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So what are today’s forward-thinking professionals doing with this new technology?
They’re finding that work is a whole lot simpler, faster and more enjoyable with data devices that can sort, synthesize and analyze data as well as collect it, and that can work seamlessly with both worksite machinery and advanced office hardware.
Take the public works sector: Government agencies and private companies across the world are using rugged technology for a wide range of tracking, monitoring, reporting and scheduling tasks essential to city maintenance — all while saving time and improving the accuracy of their data.
For example, GPS-enabled devices can tag along worry-free for messy catch-basin cleanup runs and sewer line repairs, and dashboard-mounted tablets with tracking software can simplify data collection on street-sweeping and waste-collection routes, without ill effects from constant road vibrations.
The data these computers collect can be stored, organized, charted, transmitted wirelessly to office locations, and formed into customized reports. Simple manual and sensor-based data input reduces human error and increases accuracy for record-keeping and important reporting, such as for governmental regulations or grant compliance.
Once we have a home full of connected devices do we really want to individually manage all of them? Mike Kuniavsky, a principal in the Innovation Services Group at PARC, explains in this weeks podcast how we’re going to have to think differently about programming devices for the internet of things. Devices will need to know what they contain and how those elements might contribute to a certain scenario in the home.
For example when you want to watch a movie, you shouldn’t have to program 6 different devices in your home to tell them what they should do when you toggle on your movie setting, your devices should have some sense of what they are capable of and how to enter a set mode. As he did in his chat in February at our San Francisco Internet of Things meetup, Kuniavsky, likened this device behavior to video games like Minecraft or Lemmings, where preset general behaviors determines how the game unfolded as opposed to rigid and specific actions. He explains all this and more in the podcast. Check it out.
Andy Hobsbawm's (one of the founders of the business EVRYTHNG) business gives me a headache quite quickly as I struggle to imagine the implications of the humungous data generated by everything we touch. And then there's the data generated by mixing up the data with other data in order to create more data that predicts the future and reshapes our existence. Got that? Just a little scary, yes?
I don't mind my bike or my fridge talking about my habits but the implications of underwear or individual deodorants having their own Facebook page, or the web-of-things equivalent, is mind-boggling. What if - oh dear, how embarrassing - you don't appear to have a deodorant life? Too much information or not enough, either way as we become even more defined by our consumption this could get vicious. I can sense a lobby forming to say our rights are being eroded in ways that go way beyond what Google's done to us so far.
The Weightless SIG claims the new standard will allow for ultra-low-power transmissions at long-range and at a cheap manufacturing cost. If true, that would make the technology ideal for M2M communications.
Many of the first apps for Google Glass will be about consuming and sharing content on the go. But what if Google Glass could unlock control over the world of the Internet of Things both inside and outside the home?
"Picture arriving home from work, and the door of your house automatically unlocks to let you in as you walk up to it. Inside, your NPR app comes on the glasses screen and you can tune in or change the channel while you fiddle with turning on the connected sprinkler system for your lawn. Your Nest thermostat app then pops up on your Google Glass screen to let you know that you’ve been good this week and saved a lot of energy, but with a wink you override the conservation mode and crank up the heat.
The scenario isn’t as crazy as it sounds and all the basic technology is there. There are mobile apps that already do all of these things. Essentially you’d just be moving the control function from the cell phone touch screen and your fingertips to the screen in front of your eye and either a facial gesture or hand movement. All devices in the home that would benefit from having connectivity and control are getting it, and there will be a variety of remotes that will control them — why not one on your face?"
New electronic tattoos could help monitor health during normal daily activities.
Taking advantage of recent advances in flexible electronics, researchers have devised a way to “print” devices directly onto the skin so people can wear them for an extended period while performing normal daily activities. Such systems could be used to track health and monitor healing near the skin’s surface, as in the case of surgical wounds.
So-called “epidermal electronics” were demonstrated previously in research from the lab of John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the devices consist of ultrathin electrodes, electronics, sensors, and wireless power and communication systems. In theory, they could attach to the skin and record and transmit electrophysiological measurements for medical purposes. These early versions of the technology, which were designed to be applied to a thin, soft elastomer backing, were “fine for an office environment,” says Rogers, “but if you wanted to go swimming or take a shower they weren’t able to hold up.” Now, Rogers and his coworkers have figured out how to print the electronics right on the skin, making the device more durable and rugged.
you knew it was going to be introduced.
Released last fall to the adoration of design blogs, Hue provides enough innovations to the way we light up our homes to make you long for the days when a wall-mounted light switch will be a techological relic.
A Hue kit--sold for $199 at the Apple store-- come with four wireless LED bulbs, a wireless hub, and an app that you download for your smartphone or tablet and use to communicate with the bulbs, up to 50 at a time.
The LEDs can shine at any color on the spectrum, and, with a click, will absorb the exact color from a photograph on your phone. Or you can rely on Hue’s premixed color "recipes," which are tested to promote relaxation, concentration, energy, or reading.
Philips isn’t the only player in the game, of course. About the same time that Hue was announced, the Kickstarter drive for LIFX, another Wi-Fi-enabled LED, knocked it out of the park by raising $1.3 million, more than 10 times its goal. LIFX ups the ante by promising to "visualise your music with animated colors" and integrating with Facebook and Twitter for notifications.
A little less sexy than the latest smart TVs perhaps, but drawing significant crowds at CES, were displays of kitchens and kitchen appliances. It is now a very realistic possibility that we will soon (after years of hype) be using fridges that assess when we are running low on certain food items and automatically reorder through our regular online retailer of choice. Given coverage of retail results over the last week and the development of this sort of technology, Morrisons may have even more reason to regret its slow progress in online retail when compared to the likes of Tesco. Another interesting appliance was a dishwasher from LG that liaises with your energy supplier to ensure that it only switches itself on at a time of day when electricity is cheap.
There are a very large number of stands exhibiting smaller scale, wearable computing such as health and fitness monitors and smartwatches (often combined). One of the most interesting of these is the Pebble smartwatch which was the subject of much excitement at CES today. This hotly-anticipated smartwatch was created thanks to $15m of crowdsourced funding (Kickstarter's most successful project to date) and is being made available this month. The Pebble has an e-ink display similar to those found on e-readers and lasts seven days on one battery charge. The screen is able to display a multitude of apps as well as tell the time. Third-party developers will be able to create apps for the watch which can pair up with smartphones running Google's Android software or Apple's iOS. Perhaps of more importance longer term are the devices that will help us monitor our health; not only heartbeat, blood pressure and so on but food intake and amount of exercise.
A huge number of acres of exhibition space was taken by car manufacturers. It feels to me that much of the focus in recent years has been around using technology to improve the quality of the drive as opposed to the in-car experience. But that is clearly about to change. Many manufacturers were displaying technology that can seamlessly link car, smartphone and location data to deliver an enhanced experience. For example, Ford were showing a car that would read your text messages to you as you are driving. Others demonstrated how by synching car and smartphone, the music being played in your car could automatically adapt to driving conditions. One soundtrack for driving faster on an open road, another for city driving.
by Stewart Easterbrook
10 Jan 2013
You’ve got a robot that vacuums your carpet, and it doesn’t even scare the cat too much anymore. That’s progress, right? So where do you turn next in your quest for automated domestic help? How about a robot that does windows?
The Ecovacs Winbot cleans both sides of a window at the same time, with a two-part system. A driver that contains the motor sits on one side of the glass while a follower unit goes on the other side. The two units are held together with a powerful, variable-strength magnet. The robot senses its position on the window and follows a zig-zag path to cover the entire area. A remote is also included to allow manual direction of the robot.
Connecting sensors as well as connected devices to build an Internet of things-style service isn’t easy. But new products from vendors that range from Texas Instruments to ThingsSquared and Mobiplug make it easier for product vendors and consumers to build internets of things.
The connected vehicle is leading the automotive industry to its most significant innovation phase since the creation of the automobile itself.
What if large groups of people could go beyond ridesharing – replacing traditional car ownership altogether through on-demand access to the cars they want: a convertible in the summer, an SUV for winter ski trips?
What if driving skills could be computed as a score that warned us of bad drivers nearby – real time, on the road – also enabling navigation systems to offer safer alternative routes? Imagine if we could get rid of traffic jams and accidents altogether. Or how about if our cars picked up our groceries on their own – and dropped us off at the airport like a self-contained limo service?
What if automakers could subsidize our car purchases by working with telecommunications and other companies that want to capitalize on the lifetime revenue opportunity of a connected driver? Consider also the possibilities for insurance providers to charge higher premiums (for those who drive their cars themselves), or for local governments to monitor personal CO2 usage (in exchange for not taxing or tolling public roads).
BY THILO KOSLOWSKI04 Jan 2013
Over five billion wireless connectivity chips will ship in 2013, according to ABI Research, as our appetite for everything mobile continues to grow. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both growing, of course, but so are lesser-known specs such as Zigbee, UWB, and, yes, even NFC. (...)
I talked to Peter Cooney, a wireless analyst with ABI, just before the the research company’s London offices closed for the Christmas long weekend.
“NFC has gone from two million devices in 2010 to 100 million in 2012,” he said. “Android is really driving that growth, but NFC is coming of age … and integration into smartphones is driving growth in other areas.”
That’s something we’ve seen a lot of this year: sensors and connected switches for windows and doors, lights, heating, and more. SmartThings wants to help youcontrol the real world, as does ReelyActive. And while NFC has been the next great thing for some time, we’re seeing a ton of innovation in the home automation space using multiple wireless protocols.
“In 2013 cumulative shipments of Bluetooth-enabled devices will surpass 10 billion and Wi-Fi enabled devices will surpass 10 billion cumulative shipments in 2015,” Cooney said in a statement.
sentient devices are coming
Along with many groups Internet pioneer Vint Cerf has persistently warned of the imminent exhaustion of IPv4 Internet addresses (see clips from 2010, 2011 and 2012), to largely frustrating effect. The time for warnings is over.
"IPv6 adoption is currently perceived as all cost and no value. So organisations are maximising the remaining elbow room in the current IPv4 environment, by, for example, squeezing more out of Network Address Translation (NAT) which allows a network to use minimal addresses, or by renumbering redundant addresses, or by other means such as deploying private networks.And when it comes to the Internet of Things there is a chorus from some technical but influential people in organisations actively urging restraint on IPv6 adoption.They see IPv6 as a Layer 3 network issue, not an Internet of Things issue. One argument is that IPv6 is just one element towards interoperability in an Internet of Things environment and not the be-all and end-all. It points to inherent dangers in equating IPv6 with getting value from the Internet of Things saying, for example, that the thousands of sensor devices around a hub don't necessarily need IPv6. It is only the hub itself that does."
-- Dr John Riley
"Marketers have been trying to capture that magic moment when a potential consumer is actually looking to interact with your brand."
"Current smartphone technology allows for nearly infinitely granular targeting based on behavior, third party data, contextual data like location, and universal sign-in profiles. All of these allow increasingly relevant interactions to follow a consumer across apps and the mobile web, all while waiting for the right moment. While interesting, however, this is not what I am talking about. This is just a refinement of existing approaches to targeting. It’s nothing new."
"What I’m talking about is giving consumers control, a tool that allows them to quickly and easily learn something about a specific product or service. I’m talking using our smartphones to create intuitive gateways that bridge the real world with related digital experiences. Whether you call it Web 3.0 or the “internet of things,” this is what mobile is all about and I believe visual recognition technology will play a key role in making it happen."
Cisco’s Lew Tucker stood onstage today at Cloud Connect and pitched the networking giant’s “Internet of Everything,” an app-centric world that will be worth $14.5 trillion over the next couple of years. Whereas the Internet of Things is all the objects in our world, Tucker says the IoE is the smart grids and, really, the entire supply chain and its transformation.
Big enterprise companies are good at this kind of thing. They talk about huge market opportunities and great futures with tremendous upside, but it’s a question of how nimble they can be with startups innovating so fast. Tucker, however, gets credit for explaining how an app-centric world ties in with software-defined networking (SDN) and the switch from traditional, heavyweight systems of records (ERP, CRM) to systems of engagement (apps, lightweight services that provide feedback loops).
Tucker, citing Cisco’s own study, says there is $4.9 trillion in immediate opportunity through the development of such things as smart grids, smart factories, smart buildings and smart cities.
The IoE also provides a context for the ways we interact with this deep fabric of connected things. An ERP system will become less relevant for companies. Instead, systems of engagement will put us right in the center of a feedback loop that allows us to measure our own selves and in the process connect to all the other smart aspects of our life. That might be in the city of San Francisco when trying to find a parking spot or the smart factory where we order our data-generated personal things.
Interesting read Kishore Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at Accenture, on the possibilities of the Internet of Things and the myths of the things that are stopping the thing called the Internet of things happening.
Myth 1: IoT is a Technology. IoT is a concept, not a technology you would buy. (See also: http://thebln.com/2013/04/the-internet-of-things-a-definition-according-to-cisco/).
Myth 2: IoT is the next wave of the Internet. The closest some devices will get to the Internet is using TCP/IP protocols.
Myth 3: Regulations on data privacy is a critical enabler of the IoT. Privacy concerns might give rise to more innovative business models, but that is no reason to hold off on understanding what the IoT means for businesses.
Myth 4: IoT needs device communication standards. Standards never hurt but most devices will be communicating for specialist and limited reasons.
The Internet of Things isn’t just some futuristic concept — it already exists. But often badly. For it to succeed, it will need an economy supported by developers who can rely on open standards and APIs.
"oT done wrong is the much maligned Internet refrigerator. Seriously? People have been talking about this dog for years now and seemingly every year some earnest manufacturer actually demonstrates yet another realization of this dubious vision, which usually consists of little more than a screen stuck onto the door like some giant fridge magnet. This is IoT designed by a committee.
IoT done wrong is all of the proprietary protocol nonsense around home entertainment. When I purchased my last TV, I also bought the same manufacturer’s BluRay player in the hope I could get away with one remote and hiding the latter in a closed cabinet. Boy, was I naïve. I finally succumbed to an expensive universal remote and an IR repeater—a brute force approach if there ever was one. This is not IoT; it is the Tyranny of Things."
We may accept that the internet of things will become commonplace in the next few years, but how do we build out the network and processing required to support it?
The network is probably the most important (and is definitely the most expensive) element of the internet of things infrastructure, but another ongoing debate is about where the information collected by the thousands (millions?) of sensors we’ll connect will be turned into action or aggregated to form meaningful insight. Namely, will the processing happen in the cloud, or will it happen locally?
Wael Diab, senior technical director at Broadcom’s infrastructure and networking group, noted that the pendulum has swung back and forth between centralized and distributed processing since the mainframe. But what’s worth noting about the internet of things is that there will need to be both — and where the processing takes place will be dynamic depending on several factors.
For example, if the promise of a truly universal internet of things ever occurs (as opposed to siloed areas of connectivity in the medical space, the home, the car etc) then devices might send certain types of data to a local hub in a medical or automotive setting because it’s more secure or cheaper, but take advantage of the cloud and wireline broadband in the home or work setting.
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Meta, a startup composed primarily of Columbia University, students agrees. In partnership with Epson, the company is releasing a developer’s kit, composed of stereoscopic glasses that offer a super low latency gesture tracking technology which turns your surroundings into your PC and your hands into controllers.
29 Jan 2013
LAS VEGAS--This is what Bluetooth was invented for: a tong you stick in the soil of your plant that tells you when to water it.
The Flower Power is a gadget that Parrot will bring to market at some stage this year -- there is no word on price yet while the company works out how much it can get away with charging. The fork has sensors that send the information they pick up from the soil of your plant via Bluetooth to an iPad app.
Once you have told the app what the plant is, it cross-references the information received with the info in its database to tell you which day it needs watering, whether it's getting enough sun, and if it's hot or cold.
You can move the tongs to different plants, and see information on them all on your tablet screen. It also works on lawns.
This is a topic that is important to us at Cisco. We believe the number of internet connected devices reached 8.7 billion in 2012. There are a number of estimates out there by others, but they are generally in the eight to ten billion range. This number would include traditional computer devices, mobile devices, as well as the new industrial and consumer devices that we think of as things.
You can get background and references on that number in a white paper by Cisco’s IBSG group:http://www.cisco.com/web/about/a… Dave Evans on our team works with market researchers to sort these numbers out. IMS Research is traditionally a good source for this sort of data. (...)
This question originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Embedded Systems:
Rob Soderbery, Cisco Executive
07 Jan 2013
Arkady Zaslavsky and pals at Australia’s national scientific research organisation, CSIRO, reveal how the enabling technologies that Ashton imagined have rapidly matured and that the Internet of Things is finally poised to burst into the mainstream.
Each year in Australia, for example, biologists plant a million or so plots of different types of grain to see which grow best in a wide variety of conditions. These plots are situated all over the country and create a logistical nightmare for the relatively small team who must monitor both the environmental conditions and the rate of growth of the plants.
Their solution is a wireless sensor network that monitors what’s going on and sends the data back to the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre in Canberra which runs the experiments.
These sensors are currently deployed at just 40 sites and generate some 2 million data points per week. But the widespread adoption of this kind of technology looks set to revolutionise this kind of testing. What’s more, various cloud-based services are emerging that are designed to help manage these kinds of sensors and the data they produce.
MIT Technology Review
via The Physics arXiv Blog
04 Jan 2013
So, what exactly is bringing the Internet of Things to fruition? A big factor is the plunging cost of connectivity, which is being driven by the emergence of Heterogeneous Networks (often referred to as “HetNets”). HetNets offer a way to increase the density and bandwidth available to mobile devices.
To give you an idea of their potential scale, Free.fr, one of the world’s first HetNets, located in France, has more than 4 million WiFi hotspots connected to the network and enjoys data transfer costs that are probably far below $1 per gigabyte. (...)
The second major factor driving the Internet of Things is the explosion of low-cost, smart, standardized sensor networks. Consumer hobbyists are leading the way here. Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects is hosting numerous sensor projects that are designed to enable consumers to rapidly deploy and utilize large numbers of sensors around the home and office.
Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular recent initiatives in this space. The company has created a credit card-sized computer that integrates with physical devices like TVs and keyboards to give users PC functionality, such as spreadsheets and word processing, without having to buy a computer. Designed for hobbyists, it starts at a mere $25.
Another interesting initiative is Sensordrone, a multi-sensor device for smartphones that was recently funded by Kickstarter that gives phones even more capabilities, like connecting to printers. In another development, Nokia pledged to push the envelope in terms of adding new and innovative sensors and geo-location capabilities to their phones.
By Paul Brody
30 Dec 2012