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Create IOT products and solutions – Part 2

In my last article, I have talked about the challenges and oppurtunities of IOT industry. Now let’s talk about building an IOT product and  benefits of it in the market.

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How about building an IOT device?

Now let me also talk a bit about the process of building an IOT product. If you are thinking of building an air purifier, or a thermostat, or some smart lighting solutions for home, you are very likely to hit the first stumbling block as to how to go about the whole process. How to get a 3D design for the device, where to go for a prototype design, and how to get the electronics (the PCB part) done, and how to make the device talk and interact with various other devices like your mobile phone, etc.
 What you need is professional expertise in not one particular field, but many diverse fields. If you are a software engineer with some experience with coding, you will know writing software is not that difficult as all you need is a computer, and you could create wonders just sitting in home or office. Building a real, physical thing can be really tough & challenging. Not only it requires varied set of skill set, but also can cost much more to prototype, and test it out.

Steps to follow before going ahead

For the benefit of newbies to the field, I have listed down the steps generally followed in any IOT product development process.

  • Market Research
  • Conceptualization/Ideation
  • Design
  • Prototype (Schematic Design, Layout)
  • PCB Manufacturing
  • Procuring components & assembly of electronic circuitry
  • 3D printing of casing & outer facade of the product
  • Field Trials
  • Redesign & trials if needed
  • Marketing & Mass manufacturing

Loads of data is generated, but what to do with it?

Due to the large number of IOT devices around, it is quite as well expected that they will generate a huge volume of data. Question is how to make best use of the data captured, or how to make your device react to events triggered by actions of other users, or may be from the device owner himself through a mobile application.

Standards like the MQTT, AMQP, etc are the general protocols used for an IOT device or the cloud to communicate with each other. Both of them work on basic principle of publish/subscribe. The two parties subscribe to events, and whenever there is an update, or an occurrence of the event, the subscribing parties are notified.

Providers like Microsoft Azure, ABM, and AWS have all come up with their IOT platforms making it easy to monitor and control remote devices from click of a button. Being on the cloud, it gives IOT the ability to scale. The data being captured in the cloud can be analysed, and trends studied using Machine Learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence.

Today it is possible to auto update the firmware of an IOT device without requiring any intervention from the customer.

How IOT will drive benefits for users?

Data generated from IOT devices are being continuously analysed and machine learning models are built to help in predictive analytics. Earlier emphasis was on preventive maintenance in industries, and anywhere else where machines were deployed. We used to ensure regular and timely checkups to ensure our machines are always in healthy state. But now with advancements in technology, based on the data captured, our machine learning prediction models can warn us in advance of a possible impending breakdown. A corrective action can be immediately triggered, and the machine is restored to good health much before breakdown.

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Today IOT driven processes paves the way for improvements in existing processes leading to higher customer satisfaction & safety leading to better profits for businesses. Customers delight and an increasing affiliation are invaluable assets to any business, and when IOT is able to help the business achieve that, its relevance will never be in doubt. No wonder Gartner Research predicts there will be more than 20 billion IOT devices by the year 2020.

Create IOT products and solutions – Part 1

It’s very interesting to see and understand how things are really working at the level of bytes and bits. In software, we rarely think about those details, as most of these things are abstracted so a software programmer can focus on just his piece while the hardware engineers and embedded programmers take care of making those intricate and complex circuit boards.

 

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Sometime back when we decided to do something in the space of IOT, we were complete newbies with absolutely no background, academic, or professional. But we learnt many things the hard way by trying, failing, and correcting. But perhaps as many people say, that may also be the best approach towards learning anything new.

Today with an experience of building an actual physical thing that listens, I feel more confident about the space, and our ability to replicate our success story for our clients as well. But what is that we build, and now a question of great debate, and subjectivity. I can perhaps think of some rules that an IOT product or initiative should bear in mind.

Before going forward, give it a thought

Does the device really help its customer? This is a very basic and moot question that every innovator and maker should ask themselves.

Does the product makes our life more safer, convenient, healthier, and happier? If the answer is yes for these questions, the product may find takers in the market.

A product must have a clear cut value proposition for its intended buyers. If the product is just a cool gadget, it will find utility only with a handful of users who will be very quick to move onto something more cooler as and when it’s available in market.

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Just having built something and pushing it off to the supply chain may not be of great help in building a sustainable business that will have a long term impact. One should think of constantly reinventing the product to make it better & more useful for its customers. Timely service, and a great customer support will go a long way in winning the confidence of the current active users, and the word of mouth publicity will help in winning more users till the product reaches a critical mass.

There are some challenges too

The challenge that we face today in IOT, especially industrial IOT is that existing chips that help the sensors transmit the data directly into cloud, consume a lot more power than what would be practical for widespread adoption in industries. But recent advancements in technology with the Qualcomm Cat M1 modules, and Verizon’s upgrading its infrastructure to allow ultra low band transmission at really affordable rates can be the right steps in the direction of making IOT really ubiquitous.

Security is another big challenge for mass adoption of IOT. Seeds of doubt about the device being sufficiently protected against hacking is one big reason why customers are still not able to fully give in to the idea of leaving their critical functions to a device. What if my smart locking system is hacked, and an intruder is able to hack his way inside my house?

An intrusion into house, or the smart lighting solution being hacked are still something not as much threatening as a possibility of a smart glucometer or a pacemaker being hacked. Risk of this nature can have life threatening consequences, and cannot be taken lightly.

These are valid questions which the IOT community will have to tackle head on. But I believe these questions or challenges are always there with any new technology. It takes time for ecosystem to mature to a level where issues of security are addressed, questions of viability, feasibility, and usability are addressed, and then mass adoption follows. The stage in which the current IOT development possibly is where developers and engineers worldwide are working in the direction of making IOT safer, and more useful for everyone. Soon it will be IOT for everyone.

Stay tuned for next article about some specific steps and questions to create an IOT Product.

XAVI : Your new smart home

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In this world of technologies you can imagine almost anything. Let’s take your home for example. After coming from your hectic day at work, home is the place where you want to spend your time in front of TV, watching your favourite channel peacefully without any distraction. On this very moment what if you need to move to switch on/off the light? Turn on the AC or check the time. What would you possibly think? Oh I wish i had a genie. Yes!! here is the genie to take away your pain and to make your life easy and simple.

Xavi is MantraLabs’s proprietary software and hardware smart-home platform, letting you control many of your smart-home devices, including lights, TV, Air-conditioner and thermostats. It can be controlled not only via an app but also with your voice.

XAVI brings smart remote, smart bulb and smart clock for an automated home.

Xavi Remote: Xavi Remote can control TV’s, Air Conditioners and Bulbs for now. It gives you the three way pleasure that you might have only dreamt of, with a single gesture you can adjust your home’s temperature and switch off the lights to enjoy a peaceful movie. Yes! That’s how simple it becomes, when you have a Smart Remote.

Xavi Bulb: Xavi Bulb offers, dimming the light through buttons/sliders built within the application that controls it. Changing colors of the lights according to your mood is another thing a Smart Bulb is usually capable of.

Xavi Clock: Xavi clock could read your notification alerts and check other daily tasks. For example at evening, if you are coming from office, as soon as you are near your home- around 200-400 metres away, the clock would notify that your are about to reach home.

XAVI is in Prototype state however it won’t be long when it will be unleashed for consumers with an overall improved functionality.

Latest Javascript frameworks in 2017

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Java script evolution continues

If you have been using Javascript you probably are aware but if you are picking it up again for another project of yours this article will help you know the best things that have happened to the technology recently.
Javascript has been constantly evolving to meet the challenges of the newer applications that use it. Listed below are some of the most important technologies to know this year.

JavaScript fundamentals

ES6:

Is a major update to JavaScript that includes several of new features. The current version of JavaScript is ES7 .

Built-in methods:

The beauty of these function are, you can use these functions with any Javascript built in object such as String , Number, Date, RegExp, Array.

Callbacks:

The functions are used to send messages about task completion to take further actions, for further processing based on the task.

Most popular javascript Frameworks

React

React makes it painless to create interactive UIs. React is based on component logic so you can easily pass rich data through your app and keep state out of the DOM. React can also render on the server using Node and power mobile apps using React Native.

Here are some of the React tools that are going to stay relevant for at least another year

Chrome dev tool:

Set of web authoring and debugging tools built into Google Chrome. Use the DevTools to debug and profile your site.

Babel:

This compiler used to compile ES6 and writing next generation javascript

Webpack:

Webpack is a module builder for latest JavaScript applications. It’s a project builder, Used to build React web app and angular projects also.

                                                        Angular2+

AngularJS has become one of the most popular open source JavaScript frameworks of web application development. Angular 2+ is the successor to the Angular framework.

Yoemon:

Angular project generator

Grunt:

Runs angular project in local server and compiles angular project

Bower:

Download required libraries for angular project throw Bower.

                                             

Node.js

Modernizing systems and processes has become a top priority for businesses across all verticals. In simplest terms, digital transformation is “the use of technology to radically improve performance or (business) reach.” Node.js is emerging as the de facto choice for companies looking to build the apps to achieve greater agility and drive Digital Transformation.
There are many great reasons to use Node.js. Here are two main of them, why you should love Node.js

  • If you are already a javascript developer or you know a javascript then you should start writing an API’s using Node.Js.
  • Node.Js is fast. It’s a JavaScript runtime that uses the V8 engine which allows you to build fast.

Keep checking back for more information on tech trends in Javascript, PHP and AI on http://www.mantralabsglobal.com/

Hot Topics of AI : Voice, Image, Social Media and Text Analytics

We are living in the age of evolving Artificial Intelligence. Here everything is data, so there is an enormous opportunity of getting intelligent from each aspect of life/business.

Having worked on spreadsheets and relational databases for a decade, I can confidently say that we have to go beyond it if we care to be more intelligent than ever. This need is being manifested in every business, and its super set human activities.

Image, audio, social media and documents have been and will be main area of AI applications. So, we have to get ready to dig out those unstructured data so as to get meaningful insights.In this pursuit, I developed APIs for each hot area of AI.

First, let us start from voice based application. We have to care about voice based intelligence so as to do things more easily than ever. Here I would like to show an API where you can change the color of plot, title of the plot, size of points and even you can add a (local polynomial) regression line just by your voice

We are in the process of building smart image recognition system with/without google vision API. Here I would like to share an API meant for editing and viewing any image

Document reading has been a tedious task for most of us, specially compliance officers, risk managers and any sort of document readers. So, I developed an API to summarize pdf/document with help of NLP/LSA .

Sentiment tracking has been an essential work of any marketing team /strategy team. You must be aware of how people perceive your product/service/event, public sentiment score, its change with time and who talks to whom on social media. Here is the social media API for that purpose.

Real time monitoring/Sensor data visualization has been very important component of smart healthcare, smart building management and smart home. Here is the API

Please feel free to give your kind suggestions.

 

Latest PHP trends in 2017

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In the PHP world, the release of PHP 7 is a major accomplishment.  The language now has a substantial increase in performance with an optimized memory usage. This improved nature results in making PHP more suitable for Internet of Things solutions too.

Why PHP?

  • Faster and leaner PHP 7: PHP 7 looks familiar for developers, but it is targeted at high performance. A growth in PHP 7 adoption rate is forecasted by experts. Almost a double gain in performance of the applications using PHP 7, a decrease of 50% in consumption of RAM during request processing and numerous error fixing techniques are amongst the few reasons for such assumption. Most major popular frameworks are ready for PHP 7, backed by most popular CMS like WordPress, Magento and Symphony.
  • PHP for the Internet of Things: Analysts claim the connected devices to reach the mark of 6.5 billion by the starting of 2017. This makes PHP and IOT go hand in hand. Thanks to icicle, one can write asynchronous code using synchronous coding techniques in PHP. It means that now the PHP code is able to run several tasks by using the same script. Methods of asynchronous programming provide better data exchange between connected gadgets. Some hardware platforms such as Arduino already support PHP, and you can control Arduino board with your PHP-based script. There is also a possibility to build a PHP application that uses GPS data gathered from an IOT device. Like the GPS sensor on your Android phone can send its location to the Bluemix cloud, and the PHP application is able to publish this data on your website.
  • Market forecast and further trends: By 2025 half of American enterprises are expected to run more than 10 applications. PHP is still holds the lead position in the development of tech startups. With PHP, one can quickly build a viable application in a short-term period to see which way a project should move forward.

Latest Framework trends in PHP

Numerous PHP frameworks are available in PHP development, each PHP framework has advantages and disadvantages. The core programming development is very complex and time consuming, frameworks help in developing an application faster. They help you to organize your code better and also in application maintenance.

PHP Trends for User Interface

  • Responsive Web Design: Accessing the web services like Facebook, twitter, e-mails and even for purchasing something the use of mobile and tablets is a common thing lately. In order to provide user satisfaction and gain profit, these service providers must ensure that more interactive platforms are made available on mobiles and tablets.
  • Flash: Flash will continue to create 3D interaction on websites look eye catching, these could be banners- ads ,Facebook modules or games, Flash is still the best tool available for a QOS providers.
  • Online Presentation: Online websites focusing on the presentation work has led them to captivate the user as soon as he enters the website. The use infographs can be another way to save the extra surfing time.
  • Special Effects: The users will experience special effects on websites, like with Parallax scrolling the images and banners are placed in a specific way and scrolled down slowly, to give a 3D experience.
  • Fixed Header Bar:  Not only a fixed header makes it easier to access the services offered but it also helps brand promotion. The brand name can be placed on the header to attract users, thereby enabling superior brand promotion.

PHP will remain the most popular Server-Side Programming language of this new, advanced era. If you would like to extend the discussion on PHP trends, please leave a comment below!

2016 – A big leap for Mantra Labs

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When this year started Mantra Labs was adjusting to the new world view of technology. We were embracing IOT, AI and cloud along with our core strengths in Mobile and Web technologies.

It is a pleasure to look back and reflect on what we have achieved in this year.

  • Started Mantra.AI to solve business problems through the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques.
  • Initiated Mantra IOT labs to start creating working prototypes for some cool ideas on home automation
  • Started an office in USA to drive our business in the North American market.
  • We added multiple client to our portfolio in AI, enterprise and consumer internet including industry leading health insurance provider.
  • We are now accredited partners for
  • Strategic partnerships with
    • Toshiba for IOT in USA
    • WD Creative for Analytics in  USA
    • CP Moksha for Financial Technology in UK
    • Finocracy for Financial Technology in Middle East
  • We prominently focused in following media events
    • JS framework Meetups
    • Hackathon based on IBM Watson
    • Partnered for Startup Master Class.

While the year was great we aim to achieve even more in 2017.

The areas to look for would be:

  • The products incubated by us.
    • SellfashAutomating Supplier-Reseller Chain. 350+ Suppliers already onboard.
    • TouchkinAl healthcare startup – raised seed funding
  • IOT products for home automation

For more information http://www.mantralabsglobal.com

Follow us on linkedIn and Facebook to know more.

Marketing, Telecom, Healthcare, IT services, FinTech, supply chain management : Which one is bullish on data science?

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Leap of faith has been coming from almost all sectors. Marketing, e-Commerce, Telecom, Healthcare, IT services,FinTech, Blockchain and supply chain management are apparently more strong than others at present as these sectors have huge customer base and have many competitors. They have been trying anything and everything to delight and retain customers, to maximize revenue by data-driven upsell and cross-sell strategies, to understand trends & patterns and to make the best possible strategies . Every business entity is eventually going to adopt big data analytics to survive and prosper in the market.

Almost everyone is optimistic on big data analytics/ data science. Return on investment on data science is very high and perhaps, that is why every business entity and sub-entity want to leverage big data analytics – a combination of data science and big data technologies. Everyone wants to streamline business, minimise the wastage & cost ,maximise the revenue, profit and customer delight in the competitive world. This can happen only when we start automating the process and promote data-driven decision making process.

If you want to know what customers are talking about your product/service/event, please use this API Social Media Sentiment Tracker

If you want to know how healthcare is using data science, please use this API 

If you want to know how Telecom is using data science/network visualization, please use this API

If you want to know how supply chain management is utilizing data science, please use this article

If you want to know how Blockchain/Bitcoin is utilizing data science, please use this API

If you want to know more about the perspective of a data scientist , please use this article

 

iOS 10.2 updates and features

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Apple released the iOS 10 earlier this year and since then there has been two major updates to it, dubbed as iOS 10.1 and 10.2. With iOS 10.2 Apple has managed to bring forward a host of new features which are much welcomed. As iOS 10.2 is an incremental update to iOS 10 there are not humongous amount of changes, still there are a lot to talk about.

  • New Video App: With the launch of the new MacBook Pro, Apple’s new Video app now works on both iOS and Apple TV. It’s a new way of discovering content across iTunes and other streaming apps. It’s US only for now, and it lacks support for Netflix. The dull Videos app which comes bundled with iOS, looks and operates much better now. 
  • Music Player: Apple’s decision to hide the Shuffle and Repeat buttons below the fold and not providing any kind of visual cue that there’s any content down below, was met with universal outrage. Apple’s solution to this isn’t to actually redesign the screen. But instead they’ve added a splash screen that a user will see the first time they open the Now Playing screen. This tells them they can swipe up to view the Shuffle button and Up Next queue.
  • Camera Updates: Apple has added an option that lets you save your camera settings.  It lets you always jump straight into ’square’ photo mode, stick with the same filter or keep Live Photos turned off, depending on your preferences.
  • New In-Built Wallpapers: Three new attractive wallpapers have been added in iOS 10.2 release. They’re designed to bring the best out of the wider color gamut displays on the iPhone 7.
  • New Emojis: Several new emojis like a clown, croissant, shark, owl, butterfly and an avocado are also added in iOS 10.2 release. On the other hand numerous old emoji have also been redesigned to look more modern, with loads more profession-based emoji now available in both male and female, too.

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  • TV & Videos widget: Similar to the Netflix widget, the new Videos widget shows you the Series or Movie you’re watching, and with a tap you can jump straight back into it without opening up the app.
  • Single Sign-on: Sign Sign-On lets cable subscribers log into all the channel apps using only one login. Once you do this on your iPhone or iPad, the content from all available apps will be displayed in the TV app.
  • A new SOS feature: This will call emergency services when the power button on the iPhone is pressed 5 times. This is however a voluntary feature and can be turned off from settings.
  • Quick Response: With iOS 10.2, when you’re tying a response to a message in quick response, and you choose to open the app, the text you’ve already written will no longer be lost.
  • Home Button Changes: In the “Press and Hold Home Button to Speak” section you can switch from Siri to plain old Voice Control or just turn the feature off altogether.
  • Siri: If you turn off Siri, the next time you press and hold the Home button, you’ll get a new splash screen giving you information about Siri and giving you options to turn it back on again.
  • Bug Fixes & Others: Several Bug fixes that were identified in the iOS 10.1 release have now been fixed. Like when you turn off the “Show Contact Photos” option from the “Messages” section “Settings” app, all contact photos will actually disappear now. Previously, iOS 10 still showed contact photos in conversation, that’s no longer the case. There is also a new celebration effect in iMessages and you can also give star ratings in the Music app with iOS 10.2.

Make sure your Apps are ready for Android 7.1.1

 

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Developing with Android 7.1.1 Nougat Final Release

Android 7.1.1 an update to Android Nougat along with the Android 7.1.1 source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is now officially released, so that device makers can get their hands on the latest version of Android. With Android 7.1.1 officially on its way to users, it’s a good time to make sure your apps are ready.

Android 7.1.1 is an incremental release that builds on the features already available on newly released Pixel and Pixel XL devices, it adds a handful of new features for consumers as well as optimizations and bug fixes on top of the base Android 7.1 platform (API level 25). If you haven’t explored the developer features, you’ll want to take a look at app shortcuts, round icon resources, and image keyboard support, among others, you can see the full list of developer features here.

For details on API Level 25, check out the API diffs and the API reference. You can find an overview of all of the Android Nougat developer resources here, including details on the core Android 7.0 Nougat behavior changes and developer features.

Are your Apps Ready? Make Sure.

Take this opportunity to test your apps for compatibility and optimize them to look their best on Android 7.1.1, such as by providing round icons and adding app shortcuts to begin with.

It is beneficial compiling your app with and ideally targeting, API 25. An update to the platform and build tools in Android Studio, as well as the API Level 25 emulator system images is in play. The latest version of the support library (25.0.1) is also available for you to add image keyboard supportbottom navigation, and other features for devices running API Level 25 or earlier.

Downloadable factory and OTA images are also being provided on the Nexus Images page to help developers do a final testing on Pixel and Nexus devices. To help scale this testing, make sure to take advantage of Firebase Test Lab for Android and run the tests in the cloud at no charge through the end of December. After the final testing, publish the apps to alpha, beta, or production channels in the Google Play Developer Console. As mentioned back in August, Google has moved Android Nougat into a regular maintenance cycle and have already started work on refinements and bug fixes for the next incremental update.