While most businesses are focusing their efforts to capitalize on the Internet of Things in areas that will generate immediate cost-savings and operating efficiencies, a number of IoT pioneers already are leveraging a new generation of connected products to fundamentally change their business models.

There is no question that the safest bet in today's IoT environment is targeting narrowly defined deployments aimed at producing quick results. In most cases, this means adding sensors to existing products to enable organizations to react to problems more rapidly, reduce resolution times, achieve greater customer satisfaction and improve operating efficiency.

IoT Jitters

Concentrating on near-term opportunities makes plenty of sense, given the complexities and uncertainties associated with today's IoT deployments.The complexity stems from the challenges of cobbling together all the piece-parts that are required to deploy an IoT product, ranging from the sensor to the software to the systems that support it.

The uncertainty is compounded when an organization must assemble a connected product that will produce useful data and generate meaningful business results.Given these challenges, it is no wonder that the idea of converting the product and service data into valuable insights that can uncover entirely new business opportunities is viewed as a longer-term, "nice to have" objective for most companies.

IoT's Transformative Potential

GE has earned considerable credit for evangelizing about the significant benefits that can be derived from the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, for those companies that are willing redefine themselves as software and digital companies. Yet it is still putting many of the building blocks in place to achieve its vision and gain a modest financial result from its efforts.

Following are three examples of companies that already are moving down the path of redefinition in the IoT.

Philips Lighting has been a pioneer in developing new technological innovations in the lighting industry, but it recognized that it always would be fighting against the commodization of its product business due to escalating global competition.
Rather than continue to be forced to compete on price in an intensifying competitive environment, Philips decided to leverage a new generation of connected products to redefine its business. The company realized that it could utilize its new sensor-based light bulbs to deliver a new set of managed lighting services.

While installing lights is easy, and today's light bulbs have an extended lifespan, sensor-powered bulbs produce data that can be used for a wider array of purposes. Movement sensors can trigger when the lights go on and off. Activity data can be used to program when and how they are activated. This type of information can make Philips Lighting more valuable as a supplier of lighting services than it was as a simple manufacturer of light bulbs.

Emerson also is leveraging a new generation of connected products to redefine its business. Although it is still a manufacturer of heating and cooling systems, Emerson now is calling itself a provider of "comfort services," because of the added benefits it can deliver via a new generation of connected solutions.
In the same way that Nest has popularized the power of smart thermostats in the home, Emerson is offering smart industrial systems for commercial environments.

John Deere is redefining its business value in the agriculture industry. As its tractors and other agriculture machines become more durable, their useful life becomes longer. That has threatened John Deere's sales revenue as its traditional product markets mature.
By installing a myriad of sensors into its products, the company now can generate reams of data that can help farmers do their jobs more effectively. John Deere is becoming an information services company rather than a traditional farm equipment vendor.

These are three examples of companies using connected products to redefine their businesses. As more organizations recognize the strategic impact IoT can have on their business, you'll see many more leverage IoT to reposition themselves in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Source:  http://www.technewsworld.com/story/83675.html

Categorized in Internet of Things


Forget Brexit's much discussed impact on the free movement of people. Leaving the EU could impede the U.K.'s free movement of data to and from the continent, negatively impacting businesses.

This stems from the U.K. and EU's potential divergence in data protection laws post-Brexit. Chris Jeffery, Head of UK IT, Telecoms and Competition at law firm Taylor Wessing, says: "The uncertainty as to whether the U.K. will be considered safe for data flows relating to citizens from the rest of Europe is causing concern, and making some companies consider whether data center capacity in mainland Europe is the safer bet."


Antony Walker, deputy CEO of industry body techUK explains why this is significant, saying, "The U.K.'s service-based economy means that the transfer of data across borders is fundamental, affecting industries from automotives – which includes the development of driverless cars – to financial services."

As it stands, the U.K. has agreed to implement the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into effect in May 2018. The primary goals of the GDPR are to allow citizens to regain control of their personal data, and cut red tape for international businesses by making rules uniform within the 28-nation bloc. Whilst businesses are currently preparing for GDPR, their work may be undone in the future. Eduardo Ustaran, a partner in global privacy and cybersecurity at Hogan Lovells, says: "EU data protection law is all about the individual's control of their own personal data. The U.K. sits somewhere between this viewpoint and that of the U.S., which is more focused on the accountability of businesses and government. I suspect that the U.K. will continue in this vein, though possibly leaning towards the U.S.' approach."

Silicon Valley's technology giants like Facebook and Google must comply with GDPR and any further changes to U.K. law, though this may be less of an issue considering that these companies are likely to have the legal resources to deal with change more efficiently than their smaller counterparts.

"But, there are several nuances to compliance with the new regulations, one of which is technical," explained Martin Garner of analysis firm CCS Insight.

"Technology companies sometimes employ the technique of 'sharding,' which means that bits of data are spread in little slices over several data centers, possibly across regions, so that it exists both everywhere and nowhere at the same time."

Garner adds: "I'm sure that the big industry players have worked out how to do this, while also complying with EU data laws – but this may be less true for some of the smaller players."


Brexit's threat to cross-border data transfer will have a wider-reaching impact than it may initially appear, as Ustaran explains, "EU law has an extraterritorial effect, so if a U.K. business is targeting people in the EU or tracking them on the internet, it will still be subject to EU data protection law, even if the U.K. is no longer a member."

A data sharing option for a post-Brexit U.K. could resemble Privacy Shield, a pact struck between the EU and the U.S. earlier this year intended to protect European citizens from mass surveillance. This might mean that amendments may be made to the U.K.'s Investigatory Powers Bill – also known as the Snoopers' Charter – which regulates the role of British security services and police in accessing domestic citizens' data. Chatham House, in a report published this March, cast doubt on the likelihood of such a compromise, saying: "A post-Brexit U.K. would be unlikely to meet the standards required for Privacy Shield status. This would prohibit cross border data transfers between U.K. and EU."

It has been argued that Brexit, in bringing about a reduction of EU red tape concerning data transfer, could provide a more business-friendly environment in the U.K. Jeffery highlights the example of the U.S., whose "largely self-regulatory approach in the online world is often cited as an element in the success of its track record in creating global social media and online businesses." But, this might not be the case. By not complying with the EU, the U.K. will inhibit its access to a primary data stream.

An American tourist stands near the Houses of Parliament the day after the majority of the British public voted to leave the European Union on June 25, 2016 in London, England.


"To secure the U.K.'s role in global data flows and as a place to start and grow digital businesses, most people expect that the country will need to align itself closely with the EU's GDPR. Even U.K.-only businesses will need to raise the bar significantly in terms of privacy compliance," Jeffery added.

In the meantime, Brexit's current lack of conclusions means that businesses will have to sit tight. Ustaran advises that "common sense suggests that businesses should continue to focus on ensuring compliance with the EU data protection framework, not least because it will still be applicable in the U.K. for the foreseeable future." Jeffery speculates on the U.K.'s future position, suggesting that potential legislation post-Brexit reflects EU standards, enabling the free movement of data either by "being part of the European Economic Area in a Norway-style deal … or being declared an 'adequate' country for the purposes of the transfer of personal data like Switzerland, Canada and Israel."

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/07/data-flows-post-brexit-the-next-big-headache-for-business.html





Categorized in Business Research

It is no secret that trade secrets are essential to the success of many businesses. Nearly all of us are aware of examples of highly treasured trade secrets, such as the recipe for Coca-Cola, the formula for WD-40 and the methodology for creating the nooks and crannies in Thomas’ English Muffins. Less-known is the growing importance of trade secrets and the role they play in our economy, including their impact on the patent system.

Trade secrets are by definition valued by their owners. Secrecy preserves a source of competitive advantage that generally cannot be recovered once secrecy is lost. Although secrecy may be lost inadvertently through carelessness, disclosure is often the result of wrong-doing and sometimes even the actions of sophisticated international industrial espionage.

Trade-secret laws allow for the recovery of monetary damages from, or even criminal penalties against, those that steal trade secrets. Annual losses to the U.S. economy from international theft of trade secrets has been estimated to exceed $300 billion. An effective system protecting trade secrets thus enhances the economy and promotes national security.

Our government recently enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), a milestone for trade-secret protection. The DTSA creates a federal civil cause of action so that companies will no longer need to navigate a maze of state laws to enforce their rights when their trade secrets are stolen. In addition, the DTSA enhances remedies available to victims — in particular by providing for ex parte seizure orders under appropriate circumstances to limit further disclosure of the trade secrets. The DTSA is a great achievement that should both deter potential wrongdoers and ease the burden of enforcement on those that have been wronged.

The DTSA is also a “wake-up call” to companies that value and protect their intellectual property as trade secrets. Companies now have increased incentive to identify, capture, inventory and protect their potential trade secret information. Failure to do so now could forego the ability to leverage the DTSA downstream.

Technology and markets also are trending toward increasing importance of trade secrets. The commoditization of computer hardware drives innovation into computer-implemented software. The implications extend well beyond the computer and information technology industry because, in addition to being directly incorporated in devices such as medical diagnostics and automobiles, computer software technology is used in the development and design of virtually everything today — from computational biology to 3D printing to computer-aided design.

More and more innovation is moving behind the “firewall,” meaning that it is invisible to the public (e.g. digital 3D designs now most often reside out of reach in the cloud instead of on a local disk drive [and subject to reverse engineering]).

Ironically, while this trend toward reliance on secrecy is rational behavior, without changes to our patent system, it may have the unintended consequence of slowing the overall pace of innovation. Trade secrets and patents are different forms of intellectual property, both of which play an important role in a comprehensive intellectual property strategy. Secrecy protects innovation by reducing the likelihood that others possess it. On the other hand, patent protection requires the publication of a complete written description of a patented invention, thereby enhancing public knowledge and reducing the need to “reinvent the wheel.”

Unfortunately, recent court decisions have dramatically narrowed the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions for patenting. As a result, companies developing software-centric solutions are likely to rely more heavily on trade secrets to protect product innovations that can no longer be patented.

Companies may even choose to market their innovations in a way that favors trade-secret protection, i.e. by delivering innovations as services rather than products to avoid bringing the innovations out from behind their firewall (e.g. Google search services that do not reveal search algorithms or software delivered as a service).

The combination of technology and market trends and recent court decisions on patent eligibility has altered the trade secret and patent equilibrium. Enhancement of trade-secret protection via the DTSA helps offset patent system contraction for innovators, and is likely to lead to increased focus on protecting innovation through trade secrets and a reduction in patent applications. The consequences for our innovation economy as a whole are significant.

The relative shift will reduce innovation sharing and is likely to lead to reduced investment in technologies currently deemed ineligible for patent protection and which cannot be maintained in secrecy when commercialized. Notwithstanding the rational behavior of our government to enhance trade-secret protection and our businesses to use this protection, the contraction of the patent system undermines our innovation economy, especially for less-flexible industries.

Trade secrets and patents are not mutually exclusive — each can be of value. The DTSA improves trade-secret protection. Now that the DTSA is in place, we should turn our attention toward achieving a better innovation ecosystem by reversing or legislating away recent harmful court patent decisions so we restore the proper balance between trade secrets and patents. To best promote innovation, we need both strong trade-secret protection and strong patent protection going forward.

Source:  https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/20/the-changing-trade-secret-and-patent-equilibrium/

Categorized in Business Research


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