We’re Expanding in the Asia Pacific Region

For several years, M2M has been redefining how we interact with, and obtain information from machines in the western world. This growth has not been lost on the Asian market – which is fast becoming a hot spot for accelerated M2M activity.

I am happy to see businesses from around the world enter the Asian market. In my opinion, this is a signal of a strengthening and stabilizing market – and we’re a part of that uptick.

In an area of the world where until recently M2M applied mainly to telematics and security, we’re now seeing applications to cellular, smart grids, transportation. Bandwidth to handle everything is increasing and opportunities that bandwidth provides is endless.

Lantronix has been in Asia since 2002 and we’ve been expanding our bandwidth, too. This week we moved due to expansion of our team and the growing market. You can now find us at:

Unit 3112-13, 31/F, Tower 1,
Millennium City 1,
388 Kwun Tong Road,
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong

In the meantime, keep your eyes on the growth of M2M in Asia!

Intelligent Communities of the Year – Paving the way for international business

Developing new International business relationships is considered to be very different in each country. Cultural differences, a variety of languages, local habits and/or specific slang seem to be human obstacles causing individuals to feel uncomfortable by nature when they first meet. No doubt this is a very true statement yet based on my experience it seems to be somewhat different when one comes from ‘The Netherlands’ in Europe. I find it most intriguing to conclude that there always seems to be this one powerful subject ‘the Dutch’ can use to instantly ‘break the ice’ in any conversation. It almost seems to create an immediate feeling of comfort and mind-share among individuals moving conversation to a very friendly level.

No rocket science in revealing the subject as clearly this is about the Capital of The Netherlands: Amsterdam. Windmills, Tulips, Cheese, Red Light District, Legal Cannabis, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Anne Frank, who wrote her world famous diary while in hiding in occupied Holland, etc.

Allow me to introduce you to a new, perhaps underestimated phenomenon in The Netherlands located no more than 70 miles South-East from Amsterdam: The city of Eindhoven.

Eindhoven, officially referred to as ‘Brain port’, is considered to be the Industrial heart of The Netherlands with its trend-setting center of innovation and technology, ranking 4th on the EU’s Lisbon index for innovation. It holds a strategic position as one of Western Europe’s leading technology centers and has been the base for the research and development facilities of companies such as Philips Electronics for over a century. A research campus housing 10,000 researchers convinced many global companies to establish development and production facilities in the area. 40% of all R&D activities in the Netherlands are taking place in the Eindhoven region. 25% of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT.

Just recently, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named its 2011 Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year in the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu. The ICF’s Top Seven are communities that provide a model of economic and social development in the 21st Century using information and communications technology to power growth, address social challenges and preserve and promote culture.

Eindhoven has been selected by an independent jury of academics from a list of 21 contenders.
Of the other six Intelligent Communities in the world, there are three in the United States: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Dublin, Ohio and Riverside, California. Canada has two of the seven Intelligent Communities – Stratford and Windsor-Essex. Also, Issy-les-Moulineaux in France is one of the most intelligent regions in the world.

You can imagine my relief and excitement in adding ‘Eindhoven’ as a new additional subject when meeting new International business relationships! And if that doesn’t work: The legend of Hans Brinker who supposedly put his finger in the dyke to prevent a flood always does…

Keep That Traffic Moving

Beijing is famous for its traffic. As are cities in the United States including Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York. Our governments and urban planners have yet to find a golden solution to keep traffic moving–if there is such a thing. Earlier this month I came across an article in ChinaDaily about a new concept for traffic flow designed by a university student named Li Xu. After witnessing his father losing a business deal due to being stuck in traffic, Xu designed an intersection that theorizes to keep traffic moving–even without lights. This concept interested me for a few reasons: First, necessity really is the mother of invention, isn’t it? Mr. Xu designed this concept after experiencing real consequences of city traffic. But more than that, I love seeing people employing new thinking about situations that many consider just status quo. After all, that’s very similar to what we do at Lantronix. In fact, our technology’s already been implemented to address traffic problems in Los Angeles. Together with Systems Integrated, we helped LA County improve the flow of traffic and save management costs by allowing lights to be remotely managed. You can read more about it on our website. Mr. Xu’s concept made me come to a conclusion about our work at Lantronix: One of the things I like best about our technology is it can immensely improve the status quo–often without full-on infrastructure overhauls. Kudos to Mr. Xu on his idea, though– we need more people like him out there thinking of ways to make the daily grind better for all of us.

It’s the Message, not the Medium

I have five children aged 12 to 24 and I’ve never seen one of them voluntarily pick up a newspaper and read it. This is not as alarming as it may sound because they are appropriately educated, informed and engaged – they just don’t get their information from the daily printed page. Many newspapers in the US and around the world have floundered because, in my opinion, they defined their business model as providing printed pages that contain articles and advertisements. Personally I love reading a great daily newspaper as often as I can, but I’m part of a dwindling population. People are voting with their actions and dollars when they consistently rank the message higher than the medium. My children and their generation feel very comfortable getting their information from on-line sources – it is more timely, more customizable than the printed page. Similarly, nobody asks their local Cable or Satellite TV supplier for a Cisco or Motorola set-top, the two largest suppliers of such devices in the U.S. Ridiculous, right? They say I want this or that package, HBO or Showtime, MLB or whatever. The equipment is necessary to get what they want, it is not the main focus of the transaction.

Lantronix is going through a similar transition. Traditionally we have always been the connectivity guys offering the little silver modules or the little gray boxes. Although very sexy to us, truth be told, increasingly what people want is actionable data so they can run their businesses and hospitals more efficiently and effectively. Notice how I didn’t say WiFi, cellular, or wired connectivity. These are a means to an end – albeit an indispensable means to an end. With the launch of AccessMyDevice™ on Sept. 30 of last year Lantronix took a big step toward offering our customers a platform and framework for accessing timely data, making it actionable, easily routing it to cloud based computing and storage and customizing the form in which it is viewed. AccessMyDevice works with all of our new products via software called VIP Access™. Embracing the fact that customers want actionable data has led us to integrate VIP Access onto customer’s controller boards, work with microprocessor companies to integrate VIP Access and enable customers to use smart phones (iPhone, Android, etc.) to access cloud based applications that interact with their devices via AccessMyDevice. For our customers, as with the newspaper industry and television programming the message is more important than the medium.

IT, Meet OT

As I continually meet with customers and engage with industry analysts, it is becoming more apparent the benefits of M2M communications are starting to accelerate. This is a welcome realization for those of us who have been anxiously anticipating this day. M2M technology has already enabled smart grid applications, built management systems, and improved industrial process controls — but always as standalone solutions and systems commonly referred to as Operations Technology, or OT. Often, OT systems are not well integrated with the other business or Information Technology (IT) systems.

Operations Technology Has Taken Us Far
When we sit back and look at the impact of OT Systems, we see a profound impact of these systems. OT is the backbone of businesses that use automated machinery to produce food products, monitor environmental systems in data centers, power robotic welding machines on assembly lines, deliver fuel, and monitor our safety. M2M technology is the core foundation that captures and delivers the operational data within individual machines, equipment and devices—and allows this data to be distributed to people and systems for effective management.

Now Let’s Take Things Even Farther
As we build the enabling technology for M2M communications, our customer engagements become more exciting. Today, we can demonstrate what happens when an OT system is connected with an IT system. The benefits of OT are deepened with a business context placed around the data. An unbridled creativity is unleashed with the possibility of having accurate, real time information access with a company’s OT system tied into its IT systems. At one recent customer meeting, we demonstrated the effectiveness of using M2M technology to access real time data of fuel tanks and tie that into the company’s fleet tracking systems, inventory forecasting system, and finance systems. Armed with this information, the customer can now develop strategic initiatives that were previously out of reach for them due to cost and complexity.

Tying OT and IT Enable Amazing Business Potential
The strategic benefits for companies that embark on this effort have significant operational payback. Our customer engagements are validating these research findings. And it’s time to get on board to learn more. Gartner Research has put forth research showing the strategic benefits of tying together IT and OT closely together—I encourage you to read for yourself.