Jump to content

Tim Kannegieter

Administrator
  • Content count

    329
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    90

Everything posted by Tim Kannegieter

  1. Tim Kannegieter

    7 things you should know about IoT

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal . Logon and navigate to Overview > Introduction. You can also view a list of all recordings. To be notified of upcoming webinars, register on this website and tick the newsletter box. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Title: 7 things you should know about IOT – before you start your next project Description: It’s impossible for any one person to get their head around every detail of the Internet of Thing. By paying attention to these critical areas you can maximise the benefits that IoT can bring to your next project. Every new project being planned today should be taking into account the new possibilities that the Internet of Things (IoT) brings to the table. However, for those new to the field the vast array of technologies and considerations can be hard to get your head around. The IoT Engineering Community of Engineers Australia is in the process of distilling its body of knowledge to just seven key points that every engineer should take into account before starting their next project. This session of the IoT Community will discuss the key technologies and processes including business planning, skills development, architecture, communications, sensors and electronics, cloud and analytics, and security. For each area we will present “the one thing you should know” and the panelists will debate the merit the point. Come armed with your own questions. About the presenters: Dr Tim Kannegieter: Tim is the knowledge manager of Engineers Australia with a long history of engineering journalism. Geoff Sizer: Geoff is CEO of Genesys Electronics Design and a past chair of Engineers Australia’s ITEE College Andrew Forster-Knight: Andrew is Group Manager Intelligent Systems, South East Water Andrew Skinner: Andrew is the Engineering Director at MEA Frank Zeichner: Frank is an Industry Associate Professor at UTS and CEO of the IoT Alliance Australia
  2. Tim Kannegieter

    Automation in the IoT Era

    until
    Title: Automation in the IoT era Description: Siemens has long been a leader in the field of automation and electrification, pioneering what are now considered traditional technologies like SCADA and PLCs. More than most companies, Siemens has been evolving its service offerings to take advantages of the new technologies encompassed by the Internet of Things. In this presentation, Siemen's Head of Digital Enterprise will provide an overview of how its product offerings have evolved to take advantage of the exponential increase in hardware and software capabilities. He will address the challenges posed by start-ups, cyber-security threats from more connected systems, and how Siemens is responding. A number of leading-edge case studies from around the world will highlight the massive changes that have occurred in automation over the last decade or so. About the presenter: Chris Vains has a rich background in electrical and electronic automation for the manufacturing industry with several years in the food and beverage industries. He is currently Head of Digital Enterprise driving strategy for Siemens digitalisation offerings in Australia and NZ and is responsible for introducing Siemen's Mindsphere IIoT platform to market as well as its Digital Factory. Before that, he was General Manager of Factory Automation and earlier the business unit manager for automation systems including SCADA. Prior to Siemens, he worked as a project engineer for Hitech Control Systems and was a sales engineer with Wonderware Australia.
  3. Tim Kannegieter

    NSW Health supporting IoT

    Interesting article here on NSW Health: https://www.pulseitmagazine.com.au/australian-ehealth/4395-nsw-health-rolling-out-wireless-core-platform-for-mobility-and-iot
  4. Tim Kannegieter

    Extension to Windows 10 IoT Core

    Windows IoT Core Services has been announced building on the original launched in 2015. See https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2018/06/05/windows-10-iot-tomorrows-iot-today/#OhHzc9pFA4Y6gc3C.97
  5. Tim Kannegieter

    Android Things Starter Kit

    See https://developer.android.com/things/get-started/kits
  6. Tim Kannegieter

    The ground truth of IOT

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Practices > Systems Integration. You can also view a list of all recordings. To be notified of upcoming webinars, register on this website and tick the newsletter box. --------------------------------------- Title: The ground truth of IOT Presenter: Heath Raftery, Head of Technology, Newie Ventures Description: The reality of implementing IoT projects on the ground can often be very different from the what is espoused by vendors of new technologies. A key issue troubling systems integration in IoT projects is the different language and expectations used by various project stakeholders. For example, IoT is looking to penetrate markets dominated by traditional SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. LPWAN and cloud vendors are talking to people who are running systems like Modbus and the language is often completely different. According to Heath Raftery, “IT people are now talking about edge computing as the new black but industrial people have always done computing at the edge”. Integrating the new approaches around legacy systems, or with clients who don’t understand the pros and cons of either, can produce multiple misunderstandings and “gotchas”. What is needed is a clear process translating customer intention into technical requirements, to ensure the right tool is selected for the job. This presentation will outline the experiences of Newie Ventures, providing tips for making IoT project run smoothly. It will be illustrated by a number of case studies including an industrial control application around automatic lighting systems. About the presenters: Heath has more than 15 years’ experience as a computer engineer, electrical designer, software developer, product designer, researcher and project manager. He specialises in the Internet of Things, hardware design for manufacturability, data analysis, embedded electronics, artificial intelligence and signal processing. He has previously worked for organisation such as ResTech, HRSoftWorks, Innov8 and Bureau Veritas. He is also the founder of STEM education company MiniSparx as well as the Newcastle IoT Pioneers group. When: 12pm (NSW time) 15 May 2018. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes question time. Where: The presentation by webinar 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 linked above. 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.
  7. Tim Kannegieter

    Smart Cities: A roadmap

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Industry Applications > Smart Cities. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. You can also view a list of all recordings. To be notified of upcoming webinars, register on this website and tick the newsletter box. Title: A Roadmap for Smart Cities Presenter: Adam Beck, Executive Director, Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand Description: Smart cities are considered one of the key application markets for the Internet of Things. The aim is to use IoT technologies to help cities and economies around the world to build prosperity and liveability for their communities. However, the idea of a smart city is an elusive concept. What is required is a framework to develop an appropriate vision for any given city and progress this with a systematic roadmap. The Smart Cities Council was established to help governments and associated agencies achieve just this. This presentation will provide engineers with insights as to the focus of mayors, city planners and those responsible for managing cities. Key considerations for selecting the right IoT technologies are explored. About the presenters: Adam founded the ANZ branch of the Smart Cities Council and is also Cities Advisor to the Green Building Council of Australia. Is is Ambassador with Portland-based think tank EcoDistricts, where he was previously Director of Innovation. Before entering the non-profit sector, Adam spent 15 years with global consulting firms, including Arup. He was also lecturer and studio lead in social impact assessment and community engagement at the University of Queensland. Adam has dedicated his career of more than 20 years to advance city-building practices around the world, through the creation and deployment of frameworks, tools, and protocols that accelerate sustainability. When: 12pm (NSW time) 15 May 2018. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes question time. Where: The presentation by webinar 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 linked above. 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.
  8. Tim Kannegieter

    Smart Cities

    Of all the fields that IoT could be applied in, the one that has received the most attention and hype is how it will enable the concept of a “smart city”. Smart cities are those that leverage ICT systems to enable “smarter” decisions and more efficient processes in the management of community assets. The IoT greatly expands the capability to bring this “intelligence” to a broader range of assets that previously were not digitized. Cities often have multiple but disconnected smart programs around topics such as transport, energy use, air quality and so forth. However, the aspiration of the smart cities concept is to address complex issues that cross multiple functional areas to drive better outcomes such as the livability, sustainability and economic viability of our urban environments. Virtually every aspect of the operation of urban environments is amenable to IoT applications – from the work of councils to the operation of city wide water/waste infrastructure, from major community assets like hospitals through to local community initiatives, from regional transport planning to the sharing economy, there is no end to the potential range of ideas. Many of the major industry verticals such as utilities, transport and healthcare all converge in cities, making them a fertile ground for IoT. However, the challenge for the smart city concept is finding consensus across cities to accelerate IoT market development not in terms of vertical sectors but in a multi-disciplinary approach, starting from policy, regulations, designers, engineers and operators. Smart cities are a scale-neutral and a geography-neutral idea. They can be scaled up from a plaza, a park, and a street, all the way up to a region or a nation in any part of the world. A key concept underpinning smart cities is the idea of “open data”. The idea is that government provide data that its sensors deliver free of charge to anyone in the community that may want to create new “smarter” services around that. To that extend, smart cities encourage and empower its citizens to drive the innovation agenda. An example of this is when Transport for NSW release rail, ferry and bus information to companies wishing to create their own apps around public transport. In smart cities, the smart component (technology and data) should not take precedence over the sustainability, liveability and workability of a city, but work to enhance them. Evolution and drivers The concept of a smart city has evolved from a top down technology-driven approach which did not take into account how city systems worked; through technology-enabled outcome-driven change; to a collaborative approach between developers, residents and governments which goes beyond the idea of smart cities as the end pipe of siloed smart solutions to parking or lighting. As well as a global appetite to embrace technology to improve the experience of our cities, another major driver of the global smart cities agenda is reducing the carbon footprint. The construction sector has lagged behind agriculture and manufacturing in adopting disruptive IoT technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. There are also opportunities to make better use of enabling technologies such as building information systems and building management systems to drive change in Australia. Standards and guides With such a complicated landscape, a key issue for IoT and Smart cities is common standards. Governmental organisations don’t want to be locked into vendor solutions. Also they’ve got a lot of legacy systems. So a big challenge for city authorities is how to invest and which standards to uphold. A key standards initiative in the smart city space is called the HyperCat. This is a specification that allows IoT clients to discover information about IoT assets over the web. With Hypercat, developers can write applications that will work across servers, breaking down the walls between vertical silos. A group called Hypercat Australia has been formed to support the roll out of the specification in Australia. Another supporting initiative is the PAS 212:2016 standard which provides for an automatic resource discovery for the IoT. On the global stage, standards for smart cities have been around for some years. Smart Cities Council has compiled some of the most common smart cities standards worldwide in a Smart Cities Guidance Note published in mid-2017. In 2013, the Smart Cities Council developed the Smart Cities Readiness Guide as a resource for governments around the world working to develop smart cities. The diagram below shows a framework from this guide which identifies the responsibilities of local authorities in delivering services and infrastructure (dark blue), the general roles that enable them to carry out their responsibilities (orange). Diagram courtesy of Adam Beck, Smart Cities Council The light blue horizontal section of the diagram above shows the digital transformation technologies that will provide the smart city’s ‘smarts’, including data management and analytics. Government support and global initiatives Australian investment in infrastructure, and alignment in local, state and federal funding for smart cities are also providing conditions for successful development of smart cities. The Australian Government has developed a “Smart Cities Plan”. This includes a program for funding smart city initiatives. There are also other government reports and strategies supporting the development of smart cities in Australia (see Further Reading at the end of this page for links to more information). There are a number of associations specializing in this area including the Australian Smart Communities Association. Other nations, including New Zealand, Canada, Dubai, India and the US have also launched initiatives within the global smart cities agenda. Technologies Some of the technologies that have the potential to be used in smart cities are: cloud IoT big data and analytics robotics autonomous vehicles drones wearables computer hardware and software machine vision smart metering of utilities Sources The information on this page has been sourced primarily from the following: Webinar titled 'How Machine Vision Helps Realise the Smart City Concept' by Ryan Messina, Director and System Engineer, Messina Vision Systems delivered to this community on 4 July 2017 Webinar titled ‘A Roadmap for Smart Cities’ by Adam Beck, Executive Director, Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand Further reading: National smart cities plan (Australia) National cities performance framework Report on the enquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure Smart cities guide for built environment consultants
  9. Tim Kannegieter

    Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN)

    Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are a key technology underpinning the growth and broader adoption of the Internet of Things. They provide secure, low data rate, low energy and low cost connectivity over a wide geographic area which is precisely what the majority of IoT applications need. Low energy is required because many IoT devices need to operate of batteries with very long life. High data rates are not usually required for IoT applications so there is no need to pay the cost of high bandwidth internet connections typically associated with 3G and 4G cellular connections. LPWANs can be deployed independently to support a specific application and increasingly, it is possible to subscribe to publicly operated LPWAN networks. This has led to LPWAN powered IoT applications such as smart metering of water utilities, which has been limited by power and penetration of other communications technologies. Compared to other internet connectivity options, there is a quality of service trade-off against cost, capacity and energy requirements. Key elements of LPWAN technologies are: Support low power/energy requirements Long battery life of devices (10-15 years) Small message payloads (typically tens of bytes) Infrequent message transmission (typically <100 messages/day/Thing) Better penetration of buildings Wider coverage between base stations (~20km to 100km) Low cost per bit of data conveyed (dollars per year per Thing) Low hardware cost (target <$10) to make wide-scale deployment feasible. A significant caveat of LPWAN technologies is they generally do not provide guaranteed message delivery. The networks that are available are either unidirectional or provide limited back link connectivity, so that messages sent via things are not acknowledged and so we don't have a guaranteed message delivery capability. This significantly impacts the sort of applications that one can consider using these networks for. There is also a significant difference in the way that the data is conveyed to the user, in that the operator of the network would typically operate their own server which would provide data communications to and from the deployed things. The user would access this data via direct connection from their server into the server of the system operator. The other key point is that LPWANs facilitate the deployment of isolated things, so significant numbers of things that are not necessarily clustered, so that the connectivity is directly from the network to the thing, and not via a local area network. There are a range of commercial technologies competing in the LPWAN space. The main LPWAN technologies active in Australia or scheduled to be available include: LoRaWAN NB-IOT Sigfox Taggle Ingenue/On-Ramp Neul Weightless The best supported technologies in terms of range of vendors and network availability in Australia are Sigfox, LoRaWAN, Taggle and NBIoT. There are also a growing number of practitioners with experience and knowledge of how to implement LPWAN solutions using these technologies. Each of the LPWAN technologies have their advantages and disadvantages. The following tables compare a variety of relevant attributes. Image curtesy Dr Boyd Murray of Murray Wireless They main telecom operators in Australia have been trialing the LTE technologies and are beginning to roll them out commercially (still in soft launch mode at the end of 2017). At this point, deployment of LPWAN technologies are likely to experience rapid growth in IoT solutions. Other technologies include: DASH-7 Greenwaves IEEE802.15.4k LECIM IEEE802.15.4g (Wi-SUN) LTE-M LTE Cat-0 NB-Fi (WAVIoT) Nwave Weightless –w –n –p Design considerations: Following are some of the main design considerations when choosing the most appropriate LPWAN: Duplex: Consideration needs to be given as to whether communication needs to be bi-directional. Bi-direction allows ability to control the device and do firmware updates but often this is not required and it introduces complications. Security: Does the link allow eavesdropping? Can the nodes be hacked or can they be spoofed, or can they be hacked? Generally speaking the nodes can only be hacked if they receive data, in other words, in the downlink. If they only have an uplink, it's very difficult to hack them. Capacity: Consideration should be given to how many nodes and transmissions per day are required in a gateway. What happens if you have multiple nodes transmitting at the same time and you get dropped packets? Is there provision for retransmits or some other form of redundancy. Standards and chip sources: For commercial and operational reasons, some designers may want open standards and multiple sources for the chipsets used in their IoT solutions, while others are happy with proprietary solutions. Some solutions involve communication protocol using open standards with a proprietary chip set, while others are proprietary communication protocols with multiple chip sources. Technology approach: LoRaWAN uses spread spectrum modulation technology which allows it to operate below the noise floor, while most other LPWANS use narrow-band technologies that pick up the signal in a very narrow slice of spectrum usually operating 8dB to 10dB above the noise floor. Spectrum: Another consideration is whether to use a technology that employs licenced or unlicensed spectrum. If it's class licenced or unlicensed, how much interference are you going to get from other users who are using that? For example, WiFi is using 2.4 GHz ISM band, many other users using the 915 MHz ISM band. The other users in the urban regions can actually increase the noise floor by up to 20 Db. Global roaming: Some IoT applications need to be able to track objects from one country to another. Various countries operate on different frequencies so it in this case it would be important to choose a technology that can cope with this. Deployment and Operational costs: A key consideration is the cost of installing and maintaining a network. Some solutions allow you to deploy your own network but all the nodes but you would have to maintain them. With other solutions you dont own the network so this is not a consideration but you might then have to pay for SIMs and the network connection. Sources: The information on this paged was sourced primarily from the following sources: Narrow band communication technologies by Geoff Sizer, Chair of Engineers Australia’s ITEE College and CEO, Genesys Electronics Design Low Power Wide Area Networks and LoRaWAN by Justin Spangaro, Founder and CEO Airlora Communications A webinar titled How Low Power Wide Area Networks are revolutionising the wireless world by Dr Boyd Murray, Founder & Principal Consultant, of Murray Wireless A webinar titled ‘Smart Metering for Water with the Internet of Things’ by Rian Sullings, Manager Smart Metering & IoT, WaterGroup Pty Ltd Links: The Pacific Lora Users Group
  10. Tim Kannegieter

    Communication Technologies

    Introduction IOT communication technologies includes those at the local area network (LAN) level, typically on a premises, through to site or area level which would typically involve a wireless wide area networks (WAN).These networks provide an interface to the internet (hence into cloud services) and also to user interfaces typically supported by mobile device applications. Wired communications could be used for the "things" in the IoT, however it is not practical or affordable and wireless is preferred. "Wireless" refers to communication via electromagnetic radio frequency waves. Global IoT communication coverage The diagram below shows global coverage of 2G/3G and 4G cellular data networks, as well as the Sigfox Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) in mid 2017. Diagram courtesy of Flavia Tata Nardina, Fleet Space Technologies The ocean is not connected via these networks, but is connected via end-to-end satellite connectivity that has some tracking and connectivity capability for IoT solutions. There are also large tracts of remote terrestrial sites that have no other connectivity other than satellite. Options There are a range of wireless and wired connection options. At the lowest level you have a personal area network, where typically consumer devices can connect typically to the internet via a mobile 3G or 4G device and can be controlled, accessed and monitored through that same device. Personal area networks can also include an intermediary wifi network in a home or premises providing internet connectivity. Bluetooth is an option in certain applications. Intermediate level networks cover the range of 100 meters to 1 kilometer, using technologies such as Zigbee or 6LoWPAN. The key to these technologies is that each radio node in the network can operate as a repeater or relay for the other nodes in the network, allowing devices to be deployed over a reasonably wide area that exceeds the connectivity capability of any one link, with the intermediary links providing a relay function. Connectivity from a hub in that network is by 3G or 4G. Wider level networks, until very recently, have used traditional cellular data networks (LTE - 3G, 4G), as well as a range of other wired technologies. These provide high capacity, low latency data connectivity over a wide geographic area, with automatic routing and redundant communications paths – ie the Internet. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, and that encompasses 3G and 4G which are currently deployed. Cellular connection typically has high power consumption and hence energy requirements, and battery powered applications using cellular data modems on 3G or 4G are quite challenging. There's also a high cost per bit of data conveyed, particularly when the overhead of maintaining the connection is taken into account. The amount of data required to establish a connection and convey information grossly outweighs the information that one would typically want from a simple sensing device. Therefore the future of connectivity for IOT technologies is moving in the direction of a new range of technologies known as Low Power Wide Area Networks which are more suited to the low power, low data rate environment of the IOT. Other options include: Optical fibre networks Satellite links Copper networks (ADSL, HFC) WiFi (in CBD areas); Wimax (BigAir, IINET in SA) Wireless communication is possible using electromagnetic waves outside of the radio frequencies, such as optical wireless communications including infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) light. However, the vast majority of current commercially available technologies likely to be deployed in the IoT use radio frequencies. Therefore the focus of content on IoT communication technologies is on Radio Frequency (RF) Bands. Design considerations: One design consideration is latency; how long would a device take to communicate; or to connect? By illustration, connecting a Bluetooth phone to a car might take up to ten seconds compared to Zigbee which might be up to only 30 milliseconds. Another consideration is how many nodes are required for an application, and whether that is possible using a given technology option. Zigbee, for example, supports up to 64,000 nodes per master. Range is also a consideration. How far apart can communications nodes be? WiFi distance is known, and could be improved using an antenna to get greater distances. Bluetooth is typically limited to around ten meters distance. Zigbee’s distance depends on the power level. Top recorded distances in Europe are 7300 meters and in the US 1.6 kilometers. The difference is explained by European regulation’s higher permissible power level. The types of things being deployed (sensors and embedded systems) and power usage can also affect the choice of communication technology. For example, the length of time and proportion of time that devices may be in low power mode (i.e. sleeping) is important. As an example, when Zigbee has coordinators, routers and end devices, most importantly, only the end nodes can sleep. The other devices have to be powered at all times. For off-grid scenarios this usually necessitates a battery backed solar power source to support the power requirement of the routers and the coordinators. Other considerations include whether a network needs to be extendable? Does it support roaming? What data rates are possible? What security levels are required. What RF topology is being used and what communication technology will support it? Standards and protocols Pictured blow are some of the protocols that anyone deploying an Internet of Things system will likely have to deal with. In the Wide Area Network we have the typical internet communications protocols, which are most useful for communications between gateways and cloud devices and they do require significant resources to implement. The protocols listed right are those typically found in Local Area Networks and not included in this list are all the low power WAN protocols. When NBIOT comes along the protocols at you see on the left and the right will then apply more broadly over that connection. The IEEE standard for wireless LANs is 802.11. Devices are certified by the WiFi Alliance for interoperability. WiFi devices are ubiquitous. Bluetooth is also ubiquitous, based on IEEE 802.15.1, due to its implementation in high volume products such as smart phones and cars. Zigbee is based on IEEE standard IEEE 802.15.4, which is for low power wireless personal layer networks, which could be used for IoT. Sources: Material on this page has primarily been sourced from the following: 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 Presentation by Phillip Lark, Engineering Manager, Braetec titled Front End Integration: Connecting sensors to the cloud Webinar titled Satellites and the new industrial frontier – how new space technology is intersecting with the Internet of Things by Flavia Tata Nardina, Co-founder and CEO, Fleet Space Technologies
  11. Tim Kannegieter

    Water metering and remote sensing

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Industry Applications > Utilities. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. You can also view a list of all recordings. To be notified of upcoming webinars, register on this website and tick the newsletter box. Title: Water metering and remote sensing: When one-way is the better way Presenter: Mark Halliwell, Business Development Manager, Taggle Systems Description: As engineers come to grips with specifying the most appropriate Internet of Things solutions, a key consideration is the choice of communication system – usually a low power wide area network (LPWAN). The uninformed may assume that two-way LPWAN systems are better than one-way communication. However, many engineering applications such as water metering, do not usually require control of the device or even any communication back to the device. Moreover, two-way communication introduces complications around security and power management that should be considered. This presentation explores the advantages of one-way sensing solutions and the refinements required to make them commercially and technically superior for certain applications. Taggle Systems’ one-way sensing solution is showcased. Taggle was founded by some of the same people who developed the first high-speed Wi-Fi chips, commercializing the development work completed at CSIRO. Their aim was to cover solution gaps that Wi-Fi couldn’t address. Taggle currently manages over 3 million water meter readings per day, making it one of the largest remote sensing operators in Australia and arguably the most successful IoT implementation to date About the presenters: Mark has 20 year's experience in business development roles with systems associated with SCADA, industrial automation, communications, environmental, AMR and other remote monitoring systems. He has previously worked for companies such as Advantech, Halytech and Schneider Electric. When: 12pm (NSW time) 1 May 2018. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes question time. Where: The presentation by webinar 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.
  12. Tim Kannegieter

    Other IoT resource sites

    Ours is not the only community or website aiming to document and explain the subject of the Internet of Things: Following are some other sites: Postscapes has an Internet of Things Handbook.
  13. Tim Kannegieter

    Data Analytics

    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 (using technologies including augmented reality), 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 with 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. Once an organisation has decided to optimise their efficiency using data analytics, they should look at long as well as short term goals, and set specific efficiency or process change targets in order to get the most out of their investment as shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Umesh Bhutoria, EnergyTech Ventures A gap analysis of people skills (users, engineers, managers), data (points and frequency) and investment needed to reach goals should also be carried out, to ensure that all stakeholders are willing to see the process out through trials to implementation. When approaching vendors, care should be taken not to over- or under- specify requirements. For more information, visit the Project Management for IoT page. It may also be beneficial to invite shortlisted vendors to site to conduct data discovery tasks or solve smaller problems that will help determine if they will be a good fit to help the organisation implement a large-scale data analytic solution. Challenges Industry uses a small fraction of available data due to siloed data in legacy systems and leaders’ scepticism about the impact of technologies such as IoT. For example, added value for a commercial building could be derived from integration of available data into building management systems and building intelligence systems to perform energy analytics and management to improve efficiency, or condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Three factors which contribute to the slow uptake of IoT data analytics in industry are: multiple data points (including electrical, thermal and mechanical energy, as well as process and production data) which may be housed in separate servers proprietary or inflexible data collection and storage solutions which are difficult to integrate skills gaps in staff and management in understanding the benefits of data analytics Types of solutions There are several different models of IoT data analytics solutions as shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Umesh Bhutoria, EnergyTech Ventures A stand-alone system could involve purchasing metres or sensors and asking a vendor to integrate them. This model has the potential to be influenced by the vendor rather than the user organisation’s requirement and does not provide integration with existing data. The second model, data as a service, provides monitoring and automated reports, but will not necessarily include integration with legacy data. Insights as a service is a model that is gaining in popularity, and is applicable to organisations with mature data infrastructure, who know what data is available and how the organisation aims to use it. It is typically a cloud-based service that uses company, user and third-party data to provide insights, as well as offering support in using these insights to meet the goals of the organisation. Existing data is also connected and centralised, as shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Umesh Bhutoria, EnergyTech Ventures The choice of solution should be based on the benefits it will bring to the organisation, weighed against the pre- and post- purchase effort, cost and ease and flexibility of use. 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 and energy analytics Downtime minimisation Network performance management Device performance effectiveness Load balancing optimisation Loss prevention Capacity planning Asset management and inventory tracking Demand forecasting 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 Webinar titled “The Data Indigestion Crisis: New approaches to Energy Analytics” by Umesh Bhtoria, Founder and CEO, EnergyTech Ventures
  14. Two-way communication in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) is automatically better than one-way communication, surely? Not necessarily, according to the presenter of our next webinar on remote sensing. In fact, there are cases where one way sensing is a far superior approach, such as most metering applications. In preparing for this webinar I met with Mark Halliwell, Business Development Manager at Taggle Systems. In discussing Taggle’s approach to IoT, their decision to focus on one way sensing really stood out. The reasoning is pretty simple. There are many applications where you simply don’t need two way communication and having it introduces more complications than any benefits it might bring. For example security is much simpler with one way communication as there is no way an external attack can be launched on a device via the network. Secondly, power consumption is much less, as the device does not have to be constantly listening out for messages. There are many other nuances in the one-way vs two-way debate, which Mark will address in the webinar. But one other feature of the Taggle system really stood out. Unlike most other LPWAN systems out there, the entire technology has was developed in house, here in Australia. This is not surprising when you look at the pedigree of the founders, which includes the developers of the world’s first 5GHz WiFi integrated circuits. Image: Taggle's MRC-1 transmitter designed for use with the most common water meter in use, the Elster V100. Curtesy Taggle One thing for sure is that competition in the automatic meter reading industry is rapidly heating up, with just about every IoT vendor and LPWAN consultant pitching to gain market share. This is particularly so in the water industry which is opening up rapidly with utilities across the country and globally rushing to capture the benefits of IoT, which include everything from cost reductions in meter reading to deferment of capital intensive investments in upgrading water infrastructure. With such competition, it’s no longer enough to simply offer IoT solutions. They need to be superior to other IoT solutions and this is where Taggles believe it has an advantage. By developing the technology in-house, from the chip level up and focusing on the one-way approach, it is able to optimize the solution at all levels. Taggle has made a big bet on the question of one way versus two way communication and it appears to be paying off. Mark claims they have the largest IoT deployment in Australia, currently taking over 3 million water meter readings per day. The company has also embraced the growing “as a Service” movement, by owning and maintaining its own LPWAN network so the customer only pays for the data and associated services rather than owning its own communication infrastructure. Software packages are provided that process the data for reporting and visualization purposes, including apps for end users. A great case study on a Taggle deployment at Mackay Regional Council (MRC) was reported in Utility Magazine, which featured some impressive results, way before the term IoT became trendy. In 2016, a demand management campaign coupled with the Taggle system saw individual consumer water consumption in Mackay reduce from 240L/d to 210L/d, contributing to the estimated deferment of a new water treatment plant from 2020 to 2032 and helping hold price increases to zero. In that same year, around 1500 lead notifications were sent to customers and reducing the average duration of a leak from 150 days to 60 days. Of course there are many other applications of IoT technology in the water industry, such as monitoring and reducing excessive pipe pressure, reducing pumping costs, preventing sewer overflows, identifying infiltration of the system . I wrote up a good case study earlier on what South East Water in Victoria is doing and this this explores some of these areas in more detail.
  15. Tim Kannegieter

    Security

    Introduction: As a discipline, security in IT systems (cybersecurity) can be applied to all IoT devices the same way one would apply cybersecurity principles to any other IT system, assuming the device has enough computing resources available to implement them. However, the IoT has some unique challenges because most (not all) devices are designed to run for on batteries with a very low energy budget, so they may not have enough computing power to support normal security functions. For example, it is difficult to install an anti-virus engine on the IOT devices to enable the scanning, as it adds to a systems overhead, affecting power consumption and performance of the device. So adding anti-virus applications such as white listing, secure VPN client, encryption at rest etc are often not options for an IOT device. It's also hard to develop standards for IoT security when there is a huge diversity of device processing capabilities. In addition, IOT devices are generally supposed to run 24/7 but normal IT systems have evolved around regular maintenance windows to enable patching, installing later versions etc. Another difference is that identity and access management (IAM) for IOT usually involves large numbers of generic and shared accounts, which diverges from the normal nominative accounts in IT. Devices that have wired power available would, of course, allow more security options. However, if designers try to force a lot of traditional security tools and techniques onto IoT devices, they may impact the key cost, functionality and efficiency targets the device is meant to be providing. The broad requirements of cybersecurity include maintaining confidentiality, availability and integrity of IoT devices and systems. Confidentiality relates to information only being seen by the things and people that are supposed to see it. Availability is about ensuring the device works as intended and integrity is ensuring data hasn't been tampered with. How and if security is implemented in IOT depends on the context and the reality is that many IoT device vendors do not provide any security at all or update their devices. If the IoT is conceptualised as everything connected to everything else, then it would be very difficult to secure. Generally, more connectivity options mean more threat vectors. One of the premises of security is to actually have centralized management of devices or networks. If there is no centralized control, it's very difficult to secure because every single thing and point of connection would have to be secured. However, IOT systems are generally hosted on a private network, with access to the Internet through a gateway, which goes to other private networks where the various devices are connected to or managed from. If the IOT is conceptualised this way, then the path to security is easier. Practitioners in the IoT space need to have a robust understanding of cybersecurity because vendors of solutions will often market their solutions as having security. However, often they are only addressing part of the security landscape, such as SSL or TLS and not the broader concepts outlined below. General approaches The first step in IoT Security is to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place. When organisations have a very large number of IoT devices connected to their network, it's important to understand who is accountable and responsible for the devices. There should be a central person who's concentrating on the IoT devices so they can devise strategy and policy around that. Another important step is to be aware of what IoT devices are actually connected to an organisation's network. Search engines such as Shodan, enable administrators (and hackers) to identify the type and location of any device that is connected to the internet, including what SCADA protocol it is using. Developing strategy around IoT cyber-security involves two basic views – that of the device and the system. The device view examines if the thing itself is secure. Security factors in this view include: User Access Controls Physical Protection (Tamper-Proofing) Product integrity Cryptography, Firewall, Alarms Support arrangements, remote access, security updates. Software Robustness (OWASP) Local Memory protection, Zeroing device memory Device Safety Trusted identity A key challenge in IOT is the physical protection of the device, particularly if it is in a remote location. This can make it easier for someone to tamper with it or replace it with a device that is not legitimate but still recognised by the system as authenticated. Ideally, devices have a trusted identity which is built into them at all levels from chipset manufacture through to burning of firmware and testing. Quite often, there will be a symmetric token known as a transport key which can be used to build more complex and trusted identities. When talking about trusting the identity of an IoT device, it is more than just having an IPV6 address. The identity may need to be cryptographically generated as a certificate, essentially device fingerprinting. If a trusted identity can be established then it may be able to talk directly to a server in the enterprise system. Password security requirements for IoT devices have the same requirements as most ICT systems. For example, password length should be able to be configured or the password length should be enforced to be a strong password, enforced by the software, with a mix of characters and so forth, with a minimum number of characters. A basic requirement is to ensure passwords are changed from defaults. However, many consumer IoT devices such as security cameras did not enforce this, making it easy for massive numbers of devices to be hijacked via botnets and used for launching denial of service attacks. An example of a virus that has exploited weak password protection is Mirai. IoT devices that are deployed in the field are often certified for security by independent third parties, using standards such as the Underwriters Laboratories 2900 Series of Standards linked below. These set out a list of security requirements similar to those listed above. The cybersecurity certificate on an IoT device normally sets out any risks and vulnerabilities of the project that are still open, i.e. that haven't been mitigated. The manufacturer might recommend that the user or the buyer of this product actually mitigate that risk in the context where it's installed. Also, users need to take into account that the out-of-the-box security might also not be as tight as you need. You actually need to understand the level of security provided and whether it would pass the required test. Many IOT projects might pass the simpler ones but not the most stringent ones. Finally, viruses and other threats are constantly changing. However, it is often hard to upgrade the firmware of IoT devices due to the limited bandwidth available. In the system-wide view, there is a greater emphasis on risk management to ensure the integrity of the enterprise systems. This can be used to identify risk in two basic ways: Attack vectors from outside into the device: For example, what damage can be done by the Device Itself to the environment it operates in and controls? Attack vectors from the device to the network: What other things on the device’s network can be compromised if hackers launch an attack from the device? The risk management approach is important because it determines the level of controls that need to be put in place. The higher the risk (likelihood and consequences) of catastrophic damage then the more effort needs to be put into cybersecurity. IOT devices within a private network are attractive targets for hackers because they are usually listed as an authentic device and it's feeding information of value to the network. This provides a great platform for internal attacks if the hacker can take over the IOT device. A general principle of security, well known in industrial control systems, is that of enclaving or segration (see below) and controls are needed to protect the rest of the system and ensure the integrity of the data flow and communication channels. These controls include: Access controls (Personnel and Equipment) Firewalls in various network segments, including deep packet inspection Network design principles, segmentation, DMZ, Reverse Proxy, DNS Secure Protocols Use of SSL and VPN Encryption and Encryption Key Management Intrusion Detection and Protection Systems Secure Software Design Malware Protection Patching and Vulnerabilities Management Disaster Recovery, Resilient Design, Backups The final step in the general approach is to test the security of the IT system, including the IoT devices. This can include penetration testing or even having a "red team" actively looking for ways to compromise the system. The aim is to learn and continually improve security. Segregation A core strategy underpinning most IoT security is segregation, whereby IoT devices are separated from the more important IT systems. Many security systems employ edge computing concepts whereby aggregation and initial processing of the raw data takes place in gateways (sometimes known as edge gateways - see below) which typically have more processing power than the sensing IoT devices themselves. The data is then passed via firewalls to the enterprise system. The addressing and control of the IoT devices are carried out directly by the edge gateways but only because it is cryptographically authorised to do so. For mission-critical functions, such as braking in a car, the digital identities of each component of the car should be set up so that the head unit (connected to the internet) is not authorized to send commands to the critical vehicle control units. Thus, if a hacker was able to take control of an edge gateway, such as the head unit of a vehicle, they could not endanger the safety of the passengers. In this scenario, the security management of gateways in an IoT network is as important as the sensing and actuating things. Another crude but effective segregation method is the use of data diodes, which effectively ensure the system only allows one-way traffic and can be thought of as a very simplified firewall. This is useful for IoT applications where the system only needs to receive data from the device and can be used for things like streaming CCTV. This removes one potential attack vector by restricting access by malicious third parties. Of course, this means the owner of the device is not able to control, configure or update it. However, firewalls can be far more sophisticated and the general approach to segregation is to have an external firewall and an internal firewall, with a demilitarized zone between the two. It's heavily monitored and controlled by the intrusion protection system. Only certain data traffic is allowed. Intrusions can be detected by collecting all the log files from different devices so you know how many times it's been accessed and by whom. Among the standards listed below, ISA/IEC 62443 introduces the concept of conduits and zones. Using this concept, various zones are identified for security purposes. The Zone and Conduit Model introduced by ISA/IC 62442. Diagram courtesy Ed Custeau, Security Specialist at Spiral Systems. The example illustrated above include and IOT Things zone for things like sensors geographically distributed around a district or state, in mountains, on the top of towers, etc. They all have certain physical protection requirements and have some isolation already. So the concept of network segmentation can be used to identify these devices as being on a separate network. There can also be a central point like a control centre, with a firewall, that provides access through the demilitarized zone for the purpose of remote access control and basic configuration of the system. Another firewall may also provide access to the main control zone which typically has a SCADA type of system, alarms, intrusion detection system, SNMP managers, and controls. This system may actually send commands to some other parts of the network and control IOT devices. So in this example, there are three zones and engineers can define the conduits, which are very strict rules controlling what traffic is allowed from one point of the network to another and the characteristics of the traffic. For example, the IoT01 conduit illustrated might allow messages that authenticate the device when it’s turned on or when it comes to the network. The red arrows illustrated may be control messages or alarms that are allowed to go through the demilitarized zone without intervention but with very strict rules. Each one of these flows is documented and is given to ICT people to program/configure the firewalls and the intrusion detection system. That in itself gives two layers of security. A firewall is a bit like the lock in your house. It locks parts of the network and messages get bounced back. You can't go through that door if you don’t have the right key. The intrusion detection system is like a sensor in your home. Even though you locked the door, you still have a sensor inside with back-to-base monitoring, just to be double-sure. The use of security features such as firewalls, secure socket layer, single sign-on server, etc is part of convergence trend between enterprise and operational IT systems. With this trend, new concepts such as digital twins are emerging. For example, human administrators traditional use VPN to login to sensitive industrial systems. However, some argue that you are better off actually connecting to a secure web service API, which then securely connects off into an industrial control system secure network. In other words, using the principle of least privileges, you're creating abstraction layers between human being and devices, and also between devices themselves, which is enabled through service gateways and edge gateways (see below). These kinds of API abstraction layers are sometimes called digital twins. A difference needs to be made between greenfield and brownfield IoT devices. Greenfield devices are those that have been recently manufactured with cybersecurity in mind. They have full cryptographic capability. Brownfield devices are legacy devices, such as PLC controllers, that were deployed with different (not IoT) security principles in mind, if at all. Brownfield devices should be shielded behind an edge gateway. Trusted identity and cryptography A key approach to improving security is to ensure that every component in an IoT network is a trusted identity with authentication and authorisation protocols in place. Having an identity, such as an IPV6 address, is not the same as being trusted. A key to trust is to have a cryptographic root of trust which authorises key gateways throughout the system, as shown below, including laterally to third party device vendors, operators and service providers. Source: Entrust Datacard, see webinar link below. As nodes in the network are added, the root of trust signs in the root key of subordinate certificate authorities (CA) creating a trusted zone and assign trust out to the field devices. After that, the online connection with the Root of Trust is not required. The sensing and actuating devices themselves may not have the processing power to handle certificate/identity revocation processes so the aim is to put these processes as close to the IoT devices as possible. Any device that can handle cryptographic processes becomes a trust anchor and is authorised/trusted to send data, issue commands and accept commands. Generally, these devices have secure boot protocols with cryptographically code-signed firmware. The service gateway issues certificates to the edge gateways and manages policy. The edge gateway accepts identities and actually controls the addressability to the IoT device. The IoT devices themselves usually only talk to the edge gateway, whereas the service gateway talks to the cloud. It will also speak to programmable APIs that are accessing it. One advantage of the use of edge gateways is to allow sophisticated cryptographic algorithms to be implemented and upgraded. A key issue for any system today is that many older algorithms are no longer sufficient to provide adequate security. It important to not only use the best possible cryptography so that it will be adequate for up to 10 years but also have the flexibility to be upgraded as required. Many IoT vendors believe that using a password hard-coded into firmware is good enough. However, the mirai botnet has proven that stronger forms of authentication are required. IoT practitioners need to analyse the security requirements and question whether solutions such as symmetric token strong or a dynamically-generated key (that is not managed and will never be revocable) are sufficient or if a fully-managed cryptographic identity is required. IoT systems can also have a Hardware Security Module (HSM) which is physically isolated and very secure. The HSM holds and issues the private keys which form part of the cryptographic identity of devices throughout the network. As part of the process of verifying that devices issuing and receiving authentication challenges, validations services are required. Two common enterprise IT validation services are OCSP and CRL but there are many more. Safe failure An important concept in industrial control systems is to ensure that devices that have been compromised fail in a safe manner. The concepts around this are set out in IEEE 1609.2 which is actually an automotive standard. The aim is not to instantly revoke certificates or digital identities of an automobile or its parts (e.g. brakes) which could cause a collision. Similarly, it would not normally be ideal to just instantly stop a pump or an actuator from functioning which could cause an industrial safety issue or unnecessarily affect up-time and reliability. IEEE 1609.2 outlines a way of compartmentalising misbehaving devices in such a way that they won't cause an issue. Relevant standards and regulations: For detailed instructions on how to implement security for IoT, the general approach is to reference the wide range of standards available on the topic. The main standards and guidelines of relevance are: There is a product called Security Public Domain Standard, IPSec looking at security top to bottom, from the network at a packet level authentication and encryption so that the packets are sound and have not been interfered with and it maintains integrity. Underwriters Laboratories released the 2900 Series of Standards in April 2016. This is primarily for gaining UL certification for IOT products. UL have a strong history in certification of electrical products and has extended into the cyber security sphere to accommodate IOT. NIST Special Series 800-53, is recommended for government and corporate security FIPS xxx for PCI DSS -- this is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and used as the US Federal Information Processing Standard. This is important if the system the IOT device is embedded in collects payments. ISO 27001 – The international standard on general Information Security Management Information Security Manual (ISM) for Australian Government(s) ISA/IEC 62443 –, primarily for industrial control systems The Industrial Internet Consortium has published an Industrial Internet Security Framework aimed at the application of IOT systems in industry. Strategic Principles for Securing the IoT published by the US Department of Homeland Security Online Trust Alliance as a ten point checklist for IoT device security. Other organisations that have roles to play in IOT security include: IEEE Online Trust Alliance Open Connectivity Foundation OWASP (Open Web Applicaiton Security Project) IPSO Alliance Internet Society Thread News items Zigbee vulnerabilities Sources: Presentation by Ed Custeau, Security Specialist at Spiral Systems, titled Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things Presentation by Michael O'Flaherty, Security Consultant, UXC Saltbush titled Picking locks with a blowtorch – IT Security in age of the IOT Presentation by Jason Soroko, Manager - Security, Entrust Datacard titled Ensuring a Trusted Internet of Things
  16. Tim Kannegieter

    Casino hacked via a thermometer in a lobby aquarium

    https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7034977
  17. Tim Kannegieter

    Casino hacked via a thermometer in a lobby aquarium

    LOL!! I have reposted this on the LinkedIn discussion group.
  18. Tim Kannegieter

    Energy Analytics

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Functions > Energy Management. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. You can also view a list of all recordings. To be notified of upcoming webinars, register on this website and tick the newsletter box. Title: The Data Indigestion Crisis: New approaches to Energy Analytics Presenter: Umesh Bhutoria, Founder and CEO, Energytech Ventures Description: With billions of new sensors from the Internet of Things flooding organisations with data, coupled with cheap cloud storage and processing capacity, we are rapidly heading toward a data ingestion crisis. If organisations are to take advantage of the benefits of IoT, there needs to be a step change in the ability of engineers to take advantage of advanced analytics. However, there remains a lack of skilled resources and a bewildering variety of options in the solution stack (hardware + software + platform). In the energy analytics area, companies globally are expected to spend up to $4 billion annually in the manufacturing and utility sectors alone. However, they are also expected to only reap 30% of the potential value from their investments, due to poor identification and leveraging of actionable insights. As a result, it is expected that analytics as service will grow rapidly along with a range of business model innovations but organisations still need to understand what services they are procuring. This webinar aims to help prepare organisations to invest in data analytics by setting out the basics of the field and then addressing the massive changes taking place due to the Internet of Things. It will show how to get started, how to deal with vendors and how to bring people in your organisation along with you. The presentation will also include a number of energy analytics case studies, including from the textile industry in Asia. About the presenters: Umesh has over ten years’ experience in energy efficiency having worked with clients like the World Bank Group, IFC, Sweden Textile Water Initiative, Tat Motors, TERI, NALCO, Aditya Birla Group, SIDBI, Mardec, and Welspun across India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. He was the Energy Manager of the Year in 2013 for Energy Engineers India and was recognized for pathbreaking work in Energy Analytics in 2017 by AEE Western India Chapter. When: 12pm (NSW time) 17 April 2018. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes question time. Where: The presentation by webinar 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.
  19. Tim Kannegieter

    Blockchain

    Introduction Blockchain is a relatively new technology that underpins transactional applications such as those associated with cyrpto currencies like Bitcoin. In essence, all transactions in a blockchain are added as blocks in a linear, chronological order by a node or computer connected to the blockchain, providing a complete and accurate recording. Transactions are enabled using a private and public key. The technology protects against the tampering and revision of data records, helping create trust, accountability and transparency as well as streamlining business processes. The adoption of blockchain has primarily been in the financial sectors. The application in IoT has been hyped by a number of vendors because it is seen as a potential solution to the perennial concerns about IoT security, particularly in controlling botnet attacks because it can potentially prevent hijacked devices from being used in denial of service attacks or otherwise disrupting its environment. Blockchain technology is built for decentralised control meaning there is no master computer controlling the entire chain. Rather, each node in the network have a copy of the chain. So is seen as less vulnerable and more scaleable than traditional security approaches. The distributed nature of the technology helps remove single points of failure. It also lends itself to the IoT potential for massive numbers of things being interconnected across different networks, without the need for centralised cloud servers. Potentially, blockchain could also enable the monetisation of data, where owners of IoT sensors could sell data for digital currency (e.g. see tileplay) Potential industrial application Blockchain is a way of creating digital assets, or tokenising a thing, that can then be transferred or traded. Virtually anything of value can be tokenised, e.g. eco-credits, work-hours, rights to buy products/services, commodities, electricity etc. For example the energy produced by rooftop solar or any other energy source, could generate income in the form of cryptocurrency that is registered on the blockchain. Having established a large blockchain, it would then be possible to form secondary markets for trading of these digital assets as you can assign owners of these assets. It is also being seen as a way of ensuring trusted readings from sensors in areas such as drug safety, food quality and other certification processes, anywhere where the end-user or regulator needs to be assured of a immutable record of the conditions monitored. Blockchain is also "public", which means everyone participating in the chain can see the transactions stored in them, while the cryptographic algorithms underpinning it also provides greater data security against hackers. One of the biggest areas of potential industrial application to streamline supply chain processes in many sectors. Global supply chains obviously have a very large number of transactions and have massively complicated, and arguably bloated, computational systems to handle and secure them. Blockchain would help provenance, by tracking objects throughout the supply chain while enabling line-of-credit contracts and incremental payments. Every physical thing in a supply chain could have a digital passport, that proves authenticity - things like existence, origin, condition, location. It also enables "smart contracts" The application is still in its infancy but we are now starting to see startups using this technology such as T-Provenance (part of Availer) which has secured funding to develop at increase efficiency and trust in agricultural supply chains, such as mangoes. The technology Blockchains are a distributed ledger technology, which is a peer-to-peer, insert only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cyrptographically secured data. The Peer-to-peer (P2P) component partitions tasks or work loads between peers or nodes. Peers are equally privileged in the application. Insert only datastores can only create and read data, not update or delete data. A key challenge in internet enabled systems is to build a consensus on what is to be trusted. The consensus problem involves determining ways of facilitating isolated computing processes to agree on something, when some of them may be faulty. Faults can be benign, such as when a node goes down and is just unresponsive. However, faults can also be hostile where actors are trying to fool the system and this needs to be protected against. There are a large number of mechanisms to deliver consensus including proof of stake, proof of work, federated consensus, round robin, proprietary distributed ledger, etc. Application considerations and limitations While blockchain offers the potential for application in IoT, it is by no means certain it will be taken up. Its application in financial sectors is relatively simple compared to the requirements of device authentication, security and control layers. In particular, if 51% of processing power in an blockchain network were subverted, and this is possible in many small IoT networks, an attacker could change the supposedly secure data records. A key limitation is that blockchain is computationally intensive and many IoT devices lack the processing power to participate in a blockchain without compromising the required speed. Also, because every record is stored and never deleted, the ledger in any blockchain will grow continuously and this needs to be stored in every node. While the public nature of blockchains is one of it's key advantages, it also generates a limitation in that data is not likely to be private. So commercially sensitive data should not be shared, although researchers are working on methods to get around this. Researchers and commercial vendors around the world are working on feasible models to apply in the IoT space, e.g: UNSW: Blockchain for IoT Security and Privacy: The Case Study of a Smart Home Researchers are working on simplified computational methods to make it feasible for IoT. However, commercial knowledge of blockchain is limited and combined with the lack of broadbased IoT engineering skills, widespread adoption seems to be someway off. Links: Hyperledger - A Linux Foundation Project Red Belly Block Chain - This has been developed at the University of Sydney Vendors Modum - data integrity for supply chain operations powered by blockchain Sources: Information on this page was primarily sourced from the following. A webinar titled Blockchain Technology by Nick Addison, Chief Technology Officer, Finhaus Labs
  20. Tim Kannegieter

    Business Planning and Innovation

    Introduction Any implementation of the Internet of Things needs to have a commercial and a productivity-driven impact in order for it to be sustainable. This influences the conceptualization and the design of things and the systems they are embedded in, as well as how they're commissioned and deployed. Broadly speaking IoT business planning and innovation is divided into the improvement of existing businesses (see below) and the startup of new businesses based on an innovative idea. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has developed a Business Strategy and Innovation Framework which covers: an Industrial IoT (IIoT) strategy and goals a structured framework to target and select the right IIoT opportunities a system in place to identify, assess and initiate IIoT opportunities Business process improvement The aim is to determine how to best improve processes with X amount of dollars. What would that look like? What would the proposal look like? In any business case you need to satisfy the requirements of accountants. To get your capital expenditure request passed, you need to be able to produce a cost-benefit analysis. The benefit is both is a function (feature set) and associated performance targets, expressed in terms of how the things act as a force multiplier for staff and equipment. The cost covers development and deployment plus ongoing expenses. The basic question is how to take an existing asset or some proposal and map that to an IOT system that is going to provide superior productivity but doesn't take an eternity to deploy and cost an excessive amount to develop? A good way to think of this is in terms of the system's impact on people, process, and plant. If things can improve productivity at those levels, then you know that your IOT system’s design and deployment models have a good chance of being sustainable. One strategy for improving productivity is to identify any general business rules and determine if these can be optimised using better sensing and control options. For example, procedures often require automatic changing of parts or consumables after a set period of time, based on average use. However, sensing the actual usage, performance or wear and tear, can enable operators to increase the time between replacements. Beyond the utility of the product, key elements that influence a business case include: Power options: e.g. tradeoffs between longer battery life versus cost of periodic replacement. This will be affected by the accessibility of the thing and the quantity of them. Network requirements: Data handling: Performance: Accuracy of measurement may or may not be important, and this will affect sensor costs. Similarly, reliability of data messages getting through may or may not be important. In some contexts, the occasional missed reading may not affect the overall performance of the system. Size: Physical size and mass will affect design and unit cost. Miniturisation can cost more and increased mass may make affect functionality. User interface: The user interface can vary from web interfaces or smart phone apps through text messaging to custom screens. In some cases changing the user experience or providing input to human decision making is important. In other cases there may be no need for a user interface at all, particularly with "smart" system that make decision autonomously. Environmental requirements: Requirements for robustness and effectiveness of enclosures will vary with environmental conditions, including temperature range and exposure to water. Geography and spatial considerations will also affect a business case, as this can influence the choice of technologies and network topology. e.g. is line of sight possible? What is the density of structures in the environment? Installation and commissioning: For large scale deployments, ease of installation and commissioning is important. Business planning IoT product, service or solution is very much a case by case issue. One of the key critical success factors is to accept this and to understand the commercial objectives, and also the technology limitations, so that a good compromise can be reached. Over-specifying any aspect is likely to increase unit cost and risks making the project infeasible. It is also important to avoid being fixated on specific implementation approaches before understanding what the options are. For example, many people automatically assume tracking solutions will require GPS but there are many other options. Examples of productivity gains can be seen in our Case Studies: Proof of value for customers A proof of value that helps businesses to understand how an IoT solution will enhance their operations can increase the chances of mainstream adoption. A key selling point for most customers is a solution that will reduce costs in the short term. Proof of value starts with the design process and building the business case, with a strong focus on how to scale up design concepts into large scale industrial settings. Matching a customer with a solution consists of three basic steps: Identify and define: define what the customer really wants in a strategic roadmap Test and Learn: test the value of an IoT use case through a turnkey solution and reactive support Industrialise: scale-up to build an industrial end-to-end solution (with support) Solution developers should consider focusing their solution on a limited number of applications to speed up the development process and revenue generation. The diagram below shows the balance that IoT startups need to strike between business, usage and technical considerations. Diagram courtesy of Reginald Gallis, BP Ecosystem and Marketing On the business side, the IoT has the potential to connect billions of things, rather than small numbers. Therefore, keeping costs of individual devices will help customers to see the value of solutions for large volumes. The short and long term return on investment for the customer also needs to be clear. The biggest markets are often connecting large volumes of simple things in an industrial setting (the Industrial Internet of Simple Things in the diagram below). Technical capability should be balanced with simplicity to meet the customer’s price point. A simple solution is also easier to explain to customers during the sales process. The solution should not take too long to develop, as the customer will want to see a demonstration solution in action as soon as possible to understand the benefits. While an IoT solution might be developed for a particular application, it is worthwhile considering what other market opportunities exist to expand its usage. Customers also like to see disruptive solutions that expand services or increase their market share. The diagram below summarises some of the models that can be used in matching customers to solutions. Diagram courtesy of Reginald Gallis, BP Ecosystem and Marketing Planning commercialisation Emphasising cost savings rather than product features in the early stages of business planning can be advantageous.Typically, customer solutions are rolled out in a staged process beginning with a proof of concept (POC) as shown in the left-hand block of the diagram below. Because the usual scenario can take up to a year, IoT solutions should ideally be rolled out as quickly as possible as shown in the right block below. Diagram courtesy of Reginald Gallis, BP Ecosystem and Marketing As all IoT solutions use sensing devices linked by a communications network and an IoT user platform offering data visualisation and analysis, it may be worthwhile considering whether your solution needs to be developed from scratch, or if you can can use or modify existing off-the-shelf components. Choice of communications technologies should also be based on simplicity of implementation as well as availability, range capability and cost. Security should also be considered. Customers may not need a custom developed end-to-end IoT platform. Developers should also consider whether integration of more data and or analytical capability into the customer’s existing platform or via API is a more suitable alternative. A comparison between the commercialisation of a solution based on custom-built and off-the-shelf devices is shown in the diagram below. More information about the custom process is on the project management for IoT page. Diagram courtesy of Reginald Gallis, BP Ecosystem and Marketing Scalability and industrialisation While not all start-ups or developers aim for industrialisation, business plans should consider the solution scalability as this can affect its cost and value to the customer. For example, components such as GPS trackers can be significantly cheaper in bulk, making a larger scale rollout more attractive. Most importantly, developers should be able to explain to customers the relative costs of the rollout of different volumes of devices, and how fast they can be delivered. Forming partnerships with suppliers early in the development process can be useful to ensuring supply. Barriers to industrialisation include: cost of acquiring data is more than the value of the data to the customer (for example in efficiency savings or increasing market share) insufficient build up customer trust in the solution. This can be bolstered by using established platforms or devices with a proven track record lack of big customers developers unable to deploy at large volume due to cost constraints unclear communication of the unique value of the solution to customers. This can be due to lack of familiarity with the customer’s application or market If industrialisation is the goal, the following principles can be useful: Technology: focus on the product and API, and use off the shelf components and integration to existing platforms where possible. Simple products with minimal updates requirements and low cost are ideal Team: build the skill sets of the development team, or partner with external experts (see the project management page for more information on this point) Traction: trial solutions with a real customer (on a small scale), then target big customers to prove the value of the solution on a large scale Links: Business Strategy and Innovation Framework published by the Industrial Internet Consortium Sources: Material on this page has primarily been sourced from the following: Presentation by Jon Eggins, Chief Operations Officer, Genesys Electronics Design; Systems Architect, Genesys Products titled Thing One and Thing Two – Myths, Philosophy and Engineering Presentation by Simon Blyth, CEO, LX Group titled Key success factors for IOT projects Webinar titled “Flattening the IoT Learning Curve” by Frank Zeichner, Industry Associate Professor, Schools of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology Sydney Webinar titled “The Tinder of IoT: Proof of Value” by Reginald Gallis, BP Ecosystem and Marketing
  21. Tim Kannegieter

    Demystifying Energy Analytics

    Next Tuesday 17 April, Umesh Bhutoria from EnergyTech Ventures will be delivering a webinar titled The Data Indigestion Crisis: New approaches to Energy Analytics. The successful startup from India is in the process of establishing its business in Australia, participating in a bootcamp program being run by Energy Australia. He company has developed an Insights as a Service business around energy analytics. I had coffee with Umesh to go over what he will present and was interested to find he is primarily targeting brownfield installations. When I questioned this strategy, he pointed out that the vast majority of installed systems managing energy consumption are largely underutilized, operating as alarm systems rather than being used to optimise energy efficiency. Umesh pointed to a number of issues such as the difficulty of having multiple data sources and a skill gap in knowing what to do with the data even if they had it. The main problem he says, is that companies often don't know what the actually want from their systems. He related one case where he won a contract over a large multi-national vendor because he told the client he didn't want their business if they couldn't see the difference in his approach. This encouraged the client to go back and work out their real needs. In this webinar, Umesh will begin with an introduction to Energy Analytics, outline the different approaches and then look at a case study of of one of the worlds largest Terry Towel manufacturing sites.
  22. Tim Kannegieter

    Proof of Value

    until
    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Practices > Business Planning & Innovation. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. You can also view a list of all recordings. Title: The Tinder of IoT: Proof of Value Presenter: Renald Gallis, BP Ecosystem & Marketing Description: Building proof of value is the final frontier in what some call the wild west of The Internet of Things (IoT). The technology of the IoT is well established now and engineers can connect any system together to work functionally. However, many IoT pilot projects fail to make it through to mainstream adoption. In this presentation, Renald Gallis discusses how to develop “proof of value” to help take your idea from concept to commercial success. Proof of value starts with the design process and building the business case, but has a much stronger focus on how to scale up design concepts into large scale industrial settings. Organisations looking to innovate their businesses, need to develop the maturity of their approach to IoT by understanding the technology, the options and compromises. Above all they need to foster strong relationships with large players to ensure the longevity of any solutions. As a network operator, Thinxtra often find itself match-making business relationships between the many and disparate organisations the IoT space, a process it calls the Tinder of IoT – and the key to making these relationships work is to build a robust proof of value that works for all partners in the project. About the presenter: Renald Gallis has 25 years of senior management experience in different continents, leading teams from diverse departments and multi-cultural backgrounds. Over the past four years he has focused IoT/M2M markets including smart cities, smart industry and smart agriculture, including helping Thinxtra become a network operator building nationwide Internet of Things in Australia and New Zealand using Sigfox technology. When: 12pm (NSW time) 3 April 2018. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes question time. Where: The presentation by webinar 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 linked above. 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.
  23. Tim Kannegieter

    Standards and Alliances

    Introduction There are a wide range of standards bodies and alliances working in the IOT space. Alliances The IoT Alliance Australia is group of 400 corporates in Australia aiming to influence market development. This alliance focuses on the complexity of IoT across all technologies, and brings together the work being done in government, research and the community. It was founded based on evidence that similar collaborative consortia of industry and government have led to highly competitive IoT sectors. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. This competitive edge also requires building the skill sets of engineers, business people and the workforce. IoTAA is structured along both supply and demand sides of the IoT sector as shown in the diagram below. They are currently focused over the six application sectors in the following diagram, and are considering expanding into the health sector. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. Below is a summary of other IoT alliances: Industrial Internet Consortium: Primarily driven out of the USA, it has an reference architecture and security framework. Industrial Value Chain Initiative: A Japan led initiative Industrie 4.0: A German led strategic initiative focused on advanced manufacturing. Open IOT: A European initiative to create a cloud-based middleware infrastructure in order to deliver on-demand access to IOT services over multiple infrastructure providers. Application is in smart cities etc. Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI): focus on IoT development in Europe The Open Group: This organisation's IoT Working group is developing open standards Sources: The content on this page was primarily drawn from: Webinar titled “Flattening the IoT Learning Curve” by Frank Zeichner, Industry Associate Professor, Schools of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology Sydney
  24. Tim Kannegieter

    Skill Sets

    Introduction IoT engineers need the ability to think at a systems level, and acquire cross-domain skills across engineering, business and application sectors. The main technical skill domains for IoT can be simplified to sensors and embedded systems, data analytics and integration, security, and IoT platform interoperability. To commercialise IoT solutions through startups or other commercial structures, business planning and innovation skills are also important. Having skills that span business engineering and multiple application areas can be very useful for IoT engineers, business people and other professionals. For example, being able to conceptualise how IoT systems can be applied to the needs of specific industries, or used to address cross-industry issues such as climate change or mobility. As the IoT uses similar technologies to address the needs of multiple industries and cross-industry applications, it is likely that as IoT uptake grows, the demand for IoT professionals will fall at the intersection of engineering, business and domain skill sets as shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. Another reason to expand skills beyond the technical domain is the need to understand the market context of IoT solutions in particular application industries. For example when designing the physical nature of Things and their required data analytics, IoT professionals need to understand why the Things have been deployed, where they are deployed and their value to the owner. The IoT Alliance Australia has done some work in mapping skills to IoT roles. A summary of the skills mix for some key roles for IoT engineers and business professionals is shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. Many of these skill levels are yet to be attained. For example, board members’ knowledge of IoT data security and how it relates to risk management is typically quite low. It is also a challenge to up-skill staff while maintaining business as usual. IoT education Formal education and skills development for IoT is in its very early days. The IoT is a complex ecosystem of technologies, sensing, actuating, communications applications and services, visualisation, security and operating systems. While academic courses for individual technical elements are plentiful, not many cover all or most of these areas, as well as incorporating business skills and domain specific learning. A non-exhaustive list of Australian courses that cover some IoT skills areas are shown in the table below. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. Accrediting bodies within Australia for the development of IoT education courses are shown in the following table. Diagram courtesy of Frank Zeichner, University of Technology Sydney. The emerging model for tertiary education in IoT is shorter, more focused units, and there is also a key role to be played by skill-based learning in the VET sector. It is likely that these two sectors will overlap for IoT education. There is also considerable industry involvement in developing courses to give IoT professionals the skills that they will need in the workforce. Because the IoT is changing the models of how we collect, share, analyse and interpret data, much IoT skill development will be gained through trialling and piloting solutions in real world contexts, which can then be recorded and eventually passed on through formal education. Educational institutions are also starting to embed industry and application specific practical exercises in their courses, to allow graduates to be more ready to conceptualise and solve problems in practical and business contexts. Engineering IoT skill sets 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: Webinar titled “Flattening the IoT Learning Curve” by Frank Zeichner, Industry Associate Professor, Schools of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology Sydney 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
  25. Tim Kannegieter

    Just what IS a smart city?

    I’ve always been a bit confused about what a smart city actually is. When you talk to people in the field, you normally get vague answers about how the Internet of Things is going to transform cities. The basic idea is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the way we manage our community assets and services. Using the Internet of Things (IoT) we collect more data and analyze it to make smarter operational and strategic decisions. When pressed for examples, smart city enthusiasts usually point to specific point solutions around parking, water meters, energy monitoring, garbage bins and the like. But individually none of these make an entire city smart, right? For a while, I thought that smart cities must have something to do with interconnecting this large variety of point solutions, to get synergistic benefits through the likes of big data analytics and machine learning. However, the engineer in me knows just how complex such an approach is. It’s a great aspiration, and I’m all for it, but we are a long, long way from that. So it was refreshing to talk to Thinxtra’s VP Ecosystems & Marketing Renald Gallis about their Smart Council Program which recently gained a $10 million boost in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to help roll out the Sigfox low power wide area network technology to councils across Australia. He confirmed for me that most smart cities are currently limited to point solutions. Thinxtra has partnered with a number of organisations to help them offer a variety of solutions for everything from manhole monitoring to prevent overflow, through to rodent infestation control. What I gained from that conversation is a realization that smart cities ARE about interconnectedness – but it’s more to do with people than technology. According to Renald, the key to smart cities and any other industry vertical, is the quality of the business relationships that sit behind the IoT solutions. When Thinxtra evaluates potential companies to bring their solutions into the Sigfox network, they look first to access the maturity of their thinking about IoT. It’s not enough to have a smart technology solution, it must also be at a price point that makes it viable and it must also be scalable. The company delivering the IoT solution must understand not just the technologies but the organisational systems required to sustain them in the field. It’s one thing to produce a few hundred devices. It’s another to produce tens of thousands devices and support them nationally or globally. Having confidence in the solution is a key part of what Renald calls "proof of value" which goes beyond a simple business case. He will be delivering a webinar on proof of value to this community on 3 April. Renald says there are a lot of “digital tourists” – individuals or companies that have an idea and dabble in the IoT space. However, they don’t really know what they want or fully understand the complex landscape of IoT solution providers. They ending up wasting a lot of time for everyone involved. So what makes a smart city is smart relationships between organisations that really “get” IoT. Smart relationships start with the quality of the organisations involved. Providers need to have all the backend processes to support the systems in the field. This will include partnering with reliable providers of connectivity, middleware and cloud systems. Because the ability to scale is important, the provider in the relationship should ideally be a big player in the market – nationally or globally. According to Gallis, start-ups need to be realistic about their ability to take market share and align themselves to the right global player as quickly as possible in the evolution of their product. Adopters of IoT solutions also need to have the right organisational systems in place to strategically address the way IoT will positively disrupt their business models and processes. Ideally, they will have an innovation department of some sort in place to both assess the technology and to shepherd solutions through to implementation. Smart relationships also relate to how city authorises encourage multiple point solutions to work together. Generally speaking the point solutions will be using the same kinds of technologies. Ideally, these technologies would be from the same providers, using the same platforms. However, in a competitive world, this is wishful thinking, especially for large cities. At this stage concepts like open data and an IoT friendly regulatory environment come into play and city authorities do need to play their role in facilitating smart relationship. So what IS a smart city? I’m thinking it is a vibrant ecosystem of technology providers and adopters across the city, working together to improve macro outcomes like livability, prosperity and sustainability. IoT sits at the heart of that, connecting technologies and organisations. It plays a role in brokering relationships between people from all fields and disciplines to work together in smart ways. As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message” and today IoT is the medium. --------- Dr Tim Kannegieter is the facilitator of Engineers Australia Applied IoT Engineering Community.
×