indian medical association has reported 3 out of 4 people who visit the doctors today have aliments related to stress leading to 40% heart troubles, 44% sleep related disorders and various lifestyle diseases. India is the diabetes capital of the world.

A wearable called Feel takes the collected data and produces visualization on your phone. You can take a look at your whole day in the form of a graph and see when stress levels were peaking and what your mood was at different times. This emotion tracker also gives suggestions about what to do to reduce stress and make yourself happier, as well as provide breathing and meditation exercises to help you calm, down. You can also set long-term emotional well-being goals and receive personalized tips to be healthier and promote positivity.

Technology like feel could adapt to human emotions, using sensors, computer vision and algorithms to correctly identify the likely emotions displayed by individuals… for marketers the emotion tracking technology can enable them to predict how well their marketing assets will do. It enables them to stop campaigns and gives the knowledge to know if a given asset is even good enough to air.

Some IoT devices beyond “Feel” already available in the market can be readily used leveraging BigData for analytics and IoT Platforms to customize applications and right sizing to meet the needs are…

XOX Server and Cloud used by ad-makers or movie makers XOX servers that allow show designers and producers access to the audience’s intimate data. This is processed locally and available through an industry standard API.

The XOX Sensory Wristband system includes specially designed ergonomic wristbands that are worn on the upper wrist. Intimate data is read via a number of wearable biometric sensors.

EyeRis is a Deep learning based vision technology enables everyday devices to understand how we feel, who we are and how we perceive the environment around us. This comes with an emotionally Intelligent vision technology adds a crucial dimension to devices Contextual Awareness to support a better Ambient Intelligence. EmoVu software embeds into the environment passively to accurately identify users, understand their emotions and personalize their individual experiences via intelligent adaptive interfaces

nViso technology can be used both online and offline, it’s a cloud based system which requires no software to be installed – all that is needed is a web browser and a webcam.. 3D Facial Imaging captures and interprets emotions as they are occur, making direct measurement of emotional response easy to implement and highly scalable.

Lightwave, which calls itself an “applied neuroscience platform,” is one of several companies furiously at work creating a new field called emotional economy, focused on sensing and analyzing consumers’ mental states. This is a young start-up but a pioneering bioanalytics technology company, is in the business of tracking how we feel in these micro-moments

Apple in January 2016 bought a San Diego start-up called Emotient, which uses facial-tracking technology to identify people’s feelings while Nelisen bought Boston-based Innerscope, which combines facial-cue recognition with Lightwave-style wearables data

Affectiva is yet another company Capture people’s emotion reactions on mobile devices in real-time, using Afdex to uncover the emotional power of advertisements and media content and promoting a very new dimension of EaaS … (Emotion as a Service) offering.

Emotion tracking combined with sensor analytics is a leading trend today, quite successful with some demos and PoCs and very less practical implementation or case studies to demonstrate readily the large scale acceptance in the commercial market although there are wide verity of use cases available. The push towards Smart cities opens up a commercial opportunity for one and all involved in the pyramid to explore this wonderful feature of Emotional Tracking IoT with analytics to be integrated in every element of smart living beyond smart cites …


Smart Living … beyond smart cities (Part 1)

Smart Living … beyond smart cities (Part 1)

By Sairam Bollapragada & Rajesh Mohandas

Every increase in motorized speed creates new demands on space and time. This demand of space and time killing the nature in the name of development has led to many adverse impacts.  India may be lagging behind China on several economic indicators but when it comes to environmental degradation, the country has definitely outsmarted its giant neighbour.

Of the world’s top 20 polluted cities, 13 are in India. Air pollution slashes life expectancy by 3.2 years for the 660 million Indians who live in cities. The Ganga and Yamuna are ranked among the world’s 10 most polluted rivers. A three-year analysis of the water quality in 290 rivers by the Central Pollution Control Board said about 66% of the stretches monitored had high organic pollution. It means 8,400 km of these rivers are badly polluted and not fit for supporting aquatic life. India’s cities are in crisis. They are clogged with traffic, choked with pollution, blighted by concrete flyovers, overcrowded, suffer from power and water shortages, are prone to flooding and can at times be almost unbearable to live in.

Smart cities call for smart solutions in an age when carbon emissions and respect for the environment have come to the fore. And very often it is the low-energy, simpler forms of technology that can provide the answers. Writing in 1973, the philosopher and social commentator Ivan Illich stated the following:

“Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories… Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well… In contrast, the accelerating individual capsule [the car] enabled societies to engage in a ritual of progressively paralyzing speed.”

Much modern urban planning is car-centric. But where is the need for the car if work, school or healthcare facilities are close by. Less need for ugly flyovers or six lane highways that rip up communities in their path. Getting from A to B would not require a race against the clock on the highway that cuts through a series of localities that are never to be visited, never to be regarded as anything but an inconvenience to be passed through en route to big-mac nirvana, multiplex overload or shopping-mall hedonism. The main factor that keeps cycling rates low in many cities is that most people are not comfortable sharing space in streets with fast-moving cars and trucks. Most modern cities are designed for cars. Thus, an intelligent city planner while planning a smart city should assume that cycling, walking and public transport would be the main forms of transport while trying to figure out how to accommodate inefficient, polluting and dangerous modes like private car use.

A humanistic, people-friendly city is first and foremost an accessible city, where mobility is possible for all. Traffic congestion represents a major economic problem because of the many working hours lost each day from sitting in traffic jams and soaring petrol costs. So what’s the solution? The good old bicycle! A growing number of cities around the world are eager to become bicycle cities, as part of a wider strategy to raise their green profile. The key to enabling high levels of cycling is having the right infrastructure, including cycle paths and bicycle parking, but also a number of communication campaigns to promote cycling, educate children and target groups who do not normally cycle.

Currently, 31% of India’s population lives in cities; these cities also generate 63% of the nation’s economic activity. These numbers are rapidly increasing, with almost half of India’s population projected to live in its cities by 2030. Smart Cities focus on the most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve quality of life for residents today and in the future. With this in mind, planners would create so-called separated cycle facilities “a combination of cycle tracks at the sidewalk level and/or protected bike lanes in the roadways”, Infrastructure, however, is not just about bike lanes associated with that in a smart city there will be opportunity to leverage technology to enable many facets of cycling.

There is already a lot of advancement in the area of Cycle Locks that are connected to your hand held devices that inform you of any possible tampering. Using Bluetooth Low-Energy, Wi-Fi, and an accelerometer, the lock pairs itself with a smartphone to be contextually aware.

Innovation in the Cycle industry has brought in various ways to track your wellness, the cyclist now is able to know the distance driving, calories burnt, heart rate, pulse and few other key statistics, also the cycles are smart enough to store your data on cloud and monitor the improvement in health parameters. There are advanced studies that show how this data help the medical and Para medical faculties in helping one overcome lifestyle disorders of diabetes and blood pressure

Another classic innovation is the Copenhagen Wheel that allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion, road conditions in real-time. Controlled through your smart phone, the Copenhagen Wheel becomes a natural extension of your everyday life. You can use your phone to unlock and lock your bike, change gears and select how much the motor assists you.

Smart pedal and smart chain / belt are two other innovations that leverage the IoT and facilitate bicycle rides for longer distances. If one has to travel from home to office say 20Kms the modern cycle leveraging the technology has made it in par if not as fast as a car to cover the distance of 20Kms at the rate of 60Kmph. So you can reach the destination in 20mins overcoming all traffic

Smart Cycles are great energy savers, the capacitors and auto charge elements of the bicycle are generating energy that can be used back home for daily chores, heating, lighting and many other day to day activities.

What is required by the planners today is to ensure when Smart Cities are built there should be enough infrastructure for Cycling and Pedestrians and this alone will contribute help improve the living conditions, directly impacting fuel costs and wellness of the person on cycle.

Will Smart Cities set off reverse migration?

By Sairam Bollapragada

The lure of emerging technologies, IoT, SMAC resulting in ‘smartening’ everything in a Smart City concept is catching a lot of attention. A typical scenario in India and perhaps in some other countries is that the smart city is planned or promised to provide all one can think of from the perspective of greater convenience, bettered facilities, and a better quality-of-life.

Earlier, when the poorer cousins of cities were devoid of earning opportunities, people rushed to cities in a bid to earn livelihood. Hordes of people would take a train to bigger developed/developing cities and the skilled population in towns started thinning to leave the towns under-developed, if not pushing them backward. The migration created a lot of divide between haves and have-nots. Thus, there emerged the social parameters of ‘earn-abilities’ and ‘learn-abilities’.

The smart city concept has compelled the state agencies, policy makers and country planners to think on which kind of smaller cities or towns can be quickly transformed into a place for getting the best of the benefits to its citizens. The cities, with the expanse of irreversible growth in infrastructure, transportation, tall buildings, depleted oxygen levels, tiring network of roadways, increasing number of vehicles, and many things supposedly defining the so called ‘Developed City”.

What people would slowly start seeing in the next decade or so, will be a reverse trend due to the same reasons for which they migrated. Roads are great but traffic snarls came in, too many people and social circle but the stigma has pricked, better buying power but the divide has increased, better education but stiffer competition and hence the upward cost of education, more buildings and losing touch with the greens, and many such things which once lured many. People in cities (big ones especially) feel the pinch of polluted air, environment, crowd, lesser interfaces with nature, increased carbon emissions, unclean and non-potable water (remember in the school we used to drink from the tap directly!), increased usage of plastics, and many such things.

The smart cities today, if well planned laced with the same facilities which once brought so many to bigger cousins, would attract population to come back to the roots. This time the wait is worth; the transformation to a smart city from a town will open up many opportunities.

The same facility with all advantages of nature, time for hobbies, wonderful work-life balance, healthier way to live, shorter traffic times, better standards of living, better education and better skilling to prepare smarter workforce, better housing facilities, innovative utilities for a smart living, better plans for optimum movement of people and goods to create a smart mobility, better plans for higher employment with more investments towards a smart economy, sustainable development, natural resource utilization like water and energy – all creating smart environment for a citizen to become part of such a balanced and content life. Not to forget – the evils of such growth will still be around – be it price rise of real estate, people flocking, opportunistic deals, etc.

However, the policy makers can quickly create policies around prevention of the same. The legislations should create a vision for the smart city with a potential future blueprint like, say, a 20-year vision keeping in view livability and environment management with tagged sources of funding for such innovative transformations. The options for delivering to the purpose, especially on the infrastructure side, will depend and include a lot of PPP models and unsolicited proposals from citizen forums/associations/societies etc., including smaller infra packages bundled into private sector development of residential and commercial hubs. Connected communities will empower and encourage more local economy. The Corporate Social Responsibility will need to play a larger role in the development of these smart cities and corporate biggies should be provided with business opportunities to establish their work places from these cities, opening employment opportunities to citizens and hence giving an economic boost to the area.

The independent entrepreneur class should be encouraged to heavily participate in the PPP models as well. The encouragement can be mostly in terms of tax holidays, infra provisioning, etc. All these initiatives will provide to better average buying power of the citizens and hence the economy uptrend. The ease of doing business will be a critical success factor offering by the policy makers to ensure smooth commissioning of new business.

Major IT companies should already plan for positioning their work packages in these tier II cities for better profitability creating local jobs. It would be a win-win for both the company and the state. The movement of jobs (and not folks) from major cities to these smart destinations would need to be very meticulously planned towards strategic business benefits. On an average, such cities promise to provide better profit-after-tax (PAT) of at least 40%, lower attrition rates (<5%), better customer satisfaction levels (CSATs>4.6) and promise to growth. The psychology of IT fraternity will move from that of clinging to complex major cities to ‘let’s embrace smart’.

Technology will be an enticing factor in smart cities, especially for the technocrats, who can find such place more interesting to reside if the planners create strong knowledge hubs around various areas, create smart communities to brainstorm and solve the most recurring issues collaboratively. Such smart and healthy communities will also increase the awareness amongst the citizens on how inclusive participation with the government agencies will create synergies.

The smart cities are expected to become environmental CoEs. Resource efficiencies (especially the natural ones) identified, tracked and reported through connected devices and sensors are expected to drive behavioral patterns through analytics and communication channels.

It is expected that the carbon footprint would reduce as more people would accept pooling or sharing and be encouraged to use public transportation reducing the owned cars numbers. The older cars ( >15+ years) can be faded from usage through policy regulations to help further. The encouragement of work from home in a connected city will lead to lesser carbon emissions, less pollution and something every employee will appreciate with the employer.

Smart information via transparency on social channels will bring in peer pressure for everybody to be aligned and citizens would be compelled to be aware.

Senior citizens would prefer smart cities while living alone would need leveraged confidence levels from connected devices like wearables and connected healthcare communications. In order to include them in this game, awareness programs for the not-so-technology-delighted senior population, must be held creatively. A well-connected neighborhood and societies will provide a level of comfort between all citizens and build a stronger society like a larger joint-family!

Energy transmission through Smart Grids will create optimized power consumption. Smart utilities will help retain unused power so that the power purchase driven by demand through the agencies can be only as per consumption and this will help in paying for what is optimally used only.

Smart building and office offering the right level of facilities usage to increase work productivity, less downtime with increased resource efficiencies will also help sustain the resources.

Each citizen will be expected to become smarter by being connected – they can report incidents, fires, traffic jams, any suspicious activities, water leakages, electricity theft, emergency response required events, and many more – in all each citizen will be a smart city manager in a way since all these exchange of information will lead to maintaining the balance between cost and standards of life.

The policy makers in Vienna, for example, have committed to publish all spend reports, while local police publish the real-time crime data. Getting citizen involvement is also one of the USPs where feedback on urban planning and city services are taken for improving facilities. Apps like EveryBlock in Chicago and CitySourced in several UK cities enable residents to report problems from potholes to broken street lights to crime anytime anywhere.

We may be setting new standards of responsive city services where citizens feel they have better sense of belonging and stake in them.

The tremendous pressure put currently on the cities due to ever increasing demand on the infrastructure and facilities, is already taking a toll.  With increased density of traffic, as an example, a person spends 25%-30% of his productive day on roads. In the next one decade, it could be seen that the reverse migration will become a reality, especially in countries like India.

Smart is not about big, smart is about intelligent technology for better lifestyles from cost and standards point-of-view. Who would not want to live in Smart & Green Cities at reduced cost of living!!

IoT Security is everybody’s business!! – Part 1

By Sairam Bollapragada

With the Digital wave, the structure of the IT organizations, especially those racing to embrace new technologies and IoT is poised for a paradigm shift. Every brilliant side of technological revolution comes with a darker patch as well. With so much of data slated to being generated via connected devices, the Cyber Security can no longer be the forte of IT folks ONLY.

While technology brings in convenience, it also comes at a cost (read flip side).

In the recent past in India, we have started seeing mobile wallets increasingly being used for payments and other financial transactions to another device or account. The connected wallets also create opportunities for hackers to break in and creatively lay their hands on the information pertaining to transactions, account details, the payee details, their numbers, the payment patterns, sources of funds, and many such confidential data which one would not like to divulge.

Cyber security, will don a new hat with the advent of new technology and devices working in tandem. Trying to stop break-ins will need a lot more intelligence and smart techniques to be devised. The provisioning of security to these mushrooming applications and connected devices will need to be really understood well so that people know they are secure while transacting with gates to personal data. The approach itself requires comprehensive techniques.

The mobile channels will provision more incentives with increase in volumes of both devices and transactions. The global reach of the mobiles have opened standard techniques for the hackers across the global hacking communities. Ubiquity and connectivity are vulnerable and enables folks to get to mobile devices. The incentives are more for mobiles which use financial transactions, undoubtedly. It may not be hard for hackers to know which user uses which number to carry out which financial transactions.

The richer the features of the mobile, the more it becomes a target for the hackers.  The concern about the privacy invasion by advertisers is rising steeply with these smarter devices. In 2010-11 Wall Street conducted a test for 101 Android/iOS applications and found that more than half sent device information, 47 shared location data, and 5% users –  personal information to advertisers without the consent of the users.

More than 1000 malware target mobile devices globally. An instance of worm attack can infect mobiles rapidly to the tune of millions of handsets.  As mobiles are getting more advanced so are the worms accomplishing more sophistication – raising their quality of attack as well.  As technology carriers are improving the device capability, the blue-tooth and Wi-Fi is also becoming airborne contaminators. Some viruses dial international numbers while the subscriber is sleeping.

The mobile computing increases the data loss as well. With the connected devices expected to transmit data across applications and other devices, the hackers would try means and ways to create opportunities in the chaos. Mobile banking has also brought in rogue applications which are smartly working their way to gather financial information from devices through even legitimate applications topped with these malware at app stores.

Over all this, it is said that more than 37% of the service providers do not have any threat intelligence programs.

Impacting Scenarios

As hackers take control of the connected devices, the very capability for which the IoT was brought in (efficiency, productivity, ease, etc) will be compromised.  It is scary to even think what if the folks are unable to stop machines, controlled by connected devices for convenience- large ones at that. IT security itself will not stand ground here.  The extended knowledge across applied industrial controls and production processes would become mandatory to put the checks and balances in place. (What if one is not able to stop a blast furnace in steel plants?…)

Water Management:  Anything which is scarce and essential comes under the cloud of threat and catches attention for disruptive opportunities. Water management through connected devices is becoming a lucrative offering from many vendors ensuring appropriate water quality, controlled water supply, water treatment, metering and other features. Water consumption, like electricity is also vulnerable where automatic vaults and control mechanisms for pressure and flow are devised to be controlled through technology. A loss of control would create wastage of water across and lead to a water crisis.

Patients Health Records (PHR)

The PHRs of patients are too personal a data to be privy to. These personal health records reveal several confidential parameters of personal health profile of an individual with historic ailments, health issues in the recent past, blood group info, and many more data which can lead to people either playing with or destroying the data for obvious reasons or holding the same for ransom. Very dangerous but true, not because we need to be scared, but the awareness of such a threat is missing till the first casualty occurs.

The Nuclear plants, used for positive reasons, like generating power can be a huge source of risk – if they were to lose hold over the control process of nuclear reactors.  If IoT based controllers were deployed in these plants for the purpose of analytics and other accompanying research advantages, there should be exhaustive sets of checks and audits built in – plus multiple approvals at multiple governance decision points to ensure disasters would be at least minimized.

Likewise, hacking connected or smart cars can lead to road disasters.  This includes the hacking of smart traffic management – feature of smart cities. Insurance transactions can be blocked and claims disabled or diverted, where insurance segments are moving from statistics to individual fact-based policies.

Cloud is another source of vulnerability. The plethora of data being stored on cloud will require tighter secured solutions, and hence the cloud data security will only become more crucial.

It is said that M2M communications will themselves generate about $900 billion in revenues by 2020.

Dependency on the connected devices for various aspects of the futuristic work-style like improved real-time decision making, better design of solutions, reliability on the so-generated data analytics (what about data quality?), driving future product conceptualization, fleet management,  and many others could be a challenge if the systems malfunction due to malware or cyber-attacks.

The above are potential scenarios where the flip side of technology, if misused, can create disasters and can cause unimaginable disruption. However, it is not too late to create a strategic security blueprint and get the awareness levels in the public embracing these newer emerging solutions in future.

We will discuss the potential next steps on what we should do, what the state agencies should do and what the general users should know in the sequel to this blog shortly. Till then happy reading….

The caging of SMAC/IoT

By Sairam Bollapragada

It was an interesting conversation with one of the industry experienced business colleagues the other day before when this topic of standard service offerings in Digital/SMAC/IoT space was brought up.

It was more to do with the perspective as a business leader where an equal responsibility for this LoB in the organization was emphasized on. The need to create a slew of service offerings to potential clients was getting discussed and the compulsion of pushing hard to get that done on a priority so that business could kick-off quickly.

He also went on to tell me that they looking at hiring an experienced practice/delivery manager (sorry what was that?) who would have delivered a few projects in these areas. On  how he expected this role to be technology + sales + delivery + Architect + Solutioning – all rolled into one.  This was a tipping point when I put forth my views and would like to share the same with all.

SMAC/IoT today is still at a partially nascent stage as just because we have seen a few implementations does not vouch for the maturity of the area. The area will be considered mature or standardized  from software engineering standpoint when we have standardized ‘templated’ ways to :

  1. conduct due-diligence on the ask,
  2. estimation techniques to arrive at the engineering efforts – (which can be quite fragmented due to various components constituting the solution),
  3. arrive at delivery components,
  4. team constitution needed in permutations/combinations to deliver the solution,
  5. testing techniques to be adapted and many more

Assuming one size fits all cannot be more disastrous than in this case.

If we were to take smart city as an example, the entire concept is made up of so many disparate components that still need integration at some point in time to either complete a business process or from governance standpoint. Let us take two components of the smart city – say Smart Care and Retail services. They are from the Healthcare and Retail vertical lines. While Healthcare in itself comes with a huge array of offerings from various healthcare vendors, Retail would also vary in the offerings to the clients (both onsite and online) with various economies of scales and profitability driving their best deals.

In both the above cases, the SMAC/Digital space can help with data analytics, fraud analytics, mobile shopping experience, shoppers behavior analytics, faster or rather real-time claims settlement mechanisms, policy products preferred patterns, targeted customer shopping experience, and the list goes on.

The common areas could be around citizen demographics, the database, the preferences in a particular area, the subscription patterns, customer attrition analytics, etc.

What can be standardized is the interfaces between devices, the data storage mechanisms, PaaS offerings for a service, etc. The other satellite components would need to be glued to create a complete offering. Each offering would then need to be stitched in a specific manner as per the business needs of the customer.  While some of the technology stack can be baselined, what cannot be totally baselined, is the offering types and flavours as each client wants to be different.

The notion clients carry is how can I embrace the next wave of technology and still be ‘Different’. Nobody wants to be a copy-cat unless playing a large catch up game. In the era where we will see more hyper-personalization of products and  offerings, the need to be different is in itself a need which will demand that your plain vanilla offering (if you were to build one) must come stacked with top-up variations which will create several extrapolated offerings in it.

In the world where the competition is growing ferocious by the moment, everybody is in the mood to create the best and fastest and be the first-to-customer, else be ready to get wiped out.

Hence the realization that the rules of the game have changed drastically!!  Digital technologies must drive us to create the experiences driven by what people want – not what we want them to have anymore. They want to create different experiences with the technology and they want to create the best experience which will create a psychological branding!!

Every offering has to be customer-centric and different. While this is so, the critical part of how much and how long also assumes lot of significance..

Engineering efforts for creating these solutions cannot be straight forward affair and we would need to create a conscious mechanism of capturing the requirements meticulously while also suggesting innovative ideas reflecting our thought leadership. The emerging technologies will challenge us with each new tool to develop or enhance a solution. This is like an ever changing foundation which will challenge us to be on our toes and baselining estimates does not seem to be any easier in the near vicinity till we standardize some of the solution components.

Added to all this will be huge demand on security around all these billions of connected devices, openly connected APIs, etc.

In addition, the methodologies for developing these solutions will add additional efforts, leave alone governance. Today it may be limited to a great extend to the IoT Labs and academics, but for a client who is insights-driven, it will need to move beyond that in a matching pace.

At the same time, proactively exploiting these trends can open new horizons in terms of business models, careers, products, services and lifestyle preferences – that are difficult to visualize leave conceptualize by even the most digitally-savvy industry experts.

Hence the efforts to cage the SMAC/IoT engagements into standard offerings, cost, estimation models, at present looks to be an area which needs lot of work if an organization were to offer solutions – else they will only be offering a product each time they try to sell a solution.

So how does one create unique solutions and how does one build collaterals enough to engage new clients? How does one build the basis to capture further requirements? How do clients understand what to buy from whom? How do we size the efforts? How do we compartmentalize various components and create a break down structure to make solutions more a mix and stitch phenomenon? How can we categorize components to make usability in lieu? Many questions that need constant thinking and perseverance to create and build new solutions….