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Tim Kannegieter

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Everything posted by Tim Kannegieter

  1. Learning on the Edge

    The internet of things (IoT) is complex. Examined at an industry or national level, there are a huge number of variables and players, that it’s hard to even visualise how all the components will ever work together to realise the potential. However, we all have a vested interest in ensuring the IoT industry blossoms to reach its full potential. In the IoT Engineering Community, we have previously spoken about the technical skills required to develop the IoT engineering workplace. A key point identified is that it practically impossible for anyone one individual to become expert in all areas relating to IoT. A rule of thumb is that it take 10 years to become truly expert in a field. Well, IoT has dozens of discreet fields of equal complexity. To complicate matters further, the engineering of an IoT system is just one part of the picture. In a webinar on Tuesday 20 March titled Flattening the IoT Learning Curve, Frank Zeichner sets out the broader context of IoT learning. Learning at multiple levels, from individuals through companies to government. It’s all interconnected and none of these levels will get the full benefits without the other. He argues that the most valuable learning is that which comes at the edges of three broad domains relating to engineering, business and industry domains. Its only when an engineer truly understands the business imperative or vice versa for the C-suite, that we begin to develop skills that will truly make a difference. Similarly, both the business and engineering skill must be applied in a way that will work for that particular industry. The application of IoT is different in a variety of industries and while the technology may be the same, unless you understand all those complex variables in context of application your project will be on risky ground. However, the potential is there. The Food Agility CRC, which Frank discusses in his presentation, is aiming to shift the food sector from a $46 billion to a $100 billion industry by exploiting the potential of digital transformation, primarily though IoT. The IoT Alliance Australia, of which Zeichner is the CEO, has an Education and Skills Workgroup which is creating an education Framework to “provide a methodology for scoping, developing, and tracking the type of education engagement required to expand the IoT knowledge, skills and capability development delivered by education providers and professional bodies that intersect the IoT marketplace”. Learning needs to take place at the individual, organisational, industry and national levels. Unless we get practical progress in learning how to successfully exploit the potential of IoT at all these levels, we run the risk of a major lost opportunity as other nations aggressively push a coordinated agenda.
  2. Building Industry Applications

    There are a number of areas that IoT will be applied in the building industry: Things in Buildings: Virtually every component of a building can be sensored to deliver superior performance benefits. For example, see our case study on lighting control. Systems in Buildings: The way all the different things in buildings are connected will change as well. Primarily this is in relation to new forms of building management systems. However, depending on the building sector any number of enterprise systems will be disrupted by IoT. For example tracking of critical assets within buildings will change dramatically. Essentially, whatever the problem is Construction and maintenance of buildings: Again tracking of building components during the procurement and construction phase will bring productivity benefits to the construction process. Workers' clothing and equipment can also be instrumented and connected. For example, helmets may include visors with augmented reality to assist workers in assembling and maintaining equipment. It can even be used to monitor the movement of adjacent buildings during construction. See our micro case studies for more examples.
  3. Architecture

    Introduction: Architecture in the IoT Domain, as any other IT domain, provides a common language to different components and stakeholders in a system. The overall aim of architecture is to ensure the system delivers on the business goals, usually related to productivity improvement. Key elements of an IoT architecture There are key requirements for an IoT solution can be part of a true Internet of things ecosystem are: Inter system communication Interoperability A very simple IOT architecture is pictured below: Things At the bottom level of the architecture are “things”, which are intelligent control devices, sensors and actuators. They can be at any level of complexity from very simple sensors right through to quite complex devices incorporating computing platforms. The sensors and embedded systems in things have hardware and firmware architecture considerations in their own right. Networks The things are interconnected by a cascade of networks and there are a wide range of communication technologies to choose from. The following diagram shows two typical architectures: On the left hand side shows a typical Low Power Wide Area Network architecture for city wide or even national applications using a cellular-based network with a large number of cells providing overlapping coverage to communicate directly with your Things. In this architecture the only consideration is that the cloud server can talk to your Thing, and this is achieved typically a Low Powered WAN server which is run by the provider of that communication service. That will then communicate in the cloud with the users server, which is responsible for gathering the data, processing the data, and ultimately disseminating information back to users on to their mobile devices or PC's. On the right hand chart side is a subtly different architecture where the deployer of the system will have local networks, typically 100m to one 1 km (e.g. Zigbee, 6LoWPAN, a RS-485 cable linked network or a WiFi linked network). In this instance the Things communicates via that local network, and then interfaces with a gateway. The network processor or Border Router then interfaces via Wide Area Network (typically 3G, 4G, or an NBN connection) to the users server. In this instance there is no authority or third party providing the direct internet connectivity service. Instead, it is managed by the user's server using the communications backbone provided by the Wide Area Network provider to provide communications between the user's server and the gateway. Once again the user's server is responsible for storage and processing of information and relaying it back to the users. In addition to the above network architecture considerations, it is also necessary to consider the range of communication protocols that will be implemented. Another key task is to decide on the method of addressing individual IoT devices (see challenges to understand the constraints of IPV6 addressing). Service Providers Data aggregation One important function of the IoT is to bring data together from disparate sources. In a data aggregation architecture, sensors and aggregators use communications technologies including Zigbee, wifi 802.x, Sigfox, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and LoRaWAN to communicate with the IoT platform. Connectivity and interoperability of data aggregation is a critical component of IoT. Open systems provide vendor-neutral options for connection to the cloud and data analytics. An example of a general data aggregation architecture is shown below. Diagram courtesy of Bob Sharon, Blue IoT Cloud systems The vast majority of developers and adopters moving into the Internet of Things space is to use the cloud for their server requirements, rather than having a physical server device sitting in a room or an office somewhere. This is partly due to cost, with estimates for setting up a cloud-based server is in the AU$5,000 space, whereas to have a serious production grade physical server is in the AU$50,000 space. The barrier of entry to having a cloud-based server is just so much lower, using virtual processing capacity in the cloud. It also allows scaling, you can initially set up relatively small amounts of storage capacity and processing power, then as your system grows you can scale that simply by adding more CPU's to your virtual computer bank. There are different flavours of cloud servers and the normal approach is just buying processing power and storage in the virtual space and running your own fully proprietary application on it. The websites of the big players, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, provide introductions on how to go about setting up your cloud-based server. There may be an argument that at a certain volume of data, local servers become more economical than cloud systems but this is highly dependent on the architecture of this system. If you've got a diffused system where you've got lots of points of presence that are communicating via the internet into one spot, then the direct connectivity to the cloud tends to be cost effective - certainly if you're talking about hundreds of megabytes or gigabtyes of storage . But if you're talking about terabytes of data a month then it may be worth considering having a local storage system where you don't have to go via the internet, using a gateway to connect devices. One approach is to equip those gateways with terabyte SD cards so you can do local storage, back-up and you can then upload the specific bits of data you're interested in locally. IoT Platforms Many service providers of proprietary ”IoT Platforms” which aim to offer a “complete solution” top-to-bottom for IoT applications. These offer everything from cloud services, communications, security and solutions for managing large numbers of devices, among a range of other solutions to the variety of challenges in developing IoT systems. These platforms are proving popular for many developers that just want to get their systems working quickly. However for longer term visions, it is important to balance the benefits against the likelihood of being locked into a particular proprietary system and any cross-compatibility issues between solutions and devices provides by the wide variety of vendors. Inevitably there will be winners and losers and only a few IoT platforms are likely to survive long term. An example of an IoT platform architecture is shown below. Diagram courtesy of Bob Sharon, Blue IoT At the bottom level are sensors and actuators (usually wireless). They have power sources (eg. batteries, USB or solar). Sensors with two way control allow data to be uploaded, and control signals to be used to send instructions. The second stage includes gateways to collect and aggregate data to send to the Stage 3 and 4 services: data analytics and pre-processing and finally the data centre and cloud for storage, data management and archiving. Users The architecture obviously needs to connect users who need to access that data and to be able to control their things and get value from the derived data that's generated by the analytics. A key architecture decision is the choice of mobile platform for devices. Operations and Management There is also an operation and management function that effectively overlays the whole system, to make sure that the things are operating successfully. Key questions are around how do you deploy your Things, make them known to their parent system, and communicate with the parent system. Things need to be registered on databases to facilitate management of the device. Once the system is operational you also need to make sure all of the Things and all the communications links are in place and healthy. This can be particularly problematic if you've got sleeping Things that only wake up periodically to send data or take some action. They may go for days without any normal communications chatter. One approach to health monitoring, checking and maintenance is to ensure that you use independent systems for these functions that aren't reliant upon the cloud-based system that is used for the normal data gathering around that Thing. Separating out the functionality of the normal device management and data gathering from the health checking provides a degree of redundancy in that system. Another decision around maintenance of the IOT system is deciding if Things should have the ability to remotely implement firmware updates. Other design considerations: In designing an IOT system, there are several layers that need to be considered including: Physical - Things have a physical nature and must integrate with existing infrastructure. The thing might be monitoring an alarm system, controlling switches for lighting or air conditioning on and off. Those physical connections need to be established. It should be noted the physical position of your thing is not always the position of the conceptual thing , as it appears to the user. That's a real challenge when you're using visualization tools. You actually, you need to overlay your physical characteristics and your spatial characteristics in your data model. Virtual - Things can be virtual. They don't actually have to have physical IOs attached to them. You can interpret or you can imply a virtual characteristic and embed that within a thing. It could be a time clock or something like that, something that this thing doesn't actually go beyond the enclosure that contains your thing. Functional – Function is an attribute of things that needs to be considered on all layers. You can have a thing with inputs / outputs and it can have some autonomous functional behaviour as well as actually being controlled upstream via the cloud or via some other network controller, which in turn may be controlled by the cloud. How you map that function needs to be thought of as a thing, otherwise how do you configure it? How do you monitor it? Network – How things are physically addressed need to be considered as well as other network factors including routing, network maintenance. Decisions need to be made around topology such as whether meshing will be used. Logical – The logic layer can be seen as the most important because it is needed to manage the sheer complexity of IOT systems and sub-systems. It allows the designer to consider the collective function at various levels at the sub-network or network or super-network of an Intranet of Things or Internet of Things. It also takes into consideration other factors such as temporal / spatial considerations. It addresses the question of how to logically group and make these things functionally interoperate between themselves? An example of the importance of the logical layer could be a building automation system, with one particular room, five lights and a couple of light switches, an AV system, air conditioning, automatic blinds and shutters and a security dongle access requirement. The engineer needs to provide an interface that allows logical control and provide a thing-to-thing interface that allows these things to work together logically. If you have a situation with your thing design where you have to individually address every single physical thing in order to get something to happen, you're going to be sending a lot of commands, a lot of data, and your system will just overload. You need to be thinking logically in terms of grouping and sub-grouping your things functionally so that together, via configuration rather than coding, they interoperate between themselves to actually do something that the user sees as a user-level function. Thanks to advanced batteries and low power RF, we have the ability to make our things mobile very easily. The spatial location of a thing can change its behaviour . For example, when my thing is in room A or B, car park A or B etc, it may logically change its behaviour based on its spatial or geographical disposition. Again, you need logical relationships that map and account for spatial and geographical relationships between things. Similarly temporal (time-based) factors are obviously important. People can behave differently in the day than at night, do different things and this can impact the user's different senses, particularly the visual. Lighting may be required at night so that users can use the functions of a facility productively. Peer to Peer Peer to peer designs (without a centralised server) are also possible using IoT. IoT devices are connected to the internet and normally to a server, but in some cases it is desirable to allow them to interact at the local level. For example, at the lower level there's a sensor and an actuator on a Thing, that can have a relationship between themselves. you can can also have two adjacent things on the same sub-network that interact. Broadening that out you may have things on different sub networks that are connected by a gateway that interact. So there is an architectural consideration of what is the logical interconnection of devices viz a viz the physical and communications interconnection? They're really different views and there's no reason why you can't have a virtual connectivity between IPV6 addressable things that are totally oblivious to what's in between, and a sensor on one device interacts with an actuator on another device as if the intervening communications part was absent and they were directly connected. Security Security is another key consideration in architecting an IoT Things system. Network communications methods usually have their own security measures built in, but that needs to be managed that in terms of distribution and control, to bring into play the top to bottom security. It's possible to implement end to end encryption and security on the payload traffic from a Thing to the cloud and vice versa. The downside of this is that it puts a burden on that communications traffic from the Thing. In that instance it's usually sensible to partition the security and look at linked level security so that each link has its own security, rather than top to bottom security. See the security page for more detail on this. Modularity An overall aim of architecting an IOT system is to simplify the design using principles of modularity. The aim is to regularize and abstract system input and output at the device input and output level, and associated functionality, to the point of commonality that it can be simply described in human terms, and generically grouped (interconnected) in machine terms by the business logic configuration in one or more central controllers. Broadly speaking, this allows a new application to be built up from existing modules with customised configuration such that the application requirements are met with minimal software development, and maximal system cohesion. With IOT design you are aiming for a 95% solution, whereby 95% of the software in modules is being reused. Only about 5% of the system is new software, and the aim is to also reuse that 5% on later projects. The aspiration is obviously 100% reusability but 95% is doing very well. 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 and Architecture and Implementation Presentation by Jon Eggins, Chief Operations Officer, Genesys Electronics Design; Systems Architect, Genesys Products titled Thing One and Thing Two – Myths, Philosophy and Engineering Webinar titled "Webinar titled “The death of Building Management Systems as we know them” by Bob Sharon, Chief Innovation Officer, Blue IoT
  4. Sensors and Embedded Systems

    Types of sensors Sensors can measure virtually anything. Examples include GPS, moisture, water levels, tank levels, carbon dioxide, volatile organic hydrocarbons, particulates, radiant temperature, temperature, wind speed sensors and more. In addition to measuring specific attributes, there are other kinds of inputs to IoT systems such as machine vision. Applications of sensors with IoT connectivity are wide, including smart metering of utilities such as water and electricity, building management systems, and asset tracking with Real Time Location Services (RTLS). They also have the potential to enable major societal changes, such as monitoring offenders in their own homes rather than in prison, through technological incarceration. Interfacing sensors to an IoT system Sensors, at a very basic level, are inputs to an IoT system. Sensors typically physically interface with IoT system using a communication bus such as I²C, serial and USB, 0-10 V or 4-20 mA using. These systems use sensors and electrical contacts that have been around a long time so all the normal considerations with conventional sensors apply for IoT. For example, the digital signals from contact closures need to have debounce protection. Similarly, outputs from an IoT system may be digital or analogue and will interface to actuators that make changes to things, such as opening or closing of gates, opening or closing valves, switching pumps etc, often using electrical or solid state relays. Again there are well known things that needs to be addressed, such as the characteristics of the load including the voltage, the current, whether it is an inductive load. Sensors typically interface with RF modules, which have analogue and digital I/O pins. Many RF modules also have optional integrated microprocessor. RF modules also require an antenna connection. One challenge of IoT systems is discovering where the IoT devices are on a network. A key technology for addressing this is the W3C's Semantic Sensor Networks. Cost and power limitations of sensor communications for IoT The cost and power requirements of communications technologies can limit the amount of sensors deployed in IoT solutions. Many communications technologies used for IoT, such as wifi, are power hungry. Others, like satellite, are expensive. Low power solutions are emerging, including the Sigfox low power wide area (LPWA) network. Aggregating sensors in an array around a user terminal for satellite communications can reduce the power and cost of satellite communications for IoT applications, by eliminating the need for a dedicated uplink and downlink for each sensor. Visualisation of IoT sensor data Technologies such as augmented reality can be used to provide a visual display of IoT sensor data overlaid on the physical device which is updated live in the cloud for 'in context' visualisation of device data. Hardware The following diagram gives a representation of the architecture of a typical deployed Thing. In many cases you typically have a single sensor, a single actuator and battery storage, but when you generalise a Thing to a slightly higher level the following elements may all be represented. The sensors and actuators shown above are just a few examples. They will interface to an intelligence in a micro-controller via, typically via an interface of some sort. The microcontroller would typically be a system on chip with thousands of options. Ultimately the microcontroller is responsible for communicating via an interface which could be low power Wide Area Networks among other communication options. In addition to designing an IoT device from scratch, it is also possible to buy a single board computer such as Raspberry Pi and configure this for use in many IoT contexts. Firmware Firmware is the software on the microcontroller embedded into the Thing. The following diagram presumes a typical configuration of one or more sensors and one or more actuators with input and output drivers that communicate with a network. All this is managed by an operating system. At the simplest level there is a master polling loop microcontroller architecture but typically the more advanced microcontrollers available are running RTOS which give you a high level of sophistication. Linux is also a possibility and Contiki is often tied to 6LoWPAN communications. The structure of the firmware includes input and output drivers, middleware that takes the information and converts it via an applications programme, interfaced to some form that the business logic of the device can decide what to do with that information. That can include communications up via the network or control commands from the network. It can also include local logic operations that relay input drivers or input devices and sensors to output drivers that drive actuators so you can have local control functions standalone from the network. The firmware includes a communications driver to interface with the communications device be it a radio or a UART etc. Behind that is a communications protocol stack. For example, for a Bluetooth low energy or for 6LoWPAN the communications must be managed in terms of the packet payload encapsulation, and the various layers in the communications protocol. An important aspect that's sometimes overlooked is the connection manager. The purpose of the connection manager is to establish the network communications and to then monitor and manage that. If the communication drops out it must re-establish communications. It typically to include some form of health heartbeat, so even when the Thing is not reporting data, the device is telling the server that it is alive and happy. Conversely you could have a ping from the network down to the Thing so that the Thing knows it has the necessary connectivity to fulfil it's part in the IoT system. Overlaid on top of all of these software layers is energy management, that applies top to bottom in terms of how much energy we use for communicating with our sensors and actuators, how much energy is used for communications traffic and how much is consumed by the logical processing functions of the device. Another overlay top to bottom is having the appropriate security at the network level and then appropriate integrity in all of the processing layers. Design Considerations In terms of your typical Thing, we're really talking about standalone battery powered devices, so we need energy storage and desirably some form of external source into that, or it may be a self-contained primary cell. It's paramount that we carefully manage the energy. You'll hear power management tools often mentioned in IoT but it's not actually power we're trying to manage, it's energy. How many transmissions or sensing operations can we get out of the Thing, per day, per week, per month, and how many years will that battery last while performing that function. Getting that equation right is absolutely critical to having a practical thing. So an early starting point in considering the design of a Thing is to look at the energy budget over the life-cycle of the device and of its internal energy storage. A design decision must be made on whether to select a RF and microprocessor combination module or a separate module for each function. A particular application might require microprocessor specifications that are not met by an integrated microprocessor. Or, it might be cheaper to implement intelligence on a separate microprocessor rather than paying the difference in cost between the RF module, and the combination RF module with an integrated the CPU. It is hard to hard to separate sensor selection and the design of embedded electronics from consideration of the communication technologies available. The regulatory maximum power level for all "things" is at at the usual 920 MHz is one watt, which is 30 dBm. A key influencing factor is the receiver’s sensitivity. The various communication technologies vary in their sensitivity (e.g. Bluetooth is 90 dBm. Zigbee is typically -100 dBm).LoRa can be up to 138 dBm which is why they are suited to the applications requiring long range. They can get distances of up to 15 kilometers. The reason for that is they've got three bandwidths. There's seven spread factors, giving normal bit rates from 290 bits per second up to 37 1/2 kilobits per second. Other design considerations include the choice of antenna and the range of radio frequency (RF) considerations that must be taken into account, to ensure any IoT device is compliant with Australian regulations and the system will work as intended in the deployment environment. Another consideration is to determine if the data needs to be encrypted, typically using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the associated security considerations. Power budgets must also be taken into account, especially where battery operation is required. What data rate is required and how much power will that use? Is there an option for recharging. What battery options are available for the device package and budget. These questions can affect the design or choice of sensing devices and embedded electrics dramatically. Another design consideration is the level of uncertainty which may be introduced by the context, or environment, in which the sensor is used, and whether its performance will vary over time. This is discussed further in the section on design thinking for IoT. Sources: Material on this page has primarily been sourced from the following: 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
  5. Energy Analytics

    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.
  6. Satellites vs LPWAN

    Title: Space Wars: Satellites versus LPWAN Presenters: Warwick Gillespie, Research Engineer, Sense-T, University of Tasmania and Simon Edwards, Research Engineer, Sense-T, University of Tasmania Description: As satellite options for delivering backhaul communication services for Internet of Things systems begin to roll out, engineers in numerous fields will need to choose between the space-based systems or the new generations of terrestrial based Low Power Wide Area Networks. Engineers usually rely on the specifications provided by vendors when designing the best technical solutions. However, what happens in the field can be a very different matter. Sense-T, at the University of Tasmania, has been conducting live trials with some of the very first nanosatellites to come online against LoRaWAN, one of the leaders in the LPWAN space. Set in an agricultural setting, the aim of the project is to determine real world information on key factors like power consumption of IoT devices and the range of the terrestrial systems. Factors such as weather conditions and topography will be assessed, delivering valuable insights not just to agricultural engineers, but any one working with systems in remote locations, mobile systems or global distribution chains. The webinar is scheduled to be delivered as soon as the results have been analysed, given EA members cutting edge insights in this new frontier of IoT. About the presenters: Warwick has been a Research Engineer in the Sense-T team at the University if Tasmania since 2015. Prior to this he spent five years at Myriax, a Hobart based Software Company, as Technical Support and Product Manager on the Eonfusion software project, a multi-dimensional GIS package for analysis and visualisation of time-varying geospatial data. He has also lectured in Engineering at the University of Tasmania. Warwick has a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Systems) with First Class Honours and a PhD, both at UTAS. His PhD research focused on content-based video indexing and retrieval, developing video processing techniques to define feature metrics, and investigating machine learning algorithms to perform classification and indexing. Simon has been a Research Engineer in the Sense-T team at the University if Tasmania since 2016. He has worked with technology companies since 1990 and has gained a wealth of experience in research and development. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics, Hons) and areas of research have included embedded systems, refrigeration technologies, X-band radar, precision temperature control systems, and neural networks. Simon has over 15 years’ experience in IT and commercialization and founded a successful start-up in 2000, developing bespoke networked applications/software products. He also has extensive experience architecting applications streamline compliance and business processes in various industries. When: 12pm (NSW, Australia 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 by clicking the register button above.
  7. What does it take to be an IoT engineer?

    Great to hear this update and cant wait to hear about your four new IoT solutions. Yes, agriculture does seem to be a sector that does seem to be targetted by a disproportionate number of IoT ventures, not just start ups but the big global players going into partnerships with governments, universities and the like. Interestingly, I was interviewing Taggle this week in preparation for an upcoming webinar from them and I discovered they started life by targeting tags for cattle. However, they exited that area early because they found that farmers were a hard bunch to get money out of! They pivoted to water meters and now dominate the IoT space for that sector. All the best for 2018 Andrew! Tim
  8. Asset Tracking with Blue IoT

    IoT asset tracking company Leash It developed a RTLS solution for use in multi-storey buildings to pinpoint the exact location of an asset on a floor plan. The solution used BLE low energy Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, multiple gateways and software to constantly map the location of assets within the infrastructure. The solution also provided the option of adding sensors for heat and humidity, as well as an accelerometer. To implement the solution, a floor plan must first be uploaded to locate assets within the building. Then gateways need to be placed in the floorplan and installed in corresponding positions in the physical building. Thirdly, assets need to be uploaded to the registry and the unique code of the asset tag allocated to each asset, then the asset register should be exported to the asset management system. Once this is done, permissions and notifications are allocated to staff, and the gateways activated to start tracking assets and collecting movement data. Notifications can be sent via SMS, and are sent according to rules set during system installation. For example, if a piece of equipment is removed from its allocated area, or a (tracked) staff member enters an area for which he or she has not completed the required OH&S induction. Depending on permissions, staff can search the floorplan for particular equipment, or click on gateways to see which assets are located nearby. Data is also uploaded to an analytical engine which can break down asset utilisation and productivity, including how long an asset has been in a particular place, and all the places it has occupied within the building. The solution allows location within floors, and also identifies what level floor assets are on by using reference point architecture with gateways in every office and open area of every floor. The gateways are able to determine distance from asset by signal strength, and the concrete between floors stops the Bluetooth beacon being transmitted between storeys. It is accurate to within a metre. The battery life of the tags typically used for assets is around three to five years, although smaller Bluetooth tags (eg. For laptops) can last one year. The solution can be retrofitted to existing infrastructure as the gateways connect to local wi-fi and detect Bluetooth tagged assets. It can also be used in wider areas such as outdoor mine sites as it implements a number of gateways with ranges from 15 to 120 m. Leash It has established a free asset tracking network called the Community of Things (CoT).This can be used to track commercial assets that are reported as lost or stolen through a consumer asset tracking App on consumer’s phones, forming a mesh network that can detect the reported assets and send a GPS location to the owner.
  9. Flattening the IoT learning curve

    NOTE change of time from our normal schedule. This webinar is at 2pm Sydney time. Title: Flattening the IoT learning curve Presenter: Frank Zeichner, Industry Associate Professor, Schools of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology Sydney Description: The learning curve around the Internet of Things can be very steep and it is almost impossible to learn all of the technologies involved to any great depth, yet IoT should be on the career path of every engineer because it is expected to impact every industry and discipline. However, engineering professionals that can climb this learning hill and become an IoT specialist in their industry sector are likely to be in great demand. With the growing maturity of IoT, universities, association and vendors alike are all scrambling to find the best ways to flatten the IoT learning curve to produce more engineers able to work in this burgeoning industry. Frank Zeichner is in a unique position to offer advice, having authored a major report on the uptake of IoT by industry, as CEO of the IoT Alliance Australia (ioTAA) and now developing courses at UTS. In this presentation, Frank will describe the options for learning about IoT and getting involved with the technology. He discusses how individuals, companies and entire industries can develop practical pathways of learning by chosing the right mix of formal, informal and experimental options. He provides examples of what some organisations are doing in the space, including Tulip (Technology for Urban Liveability Project) and the latest achievements of the IoT Alliance. About the presenter: Frank is CEO of the IoT Alliance Australia, the peak IoT industry body, Industry Associate Professor, Schools of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Director of the Knowledge Economy Institute at UTS an Industry/Research hub for IoT and Cities. In addition, Frank is also a board member of Telsoc. When: NOTE change of Time 2pm (NSW time) 20 March 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.
  10. Proof of Value

    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.
  11. Asset Management and Tracking

    Introduction Many businesses are missing out on significant improvements to asset management because management does not understand how IoT can be used to complement traditional systems, although there are some instances where it has been implemented to manage critical infrastructure such as water and wastewater systems. In one particular area, asset tracking is enjoying a resurgence as a complement to the asset management suite of tools due to the dramatically falling costs facilitated by the IoT. It is now possible to economically track tens of thousands of devices and deliver data analytics that support applications around compliance, productivity and security. Asset tracking systems link into asset management systems by exporting asset lists and unique IDs, which can then be tracked dynamically via IoT without the need to physically scan barcodes or RFID tags. Technologies that have the potential to be applied in visualisations for asset management and tracking including augmented reality and machine learning. Real Time Location Services for Asset Tracking with IoT Being able to quickly and efficiently track mobile assets via IoT has many advantages for businesses and corporations with a high demand for transparency in asset management. It also provides benefits in complying with servicing requirements and planning for future asset purchases based on accurate and complete usage data. Another possibility is tracking the movement of staff, setting notifications for security or OH&S breaches. Real Time Location Services (RTLS) combines smart asset tags and stationary gateways or tag readers with various communication protocols and uses either GPS or uploaded floor plans to monitor the location of assets. Potential applications for IoT asset tracking include the corporate sector where multi-storey buildings or large outdoor sites (such as mines) can make equipment location hard to track. Public sector applications such as hospitals it can also deliver significant productivity gains by allowing time-poor staff to find equipment efficiently and reduce the cost of under-utilised equipment (which can be considerable). Challenges Keeping down the cost of asset tags, gateways, routers and tag readers is a major challenge when choosing a RTLS solution, especially when tracking a large number of devices over a wide area. To ensure that reliable asset tracking is maintained, communications need to be stable and allow uninterrupted connectivity. If there are outages, contingency plans are required. For example, if the primary communications are via Bluetooth, local wi-fi and a 3G router might be provided as backup. Increasing competition, particularly for low band frequency (LF) RTLS is bringing down costs and providing developers with multiple options to maintain connectivity. Tracking assets within multi-storey buildings can also present a challenge, as some technologies, such as GPS and LF solutions, will only show the geographical location and may not specify which floor the asset is on, or relate it to the building’s floor plan. Ideally, you want to know which room it is in, at the very least. Another consideration is how to integrate or retrofit legacy asset tracking systems. For application to assets that require sterilisation at high temperatures or are subject to vibrations (such as mining vehicles) different casings can be designed to protect the tags from temperature, vibration and other environmental factors , although this comes at a cost. Considerations When choosing an RTLS solution, considerations should include: Do you want to install multiple access points or use existing electronic device’s capabilities What kind of coverage is required? What accuracy is required? How many assets do you want to track? Do you need local or global tracking? RTLS technology options The table below summarises the strengths, considertions and relative cost of some RTLS technology options. Diagrams courtesy of Tony Lotzof, Leash It Triangulation and reference point architectures Two architectures can be used to track tagged assets within buildings or sites. The first is reference point architecture, which uses multiple routers located around the building or site. The gateways detect signals ransmitted by asset tags and posts the location of the asset relative to the closest gateway to a server, which lays out asset location on a floor plan. This architecture is shown in the diagram below. Diagram courtesy of Tony Lotzof, Leash It The second architecture is triangulation, uses three routers to triangulate the position of the asset tag according to the relative signal strength received by each of the routers. This architecture is shown in the following diagram. In some wi-fi solutions, triangulation architectures can have trouble distinguishing between floor locations in multi-storey buildings. Diagram courtesy of Tony Lotzof, Leash It The building floor plan or site plan is uploaded to the RTLS solution, and asset location is plotted according to horizontal (x) and vertical (y) co-ordinates, and updated when a new position is detected. Security Security of RTLS can be increased by implementing data encryption, and multiple entry points to counter denial of service attacks. For BLE solutions, only Bluetooth IDs are transmitted, not sensitive information. However, open wi-fi end nodes can lead to vulnerabilities. Case Study See the case study of a tracking solution by Blue IoT. Sources: The content of this page was primarily sourced from: Webinar titled “Asset Tracking with the IoT” by Tony Lotzof, Leash It
  12. After obtaining $10 million in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Thinxtra is expanding its Smart Council Program to deliver its Sigfox network to any council in Australia that wants to experiment with the Smart City Concept. More information at: https://www.thinxtra.com/2018/02/thinxtra-empowers-councils/
  13. Defence Technologies

    Soldiers participating in the 2017 Contested Urban Environment Strategic Challenge (CUE17), an activity led by Defence Science and Technology to investigate new and emerging technologies that can improve the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of soldiers when operating in cities during conflict so there is less risk to them and the civilian population. Picture curtesy © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence. Title: Defence Next Generation Technologies: Driving Innovation in Defence Presenter: Dr Alex Zelinsky AO, Chief Defence Scientist, Department of Defence Description: This presentation outlines the operation of The Next Generation Technologies Fund managed by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group. It will show how industry and universities can get involved in delivering emerging technologies for the future Defence force. Introduced with the Defence Industry Policy Statement in 2016, the Next Generation Technologies Fund is an investment of $730 million over ten years supporting forward-looking research and development. Together with the Defence Innovation Hub and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, these three form the integrated Defence Innovation System. About the presenter: Dr Alex Zelinsky’s scientific career includes working as a computer scientist, a systems engineer and a roboticist. His career spans innovation, science and technology, research and development, commercial start-ups and education. As the Chief Defence Scientist since March 2012, Dr Zelinsky leads the Defence Science and Technology program within the Department of Defence. Prior to joining Defence, Dr Zelinsky was Group Executive for Information Sciences at the CSIRO. Dr Zelinsky was Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Seeing Machines, a high-technology company developing computer vision systems. He was also Professor of Systems Engineering at Australian National University in Canberra. In 2017, he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday honours. He has been included in Engineers Australia’s list of the 100 most influential engineers since 2009 and in 2015, Engineers Australia awarded him the prestigious M A Sargent Medal. When: 12pm (NSW time) 3 July 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.
  14. Bulk webinar registration

    To make things easier for you we are now offering a bulk webinar registration service. Community members can now register for an entire year of webinars just once instead of having to register for each webinar individually. To subscribe (free for EA members) just: Email iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au with your name and membership number You will receive an email with the webinar link a few days before each IoT event. You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing the same address After one year we will invite you to resubscribe. I you don't respond you will drop of the list. Note: Non members can purchase a subscription at EA Books. Please share this with non-members, or better still, suggest they join Engineers Australia.
  15. Why would you buy a building management system at a huge upfront cost when you can get one for free, in return for monthly service fees that actually drive down the total cost of ownership? Following is a preview of a webinar on building management systems being run by this community on 6 March. I would be interested in your comments and questions we might ask of the presenter. The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting virtually all industries but it is particularly effective in challenging conventional approaches to control systems. Building Management Systems (BMS) are archetypal control systems with multiple sensors driving actuators to optimally maintain a comfortable working environment. Historically, large commercial and industrial projects have looked to proprietary systems from large vendors, partly because they were initially the only options on the table, and perhaps with a bit of the “if you buy IBM you won’t get sacked mentality”. However, the IoT is changing all the assumptions which underpinned previous procurement decision making and in particular it is opening up the market to competition from a wide range of start-ups. These start-ups aim to not just innovate the technology, but challenge the entire business model. The first impact of IoT on the BMS industry has been the dramatic plunge in the cost in sensing, communication and installation. Traditional BMS systems typically have a price tag in the order of AU$5000 per sensor point plus ongoing maintenance, and budgets typically allowed for a small number of devices. One consequence is that a large percentage of BMS systems are just used for alarms. Moving away from proprietary systems, that price point is now closer the $150 mark per month including maintenance, allowing thousands of sensors to be deployed for the same price. This opens the possibility of not just a finer level of control in more locations but an increased ability to diagnose system wide issues. In addition, the advent of new communication technologies in the form of Low Power Wide Area Networks is facilitating cheap secure communication without the need for wiring. The cost of data wiring is prohibitively expensive and wireless connection with low power devices that can run on a battery for years has been a game changer. There are other benefits as well, including LPWAN’s superior performance in building penetration, inbuilt security protocols and much longer battery life. Large BMS vendors have been responding to the challenge with their own versions of the “Industrial Internet of Things”, opening up their devices to be more interoperable with other systems and trading off their brand recognition to maintain market share. However, the procurement process remains the same with all the associated issues around the lowest cost tendering process and the adversarial relationships arising from dealing with faults during the Defects Liability Period. With the coming of IoT and all the associated start-ups, the competitive landscape has been radically altered. These challengers are now looking to escalate the challenge by upending the entire business model of the BMS industry – by doing away with set price contracts and delivering BMS as a service. One such company is Blue IoT, a Melbourne-based company that is now offering building management systems as a service, or more precisely, Software Data Analytics as a service. Blue IoT will be delivering a webinar to the Engineers Australia Applied IoT Engineering Community on 6 March 2018. Under this startup’s new business model, the client pays no upfront fee for the sensors or whatever associated building services such as HVAC that are included as part of the contract (depending if it is a new install or a refurbishment). Rather, the costs are absorbed in monthly service fees that include all maintenance and optimisation of the system. Importantly the service includes a human layer where data coming back from the system is analysed by electrical, mechanical and controls engineers who specialise in determining root causes of issues and fixing the problem the first time. The crux of this new business model is a guarantee that the system will deliver specified savings (if the project is a refurbishment) or function at an agreed performance level. If the system does not there are associated penalties for the service provider. Another big change is that the client owns the data and, if it serves out the agreed contract span, it also take ownership of the sensor and actuator hardware which is all non-proprietary. This allows the owner to change service providers if they wish, but of course the service provider will be doing their level best to keep their business. At the heart of this model is a move away from the adversarial relationships that have plagued the building industry. In an upcoming webinar (see below), Blue IoT founder Bob Sharon will explain how tenders are typically awarded on the basis of lowest price there is typically no margin for error – either in the delivery of the product or in the original specification. What results in buck passing from the lead contractor right down to the smallest suppliers and back to the client if they dare to ask for the smallest change to the original spec. With a service model, the building services integrator is completely incentivised to deal with all the problems and get the system performing at the highest level. There are a number of beneficial side effects arising from this change in responsibility for system performance. Typically, facility managers would see alerts relating to a particular part of the system, say a pump, and call the relevant contractor to fix it. However, the root cause of the problem may be elsewhere in the system and facilities mangers are not typically experts in diagnosing problems in what are increasingly complicated systems. However, service providers have the benefit of being able to collate data across the hundreds or thousands of different building management systems and sensors they manage and develop expertise not only in diagnosis but in preventative maintenance. A key game changer in service based IoT solutions is that all data is typically uploaded to the cloud where big data analytics can be usefully deployed to pro-actively monitor and optimise smart buildings and cities. Over time, machine learning will play an increasing a role in analytics, delivering a step change in performance. It is these kinds of IoT technologies that give service providers the confidence to offer performance guarantees. This paradigm shift of turning products into a service is at the heart of the IoT revolution. We see it over and over again in the most successful IoT startups. Swimming pool filtration systems are now being delivered free in return for a service contract guaranteeing crystal clear water quality. Garbage bins can be delivered free to Councils in return for a service contract guaranteeing they will be emptied just before they reach capacity. Success is rooted not just in technological innovation but in the reimagining of business models. Dr Tim Kannegieter is the Knowledge Manager at Engineers Australia charged with sharing knowledge around emerging technologies.
  16. The death of Building Management Systems as we know them

    Great question Heath, If you turn up to the webinar you can ask the question yourself. Otherwise i will ask it for you. Cheers Tim
  17. The Internet of Incarceration

    Type your questions for today's webinar in the comments to this post. The webinar is on "The Internet of Incarceration" by Dan Hunter. During the webinar, you might like to comment on any of the presenter's points, or share your own experiences managing IoT Projects.
  18. Building Management Systems and IoT

    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Industry Applications > Building. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. The list of all recordings can be viewed here. Title: The death of Building Management Systems as we know them Presenter: Bob Sharon, Chief Innovation Officer, Blue IoT Description: Building Management Systems as a Service is a concept that is threating to change the building industry as the internet of things continues to disrupt virtually every industry and traditional engineering approaches. Cheaper internet connected sensors can now be used to saturate a building providing far more data points connected to advanced cloud based analytical systems that deliver superior performance. In a prime example of the “democratisation of data”, this presentation looks at how building owners are being empowered to own their data while allowing service providers to help them optimise the efficiency and sustainability of their facilities. This approach also facilitates auditing of the actual performance of building management systems during the critical Defects Liability Period. Security is managed through protocols that minimise the risk of devices being hijacked, hacked or used as channels to get to corporate networked computers and servers. About the presenter: Bob Sharon is a passionate “disruptor” and supporter of the blue economy, being deeply involved in how buildings can help shape a more sustainable environment while further reducing costs and risks. He sees IoT as a critical enabler and disruptor that will drive better business outcomes in a sustainable way. His focus is on efficient and innovative data centres in APAC, he is a NABERS accredited assessor who conducted the world’s first NABERS rating on a data centre (which was back in 2013) and he is a member of the executive council of the IoT Alliance Australia. Prior to founding Blue IoT in June 2016, Bob has held a number of roles in the smart buildings and data centre spaces. He is also currently Chief Innovation Officer for iHome Energy, Founder, CEO of Entrepreneur’s Angels and Non Executive Director of The Stardust Foundation. When: 12pm (NSW, Australia time) 6 March 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 by clicking the register button above.
  19. Asset Tracking with the IoT

    Recording: This webinar has now passed. Members of Engineers Australia can view the recording for free on MyPortal. Logon and navigate to Functions > Tracking. Others can purchase the recording on EABooks. The list of all recordings can be viewed here. Presenter: Tony Lotzof, CEO and Founder of Leash It Description: Asset tracking is enjoying a resurgence as a complement to the asset management suite of tools due to the dramatically falling costs facilitated by the IoT. It is now possible to track tens of thousands of devices cheaply and deliver analytics that support applications around compliance, productivity and security. For example, mission critical assets, such as an ECG unit that must not be removed from an emergency room, can be monitored and alerts sent if required. Similarly, commonplace items such as laptops or fire extinguishers can be tracked to ensure they are not stolen. Nurses spend up to 30 minutes per shift looking for equipment and RTLS (Real Time Location Services) asset tracking can provide an app that allows them to go straight to what they need. Conversely, asset tracking can also be used to track the movement of people. One application is induction processes in construction, where alerts are raised if a new employee goes into an area they have not been inducted into or are not authorised to do so, reducing OH&S risks. A particular focus of this webinar is asset tracking inside large multi-story buildings, where current communication solutions can find it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of an object on a floor plan. This webinar looks at a particular solution to this challenge that makes use of low energy Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, multiple gateways and software to constantly map the location of assets within the infrastructure. Sensors for heat, humidity and accelerometer can be added to the suite as well. About the presenter: Tony founded Leash It in late 2014 after his bike was stolen from outside a café, while enjoying a coffee with friends. He wanted better way to secure his bike, quickly and easily, without carrying a chain. From this idea Cycle Leash was born and quickly morphed in to many more verticals and the company has had over 35,000 downloads of their App and is now available internationally. Leash It has evolved from a consumer product into commercial asset tracking and soon a smart cities solution. Prior to founding Leash It, Tony held IT roles in a number of businesses. When: 12pm (NSW time) 20 February 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.
  20. 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 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
  21. 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. The role of data analytics in IoT A non-exhaustive list of advanced data analytic applications within IOT applications is listed below. The majority of the applications listed revolve around the broad categories of asset management, planning, and performance management. The IOT has helped businesses to address these applications in a more holistic manner than was previously possible. Predictive maintenance Energy usage optimisation Downtime minimisation Network performance management Device performance effectiveness Load balancing optimisation Loss prevention Capacity planning Asset management Demand forecasting Inventory tracking Pricing optimisation Disaster planning and recovery Yield management Sources: The information on this page has been sourced primarily from the following: Webinar titled The data management perspective on IoT by Arthur Baoustanos, Managing Director, aib Consulting Services Case Study titled Studying movement behaviour in a building: A case study of obtaining analytics from IoT Data
  22. 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 acknowledge. So therefore 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 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. Reasons for this may include the ability to do firmware updates. 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
  23. Heritage of IoT

  24. 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" However, while there has been much excitement over blockchain, its application is still embryonic. 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
  25. 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. 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: 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