Digital Transformation

Feature

How Cairn Oil & Gas is using IT to overcome one business challenge after another

CIO Sandeep Gupta’s innovative use of technology has enabled the company to cut costs, reduce time to first oil, and manage decline in production.

Jul, 4 2022
Feature

Digital twin helps NTT Indycar deliver better race experience to fans

Digital twin, AI, and predictive analytics help put fans behind the wheel of race cars in the NTT Indycar Series, including the iconic Indianapolis 500.

Jul, 1 2022
Feature

Digital transformation never stops at IBM’s semiconductor plant in Québec

Exploiting extreme automation, secure operations, and a local talent pool, the computer giant’s largest semiconductor plant’s IT management evolves continuously as it develops new tech.

Jun, 30 2022
Feature

JLL source-to-pay transformation proves value of automation

Born of the pandemic, the commercial real-estate company’s global source-to-pay automation system overcame localization and change management challenges to become a blueprint for a new strategic imperative.

Jun, 27 2022
Feature

Kimberly-Clark’s business-first approach to digital transformation

Global CIO Manoj Kumbhat is overhauling IT to facilitate a business transformation aimed at bringing the personal-care corporation closer to its customers.

Jun, 24 2022
IDG TECHtalk Voices

How to enable cultural change through cloud adoption

Adopting hyperscale cloud can position your organization to react faster to the next “new normal.”

Jun, 21 2022
Feature

12 tips for achieving IT agility in the digital era

The pandemic has proved IT agility is an existential imperative. IT leaders versed with agile transformation share tips for speeding up IT’s ability to create business value and navigate change.

Jun, 15 2022
Feature

The 10 biggest issues IT faces today

Economic, market, and worldwide turbulence continue to reshape the CIO agenda as priorities shift mid-year.

Jun, 13 2022
Feature

Mattel innovation becomes toy maker’s e-commerce core

A startup-like initiative to enrich customer engagement with limited-release collectibles during the pandemic now fuels Mattel’s direct-to-consumer online business, opening new IP-based revenue sources for the company.

Jun, 13 2022
Feature

AI in the cloud pays dividends for Liberty Mutual

The insurer’s mature cloud foundation has facilitated extensive use of emerging technologies, in particular machine learning models that help deliver premium service, CIO James McGlennon says.

May, 27 2022
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Streamlining IT for agility

IT leaders share their experiences and advice for overhauling IT for speed, including cutting down on projects, shifting to product-based delivery, and spurring a cultural transformation.

May, 25 2022
Feature

McDermott data innovations fuel business transformation

The oil rig contractor is shifting to stay ahead of sustainability trends. New products borne of IT innovations around the company’s data operations are helping it get there, CIO Vagesh Dave says.

May, 23 2022
Feature

IT leaders take on pandemic tech debt

The past two years have seen CIOs accelerating digital initiatives as a matter of business survival. Now, those services are being reassessed for long-term value, as CIOs finally get serious about ensuring technical debt is no longer a drag.

May, 23 2022
Feature

National Grid’s energy transformation is fueled by IT

Global CIO Adriana Karaboutis is modernizing the utility’s data stack and digitizing its grid to transform National Grid into an ‘intelligent connected utility’ capable of integrating with a range of energy sources.

May, 19 2022
Feature

Ciena takes aim at the ‘ticket-less’ call center

The networking services company has turned to Amazon Connect to develop a cloud-based contact center geared for delivering enhanced customer service and reduced costs.

May, 17 2022
The CIO Whisperers

Veteran CIO Neal Sample: All architecture is wrong

The business executive, technologist, and former champion debater explains why you should go where the data takes you and how to avoid getting too invested in your ideas.

May, 12 2022
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Reskilling IT for digital success in a tight talent market

IT leaders are upskilling IT staff in sought-after skills to support organizational transformations — and to improve employee retention. Here, CIOs share training strategies and lessons learned.

May, 9 2022
Feature

United transforms travel experience with Agent on Demand

The airlines’ digital customer service gives travelers access to live agents via the web when flight itineraries go awry, easing uncertainty and stress while driving significant cost savings.

May, 6 2022
Opinion

What’s next for digital transformation?

Thirty-plus years is a long time to be stuck on something. Is it time we move on?

May, 2 2022
Feature

Backcountry modernizes for the cloud era

A complete overhaul of its ecommerce stack finds the outdoor recreational retailer poised to offer improved customer experiences and personalization just as it starts a push to open more physical stores.

Apr, 26 2022
IDG TECHtalk Voices

The unfulfilled promise of automation: DNA matters

Process automation brings much-needed efficiencies, but enterprise DNA is essential for the long-term strategy, ensuring business resiliency and innovation.

Apr, 19 2022
Feature

7 secrets of successful digital transformations

Getting digital right requires more than executive buy-in and financial commitment. It requires a nuanced approach to strategy, implementation, and collaboration.

Apr, 18 2022
IDG TECHtalk Voices

CIOs can and should play a pivotal role in ESG strategy

The ability to provide transparent, data-driven insights and measure progress toward objectives makes the CIO critical to the success of any ESG strategy.

Apr, 14 2022
Feature

ATD banks on B2B digital transformation

The wholesale tire distributor has overhauled its core integration layer to be 100% cloud-native in preparation to offer slick digital sales channels to B2B buyers tired of traditional call centers.

Apr, 14 2022
Interview

Truist CIO Scott Case on adopting a digital transformation mindset

For Case and his team, the pandemic, combined with the company’s merger, forced a focus on serving clients that became the guiding principle of their digital transformation.

Apr, 13 2022
Feature

15 most misused buzzwords in IT

The tech industry is rife with overhyped jargon. Here IT leaders discuss buzzy terms all too often misapplied by vendors and colleagues alike.

Apr, 12 2022
Feature

Clean Harbors’ CIO: Hybrid approach to the cloud is a win-win

The hazardous waste cleanup giant is deploying AI and RPA in Azure cloud and integrating data with its on-premises Waste Information Network.

Apr, 4 2022
Movers and Shakers

At Black & Veatch, a new IT operating model enables digital opportunities

CIO Irvin Bishop says the new model ensures that the company either wins, learns, or fails fast on its digital investments – but never loses.

Mar, 30 2022
Feature

SDG&E seeks speed advantage in the cloud

At San Diego Gas & Electric, digital transformation isn’t just a technology refresh but a wholesale change in its business, with speed gains afforded by the cloud being central to its strategy.

Mar, 29 2022
Interview

Paul Martin: CIOs don’t retire, they go work on boards

The retired CIO and member of four public company boards knows firsthand the value of technology expertise to corporate boards. Here, he shares an insider’s view from the other side of the boardroom table.

Mar, 25 2022
Feature

What is a chief digital officer? A digital strategist and evangelist in chief

A chief digital officer strategically transforms a company’s technological future in a way many CIOs don’t have the bandwidth to do.

Mar, 24 2022
Feature

Modernizing the mainframe for the digital era

The venerable platform continues to run critical applications while looking toward a future of open source, cloud, containers, AI, and much-needed new talent.

Mar, 24 2022
Feature

State of the CIO, 2022: Focus turns to IT fundamentals

CIOs are once again walking a tightrope between innovation and operational excellence—this time, buoyed by strong LOB alliances and a lingering pandemic glow.

Mar, 21 2022
IDG TECHtalk Voices

3 trends driving transformation decisions in healthcare IT

At the ViVE 2022 health IT conference, CIOs had plenty to talk about as the industry transforms

Mar, 18 2022
Movers and Shakers

How CommScope restructured IT for better business partnership

To enable the global high-tech company’s business transformation, CIO Praveen Jonnala and the IT team asked themselves, ‘Who do we want to be?’ The result is a reimagined IT organization with empathy and humility at the core.

Mar, 16 2022
Feature

UAB IT helps fuel genomic breakthroughs

The University of Alabama-Birmingham’s digital transformation is compounding what its scientific researchers can achieve. Systems that work in synergy with scientists is key, says CIO Dr. Curtis Carver.

Mar, 10 2022
Feature

CIO change agents: Lessons from the front lines of IT transformations

Leading CIOs from the energy, financial, fashion, and fleet management sectors discuss how they changed their IT organizations to pave the way for business transformation.

Mar, 7 2022
The CIO Whisperers

Abbott CIO Sabina Ewing on becoming an IT talent magnet

The technology executive explains how to create a differentiated employee experience to drive 21st century business results.

Mar, 3 2022
Interview

How Blackwoods handled its CIO’s health crisis in the midst of a digital transformation

CIO Claudio Salinas was diagnosed with blood cancer in the midst of both a major platform transformation effort and the scramble to adapt to the pandemic. Here’s how he and his team stayed on course at the Australian retailer.

Mar, 2 2022
Feature

Shell sees AI as fuel for its sustainability goals

The energy giant’s dual-cloud transformation includes a data lake architecture that AI chief Dan Jeavons says is catalyzing business efficiencies and will prove key in cutting carbon emissions over time.

Feb, 28 2022
Interview

Rolls-Royce CIDO Stuart Hughes on leaning into IoT

The engine manufacturer is leveraging IoT data to tailor maintenance and overhaul to the individual engine rather than the product family.

Feb, 23 2022
Interview

Anadolu Efes CIO drives AI-fuelled data, analytics strategy

Murat Ozkan, chief information and digital officer at Anadolu Efes, the Turkey-based international beverages company, talks about how a data management strategy comprising AI and analytics will sustain further growth.

Feb, 16 2022
Movers and Shakers

3 IT initiatives fueling business transformation at Zebra Technologies

Who says a zebra can’t change its stripes? CIO Deepak Kaul explains how a hub and spoke data model, along with cloud-based ERP and infrastructure, are at the heart of Zebra’s changing business model.

Feb, 16 2022
Interview

JLL CIO Edward Wagoner on leading change

What worked in the past isn’t going to work in the future, says Wagoner. His advice: engage and welcome the different ways of thinking that are so critical for transformation.

Feb, 16 2022
News Analysis

What is ServiceNow Impact? An app to keep digital transformations on track

ServiceNow is offering to help CIOs get more value from their investment — if they’ll pay just a little more.

Feb, 14 2022
Feature

Disney data clean room helps advertisers leverage audience analysis

Aiming to give advertisers access to a vast quantity of audience data while protecting users’ privacy, Disney Advertising Sales has taken a data clean room approach to data governance.

Feb, 14 2022
Feature

Papa Johns IT turns to Splunk for Super Bowl spike

The pizza delivery and carryout chain has established a real-time monitoring system in the cloud to ensure its pizza-making operations go smoothly, even under high demand.

Feb, 11 2022
Feature

Walgreens Boots Alliance gets personal with AI

The pharmacy chain is leveraging its cloud-first digital transformation to better serve its customers, thanks to a data foundation retooled for speedier analytics and the latest machine learning technologies.

Feb, 11 2022
Interview

Generac CIO Tim Dickson: Why CIO reporting relationships matter for digital transformation success

The 62-year old Fortune 1000 manufacturing company is transforming into an energy technology solutions provider, with IT at the forefront. CIO Tim Dickson shares his thoughts on how data is creating new business opportunities and how reporting to the CEO elevates IT.

Feb, 9 2022
Interview

Reimagining IT at Liberty Mutual

Like many IT leaders, James McGlennon has been on a journey to transform IT to support a new era of business productivity, a move accelerated and shaped by the pandemic.

Feb, 2 2022
Feature

US Xpress goes digital for the long haul

Digital transformation positions the freight carrier well in a tight market for truckers, paving the way for improved operations and data-driven decision-making.

Jan, 28 2022
Movers and Shakers

A platform model drives digital innovation at Zoetis

As CIDO of the global $6.7B animal health business, Wafaa Mamilli’s job is to find new areas of revenue generation.

Jan, 26 2022
Feature

8 top priorities for CIOs in 2022

2022 promises to be both exciting and challenging for IT leaders. To get the most value from IT in the year ahead, tech chiefs should focus on the following key initiatives.

Jan, 18 2022
Feature

Camira Fabrics weaves together EDI and API integrations

What began as a move to bring EDI management in house led to the creation of new APIs for shipping, and has opened the door to future infrastructure modernization.

Jan, 18 2022
The CIO Whisperers

FedEx EVP/CIO Ken Spangler on enterprise agility as an enabler for innovation

The FedEx business leader shares why the strategic operating principles of competing collectively, operating collaboratively, and innovating digitally matter more than ever.

Jan, 13 2022
Interview

AI/ML at scale: The next horizon for PPG’s data strategy

At PPG, data is key not only to IT strategy, but to enabling business strategy, says Jeff Lipniskis, global IT director. With a solid foundation in place, his focus now is on being AI ready.

Jan, 12 2022
Feature

Top 7 challenges IT leaders will face in 2022

Facilitating hybrid working environments and ensuring a skills match for future success top the list of tough, ongoing issues IT leaders must navigate this year.

Jan, 11 2022
Movers and Shakers

Digital product factories enable a new business model at Toyota Financial Services

Chief innovation and digital officer Vipin Gupta and his team turned transformation logic upside down to create a mobility-finance-as-a-service platform that TFS now offers as a white label service to other mobility companies.

Jan, 5 2022
IDG TECHtalk Voices

Healthcare leaders: Don’t let telehealth be a pitfall

Virtual healthcare has proven its value – now, it’s time to expand and improve upon that foundation.

Jan, 4 2022
Feature

10 IT resolutions for 2022

IT leaders share their visions on how they hope to transform their teams, their organizations, and themselves in the new year.

Jan, 3 2022
Feature

CIOs spell out top tech priorities for 2022

AI and automation will take center stage, as cloud and collaboration continue to impact IT agendas — and IT leaders keep apprised of disprupive technologies on the horizon.

Dec, 22 2021
Feature

ParkMobile’s cloud transformation paves way to new business

The parking service provider turned a business downturn at the beginning of the pandemic into an opportunity to accelerate an infrastructure shift to the cloud.

Dec, 17 2021
Interview

Avery Dennison CIO Nick Colisto on enabling business innovation

The manufacturing company’s VP and CIO, and 2021 inductee into CIO’s Hall of Fame, discusses creating a culture that “can ignite creativity and agility” in a video interview with CIO contributing editor Julia King.

Dec, 15 2021
Feature

What is a digital twin? A real-time, virtual representation

Digital twins are real-time representations of objects, processes, and systems that can help organizations monitor operations, perform predictive maintenance, and improve processes.

Dec, 14 2021
Feature

Cross-functional teams: The new IT imperative

Blending IT and business professionals in agile teams with autonomy over outcomes is fast becoming a key factor for digital success.

Dec, 14 2021
Feature

IT takes on a product mindset

The need to co-create with the business has many CIOs shifting away from IT projects in favor of a product-based approach that, like so much else in business, is a journey that takes time to nurture and succeed.

Dec, 8 2021
Feature

7 digital disruption myths

Myths play an important role in history and culture, yet when it comes to digital disruption, believing in fables can be both destructive and career crippling.

Dec, 7 2021
Building IT Relationships

4 trends disrupting managed infrastructure services

As providers adapt their go-to-market strategies, customers must plan ahead.

Dec, 7 2021
Movers and Shakers

The Hanover CIO Will Lee: Our architecture must have optionality built in

The P&C insurance market is changing so quickly that Will Lee, CIO, is asking his team to focus both on near-term and long-term transformation. Critically important to the second horizon, says Lee, is an architecture that can allow the business to pivot.

Dec, 1 2021
Managing Innovation & Disruptive Technology

10 strategic tech trends for the infrastructure industry in 2022

The time has come for digital transformation in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Here are 10 technology trends that will shape the future of infrastructure.

Nov, 24 2021
IDG TECHtalk Voices

Three concepts to embrace for effective digitally driven innovation

As digital transformation moves from buzzword to business priority, understanding three critical concepts – and the subtle differences among them – will help you make the right adjustments to strategies and mindsets.

Nov, 23 2021
Feature

The Library of Congress goes digital

CIO Judith Conklin discusses the ongoing cloud migration and digitization of the world’s largest library — a massive endeavor to make more of its 170 million assets available to all.

Nov, 19 2021
Movers and Shakers

Air Products CIO overhauls IT to support business transformation

To enable the $9 billion industrial gas provider to deliver new “mega projects,” CIO Brian Galovich has put self-service at the center of the target architecture, moved infrastructure to the cloud, digitized key business processes, and updated the IT operating model.

Nov, 17 2021
Feature

Winter 2021: Supercharging IT innovation

As organizations seek to accelerate their digital transformations, time to market, and development of new customer engagement channels, CIOs must find ways to sustain innovation. Read on for advice for upping innovation velocity and more.

Nov, 17 2021
Interview

Lexmark’s Andy Kopp on democratizing data

The printer manufacturer’s Director of Transformation Products discusses the business impact of providing data-as-a-service with CIO.com’s Thor Olavsrud.

Nov, 13 2021
Feature

Wells Fargo lays foundation for public cloud transformation

The financial firm is poised to launch a 10-year journey to overhaul its operations around a hybrid private and public multicloud architecture powered by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Nov, 12 2021
Feature

Cushman & Wakefield dials up property sales and services with digital twins

The commercial real estate firm’s innovation mindset positioned it well to handle a business surge driven by the pandemic.

Nov, 11 2021
Feature

8 tips for streamlining legacy IT

Whether for stability’s sake or to support vital business processes, most CIOs still have to retain legacy apps and infrastructure. But that doesn’t have to mean hobbling along.

Nov, 8 2021
Feature

Warner’s last mile on a long cloud journey

For more than a decade, Warner Music Group has been orchestrating an all-in cloud transformation. Its adoption of networking as a service may be the final note.

Nov, 5 2021
IDG TECHtalk Voices

How foresight enhances strategic planning in times of uncertainty

The future cannot be predicted, but strategic foresight enables leaders to embrace uncertainty by better understanding, anticipating, and preparing for change.

Oct, 26 2021
Movers and Shakers

At Ingram Micro, digital change starts with the customer journey

The technology distributor’s entire digital transformation is “geared toward creating a single pane of glass for the lifecycle of customer engagement,” says CDO Sanjib Sahoo. His recipe for success includes establishing the right mindset, creating a balanced execution plan, and architecting technology to anticipate pivots.

Oct, 20 2021
IDG TECHtalk Voices

Why gamification is a great tool for employee engagement

The rewards a gamer gets for completing levels or collecting points can be replicated in a workplace environment to improve engagement, motivate personal growth, and encourage continuous improvement.

Oct, 14 2021
The CIO Whisperers

5 questions with Dow’s Melanie Kalmar

Learn how this top CIO drives real business value through IT and how she fosters innovation at the 125-year-old company.

Sep, 30 2021
Movers and Shakers

Developing a digital culture at U. S. Steel

At one of the world’s largest steel companies, digital success springs from solid business cases, a culture of innovation, and diligent change management, says CIO Steve Bugajski.

Sep, 29 2021
Feature

ADM takes process-oriented approach to IT modernization

Food ingredients supplier Archer Daniels Midland is consolidating IT systems as part of a transformation that includes standardizing many of its business processes worldwide.

Sep, 28 2021
Movers and Shakers

How Johnson Controls is going ‘digital to the core’

As the multinational conglomerate transforms to bring cutting-edge digital products and services to customers, CIO Diane Schwarz ensures that it is digital on the inside as well.

Sep, 22 2021
IDG TECHtalk Voices

Why Big Tech can’t crack healthcare

Technologists cannot disrupt healthcare without a complete understanding of the operating model. Co-creation is the best path forward.

Sep, 17 2021
Feature

10 impediments to IT innovation

From inefficient IT operations to an inability to upskill at pace, innovation is often undercut by ingrained organizational issues that IT leaders must change.

Sep, 13 2021
Feature

7 hot digital transformation trends — and 3 going cold

The pandemic has seen organizations doubling down on true transformation. Here’s how digital initiatives are reshaping technology strategies and revolutionizing how work gets done.

Aug, 30 2021
Feature

8 tips for improving customer experience

CX is the new IT imperative. Here’s how IT leaders can staff up, get agile, and spearhead tech initiatives that deliver experiences that win over customers.

Aug, 24 2021
Feature

Carhartt ups its sales prospects with AI

The apparel company has developed an AI-driven tool that helps its go-to-market divisions take a coordinated data-driven approach to expanding their footprint in the marketplace.

Aug, 24 2021
Feature

Fall 2021: Digital’s tipping point

Learn how IT leaders in award-winning organizations are reimagining products and services for a new era of customer and employee engagement.

Aug, 18 2021
Feature

Digital twins: 4 success stories

These four companies are using digital twins to monitor operations, plan predictive maintenance, improve customer service, and optimize their supply chains.

Aug, 18 2021
Feature

Customer experience: The new IT imperative

CX has become a key factor for company success, and CIOs are rethinking operations and organizational culture to ensure customers remain squarely in focus with everything IT does.

Aug, 16 2021
Feature

Brown-Forman ‘digital shelf’ provides top-flight e-commerce

Amid pandemic shutdowns, the Jack Daniels purveyor doubled down on digital asset management to sell its spirits online, earning CIO Tim Nall a seat at the executive table.

Aug, 16 2021
Feature

Pfizer drives digital operations overhaul

With the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst, the pharmaceutical company has accelerated its digital transformation to manage its operations and supply chain more effectively.

Aug, 10 2021
Feature

7 skills of successful digital leaders

Effective digital transformation requires strong leadership. Here’s how to helm your company’s digital journey through considerable organizational change.

Aug, 9 2021
Feature

4 digital customer experience success stories

Walmart, Ally Financial, and Raytheon are among the wide range of companies that have moved rapidly to build out new digital services to accommodate customer preferences.

Aug, 5 2021
Movers and Shakers

CVS Health puts customers at the center in product management shift

CIO Roshan Navagamuwa explains how a software engineering culture and four-layer architecture are helping $268B CVS Health become the world’s leading health solutions company.

Aug, 4 2021
Feature

Papa John’s serves up AI for more efficient ordering

The quick-service chain rolls out AI-assisted call center software to help humans focus more on making and delivering its pizzas.

Aug, 3 2021


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Fog computing extends the concept of cloud computing to the network edge, making it ideal for internet of things (IoT) and other applications that require real-time interactions.

Fog computing is the concept of a network fabric that stretches from the outer edges of where data is created to where it will eventually be stored, whether that’s in the cloud or in a customer’s data center.

Fog is another layer of a distributed network environment and is closely associated with cloud computing and the internet of things (IoT). Public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud vendors can be thought of as a high-level, global endpoint for data; the edge of the network is where data from IoT devices is created.

Fog computing is the idea of a distributed network that connects these two environments. “Fog provides the missing link for what data needs to be pushed to the cloud, and what can be analyzed locally, at the edge,” explains Mung Chiang, dean of Purdue University’s College of Engineering and one of the nation’s top researchers on fog and edge computing.

According to the OpenFog Consortium, a group of vendors and research organizations advocating for the advancement of standards in this technology, fog computing is “a system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things.”

Benefits of fog computing

Fundamentally, the development of fog computing frameworks gives organizations more choices for processing data wherever it is most appropriate to do so. For some applications, data may need to be processed as quickly as possible – for example, in a manufacturing use case where connected machines need to be able to respond to an incident as soon as possible.

Fog computing can create low-latency network connections between devices and analytics endpoints. This architecture in turn reduces the amount of bandwidth needed compared to if that data had to be sent all the way back to a data center or cloud for processing. It can also be used in scenarios where there is no bandwidth connection to send data, so it must be processed close to where it is created. As an added benefit, users can place security features in a fog network, from segmented network traffic to virtual firewalls to protect it.

Applications of fog computing

Fog computing is the nascent stages of being rolled out in formal deployments, but there are a variety of use cases that have been identified as potential ideal scenarios for fog computing.

Connected Cars: The advent of semi-autonomous and self-driving cars will only increase the already large amount of data vehicles create. Having cars operate independently requires a capability to locally analyze certain data in real-time, such as surroundings, driving conditions and directions. Other data may need to be sent back to a manufacturer to help improve vehicle maintenance or track vehicle usage. A fog computing environment would enable communications for all of these data sources both at the edge (in the car), and to its end point (the manufacturer).

Smart cities and smart grids Like connected cars, utility systems are increasingly using real-time data to more efficiently run systems. Sometimes this data is in remote areas, so processing close to where its created is essential. Other times the data needs to be aggregated from a large number of sensors. Fog computing architectures could be devised to solve both of these issues.

Real-time analytics A host of use cases call for real-time analytics. From manufacturing systems that need to be able to react to events as they happen, to financial institutions that use real-time data to inform trading decisions or monitor for fraud. Fog computing deployments can help facilitate the transfer of data between where its created and a variety of places where it needs to go.

Fog computing and 5G mobile computing

Some experts believe the expected roll out of 5G mobile connections in 2018 and beyond could create more opportunity for fog computing. “5G technology in some cases requires very dense antenna deployments,” explains Andrew Duggan, senior vice president of technology planning and network architecture at CenturyLink. In some circumstances antennas need to be less than 20 kilometers from one another. In a use case like this, a fog computing architecture could be created among these stations that includes a centralized controller that manages applications running on this 5G network, and handles connections to back-end data centers or clouds.

How does fog computing work?

A fog computing fabric can have a variety of components and functions. It could include fog computing gateways that accept data IoT devices have collected. It could include a variety of wired and wireless granular collection endpoints, including ruggedized routers and switching equipment. Other aspects could include customer premise equipment (CPE) and gateways to access edge nodes. Higher up the stack fog computing architectures would also touch core networks and routers and eventually global cloud services and servers.

The OpenFog Consortium, the group developing reference architectures, has outlined three goals for developing a fog framework. Fog environments should be horizontally scalable, meaning it will support multiple industry vertical use cases; be able to work across the cloud to things continuum; and be a system-level technology, that extends from things, over network edges, through to the cloud and across various network protocols. (See video below for more on fog computing from the OpenFog Consortium.)

Are fog computing and edge computing the same thing?

Helder Antunes, senior director of corporate strategic innovation at Cisco and a member of the OpenFog Consortium, says that edge computing is a component, or a subset of fog computing. Think of fog computing as the way data is processed from where it is created to where it will be stored. Edge computing refers just to data being processed close to where it is created. Fog computing encapsulates not just that edge processing, but also the network connections needed to bring that data from the edge to its end point.

[ Related (NetworkWorld): What is edge computing and how it’s changing the network ]

Based on actual users’ experience with IoT platforms, here are the leading features and functionalities potential users should be looking for.

Article published on NetworkWorld by , Contributor, Jan 16, 2018

As an IoT platform and middleware analyst, I am asked constantly about the benefits of IoT platforms and “what makes a great IoT platform.” In response, I often ask these curious inquirers if they’ve ever used IoT platforms themselves. Walking on the edge is exhilarating, but having hands-on insights, data and expertise on how to survive the journey is even better.

What do users actually experience when they use IoT edge platforms?

IoT edge computing is a technology architecture that brings certain computational and analytics capabilities near the point of data generation. IoT edge platforms provide the management capabilities required to deliver data from IoT devices to applications while ensuring that devices are properly managed over their lifetimes. Enterprises use edge platforms for factory automation, warehousing/logistics, connected retail, connected mining and many other solutions. With IoT platform revenue slated to grow to USD63.4 billion by 2026, IoT edge is one of the most highly relied upon enterprise IoT platform approaches.

Enterprises spend a tremendous amount of time completing edge-related IoT platform activities. According to hands-on tests of IoT platforms in MachNation’s IoT Test Environment (MIT-E), the majority of an enterprise user’s edge-related time is spent creating visualizations to gain insight from IoT data. 35% of a user’s time is spent creating dashboards with filtered alerts. And a combined 16% of a user’s time is spent viewing sensor data for an individual device (8%) or a group of devices (8%). Data from an IoT platform are critically important, so the ability to assemble dashboard sensor data and alerts are key – expect to spend a lot of time doing it.

Since the edge is critical for enterprises deploying IoT solutions, we’ve identified the top five user requirements of IoT edge platforms, based on IoT platform users’ experiences with these platforms.

1. Pick a platform with extensive protocol support for data ingestion

To seamlessly bring data from devices into the edge platform, enterprises should choose leading IoT platforms that support an extensive mix of protocols for data ingestion. The list of protocols for industrial-minded edge platforms generally includes brownfield deployment staples such as OPC-UA, BACNET and MODBUS as well as more current ones such as ZeroMQ, Zigbee, BLE and Thread. Equally as important, the platform must be modular in its support for protocols, allowing customization of existing and development of new means of asset communications.

2. Ensure the platform has robust capability for offline functionality

To ensure that the edge platform works when connectivity is down or limited, enterprises should choose leading IoT edge platforms that provide capabilities in four functional areas. First, edge systems need to offer data normalization to successfully clean noisy sensor data. Second, these systems must offer storage to support intermittent, unreliable or limited connectivity between the edge and the cloud. Third, an edge system needs a flexible event processing engine at the edge making it possible to generate insight from machine data when connectivity is constrained. Fourth, an IoT edge-enabled platform should integrate with systems including ERP, MES, inventory management and supply chain management to help ensure business continuity and access to real-time machine data.

3. Make sure the platform provides cloud-based orchestration to support device lifecycle management

To make sure that the edge platform offers highly secure device management, enterprises should select IoT platforms that offer cloud-based orchestration for provisioning, monitoring and updating of connected assets. Leading IoT platforms provide factory provisioning capabilities for IoT devices. These API-based interactions allow a device to be preloaded with certificates, keys, edge applications and an initial configuration before it is shipped to the customer. In addition, platforms should monitor the device using a stream of machine and operational data that can be selectively synced with cloud instances. Finally, an IoT platform should push updates over-the-air to edge applications, the platform itself, gateway OSs, device drivers and devices connected to a gateway.

4. The platform needs a hardware-agnostic scalable architecture

Since there are tens of thousands of device types in the world, enterprises should select IoT platforms that are capable of running on a wide range of gateways and specialized devices. And these platforms should employ the same software stack at the edge and in the cloud allowing a seamless allocation of resources. Platforms should support IoT hardware powered by chips that use ARM-, x86-, and MIPS-based architectures. Using containerization technologies and native cross-compilation, the platforms offer a hardware-agnostic approach that makes it possible to deploy the same set of functionalities across a varied set of IoT hardware without modifications.

5. Comprehensive analytics and visualization tools make a big difference

As we’ve already discussed enterprises should choose IoT platforms that offer out-of-the-box capabilities to aggregate data, run common statistical analyses and visualize data. These platforms should make it easy to integrate leading analytics toolsets and use them to supplement or replace built-in functionality. Different IoT platform users will require different analyses and visualization capabilities. For example, a plant manager and a machine worker will want to access interactive dashboards that deliver useful information and relevant controls for each of their respective roles. Having flexibility in analytics and visualization capabilities will be essential for enterprises as they develop IoT solutions for their multiple business units and operations teams.

Enterprises worldwide are using IoT to increase security, improve productivity, provide higher levels of service and reduce maintenance costs. As they seek to adopt IoT solutions to improve their critical business processes, they should conduct hands-on usability tests to understand edge platform capabilities. Keep watching as more and more enterprises start walking on the edge.

It may be time for the U.S. government to step in to coordinate security standards across all the players that participate in creating the internet of things, Frost & Sullivan says

Article published on NetworkWorld by , Senior Writer, Jan 15, 2018

Thanks to the Mirai botnet attacks, few people in the world of tech need a reminder that IoT devices remain a serious threat to enterprise networks. Still, more than a year after the botnet made headlines worldwide, IoT security remains mostly an idea, rather than a reality.

Such is the scope of the problem that Frost and Sullivan IoT research director Dilip Sarangan argues for governmental intervention. Sarangan says that, because the responsibility for IoT security is diffused across device manufacturers, network providers, software developers and many others, it’s difficult for the industry to make progress on all-encompassing standards.

“The only entity that has the ability to actually dictate what the minimum threshold is, unfortunately, is the U.S. government,” he said.

The difficulty in creating overarching standards mostly has to do with the fact that any given IoT implementation has a large number of moving parts, each of which may be administered by different organizations, or even by third parties. For example, a set of medical devices provided by company A connecting to a network provided by company B, running an application, originally written by company C and residing in company D’s cloud.

“Everyone talks about it like they’re going to provide end-to-end security, and there’s actually no way to do that,” said Sarangan. “You have no control over a lot of parts of an IoT solution.”

Network visibility

From the networking side, Sarangan said, there are plusses and minuses to most of the options available to any given IoT implementation. Cellular networks, for example, tend to be a lot more secure than Wi-Fi, ZigBee or the other wide-area options, but a company will probably have much more limited visibility into what’s happening on that network.

That, in and of itself, can be a security issue, and it’s imperative for the carriers to provide more robust device management features in the future.

“What type of device it is, what type of information it’s supposed to send, where it’s supposed to send the data, what you are supposed to do with that data – until you know all of that, it’s hard to be completely secure,” said Sarangan.

Improved network visibility is key to preventing worst-case scenarios like malicious actors accessing power grids and Internet infrastructure, but so are common-sense measures like air gaps.

“You have the hacks happening, but the hacks haven’t been significant enough to where you’d worry about it,” he said. “The other side of it is that a lot of critical infrastructure – let’s say a smart grid – is on private networks.”

A sea of IoT devices

A lack of quality control and the presence of a host of very old devices on IoT networks might be the most critical security threats, however. Decades-old hardware, which may not have been designed to be connected to the Internet in the first place, let alone stand up to modern-day security threats, creates a serious issue.

“You have over 10 billion IoT devices out there already … and a lot of these devices were created in 1992,” noted Sarangan.

Moreover, the huge number of companies making IoT-enabled hardware makes for a potentially serious problem where quality control is concerned. Big companies like Amazon and Microsoft and Google make headlines for their smart home gizmos, but the world of IoT is a lot broader than that.

China, in particular, is a major source of lower-end IoT devices – speakers, trackers, refrigerators, bike locks and so on – and it’s not just the Huaweis and Xiaomis of the world providing the hardware.

“[There are] hundreds of mom-and-pop shops out there developing hardware that we don’t necessarily know whether to trust or not – these are devices that are getting on unsecured Wi-Fi networks,” said Sarangan. “That’s already a security threat, and a large portion of Americans don’t actually protect their routers.”

Indeed, hidden backdoors have already been found on some such devices, according to The Register.

Article written by Brian Krebs, published on KrebsOnSecurity the 18th Jan. 2018

Most readers here have likely heard or read various prognostications about the impending doom from the proliferation of poorly-secured “Internet of Things” or IoT devices. Loosely defined as any gadget or gizmo that connects to the Internet but which most consumers probably wouldn’t begin to know how to secure, IoT encompasses everything from security cameras, routers and digital video recorders to printers, wearable devices and “smart” lightbulbs.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, attacks from massive botnets made up entirely of hacked IoT devices had many experts warning of a dire outlook for Internet security. But the future of IoT doesn’t have to be so bleak. Here’s a primer on minimizing the chances that your IoT things become a security liability for you or for the Internet at large.

-Rule #1: Avoid connecting your devices directly to the Internet — either without a firewall or in front it, by poking holes in your firewall so you can access them remotely. Putting your devices in front of your firewall is generally a bad idea because many IoT products were simply not designed with security in mind and making these things accessible over the public Internet could invite attackers into your network. If you have a router, chances are it also comes with a built-in firewall. Keep your IoT devices behind the firewall as best you can.

-Rule #2: If you can, change the thing’s default credentials to a complex password that only you will know and can remember. And if you do happen to forget the password, it’s not the end of the world: Most devices have a recessed reset switch that can be used to restore to the thing to its factory-default settings (and credentials). Here’s some advice on picking better ones.

I say “if you can,” at the beginning of Rule #2 because very often IoT devices — particularly security cameras and DVRs — are so poorly designed from a security perspective that even changing the default password to the thing’s built-in Web interface does nothing to prevent the things from being reachable and vulnerable once connected to the Internet.

Also, many of these devices are found to have hidden, undocumented “backdoor” accounts that attackers can use to remotely control the devices. That’s why Rule #1 is so important.

-Rule #3: Update the firmware. Hardware vendors sometimes make available security updates for the software that powers their consumer devices (known as “firmware). It’s a good idea to visit the vendor’s Web site and check for any firmware updates before putting your IoT things to use, and to check back periodically for any new updates.

-Rule #4: Check the defaults, and make sure features you may not want or need like UPnP (Universal Plug and Play — which can easily poke holes in your firewall without you knowing it) — are disabled.

Want to know if something has poked a hole in your router’s firewall? Censys has a decent scanner that may give you clues about any cracks in your firewall. Browse to whatismyipaddress.com, then cut and paste the resulting address into the text box at Censys.io, select “IPv4 hosts” from the drop-down menu, and hit “search.”

If that sounds too complicated (or if your ISP’s addresses are on Censys’s blacklist) check out Steve Gibson‘s Shield’s Up page, which features a point-and-click tool that can give you information about which network doorways or “ports” may be open or exposed on your network. A quick Internet search on exposed port number(s) can often yield useful results indicating which of your devices may have poked a hole.

If you run antivirus software on your computer, consider upgrading to a “network security” or “Internet security” version of these products, which ship with more full-featured software firewalls that can make it easier to block traffic going into and out of specific ports.

Alternatively, Glasswire is a useful tool that offers a full-featured firewall as well as the ability to tell which of your applications and devices are using the most bandwidth on your network. Glasswire recently came in handy to help me determine which application was using gigabytes worth of bandwidth each day (it turned out to be a version of Amazon Music’s software client that had a glitchy updater).

-Rule #5: Avoid IoT devices that advertise Peer-to-Peer (P2P) capabilities built-in. P2P IoT devices are notoriously difficult to secure, and research has repeatedly shown that they can be reachable even through a firewall remotely over the Internet because they’re configured to continuously find ways to connect to a global, shared network so that people can access them remotely. For examples of this, see previous stories here, including This is Why People Fear the Internet of Things, and Researchers Find Fresh Fodder for IoT Attack Cannons.

-Rule #6: Consider the cost. Bear in mind that when it comes to IoT devices, cheaper usually is not better. There is no direct correlation between price and security, but history has shown the devices that tend to be toward the lower end of the price ranges for their class tend to have the most vulnerabilities and backdoors, with the least amount of vendor upkeep or support.

In the wake of last month’s guilty pleas by several individuals who created Mirai — one of the biggest IoT malware threats ever — the U.S. Justice Department released a series of tips on securing IoT devices.

One final note by the author (Krebs): I realize that the people who probably need to be reading these tips the most likely won’t ever know they need to care enough to act on them. But at least by taking proactive steps, you can reduce the likelihood that your IoT things will contribute to the global IoT security problem.

The blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) which is currently dominating the headlines, due to its meteoric rise over the past month, and the equally massive plunge it has taken this week. Bitcoin is nothing but volatile.

Blockchain tech, on the other hand, is a transparent, distributed digital ledger, that is inherently secure. It has the promise to revolutionize many diverse sectors, including musical digital rights management, secure digital voting, storage of healthcare records, and digital ‘smart’ legal contracts – to name but a few applications. The blockchain is frequently referred to as a disruptive invention, even compared to the very invention of the internet itself.

While blockchain technology offers many advantages, including a high level of security against fraud, and potentially cost-effective transactions, it may not become a storming success and sweep the world off its feet as soon as you might think. As with most fresh technological innovations, it faces an uphill battle towards adoption.

Here are some of the current obstacles that are ‘blocking the blockchain’, as it were.

1. Energy wastage

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining are highly dependent on GPUs and ASIC miners for profitability. Anyone who has built a computer is aware that GPUs require a robust power supply to function, with a greater amount of power on tap being ideal for stability.

Also note that the security of the Bitcoin blockchain is obviously critical, and must mean that any effort to defraud the system isn’t worth the while, as that effort would be better directed at simply mining the next Bitcoin, as this would be more profitable.

Now, as of December 6, 2017, the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining reached 32.36 Terawatt-hours per year, which is a ridiculous amount of power, and is actually higher than the energy usage of 159 individual countries according to one estimate.

With all this in mind, maintaining data in a blockchain – and keeping it intact and free of fraud – is an inherently energy-inefficient process. In the current era of 6W processors for laptops, deep sleep states for electronics, and solar panels, all aimed at greater energy efficiency and independence, the high energy consumption of blockchain technology and virtual currency mining flies in the face of this.

2. Data woes

Generally speaking, the internet is fairly efficient when it comes to the transmission of data. The user requests information, and the server transmits back the piece of data requested with only a small amount of additional data required to get it there.

However, the blockchain, in order for it to be preserved, as well as to prevent hacking, needs multiple copies distributed across many nodes. And the blockchain then requires a large amount of storage – for example, Bitcoin’s blockchain was nearly 150GB in size as of last month, and it’s getting bigger all the time.

Furthermore, transmitting so much data for the blockchain each time also consumes additional electricity, making the blockchain quite inefficient. In a time where efforts are being made to compress video further to decrease the data required for a download, blockchain’s bulkiness makes little sense.

3. Time for adoption

While blockchain technology may ultimately work for some sectors, its wider adoption may be a sluggish process, particularly when it comes to industries which are notably set in their ways.

Some sectors – like legal and healthcare – have only just started to move away from paper records, and in some cases still maintain them as backups. They are unlikely to jump to a cutting-edge solution such as the blockchain overnight.

The technology will need to clearly demonstrate advantages and gain a proven track record before this happens, and that could potentially take decades. After all, remember that stock markets held onto their old ticker tapes in the 1970s, after using them from 1867, and the last telegram in the world was sent in 2013.

4. Centralized may be a good thing

Bitcoin was developed to be a decentralized cryptocurrency that allows for peer-to-peer transactions. However, this can be a disadvantage, such as when governments cannot track funds easily, and risk losing on the tax side of the equation (which may, potentially, mean that the average taxpayer ends up paying more). It also makes things more challenging when users experience fraud, and recovering funds can be difficult.

5. Slow transactions with cryptocurrency

Some tout Bitcoin as the future of currency, and the promise is that peer-to-peer transactions can happen in a fast and cost-efficient manner that can compete with traditional credit cards.

However, Bitcoin transactions are painfully slow, with transactions occurring at the glacial pace (at least in the world of finance) of multiple hours for each transaction in some cases. One of the current reasons for this bottleneck is that each transaction has to be confirmed by six miners.

Obviously enough, this process needs to be sped up significantly for Bitcoin to realistically become a true rival to established methods of buying goods.

6. Private problems

Many of the advantages of the blockchain come from its public use – anyone can download the entire blockchain, and mine for additional currency, which democratizes this process.

It also keeps it immune from hackers – with such a large legitimate group dedicated to mining, any fraud attempts would effectively have to ‘out-mine’ the miners, a process that would take a colossal amount of computing power for a popular cryptocurrency. This type of blockchain is known as a public blockchain.

So what about a private blockchain? Well, the same blockchain tech can be applied as a storage medium, and if a company doesn’t want anyone to download the entire blockchain – and no one is going to mine it – then this is kept as a private blockchain. It is also held in a handful of private nodes, rather than distributed across thousands of public nodes as is the case for a public blockchain.

With a private blockchain, while it is more carefully controlled, and far less likely to be hijacked or hacked, it also flies in the face of the whole fundamental idea of this technology – losing the advantages of transparency and wider distribution that make the blockchain tech intriguing in the first place.


Article published on TechRadar

A small exercise

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