Unlocking The Value Of The Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) And Big Data In Manufacturing

Hirotec is a tier-one Japanese automobile parts manufacturer, supplying components directly to makers such as GM, Ford and BMW. It also provides tools and expertise to other manufacturers wanting to create their own parts.

In late 2015, the business began investigating the Internet of Things (IoT) “beyond the buzzword”, in terms of drawing up plans which had the real potential to bring about transformative change.

In light of reports that many businesses were (and still are) struggling to get real value from investment into Big Data-driven analytics and technology, a decision was made to invest initially in small-scale, short-term strategies where value could be seen quickly.

The plan, as instigated by IoT lead Justin Hester, was that these would work as proof to gain buy-in across the company for further, larger scale and more challenging projects.

“The promise of IoT is well understood in the industry,” Hester told me. “This idea that we can finally harness the data coming in from all of these different sources, whether they are machines, humans, parts – but I think the real challenge is the next step – how do I execute? That’s the challenge.”

Hester and the team at Hirotec’s answer was to start small. The thinking was that the reason behind the failure of many businesses to get to grips with implementing IoT analytics was an over-eagerness to “boil the whole ocean.”

“They say ‘we see tons of benefit from Big Data and we want to bring all of this in and analyse it’ and that’s true and sounds great – but data doesn’t collect itself and it doesn’t analyze itself.

“So, we recognized the need to create short sprint activities which were projects which would help us solve one of our internal challenges and also be scalable so we could implement them again but on a larger scale.”

Gathering real-time measurement

One of the early projects initially involved connecting and monitoring computer-controlled cutting devices at Hirotec’s North American tool building facility. Here, ultra-precise blades cut through metal and plastic and minor fluctuations in the performance or reliability of machines can have large knock-on effects.

The abundance of legacy technology in the manufacturing world was an initial problem – unlike in computing, manufacturing machines are expected to remain productive until they die of exhaustion, rather than being replaced with new models every two or three years when they start to get a little creaky.

“We had these machines on the shop floor and there was one from 1970, with no connective technology, and one from 1990 which had this really cool new tech that could send a message to your beeper.”

On – 21 Apr, 2017 By Bernard Marr

6 things to watch out for in UX design

 The world of UX design is fast-paced and always changing. It can be overwhelming to keep up with what is coming next, so we’ve rounded up a few things to keep in your mind.

01. Don’t get swept up by the next big thing

Design trends will always be part of the design landscape, and now – thanks to social media – the more successful ones will spread like wildfire across the world (ahem, flat design). It can be all too easy for us designers to jump on these trends and dedicate our energies to them, but as more and more trends emerge, it’s up to us to think critically about each design trend and see whether it actually is something worth spending time on.

02. It’s all about software that aids collaboration

We are no longer in the age of the solo designer, heroically working in Photoshop creating pixel-perfect designs that get thrown over the wall to development teams. Us designers need to embrace the plethora of UX tools available to us now that help bridge the gap between design and development, like Sketch and Zeplin.

03. People are coming for your jobs. Skill up!

There are so many hungry designers out there, who have traditionally thought of themselves as web, graphic or UI designers, that are now getting skilled up and educated about UX design. These designers bring tons of skills from other disciplines and are becoming real hybrid designers. So, traditional ‘pure’ UX designers might need to think about skilling up in other areas to remain competitive.

04. Thinking about more than just the visual

As technology progresses, we are being called upon to consider experiences that are more than just visual. Where you are looking, what you are hearing, how you are touching – all of these are becoming increasingly important for UX designers to think about; it’s not just what our users are seeing on a screen. It’s really important we keep educated about the possibilities of technology and think about how we can design full experiences for all the senses.

05. The next evolution of the wireframe

Wireframes are traditionally a staple deliverable of UX designers, but how can we level wireframes up to cope with the expectations of today’s design climate, where motion, gestures and interactivity rule? What is the next evolution of the wireframe and how can it best support our teams? Expect to see some exciting iterations pushing the boundaries of what we think a wireframe is.

06. Creative facilitation is the key

A growing skill area for UX designers is the ability to creatively facilitate workshops, design sprints and meetings. The aim it to be an effective catalyst to propel teams to ideas, decisions and outcomes that are steps ahead of the pack. Leading teams through games, activities and discussions is a crucial job responsibility that more and more companies are jumping on.


On – 28 Apr, 2017 By Yael Levey

Top Security Tips for your WordPress Website

Whenever you talk about WordPress security, every gig hands you a list of security plugins. My point of view and approach are different. I am not saying that using security plugins will not provide you efficient security. All I am saying is that only using security plugins will not completely secure your website. You have to take actions out of the box to tackle any kind of security breach in your website.

Here, in this post, I am not going to babble about those common security practices you probably know already. Although I am going to remind you those practices just to make sure you know them already. These actions are essentials, and you must ensure all these steps to have a better security solution for your WordPress website.


Always update your WordPress, as older versions have more loopholes. If you think an update can crash down your site, just make a backup. Here, the most important thing is that you update. Newer updates mostly try to cover older security loopholes, so it is recommended you keep your WordPress up-to-date.


The same parameters are for plugins and themes. Keeping them up-to-date will not only make those plugins and themes perform better but also keep them safe from any kind of security breach.


If you’re not using a plugin or theme, what is the point of keeping it? Delete it and get rid of it, as there is the possibility that those plugins have not been updated in a long time. These kinds of plugins can allow direct access to a hacker in the backend of your WordPress website.


Always prefer plugins and themes from the sources you know. Plugins and themes from an unreliable source can give malicious software access into your account, and it can create a hell of a blunder. So, always check the source of a plugin before downloading it.


If you’re configuring directories with 777 permissions, change the permissions to 755 or 750. You can further set files to 644 or 640. Configure wp-config.php with 600 permission.


Always avoid using the username as “admin” because it is a default setting of WordPress and you will not like Mr. Hacker to guess your username.


The alphanumeric sequence of special characters and a mix of small caps and large caps can keep the hacker from guessing your password.


One of the most effective methods to stop any brute force attack is set two-step authentication. This enables you to first enter your password and then receive an authorization code that’s sent to your cellphone via SMS. This bolsters your security and certainly minimizes the threat of any brute force attack.


Always activate the firewall on your computer. This adds an extra layer of security for your website to prevent you from any kind of hacking.


There are plugins that allow you to limit the login attempts from a certain IP address. It is advised to use them, for doing so will help sabotage any hacking attempt.

So, these are some common practices one should go for in order to immunize a website against brute force attacks. These actions are essential and very much effective, as well.

Now that those methods are out of the way, I want to give you some practices that you may not have thought of before. These practices are very efficient and provide robust solutions to your website’s security issues.

Before you start making these changes in your functions.php file, please make sure that you create a child theme.


Now, you might think this the same point we made earlier but I want to clear up one thing here. Uninstalling useless plugins is an effective step; however, avoid installing useless plugins in the first place can be the best move. So, strategize your plugin usage.

Make a list of which kind of plugin you might be using, then think about the long-term use of those plugins. Remember one important consideration: the number of plugins you use is directly proportional to the number of ways that can give a hacker access your WordPress website.


I can understand that budgets are one of the important assets of a website. However, I also understand that a security breach is even more important than budget. What is the point of saving money at the cost of your website’s security?

If there is a need for a premium plugin, never download it illegally. It is also unethical. In addition to that, this action may lead to serious consequences. A premium plugin with clean code from a free download link can make a way for a hacker into your website’s back-end.


I have mentioned this point above, but I want you to know one important thing. Updating your WordPress is not a one-time event; it is a recurring process. Site maintenance should be one of your habits. Try to automate these updates.

The same applies to all the plugins and themes, as they are also a part of your website. You should not leave any loopholes in the matter of security. Constantly update your themes and plugins.


Many of you are familiar with the term PHP error reporting – they are good for troubleshooting purposes. Ever notice that these reports contain details of your server path? My point is that if a hacker wants to get into your website, he just needs to look into your error reports to find the server path. So, it is advised that use this code snippet in your wp-config.php.


Leaving your WordPress credentials intact is extremely dangerous. Everyone who uses WordPress knows those default credentials, and so does Mr. Hacker. The main Author is also the administrator of the website; hence, it is crucial to hide the author’s username. In order to hide it, you just need to put these code in your functions.php.

Securing a WordPress site is not just about installing a number of security plugins. It should be a well-executed plan covering all the loopholes and limiting the number of ways to cause a security breach.



On – 27 Apr, 2017 By Emily Johns

Surgeon says human head transplant less than a year away – CNET

 By this time next year, if all goes according to plan, the world’s first human head transplant will have taken place, Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero has revealed.

In early 2015, Canavero made headlines around the world when he announced that he would perform the ground-breaking surgery within two years. Now, he has revealed in an interview with German magazine OOOM that it’s going to take place within 10 months, in China.

The patient will not be previous transplant volunteer Valery Spiridonov, who has a form of spinal muscular atrophy called Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease.

“The first patient will be Chinese,” Canavero said.

The Chinese team of doctors will be led by Xiaoping Ren of Harbin Medical University, who in 2014 published his research on head transplants on mice. Ren was also a member of the team that performed the first successful hand transplant in the US, and in January 2016 published as co-author alongside Canavero an article in the journal Surgical Neurology International on the scientific backlash on the procedure.

The technique was laid out in a 2013 paper, involving a procedure estimated to take 36 hours.

Canavero claims to have successfully performed the procedure on a monkey. But other scientists have expressed ethical concerns. New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan said Canavero was “out of his mind,” noting that even if the procedure can be performed successfully, we have no idea what effect the chemistry of a new body would have on the transplanted head and brain.

Canavero seems confident.

“At the present I can only disclose that there has been massive progress in medical experiments, which would have seemed impossible even as recently as a few months ago,” he said. “The milestones that have been reached will undoubtedly revolutionise medicine. ”
He is also already preparing for his next experimental surgery — transplanting not the entire head, but just the brain. He believes he can accomplish this in three years.

“A brain transplant has many advantages: first, there is barely any immune reaction, which means the problem of rejection does not exist. The brain is, in a manner of speaking, a neutral organ. If you transplant a head with vessels, nerves, tendons and muscles, rejection can pose a massive problem. This is not the case with the brain,” he explained.

“What may be problematic, however, is that no aspect of your original external body remains the same. Your head is no longer there; your brain is transplanted into an entirely different skull.”

You can read the full interview on the OOOM website.


Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.


On – 28 Apr, 2017 By Michelle Starr

Prototypes, Mockups, and Wireframes – Not The Same Thing!

All business website design begins in the same way, regardless of how simple or complicated the final, finished product may be. The planning and visualization process is the same, although individual requirements may differ greatly. Part of that planning includes the use of wireframes, mockups, and prototypes, all different tools that serve individual purposes in the web design process.

What Is A Wireframe?

The simplest of all planning elements used in web design, a wireframe is a basic drawing of a website’s different pages. It is a static roadmap that includes the different functional elements on the different web pages and the pages that will be required to make the site fully functional. A wireframe, whether made on the computer or using sheets of paper, is made with drawn-in labeled boxes to represent the different elements on the page, with a very brief description of what each element must contain or do. This blueprint of the site provides the needed instruction that developers and designers will work from in the construction of any business website design.

What Is A Mockup?

The next step in the process, after a successful wireframe has been built, is to create a mockup. The mockup takes the wireframe and adds a visual aspect. Like the wireframe, the mockup is also a static element; however, it gives a greater appreciation of how the website will look as its design is being developed. Mockups include chosen color palettes, corporate logos, graphic elements, and representative typefaces to build a sample of what the end site will look like.

Its main purpose is to allow clients and designers to work together to make visual decisions. Using a mockup, many visual and even some functional questions can be considered and resolved before actually beginning web design and development work.

What Is A Prototype?

A prototype is a pared-down, yet functional version of a website that is produced after both the wireframe and the mockup have been approved. Prototypes include basic functionality and visual elements, though they are not what the the completed business website design will be at the end of the process.

Built to allow website testing and the study of how specific audiences interact with the site, prototypes are one more tool used to ensure the final site can function as required and achieve its many goals. Prototypes are usually released to a limited audience, then evaluated to determine if there are any changes that should be made to either the base wireframe idea or the visual aspect of the site. Once the prototype is finally approved, it is fully developed into the complete website.

Although they do seem very similar in a number of ways, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes are each critical elements in the web design and development process. Each tool offers all parties involved with the project a chance to consider everything from required functionality to fitting in the right colors and visual elements. Used to gradually fine-tune the development plan, these tools are critical for most efficiently creating an effective business website design!


On – 25 Apr, 2017 By

Ways of driving traffic to your website

Ways of driving traffic to your website

There is nothing bad as having a website that doesn’t receive hits or visitors. A clearly designed website should represent your online virtual office. It is through your website that potential customers get to know your business.

Web design especially in Kenya is an art that is actually lagging behind. Web designers develop a website and forget to put users in mind first because they are the ultimate users of the website.

So do you have a website and wondering how to make use of the current number of online users count on your website? Sit back and read through this article.

The first strategy is seo or search engine optimization. This is simply the process of affecting the visibility of a website on search engines based on certain keywords or search terms. Your website should target a certain phrase on search engines. I am going to mention google at some point because it is the most popular search engine.

For example if your website is about baby toys at what position and page does it rank on the keyword “baby toys”? You will clearly see that those who have done it well rank first on google results pages and are receiving significant amount of traffic to their website.

Social media has taken over. Nearly every individual who has got access to the internet must be signed up to at least one social networking site. Facebook and twitter have a huge following. As a website owner, consider creating a profile for your business in each of these sites. That way you are going to boost traffic that is coming to your website.

Lastly, I would like to mention something email marketing. The email has become an effective tool of communication. Traditionally, emails were strictly used for communication but with the emergence of digital marketing it has become a good channel for introducing products or services.


On – 25 Apr, 2017 By Nick Maleki

CMS Battle for Beginners: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal (Infographic)

Prior to the 1990s, networking required business owners to put on their business attire, shove on dress shoes, drive to a pre-determined location at a pre-determined time, walk into a room full of people who didn’t know each other, go through introductions, explain their business, hand out business cards and hope people remembered to call later.  Building relationships required handshakes, eye contact and, at minimum, picking up the phone and having a conversation.  While a strong argument can be made that these steps still must be taken in order to build strong relationships with other business owners, a new form of networking has catapulted its way to the top.

Shoving face-to-face interactions and business cards out of the way, websites have taken center stage and become the way for small business owners to gain exposure, explain their business and make sure that products and services are memorable. No longer are there pre-determined locations at pre-determined times. Google has helped take the work out of networking by connecting potential customers to potential business owners twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

How Do I Launch a Membership-Based Website?

In the twenty-first century, there is no way a business owner can sustain a profitable business without having some way to advertise and communicate to their customer base through the internet. This means that there are a lot of small business owners who find themselves in a tough situation: They have to create a good without any experience with web design or five figures (or more) to invest in a website.

Yet, for many businesses, their website is the face of the company. First impressions are created and potential customers and clients make decisions in a matter of seconds when scanning a website. For small business owners who must move forward with building their own websites, there are a few key elements they must consider.

5 Things That Belong on the Front Page of Your Website

What’s the Purpose?

Define the main purpose of the website being built. Is the goal to build an email list? Focus on products? Share more information about the company?  No matter what purpose the website serves, it must be clear to the website visitor in just a matter of seconds. Tony Haile, author of Time’s “What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong,” shares his surprising statistic that 55 percent of website visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.  Therefore, with just a few seconds to catch a visitor’s attention, the purpose of the website must be clear.

Web Address and Web Hosting

The most memorable domains, or web addresses, are the most simplistic ones.  For instance, Nike.com is simpler than NikeShoes.com or NikeAthleticShoes.com. Small business owners tend to overthink their domain names rather than just focusing on something that is easy to remember for their clients and potential customers.

Websites must be hosted and stored on a server. Small business owners are fortunate enough to have easy access to web host providers. According to Freeservers.com, “There are literally thousands of web hosting services available today, ranging from free services with limited options to expensive, specialized business web hosting services. Which option you choose depends primarily on how you plan to use your website and how much you want to spend.”

Cheap doesn’t mean better, and taking the time to compare signup versus renewal pricing will pay off in the long run. In their article, “Low-Cost Hosting Guide: Find Cheap Web Host That Doesn’t Suck,” Web Hosting Secrets Revealed points out that “Some budget hosting companies now allow customers to lock in at low renewal price upon signup.”

The Difference Between Websites and Apps

Content Management

The last website decision is which content management system to use. Often times the most user-friendly systems are also the most limiting. On the other end of the spectrum the most versatile systems require a larger learning curve.

Joomla, WordPress, and Droopal make up 58.4 percent of the market share of content management systems. Make A Website Hub created an in-depth info graphic to show the pros and cons of each.

CMS Comparison – WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

Websites are no longer optional for the small business owner. Customers and clients expect to be able to find companies on the web. Although in-depth sites can require a large investment from the budget, most small business owners are able to create a more affordable solution with a website that starts small and is able to grow with the company.


On – 07 Apr, 2017 By Katherine Keller

Hacked routers are trying to brute force into WordPress websites

Malicious hackers are seizing control of poorly-protected home routers, and commanding them to launch attacks designed to brute force their way into WordPress websites.

Security researchers at Wordfence first determined that something noteworthy was happening when they witnessed an unusual spike in attacks originating from Algeria against its customers’ WordPress websites.

Looking deeper into what was happening, the researchers discovered that the attacks were being launched from more than 10,000 IP addresses. 97% of the attacking IP addresses found in the country were owned by customers of the state-owned telecommunications provider, Telecom Algeria.

That might be no surprise if Telecom Algeria was the only internet service provider in the country, but there are approximately 30 other ISPs operating in Algeria.

The researchers determined that the attack was more sophisticated than normal, evading detection by only using each IP address for a short period of time:

These IPs switch on, perform a few attacks and then switch off and aren’t heard from again for a month. What we have found is a botnet that is distributed across thousands of IPs. Each IP is only performing a few attacks, those attacks are spread across many websites and the attacks only last a few minutes or hours.

The attacker controlling this botnet is using several evasive techniques. They are spreading their attacks across a very large number of IP addresses. They are using low frequency attacks to avoid being blocked. They are also spreading their attacks across a large number of WordPress sites.

Surveying the IP addresses, the researchers discovered that many were connected to a router manufactured by Zyzel, running Allegro RomPager 4.07, an embedded web server.

And therein lies the problem.

Way back in 2014, Checkpoint alerted the world to a critical vulnerability in RomPager that they dubbed the “Misfortune Cookie” which could allow an attacker to remotely hijack a router and use it to attack home and business networks.

At the time, Checkpoint said it had “detected approximately 12 million readily exploitable unique devices connected to the Internet present in 189 countries across the globe, making this one of the most widespread vulnerabilities revealed in recent years.

What’s more – the bug had been there for some time. The bug was first introduced into RomPager’s code back in 2002. Yes, this bug has been around for 15 years.


It would be great to think that by now internet-connected devices had been updated by now against a critical vulnerability that has been known about for three years, and been in existence for so long, but clearly some routers have been left to fend for themselves.

And that’s why so many attacks have been seen against WordPress sites, originating from hijacked routers that have a vulnerable version of RomPager version 4.07 on port 7547.

And it’s not just a problem for Algerian computer users. Wordfence produced a list of 28 ISPs around the world who it says have been the launchpad for attacks which suggest compromised routers.

And, if you do a search on Shodan, you’ll find that over 41 million home routers world-wide have port 7547 open to the public internet.

The folks at Wordfence have produced an online tool that can tell users if their router is vulnerable to attack or not.

Clearly if routers were being patched properly with security fixes then this would help to eradicate this particular attack. But owners of vulnerable routers are either oblivious to the problem, don’t know that they should close port 7547 to outside access, or are simply not able to disinfect and update their systems.

Furthermore, maybe some of the affected ISPs have dropped the ball when it comes to properly defending their customers from such flaws too.

Wordfence’s research team has a message for those ISPs:

Exposing port 7547 to the public Internet gives attackers the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in the TR-069 protocol. ISPs should filter out traffic on their network coming from the public internet that is targeting port 7547. The only traffic that should be allowed is traffic from their own Auto Configuration Servers or ACS servers to and from customer equipment.

There are already a large number of compromised routers out there. ISPs should immediately start monitoring traffic patterns on their own networks for malicious activity to identify compromised routers. They should also force-update their customers to firmware that fixes any vulnerabilities and removes malware.

But what about the other side of the attack? How can owners of WordPress sites protect themselves from brute-force attacks that attempt to break into their admin consoles.

It’s not as though there is a small pool of potential victims. WordPress is the software that powers around a quarter of all websites, making it a hot target for online criminals.

  • Choose a strong, long, unique password for your WordPress admin account.
  • Choose a hard-to-guess username for your WordPress site’s administrator account.
  • Consider enabling two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorised access to your WordPress admin account, even if your password is guessed or compromised.

For more tips on securing your WordPress website from attack, read this guide.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc



On – 13 Apr, 2017 By Graham Cluley

For Web Developers, Speed Is the New SEO

We are in the golden age of mobile. Nearly every person in this world uses a mobile device when looking for information online. For this reason, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have catered to the needs and behaviors of these mobile users worldwide to ensure satisfying, positive experiences. In fact, Google gives a mobile-friendly site a boost in search engine ranking in relation to its recent algorithm update.

But once an SMB has gained a competitive advantage by making its website mobile-friendly, what should be next?

Page speed and why it matters

Page speed refers to the time it takes a specific web page to display its content — text, images and more.

Google uses a point-based system that ranges from 0-100 that considers two main components of page speed: time to above-the-fold load and time to full page load

When optimized, page speed can work wonders for your brand — no matter what your business goals are. Fast loading sites, in general, receive 25% more views in ads, lower bounce rates and better reputations. Best of all, users stay longer.

That’s why your page speed directly affects your sales and conversions. The faster your web page, the more revenue you’ll make.

Optimizing for speed

The first step to optimizing a website’s speed is to analyze its current performance. Then, after confirming a slow loading time, SMBs can get started with speeding up their sites by optimizing images, minifying code and using a caching system.

One excellent solution to guarantee fast website speed is to use a site builder that’s pre-designed with speed in mind. That way, you don’t have to optimize page speed yourself, which can take a lot of time and effort.

To date, there are known website builders that vary in speed performance, including Squarespace, WordPress, Weebly, Wix and Duda.

How fast is fast?

Google aims for a minimum speed of less than half a second. However, they have set the threshold to 2 seconds. Beyond 2 seconds, your site can be considered slow.

Because the most practical solution to building speed is starting with a platform that has already been tightly optimized, we need to look at the actual Google PageSpeed Insights test results of the abovementioned leading selected website builders in the market.

1. WordPress

WordPress scored 62/100 on mobile and 83/100 on the desktop. The test was based on WordPress’ first theme (Edin) for businesses.

2. Weebly

Weebly scored 48/100 on mobile and 58/100 on the desktop. The test was based on Weebly’s LoveSeat theme.

3. Wix

Wix scored 48/100 on mobile and 71/100 on the desktop. The test was based on its Barista theme.

4. Duda

Duda scored 91/100 on mobile and 97/100 on the desktop. The test was based on one of Duda’s websites. Among the four, Duda had the highest score on speed performance.

Selling speed to your customers

Small and medium-sized business have accepted mobile optimization and have therefore followed the best practices to gain loyal customers. The next critical ranking factor to capitalize on is page speed. While brands can tap into methods to speed up their sites, building their online businesses from the ground up while using a platform that’s designed to the latest speed advancements puts them far ahead of the curve.

Customers are making quick judgments about you the moment they arrive at your site. A few seconds of delay creates a strong negative impression.


Page speed is a critical element that online businesses cannot shove aside. Make your customers’ web experiences hassle-free and worthwhile. Don’t give them a reason to choose competitors simply because you failed to optimize for speed. Using a platform built for speed is the most sensible way for you to guarantee higher conversions, a better Google ranking, and top-notch customer satisfaction.


On – 28 Mar, 2017 By Segun Onibalusi