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Voice-First Interfaces at CES 2018: Test and Hear Personalized Voices for Autonomous Vehicles, Smart Toys and IoT from Acapela Group

By IoT – Internet of Things

Voice first interfaces are reinventing the way we engage with devices. Acapela Group, leading player in voice solutions for more than 30 years, is constantly creating new voices to better interact with users, whatever their age or skills, thanks to voices that adapt to the context. Voices that convey meaning, intent and emotions. Voices for […]

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Scaling a small data team with the power of machine learning

By Zenobia Hegde

In an effort to continue to grow their business in existing and new markets, DAZN – a live and on-demand sports streaming service – wanted a fast, low-maintenance way to enable their small data team to run predictive analytics and machine learning projects at scale.

The company wanted to find a way to allow data analysts who were not necessarily technical or experienced in machine learning to be able to contribute in meaningful ways to impactful data projects. Ultimately, they wanted to support an underlying data culture with advanced analytics and machine learning at the heart of the business.

The situation

Until recently, the sports entertainment industry was dominated by cable or satellite TV systems and companies; if a customer wanted to watch a particular sporting event, he had little or no choice in how to do so. Now that consumers are breaking free from traditional TV, they are increasingly turning to specialised services streaming exactly the content they’re looking for, whether live or on-demand. And while they are willing to pay for these services, it means that entertainment companies – in the absence of the a fore mentioned virtual monopoly of TV broadcasts – are held to increasingly higher standards when it comes to quality and offerings.

In other words, because customers can turn elsewhere, entertainment companies have had to up their game, so to speak. Today, that means bringing innovation by way of predictive analytics and machine learning to optimise every aspect of the business, from marketing to customer service to product offerings. To do this efficiently, they must also bring this innovation at scale, hiring fewer people to do more such that insights grow exponentially along with the amount of data being collected.

The need for Big Data with a small staff

DAZN knew that in order to accomplish their goals quickly, they would need technologies that were simple and in the cloud. They turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Dataiku in combination for their simplicity in setup, connection, integration, and usability, and they got up and running in under one hour.

With AWS and Dataiku, the small data team built and now manages more than 30 models in parallel, all without needing to do any coding so that the processes are completely accessible to non-technical team members.

They use these models as the basis for a variety of critical processes throughout all areas of the business, specifically:

Content attribution to determine what fixtures are driving sales, enabling contextual information on key fixtures in each market.
Advanced customer segmentation to identify user behaviours, particularly regarding content and devices on which customers use the product.
Propensity modeling to identify customers that are likely to churn, enabling improved customer targeting for retention activities.
Survival analysis to understand customer stickiness, enabling calculation of expected revenues to understand customer return on investment.
Natural language processing on social networks for market research

Results of more effective team members = More data science

AWS and Dataiku have noticeably shifted the data culture at DAZN and have brought innovations in advanced analytics and machine learning into the spotlight throughout […]

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Case Study: Controlling quality of irrigation water with IoT to improve crops production

By Zenobia Hegde

The quality of irrigation water, as well as the correct management of water resources, is essential for the productivity and efficiency of the crops. Controlling and analysing water before irrigating is crucial and its quality may vary significantly depending on the time of the year. So frequent measurements are recommended.

The Spanish company GMV has developed a water quality monitoring system based on Libelium technology. The nodes were installed at the “El Portal” irrigation dam, located on the Guadalete river where it passes through Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).

Location of Jerez de la Frontera

GMV, which was founded in 1984, has wide experience in hi-tech sectors with a growing order book in all five continents. It has experienced an important technology transfer along its trajectory and nowadays the company focuses its efforts on two business lines: transport and telecommunication sectors and applications of information technologies.

The regional government detected a high cost of maintenance of the old measurement equipments along with high costs of transport and possible inconsistencies due to manual handling of the tools.

“El Portal” irrigation dam at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

The main goals of the project were to reduce the costs of measurement and data network management as well as to avoid manual processing that may lead to inaccuracy. In the same way, the electrical consumption of the previous equipment had a handicap to solve, together with the fact that this location usually suffers from frequent acts of vandalism against power lines, automatically ceasing the normal functioning of the monitoring system.

GMV and the regional government of Andalusia trusted Libelium technology to deploy this project to monitor different water quality parameters in an irrigation dam on the Guadalete river, close to Jerez de la Frontera.

Installation of the Waspmote Plug & Sense Smart Water sensors

Two measuring nodes Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Water were installed in the location to measure levels of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and conductivity every 30 minutes. Sigfox was the protocol chosen by GMV, with a view to enlarge the deployment in the future.

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Water at “El Portal” dam

The data collected by the sensors is sent to the proprietary software SEMS (Smart Environment Monitor System), which allows monitoring of any kind of parameter, managing sensors, executing custom queries, managing users, reporting alarms and many other operations.

Diagram of GMV project

This platform gives the irrigators access to real-time information on water quality to help decision-making in aspects such as the opening and closing of gates or the hours when water quality is higher. Additionally, manual collection is not necessary anymore so access to the information is now easier and quicker.

GMV highlights the adaptability of the Waspmote wireless sensor platform to any need and any environment along to the interoperability and compatibility with Sigfox and the low electrical consumption, which were ideal for the challenge they had to face.

GMV SEMS dashboard for the Andalusian Government

This new water quality monitoring system meant savings of around 50% in development time. The company is currently carrying out a technical report to present the results obtained after controlling the deployment in terms of sensorisation cost savings.

The Andalusian government (Junta de Andalucía in […]

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Industry confidence in investing in Wi-Fi reaches record levels

By Zenobia Hegde

The level of industry confidence in Wi-Fi investment is at its highest-ever, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s Annual Industry Report for 2017. As the wireless industry becomes crucial to delivering high quality, high speed, low latency connectivity, the new global study has revealed that over 80% of those surveyed feel as or more confident than they did a year ago. And when looking at unlicensed spectrum more broadly, almost half (47%) feel more confident.

The report, compiled by Maravedis on behalf of the WBA, comes at a significant time for the wireless ecosystem. There is a growing consensus that the success of 5G, unlike previous generations of standards, will rely on the convergence of multiple Radio Access Technologies (RATs) in unlicensed, shared and licensed spectrum, with Wi-Fi playing the central role.

Developments in the latest Wi-Fi standards, including 802.11ax, will improve Wi-Fi performance and capabilities to support 5G use cases – including high density networks, extreme Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and aggregation of multiple frequencies, amongst others.

“Wireless use cases are expanding rapidly, enabled by new technologies and spectrum in the unlicensed and shared bands”, said Adlane Fellah, senior analyst, Maravedis. “These innovations are laying the foundations for the 5G era, in which Wi-Fi will play a central role.”

As industry attention moves toward monetising Wi-Fi, the study also highlights the drivers of additional traffic over the network, as well as use cases with initial revenue potential in different verticals. In this year’s survey, the services most important to monetisation strategies for 2018 according to respondents included location based services (37.5%), roaming (33%) and marketing analytics (almost 33%).

The three Wi-Fi use cases tipped to drive near term revenue potential include: extending internet access and media to a full smart home, richer and more efficient enterprise services driven by cloud managed networks and security, and expansion of the Wi-Fi roaming model.

The report also highlights the power of Wi-Fi, along with Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies, to provide a rapid and cost effective deployment of various Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including the deployment of smart cities. But interoperability between different technologies, independent certification of devices and equipment and collaboration between different city stakeholders were identified as areas that connected city ecosystems must urgently address.

The WBA’s Connected City Advisory Board produced the second version of its Blueprint in November 2017, which intends to help cities develop their plans to become smart and emphasises the need to bring together the complex value chain of city stakeholders.

Also uncovered in the report is the rising adoption of the WBA’s Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) to support seamless authentication and multi-RAT access. The survey found that NGH had crossed the chasm with 23% of respondents confirming its implementation, and 30% planning to by the end of the year.

“As Wi-Fi continues to evolve, enabled by new technologies, it has the ability to support new connected services and use cases in the 5G era across all segments including, Carriers & Service Providers, Connected Cities and Enterprise & Hospitality ecosystems”, said Shrikant […]

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Powercast to unveil FCC-approved consumer transmitter for power-over-distance wireless charging at CES 2018

By Zenobia Hegde

Powercast Corporation, the provider of radio-frequency (RF)-based long-range power-over-distance wireless charging technology, announced that it will unveil at CES its FCC-approved (Part 15, FCC ID: YESTX91503) and ISED-approved (Canada IC: 8985A-TX91503) three-watt PowerSpot transmitter which works in the far field(up to 80 feet) for over-the-air charging of multiple devices – no charging mats or direct line of sight needed.

Powercast used the experience it gained powering industrial and commercial devices with its initial Powercaster® transmitter (FCC and ISED approved in 2010) to develop the new smaller, smarter and less expensive PowerSpot transmitter specifically for the consumer market. The PowerSpot is the industry’s first long-range, far-field, power-over-distance wireless recharging transmitter for consumer devices to gain FCC and ISED approval.

How Powercast’s patented remote wireless charging technology works

Creating a coverage area like Wi-Fi, a Powercast transmitter automatically charges enabled devices when within range. The transmitter uses the 915-MHz ISM band to send RF energy to a tiny Powercast receiver chip embedded in a device, which converts it to direct current (DC) to directly power or recharge that device’s batteries.

Powercast will begin production of its standalone PowerSpot charger now that it is FCC approved and is also offering a PowerSpot subassembly that consumer goods manufacturers can integrate into their own products.

Consider lamps, appliances, set-top boxes, gaming systems, computer monitors, furniture or vehicle dashboards that become “PowerSpots” able to charge multiple enabled devices around them.

Powercast is in discussions with several manufacturers, and has inked deals with two household names, since releasing a wireless power development kit in early 2017 containing the PowerSpot subassembly.

“Consumer electronics manufacturers can now confidently build our FCC-approved technology into their wireless charging ecosystems, and offer their customers convenient far-field charging where devices charge over the air from a power source without needing direct contact, like inductive charging requires, or near direct contact, like magnetic resonance requires,” said Powercast’s COO/CTO Charles Greene, Ph.D.

The company’s vision is to enable long-range, true wireless charging where consumers simply place all Powercast-enabled devices for charging within range of a PowerSpot in their home or a public place.

“Others might be talking RF power possibilities, but we have consistently delivered far-field wireless power solutions that work, safely and responsibly, under FCC and other global standards providing power up to 80 feet,” said Greene. “Our robust technology has capabilities beyond today’s permitted standards, so our product releases will evolve as regulations do.”

The PowerSpot creates an overnight charging zone of up to 80 feet free of wires or charging mats

Enabled devices charge when in range, but don’t need direct line of sight to the PowerSpot. Powercast expects up to 30 devices left in the zone on a countertop or desktop overnight can charge by morning, sharing the transmitter’s three-watt (EIRP) power output. Charging rates will vary with distance, type and power consumption of a device.

TX91503 – PowerSpot Transmitter

Power-hungry, heavily used devices like game controllers, smart watches, fitness bands, hearing aids, ear buds, or headphones charge best up to two feet away; keyboards and mice up to six feet away; TV […]

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