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Energy storage can improve the delivery of smart energy solutions in smart cities, according to Navigant Research

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the relationship between energy storage and smart cities, providing an overview of relevant applications as well as drivers and barriers.

Smart energy technologies are increasingly expected to help address the sustainability needs of smart cities to reduce carbon-intensive peak energy use and to develop resilient energy systems.

“Smart energy technologies such as energy storage will increasingly be called on to address the sustainability needs of the urban energy transformation now underway,” says William Tokash, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “Specifically, energy storage is now poised to support the delivery of low carbon DER to reduce peak energy use and improve the resilience capabilities of urban landscapes by enhancing access to reliable electricity supply.”

According to the report, energy storage has experienced significant growth in the past 2 years due in part to its unique ability to support the deployment of flexible energy capacity. The emergence of energy storage’s ability to make DER more flexible, less carbon-intensive, and more resilient is redefining how smart energy solutions can support the sustainability needs of an integrated smart city technology and solutions platform.

The report, Smart Cities and Energy Storage, examines the role energy storage can play in smart cities and how smart cities can drive the deployment of energy storage. The study provides an overview of energy storage applications within smart cities, including drivers and barriers for energy storage, and discusses how energy storage works within an integrated energy as a service framework. It also analyses the role of energy storage in the delivery of low carbon peak energy and improving resilience.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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IoT Tech Expo: Leading IoT Event Announces Its 2018 World Series!

By IoT – Internet of Things

The World’s Leading IoT Event Series will bring together key industries from across the globe for 2 days of top level content and discussion. Exploring the latest innovations within the Internet of Things and covering the impact it has on many industries including Manufacturing, Transport, Supply Chain, Healthcare, Insurance, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive, this […]

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Robots will make logistics 10 times faster once L4MS has done its job

By Zenobia Hegde

The European Union (EU) is offering smaller manufacturers €8 million to close the funding gap and make their logistics 10 times faster. Better still, says Nick Booth, the money is ear-marked for spending on mobile robotics systems. This ‘open call’ is more like an open goal, surely.
The new Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs initiative (L4MS) is supported by the European Commission and promises to ‘accelerate’ the automation of intra-factory logistics of small- to medium-sized manufacturers.

It will achieve this by completely digitalising logistics automation in factories, allowing suppliers to create logistics systems that are 10 times faster and cheaper than now. But will L4MS really open the door to robotics, artificial intelligence and virtualisation?

According to project co-ordinator Ali Muhammad in Finland, L4MS will work with no infrastructure change, no production downtime and no in-house expertise.

Ali Muhammad

“Investment in logistics automation will become extremely attractive for European manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps,” says Muhammad.

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics, which is half the production cost, but will also provide ‘unprecedented flexibility’ on the factory floor for batch production.

There’s more on the web site about the OPIL (Open Platform for Innovations in Logistics) and the 3D simulator that will virtualise the intra-factory logistics automation.

Big manufacturers are racing ahead as they can quickly adopt mobile robots to increase productivity. Meanwhile, the number of SMEs using advanced technologies is less than 2%. The L4MS initiative aims to raise their game. The first step is to help them to visualise the improvements that could be made – which is where the 3D simulator does its work. In tandem with an IoT platform, they can then automate much of the transport of goods and materials between factories and warehouses. This will speed up the process, improve safety and cut costs.

With the help of L4MS this ‘fork lift upgrade’ becomes a lot less painful and risky. In doing so it creates more competition in the IoT of Transport, which could otherwise become the domain of the behemoths. Which would ultimately stifle innovation.

Nick Booth

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics – making up half of any manufacturer’s production costs – but create the flexibility needed to compete. Wasn’t flexibility the one major advantage that SMEs had over giant corporations? Automation threatens to neutralise that, which is a shame because we need SMEs to keep stoking up the competition.

The theory of the L4MS scheme is sound, says Nigel Smith, CEO of TM Robotics, because it is harder for SMEs to automate because of the investment needed. You need £50,000 (€56,600) at least and funding comes hard in the current climate. It’s the inflexibility of the big system integrators or robot providers that’s worse, says Smith. Finding a supplier that suits the SME’s production line needs, rather than dictates them, is the crucial battle in the war on costs.

So, it’s the people that may be intransigent. If only there was a way to automate their jobs!

By Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer

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CES 2018: Smartvue IoT Platform Removes Challenges of Enabling IoT Video

By IoT – Internet of Things

Smartvue, the largest private IoT video services provider, unveiled at CES 2018 its newest IoT video services platform, Cloudvue version 12.2.2. Businesses are investing in IoT across all markets and video offers new revenue opportunities from residential and commercial to industrial and smart city markets. The key challenges preventing IoT video adoption are speed to […]

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Campari America taps Thinfilm’s NFC mobile marketing solution to drive eCommerce

By Zenobia Hegde

Thin Film Electronics ASA, a provider in NFC (near field communication) mobile marketing and smart packaging solutions, announced Campari America as a new customer. Campari America is using Thinfilm’s NFC mobile marketing solution to enable consumers to purchase its spirits brands by tapping their smartphone to a ‘connected’ refrigerator magnet.

Once tapped, the magnets – which feature Thinfilm’s NFC SpeedTap tags and fully integrate with its CNECT cloud-based platform – take consumers to a product page on Drizly, the popular beer, wine, and spirits consumer-delivery platform. Consumers are then able to add the item to their cart and immediately check out, all in one cohesive mobile experience.

Click here to view the press release published by Campari America.

The Campari collaboration marks a strong start to 2018 for Thinfilm and builds on the momentum the Company established through the fourth quarter of last year.

Key announcements, transactions, and updates include the following:

Growing customer base – Thinfilm now has a total of over two dozen in-market customers covering a range of vertical markets, including wine & spirits, craft beer, beverages, OTC pharma, cosmetics, tobacco, consumer electronics, and specialty foods
Compelling case studies – Thinfilm has now published four case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of using NFC for mobile marketing; consumer tapping activity is on the rise and NFC has been shown to outperform conventional marketing channels like social platforms and display banners
CNECT platform enhancements – Version 2.0 of the software is targeted for release in Q2 and will feature functionality enhancements and a new user interface; as of year-end 2017, 441 companies had registered on the cloud-based portal
More conversion partners and standard NFC conversion options – Thinfilm continues to add to its list of qualified conversion partners around the globe; the Company now offers more than a dozen NFC tag conversion options, including converted labels, folded cartons, ElastiTags, conventional hang tags, drink coasters, bottle neck-collars, coupons, magnets, and direct mailers

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