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Critical Connection For Humanitarian Efforts with IoT Technology Demonstrated at HumTech 2016

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“Disrupting Humanitarian Response” was the common theme at the HumTech2016 conference in Cambridge, MA this week. The event brings together some of the brightest and most passionate people who focus on “technical ideas that advance global humanitarian action”.

Learned So Far

The purpose of the conference is to discuss, share and promote current research, and recent accomplishments across all aspects of technology, from science to systems that have a global humanitarian impact. Scalpel At The Cross, a Christian medical mission to the Peruvian Amazon, demonstrated the CrossCare project that utilizes Digi technology to bring critical orthopaedic services to the tribal population of Pucallpan Peruvians.

CrossCare is a custom-built application to withstand harsh jungle conditions. A state-of-the-art electronic medical record (EMR) system, CrossCare features an iOS-based application that runs on any Apple device (iPad, iPad mini, iPhone), leverages wireless peer-to-peer networking and Google Cloud data storage to create, manage, share and track patient data and treatment outcomes.

Outfitted with a collection of iPads, doctors and medical staff at the Pucallpa medical campus record important data through the registration, examination, and treatment planning stages. Through peer-to-peer networking over a Digi wireless router, information entered into one iPad is shared in near real-time on all of the staff’s iPads allowing each member of the medical staff to have complete information at their fingertips. Information is consolidated into a medical database and replicated on every tablet without servers or broadband connectivity. For patients requiring surgery, the CrossCare application is used to record surgery documentation, post-operative rounds and follow up exams.

The event’s keynote speaker, Gisli Olafsson with NetHope, said, “True innovation comes when you understand the fundamental problem that the user needs to resolve.” This is the role Digi plays the CrossCare project. Digi’s TransPort router solves the very real problem of collecting patient data during mission clinics, through surgery, and continuing through follow-up appointments.

The 3-day event was well-attended by a group of enthusiasts in the humanitarian space.

Sustainable Business ModelGisli also encouraged all to come up with a more sustainable business models to support work that allows entrepreneurs to create new innovations, and continue to innovate without the administrative overhead of writing grants each year, and generating extensive reports back to the donors.

The industry as a whole seems primed and ready for a shake-up, and is welcoming start-up technology teams that can bring new ideas and new technology to an older, established institution.

The idea that funding of humanitarian efforts will continue to come from governments or funnel through other existing world relief organizations is wavering. This leaves a huge opening for self-funding solutions and innovation projects like CrossCare that Digi has helped to develop. It’s our hope to make CrossCare available to other mission hospitals with the potential of growing it to be not just a Peruvian Amazon project but a global solution.

Greater Detroit Area Transit Agency Turns to Digi to Monitor Bus Fleet

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Suburban Mobility Authority for Rapid Transit Authority (SMART), a transit agency in the Greater Detroit Area, was faced with the realization that their automatic vehicle location (AVL) system was old, slow and inefficient.

SmartSMART operates over 200 buses for over 23 hours every day. Monitoring these vehicles is essential to daily operations. But with 20-year-old infrastructure, the AVL was just not cutting it. SMART wanted more reporting and real-time information that they could share with their riders.

SMART decided to switch to cellular communication with voice over IP (VoIP). To implement this they decided to work with Clever Devices, a leading provider of communications and technology solutions. The centerpiece of Clever Devices’ solution was the Digi TransPort WR44 R cellular router.

The Digi TransPort WR44 R is purpose-made for transit agencies and authorities that need reliable communications for such things as security video, fare collection, dispatch, passenger Wi-Fi, and others.

SMART’s new cellular AVL has had a profound impact. Data and metrics that were never before available are already being used to anticipate vehicle breakdowns, expedite repairs, and minimize downtime. Additionally, Passengers are now able to text a number posted at their bus stop to receive real-time data from SMART about bus ETAs. This service is already receiving more than 10,000 queries per month.

Most importantly, the agency is getting a great ROI. SMART is saving at least $70,000 per year in hard costs with the Digi-based solution. In soft costs it is estimated that SMART may be saving anywhere from an additional $150,000 to $200,000.

Read more about how SMART saves more than $70,000 per year with Internet of Things technology here >>

Smart City Series: 4G LTE & Smart Infrastructure – Q&A Follow-Up

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If your inbox is anything like ours, it’s full of emails touting “Smart Cities” as the next big thing, but how are cities actually using cellular technology to run smarter?

In a recent webinar, Digi’s Cellular Product Manager, Andrew Lund, shared real-world examples of 3G/4G LTE in infrastructure applications, along with the challenges and questions that need to be answered to get there.

smart cities

Below, Andrew covers questions from the Q&A that we didn’t have time to answer live. If you’d like to watch the webinar recording and learn more about how Digi enables Smart Cities.

Miss the webinar? Here’s where you and watch the webinar recording and learn more about how Digi enables Smart Cities >>

What accelerated lifecycle testing have you performed on the Digi TransPort® WR31 and are you able to share your results?
Specific test results are shared on a business case basis and only under NDA, but we can share that the WR31 was subjected to a Highly Accelerated Life Test (HALT) in line with our standard testing.  This testing is divided into three sections: temperature, vibration and a combination of vibration and temperature.

In each section, the Unit Under Test (UUT) is tested at the operational limit, the functional limit, and the destructive limit (if applicable). For the WR31, the functional limit was above the operating limit, meaning it functioned above and beyond the threshold we expected it to.

Who does the integration with energy meters / HVAC controllers ? Does Digi do that type of integration or is it some system integrators who are Digi partners who are responsible for integration?
Both options are available, depending on the customer and the goals. In cases where, for example, an OEM wants to add cellular connectivity to their offer, Digi and its partner would work directly with the OEM. In cases where the customer is an end user, for example an city or state department, Digi would work with a system integrator or value added reseller to deliver the final solution.

Can you please share how the Garbage Collection and Emailing System was implemented?
This was done by Digi’s Wireless Design Services group. More details and a video can be found here.

Does the WR31 product have the relevant Australian compliance e.g. C-Tick, A-Tick?
Yes.

Are there plans to support LTE 700 Mhz Band 28 in future?
Yes—stay tuned for details.

Rather than offer a device management application for us to use, does Digi offer a managed service for its product set?
Digi has implemented bespoke managed services programs for customers, but it is more common for us to partner with 3rd party managed services companies.

Does the WR31 support DNP3/IP?
Yes, the Digi TransPort WR line supports DNP3.

Does the WR31 has an LTE to NextG fallback?
Yes, the WR31 offers LTE with fallback to Telstra’s NextG (i.e. 850 MHz) network.

Do you have an example of an application in France?
We have many, many customer and applications in France—please contact your Digi rep or Digi partner for details.

WR31 is a nice product, but how to beat the competition having this form factor in the market for many years. E.g. Welotec, Moxa, etc.
“How to beat…” questions are a bit tough to answer in the abstract, but you can discuss specifics with your Digi rep or partner. Nor now, let’s focus on positioning the WR31 where it will have clear advantages. The WR31 is the best fit in applications that DO NEED: LTE, strong price/performance (i.e. affordable), Modbus/DNP3 bridging, and advanced security and routing (VPN, authentication, encryption, etc, and DON’T NEED vendor-specific object libraries or Modbus/DNP3 translation.

Is there a version that supports XBee® 868 LP?
No, currently there are no versions of the WR31 with an XBee radio, although that is an interesting concept, and worth discussing further with your Digi rep or partner.

Is it possible for the hardware to move from Cellular communications to a WiFi network and use this to communicate, WiFi becomes available – and if so – what product fits best?
The Digi TransPort WR44 supports Wi-Fi and 4G/4G LTE comms and is used in this kind of least cost routing scenario.

What is different in terms of speed in WR21 and WR31?
The WR21 and WR31 share the same WWAN radio and processor architecture—there is no material performance difference between the two.

Fog Computing in the Internet of Things (IoT)

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The Open Fog Consortium defines Fog Computing this way: “A system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things.” In his recent Fog Computing report, Aapo Markkanen at Machina Research puts Digi in this category. He says, “Digi is well placed to a make a play in fog computing, given its strong communications portfolio and additional capabilities [such as] Device Cloud and device management.” We couldn’t agree more!

Intelligence on the edge of the network allows our customers to store, shape and translate machine and sensor data to maximize connections from the device to the cloud. Digi Device Cloud enables our customers to bring enterprise routing features to the edge of their networks enhancing security, storage, and redundancy.

The concept of Fog Computing accurately describes the way our customers are managing mission critical applications across multiple wireless protocols making it easier to configure, deploy and manage devices on the edge of their networks.

Click here to learn more about Digi Device Cloud >>

Digi Employee Hackathon: Cloudy with a Chance of Hacks

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It’s been a while but we’re back with another Digi hackathon! Digi Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, traveled down to our Rochester office to see what projects our Device Cloud developers could bring to life. The teams explored ways to expand Device Cloud’s capabilities, get hands-on with XBee connected sensors, and have fun doin’ it! Here’s a quick look at the projects created.

Team PB&J: Working with XBee Connected Sensors
For the parents out there, you might want to listen up. This project transformed a motion sensor into a complete system capable of tracking childrens’ mischievous late evening/early morning adventures. The infrared (IR) sensor detects distance and is placed in such a way that if a child gets up and out of bed at night, the parents can be alerted and take proper action.

Untitled design (2)
The IR sensor was installed on the child’s bedroom doorway so it can determine if the child leaves the room. To enable wireless connectivity, the sensor is connected to an XBee module and connects to Digi Device Cloud through an XBee Gateway. Within Device Cloud, the team configured a data condition alarm which fires when movement is detected. Once the alarm fires based on the set data point, an SMS is sent to the parents’ mobile device and the necessary actions follow.

Team Lizard: Device Cloud Improvements
In this post we’ll only skim the surface of the enhancements the team made to the Digi Device Cloud platform. The primary change they made to Device Cloud was how the platform handles monitors. Monitors are a way for Device Cloud customers to be notified when events or changes occur on Device Cloud. This could be a newly provisioned device, data uploaded to a data stream, changes to device configurations, etc.. These are all considered “events.”

When a server generates an event, the event is saved in Cassandra and forwarded to the Device Cloud server with the customer’s monitor. The event is sent along to a customer’s monitor application.

The team wrote a simple bit of code to enable customer’s to monitor for only truly exceptional events. These changes bring performance improvements to Device Cloud since servers detecting events can filter prior to saving or sending the event through the cluster.

Quiet Hours for alarm notifications is another feature they built into Device Cloud. There are certain use cases when customers want to be made aware of triggered Device Cloud alarms immediately but only at certain hours of the day. The team made a simple addition to the alarms configuration menu allowing customers to easily set their “quiet hours.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.55.30 AM

 

In addition to making the Device Cloud platform better, faster, stronger, Team Lizard had time to spare and created an iOS application. The primary focus of the mobile application is to make adding devices into accounts a more streamlined process. With just a smartphone, users can scan a label on the device and it is securely added into the user’s account.

We’ve assembled a few images to give you an idea of what the application would look like:

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.55.50 AM

Team Bald Monk: ELK Evaluationlogo-elastic
ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) is a collection of open source projects and a comprehensive tool for analyzing and visualizing large amounts of data. It’s a turned into a popular industry solution for log aggregation. Team Bald Monk took the tool for a test drive to explore how it could function within the Digi Device Cloud environment.

The goal of this event was to give everyone an opportunity to work on an idea they’ve had kicking around for a while whether it be an improvement to a Digi product or just gaining experience with a new technology. Hackathons offer valuable time to explore what’s out there and provide inspiration for innovative ideas.

Click here to view our entire archive of Digi Employee Hackathons!

 

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.

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! Contact Us