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  1. 3 points
    Description: Over the past few years, South East Water (SEW) in Victoria have been trialling a range of different Internet of Things (IOT) technologies with the goal of creating the most advanced water and waste water network in Australia. The trials are aimed at identifying an IOT platform that will allow the connection of around one million monitoring and controlling devices across SEW’s water and wastewater network using a low power wide area network. This case study describes the activities to date. Source: Based on a webinar delivered on 27 Sept 2016 to the Applied IOT Engineering Community of Engineers Australia by Andrew Forster-Knight, Group Manager Intelligent Systems, South East Water Biography: Andrew Forster-Knight has worked in the operation technology team at SEW for 13 years. He has a double degree in chemical engineering and science from Monash University. He is a patent holder of 3 patents for sensor and telemetry technology. He is passionate about innovation and excited about the possibilities of IOT. Title: The smartest water network in Australia Introduction South East Water (SEW) is a government owned statutory authority servicing over 1.6 million connections in the South East of Melbourne. SEW’s water network run from the Melbourne CBD down to the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, and up almost to Gippsland. The authority has 750,000 customers, growing at approximately 20,000 customers per year. It has billions of dollars’ worth of fixed assets, like pipe works, and about 24,000km of water and wastewater. SEW operates both a drinking water network and a sewage disposal network, as well seven Class A Quality treatment plants that go along with those and some recycled water technology as well. This network includes: 350 + sewage pumping stations 200+ water pumping stations/ PRVs 70+ water storage facilities, 4000 + Pressure Sewer stations South East Water is different to many other water authorities because it maintains much of its expertise in-house. A key organisational driver for the organisation is around innovation, which can ultimately add value to the customer, effectively making their bills cheaper, through efficiency gains. A decade ago SEW operated a radio-based telemetry system but has now made the transition to a fully IP-based network, largely based on high speed cellular communications, as well as some fixed fibre as well. In the past only large assets, such as the really big pumping stations and water tanks, had telemetry but with the high speed backbones, SEW now has a much wider range of telemetry points including IP-based cameras, card access systems and other networks as well. In terms of the Internet of Things (IOT) the most significant development is the SEW is now augmenting that traditional high speed network with the low-power, low data rate sensors. Currently SEW has around 1,000 battery powered sensors and this is expected to grow to around 6 million in the next 5 to 10 years. In total, SEW collects about 100,000 points in real time back to its data centre and through to our different enterprise departments, and different analytics tools. Flow and rainfall ingress SEW’s journey began about 10 years ago when it designed a device, which by today's standard is quite primitive, which was a sewer manhole overflow detector. If there was a blockage in the sewer, it would rise up, tip a switch and the device would send an SMS which we’d capture, and process through our system. The thousand battery powered devices that we've got in the network now, are iterations from that initial technology, now using data connectivity over the cellular network, standards-based protocols such as DNP3, and often incorporating smarter sensors using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). A MEMs-based gas sensor for detecting hydrogen sulphide in the sewer, developed in-house by SEW For example, rather than mechanical level devices we use ultrasonics to scan the sewer to get a flow measure which we then integrate the systems in the cloud that are connected to the Bureau of Meterology data. As soon as a rain event comes through the system, the data is automatically analysed, and we can try and pinpoint where rain is infiltrating our sewer network. Rainfall ingress is one of the major problems for sewage networks because obviously we end up treating rainwater in our treatment plants, increasing costs. “If we can fix that problem with IOT technology, it will put us a long way forward and justify the installation expenses”, Forster-Knight said. Network pressure Another IOT application includes measuring water network flow pressure. Using traditional monitoring approaches, you have to build a cabinet on the street with electricity connection, secure a footprint of land there, install traditional telemetry gear in and flow metering equipment. SEW estimated the costs at between $30,000 and $50,000 just to get a flow monitoring point. The onset of the battery-powered IOT technology that’s available now has allowed SEW to miniaturise that. All the equipment, including a highly powered low-flow detecting mag flow meter, with by-directional flow recording, pressure-sensing, and water quality, can now fit in a small plastic pit. That's sending data back daily, and alarms in real time. We can do this with a battery because you only wake the equipment up from deep sleep to send data on certain conditions. The price point of IOT driven technology for the same application is around $3,000 to $5,000 mark, allowing SEW to put many hundreds more of these into the network. The IOT approach has allowed SEW to develop virtual District Metering Areas to detect if there is any leakage in a zone of the network. Traditionally to do that, you'd have to close the entire zone down using mechanical valves and have one feed-in so that you can detect when there’s potential leakage. Having many more sensors deployed using two-way flow sensors allows SEW to create virtual zones by placing measurement devices at strategic locations. SEW can then do automated flow balance without having to compromise the integrity or operation of the network. SEW’s operational crews are now armed with a simple traffic light interface which highlights which zones are showing signs of leakage or pressure issues, allowing them to target their leak detection efforts. Previously leak detection crews would walk the entire network over a three period, using listening sticks, and then start again. This is improving both efficiency and accuracy, allowing SEW to find major leaks that may have gone undetected. Laboratory on a chip SEW has also explored lab-on-chip technology in the water quality space, measuring for example free chlorine residuals. This is a very expensive process to do traditionally with large scale assets required. By contrast SEW is now using low-power printed sensors from a US company at a fraction of the cost, again allowing much greater distribution of the sensors. Similar sensors are being used for odour detectors that previously cost thousands, with associated powered sites, now available for $20 to $50. Automated valves Another IOT technology SEW has embraced is a battery powered valve actuator from a small German company. SEW has hundreds of thousands of valves which are still mostly manually actuated, requiring and operator to go out with a large mechanical key. Valves can get stuck quite easily and there is traditionally no-visibility of the valve state or status (open or closed). An automated valve in the town of Nar Nar Goon in the Gippsland district The valves have cellular communications with microprocessors intelligently controlling the valve simulating human control with the ability to open the valve fast at first or slow, as required. The valve is powered by a briefcase size pack of lithium batteries buried next to the actuator. Again the valve is not awake all the time, but responds to wake up call delivered via the SCADA system and the cellular modem. It also does a data session so it's really optimised for low power. So far we've been getting about two years life time out of the battery pack, and then it's just a hot swap in the field with a recharged battery pack. SEW has installed about 35 of these devices so far, putting them where it makes strategic sense, like for flushing purposes. Traditionally an operator would open a valve and return four hours later to close it. So this really simple task can now be fully automated on both drinking water and waste water networks. The network operators can now manipulate network flows, simply by clicking a button in the SCADA system, which is integrated with the sewer overflow detectors and the weather system as well. If the sewer network needs to have capacity, we can shut it down slightly. Forster-Knight said: “For a water or a wastewater company, the ability to control and manipulate your network in real time, from the back office is a huge step forward.” Pressure Sewers Another application that has develop is around its pressure sewer systems. Pressure sewers are effectively a replacement for the septic tank, normally found in rural areas, which can be an environmental risk if not maintained properly. With pressure sewers, every property gets a tank with a submersible pump and is connected into a much smaller version of the sewer system normally found in metropolitan areas. Working with local partners SEW has connected each installation via 3G cellular providing control and monitoring of each individual property. Because each property has holding capacity, this allows SEW to smooth out the peak flows and pump during lower peak periods. “That's got huge ramifications for downstream investment. For example, it means we can use smaller pipes. We can use smaller transfer pump stations, and ultimately at our treatment plants, we can either defer major investment in the head works, or downsize as required. That's where multi-million dollar savings have come through from an algorithm, running across thousands of machine to machine (M2M) connections,” Forster-Knight said. The current discharge profile is a typical diurnal flow pattern in a gravity sewer network, with morning and afternoon peaks. With pressure sewer, we have algorithms that hold certain pumps off, depending on how full the tank is, and empty them later in the day. The pressure sewer system also provides analytical capability that SEW has never had before. For, example it is able to monitor pumps turning on and correlate it to rainfall data. If pumps turn on more frequently during rainfall it’s an indication there is a leak in a customer’s property and that’s something that we can feed back to them or it may be an indication of an illegal connection. Rainwater tank control Another application SEW has implemented is the manipulation rainwater tanks to prevent flooding of local creeks and stormwater systems. SEE has instrumented a series of residence households, so that they all don't discharge into the system at peak periods. Forster-Knight said: “The issue is that residents like to keep their rainwater tanks full. If they are empty and you get a storm, that buffers it okay. However, if another storm comes through the next day, you get still that huge run off and the system can't handle it. “We thought there must be a smarter way. So we’ve put devices on every house now that measures the level of the tank. They talk to each other in real time, and also back to our central system. Once they get the prediction of the weather, they work themselves out so that they’ll each discharge their flow before the storm hits.” Every house is mapped for its roof size, and it’s a self-learning system. Every time it rains, the algorithm learns what happens to its tank profile, but the end-result is a smoother discharge into the storm water system. This system has big benefits for suburbs that have constrained areas of storm water, where the houses are so dense that normally there's not much that can be done. Typically every time it rains, their streets flood. As part of the system, SEW developed a smartphone app for to give them visibility as to when it’s going to discharge, allowing them to do their own planning around it. Low Power Wide Area Networks Over the last 10 years, SEW’s battery powered smart devices were largely based on cellular communications. However, to move from thousands of devices to millions, Forster-Knight said SEW needs a low power wide area network. The issue is that cellular communications based devices still draw too much power compared to those operating on a LPWAN. A couple of years ago, South East Water went to market, for a LPWAN and got responses from around the globe. It shortlisted some technologies and did extensive trials. “All the technologies largely did what they said on the box, but the business models didn’t add up. The issue was that the ecosystems weren't there. We required an open system, with everything interoperable and secure. Really, we wanted the full wish list – battery mesh technology, long range systems and the like, but we would have had to compromise because at the time the technology wasn't there. So we halted the project because we knew we wouldn't reach our vision for an IoT network.” Forster-Knight said. “However, in the last two years, a lot has changed, and it's going to continue to change. I think with the technologies that are emerging now, we will be able to get to the 10 to 15 years battery life that we need for our next phase of devices.” SEW is focusing their current investigations on NarrowBand IoT and LORAWan technology, with trials of both. Forster-Knight claimed they were among the most extensive trials in Australia and probably the world, for NB-IoT especially. What makes these system attractive is their subscription based approach, where the network will be there, making it plug and play. Forster-Knight said their ecosystems are already growing, and they “should be huge” in the next couple of years, providing a degree of future proofing and driving the cost down. NB-IoT is a licenced spectrum, so you get quality of service and a robust communications network. The LORAWan technology is currently in ISM free spectrum, but is a strong contender according to Forster-Knight. Trialling process The trialling process begins with the Telcos providing SEW with desktop RF models, based on terrain of Google Earth and others data sources. This allows predictions to be made. The next step is to conduct extent testing, with crews in the field driving and walking the streets to recalibrate those extents. The green area is the prediction of the extent of LPWAN coverage, which needs to be confirmed and calibrated. Within those areas of coverage, SEW is conducting extensive testing in the order of 50 to 100 test cases a day, covering every scenario, such as water meters, manhole sensors, fire hydrant sensors, near power stations, bodies of water, basements and even buried. We will be deploying between 700,000 and 800,000 devices just for our digital water meters and we have many more applications we want to do like those discussed so far. There should be over a million devices on this network. Our network will ultimately be an integration of our existing SCADA system with high-speed gateways on critical infrastructure integrated with the LPWAN for the non-critical stuff. Everything battery powered will migrate to the LPWAN network because the modules are going to be cheaper and the battery life is going to be longer. For any new capabilities, we will aim to leverage the same network. Operational management To manage all the data coming from the network, SEW built a network operations centre (NOC) at its new offices. This allows visualisation and control of all the devices in this case study in addition to CCTV and traditional SCADA. Engineers working in SEW’s Network Operations Centre. The NOC includes a six panel display for detailed data and a large screen for situational awareness. We have real time rotating networks through our sewer and water stations. All data analytics is done in this network operation centre. We have communications topology alerts, alarms, and health status as well as a rover system that interconnects all of the different corporate systems and will autonomously drill down as something happens in the network. “For example, if we have somebody open a door on an asset on the middle of the Peninsula, that will automatically drill down and it’ll tell you what vehicles are nearby, what jobs have been logged, any trends from the SCADA system,” Forster-Knight said. “It's a situational awareness tool that continually rotates throughout the day, and just gives that heads up to our operators so that nothing's ever missed. “As the IoT network rolls out the NOC Centre will really come into its own and the operations will really change and allow us to focus more on our core business of wastewater management.” Questions and Answers All questions from webinar participants All answers by Andrew Forster-Knight, Group Manager Intelligent Systems, South East Water Question: “What is the typical battery life?” Answer: That depends on the application. For something simple like an overflow switch that talks via exception and reports in as health check you’ll you get ten years out of the primary lithium cells. For metering devices the target life is 15 years with daily transmission and a payload of approximately 100 bytes. For more advanced stuff like water quality and flow measurement, we typically get between three and five years battery life and that's a battery change onsite. We have a couple of patents in this area. One is for a low powered MEMS based sensor where battery life is absolutely fundamental, so the entire design is built around a micro controller that can run on an ultra-low current but is powerful enough to run any algorithms needed and still do all the communication. The device is called a Blockaid which includes an ultrasonic device with MEMs based gas sensors in it and includes some advanced algorithms optimised for running on a battery powered device. Question: What other patents do you have? Answer: One of the other patents that I’m involved with is a product called the OneBox, which is essentially a telemetry system, but it’s only using embedded electronics and has an algorithm. Again, the algorithms running on it integrate with our cloud based systems to optimise those peak flows and smooth them out of the network. They're largely the two main ones that have been involved with, so everything from the core design through to user interfaces, and all-encompassing in the patents. Question: Is it your intention to market those products over water utilities? Answer: Yes. South East Water has a commercial arm called IOTA (http://www.iota.net.au/). Their mandate is to pick innovations out of South East Water, commercialise them and productize them and then take them outside of Victorian and outside of Australia which they have been doing. In Victoria, it's generally a shared system, so any of our innovations we will effectively give to any other Victorian Water Authority. We’re all owned by the same stakeholder being the Victorian government, but outside of that there’s a commercial offering through our partners. Question: How are you securing your system? Are you concerned about network breaches?” Answer: Yes, security is in the forefront of everyone's mind here. With the networks we've got now, it's all cellular based but it’s all private network. We've got fibre into our buildings from the large Telcos so nothing goes over the public internet. Our protocols are encrypted where we we’re doing command and control. We've got some security from that aspect. Then there's the obviously physical security and everything else where the way we try and protect against that is for our remote assets is all about cameras, access control, and electronic keys. From there all the way through to our back end systems. We’ve got security in place. We’re not saying that we’ve absolutely mastered that because I'm sure we haven't, but we're pretty comfortable in what we've got. It would take a huge effort for somebody to penetrate that network, and we do periodic penetration testing. For somebody sitting outside of our network and trying to wirelessly get in would be very difficult. Question: How much data are you sending per day from a typical monitoring station?” Answer: For devices where we want to get the 10 to 15 years battery life, we won’t be doing any more than 100 bytes a day, so really small packets on that low power Wide Area Network. For our traditional SCADA systems, where telemetry data is quite small, it would probably be around two to five kilobytes a day of real time data. Because we're using them as gateways for cameras and other such devices, we get up to a couple of megabytes a day, and in some cases many megabytes depending on the activity the camera side. We've got over 9,500 M2M, SIM-card based connections. We use a platform called Jasper where you can optimise the profiles of all the SIM cards to share the costs across them, so whether it's a camera system, a laptop, or a telemetry device, we smooth them out. Roughly speaking we pay under $3 a month per device across that entire network. Question: Do you use edge computing concepts to minimise data transfer? Answer: It's not something we've done a heap of, but there’s a really big use case coming up for that it which is the disaggregation of flow data. That's done in the electricity AMI network now. They’re doing that where they can desegregate your data to say that your electricity is getting used on your washing machine, your fridge, etc by pulling it apart and doing pattern recognition. On the electricity side they've got the benefit of having everything powered, so they can get that ten second data grabs or even more frequently back through their IP backhaul. For us that's going to be done with battery devices. We can't send that amount of data, so we do have to do that with edge computing. For example water meters will have to process that data themselves. So they have to be super-efficient in order to do that and being able to send out summaries of that. This is a future thing. It's probably a few years away or a year, but our thinking is that the meters will do all of the processing as sufficiently as possible for a battery device, and send summaries of the disaggregation. That's definitely something in our thinking right now. Question: Is there any size limitation on the battery packs for actuated valves?” Answer: There's not. We get what the vendor provides at the moment, which is a briefcase size pack of regulated lithium batteries that are rechargeable. There probably isn't a limit to the size, but I think practicality it has to come into it. The bigger that battery pack, the more real estate, and the bigger the pit potential you have to dig and bury et cetera. But for our thinking getting two years out of a rechargeable battery pack, and being able to actuate a valve in real time is probably a good sweet spot for us. There has been some talk about building photovoltaic cells into the manhole covers, to trickle charge those batteries. We’re weighing up the investment to do that versus sending someone out for a 20 minute change over every couple of years, so it's a balancing act. Question: There has been news reports of lithium batteries blowing up in cell phones. Is there any concerns about that kind of thing happening in these battery powered devices? Answer: For all of the stuff we do I the sewer network we actually lithium batteries that are intrinsically safe, certified. We have to be really careful about that because the gas build up in the sewer network could be explosive potentially. We pick the batteries that are designed to get that ATEX certification and they're generally pretty safe. Question: With so many sensors in the field, how do you prevent nuisance alarms from flooding the operator with alarms and notifications? Answer: That's something that can really kill a project or an initiative if you are flooding and spamming them with alarms. It’s about careful control and commissioning I guess of these devices. We discuss with the operations teams the threshold and alarm limits that are agreed on. With that said, all our devices are generally two way communications, so that if there are thresholds causing nuisance alarms, we can quickly reconfigure them. It's not a huge issue for us because our analytics show high frequency of alarms and we can get onto them pretty quickly. Question: Do you have a ballpark cost for a valve actuator?” Answer: It's around probably AU$15,000 by the time you install it, with road work and an excavator. The equipment itself is probably in the order of $10,000. It's a small start-up building these devices and they don't have a huge scale, but we think that will come over time. We're helping them to innovate and make them smaller and cheaper, but even at that price, they probably a fifth of the cost to do it the traditional way, which is building an actual chamber, and then having power from the grid power to do all that stuff. To us it's a no brainer to get the battery one. Question: Can you please explain how you work with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in sourcing their data, and do you provide them with your data as well? Answer: We work pretty closely with the BOM head office here in Melbourne, as well as the other third parties weather date providers such as Weatherzone. We wrap all the data up at the integration layer in some REST APIs . Question: Who pays for the pressure sewer stations at the customer’s house, and who is responsible for maintaining parts? Answer: Some people that have been on backlog scheme for many years where they get this technology available get that device for free. Others that want to connect early pay a token contribution fee and that’s largely where the growth is coming from. SEW effectively maintains and operates every single pump, on behalf of the customer, so the customer doesn't touch the device. For the really high value properties down, especially down the peninsula, you can’t subdivide if you've got a septic tank. But if you put a pressure sewer pump in, where you can choose the location of it, all of a sudden they can open up their land. Questions: Apart from power, what are the other advantages of LPWAN. Answer: With traditional cellular like 3G or 4G, anything underground you may get a signal or you may not, and so there's a lot of use of external aerials etc. When you go to low power Wide Area that’s using NarrowBand technology, so a really small slice of the spectrum. With that you get a better penetration, so for example in the case of NarrowBand IoT, it's a 20 dB gain on existing GPRS technology. If you can imagine wherever you get a phone signal now and where it just drops out, in the case of NarrowBand IoT it's another 20 dB further penetration than that, which typically works at about seven times the distance. If you can imagine that all of a sudden this penetration is much better than what your current cellular technology is. With LPWAN, we can go further to those hard to reach places, like water meters under manhole covers etc. Also there are a lot of cellular black spots right now, which under the low power wide area will line up and be available. Question: What type of algorithms are you using? Is it a genetic algorithm, or another such as the fuzzy logic control? What are using for sewer pumping stations level control? Answer: We do machine learning and we use the Microsoft Azure platform for a few things, but that's largely around water and network link detection. For the sewer algorithm they're probably not that advanced. They’re typically reverse engineering flow curves, and putting polynomials around that so that we can, within the realms of an RTU or a small control app, apply basic controls to adjust the pumps to where they need to be. Question: Surely having a 3G SIM on 4000 plus tanks is cost prohibitive and uncompetitive. Answer: You've got to weigh up what you call uncompetitive in terms of costs. Six or seven years ago the proposed approached was to sewer the entire Peninsula using traditional gravity means and it was going to cost around $500 million to do it. You have no guarantee that somebody is going to connect in, with massive pipes, deep trenching, property and road description. With pressure sewer that all goes away. We delivered it for about $250 million just by the change of technology and deferred major capital investment. Also, the benefits from the ability to monitor each house in real time is pretty insignificant. The SIM costs are about a couple of dollars a month per device but we get much more value back in the return on investment through the data and control we get. Question: Can you please advise a typical cost per point for connection that you are looking at to achieve for the system? Have you done any cost benefit analysis? How do you justify the investment? Answer: There's some prices in the market for LPWAN technologies already through Sigfox and LoRA. My personal view, looking at the business cases I need to mount, is that LPWAN connection fees need to be no more than about $5 per end point per year, which is a fairly substantial reduction versus the current cellular costs of about $36. Cost benefit analysis is done on a case by case basis and takes into account the risks. For example, with single sewer spill, we could be up for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and insurance and EPI, etc. In addition, we get the benefit of securing our network. With the case of the IoT network and the million devices, we will absolutely be giving a robust business case that will have to stand up to scrutiny by government and others. It will be challenged and pulled apart, so for every aspect of this network, the feasibility of it will be really rigorous. Question: Has it been considered that you implement solar panels into the existing networks to maintain the battery charge?” Answer: Yes, we're working with a couple of R&D companies because we would like them integrated into covers etc to prevent theft. Nothing really exists off the shelf so we have to do the R&D. The question for us is how much do we spend in terms of design and R&D and potential maintenance of these cells versus putting a rechargeable battery in there and getting out there every couple years to replace it. Question: Is there a back up to the 3G network applications you had.” Answer: We actually run dual SIM, so we use multiple carriers both with private networks, fired back into our main data centres and also our disaster recovery site. If one of the Telcos or the signal is down for whatever reason the system will automatically switch to a completely independent carrier, and the signal will come through that way, so that's how we handle the redundancy. It's a good question, because a lot of our critical assets are on that. Some of them we do have fibre too, but largely speaking it's much more efficient and easy for us to put a 4G dual SIM router, and have two independent carriers to do the back up. Question: Do you foresee any customer behaviour change programmes to help even out water services demand as is done for electricity demand in the electricity industry. Answer: That gets talked about very often here but I don't see it happening in the immediate future. At the moment we don’t have time of use and the only way we're really going to get there is to have a digital metering network to get that data. You can change behaviour a bit in terms of how much people are using, but when as to when people are going to have a shower, or use water, some people see it philosophically a little bit different. However, if we did that we would get a lot of value. A lot of our assets are over designed. If we could actually reduce demand and have it consistently reduced, we could downsize or defer augmentation. There’s a really big value in it and we're looking at it. Question: When you mention the reduction in pumping sizes and smoothing out of pumping load, have there been any other initiatives that have been aimed specifically at energy savings? Answer: We actually integrate directly with the Australian Energy Market Operator. We've got pool pricing, where we follow the price of the market and we actually shed when the price goes high by turning off operations at treatment plant or run off diesel generators. That actually saves us a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in electricity. We also do a heap of off peak pumping demand forecasting to take pumps out of the peak time. Lots of little initiatives like that. Question: Has any residential smart water metering been rolled out in the network, and if so which technology? Answer: There's been a lot of trials is Australia and it’s a big focus in California. With the drought there’s arguments to say that if we had digital meters we potentially could have deferred Desalination because the efficiencies wouldn’t be that great. Around the world others have picked a technology and run with it, so they're largely AMR or AMI based systems using proprietary technology. We want IOT technology with open standards and that is only starting to happen now. There has been some announcements based on LoRA and also around SigFox which is in the proprietary bucket but with a big ecosystem. The Victorian Authority has done trials with different tech, and now I guess we're all looking for one that's going to stand up to a robust business case and deliver the customer value. Question: How does this of subscription system for Telecom assets works. Answer: For the current cellular system we use for M2M, that's a monthly fee based on the amount of data. I think there will be a similar process for the low power wide area networks. I think they will still have a tiered system where if you go over certain bytes or kilobytes you transfer into a different system, but largely speaking I expect that to be a fixed fee per year to get the data delivered to your door. Question: Do any of the Australian mobile carriers support LORAWAN network? Answer: No, not to my knowledge, but there’s quite a few emerging companies that are going to become telecommunication providers for LORAWan, so in their own rights there will be Telcos providing an IoT network. Question: Do you have any issues with penetration of water into the devices? Answer: It's a huge issue that we identified very early on. So we use IP 68 ratings, actually certifying to that and are potting electronics. That’s pretty much a standard now for any battery device we put out in the field. Question: This technology seems like it can be used in conjunction with Telstra Air. Would it be possible for Telstra to upgrade the SIM cards and allow them to also meet hotspots at Telstra Air network?” Answer: Yes, that’s effectively what it is. In the case of NarrowBand IoT the Telcos will literally be reusing the same towers. In a lot of cases it'll be a software upgrade to their cell tower and they’ll automatically be enabled for NarrowBand IoT. It will be a very minimal change for the Telcos and because it's licenced, the Telstra Air stuff is obviously Wi-Fi, this is a NarrowBand technology will work for the little devices sending small bytes of data, but yeah it's going to be an easy upgrade process for the Telcos.
  2. 2 points
    Introduction: Data Analytics has traditionally been associated with the processes involved in using data to inform decision making. It builds on the underpinning principles of data management that are required to build any kind of IT system, including the integration of IoT operational and back-end business systems. In the context of IoT, Data analytics encompasses many approaches including big data, in-memory computing, cloud computing, NoSQL databases, data integration, and interactive analytics, as shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Jorge Lizama. GHD Historically, data analytics took the form of Decision / Executive Support Systems starting in the 1970s, then evolving into Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), Business Intelligence (BI) in the 1990s. It is common to think of data analytics in terms of the volume, velocity, and variety of the data. Volume refers to the quantity of data, velocity to the speed at which the data is generated, and variety to the different types of data. Over the past few years, two new Vs, value and veracity have been introduced. Veracity refers to the quality of the data, and value refers to the benefit that the organisations can gain from the volume and variety of data that is being delivered with great velocity, if they are able to depend on its veracity. Diagram courtesy of Arthur Baoustanos, aib Consulting Services The current approach to managing data collected from IoT devices is to sense/observe the data, move it into the cloud, process and analyse it there, visualise it for decision making purposes, then either store or discard it partially/completely. In recent times the exponential growth of data has created situations where "traditional" analytical methods are not viable and the term big data analytics is being used to describe new analytical techniques developed to cope with these situations. Big data analytics is often associated IoT because many IoT applications involve large numbers of sensors generating large volumes of data. Also, many IoT applications involve the integration of a large variety of data formats such as weather data, machine vision and the like. A key challenge of IoT systems that generate or integrate a lot of data is how to make sense of it and how best to make use of it. This is driving the uptake of cognitive computing systems that assist analysts in determining insights and drive outcomes not possible with traditional analysis. Planning for data analytics The critical questions that organisations will need to answer when embarking on the journey to advanced data analytics are: Where does the organisation want to go (goals)? How will we get there? What do we need to get there? Will our current structure allows us to get there? What changes do I need to make to get us there? It is important to start with the business objective: define critical business issues and decide where value will be derived. Then evaluate which data is required to assess the identified issues and determine any gaps in relevant data. Be as specific as possible about what decisions the company will make based on that information. Departments and divisions within the organisation should collaborate to understand exactly what information is required to address common business goals. Data could also be purchased from outside sources to complement internal data collection. The role of data analytics in IoT A non-exhaustive list of advanced data analytic applications within IOT applications is listed below. The majority of the applications listed revolve around the broad categories of asset management, planning, and performance management. The IOT has helped businesses to address these applications in a more holistic manner than was previously possible. Predictive maintenance Energy usage optimisation Downtime minimisation Network performance management Device performance effectiveness Load balancing optimisation Loss prevention Capacity planning Asset management Demand forecasting Inventory tracking Pricing optimisation Disaster planning and recovery Yield management Sources: The information on this page has been sourced primarily from the following: Webinar titled The data management perspective on IoT by Arthur Baoustanos, Managing Director, aib Consulting Services Case Study titled Studying movement behaviour in a building: A case study of obtaining analytics from IoT Data
  3. 2 points
    16-May-17 is good for me if I can be of assistance. Will be a big month for IoT in Newcastle with a highly anticipated IoT Pioneers Meetup early May and the inaugural Hunter Innovation Festival IoT Workshop late May.
  4. 2 points
    Good points. The power, as it so often does, comes from combining data sources. Tyre pressure with fuel consumption by route - what is optimal? Tyre temperature with pressure, ambient temperature, vehicle speed and driver identity - who's smoking the tyres? Shock events, location on vehicle and vehicle position, aggregated over many vehicles - pothole detector! But Jason's point is a good one - sometimes you just need to start instrumenting and discover the insights later. I'll give you a recent example - the instrumented pneumatic tube vehicle counters we developed for our Smart Parking system report on various parameters that aren't critical to the core product. One started to fail recently in a way we hadn't seen before. Turns out one of the tubes had lost its springiness. But thanks to our collected data, we now have a unique data signature that alerts us to a pending "springiness" failure! We can even see the clear progression from healthy to point of failure, and combined with traffic counts and ambient temperature records, we can predict time to failure. That's really quite powerful, yet we never imagined it when we were designing it. Last thought... how do they measure vertical load from within the tyre? Maybe it's based on internal tyre height at the bottom of the tyre vs at the top to get a measure of deformation, combined with the tyre pressure to get total load on the rubber? I can't see that being particularly accurate!
  5. 2 points
    Contact information for WPLAN systems and operators in Australia: Ingenu http://www.ingenu.com/ http://www.iotoz.com.au/ LoRa https://www.lora-alliance.org/ http://meshed.com.au/ https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/ http://www.nnnco.com.au/ NB-IoT http://www.3gpp.org/http://www.3gpp.org/news-events/3gpp-news/1785-nb_iot_complete SIGFOX https://www.sigfox.com/ http://www.thinxtra.com/ Taggle http://www.taggle.com.au/
  6. 2 points
    IMHO... IOT is a user of technologies rather than a being a technology itself so there is no single set of standards governing IOT. Device developers choose technologies based on the constraints they operate under. There are two broad categories of standards in which to make choices: network access (comprising the physical and data-link layers) and application protocol. A lot of standards that have been mentioned previously have to do with network access (Bluetooth, Zigbee, wifi, etc). These standards can be used by IOT but were not designed specifically for IOT. At the application layer, there are some protocols that could come to dominate the field - whether that will be MQTT, REST API, or something else is yet to be seen. I don't see that any standards org is going to come out and dictate that IOT must use this or that particular access method. A comparable analogy would be that no one dictates to you how you access the Internet - you may have ADSL, cable, mobile broadband, or some other means. However, once you are connected, if you want to browse the web, you must have a client that speaks HTTP at the application layer. Standardisation of the application layer would make IOT devices more inter-operable, and should enable a company that runs an IOT network to move from one service provider to another.
  7. 2 points
    Please contribute to this thread by adding information about government and other support and collaboration opportunities available to startups and other developers in the IoT space. Below is a start on this. Australian Govt Support R&D tax incentive https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/research-and-development-tax-incentive Commercialisation support https://www.business.gov.au/assistance The Industry Growth Centres http://www.industry.gov.au/industry/Industry-Growth-Centres/Pages/default.aspx IoT Alliance - Collaboration http://www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents/Publications-by-Topic/IoT http://www.iot.org.au/ http://www.iot.org.au/workstreams/ Workstream 6 is on IoT Innovation
  8. 2 points
    Following are some Ideas for community outputs gleaned from our initial survey and research. The text in brackets are my interpretation of what the output could look like. Please comment below on what other things you might like. Explanatory guides/webinars An overview of the basic framework. e.g. What happens after the front end data is collected. [An overall framework of IOT, spelled out in basic technical detail, i.e. the Body of Knowledge Framework] Reference guide to common acronyms. [Glossary with simply English explanations, part of wiki?] IOT for other engineers [A plain English version assuming no ICT knowledge whatsoever] Commercial guidance - what are current models and why aren't they suitable for the new technologies. + How others justify investment towards IOT technologies and what is happening in Australia [1)How to build a business case, and 2) How to select the right technology set] Guide to IoT standards and protocols Examples/Case studies of applications [1) to spark imagination of what is possible, and 2) Demystifies IOT] Expert forums where i can get in touch with people involved in IOT rollouts [Links to more specialist forums?] Industry/discipline specific application guides (electrical dist x2, power generation x2, asset mgt, mining,civil, geotechnical, mechanical [What would this look like? What is different between industries?] Guide to relevant grants supporting innovation using IOT Advanced tools Risk assessment methodologies needed when complex technologies are integrated. [Risk engineering guide for IOT] How IOT can be secure and be accessible for public development [Guide to security issues] Rasperry Pi or Arduino interfacing to environmental monitoring sensors and ("conventional") control systems, and expanding from there. [??] IOT Testing Lab for engineers to play and test solutions Product technology selection “IoT is so varied it can be daunting finding the right thing (product or service).” + “Access to high level but also detailed information about current technologies, products and challenges. Low priced self data analytics [Guides to specific segments of the IOT framework] Guides on wireless/satellite communications and power consumption. A directory of product / service providers. [Integrated guide, showing how providers focus on different parts of the IOT framework and different industries] new product/innovation newsletter Other STEM outreach guides i.e. IOT for high school students IOT challenge for engineering students Please comment below with additional suggestions.
  9. 2 points
    As far as buzzwords go, the Internet of Things (IOT) is breaking all records. Topping the Gartner Hype Curve for the last two years running, it has been described as THE defining technological trend of the next decade. The hype is around the projections that IOT technology will impact the vast majority of business processes in virtually every industry, effectively transforming the Internet and our economy as we know it. The message is clear for engineers starting their career – you need to know about this important technology if you want to have a full spectrum of skills that are attractive to employers of the future. IOT refers to the integration of physical objects with a range of communication technologies, enabling them to be monitored and/or controlled remotely over the internet. You can learn more about the technology in our Introduction to IOT, but a key message is that the opportunity is greatest for those prepared to understand how IOT can deliver innovation and provide leadership in building the business case for change in their field and in their organisations. To support our members, Engineers Australia is launching an online Community of Practice on 5 July 2016, called the Applied IOT Engineering Community. It’s a new and completely free service to student and graduate members, championed by the Information Technology and Electronics College of Engineers Australia. A key point of difference is that the community will primarily be online, allowing you to participate from your own desk or mobile device. This means regional members and those too busy to make face to face meetings can participate fully. Over the course of the next year we will have 48 webinars on the subject of IOT. If you participate in all of these and other community activities, it’s like getting a new qualification completely free. The first four webinars complement each other to provide a comprehensive overview, so we encourage you to sign up for those as a minimum. In addition, the community is supported by an online community platform with a calendar of events, discussion forum, member blogs, social media functions, a wiki and document library. The more ambitious young engineers will be actively participating in online discussion and using the social media function of the platform to blog their ideas about how to apply IOT in their field. This will help you build your thought leadership reputation and enhance career opportunities through building a following. A specific opportunity for recent graduates is to take up an official volunteer role to help run the community and manage the website. This is a great option for graduates seeking to network for job opportunities and add a current role to their resume. For further information, contact the community facilitator Tim Kannegieter, on <iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au>.
  10. 2 points
    Hi Geoff Three of us at MEA listened to your inaugural talk this morning on the IoT and thoroughly enjoyed it. You handled question time with panache and told us a few things we didn't know (SigFox - whatever that is - heading the list...) You also mentioned that folks likely to field a 'top-to-bottom' solution for an IoT application were still in the future, and likely to need a team of about 20 good folks to pull it off. Even counting our sales, marketing and administration folk - plus external industrial design and manufacturing support - brings us no-where near that number of staff. Yet we have built and are operating over a thousand on-farm IoT nodes across Australia, moving soil moisture and climate data to the cloud (our 'Green Brain' web app) with data available 'any time, anywhere' on an irrigator's mobile. But your point is valid - the IoT is a multi-disciplinary field requiring a very broad approach to engineering, product development and customer support. To end on a lighter note, one of our engineers found this IoT quote somewhere on-line: - “IoT is like teenage sex: Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it too.” Andrew (at MEA in Adelaide)
  11. 2 points
    Hi Andrew, the topic you raise is spot on, and is a core item I will address in my webinar on 5th July. The IoT when considered top-to-bottom - ie from the Cloud down to deloyed Things - encompasses just about every facet of ICT, software engineering and and electronics engineering. There are at least a dozen technology elements, each of which has a steep learing curve. And add to that the required knowledge of the system where IoT is to be applied. That said, many aspects of IoT technology are not new - just used in and integrated manner, often by engineers who are expert in the field where they wish to use IoT, but not in the actual IoT technologies themselves. One of the primary drivers for forming this community was the need to provide a means for those involved in IoT - both technology providers and technology adopters - to come together to help build critical mass.
  12. 2 points
    New community site is online!
  13. 1 point
    Some good points made there. Probably won't surprise any engineers to find that not all screwdrivers fit all screws. But yes, in the hype-driven business decision making world we live in, there are many examples of trying to use a screwdriver to hammer a nail. I'd go as far as to say the challenge is not to "figure out ways around these problems", because that assumes the fallacy that, for example, "edge" computing is a novel invention from the cloud era. In reality, processing has always been done at the edge, and cloud computing paradigms simply mean we need a term to describe the adoption of legacy paradigms. I'd prefer to frame the challenge as doing our due diligence on the applicability of new tools. If cloud does not provide net benefit, then the solution is not to adopt it. In reality, there are likely to be aspects that can benefit from new technology, and so the challenge is to astutely adopt aspects of new technology that provide net benefit. I get a little tired of the one-size fits all hype, that then hyper-hypes accommodations that are simply existing techniques wrapped up in new lingo. You see this a lot, for example, in web development frameworks. Every few years all the problems are re-solved, only to reveal a different set of issues that had already been solved.
  14. 1 point
    Nice video of the difference between point-to-point and mesh-networked radios; thanks for posting.
  15. 1 point
    Fascinating. Quite an achievement. This is certainly a promising way to get started building a blockchain based application. Time will tell how effective it is in practice - currently the user base is heavily dominated by those with a vested interest in giving it the thumbs up! I'm encouraged by their approach to scalability and confidentiality. These are well known problems in the blockchain that underpins Bitcoin and to some extent Ethereum. Sounds like they've taken a few pages out of the Monero playbook, which I personally think is likely to be the cryptocurrency of choice for discerning traders! IOTA seems to have similar goals, though has a different approach to the challenges. To me Fabric feels a bit more professional/cohesive/supported but the proof will be in the pudding. In either case, the applicability to IoT is, like most things hanging off the IoT bandwagon, tangential at best. Like any distributed ledger technology, anything that requires a trustworthy exchange of value could potentially benefit. The bog-standard application is financial transactions, but it's not hard to think of more IoT related applications: trading electricity micro generation and consumption; data consumption by device; pay-by-the-listen music; insurance adjustments based on location/activity/etc. But it's those pesky implementation details that will really bring to life just what problems this solution solves. I'd love to have a (paid!) project to put this stuff to work on, but alas, I await for vicarious outcomes!
  16. 1 point
    I suspect you forgot to hit submit! Certainly I have not deleted any posts to date.
  17. 1 point
    Did my post get deleted or did I forget to hit the submit button? Teksmobile, Hussain Fakhruddin and Romit Kumar are very prolific on LinkedIn on this topic, and I don't think they're doing the industry a favour. Their articles are misleading, confusing and full of errors. This is another example. I'm sick of charlatans confusing the public and making the job of the practitioners even harder. Dealing with a confused public that doesn't know who to trust makes it hard to make progress. Thus, I was motivated to reply. Here it is:
  18. 1 point
    Hello, I have performed this presentation a few times before and I thought I would share it with the online communities. I will be talking about managing uncertainty and internet of things systems with machine vision as the example. Leave any comments, suggestions and subscribe to follow the series. Link: https://youtu.be/etrZdyP0BYM
  19. 1 point
    South Australian company recognised at major international IoT Summit South Australian IoT company, Myriota, has been awarded Best Industrial IoT Start Up Company at the world’s largest IoT summit, held in Silicon Valley. Myriota was one of over 100 start up companies from around the globe, who pitched to a panel of Silicon Valley and International IoT experts at Internet of Things World 2017. Myriota has developed a low power, low cost, satellite IoT communications platform, making transmission of small data from remote locations economically viable for a whole new class of sensors and machines. See the full story here: http://myriota.com/myriota-wins-at-iot-summit/
  20. 1 point
    There was some discussion about defining maturity at the last meeting of IoTAA Work Stream 6 (Startups). While this example wasn't mentioned, there was a general acknowledgement that it's a difficult task. I'm pleased there also tends to be a general understanding that there is a chicken-and-egg challenge in that the IoT market is quite immature, so proudly claiming one's own maturity is misleading at best. I think you're getting at the same thing - until customers are informed enough to write confident purchase orders, any one claiming a level of maturity is just waving their peacock feathers. With so much still subject to debate, perhaps a framework with more quantifiable aspects might be attractive: dollars saved via the IoT; regions covered by LPWANs; density of things; hours of uptime; number of IoT startups; percentage of active participants in an IoT association. But you might be on to something - while there might be a heap of technical capability ready to come online, the IoT can't be considered mature unless people are actually paying for Smart Parking installations, or autonomous farming equipment, or Smart meters or whatever.
  21. 1 point
    The Dilemma of Data Ownership For more than three decades, MEA has built weather stations for wind, solar and agriculture applications within Australia. In the past decade, there has been a shift from private to public ownership, with many hundreds of MEA weather stations being deployed within networks across whole agricultural regions in southern Australia. These stations give farmers up-to-date access to local weather data via websites hosted by various Government or statuary authorities interested in water use efficiency in irrigated areas and among many other applications outside of agriculture. Here’s an example from Western Australia: - DAFWA weather station network Other small private weather networks have begun to be rolled out in the last few years by cashed up agricultural companies whose mission is not to build weather stations, but to sell ‘decision support’ to farmers. For this to work, they have to fund the installation and maintenance of these imported automatic weather stations, then sell their agronomic services and seed and fertiliser products to recoup that cost. This is a very different model to that of a manufacturer such as MEA. We simply sell the hardware and maintenance services. While MEA may host public websites and data processing for such weather station networks, we have no ethical right to siphon off the data and feed it to others, such as farmers using Plexus on-farm IoT soil moisture systems. So we find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma; we know that farmers could extract extra benefit from all this wide-area climate data that our own systems are generating. But we don’t own the data because our business model has always been to simply sell and support the hardware. Yet another dilemma to be resolved in a world where data has more valuable than engineered products…
  22. 1 point
    The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to deliver a tidal wave of data. It has been estimated that 25 gigabytes of data is generated by the average smart car every hour. This will be a major challenge for any operator of fleet of smart cars. In the future, it is conceivable that all cars will be generating this amount of data and there were roughly 18 million vehicles in Australia alone, in 2015. This is just one example in a myriad of potential applications of IoT. One project that is generating more data than almost any other in the world is the Square Kilometer Array. It's an international astronomy project currently being built in Australia and South Africa. High frequency radio telescopes are being installed in South Africa and low and medium frequency radio telescopes are being installed in west Australia. This will be a coordinated system of 3000 radio telescopes with a combined area of one square kilometer. The system is going to be operational by 2020 and the computer infrastructure to handle the amount of data that will be coming from that system does not yet exist. The square km array is expected to generate 30 petabytes of data a day. There is no cloud service that can currently accommodate 30 petabytes of data per day. You may have seen charts which show generation of data from the IoT and production of storage devices, and they're diverging quite significantly. The world is already generating much more data than we can afford to store. Another example of such a large data volumes is Large Hadron Collider, which generates 10 times less data, about three petabytes of data per day, but they can still cannot afford to store it and process offline because they don't have the luxury to store all that data. Sometimes physicists complain they could miss some important revolutionary discoveries simply because they can't afford to store the data. So the world is becoming familiar with dealing with data in terms of petabytes (1015) and spy agencies around the world are reportedly collected data in the realm of Yottabytes (1024). However, experts are now saying that the IoT will force us to think in terms of Brontobytes (1027). To compare, three exabytes (1018) is the amount of data contained in half a million of libraries of the size of US Library of Congress, which is considered the largest library in the world. These large projects and the IoT generally is driving a paradigm shift towards new architectures for data analytics. Source: A presentation by Arkady Zaslasky, Data 61, CSIRO in a presentation titled Harnessing the IoT Data Flood
  23. 1 point
    Hi Reuben When Sigfox (Anat) visited us in Adelaide last year she had with her a little Sigfox-enabled temperature measurement device that she used to demonstrate connectivity to the Thinkstra base station on top of a tall building in the CBD. Our factory is in the foothills, so the transmission path was in clear air across the Adelaide plains to a high point in the city. So my message is that a) Sigfox can probably help you with a transmitter that will allow you to scout the terrain and assure yourself that you will get the needed coverage. (We always did this before installing our Sigfox-like radio systems more than a decade ago. No transmission path, no sale) b) this only works if the Sigfox base stations are already in place, and c) you can't beat the physics; look up the meaning of the "Fresnell Zone" Regards Andrew
  24. 1 point
    Afterword What will be the fate of the early innovators in the IoT arena? Are they a doomed species, to be pushed into oblivion when the big money turns its attention to grabbing market share and blowing away or gobbling up all the small fry who have been trying to create differentiated toe-holds as markets mature? This is a question that bites pretty close to home for MEA. MEA is a 5-year old start-up with 33 years of experience. Any company with some sort of longevity is by definition one that has re-invented itself again and again over the course of its history - markets and technologies pop in and out of existence like quantum particles, and good companies ride the growth of these waves and slip across to new waves as they collapse. What is clear – after a five-year effort to invent and stabilise Plexus Mark I as our latest on-farm IoT offering – is the need to do it all over again, simply because technology has moved rapidly onwards and we can drive down costs and increase performance by updating our technology. So here we are – down at the bottom of the world – and leading many other international agricultural IoT players by a full generation. That’s an edge we will lose if we don’t keep moving and advancing. To be a market leader, we will have to export Plexus beyond Australia’s shores. That will require a whole new generation of ‘smarts’ to make the technology simple and seamless. The MEA Law of Exponential Aggravation (known to a previous generation as ‘the Tyranny of Distance’) will see to that. So, stepping up to become an exporter will be a really tough call for our engineering, marketing, management and service folk. We’ll need all of our combined years of experience to carry that off… and a bunch of new investment. Can we do it? I’ve no answer to that; the future in a small business always seems perilous, but we’ve survived and gained a solid reputation. What I haven’t mentioned in this series of IoT essays is the over-arching need for sound company management. And that’s not me; I’m a starter, not a runner. Inventive folk such as myself are highly trained to jump sideways, circumventing problems with new off-the-wall solutions. This makes for a chaotic management style; all my moves appear to originate in left-field. MEA is a partnership, and my business partner is the solid methodical detail guy who runs our management and marketing and financial and strategic departments, while I have been allowed to focus on the engineering I love. Yet he and I will both reach retirement age in the next few years, and there’s a real need to re-invigorate the company with young people and fresh ideas. We can find those here on our doorstep. And my own fate? I’ve pretty-much lost interest in owning a company, but I find my hunger to develop new products burns more strongly with each passing year. I’d like to retire gracefully to the lab, to teach and to mentor young engineers, to learn new skills, and to create all those environmental sensors that fill my notebooks. I can be the Colonel Sanders on the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket, but I don’t need to fry all the chicken myself.
  25. 1 point
    Introduction Energy harvesting, also known as power scavenging, is the term used to describe methods for powering IoT devices from its local environment, rather than by mains power or primary batteries. The main sources of environmental power are photovoltaic, thermoelectric, kinetic, and radio frequency. These are complement by energy harvesting and power storage systems. A key misconception is that people equate power scavenging with perpetual life, that device will run forever. However, all systems have limitations. For example, a rechargeable cell powered by a solar panel will die after a period of time or a set number of cycles. So the intelligent design of energy harvesting systems is important, and this may or may not include a battery. Kinetic Kinetic energy harvesting systems are powered by physical motion. Available wherever thing are moving. Examples range from sources of micro-power, such as switches/buttons and watches/wearables through to larger sources such as wind and water. The micro-sources produce a small spike of energy that is just enough to send a small piece of information. The larger sources do not have to be traditional wind power or hydroelectric systems. From an IOT perspective, it is possible to create miniature devices that fit inside pipes to power a single device. It is possible to fit energy harvesting devices inside pipes with moving water to power an IOT device measuring the flow in remote locations. Thermoelectric Thermoelectric energy harvesting systems are powered by differences in temperature, usually between a source at a higher or lower temperature and the ambient environment. Thermoelectric sources are often available in industrial settings which often have, for example, cold or hot pipes. There are even products that can generate power from the difference between skin temperature and the surrounding air, to power a wearable device. Solar Solar, also known as optical energy, has been used for a long time has been used in many different applications because the power density that can be generated from a solar cell is reasonable significant for its size. The main challenge with optical energy is to model how big a solar panel, and associated power storage system, needs to be to make sure that an IoT system will function through natural variations in light levels and in the worst case scenario. Radio Frequencies RF energy harvesting system, and the closely related induction charging, can extract energy from radio waves, in the same way that old crystal set radios extracted enough energy from AM broadcasts to listen to them without a batter. However, this approach has the lowest efficiency of all the harvesting techniques because the amount of power that must be broadcast in order to get a tiny little bit of power exchange over even a small distance is huge. The most useful example of this technique is the use of passive RFID tags, which normally consist of a tiny chip and very thin antenna. As the RFID tag passes through a gate or scanner, there is a wireless power exchange that's very short range. The main reason RFID tags can be manufactured for few cents and last such a long time is because have no battery. Engineering challenges The main engineering challenge is knowing when it is appropriate to use energy harvesting. There are a small number of applications where energy harvesting just makes sense, such as switches and some solar cells on devices that are visited regularly. However, many people fall into the trap of including energy harvesting in their IoT design because they can, when it fact it might not make sense to use it. For example, a kinetically charged dog tracking collar is possible but a battery may much more cost effective. Possible applications where energy harvesting does make sense are: Unusual form factors –e,g, where you've got to get something really thin, woven into clothing etc. Massive deployment applications – e.g. where it's not commercially feasible to replace or recharge batteries. Inconvenient locations – e.g. places that are really difficult to get to. Power storage Power storage option range from batteries through super-capacitors to solid-state options. The main factors to consider are cycle life, before the component needs to be replaced, the rate at which it goes flat, the overall storage capacity and the length of time the charge is available to execute the IoT device’s function. A comparison of common power storage options. Diagram curtesy of Simon Blyth, LX Group. High density rechargeable battery technologies generally have a self-discharge problem and can be hard to charge up using the small sources of power available via some sources of energy harvesting. Super capacities obviously only hold their charge for a very short time but provide an alternative in the right contexts, particularly where the device is being charged/discharged frequently. Examples may be on rotating equipment etc. Energy harvesting chips Many manufacturers are now making chip-based solutions that make it easier to design an energy harvesting system into an IoT device. Comparison of a range of chip-based energy harvesting systems. Diagram curtesy of Simon Blyth, LX Group. Selection of the right energy harvesting chip would relate to the overall architecture and design of the IoT device. Technology companies Key suppliers of energy harvesting technologies include: Micropelt Laird PowerFilm IXYS Kinetron Volture WiTricity IDT Cota Powercast muRata Panasonic Maxwell Cymbet Infinite Power Solutions
  26. 1 point
    Engineers wishing to enter the field of IOT have a number learning curves they need to go up in order to become fully competent. The diagram lists general areas where learning curves must be tackled, with just a few examples are relevant to those particular areas in the right hand column. Table by Geoff Sizer, CEO, Genesys Electronics Design At the systems level, IOT involves quite complex systems, so we need to conceptualize, visualize and specify what those systems must be. A business case must be developed that make sense and convinces those controlling the purse strings that there's a benefit or money to be made. If accepted, we then need to implement it. Because of the cross-disciplinary skills required, for most parties, this will mean finding experts who can assist them in the process. User interfaces present their challenges in that you have to decide what platform, what the user interface will look like. What are the design approaches to reducing the complexity experienced by the user? Then of course we have the design skills required to implement user interfaces on platforms such as iOS and Android and mobile devices, and web browsers. A thick client is a client application running on the end platform that providers a higher level of capability than a simple web browser. In terms of cloud services, we need to select a platform, establish and then operate the services on that platform. The virtual servers running in the cloud typically are hosting the database and big data analytics are applied over this, feeding back into the user interface. In terms of connectivity, we have wide area networks and low-powered wide area networks emerging, and then local area networks and personal area networks. Collectively, these provide connectivity between the cloud services and user interfaces, and the databases, down to the deployed things. This is hierarchy is typical. LTE stands for long-term evolution of cellular data and cellular telephony. 3G, 4G, 5G, and emerging Narrowband IoT. There are also standalone systems separate from the telecommunications network, providing wide area connectivity for extremely low-power devices at low cost. e.g. Sigfox, LORA, Ingenu and Taggle. Local area networks and personal area networks, there are ones that people will be familiar with. Typically Bluetooth and perhaps USB and WiFi and Ethernet. Cable-based connection systems still play their part, so Ethernet, RS-485 and CAN bus, and wireless mesh networks. Zigbee, people may be familiar with, but the 6LoWPAN, which is an open source equivalent of that, providing meshed wireless connectivity down at the premises or deploy site level. Things are the devices themselves. Challenges exist in this area because a thing consists not only of the electronics and firmware to undertake the core function of the device, but also the elements required to provide connectivity. A developer in this space may be familiar with what he needs to do to control the device or interface with the system down at the deployed equipment level, but achieving connectivity back up the chain to the rest of the Internet of Things may be an additional challenge outside of a core skillset that then requires additional expertise. For student engineers and recent graduates, the Internet of Things will provide a rewarding career paths and there are plenty of opportunities for more experienced professionals. The slide below outlines career paths from the perspective of ICT, electronics and software professionals, and considers emerging and evolving technologies where new skill sets will have to proliferate through the engineering community. Table by Geoff Sizer, CEO, Genesys Electronics Design There are parallel skill sets to be learned, particularly how to apply the technologies at the system level in the systems that the engineers are developing and deploying. Also, how to interface with the service providers in the space, which is going to be a significant challenge and calls for a lot of collaboration. Sources: Presentation by Geoff Sizer, Chair of Engineers Australia’s ITEE College and CEO, Genesys Electronics Design titled How the Internet of Things will affect every engineer
  27. 1 point
    It's almost self-fulling. From my interactions with the world of big data of the last year I've noticed a willingness to sacrifice quality for quantity. It's almost as if instead of thinking about the value of the data at the record level, the approach now is to gloss over details like accuracy, relevance and valid representation. Just turn the firehose on and let the big machines with their magical AI sort it out. So now anyone trying to extract meaning from little data finds that there's nothing of value because the data is crap. Eventually you might get enough crap pilling up so that one pile of crap is a bit bigger than another pile of crap and eureka - the big data machine has found something! I like to temper my enthusiasm for this amazing big data device with the cautions of Cathy O'Neil:
  28. 1 point
    Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced AWS Greengrass, "software that lets you run local compute, messaging & data caching for connected devices in a secure way [snip], keep device data in sync, and communicate with other devices securely, [and] operate with intermittent connections, and minimize the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud. The aim of AWS Greengrass is to allow IOT devices to "act locally on the data they generate, while still using the cloud for management, analytics, and durable storage". The announcement is at https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2016/11/announcing-aws-greengrass-now-in-limited-preview/ and the product page is at: https://aws.amazon.com/greengrass/
  29. 1 point
  30. 1 point
    To Mesh or Not Mesh – that’s the question! The burgeoning technology base beneath the Internet-of-Things (IoT) offers a plethora of possible technologies for shifting data (in MEA’s case) from on-farm monitoring systems to users. One of the central questions facing product developers in this field is whether or not to operate using ‘meshing’ technology. Within a meshed radio network, you get all these smart IoT-enabled devices to help each other out by passing data along a self-healing mesh network to get better coverage and more reliable data delivery. According to a rough look at our competitors’ products, the choice made has largely been ‘not’ to form IoT sensor mesh networks. They have chosen instead to force each measurement node to find its way directly to the Cloud or a local PC. So what are the arguments either way? Sensor Mesh-Networks have a number of solid advantages for on-farm monitoring. They work well in complex terrain with multiple sites, especially if cellular coverage is poor and line-of-site radio doesn't work. Mesh networks can solve connectivity problems through the use of repeaters, and can fill in data gaps if farm operations require field stations to be down for any reason. Measurement siting can be optimised to the crop, rather than to the availability of radio connectivity. Mesh-network field stations can run at lower power levels than single-point cellular field stations, allowing more frequent data updates, useful if farmers are tracking irrigation or frost activity. Mesh networks allow optimal siting of a single hub on the property for cellular gateways, which is advantageous at the periphery of the cellular coverage areas. Only a single SIM card per farm is necessary, reducing on-going costs. Potential use of ZigBee end-point technology would allow wireless sensors from below canopy within crops, reducing mounting costs while simplifying obstruction issues. The disadvantages of mesh networks are the expense of the base station for small systems and the more complex installation procedures needed to bind stations to networks (‘installation mode’). Typically, these devices need to be above the crop for solar and radio access, necessitating more expensive mounting hardware in comparison to below-canopy systems such as cellular, and potentially hindering farm operations. Such networks are mostly based on 2.4 GHz technology – rather than the longer-range sub-GHz technologies - limiting the distance between ‘hops’ to about 1 km over flat country. Single-point monitoring sites – by comparison – are typically better suited to small systems of a few stations, or widely distributed systems. Because they have largely been based on cellular phone technology (prior to the arrival of Sigfox and similar technologies), they are allowed to transmit at higher radio-frequency power levels, allowing long distances between field stations and cell towers. These high power transmissions and cellular towers located on tall structures allow them to be located below the crop canopy out of harm’s way, while simultaneously reducing the cost of mounting hardware. Higher bandwidths associated with normal cell phones makes possible such heavy data payloads as images or high-density data. The disadvantage of single-point monitoring sites is that they typically operate from long-life non-rechargeable batteries because of poor solar access below crop canopies. This limits data upload and viewing rates to once per day. They cannot be contacted for most of the day, because they are powered down, so system testing is problematic (they need to pick up messages and then act on them when they wake and contact the remote server). They need a clear line between measurement sites and cellular towers, and are poor performers where cellular coverage is patchy or in hilly country. Power consumption is higher for cellular modems than for other radio technologies, reducing energy efficiencies. Radios located at ground level have reduced range. In summary The technology dilemma facing IoT product developers is being recognised by the silicon manufacturers who are responding by creating ‘dual technology’ systems for field stations, such as Bluetooth and more advanced versions of ‘ZigBee’-style technologies that can form mesh networks. Narrow-band cellular networks will also arrive within the next two years, allowing lower data rates over the far-reaching Telco networks, pushing cellular modems aside in single-point applications. Single-point networks such as Sigfox will continue to operate effectively in areas with a high-density of users and good base-station coverage, but will struggle in far-flung highly dispersed environments. A satellite system such as Myriota is the ‘disruptive technology’ in the mix if the engineers at Myriota can pull off. These are small low power low cost data points can be located anywhere. They require no base stations – those are already orbiting the earth.
  31. 1 point
    Hi Adam, Thanks for joining and commenting. It's always great to see people getting in to this space. We host year 10 students for work experience, and they are all over it. Bodes well for the future, but also a bit of a kick for more experienced guys to stay current. Re you questions. "In the short term, what would be a good place to start to learn how to get data from a Thing to a cloud?" Yes - and vice-versa. I would suggest AWS as the simplest entry to the cloud space, and then initially getting a feel for comms transport via some basic PC or mobile device app. There are many options for comms and transport. Choose one that has library support for your mobile device and AWS and use it. Better to know one REALLY well than 10 superficially. Don't forget the downlink - you'll want to be able to actuate you mobile device app from the cloud (presumably via a web GUI). You could make your own thing, or buy a thing, but a mobile device is a highly capable and transparent dev tool for things. That said, you may want to branch out to more things, say BLE-connected to your app, and then sub-squently available on the IoT. Again, at the local wireless network level, there are many options. Choose the ones that are best supported and learn them from end to end. BLE and WiFi are easy entry points. WiFi is possibly the simplest but is power hungry(er). Re Image gathering, and AR, certainly it is a hugely cool topic. It's not my particular area although we do do image recognition stuff & triggering of abstracted logic based on that. Yes the video is also more data and processing hungry. If you had a good data plan to play with you could upload to the cloud and process there if you thing was not up to the task. Check out https://artoolkit.org/. Cheers! Jon
  32. 1 point
    There are a few new market reports out on the state of the global IOT industry. 360 Market Updates is forecasting the IOT market to "grow at a CAGR of 35.97% during the period 2016-2020". I didn't purchase the report but the exec summary has an interesting list of the key vendors. More at: http://www.360marketupdates.com/global-internet-of-things-market-2016-2020-10290207 IDTechEx has an interesting discussion on the market. It says: "We do not repeat the mantra about tens of billions of nodes being deployed in only a few years. The many analysts sticking to such euphoria ignore the fact that, contrary to their expectation, very little IoT was deployed in 2016. They are "bubble pushing" with their forecasts, predicting ever steeper takeoff, now a physical impossibility. However, our ongoing global travel, interviews, conferences and research by our multi-lingual PhD level analysts located across the world does lead us to believe that a large market will eventually emerge." In particular, it argues that IOT "nodes" (being the devices themselves) are being rapidly comoditised and that "the money will lie in the systems, software and support." Read more at: http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/internet-of-things-iot-2017-2027-000499.asp
  33. 1 point
    This post describes the core processes of the community, as illustrated in the following flow chart. The core functions of each role are as follows: a. Community Leader: i. Hosts core member meetings and sends meeting invites ii. Takes minutes and copies to Community Agenda Forum iii. Approves all webinars and other events iv. Champions any special community projects and obtains any resources required to deliver them v. Ensures good variety of activities and coordination of all other roles vi. Backs up the other roles as required vii. Recruits and appoints new core members to roles as required. viii. Approves major changes to the wiki b. Body of Knowledge Manager: i. Responsible for Wiki structure ii. Evolves wiki page templates to best capture useful knowledge iii. Identifies gaps and requests the Webinars Program coordinator to find speakers on these topics iv. Works with volunteers to get webinar transcriptions into a good format for the wiki. v. Uploads final content into the wiki. vi. Identifies opportunities for practice notes and other special projects. c. Webinar Program Coordinator: i. Works with other core members to identify potential speakers ii. Makes initial contact and organises/confirms date, iiii. Updates webinar management list and ensures there is a speaker every week. iii. Sends speakers guidelines and assigns/confirms a volunteer host for each webinar iv. Updates the event calendar d. Community volunteers (x6) i. Works with assigned speakers to get webinars description and bio min two week prior to meeting ii. Hosts meetings (one per month) iii. Edits transcriptions ready for upload to wiki. iv. Leads Practice Note projects as required e. Forums facilitator i. Monitors Google Alerts and adds appropriate news items to Industry News Forum ii. Stimulates discussion threads on Engineering Forum (methods to be determined) iii. Ensures all posts are responded to by appropriate community members f. EA Liasion– EA staff member(s) i. Recruit/approve the community leader ii. Creates webinars in webinar system iii. Reminds Community volunteers of upcoming content deadlines for promotion of webinars. iv. Organises input of webinar descriptions into EA’s Event Alert system v. Organises transcriptions of webinars vi. Uploads webinar recordings to MyCPD vii. Manages email inbox (iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au) and resolves member issues. viii. Develops and delivers support and training materials (process maps and instructions for new core members) ix. Develops and maintains community platform x. Coordinates promotion of community to the public xi. Identifies and pursues sponsorship opportunities.
  34. 1 point
    Following are minutes from the Core members meeting: 20 October 2106. We discussed potential new roles below. It was noted that they have been designed to minimise workload on any one individual while delivering personal benefits from undertaking the role. These need to be fleshed out in promoting and recruiting the roles during upcoming webinars. Also noted that we need to create a flowchart to show how all the roles work together (Tim Kannegieter (TK) to do this). It was agreed we would go to the broader community to ask for interest in undertaking these roles. Further discussion about upcoming webinars and the desire to hear from technology vendors. TK emphasised EA needs to be impartial. It was agreed to brainstorm options, identify pros and cons of each and decide on an approach. TK to facilitate this. Proposed Formal roles and functions are as follows: a. Community Leader i. Hosts core member meetings and sends meeting invites ii. Takes minutes and copies to Community Agenda Forum iii. Approves all webinars and other events iv. Ensures good variety of activities and coordination of all other roles v. Backs up webinar coordinator as required vi. Recruits and appoints new core members to roles as required. b. Body of Knowledge Coordinator i. Responsible for Wiki structure ii. Evolves wiki page templates to best capture useful knowledge iii. Identifies gaps and requests the Webinars Program coordinator to find speakers on these topics iv. Works with volunteers to get webinar transcriptions into a good format for the wiki. v. Uploads final content into the wiki. vi. Identifies opportunities for practice notes. c. Webinar Program Coordinator i. Identifies potential speakers ii. Ensures there is a speaker for every Tuesday iii. Makes initial contact and organises/confirms date, enters into webinar management system iv. Assigns/confirms a volunteer host for each webinar v. Ensures there is one emergency backup speaker at all times. d. Community volunteers (x6) i. Works with assigned speakers to get webinars description and bio min two week prior to meeting ii. Hosts meetings (one per month) iii. Edits transcriptions ready for upload to wiki. iv. Leads Practice Note projects as required e. Forums facilitator i. Monitors Google Alerts and adds appropriate news items to Industry News Forum ii. Stimulates discussion threads on Engineering Forum (methods to be determined) iii. Ensures all posts are responded to by appropriate community members f. Community Facilitator – EA staff member (currently Tim Kannegieter) i. Recruit/approve the community leader ii. Creates webinars in webinar system iii. Reminds Community volunteers of upcoming content deadlines for promotion of webinars. iv. Organises input of webinar descriptions into EA’s Event Alert system v. Organises transcriptions of webinars vi. Uploads webinar recordings to MyCPD vii. Manages email inbox (iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au) and resolves member issues. viii. Develops and delivers support and training materials (process maps and instructions for new core members) ix. Develops and maintains community platform x. Coordinates promotion of community to the public xi. Identifies and pursues sponsorship opportunities.
  35. 1 point
    In order to fine tune the operation of our recently launched Applied IOT Engineering Community, we would like to find out more about what kinds of topics you want to hear about and what kinds of activities we should be doing. The core members of the community have created the following survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WTXQYJ We would greatly appreciate it if you could take just a few minutes to complete this and to provide any general comments on how you would like this community to evolve. If you have any questions about this survey or the community, don't hesitate to contact me via iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au. Best regards, Dr Tim Kannegieter Knowledge Manager Engineers Australia
  36. 1 point
    Hi All, A colleague and I have produced a paper for an International Conference next year. We work in the power engineering domain and the control thereof and see the IoT as a key to the future of this practice. Regards Ian Boake Boake Rijgersberg A proposal for real-time monitoring and control of the reticulation grid with photo-voltaics electrical vehicles and batteries em_fin.pdf
  37. 1 point
    The Chasm between Australian Industry and Science Much public hand-wringing has occurred in the past few years about Australia’s poor international rating when it comes to collaboration between our industry and our scientific bodies. During our IoT webinars, this curious snake-in-the-grass has reared its head in the same old way, suggesting that there remains a fundamental misunderstanding between the two camps. What really gets my goat are steamy statements from academia about how the growth of the IoT is dependent upon industry driving the cost of sensors and hardware down to just a few dollars each. I’ve watched in dismay over the last decade as CSIRO, NICTA and Sense-T have all promulgated a message that their clever research will make this happen, bypassing the clunky technology of existing industrialists and heading straight for grateful farmers. This inanity reached a peak some years back with statements that these new ultra-cheap IoT devices would be ‘scattered like confetti from helicopters, link up automatically and feed data back’ to the Big Data folks, seemingly forever. That the helicopters never took off is just a self-evident footnote to my grumblings. The reality on the ground is that the deployment of technology and the building of profitable markets that can feed further development is a long hard grind. That’s why technology doesn’t just skip merrily ahead like a spring lamb once the research funding is used up. It will cost money to sell service and support IoT gear – just like everything else. So my gut feeling is that the disconnect between Australian industry and academia is somehow fuelled by this hype and a general failing to understand each other’s very different currencies. More on that later… Perhaps this webinar series will tentatively open some doors between us all and lift our collaboration ratings?
  38. 1 point
    View the recording: This webinar has passed. If you are a member of Engineers Australia, you can view the recording at the Engineers Australia Webinar Archive for free. Scroll down and click on the link "Internet of Things webinar series of the Applied IOT Engineering Community" dated July 2016. If you are not a member of Engineers Australia you can purchase a copy of the recording at myCPD. Title: What does it take to be an IOT Engineer? An agricultural case study. Presenter: Dr Andrew Skinner, Engineering Director, MEA (Measurement Engineering Australia) Description: Three years ago MEA successfully launched an On-Farm Internet of Things system called Plexus. The system moves soil moisture and climate data across the farm using a solar-powered 2.4GHz ZigBee mesh network and up to MEA’s ‘Green Brain’ web-application in the cloud that allows farmers to access their irrigation data from anywhere, at any time. To break into this field required a huge investment of funds over three years, a multi-disciplinary approach that hauled together electronic, mechanical, communications, software and web engineers plus external industrial design skills, a manufacturing link into China and all sorts of technical skills to set up the production line. Dr Skinner said: “It also took some thirty years of making environmental measurements in the bush to battle-harden the team. We then had to sell Plexus and keep it working until we crossed the ‘valley of death’ between early adopters and the early majority.” Over the past three decades MEA has built more than 2500 systems for wind and solar monitoring, irrigated agriculture, remote weather station networks, a web-enabled radio measurement system for Australian farmers, novel soil moisture displays for African farmers, salinity sensors for farmers in Bangladesh and a new-to-world sensor for getting living plants to talk to irrigators about their state of water stress. This is an end-to-end case study of the development of an IOT product - from sensors to radio to communications to web-applications, as well as marketing, product development and service. When: 12 midday AEST (Sydney) on Tuesday 9 August 2016 . The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by question time. Where: The presentation is by webinar. After registering you will be sent details of how to logon. Cost: This presentation is free to members of Engineers Australia (EA), the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and IEEE. Just provide your membership number during registration for the event. The cost for non-members is $30. How to register: Please register on the Engineers Australia event system. Note, to register you need to have a free EA ID which you can get on the first screen of the registration page. Take note of your ID number for future events. About the presenter: Dr Andrew Skinner’s founded MEA (Measurement Engineering Australia) in 1984 to carry out the three-year SA Wind Energy Survey. While running the company full-time, Andrew completed a Masters Degree and PhD in environmental measurements. His forty-year engineering career began in 1971 with studies in electronic engineering at the SA Institute of Technology. Andrew was awarded a Dean's Commendation for his PhD thesis from Adelaide University in 2009 and was the Engineers Australia South Australian Professional Engineer of the Year for 2015.
  39. 1 point
    The standards activity under way within ISO/IEC JTC1 WS10 is focussing on defining reference architectures, standardising nomenclature etc. The objective is not to restrain what is done in the IoT space - but rather to provide a platfrom to foster interoperablity between devices and systems. Indeed, there is a desire to encompass open source and public domain standards. The regulatory compliance aspect of IoT devices is addressed by existing regilatory standards - EMC, radiocommunications, electrical safety etc.
  40. 1 point
    Question from 5-Jul Webinar: Can you please briefly outline the pros and cons of the competing wireless protocols for IoT application. Answer: This topic is the subject of a webinar on 9-Aug-16 "The future of narrowband communication technologies enabling the IOT" The webinar will address technologies for Wide Area Networking (3G/4G/5G/NB-IOT, Sigfox, LoRa, Ingenu), local area networking (WiFi, 6LoWPAN, Zigbee) and personal Area Networking (Bluetooth, BLE).
  41. 1 point
    Hello all, Here is a starting point for ways to measure value addition by the community. Please comment and offer suggestions so we can finalise and turn it into a matrix. Value Measurement-IoT Practice Community (Draft).docx
  42. 1 point
    In order to be cost competitive in the medium to long term, Australian innovators must be cunning and target niche markets where we have a natural competitive advantage. Any IoT product which takes off in the consumer space risks being overwhelmed by a flood of cheap competing products from overseas - including wearables, home automation and other fads and "flavour of the month" applications. The first mover advantage in these spaces is likely to be short lived. Areas to focus on include e-health, agriculture, transportation, mining and smart cities.
  43. 1 point
    Folks - I've lifted this 'sidebar' about our Plexus IoT development story from an application note I'm writing about powering IoT devices using solar energy. We named the product (in the photos above) - after the 'Solar Plexus' in the human body - two puns intended - is a mesh network delivering data from across the farm (where cellular access is not always present or reliable) via 2.4 GHz ZigBee radio. Hope you enjoy the story Andrew (at MEA) ‘Plexus’ - an On-farm Internet of Things Designing and operating an ‘Internet of Things’ on-farm requires a multi-disciplinary approach to product development involving electronics, firmware, software, mechanical engineering and industrial design, web design, communications engineering, manufacturing skills, good field people and a deep understanding of just how tough an environment it really is when trying to keep measurement technology running year-round for a decade despite the hazards of weather, farm machinery and the occasional rogue human. That we came into this business with thirty years of data-logging experience and environmental measurements helped, but we needed to learn new skills on all fronts to pull this off, innovating our business model as we switched from a custom engineering base to that of a manufacturer. Driving this development was a sense that the old days of storing data in data loggers - then unloading it the farm computer - were at an end, and that modern farmers needed access to their sensor data at any time and from anywhere. This required the power of the Internet to move, store and present this data on PCs, tablets and smart phones without any proprietary software in the mix. It was a new world. Data needed to be collected using energy gathered on-site, ‘hopped’ by cooperative radios across the property to some master controller then automatically fed via a modem to an Internet server that would store data and serve it up to the farmer whenever he logged in. Temporary data storage was needed all along the chain to patch over the usual in-field outages, automatically playing catch-up when network elements were restored. The IEEE 804.15.4 ‘ZigBee’ standard was the obvious starting place to develop such technology because of the deep underpinning developed by the standards people and implemented by big IC manufacturers who made radio systems-on-chip, including the internal software ‘stacks’ that operate the various layers of networked radios. This created an immediate problem for the development team, as each node on the Plexus on-farm network needed to be a ‘router’ under the design brief, forwarding data across a self-healing mesh network with the minimum of set up fuss. However, ZigBee routers are typically ‘always on’, and the solar-powered energy budget simply did not allow for this. The eventual compromise was to re-fashion the whole network for a solid minute every fifteen minutes, then go into complete power-down mode for the remaining 14 minutes to conserve energy. Plexus systems guarantee a maximum 1000 m spacing between any field station in flat country. Given a 5-deep parent-child router arrangement, this allows coverage of most on-farm applications up to 1000 hectares. Radios, solar panels and batteries have to be light-weight and streamlined to live safely about two metres above the top of the crop for clean solar and radio access. Over-row machinery in permanent row crops such as grapes means that the whole Plexus field station pod needs to be ‘knock-down-spring-back’ so that on-farm operations are unaffected by the presence of the radio system. All this geometrical confinement forces a limit on the energy budget that is physical; it only becomes possible if the solar panel is small and light enough to fit inside a tough polycarbonate streamlined enclosure. 5V 400mW solar panels measuring 50m x 50mm fitted the bill but limit field station average operating current to a maximum of 8 mA, distributed between radio, sensor and system elements. Plexus product development took over three years of intensive effort, including seemingly endless returns to the field to be beaten up and humiliated yet again as we tried to understand what was going on – or was not. All this before we even let customers near the data that was being produced. The usual engineering compromises were reached in an effort to meet the deadlines imposed on us by the need to get to market and get a return on investment. Needless to say, we are still unwinding some of these ‘frozen-in-stone’ decisions in an effort to build a more flexible system capable of handling sensors and systems we’ve not even heard of yet. Yet the original concepts proved robust, and more than two years of field data from hundreds of sites across a broad range of crops and climates has vindicated the design decisions made. Like all new game-changing technologies, the Internet of Things is in danger of being over-hyped. Yet it can be made to work by a highly disciplined and experienced engineering team, given sufficient focus and across-company support. But it’s not a game for the faint-hearted or the weak-of-purse.
  44. 1 point
    The success of the Applied IOT Engineering Community depends very much on the engagement of its members. As such we would very much like you to optimise your settings so that you are aware of what is going on and can engage fully. Due to privacy laws we can't do this for you. Following are the steps you need to take to be fully engaged: Firstly you need to be logged on to make changes to your settings. Click the sign in button at the top right or register if you have not already done so. Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter, which lists upcoming webinars and changes to the wiki. To subscribe: Click the down arrow under your name in the top right corner. Selected Account Settings >> Notification Settings Then tick the "Send me News and Information" box. Follow the main forums: Click on the Forums tab > then the IOT Engineering forum then click the Follow button top right Choose you frequency of emails (we recommend "when new content is posted" otherwise you can't participate in the live conversation). Repeat for the Industry News forum and also the Community Agenda forum if you want to get more involved. Follow new resources and announcements: Click on the Resources tab > then Case Studies Press the Follow button and select frequency of emails. Follow the Wiki: Click on the Wiki tab, then index and click the follow button. The above are the most important ones. However, we also suggest that you bookmark the following useful pages in your browser: Calendar of events Webinar Recordings On your profile page (down arrow in top right corner) A) upload an image of yourself (picture icon next to circle) and B) Say something about yourself by clicking the "Edit Profile" button. C) Tick any appropriate organisation membership. D) Consider enabling status updates so you can share what you are doing in the IOT space; E) Tick "news and information" and "automatically follow content" in the Notification Settings ; Do please choose to receive emails frequently as most communities thrive with regular interaction. Finally, don't forget to make a contribution by: Starting a discussion thread, ask a question or make a comment in the IoT Engineering Forum. Add a company announcement to the Industry News Forum or comment on any announcement. Add an IoT event you have heard of, or are hosting, to the Other IoT Events section of the Calendar Make a comment on any page of the Wiki. Post a blog and tell your friends about.
  45. 1 point
    Hi, After today's webinar by Geoff Sizer "How the Internet of Things will affect every engineer", one of the questions by an attendee prompted me to look into what is happening around the world with regards to the rollout of networks and the support for the 50 billions of IoT devices to be connected by 2020. ref: http://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/ So I've started this thread to provide a central spot for this community to share or add links to news about the rollout of IoT networks around the world. So please feel free to add and grow the following list: South Korean telco SK Telecom recently claimed it was rolling out the world's first nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network, but it looks like the Netherlands has beaten it to the punch. http://www.gizmag.com/netherlands-nationwide-iot-network/44134/ http://www.gizmag.com/samsung-south-korea-nationwide-iot-network/43518/ Exclusive SigFox network operator for A/NZ, Thinxtra, has started the deployment of the live SigFox public network, with installations of antennas on top of the tallest buildings in Australia – Sydney Tower Eye and Melbourne Eureka Tower. http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/598439/thinxtra-starts-iot-deployments-australia/ http://www.mobileworldlive.com/featured-content/home-banner/sigfox-iot-network-heads-to-australia-new-zealand/ Arqiva plans mobile rollout to underpin IoT project in 10 major cities, including London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2345068/uk-internet-of-things-network-rollout-to-make-nation-smarter Ingenu has announced the initial rollout of its Machine Network that will rise in Phoenix and cover 30 US cities by the end of 2016. http://telecoms.com/452612/ingenu-to-roll-out-iot-connectivity-to-30-us-cities-by-2017/
  46. 1 point
    I'm joining this community to gain knowledge of IoT and transfer that into a senior high school educational setting. After a successful career in computer systems/software engineering within the defence sector, I have moved to the education sector to teach and inspire the next generation of kids. I can see a real opportunity to teach Yr 11 and Y12 students about IoT and how it might impact on their lives. I'm thinking of creating a hybrid IoT simulated/real environment for students to create, design and test. A project like this also helps me maintain my MIEAUST and contribute to CPD! I look forward to making connections that will help my students get hands on with IoT.
  47. 1 point
    Hi Andrew, You and Geoff raise important points about successful IoT enterprises. Because this is an engineering and not a IOT business forum, my response is brief. I agree it is necessary: to understand the application and the underlying IoT technology have access to multidisciplinary skills, including engineering and design to focus on sales and marketing have a route to manufacture have a route to market involve capital partners if necessary The following may also be needed: a great business plan supported by a network of business advisers strategic intellectual property planning, including freedom to operate patent filing strategies (which may be to file nothing) I've started a blog on this site about IoT intellectual property strategy. Justin
  48. 1 point
    View the recording: This webinar has passed. If you are a member of Engineers Australia, you can view the recording at the Engineers Australia Webinar Archive for free. Scroll down and click on the link "Internet of Things webinar series of the Applied IOT Engineering Community" dated July 2016, If you are not a member of Engineers Australia you can purchase a copy of the recording at myCPD. Presenter: Geoff Sizer, Chair of Engineers Australia’s ITEE College and CEO, Genesys Electronics Design Description: Internet of Things (IOT) has been described as the defining technical trend of the coming decade, impacting every industry and business process. This webinar will provide an introduction to IOT for engineers from any discipline including ICT professionals not expert in the area. We also introduce the Applied IOT Engineering Community and outline how its activities will help any engineers drive innovation in their field. IOT refers to the integration of physical objects with a range of communication technologies, enabling them to be monitored and/or controlled remotely over the internet. However, IOT is far from simple. The spectrum of technologies that enable IOT include advanced electronics and sensor/actuator technologies, next generation communication networks, cloud services to store the massive proliferation of data, big data analytics to make sense of it, mobile app development to interface with it and a whole range of protocols to enable it all to work together. A key driver of IOT has been the relentless miniaturisation of computer chips, sensors, actuating devices, and radio transceivers in microcontroller ICs. This trend how now reached a tipping point where embedded systems can now be built into things and devices of almost any size at an affordable cost with sufficiently low power to enable batteries to operate the devices for up to ten years. This trend is opening a vast new landscape of potential applications for control systems. While there are a number of technical challenges still to be resolved to take full advantage of the potential of IOT technologies, the main challenge is business related. Chet Geschickter, research director at Gartner, said: "Many organizations have yet to establish a clear picture of what benefits IoT can deliver, or have not yet invested the time to develop ideas for how to apply IoT to their business. The second set of hurdles are the organizations themselves. Many of the survey participants have insufficient expertise and staffing for IoT and lack clear leadership." This webinar will set out the case for every engineer to develop their knowledge and skills in this exciting field. When: 12 midday AEST (Sydney) on 5 July 2016 . The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by question time. Where: The presentation is by webinar. After registering you will be sent details of how to logon. Cost: This presentation is free to members of Engineers Australia (EA), the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and IEEE. Just provide your membership number during registration for the event. The cost for non-members is $30. How to register: Please register on the Engineers Australia event system here. Note, to register you need to have a free EA ID which you can get on the first screen of the registration page. Take note of your ID number for future events. About the presenter: Genesys founder and CEO Geoff Sizer has a lifelong passion for electronics and technology, and an ongoing commitment to the electronics engineering profession. He has more than 35 years experience in electronic product development ranging from complex systems to simple consumer goods for a diverse range of industries and applications. Geoff is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Chartered Professional Engineer and registered on the National Professional Engineers Register. As a former President of the IREE, Geoff was instrumental in the formation of the ITEE College in Engineers Australia and is currently its chair. He has championed the formation of the Applied IOT Community of practice.. During his career Geoff has acted as a Director or Chief Technical Officer for several leading technology firms including Advanced Systems Research Pty Ltd, Advanced Spectrum Technologies Pty Ltd, EMC Assessors Pty Ltd, Telezygology Inc and Embertec Pty Ltd.
  49. 1 point


    Will the webinars be recorded and made available for later viewing?
  50. 1 point
    The spectrum of technologies that enable IOT include advanced electronics and sensor/actuator technologies, next generation communication networks, cloud services to store the massive proliferation of data, big data analytics to make sense of it, mobile app development to interface with it and a whole range of protocols to enable it all to work together.