Report finds a pretty big problem for the incoming IoT revolution

24 Aug 2018

Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

A new report claims that despite the surge in IoT devices across the world, many are reporting major performance issues.

Reports of recent years have discussed at length forecasts suggesting that millions of internet of things (IoT) devices will spread across the globe.

One such claim was recently made by Bain & Co, which said companies are likely to spend $520bn over the next four years on the technology.

However, a new study looking at user satisfaction among IoT users has found that while 52pc of consumers are using IoT devices, 64pc claim to have already encountered performance issues.

The survey of 10,000 people was carried out for the software intelligence firm Dynatrace, with it claiming that consumers averaged 1.5 digital performance problems each day.

“[Consumer] patience is at an all-time low and they simply won’t tolerate a poor experience,” said Dave Anderson, digital performance expert at Dynatrace.

“Yet we haven’t even seen the era of IoT take off to its full potential. It’s just getting started.”

The survey also expanded into the area of autonomous cars, with 84pc of respondents saying they wouldn’t use them due to a fear of software glitches.

“Consumers are understandably concerned and that’s why it will be important for the industry to demonstrate it’s taking a new, more robust approach to ensure software doesn’t compromise our safety,” Anderson added.

Samsung debuts its latest NB-IoT chip

In the race to develop low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), South Korea’s Samsung has decided to differ from its Chinese rivals by going with narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) in its latest chip.

The company said its Exynos i S111 chip offers what you’d expect from a LPWAN device: extremely wide coverage, low-power operation, accurate location feedback and strong security.

It includes a modem, processor, memory and GPS, optimised for real-time tracking applications such as safety wearables or smart meters.

“IoT will be able to evolve to offer new features beyond the conventional household space, with IoT-dedicated solutions that present a broad range of opportunities,” said Ben Hur, vice-president of system LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics.

“Exynos i S111’s highly secure and efficient communication capabilities will bring more exciting NB-IoT applications to life.”

Putting some numbers to it, Samsung said that it could function in a range of up to 10km, transmit data at 127Kbps and can lie dormant for 10 years or more until needed, without changing the batteries.

New Adapt Centre IoT tech could save firefighters’ lives

The Grenfell Tower tragedy highlighted the need for more effective rescue technology, which is why the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Adapt Centre has released a new concept called Pathfinder.

Developed in collaboration with the Cavan County Fire Service, the device uses IoT to assist firefighters to navigate within smoke-filled structures.

The software and hardware solution lays a digital ‘breadcrumb’ trail along the firefighter’s path in the building to help them find a way out.

It does this using a combination of embedded IoT sensors and radio frequency technology to mark the route out of the building while also providing situational awareness information to the incident commander located externally, to track firefighters’ progress.

“Each unit acts like a radio beacon, transmitting both a trail for firefighters to follow, a temperature reading, the location of firefighters within, and allowing a virtual map of the building to be constructed,” said Martin Trainor, who has patented the system.

Volkswagen to spend €3.5bn to hook cars up to IoT

At a press conference in Berlin this week, Volkswagen announced its plans to invest €3.5bn over the next seven years into its cars as part of a major digitisation effort.

According to AutomotiveIT, the company said the focus of this digitisation will be on IoT to turn its cars into “digital devices on wheels”.

“Our customers will become part of an ecosystem that we have named ‘We’,” said Jürgen Stackmann, a Volkswagen brand board member.

“This system complements the Volkswagen experience on wheels and enables customers to take their world into their vehicle.”

The German giant also announced the launch of its electric car-sharing programme for cities, called We Share.

The plan is to have its first 1,500 eGolf models on the roads of Berlin by 2019, with the eventual aim of replacing these with its new range of electric ID cars the following year.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic