protocol

Low power means long range coverage for industrial sensors

By IoT Now Magazine

Andrew Brown, the executive director of Enterprise and IoT Research at Strategy Analytics, recently interviewed Matt Bacon, the marketing and communications director at Actility, to discuss the company’s activities in IoT; its network, partners and customers and its efforts in industrial markets. Actility is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance and offers low power wide area (LPWA) infrastructure with its ThingPark IoT communications platform. The platform provides LoRaWAN longrange coverage for low-power sensors used in multiple vertical industry applications

Andrew Brown: What are the key IoT applications that Actility customers are implementing in industrial environments?

Matt Bacon, the marketing and communications director at Actility

Matt Bacon: To begin with, it makes sense to explain what we do at Actility and how we help our customers in IoT. Our core product is the ThingPark communications platform, which was initially focused on LoRaWAN, but will shortly also support licensed 3GPP technologies; first LTE Cat M and then narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for customers. With the platform, we manage data end-to-end, from the sensor via the gateway to customer applications in the cloud. We are able to handle various additional functions such as protocol translation, if required, also ensuring devices are correctly provisioned and sending their data packets end-to-end. We are not an analytics or visualisation company; we offer key ingredients in a complete IoT solution created by a range of partners. Our initial customers were network operators who chose us to build nationwide LoRaWAN networks in order for them to resell connectivity to their customers. They used ThingPark to manage the LoRaWAN component of their network.

Andrew Brown, Strategy Analytics

There are multiple applications that our customers, like KPN or Orange are enabling through connectivity for their industrial customers. For example, one industrial customer manages thousands of rat traps throughout The Netherlands. Connect them with LoRa and the traps only need to be checked and emptied when they have actually caught a rat, so there are far fewer truck rolls required, which dramatically improves the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of the project.

Our partnership with Inmarsat has enabled the first globally available LoRaWAN IoT platform and we are supporting the company in building smart city applications in Kigali in Rwanda. In the same country, we are also working with Inmarsat and Carnegie Mellon University on a mountain tea plantation and processing facility. There, IoT will deliver agricultural monitoring such as soil moisture levels, but also precise temperature and humidity monitoring in the processing facility, which need to be monitored and controlled to ensure the best possible tea.

We also handle more traditional plant monitoring projects, such as the work we are doing with IBM Watson and Cougar Automation, a UK systems integrator, for RS Components. RS has a large warehouse with thousands of metres of conveyor belts. It ships up to 44,000 parcels a day, which are moved by conveyor belts. As a parcel drops from one belt to another, it can marginally knock the belts out of alignment. As this is repeated with thousands […]

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Akita raises $700,000 crowd-based funding on Kickstarter

Akita, an IoT device watchdog station raised approximately $700,000 crowdfunding on Kickstarter. With 7000 plus backers, the startup promises to provide instant privacy for connected products.

Instant Privacy for Smart Homes

The device performs three core activities i.e. scans connected gadgets/devices, blocks compromised devices and notifies the users of known issues. Akita comes with full support and help desk monitoring powered by Axius.

This device connects to a LAN port on users’ home router (not inline). The startup describes the device working as follows:

“Akita uses a custom form of WiFi sniffing to detect questionable packets and send them to our servers to be analyzed (this is why the hardware can run on low memory/CPU, because it’s mainly a cloud-based system). Once the packets are determined to be malicious, a command is sent from our servers back to the Akita device; this includes custom protocol commands to disconnect the device from the network router.“

Akita’s Kickstarter received significant backing (both in terms o the number of backers and funds raised from the campaign), though, it only aimed to raise $30,000 initially.

The rise in popularity of privacy and network security devices is understandable. A home network, with several connected devices, need robust protections. That’s where other startups like Dojo and F-Secure also promise to secure network traffic and identify rouge devices.

Readers might visit the Postscapes Connected Device Security guide to understand how other devices in the same niche work and how Akita stacks up against its competitors.

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CES 2018: LoRa Alliance Showcasing Rapidly Growing Adoption and Cross-Industry Usage of Open LoRaWAN Standard

By IoT – Internet of Things

The LoRa Alliance™ is showcasing the latest member products and applications leveraging the open LoRaWAN standard at CES 2018. The LoRaWAN protocol is seeing rapid global deployment and adoption due to the technology’s inherent advantages for IoT applications: low power, long range, highly secure, cost effective and easy to deploy. “LoRaWAN’s rapidly expanding global network footprint […]

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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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Qorvo and HUMAX Provide Complete Zigbee-based Smart Voice Assistant System

By IoT – Internet of Things

Qorvo recently announced that its multi-stack, multi-protocol GP712 System-on-Chip is in the new Zigbee®-based HUMAX Chorus Voice Assistant. The pairing is advancing the Internet of Things (IoT) by creating a turnkey, smart home system for operators that integrates gateways, sensor devices, cloud platforms and mobile applications. Voice assistants are fueling growth in the smart home […]

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Redpine Signals Launches Industry’s Lowest-Power Wireless MCU and Connectivity Solutions for Battery-Operated IoT Devices

By IoT – Internet of Things

Redpine Signals®, Inc. recently launched the industry’s lowest-power multi-protocol wireless MCU (WiSeMCU™) solution – RS14100 – for battery-operated IoT devices. Redpine Signals also launched the RS9116 wireless solution, which features multi-protocol wireless connectivity and is available in both hosted (n-Link™) and embedded (WiSeConnect™) configurations. These new low-power solutions build upon the success of Redpine’s RS9113 […]

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CENTRI Technology Launches Atonomi Network to Bring Security and Trust to Internet of Things

By IoT – Internet of Things

Atonomi, the blockchain-based arm of leading IoT security provider CENTRI Technology, has announced the launch of the Atonomi Network, a crypto-security protocol that will enable advanced trust and identity validation for IoT devices for the first time. Building on Ethereum technology, the Atonomi Network will provide an immutable blockchain-based identity and reputation service to secure […]

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GlobalPlatform standardises secure OS and firmware loading on secure elements

By Zenobia Hegde

GlobalPlatform, the standard for secure digital services and devices, has published its Open Firmware Loader for Tamper Resistant Elements (OFL). The free specification standardises how secure element (SE) firmware – combining the secure operating system (OS), applications and data – can be remotely loaded and managed onto a SE such as SIM, embedded SE or eUICC / eSIM, or integrated SE even after a device has been issued.

This ensures that the device’s longevity is no longer impacted by the lifecycle of the SE, and opens up a range of new use cases like in-field OS and firmware provisioning, device refurbishment, backup / restoration of the SE and the secure transfer of a customer profile to a new device. With the OFL security scheme, handset manufacturers, service providers and firmware implementers can build a new privacy-by- design ecosystem where services can be securely deployed and updated on connected devices.

“The growth of embedded SEs is driving the development of new solutions as, previously, there has not been a standardised way to load the OS to an eUICC after the smartphone has been produced,” says Gil Bernabeu, technical director of GlobalPlatform.

“With the OFL protocol, the selection of an OS can be delayed until the device reaches its destination. So, if a smartphone is manufactured in one country, for example in China, a country-specific OS can be loaded to the eSIM or integrated SE once it reaches France, or the U.S. What’s great is that this also brings greater flexibility further down the line.

Smartphones, connected cars or any other device with an embedded or integrated SE often have more than one owner during their lifecycle. OFL ensures a new OS can replace an existing one and, importantly, a personalised OS and its services can be securely transferred to a new device.”

The OFL protocol enables the industry to:

Distribute generic and blank (no firmware/operating system) embedded hardware featuring a standardized loading mechanism. This enables firmware from various developers to be loaded, with policy enforcement, after the issuance of the device.
Solve the logistical challenge of distributing devices to fragmented markets with low volume.
Distribute new firmware once the device has been issued to address additional use cases.
Mitigate the challenges of loading firmware containing diversified data into embedded hardware during manufacturing.
Use a standardised loader, shared between multiple silicon makers, allowing firmware implementers to produce loadable OSs.
Ensure perfect forward secrecy and confidentiality between firmware makers easing compliancy with the latest data regulations (GDPR).

The publication of the OFL is the first output of GlobalPlatform’s new Fast Track Process. The initiative enables members to bring forward mature technologies for standardisation via an expedited process to more rapidly answer the needs of the market.

“GlobalPlatform technology gives service providers and device manufacturers the means to interact seamlessly when deploying secure digital services, regardless of market or device type. The resulting collaboration makes the mass marketing of secure digital services possible, while bringing time and cost efficiencies to stakeholders within the ecosystem,” concludes Gil.

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Libre Launches Revolutionary “MAVID”

By IoT – Internet of Things

Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc. recently announced “MAVID,” an entirely new embedded voice enabled multi-protocol wireless connectivity and IoT platform. This breakthrough platform features ultra low power and incredibly small size and incorporates a complete hardware and software solution for embedded voice, IoT, audio and wireless connectivity, and features Amazon Alexa Voice Service support. In addition […]

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