Our IoT Solution is a World Wide Winner

Our IoT Solution is a World Wide Winner

Real World Digital Transformation….achievement unlocked….

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Exciting news – We received:

  • the Microsoft World Wide Country Partner of the Year for 2016
  • runner up in the Microsoft World Wide IoT Partner of the Year 2016

For a cloud based IoT health and safety solution working with Laing O’Rourke (a large multi-national construction company) and working with their R&D division, headed up by Rod Shepherd.

What is it?

We got some great media coverage previously in the early stages of the solution – see here for more details iothub.

Basically Rod & his team had invested 2 years in building SensaMate which is a standard hard hat with a sensor array to monitor workers health and safety.

My team, teamed up to solve the challenge of how do we manage and reliably move this data on mass? Laing O’Rourke had localised solutions and needed help in moving it to the cloud, aggregating, filtering and analysing the data.

We supplied our knowledge and know how in this space through our innovative product IoTCentral that lays a customisable platform for such scenarios that we can rapidly build out these solutions.

The value in the solution is in the analytics – Heat stroke is one of the major concerns working in very hot conditions. The preventative measure of 30 mins of an ice bath treatment is much better than 2 days on a bed in sick bay with a drip for full blown Heat stroke.

Through the data we learnt that 30 mins prior to someone getting heatstroke we know, so that is the best time to take preventative steps.

iothardhatFigure 1 – The Laing O’Rourke SensaMate hat. It’s important that the additions fit within a standard hat such that the hardware doesn’t need to be re-certified in each country.

The hat seen in Figure 1, communicates back to a base station/gateway (via a ZigBee network in the above model) which is where our smarts sit to ‘cloud it all’ and centrally manage the solution through our IoTCentral Platform.

To give you a quick bit of context on the work conditions….

Here’s a few places that Laing O’Rourke have built….

Figure 2 – Illustrates some of the global locations Laing O’Rourke’s projects from Dubai to London.

When we think of IoT Solutions it’s hard to get a sense of appreciation of the harshness of some of the workplace conditions from the cold in Canada to the heat in central Australia.

Figure 3 – the ‘Red Earth’ of central Australia and a typical site on the right. Each worker is required to have a cooler box.

As you can see, heatstroke is a real concern in these conditions.

Completing the solution we applied our IoTCentral solution to collect, aggregate and analyse the data. There were many challenges in this environment from getting the data out from the site, through to the back end reporting dashboards. (this is the paper back version).

mysherpaFigure 4 – the solution that we’ve been working on showing all the components using the IoT Suite.

So it’s great to see all our hard work being appreciated through this World Wide Award which makes the 2am mornings and weekend work all that worth while, I’m surrounded by a great team whom are all smarter than me 🙂

An interesting fact that I’ve noticed with this award is:

  • 2012 – won a Microsoft World Wide Partner Award for Application Integration – 2012 – Lookup BreezeTraining
  • 2013 – we came runner up in Microsoft World Wide Partner Award for Application Integration – 2013 – BreezeTraining
  • 2014 – won a Microsoft World Wide Partner Award for Application Development –  2014 – Breeze
  • 2015 – didnt enter as we were merging into MOQdigital
  • 2016
    • Winner – Microsoft World Wide Country Partner of the Year
    • Runner Up – Microsoft World Wide IoT Partner of the Year

So it looks like we have a decent track record at these things. It’s a piece of appreciation for the hard work and effort my team has done, but also seeing people’s lives changed through our solutions.

What’s the secret?

Do what you love and love what you do…. and have fun while you’re doing it.
If you’re not… let’s talk 🙂

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How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business

How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business

After a few customer engagements recently this topic has come up several times, some lean in closer and let’s have a chat on it.

How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business?

The great thing in this modern era is that businesses are placing great pressure on traditional IT, integrators and solution architects to innovate and look for that next disruptive edge.

With a pea sized idea, access to the rapidly evolving cloud technologies businesses can disrupt even the most cemented industries. In fact many of my customer meetings are around disruption, “What/How can we disrupt today?”. The business climate has never been better & hence the birth of the phrase ‘digital business’.

Many companies that ‘push tin’ are scrambling to offer a range of other services as they also see the future is not in tin, not so much in technical expertise (while I do love being part of a great team, cloud templates can put short work to our previous ‘cluster’ expert), but in being agile! Taking an idea whether it’s IoT or anything else and realising the solution. In my opinion, this is the skill that will be much sought after in the market.

Integration is key here.

howtointegrate.png

What about the application landscape? How has it changed?

Great question!

middlewareFigure 2 – Depicting the role of middleware

From what I’ve experienced is that over the past 20 odd years, application integration ‘layers’ (or middleware) were large, monolithic and usually cost a fair bit of $$. Associated with a software platform purchase was a good 9-18 month evaluation of the platform to see if it was ‘fit for purpose’.

(There were a whole series of VAN’s in this space as well – Value Added Networks, which made life simple to move data/messages through a particular industry vertical. This was partly because it was made complex by proprietary interfaces, and also the fact that the VAN providers wanted customer lock-in. So naturally everything to do with these environments was ‘hard’ and we let the ‘experts’ deal with it)

In these times many of the systems and applications all had custom ways to communicate. Software vendors reluctantly opened up ways of getting data in/out of their system. Communications standards were lacking, as well as message formats and protocols.

The fact that the middleware platforms communicated with a large number of systems from DB2, SAP, OracleEB, JD Edwards through to Pronto (ERPs) made attractive choices for businesses that saw the value in getting ‘end-to-end integration’ and a full 360 degree customer view.

Fast forward to present day…..

Software vendors are exploding at a rate of knots all over the web. Applications are more about functionality than specifically where they run – on-premises or cloud or…phone…or where ever. Applications today are modular and connected by well known interfaces – although the resiliency and interface workflows are lagging behind a little in this realm.

The software industry realises that mobile devices are king and they build applications accordingly. For e.g. the pseudo modern accepted message/data exchange JSON/HTTP (aka REST) based APIs. I had one of my team members complain when an interface they were talking to was SOAP. I felt like I was talking about tape backups 🙂

Given that Mobile is taking charge and software is providing better foundations for ease of mobile development and operation, you could call it the mobile evolution….

REST based APIs are accepted as the norm with OpenId/OAuth being token based authentication standards, allowing the beauty of delegated authentication (something that plagued many previous integration implementations in the quest for the elusive single sign-on capability).

middleware_today.pngFigure 3 – Illustrates the business need to maximise and provide a comprehensive set of APIs in which to monetise.

Businesses today are realising they don’t need mobile, they don’t need a website….they need an API!!! An API:

  • to expose their business to public consumers
  • to expose their business to down stream consumers
  • to expose their business to upstream consumers
  • to commercialise their offerings.

They now realise they can get away from building ‘yet another mobile app’ and focus squarely on turning data into information.

Software today needs to produce analytics cause gone are the days when we got excited at just being ‘connected’.

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How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business

How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business

After a few customer engagements recently this topic has come up several times, some lean in closer and let’s have a chat on it.

How application infrastructure is evolving to support digital business?

The great thing in this modern era is that businesses are placing great pressure on traditional IT, integrators and solution architects to innovate and look for that next disruptive edge.

With a pea sized idea, access to the rapidly evolving cloud technologies businesses can disrupt even the most cemented industries. In fact many of my customer meetings are around disruption, “What/How can we disrupt today?”. The business climate has never been better & hence the birth of the phrase ‘digital business’.

Many companies that ‘push tin’ are scrambling to offer a range of other services as they also see the future is not in tin, not so much in technical expertise (while I do love being part of a great team, cloud templates can put short work to our previous ‘cluster’ expert), but in being agile! Taking an idea whether it’s IoT or anything else and realising the solution. In my opinion, this is the skill that will be much sought after in the market.

Integration is key here.

howtointegrate.png

What about the application landscape? How has it changed?

Great question!

middlewareFigure 2 – Depicting the role of middleware

From what I’ve experienced is that over the past 20 odd years, application integration ‘layers’ (or middleware) were large, monolithic and usually cost a fair bit of $$. Associated with a software platform purchase was a good 9-18 month evaluation of the platform to see if it was ‘fit for purpose’.

(There were a whole series of VAN’s in this space as well – Value Added Networks, which made life simple to move data/messages through a particular industry vertical. This was partly because it was made complex by proprietary interfaces, and also the fact that the VAN providers wanted customer lock-in. So naturally everything to do with these environments was ‘hard’ and we let the ‘experts’ deal with it)

In these times many of the systems and applications all had custom ways to communicate. Software vendors reluctantly opened up ways of getting data in/out of their system. Communications standards were lacking, as well as message formats and protocols.

The fact that the middleware platforms communicated with a large number of systems from DB2, SAP, OracleEB, JD Edwards through to Pronto (ERPs) made attractive choices for businesses that saw the value in getting ‘end-to-end integration’ and a full 360 degree customer view.

Fast forward to present day…..

Software vendors are exploding at a rate of knots all over the web. Applications are more about functionality than specifically where they run – on-premises or cloud or…phone…or where ever. Applications today are modular and connected by well known interfaces – although the resiliency and interface workflows are lagging behind a little in this realm.

The software industry realises that mobile devices are king and they build applications accordingly. For e.g. the pseudo modern accepted message/data exchange JSON/HTTP (aka REST) based APIs. I had one of my team members complain when an interface they were talking to was SOAP. I felt like I was talking about tape backups 🙂

Given that Mobile is taking charge and software is providing better foundations for ease of mobile development and operation, you could call it the mobile evolution….

REST based APIs are accepted as the norm with OpenId/OAuth being token based authentication standards, allowing the beauty of delegated authentication (something that plagued many previous integration implementations in the quest for the elusive single sign-on capability).

middleware_today.pngFigure 3 – Illustrates the business need to maximise and provide a comprehensive set of APIs in which to monetise.

Businesses today are realising they don’t need mobile, they don’t need a website….they need an API!!! An API:

  • to expose their business to public consumers
  • to expose their business to down stream consumers
  • to expose their business to upstream consumers
  • to commercialise their offerings.

They now realise they can get away from building ‘yet another mobile app’ and focus squarely on turning data into information.

Software today needs to produce analytics cause gone are the days when we got excited at just being ‘connected’.

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First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

Holo1

One word – #AWESOME!!!!! The packaging makes you feel like you’re about to ride a high end sports car, or ski with some serious ski gear. Very slick packaging.

To be honest I wasn’t certain of what to expect when taking the Hololens for a spin. Was it going to be like going to a 3D movie where 15 mins into the movie you forget you’re in a 3D movie and the ‘3D-ness’ isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be….

Putting it on for the first time there’s a little bit of weight to the unit, so be sure to get the head strap tightened right so the Hololens doesn’t sit totally on the bridge of your nose (you can pull the glasses away from you nose and have them sit out in space).

The first thing that hits you is the ‘holographic’ nature of it. Two screens on the left and right eye present the 3D picture right in front of you. Walking closer makes it bigger and walking away makes it smaller – it doesn’t just travel at a fixed distance.

Volume + Brightness controls make a nice touch for tuning your environment.

Calibration – after the friendly walk through from Cortana the unit was calibrated and we’re ready to rock.

One time only – had to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and enter my Microsoft Account details. This was a bit painful given the onscreen keyboard and just getting to know the unit.

Wow! Where do I start! You’ve got the familiar Win10 experience and Store functionality along with Cortana to get help – you can even ask her “What’s my IP address?” and she comes back with the goods.

The first thing I did was head off to the store and download Skype + the games 🙂

It’s sensor rich!!!! motion, space, kinect type camera on the front sensing movement, objects etc – think joint minecraft by all.

Right off the bat – during calibration there’s a few hand gestures you’re given and a couple of voice commands. So armed with a little knowledge I’m ready to take on the world.

The amazing thing is that you can launch for e.g. IE and pin it to a wall. When you come back to the wall, you can see the IE again (or whatever app you’ve got) – so I immediately covered my room with photos. Everywhere I looked – roof, floor, walls …different ones on different slide shows etc. You could even pin your favourite browser based TV series somewhere in the house too.

Spacial awareness – the unit is amazing in this area as it maps out your environment/place/work etc. You can walk down hallways, up stairs, balconies and the unit will remember what you’ve played with in each room. (You can even see the model the unit has generated from your environment through the browser).

The unique thing – is the interaction in space, we talk about augmented reality and totally immersive technologies, but having the blend of the real world and computer simulated world coming through just made for an amazing experience.

Talking to a friend while looking over the latest sports results is a very unique situation indeed & while listening to everything they say 🙂

Development – it’s a Win10 device!!! 

Development is done through familiar tools such as VS.NET, and a good understanding of 3D meshes, models and maps makes for a great experience in Hololens. You most definitely can have ‘flat apps’ that you pin to a wall – e.g. photos, IE etc. but the unit comes to life when it sees 3D.

The hard part is conveying the awesomeness seen by you to the person next to you….“Did you see that!!” “No I’m just looking at a wall”

I discovered in the settings sections (similar to Win10 IOT Core) we can control the unit through the browser – as soon as I enabled that through settings I get the view of a lifetime!!! You can record what the wearer is seeing and doing as in my videos.

Here’s some samples…. (NOTE: I had to grab them at a lower resolution. There are no ‘holes’ or black spots in the final vision. I just think this was from the real time recording and down sampling)

20160422_053419_HoloLensThis is the settings screen pinned up on the wall, where I enabled the developer mode and browser access to the device. 16-04-21-Photo-002.jpgA simple 3D world built in the lounge room -which can be exported to a 3D Print file and printed. Building the scene is interactive, you can walk around it, move things, rotate, colour and so on.

Through the Hololens the scene are alot more immersive, the lenses are darker, there’s ambiance stereo music playing with game play chatter going on. It’s like you’re really at the game!

Here’s an Overview of some of the features and general usage – pretty cool. I recorded this via remote control from the browser with the unit recording the scene and I downloaded it later.

holooverview.pngAn overview of using the Hololens – initially against a blank wall with a window

hologame.pngA snippet from one of the holo games. Kept everyone busy for hours. This is a wall with some laser holes in it. 

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First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

Holo1

One word – #AWESOME!!!!! The packaging makes you feel like you’re about to ride a high end sports car, or ski with some serious ski gear. Very slick packaging.

To be honest I wasn’t certain of what to expect when taking the Hololens for a spin. Was it going to be like going to a 3D movie where 15 mins into the movie you forget you’re in a 3D movie and the ‘3D-ness’ isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be….

Putting it on for the first time there’s a little bit of weight to the unit, so be sure to get the head strap tightened right so the Hololens doesn’t sit totally on the bridge of your nose (you can pull the glasses away from you nose and have them sit out in space).

The first thing that hits you is the ‘holographic’ nature of it. Two screens on the left and right eye present the 3D picture right in front of you. Walking closer makes it bigger and walking away makes it smaller – it doesn’t just travel at a fixed distance.

Volume + Brightness controls make a nice touch for tuning your environment.

Calibration – after the friendly walk through from Cortana the unit was calibrated and we’re ready to rock.

One time only – had to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and enter my Microsoft Account details. This was a bit painful given the onscreen keyboard and just getting to know the unit.

Wow! Where do I start! You’ve got the familiar Win10 experience and Store functionality along with Cortana to get help – you can even ask her “What’s my IP address?” and she comes back with the goods.

The first thing I did was head off to the store and download Skype + the games 🙂

It’s sensor rich!!!! motion, space, kinect type camera on the front sensing movement, objects etc – think joint minecraft by all.

Right off the bat – during calibration there’s a few hand gestures you’re given and a couple of voice commands. So armed with a little knowledge I’m ready to take on the world.

The amazing thing is that you can launch for e.g. IE and pin it to a wall. When you come back to the wall, you can see the IE again (or whatever app you’ve got) – so I immediately covered my room with photos. Everywhere I looked – roof, floor, walls …different ones on different slide shows etc. You could even pin your favourite browser based TV series somewhere in the house too.

Spacial awareness – the unit is amazing in this area as it maps out your environment/place/work etc. You can walk down hallways, up stairs, balconies and the unit will remember what you’ve played with in each room. (You can even see the model the unit has generated from your environment through the browser).

The unique thing – is the interaction in space, we talk about augmented reality and totally immersive technologies, but having the blend of the real world and computer simulated world coming through just made for an amazing experience.

Talking to a friend while looking over the latest sports results is a very unique situation indeed & while listening to everything they say 🙂

Development – it’s a Win10 device!!! 

Development is done through familiar tools such as VS.NET, and a good understanding of 3D meshes, models and maps makes for a great experience in Hololens. You most definitely can have ‘flat apps’ that you pin to a wall – e.g. photos, IE etc. but the unit comes to life when it sees 3D.

The hard part is conveying the awesomeness seen by you to the person next to you….“Did you see that!!” “No I’m just looking at a wall”

I discovered in the settings sections (similar to Win10 IOT Core) we can control the unit through the browser – as soon as I enabled that through settings I get the view of a lifetime!!! You can record what the wearer is seeing and doing as in my videos.

Here’s some samples…. (NOTE: I had to grab them at a lower resolution. There are no ‘holes’ or black spots in the final vision. I just think this was from the real time recording and down sampling)

20160422_053419_HoloLensThis is the settings screen pinned up on the wall, where I enabled the developer mode and browser access to the device. 16-04-21-Photo-002.jpgA simple 3D world built in the lounge room -which can be exported to a 3D Print file and printed. Building the scene is interactive, you can walk around it, move things, rotate, colour and so on.

Through the Hololens the scene are alot more immersive, the lenses are darker, there’s ambiance stereo music playing with game play chatter going on. It’s like you’re really at the game!

Here’s an Overview of some of the features and general usage – pretty cool. I recorded this via remote control from the browser with the unit recording the scene and I downloaded it later.

holooverview.pngAn overview of using the Hololens – initially against a blank wall with a window

hologame.pngA snippet from one of the holo games. Kept everyone busy for hours. This is a wall with some laser holes in it. 

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First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

Holo1

One word – #AWESOME!!!!! The packaging makes you feel like you’re about to ride a high end sports car, or ski with some serious ski gear. Very slick packaging.

To be honest I wasn’t certain of what to expect when taking the Hololens for a spin. Was it going to be like going to a 3D movie where 15 mins into the movie you forget you’re in a 3D movie and the ‘3D-ness’ isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be….

Putting it on for the first time there’s a little bit of weight to the unit, so be sure to get the head strap tightened right so the Hololens doesn’t sit totally on the bridge of your nose (you can pull the glasses away from you nose and have them sit out in space).

The first thing that hits you is the ‘holographic’ nature of it. Two screens on the left and right eye present the 3D picture right in front of you. Walking closer makes it bigger and walking away makes it smaller – it doesn’t just travel at a fixed distance.

Volume + Brightness controls make a nice touch for tuning your environment.

Calibration – after the friendly walk through from Cortana the unit was calibrated and we’re ready to rock.

One time only – had to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and enter my Microsoft Account details. This was a bit painful given the onscreen keyboard and just getting to know the unit.

Wow! Where do I start! You’ve got the familiar Win10 experience and Store functionality along with Cortana to get help – you can even ask her “What’s my IP address?” and she comes back with the goods.

The first thing I did was head off to the store and download Skype + the games 🙂

It’s sensor rich!!!! motion, space, kinect type camera on the front sensing movement, objects etc – think joint minecraft by all.

Right off the bat – during calibration there’s a few hand gestures you’re given and a couple of voice commands. So armed with a little knowledge I’m ready to take on the world.

The amazing thing is that you can launch for e.g. IE and pin it to a wall. When you come back to the wall, you can see the IE again (or whatever app you’ve got) – so I immediately covered my room with photos. Everywhere I looked – roof, floor, walls …different ones on different slide shows etc. You could even pin your favourite browser based TV series somewhere in the house too.

Spacial awareness – the unit is amazing in this area as it maps out your environment/place/work etc. You can walk down hallways, up stairs, balconies and the unit will remember what you’ve played with in each room. (You can even see the model the unit has generated from your environment through the browser).

The unique thing – is the interaction in space, we talk about augmented reality and totally immersive technologies, but having the blend of the real world and computer simulated world coming through just made for an amazing experience.

Talking to a friend while looking over the latest sports results is a very unique situation indeed & while listening to everything they say 🙂

Development – it’s a Win10 device!!! 

Development is done through familiar tools such as VS.NET, and a good understanding of 3D meshes, models and maps makes for a great experience in Hololens. You most definitely can have ‘flat apps’ that you pin to a wall – e.g. photos, IE etc. but the unit comes to life when it sees 3D.

The hard part is conveying the awesomeness seen by you to the person next to you….“Did you see that!!” “No I’m just looking at a wall”

I discovered in the settings sections (similar to Win10 IOT Core) we can control the unit through the browser – as soon as I enabled that through settings I get the view of a lifetime!!! You can record what the wearer is seeing and doing as in my videos.

Here’s some samples…. (NOTE: I had to grab them at a lower resolution. There are no ‘holes’ or black spots in the final vision. I just think this was from the real time recording and down sampling)

20160422_053419_HoloLensThis is the settings screen pinned up on the wall, where I enabled the developer mode and browser access to the device. 16-04-21-Photo-002.jpgA simple 3D world built in the lounge room -which can be exported to a 3D Print file and printed. Building the scene is interactive, you can walk around it, move things, rotate, colour and so on.

Through the Hololens the scene are alot more immersive, the lenses are darker, there’s ambiance stereo music playing with game play chatter going on. It’s like you’re really at the game!

Here’s an Overview of some of the features and general usage – pretty cool. I recorded this via remote control from the browser with the unit recording the scene and I downloaded it later.

holooverview.pngAn overview of using the Hololens – initially against a blank wall with a window

hologame.pngA snippet from one of the holo games. Kept everyone busy for hours. This is a wall with some laser holes in it. 

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