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

Archive for October, 2011

First West African Workshop on Wireless Sensor Networks with applications in environmental monitoring

The Department of Computer Engineering, University of Ghana in conjunction with the International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the Association of African Universities (AAU) will organise a four days workshop on Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) on 5th – 8th December in Accra, at the ICT Directorate, University of Ghana, Legon. The Workshop will provide a forum for the participants to interact, discuss and exchange their knowledge with the experts working in the field of wireless sensor networks. The activity will enable delegates to gain knowledge on the advancements in the related fields and build an environmental wireless sensor network in their countries.


  • Dr. Boubakar Barry (AAU)
  • Dr. Godfrey Mills (UG)
  • Dr. Antoine Bagula (UCT)
  • Dr. Marco Zennaro

Application and Participation Requirements

  • Qualification: Academics, practicing engineers, research scholars and enthusiastic students from all African countries may attend the activity. Preference will be given to candidates who have theoretical background in wireless sensor networking and who want to get practical knowledge of the technology.
  • Registration: There is no registration fee for attending the activity. However, due to limited funding, only lunches and coffee breaks will be provided. Participants should seek support from their institutions to cover travel, lodging and other expenses. Due to space limitation, the number of participants is limited to twenty.
  •  Deadline: Applications (CV and max. 1-page motivation letter) should be sent by November 1st, 2011. Applications should be sent to Dr. Boubakar Barry at
More info here.

Wireless sensor networks and energy harvesting coming together

Zero power wireless sensors are now available, which bring together new low power wireless ICs with energy harvesters (which harvest energy from heat, light or motion, for example) and the appropriate form of energy storage and conditioning.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) could involve billions of sensors which are needed on utility assets, buildings, pollution monitors, traffic control systems, in agriculture and much more but adoption has been hindered by conventional primary batteries, which will eventually need replacing and therefore cannot be fitted and forgotten for a long period.
The Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS conference and exhibition hosted by IDTechEx in Boston on Nov 15-16 ( ) will showcase the new energy harvester-powered wireless sensors now available. For example, Microstrain will present on wireless sensing systems powered by thermal, solar and vibration means targeted to a wide range of applications, as will EnOcean, who have created a successful and rapidly growing business targeting building automation. EnOcean will discuss “Limitless Environment for Developing Wireless and Energy Harvesting Devices for Building Automation”.
More info here.

The IPSO Alliance Debuts New Technology

The IPSO Alliance wrapped up a full week of successful IP-related events including a two-day interoperability test, public member product demonstration, and informative member meeting.  “This has been a great week for the IPSO Alliance.  We’ve shown the viability of using IP to bring together embedded networking across all industries,” said Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the Alliance.

The week began with 11 companies participating in the multi-vendor IP Smart Object interoperability event, which tested implementations of 6LoWPAN, IPv6, and COAP.  IPSO member companies Bosch, Convergence Wireless, Dust Networks, NXP Semiconductor, Proto6, Sensinode, Symphony Networks, Ubilogix and Watteco were key contributors of “unplug-fest.”

Preceding the demonstrations, three industry luminaries provided keynotes: Stuart Sikes, President of Parks Associates; Bo Begole, Principal Scientist of PARC, a Xerox company; and Whitfield Diffie, renowned Public Key Cryptographer. IPSO members Convergence Wireless, Dust Networks, Ember, GreenWave Reality, National Instruments, Nivis, NXP Semiconductors, Proto6, Sensinode, and Synapse Wireless displayed products incorporating IP in Smart Energy, commercial building, and industrial technologies.  “IP-based wireless sensor networking standards such as 6LoWPAN will play an important role in unifying sensor networking applications across a variety of wired and wireless networks,” said Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks, which demonstrated their SmartMesh IP.

NXP Semiconductors Product Marketing Manager, Colin Faulkner, noted, “The continued evolution of JenNet-IP [for] applications such as home lighting and load control is essential to the widespread adoption of IP-enabled home automation systems. [Our] demonstration at the IPSO Alliance shows just how easily this technology can integrate Internet connectivity.”  Other founding members also participated: Nivis, who showed their integration-ready IP and open-standards based Smart Object platform; Proto6, who exhibited a wireless, interconnected smoke detector and thermostat; and Sensinode, who promoted the availability of the NanoService Solution.

More info here.

Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform with Bluetooth Sensors over ZigBee

The new Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform from Libelium allows to create real time systems for monitoring vehicular and pedestrian traffic in cities by using the new Bluetooth – ZigBee double radio feature available in the Waspmote sensor board. The platform is capable of sensing the flow of Bluetooth devices in a given street, roadway or passageway differentiating hands-free car kits from pedestrian phones. Sensor data is then transferred by a multi-hop ZigBee radio, via an internet gateway, to a server. The traffic measurements can then be analysed to address congestion of either vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

More info here.

Sensors Help Firefighters Predict and Monitor Fires

From a distance, standing on the windy ridge in Las Trampas Regional Park, the space-age contraption surrounded by a chain link fence looks out of place in the middle of swaying grass and a herd of grazing cows. But this array of sensors, hooked up to a central computer, is playing an integral role in protecting this landscape, as part of a network of weather stations that have made a big difference over the last 20 years in monitoring and predicting fire risk in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

“We can now see patterns and trends that one station wouldn’t really give us, but that the network does provide,” says East Bay Regional Parks Fire Department Assistant Chief John Swanson. “A better understanding of those patterns and trends may have helped us in 1991.”

These Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) represent one of the biggest advancements in fire preparedness since the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire raged through the area now monitored by the new stations. A national RAWS network existed before 1991, but there were no stations in the Bay Area. The Oakland Fire Department now owns two stations, installed in 1994 and 1995. The East Bay Regional Parks District owns four stations, all installed in 1995.

Swanson said the data from this network of stations could have helped predict the surprising behavior of the 1991 fire.

More info here.

China plans big investment in Internet of Things

The Chines government has planned total investment of CNY3,860 billion (US$603 billion) to develop the country’s Internet of Things industry until 2020, China-based 21st Century Business Herald cited China R&D Center for Internet of Things (CIT-China) as indicating.

The value of Internet of Things applications in the China market is projected to grow from CNY250 billion in 2011 to CNY500 billion in 2015, the report said. While Internet of Things technology is currently applied mainly to security, electricity distribution and transportation, there are huge potentials from the logistics, medicare and handset-based electronic payment sectors.

However, CIT-China said the main problems in developing Internet of Things in China are a lack of proprietary core technologies and industry standards, difficulty in cross-industry collaboration and the need to seek profitable operating models.

More info here.

Telefónica and China Unicom reach an strategic agreement to develop M2M and The Internet of Things

The agreement is key for the M2M business, as it means collaborating along the entire value chain, from the development of standards to the joint development of end to end M2M vertical products and the commercialisation of solutions. It represents a further step forward in the strategic alliance signed by the two companies in 2009, based on cooperation in different business areas and on their cross holding.


Telefónica, through its recently created unit Telefónica Digital, and China Unicom today signed a strategic agreement to promote the development of M2M and the Internet of Things in a global scope. The objective involves making advances in improving connections between machines, traditionally known as M2M, through many different technologies such as cellular communications, identification by radiofrequency (RFID), sensors or global positioning systems (GPS).

This agreement derives from the wide-ranging strategic alliance entered into by the two companies and based on cooperation in areas such as purchasing, mobile services platforms, services for multinationals, wholesale services, roaming or technology. An alliance which also includes a share exchanging agreement between both parties and reciprocal representation at the Company’s Board’s, as well as a strategic alignment to exploit the combined scale of both Telefónica and China Unicom.

More info here.

IOT Comic Book

Mirko Presser: “About a year ago, I started working on a – then new – European project called the Internet of Things Initiative (IoT-i) on a topic that was supposed to find strategically important IoT applications. We managed to gather about 150 application scenarios, short texts describing an IoT application in a situation. Quite diverse material and mainly from other European projects – past and present. After categorisation, combining and elimination we ended up with just fewer than 60 application scenarios that we presented to the public in a survey to find out what scenarios would be strategically important. About 300 persons, mainly from the ICT community, from over 30 different countries, took the survey. Now this is not bad – but it is staying within the ICT community. We need to branch out. We need to engage the general public, public authorities and business stakeholders that will be the contributors and end users of the Internet of Things. We need a new medium to communicate the idea of the Internet of Things, its challenges, its problems and its benefits; encouraging people to think about this new disruptive technology. There are few things better than telling a story with pictures. This “comic book” is aimed at everybody. Everybody can look at the stories that are being told and form an opinion. Use them as a basis for deep discussions or just as inspiration; agree or disagree and anything in between – but talk about it. We invite you to use the material in this book to communicate and think about the Internet of Things.”

Mirko Presser, The Alexandra Institute, Autumn 2011

You can download an electronic version of the comic book.

FedEx CIO Carter: 'Next era of Internet is sensor-based computing'

FedEx Chief Information Officer Robert Carter said the company’s big bet is that sensors and the Internet of things will dominate its mobility strategy in the future.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando on Wednesday, Carter covered a lot of ground ranging from service-oriented architecture, cloud computing and simplification of the rat’s nest of IT. However, mobility is what extends those systems to the point where packages are actually dropped at a customer’s house.

FedEx actually owned wireless spectrum before cell phones became the norm, all in an effort to extend connectivity to the edge of a delivery. They created their own handhelds and had 800Mhz of spectrum in the 1980s. That spectrum has since been sold with the launch of cell phones, but Carter is big on mobility.

More info here.

Video – Waspmote Gases Sensor Board

Libelium has launched a new video showing the capabilities of the Gases Sensor Board for the Waspmote platform. Some of the gas sensors which can be included in the board are Carbon Monoxide – CO, Carbon Dioxide – CO2, Oxygen – O2, Methane – CH4, Hydrogen – H2, Ammonia – NH3, Hydrogen Sulfide – H2S, Nitrogen Dioxide – NO2, Ozone – O3, Isobutane, Ethanol, Toluene, Hydrocarbons, VOC, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. Values read are sent using the 802.15.4/ZigBee radio to the gateway what makes the system the perfect solution when implementing Wireless Sensor Networks to control gas levels and air quality.

More info here.