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

Archive for July, 2011

From M2M To The Internet of Things – Viewpoints From Europe

The following is an opinion article from Dan Verhaeghe.

M2M is loosely defined in my opinion as just one aspect of the Internet of Things as it is computers communicating with one another to perform tasks at hand, just as we use computers to communicate socially with one another, while another side is “smart objects” communicating with various forms of mobile media to devices and with each other. I touched on this some months ago that mobile media was enabling product or object media to occur.

IBM, in a 2009 video, shortly after they announced their ambitious vision to create a smarter planet said that 66% of products developed in the last year included embedded information technology. While that number is likely higher today, we’re also beginning to see embedded information technology on real products, and consumers are quickly learning how to access them mainly through most widely understood open-source QR and NFC technologies, accessible through the download of an app. The Internet of Things as some corporate viewpoints suggest is one that deals with the interconnectivity of massive networks of objects, and the number of interconnected objects in the next decade is often estimated in the billions. Neelie Kroes, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda says:

The stakes are high. The IoT is expected to connect 50 billion devices by 2020. That’s about six for each man, woman and child on the planet. The shift from an Internet of People to an Internet of Things will create unprecedented market opportunities.

It’s important to remember that those 50 billion interconnected objects will be in millions of different ecosystems, unlike the Internet which is one giant ecosystem accessible by all. Kroes continues in saying:

The IoT requires a new way of thinking about technology. As objects start to sense and communicate, they become tools to help us deal with complex or urgent situations. Applications like health monitoring, interconnected cars, and location-based services will bring benefits to users and society.

You can read more on the six page statement here which goes into how to gain consumer trust, addresses privacy concerns, and talks about standardization.

Budapest Presentation

Dr. Lara Srivastava, a Professor in Media and Communications at Webster University and involved with the World Bank in information development among other things did a presentation in Budapest on May 16th explains that they are four key enablers to The Internet of Things: 1) Tagging Things (NFC, QR Codes, Digital Watermarking, etc.) 2) Sensing Things (such as botanicals which is technology that reacts to moisture, smart textiles and smart pavement) 3) Shrinking Things (making products smaller, yet smarter) 4) Thinking Things (objects that access semantic web and open cloud data to customize things) Lara says that we’ve always had sensors, and that we’ve been at pains for some time to make information processing smaller, faster and cheaper. She continued in saying that convergence has long been the name of the game with wireless communication (RFID, GSM, 3G, WLAN, WiMAX, LTE) communication, product identification (barcodes, RFID), process control (sensor networks, home automation) and network interconnection (Ethernet, Internet, www, email) Lara continued in saying that embedded intelligence (smart cities, homes, transportation, and beyond), real-time monitoring (medical applications and environmental management), augmented reality (real and virtual world seamlessness) and semantic information (where a smart web known as Web 3.0 could meet the Internet of Things) were the major complimentary technologies to look forward to. You can watch the full video here:

Annual European Internet of Things Conference

Iskander Smit, the Strategy Director at recapped the annual European Internet of Things conference held in Brussels June 28-29, and of interest was Usman Haque. Haque, the Founder and CEO of Pachube, a real-time open data web service for the Internet of Things, believes that the success of the Internet of Things will depend on open data such as various cloud networks. He suggests that the latter has already been proven through the much documented Japan earthquake and tsunami where people used radiation sensors and reported on levels which were much more effective than government reporting. If you remember, the Japanese government was criticized around the world for trying to make the nuclear disaster appear less serious than it actually was at first. This bodes well for the potential of “social objects” as well that access a smarter web and open cloud data. Haque further illustrated in a graph that different elements of mobile can work together to create a solution that goes beyond addressing the needs of different silos individually by integrating all together within the enterprise, as I’ve been quick to point out with recaps of both IT World’s MobiBiz Conference and the Mobile Marketing Association’s Toronto conference in the past few weeks. Convergence is quickly becoming the name of the game in mobile.

Challenges Ahead, But Pieces Are Here

Smit quotes speaker Alexander Bassi:

The Internet of Things is also triggering new questions on ownership and consumption….we grow into an access based economy, where IoT makes a pay-what-you-use system possible on an individual level. Something that triggers new challenges.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is privacy, as Smit himself gave a preview of the results of a research study outlining what should come as no surprise to anyone, that privacy was the biggest concern. On the bright side though, respondents also saw lots of possibilities for a more efficient and comfortable life, like Pilgrim Beart, the co-founder of AlertMe showed through his energy bill reduction and home security monitoring platform. Iskander Smit said that we have dual business models based on different combinations of objects and services in the Internet of Things. You can view his full presentation here. While there are also potentially congested spectrums with new data infiltrating existing networks through connected objects and devices that worries most IT experts, it was suggested that spectrum sharing could solve that problem. And yes, indeed, Rob van Kranenburg, an expert at the EU Commission on IoT, said that all the wagons are on track, but can use some extra boost to get them running.

More info here.

Monnit Releases Seven New Wireless Sensors and “Plug and Sense” Ethernet Gateway for Wireless Sensors.

Monnit Corporation released seven new low cost wireless sensors designed for commercial, industrial and consumer applications. The new sensors complement Monnit’s existing line of low-cost wireless sensors to now total nineteen different types of sensors for broad applications. The new wireless sensors include the following:
• Wireless Infrared Motion Sensor can be used to detect motion or movement using infrared technology.
• Wireless Flex Sensor measures the amount of flex or bend applied to a flexible ribbon.
• Wireless LUX Sensor measures intensity of light present and returns a LUX value for the amount of light present.
• Wireless High Accuracy Humidity Sensor detects and measures relative humidity, temperature and dew point with a +/- 2% accuracy between 10% – 90% humidity.
• Wireless 0-20mA Current Sensor provides a wireless interface for 0-20mA sensors.
• Wireless Analog Voltage Sensor provides a wireless interface for measuring the voltage from other devices.
• Wireless Liquid Level Sensor detects the level of a liquid in a container by its position on a liquid sensitive ribbon.

Also, Monnit has released a much anticipated addition to their gateway product line.
• MonnitLink™ Ethernet Gateway allows Monnit WIT Wireless Sensors to communicate with Monnit’s online sensor monitoring and alerting system without the need for a computer.

Monnit’s wireless gateways transmit data between local sensor networks and the iMonnit online monitoring and notification system. Monnit’s software allows for user customization and notification of events via email or text messages. All of Monnit’s wireless sensors include free basic iMonnit online sensor monitoring with SMS text and email alerting.

For more information on Monnit sensors, gateways and monitoring visit their Website.

R&D job in software for sensors and building energy management in UCDublin

This is an excellent opportunity in Ireland at the edge between research and commercial development, which outcome aims to be a consumer product.

The engineer will interact with European industrial and academic partners in the development of an online social platform for energy management in buildings based on data from sensors. The aim is to develop a platform that collect data from sensors and energy meters to detect usage profiles and provide personalised and automated energy-reduction recommendations.

Java/javascript, SQL, Ruby on rails are the preferred development platform/languages.

Starting date is flexible however they aim to hire ASAP. If interested, please apply by July 18th through the UCD website:
ref: 004609

WSN-based Innovative Aquaculture Ecosystem

The Philippines Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) presented a locally developed farm-to-market ecosystem for aquaculture at the 8th Asia Pacific Telecommunication and ICT Development Forum in Macau, China.

COMSTE works with the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC), Japan and Thailand in a project that aims to help fisherfolk avoid losses arising from fishkills and simultaneously create a farm to market ecosystem that would allow them to take advantage of available technology.

The APT SHARE project funded by the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) aims to create a broadband farm-to-market ecosystem for fisherfolk. The project is being piloted at Lake Palakpakin in San Pablo, Laguna.
The project aims to create a sustainable lake-based aquaculture environment, which is important to the country’s quest for stable fish food supply.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of COMSTE said that the AIC demonstrated several new technologies that address critical problems for fisherfolk, such as the occurrence of fish kills several times a year.

Engineering and environmental science researchers designed a floating field sever than can roam around the lake and measure water clarity, dissolved oxygen, temperature versus depth, and even take underwater videos of fish movement. All the measured parameters are fed over a wireless sensor network to a data centre in the community.
This way, locals are able to monitor the health of the lakes system. Fishing communities want to make aquaculture, agriculture and ecotourism viable livelihood options for the future. The fishermen reportedly found the underwater cameras were very useful in ensuring that their fish nets were properly containing their catch.

The project will also implement remote sensing techniques tied up with cloud computing and data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to create decision support systems and sustainability mapping.

Fish feeding technologies will also be explored, like the utilisation of market waste to produce fish feed. All data will eventually be accessible from cloud technology directly to smart phones, enabling fisherfolk to manage and maintain the aquaculture network.

Senator Angara said that in the future, this ecosystem will be linked to communities in Thailand and Japan, so the lessons learned in Lake Palakpakin can be shared with neighbouring countries.

“This groundbreaking technology is empowering our fisherfolk, allowing them to increase their productivity and protect their livelihood. At the same time, we are contributing immensely to the global knowledge on aquaculture management,” he added.

Senator Angara noted that the recent fish kill that hit Taal Lake and the P5 million worth of fish lost in Legazpi City are good examples of severe fish kills that devastated the local fishing communities.

More info here.