Powercast and ioBridge Partner to Create Cloud-connected Wireless Sensor Networks

Powercast met ioBridge last year at the Remote Monitoring and Control Expo and we quickly hit it off.  Powercast saw pairing their wireless sensor technology with ioBridge’s web gateways as a complete solution they could deliver to customers.  ioBridge’s cloud service gateway for professional applications was a great fit to connect their wireless sensor network to the cloud.

Last month Powercast put a live demo of their remote monitoring in the cloud solution on their website.  The layout below displays various Temperature, Humidity, Light and Carbon Dioxide sensors at different locations throughout the Powercast headquarters.

Powercast Sensors and ioBridge demo

This is a great example of how ioBridge technology can be the missing piece of the puzzle in someone else’s solution.  We are seeing a growing level of interest from solution providers like Powercast that have their own existing technology, customers and applications.  We love these types of partnerships where our cloud connecting technology makes their solutions better and easier to manage.

Cisco Reports Mobile Internet of Things Traffic to Grow 22x from 2011 to 2016

The predictions of numbers of connected devices isn’t anything new.  A few months ago there were estimates of 24 billion Internet of Things by 2020.  Cisco has spent some time looking at the whole mobile landscape from number of connected devices to the traffic they use all across the world.

In a recent white paper written by Cisco they state that the compounded annual growth rate of mobile M2M devices from 2011 – 2016 will be 42% going while the traffic growth rate will be 86%.  From 2011 to 2016 that 86% compounded annual growth rate yields a 22x increase in traffic.   All that traffic adds up to 508,022 terabytes per month in 2016.

Where is all this growth coming?

Internet of Things of course!  All those pet feeders and tweeting toasters are going to eat up the world’s bandwidth.  Okay, maybe not, but on a more serious note big industries are making large moves in the M2M space.

Cellular communication between objects, machines, or sensors has led to the growth of M2M connections. These connections are in the form of smart metering, business and consumer surveillance, inventory management, fleet management, and healthcare modules, all of which are designed for operational excellence. M2M technologies are being used across a broad spectrum of industries. As real-time information monitoring is helping companies to deploy new video-based security systems and hospitals and helping healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the progress of their patients, bandwidth-intensive M2M connections become more prevalent. Traditional appliances and devices, such as home appliances, vehicles, energy meters, and vending machines-which traditionally have not been connected directly to cellular networks-are now entering the network.

What is ioBridge’s take on this?

At ioBridge, we see the same trends.  Practically everyday we talk to prospective clients on new applications for mobile connected things and how we can help complete their vision.  The examples listed above have been well-known for years and will be a substantial part of the growth.  What we are excited about are the applications people haven’t thought of yet and how they will affect these numbers.

We also see the increase in bandwidth usage.  Plain and simple, we see the desire for more types of data and in greater frequency.  More data than just a temperature and a power reading.  Video, voice, images and arrays of sensors painting pictures with a much broader brush.  This is a much larger influx of data plus everything out there being more chatty to give more data resolution.  All of this contributing to one of the other recent trends we’ve discussed in Big Data.

Big Data’s Relationship with The Internet of Things

I may be a couple of days late of Valentine’s Day, but there is a serious love fest between Big Data and The Internet of Things.

What is Big Data?

The Wikipedia says:

Big data is a term applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target currently ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.

What does this have to do with the Internet of Things?

Well, in short it has a lot to do with the Internet of Things.  In a recent article in the NY Times called The Age of Big Data  the Internet of Things is mentioned as playing a major contributing role to Big Data.

There is a lot more data, all the time, growing at 50 percent a year, or more than doubling every two years, estimates IDC, a technology research firm. It’s not just more streams of data, but entirely new ones. For example, there are now countless digital sensors worldwide in industrial equipment, automobiles, electrical meters and shipping crates. They can measure and communicate location, movement, vibration, temperature, humidity, even chemical changes in the air.

Link these communicating sensors to computing intelligence and you see the rise of what is called the Internet of Things or the Industrial Internet.

What is ioBridge’s take on Big Data?

One major part of our product and services is being a repository and gatherer for all this “Big Data”.   We agree the data is growing, but based on what we’ve seen here at ioBridge we think it is growing a lot faster than 50% per year.  We know how important the data is to our customers, which is why we’ve build our product to be rock solid in gathering the data and never missing a “sensor” beat.

So what is going to happen with all this “Big Data”?

All that data is the foundation for intelligent decision making.  One way to look at it is without the data all the things you see labeled as “Smart” really don’t have much information to figure out what the smart thing to do is.

At this point it is up to our clients to figure out what they can do with the data, but in the near future we can see playing a part in providing tools to help them discover more things about their data.


Internet of Things at CES 2012

The “Internet of Things” was big at CES this year.  From TVs, to cars, to cloud-based gardens; the Internet is getting woven into everything.  It is really exciting to see it all come to head and see the “Internet of Things” vision being fulfilled by both up and coming innovative companies and large incumbents as well.  As you have probably read, CES was huge, drawing in record crowds with the launch of innovative and interesting products that everyone has been writing about.  In my article I wanted to write about the “things” (of the Internet variety) that I found the most interesting:

Smart-Vegetable Garden (Panasonic)  

Four leaf vegetables can be grown in one so-called “Smart Vegetable Garden” (which is sized at 100x50x30cm) at the same time, with Panasonic claiming that owners can expect to harvest them in about 40 days – 30% less than using conventional methods. Apart from saving time, the device also integrates a cloud-based management system to track growth, for example by automatically screening the level of water and nutrients, or the temperature.

You have to admit, that is pretty cool.  I’m not sure if I’m down with the almost $8k price tag, but monitoring and tracking the growth from the internet is a pretty sweet.

Connected Cars (Mercedes, Audi, Ford) 

As each year passes, the connected car makes more of a noise at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This year several car manufacturers were touting new features, including Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Audi. The term “connected car” refers to the integration of smartphone apps and content into the car. Typically this is done via the car’s dashboard, enabling you to listen to online music, access Web data, stream video to the car’s passengers and more. In this post we’ll look at three such systems: Ford Sync, Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 and Audi Connect.

My favorite out of these is the Ford integration with the new Focus Electric.  If I had an electric car, I’d want all that information on tap.  Check out the demo from CES.

Health Monitoring (MyBasis)

The world’s first connected health and heart rate monitor wearable on the wrist. A multi-sensor band collects data like heart rate, calories burned, physical activity and sleep patterns and links to a personal online dashboard.

There have been a few other competitors in this space but this is the first one I’ve seen that collects heart rate.  I’m a bit skeptical on how good it can be, because in my own experience the only way to get a consistent heart rate reading is by wearing one of those uncomfortable chest straps.  If they can do it well it could be a product I’d be personally interested in.

Twittering Tree (Ericsson)

 …a tweeting tree that was equipped with sensors to automatically send out Twitter messages when its leaves were stroked. But most impressive was the live demonstration of “capacitive coupling,” which transferred a digital photograph electronically through Vestberg’s body, from the phone in his left hand to the workstation he was touching with his right.  (From Mashable)

Internet connected demos like tweeting trees, toasters and Donkey Kong toys are becoming quite the trend of the showroom floors / demo pits. (Warning:  Shameless plug on our own blog) Crowd pleasing internet-enabled, inanimate objects are so much easier to do these days with things like ioBridge.

Stormwater Management and Why it’s Big for the Internet of Things

ioBridge and one of our partners Geosyntec has had a lot of buzz lately.  Geosyntec has been using ioBridge’s “Internet of Things” platform of hardware and software to solve BIG problems in the area of stormwater and rain water management.

The article in Scientific American and Fast Company titled How the “Internet of Things” Is Turning Cities Into Living Organism talks about how this solution is a great example of using “Internet of Things” to immediately affect the environments we live in. I especially enjoyed the analogy of the sensors in the city being the “virtual nervous system”.

“By using the Internet to connect real-world sensors and control mechanisms to cloud-based control systems that can pull in streams from any other data source, including weather reports, these efforts enable conservation and money-saving measures that would have been impossible without this virtual nervous system.”

(Even Chris Anderson of Wired / The Long Tail gave this definition of the Internet of Things a ringing endorsement.)

Why this is BIG for the Internet of Things

I feel like this is all just the tip of the iceberg for the “Internet of Things”.  Solving problems like stormwater management are proving that the “Internet of Things” has a big part in solving real world problems, not just tweeting toasters.

Here’s a recipe:

1) Existing data / trends / models (i.e. weather, tides, sunlight)

2) Real time data (i.e. temperature, pressure, humidity, light)

3) “Things” that need to be controlled (i.e. fans, valves, motors)

4) Platforms for the “Internet of Things” (like what ioBridge makes)

Take a few parts real-time data analysis with existing data / trends / model, decide how and when the things that need to be controlled should function, then mix moderately with a platform for the “Internet of Things”.  What can it be used for?  This recipe goes well with agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water…   In the end you’ll have a way to solve many large real-time problems.

As you can see, most of the components 1-3 have already existed for years.  It is the recent emergence of platforms for the “Internet of Things” that provides that last mile to connect it all together and makes  automatically solving real problems in real-time a reality.

Yeah… It’s kind of a big deal.

[via Scientific American / Fast Company / Wall Street Journal ]