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Ayla Network’s IoT Cloud Platform

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In what would seem to be an already crowded marketplace, Ayla Networks have introduced their new agile, cloud-based Internet-of-Things “application enablement” platform that makes it easy and cost-effective for OEMs to connect any of their products or devices to the Internet. Ayla’s pervasive software creates an adaptive fabric for IoT applications, which aims to accelerate the development and support of smart, interactive product solutions from the device level, to the cloud, to the application level. The Ayla IoT Cloud Fabric combines innovative cloud-based services with powerful software agents integrated into both embedded IoT end-node devices as well as in mobile device applications. By working closely with Broadcom, Ayla can deliver Embedded Agents supporting Broadcom’s WICED embedded Wi-Fi platform, and Ayla has also partnered with USI to deliver production-ready Wi-Fi Modules incorporating the Ayla Embedded Agent, bringing connected modules and services to market that will allow manufacturers to quickly and economically … Continue reading

Microsoft and the IoT

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In an effort to expand their reach into the Internet of Things marketplace, Microsoft has launched their Windows Internet of Things Developer program – the first in a series of programs aimed at promoting and educating developers in the use of Microsoft products and technologies for the creation of connected devices and Internet-of-Things applications. Microsoft’s program is aimed at Windows programmers and embedded systems engineers as well as the hobbyist and “maker” community. Microsoft aims to bring Windows and development tools such as the Visual Studio suite to a new class of connected devices such as the Intel Edison and Raspberry Pi platforms, low-cost platforms that are attractive for both hobbyist and commercial embedded computing applications. This should bring synergy with existing developers and the needs of marketing and new IoT-enabled product development in the same organisation – existing IT resources can be used to help with IoT development without … Continue reading

Differences between M2M and the IoT

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly taking over from Machine-to-Machine communications (M2M) as the trendy new buzzword. However, these terms are often used interchangeably, and neither of these two popular terms is well defined or standardised, with many organisations and companies operating with their own internal definitions. So, what’s the difference between IoT and M2M? In a basic sense, the definition of Machine-to-Machine communications (M2M) is that it’s communication between one remote machine and another. M2M is basically about communicating with a remote machine in the field in order to manage that machine or collect machine and sensor data. M2M connectivity has been used in industry in one form or another long before the Internet in its modern form has been around, usually through the use of embedded modems and the wired or cellular telephone networks. As an example of a familiar embedded M2M system, which has been in … Continue reading

Reducing the cost of IoT devices with the ESP8266

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The ESP8266 Wi-Fi System-on-Chip from Espressif Systems is a highly integrated SoC designed for the needs of modern Wi-Fi-connected embedded systems, appliances, sensors and other cost-sensitive, Wi-Fi-enabled Internet-of-Things applications. This high-performance wireless SoC aims to provide Wi-Fi capabilities in embedded systems with strong functionality at a low cost. It has powerful on-board processing and storage capabilities that allow it to be integrated with sensors or other application-specific peripheral devices via its general-purpose digital I/O ports with minimal development effort and potentially without the need for any separate microcontroller in many typical applications. The ESP8266 provides single-band (2.4 GHz) Wi-Fi connectivity using the 802.11b/g/n standards and supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. The high degree of on-chip integration minimises the bill of materials in your design, with a low-power Tensilica 80 MHz 32-bit processor core, RAM, ROM and GPIOs, power management module, and all RF front-end components such as the clock generation, … Continue reading

GadgetKeeper – a new IoT platform for common hardware

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Every few weeks it seems that a new Internet-of-Things platform appears, and thus we have a new platform to explore – GadgetKeeper. This new product provides a complete development and application platform for the Internet of Things, a full application design, runtime and intelligence environment which allows you to rapidly prototype and rapidly create IoT solutions to connect your sensors, devices and equipment (“Things”) with people and systems. GadgetKeeper provides a simple development environment, robust APIs and worry-free hosting, allowing you to accelerate your application development and take advantage of scalability as your application and your number of devices grows.  You can easily integrate your application with external IT systems through GadgetKeeper’s powerful APIs, web services, and the completely hands-free cloud hosting environment provided by GadgetKeeper that automatically scales to meet any demand, whether you’re serving several devices or several million. The designers of the platform believe that every smart … Continue reading

OpenIoT – Open-source middleware for the Internet of Things

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OpenIoT is a generic middleware platform for Internet-of-Things applications, which allows you to link together Internet-connected devices and semantic Web services via a friendly user interface, working either in Cloud Computing environments or with a local server. This platform is available as a Virtual Development Kit, providing a complete cloud solution for the Internet of Things which allows you to easily get up and running getting information from sensor clouds and connecting this information with Web services without worrying about exactly what different sensors are being used. The OpenIoT middleware enables the easy scalability of sensor networks and the addition of new, cost-effective sensors in an intrinsically flexible framework, and aims to provide a complete middleware for Internet-of-Things applications, connected sensors and wireless sensor networks. OpenIoT is building a novel platform for IoT applications, funded by the European Union, which includes powerful capabilities such as the ability to compose (dynamically … Continue reading

Thoughts on powering IoT nodes

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Today, Internet-of-Things and wireless-sensor networks are finding an increasing range uses of consumer, industrial and medical applications. Such networks often employ a large number of distributed nodes, without interconnecting cables, which can’t practically be connected to the power grid – and it is attractive to keep the need for battery recharging and replacement to an absolute minimum through the use of efficient, careful design choices as well as ambient energy harvesting technology. Power-efficient wireless sensor nodes can take advantage of some form of energy harvesting power supply, employing energy sources such as solar photovoltaic, vibrational energy harvesters or thermoelectric generators to minimise maintenance and extend battery life – possibly completely eliminating batteries entirely – if the power consumption of the system is small enough and a capacitor is employed for energy storage. Energy harvesting management ICs that manage the accumulation of energy in a capacitor over a period of time … Continue reading

Agile and Hardware Development – a Successful Partnership

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Moving away from a “waterfall” development process to a process that incorporates Agile methods, at least to some extent, can noticeably improve the quality and reduce schedules for the engineering of both hardware and software products. However, in the case of a hardware-engineering task such as the physical design and layout of a complex printed circuit board or an ASIC we can’t simply release a half-complete iteration at any time and expect to get anything which is remotely functional or useful. Although there are some important differences between hardware and software to consider when applying Agile methods, Agile is still valuable in the hardware domain. When it comes to the layout of a printed circuit board, or the layout of an ASIC, this physical design iteration may take several weeks or even months to perform, to get from the netlist to working hardware. To get it right, several iterations may … Continue reading

Introducing the Industrial Internet Consortium  

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The Industrial Internet Consortium, or IIC, is a global not-for-profit partnership of industry, government and academia which was founded early in 2014 to bring together many different organisations and technologies which are well placed to accelerate the growth of the “Industrial Internet” by identifying, assembling and promoting best practices in the development of industrial Internet, machine-to-machine and “Internet-of-Things” technologies.  The diverse membership base of the IIC includes large and small technology innovators, vertical market leaders, researchers, universities and government organisations.  The goals of the IIC are to drive innovation through the creation of new industry-oriented use-cases and test beds for real-world industrial Internet applications, to define and develop the reference architectures and frameworks necessary for interoperability in Industrial Internet applications, to influence the global standards-development processes for Internet and industrial systems, to facilitate open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons and insights, and to build confidence around … Continue reading

Realising IoT devices with the new PSoC-4 BLE from Cypress

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The new PSoC-4 BLE series of programmable system-on-chip devices from Cypress enables system designers to create low-power, sensor-based wirelessly-connected systems using integrated programmable analogue front ends, programmable digital peripherals – industry-leading CapSense touch sensor capability for user interfaces all integrated together with a Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy) radio and an ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller in a compact and cost-effective single-chip solution. This highly-integrated one-chip Bluetooth Low Energy platform enables you to easily design low-power, wirelessly-connected solutions that are particularly well suited to real-time, low-power Internet-of-Things applications. Bluetooth Low Energy has several potential benefits over Wi-Fi in some wireless connectivity applications, including minimal connection latency and very good energy efficiency, allowing for “always-on” smart, connected devices that run off small batteries for many months or even more than a year while seamlessly being embedded into everyday physical objects and the environment around us. This makes the platform ideal for IoT end-node … Continue reading

The importance of staying Agile when using Agile

Klean Denmark CC by-sa

When an organisation or team decides to adopt Agile methodology for their projects, not “staying agile” can potentially lead to problems. Although Agile itself is very broadly defined in the general principles of the Agile Manifesto, and there are many different ways to implement these principles, “staying agile when using agile” is important and straying too far from the underlying principles can potentially lead to pitfalls. So, how can we keep Agile development agile and avoid common pitfalls when adopting Agile project management techniques? One of the important things to know about Agile methods is that if they are limited to one development team churning out code, the outcome won’t be truly Agile. It takes a whole organisation to truly be agile, with agile methods supported by management and other staff within your organisation – not just one team without any support for agile in the organisation. There are several other … Continue reading

IBM’s Bluemix – an open cloud platform for the IoT

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As an interesting example of larger, more established companies taking longer to bring a new product or service to market – IBM is now in the open-source cloud development platform arena with their new Bluemix service. This is a new next-generation cloud development platform based on IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture and the open-source Cloud Foundry project. Bluemix is a Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) offering that promises to deliver enterprise-level features and services that are easy to integrate into cloud applications. As an open-standards-based cloud platform for building, managing, and running apps of all types, Bluemix offers the opportunity to work with the web, mobile, big data, Internet-of-Things applications and smart devices. Bluemix capabilities include support for Java, mobile back-end development and application monitoring, as well as features from ecosystem partners, all in a cloud-based platform. This enables organisations and developers to easily create, deploy and manage applications in the cloud, delivering enterprise-level … Continue reading

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