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IoT Solutions for Transportation

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Among industry sectors that are rapidly adopting IoT technology, public transportation is one that can benefit the most from gains in operational efficiencies, cost savings, safety and security. The automotive industry also has unique needs, and some excellent innovations are emerging to support that market as well.

In this post we will look at some specific IoT solution examples for transportation from the Digi collection of customer success stories, such as Positive Train Control (PTC), vehicle analytics, ticketing systems, transit system security and high-speed passenger Wi-Fi.

IoT-Enabled Solutions for Transportation

Smart city IoT transportation iconsTechnology advances are supporting the development and deployment of IoT solutions across the transit sector. For example, the networks themselves have advanced with the rapid growth of 4G networks and the advent of 5G.

Meanwhile, 2G and 3G networks are shutting down, contributing to the growth of new and enhanced products and systems optimized for more advanced networks. In metropolitan areas today, the reliability of cellular networks now rivals, and even exceeds, traditional wired networks.

Moreover, new mobile access router technology provides the critical connectivity to support these applications. For example, Digi transportation routers provide secure cellular connectivity and multi-purpose data routing for demanding
transit and industrial environments affected by factors such as
temperature fluctuations, moisture, movement and vibration.

Transit sector solutions must meet a range of objectives, depending on the use case:

  • Public transit systems: Improve on-board rider experiences, including safety, with high-speed Internet connectivity
  • Railways: Improve train safety and responsiveness to emergency situations, while meeting PTC regulatory requirements
  • Trucking/supply chain: Track vehicle analytics, reduce the need for truck rolls, and expand automated processes to save operational costs

Case Study Examples: IoT Solutions for Transit and Automotive

Digi customers develop a wide range of IoT applications and solutions using Digi products. Here are a few examples of solutions that serve the transportation sector today.

SEPTA: Positive Train Control (PTC)

SEPTA

The Southern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provides light rail, subway and bus service to more than one million riders daily in and around Philadelphia. SEPTA was one of the early transit systems to mobilize their Positive Train Control (PTC) installation, a sophisticated train-signaling system designed to prevent crashes, derailments and track worker injuries resulting from speed and signal violations.

SEPTA worked with Digi to deploy the right connectivity solution for PTC:

  • • The Digi® WR44-RR mobile access router.
  • • PTC message routing and wireless communications via a Mobile Communications Package (MCP)
  • • An integrated, drop-in MCP assembly that houses Digi WR44 RR, a 220 MHz TDMA radio, power supply and RF filters

TransPort WR44 RR Train configuration

Results

The Digi WR44 RR is the integral communications hub in all locomotives and vehicles, relaying PTC data messages to and from waysides via 220 MHz radio and enabling remote system maintenance, configuration and network management over a cellular link.  Increased network reliability and rail system visibility extends performance beyond PTC toward Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), resulting in more efficient scheduling, greater capacity and increased fuel savings.


Read our white paper on rail-certified cellular communications: The Fast Track to Positive Train Control Compliance.


TransData: Passenger Ticketing and Information System

Train passengerSystems integrators in the IoT space have enormous opportunity today to support the needs of organizations across the transport sector, from city bus and light rail agencies to trucking companies in the supply chain, and long distance passenger trains. The needs are growing as these agencies work to meet compliance requirements and compete in their marketplaces by providing enhanced services and improved security.

TransData is an IoT systems integrator that develops applications for public transit, such as payment and identifications systems, for the Slovak market. TransData’s flagship product is a multi-faceted solution that supports a broad range of public transport capabilities:

  • • Secure fare transactions
  • • Easy-to-use electronic card system simplifies passenger experiences
  • • GPS-tracked route guidance minimizes delays
  • • Display local shops, restaurants and points of interest
  • • More reliable Internet access and high-speed passenger Wi-Fi
  • • Monitor traffic activity with on-vehicle security cameras
  • • Route communications through a central depot or dispatch

Results

The applications above are enabled by Digi ConnectCore® 6 ultra-compact system-on-module (SOM), which supports TransData connectivity requirements at an affordable price point. TransData ticketing and information systems require superior video performance, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and connectivity to the vehicle data system and cellular modem. The applications also require a stable package and small form factor that can withstand rugged conditions such as extreme heat, humidity and vibration while maintaining network connectivity to perform these complex tasks.

SMART: Public Transit System Computer-Aided Dispatch

SMART city transit

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Rapid Transit (SMART) metro bus fleet of 330 biodiesel and hybrid-electric buses covers more than 1,100 miles and supports 32,000 riders daily. With this extensive fleet, it is critical to monitor the vehicles in order to ensure the highest levels of passenger safety and on-time performance.

The business problem to solve involved the upgrade of an aging CAD/AVL (Computer-Aided Dispatch / Automatic Vehicle Location) system built on a legacy analog radio network connected via three leased towers. SMART first evaluated migrating from analog to digital signals and increasing the number of towers, but that was cost-prohibitive. Ultimately SMART switched to VOIP on cellular for CAD, taking advantage of the packet priority services built into the Digi WR44 R mobile cellular router.

Results

With its switch to a cellular-based AVL, SMART can collect and analyze a much wider range of data and metrics — including vehicle location and speed — in real-time. Maintenance data is also captured to help prevent breakdowns and accelerate repair cycles, in order to minimize vehicle downtime. Data is transmitted to the operations center through a highly secure VPN tunnel, while operators can communicate with Central Dispatch using VoIP handsets.

Due to these upgrades and enhancements, the SMART leadership estimates they are saving over $70,000 each year.

Macchina: Auto Control Center

Macchina and Digi devicesMacchina worked with Digi to develop an affordable 4G LTE solution with a small footprint. The team chose the Digi XBee® Cellular embedded modem based on its design – an open source interface for car hobbyists and professionals to program a device or service into the automotive aftermarket.

“Our vision is to offer a ‘one-to-many’ interface,” explained Josh Sharpe, Macchina chief technical officer. “In the database world, you might call this middleware. The device maker will be able to create one device with one interface to our board – and we handle integration to hundreds of vehicles.”

The product therefore enables developers to “Another way to think of Macchina is that it’s like a key to unlock the control center of the car. Once you are in, you can use Macchina to make changes and tweaks to the car. You can do anything from simple projects, like stopping that annoying ding, to more complex upgrades such as unlocking more horsepower or improving fuel economy.”

Results

Macchina essentially provides a project template that enables development and encourages innovation. Developers appreciate the open source platform to write code, as well as a community of car hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals to consult with as they explore various approaches to their own product development.

Summary

The transportation sector is seeing a substantial adoption of IoT solutions to improve safety, public transit monitoring and routing and ridership experiences. A complete set of Digi solutions satisfy a range of transport needs, from Positive Train Control, high-speed Wi-Fi and surveillance cameras, to secure IDs, easy-to-use ticketing systems and more efficient route management.

Additionally, the Digi professional services teams can provide guidance at any point, from wireless design services to proof of concept, PCB layout and certification assistance.

>> For more information about Digi’s IoT solutions for transportation, contact us today, or download our white paper, Making the Connection in Transportation.

 

Mission Critical Communications for Transportation

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City residents expect their transit systems to run on schedule. To make that happen, regional transportation officials need to be able to dynamically redirect capacity where needed during rush hour, special events and unforeseen incidents. Transit agencies are also expected to immediately activate emergency response procedures following a disaster. All this requires a communication network that is fail-safe, interoperable and highly secure. Most would agree that today’s networks are not completely adequate, and that further improvement is required to achieve more effective communications.

In this post, we will cover IoT solutions available for the broad-spectrum needs of the transit sector, including railroad companies, city transit systems and emergency responders. We will review specific connectivity solutions that support the requirements of these organizations, from secure IoT devices to cloud-based management platforms and professional services to help guide IoT implementations.

PTC Automatically Controls Trains to Prevent Collisions, Derailments or Switching Errors

Some, but not all, railroads have met the Positive Train Control (PTC) deployment deadlines, which continue to be extended. The challenges most often cited include system complexity, capital investment and spectrum allocation. The communications network adds to the complexity, due to the need to integrate a fiber backbone with cellular and 220 MHz, and to deal with 220 MHz interoperability issues. The communications network is considered a safety-critical PTC system component, so if it is in a failed state the train can proceed at reduced speed only if other signaling systems are operating.

To help expedite PTC compliance, Digi offers a complete communications connectivity solution that includes the Digi WR44 RR router, purpose-built for the rail industry and designed to be mounted on board locomotives and rail cars. It meets all rail-certification requirements for AREMA C and H, EN50155 and AAR S-5702. Communications interfaces include hardened connectors, specifically M12 for Ethernet and serial, as well as TNC connectors for antennas. Digi routers offer drop-in deployment with simple, secure remote control.

PTC message routing and wireless communications use a Mobile Communications Package (MCP) featuring an integrated assembly that houses the Digi WR44 RR, 220 MHz TDMA radio, power supply and RF filters. Functioning as the integral communications hub in locomotives and rail cars, Digi WR44 RR relays data messages to and from waysides via 220 MHz radio, and enables system maintenance, configuration and network management over a cellular link.

Another key component to help maintain both device and network health is supplied by Digi Remote Manager®. It gives you a single, secure platform to access data and manage IoT devices from anywhere. Digi Remote Manager also enables effective and efficient control to keep PTC deployments on track – edit configurations, update firmware, and monitor, schedule and automate tasks – all from a central location.

Today, transit agencies can leverage both existing LTE, LTE-Advanced and evolving 5G international standards for mission critical applications and services over commercial cellular networks. The services can be built on protocols and mechanisms that guarantee priority and preemption for voice, video and data, to meet the needs of the new First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and enable better device interoperability across different agencies.

Protecting Citizens and Critical Infrastructure

With this new and evolving technology, first responder vehicles, traffic and transit systems will be able to utilize specialized on-board cellular mobile access routers as network gateways that securely bridge local subnets to agency systems. Agencies seeking to deploy these routers will need to understand how to evaluate them for reliability, ruggedness and security along with ensuring forward compatibility as new public safety applications emerge. Note that Digi Professional Services can provide assistance with implementation, installation and other needs.

Mission critical services are being deployed in stages. Fortunately, the structural network technology used for priority voice, video and data is currently in place. Bandwidth on shared or reserved spectrum can be allocated for priority access using dedicated bearers with associated quality-of-service levels. Transit agencies that deploy equipment compatible with these structural capabilities can take advantage of the priority data services available today, and then efficiently layer future services such as group video calls with simple firmware upgrades.

Due to advances in network equipment and services, most buses have an on-board cellular router that functions as a communications gateway for the various systems. A bus has become a mobile data center of sorts. Central dispatchers can coordinate the bus fleet through transmission of location and voice communications. Voice communications are increasingly implemented using IP technologies, Voice over IP (VoIP) or Voice over LTE (VoLTE). As a result, these systems are mission critical and need to run over a fail-safe communications network. In this recent whitepaper, Making the Connection in Transportationread how transit operators can consolidate cellular connectivity for smart, safe, and more efficient operations.

As always, passenger safety and security are the chief concerns of all transit agencies. There are few on-board systems more important in this area than the mobile access router – the method of communication that links the entire chain of command. The recent standards developments are just now enabling deployment of mobile access routers having forward compatibility with the many new services envisioned for mission critical applications. Reliable communications for all on-board systems ensures a safe environment is maintained and that authorities are promptly notified of any incidents.

The new Digi WR64 transit router is designed for mission critical communications, with support for priority, pre-emption and failover to backup networks. This is critical for coordinated dispatch and reliable location tracking following an incident when cellular networks may be overloaded, in order to expedite the arrival of emergency response teams. Additionally, multiple transit applications can be combined on a single communication platform. GPS, vehicle tracking, on-board payment systems, ticket kiosks and more can be managed with one router. By consolidating vehicle connectivity, agencies can improve operational efficiency and effectiveness while helping extend the life of transit assets.

Related white paper: Making the Connection in Transportation: How Transit Operators Can Consolidate Cellular Connectivity for Smarter, Safer, and More Efficient Operations.

 

The New Standard for Dual Redundant Communications

Digi WR64 Cellular Router

Passengers today demand a faultless on-board Internet experience. And with so many transportation options available, transit organizations must provide seamless Wi-Fi to retain and grow their ridership. Meanwhile, agencies must also be able to integrate vehicle data from engines, logistics programs, fare collection, security cameras, even digital signage – all while maintaining the highest level of security and reliability with a suite of cybersecurity features: Digi TrustFence®, a data privacy and device security framework, IPsec VPNs and dual concurrent cellular links.

Digi WR64 meets these complex simultaneous needs with dual CAT 11 cellular modules and dual high-speed Wi-Fi radios so that transit agencies can securely segment private data from public data, and deliver an Internet experience that keeps riders coming back. Internet access for riders is managed separately without impacting on-board communications systems.



The Future of Transit Connectivity


Digi designs and manufactures industrial-grade communications equipment used in transportation and transit systems around the world. The newest member of the family is Digi WR64, a mobile access router with the latest cellular, WLAN and GPS technology. This high-performance router is designed to meet the complex requirements of the transit industry and other demanding applications that must meet strict operating standards, without disruption. While the new Digi WR54 is a compact general purpose router for transportation and public safety applications.

Digi cellular routers, servers, adapters and gateways support critical and emerging needs in rail, bus, traffic, emergency response, energy and smart cities. They enable connectivity to standards-based and proprietary equipment, assets, IoT devises and sensors – to ensure reliable communications over virtually every form of wireless or wired system. An integrated remote management platform helps speed deployments using highly efficient network operation for mission critical functions such as mass configuration and firmware updates, including system-wide monitoring with dashboards, alarms and performance metrics.

The future of transit belongs to agencies, operators and authorities that can leverage smart, secure and cost-efficient connectivity to improve the rider experience, lower costs and improve safety and performance. With cellular routers like Digi WR64 and Digi WR54, organizations can consolidate remote connectivity and simplify their infrastructures.

Steve Mazur, Digi Business Development Director, will be hosting a round table at Smart Transit in Philadelphia, October 23-25. Visit our Events page for more information.

IoT Development with Wireless Communications: Getting Started

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Embarking on an IoT development project presents many questions that need to be answered — whether you have extensive experience in machine-to-machine communications or you are just starting out. This enormously fast growing field offers a growing selection of supporting components and connectivity methods, and for developers it can feel like the landscape changes daily. In this post we’ll lay some groundwork to help make sense of it all, and talk about the key things to consider as you are preparing to launch an IoT development project.

While we may not be able to completely mitigate the overwhelm factor, we can certainly help to highlight the important considerations that drive decision making and provide resources for getting answers.

Wireless Technology in IoT Product Design

At the heart of the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial IoT (IIoT) is wireless technology, made possible via RF or radio frequency. This technology enables devices to communicate with another without being physically connected. With its roots in the early 20th century, RF technology is not new. But it has grown to include cellular devices and other advances, keeping in stride with an enormous demand for new consumer and industrial applications.

Technological enhancements that support this incredible growth include the speed and bandwidth of the underlying networks, extended battery life of IoT devices, broader capabilities of wireless communication protocols, and more secure management of devices and networks. These advancements have allowed a significant number of industries to replace expensive, and often unreliable, wired communication with wireless communication.

Wireless communication in smart city applicationsMillions of miniature wireless devices — sensors and radio modules — now gather and send data in a vast array of environments from smart cities to manufacturing facilities and other industrial settings, and deliver that data faster than you can blink.

To manage it all, cloud applications such as Digi Remote Manager® allow network administrators to monitor the health and security of their devices from a central console, update the firmware of many devices with one command, automate security monitoring, and get notified quickly in the event of a problem anywhere those devices are deployed, worldwide.

That said, how do you get started designing and developing a successful IoT or IIoT product? While there’s far too much to cover in a single blog post, we can talk about some of the key things you will need to know if you are going to develop a product incorporating wireless technology.

Oh, and we have exciting news: Digi has an upcoming guide to all the concepts and important considerations in wireless communications for IoT product design. Sign up now to get notified of its release.



Key Considerations for Wireless Design in IoT

Launching a wireless design project can be daunting. You need on-staff expertise, supporting professional services, or both, to define your requirements, design and develop your IoT product, and ensure that it will pass testing and certification to meet your time-to-market promise. You will need to carefully assess the costs involved in building your product against your go-to-market pricing and ROI goals. And you will need to ensure that you have a strategy for secure device operation.

The considerations vary by the type of application, and there is no one-size-fits-all process. For example, an industrial tank sensor and a wearable device that reports heart metrics are both IoT applications, but with very different requirements. However, in most cases, the key considerations can be summarized as follows, regardless of the product parameters and its intended use.

Product Requirements

Be sure to take time to assess all of your product requirements. It is far too common for teams to launch the design process without taking the critical first step of accurately identifying the market needs, which can be a costly mistake. Some of the considerations in this phase include:

  1. Market and use case: What is the intended use for the finished product? How much data does it need to process, and how fast? Are you solving a real business problem with the product? Time to market is also a key consideration, as market opportunities can be short lived before other competitors fill the space.
  2. Target price: How will you price your product against any competing products? You want to ensure that you can build sell your product within that market’s price expectations.
  3. Physical placement: How and where will the product be used? For example, will your IoT product be placed in a stable location, such as a medical facility, warehouse or industrial tank? Or will it be on a moving vehicle such as a bus, or perhaps worn by a cyclist or runner?
  4. Geographic location: Where in the world do you want to sell the product? This will affect several design decisions, your entire go-to-market strategy, and the types of certifications required.

Wireless Connectivity and Range

There are several questions to answer in the process of determining your IoT product connectivity requirements:

  1. How will the product connect and transmit data? Will the product have access to a reliable wireless connection, and will it need to communicate over Wi-Fi or cellular for best performance? This decision has several ramifications. For example, a Wi-Fi network will need a gateway for data routing, and local technical support personnel, while a cellular network is maintained by the carrier and requires less maintenance, but it will require a data plan. Note that you can also enable both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.
  2. Will the deployment location have structures or objects that can obstruct the signal, or will it be deployed in a remote area?  For example, are you developing an industrial IoT product to be deployed deep in a mine or on a remote oil derrick? If so, you will need a strategy for managing connectivity issues.
  3. What type of antenna will you need to support your connectivity requirements? Antenna requirements are based on several factors including the wireless range needed, size of the device, its location and placement, the radio hardware and wireless communication protocol, and whether the device is indoors or outdoors.

Battery Life

Determining whether your IoT product will be wireline powered or battery powered is a significant decision and involves several considerations. The type and location of the device will help to determine whether it should be rechargeable, or whether it is more important to design for proactive battery management to support long battery life. For example, you would expect to regularly recharge most cellular devices, such as wearables, but a device that monitors a remote industrial tank would require a battery that needs to be changed out infrequently. Another key consideration in IoT development is that some wireless protocols are better suited to battery-powered devices than others.

Certifications and Time-to-market

Wireless products have certification requirements based on the region(s) in the world in which they are deployed. For example, in the U.S., wireless products must pass FCC and cellular certifications. Other regions have different requirements, and you will need to meet them all if you want to market your product worldwide, or in multiple regions. This process can be arduous if you have not planned and designed your product with knowledge of the various certification requirements in mind. On the other hand, planning for certification, and even starting with pre-certified communication modules, can dramatically reduce the time, cost and pain involved in moving through the certification process.

Building your product using a pre-certified module and designing your product for rapid certification can also help speed your time-to-market. IoT product developers often struggle with the question of whether to build their product from the ground up or start with pre-built components. If you have plenty of time and your application’s end-user cost is more important than time-to-market, you may want to build. If you need to get to market quickly to release a competitive or in-demand product, building your IoT application based on pre-certified modules will likely give you more advantage.

Launching Your Product Design

Once you have determined your IoT product requirements in detail, and ensured that you have a feasible product that meets a market requirement, you are finally ready to embark upon your product design. The electrical design of a wireless product includes the layout of your PCB, considerations around isolation of your RF signal, impedance matching, types and locations of ports and connectors, and power supply. To make these determinations, you will need to have an experienced RF engineer and mechanical engineer on staff, or have the ability to consult with a professional RF design services team to create the board layout and ensure component decisions match the product requirements.

As a best practice, consider performing a feasibility study to ensure your design plan is going to work, and start by prototyping the product to learn about any obstacles you may encounter in your final design. Resolving these issues in the prototyping phase of your project can save an enormous amount of time and cost, and ensure that you get to market on schedule.

Design and Build Resources

Digi offers a wide range of solutions for every aspect of your wireless product design process, from a complete suite of product components, to professional design services that can support your design, feasibility, certification, testing, security and deployment requirements, to documentation and Knowledge Base articles. To learn more about Digi’s end-to-end solutions for IoT development, contact Digi today.

>>Be sure to sign up to get notified of the release of our upcoming guide, Wireless Communication Basics: A conceptual guide to RF technology for IoT.

Get a Sense of IoT Sensing Technologies

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Sensor engineers and engineering professionals are gathering this week to learn about sensor technologies and find solutions for tomorrow’s toughest monitoring challenges at Sensors Expo 2018. Our Digi team is joining leading experts from the industry to cover the most comprehensive sensor-focused topics and conversations with over 6,400 professionals from more than 40 countries. Our sensor experts will cover the following topics:

How Enterprises Buy IoT

Wednesday, June 27 10:30am – 11:00am

Due to the rapid growth and agility of the IoT (Internet of Things), there are many different factors that impact its value that businesses need to understand for successful product and solution development. VP of Business Development at Digi International, Curt Ahart, will join Robbie Paul, Director of IoT Business Development Digi Key, and moderator Steve Brumer of 151 Advisors, on the IoT Ecosystem Theater stage at Sensors18 to cover the following questions and to discuss how enterprises develop successful wireless sensor solutions.

● What are the most common obstacles facing IoT product development?
● Does engineering expertise directly translate into a successful IoT solution?
● What are some different approaches to ingrate wireless sensor IoT solutions?
● How long does it take to design, develop and implement a sensor IoT solution?
● What contributes to an IoT project’s success or failure?

How IoT is Improving Cold Chain Management

Thursday, June 28 1:30pm – 2:20pm

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the ability to comply with manufacturers and customer requirements and certifications by using automated, cloud-based wireless technology to monitor, regulate and report real-time temperature data that ensures consistency, compliance and quality control throughout cold chain systems. Chief Technology Officer Transportation and Logistics at SmartSense by Digi, Colin Warkentin, will cover past and current challenges that manufacturers are facing, share wireless and IoT technology solutions, and provide real-world examples and applications from industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare and transportation.

>>Check out these customer success stories for more insight on wireless sensor solutions.

Digi’s Global IoT Conference – Connecting Smart Community

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As a leader in IoT, Minnesota has been well-known both historically and culturally, for fostering innovation and creativity, its role in pioneering device technology, and its rapidly evolving networked IoT community. This year alone Minnesota IoT community has hosted the largest statewide innovation competition in the country for tech entrepreneurs, the MN Cup, the largest non-profit IoT conference in the Midwest, the IoTFuse Conference and next week the Digi Global IoT Conference. Hundreds of business executives, engineering leaders, IoT practitioners, and solution developers will be in Minnetonka, Minnesota to demonstrate and discuss what the future holds for IoT technology and applications.

IoT Talks

During this single day event, there will be over 20 internet of things focused presentations that focus on different elements within the internet of things space. A few highlights include:

Digi IoT Zone

In addition to smart sessions, there will be numerous live demonstrations that showcase different IoT technology capabilities and applications has across several different industries. Below are a few customers, partners, and Digi demos to look forward to:

>>Read this Digi Global IoT conference article for more details.

Intelligent Edge Connectivity Highlights at Embedded World 2018

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Last week at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany we teamed up with Silicon Labs to showcase smart edge Internet of Things (IoT) technology with simplified integration of cellular IoT connectivity and dramatically reduced development challenges. Built as a heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) reference application, we demonstrated a complete connected system with a local liquid crystal display (LCD) based graphical user interface, temperature sensors, fan, and cloud connectivity for remote monitoring and control.

The Digi XBee3 cellular and Silicon Labs demo in the Digi Booth Hall 3 Booth #518 at Embedded World 2018.

At the heart of the demo is Silicon Labs’ new Giant Gecko Series 1 microcontroller (MCU) driving the local LCD and user buttons for temperature set point control, temperature sensing, and fan control. The system also demonstrates the innovative local distribution of edge intelligence by taking advantage of Micro Python based data transformation capabilities and smart Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) connectivity on the Digi XBee3 Cellular in combination with the Micrium embedded application running on the Silicon Labs MCU. Integrated AWS IoT cloud connectivity allows for remote access and control of the simulated HVAC system by offering mobile set point control and status monitoring.

HVAC systems are a critical component as part of new building automation concepts in smart city applications, residential structures, and industrial buildings, providing intelligent energy management and improved air quality. A connected HVAC system delivers a host of benefits for the end-customer as well as device manufacturers and service organizations:

The Silicon Labs demo in Hall 4A, Booth 128 at Embedded World 2018.Easy Remote Access and Control

Easy Remote Access and Control 

  • Easy and always available management by end-customers
  • Remote troubleshooting for service organizations

Enhanced user experience

  • Self-learning, intelligent comfort settings based on behavior patterns
  • Potential for future cloud services based integration such as conversational user interfaces

Improved operational management and cost

  • Remote firmware upgrade for security updates and new features
  • Centralized data analytics of operational history to optimize equipment performance and provide detailed usage insight
  • Intelligent optimization of cellular connectivity cost through Digi XBee3 smart modem integration

New Service Concepts

  • Improved reliability through preventive maintenance such as early failure detection of a fan or burner
  • Optimized replacement of consumables such as filters

The system is more than just a connected HVAC demo. It also shows how IoT concepts can deliver immediate value and benefit, while providing a platform with built-in potential for new features and capabilities in the future. It also demonstrates the opportunities that are opening up when edge intelligence and cloud intelligence come together and combine the traditional “big data” concept provided by the cloud with “intelligent data” from the edge. Ultimately, this will reduce the amount and improving the quality of “big data” generated by IoT edge devices while also optimizing the scale of local network traffic required to exchange data between the edge and the cloud, including optimizing the cost of the underlying cloud services. All of those are concepts are required to drive scalability and efficiency of virtually every IoT application combined with the massive scale of connected devices we are going to see.

>>Watch the new Digi XBee3 Cellular introduction video to learn more smart-sized cellular IoT connectivity.

5 Big Blockchain Concepts to Understand for IoT and Security Applications

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Despite the popular belief, blockchain is not the universal remedy for security applications but its future potential to improve IoT security and robustness should not be discredited. During a recent depth Q&A IoT technology expert, Scott Nelson, and a Blockchain security expert, discussed the world of cyber security. Below are five facts to understand about Blockchain security:

  1. Private blockchains are unlikely to offer economic advantage over existing key-based secure databases.
  2. Blockchain works in trustless applications, but with the security comes transparency that can limit utility.
  3. Blockchain works well for data streams that do not change, e.g. time-based temperature and shock experience of a thing, but developers must remember that the robustness of the distributed ledger comes at the expense of flexibility.
  4. Proof-of-stake is more likely to be the right approach to managing a ledger for IoT due to the cost and complexity of proof-of-work used in cryptocurrencies.
  5. Authentication and authorization are not part of blockchain and have to be added and curated to implement a blockchain-based application. The promise of automated transactions from blockchain will only be realized with the addition of authentication and authorization techniques.

These are just 5 key considerations when evaluating Blockchain. Clearly blockchain is not the security panacea that one may perceive from the hype, but it also has some strong attributes that will be valuable to some IoT applications.

>>For a full Q&A on this topic of Blockchain click here.

A Look Into IoT Activities at AWS re:Invent

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AWS IoT Roadmap

Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:invent 2017 is a leading industry event that should not be mistaken for your typical Internet of Things (IoT) event. Last week thousands of attendees came together in Las Vegas, Nevada to listen to a diverse selection of speakers from different IoT spaces across the globe, to attend unique networking opportunities, and to gain new insight into the IoT world. In a recent article, “CEO Andy Jassey reveals AWS’ plans for the IoT” Digi Chief Product Officer and VP of Product, Scott Nelson, explains the array of new services that will be introduced into the AWS ecosystem in the near future.

The keynote session was broken down into segments represented by iconic music artists such as Lauryn Hill, Eric Clapton, and Tom Petty. The AWS IoT strategy includes the following features:

  1. Getting into the game
  2. Device management
  3. Security
  4. Analytics
  5. Smaller devices
  6. Machine Learning

Speaking Session: Leaves to Lawn: AWS Greengrass at the Edge and Beyond

As an advance tier technology partner is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) we have recently achieved IoT Competency status and were honored to co-present on the third day re:invent 2017. Watch the full session below:

Digi Software Engineeing Supervisor, Alex Gonzalez Garcia co-presented with AWS Partner Solution Architect, Richard Elberger to discuss how AWS Greengrass fits into Original Equipment Manager (OEM), ODM, and IT service delivery models. They were particularly excited to elaborate on how this status will build upon Greengrass and these new AWS services to help customers build more intelligence at the edge.

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