MOVUS secures investment from Australia’s largest venture capital firms

Brisbane-headquartered company MOVUS, the developer of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) sensor and machine monitoring solutions has secured $4.8M in Series A funding. The round, led by Blackbird Ventures, included Telstra Ventures and Skip Capital.
The investment will allow MOVUS to scale up to international markets, further refine its product, expand its Research & Development Lab, and grow its Brisband-based team.
“This Series A funding is critical as we are poised to scale with many new customer deployments which allow us to accelerate growth globally and pass on the benefits to customers via more rapid delivery of improvements. We’ll also be growing our engineering team and are particularly interested in people with a passion for hardware design and machine learning,” said Brad Parsons, CEO and Founder of MOVUS. “Our vision is to transform machines across their lifecycle to dramatically improve these industries for the benefit of the planet.”
With a track record of investing in high growth digital businesses, Rick Baker, Co-Founder of Blackbird Ventures said “Industrial machinery is the engine room of our economy and the FitMachine plays a crucial role in ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently. We’re proud to join the journey of MOVUS.”

Linfox, Telstra partner on IoT

Australian logistics company, Linfox, will implement an advanced telematics and management solution into its truck fleet, through a partnership with Australian telecommunications business, Telstra, and GPS and fleet management solutions provider, MTData.
The Internet of Things (IoT) technology will be rolled out to the whole Linfox truck fleet and will reportedly deliver advanced transport and logistics data and quality-benchmarking information to enhance public and driver safety on Australian roads.
“We are in a critical time in the logistics industry and it’s important to deliver technology that will ensure greater safety for our drivers and the communities in which we operate,” said Conrad Harvey, Chief Information Officer, Linfox. “Safety is a key issue within our industry and community and by partnering with Telstra to implement transformative technologies that allow us to better monitor and measure safety compliance throughout our fleet, we can work to reduce risk factors and enhance safe driver behaviour.”
Telstra’s IoT solution will include Samsung tablets mounted into Linfox trucks so drivers can access logbooks and complete safety checklists, and have capability, in some vehicles, for in-cabin recording of road-safety incidents.
“The technology will require our drivers to log on and complete safety checklists before they head off on the road and will allow us to gain more accurate in-cab readings of speed and distance,” said Harvey. “The devices will enable us to coordinate our vehicles efficiently, reduce congestion on the roads and above all, ensure a higher level of safety for the community.”
The deal comes three months after Telstra’s acquisition of MTData.
“Linfox is one of Australia’s largest and most successful logistics companies and we are committed to supporting its efforts to achieve safer and more efficient supply chains,” said Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director – Global Products, Telstra. “With MTData’s expertise in delivering IoT solutions for the heavy vehicle industry, coupled with the unrivalled capability of the Telstra mobile network, we have created an innovative solution to help transform Linfox’s business.”

Packaging seminar envisions smart factory of the future

At the ‘Smart Factory Solutions with IoT Technology’ food and packaging seminar, held by automation company Omron in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane last week, technology experts discussed the key features of smart factories of the future, nothing that an estimated 13.5 billion devices will be connected by 2020 worldwide.
“It’s all about collecting and analysing data to improve efficiency,” said Chris Probst, Automation Technology Product Manager, Omron.
“The amount of data doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with the data that counts,” he said.
Probst said many Australian companies are now talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) technical revolution, but not many are prepared for it.
“Companies that embrace new technologies will be better positioned to adapt to changing marketing conditions and customer needs.
“This is the next generation of manufacturing where people and machines work together.”
Hal Varian, professor of information sciences, business, and economics at the University of California at Berkeley and Google’s Chief Economist agreed.
“The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decade,” he said.
Wei-Jian Ong, product manager for Omron’s Sysmac controllers based in Singapore, said data collection and analysis can help manufacturers streamline their operations.
“The collection of data is now vital for industry,” said Ong. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of devices with network connectivity for the collection and exchange of data.
“With IoT you can monitor, analyse and act – you can coordinate and monitor your production line. All machines work together to perform at optimum level.”
“Smart factories need to be more efficient and fully connected to their supply chains,” said Probst. “AIVs (Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles) not only save on labour costs, they can increase operational efficiency.
“Mobile robots are easy to deploy, with no facility modifications required. They work safely around people and can operate 24/7.”
Probst said smart factories were also helping to significantly improve workplace safety.
“The Smart Factory of the future will improve workplace safety, improve yield and traceability, drive down production costs and eliminate errors,” he said. “This will enable a ‘flexible’ manufacturing revolution.”
 

Airfreight industry to soar with IoT and AI

Global information technology firm Unisys predicts that the future growth of the airfreight industry and its ability to capitalise of the e-commerce market will be heavily impacted by the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) smart devices and systems, warehouse drones and strategic alliances between airlines and distributors.
“As the air cargo industry undergoes growth and transformation, driven by rapidly increasing capacity supply on passenger flights, and the shift to business-to-consumer small parcel shipments as a result of e-commerce, cargo operators will be forced to embrace such innovation to be more efficient, nimble and proactive in an increasingly competitive and price conscious market,” the company said in a statement.
Venkatesh Pazhyanur, Senior Industry Director of Freight Solutions at Unisys, noted that the freight industry as a whole must make an effort to keep up with evolving technologies.
“The cargo industry needs to embrace disruptive technologies from the consumer world, including Internet of Things, digital assistants and drones, to increase efficiency and meet customer expectation for greater transparency throughout the supply chain,” said Pazhyanur.
The company added that the Asia-Pacific air cargo industry is experiencing growth and transformation driven by rapidly increasing capacity supply on passenger flights, and the shift to business-to-consumer small parcel shipments as a result of e-commerce. This growing passenger demand will increase the number of passenger flights and add to cargo capacity supply, it added.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of people travelling by air globally will almost double between 2016 and 2035, with the greatest growth in Asia Pacific. At the same time, the rising popularity of e-commerce is changing the nature of cargo shipments, incrementally increasing the number of small parcels – predicted by management consultancy McKinsey & Company to grow five per cent annually in mature markets and 17 per cent annually in China.
“At Unisys we predict these market pressures will bring innovation in three areas in the cargo supply chain: smart warehouses will become even smarter, drones will finally take off in the cargo supply chain – but inside the warehouse, and new alliances between airlines and global distributors will enable longer term capacity management,” added Pazhyanur. “Much of the underlying technologies are already being used in other sectors – including the consumer world. But now, more than ever, cargo operators will be forced to embrace such innovation to be more efficient, nimble and proactive in an increasingly competitive and price conscious market.”

Global industrial automation market to reach $80.6 billion

Analysts from Research and Markets have announced in their latest report on industrial automation that the global industrial automation services market was worth US$35.2 billion ($44.5 billion) in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$64.5 billion ($80.6 billion) by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 per cent for the forecasted period.
Industrial automation involves automation of manufacturing, quality control and material handling processes, with control systems, information technologies and robots used to handle different processes in an industry. Various types of industrial automation include fixed or hard automation, programmable automation and flexible or soft automation. Project engineering and installation holds major share in this market. Advantages of industrial automation include increased productivity, improved product quality, reduced routine checks and improved operational efficiency.
According to the report, the US is currently at the head of the industrial automation market, followed by Europe. Asia Pacific (which includes Australia) is expected to be the fastest growing region in this industry. The reports says during 2015–16, US companies exported nearly US$10.5 billion worth of products to foreign markets.
Some of the key growth factors of this industry are the need for operational efficiency, rapidly growing SMEs, a growing inclination towards Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based automation, the growing demand for smart factories, mass customisation, supply chain synchronisation, integration of systems and increasing R&D and innovation in artificial intelligence and advancement in the M2M communication technology. High installation and maintenance costs and lack of trained professions are some of the constraints in this industry.
Major companies in this industry include Honeywell International, General Electric Company, Mitsubishi Electric, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, ABB, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG and Schneider Electric. The report also pointed out that most of the regional and local vendors are vertically integrated. International players can grow by acquiring regional or local players.

Data management top tech priority for global supply chain

A new survey carried out by supply chain operator Geodis has found that the top five technology supply chain priorities globally are all related to data management, they are data analysis, Internet of Things, cloud computing, info security and predictive analytics.
“In the wake of globalisation and rampant digitalisation, commercial trade flows have evolved dramatically,” the company said in a statement. “Both the volume and the scope of services managed within supply chain have reached unprecedented levels.”
Seventy per cent of respondents of the 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide survey stated that they consider their supply chain to be either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ complex, and they also emphasise the strategic position it has reached in their overall organisation.
The majority – 57 per cent – of firms surveyed said that they consider their supply chain to be a competitive advantage, and 66 per cent dedicate 5–15 per cent of their turnover to supply chain spends.
Three quarters of the firms Geodis spoke to reported that they use four or five different transportation modes in their supply chain, with road (full truckload) and airfreight the two most common.
Focus on achieving full visibility over the supply chain – from suppliers of suppliers to clients of clients – has increased in recent years – it is now the third most important priority reported, while it came in sixth place in the 2015 survey. Only six per cent of firms succeeded in reaching this target, however.
“[The] supply chain has become more customer focused and mostly considered as a lever to win competitive advantage,” the statement concluded.
 

DB Schenker CIO AU/NZ on the cloud, disruption and technology

Charlie Macdonald, Chief Information Officer, DB Schenker AU/NZ, recently shared insight on the impact of disruptive technologies on the transport and logistics sector with the university of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies.
Macdonald has over 25 years’ experience working around the globe in the transport and logistics industry, and a passion for learning more about the innovative information technologies shaping the modern world.
He spoke at a recent seminar held by the Institute, one of a series focused on leadership and policy issues in transport and logistics.
Macdonald’s presentation focused on the impact of disrupting technologies on the transport and logistics sector, in particular how the adoption of the cloud and mobile technologies has changed many industries and transformed supply chains globally.
He noted that he foresees the next wave of disruption coming from the combination of the cloud and mobility technologies with the Internet of Things, Big Data analytics and machine learning.

Adelaide on track to be Australia’s smartest city

Thanks to the city’s adoption of Big Data and Internet of Things analytics, Adelaide could soon be Australia’s smartest city, according to a global authority on the use of technology in government.
At the 2017 Australian Smart Communities Conference on 30 May, Adelaide was singled out as an example of government using technology to better its understanding of challenges.
Brett Bundock, Managing Director of geospatial technology company Esri Australia, said Geographic Information System (GIS) technology offers governments the ability to better understand their challenges.
“By integrating data sets from a variety of sources and visualising them across a time-space continuum, decision makers can see more clearly the cause and likely remedy of even the most complex of issues,” Bundock said.
“Adelaide is showing real leadership in this space. Areas such as driverless cars, smart lighting enabling lower energy consumption, environmental monitoring of CO2, sound and temperature to innovate solutions to improve the city and plans to make the capital a high-speed internet zone.
“The technology is here. By displaying Big Data, policy and program information on a map, a clear picture emerges that can show the best ways to target resources, track performance, and communicate with the public.”
Governor Martin O’Malley said that embracing advanced location-based analytics technology could help Australia support significant economic and social growth.
During his tenures as Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley was credited with cutting crime rates, improving healthcare, reducing government expenditure and taxes and transforming environmental management practices, earning him a reputation as one of the US’ most effective leaders.
O’Malley now heads the MetroLab Network, a collaboration between US cities and universities to develop technologically driven solutions to urban challenges.
O’Malley told attendees that GIS technology enables leaders to be on the front edge of the wave of change.
“When you have government, business community and thought leaders committed to embracing new technology, you can completely rethink how cities are planned and operated to develop economic and social growth,” he said.
“I’ve seen a new way of governing emerging – a change that’s being brought about by smart cities.
“Cities that understand that spatial intelligence allows us to better reduce crime, better manage traffic and understand what’s going on at any given point in time in our city. This visibility to see, track and act ultimately delivers better data-driven decisions.
“In Chicago – a city of 2.7 million people and growing – we’re installing more than 500 sensors on city streets by 2017 to understand the movements of pedestrians and vehicle traffic and measure air pollutants is expected to give a sound data-driven vision of the situation,” he explained.
“This will provide the basis for clear decisions based on evidence for solutions – things like public apps that display safe walking routes at night or apps that monitor air quality.”
 

Most Australian businesses to adopt IoT by 2019

Hewlett Packard Enterprise company Aruba has claimed that by 2019, 77 per cent of organisations in Australia will have some form of Internet of Things (IoT) in place, according to its latest global study, ‘The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow’.While organisations adopt IoT to leverage the business benefits of enhanced efficiency and innovation across the enterprise, industrial, healthcare, retail and municipality sectors globally, Aruba’s study has found that only one in two Australian IoT-connected businesses are using this data to improve business processes and decision making.
The study also uncovered a number of obstacles that IT leaders feel are preventing IoT from delivering greater business impact such as the cost of implementation (57 per cent), security concerns (51 per cent), and difficulty integrating with legacy technologies (51 per cent), sentiments echoed across the globe.
Despite the significant security gains from IoT, security flaws were found across many IoT deployments.
The study found that 88 per cent of organisations in Asia Pacific have experienced at least one IoT-related security breach, the highest in the world.
More than half of respondents in Australia (51 per cent) declared that external attacks are a key barrier to embracing and adopting an IoT strategy, and the study seemingly confirmed that that a holistic IoT security strategy – built on a strong network access control and policy management – will not only protect enterprises but also simplify the security approach for IoT.

Telstra building Australia's first IoT network

Telstra has revealed that it will be working with Ericsson on its ‘Network of the Future’ program, working amoung other things on the deployment of Australia’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) network via deployment of Cat M1 functionality across Australia.
The telecommunications company made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The company said in a statement, “Telstra is the first operator to deploy a national IoT-enabled mobile network which will enable an IoT footprint among the largest in the world. The deployed Cat-M1 capability will allow Telstra to deploy a comprehensive range of IoT applications quickly and flexibly – accelerating the growth of Australia’s IoT ecosystem. .
Telstra and Ericsson have commenced localised Cat-M1 trials in Melbourne and Tasmania – device partners in the Tasmanian trial are Sierra Wireless, Altair and Bosch. As Cat-M1 device and solutions become commercially available, Telstra reports that it is well prepared to support their operation across its 4G network which covers over 98 per cent of the Australian population.
Telstra stated that Cat-M1 is ideally suited to use cases requiring mobility, voice support and moderate bitrates in the order of hundreds of kbps, like vehicle telematics, asset tracking, consumer and healthcare wearables, and smart electricity metering.
“These projects lay the foundations of the program we described in October 2016 and provide the foundation for Telstra’s Network of the Future program,” said Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks.
“Our expanded optical network will support important emerging network capabilities such as IoT, 5G and enhanced media delivery.”
According to Business Insider, Wright said the new capability would have real-time uses in “logistics, utilities, medicine, transport, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and many more.”

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