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    Webinar - Practical Industrial IoT Presenters - Glen Fry and Arlen Nipper Description - With the growth of analytics and the benefits of harnessing data from OT, a common question we hear is how best to implement an IIoT solution. Companies are struggling on how to start this process given their current industrial environment in a cost-effective and scalable manner to begin their Digital Transformation journey. Presenter and President of Cirrus Link Solutions, Arlen Nipper (co-inventor of MQTT), discusses the origins of MQTT, and follows with a demonstration of the benefits and best practices around MQTT, and in particular the power of the Sparkplug B payload for IIoT Solutions. He steps through the enablement for OT edge connectivity, Data Standardization and integration of Cloud data stores and analytic services using the Cirrus Link MQTT Modules and the Ignition 8 Platform.
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    Machine Learning in (I)IoT Description The past few years has seen a significant resurgence in interest and application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This has been primarily driven by the ready availability of relatively high and scalable compute power, cloud systems and virtualisation. It has also occurred coincident with emerging interest in Big Data and (Industrial) Internet of Things. Machine Learning application at this time is dominated by statistical techniques such as Bayesian Inference. This, and other similar statistical approaches are well suited to the large datasets as are often seen within the (I)IoT domain. However, they are not the only Machine Learning techniques that are currently available which are also applicable to (I)IoT. This presentation covers a number of semi- and non-statistical Machine Learning techniques that may be applied in various (I)IoT contexts. The presentation is tutorial in nature, focuses primarily on the Machine Learning techniques themselves, as well as typical ways that they can be applied to (I)IoT. The overall aim is to give (I)IoT practitioners a (non-mathematical) overview and appreciation of a number of additional Machine Learning techniques that can complement statistical methods, and may find application in their day-to-day work. About the speaker John Ypsilantis holds degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Pure Mathematics from the University of Sydney. His doctoral studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Sydney concerned the application of machine learning to SCADA Systems for power, and were conducted during the third wave of interest in artificial intelligence. He has over 30 years experience in the field of engineering-oriented AI and Machine Learning. He is the Principal of Heuristics Australia Pty Ltd, an electrical engineering and ICT consultancy based in Sydney, which works with large public and private utilities in Australia and overseas. John’s other specialisations include automatic control, data and voice communications systems, SCADA for gas, water and electricity utilities, Industrial Internet of Things, network security for utilities and the application of machine learning and intelligent systems to utility operations. John is a Member of Engineers Australia, Chartered Professional Engineer and registered on the NER and RPEQ. Presentation slides John Ypsilantis slidepack download.pdf
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    Radio Frequency (RF) Bands

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    IoT webinar - Overcoming IIoT Data Interoperability Challenges with OPC UA Presenter - Darek Kominek - Marketing Director at Matrikon (Honeywell) With the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie4.0, the need for secure enterprise wide data visibility has fast become a key requirement for companies to remain competitive. While many of the new IIoT technologies coming from the IT sector (machine learning, big data analytics, and direct-to-cloud communications) promise great benefits to the discrete, process, and hybrid industries – the reality is that facilitating IIoT era access to OT data systems requires solutions that: Adhere to IT cyber security best practices since security threads continue to grow Comply with OT best practices to maximize up-time, quality, efficiency, and safety Enable new technologies to be phased in while maximizing and modernizing existing infrastructure Simplify architectures to reduce cost and training needed to maintain them Express data context in a common format across 3rd party systems And more... This presentation introduces the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard from the OPC Foundation, discusses how the standard meets the above requirements, and touches on how OPC UA has come to play a central role in virtually every IIoT/I4.0 standard globally. About the presenter - As the Marketing Director at Matrikon (Honeywell), Darek helps vendors, system integrators, and end-users best leverage Matrikon OPC UA technology as the data connectivity foundation for their products, projects, and infrastructures respectively. He also leads the Matirkon Solutions Consulting team that develops OPC based solution architectures and to assists with Proof of Concept (PoC) projects. Darek is a member of the OPC Foundation Marketing Control Board (MCB) where he works with leadership to help strategize and drive OPC UA adoption, presents globally on behalf of the OPC Foundation, fosters collaboration with other standards organizations, and publishes articles about the advantages of using OPC UA in the IIoT/Industrie4.0/M2M space. Earlier in his career, Darek worked as a software engineer at Hewlett Packard, GE, and owned and operated a software consulting firm. Darek got his bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Alberta. Presentation slides Overcoming IIoT Interoperability Challenges with OPC UA.pdf
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    Description Sensahub by Sensavation is an Australian developed IoT software platform focused on making it easier to build IoT business solutions. This webinar shares experiences from the Sensavation team and partners with designing, customising and deploying IoT solutions in the industrial, agricultural and local government sectors. We will cover topics like the difficulties with developing IoT solutions, maximising the business value from an investment in IoT and some of the considerations needed to be successful with IoT. Key takeaways Sharing a couple of Australian IoT case studies as well as best practices for IoT implementations. About the speaker Dean Dobson (B. Eng. Elec) has over 30 years’ experience as a technologist working in the Banking, Oil & Gas and IT industries, with almost 25 years at Microsoft in technology and business roles including IT Strategy consulting, Services Practice Management, Sales Management and finally was responsible for risk, governance and business transformation for Microsoft’s Services Division in Asia Pacific. Dean is currently a founder of two Australian IoT Startups; Sensavation that markets an application enablement software IoT platform (Sensahub) and Buildvation that develops leading-edge sensor and display solutions for the construction and resources sectors. Dean also is active in the Startup community as an Angel investor and provides Startup business mentoring including board roles as Non-Executive Director.
  7. Hi, can anyone please assist me in findin a place where i can get a raspberry pi 3 model b which isn't worth much. cheers, Ash
  8. A Virus in the IoT. Geeks have got it good in this post-normal world: vulnerable old folk like me are sent home and told to stay away from the office. Are you kidding me? Home is where my garden is, my own personal sacred site that is at the root of my interest in agricultural technology and irrigation. Home is also where my favourite lab is. Here, I have two benches. One is set up with all the fancy test equipment I need to create and test MEA stuff. The second one (pictured below) is where I fix my eBay-acquired fine old test instruments from back in the 1960’s and ‘70s when I was undertaking my first electronic engineering degree. Fixing stuff hones one’s problem-solving skills*. Gear that worked once is a closed problem with a single solution: it should work again. The quality of thinking that went into these old knob-driven instruments is exactly that of today's Masters. Only the technology has changed, not the engineering mind-set. And finally, old test equipment is admirably accessible for fixing. It’s also beautifully documented – an education inside shabby covers. I spend as much money on old manuals as I do on Tektronix plug-ins. I particularly love the fold-out schematics which I pore over endlessly until I can finally understand how a circuit really works. Yesterday I was in one of my usual funks. In the past seven years I’ve worked on long-haul ZigBee, Bluetooth, satellite, 3G and CAT-M1 IoT products for agriculture: they’re all out there across Australia, contributing to the 3 billion+ data records up there in our Green Brain web app. Now what? The remedy for such a bad dose of the blues is a 1960’s day. So yesterday I played hooky from Slack, Trello, Gantt charts, emails, texts and phone calls back to the office and my far-flung staff. Instead, I repaired a wonderfully old 1968 Nixie tube 8-digit counter. The 15V supply regulator came back into regulation with the help of a new PNP control transistor. I threw out the old beryllium-filled oven-controlled crystal oscillator and hand-built a modern one (no purists around here – it just has to work!) I pin-pointed a temperature sensitive old TTL decade counter that was shutting down two of the eight time base channels in the ranging function. Today I awoke – back in my modern IoT world – with a fully-formed concept in my head for how to measure soil-moisture content in irrigated pot-plants in commercial tree nurseries. There's always someone wanting me to work magic for beer-money, and I’d set this problem aside for a rainy day. It seems that a day among the Nixie tubes is also sub-conscious therapy for an old brain taxed with new IoT problems. My 1960’s ‘funk-fixing’ bench, courtesy of Jim Williams and eBay *‘The Importance of Fixing’: Jim Williams in ‘The Art and Science of Analog Circuit Design’. EDN Series for Engineers. Butterworth-Heinemann
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    View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Technologies > Sensor & Embedded Electronics ______________________________________ Join Nube iO & Honeywell for a review of how IoT was implemented at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) to achieve specific space utilization insights and goals. This webinar details: • The benefits of implementing an IoT solution for retrofit building applications • A review of IoT technologies used • An examination of the recommendations and ROI provided to the client post data analysis • Next steps for the project Key takeaways 3-4 bullet points with key messages (why and who should attend) • This webinar is aimed at Engineers working in the built environment who are interested in considering alternate technology offerings for common client solutions • Receive a combination of perspectives from tech giant Honeywell and Tech scaleup Nube iO • Interest in wireless technologies • Interest in building automation About the speakers Sabrina is the Sales Marketing Manager for Nube iO, a company that has developed a scalable IoT solution for portfolios of distributed retrofit buildings. Sabrina works directly with clients to develop IoT offerings specific for their business case. Jerald Skuta is a Digital Service Engineer working for Honeywell’s Building Solutions in Sydney. He is the regional subject matter expert in IoT solutions, cloud technologies, data analytics and utilizing them to create intelligent digital solutions for complex problems.
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    Building a business case for IoT View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Industry Applications > Other Description/Synopsis Dramatic increase of Operational Risks has a profound impact on economic viability of projects, company reputation and its balance sheet. This presentation elaborates how these exposures can be better managed via non-traditional measures, using Resilience Data, IoT and AI. Furthermore, it explains how senior management (an Executive and Board level) can act pre-emptively by obtaining a better insights about potential Operational Risks and utilising a Resilience discipline as a modern tool to hedge those risks. Key takeaways Managing Operational Resilience in a new era of Cyber Risks, Pandemics, Natural Hazards and Behavioural changes presents management with some interesting challenges, but it provides great opportunities too. About the speaker Aleksandar Kovacevic is a banking professional with over 25 years’ experience gained in Australia and internationally. He worked with several large banks and blue-chip organisations and has managed operations across various geographies. Aleksandar is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Member of the Business Continuity Institute in the United Kingdom. Besides his corporate career, he also served as Adviser to the Australian Federal Government on competitiveness matters and as an adviser to IFC/World Bank. He is also passionate HAM Radio enthusiast and holds unrestricted license.
  11. Edge Cases in the IoT. Time’s dragging in the MEA labs; we’re grinding out the finishing touches to Version 2 of our GBL (CAT-M1) data logger and it’s painful. Ah, but it’s always like this! With some hundreds of these new loggers in service for the past six months, three units have been returned to the product development team exhibiting weirdness. Yet these pain-points are exactly what we must eliminate here and now, so we’re holding up production of future stock until we resolve these edge-case issues to our satisfaction. Future ugliness would be our certain fate if we let these glitches go feral. There are three issues, and it’s testing the ‘cures’ that’s taking up all our time and ratcheting up stress levels as we deal with technical uncertainties under a marketing and management cloud. Such is an engineer’s daily fare. To resolve Issue 1, we need a hardware safety mechanism to shed the load under low-battery conditions: small improvements to the battery-monitoring circuit and start-up logic fix this. We are also unconvinced that electronic eFuses fit-the-bill at the minuscule current levels found in IoT devices. We take the opportunity to toss those out and replace them with software-controlled electronic load switches instead. We tick this first box. Issue 2 fixes the ESD protection circuits of the SD Memory Card; turns out those old ESD devices just weren’t handling the higher-speed data transfers occurring with this most recent modem technology. The fix is hacked onto the PCB and works perfectly in the MEA test yard. But by now we’re rightly worried about higher-temperature operation because there is some indication that that’s what triggers the fault condition. We take our ancient environmental oven apart and update it to a digital PID temperature controller (available on eBay for $23) that allows us to soak test at 70°C ± 0.8°C then ramp down temperature to ambient. The new design checks out perfectly over the full temperature range while the old ‘control’ unit locks up at 48°C. The new design is approved as ‘tested’. Issue 3 arose through human error – a production-line failure to securely plug the solar panel into the motherboard on two units during final assembly. We tweak the production line process to catch this condition. Yet what we really need is sharper diagnostic tools for monitoring battery charge current during five different field scenarios. We design this into the hardware and firmware while we have the chance. This charge-current trace will allow our service team to differentiate between solar charging failures and faulty load conditions if battery voltage is declining. Once all boxes have been ticked and I sign off on changes, we’ll modify the motherboard schematic and PCB, change the Bill of Materials and generate the updated Gerber files. We’ll be good-to-go. But by now the COVID-19 pandemic has hit and the Aussie dollar is plunging against the US dollar that is our standard manufacturing exchange currency. Fortunately, nearly all components for this latest production run were paid for back when our currency was stronger; it’s only the PCB and assembly costs that have to be paid for in our weaker coin. Despite global uncertainties, forward is the only way for MEA to go: we have back-orders to fill. Our old environmental oven gets fitted with a new PID Temperature Controller. Looks ugly, and yet it’s strangely hot!
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    Implementation of Edge Sensor for Online Flotation Interface Detection View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Technologies > Data Analytics Presenter: Trevor Hadley (Co-founder/Managing Director of Clarity Advanced Control) Host: Geoff Sizer Description The value of timely decision making, system optimisation and continuous improvement is well understood from productivity achievements gained in industries more broadly. Mining operations are increasingly becoming data rich but remain relatively information poor. Getting information to key people who can drive improvements and translate that to value is the critical step in the industry’s digital transformation. Clarity is developing capability to facilitate digital transformation, by harnessing the significant miniaturisation of computing power to allow complex computation inside sensors and transmission of timely intelligent information. This can be integrated with traditional control interfaces or via Internet of Things (IoT) dashboards. An example is shown of how edge sensing has been implemented on a flotation cell to detect the interface level., and how this has enabled insights and real-time process improvement. Key Takeaways Information systems can now be implemented that allow fit-for-purpose visibility of high value operational issues using one-directional passive information flow to Internet of Things (IoT) dashboards This becomes a viable alternative to the trending and historian software solutions typically offered by higher-end Distributed Control Systems The IoT devices are sensor agnostic and can easily be integrated with legacy equipment commonly found in long life-of-mine operations. This adjunct solution allows improvements to be driven at the supervisor or shift level. Presenter Bio Trevor co-founded Clarity Advanced Control in 2018 to translate science outcomes into industry-implementable products – in particular, to develop and commercialise the next generation of mineral processing instrumentation. He completed an MSc in Chemical Engineering at The University of Cape Town, South Africa. At the CSIR in Pretoria he developed a grounding in fluidisation for energy and mineral processing applications, with key deliverables including scoping, trial work, plant design and commissioning. He joined CSIRO, Clayton, in 2008 where he further developed skills in process engineering, flowsheet development, computational- and physical- modelling in the energy and mineral processing sectors. In this role, he gained a wealth of knowledge in process evaluation, costing, integration and scale-up.
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    IoT in Defence

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  14. Powering the IoT. A positive energy budget is a ‘sine qua non’ (absolutely essential condition) in an IoT field station. Early MEA data loggers deployed in agriculture were battery-powered affairs, but unless the battery capacity is adequate for 3-5 years the logistics of battery swap-outs – with their inherent risk of breaking environmental seals put in place in the factory – can increase user frustration and shorten product lifetime. Energy harvesting via solar panels extends product field life indefinitely; we now have thousands of IoT solar-powered sites still in service after up to seven years. Despite this wealth of experience, each new product release raises our collective anxiety for at least a solid year after field deployment. Canopy growth, bird netting, dirt build-up, high and low temperatures, white plastic rain covers over table grapes, seasonal changes in solar zenith angle, shorter winter days, periods of extended cloudy weather, poor installation, weak solar panels, excessive loads – all these things call out weaknesses in the energy budget. And so the arrival of eight CAT-M1 IoT field units back to MEA’s service department triggered immediate self-doubts and a heightened forensic investigation. In two of the units, the solar panel had come loose from the motherboard; this is a product assembly failure corrected by rapping knuckles and dreaming up post assembly tests. Four more worked perfectly as designed and operated for week after week in the test yard without a glitch; the only possible explanation would be unknown field conditions, such as canopy over-growth. But the signature lesson flowed from the last two units, highlighting a design flaw that can only occur if battery voltage falls below about 3.3V for a single-cell Lithium-Ion battery operating in the 3.6V to 4.2V range. The logger refuses to wake up. Our original intent had been to have Green Brain monitor battery voltages for all deployed units and to send commands to shed load and reduce logging rates to automatically balance the energy budget. Somehow, we never implemented that in the first release. So we do what we should have done in the first place – implement a hardware belt-and-braces solution to shed load based on battery voltage. Firmware gets tweaked as well. With the immediate problem solved, we re-examine our diagnostic tools. We need something better than just watching battery voltage traces, so we incorporate additional solar charge monitoring circuitry. ‘Gas-gauging’ the battery load would also be good using coulomb counters, but this proves difficult to implement quickly and at low cost. We defer that to Release 3. But we have one more trick to help us extend the energy budget; we can ship field stations at full charge while also testing the charging circuits between solar panel and battery. The first month’s operation is on us! We build a bulk charger capable of handling 120 logger boards at once (see photo). All this is made possible by diligent hunting on eBay for a low-voltage high-current power supply rated at 8V and 50A, all for $500. A custom-built ‘bulk charger’ for MEA’s CAT-M1 data loggers handles 30 PCBs at once, with an additional three charger racks still within the capacity of the low-voltage high-current Hewlett-Packard HP 6551A power supply. Full overnight charge takes about eight hours.
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    View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Technologies > Sensors & Embedded Electronics Synopsis Location has become a critical component across a wide variety of organizations as part of their ever-expanding IoT implementations. As companies get more sophisticated in their knowledge of what IoT can do for their business, they’re moving beyond basic applications to use IoT to better manage key business processes. While accurate location capabilities are on every company’s wish list, each has a different idea of what the technology is capable of and what they can do with it. What is needed accuracy, will it be real-time, what can you track, what can you use the data for, how is it going to help us in our business, is the infrastructure just for tracking or can it be used for other applications? This presentation will answer these questions, amongst others, and will give examples of the different verticals and applications where it is already being used. Key take-aways gain the understanding of the RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) and how applying it can drive the value for all the players in the value chain be able to spot the opportunities and pain points that are common in many vertical industries and how to solve these using RTLS understand how the wide partner network that has already build extensive solutions in this area can be utilized in order to shorten the development cycle and time to market About the speaker Jukka is Country Manager of Quuppa Australia. Quuppa is a technology company that has its roots in Finland. Its Quuppa Locating System (QLS) provides real-time and accurate positioning for location-based solutions. Quuppa’s technology opens a gateway to the wider Internet of Things integrations, serves all business verticals, and has been applied across various industries from security, hospitals, industrial internet, retail, hospitality and restaurants to smart buildings and sports and so on. Jukka is a seasoned business and technology professional having worked with big multinational companies, successfully built own products and companies, and has played major role in internationalising others. LinkedIn profile
  16. One Small Anniversary in the IoT. At 3pm exactly a year ago today (19th Feb 2020) MEA transmitted the first 20 bytes of measurement data on the Myriota satellite network from the MEA Test Garden. Data consisted of four measurements of soil moisture tension in the soil profile below dry-grown Shiraz grapevines, plus battery voltage. After the first anxious few months – where I peered at the incoming data on a daily basis – a certain trust developed that data would keep flowing, and other developments took priority. Along the way though, I checked in on the growing Green Brain data set and sought explanations from the ever-helpful folk at Myriota about spikes, missing data records and long latencies. We were managing four to five readings per day via a single Myriota satellite in polar orbit. Our understanding of this new IoT technology crept forward with the seasons. Other test installations followed during March and April 2019, from stations monitoring tank water level, rainfall and micro-climate. A year later the soil moisture record is sufficiently consistent and detailed to track rain-fed irrigation suitable for sub-surface moisture measurements in dry-land agriculture, should we choose to exploit such a market.
  17. Tripwires in the IoT. Once more to the barricades… MEA’s new CAT-M1 IoT data loggers – like the majority of Australians – have their own SIM cards and (a meagre 3Mb) data plan. But with the production line rolling and the number of deployed loggers rising inexorably some way of keeping these bulk data plans in check proved critical. Fortunately, specialist companies provide boxes of 100 SIMs and platforms for generating alerts when things go awry. Just weeks into the new decade we hit a tripwire: a significant number of loggers are exceeding their data allowance while draining batteries. At the same time, data flow inexplicably becomes bumpy from all these new loggers. Customer complaints hit our agents who hit our marketing folk who hit up product development for answers and action. What’s going on? Once again, we huddle in corners and pore over screens and flowcharts and circuit schematics. Within the week the source of all these woes comes to light; two hundred loggers locked to UTC time hit up Green Brain at exactly the same moment and jam the Green Brain server CPU to 100%. Late comers who can’t get through and deliver their data get shrugged off and must try again, at the expense of a finite energy budget or no luck at all before communication attempts time out four minutes later. This feels like a denial of service attack! But we’re on Google’s IoT platform and the Internet is supposed to be infinitely elastic, surely? There’s no scalability if we are saturating with deployments still down in the hundreds… It turns out that this problem is something that never occurred under our older Plexus ftp data transfer systems; those were solidly buffered. Green Brain Loggers use newer https secure data transfers. It transpires that Green Brain runs each logger’s database interaction to the bitter end before moving to the next caller. Buried in there is a ‘backup-to-server’ piece of code that’s taking forever. Things only get worse as the day rolls on and the files to be retrieved and appended just get bigger. The Green Brain boys excise that redundant piece of backup code and once again we’re back on track. CPU activity drops back into the normal range and deployed systems get through to the mothership with metronomic certainty. Phew! But something good has come from all this; we’ve discovered a source of universal ‘roaming’ international SIM cards for our CAT-M1 loggers. We get samples in from the USA and they work exactly as described. Green Brain loggers can now be deployed anywhere in the world after set-up and test in Australia. They simply log onto whatever telco network is providing the strongest CAT-M1 signal when they arrive on site. Prices are good, service is great and – best of all – we can set up our own trip wires to generate alerts and track deployments and activity on-line. es t Waiting patiently for the trip wires to trip...
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    View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Industry Applications > Manufacturing Description We'll start by talking a little about the history and the inspiration behind Industry 4.0 as it's known, then break it down into the key elements and practical ways they can be executed using current technologies. We'll touch on the role IIoT has to play, and where it fits in todays manufacturing scene, and where it "might" be headed. Key takeaways Industry 4.0 is an evolving concept It's looks different across different size enterprises, industries, countries, and cultures Connectivity is key, especially the adoption of open standards All of the technology, and the raw skills we need to deploy already exist The ROI's can be significant, financially, and in human terms About the speaker Glen founded ESM Australia in 1996 after working in electronics and process control industries as an employee for more than 10 years. Over the last 24 years he’s led the team at ESM in delivering automation and motion control systems in a wide range of industries, often taming new and emerging technologies. Glen was at Hannover Messe for the initial introduction of Industry 4.0 (which was actually around 2008) then again in 2011 and continues to visit regularly. In 2019 Glen founded iControls, one of three companies globally selected for the initial rollout of a distribution channel to represent Ignition SCADA platform outside the USA. He runs two companies and travels widely to technology events and manufacturing facilities around the world, learning and bringing best practice back to Australia. Glen brings a pragmatic approach to helping Australian manufacturers understand and implement digital systems that optimize and sustain performance.
  19. The IoT under the Microscope. Terror stalks the floor at MEA: Christmas is only a fortnight away and sales orders for our new CAT-M1 data loggers are raining down from above. But production has jammed: SD memory cards are failing to pass production testing and the engineer who designed this part of the circuitry is incommunicado somewhere in Europe. Our production engineer is going quietly mad with fear and frustration. I need to step in. It’s now 45 years since I graduated in electronic engineering from the South Australian Institute of Technology so these moments of terror are nothing new, though their impact never seems to diminish. At these times I follow a standard routine to bring the young engineers through the crisis, while knowing full-well that I can no longer solve many of these problems myself. Designing IoT technology is a team effort. No single one of us on the product development team has all the skills to function alone. So, I stay outwardly calm and clear some mental and physical space to sit down in a quiet place with our production engineer. I ask to be walked through the history of the problem. Then we take a look at all the circuit schematics and relevant data sheets. It’s not that I am here to fix the problem myself, but merely to act as a mirror and a sounding board, asking penetrating questions if I find a weakness in the fabric of the case and quietly letting these talented youngsters solve the problem themselves. The problem itself is simple enough. MicroSD memory cards that worked in previous batches and previous products don’t work in this new product though circuitry remains the same. Even part numbers remain unchanged. Worse, devices from the same manufacturer work from one source but not from another. We scour the computer stores around Adelaide, buying up small handfuls of different memory cards for testing, then ordering up many hundreds of the apparent successes from warehouses interstate. These then fail on arrival to work at all. Nothing makes any sense. Just for something to say, I ask to look at the schematic for the jellybean ESD protection part that protects the memory card from damage from static discharge during installation. Whoa! I’m no digital genius, but us old analog engineers recognise a low-pass filter when confronted by one; this thing is sitting on the memory card data bus, as it has done in previous products from this modem manufacturer, and has never before caused problems. I ask for it to be removed and tracks bridged over. Suddenly, all the lights come on and even our worst-case memory cards start passing test. Once again hardware re-work is needed. This is only possible thanks to a beautiful new microscope, beloved of all of us aging techos squinting at parts having twelve legs in the space of tiny resistors that have only two. The production line grinds back into life and filling back-orders before Christmas is once again a possibility. Off to the side, we rotate our techs through the microscope desk, laboriously upgrading valuable PCB assemblies with this new fix then feeding them into production. Should I be feeling professionally remiss that this happened at all? Nah! Software engineers roll out fixes seemingly forever. Scaling up production in the IoT will inevitably produce more of these moments of terror, allowing me to invoke yet one more old adage: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”
  20. Frustrations in the IoT. It’s a day marked by high winds and even higher temperatures, with the ‘Fire Danger Index’ ratcheted over to ‘Catastrophic’ and 14 bushfires burning throughout South Australia. All this is perfect for testing worst-case conditions for an ugly problem that’s taken nearly two months to resolve; ‘noise’ in our CAT-M1 IoT loggers when making ac resistance measurements in soil moisture tension sensors called ‘gypsum blocks’, invented nearly eighty years ago. Frustratingly, the CAT-M1 network is down again; we later find that Telstra are installing a 5G network in the area and hence the intermittent LTE-M service. I’m having to bite my nails and trust in the data logging function to record the performance of this upgrade versus the faulty ‘control loggers’ mounted alongside it in the MEA Test Yard. ‘Noise’ to an irrigator looking at his soil moisture data means data bouncing about in some unseemly fashion that frustrates easy interpretation and that destroys confidence in the equipment. ‘Noise’ to an electronics engineer means electrical noise, and I’ve ploughed through endless measurements chasing elusive sources of spikes and other artefacts that can fool modern analog-to-digital converters. Fixes, patches, filters, firmware changes, more careful grounding – nothing makes any difference to the lousy data spewing forth. I’ve worked on this type of ac measurement through four-generations of gypsum block loggers. The problem is to generate a pure sinewave at the lowest possible cost. In this latest evolution, I’ve managed the sinewave generation, gypsum block excitation, gain block and full-wave rectification in a single quad op-amp. But it’s not working under field conditions… Finally, I push my test regime up beyond the 53° limit of our ancient environmental oven and the problem shows itself at 64°; it’s temperature-related, and being exacerbated in this new logger operating up to 70° thanks to its built-in solar panel. The digital circuitry doesn’t care, but the analog circuitry does. The sinewave collapses with temperature, and what looks like noise is actually a quantization error brought on by collapsing range, despite being held in check by proper ratiometric measurements against internal reference resistors. My fix of four extra resistors works in this worst of hot weather, and as a bonus I find that I can now run these sensors over tens of meters of cable; handy for odd deployments of gypsum blocks on particular farms. Sensor output is rock solid. Now MEA need only endure the product recall of the dozen units released to beta customers. Sure, I could have generated that sinewave with a digital-to-analog converter for $20, and I’ve done that in the past. But my 20-cent solution will serve the company better as we strive for a mass-market, riding on the coat-tails of the IoT wave. In the immortal words of Arthur M. Wellington “An engineer can do for a dollar what any fool can do for two.”
  21. Primitive upgrades in the IoT. If the first casualty of war is truth, then the first casualty of product launch is confidence. The harsh reality is that following product launch burgeoning deployments, the passage of time, the machinations of Mother Nature and the compounding of human errors will eventually throw up a bug; it’s a numbers game. Such bugs end the ‘jubilation phase’ of a successful product launch and call in the ‘humiliation phase’. In an ideal world there would be no in-field bugs causing customers and agents distress. Lengthy and private field trials over hundreds of farms in multiple crops right across the country would have shaken out all such gremlins. In the real world of practical IoT engineering, such a leisurely approach to perfection is denied the product development team. Commercial, budgetary and market imperatives intrude. The first customers become the beta testers. MEA’s CAT-M1 IoT data logger launched just in time ­ – in early September 2019 ­­– and our prototype stock of 100 units was sold out within three weeks. Now, that’s a great feeling! A long and sustained period of intensive product development effort was rewarded by first-to-market status and demand outstripping supply. As a consequence, the emphasis shifted immediately to boosting production to meet back-orders. In the meantime, data flowed to Green Brain from 80 sites, and down in the MEA basement those of us in the product development team waited anxiously to learn our fate. Had we out-witted Murphy’s Laws? Nope! Finally, after a lengthy silence from the modem manufacturer and increasingly strident demands in the engineering forums, the chip maker admitted to a firmware bug that’s been the chief cause of our lack of confidence; they acknowledged a combination of events that could lock out connection to the Internet through a failure to safely enter ultra-low power mode. Weeks after our product launch, they released a new firmware version purporting to have fixed the bug. Simultaneously, reports began to arrive back from the field showing product lock-up after weeks of perfect operation. Data just stopped flowing from a modest percentage of stations. AAaaHHhRRrr! More midnight oil, and we upgraded to the modem manufacturer’s latest firmware – incorporating the critical bug-fix – and we tightened up a few possible edge-cases while we were in there; anything to improve safety and fault recovery. Here’s where over-air programming (OAP) would have allowed us to seamlessly upgrade all deployed systems without leaving the office. That developmental luxury had been set aside under time-to-market pressures and slated for Version 2 release. Without that remote upgrade facility, our techs had to load up the company truck and head out into the vineyards and orchards of our irrigated agricultural districts to begin the laborious task of individually and directly upgrading those first deployed units (photo, below) The silver-lining in this debacle is that the engineering team now has a stronger case for developing an over-air programming facility in these new loggers, expensive though that development will be. A week has passed, the truck and its weary tech are back in Adelaide and every deployed CAT-M1 logger is back on the air and bullet-proofed as best we know how. New stock is due in next week and life will return to normal, whatever that is around here. MEA's open-air Green Brain Logger upgrade station somewhere in rural Victoria. Our reserve stock of 20 units – loaded with the latest firmware – is swapped into field sites and the older versions get to enjoy the sunshine on some local park bench while their heads are upgraded. Then another round begins, with the attraction of over-air upgrades rising by the kilometre.
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    View the recording: This webinar has passed. If you are a member of Engineers Australia, you can view the recording free on MyPortal. Just logon and navigate to Industry Practices > Manufacturing _______________________________________________________________________________________________ About the speaker Steve Barker is the Owner and Director of Prospect Control Systems Pty Ltd. An accomplished and highly experienced industrial control systems engineer, Steve has taken forward Industrial IoT technology for a number of clients and sees IIoT as a natural extension and enhancement of traditional control system engineering. Steve is a Chartered Professional Engineer and Member of Engineers Australia. Webinar synopsis This webinar will focus on 2 case studies of the implementation of LPWan technology in an industrial context. The 2 projects that are the subject of the case studies used different LPWan technology - 1 LoraWAN and 1 SigFox, and the experiences in the delivery of these projects will be examined and discussed. The challenges faced and the longer term outcomes and benefits from the projects will be presented to give listeners a real world and practical perspective on these technologies in an industrial setting. Key Takeaways Listeners will gain an understanding of the implementation of LPWan in 2 industrial projects and take away knowledge as to how it may be applied in their industries or services. This webinar will be of interest to end users of the technology and also system engineers, suppliers and integrators.
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    View the recording: This webinar has passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording free on MyPortal. Simply logon and navigate to Technologies > Security Synopsis Matt Tett, chair IoT Alliance Australia (IoTAA) (www.iot.org.au) WSe3 - Cyber Security and Network Resilience will be presenting on the strategy that IoTAA has taken to address stakeholder concerns when it comes to ensuring IoT ecosystems can uphold security, safety and privacy. Key Takeaways: If your role involves IoT from a manufacture, development, supply or procurement perspective receive value in learning key, 1. Details of the IoT “TrustMark” Certification program, 2. Information about the IoT reference framework (architecture), 3. Resources for the IoT Security Awareness Guides, both supply side and demand side, 4. Current status of Industry and government working relationships. Slides - IoT Security in Australia.pdf
  24. The IoT takes centre-stage at the World Electronics Forum (WEF) in Adelaide in early December 2019 The WEF is an annual meeting of Electronics Industry leaders from around the world. This is the first time since 2003 that the WEF has taken place in Australia and will be a major event for our industry, bringing together investors and CEOs from the world’s largest electronics companies. It is expected to create business links, collaboration and investment opportunities. LPWAN – Low Power Wide Area IoT Networks – is a central stream of the conference. This is your chance to hear from some of the key players in the Australian IoT scene: 1. Alex Grant of Myriota (satellite-connected IoT) 2. Adrian Tchordjallian of Thinxstra (Sigfox LPWAN) 3. Andrew Suttle of U-Blox (international IoT experience across many fields) 4. Andrew Skinner of MEA (AgTech IoT – long-range ZigBee, Bluetooth, 433 MHz LPWAN, 3G, CAT-M1, Myriota satellite) Exhibition spaces are available for electronic companies looking for a local venue displaying to an international audience. There are awards to be won for best product and young professional, plus others. How about being a speaker, selling Australian innovation to the world? See the web-site for details: - https://www.wef-adelaide.com Only seven (7) weeks to go – register now, apply for an award, exhibition space or a speaking slot.
  25. Hi Andrew Thanks for your message. We are currently working to resolve the issue. Regards Jackson Jones - Community of Practice Coordinator
  26. Hi Geoff Hoping this finds you well.. There are seven items of spam on two of our IoT Forum pages - looks like a failure of the EA Cyber Security system? Can you pull some strings and clean us up? Cheers for now Andrew at MEA
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