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Archive for August, 2013

ARM acquires Sensinode

ARM has acquired Sensinode in Finland in its bid to provide technology and processors for the “Internet of things,” consisting of a variety of low-power and inexpensive devices including sensors communicating with the Internet and one another.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Privately-held Sensinode has led to the creation of the 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards for low-cost, low-power devices to connect to the Internet, ARM said Tuesday.

CoAP, for Constrained Application Protocol, enables web services for constrained devices and networks, while integrating with the Web architecture and HTTP. 6LoWPAN is a standard from the Internet Engineering Task Force first published in 2007, which optimizes IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) for use with low-power, low-bandwidth communication technologies. The technologies reduce the complexity and overhead of key Internet and Web protocols to make them easy to handle by small footprint devices.

ARM is adding Sensinode technologies to its mbed project, an industry collaboration to deliver open source hardware and software building blocks for rapid development of intelligent connected devices. IMS Research said in October that the Internet of Things will have 28 billion Internet-connected devices by the end of 2020.

ARM in Cambridge, U.K., has said it is committed to enabling a standards-based Internet of Things where devices of all types and capabilities are connected through interoperable Internet protocols and Web services.

The company, which licenses the designs for the chips that go into a majority of smartphones, is now targeting the embedded market, providing free software libraries, hardware designs and online tools for professional rapid prototyping of products built around ARM microcontrollers.

ARM will continue to offer Sensinode’s NanoStack and NanoService products, built around 6LoWPAN and CoAP, commercially to existing and new customers, it said.

More info here.

How Can IBM’s Approach To Sensors Change The World?

Around the world, the increased use of sensors — and the data insights they provide — is leading to better management of resources and increased efficiency. A recent article on highlights how IBM is creating smarter cities with sensor technology. The article also discusses how advanced application of sensors can be used to address any number of everyday urban challenges from finding a parking space to increasing access to critical information in the wake of a natural disaster.

Unfortunately, the widespread use of sensors can still be cost-prohibitive. Few organizations can afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per sensor and companies need to be working hard on the idea of bringing the cost down to an affordable level. The key is to make it easier and cheaper for everyone to gain access to the sensor space.

Besides cost, there are two other barriers hampering the widespread adoption of sensors. The first is that much of the sensor industry is focused on the sensor base or the sensors themselves rather than combining all the components to present a complete solution. In many cases the end user or system integrator must put together different components, write the software and then embed it with the sensor hardware.

The second area of focus for many vendors is the big push for cloud-based data collection systems. However, many of these are generic APIs that work with any platform that is configured to use them.  By themselves they are good ways to visualize your data, but not in the context of any real analysis or domain-specific expertise.

The reality is the end user needs both preconfigured hardware and cloud-based monitoring combined to serve a specific purpose. Users want sensors solutions that are easy to install and setup with clear instructions that explain what they’re capable of doing. They also need sensors that are easy to connect to other software and can integrate seamlessly with sensors from multiple vendors.

To be successful, organizations need to provide cheap, easy, and complete solutions that are broad enough to work with other systems. Sensors and the valuable insights they provide could be the key to smarter, more efficient cities and societies. It’s vital to develop integrated systems that are more affordable and readily available.

More info here.

850 Million IEEE 802.15.4 chipsets to ship in 2016

The IEEE 802.15.4 IC market, often referred to as wireless sensor networks (WSN), will expand to over 850 million units per annum by 2016, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of over 60% from 2010 to 2016.
While growth is led by advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) equipment, significant uptake is expected in home automation, home entertainment, medical, and others, says ABI Research.

ZigBee is the most widely-used IEEE 802.15.4 technology, accounting for 40% of total shipments in 2012 and growing to over 50% by 2015. Current deployments and growth are being driven by the ZigBee Alliance, the industry body now comprising over 400 members including IC suppliers such as Freescale, Intel, Marvell, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments.

“Many IC suppliers have seen the potential of ZigBee and other 802.15.4 technologies and are helping drive new application solutions including the latest ZigBee Light Link standard,” says Peter Cooney. “No doubt these vendors see the potential of adding ZigBee to their arsenal of wireless connectivity technologies alongside Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and others.”

As ZigBee grows in its key markets and expands into new areas it will see increasing competition as other technologies also continue to develop. One technology that will compete with ZigBee, particularly in the home environment, is Bluetooth. “ZigBee offers many advantages for smart home applications including large network sizes, low power consumption, and low cost solutions, however the ubiquity of Bluetooth in the smartphone and consumer desire to use this device as the home hub/controller will drive use of Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready devices in the smart home environment, making it a strong competitor to ZigBee in this space,” comments Cooney.

Read more here.