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Dependable Internet of Things

Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) recently established an Excellence Research Center entitled “Dependable Internet of Things in Adverse Environments”. The mission of this long-term center is to foster a highly interdisciplinary research team spanning the computer science and electrical engineering faculties to lay the scientific foundations for an Internet of Things that is highly reliable, safe, and secure in order to enable critical applications that require guaranteed performance even in adverse environments.

The center is seeking to fill 10 PhD positions with excellent candidates, who will work closely together in four subprojects that focus on the following topics:

1. Dependable Wireless Communication and Localization (three positions in wireless networking, physical layer signal processing, and tunable microwave frontends)
2. Dependable Embedded Computing (two positions in embedded hardware and software with a focus on security and real-time operating systems)
3. Dependable Composition of Smart Things (three positions in model checking, model-based testing, and machine learning)
4. Dependable Networked Control (two positions in control theory and information theory)

Applicants must hold a Master degree (or equivalent) in computer engineering, computer science, or electrical engineering before they can take on the position. Proficiency in the English language (spoken and written) is required. Applicants should be highly motivated, have initiative and responsibility, be able to work independently and in an interdisciplinary team, should have interest in scientific research, should have commitment to publish research results and to obtain a doctoral degree.

The positions are to be filled from January 1, 2016 with an initial appointment for three years. The position is remunerated according to the collective contract (Kollektivvertrag) for Austrian Universities, i.e., the salary amounts to at least 37.280€/year before taxes and may increase depending on prior experience.

TU Graz aims to increase the number of female employees and therefore specifically invites qualified women to apply.

TU Graz is a leading technical university in Austria (ranking 151-200 in the world in engineering in the Shanghai Ranking) in a medium-sized city with a very high quality of life, located at the south-eastern foot of the Alps, offering plentiful recreation opportunities.

Applicants should fill in the application form available here and upload it together with a transcript of records, a copy of the master’s degree, a recent certificate of the level of proficiency of the English language, and a copy of the master’s thesis at the Easychair conference management system using this link.
For further information please contact the center coordinator Prof. Kay Römer (roemer aT tugraz dot at).

The application deadline is November 30, 2015.

ST and Thingsquare Team Up to Advance Easy-to-Use Internet of Things

Thingsquare, a pioneering provider of open-source software for the Internet of Things, and STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, have cooperated to bring Thingsquare Mist Internet-connectivity software to ST’s SPIRIT1 radio transceiver on the STM32L microcontroller platform.
Thingsquare Mist is a game-changing software system that brings true Internet-connectivity to the Internet of Things. Used in connected-home products, smart lighting systems, and smart city projects, Thingsquare Mist builds on well-known open-source components, has a small memory footprint, low computational requirements, is battle-proven, and works with multiple microcontrollers with a range of radios.

ST’s SPIRIT1 is a very low-power RF transceiver, intended for RF wireless-sensor node applications in the sub-1 GHz band, such as Automatic Meter Infrastructure, alarm and security systems, home and building automation, and industrial monitoring and control. The SPIRIT1 uses a very small number of discrete external components, integrates an embedded ‘listen-before-talk’ (CSMA/CA) engine and an AES 128-bit encryption co-processor for secure data transfer.

The SPIRIT1 transceiver works in tandem with ST’s ARM® Cortex™-M3-based STM32 L1 microcontroller series, which boasts ultra-low-power consumption with no compromise on performance. The microcontroller adds a wide range of integrated peripherals like USB, analog-to-digital converter and LCD controller that make it suitable for industrial, consumer, fitness, and healthcare applications.“Thingsquare Mist makes it possible for customers to quickly add Internet-connectivity to their products,” said Marcello San Biagio, High End Analog and RF Business Unit Director at STMicroelectronics. “The Thingsquare Mist ‘sleepy mesh’ technology is extremely efficient and helps increase reliability and range in wireless sensor networks without sacrificing battery life.”

More info here.

2015 target for basic ‘Internet of Things’ structure

f04da2db1122128d08320eChina aims to build a basic industrial structure for the Internet by 2015 to promote technicalupgrading and public service levels, according to a government document.

The structure will center on the “Internet of Things”, regarded as the third round of theinformation technology revolution after the emergence of mobile phones and the Internet. Itrefers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-likestructure.

The country will “launch fiscal and tax policies in favor of investment and financing (in thesector), so as to promote an orderly and healthy development of the Internet of Things”,according to a guidelines document on the central government website on Sunday.

Equipping objects with identifying devices could transform daily life. For instance, businessesmay no longer run out of stock or generate waste products, as involved parties would knowwhich products are required and consumed.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, said the country will achieve “applications of the Internet ofThings in key areas by 2015, as well as breakthroughs in core technologies”.

China will “develop a number of backbone enterprises, cultivate a group of innovative smallbusinesses, and form a number of distinctive industrial clusters,” the guidelines stated.

According to a development plan for Internet of Things industries compiled by the Ministry ofIndustry and Information Technology, China’s IOT market was close to 200 billion yuan ($32billion) in 2010.

Analysts expect the market expanded to 365 billion yuan by the end of 2012, and will grow tomore than 1 trillion yuan over the next four years.

Stocks related to the IOT concept rallied on Monday, led by BDStar Navigation and InvengoInformation Technology Co, both of which rose around 5 percent. The entire slate was up 1.66percent at the close.

Hu Yujie, an industrial analyst with Cinda Securities Co, said cities such as Wuxi, Shanghai,Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Ningbo and Suzhou have all launched their “smart city”programs, which will be included in the IOT development program.

More info here.

The Next Decade Is The Internet Of Things

Internetofthings-280x210Since 1980‘s and 1990‘s we were constantly talking about world globalization and how interconnected we have become, partially thanks to the internet. In todays world, I think we need to coin a new term “internetiolization”, if we can pronounce it that is.

You might think that you live in the world of the internet, where everything is connected. But in truth, you have no idea how interconnected its about to get. Thanks to companies such as Sensinode out of Oulu, Finland, every little device is going to be able to communicate to every other little device and be connected to the global “Internet of Things”.

Just imagine for a second that every light switch, device (TV, Fridge) and door lock in your house being connected to each other and the internet. So that you can adjust the overall brigthness of your living room to your preferred level of lumens. Now imagine that you can do that from anywhere in the world, through your mobile phone? Cool, right? 

Well, it gets better. All of these devices could theoretically be connected to a wider grid, containing for example street lights. The system could then measure the amount of light that your house emits, couple it together with the amount of light needed on the street and power the street lights accordingly. If you connect light sensors and motion sensors to the grid, you can have the lights follow your car on a highway and not have any lights anywhere where it is not needed. This interconnectedness is what machine to machine communications could become. This new internet can and will be an order of magnitude bigger than what we currently have.

According to Adam Gould, the CEO of Sensinode, there are going to be nearly 1 billion connected nodes by 2015. However there are still some problems in this industry, mainly the fact that there are a lot of proprietary protocols that never really scale.

So the only solution is to develop a standards based technology, which is what Sensinode is aiming to achieve. Moreover, as Gould points out, many of those nodes (devices) have battery requirements of 20 years or more, such as the gas meter in your house, so it is crucial to minimize costs and power consumption requirements.

More info here.

The IPSO IoT Innovation Contest

The IPSO Alliance is announcing the Internet of Things 2013 Innovation Contest that invites people and companies from around the world to submit new Internet Protocol enabled Smart Objects that demonstrate the power of the Internet of Things. The goal of this contest is to bring forth exciting new concepts and devices that use the Internet Protocol in interconnecting embedded sensor and control solutions in areas of home control, smart building, healthcare, lighting control, smart energy, or consumer entertainment.

“The IPSO Alliance is committed to showing the benefits of using the Internet Protocol in the design and development of M2M and IoT projects and solutions.  This contest will help demonstrate just how powerful IP Smart Objects can be and how, by shedding proprietary protocols, we can advance the developments that let us connect the Internet with our physical world”, said Geoff Mulligan, IPSO Chairman.

The entries will be judged by a panel of experts and the top designs will be brought to and demonstrated at Sensors Expo June 4-6 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  The finalists will receive the opportunity to meet with the judges and present their device to the attendees of the show.  The winning submission will receive a $10,000 prize.

Details and rules of the contest will be published on the IPSO Alliance website at the beginning of February.

Google And Berg Team Up To Create An Internet Of Things

Google is ridiculously powerful. The service isn’t just search. It isn’t just maps. It isn’t just your email or spreadsheets. Google is artificial intelligence fueled by an endless buffet of every piece of information on the Internet and every human tendency behind it. Google isn’t a website or a collection of services; it’s the most powerful deity in the known universe. And ultimately, it’s strange that so much thought can exist only behind a PC or smartphone screen.

So in 2011, Google Creative Lab approached Berg with a question: “If Google wasn’t trapped behind glass, what would it do?” The answer to that question consumed the entire studio for months. Ultimately, their answer was that computer vision–think technologies like Kinect–would meld with 3-D projection–think uber VJing–to become a sort of material of its very own.

At the heart of Berg’s concept was a smart lamp inspired by Pixar’s Luxo Jr. This lamp would see you all the time, and it would project a “Smart Light” right onto your workspace. It’s a light that would need to be more than a mere augmented reality layer for analog objects, it would have to be what Berg began calling the “little brain” to Google’s “big brain” in the cloud. Think of the little brain as a tiny, playful companion–a digital embodiment of a puppy–to humanize the experience of interaction and make data more approachable. Even though the little brain can’t be seen literally in Berg’s final videos, you can spot its potential in a companion app they called Text Camera. By modeling software after a puppy, training Google to be context-aware feels rewarding.

So where were we? Right. Berg had been working on mostly theoretical technology. They had this lamp with projection and visual tracking. But how would they practically glue projection to objects? How would the lamp know what to look at and where to project? That breakthrough came in what Berg called their fiducial switch.

Imagine the switch as a QR code. The camera sees it and can project augmented reality on top. But the fiducial switch took this idea to the next level. It asked, What if you were to split this digital code into two images? Alone, they’d be meaningless to a computer. Assembled, they’d be information. So the fiducial switch is a sort of on/off controller for digital information in real space. In Berg’s final, most realized concept, we see the potential. A very dumb object–a mere chunk of plastic with some springs–becomes a cloud-connected media player. Ultimately, Berg asks, “What if subscriptions to digital services were sold as beautiful robot-readable objects, each carved at point-of-purchase with a wonderful individually generated pattern to unlock access?”

More info here.

China looks to lead the Internet of Things

From CCN:

When architect James Law looks in the mirror each morning his reflection is not all that greets him — he can also see the weather report, e-mail messages and his heart rate.

“The biggest game changer of the past 25 years has been the Internet,” said Law, whose Cybertecture Mirror is an offshoot of his Hong Kong architectural firm’s focus on integrating technology in design.

“In buildings, the Internet has become ubiquitous but it hasn’t caught up in the products that inhabit buildings — chairs, doors, tables and mirrors.”

Law’s company — and a raft of new government-funded projects in mainland China — is looking to change that. Law’s $5,000 mirror began as product his firm designed for a high-tech residential building in Dubai. “The Internet of Things began to become more real for us as a project,” Law said. “We started to take these things out of our building designs to make them independent products, and try to impregnate them with as much technology as we can.”

If there’s a race to lead the Internet of Things (IoT), China aims to set the pace. Since Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao identified IoT as an “emerging strategic industry” in an interview on state media, Beijing has focused on developing technology by which devices can communicate via infrared sensor, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology.

Beijing plans to invest 5 billion yuan ($800 million) in the IoT industry by 2015. The Ministry of Information and Technology estimates China’s IoT market will hit 500 billion yuan ($80.3 billion) by 2015, then double to 1 trillion yuan ($166 billion) by 2020.

More info here.


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