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4 IoT Devices that Help Reduce Costs for Any Office

In the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen an explosion of popularity, invention, and production. This new philosophy of manufacturing is putting wireless internet access and mobile app control into anything we can think of and the number of ‘smart’ devices grows with each coming month. While it may have originally seemed like a passing fad, the IoT trend has successfully produced an increasing number of truly useful devices. Adventurous businesses have already begun reaping the rewards by integrating smart devices into every layer of business. From the office plants to the inventory floor, the efficiency and innovation of the Internet of Things can now be used to reduce your overhead and delight your employees. While the options are vast, here are four starter IoT devices that could get your office introduced to the cost saving convenience of the Internet of Things.

  1. Smart Thermostats

Managing office temperature is notoriously challenging. Many companies have tried automating their thermostat settings to be cool in the day and warm in the evening, but this almost always backfires. IoT thermostats, on the other hand, can be programmed to maintain a temperature, follow a schedule and be hand-tuned from anywhere in the building. This will help you keep your employees comfortable and reduce the unnecessary costs of over cooling or heating. The remote access also allows you to flip off the AC over nights and weekends even if you forgot to do so before locking up.

  1. Self-Monitoring Office Plants

It sounds silly, but do you know how much an office that uses real plants will spend replacing plants if any die? Potted plants have been found to increase employee happiness and improve indoor air quality, but traditionally they require someone with a green thumb to keep in good condition. Without an at least moderately talented gardener, the plants will wilt and can even die if left insufficiently tended for too long. Now there is an IoT pot that can water itself and send a text when the plant needs a new mix of fertilizer.

  1. App-Controlled Lights

Especially in larger offices with several floors worth of brilliantly glowing halogens, the ability to turn off lights without having to visit each light switch is a major relief for energy-conscious property managers. If your office electricity bill is high, you can simply use IoT-enabled lights and exercise complete control over your office illumination and turn off those lights when nobody is working.

  1. Cold Storage Sensors

Does your company work with products that need to be chilled and kept dry? From restaurants to florists, maintaining the right cooler environment is vitally important to keeping products high-quality and salable. When your business risks losing money to warm freezers or damp air, having a constant monitor for environmental factors saves hours of employee time constantly checking and noting temperature and humidity. An IoT-enabled sensor can do the checking for you and give you an early warning if something goes wrong before your products are damaged.

These devices are only the tip of the iceberg. As development continues in IoT devices, businesses will see more and more industry specialized internet-enabled devices.  From robots that scan shelves to sensors custom built to monitor factory machinery, IoT is bringing remote access and optimization opportunities to every aspect of a modern business. Today it’s thermostats that conveniently save electricity, but in a few years it could be security camera drones flying circuits.

If you’re interested in learning more about the growing world of the Internet of Things – and how it could help your company increase revenues and/or reduce costs, please contact us today!

Majid Abai – August 2017 – Los Angeles.

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Will Humans Lose Jobs to AI Agents?

There is a great deal of concern associated with artificial intelligence taking over jobs that are currently performed by humans. It’s a valid concern and one should take a deeper look at the type of a job that could eventually be performed by a robot or some sort of AI agent.

We should also look at this issue from a different perspective: humans. Which will then beg the question of “Whose job will be transferred to an AI agent?”

What I mean to find out is, who is at risk of losing their job to an AI Agent? Whose job will be eliminated and what can be done about it? In this context, we discuss AI Agent in a broad sense: robots, computers, algorithms, and any other AI product.

I think the following is the first group of “at risk” folks, and the first wave of jobs that will be transferred: Everyone who has stopped thinking at work and are fully relying on computers to tell them what to do.

For example, An Uber driver who only pays attention to the route that is provided by their route guidance app and doesn’t survey the surroundings for potentially better route; A retail cashier who will only do what the computer tells her to do and wouldn’t make better recommendations because the computer didn’t say so; A customer service attendant who’s bound by what’s available in the computer and has forgotten the human touch necessary in the customer service industry. In each case, the human only operates within the bounds established by the computer – and performs his or her job without any initiative or innovation.

Let me simplify my point: The first waves of transfers would happen to folks who have fully given to computers and don’t use any imagination, initiative, or innovation to solve daily work problems.

The one thing that AI agents haven’t mastered yet is imagination, initiative, innovation, and service with a smile.

So, if the above premise is correct, we’ve now identified a way for people who are either in the workforce today or will be in the workforce in the near future: make sure to use your brains on the job to solve problems. As of now, we can teach computers a lot of things, but we still can’t teach them initiative, innovation, and the human touch.

If you are still going to school and thinking of what you should study and what work function you should perform, then choose a career that forces you to use your brain, to imagine, and to innovate! That’s the competitive advantage that will keep you on a job in the future.

 

Majid Abai – July 2017 – Los Angeles

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

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Big Data + Big AI = Big Results

Based on a 2017 marketing report from IBM[1], 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day! And, the report adds, with new devices, sensors, and technologies emerging, the data growth rate will likely accelerate even more.

With so much data to analyze, a great number of organizations, large and small, have invested in building Big Data repositories that contain both internal and external data; and developing new processes and models to take advantage of this informative data.

Big Data has been an excellent topic of conversation in IT departments, executive meetings, and even boardrooms for some time now, and due to excellent results associated with Big Data, we expect the trend to continue for many years to come.

In addition, we are seeing a new approach that can and will raise Big Data to a new level – and that is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes to analyze specific areas. You have heard a lot about AI in self-driving vehicles, drones, home cleaning robots, and other areas.

With Big AI being utilized ­in financial, law, healthcare, insurance, and other industries which would allow organizations to focus and customize their products and services to a specific client.

For example, in financial industry, we’re seeing a trend of organizations replacing their stock analysts with AI agents in order to maximize the effectiveness of stocks for each of their clients. Black Rock, for example, has been a pioneer in such movement[2]. In addition to stock selection, financial sector will soon find a variety of AI agents and apps that would customize and manage wealth, savings, credit card selection, purchase analysis – and a lot of other functions for the consumer.

In law, an AI program called Robot Lawyer has successfully overturned more than 160,000 parking tickets in New York and London alone[3] – and is expanding to other areas in the US!

In healthcare, the impact would be even more drastic! With all IoT and mobile devices available for use and the ability to analyze personal data, parental history, and other data sources, we could see a big impact in use of AI in Healthcare anywhere from establishing appointments, increase throughput within hospitals, and even getting patients to and from clinics.

Insurance industry has started using AI for claims management and fraud detection – as well as underwriting and loss prevention[4].

In retail, AI will be amazing! Logistics (just-in-time ordering and shelf management), sales improvement (more customized coupons, and better shopping basket analysis), payment processing (evident from Amazon’s purchase of Wholefoods), and fraud detection and loss prevention (to catch a thief – on spot!), we will see a wholesale change in how retail will start to function.

It is important to reiterate that although I use the examples associated with larger organizations, smaller and mid-sized organizations can certainly take advantage of Big Data and Big AI without having to make multi-million dollar investments. Every company would be able to use the same set of data and processes and take advantage of its Big Results.

 

Majid Abai – June 2017 – Los Angeles

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

[1] IBM Marketing Cloud, “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2017” – https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WRL12345USEN&

[2] Sara Krouse, Wall Street Journal, March 28th 2017:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/blackrock-bets-on-robots-to-improve-its-stock-picking-1490736002

[3] Arezou Rezvani, NPR, January 16, 2017: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/16/510096767/robot-lawyer-makes-the-case-against-parking-tickets

[4] Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/e07cee0c-3949-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23?mhq5j=e1

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FBI Warns of Security Issues of IoT Devices

After reviewing a November 8th article from Wall Street Journal, we can see one of the unintended consequences of our connected lives. The article, titled “FBI Warns internet Online Attacks on Private Business Will Continue” – should be used as a wake up call on potential dangers of such devices. You can see the full article here.

As IoT devices become more relevant to our day to day lives and are utilized more in our business world, their vulnerabilities become more apparent and potential dangers loom in.

This will become a very important time for manufacturers of such devices to think about the ability to analyze warning signs of such attacks and to notify other devices of such dangers.

As we can see, we have a long way to go.

Majid Abai

November 2016

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director and Chief Sherpa at Concepts Rise (www.ConceptsRise.com), a Hi-Tech selection, management, & implementation consultancy to US and international organizations. With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing technology organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on technology management and strategy. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

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Small Data, Big Data, and Smart Data – Take Advantage of Your Data!

In September of 2014, Mr. Abai delivered a webinar titled: “Small Data, Big Data, and Smart Data – Take Advantage of Your Data!” for Lighthouse Consulting LLC’s openline webinar program.

During this webinar, Majid spoke of importance of using data within an organization and the advantages associated with such use.

You can listen to the program here.