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Bike Sharing & M2M: Digi Provides Wireless Network Solution for Tel Aviv Bike Rental, Tel-O-Fun

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Digi Enables Fast Communication Between All Bike Rental Terminals in Tel Aviv, Tel-O-Fun

Following the success of public bike rental systems implemented in many European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam and London, the city of Tel Aviv in Israel wanted to provide a similar rental scheme for its residents and visitors. The system, Tel-O-Fun, is initiated by FSM Ground Services Management and provides over 1,700 bikes spread over 170 docking stations in and around the city of Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

Every day, close to ten thousand journeys are made using the bike-sharing system in Tel Aviv. There is a terminal at each docking station, where users are able to purchase subscriptions, rent and return bikes. The bike can be released at, and returned to any station, at any time, all year around.

In order to identify a customer and release a bike for its use, every terminal needs to be connected to the main control center. “Every action enacted at the different terminals in the street needs approval of the main system,” explains Ofer Sela, CIO and CTO at FSM. “Communication needs to be reliable and fast in order to give the right service to the city and the scheme’s customers.”

Connecting Large Numbers of Devices with a Fast Communication Link

FSM wanted a wireless networking solution to provide the communication network for the terminals. It meant a faster solution deployment than a wired connection, and one that would not require costly roadwork involving council permits and road disruption.

The temperature in Tel Aviv goes up to 104°F in summer, with high levels of humidity from the sea. Since it could reach possible temperatures of 122°F within the terminals, Tel-O-Fun was looking for a rugged technology solution, able to withstand the humidity and high temperatures of the working environment.

While looking for companies to enable its solution, FSM contacted Orange as a network partner. As a result of the telecom company’s strong relationship with Digi as its established technology vendor, FSM decided to evaluate the Digi product range for a suitable solution.

A 3G Connection with Digi’s ConnectPort

After testing different connectivity solutions, FSM chose Digi’s ConnectPort for its solution, as the range has multiple Ethernet ports to support terminal functionality. The routers are also fully PCI-DSS Compliant – crucial as the terminals process payments from the bike users.

The ruggedness of the Digi router was another crucial factor in the decision– FSM needed a durable solution for the field.

“Tel Aviv is by the sea and even the harsh conditions of the city, such as the heat, rust and humidity, are not a problem for Digi’s routers,” said Ofer Sela.

 A Solution with Possibilities for the Future

“I have been very positive about the results Digi delivers,” said Ofer Sela. “We are also confident that the hardware will support future potential features of the bike rental system. For example, we hope to add Voice Over IP customer support to the terminals so customers can interact directly via voice and video to customer support staff.”

After the solution’s great success in Tel Aviv, FSM is planning to expand Tel-O-Fun to other cities in Israel, and even to other countries. “We will definitely use Digi’s equipment again since there have been no issues with connectivity, nor the Digi equipment in the field. The solution is always working, and working well,” concluded Ofer Sela.

Looking Closely at the Machine to Machine Space: How Far its Come and Where its Going via TMCnet

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First making its way into the spotlight back in 1995, the machine to machine (M2M) vertical has changed quite a bit in almost 18 years. While referred to as the key technology that enables wireless and wired systems to work together seamlessly on various devices, M2M was once touted a direct connection while today, it is more like a system of combined networks that send and receive data.

Recently, TMCnet had the chance to speak with Matt Jennings, vice president of Solutions, Digi International, about the role his company is playing in the transitioning space, how he defines M2M and what affect the cloud as well as mobile devices could potentially have within the next year.

According to Jennings, “While our evolution and growth has been deliberate and positive, we believe we are just now beginning to realize the inflection point for M2M technology adoption. The change in discussion from technology to business impacts will be a catalyst for widespread M2M technology deployment.”

When deciding whether or not to get started on implementing a M2M suite into your business operations, you must first make several important selections that range from how the machine is physically connected and what type of communication is used, to ultimately in what ways the data will be leveraged.

“Even though it can be complex, once a company knows what it wants to do with the data, the options for setting up the application are usually straightforward,” M2M Communications reveals on its website.

Did you know that people in different verticals have varying opinions in regard to the definition of M2M? Digi International for example firmly believes “the term M2M doesn’t capture the technology’s value adequately. We prefer to use the term M2B or machine to business. M2B is about much more than connecting machines to machines. It is about business transformation and driving amazing efficiency into an organization’s process. The focus should not be on the technology. Rather, it should be on driving profits and return on investment (ROI). By animating the business value proposition, M2B becomes a more meaningful way to convey the technologies’ value across multiple verticals,” Jennings added.

Matt Jennings, Vice President of Solutions, Digi International

One thing that everyone agrees on though in unison is that the next-generation platform significantly brings business intelligence to a whole other level as well as provides assorted analytics that help companies meet current needs as well as those in the not so distant future. As the cloud continues to gain relevance, what role will M2M play in organizations’ overall migration?

He commented, “We believe it is part of the overall migration to the cloud. Getting more ‘things’ off-premises and related to other data streams within the organization can create huge efficiencies. The complex computations and analytical models necessary to achieve those efficiencies can happen within a cloud much simpler and much more economically.”

When looking closer at devices such as smartphones and tablets, it seems as if these products truly go hand-in-hand with M2M. After all, this technology heavily depends upon these intuitive gadgets to work successfully. So as mobility is growing at a record pace, it only makes sense that mobility within M2M would be touted as a natural migration.

“Organizations are increasingly becoming dependent on mobility to run their operations and service organizations – and to gain a competitive edge. The goal of M2M is to get the right data, to the right person, at the right time, no matter where they are located. Mobility will only enhance that value,” Jennings noted.

Read the Full Post on TMCNet

Strata Big Data: Interview

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I spoke live with Mac Slocum at O’Reilly’s Strata Big Data conference about Digi International’s involvement in the Data Sensing Lab here, as well as the future of M2M and the Internet of Things-what I’m hoping will be an Internet of Things People Want. Our part in the lab was to assemble a network of 40 XBee ZigBee radio sensor nodes running Arduino, gateway their data via a ConnectPort X2e running the XBee Internet Gateway and post everything to the iDigi Device Cloud where it could be passed off via Amazon Web Services to a team of visualization experts for analysis. Here’s the interview:

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.


Digi at Parallax Expo

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This weekend Digi shared its technology at the Parallax Robotics & Microcontrollers Expo in Rocklin California. The Expo included vendors, robot competitions, robot demonstrations, training for kids of all ages in soldering and programming, tours of the Parallax manufacturing facility and some pretty amazing quadcopter flights. We donated two iDigi starter kits and five Building Wireless Sensor Networks books to a raffle that benefits the local food bank. Despite some rain, the event was packed with families and enthusiasts both days, a few of whom had come from overseas just to attend.

We were really impressed with a new SumoBot setup that uses XBees to transmit accelerometer data from a remote tilt controller, and a quadcopter recovery system for XBee broadcasts of GPS data in case of an “unexpected landings.” I also got a chance to present my Fun with XBees talk that shares some of the astonishing creative work people are doing with iDigi, ConnectPorts and XBees. Next up is Maker Faire Bay Area, so come see us there!

In the meantime, here’s some more photos from the Parallax Expo:


Digi and Intel’s Wind River Create a New Class of Cloud-Connected Wireless M2M Solutions

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Over the last decade we’ve seen the Internet create a new system to connect people. We’re more connected than ever via email, social networks and other peer-to-peer online services. Over the next decade that connection will continue to extend to physical objects, or the Internet of Things. It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be 50,000,000,000 (yes, 50 billion!) connected devices.

That’s why we are partnering with the best. Digi and Wind River, a subsidiary of Intel Corporation, have collaborated to create a new class of cloud-connected wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions based on Intel Architecture. The M2M Solution Builder kits will include a combination of hardware, software, cloud connectivity, and access to tailored M2M development services.

Remote machines are already being used for a vast range of solutions– from wireless EKG monitors in hospitals that transmit data to a doctor’s computer in real-time, to sensors that track food from its growth in the field all the way to its freshness on store shelves. Remote machines are not only improving business operations, they are improving our lives.

The collaborative solution from Digi and Wind River will accelerate market adoption and open the door for more businesses and developers to create money making and  life-changing connected products with cloud-enabled services.

As part of the kit user experience, customers will be able to exercise complete iDigi Manager Pro capabilities for full remote control of these new innovative devices from the internet. Cloud-based desktop and mobile web dashboard applications can be created right out of the box. In addition, through iDigi Application Development Services and Digi’s Spectrum Design Services, Digi offers custom web and mobile application development as well as full wireless and hardware design services. Anything from minor  product customization to complete turnkey development is available using the Intel platform.

The M2M Solution Builder kit is expected to be available in June 2012. Visit Digi for more information.

Connectedness: Bettering Our Lives Through the World’s Food System

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Sara Ohrvall, Senior Vice President of Bonnier R&D and Vincent Horn, Chief Buddhist Geek at Buddhist Geeks are holding a session at SXSW today– Closer to One: Buddhism and the Internet of Things.

Ohrvall and Horn will be talking about how as we begin to network more objects, we are building the “interconnectedness of all things” that eastern philosophers have talked about for millennia.

The session will dive into the question, “Could all this connectedness make us better people?”

How does the Internet of Things work to help us lead better lives? What about healthier lives?

Technologies exist that allow us to “connect our bodies,” for example, exercise tools like RunKeeper, Wii-Fit and FitBit.

But, what about on a larger scale? How can the Internet of Things help us solve health issues world-wide? How can the Internet of Things help us understand and better our food system?

One peek inside the food industry will have you surprised and most likely frightened at the lack of general information on where our food comes from, how fresh it is and the sustainability of our entire food system.

The sustainability of the food system, or the ability to ensure that everyone has enough food to live a healthy life, is known as “food security.”

Digi International’s® client, Libelium, is using wireless sensor networks to monitor food sustainability. These wireless sensor systems, Waspmote sensors, can be used to monitor and control the whole food cycle– from food production and harvesting, transportation and distribution all the way to consumption and even bio-waste outputs– pretty amazing.

Linelium explains how food insecurity impacts the world, “Food insecurity continues to be a major development problem across the globe, undermining people’s health, productivity, and often their very survival. Use of Waspmote sensors can assist in strengthening the collective understanding of how to protect and manage food systems.”



Food Production

  • By combining sensors such as humidity, temperature, and light, the risk of frost can be detected.
  • Monitoring can ensure prevention of plant diseases or manage watering requirements based on soil humidity. This helps to control conditions in nurseries and to closely monitor high performance or delicate crops, such as vineyards or tropical fruit, where the slightest change in climate can affect the final outcome.
  • The information can also help to determine the optimum conditions for each crop, by comparing the figures obtained during the best harvests.


  • The technology integrated in Waspmote (GPS, sensors and clock) makes it possible to control, in real-time, conditions of merchandise.
  • Waspmote can detect and store environmental samples during the product’s transport to determine if  it has been exposed to high temperatures or whether it has been contaminated during the journey.
  • A GPS ensures that the product can be located at all times.


  • Waspmote can operate as a smart label on merchandise containers. It can transmit through ZigBee wirelessly to gather product information, number of units, batches, etc.
  • It can also be used to detect expired food or even to alert a customer that a specific product contains food not suitable for him or her because of his or her allergies.

Food waste and disposal

  • After high temperature days and severe weather events, food wastes can be a source of disease and contamination. Waspmote sensors can monitor public disposal areas or high risk areas.

The connected technologies that the Internet of Things offers will continue to change the way we live our lives. The Waspmote is a great example of how this change can improve the quality of one of the most important aspects of life, the food system. We are looking forward to hearing Ohrvall and Horn’s perspective at their session today at SXSW, and we thank them for covering this inspiring topic.