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Oracle puts IoT to work

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The Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud offering has been enhanced with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that powers Digital Twin and Digital Thread capabilities. 

As a result, customers and partners can quickly gain operation-wide visibility and leverage predictive insights from connected assets. These insights can decrease deployment times, reduce costs, improve business outcomes, and accelerate new market opportunities. Combining the power of Oracle IoT Cloud and enterprise applications, Oracle also introduced new industry solutions for digital field service, smart connected factories, and digital fleet management.

“IoT holds the potential to transform today’s siloed operations into a modern, interconnected, digital set of workflows with real-time visibility and responsiveness,” said Bhagat Nainani, group vice president, IoT Applications at Oracle. “Oracle continues to push the boundaries of IoT to help our customers significantly simplify their IoT deployments. By receiving real-time data streams enhanced with predictive insights, they can reach new levels of intelligence and a much quicker realization of ROI.”

The expansion follows the recent introduction of new Oracle IoT Cloud Applications for asset monitoring, connected workforce, fleet monitoring, and production monitoring. Also, in the past six months alone, Oracle has more than tripled its IoT application ecosystem of device and systems integration partners. Oracle IoT Cloud is offered both as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, as well as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, enabling a high degree of adaptability for even the most demanding implementations.

“Hitachi Consulting is constantly looking for industry leaders like Oracle to help clients and prospects harness the power of data and IoT to optimise operational and financial performance, outpace their competition and solve significant business problems,” said Garth Carter, vice president North America Sales, Hitachi Consulting. “Our longstanding, strategic relationship with Oracle delivers industrial IoT solutions to digitise the physical world for manufacturing, energy, and transportation. In particular, Hitachi is leveraging Oracle IoT Applications—asset monitoring and production monitoring—that are uniquely engineered to meet specific industry and functional needs. These applications have a depth of OT, IT and IoT functionality that no competitor can match.”

New capabilities introduced today include:

·         Digital Twin for Supply Chain Management
Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical asset or equipment that enhances traditional analytics approaches. The object model includes multi-faceted views into current, historical, and predictive data, as well as operational and behavioral dimensions of that asset. This enables remote users to not only monitor the health of that asset to prevent failures before they occur, but also to run simulations of “what-if” scenarios in the context of the business processes. With Digital Twin, organizations have a new operational paradigm to interact with the physical world, allowing lower operational and capital expenditures, minimizing downtime, and optimizing asset performance.

·         Digital Thread for Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain practitioners have spent millions of dollars in implementing SCM and ERP systems, but most often, data is manually fed into these systems. Digital Thread is a connected business process framework that leverages IoT and creates a “system of systems” by connecting traditionally siloed elements in real-time throughout the digital supply chain. By providing an end-to-end view of an asset throughout the entire manufacturing lifecycle, Digital Thread seamlessly bridges the entire supply chain process—from product design and order fulfillment, to manufacturing and product life cycle management, to warehousing and transportation, to logistics and procurement.

·         Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Built-in AI and machine learning features are now fully integrated across Oracle’s IoT solutions portfolio. These technologies leverage machine data in the context of business data from applications, such as manufacturing, maintenance, service, and logistics. The built-in operational analytics help detect anomalies, predict equipment failures, and recommend the best course of action. They also provide the intelligence needed to evolve capabilities to increase effectiveness and experiences of applications.

·         Industry Solutions Built on IoT Cloud Applications
Oracle IoT industry solutions help customers reimagine and innovate business solutions for the connected, intelligent, context-aware, digital enterprise. New solutions introduced today include:

o    Digital Field Service: Showcases intelligent remote monitoring, failure prediction, over-the-air repair, and dynamic technician dispatch. The solution features IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud, CX Service Cloud, CX Engagement Cloud, and CX Field Service Cloud, plus the use of augmented reality (AR) for guided equipment repair.

o    Smart Connected Factory: Demonstrates how incident detection, root cause analysis, and smart resolution are performed within minutes in a connected factory. The solution features IoT Production Monitoring Cloud, SCM Cloud and ERP Cloud, and the use of virtual reality (VR) to navigate the manufacturing floor. It can also be used for remote worker training.

o    Digital Fleet Management: Showcases real-time shipment tracking, risk management, and logistics synchronization. The solution features IoT Fleet Management Cloud and Oracle Logistics Cloud.

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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