In the Internet of Things, Technology Talks

IOT_ImageIs your company leading in innovation technology or trailing behind, trying to cope with the everyday issues of running a business? If we’re being honest, it’s tough to keep up in this dynamic environment. Especially when it comes to one of the great buzz phrases of this decade – The Internet of Things (IoT). For some, it may not matter or it may still simply be a luxury, but for others it could be a key component to a profitable, and long-term business strategy.

Let’s start with the basics. As per Wikipedia, the Internet of Things is defined as:

“The Internet of Things (IoT), also called Internet of Everything or Network of Everything, is the network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the production, operator and/or other connected devices based on the infrastructure of International Telecommunication Union’s Global Standards Initiative. The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure.”1

Or in layman terms:

“The concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.”2
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Keeping Connected in the Canals

Connecting the CanalsFor the last year, I’ve been anticipating my upcoming trip to Italy in late September – mere weeks away. While I am fortunate to make the trip across the pond most autumns, this year’s trip will be especially exciting, as my daughter is being married on the small picturesque island of Torcello; home to only 35 residents, and accessible only by boat from Venice. Before everyone thinks they went to the wrong page, and this is a travel and not a telecom blog, let me explain why this is relevant.

For those of you who have ever planned weddings, it can be a daunting task no matter, but to plan one in a foreign country with over seventy guests – it can be quite the challenge. But, the reality is, we live in a time in which communication has made this world a very small planet. Prior to the late nineties, all my daughter’s arrangements would have been made via landline and snail mail. Fast-forward to today, and my rudimentary speaking of Italian causes no issues as we can use online applications to access VoIP overseas, and email constantly despite the six-hour time difference. What took days or weeks to solve in the past can be resolved within minutes, through the Internet and the millions of miles of fiber optic cable circling the globe. Read more of this post

The Recipe for a Good SLA

SLA Recipe CardIn the world of purchasing a service, things aren’t always as clear as buying a product. Orange or purple, 32Gig or 64Gig is easy. There’s a certain guarantee that the product you’re receiving will live up to those attributes. In the realm of business services, it isn’t so black and white. With so many service providers and products to choose from in the bandwidth marketplace it’s often hard to understand if you’re getting an enforceable service level agreement (SLA) or a service based on “Best Effort.” An enforceable SLA has specific metrics that need to be met by the service provider, and if they are not met, the customer receives a credit. A “Best Effort” service has no predefined metrics to meet and is usually provisioned on an over-subscribed network. Obviously, that’s a big difference! To even further complicate matters, there are providers out there offering upstream speeds at one level and download speeds at another level. These types of guarantees are typical for a residential service, but should be cautiously avoided by business customers.

Now, let’s get back to basics. What exactly is a “Service Level Agreement”? According to the tele-management forum an SLA is defined as:

“Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines the availability, reliability and performance quality of delivered telecommunication services and networks to ensure the right information gets to the right person in the right location at the right time, safely and securely. The rapid evolution of the telecommunications market is leading to the introduction of new services and new networking technologies in ever-shorter time scales. SLAs are tools that help support and encourage customers to use these new technologies and services as they provide a commitment from SPs (Service Providers) for specified performance levels [TM Forum 2008].”

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Chicken or the Egg; Bandwidth or Technology.

Computer Egg HatchingJust as the chicken vs. the egg is an age-old debate, in this new ever-dynamic 21st century, so is the concept of bandwidth vs. technology. Essentially, is new technology driving the need for more bandwidth or is the availability of bandwidth driving advances in technology?

I am sure high school debate teams across the country could divide themselves up evenly and have a spirited debate on the above question. In our business, however, we find this a fairly straightforward answer.

When considering three of the major verticals we service: healthcare, higher education and K-12 network solutions, one can seamlessly pinpoint specific technology that is driving bandwidth consumption and thus providers to supply bigger, faster pipes. More secure as well, but that is a separate discussion. Read more of this post

Decoding DNA: Developing Networks to Handle Dynamic Data

DNA StrandWhen it comes to bandwidth hogs, where do we begin? There exists a plethora of daily-use applications that fall into this category; with many more yet to hit the hot list as technologies evolve. Some congestions using Internet-based solutions include social media, video streaming content or home automation access. The healthcare industry has no shortage of these bandwidth hoarders. With the ever-growing compliancy requirements for using IP to transfer data, there becomes some concern over the use of IP based connectivity. For now, let’s evaluate genome data, since more and more healthcare researchers are recovering data from a human genome.

A human genome is the complete set of nucleic acid sequence for humans; encoded as deoxyribonucleic acid, for short DNA, a molecule that carries our genetic instructions. So you may be thinking,

“What would genetic researchers need to do with data networking?”

Within this DNA, researchers are trying to pull the info from a single individual to isolate medicine to that specific individual. This means a more precise medication without all the side effects from taking it. I can almost guarantee, each of us has sat watching the TV commercials, which take longer to list the FDA-required side effects versus what the medication will actually do for your body. What if researchers could curb those side effects and individualize a treatment plan for that person? Read more of this post


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