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Retail Innovation Soars with Secure and Reliable Cellular Connections

The web has raised consumers’ expectations of retail stores and transformed the purchasing process. Brick and mortar shops need to find ways to compete with the convenience offered by online shopping. Retailers are using wireless connected devices and new technology to create an interactive experience for their customers. In this video, learn how store owners are using cellular connections to make retail systems secure, reliable, and innovative.

 

Click here to learn more about Digi’s new cellular router, the WR11.

The Internet of Things Conversation at Mobile World Congress 2014

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Mobile World Congress was filled with exciting announcements on new trends and products in mobile. We are seeing Internet of Things and Mobile technology work together to create innovation in nearly every industry. There was a lot of buzz around the conference this year, so to help catch you up, we have put together some highlights. Here are a few articles on the IoT conversation at Mobile World Congress:

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M2M at MWC: 23 Ways the IoT is Dominating Barcelona | M2M Evolution
The growth in mobile innovation goes hand in hand with the Internet of Things (IoT). While the GSMA oversees mobile phone standards, it now expects major growth in machine to machine (M2M) technology, powering connected cars, homes, cities and more. It predicts growth from 195 million M2M connections in 2013 to 250 million this year, so it’s no surprise the topic is heating up this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Key Mobile Trends Shaping the Conversation at Mobile World Congress | Wired
How will new technologies pave the road to increased adoption and user convenience? Will these changes force carriers, handset manufacturers and software developers to re-think their strategies? A common thread in these conversations will be the need to reach a truly mass market worldwide across all income levels.

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MWC: Internet Of Things, Wearables and 5G Top for Mentions | The Drum
Almost half a million (477,268) tweets have been sent mentioning the event (“MWC” “MWC14″ or “Mobile World Congress”) according to research conducted by Hotwire/33 Digital. Learn more about MWC’s twitter trends around MWC.

Remote Monitoring Device for Diabetics | BBC
In this video, BBC Technology Correspondent Mark Gregory is shown a new device by tech company GSMA which monitors the heart rate and blood sugar levels of diabetics at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

7 Head-Turning Wearables We Saw This Week | Mashable
Though this year’s CES was all about wearable tech, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was focused a little more on business than funky gadgetry.

Let us know what you enjoyed most at the conference in the comments below or on Twitter at @digidotcom with the hashtag #MWC14.

The New Patient Experience: Internet Connectivity Creating Healthcare Anywhere

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Last week, healthcare and technology innovators from around the United States came together to experience the future of healthcare at the Mill City Innovation & Collaboration Center (ICC), a new space created to showcase technologies, evaluate usability in simulated environments  and conduct community and practice-based research. The “Healthcare Anywhere” event focused on how healthcare providers can use information technologies, mobile applications and the Internet of Things to generate patient data for real-time monitoring creating a completely new patient experience and transforming the way patients and their healthcare providers interact. Real world, commercial-ready applications included a wearable, Internet of Things demonstration by AFrame Digital and Digi International.

AFrame and Digi came together to demo of AFrame’s MobileCare™ Monitor system, a wrist watch-like device that wirelessly communicates a user’s motion and location data to a cloud-based monitoring and alert system. The system’s capabilities include emergency call, impact detection, location tracking, along with activity and vitals tracking and trending. The solution uses ZigBee wireless technology, provided by Digi International, to connect to the network, and Device Cloud by Etherios to give providers an easy to use management portal.Health Monitoring on Tablet

The demonstration was installed in a simulated home environment to show attendees that data collection is a non-intrusive process.  AFrame Digital and Digi also demonstrated a patient app, intelligent mobile alerts and cloud-based care management tools that help seniors and patients stay safe at home, provide real-time feedback about a person’s health or well-being or give early warning when a person’s health begins to deteriorate.

“The Internet of Things paradigm is really about personalizing experiences,” said AFrame Digital’s Jill Thorpe, vice president for strategic initiatives. “Patient-generated data will influence healthcare the same way web navigation patterns and search criteria personalize consumer experiences on websites. We help healthcare providers leverage patient-generated data to personalize patient-directed content and enhance patient communication with their health care providers. Over time, combining sensor devices and patient-generated with powerful analytics and machine learning will help care providers get ahead of health problems before they become acute, enable more scalable care delivery models, and ultimately lead to better care and outcomes.”

“We believe that technology will reduce unnecessary face-to-face clinic visits, allowing physicians to see more patients and engage with their patients in new ways,” said Richard Tanler, Director of Mill City ICC. “Solutions offered by AFrame and Digi International are part of our hyper-connected world, that now includes apps for  managing our health and the health of loved ones.”

Panel Discussion

“Digi International’s products and services are used by our healthcare customers and OEMs to connect millions of devices in thousands of hospitals. The products and cloud services are being used to bridge the critical gap between healthcare information systems and a broad range of devices,” said Steve Popovich, vice president of global accounts, healthcare at Digi International. “We see new opportunities as healthcare devices become more mobile within traditional patient care facilities, for long term chronic illness monitoring and aging in place applications.”

In addition to live demos, the ICC hosted a roundtable dedicated to the topic. Panelists included representatives from Intel, Oracle, The Boston Consulting Group, and UnitedHealth Group and leaders from all local health systems represented in the audience.

The discussion included statements such as: 

“Right now, you’re collecting a lot of data and over the next few years, you’ll continue to share your behavioral footprint,” Deneen Vojta, UnitedHealth Group.

“Open data to entrepreneurs so they can create new ideas on new treatment models that will significantly open up new innovation,” Reid Oakes, Oracle.

“Reducing face to face visits by 40%. Reducing unnecessary face to face time to reduce scarcity,” Anurag Gupta, Boston Consulting Group.

“A visit starts in a different way today and in the future it could be done in a virtual space anytime anywhere at anytime,” Mark Blatt, Intel.

This event is the first of many expected at the ICC, and you can learn more about the center and upcoming events at: MillCityICC.org. The panel discussion will also be available. Stay tuned– we’ll be sharing it in the next two weeks.

Radiator Labs Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Comfort and Control to Steam Heat Users

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Millions of people rely on steam heat. If you’re one of them, you know that your place usually has one of two climates — tropical or Arctic. Admit it, you’ve opened the window in the winter to try to find a balance — we all have. But one company, Radiator Labs, is working to fix this problem forever. Not just for your own home, but large buildings too. How? They’re using a combination of Internet of Things technology and thermodynamics to enable full control.


The team recently launched a Kickstarter to bring this much needed face-lift to steam heat. The solution consists of The Cozy, which is an intelligent cover that is placed over your radiator, and a setup that allows you to set a room temperature via your smartphone. The enclosure collects the heat generated from the radiator and only releases heat as needed. This not only ensures a comfortable temperature in the room, but also uses energy in a more efficient manner.

Radiator Labs-XBee

The project began about two years ago and was off to a quick start as the project won the MIT Clean Energy Prize in 2012. “This changed everything for Radiator Labs. We were able to access more buildings to test and develop the next generation of the Cozy.” says Founder and Creator, Marshall Cox.

Since then, the team has spent time designing the Cozy. Radiator Labs used XBee modules to build large-scale ZigBee Mesh networks and ConnectPort X2e gateways to connect each sensor network to the Internet. Data is gathered and stored in Device Cloud. It’s then sent to an application to set a desired temperature. Data can also be analyzed to monitor each sensor and identify poorly functioning radiators. The team is in the process of deploying a large rollout of the solution in residence halls at NYU and Columbia University.

The Kickstarter campaign will help Radiator Labs bring a WiFi-enabled design to market that will fit nearly any radiator. Funds will also go towards the development of an iOS and Android application that will allow users to control temperatures from their smartphone. So if you like comfortable temperatures and saving energy, support Radiator Labs on Kickstarter.

Where Will You Use Your XBee?

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Around the world, XBee RF wireless modules are extending the reach of wireless technology. They can be found anywhere — streetlights, homes, power plants, forests — the possibilities are endless. Check out some of the real-world applications in the video below.


Stay up-to-date with XBee by subscribing to the XBee Broadcast. The newsletter features XBee news, tips for developing and even the chance to win XBee hardware. You can subscribe here.

 

Here are just a few other interesting XBee projects

Garage Siren in Mongolia

Battushig Myanganbayar is a brilliant 16 year old from Mongolia with a talent for building electronics with a purpose. His work with XBees has even been featured in the New York Times. His goal was to keep the younger children in the neighborhood safe. To do this, he has developed a wireless alarm system. Children often play along the street where cars frequently pass by while leaving or entering the garage. Whenever a car is going to or from the apartment’s garage and a child is in harm’s way, Battushig’s alarm will emit a high frequency sound and flash a bright red light. This ensures that children are still able to continue playing outside all while being safe.

Detecting Forest Fires in Spain

XBees are also used in the well-known Waspmote by Libelium. They needed both long range connections and the ability to connect wireless networks of varying frequencies. The exceptional range of XBee made it ideal for the large deployments needed to monitor forest fires, agriculture, and floods. The Waspmote can use infrared and ultraviolet sensors to detect flames as well as the release of compounds CO and CO2 that are abundant during combustion. Libelium is also able to adjust the networking protocol, so whether they need to use 802.15.4 or ZigBee, they can adjust accordingly with XBee.

Monitoring Road Conditions in Norway

A Sweden based company, Mowic, has developed a wireless network to monitor road conditions and improve driver safety. The network, called TrackIce, uses a DigiMesh network to establish long range and low powered communication between sensors. The same network will be adapted to monitor airports, ski resorts, and hydro-electric power plants. Read more about the TrackIce network here.

 

XCTU: Next Generation Configuration Platform for XBee

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XCTU is a free multi-platform application designed to enable developers to interact with XBee RF modules through a simple-to-use graphical interface. It includes new tools that make it easy to setup, configure and test XBee.

Unique features like graphical network view, which graphically represents the XBee network along with the signal strength of each connection, and the XBee API frame builder, which intuitively helps to build and interpret API frames for XBee modules being used in API mode, combine to make development on the XBee platform easier than ever.

  • Multi-platform application compatible with Windows and MacOS
  • Graphical Network View for simple wireless network configuration and architecture
  • API Frame Builder development tool for quickly building XBee API frames
  • Module Discovery mechanism enables automatic discovery of modules connected to your PC
  • Device Cloud by Etherios-integrated, allowing configuration and management of XBee devices anywhere in the world

Download XCTU

Other highlights of XCTU include the following features:

  • You can manage and configure multiple RF devices, even remotely (over-the-air) connected devices.
  • The firmware update process seamlessly restores your module settings, automatically handling mode and baud rate changes.
  • Two specific API and AT consoles, have been designed from scratch to communicate with your radio devices.
  • You can now save your console sessions and load them in a different PC running XCTU.
  • XCTU includes a set of embedded tools that can be executed without having any RF module connected:
    • Frames generator: Allows you to easily generate any kind of API frame to save its value.
    • Frames  interpreter: With this tool you can decode an API frame and see its specific frame values.
    • Recovery: Allows you to recover radio modules which have damaged firmware or are in programming mode.
    • Load console session: This tool allows you to load a console session saved in any PC running XCTU.
    • Range test: Gives you the ability to perform a range test between 2 radio modules of the same network.
    • Firmware explorer: With this tool you can navigate through XCTU’s firmware library.
  • An update process allows you to automatically update the application itself and the radio firmware library without needing to download any extra files.
  • XCTU contains complete and comprehensive documentation which can be accessed at any time.

Download XCTU here and learn more about XBee RF modules here.

XBee Tech Tip: Using the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to Toggle Power to an A/C Circuit via WebApps

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This Tech Tip is brought to you by Digi Applications Engineer Brenton Mock from the Lindon, UT team.

Be sure to answer the XBee Puzzler at the end of this entry for a chance to win an XBee t-shirt hot off the presses!

There have been an increasing number of requests for Tech Tips and How-to articles regarding the XBee Wi-Fi and the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Due to the protocol-bridging nature of the XBee Wi-Fi, many communication project infrastructures are simplified. One such project is controlling an AC circuit remotely using web applications. This makes control from any web-connected device possible.

This Tech Tip relies heavily on the Getting Started Guide for the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit. Please ensure that you are familiar with the procedures contained within that guide.

Overview

In this tutorial we will be using the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to toggle a digital output line on the XBee which will control an AC relay. We will be using the Heroku website service to accomplish this in conjunction with Device Cloud by Etherios.

Since dealing with high voltage electricity can be dangerous, we’re going to stick to using the PowerSwitch Tail, a product that packages the relay circuitry in a nice little box that we can plug into the wall. Any device that we plug into the other end will be at our command. This guide will get you started using the PowerSwitch Tail with the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Setup

1 – XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit (XBee Wi-Fi, Cloud Kit Development Board, micro-USB cable for power)

1 – XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit account (To create an account, please follow these setup instructions)

1 – PowerSwitch Tail II (This product can be found here)

2 – Solid Core, 22 AWG or 24 AWG, insulated wires

1 – AC-powered device (in this case, a fan)

Procedure

During the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit setup, you will be asked if you would like to configure the XBee Wi-Fi for the Cloud Kit. Please do so. This will configure all the DIO lines for use with the HerokuApps that are used by the kit.

Once your XBee Wi-Fi is added and configured to your account, you will see a screen as shown below:

We will be using DIO 9 (pin 13) for our example. This will correlate with the User LED toggle:

Wiring

The DIO line (pin 13 on the XBee) connects to pin 1 of the PowerSwitch Tail.

Ground (pin 10 on the XBee) connects to pin 2 of the PowerSwitch Tail.

Final Connections

Connect the PowerSwitch Tail to an AC power source.

Connect an AC device to the PowerSwitch Tail.  In this case we are using a fan.

Test

Now you should be able to click on the User LED toggle. This will then send a web services instruction to the radio via Device Cloud by Etherios (which interfaces with the HerokuApp on the backend) that will toggle the DIO9 (pin 13) to a high state. This in turn toggles the PowerSwitch Tail to complete the AC circuit.

The fan is now on:

But seeing as this isn’t a User LED that we are toggling, we must re-label the widget to accurately reflect the device that will be used. This can be done by clicking on the Widget Settings icon that will appear when you hover over the widget:

This will take you to the following screen:

You can change the label from “User LED” to something more appropriate such as “Most Awesome Fan of the Heavens.” (I love this fan.)

Conclusion

The XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit demonstrates an easy way to web-enable your devices. Device Cloud by Etherios and the Heroku web apps service together simplify the process of remotely controlling AC devices anywhere in the world.

Ready to get started with an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit? Head over here.

XBee Puzzler

You are working on a project with an XBee ZigBee Coordinator radio installed high up in a tower. You have an XBee ZigBee Router radio connected to your PC and want to test the link between the coordinator and router.

Digi ZigBee radios support a loopback cluster to enable link testing to a remote radio without the need for a physical loopback adapter. You decide to use the loopback cluster in API mode to test the link success rate of many transmissions.

You have the following information:

Coordinator 64 bit address: 0013A200 40506070
Router 64 Address: 0013A200 12345678

You want to send “Hello World” without the quotation marks as your test payload.

What is the correct API frame to accomplish this?

Submit your answer below. The deadline for entries is March 7, 2014. Winners will be notified by email. Employees of Digi and its subsidiaries are not eligible for the prize drawing. Good luck!

We are no longer taking submissions for this XBee Puzzler. The correct answer is:

7E 00 1F 11 01 00 13 A2 00 40 50 60 70 00 00 E8 E8 00 12 C1 05 00 00 48 65 6C 6C 6F 20 77 6F 72 6C 64 F4

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

IPv6PocLab

Photo Courtesy of IPv6PocLab.org

Arduino Tutorial 1: Let’s Make XBee Talk! via Norwegian Creations

Internet of Things in Five Words: Sensor, Monkey, Radio, Cloud, Paris on Computer World

Winners of Postscapes Internet of Things Awards

Beer and Tech Collide: It’s all Science in Wired

Motion Sensor via XBee Connected Arduino from IPv6PocLab

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

A Week at CES 2014

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An exciting week at CES has come to a close. If you weren’t able to attend, no need to worry, we have your back. Especially since there were more connected products at CES this year than ever before.  Consumers are learning to expect that their devices be smart, interface with multiple devices, and use data to create an outstanding user experience. Digi and Etherios even came home with a Compass Intelligence Award for enabling technology.

Here are a few articles that recap the week at CES 2014. 

CES_2014_Logo

Wearable Technology at CES 2014
We saw more examples of wearable tech than just smarts watches a fitness bands. Exciting new products like a set of HD camera goggles, a connected golf glove, and even a pet activity monitor stood out from the rest of the wearable tech pack. See a full list of exciting wearable products from CES here.

 

LA Times CES 2014: Internet of Things
CES witnessed numerous creative applications of the Internet of Things. The technology necessary to make the IoT an everyday reality is becoming more affordable and finding its way into consumer electronics. Learn more about the impact connected devices are having on consumer products from the LA Times.

 

CES2014 Stage

Engadget Best of CES
Curious what technology will bubble up in 2014? Engadget’s Best of CES is a great place to start. Check out one of our favorites, the Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’, which is a huge leap in virtual reality technology. Read the full recap on Engadget.

 

Weird Gadgets You Missed at CES 
CES is always overflowing with innovative new tech and this year was no different. Popular new products included 4K cameras and TVs, wearables, and curved displays. But the conference was also filled with many fun and unusual products that you may have missed. Find out what quirky products flew under radar on Mashable.

 

Smart Devices Mashed Up with Home Appliances
The Internet of Things is quickly making it’s way into consumer markets and making everyday devices smarter and more useful. Although still in the early stages of development, Whirlpool’s interactive cooktop is transforming your stove into a countertop touch screen. Read more about how appliances are becoming smarter.

 

With so many new products, gadgets, and toys unveiled it can be tough to keep up with it all. These are just a few stories that stood out to us. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @digidotcom what your favorites are.

A Year in the Internet of Things: 2013 Wrap-Up

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It’s been a busy year for the Internet of Things. Everyday we see more people covering how the IoT is changing our lives and our businesses. As we look back on what has been an exciting year, here are some of our most read posts from the Digi Blog and a few other articles we think are highlights.

Sensors and Cloud Connection Enable Self-Sustaining Garden
This summer, we created a video that takes you on a tour through the Digi garden. Learn a bit about what technologies we have implemented and what vegetables we have growing during the summer months. Read more…

Digi Deploys 500-Node Internet of Things Network for the Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O
In collaboration with the Data Sensing Lab team, Digi helped deploy the massive sensing network at Google I/O. Throughout the conference over 500 sensors were continuously gathering data and being collected by Device Cloud. A number of parameters were montiored such as foot traffic, noise level, and air quality to name a few. Read more…

Mote in the Wild
An Idea Worth Spreading: Internet of Things TED Talks
We’ve compiled all of the IoT-related TED Talks in this blog post. Hear from a number of thought leaders in the industry and learn where they see the IoT in the future. Speakers include Arduino creator, Massimo Banzi, and other leading engineers in the field. Read more…

TED Talks Photo 
Makezine’s Urban Sensor Hack
Makezine put together a seven part series based on hacking sensors and creating your own IoT implementations at home. Each installment of the educational series focused on a different aspect of hacking IoT hardware. The series culminated in a sharing of projects from participating teams over Google Hangouts. These videos are a great resource for both new and experienced developers. Read more…

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 1.21.17 PM
The Economist’s Comprehensive Internet of Things Study
The Internet of Things business index: A quiet revolution gathers pace is an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by ARM. It is intended to gauge the current and future use of the Internet of Things by the global business community. Read more…

iPhone BBC
The Wireless Connections that may Transform our Lives
The number of internet-enabled devices is accelerating with the ubiquity of mobile phones and ease of connecting devices. This BBC article looks at how wireless connections are being used to improve every aspect of our lives. Read more…

These are just a few highlights from what has been busy 2013 for us at Digi. Let us know what your favorite stories are from this year in the Internet of Things. You can share with us either in the comments or @digidotcom. Here’s to an exciting 2014!

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