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Nassar Hussain, managing director Europe & South Africa, SOTI

 2016 has seen IoT continue its meteoric rise through the technology and business space. A never ending array of connected devices has joined networks around the world, bringing the total of global ‘things’ to a staggering 23 billion. From connected cars, thermostats to lawnmowers, we have continued to see technology evolve and work its way into more business and consumer applications, performing tasks, anticipating our needs and making our lives easier.

IoT is having a profound affect on lives, becoming an integral part of our normal day and changing the way we interact with devices and each other. We are now in a position where as we wake up in the morning and check our smartphone, we can command our coffee machine to start brewing. It has been an incredibly exciting year for IoT.

However, the industry hasn’t gone without its hiccups. High profile cyber attacks and the first which fell at the feet of IoT was the October DynDDos attacks which saw a significant number of high profile websites crash, leaving many living in the US and Europe without their favourite sites. The hacks were carried out by overloading specific targets with traffic until they collapsed under the strain.

What made these attacks so extraordinary is that it was carried out using IoT devices. Dyn estimated the hack involved up to 100,000 malicious endpoints. The attack, probably the biggest of its kind to date, bought down websites including; Netflix, Twitter, CNN and The Guardian. The real concern to businesses and consumers alike is that there is currently no Government regulation in place for these IoT devices. Standards are not yet defined, and technology is changing too fast. Manufacturers building IoT devices or smart “things” are in different jurisdictions around the world, and their products are entering marketplaces too quickly for government regulations to work.

A lesson which must be learnt from attacks like Dyn is while the development and roll out of these devices is revolutionary; they must be secured and regulated properly. Moving into 2017, the ‘Internet of Things’ which seems to slowly be becoming the ‘Internet of Everything’, needs to take a step back and evaluate how to protect itself in the future. Over the past five years the number of global connected devices has more than doubled, from 8.7 billion to 23 billion, bringing with it new vulnerabilities. Cyber security has been at the forefront of technology issues for many years, and with an almost uncontrollable number of devices becoming connected, this new cyber threat will continue to grow. This is why SOTI is calling for the industry to take stock in 2017 and become the ‘Internet of Some Things’.

There is no doubt IoT is having a huge impact on our lives, but it’s the difference in the enterprise which has seen the greatest results. Businesses that have embraced IoT and integrated a well thought out strategy have reaped the rewards, with new levels of mobility and efficiency gains nurturing tremendous business growth. IoT, when utilised in the right way, offers untapped potential. Connected endpoints within a business ecosystem acts as a portal with the ability to continuously collect valuable data. However, simply having the information isn’t useful; it’s the ability to apply the information to enhance the business which is a game-changer. As more connected devices appear, with it comes more information. In fact, 90 per cent of all digital information has been created over the past two years, and this is set to continue.

With data piling up and a myriad of devices becoming connected the amount of information available is starting to become unmanageable, rendering large amounts of it almost useless. With this is mind businesses need to ask themselves is all of this data of use? How will it help us differentiate from the competition, improve customer experience or help us become an industry disruptor? Once relevant data is identified it is then critical that data is analysed and used in the most effective way, to help bring about positive change.

Attempting to connect all devices and utilise the data collected from them will cause confusion, there is simply too much information for businesses to use effectively. It is important businesses take stock and identify the ‘things’ that will add the greatest value. It is critical businesses recognise purposeful boundaries and are aware of what they are trying to achieve from their IoT strategy.

When looking at IoT it is important to identify what matters most to your business, and to understand your ‘Why’? Why are you introducing an IoT strategy and what do you hope to get out of it? Once these reasons are identified you can then start to look at what ‘things’ should be added.  For most companies the real IoT will be deploying new types of devices, endpoints and “things” to streamline your business processes and reduce costs. However, only you know the true idiosyncrasies of your industry and company, as well as the specific needs that IoT systems can address, but the key is to identify those needs first.

While it is key businesses think big and think differently, it is just as important they don’t simply try and connect everything and see what sticks. Businesses need to prepare for the continuing rise of IoT, but the approach needs to be right. Trying to achieve too much can end up being counterproductive. The real value from IoT lies in doing the smaller things well and building on that. 2017 shouldn’t be another year of IoT, but the year of ‘Some Things’.

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up



Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 1

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.


Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)


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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals



Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 2

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)


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Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels



Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 3

By Ankit Ajmera

(Reuters) – Airbnb’s quarterly results are likely to show the pandemic may have helped the home rental company lure leisure travelers away from big hotels during the global travel collapse of 2020.

Weary of being locked up in their homes for months, travelers hit the road and booked homes and cottages on Airbnb, while avoiding flights and downtown hotels, analysts said.

Airbnb accounted for 18% of the total U.S. lodging revenue in 2020, up from 11.5% in 2019, data from hotel analytics provider STR and vacation rental data company AirDNA showed.

It outperformed the hotel industry and online travel agents such as Expedia and thanks to its greater offer of ‘sun, ski, and suburban’ rental homes, Cowen & Co analysts said.

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 4

(Graphic: Airbnb grabs bigger share of U.S. lodging market in pandemic:

For an interactive graphic, click here:


In 2019, about 90% of Airbnb’s bookings came from leisure travels compared with about 20%-30% for large hotels chains, including Marriott and Hilton, that rely on business travel to grow their profits.

“Unfortunately, the hotel operators do not have as much supply in locations where people are willing to travel,” said Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA.

Lane said with mass vaccinations later in the year, the share of alternative accommodations including Airbnb will drop before continuing to grow at 2%-3% per year once normal travel patterns return.

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 5

(Graphic: Airbnb U.S. sales against top hotels:

For an interactive graphic, click here:


* The San Francisco-based company is expected to report gross bookings of $23.10 billion in 2020, down from about $38 billion a year earlier, according to the mean estimate of 12 analysts according to Refinitiv; gross bookings are seen rising by 50% in 2021.

* Analysts’ mean estimate for Airbnb’s full-year net loss is $3.52 billion, bigger than a loss of $674.3 million a year earlier. Full-year revenue is expected to drop 32% to $3.27 billion.


* Of 34 brokerages, 20 rate Airbnb’s stock “hold”, 12 “buy” or higher and two “sell” or lower

* Wall Street’s median 12-month price target for Airbnb is $156​, about 22% below its last closing price of $200.20.

* The company’s stock has nearly tripled since listing in December

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 6

(Graphic: Airbnb’s stock has nearly tripled since debut:

For an interactive graphic, click here:

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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