Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ExtremeConnect IoT platform for global M2M solutions

Over the last few months, the increasing number of Internet of Things platforms is a sure sign that the IoT is here to stay, and the latest to enter the market is the ExtremeConnect IoT platform.

This is a robust, secure and cost-effective solution for worldwide machine-to-machine and Internet-of-Things data connectivity. The ExtremeConnect suite enables you to centrally manage and provision your entire network of global M2M/IoT deployments and customers from one convenient point, using ExtremeConnect cloud-based control centre.

This platform provides you with everything you need to easily and quickly deploy, manage, and monetise IoT & M2M services with seamless international mobile connectivity.

With ExtremeConnect, managing and monitoring your wireless connectivity has never been easier. It provides complete visibility, control, and management of all your devices - making it easy to provision, manage and monitor your networks of connected M2M or IoT devices.

Real-time visibility of device activity and usage, the ability to monitor and control inventory, and a plethora of other actionable features make ExtremeConnect an indispensable tool for IoT connectivity businesses wanting total control of their devices.

ExtremeConnect is designed to be particularly synergistic with cellular mobile connectivity, and ready for global deployments around the world. Service agreements between ExtremeConnect and Tier 1 mobile network operators around the world complete the ExtremeConnect IoT network and platform - ensuring that your M2M and IoT applications are always online, always connected, with seamless integration and functionality under one roof - with one provided to deal with.

Users can easily manage your data plans online, track, manage and activate SIMs, provision new devices, and keep close control across the entire SIM and device life cycle.

Instead of setting up relationships and accounts with multiple mobile operators across the world, ExtremeConnect provides you with a one-stop shop for management of your global, seamless IoT connectivity.

With ExtremeConnect, managing and monitoring your mobile IoT devices is easy, and the system is highly scalable so a huge number of devices can be supported. You can centrally manage and control your entire fleet of M2M/IoT devices or customer deployments from a single, secure web-based portal on any PC, mobile device or tablet.

This dashboard provides a comprehensive, graphical overview of all the IoT assets that you're managing - potentially worldwide. Despite being highly data-rich, this dashboard is highly intuitive and easy to use, and enables you to quickly access the most important information that you need.

From SIM management and device management to alerts, reporting, support and billing, the ExtremeConnect platform offers the ability to intelligently control the elements that affect your bottom line, adding business value to your mobile IoT deployments and services, improving customer experiences as well as making your job easier.

Furthermore, the system ensures a seamless transition from local to regional to global connectivity - all from a single platform, all without the user having to change accounts, reconfigure devices or anything else.

End user customers can manage all their IoT devices dispersed around the world, with multiple different mobile carriers, from a single platform. As well as providing management and provisioning from a central cloud-based platform, the platform also offers the ability to connect customer devices with the right mobile carriers that provide the best available network coverage and pricing in a given region.

An entire fleet of M2M devices can be monitored and managed from a single point, connectivity failures can easily be diagnosed - and you can seamlessly manage bulk operations, such as the rapid loading of devices and one-click activation, or open and track issue tickets for customer enquiries, complaints or requests, all from the single control dashboard within ExtremeConnect. Historical information such as connectivity and status for each hardware device is also logged and searchable.

Key functionalities of ExtremeConnect include directly setting up your data plans online at one place, and tracking, activating and setting up the SIMs you need. ExtremeConnect gives you control over the entire SIM and device lifecycle - and you can define different attributes of your different devices, assign different technologies or billing plans as appropriate, and effortlessly support and manage multi-level accounts.

You can quickly and easily change the bandwidth allocation or billing structure assigned to a particular device, and provide customers with convenient data through alarms and notifications covering a range of parameters including bandwidth usage notifications, device connectivity failure, roaming charges, or suspicious fraud activity.

Whether your IoT and M2M devices need 3G, 4G or LTE connectivity, comprehensive connectivity solutions and worldwide relationships with established mobile operators are available, which ensures that your mission-critical Internet-of-Things applications are supported with seamless access to network infrastructure, an intuitive and scalable single-point management platform and reliable worldwide connectivity, today and into the future as cellular standards evolve.

Once again we have summarised an interesting and possibly useful new Internet of Things platform which could be the solution to your connected product or service needs. However, we can take the time to thoroughly work with you to ensure the right platform will be used.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Friday, September 9, 2016

Wearable Internet of Things products made easy with NXP WaRP7

The WaRP7 development board is the latest evolution of the “WearAble Reference Platform” (WaRP) development system from NXP Semiconductors - a next-generation, powerful but tiny development platform specifically aimed at the needs of advanced Internet-of-Things products and wearable computing applications.

It provides a complete, powerful ARM Cortex-A7 based embedded computer solution in a tiny form factor, with wireless connectivity, battery power, many different sensors, open-source operating systems and enough flexibility to offer all the advantages of other development tools, and it's aimed at a range of different IoT applications and markets such as smart home and automation devices, personal devices for fitness and health monitoring and other wearable computing needs.

The WaRP7 platform includes extensive on-board connectivity and peripheral features including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, battery charging and power management on board, 8GB of onboard eMMC memory, and support for a huge range of sensors and add-on peripherals.

This system uses the MikroBus expansion socket system introduced by MikroElektronika for their microcontroller prototyping tools, allowing over 200 existing "Click" expansion modules and daughterboards to be added to the WaRP7 for easy development, hacking and rapid prototyping with a huge suite of different sensors and components.

It provides a rapid prototyping platform with pre-validated USB, NFC, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with open-source reference OS builds and example software, providing a strong foundation that reduces the time-to-market for your IoT product development and allows product developers to focus their resources on creating their applications and the valuable, differentiating features of their product.

The motherboard is based on NXP's i.MX 7Solo application processor, the latest in NXP's (formerly Freescale) widely used, well-proven, Linux-ready i.MX family of processors. This i.MX7Solo system-on-chip features an ARM Cortex-A7 core as well as a Cortex-M4 core on the same chip - with the ability to easily handle both real-time microcontroller and GPIO functions along with higher-level operating systems that provide rich user experiences.

This heterogeneous multi-core architecture provides power management advantages too, allowing the system to drive a higher level operating system but also put the main processor to sleep sometimes, where it can be woken up in low-power modes by the Cortex-M4 processor.

Furthermore, the platform enables the strong energy efficiency that is critical for today's portable and wearable IoT designs, but also strong computing power and convenient "wake-up" capability from a low-power state when it's needed.

The platform offers a variety of connectivity and RF communications options, including NFC, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth 4.1 regular or Bluetooth Low Energy. Storage is covered with 8 GB eMMC for nonvolatile storage and 512 MB LPDDR3 RAM are also provided - along with built-in battery charging and power management, a MPL3115A2 barometric pressure sensor, FXAS21002C 3-axis MEMS gyroscope, and the FXOS8700CQ 3-axis accelerometer plus magnetometer.

A MIPI-DSI display port, built-in MIPI camera on the module and an audio interface are also provided, offering rich multimedia capability, and all these powerful sensors and peripherals are integrated into a tiny main board that measures only 2cm x 4cm.

This platform has been built from the ground up to address key challenges in IoT and wearable-devices engineering, including size, radio connectivity and battery life, and it is provided with a complete open-source hardware and software platform. 

This includes hardware design files, operating system source code, bill of materials and all other open documentation – all of which allows developers to use this as a foundation for their product innovation without having to licence expensive proprietary IP.

Fully-featured Android and Linux operating system builds are provided, easing development effort for software developers, while also supporting extensive UI capabilities, powerful application software and connectivity stacks. All the source code is provided of course, so you do have the option of modifying the build of the open-source operating system yourself, if you need to customise it.

The WaRP7 development platform could be a powerful new player in the busy development board space, especially in wireless connectivity and wearable IoT applications where more computing power and an operating system such as Linux is required. 

Its combination of tiny size, strong performance, focus on power efficiency and integration with a powerful suite of onboard peripherals - along with Linux or Android support, make it uniquely placed to offer value in a lot of different IoT and wearable application areas.

With the array of features, the WaRP7 could be the platform for your next Internet of Things product – and we’re ready to help turn your WaRP7 ideas into reality.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Power Efficient LTE Wireless from Qualcomm for the Internet of Things

Qualcomm has recently announced the introduction of its new MDM9207-1 chipset, an LTE modem solution that is designed to support reliable, global cellular connectivity on modern LTE networks for a growing array of connected products and systems.

Their MDM9207-1 is purpose-built for Internet-of-Things applications, targeting growing IoT application areas such as smart metering, security, asset tracking, wearables and industrial automation.

Many of these applications require constantly available, reliable and power-efficient connections to Internet and cloud services that are mobile and ubiquitous, and LTE connectivity delivers this.

With category 1 LTE connectivity, the MDM9207-1 offers multi-mode and multi-band support for global compatibility and interoperability with legacy networks in countries where LTE deployment has been slower, as well as an on-board application processor and many other valuable features.

It offers device makers, system integrators and developers a mature modem platform that features industry-leading 3G/4G LTE multimode and multiband support, and it's designed to support connections on all major cellular networks worldwide.

Furthermore, LTE extends the communications range that devices are capable of, well beyond the limited range of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an effectively unlimited range - and this new chipset does this without the high power consumption of some older cellular modems.

Final device size is not forgotten, as the MDM9207-1 has advanced power saving features for devices that are persistently connected, as well as for those that require less frequent wake-up and communication with the network.

It features a powerful application processor capable of running applications under Linux, GPS positioning and location services, and advanced security and authentication features, all in a highly integrated package that reduces component count, bill-of-materials cost, design complexity, size and integration time.

The platform includes support for LTE Category 1, with up to 10 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink speeds, with LTE multimode or single-mode capability and dual or single receive, and all modern cellular standards are implemented, including LTE FDD, LTE TDD, DC-HSPA, GSM and TD-SCDMA.

There is also support for voice communication to be integrated, via VoLTE (Voice over LTE) or CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall Back). Qualcomm is designing its IoT cellular products to support many LTE standards across worldwide markets, which is a challenge, since countries such as China typically use different LTE standards than the ones used in the U.S. and Europe, for example.

The MDM9207-1 chipset features a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex M7 application processor built in - capable of running Linux to host user applications, providing powerful application capabilities without any need to add extra hardware or BOM cost.

The platform also features a power-save mode that can enable up to 10 years of battery life from a pair of AA batteries (in certain embedded sensor applications), advanced hardware and software security features built-in, and integrated GPS/Glonass support. Pre-integrated support for easily adding both Bluetooth Low Energy 4.1 and Qualcomm's VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also provided.

This solution is designed to be flexible, scalable, cost-optimized and energy efficient - purpose-built to meet the needs of IoT applications. It features scalable, reusable software across different chipset platforms, reducing design complexity, cost and time to market for your IoT solution.

Device makers and developers can reduce their time-to-market for IoT products, as well as reducing development costs, by utilizing a single software code base across all implementations of this flexible chipset family. The same core modem technology is already deployed in millions of Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets around the world, so unifying around a single, consistent code base has a lot of value.

The MDM9207-1 is designed to minimize the need for additional discrete processors or microcontrollers, cellular radio or GPS chips, replacing all these separate components with one feature-packed integrated chipset. This reduces the bill-of-materials cost, makes manufacturing easier - and makes finished devices smaller.

In time, it's likely that we'll see complete cellular sensor network solutions where a suite of sensors are integrated alongside the single-chip MDM9207-1 providing cellular connectivity and an application processor - possibly even, in time, the integration of the entire sensor node onto a single chip.

Many cellular network operators around the world are already in the process of phasing out their 2G networks to make room for LTE, but LTE is here for the "long run", and embedded devices built with LTE cellular connectivity are likely to remain working, with a network provider, many years down the track.

While LTE networks are already relatively mature in North America, parts of Asia, and Europe, the multimode capability of the MDM9207-1 platform is designed to allow customers to seamlessly and cost-effectively connect their devices to both LTE as well as legacy networks. This is particularly important in Australia, and in many other countries, where LTE network support may not be as widespread or mature, but future-proof LTE products and infrastructure can be rolled out now and used right now on 3G/4G networks.

As you can imagine, this chipset offers a neat platform for your Internet of Things product . However, the choice of hardware and software for your next Internet of Things product can be a challenge for the inexperienced or time-challenged. Instead of letting your ideas fail due lack of knowledge or slow development cycles – we can take your idea from thoughts to a final product.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Monday, August 15, 2016

Open Connectivity Foundation – spearheading standards for the Internet of Things

Billions of connected devices in the growing Internet-of-Things market, such as embedded devices and sensors, computers and mobile devices should be able to communicate with each other and interoperate via open standards - regardless of their manufacturer, operating system, chipset or networking protocols.

The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is an industry collaboration which aims to spearhead an IoT open standards effort to work towards these goals - creating standards and open-source tools to help an interoperable Internet-of-Things realise its full potential.

Founding members including Microsoft, Cisco, Electrolux, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, General Electric and others – who have come together to create the OCF, the world's largest IoT open-standards organisation, which is committed to furthering industry standards for the Internet of Things.

The OCF aims to unlock vast new opportunities from interoperability in the IoT market, to accelerate innovation and to help companies and developers create IoT products and solutions that can interconnect via interoperable and open specifications, which benefits IoT consumers, commercial users and industry.

This foundation builds upon the former Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), bringing together industry representatives from all parts of the IoT and consumer electronics industry - silicon, wireless platforms, software and consumer products - who are all dedicated to solving this key problem of interoperable standards for the IoT.

Furthermore, the OCF is defining the specifications, certification processes and branding that they will use to deliver reliable, well-documented interoperability for IoT connectivity, which is easy for product engineers as well as public consumers to understand.

These companies that have led the formation of the foundation believe in the potential that open standards can deliver for a more interoperable IoT ecosystem, as opposed to closed silos of products from individual vendors, each using their own closed standards.

The OCF will create a set of open specifications and protocols to enable devices from a variety of manufacturers to securely and seamlessly interact with one another. Regardless of the manufacturer, operating system, chipset or network - devices that adhere to the OCF specifications will simply work together.

As the open specifications defined by the foundation are designed to be easy to understand, standard logos and branding will be used in order to help consumers choose interoperable products, as well as focusing on careful standards development, documentation and open-source reference implementations that allow developers to easily implement OCF-compliant solutions.

Enterprise and industrial users, as well as consumers, stand to benefit from the open standards created by the OCF - essentially any IoT users who want their smart devices to easily interconnect and communicate.

Developers of IoT platforms, operating systems and applications stand to benefit - anyone who wants their IoT solutions to interoperate seamlessly across many brands and ecosystems, creating synergies across the IoT market and increasing the value and capability of their products.

End-users of IoT solutions also stand to benefit from interoperability, consistent security and consistent user experiences across different software, IoT appliances and other consumer-facing products.

The OCF wants to connect the next 25 billion Internet-of-Things devices with open standards, and to provide secure and reliable device discovery and connectivity across multiple OSs and platforms. Furthermore, their aims to achieve industry consolidation around a common, interoperable approach, and to build a large, experienced industry consortium of companies will hopefully create momentum for their standards-building across all kinds of IoT products and markets.

These working groups include the core technology working group, which works on the core technology issues and specifications with input from all member companies - as well as the certification working group which specifies and maintains the policies, tools and infrastructure for OCF validation and certification.

The security working group defines appropriate security frameworks for each technology and solution that the OCF specifies, and aims to provide the other working groups with guidance on the security implications of the technology choices and specifications that they're developing. Other working groups address branding and documentation, open-source and more.

Interestingly, the OCF incorporates all the industry collaborators and activities that were formally sponsored by the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) Forum, and it sponsors the IoTivity project - which provides a working, open-source reference implementation of the Open Connectivity Foundation standards and specifications, under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

The IoTivity project is an open-source software framework that aims to enable interoperable connectivity for emerging Internet-of-Things needs, to show working, open-source examples and to release open-source reference implementations of the specifications developed by the Open Connectivity Foundation.

It is hoped that the open-source implementations that comes out of IoTivity will be designed to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across a range of common operating systems such as Windows, mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android, and embedded and IoT-relevant operating systems such as Linux and Tizen.

However, with all these industry players and possible standards, the choice of hardware and software for your next Internet of Things product could quite easily be bogged down by the paradox of choice. Instead of letting your ideas fail due to analysis paralysis – we can take your idea from thoughts to a final product.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Decrease your Internet of Things product footprints with the Texas Instruments CC2650

As the requirement for smaller hardware along with greater connectivity options in Internet-of-Things products grows, the necessity for a chipset that can handle not only main operations but also wireless communications increases. One of the market-leaders in this field – Texas Instruments – has met this challenge with their new CC2650 series of System-on-Chip wireless connectivity solutions.

The CC2650 from Texas Instruments is one of the newest additions to TI's SimpleLink family of wireless connectivity solutions - an ultra-low-power ARM Cortex microcontroller core combined with a strong suite of GPIOs and peripherals, together with multi-standard 2.4GHz wireless connectivity that supports several different radio protocols in a single device - Bluetooth Low Energy as well as 802.15.4/6LoWPAN and ZigBee RF4CE standards.

This combination of a powerful microcontroller system-on-chip combined with multiple different radio communication protocols makes the CC2650 perfectly suited to home and building automation, device gateways, smart appliances and other consumer electronics, smart energy management – and of course, other Internet-of-Things applications.

Therefore, the CC2650 makes it possible for the same hardware design to be taken to market and deployed in cases where either 802.15.4/6LoWPAN mesh networking or Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity is desired, with only a firmware change required.

The CC2650 is based around a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor running at 48 MHz as the main processor, combined with a separate, ultra-low-power sensor controller and a rich set of other peripherals and features.

And with a dedicated sensor controller core, the CC2650 is ideal for interfacing to external sensors and autonomously collecting analogue and digital sensor data while the main microcontroller core, the radio and the rest of the system is in sleep mode - helping to provide extremely low power consumption combined with powerful functionality.

Leveraging this multi-standard wireless networking support, customers can future-proof their designs and configure their chosen radio technology for each deployment by simply changing the software stack, at the time of installation in the field.

The on-board 2.4 GHz RF transceiver in the CC2560 is compatible with the Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2 specification, as well as implementing the PHY and MAC layers of the IEEE 802.15.4 specification for applications such as ZigBee or 6LoWPAN mesh networks.

Very low current consumption in both the RF and the microcontroller systems make the CC2650 an extremely energy efficient device for its capability, with excellent battery lifetime possible in small, portable applications. The CC2650 is also well suited to energy-harvesting power sources or operation from small coin-cell batteries.

The Bluetooth Low Energy controller and the 802.15.4/6LoWPAN MAC layer are embedded into ROM and are partly running on a separate ARM Cortex-M0 processor - an architecture that frees up flash memory for the application, not the radio stacks, as well as improving overall system performance and reducing power consumption.

The software stacks for wireless networking are available free of charge from TI, for either Bluetooth Low Energy or ZigBee/802.15.4 networking.

Furthermore, as well as ZigBee/6LoWPAN support - the Bluetooth radio stack is iBeacon-capable, allowing the CC2560 to function as an iBeacon device, connecting to a user's phone, launching mobile applications and customising the delivery of content such as location-aware tourism information, promotions or advertising based on sensor data and the physical location of the iBeacon device.

Along with this powerful and flexible wireless networking capability, the CC2650 incorporates 128KB of in-system programmable flash, support for JTAG debuggers, over-the-air wireless firmware updates, eight 16-bit timers, an eight-channel 12-bit ADC peripheral, built-in capacitive touch sensing, and all the familiar analogue and digital peripherals you'd expect from a modern 32-bit microcontroller system-on-chip.

TI provides a range of design kits and evaluation modules for the CC2650, and utilities such as the Code Composer Studio Cloud IDE and TI's Internet-of-Things cloud ecosystem, all of which make it easy for developers to get started with the CC2650, to build and evaluate their ideas, get started with their projects and to connect to the cloud.

The CC2650 SimpleLink SensorTag product from TI is a powerful platform to assist developers to evaluate and prototype their IoT sensor designs around the CC2650, combining this wireless, connected SoC with 10 different sensors in a compact but powerful wireless sensor package.

This SensorTag incorporates an infrared temperature sensor, 9-axis inertial measurement unit, microphone, ambient light sensor, humidity sensor, ambient temperature sensor, a pressure sensor and more - as well as the choice of Bluetooth Low Energy and ZigBee/6LoWPAN wireless connectivity, depending on which network stack is used.

Using the CC2650 SensorTag reference platform, along with the reference iOS or Android apps provided by TI for CC2650 Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect to the cloud with Bluetooth Low Energy and get your sensor data online in just a few minutes. Using TI's reference designs for hardware development makes hardware layout simpler, and makes it possible to get a working hardware design with minimal RF expertise.

As you can now understand, the CC2650 offers a compact, low-power and compatible solution to being the centre of your next Internet of Things device. However, choosing a chipset is only one step in the myriad of design decisions in the product development journey – and success is predicated on having the right partner.

Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success.

We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Friday, July 22, 2016

Intelligent Data Sharing for the Industrial Internet of Things with PrismTech Vortex

The "Industrial Internet-of-Things", or IIoT, is a subset of Internet-of-Things technologies that connect industrial machines, sensors and actuators to local data processing and to the Internet - as well as connecting their data and analytics to other industrial networks that can generate further value and business intelligence from that data.

These systems are often large-scale networks, with real-time operating systems, and business-critical reliability needs.

The IIoT represents a convergence between machines, embedded sensing technologies, advanced analytics and Internet connectivity. These technologies are enabling business to harness the ever-increasing amount of device-generated data, process that data in real-time and act on events as quickly as they occur to drive smarter decisions, enable new services, create new revenue streams and reduce costs.

Industrial IoT technologies can provide increases in efficiency for industrial plant equipment, more efficient long-term maintenance and management of equipment, for example.

There is also value generation in the data that is made available to adjoining IIoT networks, for example using that plant data to best balance short-term positive cash flow against additional maintenance or equipment costs in the longer term.

These kinds of IIoT use-cases provide predictable gains in business value, but the further value that could potentially be generated by disruptive new business models enabled by the IIoT is a wildcard - it could be limited in some cases, or it could be enormous.

PrismTech's Vortex Intelligent Data Sharing Platform is a middleware platform specifically aimed at Industrial IoT applications. Vortex aims to provide an ideal connectivity solution for the IIoT, delivering the data to the right place at the right time - all the time, and to simplify real-time information integration in industrial IoT control systems.

At the heart of the Vortex platform is OpenSplice - which enables data to be shared and integrated across a wide variety of different operating systems and platforms. OpenSplice is one of the most advanced, complete and popular implementations of the Object Management Group's Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, and provides a full implementation of both the latest OMG DDS 1.4 standard and the OMG-DDSI / RTPS v2.1 interoperable wire-protocol standards.

DDS was originally developed for aerospace and defence applications, and has been used successfully for many years in large-scale, real-time distributed systems. In recent years it has been used in other commercial application domains such as energy grid management, industrial automation, transport, healthcare and "smart city" networks, and continues to gain popularity as a powerful standard for real-time machine-to-machine data sharing and integration in complex IIoT systems.

As DDS is based on a data-centric publish-and-subscribe model, it enables large numbers of distributed applications to share information with each other asynchronously and in real time.

DDS also offers certain advantages over other common transport protocols, such as MQTT or CoAP, encountered in Internet-of-Things applications. It is easy to provision, highly scalable, very low latency and more compatible with the heavy, real-time message throughput found in modern industrial IoT systems.

Furthermore, DDS supports automatic discovery and brokerless operation, allowing DDS nodes to declare the information that they can provide or receive. DDS will automatically connect appropriate publishers to subscribers in a direct way, without a broker required in the middle.

This enables plug-and-play support for devices added to the network in the future, makes it possible for IIoT systems to expand and evolve more easily, and simplifies system configuration.

OpenSplice is aimed at use with server and desktop platforms as well as more specialised real-time operating systems and embedded environments, such as the VxWorks RTOS running on an industrial single-board computer. OpenSplice is available on most enterprise operating systems, including Linux, Windows, AIX and Solaris as well as the VxWorks, RTLinux, Integrity, PikeOS and ElinOS real-time operating systems.

It is good to note that OpenSplice aims to be highly dependable, ensuring availability, high reliability, safety and integrity that is robust against potential hardware or software failures - with a powerful suite of quality-of-service functions to ensure data integrity.

With this in mind, OpenSplice aims to deliver high performance and scalability, with very large volumes of data delivered with very low latency, from simple systems using a small number of sensors all the way up to an ultra-large-scale interconnected network of devices and servers – and also provides strong security for industrial data, maintaining the integrity and authenticity of data exchanged throughout the network.

The Vortex platform consists of three other product suites as well as OpenSplice - Vortex Device, which enables applications to securely share real-time data using a variety of platforms and network technologies; Vortex Cloud, which provides cloud computing and support for data sharing over a WAN, support for public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructures, and the ability to seamlessly share data over the Internet between applications running on different, isolated LANs; and Vortex Gateway.

Vortex Gateway is a high performance, extensible and configurable protocol gateway that bridges between communication protocols while adapting their format, content and quality-of-service requirements. This makes it possible to integrate legacy systems using different protocols into a DDS-based system such as OpenSplice - as well as using alternative transport-layer protocols in cases where they may make sense. It supports efficient bridging between DDS systems and over 100 different communication protocols, including device protocols such as MQTT and enterprise messaging protocols such as JMS and AMQP.

You can see that the Industrial Internet of Things hold promise for a wide spectrum of ideas – and if this is of interest – there is a method of product development that is rapid and successful. Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success.

We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bluetooth Version 5 - for the Internet of Things

The newest upcoming iteration of the Bluetooth specification - Bluetooth 5 - has recently been announced by the Bluetooth Special Industry Group - the industry consortium responsible for developing, standardising and promoting Bluetooth wireless technology.

Bluetooth 5 is expected to be released around the end of this year or the beginning of 2017 – and will offer significant increases in performance with up to four times the range, double the data rate and an eight-fold increase in broadcast messaging capacity.

This new evolution of the Bluetooth standard is all about doing more with less, offering rich new experiences which are compatible with customer expectations in today's Internet-of-Things market – including greater bandwidth, a longer range while also retaining the very low power consumption of Bluetooth 4.0.

The Bluetooth standard has not had a major version bump since the release of Bluetooth 4.0 in 2009, and the Internet-of-Things market has clearly come a long way in the last seven years. One of the main goals of Bluetooth 5 is to remain at the forefront of the fast-moving Internet-of-Things space, both in terms of interoperability and back-end RF network technology as well as the front-end use cases and experiences that consumers expect from modern IoT products and technologies.

The "Bluetooth 4.0" version nomenclature has also been dropped, with a focus on a more streamlined version branding that is easier for the average customer to understand as a major technology revision when they're shopping for new phones or devices.

While the exact range may vary depending on the hardware design and the power budget that is available, it may be possible to expect a range of up to 400 meters from a Bluetooth 5 connection.

Bluetooth 5 is designed with Internet-of-Things applications in mind, and the extended range that it offers will enable ubiquitous, reliable IoT connections across full-home and building and outside-the-building use cases where older Bluetooth devices are not practical, greatly opening up the potential applications for Bluetooth connectivity.

According to the executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, "Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed, supporting faster data transfers and software updates for devices", and "Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them."

With these technical improvements, the Bluetooth SIG aims to make Bluetooth-based IoT experiences seamless and ubiquitous, without users needing to think about range or device pairing.

As well as making the pairing process much easier for Bluetooth devices such as wireless speakers or keyboards, the significantly increased broadcast capacity in Bluetooth 5 is aimed at making beacons, location markers and other connectionless" Bluetooth services much more powerful and valuable, with the ability to transmit more, richer information as part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience.

According to the Bluetooth SIG, this will "redefine the way Bluetooth devices transmit information", moving away from the app-paired-to-device model to a seamless and more IoT-compatible connectionless model where there is less need to download an app, pair devices together and connect the app to a device.

The increased bandwidth that Bluetooth 5 provides means that devices can be more responsive and can transfer their data faster, and increased broadcast capacity makes "connectionless" Bluetooth services like beacons, location-aware information and targeted advertising much more capable and powerful.

These improvements allow Bluetooth 5 to open up more potential Bluetooth applications and help Bluetooth to be an integral part of an accessible, interoperable IoT ecosystem.

Connectionless Bluetooth beacon technology has value in applications such as museums, galleries and other cultural and tourism institutions, providing location-aware information for navigation, allowing people to find local businesses or services near them - or for location-aware marketing or promotions.

However, excessive use of Bluetooth notifications for advertising, without requiring authentication or device pairing, may raise challenges in terms of customer acceptance and ethics and potentially creates a whole new avenue for ubiquitous spam.

Other applications such as industrial logistics and tracking inventory in warehouses are potentially valuable too - there is enormous scope for creative new applications of Bluetooth with these new capabilities.

Furthermore, these significant range and performance benefits are achieved without any significant increase in power consumption compared to existing iterations of the Bluetooth Low Energy standard with its already industry-leading power efficiency.

This means that Bluetooth 5 remains attractive, as with present Bluetooth implementations, in applications where power efficiency and long battery life is important, and the powerful new capabilities of Bluetooth 5 remain compatible with tiny, battery-operated beacons that are practical to deploy for a long time without maintenance or replacement.

By now you must realise that Bluetooth is still relevant and a feature that may be of benefit to your existing or new products. If this is of interest – there is a method of product development that is rapid and successful. Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success.

We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.

`LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.