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Home is Where the Heat is: Heat Seek is Helping NYC Keep Warm

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heatseekDecember is here, and with it, so are the single-digit temperatures. Many of us know how unbearable the cold can be during the dead of winter. Whether you’re dealing with it on your daily commute, outside taking the dog for a walk, or trying to get some groceries, the cold has a way of making you just want to get back to the warmth and comfort of your home. But, for many, this problem persists even when they’re home. Digi’s customer, Heat Seek NYC, wants to make this a problem of the past.

For those at the mercy of a landlord, resolving heating issues can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Did you know NYC handles over 200,000 heating complaints every year? In order to provide proof of poor heating, tenants are tasked with manually recording the temperatures of their apartments.

A group of New York City residents recognized this as a major public issue and founded Heat Seek NYC to efficiently address this overwhelming number of complaints and ensure no New York City resident has to spend winter in a cold home.

HeatSeekPartsTheir wireless sensor system automatically records apartment temperatures– streamlining the way NYC handles heating complaints and solves disputes between tenants and landlords.

Let’s take a look and see how Heat Seek built this wireless sensor network.

The sensor network is built entirely with off-the-shelf components. The low-cost temperature sensors connect via XBee using DigiMesh technology to create a reliable network that can easily connect throughout a building. Then, the team turned a Raspberry Pi into a cellular gateway enabling it to transmit temp. data, which is sent to a server to be accessed by residents, advocates, and lawyers. Additionally, Heat Seek is working to give the housing department (HPD) access to data to assist building inspectors. As the team transitions from prototype to a production version of their system they’re evaluating the ConnectPort X4 and Device Cloud for their connectivity and remote management needs.

This public record of heating complaints is used to generate The Cold Map.


After winning the NYC BigApps Challenge and a successfully funded Kickstarter, Heat Seek has had a busy 2014 getting the business off the ground. The goal is to install 1,000 sensors throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx this year!

Not only does Heat Seek provide a system of accountability, but they also enable landlords to heat their buildings more effectively. Want to learn more about Heat Seek? Check out a demo and see how a landlord can use it to reduce heating violations and keep tenants warm.

The Meter in the Web: Cloud-Based Energy Services

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Smart energy is an extremely important part of what we do here at Digi International. We believe that technological innovations have the power to save our planet. That’s why we’re excited to announce our participation in the Smart Home and Metering Summit 2012 on October 17 in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

For those headed to the event, here are five topics presenter and Digi’s energy expert Andreas Rueckriegel will discuss. And, for those who cannot make it to Germany for the conference, these five topics will give you an idea of how Digi is at the forefront of latest technology in cloud-based energy services.

1. Smart Metering in Germany is turning around technical and legal regulations blocking further dynamics in the field of residential energy management solutions. Although smart meters are widely seen as the only base for any further smart energy services, Digi can demonstrate alternatives.

2. Digi shows a technical and commercial offering that can easily enable energy management services in combination with smart meters. These can be managed independently as to not touch the strict regulations of regulated smart metering.

3. Combining two of the most pioneering trends in our industry – Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things – Digi provides an innovative platform which can be used by utilities and energy service providers to design web-based product solutions for their end customers.

4. The technical architecture is existing and ready-to-use by leveraging cloud advantages and features. By having iDigi in the heart of the solution you can – even for a limited number of devices in the field – provide a full professional solution that’s reliable, scalable, safe and low-cost.

5. You will see best-practice implementations like the renowned E-Energy E-DeMa project that is using the cloud-based solution of Digi, the iDigi Device Cloud. E-DeMa is a joint project between SWK, RWE, Siemens, Miele, ProSyst, the universities of Bochum, Duisburg/Essen and Dortmund and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund. These groups are working to develop and demonstrate an e-energy, locally networked, “energy marketplace of the future” using cutting-edge information and communication technology. The realizations of further energy service offerings like a solar monitoring apps or an energy control app is becoming increasingly easy and cost efficient. You can read a case study on the E-DeMa project here.

Will you be attending the event in Germany? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter. We’d love to answer your smart metering questions and meet you at the event!

Connecting Light System Diagram

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Here’s how the Connecting Light system is created from Digi equipment for the 73-mile-long installation of 400 giant illuminated balloons on Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. The huge network will go live tonight for an crowd expected to bring traffic along the 80-mile World Heritage site to a crawl as thousands of spectators flock to the interactive event. Connecting Light is a perfect example of a large-scale system for centrally controlling remote devices—the same advanced infrastructure that hospitals use to monitor patient ventilators, infusion pumps or dialysis machines, and that forward-thinking power utilities use to network their entire grid.

The technology required for Connecting Light was assembled by Digi Professional Services—our solutions experts who network dynamic message signs along highways, smart thermostats for utility networks and positive train control systems for railroads. Putting all these different devices online is arguably the next big revolution for the Internet. Organizations are starting to demand visibility to their remote assets along with centralized control for everything out in the field as their competitors begin benefitting from the systems currently being put in place. It’s an exciting time to be involved with this stuff!

The diagram above shows how Programmable XBees, ConnectPort GSM mobile routers and the iDigi Device Cloud all work together to form a reliable backbone behind a breathtaking artwork that spans England’s coasts.It is also available as a PDF.


Radiator Labs in the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition: Efficiency and Comfort using XBee

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Radiator Labs, a New York City hardware start-up, has developed a simple technology to improve radiator heating. The technology eliminates overheating to make your apartment more comfortable while saving energy at the same time.

We’re excited about their technology, which uses XBees– the team also plans to use iDigi in their next pilot iteration. The Radiator Labs team will be pitching their plan before a panel of expert judges for the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. To show our support, we are on a mission to help them get “likes” for their video and spread the word.

Here are two ways you can help: 

1. Watch and “like” their video:

2. Share the video: You can click here to tweet the Radiator Labs video

What current projects are you excited about? We’d love to hear about projects that you’re passionate about too!

Next Generation ZigBee Smart Energy Gateway and iDigi, Making the World a Greener Place

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Have you heard? This week marks the release of the Next Generation ZigBee Smart Energy Gateway, the ConnectPort X2e. You might be wondering, what does this mean for me? For the industry?

The X2e provides a simpler path for innovators to create devices that make our world a greener place– both for homes and businesses. Now these systems can be rolled out to a wide user base while increasing ROI.

“These lower cost gateways provide a faster adoption pathway to the iDigi Device Cloud, which makes building robust energy applications easy,” explains iDigi CTO Joel Young.

The newest addition to the ZigBee family, the ConnectPort X2e, is an economical and enhanced version of the ZigBee Smart Energy gateway. The gateway connects ZigBee Smart Energy devices from a Home Area Network (HAN) to an energy service provider via broadband. Additional memory and processing power for over-the-air updates make it easier to establish and maintain large Smart Energy device deployments.

All Smart Energy gateways feature the iDigi Device Cloud, allowing the devices to easily and securely integrate energy consumption data, such as energy use on a per-home basis, into new and existing applications. The ConnectPort X2e for Smart Energy automatically connects to the iDigi Device Cloud for easy installation and management of connected devices and is programmable in iDigi’s application framework.

The ConnectPort X2e’s additional processing power allows support for more complex local energy efficiency applications, and the increased memory enables support for the impending ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 standard. The gateway also runs the open platform Linux operating system.

Want to get involved? Interested in making your own smart energy device? Here’s more information on ZigBee.

What energy smart devices and data consumption information would you be interested in seeing?