Process Automation driving the Internet of Things

Process Automation driving the Internet of Things

Kewal (Gibble) Gupta at Channel Partnerships

By Kewal Gupta
13th October 2021

The deployment of the Internet of Things is becoming synonymous with maturity for many industries. An organisation gaining visibility into their physical assets to understand asset utilisation, health and location is progress, however the pursuit of data should not be the objective. The true power comes in the action that can be taken, driven by the data and the business process automation that can enable new levels of agility for a business.

Process automation can conjure up many meanings depending on who you’re talking to, but typically it falls into 5 categories; the automation of physical processes, the automation of back-office tasks and business process, automated reporting, automated exchange of data within a value chain such as supply chain, and automated alerting if a physical response is required by a person.

Automating Physical Assets

The most prominent examples here are likely related to both smart manufacturing and smart buildings. Let’s look at Smart Manufacturing for example. With the arrival of Industry 4.0, IIoT (Industrial IoT) speaks to the ability to collect data from machines and other manufacturing systems to both optimise production output and reduce downtime. As an example, customer order data can be used to optimise the production line settings required for the forthcoming task, reducing the need for human intervention. In addition to this, IoT sensors can be used to help manage inventory or leveraged in conjunction with machine learning to predict machine part failure and ensure maintenance can be handled without impacting the entire production line.

Automation of Back-office Tasks

In this instance we refer to IoT data triggering a back-office task or process, which is further enhanced when RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can automate the task itself. This might be IoT data related to inventory triggering a purchase order to a supplier or ordering a part for a failing field asset when a failure is detected or predicted.

Automated Reporting

A typical example of this might be for food standards compliance where refrigeration must sit within certain tolerances for different food products. Historically, this might be a paper reporting exercise performed by a person taking a reading and recording it. Now this can be recorded in real-time using IoT sensors and automating alerting if thresholds are exceeded to ensure compliance and reduce food waste.

Automated Data Exchange

Typically, we see this in supply chain, where data relating to the location of goods, as well as inventory levels are shared with the extended chain of stakeholder related to product to enable complete transparency. This transparency enables better supply chain planning, reduced disruption and more efficient B2B process interactions between the various parties involved.

Triggering Human Intervention

We often see this with systems that relate to situational awareness and public safety. With the introduction of AI and Computer Vision, big brother is not only watching, but increasing his understanding of what he is seeing. AI powered cameras are now able to detect suspicious packages, potentially violent situations and crowding where it creates risk (such as we’ve seen in the recent pandemic). These events then trigger alerts where people are called to the scene to deal with the situation at hand.

In Summary

There is an evolution of a sensory digital fabric casting eyes on every aspect of the assets we use and the spaces we occupy. Also, with the advent of AI, systems can not only sense but they understand this data in context to take action and augment the day to day ways we operate in industry. Bill Gates was quoted as saying “Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify inefficiency”, so it is critical that organisations pay keen attention to the processes they implement and the interconnections between those processes before striving for higher levels of automation.

IoT (or IIoT) and process automation is now a business imperative that cannot be ignored.

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    6 Reasons to Consider a Privacy Management Solution

    6 Reasons to Consider a Privacy Management Solution

    Kewal (Gibble) Gupta at Channel Partnerships

    By Kewal Gupta
    30th April 2021

    In today’s technology age we see all the time that the volume of data is increasing at an exponential rate. This volume of data reached 59 zettabytes in 2020 and is expected to reach 149 zettabytes by 2024.

    Customer data is a key subset of this data. Many organisations will still use spreadsheets to help an organisation make sense of this data, however this still leads to constant data sprawl which makes it difficult to get a single view of a data subject.

    With Global privacy regulations in place, it is now a business imperative that you manage your data correctly. With heavy fines and loss of reputation of brand possible impacts of not doing this correctly and in a systematic way, organisations now need to consider a privacy management solution.

    In a recent article in Information Age Heidi Shey, Principal Analyst at Forrester, commented: “Organisations will continue to adapt to new business models and changing customer expectations simply because they must in the face of economic uncertainty, social movements, and changing geopolitics. This will have significant impact for information and IT security professionals across the globe.”

    Of course, many people will still manage privacy through spreadsheets but as data increases so does the room for error and the time it takes to get a single view of the data you hold on a data subject. Imagine for a second, how would you manage a freedom of information request or the need to redact data? The time saving alone could outweigh the cost of a privacy management software platform.

    So, what are the key factors as to why you should consider a privacy management solution?

    1. Compliance – With strong GDPR regulations in place your data team need the right tools to organise, manage and report on the data you manage. Organisations need to be able to demonstrate that they have policies and procedures to manage private customer data. Recent reports have said that some of the biggest fines, outside of a data hack, have been due to organisations not being able to manage data access requests and data redaction correctly. According to DLA Piper’s latest GDPR Data Breach Survey, data protection regulators have imposed €272 million in fines under the GDPR regime for a wide range of GDPR infringements, not just for data breaches. Click here to find out the five biggest fines so far.
    2. Customer Trust – Customers are more and more savvy about their data rights and businesses must acknowledge that and make sure that they have the systems in place to manage that data and its privacy. The solution needs to be able to map and organise the data in a way to reduce response times for a query. If you submitted a data access request, would you be willing to wait a week for it?
    3. Third Party Management – Every business will be interacting with a third-party vendor. This inevitably means that you will be interacting with them around customer data. From a GDPR point of view sharing personal customer data is a risk that must be properly mitigated. By having the right solution in place, you can understand the data disclosure basis for each data processor. In addition, there would need to be regular risk assessments. Having a solution in place means not only can you help mitigate risk but you can keep track of the third parties and your interactions.
    4. 360 view of your data – At the beginning of this article I mentioned data sprawl. Can you imagine your data protection team trying to get a view on not only your customer data at an organisation level, subject area level and at an individual data subject level across the whole of your business? Now imagine this without a system in place to bring this all together. Now imagine that you need to redact some. This is pretty difficult without a solution in place.
    5. Data breach and loss of reputation – No one wants a breach but can you imagine if it happened. A solution in place will not guarantee against getting attacked but it will provide significant benefits for management and prevention.
    6. Company Agility – So why is having a solution in place important when it comes to your organisation’s agility? It’s quite simple, you can achieve the edge by showing the outside world that you are innovative, your business is customer centric and that protecting your customer and their data is key. Not only does this show your customers that you are the right business to trust in when it comes to their data, but it also means you are the right company to buy from.

    The challenge with data increasing, the velocity of this and the volume only means one thing, not considering a software solution for privacy management now or in the future could impact your business negatively.

    Want to speak to a specialist who can help steer you in the right direction? Contact us.

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      Is Computer Vision the way forward?

      Is Computer Vision the way forward?

      Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

      By Bryony Sandy
      16th April 2021

      Understanding your environment whether you are in Retail, Manufacturing or Office based, is very important as it allows you to make decisions based on what can be seen, helping you to get to know your customers better, keeping an area safe or even ensuring compliance when it comes to rules such as wearing face masks.

      This is where Computer Vision is really starting to add value. Computer Vision trains computers to interpret and understand the visual world. By using digital imagery, machines can accurately identify and classify objects and react to what they see. For a better understanding of Computer Vision, read this Introduction to Computer Vision.

      Accuracy rates for object identification and classification have jumped from 50% a decade ago to 99% by 2019, and today’s systems are even more accurate than humans (Source: TechSee).

      Computer Vision started in the 1950s when neural networks began to detect the edges of objects and sorted them into shapes. As the internet matured in the 1990s, large sets of images became available online for analysis, driving the development of facial recognition programs. Today, Computer Vision technology has become easily accessible, making it more appealing to enterprise. The real-life use cases of Computer Vision now means it can provide actionable insight for a business.

      This real-life commercial imperative gained by using Computer Vision Modelling has resulted in the growth of a number of specialist companies creating Computer Vision modelling to drive commercial agility within businesses. One of those companies to watch is EVERYANGLE.

      EVERYANGLE uses Computer Vision to provide actionable insight through a suite of developed applications that make sense of the data you are collecting through Cisco Meraki MV Smart Cameras. Available applications include Next Gen Footfall; PPE Detection; Warehouse Intelligence; Customer Waiting; Suspicious Person Detection; Social Safety; Fire Detection and; Face Mask Detection. Find out more about the EVERYANGLE solutions here.

      Is Computer Vision the way forward? According to this report, the Computer Vision market is expected to reach $48.6 billion by 2022, making it an extremely promising UX technology (Source: XD Adobe).

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        Empowering supply chain category management

        Empowering supply chain category management

        Using Craft’s Intelligence Portal.

        Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

        By Bryony Sandy
        24th March 2021

        Strong supply chain category management continuously evolves to stay ahead of supply and demand changes, risks, and trends. By better understanding their suppliers and costs, supply chain managers can ensure efficient processes, improved outcomes, and lower spend. But, establishing effective and comprehensive supply chain management is easier said than done.

        This is where Craft’s Intelligence Portal can help. With the portal, supply chain managers can monitor their supply chains in real-time. They can receive alerts on changes across their supplier ecosystem and uncover previously untracked insights. The portal houses 300+ data types and is always up-to-date. This unparalleled visibility is essential to strong supply chains and gives management a completely new way to get the job done.

        With Craft’s portal, category managers can see hundreds of data points on each of suppliers in one centralized place, including data on risk, headcount, financial strength, cybersecurity, and corporate social responsibility. They can also filter a specific sector by locations, headcount, revenue, and get details on the companies in that space to identify market leaders and new entrants.

        We’ve recently created a full walk-through Craft portal. To learn more, check out an overview of the portal!

        This is a blog article written by Craft.

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          Improving Space Utilisation in the Education Sector with Ergosense

          Improving Space Utilisation in the Education Sector with Ergosense

          Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

          By Bryony Sandy
          19th January 2021

          How space is utilised in the education sector is key and will be more important than ever in the current times. As a result of this, getting actionable insight means we need to able to measure utilisation accurately and in as near real time as possible coupled with the reporting and visualisation needed. But what is space utilisation? Space utilisation measures whether a space is being used and how well it is being used.

          Making Space utilisation measurable means it can be improved, not only allowing you to adhere to any compliance regulations, but importantly ensuring it is optimised for learning. Some examples of how to ensure you are utilising your space include:

          • Desk Booking: By providing a room or desk booking service, via an app for example, students are able to see which desk or room is available for them. Students can also then be notified when a space becomes available for them.
          • Occupancy Sensors: Occupancy sensors provide insight into the hot-spots of a building and can be used to create alerts for building management when spaces become too busy. Algorithms can be updated to reduce the number of spaces available to ensure that occupancy remains at a safe level. Once a desk or room becomes vacant, cleaning and prep alerts could also be generated.
          • Building Management: The team managing a building will be able to see who is working where to help them intelligently manage the flow of people within the building. If needs be, areas with low occupancy can be closed to contain areas efficiently. As well as this, airflow, lighting and other building operations could respond to information from other systems and sensors.

          (Source: British Council for Offices)

          Ergosense Sensing Solutions

          Ergosense Sensing Solutions are a great way to measure occupancy behaviour and physical wellness conditions in schools, colleges, and universities. These solutions provide valuable information that allows you to adjust the environment to optimal conditions and improve space utilisation. The Ergosense solutions include:

          • The Solutions Hub which is the core of the Ergosense ecosystem. This cloud-based hub interprets data captured by sensors and displays this data in a user-friendly analytical view. It also serves as a systems administration platform for the Sensy Mobile App.
          • The Doc measures environmental metrics such as light lux levels, CO2 levels, humidity levels, and more. This sensor also acts as the communications gateway between sensors and the Solutions Hub.
          • The Abacus is a people counter, measuring the occupancy and utilisation of rooms. These devices also measure the wellness metrics of an area such as sound, temperature, light, humidity, TVOC and CO2.
          • The Pebble is fitted to individual spaces to measure the occupancy of that space and communicates its data via the mesh network to a gateway (Doc or Abacus).
          • The Sensy App is fully integrated with the suite of Ergosense sensors giving you the insight into the building, rooms and areas as well as incorporating other functionality to enhance the user experience including facility booking, surveys, integration to ITSM solutions and other engagement functionality. As well as this, it is also fully integrated with O365.

          The Sensy App and Display Panels

          As mentioned above, the Sensy App provides facility booking which allows students to book a space, whether this be a desk or a room in the building, directly from floorplans. Using this app allows you to improve space utilisation, monitor conditions and improve the overall experience for those in the building.

          Notifications can be sent to students and if needed, Surveys can be created and facility maintenance feedback can be received to keep facility managers informed on any issues that may occur. Other features include automatic entry logs, quick access to emergency protocol and links to appropriate contacts and information.

          Display Unit Integration is also available and can be used throughout buildings. These displays can provide building level information such as the building usage and environmental factors which allows the students to make informed decisions on how they use the facilities. Focused displays for an area level can also be created to provide more detailed information in specific sections of the building.

          If you are interested in finding out more on how to improve space utilisation in the education sector and to see how Ergosense can help you with this, please contact us by either calling us on +44 (0)1923 618 099 or email us at info@channel-tools.biz.

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            The Benefits of Telehealth Solutions

            The Benefits of Telehealth Solutions

            Protect medical personnel and patients by providing remote medical care with Telehealth Solutions.

            Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

            By Bryony Sandy
            18th November 2020

            The global pandemic is causing many sectors including business, education and healthcare to change and adapt to a new way of living. The increasing need to stay inside and prevent spread of infection can prove difficult for those in need of medical care and with hospitals coming under great strain with little bed space and risk of infection, there needs to be another solution for receiving this medical care. This need has led to a rapid adoption of Telehealth solutions globally (Source: The Lancet Global Health).

            What is Telehealth?

            “Telehealth is the provision and management of healthcare in which individuals manage aspects of their care with remote support from healthcare professionals”. (Source: The Lancet Global Health). Providing a Telehealth solution to those in need, whether the individual is based at home or in a care facility, allows the individual to be monitored remotely for as long as necessary.

            The Benefits

            In times like this one of the main benefits of using a Telehealth solution is to protect medical personnel and patients by reducing transmission of infectious diseases. Telehealth solutions also help to conserve supplies and bed space in hospitals by allowing low-risk patients to be monitored at home, helping medical systems from becoming overwhelmed. As well as this Telehealth offers time-efficient solutions and helps to formulate efficient and reliable healthcare plans.

            Some other benefits include:

            • An increase in healthcare access in Senior Living Communities by reducing hospitalisation rates for high-risk adults
            • Minimising the load on healthcare systems and workers by providing relevant equipment to the patient for them to monitor themselves remotely
            • Supporting specialties such as Cardiology and Psychiatry
            • Making healthcare accessible for everyone including those who live in rural or isolated communities, and;
            • Make services more readily available or convenient for people with limited mobility, time or transportation options.

            The WiCis Health 3.0 Platform

            A Telehealth Solution that we are able to provide through our partnership with Tech Data EMEA is the WiCis Health 3.0 Platform. This platform is the first HIPAA compliant Telehealth and Telemedicine Monitoring solution delivering the intelligence of the medical experience directly to a patient that can be located anywhere and in real-time by using cloud-based workflows, video-conferencing, and live vital signs.

            Some benefits of the WiCis Health Telehealth Solution include:

            • Compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including security provisions like data encryption to ensure the privacy of patient data and other sensitive information
            • Pinpointing and being able to bridge the gaps between patient and caregiver
            • Optimising workflows and improves speed, collaboration, patient engagement, and satisfaction

            If you are interested in finding out more about Telehealth Solution benefits or the WiCis Telehealth and Telemedicine Monitoring Solution itself please contact us at info@channel-tools.biz.

            Additional Resources:

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              Safeguarding Your Employees in the Workplace

              Safeguarding Your Employees in the Workplace

              Reduce risk and ensure compliance with the Safectory Social Distancing Solution.

              Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

              By Bryony Sandy
              3rd November 2020

              The current pandemic means that ensuring personal distance of staff is a vital task for companies to manage. To prevent your facility from shutting down you should trace and document that the correct distancing rules are being followed. This will help to protect the health of your employees by providing distance warnings and tracking potential infection routes. The Safectory Social Distancing solution is a great way to ensure compliance and to reduce risk of infection to your staff.

              The Safectory solution includes:

              • Alerts when personal encounters with too little distance and of a certain minimum duration (15-30 seconds) occur.
              • Reporting to assist the protection of the employees. The individuals affected but also the responsible manager can be informed.
              • Contact chain management: In case of infection, contacts can be traced and informed.

              The Safectory solution allows you to equip each employee with a BLE-transmitter (Bluetooth low energy). Any working areas are covered by BLE Gateways. The BLE transmitters send / receive signals to / from nearby transmitters and calculate distance (based on signal strength).

              If two or more workers are too close to each other for a certain minimum amount of time the workers device will vibrate and the associated app will generate an audio-visual alarm. By tracking the distance, contact chains can be determined in the event of an infection and potential victims can be warned.

              The solution is flexible in how you want to manage the movement data-recording and transmission options. For example, you may not want to record any encounter data at all and want to just use the tag to emit an alarm to make the user aware of the compliance with minimum distances. Alternatively, you may want data transmitted to the back end of the solution based on a time series, e.g. every 15 minutes.

              In practice, the choice of the desired option depends on the needs of the company and the respective intentions and possibilities to establish its data protection standards.

              In principle, the hardware elements worn by the employees function autonomously without any backend – however, user assignment or contact chains cannot then be traced.

              Key Takeaways:

              • Quick deployment and ready within less than 1 week from receipt of tags
              • Modular, scalable, cost-effective
              • Configurable

              Contact us today if you are interested in finding out more about the Safectory solution.

              This is an extract from an article written by Klaus Hast at Safectory. To see the full details, click here.

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                Collaboration Tools for Remote Data Science Teams

                Collaboration Tools for Remote Data Science Teams

                This is an extract from an article written by Pascal Bugnion, Data Engineer at Faculty.

                Bryony sandy Channel Partnerships

                By Bryony Sandy
                3rd July 2020

                Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, millions of employees are having to embrace remote working, including thousands of data scientists. As data science teams grow larger and more complex, facilitating remote working has become more complex too. Data science is now done by cross-functional teams that bring together subject-matter experts, modellers, data visualisation experts, machine learning engineers, product managers and designers.

                Unsurprisingly, when these teams begin to shift toward remote working, effective collaboration often becomes a huge challenge especially as communication is harder when teams are not co-located. Read on to see that the right tooling is essential to helping data science teams perform to the best of their ability while working remotely.

                Avoiding Frustrations

                High-functioning data science teams strive for consistent tooling and infrastructure across the team. It is much easier to call and help a colleague if you both work with similar tools and to write reusable, shareable code if the environment in which that code runs in is more constrained.

                There are many components that make up a data science infrastructure. Faculty have found the below processes to be effective:

                • Give everyone the same hardware.
                • Enforce common tooling. If everyone in the team uses Python, sharing code and models is greatly simplified. Similarly, if everyone uses the same text editor, the organisation can develop processes or even software (e.g. editor plugins) to facilitate collaboration.
                • Enforce common environment management. If everyone in the team uses the same environment management system (e.g. Conda environments or Docker containers), data scientists can collaborate both on the code and on the environment the code runs in.
                • Always store data online as it is then accessible by everyone, making it much easier to share code or to debug issues together.
                • Have an easy way to declare reproducible workflows that other team members can run. For instance, having a well-documented store of Docker containers that can run particular parts of the team’s data processing pipeline means that not everyone in the team needs to know every part of that pipeline at the same level of detail. In turn, this reduces the need for long phone calls explaining how to run the pipeline.
                • As much as possible, deploy models behind documented APIs. Having a clear interface allows more people to leverage the team’s work.

                Avoid Isolation by Making Work Visible

                Sharing a goal is one of the most motivating elements of teamwork. However, when working remotely, it is hard to know what other team members are working on and to generate a sense of shared purpose. This can lead to team members feeling isolated.

                Ensuring the work is visible is the best way to reduce this feeling. By having a good source code manager like GitHub, GitLab or Bitbucket you can see the steady flow of PRs, comments, and reviews to give a sense of motion to the team. Continuous integration pipelines running from this source code manager also increases visibility.As well as exposing activity through a source code manager, organisations also make other sources of activity available.

                Avoid silos by sharing best practices

                When teams work remotely, there is less space for ad-hoc knowledge sharing. Hallway conversation that can spark new ideas is less likely to happen. Therefore, teams need to be much more deliberate about knowledge sharing.

                Faculty have seen teams build knowledge repositories in Confluence or the open source knowledge repo. In Faculty Platform, a data science workbench, Faculty are working on building a way to easily share blueprints for common data science tasks. This allows data scientists to gradually build an organisation-specific knowledge centre for a single, consistent view of best practices.

                Conclusion

                It is hard to build cross-functional teams to deliver on the promise of machine learning as well as to recruit people and to get them to speak the same language. Trying to do this with a remote team is even harder.

                Good tools will not guarantee success, but they will make your team-members more productive and foster a feeling of collaboration and shared goals.

                Faculty Platform gives remote data science teams a shared infrastructure for collaborating on model development and deployment – and all the best practices from this post are built into it.

                If you are interested in finding out more about the Faculty Platform, contact us today.

                This is an extract from an article written by Pascal Bugnion, Data Engineer at Faculty. To see the full details click here.

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