lab

TOPHOTELPROJECTS: Marriott Uses IoT to Create Hotel Room of the Future

By IoT – Internet of Things

In what may be a glimpse of what all hotels will look like in the very near future, Marriott International has recently teamed with a pair of companies – Samsung and Legrand – in order to launch the global hospitality industry’s first Internet of Things (or IoT) hotel room. Dubbed the IoT Guestroom Lab, which […]

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PTC unveils Reality Lab to advance adoption of and exploration of new applications for augmented reality

By Zenobia Hegde

PTC announced the unveiling of Reality Lab, a test center led by researchers who will create applications that leverage augmented, virtual, mixed, and physical realities with the purpose of improving people’s interactions with their physical environments.

The lab will apply human-centered design and human-computer interaction to new technology, empowering people with more intuitive and practical computer user interfaces for managing the next generation of networked computer systems.

An early believer in the potential of AR for industrial use cases, PTC acquired the industry’s most advanced and widely adopted Vuforia® AR technology platform for custom development in 2015. Since then, PTC has leveraged Vuforia to expand the capabilities of its market-leading ThingWorx® Industrial Innovation Platform.

Building on its proven history in helping customers optimise their product design, manufacturing, and service initiatives, PTC is helping to bring the power of AR technology to these traditional business activities with the ability to visualise, instruct, guide, and improve interactions with physical things.

PTC Reality Lab for the new HQ in Boston

PTC’s Reality Lab will be overseen by MIT graduates Valentin Heun and Benjamin Reynolds, who will serve as the lab’s chief scientists. While at the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, the pair co-founded Reality Editor, an augmented reality platform that allows users to link smart objects by simply drawing a line between them on the screen of a smart phone.

“PTC is known worldwide for its technological excellence – and a prowess for pushing the frontiers of technology to make the industrial world more efficient,” said Valentin Heun, vice president of technology, Office of the CTO, PTC. “We’re delighted to become members of the team.”

Reality Lab is located in PTC’s current headquarters in Needham, Mass. and will be a central feature at its new Boston-based headquarters expected to open in 2019.

“AR connects the wealth of digital data generated by the IoT and digital transformation initiatives with the physical world in which we apply it,” said Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO, PTC. “Our new Reality Lab will enable enterprises to advance the way they serve customers, train employees, design and create products, manage their value chains, and how they compete.”

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Huawei and University of Edinburgh to research potential of AI robotics systems operating over 5G networks

By Zenobia Hegde

At the 2017 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, Huawei and the University of Edinburgh signed a research cooperation to investigate the potential for AI robotics systems to operate over next generation 5G wireless networks.

Researchers at Huawei’s Wireless X Labs and University of Edinburgh’s new Bayes Centre will investigate together how AI systems can inform and adapt wireless 5G networks to provide optimum wireless support to meet the needs of connected robotics and systems. Areas of initial focus include healthcare robotics and mobile video.

The project will build on the University of Edinburgh’s existing research into AI and autonomous systems to provide new insights into how these systems will use AI to collaborate with mobile broadband networks. This can enhance the performance of both networks and applications to enable greater levels of interaction between people and systems. This new research project extends the existing relationship between Huawei and the University of Edinburgh following the announcement in June of a joint lab hosted at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.

This new research cooperation was signed by Peter Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Wireless Solution, and Professor Charlie Jeffery, Senior Vice Principal, University of Edinburgh.

This new research cooperation was signed by Peter Zhou, chief marketing officer, Huawei Wireless Solution, and professor Charlie Jeffery, senior vice principal, University of Edinburgh. Also in attendance were professor Jon Oberlander, assistant principal data technology, who has joined the Advisory Committee of Huawei’s Wireless X Labs, and Mr. David Richardson, director of Partnerships for the Bayes Centre.

Professor Charlie Jeffery said, “We are thrilled to have deepened our relationship with Huawei to researching 5G within AI applications. Our ambition is to utilise the knowledge of our world-leading experts to fully understand the interaction of AI and robotics systems with mobile networks. This new research agreement gives our team the opportunity to apply their 5G networking expertise into solving real-world problems – helping to transform industries including healthcare and emergency services.”

Peter Zhou at Huawei said: “We are delighted to continue working with the world-leading team at the University of Edinburgh to help understand how improvements within mobile broadband can foster innovation within wireless robotics systems. AI is a key feature of 5G networking, and we are excited to deepen our understanding of how the interaction between applications and networks can create new benefits and enhancements.”

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How to configure the Kerlink IoT Station for GPRS/3G uplink connectivity

I have been working on getting a Kerlink IoT Station to work with GPRS/3G as its primary uplink path.

A client asked me to do this configuration because they did not have the resources to it themselves. No problem. I have been working with LoRa and Kerlinks for a while now doing a consultancy job for another client (a big telco). They did not want to connect the Kerlink to their local network for security reasons. They wanted to add their gateway to TheThingsNetwork.org (TTN), a global open crowdsourced Internet of Things data network that started in The Netherlands. Reading the forums, I noticed that many trying to do the same have run into issues. The documentation is sometimes incomplete and scattered so it takes a bit of effort to get it to work.

IoT lab at the home office

IoT lab at the home office

The task at hand:

Configure a Kerlink IoT station to use its GPRS/3G modem as its uplink path and connect it to TheThingsNetwork.org. The SIM provided was a PukData M2M SIM which uses the KPN mobile network in The Netherlands.

Normally, the Kerlink will use its  ethernet (eth0) uplink as its default path. The basic idea here is that, if configured correctly, an autoconnect mechanism will trigger the GPRS bearer, establishes a PPP connection and set a default route and DNS.

I had already installed the TTN firmware with the polypacket forwarder on the Kerlink and got it to work using the ethernet uplink. I used a LoRaMote to check if packets actually showed up in the TTN api. For the next step, I basically followed the GPRS/3G guide on the TTN Wiki  which boils down to:

  • Set the GPRS options to match your SIM and telco’s APN settings (i.e. APN name, pincode, username and password).
  • Configure auto connect in the knet monitor.
  • Set the bearers priority.
  • Because no username/password is set for this APN, and empty username/password fields trigger a bug, I also installed the patched GPRS init script.

 

I ran into a couple of things so these considerations may be useful:

  • If your SIM comes with a pin code (usually 0000), set it with ‘GPRSPIN=<your pin here>’.
  • If your APN username and password are to be left empty, replace the GPRS init script with the patched version as mentioned at the bottom of the guide.
  • Carefully choose your ip_link address in /knet/knetd.xml depending on your requirements. This address is pinged periodically to determine if the GPRS auto connect needs to be activated. In my case I wanted one that is only reachable over the GPRS APN (e.g. for KPN use their DNS server: 194.151.228.34) to force it to bring up the ppp0 interface whenever possible. If you’re using GPRS as a backup path this should be different (I guess an address only reachable via eth0 but make sure the PPP session is terminated as soon as the primary path becomes available again). Use tcpdump (e.g. tcpdump -i ppp0 -n -v port 1700 or icmp) to check if it is pinging the correct address and if status updates are sent.
  • I chose not to use peerdns (GPRSDNS=no) because the default DNS servers are not restored in case of a GPRS connection failure, thus breaking eth0 as a fallback path. I used the Google public DNS servers in stead as they work on both paths. This could also be fixed in /etc/ppp/ip-down.
  • Remember that your default gateway will be set to the ppp0 interface whenever that interface comes up. You may want to be able to connect through eth0 for maintenance…
  • The (poly) packet forwarder needs to be restarted whenever there is an interface change to make sure it binds to the right source address. If it isn’t you will see packets going out the ppp0 interface with the eth0 source address (or vice versa). I added ‘/usr/bin/killall poly_pkt_fwd’ to /etc/ppp/ip-up and /etc/ppp/ip-down.
  • The firewall is not enabled by default. Make sure to edit /etc/init.d/firewall to your needs and turn it on in /etc/sysconfig/network (FIREWALL=yes). Don’t forget IPv6 although dropbear for instance does not listen on a v6 socket.

Tests to do to make sure it all works:

  • Check if the gateway is still active (is sending status updates) and node messages are received in the TTN API after unplugging the ethernet uplink cable. If you’re using an ethernet power injector, make sure to unplug the cable going into the injector rather than the one going out to the Kerlink. Duh! 😉 Remember that you can’t log in to the gateway anymore, assuming access to the GPRS/3G address is blocked.
  • Plug the ethernet cable back in and see if you can log in again. Then check if updates/messages are still being sent over the ppp0 interface using tcpdump.
  • Power cycle the Kerlink while leaving the ethernet uplink cable unplugged. This will make sure the Kerlink will boot successfully in stand-alone mode, which was the whole purpose of this exercise.

Configuration:

/etc/sysconfig/network:

 # Selector operator APN
 GPRSAPN=internet.access.nl
 # Enter pin code if activated
 GPRSPIN=0000
 # Update /etc/resolv.conf to get dns facilities
 GPRSDNS=no
 # PAP authentication
 GPRSUSER=
 GPRSPASSWORD=
 # Bearers priority order
 BEARERS_PRIORITY="ppp0,eth0,eth1"

/knet/knetd.xml:

<!-- ############## connection parameters ############## -->
<!-- nb of second to retry to connect to server if connection failed-->
<CONNECT retry_timeout="10" />
<!-- port nunmber for local application kms connection -->
<CONNECT kms_port="35035" />
<CONNECT auto_connection="YES" />
<!-- frequency of connection monitoring -ping- (in seconds) -->
<CONNECT link_timeout="30"/>
<!-- DNS servers will be pinged if commented or deleted. Some operators can block the ping on there DNS servers -->
<CONNECT ip_link="194.151.228.34"/>

Questions?

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send a message.