Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly growing across various sectors of technology commonly used today, especially in terms of cognitive computing. As we’ll explore below, IoT is already being used in the medical field, retail outlets and event management.

IoT and Medical Tech

Implanted medical devices are saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Wouldn’t it be even better if the data collected from the devices could be processed along with other medical data to help improve cognitive insights?

The FDA is working to do just this by developing a system for medical devices that have unique identifiers. Once these devices are implemented, each will have a unique device identifier (UDI), which will be readable both in machine and human form. The hopes are that a UDI system will make patients safer and that there will be an innovation boom.

IoT and Retail

The IoT is also helping to revolutionize the retail industry by facilitating better communication between customers and venders. Studies show that weather can have a huge impact on a person’s shopping habits—it can dictate whether a person goes shopping as well as the products they chose to purchase. If retailers could have a better idea of the weather conditions at each store location, they could better prepare their stock and do so in a more personalized fashion.

IoT and Event Management

Event management can also benefit from the IoT. Take Oktoberfest, for example, which draws in crowds of roughly 6 million each year. By incorporating IoT into this popular festival, event organizers would be able to implement more creative serving methods and keep track of attendees more efficiently. Recent implementation of bracelets with IoT location information can manage crowd control and keep festival goers safer.

Additionally, two inventors have developed an innovative table and coaster system that uses sensors to track how many times patrons lift their beer mugs. This data is then relayed to waiters who are able to refill beer just as the mugs are emptied.

All of this data is made possible by the Internet of Things.

It’s obvious that the IoT will continue to grow in the coming years. The IoT consultants at Ad Victoriam Solutions can help you stay abreast of the changes coming to IoT platforms. Contact us, or check out our blog for further information on big data, the Internet of Things and much more.

Major Players in the IoT Space, Pt. 4: A Review

If you’ve followed our “Major Players” series, you know that over the past few blog posts we’ve discussed new technologies and advancements that Salesforce®, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft have made in relation to the Internet of Things, which keeps information easily accessible via devices that can communicate with the cloud.

While these three major players have developed different software and capabilities, all have the same goal of making communication in the Digital Age easier and more efficient while also providing the means for further growth.

Listed below are some of the features that are allowing businesses and individuals to accomplish just that.

Wide Compatibility

Each of our major players offers extensive compatibility with Internet of Things technologies. Salesforce®’s IoT Cloud has the ability to connect instantly to all other employed Salesforce® platforms and programs and transfer data in real-time. That data is not limited to specific devices and can be accessed anywhere the Internet is available, giving an unmatched convenience.

Similarly, Amazon boasts the wide support of “billions of devices and trillions of messages,” meaning that efficient communication is available across devices and across the entire span of the Internet within seconds. The IoT devices are also tracked and managed through AWS apps for efficient action and communication.

Efficient Data

Another high point from these three companies is their ability to harness the data provided by the IoT and channel it into the productivity that businesses need to thrive in the Digital Age. As shown in the scenarios in Part 2 of our series, Microsoft provides users not only the ability to receive data in a timely manner, but also an efficient means to employ that data – whether that be through tracking and adjusting refrigeration temperatures or product availability. Likewise, Salesforce® offers a means for businesses to organize all of the data received from the Internet of Things, making studying and acting on that data a more timely process.

User Control

With the ability to manage and utilize piles and piles of IoT data comes the capacity for administrators to control settings and security for their cloud-compatible devices and information. AWS provides its users with state-of-the-art security measures needed for such large amounts of data, including encryption checkpoints and device security measures to ensure authenticity. AWS also allows administrators to customize the rules for filtering data as they see fit for their needs.

As part of its IoT Business Maturity Model, Microsoft also believes in the importance of custom rule sets that allow the technology to be tailored to the individual user or business depending on their respective needs. As stated above, all is done in the name of utilizing data as efficiently as possible.

We hope you enjoyed this series! Be sure to check out the rest of Ad Victoriam’s blog for the latest in cloud-computing technology and how to employ it for your own service.

We are also available for contact if you would like more information about how we can help your business or employing these technologies.

Major Players in the IoT Space, Pt. 3: Amazon Web Services (AWS)

In Part 1 of this blog series exploring the big players in the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, we talked about how the “internet of things” refers to a network of objects that have been embedded with software, network connectivity, electronics and sensors, and how Salesforce® is able to integrate with IoT infrastructures to exchange and collect data. Then in Part 2, we discussed the role Microsoft plays in the IoT sphere.

In this blog, we’ll now take a look at how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has joined the ranks of IoT solutions. AWS has created an IoT cloud platform that allows devices to connect and interact easily amongst each other, with applications in the cloud and on other devices.

Below are 3 ways that AWS is working to make their IoT features a lot stronger:

1. Device Connectivity and Management

AWS’ IoT setup has massive support capability —“billions of devices and trillions of messages”— as well as the ability to make sure those messages get to where they need to go securely and easily. What’s better is that with AWS, you have the apps at your disposal to communicate with and track each device available, whether they’re connected or not.

Moreover, AWS works with both MQTT (a lightweight protocol for communication designed to communicate intermittently) and HTTP, among other protocols, which allow for even greater communication possibilities.

2. Device Security

Amazon has worked to ensure device security through SigV4 authentication and traditional X.509 certification. Harnessing the internet of things through AWS offers users encryption power across numerous connection points. This means that data is not shared across devices without identity being proven.

Additionally, secure access can be gained using granular permission. To begin a connection, users must have a certificate generated and deployed by a device. This policy eliminates “toy development boards and IoT prototyping platforms.”

3. Device Data

Finally, AWS gives IoT users the power to act upon, filter and transform all of their data whenever and wherever based on the specific rules they define. What’s more, at any time users can update rules whenever a new device needs to be added. AWS customers don’t even need to use the physical device to update the rules.

Cloud computing services, like AWS, are becoming increasingly important for businesses. If your enterprise would like to expand your company’s use of cloud computing and the internet of things, contact Ad Victoriam Solutions.

For an overview on the various IoT solutions offered by Salesforce®, Microsoft and Amazon, bookmark our blog and stay tuned for Part 4 of our ongoing blog series.

The Salesforce® Login Flow Cheat Sheet

What happens when you’re trying to get Login Flow to work properly for your business, but it keeps failing even after re-checking the in/output value of variables, user security level and everything else? David Litton, our brilliant Solution Architect, recently discussed fixes for the issues that can arise when creating your company’s Login Flow.

Have you run into a roadblock with getting Login Flow to do what you want? Chances are you’ve forgotten that Salesforce® won’t let you use your own naming convention.

Login Flows can be used for the following:

  • Messaging Alerts
  • User Access Authentication
  • Training
  • Cleaning Data

As David talks about in his Salesforce® Sidekick blog, Login Flow has numerous variables that can be used to accomplish these functions. These include:

  • LoginFlow_LoginType – This variable allows you to designate a user type for Flow/Org.
  • LoginFlow_IpAddress – This variable acts as a user’s IP address. Through this variable, you have the power to delegate an IP address for a user, profile and other user-related fields.
  • LoginFlow_UserAgent – This variable stands as the user’s browser string. It also allows you to keep users from using Internet Explorer to log into your Org.
  • LoginFlow_Platform – This variable shows you what kind of system (i.e. Mac OSX) your users are logging in from.
  • LoginFlow_Application – Similar to the above variable; however, it shows what kind of device your users log in from (i.e. iPhone, tablet, desktop, etc.) so that you’ll know what finish location to relocate them to.
  • LoginFlow_Community – This variable shows what Community your user is currently in, if applicable.
  • LoginFlow_SessionLevel – This variable is responsible for security and either works in high or standard assurance.
  • LoginFlow_UserId – This variable functions to display character IDs (up to 18 characters long) and also allows you to Lookup your user(s) and search the system to find similar fields.

Salesforce® can be an important addition to your business, IF you know how to make it work for you.

Contact David Litton and the Salesforce® pros at Ad Victoriam Solutions for assistance. In the meantime, you can also continue browsing our blog.

Major Players in the IoT Space, Pt. 2: Microsoft

The Internet of Things is all around us: sensors, various devices, data, and of course cloud services. Since Microsoft already commands one of the largest and most flexible cloud services, it‘s only reasonable that the tech giant would also work to provide enterprises with their own vision of IoT.

Microsoft IoT works best through the storing, gathering and processing of data. Here are two specific aspects of Microsoft’s IoT business model that are quickly growing in popularity:

Operational Efficiency

Microsoft IoT help retailers run their businesses more efficiently by employing IoT to monitor the telemetry of various scenarios. Below are three real-life business examples:

  • In-store traffic can be monitored to show which days (and times) are the busiest. This can help business owners know precisely when to have the most merchandise in stock and when to have more employees working.
  • Businesses that require refrigeration can use IoT-collected data to monitor temperatures and help reduce product loss from improper temperature storage.
  • RFID sensors can be added to products to track product availability in various retail situations.

Business Intelligence

If your business has employed any of the operational efficiency models listed above or other models, business intelligence with Microsoft can further enhance your business’s IoT. For example:

  • When employing in-store monitoring, consider using it in conjunction with other types of data sets. For instance, also incorporating weather data can help you decide which products you should stock.
  • When employing refrigeration monitoring, the data collected can be used to predict when the refrigeration unit(s) require maintenance.

Cloud computing and the Internet of Things are becoming more important by the year. In order to keep your business relevant, you should strongly consider employing some aspects of cloud computing. If you’re unsure of where to begin, contact Ad Victoriam Solutions.

Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about IoT, enterprise technology solutions and much more. For starters, check the other installments of this blog series including how the Internet of Things pertains to Salesforce®.

Major Players in the IoT Space, Pt. 1: Salesforce®

In today’s forever growing Internet expansion, we’re coming across many new players in the Internet of Things (IoT) movement. With all of the new communicating devices that comprise the Internet of Things, these companies are making it easier for businesses and consumers to understand and use the data they are now connected with on a regular basis.

One of these new players is salesforce.com. Salesforce® has made great strides in allowing businesses to better utilize the influential expansion that the Internet has obtained in this day and age, especially with the unveiling of its new Internet of Things Cloud.

Here’s a brief overview of the technologies and advancements that Salesforce has revealed with the IoT Cloud:

The IoT Cloud

  • What is it?

The IoT cloud is described as connecting “the Internet of Things with the Internet of Customers.” It is a processing platform designed to help businesses connect with any device that is able to receive data and harness that connection into increased productivity.

  • What does it do?

Salesforce’s IoT Cloud not only harnesses the massive amounts of data, but allows businesses to make sense of that data in a productive way. Businesses can connect with all IoT devices and, therefore, engage with clients in more ways than one. The Salesforce IoT Cloud also allows businesses to sift through the mountains of data presented to find the pieces that are most useful to them for a specific time or purpose.

  • How does this work with other Salesforce® platforms?

There’s a simple answer: IoT Cloud is able to connect all business data gained from IoT devices with all other Salesforce® platforms and programs. This means that businesses can go from interpreting data to using that data as quickly and easily as possible. Since the IoT Cloud is powered by Salesforce®’s Thunder, it has the real-time capabilities that are going to give businesses an edge when dealing with big data.

Want to learn how Microsoft and Amazon are integrating IoT? 

Stay tuned for Ad Victoriam’s coming blog posts concerning the newest trends and technologies associated with the Internet of Things.

Also, be sure to contact us for all of your Salesforce®, cloud-computing, big data and IoT needs, and make sure your technology is working for you and not the other way around!

The Internet of Things and How It Impacts Big Data

Big Data & IoT

Technology is constantly evolving. Remember when mobile phones had antennas and looked like a brick? That wasn’t all that long ago in the grand scheme of things, yet we’ve come a long way. This leads us to ask, what’s next?

As an enterprise technology consulting firm in Atlanta, here at Ad Victoriam we can see that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to be the next ubiquitous item in terms of technological revolutions. In fact, the revenues from IoT may well surpass $300 billion by 2020, which will shake the whole big data universe. This shakeup will force companies to evolve by incorporating new technologies and upgrading what they already have to stay competitive.

Specifically, we foresee that IoT will impact big data in the three following ways:

1. Storing Your Data

The IoT can be characterized as a “huge, continuous stream of data,” all of which will arrive at a company’s data center at the same time. These data centers must be able to handle the influx. In order to ensure that data centers are up to the task, the overall infrastructure of data storage must adapt. Many companies will opt to move their storage to a scalable Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud-based configuration rather than self-hosting with their own infrastructure.

2. Processing Your Data

A better system for data storage comes with a need to update technology. This is because big data is processed differently than other data types. Therefore, your business will likely need to update disks, compute power and network capability to handle the transition.

Receiving data is the most important step and you’ll need a protocol in place to communicate with a broker. After you’ve received the data, you’ll need a way to store it.

3. Securing Your Data

Now that you have the data and the tech to store it, you need a way to keep it safe. In most cases, fundamental changes will need to occur. The best means of security is by incorporating a multi-layered security system that has network segmentation. In the event of a data breach, this will prevent the attackers from reaching other sections of your network.

To learn more about big data or to get assistance transitioning your business to handle the influx of data incoming from your IoT platforms, contact the big data consultants at Ad Victoriam Solutions.

Continue browsing our blog as well for discussions and solutions about big data, the Internet of Things, cloud computing enterprise technology, Salesforce® and much more.

Making Integration Simpler with an ESB

Making Integration Simpler with an ESB

For those who are new to the term ESB, here’s a crash course:

Enterprise service bus (ESB) software works to help design and implement a line of communication across various programs that are a part of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) application solution. ESB applications are used most frequently as a part of enterprise application integration (EAI), which allows for the creation of heterogeneous and even complex application landscapes across the cloud. Additionally, ESB has become an important tool for application integration.

ESBs can be used to facilitate administration, deployment and runtime monitoring, as well as other basic integration functions. The biggest advantage that companies will find using ESBs versus a traditional framework is easier tooling because better tools leads to lower costs and reduced complexity.

There are numerous ESBs on the market, but the two best on the market are Microsoft BizTalk and MuleSoft.

Now that we’ve provided an expedited education about what ESB is and what it does, let’s explore these two popular ESB options a little bit…

Microsoft BizTalk

BizTalk was originally designed to help facilitate communication between businesses (thus the name). It works by storing any message it receives and converting it to a readable format for the user – from any format to any format. The advantage of using BizTalk rather than coding your own program is that it’s guaranteed to work without having to recode if you didn’t plan for a given language.

In terms of using an ESB for integration, BizTalk is tough to beat. It will allow any systems you have in place that don’t play nice with others to bridge together. BizTalk also makes it possible to create your applications in the cloud, making integration between SaaS (Software as a Service) and existing applications seamless. Additionally, BizTalk software allows you to extend the applications you use to mobile devices easily.

A downside of BizTalk that some businesses run into is the program’s size. In this aspect, MuleSoft picks up the slack…

MuleSoft

While BizTalk is a heavy piece of software, MuleSoft is lightweight. But don’t let the size of Mule’s ESB deter you. You can easily start small and scale MuleSoft up to meet your specific needs and requirements. MuleSoft also gives your business the benefit of communicating across applications regardless of whether they’re on the same machine or via the web.

Mule ESB offers adaptive integration, which means the program provides:

  • Smooth integration across any existing infrastructure
  • Ease of use with standing application servers or as a standalone
  • Vender neutral
  • Ability to build the system up with plug-in architecture

MuleSoft is increasingly gaining popularity and traction in the business world due to its scalability and cloud integration features.

Ask the Integration Pros

Here at AVS, we understand that integration is important to your business, and we’re happy to help! We invite you to contact us or browse our blog or for more information about our comprehensive integration, Salesforce® and cloud computing services.

Trailhead: Trekking through the Inner Workings of Salesforce®

Trailhead Salesforce

So, you’ve decided that Salesforce® is the most efficient cloud-computing system for your business, and it’s time to start putting that technology into action. Incorporating any new software or technology into an already functioning workplace will always have its problems, and prolonged training can cause decreased productivity among many other headaches.

You need efficiency. You need quality. And this is where Salesforce® Trailhead comes in.

What is it?

Salesforce describes the Trailhead as “an interactive learning path through the basic building blocks of the Salesforce1™ Platform.” Essentially, Trailhead is a gamification of learning Salesforce® that is fun and free.

Trailhead is divided up into smaller sections that help make up the whole:

•  Units – the smallest parts of trailhead, explaining a specific feature of Salesforce® to learning developers.

•  Modules – a group of units that relate to one another or that center around a certain area of Salesforce®.

•  Trails – a set of modules that are organized in a way that promotes optimal, efficient learning.

Individual learning developers may choose different trails based on their prior knowledge and experience with Salesforce®. These trails include anything from Beginner’s Admin to Non-profit Fundraising and Sales Rep. As learning developers work their way along the trails, they find themselves learning different aspects of Salesforce®.

How does it work?

Salesforce® Trailhead contains a “challenges” feature. This is a test at the end of each unit that allows developers to review their knowledge on the feature of Salesforce® they have just learned. If a challenge is completed successfully, the developer will earn points. When an entire module is completed, developers earn badges. These achievements are displayed on the developer’s Salesforce® profile, which provides stimulation and motivation for learning the material.

Since Trailhead allows individual learning developers to choose which trails they take, the program is adjustable and personalized for both novice users starting from scratch and advanced users wanting to brush up on their skills. This way, the developer only learns what he or she needs/wants to learn, without having to trek through skills that have already been mastered. This approach opens the door for a more personalized and efficient learning experience.

Trailhead is also constantly adding new trails, modules, and units that keep up with Salesforce’s growing technology.

To start your free Salesforce® Trailhead profile, click here.

Other Learning Resources

Besides using Salesforce® Trailhead, there are other means that developers may use to learn the inner workings of Salesforce®. These include everything from instructional videos and personal blog posts to checklists and guides for generating the most success out of Salesforce®.

Here’s just a sample of some of the top Salesforce® guides:

If you can’t find what you are looking for, remember that Ad Victoriam Solutions is also available for contact to answer any questions about incorporating Salesforce® and other cloud computing software and technology into your business.

Also, stay tuned to our blog for frequent updates, tips and news about Salesforce®, big data, cloud computing and much more.

3 Reasons Why Netflix, Condé Nast, and Comcast All Employ AWS to Meet Their Cloud Computing Needs

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a wide array of solutions for business cloud computing needs. Comcast, Condé Nast and Netflix (among many others) all leverage AWS for many of their business needs.

“Our success with the AWS infrastructure can be attributed to the elasticity, scalability, global availability of the service, as well as the key focus on velocity from the AWS development team,” says Eva Tse, Director of Big Data Platform at Netflix.

Is AWS right for your business? To help you with your decision, here are the highlights of why businesses of all sizes and types choose AWS.

Security

Amazon has worked hard to provide cloud-computing services that are safe and secure for their users. The long list of security certifications AWS has includes HIPAA, ISO 27001, SAS 70 Type II, FISMA Moderate and PCI DSS Level 1. Moreover, Amazon works to keep these securities strong by using multiple layers of security (both physically and operationally), as well as routinely auditing their security.

Affordability

When you choose AWS, many of the solutions do not require contracts or up-front costs. AWS supports a “pay as you go” approach. This approach allows customers to use only the amount of storage and/or power they need—there’s no requirement to pay for storage or power that your company won’t use. Furthermore, Amazon has continued to lower pricing for many of its key solutions, even as features within them expand.

Additionally, this approach with AWS allows you to terminate service whenever you desire, make size changes and have access to expert customer service.

If your solution requires a more strategic, long-term budgeting approach, AWS allows for tiered commitment pricing that is often at a significant discount over the “pay as you go” pricing model. Additionally, many of those can be scaled up over time so you don’t have to commit and pay now for planned future needs.

Flexibility

AWS supports machine images and solutions for most operating systems and computing languages. For instance, when you are creating a virtual machine, you’re given the opportunity to select an image with the platform and/or programming language support that best fits your needs and capabilities.

This flexibility means that your company can continue to leverage existing computing resources and skillsets (i.e. languages and systems) rather than investing in purchasing and training for new computing software. This can keep the need for additional resources to a minimum.

While these top companies leverage AWS, it does not guarantee it as the best option for every organization. However, AWS should be evaluated as an option for your cloud computing business strategy. The cloud strategy consultants at Ad Victoriam can help you do this and more. We’ll work closely with your team to find and integrate a cloud technology solution that feels like it was made especially for you!

Contact us today to find out how the right technology can help push your company forward. Also, browse our blog for cloud computing tips from our experts, enterprise technology news and much more.