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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.

Building for What’s Next: AWS re:Invent Andy Jassy Keynote Recap

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It’s Day 3 at AWS re:Invent and this morning’s keynote from AWS CEO Andy Jassy has us fired up! Joining Andy on stage were an impressive array of AWS customers:

Expedia, Goldman Sachs, and the NFL, all of whom made a compelling case for building on AWS. With one example after another, what got us most excited was the number of customers adopting AWS services and accelerating the pace of change. With what seemed like dozens of new AWS services, Andy made a convincing case that the time to start building is now.

Andy revealed an array of new services on AWS covering everything from containers to streaming video.  But the wrap up of his keynote focused on the newest frontier for the AWS cloud – the Internet of Things (IoT).  Andy noted that getting data from the edge to the cloud is still a challenge for most “builders” working in the IoT.  The AWS IoT team has thus focused on making connecting the edge and extending their intelligence to the edge an area of focus.  For example, Andy introduced Amazon SageMaker for machine learning, and three new natural language services called Transcribe, Translate and Comprehend. One of the most interesting to us at Digi is AWS Greengrass ML Inference which is a new service that leverages SageMaker to make predictions at the edge of the network reducing latency. These new technologies will allow Digi to tighten our technology partnership with AWS by embedding additional services into our line of edge devices and thereby enabling customers in any application to capture the value leveraging both the edge and the cloud.

As an AWS IOT Competency partner, Digi is excited to build upon Greengrass and these new AWS services to help our customers build more intelligence at the edge.

>>Click here to learn more about  Digi and AWS.

Digi is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner – IoT Competency

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Digi is proud to be an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with IoT Competency certification. Thanks to the integration of AWS IoT and AWS Greengrass, Digi is making it easier to build, connect, and manage products. Digi and AWS Greengrass combine secure edge intelligence, smart IoT endpoint connectivity, and intelligent cellular networking to provide the following features:

  • Filter and process data locally – this means sending less data to the cloud, and saving more money.
  • Avoid latency by staying local – this will remove the issue of internet accessibility and bandwidth.
  • Improve security and compliance – keep local copies of data or even run entire systems without sending anything to the cloud if desired.

Being an AWS advanced technology partner provides users the ability to accelerate from idea to prototype to deployment using local instructions of AWS lambda, Digi Remote Manager® and Digi TrustFence™ security framework to bring enhanced security and manageability to devices running AWS Greengrass. This powerful combination embodies a series of critical features that enable top-to-bottom security assurance; features like secure connections, authenticated boot, secure physical ports, and more.

In addition to joining the AWS Partner Network, Digi is excited to be a sponsor of AWS re:Invent 2017, Nov. 27 – Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. The Digi team will be at booth 209 in the Quad at the Aria to discuss how we can help you build smart IoT devices using AWS Greengrass and AWS IoT with secure and pre-certified connected system-on-modules, single board computers and wireless modules that enable fast and simple design integration in industrial applications. Stay tuned for event updates, information on how to win a Digi ConnectCore® 6UL Starter Kit, and details about the our joint speaking session with AWS, Leaves to Lawns: AWS Greengrass at the Edge and Beyond, at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the MGM Grand, Level 1, Ballroom 119.

>>Learn more about Digi support for  AWS Greengrass.


Yocto Project for Embedded Systems Design

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Choosing an operating system (OS) for an embedded system is one of the most complex and critical tasks. It has significant long-term ramifications that affect both development and the market success of a product. There are several factors that make choosing a Linux-based OS a smart choice such as:

  • acquisition cost
  • source code availability
  • broad architecture support

These factors lead to a significantly improved time-to-market and a reduction in platform design risk and effort. However, choosing a specific Linux-based OS can be confusing.

Many ask: “With so many Linux-based platforms available in the market, why use the Yocto Project instead of a standard non-embedded binary distribution such as Debian or Ubuntu?”

Alex González, Digi software engineering supervisor, is a leading authority on Embedded Linux platforms and the author of Embedded Linux Projects Using Yocto Project Linux. In Digi’s latest technical brief, Yocto Project: The Right Choice for Embedded Systems Design, Alex provides an overview and answer to that fundamental question.

The Yocto Project is often described as an umbrella project, that is, a group of different open source projects hosted by the Linux Foundation that come together to collaborate on tools, best practices and software to help create custom Linux-based embedded operating system platforms.

Download the full technical brief here >>

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