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

Archive for October, 2011

Sensinode announces the NanoService Platform

Sensinode  today announced release of the NanoService™ Platform, a highly-scalable backend management platform. The NanoService™ Platform is designed to enable the rapid deployment of challenging M2M systems by providing efficient management of nodes and their resources and allowing applications to be easily developed using well understood Web services.

Designed to support M2M networks of up to 20 million nodes and up to 100 million daily transactions per cluster, the NanoService Platform offloads the complexity of Embedded Web service deployment from service providers and system integrators. Applications in the emerging Smart Grid, the Connected Home, lighting and many other industrial/consumer segments involving wireless sensing and control are readily accommodated by the Sensinode solution architecture.

“The evolution of the Internet of Things is accelerating on multiple fronts, including  standards development, integration of IPv6 into the upcoming ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 profile, and the global trend to leverage mobile communications infrastructure for M2M applications,” said Adam Gould, Chief Executive Officer of Sensinode. “Our goal with the NanoServices Platform is to support fast development of applications using standard Web tools, while at the same time making the details of the wireless network transparent to our customers.”

The NanoService Platform presents an environment for easy development of standard REST (Representational State Transfer) applications while utilizing standards for Embedded Web services such as CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) and compact messaging formats including EXI (Efficient XML Exchange) for efficient transport of data.

More info here and here.


CPS Week Workshops & Tutorials

The CPS Week 2012 (Cyber-Physical Systems Week) in Beijing will include a workshop and tutorial day on April 16, 2012. Each workshop will provide an arena for presentations and discussions about a special topic of relevance to CPS Week. Each tutorial will present in-depth content in a mini-course format aimed primarily at students, researchers, or attendees from industry.

Proposals: If you are interested in organising a workshop or a tutorial at CPS Week 2012, please send a proposal (maximum 2-page PDF file) containing information about the following:

* Workshop or tutorial title,
* Abstract (maximum 200 words),
* The topic of the workshop/tutorial and how it relates to CPS Week,
* The organisers behind the workshop/tutorial including contact information, and short bio and affiliation,
* Proposed Program Committee,
* Planned review procedures,
* In the case of a workshop what the intended format will be (invited presentations, submitted presentations, panels, etc),
* Expected sponsorships (if any),
* Profile of a typical attendee (academic researcher, student or industry participant),
* A rough estimate of the number of participants,
* In case the workshop/tutorial has been previously held, provide information on the conference, date, and number of attendees.

See also:

Please send the proposal to the CPSWeek 2012 workshop and tutorial chair, Thiemo Voigt, [thiemo AT-symbol] – with subject “[CPSWEEK 2012] Workshop and Tutorial Proposal”.

Registration to workshops will be handled in connection with registration to the conference part of CPS Week. The CPS Week 2012 reserves the right to cancel non-viable workshops/tutorials.

Important Dates:

* October 30, 2011: Submission of workshop and tutorial proposals
* November 10, 2011: Notification of acceptance
* April 16, 2012: Workshop and Tutorial day

Lockheed Martin Launches Wireless Sensor Network System for Surveillance Operations

US-based security company Lockheed Martin has launched a new wireless sensor network system called the Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network (SPAN) which consists of ground sensors. The sensors are small and can be easily camouflaged according to the surroundings thus enabling continuous surveillance of the secured area.

Each sensor node of the system has a built-in subsystem to harvest energy from surrounding sources thus enabling the sensor to recharge itself. This feature makes the system very cost-effective and eliminates the need for replacing the sensors manually.

For any sensor to work efficiently and serve its purpose its battery life is very important. The sensor nodes can be positioned by using a touch screen interface. Information from the network of sensors is processed within the secured area through algorithms. The network of sensors can also give an indication to the camera or an unmanned aerial vehicle to further survey the area of concern. Since the sensors can be camouflaged easily it makes it difficult for detection and reduces the chances of being tampered with. This in turn provides consistent surveillance and protection.

Particular structures that can make use of the SPAN are bridges, pipelines, aircrafts and other environments where structures have to be monitored. Lockheed Martin has around 126,000 global employees who are focused on the design, development, manufacturing and selling of the company’s advanced technology, services and products.

More info here.

WSN in the Real World ­ A Workshop

ZigBee Alliance Fall 2011 Members Meeting – OPEN TO PUBLIC – October 28 2011 – Barcelona, Spain

This free public workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to exchange wireless sensor network (WSN) information on standards, markets and projects, with a particular focus on the European market.  Attendees will gain an understanding of European Commission research and development in this area as well as a view of local projects and deployments in Spain.

This workshop brings together researchers, developers, program managers and ZigBee subject matter experts to share information on projects, research and development, deployments and markets for wireless sensors in Europe. Sharing experiences and vision into the future on requirements and results of R&D projects related to WSN will enable participants to identify opportunities to exploit new results as well as allow researchers to understand how commercial markets drive ZigBee standard development.

The workshop is a collaborative effort by i2CAT, a research and innovation center in Barcelona, the European Commission (EC) Framework 7 R&D program and the ZigBee Alliance.

More info for registeration and Agenda here.

Cor Baayen Award 2011 Shared by two Winners: Stratos Idreos and Luca Mottola

This year, ERCIM has exceptionally selected two winners for the Cor Baayen Award: Stratos Idreos, researcher in the Database Architectures group of CWI and Luca Mottola, researcher in the Networked Embedded Systems Group at SICS.

Luca Mottola, researcher and former ERCIM fellow at SICS. His research focuses on wireless sensor networks, and their programming in particular. These are key components in the “Internet of Things” vision. Luca is among the few researchers able to claim the design of high-level programming abstractions successfully used in real deployments. His programming systems are used in challenging real-world scenarios, for example in safety critical control systems in road tunnels.

Luca received his PhD degree at Politecnico di Milano, Italy with the thesis “Programming Wireless Sensor Networks: From Physical to Logical Neighborhoods” in 2008. Since then his work has gained international recognition with several awards. Luca’s expertise in wireless sensor networks extends beyond programming. Over time, his research has broadened to embrace a number of diverse topics, from theoretical work on distributed algorithms to formal verification of embedded software and investigations on MAC protocols and low-power wireless.

Luca’s results represent a paradigmatic example of how the research activity in a field may have direct real-world impact. The specific field Luca is focusing on holds great potential, as it represents a fundamental building block of the “Internet of Things” vision.

The Cor Baayen Award, named after the first president of ERCIM and the ERCIM “president d’honneur”, is awarded each year to a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.

Congratulations Luca!

More info here.

Big Data in the Dirt (and the Cloud)

A company called the Climate Corporation was formed in 2006 by two former Google employees who wanted to make use of the vast amount of free data published by the National Weather Service on heat and precipitation patterns around the country. At first they called the company WeatherBill, and used the data to sell insurance to businesses that depended heavily on the weather, from ski resorts and miniature golf courses to house painters and farmers.

It did pretty well, raising more than $50 million from the likes of Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Allen & Company. The problem was, it was hard to sell insurance policies to so many little businesses, even using an online shopping model. People like having their insurance explained. The answer was to get even more data, and focus on the agriculture market through the same sales force that sells federal crop insurance.

“We took 60 years of crop yield data, and 14 terabytes of information on soil types, every two square miles for the United States, from the Department of Agriculture,” says David Friedberg, chief executive of the Climate Corporation, a name WeatherBill started using Tuesday. “We match that with the weather information for one million points the government scans with Doppler radar — this huge national infrastructure for storm warnings — and make predictions for the effect on corn, soybeans and winter wheat.”

More info here.

Energy harvesting: a practical reality for wireless sensing

There are some very exciting high growth projections for wireless sensing for the Automation industry. More sensors mean more process efficiency, lower operating costs, lower maintenance costs, higher reliability, and greater safety. Wireless sensing provides the opportunity to install masses of sensors with virtually no cost of installation by reducing the need for cables carrying the signals from the field to the control room. Wiring costs can easily be 80%, or more in a hazardous area, of the total cost of installing a new sensor. Who wouldn’t like to get the same job for one-fifth of the cost or five times as many sensors for the budget? And it is not just the cost of the installation; there are many cases where plant has to be shutdown to facilitate installation adding another massive sum to the cost of new sensors.

Most of us routinely use wireless (cell phones, Wi-Fi) for communication, and the potential for machine-to-machine wireless communication is considered to be even larger. Wireless transmission of sensor data is now well established as a reliable method of monitoring industrial plants. It is even being perceived by some users as more reliable and maintenance free than hard wiring.

This whole new approach to Automation has been made possible by the convergence of new technologies:

  • Low power electronics including microprocessors with sleep modes
  • RF transmission systems that use digitally encoded signals (e.g. digital television and Wi-Fi) with an order of magnitude less power required than older analogue systems
  • New energy harvesting techniques

So why is there so much interest in energy harvesting? Simply, you cannot get the full benefit of wireless unless the power source is also wireless. This means either a battery or some form of energy harvester. Until recently, the usual power source available to power a wireless sensor node or network (WSN) has been batteries. With their limited and non-deterministic life span, hazardous content, shipping and disposal requirements, batteries alone are not likely to provide a power source that will last the life cycle of the WSN application without maintenance intervention. The ideal solution is an energy harvester that is “fit and “forget” and will have a lifespan in excess of the WSN that it is powering.

More info here.

Web of sensors to monitor Sierra snowpack

Researchers from the University of California at Merced were awarded a $2 million federal grant to develop a revolutionary network for tracking the Sierra snowpack as the climate changes.

The National Science Foundation money will support a four-year project to install a massive web of wireless sensors in the 2,000-square-mile American River Basin in the Sierra northeast of Sacramento.

The network will give water managers precise information to predict snowmelt, a main source of water for millions of residents and the $35 billion farming industry.

The data will become more important if the snowpack retreats to higher ground in a warming climate.

The research team is led by UC Merced professor Roger Bales, director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, and UC Berkeley professor Steven Glaser. For several years, the team has been experimenting with the technology around Shaver Lake in Fresno County and the American River.

The scientists use many sensors in each square mile of the watershed. Traditional snow measurement relies on samples from just a few flat meadows to represent huge sections of the mountain range.

The sensor network will be able to account for the slope of the mountain, water consumed by plants and evaporation.

The new project at the American River is considered a big step toward the ultimate goal – spreading a sensor network over the entire 400-mile Sierra Nevada.

Said Bales: “We believe this type of wireless sensor network could ultimately revolutionize the way we understand our most important sources of water, both in California and elsewhere.”

More info here.

Smart cities get their own operating system

Cities could soon be looking after their citizens all by themselves thanks to an operating system designed for the metropolis.

The Urban OS works just like a PC operating system but keeps buildings, traffic and services running smoothly. The software takes in data from sensors dotted around the city to keep an eye on what is happening. In the event of a fire the Urban OS might manage traffic lights so fire engines can reach the blaze swiftly.

The idea is for the Urban OS to gather data from sensors buried in buildings and many other places to keep an eye on what is happening in an urban area. The sensors monitor everything from large scale events such as traffic flows across the entire city down to more local phenomena such as temperature sensors inside individual rooms.

The OS completely bypasses humans to manage communication between sensors and devices such as traffic lights, air conditioning or water pumps that influence the quality of city life. Channelling all the data coming from these sensors and services into a over-arching control system had lots of benefits, said Steve Lewis, head of Living PlanIT- the company behind Urban OS. Urban OS should mean buildings get managed better and gathering the data from lots of sources gives a broader view of key city services such as traffic flows, energy use and water levels.

“If you were using an anatomy analogy, the city has a network like the nervous system, talking to a whole bunch of sensors gathering the data and causing actions,” said Mr Lewis. “We distribute that nervous system into the parts of the body – the buildings, the streets and other things. Having one platform managing the entire urban landscape of a city means significant cost savings, implementation consistency, quality and manageability, he added.

“And it’s got local computing capacity to allow a building or an automotive platform to interact with people where they are, managing the energy, water, waste, transportation, logistics and human interaction in those areas.”

More info here.

Intel opens pervasive computing center

From Postscapes:

The Pervasive Computing center was launched in September 2011 by Intel and will be centered at the University of Washington.

Research in the ISTC-PC will be organized around three themes:

  1. Low-power sensing and communication
  2. Understanding human state and activities
  3. Personalization and adaption

The center spans six top US research univerisites and includes faculty, students and researchers from Cornell, University of Rochester, UC Los Angeles, University of Washington, Stanford and Georgia Institute of Technology. The core research team includes recent Genius Grant winner Shwetak N. Patel and others.

One of their projects will include:

Building a smart home system that will learn, recognize and track the everyday activities of all members of the family. The system will track activities at different levels; models will infer activities such as waking up, getting dressed, walking up and down stairs, and packing lunch, as well as joint activities, such as the family breakfast or helping the kids with their morning routine. The pattern of activities (both current and historical) will be presented to members in a way that informs them and helps them to reflect on the activities and make changes if needed, to create more time together.

You can read a Whitepaper about the center and their work here or visit their homepage at