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RIOT – the friendly OS for the IoT

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RIOT is a relatively new operating system specifically aimed at applications in lightweight embedded systems, wireless sensor networks and Internet-of-Things applications. Billed as “the friendly operating system for the Internet of Things”, RIOT is competing with similar offerings such as TinyOS, Contiki and embedded Linux. This may sound complex, however RIOT is aimed at developer friendliness, allowing you to program like you are used to – using standard programming languages such as C or C++, with standard compilers and tools such as gcc, gdb and valgrind, without the developer wasting time having to learn new or complex development environments. As a real-time operating system that supports C and C++ development, multithreading and a high degree of modularity, RIOT offers all this with a very small, lightweight footprint that is well suited to use with small microcontrollers with limited memory and resources available. Thus RIOT is aimed at minimising the learning … Continue reading

Pinoccio – an upcoming Mesh Networking Platform

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The Pinoccio platform is based around the Pinoccio “Scout” board – a small, inexpensive microcontroller development board based on the Atmel ATmega256RFR2 microcontroller with built-in 802.15.4 2.4 GHz radio, aimed at quick and easy development of wireless, mesh-networked systems and projects without worrying about common challenges such as efficient battery power management, FCC certification and mesh networking protocols. This hardware offers an integrated Web platform and API so you can easily get started talking to the Web with your project right out of the box, and a built-in lithium polymer battery on every board that is recharged via the same micro-USB port used for programming, with a battery runtime from days up to over a year depending on the software configuration and how the microcontroller and radio are used. Pinoccio aims to provide an inexpensive but powerful, FCC-certified, power-efficient, mesh-networked and Internet-ready platform for easily accessible Arduino-style development, wireless sensor … Continue reading

LX Group named the Champion Professional Services

7 April 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  1 of 1 LX Group named the Champion Professional Services 2014 Australian Small Business Champion Awards  LX Group from Eveleigh has been named Champion Professional Services at the Australian Small Business Champion Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony held on Saturday 5th April 2014 at The Westin Sydney, with over 900 guests in attendance. The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is the only national recognition program for Australian small businesses. The program aims to recognise outstanding Australian small businesses and encourage high standards of excellence in small business practice. “The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a way to recognise the efforts of small business people whose efforts contribute to the prosperity and vitality of communities across Australia”, said Steve Loe, Managing Director of the awards. “As a small business owner myself, I know the vision and dedication to excellence required to succeed. These traits … Continue reading

Minimal IoT nodes with the CoAP Protocol

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Constrained Application Protocol, or CoAP, is an application-layer networking protocol aimed primarily at application in networks of small resource-constrained embedded devices, wireless sensor networks and similar Internet-of-Things applications – helping to enable efficient networking and Internet connectivity with low overheads. This protocol is particularly well suited to low-power wireless sensor networks with lossy networking and embedded control and automation systems, where such systems need to be supervised or controlled remotely via standard Internet networks. CoAP is designed to easily translate to HTTP for simplified integration with the web, while also meeting specialised requirements such as multicast support, very low overhead, and simplicity. These are valuable, important features for Internet-of-Things and machine-to-machine networks which tend to be deeply embedded and have much less memory and power available than traditional Internet-connected computers and mobile devices, meaning that efficiency and low overheads are important. Furthermore CoAP enables embedded web services for even the … Continue reading

XMPP – an extensible messaging protocol for the IoT

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XMPP or the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, formerly known as Jabber, is a communications protocol based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), aimed at message-oriented middleware and applications such as near-real-time instant messaging and presence information. XMPP is designed to be extensible, and has been used for publish-subscribe systems, file transfer, and communication in embedded Internet-of-Things networks. As XMPP is defined as an open standard and uses an open systems approach of development and application – anyone may implement an XMPP service and interoperate with other implementations. And thanks to its open protocol, XMPP implementations can be developed using any software license and many implementations of the XMPP standards exist for clients, servers, components and code libraries – both open-source and proprietary. XMPP is well supported as an open standard under ongoing development by standards-makers and organisations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, which formed an XMPP working group … Continue reading

Thoughts on Open-source Product Development

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Since the early days of computer and networking development in the late 20th century, the open-source hardware and software movement have become a growing force in the world of agile product development. Using such open-source methods may seem to be a great idea, however there are some potential advantages and disadvantages of choosing to use open-source software and hardware – both using other people’s existing open software or hardware technology, or releasing your own intellectual property as open-source software or hardware for use in the development of Internet-of-Things solutions. What are some of the potential benefits and challenges associated with open source? For some proponents of open source technology, the most important advantage of open source technology is that it is “free as in free speech”, and this means that software, updates, or other technology or support cannot be withheld by some company – åjust because it decides that you … Continue reading

Security in the IoT

With more and more embedded computing capability, networking and Internet connectivity inside everyday systems such as household appliances, security systems, home heating and lighting systems and even cars, information security has become a potentially important consideration in devices where it wouldn’t previously be considered important – potential security threats may be lurking in embedded systems […] Continue reading

The IoT Global Standards Initiative

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The Internet-of-things market is growing exponentially – and to some observers it may seem to be an unchecked industry with regards to standards and compatibility. However it isn’t too late to define workable standards – and just that is being done with the International Telecommunications Union’s Internet-of-Things Global Standards Initiative. In case you’re not familiar with it, the International Telecommunications Union is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. This group coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards – ITU’s standards-making efforts are its best known and oldest activity. The ITU’s Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative (IoT GSI) is an initiative of the ITU’s standardisation group that promotes a … Continue reading

The state of Wireless Charging

Mobility Pad

Wireless inductive charging, where electrical energy is transferred from a power supply to a portable electronic device without the need to plug in a physical wired connection, offers many potential advantages for both the consumer and industrial electronics industry, for such things as portable and wearable battery-powered devices and portable Internet-of-Things-enabled items. Let’s take a brief look at the current state of inductive charging technology, and its potential prospects for the future. Wireless inductive charging typically uses an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from within a charging base station along with a second coil in a portable electronic device that takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electrical current, which is generally used to charge a battery in the device. Typically, these systems consist of a flat transmitter coil and a flat receiver coil that are coupled by mutual inductance to form a … Continue reading

The rise of NFC – Near-field Communication

NFC ST Micro

Near-field communication, or NFC, is a set of standards for smart phones and other devices to establish radio communication with other devices in close proximity, extending the capability of traditional RFID into a range of different devices with powerful, programmable communications capabilities in addition to more traditional zero-power passive tags. Some examples of applications for NFC include fast, convenient payment transactions, data exchange, and simple, convenient bootstrap set up of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. NFC builds upon the established technology of traditional radio-frequency identification (RFID) by enabling two-way communication between endpoints, whereas earlier systems such as RFID smart cards only provide data exchange in one direction. Although a new technology to most customers, NFC is slowly making inroads to the consumer market – and especially through Android devices. For example – a relatively new feature in the Android operating system, “Android Beam”, introduced with Android 4.0+ running on … Continue reading

Windows Embedded – a Platform for Electronics and Intelligent Systems

Windows Embedded

Although not the loudest player in the Internet-of-Things market, Microsoft is increasingly pitching its Windows Embedded operating system product family as a central hub of operating system choices for the connected devices, services and data making up the Internet of Things. Let’s take a brief look at the Windows Embedded product family and the role it can play in embedded computing and Internet-of-Things applications. Not to be outdone by Java, Linux, or other options in the market, Microsoft is staking its own claim in the Internet-of-Things and connected-device operating system space, pitching the Windows Embedded family of operating systems at applications such as vending machines, robotic controls and industrial automation, point-of-sale terminals and registers, and rugged industrial tablets. As well as selling the Windows Embedded family of operating systems for embedded electronics, Microsoft’s Windows Embedded business group utilises its Intelligent Systems Initiative to help clients leverage the data output of … Continue reading

ThingWorx – the software platform designed for IoT Applications

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ThingWorx is a relatively new offering in the Internet-of-Things platform space, offering an Internet-of-Things and Machine-to-Machine application platform which promises very fast application development, scalability, search ability and integration with other data sources such as social media, all in a complete development and runtime platform for rapidly developing sophisticated IoT and M2M applications. The platform provides all the necessary functionality required to get your solution to market quickly and easily. Let’s take a quick look at what the ThingWorx platform promises for Internet-of-Things developers and engineers. ThingWorx enables rapid creation of “smart” end-to-end Internet of Things applications, when used in conjunction with hardware from various vendors, for a wide range of application markets such as smart agriculture, telematics, healthcare, “smart cities”, energy efficiency, utility metering and building automation. The platform is aimed at the building and running of the applications of a “connected world”, reducing the time to market, cost … Continue reading

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