August 2016

IoT Magazine Cover Article features Dr. Homaira Akbari

More with Homaira Akbari

By Paula Bernier
Executive Editor, TMC

In this issue’s cover story, Homaira Akbari talks about how health care will be the next big vertical for the Internet of Things. That’s because the IoT, she points out, can be used for everything from patient monitoring to asset tracking.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible in health care using the Internet of Things. At a past IoT Evolution event, one speaker talked about IoT ingestibles that allow doctors to see inside their patients’ bodies for diagnosis and treatment.

IoT devices can also be attached to the outside of our bodies to address health issues – and I’m not just talking about fitness trackers, and glucose and heart monitors. For example, a company called Ekso Bionics has created the Ekso GT, an FDA-approved exoskeleton for people with spinal cord injuries or those who have suffered a stroke. This is essentially a robot that is strapped on to the user’s body in an effort to help the patient gain mobility and strength.

“Ekso GT enables functional based, intensive, over ground gait training and is designed to support the re-learning of correct step patterns and weight shifts, potentially mitigating compensatory behaviors,” the company explains.

This product is available today, in Canada, most European countries, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States, and it’s being offered by more than 150 rehabilitation institutions.

Speaking of movement, I didn’t include this part of our discussion in this issue’s cover story, but Akbari and I also talked a bit about how the IoT will enable companies that have traditionally sold products to expand into the business of selling services. That, of course, moves these businesses from a one-time sale scenario into a recurring revenue model.

Printing company Heidelberger Druckmaschinen is an example of a company that is moving in that direction. The German company in May announced its selection of PTC’s ThingWorx technology to enable it to remotely monitor and service more than 25,000 printing devices and software modules. ThingWorx helps power Heidelberg Remote Service, an offering that is today used in 50 countries with as many as 3,000 remote sessions per month and through which the company can resolve more than 70 percent of issues.

“We have successfully connected over 10,000 machines and 15,000 systems with the new

solution and as the global leader in our market, we can give our customers excellent support,” said Uwe Galm, vice president, system service and head of operations at Heidelberg. “With the ThingWorx platform, ongoing consultation as needed, and regular function and security updates through PTC Cloud Services, we are well positioned for the future.”

While plenty of companies have put in place successful IoT implementations, Akbari noted the challenge they face in doing so due to the fragmentation of the IoT marketplace. The fact that some companies have had to put together IoT solutions with piece parts of different vendors’ solutions, and that there is no standardization in the IoT, has resulted in lost time and money for some early adopters, she said. For example, one company had already spent $20 million on developing an IoT solution that failed to meet requirements before they engaged Akbari to help get on the right track. The problem, Akbari explained, was that the company had built some parts of the solution itself, and those parts were not performing well, and it selected platforms that were not capable of interfacing with other systems at a reasonable cost.

In light of this, many IoT solution providers have moved to put together 95 to 98 percent of what customers need for an IoT deployment, Akbari said. But the ideal IoT marketplace scenario, she added, would be to have a collection of players that each focus on a core competency, but whose different solutions could easily integrate with one another and with customers’ legacy systems. She referred to this idea as the move to horizontal models.

Some industrial equipment has been in existence for 70 years, and it’s going to stick around a while, added Akbari, so you can’t force feed these companies all the pieces of an IoT solution, and you need to be able to integrate with that legacy embedded base. To this point, Akbari offers elevator KONE as an example.
KONE earlier this year announced its selection of IBM as an IoT partner. IBM’s Watson IoT Cloud Platform will enable KONE to collect and store equipment data, build applications, and develop new solutions empowered by the newly connected elevators and escalators. But Akbari said KONE has elevators that were put in service as far back at 1912, which she added shows the complexity of IoT and the requirement that it address a variety of equipment and systems even within a single customer deployment.

Link Labs Appoints Industry-Leading Advisory Board

Telecom, Industrial Controls, Logistics, and Retail Industry Veterans to Guide High-Growth IOT Innovator

Annapolis, MD, August 16, 2016 – Link Labs, Inc., a leading innovator in low-power, wide-area technologies and applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced today the formation of a new industry-leading Advisory Board. The Board will help the company navigate rapidly accelerating growth and allow it to further its product development initiatives across several IoT segments.

Bob Proctor, CEO of Link Labs, stated: “We are honored to have such an experienced group of successful executives add their unique insights and deep industry experience to Link Labs’ transformative technology offerings. The experience and relationships this group of distinguished executives bring to Link Labs will help us realize the tremendous growth potential inherent in the company today.”

Link Labs inaugural Advisory Board is comprised of the following professionals:

Dr. Homaira Akbari
Homaira Akbari is President and CEO of AKnowledge Partners, LLC, a global strategy advisory firm providing services to leading private equity funds and large corporations in the sectors of the Internet of Things, Cyber Security, and Supply Chain Visibility. She has held senior management roles in Fortune 1000 companies including Microsoft, Thales, SA, and Liberty Media subsidiary, Trueposition. Dr. Akbari also served as the President and CEO of SkyBitz, Inc., a leading provider of remote asset tracking and security solutions, and successfully sold SkyBitz to Telular Corporation (NASDAQ: WRLS). She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Landstar System, Inc. (NASDAQ: LSTR), Gemalto N.V. (Euronext: GTO), Covisint Corporation (NASDAQ: COVS), and Veolia (Euronext: VIE).

Mr. Jack Holmes
Jack Holmes served as President of UPS (NYSE: UPS) Freight, one of the largest less-than- truckload carriers in the United States, from 2007 until his retirement in June of 2016. Widely respected for his business acumen, he was named to the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) by the U.S. Department of Transportation in May, 2013. He began his UPS career in 1979, and was promoted and served as President and COO of multiple UPS locations before leading the transition team for UPS’s largest-ever domestic acquisition, the 2005 purchase of Overnite Transportation, now UPS Freight. He currently serves as co-chairman of the NFAC’s Conditions, Performance and Data Subcommittee, is a director of the American Transportation Research Institute and the United Way of Greater Richmond.

Mr. Gene Wojciechowski
Gene Wojciechowski is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Newgistics. He has extensive experience in eCommerce and supply chain technology through decades of working with both startups and industry leaders such as Walmart, Staples, GE, UPS, and Ford. Prior to joining Newgistics, he has held numerous executive positions including Vice President, Technology at Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS), VP and CIO of (NYSE: WMT) for six years, and CIO of UPS Freight Services for more than six years. He has a 30 year track record of measurable success in both domestic and international eCommerce.

Mr. Kenny Young
Kenny Young has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge Communications Corporation since August 2008, and served in other executives roles at LCC from May 2006 to August 2008. Prior to joining LCC in 2006, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Liberty Media’s (NASDAQ: LCAPA) Connectid mobile content subsidiary, as well as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Liberty Media’s TruePosition location based services organization. He spent over 16 years with the now combined AT&T Corporation (NYSE: T) and held senior management positions with Cingular Wireless, SBC Wireless and Southwestern Bell Telephone. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of
Globalstar, Inc. (Amex: GSAT).

Link Labs is a leading innovator in low-power, wide-area network technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT). The company’s patented Symphony LinkTM technology provides secure, two-way, low data rate, long range connectivity for connected devices. Link Labs has customers around the world and powers a range of IoT applications across industries, including logistics, industrial controls, agriculture, building controls, healthcare, smart cities, defense, retail, and utilities. For additional information, visit or follow us at @LinkLabsInc.

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