The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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The next great age of technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), [1] if, that is, you believe everything you read on the Internet. Supposedly, technology will be so inexpensive that we will connect everything. Smart sensors deployed throughout your home will let you monitor and control everything that happens there. Smart sensors deployed across a city will enable better managed communities. Yes, the Internet of Everything is just around the corner.

Or is it? Smart homes have been promised for decades, yet I still use three remote controls to watch a movie and a fourth to turn off the cable. The smart grid was supposed to be rolled out in much of the world by now, but it has seen continuous delays in deployment. Smart cities are supposed to be the next wave, but should I really expect a host of smart traffic sensors in every major U.S. city anytime soon?

The truth is that the IoT is here…sort of. We are only seeing early examples of a world connected with smarter sensors in discrete venues. Policy-driven initiatives like the smart grid are progressing, although slower than expected; consumer-driven sensors like those from NEST [2] or Belkin [3] are finding a home, or are found in some homes. However, the ubiquitous IoT is, quite honestly, just hype. All that talk needs to be met with skepticism. Actually an Internet of Everything only makes sense where the return on the investment (ROI) makes financial sense, and that ROI will only make sense when there is a precious resource to manage.

What resources, we all ask, will benefit the most from smart sensors and systems managed with added intelligence? Perhaps more important, what sensors and technology can bring this information to the IoT? This article will discuss how two of our planet’s most vital resources, electricity and water, stand to gain the most from a much more intelligent sensing IoT network.

A Policy-Driven IoT

Let’s take a look at some IoT deployments that are driven top-down: machine-to-machine communication systems required by some government policy initiative. The most obvious example is smart power metering and the larger smart grid. There are many reasons for deploying smart grids and they differ from region to region, but the benefits of the smart grid tend to be more visible at the societal level.

Smart grids offer us better management of the planet’s scarce energy resources through real-time pricing, demand-response signals to manage load levels, better control of nontechnical energy losses and improved response time in power outages. In the face of eternally increasing electricity demand (Figure 1), smart grids promise a better way to manage the load; a better way to limit the amount of new and expensive energy generation required to power the world; a better way to educate, even train, consumers to be more responsible energy users. Note that it would almost never make sense for individual consumers to purchase and install a smart meter. There are very real safety issues with consumers possibly electrocuting themselves while installing an electricity meter. Moreover, the data from one consumer is not nearly as valuable to utilities and power generators as the data from all consumers in the region. In fact, the benefits of a smart grid only make sense when an entire region uses the technology and participates in the same IT network.


Figure 1. The world will be challenged to meet its energy needs over the next two decades.  OECD refers to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and consists of the U.S., much of Europe and other advanced countries. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. [4])

A similar example of a policy-driven IoT is found in smart water metering. Here again society’s problem is not immediately manifested at the individual level. Yes, clean, treated water is a precious commodity to each of us and most of us probably use (read: waste) more than we need. But water losses at an individual level may not warrant attention. However, globally a significant amount of water is lost in the invisible: both in the water distribution system and around the home itself—and all this does warrant our attention.

Traditional mechanical water meters cannot detect the low flow rate associated with normal leaks inside the house, leaks that can lead to thousands of gallons of water “lost” every month and year after year. [5] In addition, mechanical meters are quite poor at detecting problematic sizable leaks. As consumers, we might not notice our leaking sprinkler system until several months later after multiple inflated water bills. What to do? We cannot really take control and improve the intelligence of our own water meters. Indeed, the replacement of these meters for a smart meter requires expertise and again, society benefits most when we have complete monitoring of water distribution throughout a region.

Note in both these examples that the government or utility policy drives the deployment of a smart IoT. The precious resources in question (here, electricity and water) are scarce, and smarter sensor IoT networks could better manage what we have without necessarily bringing new capacity online. The reality today is that consumers are largely decoupled from the utilities’ capacity constraints…until, that is, there is a disastrous event like a blackout or drought. Consequently, the motivation for rolling out a sensor network likely needs to be policy driven.

A Consumer-Driven IoT

Governmental or agency policy is not the only force driving an increase in machine-to-machine networks. The emergence of a common wireless communication infrastructure (like our cell phones and the WiFi® system in our homes) has created opportunities for consumer-driven Internet-enabled devices: a bottoms-up machine-to-machine network compared to the top-down policy-driven networks mentioned above.

The NEST thermostat is one of the best examples of a consumer IoT device. No agency policy drove the introduction of NEST into the market. Instead we consumers are attracted to a nice looking, intuitive home appliance that promises to do a better job managing our heating and cooling costs; promises to give us a positive return on our investment in a short period of time. Perhaps most importantly, the ROI can be had with minimal interaction between consumers and the device. Taking the mantra, “don’t make me think,” NEST has developed a product that manages a precious resource in a way that provides an ROI manifested in lower monthly bills that an individual consumer can appreciate.


Figure 2. The Belkin WeMo Switch wall unit provides wireless control of TVs, lamps, stereos, heaters, fans and more. This smart switch features the energy-metering technology in the 78M6610+LMU from Maxim Integrated. [6]

Belkin is taking a similar approach to deliver on the promise of a smarter house. Rather than ask consumers to deploy a big, complex home-control system, Belkin allows consumers to do it one piece at a time. Their WeMo® products include light switches, switched power outlets and even an energy-measuring power outlet (Figures 2 and 3). Each product uses a simple interface on your mobile device to monitor and configure the network. Light switches and power outlet switches can be easily configured with simple commands like, “turn the light on at 5 p.m.” The energy-measurement switch (WeMo Insight) shows you how much money (not energy!) your devices are consuming. These intelligent products[7] are giving us true “insight” to make decisions about powering our homes. Taking advantage of our home’s WiFi network and a mobile device, Belkin™ products are making it easier for consumers to monitor and manage energy-consuming appliances.


Figure 3. The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch allows you to turn devices on or off, program customized notifications and change device status—from anywhere.

A newer example of a consumer-driven IoT is smart parking systems. Pilot projects underway across the U.S. use a network of sensors to detect open parking spaces in dense urban areas. This data is then shared with your mobile device, and an application can navigate you to the best parking option. Certainly there is a commercial aspect to this deployment of sensors, because it could essentially act as “advertising” for parking spaces and potentially increase the utilization of lots implementing this technology. But the real resource managed here (and the reason we would be willing to pay for this service) is time. This IoT parking system would significantly reduce the time it takes to park in downtown Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, or any other bustling metropolis.

What is the Challenge n Resources?

In all of these examples, there are some common themes. One is the need for network technology to connect real-world smart sensors to share information and/or make decisions. Secondly, all of these examples focus on improving management of critical and expensive resources: electricity, water and time.

The fact that these resources are constrained is well supported with data. In 2010 the planet consumed 20,200 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy, while in 2040 the number is expected to be 39,000 TWh, for an annual growth in energy demand of 2.2%. [8] If we assume a 300 MW coal plant, that translates to about an additional 170 coal plants per year needed to appropriately increase the capacity for the planet. [9] If a coal plant costs about a billion dollars, this represents at least a $170B annual investment in energy capacity (not to mention ongoing maintenance costs). Note that we are simplifying the problem for this argument here, because it is the peak demand for electricity that really drives the new capacity demand and not the average power consumption. In any event, the data says that we need a steady addition of expensive energy generation to meet the growing demand. The smart grid promises to help us balance our consumption better to reduce peak demand, meaning that we can defer or save a significant portion of that capacity investment.

We can live without electricity for some time. But the constraints in water are perhaps more dire because gaps in the water supply would threaten our lives. As a planet, we certainly do have a challenge to deliver water everywhere it is needed. But the current water distribution system exacerbates this challenge because the delivery system leaks. From the time when water is cleaned until it is delivered, losses in the distribution system and in the home can be significant….over 50% in less developed parts of the world.[10] The EPA says [11] that the average house in the U.S. leaks 10,000 gallons of water a year. Better vigilance on the part of consumers could tackle a large part of this problem. But more importantly, better local and regional water-metering technology is needed to identify the original source of leaks.

The last critical resource that we are discussing here is time. It is certainly constrained since there is a limited amount of it in a day or even in a lifetime. While we drive around looking for a parking spot, we are wasting time and fuel. We are also causing more traffic, delaying the journey of other drivers and wasting more energy (and time!).

The IoT: Helping to Save the World (One Constrained Resource at a Time)

Enter the IoT. It is here to save the world. Perhaps that is a bit grandiose, but in places with a clearly defined ROI—where precious resources have a significant opportunity for efficiency gains—a network of smart sensors can help us understand and react to the problem. That is how and when we will see the IoT roll out on a large scale.

So we need a network of sensors. On the network side, the options are already here. ZigBee®, Wi-Fi®, cellular, powerline, Bluetooth®—a host of technologies exist to give a “voice” to the billions of sensors that an IoT will demand. So the challenge turns to the sensors. To better monitor our electricity and water consumption, we need cost-effective, small electricity and water meters. True, but you’ve probably seen electric meters and water meters. Few would call them cost effective or small enough to be deployed at a large number of consumption points.

“To better monitor our electricity and water consumption, we need cost-effective, small electricity and water meters”

IoT and Energy Meters

For monitoring energy consumption, we do not need to replicate a traditional utility electricity meter. Instead we really need a ready-to-go measurement solution that can be added to existing applications. Energy measurement at decent accuracies (1% or better) is already a special discipline. So now we actually need turnkey solutions that enable us to monitor energy consumption. One possible solution is for sensor manufacturers to add a current transformer and a preprogrammed energy-measurement IC like the 78M6610_LMU to the outside of a communications module. While effective, the current transformer for energy measurement might not meet our “cost-effective and small” requirement.

While current transformers are the most common solution for sensing energy consumption, they can be heavy, big and expensive. Shunts provide a much lower cost and lighter option, but they can be challenging to integrate with an existing system. Connecting to a shunt means a direct connection to the main AC power line. Isolating with optocouplers then requires an additional power supply on the hot side where the measurement system is. This step then starts to work against the cost and size savings offered with the shunt in the first place. There are a few accurate measurement solutions on the market today like the MAX78615/MAX78700 chipset that solve the problem by providing isolation without the need to build an additional power supply for the measurement.

IoT and Water Meters

Expanding a network of water-consumption sensors is an even bigger challenge. A smart plug like the Belkin examples above can quickly become ubiquitous because they are very easy to install, and once installed are hardly noticed. But a smart water meter is going to be more obtrusive. Imagine a device about the size of a smart plug tied to your bathtub spigot, shower line, or sink faucet. Now the size of this device is likely to get in your way. In addition, a smart water-meter sensor would work best when battery powered, but providing line power this close to water is dangerous.

A larger deterrent to the growth of smart water metering is actually the market’s use of mechanical water meters. Most water meters today use a turbine that rotates as water passes through. This physical device is bulky and inaccurate. Perhaps even worse, the flow rates associated with the “average leaky house” cannot be detected with these mechanical meters. Many so-called “smart” water meters simply use a small microcontroller to count the turbine rotations and then report the data over a wireless network. Fortunately, new technology exists that eliminates the mechanical component of a water meter, allowing newer robust smart water meters to shrink in size, increase measurement accuracy (especially at low leakage rates) and reach into more potential homes.

Ultrasonic flow-metering technology, once reserved for very expensive water meters used in the water distribution system or in industrial flow-monitoring systems, is now available for utility water meters and other flow applications. Ultrasonic flow-rate detection uses silicon tied to two piezo elements: a pulse is transmitted from one sensor to the other (and vice versa). A delta in the pulse times of flight indicates the flow of a liquid or gas. With ultrasonic metering technology, we can detect very low flow rates, even down to the “average leaky house” But this measurement is tricky, and we need special silicon sensitive enough to detect the average level of water leakage in a house.

It will likely take a long time for water flow sensors to become as prevalent as smart plugs. Nonetheless, society could benefit from even a handful of smart placements of a water submeter within a house. I would certainly be interested to know how much water each dishwashing cycle consumes. How much water does my pool need to maintain its level? (Perhaps I should buy an evaporation screen?). The benefits of wider scale deployment of water flow sensors in the water distribution grid are even more compelling. Maybe we can detect and fix the significant losses incurred delivering water to our houses.

IoT and Time

Unfortunately there does not seem to be an obvious one-on-one correlation between a sensor network and saving time. The parking problem described above could probably be solved with just a network of proximity or weight sensors—is there a car on top of me right now? But let’s think about another troublesome situation that many of us have faced. What about the tens of minutes I spend trying to determine which smoke detector battery is bad when the “low battery” beep is bouncing off everything in the house and refusing to reveal its source? Of course, I am usually hunting for the suspect smoke detector at 3 a.m. In this case, adding a simple battery voltage detector to the network allows me to identify quickly which device needs attention.

The Challenge of Security

Sensors can save the world. Well, I guess that is debatable. But certainly smart sensor networks can make the world more efficient, less wasteful and better managed. In some areas water and electricity networks are already underway. However, these networks face a new challenge, a force so devious and threatening that it could stifle and kill the IoT just as it begins. The issue is security.

As we deploy more smart sensors to gather data and as we allow more machines to start making decisions for us, the security threat increases dramatically. Imagine if a fraudulent signal induced thousands of consumers (or their smart machines) to increase electricity consumption by turning the air conditioner colder, starting the clothes dryer, running pool pumps, or just using every electrical appliance all at once. If the smart grid was already constrained on a hot day, the extra load induced by the fake attacker’s signal could bring the grid down. [12]

“Ultimately, the greatest value of the IoT (managing precious resources) can also be its downfall (failing to protect those precious resources).”

Imagine a similar example with the smart parking application. Suppose that an attacker prompts the application to report a wealth of open parking at prime locations in a downtown metropolitan area. This might well prompt many drivers to converge in one location. What if the ensuing traffic jam makes it difficult for police to respond to a local bank robbery?

These are disaster scenarios, yet are they really that far fetched? Energy, water, time—these valuable resources are critically important to us, so wouldn’t they be important to hackers? Hackers can be either mischievous pranksters or cold-hearted terrorists trying to disrupt those resources and our society. Ultimately, the greatest value of the IoT (managing precious resources) can also be its downfall (failing to protect those precious resources). With security such a pivotal concern for the IoT, embedded technology exists today to protect the smart grid and the networks of sensors that comprise an IoT. But still, having security available does not mean that it is automatically deployed. It will be up to the service providers to demand the highest level of security from, and for, the sensors in their IoT.

Summary

The IoT promises great things—a universe of abundant smart sensors monitoring our planet’s most valuable resources. Water and energy are probably the first, best candidates for a widely deployed sensor network since everyone on the planet needs them. And if we have efficient and secure water and energy networks, then we will find ourselves saving time, effort, money and the resources themselves. Improving our usage of time will continue to be a fertile ground for innovation and the impetus for additional sensor technologies to provide the data to help us save that time.

Regrettably, because of their intrinsic value, these IoT networks are especially attractive to cyber attackers. We must secure IoT data and operations or the many benefits of sensor network in the IoT will collapse.

The Bluetooth word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Maxim is under license.

  • WeMo is a registered trademark of Belkin International, Inc.
  • Wi-Fi is a registered certification mark of Wi-Fi Alliance Corporation.
  • ZigBee is a registered trademark and registered service mark of the ZigBee Alliance.

The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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Three young men and young woman chatting in meeting room
3 Steps to IoT Deployment
March 6, 2018
Learn how to set your IoT solution up for success.
Business people in meeting
IoT for Enterprise: 4 Concerns to Consider Before Deployment
By Michael Lamp   -   March 6, 2018
Interoperability, customization and convergence - some of the main concerns businesses tend to face when it comes to deploying IoT.
Two young men and young woman looking at tablet computer in datacenter
IoT Technology 101
By Christian Curtis   -   March 6, 2018
Learn what’s in market today for IoT and what innovations are ahead.
Two men and woman reviewing technology products.
3 ways All Programmable SoCs create new opportunities for designers
March 2, 2018
Usually, two heads are better than one. Yet sometimes, they introduce conflicting perspectives and priorities.
A couple sitting at their kitchen counter
Sigfox is the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT)
February 12, 2018
With its global LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network, Sigfox has reinvented connectivity for the IoT.
Young male engineer working on a prototype
5 (nearly) universal IoT security problems
February 6, 2018
Can you solve your Internet of Things dilemma for a couple bucks? Just maybe.
Four people sitting at a table collaborating on a project
Why does it take 10 partners to start an IoT project?
January 18, 2018
The Internet of Things is more than just a buzzword, it’s a multibillion dollar industry opportunity—at least, for those brave enough to take on the complexity.
Avnet Hardware Studio booth at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show
Hardware Is Hard, But It Doesn’t Have to Be
January 18, 2018
Hardware Studio Live took the expertise of independent hardware creators to the CES floor, sharing not just what cool new tech is out there, but the nuts and bolts of how it gets made. Here’s what four makers had to say...
Avnet booth at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show
3 Hardware Takeaways from CES 2018
January 18, 2018
At times, it feels like software dominates the headlines in technology. But if this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is any indication, a huge hardware evolution is coming.
Woman using tablet and working in data center
The importance of end-to-end security schemes for IoT deployments
By Guillaume Crinon   -   January 18, 2018
IoT machine and device security relies on trusted identities.
blue digital screen
LEDs: The Eyes and Ears of the Internet of Things
November 8, 2017
It may seem to be a stretch to assert that LEDs play a truly important role in the future of the Internet of Things. After all, by themselves, they’re just lights. However, with sensors tucked neatly inside and a bit of intelligence...
Graphic depicting kitchen appliances talking to each other
Alarm bells ring for unsecured connected devices
October 11, 2017
A hot topic at the annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas this summer was the increasing risk companies are facing with the Internet of Things (IoT).
senior couple having tea with green IoT icons overlay
Worried about your elderly parent living alone at home?
September 10, 2017
New technologies can help the elderly to continue leading independent lives. Sensor-based systems using complex analytical methods are able to detect emergencies and call for help when necessary.
person looking at smartphone with IoT icons overlay
Sigfox enters market
August 28, 2017
The goal of Sigfox is to build a wireless wide area network that is completely independent from the existing wireless lattice network, to provide low speed connections for low power sensors. As of the end of 2017, it has covered a total area of 3.8 m
2D image of blue and orange city buildings with hovering IoT icons
Looking to develop NB-IoT technology?
August 28, 2017
Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is a technology standard developed by 3GPP to work in licensed bands. It holds a key position in the evolution of cellular mobile communication technologies (between LTE and 5G), and has therefore been gaining followers among
conceptual image of tablet with connected IoT icons on top
The Spring for the Industrial Internet of Things
August 28, 2017
If we combine traditional industries (including manufacture, exploitation of natural resources, construction, public utilities, etc.) with the transportation and health service sectors, about 46 percent of the global economy, or US$32.3 trillion in g
smart phone with bluetooth logo on the screen and IoT icons overlay
Bluetooth 5.0 and Business: So, you think you've see the bigger picture?
August 28, 2017
Bluetooth 5.0 provides a solution to the issue by extending the data length to 255 bytes, thereby allowing more possibilities in commercial applications.
man pointing to bing map on smart phone
Redefining HMI in the intelligent age
August 28, 2017
Looking at how common smart technologies have become, it is hard to imagine that they have only came into existence in recent times. Impressive as it may seem, what we are witnessing is only the tip of the iceberg. Technology giants around the world
smart phone controlling smart TV
Say goodbye to “reaching out for money” in the near future
August 15, 2017
In the past, we’ve always had to remember to bring the four things we should have on us when leaving the house: ID, cell phone, keys, and wallet. Nowadays, cell phones have become the only, absolute necessity, because the wallet has been replaced b
hand holding digital image representaiton of biometrics device
An overview of the top six commercialized biometric authentication technologies
August 8, 2017
“The best of times” refers to the accelerating development of the biometric authentication market. Research data indicates that the global biometrics market is slated to grow from US$15 billion in 2016 to US$30.5 billion in 2021, a compound annua
Graphic illustrating connectivity clouds hovering above a city
Harnessing the power of IoT: Microsoft’s unique approach
June 11, 2017
Little could this now-famous British serial entrepreneur have known in 1999 that the name he chose to define his approach for using RFID in P&G’s supply chain would top Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report.
Depiction of a city connected via wireless connectivity
How Retailers are Using Location Awareness Technology to Track Buyers’ Habits
April 25, 2017
Location tracking has been in use for a lot longer than one may expect. For example, military Special Forces and intelligence organizations have been using trackers and tracers for decades.
energy harvesting concept with green batteries sprouting from the ground
Powering the Internet of Things via Energy Harvesting
April 25, 2017
The push is on to add Internet capability to everything—often called the Internet of Things (IoT)—and the challenge for design engineers is to figure out how to power each of these IoT nodes.
Clothes hanging on racks in a store
The Internet of Slacks? IoT and Smart Clothing
April 25, 2017
When you think of wearable technology you probably think about those fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist. What you probably don’t think about is your shirt, your pants or even your socks.
IoT icons with a world map background
Insurance and the Internet of Things
April 25, 2017
It’s one of those things you only think about when you need it. Insurance. It’s our safety net for so many important parts of out lives and can sometimes be the key to a quick recovery – both physically and financially.
illustration of clouds with data storage symbols
The Internet of Things Pushes the Possibilities Offered by Big Data
April 24, 2017
The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses things as tangible as a light switch, things as ethereal as a cloud, and all things in-between.
man pointing to the word insurance
Risky Business: IoT’s Impact on Insurance
April 23, 2017
Risky Business: IoT’s Impact on Insurance By Steve Gereb August 25, 2016. I enjoy reading about how the data collected by Intelligent Systems will help people live better lives.
woman looking at tablet on airplane
The Internet of Things at Cruising Altitude: Airlines and the IoT
April 20, 2017
What are your thoughts when you step onto an airplane? “Where’s my seat?” “Is this a Wi-Fi flight?” “I hope I make my connection.”
man holding tablet with chart image
Study: Digital Intelligence Driving Massive Business Transformation
April 14, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely regarded as the next revolution in technology. Cisco predicts that by 2020, there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet, generating revenues of $19 trillion.
Yellow rainboots and gardening tools on flowerbed
The Internet of Things Has Thumbs – And They’re Green
April 10, 2017
It’s no surprise that technology, data and intelligent systems are transforming industrial agriculture.
graphic spelling out internet of things
Microsoft and GE Partnership to Make Industrial IoT More Accessible to Businesses
April 4, 2017
General Electric (GE) and Microsoft Corporation recently announced the beginning of a new alliance. The technology collaboration will make available GE’s Predix platform for Industrial Internet on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses
Graphic of a person using IoT for several applications
Going Up? Elevators, Windows 10 And The Internet Of Things
March 30, 2017
People are excited about the Internet of Things for a variety of reasons. It’s already made us more connected. And as more and more things are connected, a number of industries are poised to become faster, more efficient and more reliable.
IoT concept -- smart phone with IoT icons
OCF and Thread Group Alliance Boosts Windows 10 and its Smart Home Initiative
March 29, 2017
Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and Thread Group, recently collaborated to fire up the automated ‘smart home’ functionalities on the Windows 10 operating system.
Woman looking at her wearable fitness tracker
From vision to reality: a look at Pebble’s launch into the wearables market
March 26, 2017
When Eric Migicovsky started designing smartwatches six years ago, there were few players in the wearables space and a lot of skeptics.
beer taps in a row
Internet of Beer? Avnet Helps iKeg ‘Tap’ Into the Internet of Things
March 26, 2017
You might think that running out of beer is only a major concern if you are the “refreshment coordinator” for a college fraternity, but it turns out that beer inventory management is actually a pretty big deal for bar and restaurant owners these
Depiction of IoT for various modes of transportation
How the IoT will Change the Supply Chain?
March 24, 2017
The potential applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technology across any industry or sector are vast. Existing and future IoT applications promise new ways of value creation and revenue streams for businesses in a digital world.
cyber security chip on circuit board
IoT Proliferation Teeters on the Edge
By Alex Iuorio   -   March 24, 2017
Cybersecurity and the irony of what happened during U.S. President Barack Obama's January 12, 2015 speech to the Federal Trade Commission on the growing threat, during which he declared: “If we’re’re going to be connected, we’ve got to be pro
Robotic machinery building a car in a factory
Ensuring robust connectivity in the industrial Internet of Things
March 23, 2017
The industrial Internet of Things promises to bring greater visibility and control of manufacturing processes.
Pigeons perched on the side of a building
London’s Pigeon Population Flocks to IoT
March 21, 2017
In one of the strangest, most innovative uses of Intelligent Systems we’ve seen so far, DigitasLbi Creative Director Pierre Dequesnoy came up with the idea of using pigeons equipped with sensor-loaded backpacks to analyze pollution in the UK’s ca
cloud servers
Securing LED Networks in the Age of the Internet of Things
March 20, 2017
Recently, in Nuevo Arenal, a little sleepy village in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, a dozen criminals cut the lights to the town’s main street during the quiet 3 a.m. hour, and then injured...
3D cityscape with IoT icons
Invest in the Future with IoT
March 20, 2017
You and I have known for a long time that connected devices are becoming pervasive throughout society, and it seems like the investment world is finally catching up.
diagram of smartphone and connected devices
IoT Security: Real Problems and Solutions
By Guillaume Crinon   -   March 18, 2017
Learn about the real issues behind “IoT security,” and challenges for customers both from hardware and embedded / server software aspects.
America flag with WIFI icon
It’s Time For The Government And The Internet Of Things
March 18, 2017
The Internet of Things or IoT has become quite the well-known term in the past year or two. What started out as a radical concept – connecting everything to everything else and to the Internet!
low power concept alphabetical chart
Internet of Things: Low Power, Low Cost Connected Devices Fuel Demand for Microco
March 17, 2017
At the heart of the devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) are a variety of ultra low power microcontrollers (MCUs), sensor networks, systems-on-chip (SoC) and communications protocols such as ZigBee. These underlying technologies operate
Front view of a man pointing his index finger and a gear icon
One-Click Manufacturing: Could It Really Be That Easy?
March 16, 2017
One click manufacturing (OCM) is a concept that arose from the 3D printing world: design a 3D model of a part ...
Graphic of cloud computing hovering over a tablet
Finding the best wireless option for your IoT design
March 16, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) relies on a facile communications framework able to move data easily between embedded "things" and systems located at higher levels of the IoT hierarchy.
digital image of the continents
The Edge to Enterprise - Avnet and IBM Partner to Deliver IoT Offering
March 13, 2017
This white paper examines the Internet of Things market with a lens on the complexity of the vendor ecosystem and how partnerships are enabling holistic solutions to come to market.
nurse checking person wearing health monitoring system on wrist
Internet of Things: Designing Sensor-Based Devices with Coin Cell Batteries
March 13, 2017
A popular vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it will comprise billions of sensors gathering information about their local environment and transmitting that data back to servers in the cloud. Such data will be compiled, analyzed and shared
conceptual image of hand with legs and city background
Smart Cities: What To Look For In 2016 And Beyond
March 11, 2017
In a recent article in Government Technology, IDC research director Ruthbea Yesner Clarke discusses three trends emerging around the growing smart cities movement
hand holding smart phone with IoT icons emanating from the phone
Indispensable Building Blocks of Mobile IoT Devices
March 10, 2017
The concept of IoT connected devices connotes many different ideas. Some think of data centers full of servers, network switches and storage arrays aggregating untold gigabytes of random data. Others identify with Ethernet-enabled devices in their pl
bee polinating a puple flower field
What’s All The Buzz About? Bees And Smart Map Technology
March 8, 2017
You’ve heard about the problems with the bees, right? Their population numbers are dwindling and that’s not good news.
person wearing smart watch, working on laptop and  holding smart phone
Will HaLow open the door for more intelligent systems?
March 7, 2017
Reporting on the recent announcement of the “long-awaited Wi-Fi HaLow standard for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah wireless networking technology,” Jim Hunter of Tech Crunch explains why this new standard may pave the way for more connected
conceptual graphic of IoT icons around a blue globe
An Introduction to IoT Components
March 7, 2017
From locomotives and jet engines to baby monitors and home appliance controls, new applications are challenging the imaginations of designers — both in startup companies and within giant corporations.
Graphic depicting the Internet of Things
For industry 4.0, reliability builds on robust connections
March 6, 2017
Looking to relieve increasing product complexity and cost pressures, manufacturers are moving toward the next phase of industrial automation envisioned in Industry 4.0.
business man standing on small rowboat in the ocean
What To Do With All That Data
March 6, 2017
Just as important as the hardware and the data it collects in an Intelligent System are the tools we need to process and analyze information. Otherwise, an Intelligent System does nothing to serve our purposes.
Binary code
Driving data with unintentional new uses: Internet of Things
March 3, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a natural evolution of the things we already make today.
Graphic depicting a human head with IOT written of to the side
Cognitive computing and IBM Watson IoT: unlocking the power of information
March 3, 2017
Businesses, academic institutions, cities, and other enterprises may have diverse objectives and missions but all have two things in common: Data, lots of it.
Graphic depicting cyber security
Circuit Protection: Helping Drive Reliability and Longer Life
March 3, 2017
The primary concerns of engineers designing mobile devices connected to the IoT remain device functionality, performance and feature set.
A person using their cell phone to connect to several mobile apps
Avnet: your key enabler for efficient IoT product development
March 3, 2017
There’s no shortage of hype when it comes to IoT! Fashion designers, futurists, gadget geeks, salespeople...
Depiction of a digitally connected city
Antennas for RF Designs in the IoT
March 3, 2017
The physical connection for many IoT nodes leverages legacy wired networks found in homes, offices, schools, factories and other areas. As we become mobile, wireless physical connections are becoming the norm.
Graphic depicting Wi-Fi connectivity
A “Canned” Module/IC Solution Simplifies Wireless Implementation, but Potential Design-in Issues Remain
March 2, 2017
Incorporating wireless connectivity into a product is now a standard design requirement for Wi-Fi, IoT, and other applications.
A city at dusk
10 companies and municipalities that are harnessing the Internet of Things to run smarter cities
March 2, 2017
Many of the devices we interact with today are enabled by computers and connected to the Internet. Much of the popular interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) focuses on consumer electronics, with everything from smart refrigerators to thermostats,
A graphic reading
10 things every intelligent systems needs
March 1, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way businesses use technology. This web of interconnected devices and machines gathers information from gas-oil-water exploration sensors to sensors in corn fields, to medical devices and train control

The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?

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