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

Archive for May, 2012

Deutsche Telekom launches marketplace for ‘Internet of Things’

T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom has launched the first online marketplace for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technologies, providing manufacturers and dealers with a global distribution channel for their hardware, software and industry apps.

M2M enables devices to communicate with each other directly and without human intervention, using wireless sensors and the internet. Often referred to as the “Internet of Things,” it is used to automate management, monitoring and data collection, as well as to provide services through devices.

Utility companies, for instance, have started using smart meters to keep track of the electricity their customers are using and bill them accordingly. Telemedicine offers another use for M2M – for example, some heart patients wear monitors that record their heart rate and send data to implanted devices that deliver a shock to correct an erratic rhythm.

Deutsche Telekom said the various potential applications of M2M in a broad range of industries means that many different partners have to work together to create individual solutions. The new portal will allow customers to compare offers on an international scale and find solutions that are best suited to their individual M2M needs.

“The marketplace brings together global supply and demand for M2M solutions in a straightforward way, thereby lending greater dynamism to M2M business.” said Thomas Kiessling, chief product and innovation officer at Deutsche Telekom.

Vendors can upload detailed descriptions of their products, together with pictures and technical documentation, to one of nine categories: Energy, Healthcare, Transport & Logistics, Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Retail, Industrial Automation, Public Sector and Security.

The M2M Marketplace will be launched in English, with other languages to follow. Products can be offered free of charge until 2 July 2012. After that, the “usual fees” for online sales platforms will be chargeable, varying in accordance with the type of solution being sold, said Deutsche Telekom.

More info here.

How sensors can lead us to better self-knowledge

Like nerve endings which translate senses into electrical impulses in your nervous system, sensors can translate the physical world into the digital. In the process, they can help humans become more aware of ourselves.

The “quantified self” is an increasingly popular term. It means using algorithms to correlate all these sensor data, and provide valuable information for better living. In an earlier article “Internet of Things: Not Just a Fund Raising Concept Now,” we talked about sensor technology as one of the fundamental drivers for the development of the “internet of things.” Key factors for sensor technology adoption depend on the maturity of the technology, cost, and most importantly, experience. Innovative application of existing sensors is also an important factor in the scaling of the industry.

In this article, we will introduce a few interesting life science sensor technologies and their “quantified self” applications. Some of them are still in research labs, while others are ready to go for the market.

The science of breathing

However, we are most excited about newer technologies that go beyond “what we are doing” and dive deeper into how we relate to the world.  The Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University was founded on a simple premise: to reduce the stress in our always-connected world.  They asked: “How can we use new technologies such as the quantified self to bring more ‘calm’ into the world?”

Led by Neema Moraveji, their breakthrough project involves using breathing sensors to obtain a user’s breathing pattern and extract its relationship with stress levels. Initial papers published by the lab have used breathing-based feedback to increase productivity and reduce stress of office workers.  They believe this model can be extended, leading to a systematic reduction in stress and improved health. Moreover, ancient art forms focused around meditation, such as Taiqi, martial arts and Yoga, may get scientific explanations for their results.

More info here.

SHOAL: Pollution monitoring fish

From Postscapes:

The Shoal project is a European 7th framework research initiative led by professor Huosheng Hu and his team at the university of essex creating a new type of real-time harbour pollution monitoring system via robotic fish.

The fish are currently being field tested in the port of Gijon, Spain where water quality monitoring is now dependent on human divers and laboratory testing that only occurs around once per month (and costs up to €100,000 per year to maintain).

“By having autonomously controlled fish with chemical sensors attached we aim to do these tests in-situ. Further the fish will also be given an intelligence so that if they do find significant amounts of pollution and they deduce it’s coming from a source they will all work together to find the source of the pollution so that the port can stop the problem early before more pollution occurs.”

Outfitted with a sonar system for communication and a host of electrochemical sensors measuring heavy metals and water quality (Dissolved O2, Conductivity, ORP) levels the fish use their built-in swarm intelligence system to quickly narrow down the location and extent of the pollution source and send the information back to port authorities to take proper action. An infrared, GPS, and other sensor data also help the fish to measure their position, heading, speed etc and ensure that the fish are not stolen or damaged.

Although still in development mode the project coordinators would eventually like to commercialize the project and sell these systems to ports throughout the EU and the world.  You can learn more about the project details at roboshoal.com

Knut internet-connected sensor keeps you in the know via email

Our lives are very connected these days. You can check in on friends and family, your car and your home within seconds by typing a few words and pushing a few buttons. Despite this, there are still many pieces that remain cut off from our networks by physical space. The Knut sensor hub aims to connect a few more of those pieces.

Much like the Twine device that we saw last November, and the more recent Electric Imp, the Knut is a small sensor-equipped module that enables you to remotely monitor equipment and spaces in your home. The Knut comes equipped with a temperature sensor so that you can monitor the temperature of your wine refrigerator, humidor, basement, etc. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi and can send out alerts and information to its owner by way of email and text message.

Users set up and control Knut through an accompanying “Knut Interface” app or computer program. Through the software, they can program alerts, monitor data and change settings. The user controls settings as to how Knut collects and transmits information. For instance, you can set the acceptable sensor ranges and program Knut to provide alerts when settings drift outside those ranges. You can also integrate several Knut sensors into one account, expanding your capability to monitor various things around the home.

As well as the temperature sensor there’s a battery level sensor built in, along with a three-port hub whereby you can add external sensors based upon what you’d like to monitor, such as humidity and movement detection.

Knut designers Richard Pasek and Jay Gondelman met when Pasek’s aquarium construction and maintenance company began taking care of the aquarium at Gondelman’s office. The two set to work on a large aquarium project, and developed a sensor-based control system for settings like water level and temperature. They soon realized that such a system had value outside of the aquarium niche and began development of the Knut. They’ve been working on the device for three years and are currently attempting to refine the Knut Interface software and raise money on Kickstarter to hire computer programmers and other professionals to complete the project.

Devices like the Knut and Twine are kind of cool, but they seem like a bridge to a future where devices of all kinds will come with integrated sensor monitoring. When the “Internet of Things” evolves you’ll never have to worry about leaving the coffee machine on or your refrigerator losing power, making all your food inedible, because you could check in via smartphone – there’s a lot of potential there.

More info here.

INTRODUCING THE NOKIA SENSING X CHALLENGE

A $2.25 MILLION GLOBAL COMPETITION TO REVOLUTIONIZE DIGITAL HEALTHCARE

Envision a future where everyone has access to affordable, personalized healthcare through sophisticated sensing technologies that put you in charge of your own health. Where sensors and devices recognize and measure your personal health information, provide insights and recommendations relevant to you and communicate that information to your physician. That’s the aim of this competition: a whole new level of personalized, digital health information.

Learn more here.

iDigi Web Services: Now Accessible to All

From iDigi’s blog:

We are always thinking about how to make iDigi more accessible. We are excited to announce a price reduction for iDigi Web Services, our device management and application development solution. We have lowered the monthly minimum fee for iDigi Web Services, from $50 to $1.99.

This price reduction will enable anyone to sign up for iDigi and experience the full capability of the cloud and test developer applications.

This reduction in price reflects our commitment to our customers and the continued growth of the iDigi Device Cloud. By making iDigi more accessible to our customers across all verticals and organization types, we’re able to drive the growth of the iDigi Community.

Current iDigi customers will notice the reduced price for the May billing period.

The iDigi Platform offers a number of web services that allow users and their applications to interact with iDigi and their devices.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today!

See all of our iDigi service Plans here.

Bosch talks about the Internet of Things and Services

The Internet of Things and Services is a smarter web, enabling better ways to share information not only for computers and those who are able to operate them, but also information about the most common things of our daily lifes (VIDEO). The service part of the internet of things and services is where technology and business meet and hence build the basis for new disruptive business models. Let me introduce you to different perspectives you can have on future internet scenarios.

More info here.

Sensors to Detect iPhone and Android devices

The new sensing technology integrated in Meshlium Xtreme is able to detect any Smartphone (iPhone, Android) in the area by measuring Wifi and Bluetooth activity; allowing to know in real time people and vehicle presence and fluency. Applications of this new technology go from street activity measurement to vehicle traffic management. Read more.

Roberto Saracco: Internet WITH Things (IwT)

From Telecom Italia blog:

Let me share with you a contribution I have been asked from COMSOC on IoT and IwT…

It is happening. More and more objects (mostly sensors so far) are connected to Internet. Take a look at Pachube, as an example (https://cosm.com/?pachube_redirect=true). They started just 5 years ago with the idea of providing a place where people can send information generated by their sensors and share information. Now they have hundreds of thousands of feed. I have no connection, nor interest in Pachube, but I take them as an example of what is happening:

  1. ever more objects are connected to the Internet
  2. it is getting easier to do this
  3. there is a growing interest in sharing data
  4. start ups are at work to figure out how to leverage from this new phenomenon.

Now, lets go step by step.

STEP 1

Why is this happening? Easy, because it can!

Electronics is cheap, and getting cheaper by the day. Hence you can have embedded electronics in many objects. It is also much less power hungry so that you can power it by scavenging stray energy in the environment. No connection to the mains needed (nor expensive battery to change after a few days or months…).

Electronics and software makes object aware of their environment. They can sense a variety of characteristics around them and convert these into data. Welcome to the growing world of sensors, a world that HP estimate to reach hundreds of billions by the end of this decade (CISCO has a lower forecast but still in the number of many many billions…).

Communications is getting more and more pervasive. You don’t need to look for a gateway to connect to the Internet. The environment is, more and more, the connection gateway. The advent of LTE, or 4G, is a further step in this direction: it has larger capacity (not really needed for most “Things” on Internet, but useful when you have a growing demand from -paying- human beings and you do not want to cut your revenues by letting other stuff to chew into your capacity) and moreover it has the capability to provide a native IP connectivity. Now, this is crucial, since it makes possible to connect a “thing” with a chip costing 50c, rather than, as is the case today with 2 and 3G, with a stripped down cell phone that is still costing 20+ dollars.

COMSOC is active in all these “enabling” technologies, from radio to networks and protocols. It is also active in the sensor area as well as in application areas (including Health, possibly a driving business for IoT).

STEP 2

Is it business as usual? NO, it is not!

Our telecommunications network were designed for symmetric traffic at 64kbps with individual transaction lasting about 3 minutes. A nice gaussian shape. Internet has changed that. No more symmetric but asymmetric flows (the A in ADSL…) and no more 3 minutes average transaction but longer and bigger capacity eater (video is now the dominant traffic on Internet).

From the gaussian of POTS to the S shape of Internet today to the inverted gaussian of tomorrow…

Our (telecommunications) network has evolved to managed this, we have developed CDN (Content Delivery Networks), the architecture has changed to manage head ends and to shadow/mirror content around the network in a distributed fashion (by the way transforming our hierarchical network into a massively distributed and interconnected data bases).

And now, its change all over again. That gaussian curve that changed its shape to become an S curve with the Internet of Video, now changes its shape again to become an inverted gaussian with its lowest point representing voice-human- communications. On the right the curve grows pushed up by video consumption (and generation – more symmetry than before…) and on the left grows pushed by the billions of tiny transactions generated by the IoT. As the curve changes, new architectures are required and, most important, new biz models are needed and they in turns are being “invented” by new players.

And COMSOC, again, is on target, looking at the future of internet, at future network architectures.

STEP 3

Is IoT the next Big Thing? NO, but is is an enabler!

IoT is using a limited traffic capacity and it is not going to generate tremendous revenues to Operators in terms of traffic sale. Actually, the growing computation power in objects has already shifted most services outside of the network (owned by the classic Operators), so in a way it is decreasing their revenues. New biz models to leverage the value of sensors have not proved successful, so far at least from the point of view of the Operators.

However, the IoT are a piece in a puzzle of the connected world and mashed bits and atoms. This is what I call the Internet WITH Things (IwT).

Imagine a world where everything you see and touch is wrapped in bits and services, through a seamless connectivity and personalization of the interaction. If you pick up a bottle of wine or look at a monument you will be involved in a multimedia perception customized to you and your context. Who can provide this customization? Surely an Operator. It is a world that have to be seamless and simple, and it is going to be a very complex world in terms of interacting technologies. Because of this gap between the complex reality and the need for seamless, simple perception there is a need for management and that is an area where Operators can have their say. It is not going to be easy, there will be many, qualified, competitors for what is to become the new communication market and fabric, but it is a market where Operators can play.

COMSOC is now at the edges of this new marketplace. It probably needs to partner with the Computer Society and with the Consumer Electronics area,…. and with several others. And it is a game where COMSOC can be a big player.

More info here.

Electric Imp’s cool versus Cambridge’s Neul in IoT

From EETimes:

The launch of Electric Imp Inc. by founders with have served time at Apple, Facebook, Google, Mozilla and Yahoo suggests that the Internet of Things might be about to get a boost in public profile.

This could be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand it is always exciting to see an application of electronics that we have been studying and writing about for a few years finally make it on to a bigger stage. Indeed as Facebook is about to be valued at $80 billion plus at its initial public offering it is interesting to think that the Internet of Things (IoT) could be about to get “cool” and “social.”

After all, a former senior product designer at Facebook and UX expert [that's user experience if you didn't guess] is a cofounder.

On the other hand the curmudgeon in me fears the heavy-hand of the internet weighing down on operations that used to be oh so simple. “I just want to switch the freaking lights out. What do you mean my password is no good?”

There are indeed numerous companies starting to pay attention to the Internet of Things. But one other company stands out for me: Neul Ltd.

Like Electric Imp, Neul wants to host data and provide IoT services and is prepared to supply user equipment chips. Neul means cloud in the Gaelic language as I remember, so Neul has its own cool factor.

The big difference between the two companies is that Neul is focusing its attention on using a white-space radio for dedicated IoT radio channels in the in spectrum at around 400- to 800-MHz. Rather than have to build its own radio infrastructure Electric Imp has decided to piggy back off Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has high penetration in households in developed economies; reportedly 60 percent in the United States and 70 percent in the U.K., France and Germany. Indeed 25 percent of all the world’s households are said to have Wi-Fi.

More info here.

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