Take a look at the exciting things Toronto is doing with Internet of Things. The six is one of 10 ‘smart cities’ to launch IoT partnership. Besides that learn about Bell bringing Gigabit Fibe to Toronto homes & businesses with $1.14 billion investment.

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Toronto one of 10 ‘smart cities’ to launch IoT partnership

Lindsey Peacock Lindsey Peacock Published: 11/13/2015

The City of Toronto has recently allied with Chicago-based Internet of Things management firm Cityzenith in order to better manage the mounds of raw data cities collect daily.

The aim of this budding alliance is to help major urban centres navigate their massive datasets in order to come up with data-driven solutions to make cities more responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.

“Cities have produced more data in the past two years than in the previous 200, and 95 per cent of that data is unstructured and hence, unused or underused,” said Cityzenith’s founder and CEO Michael Jansen, in a statement. “Making sense of that data—aggregating it, analyzing it, and visualizing it — is one of the biggest challenges facing cities today.”

The idea is that a user-friendly interface that offers city governments and their department managers useful data at their fingertips can help those datasets become the basic building blocks to inform solutions to problems with infrastructure, public transportation, traffic, and how to use non-renewable energy sources more efficiently.

According to Cityzenith director of product management Robert Lega, Toronto has two primary goals when it comes to this recent alliance: Smart City Database Ontology and visualization of transportation simulations. These two efforts are tailored to suit the needs of the University of Toronto, and are being guided by professors at U of T.

This partnership is also expected to have potential positive impacts on Toronto businesses, as investment opportunities sometimes arise after analysing data for hyper-local economies.

“As the adage goes, ‘location, location, location,’ and Cityzenith’s tools support the analysis of data and information improvements, as well as transportation intentions,” said Lega. “Therefore, a particular corridor may become more attractive to economic development due to traffic patterns or recent uptick in hyper-local economics. Once all data are included as part of the Cityzenith efforts, new and interesting analysis will shed light on all different types of new opportunities.”

Toronto is one of 10 cities across eight countries that have chosen to partner with Cityzenith in the last year. Toronto joins the ranks of major global metropolitan centres such as Chicago, Barcelona, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Mexico City, London, London, Singapore and Dubai.

“These 10 cities are forwarded leaning, and have specific needs for introducing more comprehensive solutions for the future of their cities, and already have some working designs and discussions on Smart City needs,” said Lega. “Cityzenith is supporting the needs of our customers and bring the experiences of other cities to each new city, thereby building a comprehensive [Smart City] ecosystem.”

Each of the 10 Smart Cities, including Toronto, will integrate Cityzenith’s 5D Smart City technology, which allows users to easily connect to real-time data with a few clicks. Users have access to a number of modules within the program to measure a number of customizable analytics based on the organization’s goals, including:

  • 5D Smart Environment: Building energy efficiency and GHG emissions tracking.
  • 5D Smart Infrastructure: Physical infrastructure coordination and monitoring, above and below-ground.
  • 5D Smart Security: Public safety module leveraging real-time sensors and CCTV.

The company also plans to offer a preview of the newest version of its 5D Smart City software at the upcoming Smart City Expo World Congress being hosted in Barcelona on Nov. 17 to 19.

Bell bringing Gigabit Fibe to Toronto homes & businesses with $1.14 billion investment

Jeff Jedras Jeff Jedras Published: 06/25/2015

TORONTO – Calling it the most historic day in Bell Canada’s 135-year history in Toronto, the telecom giant announced Thursday it will bring gigabit Internet service to 1.1 million homes and businesses across the city within three years.

Bell president and CEO George Cope made the announcement alongside City of Toronto mayor John Tory, telling media and guests that it’s the largest and most ambitious infrastructure project the company has ever undertaken.

“This will prove to be a historic day for telecom services in Toronto, and indeed all of Canada,” said Cope.

Bell is investing $1.14 billion to bring its Gigabit Fibe service to 1.1 million homes and businesses, including 50,000 this summer. Close cooperation with Toronto Hydro to leverage existing city infrastructure will be critical to the speed of the rollout. Other cities in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada will follow as part of a plan by Bell to invest $20 billion in its broadband fibre and wireless networks by 2020.

In Toronto alone, the project is expected to create 2,400 direct jobs, with significant economic spinoffs. Bell is estimating that, overall, the project will create more than 8,000 direct and indirect jobs across Ontario and $2.5 billion in economic activity.

“This is the largest gigabit fibre network built to date in any North American city. Toronto will lead the world in broadband,” said Cope, promising service that can download an entire HD movie in seven seconds. “It’s something none of us could have imagined just a few years ago. It makes Toronto a better place to live, work and play. Toronto will be the smart city and a world leader in broadband technology tomorrow, and into the future.”

Mayor Tory said his office, City Hall and Toronto Hydro worked hard to bring this Bell investment to the city because this improved service will be crucial to attracting and retaining top talent and quality jobs in Toronto.

Bell president and CEO George Cope (left) announces Gigabit Fibe is coming to Toronto.
Bell president and CEO George Cope (left) announces Gigabit Fibre is coming to Toronto.

“This is something that will make a big difference to attracting investment and jobs, and keeping people and jobs,” said Tory. “We’ve been complacent recently in making the investments that will keep us on top. We’re seen as a world leader in telecom, but we can’t rest on our laurels. This is going to be an important part of keeping Toronto on top.”

Bell said service will initially be available at a maximum of 940 MBps, rising to 1000 MBps or better in 2016 as modem equipment suppliers catch up with gigabit speeds.

The Toronto rollout will be accelerated through an agreement with Toronto Hydro, the city-owned utility, to share utility poles. Bell will be upgrading 27 Bell Central Office facilities in the city and more than 9,000 km of fibre will be installed, underground through more than 10,000 manholes and on 80,000 utility poles. About one-third of the network will be underground, and two-thirds above ground.

In the U.S., Google has rolled out its Google Fibre service to Provo, Austin and Kansas City, with five more cities launching soon.

Toronto residents can follow the progress of the rollout and see when the service reaches their neighbourhood at www.Bell.ca/Fibe.

Third time’s the charm for Toronto to be named Intelligent City of the Year

Howard Solomon Howard Solomon Published: 06/06/2014

If you don’t succeed, try, try again, goes a saying.

It worked for Toronto, which on its third attempt has been named the Intelligent City of the Year.

The announcement was made Thursday evening at the annual Intelligent Community Summit, held this year in New York City. The contest is run by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

Toronto was selected after a year-long evaluation that included an analysis of data on the city, site inspections by co-founders of the Intelligent Community Forum, and the votes of an international jury of 200  made up primarily of non-Canadians.

In its submission, the city cited the many startups coming from tech incubators and places like the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, the fledgling Waterfront development with a fibre optic network offering the potential of 1 Gbps speeds to every residence, innovation and research for the film and media industry from Pinewood Studios, and the recovery and artistic output of the Regent Park public housing district.

“This has been a ten-year journey,” John Campbell, president and CEO of Waterfront Toronto, told IT World Canada. Waterfront Toronto is the public stewardship body set up by all three levels of government to manage the revitalization of the city’s waterfront lands through partnerships with the private sector.

“I think Toronto is really feeling its oats,” Campbell said. “We survived the recession really well, we’ve had a cultural renaissance, and we were able to show the ICF all the innovation that’s going on. Winning this recognition isn’t an end point for us; it’s a new starting point to launch us into the future.”

Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront development includes a 1 Gbps public-access network. (Image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto.)
Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront development includes a 1 Gbps public-access network. (Image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto.)

The city “proved that in a democracy, an Intelligent Community can move forward despite challenges to the quality of its leadership and its image,” Lou Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, said in a statement, apparently referring to controversial mayor Rob Ford.

“It is why democracies thrive, even in difficult times. Toronto was selected because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its city council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community.”

In an interview, he said judges not only look at the digital infrastructure –which he said makes a smart city — but also the growth of knowledge workers, quality of life, post-secondary education, creativity in the arts, and other factors that combine to make an intelligent community that will create the type of jobs needed in the 21st century.

 That makes the award sound remote from the perspective of a corporate CIO or IT manager. But Zacharilla noted that winning intelligent communities and finalists from around the world have to leverage their IT local infrastructure.

“CTOs are really where the rubber meets the road at the outset,” he said. “Most of the intelligent communities we study begin executing on their strategies from the CTO’s office. There’s a lot to learn if you’re a CTO from how cities break out of their silos.”

John Campbell added that a big contributor to Toronto’s success is having a true public-private partnership, something that’s not always easy to achieve.

“In the private sector it’s a challenge when you have long-term projects that don’t pay off quickly,” he said. “But we’ve got great private-sector partners. They get that this is a long-term game, not a matter of getting a quick turnaround in the next quarter.  They’ve bought into the vision.”

This year’s finalists included Winnipeg, Kingston, Ont., Arlington County, U.S.; Columbus, Ohio; Hsinchu City, Taiwan; and New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Last year’s winner was  Taichung City, Taiwan.

 The last Canadian winner was Waterloo, Ont. in 2007. Calgary and Seoul, South Korea tied in 2002.

 The winning community only gets bragging rights. However, the hope is the publicity it gains will help influence investment and will be noticed by talented people who may want to move there.

Nymi unveils two-factor authentication from your wrist at Dreamforce

Brian Jackson Brian Jackson Published: 09/18/2015

SAN FRANCISCO – Toronto-based wearables startup Nymi Inc. was at Dreamforce showing off a new problem that its wristband can solve for enterprises – securely delivering two-factor authentication.

We spoke with Nymi CEO Karl Martin, sporting an orange Nymi Band of his own, about how the smart wearable is putting its identity-authenticating potential into action. The device, which uses Nymi’s software to detect the wearer’s unique heartbeat rhythm and use it to gain secure access, can now issue two-factor authentication tokens.

In our video above on the Dreamforce floor, in the IoT zone, Martin explains the new feature and shows off accessing his locked MacBook without need to type in a password.

After you’re done watching that, check out our photo recap of this week’s Dreamforce event over on ITWorldCanada.com.

IDC forecasts Canadian Internet of Things market worth more than $6.5 billion by 2018

Jeff Jedras Jeff Jedras Published: 04/21/2015

According to a new forecast from IDC Canada, the Canadian Internet of Things (IoT) addressable market will be worth more than $6.5 billion by 2018. That’s a lot of things.

Popularized in recent years by technology vendors such as Cisco Systems, Internet of Things is a term for the network of the growing range of devices that will be embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to allow them to exchange data with control systems, operators and each other. More and more “things” will become connected, from smart toasters to heart monitoring implants.

IDC Canada reports that IoT spending in Canada is poised for takeoff. In the research firm’s new report, Canadian Internet of Things 2015–2018 Key Addressable Use Case Forecast by Industry, the components, processes, IT support, and connectivity for the IoT market were analyzed across 11 vertical markets. IDC cautions the $6.5 billion figure represents the value of 36 defined top use cases for IoT that IDC has identified on an industry basis, and not the total size of the market itself.

“Over the next 10 years, the Internet of Things market will see significant vertical-focused growth. To tap into this fast-growing market, IT vendors will need to pinpoint the largest and fastest-growing industry opportunities and create solutions that address the unique business processes specific to each industry use case” said Nigel Wallis, IDC Canada’s research director for IoT and vertical markets, in a statement.

Wallis said the IoT market will really take off in Canada in 2015, with IDC forecasting very high but still linear growth. It sees spending on the key identified use cases rising from $2.88 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion in 2018, for a compounded annual growth rate of 18 per cent.

That will outpace the global IoT market, which IDC sees growing by 12.5 per cent in the same period, from US$1.3 trillion in 2013 to US$3.0 trillion in 2020. By 2020, IDC projects approximately 30 billion autonomous “things” attached to the Internet. Leading verticals for potential IoT adoption will include manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and consumer, with the fastest growing projected to be consumer, manufacturing, and insurance.

Wallis cautioned that IoT growth in Canada could be inhibited by security and privacy; cost and our traditional conservatism toward emerging technologies.

It’s time to start thinking about securing the Internet of Things: Dell

Jeff Jedras Jeff Jedras Published: 09/08/2015
Curtis Hutcheon, executive director and vice-president of Dell Security

LAS VEGASDell sees great potential in the Internet of Things for the line of business worker but adds it’s never too early to start thinking about how to keep all of those things secure.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term that refers to the growing number of sensors, connected devices and other endpoints that can be connected to a network or the Internet, feeding information back to a central database for analysis and action. In an interview with ITBusiness.ca at Dell’s annual Peak Performance security conference, Curtis Hutcheon, executive director and vice-president of Dell Security, said businesses need to be aware of IoT, and of the risks.

Dell showed Peak attendees a viral video of hackers breaking into a car’s Internet-connected sensors to take control of the vehicle remotely, forcing it off the road. It’s a real-life example that shows the risks of our increasingly connected world.

Hutcheson told ITBusiness.ca that Dell is looking to raise awareness and is just beginning to develop its own IoT practice, in which both networking and technology will play key roles. With Dell’s breadth from data centre to endpoint, Dell is in a strong position to be part of the IoT trend.

“We’re trying to build the knowledge,” said Hutcheson. “I think it’s early, though. We haven’t seen standards emerge. Our engineering team is looking at the collection of data, how do we discover these devices, how do we connect to them, and what do we do with all that data. While we have an analytics practice, we see it as an extension of our enterprise application deployment mindset.

For line of business and productivity workers, Hutcheson said live interaction and immediate access to information is going to be the primary benefit of IoT. But it’s important too that customers see value for the data they share.

“It’s going to build a tremendous about of information for people to learn about their product and their customers,” said Hutcheson. “At Dell, we know so much about what our customers are doing with firewalls because we communicate with over 500,000 of them every day that helps us protect them better. They share data back to us so there needs to be a lot of value for the customer.”

While business users wait for the benefits of IoT to come their way, Dell has identified five steps organizations should take to ensure they’re ready to ride the IoT wave.

  • Put security first: “Be vigilant and ensure data is secured and encrypted from the data centre or the cloud to the endpoint and everything in between. Dell advocates a holistic approach to security that includes looking at endpoint security, network security, identity and access management, and more. Be aware of the data device vendors collect. If they are collecting data on all of their customers, this consolidated data set may be a very attractive target for hackers.”
  • Research the devices: “Evaluate the IoT devices accessing and planning to access the system. Understand what they do, what data they collect and communicate, who owns the data collected from the device, where the data is being collected, and any vulnerability assessments or certifications the devices have.”
  • Audit the Network: “It is critical to understand the impact of IoT on network traffic in the current ‘as-is’ state. Do an audit to understand what is currently accessing the system, when, what it does when it sees data, and what it communicates to and where. This will enable an organization to reassess its network performance and identify any changes on an ongoing basis as additional devices are knowingly or unknowingly added or removed.”
  • Compartmentalize Traffic: “Employ a ‘no-trust’ policy when it comes to IoT devices. Ensure they are on a separate network segment or virtual LAN (VLAN) so they are not able to access or interfere with critical corporate data.”
  • Educate Everyone: “IoT is the ‘Wild West’ and will continue to evolve and change rapidly over the coming months and years. As such, it will be critical to ensure IT, security and network teams educate themselves about the latest devices, standards, and issues. Be prepared for consolidation and emerging standards, but understand today, little of that exists as some devices have weak or no security.”

Industrial Internet of Things: where technology and industry converge

Tamer Marzouk Tamer Marzouk Published: 12/04/2015

Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is promising the industrial sector-wide opportunities to solve everlasting real-world problem in areas such as embedded systems, automation and robotics which spans across almost all industries such as automotive, aerospace and construction.

The Industrial IoT or IIoT connects machines, systems, people, and industries over the Internet. According to the Industrial Internet Consortium, “the Industrial Internet is an Internet of Things, machines, computers and people, enabling intelligent industrial operations using advanced data analytics for transformational business outcomes. It embodies the convergence of the global industrial ecosystem, advanced computing and manufacturing, pervasive sensing and ubiquitous network connectivity.”

In the universe of IIoT, things could be: turbines, transformers, and pumps where sensors are used to facilitate data acquisition and control. As well, IT infrastructure, data analytics, and management are critical ingredients in the IIoT universe. IIoT offer various operational and financial benefits: efficiency, safety, profitability

While IIoT market is still emerging and considered to be one eighth of the overall IoT market, forecasts expect that the world market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.56 per cent in terms of value during the coming four years.

Such a market, which is driven by the customer desire to connect, reduce cost and increase efficiency, solve real world problems. The return on investment is projected to be high, investment will increase and the return will exceed double the spending by year 2020.

In the Canadian IIOT market, there already exists major industrial players, such as Awesense (Vancouver-based) and Calgary’s Pure Technologies. Still, there is a long way to go, as per Accenture’s benchmark, where Canada comes with 50.9 out of 100. The ‘national absorptive capacity’ or the NAC reflects the readiness of countries when it comes to make full use of IIoT.

While there are some limitations related to the implementation of IIOT such as latency, synch, security, and upgrade-ability, the rapid speed of evolution guarantees that these issues would be addressed soon.

There are some challenges facing the wide adoption of IIoT. First of all, understanding the market needs, then technology which is evolving rapidly. Selecting the best technology is overwhelming, as well as choosing the suitable software development methodology. Finally, the existing regulations and constraints which might require a continuous review to match the pace of technology is continually changing.

In addition to these challenges, processing terabytes of big analog data, which is generated, for example, by measurements of jet engines, or testing turbines for electric power generation, remains a big challenge. Still, there is a wide spectrum of opportunities created by deploying smarter devices, processes, and infrastructure.

It is critical to understand the technology framework available, and to connect with partners and  industry experts. Also, it is important to solve challenges related to big data sensing, networking, data acquisition, and data analysis. Understanding the business needs, the constraints imposed by industry and regulatory institutions, the security and safety requirements – the adoption of IIoT will move forward.

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