VDC Research Blog

IBM’s Watson Answers the Question, “What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing?”

by Steve Hoffenberg | 05/24/2016

Prime time television viewers have undoubtedly noticed the slew of recent commercials featuring IBM’s Watson computing platform in conversation with celebrities such as Bob Dylan, Carrie Fisher, Serena Williams, and Stephen King. These ads showcase continuing advances in Watson’s speech capabilities and intelligence applied to various disciplines, which were initially exhibited in Watson’s championship performance on the Jeopardy! game show back in 2011. Read more

AWS IoT Forging Ahead with Long List of New Features

by Roy Murdock | 05/13/2016

The AWS IoT team has been remarkably busy over the past few months. Antony Passemard, Head of Product Management at AWS IoT, sat down with me yesterday to discuss AWS IoT’s latest enhancements. The following list of recently-added capabilities and features paints a clear picture of the pressing issues faced by cloud platform providers and their customers. Read more

Zebra Technologies’ Market Capitalization takes a Big Hit Following Q1 2016 Earnings Release

by Richa Gupta | 05/11/2016

Zebra Technologies reported its Q1 2016 earnings on May 10th, and saw its stock price drop by more than 17% when the markets closed as its revenues and EPS both missed analysts’ estimates – by $31 million and $0.21 respectively on net sales of $847 million. Enterprise segment sales accounted for $537 million, a 5.3% drop as compared to Q1 2015, and legacy business sales – including barcode printers, card printers, consumables, and location solutions – were $313 million, down 5.7% from last year. The company’s gross margin now stands at 46.2%, which is at the high end of expectations, helped by improved services margin and greater synergies on the procurement front. However, Zebra’s tempered outlook for Q2 and lower guidance for the rest of 2016 have been cause for investor concern, leading to the steep decline in share price. Read more

Emphasis on Consistent and Reliable Enterprise Labeling Resulting in Creation of New Career Opportunities

by Richa Gupta | 05/09/2016

Barcode labels are the foundation of a sound track-and-trace initiative and facilitate seamless data collection and visibility throughout the supply chain. The information made available provides crucial insights into product flow and enables organizations to enhance their operations and productivity. In recent times, labeling has transitioned from simply being a means to better inventory management and improving data accuracy to being a mission-critical function that is helping them seamlessly connect their globally distributed operations. The labeling function is now an integral part of enterprise applications like ERP and WMS that bring about process improvements and cost reduction, to ensure content consistency and reliability across all supply chain participants. Read more

AWS IoT Vs. Azure IoT Hub: Whitepaper Download

by Roy Murdock | 05/09/2016

In a recent VDC View that is now available for public download, we compared and contrasted the two recently-launched IoT offerings from Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure: AWS IoT and Azure IoT Hub. Read more

FINALLY, A Place for Mobility in the Connected Factory

by Matthew Hopkins | 04/29/2016

Manufacturing—whether it’s transforming steel into an automotive vehicle or grains into cereal—is the process by which raw goods become finished goods; it is a fundamental component of the value chain and central part of the global economy. Many manufacturing processes have transcended time relatively unchanged and unaffected by the technological innovations occurring outside factory walls. Pressure to reduce costs and improve margins, however, has compelled factories to make strategic moves in pursuit of reducing labor costs; whether it is changing venue or investing in technologies that automate human tasks. Read more

OEMs “Get It”: Realize the Need for Formal Tooling

by Andre Girard | 04/26/2016

The arrival of the Hanover Fair (Hannover Messe) on the calendar encouraged us to reflect back on our recent trip to Germany to attend the Embedded World 2016 Exhibition & Conference. One of the themes the IoT & Embedded Technology practice heard several times in conversations with vendors was how more and more embedded engineering organizations finally “get it.” The awareness to which these conversations refer is the growing realization by OEMs, especially those in safety-critical industries, that commercially provided software and system development tools are necessary investments. Read more

Handheld Self-Scanning Solutions: A Global Market Analysis

by Shahroze Husain | 04/21/2016

VDC recently published a report focused on Handheld Self-Scanning Solutions. The following blog highlights some of our thoughts on this market and its potential.

VDC expects the global market for handheld self-scanning solutions (including hardware, software, and services) to grow to $92M for the 2015-2020 forecast period. Handheld self-scanning/shopping solutions are dedicated handheld barcode scanners with integrated screens and mobile self-scanning applications that are used for consumer applications such as self-checkout, special offers, and price checks in-store while shopping. Read more

Embedded Linux is All Grown Up

by Roy Murdock | 04/14/2016

Ten years ago, most embedded engineers would not have considered using Linux in any system other than a desktop PC or a web server. How could any respectable developer think of putting a free, open source operating system in charge of a resource-constrained, low-error-tolerance machine? Furthermore, how could one trust that Linux would continue to be supported and developed over the long lifetimes of many embedded devices? Read more

“Hard Problems” the Focus of MIT Connected Things 2016 Conference

by Roy Murdock | 04/12/2016

VDC found itself back in Cambridge at the Connected Things 2016 Conference last Tuesday, organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. The pragmatic IoT verticals – industrial, medical, and public sector – were a large focus of the conference, with MIT scientists and professors contributing a healthy dollop of academia and high-level thinking as a counterbalance. Senior leaders from IBM, PTC, Ericsson, Analog Devices, New Balance, Air Canada, the cities of New Bedford (MA) and New Haven (CT), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were among those who presented or participated in panels throughout the day. Here are a few key takeaways from the conference. Read more