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05 Apr

5 Open Source Home Automation Tools & Platforms

The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just a promising idea anymore, the cat is now not only out of the bag but is also going great guns.

The world of IoT has opened a world where we can automate, protect, and monitor our houses like never before. One can now keep any eye on their toddlers in house while out for work, protect the house from theft, integrate their home theater system and even reduce the money spent on energy consumption. Yes, all this and a lot more can now happen, all thanks to IoT.

But, the one problem that most of the human beings face while adopting something new is its security and privacy scare. Each one of us wants to have some assurance that we would still have some basic authority over a particular device even if we have given a good ahead to it to externally communicate.

Here’s where open source enters and works like a charm. Here’s a list of 5 open source home automation tools which IndianWeb2.com considers considerably ahead of its competitors.

1) OpenHAB

Open Home Automation Bus or OpenHAB is quite famous among the open source peers and enjoys a large user community. It’s source code can be easily found on GitHub and is licensed under the Eclipse Public License. The home automation tool is one of the most easily portable tools that even runs efficiently on the tiny microcomputer, Raspberry Pi. Written in Java, the tool is known to support hundreds of devices and has been created to become device-agnostic while at the same time making it easier for the developers to keep adding their own plugins and devices to the system. The tool even allows the user to personally create their own User Interface for their home system.

2) Domoticz

This particular home automation system is as easily accessible from the modern smartphones as it is from desktop browsers. Designed with an HTML5 frontend and written primarily in C/C++ under the GPLv3, Domoticz is extremely lightweight. According to its website, the system comes with an amazing variety of supported devices, ranging right from smoke detectors to weather stations to remote controls. Its source code can be easily accessed on GitHub.

3) OpenMotics

Having both its hardware and software under the open source license collar, OpenMotics is a welcome change from all those systems that function by stitching together many devices from different providers. It is a comprehensive system for controlling devices that instead of being used mostly for easy retrofitting, has its eyes set on finding a hardwired solution. It is licensed under the GPLv2 and cab be easily downloaded on GitHub.

4) Calaos

This home automation system is licensed under version 3 of the GPL. Known in the market to provide a full-stack home automation platform, it has a touchscreen interface, a preconfigured Linux OS to function underneath, served and web application and native mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. Since the instructions manual is mostly written in French, people not well versed with the language might have to face some initial hiccups.

5) Home Assistant

Functional on any electronic machine/device running Python 3, this particular open source home automation platform has debuted under an MIT license. The system is known to easily ship with a Docker container to make deploying on other systems a cakewalk. Further, the system even integrates with scorers of open source as well as commercial products, providing the user the opportunity to link. The open source code for the system is easily available at GitHub.

Now, we turn to you. If you use or know any other home automation tool that is not in the above list, do let us know in your comment below.

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04 Apr

A Journey from Smart Devices to Smart World

Gone are those days when we used internet just to browse or to connect with people through devices. Now internet has spread everywhere and we are connecting different objects such as smart devices through wireless connectivity. Sooner or later, we are moving to a smart world of technology, where literally everything will be connected with the evolution of Internet of Things (IOT).

This is no surprise as the possibilities with IoT are endless, which helps it find usage in nearly all fields.

Let me explain you in brief about IoT evolution – the past, present and future. Earlier we have operated our AC with a remote control. Now we switch them on by our smart phones through Wi-Fi / Bluetooth etc. In future, your AC will automatically switch on once you enter the room and will switch off once you leave.

Although IoT is very familiar since the past decade, the eventual development of IoT technology has spread it wings around the world, discovering new devices and ways to connect every single thing, including physical devices. However, I believe that we have already reached the greatest extent in IoT while considering specific devices such as Intel Edison. Intel Edison is a tiny computer of the size of an SD card, which contains dual-core Intel Quark x86, able to run Linux and communicate via Wi-Fi / Bluetooth. Such kind of devices will accelerate the development of the connection between smart devices.

Smart homes with connected walls and sensors in every device are just the beginning of IoT evolution. Smart homes connect to a smart grid whereas a smart city will result from completely connected smart homes or similar smart things in a society. This might not seem far away because several experiments are being carried out for building smart cities around the world. Say, for example, the “Smart City of Songdo” an absolutely connected city of almost any device, equipped with microchips or wireless sensors.

By the next decade, technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence will result in a new and exciting range of connected devices. Therefore, the future of IoT will accelerate the changes to a completely connected society with fantastic applications that have yet to be invented.

Let us see some examples of how IoT gradually developed from smart devices to smart homes, which can lead a path to the smart world.

Year 2005: Early Beginning of the Connected Home

1

Light Switch: In former days, we switch lights only by a switch

2

Smart Refrigerator: The first smart fridge had inventory data, internet access, and a digital screen

3

Security Keypad: Online security systems were regulated by a wall-mounted keypad and monitored by a third party company

4

Remotes: Individual remote controls for every device caused confusion & clutter

 

Year 2015: Machine to Mobile

5

Mobile Controlled: We can now control lighting and other devices through our mobile.

6

Temperature Learning: Smart thermostats controlled by mobile devices can learn personal habits to provide a custom temperature system

6

Mobile Keyless Entry & Wi-fi Security Camera: Locks & keyless entry systems now connect sensors and mobile devices to notify users if a door od window is opened while not at home.

8

Fitness Tracker: Wearable monitoring devices track your real-time physical activities to create usable fitness data

Year 2025: The Smart Home

9

Efficient Smart Home: Smart homes will automatically manage most of your home activities like dimming lights during a movie or displaying energy consumption

10

Artifical Assistant / Hologram: Learning algorithms and sensors will create personalized intelligence throughout the house that will act as a virtual assistant in everyday home tasks.

11

Smart Walls: IoT could modify walls into connected and dynamic devices that are used to control the home security system and other home events

12

Wellness Monitoring: Home devices will track personal data to report on nutrition, wellness & health, so the elderly may stay in their homes longer. In case of an emergency such as heart attacks, appropriate entities like ambulances/hospitals will be automatically alerted to the situation.

Vmoksha plays an important role in the evolution of IoT by offering various services and solutions that help businesses and consumers to adapt to this trend easily and become future ready.

Let’s await a smart future ahead !!!

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29 Feb

Global Internet of Things (IoT) Healthcare Market to Witness 38% CAGR During 2015 – 2020

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The global IoT in Healthcare market was valued at $24,666.7 million in 2014, and it is expected to grow with a CAGR of 37.6% during 2015 – 2020. Among the various components, the system and software segment is expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period, with a CAGR of 40.7%. The global IoT in healthcare market is growing at a significant rate, due to increasing demand for advanced healthcare information system, and growing prevalence of chronic and lifestyle associated diseases. In addition, the growing need for remote patient monitoring services, increasing demand of mHealth technologies, and increasing support from government organizations are also driving the growth of the global IoT in healthcare market.

The IoT applications in healthcare, such as telemedicine, medication management, clinical operations and workflow management, inpatient monitoring, helps in compiling services related to diagnosis, treatment, care, and rehabilitation. It improves communication between patients and healthcare providers, to reduce medication errors and provide better coordinated care.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9.6 million people were diagnosed with tuberculosis and 1.5 million died due to the disease in 2014. Similarly, according to the WHO, globally 130 million to 150 million people had chronic hepatitis C infection in 2014. Moreover, according to the WHO in 2014, 1.2 million people died from HIV related causes globally and 2 million people were newly infected with HIV.

However, lack of security; insufficient memory, computational and energy limitations; and inadequate healthcare infrastructure in developing economies are inhibiting the growth of the market. The increasing number of collaboration and partnerships, growing number of product launches and increasing popularity of IoT healthcare devices are the major trends observed in the global IoT in healthcare market.

Geographically, North America dominated the global market of IoT in healthcare in 2014; whereas the Asian market is expected to witness the fastest growth, a CAGR of 41.6%, during the forecast period.

Some of the key companies operating in the global IoT in healthcare market include Medtronic Plc., Koninklijke Philips N.V., General Electric Company, Qualcomm Incorporated, Honeywell Life Care Solutions, SAP SE, Stanley Black & Decker Inc., International Business Machine (IBM) Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Cerner Corporation, Diabetizer Ltd. & Co. KG, Proteus Digital Health Inc., AdhereTech Inc., and fPhysIQ, Inc.

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18 Feb

100 IoT Open Source Development Tools And Resources

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Internet of things is raging with an unprecedented speed. Before we tell you about the Internet of Things (IoT) open source development tools there is something else you should know first. With IT sector cashing on the hype created by the predictions from likes of Gartner and Cisco that claim that by the end of 2020 more than 50 billion devices will be connected by IoT, all of a sudden everyone wants to be the part of Internet of Things. Well it is no wonder that you are also looking forward to be part of soon to be a $1.9 trillion industry.

Kevin Ashton-“The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.”

Since the first concept of “Internet of Things” coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, the actual definition of internet of things has gone through many changes. Still in simple words IoT can be termed as the environment where physical devices are connected with each other via internet and collect and exchange data for smart response. This is a highly intelligent M2M or Machine-to-Machine technology which has potential to revolutionize how we live and work.

Big players in field of information technology and internet are already working and innovating in the field of IoT one way or the other. ARM concluded in one of its surveys that more than 75% of enterprises already have put their steps into this domain while the mark is expected to reach 96% by the end of 2016.

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”- Kevin Ashton

Why Internet of Things Open Source Development Tools is so popular?

Reasons for the popularity of the IoT open source development tools are the community of users. This community wants to have the open market for utilizing consumer technology devices and not to be dominated by a single vendor. Another reason of going open source is to provide an ecosystem where the IoT devices and applications developed can be integrated without hassles and many efforts. Finally going open source means your device or application can support numerous vendors as you will not be developing code for any specific vendor.

Internet of Things (IoT) open source development tools are mostly developed by the open source community which had worked from early on in the IoT domain. You can deploy the IoT applications making use of these tools sooner than ever before. If you are beginning to build your first internet of things application then this open source tool guide is exclusively for you.

Here we list 100 most widely used and reliable open source tools for developing IoT apps. We have tried our best to include IoT hardware platforms, development tools, software, integrations tools, operating systems and monitoring tools.

Anyhow if you are aware of any tools that are relevant in this context not listed here, please feel free to mention them in the comments below.

IoT Development Tools

  1. ThingBox
  2. Node-RED
  3. M2MLabs Mainspring
  4. Kinoma
  5. Eclipse IoT Project
  6. Arduino

Now all the above listed development tools are very user-friendly yet before you choose any of these tools, we recommend to go through their complete profile here.

IoT Hardware Platforms

Most important part of developing any IoT application is to choose the right hardware platform. Getting started with simple platform like Arduino Yun to progressing to UDOO it is all about the resource requirement of an application. Here are the best IoT Hardware Platforms to choose from

  1. Apio
  2. Arduino Nano
  3. Arduino Pro Mini
  4. Arduino Uno
  5. Arduino Yún
  6. Arietta G25
  7. BeagleBoard
  8. Flutter
  9. Flutter
  10. IMUduino BTLE
  11. Intel Edison
  12. Intel Galileo  
  13. Libelium Waspmote
  14. LightBlue Bean
  15. Local Motors Connected Car
  16. Microduino
  17. Nanode
  18. OpenKontrol Gateway
  19. OpenPicus
  20. panStamps
  21. PicAxe
  22. Pinoccio
  23. Raspberry Pi 2
  24. RasWIK
  25. SAM R21 Xplained Pro
  26. SmartEverything
  27. SODAQ
  28. SparkFun RedBoard
  29. Tessel
  30. Tessel 2
  31. The AirBoard
  32. The Rascal
  33. TinyDuino
  34. UDOO
  35. WIOT
  36. XinoRF 

Home Automation Software

We recommend before you make a choice from any of the below listed software go through this excellent piece of information on How to Choose a Home Automation System by HomeToys.

43.Eclipse SmartHome

44.Home Gateway Initiative (HGI)( Home Automation)

45.Ninja Blocks

46.openHAB

47.PrivateEyePi

48.RaZberry

49.The Thing System 

Middleware

Many of first time Internet of Things Application developers underestimate the importance of choosing the right middleware. Middleware is that mechanism that enables smooth communication among all the different components.

In simple words a ‘Middleware’ facilitates communication between the ‘Internet’ and the ‘Things’.

Choose the right middleware according to your needs from these:

  1. IoTSyS
  2. Kaa
  3. OpenIoT
  4. OpenRemote 

Operating Systems

After choosing the right hardware platform it’s time to choose the right IoT operating system for your application. Selection should be based on the application level, API requirements and hardware needs. Here are the top IoT Operating Systems to choose from.

  1. AllJoyn
  2. Contiki
  3. Raspbian
  4. RIOT
  5. Spark

IoT Integration Tools and Horizontal Platforms

Next in the list of IoT open source tools is the integration platform you will be interested in selecting. Listed below are some of the best IoT integration tools available right now.

  1. Canopy
  2. Chimera IoT
  3. DeviceHive(IoT Integration Tools and Horizontal Platforms )
  4. net
  5. Distributed Services Architecture (DSA)
  6. IoT Toolkit
  7. M2MLabs Mainspring
  8. Mango
  9. Nimbits
  10. Open Source Internet of Things (OSIOT)
  11. OpenRemote
  12. Pico Labs (Kynetx open source assigned to Pico Labs)
  13. prpl Foundation
  14. RabbitMQ
  15. SiteWhere
  16. SiteWhere
  17. ThingSpeak
  18. webinos
  19. Yaler

IoT Development APIs

  1. 1248.io
  2. BipIO(APIs)
  3. Qeo Tinq
  4. Zetta
  5. Motion Shadow

Miscellaneous Tools

  1. Ehcache(In-memory data grids)
  2. Freeboard(Data visualization)
  3. Hazelcast(In-memory data grids)
  4. IoT Toolkit(Toolkits)
  5. KinomaJS(Toolkits)
  6. Thingful(Search)
  7. ThingSpeak(Data visualization)

IoT App Development Protocols

Finally you are at the stage of choosing the right communication platform for your IoT application. Here are best suggestions:

  1. Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)( Protocols)
  2. OASIS Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT)
  3. Very Simple Control Protocol (VSCP)
  4. Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)
  5. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)

IoT Open Source Resources

At last if you need any reference of specialized resource, you might want to check out the ones listed below.

  1. e-Health Sensor Platform(IoT In Health)
  2. HabitatMap Airbeam(IoT In Health)
  3. Open Garden(IoT In Mesh networks)
  4. Open Source Robotics Foundation(IoT In Robotics)
  5. OpenWSN(IoT In Mesh networks)
  6. Oxford Flood Network(IoT In Water)
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17 Feb

What Engineers Need to Know about Communication Protocols When Choosing IoT Management Software

A Failure to Communicate on the IoT

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Engineers can design the best product imaginable and let it connect to the Internet of things (IoT). However, if it doesn’t play well with other products, it will be doomed in the marketplace.

According to a report by PlumChoice, two-thirds of all those who try to use IoT devices will be thwarted for one reason or another. One out of every seven who have bought an IoT device have returned it—and over one-half of those said they would never buy that brand again.

“Despite the significant opportunities presented by innovative connected home and IoT devices, companies are failing to help consumers integrate these products into their already-complex technical environments,” said Steve Thompson, vice president of IoT business development at PlumChoice.

The promise of IoT comes to life as things connect to each other. However, Paul Didier, AVnu Alliance board of director and IoT solution architect at Cisco, explains that many IoT devices remain segmented on highly non-connected networks due to incompatible protocols as well as proprietary reasons. “With IoT, a lot of the core system device applications are impossible with this segmentation, such as big-data analytics,” he said. “Convergence is a key idea.”

To connect these segmented IoT networks, engineers will typically need some form of overarching management software to bring all of the things together. However, what should be simple IoT integration isn’t as simple as it seems.

“Without the necessary pre-purchase and ongoing support, ‘thing’ makers are looking at a long road ahead that involves a lot of unsatisfied customers and many no-fault-found returns,” said Thompson. “We need to help people derive real value from these investments—and, in return, brands will be more successful.”

A Networks of Networks

“IoT management software encompasses a lot of complicated capabilities,” said Bryan Kester, director of IoT at Autodesk. “Most of these are ideal to have, but you don’t have to have them all.”

When it comes to actually implementing IoT, the engineer is faced with a dog’s breakfast of various concepts, tools and technologies. These include—but is not limited to:

  1. Remote firmware and firmware management software for collecting data
  2. IoT device monitoring software for assessing operation of IoT devices
  3. Data storage over the cloud or servers
  4. Big-data analytics for assessing and optimizing a system
  5. Version control for pushing updates to the IoT device

“IoT control is very broad,” added Todd Walter, AVnu Alliance chair and senior group manager at National Instruments. “There are some common denominators between management software, Web services and protocols. They have management concepts for end nodes and sizable communities that support them. But there is no single management protocol today—nothing that does it all. I think it will depend on the market to see if one is needed.”

As previously mentioned, many IoT products will have their own proprietary software that connects the device to the Internet, manages its data and controls the product. Didier explains that, when compatible, IoT management software adds another layer of communication on top of these detached networks.

This overarching network of networks will still let each proprietary software control their things. The main difference is that this network of networks will allow for communication protocols for big data, optimization and system control opportunities.

Amazon, Microsoft and PTC Step Up

For example, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) look to perform this connectivity and management through their cloud platforms. Communication with the hub is done over HTTPS and MQTT protocols and custom gateways when needed. Microsoft Azure can also use AMQP protocols. However, if your device isn’t compatible with these protocols, then they will not be compatible with Azure or AWS.

“You deploy your event hub, add your devices and connect your varying devices through the hub,” said Ken Patterson, technical solution specialist for Microsoft Azure at N3. “There are third-party tools you can utilize like Raspberry Pi. You can then use development environments and Arduino to connect to the Raspberry Pi. As a result, your mobile platforms on Apple, Android and Windows can all integrate and be used for control or as a sensor.”

Another example of a leading IoT management software is PTC’s ThingWorx. ThingWorx is positioning itself as a protocol-agnostic choice for IoT management software. “At the core of the ThingWorx platform is a comprehensive modeling environment that also generates REST APIs for the ‘things’ in the model,” said Joe Biron, vice president of IoT technology at ThingWorx. “The REST API not only allows for the management of the IoT devices, but also allows for communication between the disparate cloud-based systems, enabling IoT applications to be extended to other domains such as CRM (Salesforce), cellular (Jasper) and so on.”

However, ThingWorx will not be as simple as you may expect. An engineer or IT professional will still be needed to implement the IoT system connections, create the dashboards and ensure the system is operating properly.

How to Choose an IoT Management Software?

Many of the top players attempting to integrate the IoT will have familiar names. This is because they are likely already a major player in another technical vertical.

The IoT management software options the engineer wishes their product will be compatible with will dictate the protocol selections for an IoT device. When making this decision, engineers should pay attention to the end users of their management software, which could be themselves, and the use case of the IoT connection. For a list of some IoT Management software options for engineers, see the table below.

Company IoT Management Software IoT Product’s End User Popular IoT Use Cases
PTC ThingWorx Product’s Design Team, Industry Business Management, Big Data, Analytics, Product Optimization, Failure Management
Autodesk SeeControl Product’s Design Team, Industry Business Management, Big Data, Analytics, Product Optimization
Microsoft Azure IoT Hub Industry, Consumer Business Management, Big Data, Analytics, Failure Management, Consumer Products
AWS AWS IoT Industry, Consumer Business Management, Big Data, Analytics, Failure Management, Consumer Products
Google Weave Consumer Consumer Products
Apple HomeKit Consumer Consumer Products

For example, a product development team may want to keep track of how their products are interacting with their customers. This data can be used to improve the product design in the future. As a result, they might want to pick an IoT management software that has integration to design software such as PTC or Autodesk.

So how do you start to determine which IoT management software to use or who you can work with to create your own? Didier thinks a good place for many to start is with their previous IT partners.

PTC and Autodesk’s take on IoT

Engineers might want to see what IoT options their design software provider might offer. For instance, PTC has invested over $750 million dollars into IoT acquisitions. As a result, PTC has amassed a significant amount of IoT technology. Whereas Autodesk has recently launched their SeeControl product. As a result, a lot of news is sure to come out of both of these design companies and their competitors are sure to follow suit.

However, as no IoT management software is all encompassing, “there is sometimes a need to have two systems,” noted Kester. “Some of these offerings have open, cloud-available APIs, or such capabilities are on the way. However, there is no perfect IoT software vendor today, and some systems are built more for data sharing than others.”

How Does Potential IoT Protocol Standardization Affect My Management Software?

One of the leading reasons the choice of IoT management software is so important is that there is a lack of IoT standardization. As many product designers opt to create their own proprietary control software, the problem only gets worse.

“In the cloud, there is a lot of work being done to bring the data all together, but IoT isn’t as developed,” said Didier. “How to use different systems and applications from various different vendors hasn’t been done.”

However, there is hope for standardization in the IoT community, and it is taking on a few forms. Keeping track of the IoT standardization field can keep you ahead of the curve to ensure your IoT device will make the cut.

IoT Protocol Standardization Option: Industry Consortium

The first potential sources for IoT standardization are the industry consortiums. These groups ensure that all products made by members of the consortium are compatible. Some of the leading consortium and standards organizations include AVnu Alliance, Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), ODVA, OPC and Z-Wave.

As a result, becoming a member of an industry consortium and ensuring your management software meets all of its protocols is a good way to maximize the number of things your product will be compatible with. Besides, their protocols will be a good starting point if you are opting to create your own proprietary management software.

Each consortium creates standard protocols that are optimized for different situations. If there are consortiums creating protocols that match your use cases, then you should look into how to become a member.

For example, AVnu Alliance is focused on ensuring time synchronization between nodes for the purposes of Industrial IoT control and analytics.

“What AVnu Alliance is doing is taking the IEEE standard for time-sensitive networks (TSNs) and making that operable and certifiable between devices,” clarified Didier. “This is similar to what the Wi-Fi Alliance did for 802.11 media access control. They created a network where you always get Wi-Fi connectivity despite the device you are using. We want to do the same for TSNs in industrial applications.”

Potential TSN architecture. Image courtesy of National Instruments.

Potential TSN architecture. Image courtesy of National Instruments.

Alhough no consortium has come up with a complete IoT standards solution, Didier notes that the IIC and Germany’s Industrie 4.0 have put in a considerable effort.

“Neither of them has settled on what the full architecture will look like or what the key technology will look like, but they have guidelines,” he explained. “Industrie 4.0 is looking toward TSNs to converge networks as well as open communication platforms to cross the data across large spaces and run the larger business processes. Additionally, IIC has published a paper outlining a reference architecture, including the key standards and technologies. But they both still need to outline the next steps, which will be done in 2016. AVnu Alliance will be helping both of them to ensure the convergence of industrial devices within these networks.”

IoT Protocol Standardization Option: Piggyback on Internet Standards

Because the things will all end up on the Internet eventually anyway, some organizations are looking to bring standardization using Internet protocols.

“In a lot of cases, the IoT devices are using standardized protocol to transmit data anyway,” Patterson explained. “As for standardizations for the IoT protocols themselves, a lot are being built to integrate, despite these differences. For example, the IoT protocol gateway can integrate multiple transmission protocols into multiple locations.”

Walter agrees that standardization can happen after the things connect to the Web. He suggests that Ethernet might be a solution. “One key move to convergence comes as these products move over standard Ethernet,” he said. “We can then tap into those standard Ethernet communications. We think this will help with the convergence of communication in Industrial IoT.”

How much IoT standardization is needed if they are going to be brought into a standardized location or communication protocol eventually? After all, Microsoft Azure and AWS already connect to multiple IoT devices using HTTPS and MQTT protocols.

IoT Protocol Standardization Option: Consumer and Market Pressures

Users want to have their IoT device work to their expectations out of the box. As a result, “you will see a shakeup of consumer friendly IoT interfaces,” said Chuck McDaniel at N3. “From a consumer viewpoint, they will want something easy in order to get those analytics.”

Unfortunately, the marketplace doesn’t always listen to what is best for the consumer. “Capitalism is working against any standards as well as the success of any governing body,” Kester said. “If you look at an open and ‘free’ standard like the Android operating system, you see it bifurcate and split in flavors across handset manufacturers, TV manufacturers and even industrial manufacturers that are adopting it for IoT controllers. They are free to modify it to their own unique purpose and have done so to keep competitor technologies off of their ‘things’ and to sell the apps and services they want on their device.”

This is an interesting point. When given a clear standard such as the Android operating system, and a demand from the consumer for compatibility, the market still decided to split the standard into many in order to suit their own proprietary needs.

“In the tech industry, companies are very used to being both competitors and allies, because they know they can make a bigger market together,” lamented Kester. “That is why there has been such dramatic progress and growth in tech over the last 20 years. Industrial manufacturers don’t yet have this mentality.”

Since this method of IoT standardization seems to be more of a format war, engineers should pay close attention to how the format war’s pendulum might swinging.

IoT Protocol Standardization Option: A Standard IoT Chip

An alternate source for standardization suggested by Kester is at the chip level. “That is probably one of the best possible outcomes—IoT protocol choices are determined by the embedded system and its tools,” he said. “However, there are many different things with different microprocessors out there, and they all have constraints on how they operate.”

Not all IoT device hardware will have the same CPU power or memory. As a result, many of the low-powered options will need to be very minimalist in their IoT protocol or risk maxing out the chip. However, the chips with more computational capacity will need more power to operate. As a result, a one-size-fits-all solution for IoT standardization from the chip level has its own complication.

An interesting pair utilizing this strategy are Marvell and Google Weave, which recently released a series of plug-and-play IoT chipsets that are Google Weave-ready. Although this particular chip may not get a big enough push to conquer the market, it will certainly simplify the IoT product development cycle.

If there is a chipset that connects to a management software that meets your needs, it might reduce your time to market. But you should make sure this solution meets the needs of your end users and IoT use cases.

IoT Standardization—The Cost of Waiting

The longer it takes a design team to bring their products onto IoT, the cheaper and more polished the management software will become, especially as standardization develops into a growing reality.

This might look appealing, but it is a double-edged sword. First, standardization isn’t guaranteed. In addition, waiting to implement IoT has a heavy cost in opportunity.

“There is so much value you can get from the integration,” Walter said. “You may find though that by the time the dust settles, you are no longer competitive and it’s too late to get into the game.”

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16 Feb

IoT Makes Construction Machinery More Productive and Intelligent

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Engineers continually seek ways to improve construction machinery. This can be done many ways. For instance, an advanced user interface could enhance the operator experience. Vehicles could use less fuel or generate fewer emissions. They could operate more safely and reliably. What if they could diagnose themselves and resolve their issues quickly and with no downtime?

Technology can certainly help, but the revolutions in technology and their impact on construction machinery presents challenges for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and vehicle designers. Although innovations such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) using wireless devices and the cloud may well represent the future, they pose a dilemma for the design engineer.

While the benefits may seem clear, engineers need to weight the impact of design changes against the overall improvement in the operation of the equipment and the added value to the business.

 

Heavy Equipment and Connectivity

One of the areas of development that has a high impact on the construction industry is the use of wireless technology to provide connectivity for heavy equipment. People have become accustomed to a high degree of connectivity in their daily lives, in large part due to the widespread use of tablets and smartphones. The connected construction machine uses these devices combined with cloud computing, allowing for the storage and sharing of data, as well as widespread access to information and services.

Telematic solutions for remote monitoring of construction machinery have been available for several years; typically, it involved having a cell modem installed on the machine to provide Internet access. However, this approach requires each machine to have its own cell phone plan, which makes the cost of these solutions often higher than the benefit gained from remote monitoring.

A more cost-effective approach tethers an Internet connection through mobile devices and makes use of the data plans already in place. This way, no separate cell plan is required for the machine itself, bringing down the cost for this functionality.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communications

IoT represents an exponentially growing technology that provides connectivity and functionality in the cloud environment. Combining this with wireless technologies, attractive options for construction machinery are possible in the areas of remote monitoring, M2M interfaces, data logging and theft tracking. Customized apps can be easily developed for any platform, integrating smartphone features, such as GPS, weather and maps, and used to interface with the vehicle control system.

Wireless technology brings exciting capabilities, and the use of its features should improve and enhance the vehicle control system, which remains the primary focus of functionality and productivity. Networks of controllers, sensors, actuators and displays should work together to provide the desired functionality for construction equipment and to improve its performance.

 

The Role of Software

Perhaps the most important aspect that ties all of the vehicle technologies together is the software that runs on each electronic component. Software allows designers to customize the behavior of the equipment to implement features, improve performance and provide the desired “feel” of the machine.

Since the software is usually customized for each application, this can be the differentiating factor that brings value to one machine over the competition. While software development for construction machinery can be challenging, the benefits far outweigh the efforts of implementation.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for any construction machine, there are certainly new trends and technologies that can bring benefits to any vehicle. Technology that supports vehicle connectivity, including wireless devices and the cloud, represents the future trends in mobile functionality.

Free Webinar and White Paper

For an in-detail analysis of intelligent construction machinery, wireless controls and mobile systems, readers may want to tune into this webinar, “The Connected Construction Machine: The Integration of Wireless Technologies with Mobile Control Systems,” that will take place Feb. 18. A related white paper, “The Connected Construction Machine,” is available as well.

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05 Feb

IoT Revolutionizing Manufacturing Industry

iot

The Internet of Things (IoT) is leading towards intelligent and networked devices bringing innovations in the manufacturing and distribution business. It is in use for monitoring the environmental conditions of products during shipments, tracking and fuel efficiency of trucks and their drivers.

According to Howard Heppelman, VP and GM, Connected Product Management at PTC, in future advanced IoT applications will enable the factory managers to walk the floor with glasses that overlays alerts and readings onto the 3D view of the facilities.

Heppelman says, “Every day more sensors are being deployed in factories on motors to check vibrations and temperature, or on the factory line to measure production and product quality”.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is leading towards intelligent and networked devices bringing innovations in the manufacturing and distribution business. It is in use for monitoring the environmental conditions of products during shipments, tracking and fuel efficiency of trucks and their drivers.

According to Howard Heppelman, VP and GM, Connected Product Management at PTC, in future advanced IoT applications will enable the factory managers to walk the floor with glasses that overlays alerts and readings onto the 3D view of the facilities.

Heppelman says, “Every day more sensors are being deployed in factories on motors to check vibrations and temperature, or on the factory line to measure production and product quality”.

IoT devices offer the facility of real-time data from sensors and existing back-office data from ERP, supply chain, CRM and other applications to produce useful information. The use of IoT in Manufacturing will lead to networked maintenance with fixes sent as software updates rather than technicians with a toolbox.

Bill McBeath, Chief Research Officer, ChainLink Research, says, “We’re entering the era of the IoT, which is enabling things like remote diagnostics or predictive diagnostics. IoT is more than sensors. It includes substantial software components, not just in the device but up in the cloud. Internet connectivity takes things to a new level”.

IoT and Future of Manufacturing Distribution

McBeath’s predictions on the impact of IoT devices on manufacturing and distribution.

  • The tools will add intelligence to the factory floor, warehouse, and distribution process
  • IoT will become a part of the products being traded
  • Software-driven products like TVs or telephones could be serviced by a firmware update, saving the manufacturers’ repair trips.

McBeath further states: “The first move advantage exists in the accumulation of data, algorithms, customers, critical partnerships, critical masses of all these things. New unexplored territories and opportunities abound for those ready to take the leap and seize them”.

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