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Powering the Connected Cab

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Frazer-NashThe zero-emission taxicab of the future will soon be on the streets of London – and Digi is playing a key role in making it happen. That’s because Frazer-Nash – the electric-car pioneer founded in 1922 – has selected Digi’s ConnectCore 6 system-on-module to create a complete digital experience for driver instrumentation and touchscreen passenger infotainment inside its range-extended electric vehicle (REEV) Metrocabs. CC6 will also enable wireless connectivity to in-cab Internet, GPS navigation, and revenue-producing interactive displays.

The ConnectCore 6 is less than 2 inches square and includes all the power and connectivity you would expect from a PC, including a cellular adapter, 1080p graphics, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and up to 64GB of flash memory. The decision to utilize Digi ConnectCore6 was a change for Frazer-Nash, which traditionally develops all technologies in-house. In fact, the CC6 is the only component in the Frazer-Nash Metrocab that was not designed and created by the company itself.

In this new Frazer-Nash “cab of the future,” drivers can monitor the cab’s key systems as well as optimize routes, fuel, and battery efficiency. What’s more, Digi offers secure remote management and web services capabilities through the scalable Digi Device Cloud™ so Frazer-Nash can monitor all of its cabs remotely and deploy updates over cellular networks.

Frazer-Nash has been in the forefront of electric powertrain development and designs and builds all of its own components. By using the ConnectCore 6, Frazer-Nash reduced costs and accelerated its time-to-market while offering new services and deliver a connected cab. The Metrocab is just one example of the incredible development opportunities for Digi customers and partners, brining computing power to new classes of innovative applications.

But, don’t take my word for, let Frazer-Nash describe the solution in this video.

Digi XBee® S2C 802.15.4 – Let Your Imagination Run Wireless!

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Digi XBee® is the world’s #1 RF module because our common footprint is shared across protocols and frequencies. Anything is possible with Digi XBee – from the small science project in the lab to NASA monitoring payloads on a rocket, Digi XBee gives you the tools and flexibility you need to rapidly innovate. The latest example in this broad line of modules is the Digi XBee S2C 802.15.4 which is now available with the Silicon Labs Ember® EM35x transceiver.

This latest module is ideal for applications requiring low latency and predictable communication timing. The Digi XBee S2C 802.15.4 is also ideal when your application requires robust multipoint wireless connectivity with reduced power consumption, support for the over-the-air firmware updates, and an upgrade path to DigiMesh® or ZigBee® Mesh protocols.

New Digi XBee S2C 802.15.4 Offered in Through-Hole & SMT Form Factors

Anyone deploying Digi XBee can swap one Digi XBee for another. You don’t have to design a printed circuit board to take advantage of Silicon Labs’ latest chip – Digi has done it for you on the Digi XBee platform saving you time and giving you the confidence to get connected quickly and easily. Providing quick, robust communication in point-to-point, peer-to-peer, and multipoint/star configurations, Digi XBee S2C 802.15.4 products enable robust end-point connectivity with ease. Whether deployed as a pure cable replacement for simple serial communication, or as part of a more complex hub-and-spoke network of sensors, Digi XBee 802.15.4 modules maximize performance and ease of development.

Digi XBee is a special product because of our customers: the innovators, the hackers, the problem-solvers — whatever you call yourself, Digi is dedicated to providing you with everything you need to quickly create wireless connectivity solutions. Let your imagination run wireless!

Click here for a “Digi XBee 802.15.4 Protocol Comparison” Technical Brief>>

 

Interview with Embedded Computing Design: Connected Device Security

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With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, devices have become more vulnerable in recent years. Even with highly publicized security breaches (medical devices, web cams, vehicles, building automation equipment, etc.), it seems like security is still on the lower end of awareness and focus. And for those device manufacturers who are security-minded, implementation is not trivial.

Mike Rohrmoser, Digi’s Director of Product Management for Embedded Systems, spoke with Embedded Computing Design at NXP FTF 2016 about concerns surrounding connected devices. He emphasized that security requirements will change over time, so it’s imperative that device manufacturers make sure their products have a chance to support those changes.

Listen to the full interview to hear Mike’s thoughts on the state of connected device security and how Digi is addressing these deficiencies with a secure software framework and security architecture called Digi TrustFence™.

Full interview: Is the hysteria around connected device security warranted?>>

 

 

Small-Footprint Remote-Sensor Monitoring: The Future Is Now

When you’re working for a major petrochemical company, inventory control isn’t merely a financial matter. That’s because a slow, undetected leak of a dangerous chemical substance can ultimately lead to significant safety concerns, and environmental/regulatory issues that can cost millions of dollars.

A major metro’s DPW team might be responsible for ensuring thousands of streets are operational on a 24×7 basis. Outages translate into lapses in public safety and unnecessary taxpayer expense. But how can they keep tabs on all of those fixtures?

Unfortunately, for organizations like these – and thousands of others facing the same dilemmas – the only feasible recourse has been to put technicians and repair teams on the road, logging thousands of miles each year to remote sites to manually check simple metrics like air quality, tank levels, pipeline pressures, valve statuses, light fixtures, and more. It’s a cost and headache that they’re eager to avoid – but the data is too important to avoid or ignore. In fact, the more difficult the data is to capture, the more valuable it often is.

Remote-sensor monitoring through wireless networks is the obvious – and long-sought – alternative, but too many barriers have prevented wide-scale adoption. Chief among these roadblocks: power consumption. Solar-powered wireless gateways are still not cost-feasible for industrial applications. Battery-powered cellular devices are another option, but until recently the costs of carriers’ rigid consumer-focused data plans (and the expense of the devices themselves) made them suitable for only a small subset of applications. Low-power WiFi networks and internal batteries can provide some coverage, but they require RF and network engineers to design, install, and maintain – expertise that is in high demand.

The Tide Is Turning

Fortunately, we’re seeing important changes that are making low- or no-power remote monitoring easy and cost-effective. First, cellular operators are recognizing that $30-50/mo. consumer data plans are a non-starter in the industrial space. Some carriers are now offering data plans of as little as 250 KB and compelling configurations and bundles that have driven prices down to $1-3/mo. High-volume customers are even seeing sub-$1 pricing.

Device costs have also plunged. Cellular gateways are now less than $20 for 2G and 3G modules. Similar dynamics are likely in the LTE space soon. And as M2M-friendly LTE CAT standards take hold in the coming years, we’ll see lower device costs, lower operating costs, and longer battery life – all with no need for a local wireless network to carry backhaul traffic.

Ultimately, it means we’re now able to deploy the small-footprint, no/low-power remote-sensor network that skips the truck rolls, cuts the costs, and increases visibility across the company’s entire asset portfolio. The new Digi Connect Sensor battery-powered cellular gateway lets companies and agencies finally deploy a no-infrastructure remote monitoring solution in virtually any harsh or remote environment.

Here’s more about the features of the Digi Connect Sensor:

  • Flexible power sources – Use a long-lasting (two to three years), non-rechargeable battery, power-saving sleep mode, and the option to draw power external sources (including solar) while using the internal battery as a backup.
  • Cellular choice – For global connectivity, Connect Sensor supports 3G HSPA+ with 2G fallback. North American users can also choose an LTE CAT 1 version.
  • Supports LTE CAT 1 – With support for LTE CAT 1, the band specifically created for IoT and M2M communications, Connect Sensor devices are highly efficient, consume less power, and are optimized for data transfer.
  • Sensor variety and flexibility – Connect Sensor can work with virtually any 4/20mA, Analog Out, Digital Out, or Pulsed Output sensor, and can power multiple external sensors, eliminating the need for external supplies or batteries.
  • Enterprise-grade security – You can implement security at the device, transport, and platform level.
  • Appropriate for harsh environments – A weatherproof NEMA 4 enclosure protects your sensors from the elements. It also features ATEX Group 2 and UL Class 1 Division 2 ratings.

Interested in learning more? Here are a number of resources to get you started:

Are You Ready to Migrate to 4G?

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4GThe move to 4G is underway in North America, Europe, and much of Asia. The drivers are clear, such as greater upload and download speeds and spectral efficiencies, which lower ownership costs.

But what does this mean for engineers and designers of IoT networks and devices? Do you know the differences between 2G/3G and 4G LTE? Are you prepared to adopt 4G LTE?

Digi’s paper, Any-G To 4G, summarizes the process by presenting the five core considerations for migrating from 2G/3G to 4G LTE. You’ll learn about key factors that will impact your long-term adoption strategy, such as SIM cards, antennas, bandwidth selection, and assessing both the strength and quality of signals.

In Any-G To 4G, you’ll discover that by addressing these variables from the start, you can successfully move to 4G LTE networks and capitalize on their speed and capacity.

Read the white paper >>

The Next Generation of M2M Applications

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M2M networking is advancing. Sensors, gateways, batteries, and cellular technologies are all improving, and clouds are widely available. Coupled with refined data storage and analytics, a new generation of M2M applications is boosting enterprises’ productivity and bottom lines.

The Digi white paper, Cutting Through the Noise, presents an overview of the manifold new opportunities for leveraging machine data across the organization.

You’ll learn how M2M communications offer operational visibility into remote equipment and assets, delivering data that previously required on-site observation. You’ll see how to control costs by tracking power consumption at facilities and sites, and better quantify items rolling off the assembly line for optimal scheduling and resource planning.

You’ll also discover the advantages of using M2M networks to directly link demand and supply chains. Vending machines, for instance, can communicate which items are selling and when to restock them. This capability alone provides greater marketing intelligence, higher productivity and efficiencies, as well as more satisfied customers.

Cutting Through the Noise introduces forward-looking organizations to how today’s M2M solutions can create actionable intelligence, unprecedented proficiency, and competitive advantages.

Read the white paper >>

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 >>

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