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Challenges of Agile Product Development


In the adoption of Agile project management practices to the development of hardware or combined hardware-software engineering projects, and the adaptations to common Agile techniques that may be applied for best results with hardware projects, let’s consider some of the challenges that may be faced and how you might address them. For example, do you develop software and firmware only after you’ve developed and assembled an iteration of physical prototype hardware? Or do you develop an iteration of your software and firmware concurrently with the development and assembly of the corresponding hardware and use other methods such as simulation to stand in for the hardware until an iteration of the physical hardware is ready?  When using Agile project management techniques, it is desirable to be able to rapidly produce and demonstrate a working prototype of your technology and to rapidly iterate and refine and build on each prototype without necessarily … Continue reading

Easily extend your products to the IoT with Arrayent


The Arrayent Connect Platform is an Internet-of-Things platform that enables you to connect your products to smartphone and Web applications, providing the value-add of cloud services and IoT connectivity with low cost and simplicity, particularly aimed at existing manufacturers of appliances and consumer electronics who want to add the value of Internet-of-Things connectivity into their existing products. Arrayent’s IoT platform has been optimised to maximise your product’s value by keeping extra hardware costs at a minimum, keeping devices simple, and pushing the majority of the IoT complexity to the cloud where possible. By ensuring that product installation “just works” and is friendly for end users. Arrayent’s plug-and-play installation process is designed to maximise customer satisfaction and reduce the costs of customer support for installation. Arrayent also aim to support strong scalability to as many as millions of devices. Therefore with the Arrayent IoT platform you can reliably and securely connect your products to … Continue reading

Tools for Agile Hardware Development Success

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When using Agile project management techniques, it is desirable to be able to rapidly produce and demonstrate a working prototype of your technology, and to rapidly iterate and refine and build on each prototype without necessarily having a perfectly engineered product ready to go at the first iteration. When attempting to apply Agile methods to electronic and hardware design, what methodologies and tools should we consider in order to rapidly prototype and demonstrate hardware systems?What if the lead time that is required to source components, to fabricate PCBs, to have prototype layouts assembled by an external pick-and-place assembly contractor or to have custom plastics injection-moulded, and so on, is longer than the time allocated to an iteration? These types of external supply and manufacturing dependencies are unique to hardware, and aren’t present in software development – so they present a unique challenge when trying to apply agile methods to the management … Continue reading

Cloud-based IoT with Meshworks

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The MeshWorks Internet-of-Things platform from California Eastern Laboratories is a turnkey wireless solution which connects sensors and peripherals to the cloud in a way that makes previously complex mesh networks and wireless sensor networks very fast and easy to implement. This includes connectivity between the wireless mesh network, the LAN, the Internet and cloud services, for anyone with rudimentary Python scripting skills. The complete MeshWorks platform consists of three key components – a wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) which is powered by CEL’s MeshConnect 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 radio modules. Programming is via a GUI-based interface built around the MeshWorks software suite, and the cloud service which is facilitated by connecting your wireless sensor network to the Internet via either the MeshWorks Ethernet Gateway or the OpenTether Cellular Gateway. CEL provides a variety of reference designs which allow you to easily get started engineering, combining the EM35x MeshConnect family of 802.15.4/ZigBee … Continue reading

The Benefits of Agile Hardware Development


A concept that may be new to the reader – Agile software development – is a family of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organising, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen tight iterations throughout the development cycle. Over the last 15 years or so, the principles, practices, methods and tools of the Agile movement have significantly changed the landscape of the modern software engineering and development industry. Compared to traditional engineering project management approaches, agile development is mainly targeted at complex systems and projects with dynamic, non-deterministic and non-linear characteristics, where accurate estimates, stable plans and predictions are often hard to establish in early stages, and complex up-front designs and prototypes are not likely to be … Continue reading

IoT Interoperability with the AllJoyn Platform

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AllJoyn is an open-source project that aims to let compatible smart “things” around us in Internet-of-Things networks recognise each other and share resources and information across brands, networks and operating systems in an interoperable way.Initially developed by the Qualcomm Innovation Centre, it is now a collaborative open-source project of the AllSeen Alliance – a non-profit consortium providing open-source Internet-of-Things solutions aimed at enabling widespread adoption of products, systems and services for what they call the “Internet of Everything”. Their goal is to provide portable open-source software and frameworks for all major platforms and operating systems and creating elegant and accessible solutions for the smart home, its appliances and its gadgets. As an open, universal, secure and programmable software and services framework, AllJoyn enables hardware manufacturers and software developers to create interoperable products that can discover, connect and communicate with other products enabled with AllJoyn support. These frameworks enable discovery and communication … Continue reading

Intel Edison – embedded IoT made easy

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Intel’s new Edison development platform is the first in a series of low-cost, product-ready, general-purpose embedded computing platforms from Intel that are aimed at lowering the barriers to entry for work in Internet-of-Things and wearable computing applications for the entire community of developers and users, from hobbyists and makers to consumer electronics developers and industrial Internet-of-Things engineers. The Edison packs a robust set of features into its small size, delivering strong performance built around a leading-edge dual-core Intel Atom system-on-chip combined with a separate single-core microcontroller, along with good hardware durability and a broad spectrum of hardware interfaces and software support. These versatile features allow the platform to deliver strong value to a wide range of developers and users working with Internet-of-Things, wearable computing, and other embedded computing applications. Thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi, integrated Bluetooth Low Energy, onboard memory and generous storage, and support for more than 30 different … Continue reading

Etherios – a real-time and secure platform for the IoT


Device Cloud by Etherios is a device management platform and data service that allows you to connect a huge range of devices to Internet-connected applications, anywhere. As a public cloud service, it is designed to provide easy integration between devices and the cloud, facilitating real-time network management and rapid development of machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things applications. Using Etherios Cloud Connector and the open-source APIs available it is easy to integrate a wide range of client software, including web applications or mobile applications, with Device Cloud. This public cloud platform provides easy cloud-based management of device networks, secure application messaging and data storage for Internet-of-Things and machine-to-machine networks comprised of wired, wireless networked, cellular and satellite-connected devices. It offers customers centralised management of gateways and connected end-devices, ease of integration via APIs and Etherios’ Cloud Connector, elastic scalability of the cloud platform, allowing easy and cost-effective growth as your device network grows, … Continue reading

The IoT made simple with panStamp


The panStamp development environment for wireless sensor networks and Internet-of-Things applications is based around compact, low-cost microcontroller boards including a built-in sub-gigahertz radio transceiver, providing the necessary connectivity and processing power to create autonomous low-power wireless sensor and actuator nodes with almost everything contained in a 24-pin DIP module that is compact, low-cost, easy to program and to use. It’s easy for anybody to get started with the open-source panStamp platform, allowing you to measure almost anything by connecting a panStamp up to some sensors, connecting a small battery, writing some simple Arduino-compatible code and transmitting data wirelessly, providing a convenient solution for any kind of project needing low-power wireless communications or telemetry, such as home automation, energy metering, robot control or weather monitoring.  The panStamp platform makes it easy and accessible to get started creating wireless sensor networks and other wireless systems for both professional and hobbyist users. Modules … Continue reading

Real-time data analysis with the IoT and GroveStreams


GroveStreams is a powerful cloud platform that provides storage and analytics for the Internet of Things, providing Big Data analytics in the cloud and allowing you to capture, analyse and make decisions on data as it arrives. This essentially provides powerful decision-making capabilities to many users and devices and allows you to easily aggregate, visualise and analyse data arriving from many different sensors and data sources. The included data-streaming analytics are designed to scale to meet your demand for data, so that your business or organisation can quickly react to changes in the data environment – and changes in the physical sensor environment – as those changes are happening. GroveStreams isn’t just built to allow you react to data, it’s also built to allow your devices to react accordingly by using the open, platform independent, GroveStreams API. The proliferation of devices that generate data in wireless sensor networks, environmental sensing, … Continue reading

Axeda – the Cloud Platform for IoT and M2M


The Axeda Machine Cloud platform is a secure and scalable cloud platform for connected products, machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things networks which is backed up by professional, commercial support and a growing library of technical content and resources. This versatile platform enables system integrators, solution architects, and developers to quickly and easily connect, manage and innovate powerful machine-to-machine systems, connected products and IoT applications, potentially faster and at a lower cost than with internally built solutions. Covering a wide spectrum of areas, the Axeda platform addresses the complex requirements that are often invisible but vital to overall success, providing an end-to-end M2M solution, and not just the application user interface that your end-users see. The Axeda platform enables you to connect and communicate with any wired or wireless asset, innovating with M2M and IoT connectivity for connected product solutions. As part of the Axeda platform, their “Machine Cloud” service includes M2M and … Continue reading

Wireless data acquisition with Avnet Wi-Go


The new Wi-Go system from Avnet is a complete development, prototyping and experimentation platform aimed primarily at wireless data acquisition, wireless sensor networks, automation and Internet-of-Things applications – based on the Freescale Freedom Development Platform for Freescale Kinetis microcontrollers. Avnet Wi-Go offers designers a complete solution for developing real-world IoT applications by combining Freescale’s Xtrinsic sensor technology with a powerful Kinetis-L microcontroller and an embedded Wi-Fi module. The Wi-Go system adds Wi-Fi capability to the Freedom platform and includes a built-in 800 mAh lithium-polymer battery which can provide up to days of power for portable, wireless data acquisition from the platform’s on-board suite of sensors, along with an on-board flash memory IC to facilitate data storage and provide additional storage for things such as complex webpages which may be served up from the Wi-Go board, providing a powerful and flexible wireless sensor platform at a low cost. To keep initial cost … Continue reading

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