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How to Meet Critical Infrastructure Requirements with Cellular Devices

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Critical infrastructure operations–whether it be an electrical substation, wastewater treatment plant, or traffic control center–are relying more and more on networked assets like sensors and control switches. But, the introduction of connected devices also raises security risks. Since these systems control services both businesses and consumers heavily depend upon, regulations are in place to ensure our infrastructure remains in working order and secure from threats.

Much like the laws you abide by while driving such as wearing your seatbelt, staying within the speed limit, etc., utility providers connecting assets with cellular LTE must follow certain standards and protocols to ensure security and reliability. In North America, these rules and standards are referred to as North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection or more conveniently as NERC-CIP. For our friends in Europe, the standard is called “European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection” or EPCIP for short.

What makes a network solution NERC-CIP compliant? In this video, Brad Cole, Device Cloud Product Manager, walks through the steps many of our utility customers take in order to deploy secure and connected critical infrastructure.

In short, critical infrastructure operators must comply with these reliability standards–or face large penalties. The mandatory Reliability Standards include CIP standards 001 through 009 (see below), which address the security of cyber assets essential to the reliable operation of the electric grid.

  • CIP-001: Covers sabotage reporting;
  • CIP-002: Requires the identification and documentation of the Critical Cyber Assets associated with the Critical Assets that support the reliable operation of the Bulk Electric System;
  • CIP-003: Requires that responsible entities have minimum security management controls in place to protect Critical Cyber Assets;
  • CIP-004: Requires that personnel with authorized cyber or unescorted physical access to Critical Cyber Assets, including contractors and service vendors, have an appropriate level of personnel risk assessment, training, and security awareness;
  • CIP-005: Requires the identification and protection of the Electronic Security Perimeters inside which all Critical Cyber Assets reside, as well as all access points on the perimeter;
  • CIP-006: Addresses implementation of a physical security program for the protection of Critical Cyber Assets;
  • CIP-007: Requires responsible entities to define methods, processes, and procedures for securing those systems determined to be Critical Cyber Assets, as well as the other (non-critical) Cyber Assets within the Electronic Security Perimeters;
  • CIP-008: Ensures the identification, classification, response, and reporting of cybersecurity incidents related to Critical Cyber Assets; and
  • CIP-009: Ensures that recovery plans are put in place for Critical Cyber Assets and that these plans follow established business continuity and disaster recovery techniques and practices.

The Digi TransPort WR31 comes with features and configuration options to simplify securing critical infrastructure assets like electric and gas meters or traffic control cameras. The Digital I/O can address physical security concerns and Remote Manager will log user information and even device changes. Click here to learn more about the Digi TransPort WR31 and how utility provides are using it to connect critical infrastructure.

Customer Showcase: Wireless for Today’s Connected City

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Every day Digi works with customers around the world to deploy connected solutions that businesses rely on. From the ability to monitor device health to using data to make more informed decisions-connected devices are modernizing business operations. Here are a few of the many companies we are proud to work with.

EMTEST | Public Transitcss-featured-emtest (1)
As city populations continue to grow and public transportation demand rises, public transit agencies are finding innovative ways to handle the influx of passengers. Implementing wireless technology at ticketing kiosks and on-board displays helps streamline operations while also helping to improve the overall rider experience.

EMTest, a technology solution provider for transportation, uses the ConnectCore® 6 as the engine that powers its Emlines system. The ConnectCore 6, based on Freescale’s i.MX 6 applications processor, is a compact module that provides engineers all of the features necessary to build unique wireless applications.

EMTest gives transit operators the ability to facilitate ticket sales more efficiently, optimize vehicle routes—and it provides passenger Wi-Fi. With the fare collection system tied into the rest of the operations team, riders are provided with information such as next stop, travel times, and transfer information. The data collected is also essential for more efficient fleet management.

Owlet Nightshift by Schreder | Connected LightingRoundabout at twilight
As cities deploy LED street lights to cut energy costs, they’re also turning to wireless technology for data collection and remote monitoring for their street lighting.

Utilizing Digi wireless technology, Schréder developed the Owlet lighting solution, which enables cities to retrofit out-of-date lighting infrastructure with long lasting intelligent technology. Within each light is an LED array along with a Digi XBee ZigBee module. The XBee radios create ZigBee mesh network-connecting all of the city’s street lights wirelessly. Data from each light is then sent to a single point, a cellular XBee Gateway, which then  connects to a cellular network.

The XBee Gateway allows the city to monitor and control lighting with Owlet’s web-based management tools. Also, municipalities don’t have to wait for a citizen to report an outage or check lights via scheduled inspections. The lights themselves can tell the city when they need to be serviced or replaced.

AddÉnergie | Electric Vehicle Chargingcss-inline-addenergie
Electric vehicles are a rapidly growing market, and with it, so has the need for charging. AddEnergie specializes in providing charging station networks for electric vehicles. The company provides the charging infrastructure for both the Electric Circuit and the VERnetwork™, the two largest charging networks in Canada.

AddEnergie uses XBee modules to connect stations throughout entire parking lots and a single gateway is used at each lot to enable cloud connectivity. In addition to relying on Digi wireless technology, AddEnergie uses the ConnectCard i.MX 28 as the brains of their system.

The system includes proprietary software, PowerSharing™ and PowerLimiting™, which interface with Digi products and notify the charging stations when energy should be lowered to help reduce costs.

To learn more about how Digi customers are changing their respective industries, visit our customer story page here.

Let Your Imagination Run Wireless with the XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit: Your Idea Deserves a Prototype

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Automated homes, drones, interactive art installations– XBee can be found nearly anywhere. And, more and more devices are using XBee to connect to the cloud. Connecting a device to the Internet should be simple, that’s why we built the XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit. XBee_Dev_Board_w_XBeeWith an XBee ZB module and an XBee Gateway, it’s easy to connect your robot, vehicle, sensors, or anything else to the Internet.

Maybe you want to build a mesh network to monitor the health of your garden or perhaps, you have a top secret idea for your business, but you’re unsure where to start. Here are a few examples to help familiarize yourself with the XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit and go from idea to prototype and transform your imagination into reality:

3 Simple XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit Examples

Potentiometer
Potentiometer’s are ubiquitous when it comes to building with electronics and they make great starting point when familiarizing yourself with new technology. Here, we’ll connect this analog input to the cloud, so you can view the values on your Heroku-hosted dashboard. Potentiometers can be used for setting a level, determining an angle or just as a simple user interface adjustment. Nicknamed “pots,” these components are variable resistors. With a simple twist you can alter the amount of voltage that flows out through their center pin.

Push Button
Want to control the light in your room from where you’re sitting? If you answered yes, this example is a great place to start with the XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit. Remote control of a button is perfect for projects that require user input, or anyplace you need to detect a change in device state. One you’ve built your circuit, you’ll be able to view the status of the button and control it from your web interface.photo (17)

Temperature 
Temperature monitoring is another great starting point with analog sensing. In this example we use everyone’s favorite temperature sensor, the TMP36 low-voltage linear sensor, which is included with your kit. After you’ve built this simple circuit, you can view the temperature on the dashboard.

Let’s Get Started
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what is possible with this new XBee kit. You can find all of these examples and more here, and check out the XBee Gallery to find what others have built with XBee.

Interested in getting an XBee ZigBee Cloud Kit? Head over here.

Security Vulnerability – POODLE – CVE-2014-3566

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Overview

In the last few weeks, We have had a number of questions regarding the new vulnerability nicknamed “POODLE” CVE-2014-3566.”  As for every vulnerability, we review each one carefully to determine the impact to our devices and services, and we try to make a recommendation to our customers on the anticipated impact of these vulnerabilities. In these last weeks, we have conducted a risk analysis of this new vulnerability, as well as we are testing all of our devices for this vulnerability. Since this new vulnerability is coming down on the heels of HeartBleed and Shellshock, I am anticipating that many people will be covering this new vulnerability.

Analysis13334048894_001d3e53d1_z

In our testing, we have found that many of our devices are impacted. This is in part because of the backward compatibility that we have built within our products. However, we have determined that very few customers are using these features, and we are actively removing the SSLv3 support for new firmware versions going forward. We have already fixed this issue in a number of devices, and we are in the middle of releasing new versions of firmware with this issue fixed.

Impact

As for every vulnerability, we review each one carefully to determine the impact to our devices and services, and we try to make a recommendation to our customers on the anticipated impact of these vulnerabilities. However, since we do not know each specific configuration and data that our customers are using for our products and services, it is always suggested that the customer review their unique situation and understand what the risk could be to their environment. However, we have found that with our products, that we rate this a “very low” impact.

Notice

Please check the official Digi and Etherios corporate response to poodle HERE

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email cloud.security@etherios.com, or security@digi.com

Digi Employee Hackathon: Minnetonka Tech Support Team

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The Digi Employee Hackathons have now become a tradition we all look forward to. We’ve hacked in Digi offices around the world, built cloud connected projects, and above all else, have just had tons of fun. This week our Tech Support team battled it out to see who could build the most impressive project with the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Here are the projects that went from idea to reality in just hours.

The Coffee Busters

The injustice stops now. No longer will we fall victim to those topping up their morning cups of coffee– only to leave an empty pot for the rest of us. The Coffee Busters’ goal was to make sure no one can flee the scene of an empty coffee pot after pouring the last fresh cup.

 

The team started off by 3D printing a base to hold the coffee pot. Within the 3D printed base is a force resistor that is continually taking measurements and checking to see if the coffee level is getting low. Once the coffee gets low, the device plays a jingle to notify the coffee drinker that ,”Hey, I need to be refilled!” In addition to playing a jingle, the team connected a Digi Watchport Camera to a ConnectPort X4, which snaps a photo when the alarm goes off. If the the coffee drinker fails to fill the coffee pot back up in a timely manner, the photo that was taken at the scene of the crime is sent out to the department via email.
Team Members: Charlie Kotasek, Ron Kinney, and Michael Shatirishvili.
Awarded: Best Buzz

Cool Bees

Servers are expensive and they can get hot. If a server room is approaching warmer than normal temperatures, it’s important that you know as soon as possible, so you can prevent a disaster. Or better yet, let the server room prevent it’s own disaster. The Cool Bees’ project enables servers to let IT staff know when the temperature starts to approach a dangerous level.

 

The team connected a temperature sensor and a cooling fan to the XBee Wi-Fi. Temperature sensor readings were continually sent up to Device Cloud. If a reading was greater than 74 degrees, an alarm was triggered and turned on the connected fan to bring the room’s temperature to a safer level.
Team Members: Jeanne Garmon, Knight Jensen, Margaret Kronenberg, and Scott Peterson.
Awarded: Coolest Project

For the Birds 

Bird feeders are great, but turn your head at the wrong moment and you might miss seeing your winged visitor. Or it turns into a squirrel feeder and no matter what measure you take, you can’t find a way to keep them away. For the Birds channeled this frustration into developing a cloud-connected bird feeder that is full of useful features.

 

First, the feeder snaps a picture when a bird stops by for a bite. A motion sensor attached to an XBee Wi-Fi recognizes when a bird is near the feeder. A picture is taken and the user is sent an email letting them know a bird has stopped by. The team also wanted to be notified when the feeder needs refilling. To do this, they attached a weight sensor to the feeder and when the amount of feed reaches 20% the user is sent an email letting them know it’s time to refill the feeder.

Next item on the road map is to create an anti-squirrel system that keeps the bushy-tailed creatures off the feeder, but also leaves them unharmed!
Team Members: Cheryl Busch, Michael Toenis, and Jennifer Getty
Awarded: Most Shocking

Closing
The Coffee Busters were awarded first place, but each project showcased the creativity of our employees and what is possible with the Internet of Things–even if you only have a few hours to develop your project. Like always, we gained valuable feedback on how to improve the user experience with our products. Now, hopefully we can get a few coffee busters set up around the office and finally solve the mystery of the empty coffee pot.

Meet the Kit that Connects You to the Internet of Things ASAP

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In this video, Digi’s Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, shows you how easy it is to build a Wi-Fi enabled hardware prototype and develop an application for the Internet of Things with the XBee WiFi Cloud Kit. The kit wirelessly connects with Device Cloud by Etherios out of the box, so you can build custom widgets that interact with your cloud-connected hardware.

Interested in seeing more ideas of what is possible with the XBee WiFi Cloud kit? Check out the projects that came out of our employee Hackathon in Logroño.

XBee Has a New Home

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XBee has a New Home

XBee information has a new home! We’re always looking for ways to share information with our customers, so we’re excited to announce the launch of the revamped XBee resource center. This page has everything you need to know about XBee– how to connect to the cloud, choose the right module, and how to find example projects that will help get you started with XBee.

XCTU Computer

You can also check out what others are building with XBee, whether it be large-scale networks or a project from the XBee Gallery. And if you ever need help with your projects, you can contact an XBee expert by submitting your questions via the ‘Contact an Expert’ form.

Click here to visit the new page.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee WiFi Visits Logroño

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For the latest Digi Hackathon, Rob Faludi took the show on the road and crossed the Atlantic to hold the first ever hackathon at our office in Logroño, Spain. With XBee WiFi Cloud Kits in hand, the four teams hacked away for what was the most competitive hackathon yet. In a matter of hours, each team had to quickly brainstorm, build, and present their cloud-connected projects.

 

The Garbage M.A.N.

Garbage M.A.N. Smart garbage containers monitoring for smart cities. In Spain, garbage is sorted into four different containers that fill up at different speeds. Garbage trucks need to collect every container no matter how full it is and they do this mainly during the night. The containers may overflow, which is smelly, or be collected when they don’t need to be which is a waste of time, energy and creates unnecessary noise.

The Garbage M.A.N. monitors the fill level with sensors and transmits the information to a central program that calculates routing so that full containers never overflow, and empty containers are not visited unnecessarily. This reduces noise, pollution, smells, collection time and the truck fleet. The prototype uses an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit, Device Cloud and an Android application to display optimized routes. Yes, the Garbage M.A.N. can!
Team members: Sebastián Pastor, Javier Viguera, Ernesto Vara, Arturo Buzarra, and Héctor Palacios.
Awarded: “Least Smelly” and First Prize

 

Germinator Plus
Germinator Plus

An automated system for remote greenhouse seed germination monitoring. Seeds germination requires unique light, temperature and humidity conditions for each species of plant. Germinator Plus provides an automatic germination greenhouse to  monitor and control each of these conditions. It’s easy to configure and use for a variety of different seed species, and everything can be done remotely. Heating, light and watering are all triggered by sensors. When the plants have reached the proper height, the grower is alerted that they are ready to transplant. Germinator Plus prototype uses XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, a ConnectCore 6, water pump, lighting controls, heater, moisture, light and temperature sensors. The result? Perfect plants.
Team members: David Escalona, Diego Escalona, Francisco/Paco Gil Martínez, Carlos Marín, and Isaac Hermida.
Awarded: “Industrial Light & Moisture Award” and Second Prize

 

Lie-Detect-o-Meter
Lie Detect-o-Meter

A mobile battery-operated wristband lie detector for public questioning. Ask your question remotely through the web interface and get a real time answer with an instant decision about its truthfulness. Lie-detect-o-meter is the must have gadget for your political career. The project uses XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, Arduino and sensors for moisture and pulse.
Team members: Mike Engel, Daniel Alesanco, Hector Bujanda, and Alex Gonzalez.
Awarded: “Most Judgmental”

 

The Smart Plug-Y-Play

Unattended computers waste energy. The Smart Plug-Y-Play monitors power consumption and can automatically switch off the computer. In addition users can turn any device on or off remotely, and configure notification alarms to alert them to excessive power consumption or unauthorized use. The system was prototyped with the XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, a motion detector, smart plug and controlled by either a web application or smartphone app.
Team members: Pedro Perez, Ruben Moral, Tatiana Leon, Jesus Nieto, and Alejandro Vaquero.
Awarded: “Most Shocking”

 

With an office full of hackers it was no surprise that every project was a home run. But, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what the IoT makes possible. Are you a maker, builder, or DIYer looking to build your own Internet of Things project? Learn more about the XBee WiFi Cloud Kit here.

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! Contact Us