New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for May, 2011

Streetline Networks has immediate engineering openings

At Streetline Networks, we are realizing the promise of sensor networks to revolutionize how cities are run. Streetline deploys Cloud-based SaaS solutions with robust sensing using mesh sensor networks to measure parking and traffic trends, manage city assets, and direct drivers to available parking spots in real-time through mobile devices on the iPhone and Android platforms.

Streetline is actively recruiting for the following openings at its Peninsula offices:

1. Director of Engineering, Applications
2. Senior Software Engineer, Applications
3. Senior Software Engineer, Sensing and Processing
4. Senior Project Manager
5. Senior Software Engineer, Infrastructure
6. Senior Software Engineer, System Integration

Our system spans embedded sensor hardware, networking equipment, and signal processing all the way up to Cloud-based SaaS/web and mobile user applications — these positions call for very strong systems thinking, technical breadth and creative innovations well beyond the typical web or desktop application. We are searching for people with 5+ years experience.

More info here.

The Internet Of Things: How Will We Trust A Word It Says?

From the WSJ:

Cisco ran a rather grandiosely named “Pan-European Security Council” yesterday, which wasn’t really any such thing. Nor, alas, did it deliver on its promise to look at the security issues surrounding the future internet when 50 billion or more devices are wired up, the so-called “internet of things”.

This was a missed opportunity because this is an area worth investigating, and a networking company like Cisco could have brought some real insight. Instead we were treated to the usual diet of how teenagers use Facebook and, that hoariest of hoary internet subjects, the internet-enabled fridge.

But what are the security issues surrounding an internet of 50 billion devices, 48 billion of which are going to be cheap remote sensors of some kind? And what are the security implications?

One of the key issues is data integrity. How do you trust the data your sensors are sending? In fact how do you even know it is a sensor that is sending data at all, and not a bot or piece of malware?

Then there is the problem of encryption. When smart meters are installed across the grid you can be sure that they will have a high degree of encryption built into them—after all they are likely to be pretty expensive pieces of kit. You can be sure that authentication and encryption will be built in.

But what about a cheap (less than €1) sensor that is, say, responsible for reporting whether a parking place is occupied, or one that reports on the tensions in a restraining cable. How much encryption will be built into a 10¢ chip? But if it sends its data unencrypted, and it doesn’t use proper authentication, then it really is a simple matter of jumping in and adding whatever data you want to that stream.

So what? Why does this matter? Well it comes down to data integrity. There are two sorts of cyber criminals (actually there are loads, but let’s just take two for now); those out to make a quick buck, and those who are rather more sophisticated and perhaps have other, more destructive, aims.

More info here.

Dust Networks Expands WSN Product Line with 6LoWPAN Offering

Dust Networks®, the leader in intelligent wireless sensor network solutions, today announced the availability of their new SmartMesh® IP wireless sensor network (WSN) evaluation kits. SmartMesh IP combines the reliability and ultra-low power of Dust Networks’ industrial products with native Internet Protocol (IP), for a robust, standards-based offering perfect for a broad range of applications

“Dust Networks’ TSMP technology was the foundational building block of the IEC62591 wireless standard that enabled explosive growth in the industrial wireless sensing market,” said Harry Forbes, Senior Analyst with ARC Advisory Group. “With their new IP-based product, enterprise customers can benefit from the same low power and reliability that industrial customers have relied on for years,” Forbes continued.

SmartMesh IP provides robust wire-free connectivity for applications where low power, reliability, and ease of deployment matter. With Dust Networks’ new Eterna™ 802.15.4e SoC technology, every node in a SmartMesh IP network will run on batteries for 10 years, or forever with an energy harvesting power source. Even a simple solar calculator cell can power a SmartMesh IP router in a busy network. The ability to put a sensor anywhere, without wiring, allows network deployments that do not disrupt a building’s operations or occupants. With built-in intelligence that enables the mesh network to self-form and self-maintain, SmartMesh systems are easily deployed by field technicians with no wireless technology expertise.

More info here.

 

CEO of GreenPeak explains ZigBee RF4CE

Interview — what is Zigbee RF4CE?

Removing the clutter of multiple remote controls scattered around the coffee table is a silent desire of many consumers. But the real driving factor for acceptance of RF4CE is cable TV companies and service providers who want to expand their service into the home. Specifically, the remote control has become the key point of contact with the consumer, so what more can be done with it?

Operators are recognizing the opportunity to provide additional services. Examples are using the remote control to turn up or down the lights, the heating or air-conditioning, but also to monitor/manage the energy consumption, to manage security, to control the locks of the house – in essence the longer term view for the remote control is as a dashboard, controlling many functions in and around the house.

The interview link is here.

Over the Air Programming with 802.15.4 and ZigBee

Libelium announces the launch of OTA, a solution that lays the foundation for Over the Air Programming (OTAP) for wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things over 802.15.4 and ZigBee.

OTA Benefits:

  • Enables the upgrade or change of firmware versions without physical access
  • Allows to recover any sensor node which gets stuck
  • Let discover nodes in the area just sending a broadcast discovery query
  • Enables to upgrade an entire network in just a couple of minutes
  • No interferences are caused: OTA is performed using a change of channel between the programmer and the desired node

Read more about Libelium OTA.

Google Launches Android Open Accessory Development Kit Based On Arduino

As seen in the streaming of Google IO 2011, physical computing and interactive enviroments are one of the main topics opening the conference. The Android Open Accessory Kit is going to allow Android related devices receive data from different sensors (just via USB, for now).

The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) provides an implementation of an Android USB accessory that is based on the Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform, the accessory’s hardware design files, code that implements the accessory’s firmware, and the Android application that interacts with the accessory. The hardware design files and code are contained in the ADK package download.

The board is  based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs, since it communicates to the phone in its “accessory” mode. You can get the custom library / firmware to make it run & test with the shield pictured on top.

More info on the [Android Developer site], via [engadget] source [Google IO].

 

Google, Lighting Science partner on Android-powered LED bulb

Internet giant Google and LED manufacturer Lighting Science Group on Tuesday revealed that they have partnered to develop an LED light bulb that can be controlled from an Android-powered smartphone.

The Florida-based lighting firm calls it “intelligent LED lighting,” and announced it with Google during the company’s keynote presentation at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

The first product, a 60-watt equivalent bulb, is a combination of Lighting Science’s knowledge of light geometry and Google’s connected software know-how.

An Internet-connected LED bulb? Yes, and here’s why: with a little help from your home’s Wi-Fi network, you can dim or turn off lights remotely — or to program them to do so.

Better still, the LED bulbs can leverage your smartphone’s GPS and proximity sensors, turning on lights when you walk into a room with the phone in your pocket.

Google has always occupied the home area network space, but this is the first time it has addressed a specific appliance in the home. (If you’re an avid reader of SmartPlanet, you’ll know that the “Internet of Things” — from cars to water heaters to toasters to yes, light bulbs — is just around the corner.)

It’s not just a consumer play, but a commercial one, too. Networked lighting companies such asAduraLumenergiRedwood Systems and others — Google rival Microsoft’s focus on commercial building management comes to mind — deal primarily with office buildings and datacenters; this announcement hints at similar applications.

The companies say the product will arrive in retail stores this fall.

More info here.

 

GainSpan Launches Its Next-Generation Wi-Fi Module for Embedded Devices

GainSpan Corporation, a provider of ultra low-power embedded Wi-Fi solutions, launched its Wi-Fi module that brings future-proof wireless connectivity to embedded devices.

The GS1500M is an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module with Wi-Fi Direct capability. It is designed for embedded devices that require next generation Wi-Fi connectivity services, such as security cameras, home appliances and industrial control systems.

Gain Span customers can gain as the module makes it easy to add Wi-Fi connectivity to standard 8-32 bit microcontrollers. It is aimed at plug-and-play integration of Wi-Fi into embedded platforms using SPI or UART interfaces.

The new module is built on GainSpan’s ultra low power embedded Wi-Fi portfolio. The module enables new opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications where 802.11b/g/n connectivity is a key requirement.

More info here.

Full Duplex Wireless

A very interesting video of a new wireless radio that can transmit and receive at the same time:

Standards Back Up Wireless Sensors

Some technologies are technically viable and commercially deployed for decades before acceptance by industrial machine and robot OEMs. The roadblock often is lack of standards, and such has been the case for wireless in general and wireless sensors in particular.

A second factor limiting wireless sensor deployment has been power requirements. The main reason to go wireless is to save the time and expense of running wires, both signal and power. Early wireless sensors transmitted signals wirelessly, but still required power.

But the latest incarnations of wireless sensors have their own power source, often in the form of a battery. In many cases, the battery can be charged using power scavenged from the environment in the form of heat, light and/or vibration. A technology just entering the commercial arena will allow power to be delivered through the ether to the sensor itself.

The resulting wireless sensors fulfill OEM requirements: reliability, no need for signal or power wiring, and adherence to an industry-wide standard. “Wireless has been used in other areas of industry for more than 20 years, but is only now gaining mass acceptance due to standards activities, which ease nervousness about being tied to one vendor,” says Garrett Schmidt, wireless product manager at Phoenix Contact (www.phoenixcontact.com).

“WirelessHART was released in 2007, and since that time, about five companies have released products to the market,” Schmidt says. “Today, only one company actively sells WirelessHART instruments, but we expect that to change in 2011, and a few other companies are selling gateways and adapters. The ISA100 wireless standard is also in the works, and there will be some more niche standards emerging in the next few years.”

More info here.