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IPv6 over Bluetooth with Nordic’s new nRF51 SDK

Bluetooth technology

With the advent of IPv6 taking hold in the Internet of Things, it’s pleasing to see more entrants into the marketplace from existing and new players, and one example of this is Nordic Semiconductor’s Bluetooth Low Energy nRF51 IoT SDK. This is a new Software Development Kit for the development of Internet-of-Things applications using Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) over Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth SMART), enabling end-to-end IP-based communication for Bluetooth IoT devices. Nordic’s SDK is an IPv6-ready complete Internet Protocol suite for their nRF51-series of devices, bringing native IPv6 support to Bluetooth Low Energy applications, letting them talk directly to cloud services and other Bluetooth-connected Internet-of-Things devices over IP-based networks. The SDK is suitable for networks of Nordic’s nRF51x wireless connectivity systems-on-chip, offering an IPv6-capable Bluetooth Low Energy software stack that provides drivers, libraries, examples and APIs to allow you to easily get started with development – all freely … Continue reading

Atmel makes Wi-Fi easy with their new SmartConnect WINC1500

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Atmel have announced their new SmartConnect WINC1500 SoC – a wireless network controller system-on-chip platform, specifically aimed at Wi-Fi connectivity in embedded systems and Internet-of-Things applications. The WINC1500 is part of Atmel’s SmartConnect portfolio aimed at IoT and wireless connectivity applications, which complements their existing line-up of radio-plus-microcontroller RF SoC solutions for wireless connectivity using 802.15.4/6LoWPAN, by now offering 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN connectivity for embedded and IoT applications such as smart-home appliances, home automation, wireless media streaming or industrial applications.  By using an innovative power architecture that delivers very low power consumption along with high performance, the WINC1500 can help optimise your bill of materials, minimising the number of components required to support your design. Furthermore the WINC1500 is a great add-on platform to extend the wireless connectivity of existing microcontroller-based solutions, bringing Wi-Fi networking capability to an existing system through a UART or SPI interface to the Wi-Fi device. The WINC1500 connects … Continue reading

Reduce M2M resource requirements with Lightweight M2M

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The Lightweight Machine-to-Machine Enabler (LWM2M) is a new standard for the management of devices in machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things applications. LWM2M is particularly aimed at resource-constrained end-node devices in applications such as Wireless Sensor Networks as well as Machine-to-Machine applications where bandwidth is constrained – for example where cellular connectivity is used to network remote devices. Many devices in the growing industrial and commercial M2M and Internet-of-Things markets require some device management – devices need to be remotely switched on and off, woken up and put to sleep, sent remote requests for sensor data transmission, configured, provisioned, or remotely updated with new firmware. In short, these devices call for protocols and services to effectively support them with device management, service enablement and application management. The design goal of LWM2M was to create a mechanism that is not only suitable for relatively powerful devices like smartphones or Wi-Fi routers, but also caters … Continue reading

Security concerns with consumer IoT devices


With the increasing popularity of Internet-of-Things connected products, security of these devices and their networks is a growing concern. Let’s consider potential security vulnerabilities that can exist in Internet-of-Things appliances, and how these security threats may be mitigated. Security is a particular concern in the context of home automation devices and Internet-of-Things connected appliances in the home because hardware and/or software vulnerabilities in these devices have the potential to affect the security of homes, buildings and people. Security vulnerabilities in these connected devices, such as home automation hubs, could potentially allow attackers to gain control of door locks or other actuators, access video cameras or otherwise compromise physical security. Recent research from security firm Veracode has found that many of today’s popular “smart home” devices have security vulnerabilities, which are open to exploitation. The researchers examined a selection of typical always-on IoT home automation appliances on the market in order … Continue reading

Reduce IoT power use with Atmel SAM L21

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One of the latest and most power-efficient 32-bit microcontroller options on the market today is Atmel’s new SAM L21 MCU family, specifically aimed at power-efficient battery powered devices in wireless sensor networks and the accelerating Internet-of-Things market. The Atmel SMART SAM L21 family, based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core, boasts ultra-efficient current consumption as low as 35 micro amps per MHz with the chip in active mode and as low as 200 nano amps in the deepest sleep mode. This best-in-class power efficiency is said to have the potential to “extend battery life from years to decades” in power-optimised sensor network and Internet-of-Things applications. These chips draw less than 1 micro amp with full SRAM retention, real-time clock and calendar running, making the SAM L21 family the lowest-power Cortex-M based microcontroller solution on the market. With a 42 MHz Cortex-M0+ core, which is the smallest 32-bit ARM core, 256 kB … Continue reading

Predix – GE’s new Software Platform for the Industrial Internet

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Industrial behemoth General Electric have now entered the Industrial Internet arena with their new “Predix” product – a new software platform and ecosystem aimed at a wide spectrum of machine-to-machine applications and “Industrial Internet” applications. Predix is aimed at making it easy to connect machines to the Industrial Internet, to embed analytics into machines, making them somewhat intelligent and self-aware, and to retrofit and upgrade machine software without mechanical modifications though a platform which essentially provides the equivalent of cloud computing for the Industrial Internet. One of the main goals of Predix is to offer connectivity to industrial assets of any vintage, from any vendor, to the cloud and to each other – meaning that your industrial applications can benefit from the asset performance management and operations optimisation that Predix makes possible, whether or not the other equipment and systems you use are GE products. Predix enables industrial-scale analytics for … Continue reading

Kaa – a new open-source platform for the Internet of Things


Kaa is a highly flexible, open-source middleware platform for building, managing, and integrating connected Internet-of-Things applications. The Kaa IoT platform aims to provide a standardised approach for integration and interoperability across connected products. With a powerful back-end Kaa speeds up IoT product development, allowing product developers to concentrate on maximising their product’s user experience and unique value to the consumer. The Kaa middleware supports multiple client platforms by offering endpoint SDKs for various different platforms and different programming languages, and Kaa’s “data schema” definition language provides a universal level of abstraction to help achieve cross-vendor product interoperability – making it a very agile and flexible platform, with standardised methods for enabling integration and interoperability across connected products. Kaa is designed to be robust, flexible and easy to use, enhancing your IoT products out of the box with a variety of functions. Thanks to being licensed under the business-friendly Apache 2.0 open … Continue reading

Konekt – a new player in the cellular IoT platform market


The spread of new Internet-of-Things platforms over the last few months hasn’t abated – and a new entry is now morphing from an idea to a funded platform – Konekt. Konekt is a full-stack platform providing cellular connectivity for devices in machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things applications, providing a powerful integrated combination of cellular plans, cloud infrastructure and APIs. Their goal is to simplify the process of making hardware talk, powering the next generation of the Internet; not just in homes with Wi-Fi or whenever you’re in Bluetooth range, but essentially everywhere, any time, through the use of cellular networks. Konekt focuses on building infrastructure for ubiquitous connectivity, and aims to make sure that integrating this type of connectivity is as painless and inexpensive as possible, allowing you to focus on building great systems and products with connectivity on the go, anywhere. The Konekt platform features extensive coverage available via Telco networks … Continue reading

Adoption of Agile for Embedded Hardware Design


Even though the design and development of electronic systems, and firmware in embedded systems, differs from conventional software application development in many ways – there is an increasing awareness in the hardware and embedded engineering fields today about Agile development methods.  The accelerating rate of technological change for electronic products requires rapid market responsiveness to maintain a competitive edge, and this is especially true in today’s world of ubiquitous mobile connected devices and Internet-of-Things technologies.  In one recent survey, 76% of software developers today see electronic hardware as a key element in turning many software ideas into products ready for market. This highlights a need for product innovators – growth of new markets like the Internet of Things demand practical tools to make physical design more efficient without sacrificing product quality, and Agile methods are one of the tools that can potentially play a role here.  Hardware is different from … Continue reading

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


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

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