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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Octacore i.MX8 processor on industrial SMARC2.0 module format

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

German board developer congatec has developed its first SMARC 2.0 Computer-on-Module based on the 64bit NXP i.MX8 multi-core ARM processor family. 

The conga-SMX8 uses up to eight ARM Cortex-A53/A72 cores (2x A72 + 4x A53 + 2x M4F) for ultra-low-power embedded computer designs, offering the recent best-in-class ARM processor with excellent performance, flexible graphics and numerous embedded features for all kind of IIoT applications. 

The module supports high-performance multi-core computing along with extended graphics capabilities for up to three independent 1080p displays or a single 4K screen. Further benefits of this native industrial-grade platform include hardware-based real-time and hypervisor support along with broad scalability as well as resistance against harsh environments and extended temperature ranges.

The SMARC 2.0 modules include hardware based virtualization and resource partitioning for stationary and mobile industrial applications including real-time robotics and motion controls. The modules are qualified for the extended ambient temperature range from -40°C to +85°C and so can be used in fleet systems for commercial vehicles or infotainment applications in cabs, busses and trains as well as all the new electric and autonomous vehicles.

"Due to the tremendous increase in performance, functionality and connectivity of ARM architectures, ARM based Computer-on-Modules gain significantly more importance and acceptance, as they reduce the overall system design costs for hardware and software and enable faster time to market for the final end application," said Martin Danzer, Director Product Management at congatec. "Our SMARC 2.0 modules are application-ready sub systems that come with a comprehensive ecosystem such as ready-to-go boot loader implementation, pre-qualified Linux and Android BSPs and fully featured evaluation carrier boards as well as personal integration support and a broad range of individually selectable technical services to significantly simplify the integration of this new i.MX8 processor for our customers."

The module supports up to 8 GByte of LPDDR4 MLC or pseudo SLC memory and up to 64 GByte of non-volatile memory, with 2x GbE including optional IEEE1588 compliant precision clock synchronization, up to 6x USB including 1x USB 3.1, up to 2x PCIe Gen 3.0, 1x SATA 3.0, 2x CAN bus, 4x UART as well as an optional onboard Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and BLE. 

Up to 3 displays can be connected via HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, 2x LVDS and 1x eDP 1.4. For video cameras, the modules support 2 MIPI CSI-2 video inputs. Software support includes U-Boot and complete Board Support Packages for Linux, Yocto and Android.

The modules will be available in series production in time with the production launch of the new i.MX8 processor family by end of this year. 

Adding cybersecurity to legacy industrial networks

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Cynash has launched a cybersecurity system for legacy industrial control networks that rely on serial communications protocols such as RS-485 and RS-232.

SerialTap consists of a patented sensing device that passively intercepts serial communications on legacy industrial control networks. This provides a deeper level of communications transparency and verification to these legacy control systems with analytics software that identifies anomalous network traffic associated with cyberattacks.

“The vast majority of our critical energy, transportation and industrial infrastructure still runs on control networks that rely on serial communications. These networks have absolutely no intrinsic resistance to cyberattacks,” said Richard Robinson, CEO of US-based Cynash. “SerialTap provides a deeper level of communications transparency and process verification to these legacy control systems.”

The technology was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the sensor is electrically isolated from the control network, preventing any possibility of interference. All intercepted serial data packets are sent to the analytics platform via an out-of-band Ethernet connection.

www.cynash.com

Monday, July 30, 2018

Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk at eeNews Europe

. Tracking 443,000 lightning strikes across Germany

. Organic flow battery can operate for decades

. BP's solar farm operator looks to Egypt with joint venture

POWER TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH
. Ossia boosts free space wireless power, adds 5.8GHz operation

. New materials target fast charging batteries

. Perovskite tandem solar cell overtakes silicon, heads for 30 percent efficiency

NEW POWER PRODUCTS


. 60V buck controller delivers four 8A configurable DC-DC channels


. Modular cooling plate can handle 5kW


. Exposed inductors allow 50A PMbus module to run hot

TECHNICAL PAPERS
. UnitedSiC: Practical considerations when comparing SiC and GaN in power applications


. Linear Tech: LTC7000/-01 MOSFET Gate Drivers


. Infineon: Deep learning neural networks demand sophisticated power

Google launches chips and software stack for AI at the edge

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Google has launched two new products aimed at helping customers develop and deploy intelligent connected devices at scale.

The Edge TPU is a dedicated AI chip that works with Cloud IoT Edge, a software stack that extends Google Cloud’s AI capability to gateways and connected devices. This lets engineers build and train ML models in the cloud, then run those models on the Cloud IoT Edge device through the power of the Edge TPU hardware accelerator.

The Edge TPU is designed to run TensorFlow Lite ML models at the edge that is optimised for “performance per watt” and “performance per dollar” within a small footprint. 

Cloud IoT Edge is the software that extends Google Cloud’s powerful data processing and machine learning capabilities to gateways, cameras, and end devices, making IoT applications smarter, more secure and more reliable. It lets develoeprs execute ML models trained in Google Cloud on the Edge TPU or on GPU- and CPU-based accelerators. Cloud IoT Edge can run on Android Things or Linux OS-based devices, and a key component is a runtime for gateway class devices, with at least one CPU, to locally store, translate, process, and derive intelligence from data at the edge, while seamlessly interoperating with the rest of Cloud IoT platform.

The Edge IoT Core runtime securely connects edge devices to the cloud, enabling software and firmware updates and managing the exchange of data with Cloud IoT Core.

The TensorFlow Lite-based Edge ML runtime performs local ML inference using pre-trained models, significantly reducing latency and increasing the versatility of edge devices. Because the Edge ML runtime interfaces with TensorFlow Lite, it can execute ML inference on a CPU, GPU or an Edge TPU in a gateway class device, or in an end device such as a camera.
By running on-device machine learning models, Cloud IoT Edge with Edge TPU provides significantly faster predictions for critical IoT applications than general-purpose IoT gateways—all while ensuring data privacy and confidentiality. Plus, Cloud IoT Edge and Edge TPU have been extensively tested to natively run open source reference models like MobileNet and Inception V3.

Cloud IoT Edge can process and analyze images, videos, gestures, acoustics, and motion locally on edge devices, instead of needing to send raw data to the cloud and then wait for a response. This local processing addresses certain industry-specific compliance needs and reduces data privacy risks. And Cloud IoT Edge uses a JSON Web Token to authenticate edge devices so that the private key never leaves the device.
The Edge TPU development kitTo jump-start development and testing with the Edge TPU, we’ve built a development kit. This kit includes a system on module (SOM) that combines Google’s Edge TPU, a NXP CPU, Wi-Fi, and Microchip’s secure element in a compact form factor. It’ll will be available to developers this October. To request early access to the Edge TPU development kit, sign up via this form.





Semiconductor partners will create the SOM with the Edge TPU chip inside. Device makers will make industrial IoT gateways—like the kind used in factories, locomotives, oil rigs, and more—that include the SOM and Edge TPU.

Google is working with NXP and ARM on the chips, gateway makers Accton, Harting, Hitachi Vantara, Nexcom and Nokia and edge computing specialists: ADLINK Technology, Kelvin, Olea Edge Analytics, Smart Catch and Trax.

US utility hacking drives blockchain technology for the industrial IoT

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has alleged that Russian hackers, working for a state-owned group previously identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, have breached the control rooms of hundreds of electric utilities in the country.

This is driving signficant interest in blockchain and distributed ledger technology for the Industrial Internet of Things. Silicon Valley-based blockchain specialist Xage Security has raised $12m from investors including General Electric to further develop a blockchain-protected security fabric that uses multi-factor authentication and frequently rotates credentials to provide a tamperproof record of access control. 
As a result of the hacking the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the body charged with ensuring the reliability and security of the electrical grid, has extended their NERC-CIP-003 standard to reaffirm the need for role-based access control in the field, such as changing default device passwords, enforcing password complexity, and rotating passwords.

The hackers gained access to the utilities’ SCADA networks, which were supposedly ‘air gapped’ or securely isolated, by first compromising the networks of thousands of vendors and suppliers that had special access to the utilities’ systems to remotely complete service tasks, such as updating software and running diagnostics. These SCADA networks control the bulk electric power system and, if compromised, could potentially result in power disruptions or blackouts.

The hackers used conventional means, such as spear-phishing emails, to collect employee passwords and gain access to vendor networks, the majority of which lacked sufficient cybersecurity protections.

Xage points to the use of a distributed secure ledger to secure critical access control and proactively protect against these credential leakage attacks throughout the information chain. 

This ensures that access logs and stolen credentials cannot be utilized or concealed by malicious actors. Xage’s systemic tamperproofing furthermore includes fingerprinting technology, which detects unauthorized changes and isolates compromised devices to prevent contagion from spreading.


Related stories:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Semtech sees Indian smart city lighting wireless network win

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Indian design house Ahoy Systems is using LoRa long range wireless technology from Semtech for smart street-lighting products.

“Our smart street lights are built to ensure city efficiency and sustainability, without compromising the safety of streets for pedestrians and drivers. Smart cities leverage our smart lights to reduce their energy footprint and cut down on maintenance costs,” said Neel Maharaj, CEO at Ahoy Systems. “Semtech’s LoRa Technology provides the ideal IoT platform for cities to drastically reduce their electricity costs without compromising infrastructure quality and community services.”

Ahoy Systems provides smart street lighting solutions for municipalities, network operators, LED companies, residential managers, and parking lots. The LoRa-enabled street lights offer lower electricity consumption that pays for itself in less than four years, important as electricity consumption by street lights constitutes a significant portion of an average city’s budget. Ahoy Systems smart street lighting is easily incorporated into preexisting LED streetlamp infrastructure to reduce the deployment cost. The smart streetlamps automatically dim according to programmable schedules, detect moonlight and dim accordingly, and can send automated messages to managers upon malfunction detection.

“With Semtech’s LoRa Technology and smart city IoT networking, Ahoy Systems can offer street light solutions that increase energy efficiency and reduce city operating costs. LoRa solutions are easy to implement into existing infrastructure and allow smart monitoring of the grid over a LoRaWAN network,” said Vivek Mohan, Director of IoT, Wireless and Sensing Products Group at Semtech. “With hundreds of global cities adopting LoRa Technology for smart city solutions, it’s clear the technology is the ideal IoT platform for smart cities to create a smarter planet while enhancing community services.”

Ahoy Systems

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Japan's largest software house expands into IoT devices

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Japan's largest software publisher and distributor, Sourcenext,  is expanding into consumer electronics and IoT devices through a dedicated product development initiative. 

Sourcenext is building on more than twenty years of software publishing experience, with a roster of global companies who turn to them as a trusted partner to execute successful product launches. The new expansion will produce the company's first consumer electronics device for the US and other markets, set to launch later this year.

Sourcenext has helped OEMs such as Fitbit and Dropbox bring products to the Japanese market through localization, marketing, distribution and customer support. The product development capability will use this understanding of consumer experience to create devices for the Internet of Things.

"Our goal has always been the same. We want to bring happiness and excitement to people across the globe through amazingly simple, useful, and affordable products," said Noriyuki Matsuda, CEO and founder of Sourcenext. "We're excited to have expanded into the consumer electronics space, to begin creating useful devices that can be integrated into everyday life. Our first device will help to connect people of all backgrounds through an instant, open line of communication."

us.sourcenext.com

Tuya aims to drive AI for the IoT

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Tuya Smart has raised $200m in its third round of funding to drive artificial intelligence for the consumer Internet of Things. This is part of the positioning of IoT infrastructure companies for future growth, handling petabytes and exabytes of data with minimal latency.

The Chinese company, founded by former executives of e-commerce giant Alibaba, aims to be major player in the IoT, providing artificail intelligence for IoT devices using the Alibaba and Amazon cloud services. A key point is that it is agnostic to the wireless and cloud technologies used for smart devices. It receives over 20 billion device requests and over 10 million AI interactions every day, and the amount of data accumulated has reached 1PB.

Tuya Smart’s platform has covered around 200 countries and regions including China, the US, Europe, the Middle East and ASEAN countries, and its smart products are present in more than 100 countries and regions. Tuya says it has designed smart solutions for almost 11,000 products, reaching tens of millions of consumers.

iot.tuya.com

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Embedded AI processor startup targets Japan and South Korea

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Hailo, an Israeli developer of a proprietary chip technology for deep learning on edge devices, is targetting technology and business partners in Japan and South Korea.

The company, established in early 2017, emerged out of stealth mode in June and announced that it had completed $12.5 million Series A funding round that will help the startup further develop its deep learning microprocessor, which will deliver datacentre processing capacity to edge devices. This latest funding round brings the total raised to date by the Tel Aviv-based company to $16 million.

Initial samples of the deep learning processor are expected early in 2019 and will be able to run embedded AI applications on edge devices that are installed in autonomous vehicles, drones, and smart home appliances such as personal assistants, smart cameras and smart TVs, alongside IoT, AR and VR platforms, wearables and security products.

This is one reason why the company is targeting the automotive industry for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving applications that require sensing and processing of the environment. According to IC Insights, ICs used in automobiles and other vehicles are expected to generate global sales of $42.9 billion in 2021, compared to $22.9 billion in 2016. Existing general-purpose processor infrastructure cannot run compute-intensive deep learning algorithms necessary for these applications.

According to a market research by IDC, total spending on cognitive and AI systems in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), has totaled $458.0 million in 2017 alone, reflecting an increase of 53.3% over 2016

South Korea ICT Ministry has recently published a national plan that aims to invest around 2.2 trillion won (around $2 billion) by 2022 in order to boost the country's AI R&D capabilities and transform the country into one of the world's top four AI powerhouses. As part of the strategy, South Korea is planning to establish six new AI research institutes.

In Japan, the Japanese government published its artificial intelligence technology strategy that details top areas for R&D, focusing on the themes of productivity, medical care and health, and mobility. The strategy also encourages collaboration between industry, government, and academia to advance AI research.

www.hailotech.com

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Honeywell spins out its homes business into Resideo

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Honeywell is spinning out its Honeywell Homes business into a $4.5bn separate venture called Resideo. This will also include the ADI global distribution businesses by the end of 2018, creating a significant new player in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Honeywell will license its brand to Resideo under a long-term agreement for use in its home and security hardware and software solutions for all channels.

Honeywell has had the potential to be a major player in the consumer IoT but has struggled to define a strategy, hence the spin out into a company that sounds somewhat like 'residual', or left over. It already has 30 million installed sensors generating more than 250 billion data transmissions each year. The Connected Home operation uses Microsoft Azure cloud services.

Honeywell Home and Building Technologies (HBT) has over 38,000 employees with products, software and technologies found in more than 150 million homes and 10 million buildings worldwide. Resideo will have approximately 13,000 staff. 

The Resideo network also includes more than 3,000 distributors and 1,200 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), major retailers and online merchants. More than 4.7 million of Resideo's customers use connected devices in their homes, which provide them app-based access to controls, monitoring and alerts.  

The network also includes more than 110,000 contractors, who are an integral part of Resideo's sales and go-to-market strategies. As an independent company, Resideo will support their growth by investing in sales and technical training, improving channel partner marketing and related programs to enhance their ability to meet the needs of homeowners.

The ADI Global Distribution business has more than 200 physical locations in nearly 20 countries, offering more than 350,000 products to more than 100,000 contractors. ADI Global Distribution will retain its name and remain as a free-standing distribution business of Resideo, allowing its global low-voltage contractors to access the products and technologies they need to meet the needs of their customers.

"The home is the biggest investment most of us will ever make – the place where we create a lifetime of memories," said Mike Nefkens, president and CEO of Honeywell Homes, the business that will become Resideo. "Because the home is a centerpiece of our lives, we expect it to be secure, comfortable and safe at all times. Resideo builds on Honeywell's strength in providing the world's best solutions to help people to live more productive, comfortable and safer lives. And because smart home choices can be truly overwhelming, our mission is to provide consumers with integrated, simple solutions for today's connected home."

"Through its iconic brand and unparalleled presence in the home and low-voltage product distribution markets, Resideo will have an enviable position from its first day," said Roger Fradin, chairman of the Board, Resideo, who has four decades of leadership experience in the home comfort and security industries. "Resideo has several distinct advantages: a pipeline of innovative products and services, a sharp focus on its customers and global scale with a world-class brand. Given its ability to serve a wide range of customers around the world, Resideo is poised to be the preferred choice for consumers and channel partners, and a very compelling investment for shareowners."

www.resideo.com


2G cellular module offers easy upgrade to LPWAN

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Taking a very different view to faster, low latency links, u-blox has launched a competitively priced 'old school' quad-band GSM/GPRS module featuring optimized power consumption for IoT applications.

The SARA-G450 is aimed at machine-to-machine (M2M) applications such as utility metering and tracking systems but allows developers to migrate to low power wide area networks (LPWAN) susch as NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1.

2G cellular technology offers reliable performance for mobile applications and broad geographical coverage, which made it the technology of choice for M2M. While some regions are currently phasing out their 2G network infrastructure (most notably the USA), 2G continues to be a viable and popular option for M2M solutions in regions still lacking NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 networks or where coverage is spotty, and this is where the SARA-G450 is aimed.

The pin-compatibility of the SARA modules allows PCB designer to use a range of air interface technologies, including 2G, 3G, LPWA (LTE Cat M1 and NB1), and high speed LTE. This also means that product developers can anticipate future upgrades of their applications to move to LTE Cat M1 and NB1 connectivity as soon as they become available in their target markets.

SARA-G450 is a standard grade quad-band GSM/GPRS module that is power-optimized for IoT applications. It offers the flexibility to combine with a variety of best-in-class u‑blox GNSS or Bluetooth modules for solutions that integrate positioning, short range and cellular communication. An embedded internet suite facilitates the development of a wide range of M2M devices.

“2G technology continues to play a vital role in a broad range of geographical and industrial markets and will continue to do so for years to come. With the SARA-G450, we are offering a cost-effective module that addresses the demands of these markets while offering a clear upgrade path to LPWA technologies once they roll out,” says Rado Sustersic, Senior Product Manager, Product Center Cellular at u‑blox.
Samples will be available at the end of August with production starting end of September.


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Monday, July 23, 2018

Power news this week

By Nick Flahertyat eeNews Europe www.flaherty.co.uk

. Smart Building certification scheme boosts self-powered devices

. Hydrogen storage plant goes commercial

POWER TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH
. Protecting the power grid from attack


. Japan startup reports first normally-off gallium-oxide MOSFET

NEW POWER PRODUCTS
. SPMI power analysis boost for midrange scopes


. Smart protection switch for Type-C PD port designs


. Standalone USB Type-C Power Delivery controller aids migration

TECHNICAL PAPERS

. Dialog: Voice Commands for Bluetooth Low Energy Remote Controls


. Mentor: Designing products with high-speed constraints


. UnitedSiC: Practical considerations when comparing SiC and GaN in power applications

First public blockchain for the Internet of Things

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Tthe SDChain Alliance has launched what it believes to be the world's first public chain that truly uses blockchain technology to secure IoT data reliability.

The public ledger will start providing open services that facilitate Internet of Things integration with the blockchain as a decentralized ecosystem. In the real-world environment, with from 2,500 to more than 20,000 users, the minimum response time a system service can still maintain a 6ms response time with a stable performance of 5,000 transactions per second.

After nearly a year of efforts by SDChain's core technical team, SDChain's main network is ready to go. Based on the Co-Chain blockchain system, the "Blockchain Reform Initiative" connects Co-Chain and other public chains, and establishes the ecological data mining mechanism of the Internet of Things application. 

At the same time, the SDChain Alliance also released the "SDA Super Node Plan" for "data collection as mining" as first phase of "Blockchain Reform Initiative" and the first step in realizing the self-construction of IoT data mining. A one-month public SDA community vote started on July 20 to determine the details of "Super Node Plan" at SDChain.io.

In March 2018, the SDChain test chain was released two months ahead of schedule, leading to ISO / IEC 30141 officially becoming an international standard in July when the SDChain public chain went officially into service.

Speaking at the SDChain public chain conference, , said, 
"Since the Internet of Things industry is bringing humans from the automation of communication in the Internet era to the execution of automation, the SDChain based on the international standard of the "six-domain model" has been verified by numerous application cases to prove that it is a blockchain technology that truly meets the future development trend of the Internet of Things industry," said David Pan, CEO of SDChain Alliance.

Founded in Canada, the SDChain Alliance leverages blockchain to activate IoT applications. SDChain believes that data from Internet of Things in the physical world should be shared through a fast, trusted and cost-effective blockchain network. Based on the "six-domain model" as a global standardization of the Internet of Things, the network enables data producers and data users in the open partner ecosystem to fully activate the potential of the digital economy and it promotes the development of innovation throughout the industry.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

1.3Tbit memory chip allows 2.6Tbyte drive in a single package

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Toshiba Memory Europe has developed a prototype sample of a 96-layer flash memory chip using its proprietary 3D flash quad level cell (QLC) technology.

QLC allows four bits per cell and the prototype jointly developed with Western Digital Corporation stores 1.33 terabits on a single chip.

This also allows  2.66 terabytes in a single package through a 16-chip stacked architecture. 

The progress in IoT and the demand for analysing and using that data in real time is expected to increase dramatically and this will require even faster HDDs and larger capacity storage from such schips says the company.

Toshiba Memory will start to deliver samples to SSD and SSD controller manufacturers for evaluation from the beginning of September and expects to start mass production in 2019.

T-Mobile puts NB-IoT in the guardband

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

T-Mobile has launched a cellular Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) service across the US by using the guardband of existing 4G spectrum links. 

“NB-IoT is the globally-preferred standard to power the rapidly expanding world of IoT applications,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “So of course, T-Mobile is the first to bring NB-IoT to the US, lighting up new capabilities to connect massive numbers of devices at low cost.”

Built on the 3GPP standard, NB-IoT is a low power, wide area network (LPWAN) LTE-Advanced technology that provides a pathway to 5G IoT and offers many comparable benefits like low power usage, long battery life and low device cost. T-Mobile was the first to trial NB-IoT in the US last year.

Putting the NB-IoT channels in the guard bands of existing services allows T-Mobile can use existing spectrum resources most efficiently, and IoT applications don’t have to compete with other data traffic for network resources. T-Mobile worked with Ericsson, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies to deploy nationwide NB-IoT, laying the foundation for the 5G future and giving partners and customers peace of mind that their solutions are future proof.

NB-IoT is ideal for smart applications that can track high value assets, optimize utilization of equipment in the field and help ensure safety and compliance in fleet management, waste management, energy utility monitoring and many other industrial sectors. In addition to reducing costs and improving efficiency, partners are building IoT solutions that have the potential to alleviate traffic congestion, improve food safety and so much more.
T-Mobile’s NB-IoT plan costs just $6 a year – one tenth of Verizon’s Cat-M plans, it says – for up to 12 MB per connected device, and several NB-IoT modules based on Qualcomm MDM9206 LTE IoT modem are certified for use on T-Mobile’s network. 

The plan includes 10 single-packet transactions per hour at up to 64 Kbps, up to 12 MB. For applications that require more bandwidth and voice, T-Mobile also offers Cat-1 IoT Access Packs. 

The carrier also announced its new partner program, T-Mobile CONNECT, to help IoT solution providers collaborate and bring their products and services to market on the network

Related stories:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Video capability for LPWAN IoT networks

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Polysense Technologies has launched image and video capture capability on wide area, low power networks.

The Polysense WxS 8800 universal sensor node series incorporates Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology with long ranges of 3km to 5km in NLOS (None Line of Sight) urban environments, and over 15km reach in LOS (Line of Sight) open environments.

One of the challenges with LPWAN systems is the lower data rate which doesn't really support video. Edge processing algorithms in the node allows nine integrated internal sensors in the WxS 8800 family for a wide range of IoT applications.

“We have multiple customers requesting the image and video capturing capability for our widely used WxS IoT end node product line,” said Alex Wu, President of Polysense. “We listened and responded with an image and video sensor that is low power, offers multiple modes of resolution, and includes night vision capturing and even image/video analysis. For example, an enterprise can install PIR in conference rooms/labs to detect the presence of a person, and then take a picture.”

“Polysense’s technology fills a gap in the current IoT ecosystem and image and video capturing solutions such as this, greatly expand LPWAN use cases in a variety of verticals including asset management and security in smart cities, buildings and homes,” said Vivek Mohan, Director of IoT, Wireless and Sensing Products Group at Semtech. “Semtech’s LoRa Technology has become the technology of choice for building low power and long range IoT applications, and Polysense should play an important role in making our world a smarter planet.”

“We have been using WxS for several use cases and look forward to the new exciting enhancements being added,” said Nick Sacke, head of IoT at Comms365, a leading IoT service provider based in the UK. “The unique combination of low power, night vision, and smart sensor triggering can be valuable for many end user IoT applications.”

Now with the new image and video capture capabilities on WxS 8800, Polysense is the only vendor that provides smart triggered capturing of event detections for applications such as asset protection, perimeter security, and senior care - where image and video are essential.

The nodes support image and video resolutions from 176*120 to 640*480 as well as night vision mode with 8MB of local storage, capable of storing up to 60 seconds of video segment or multiple picture images. The nodes have image and video analysis capability with an efficient local store and forwarding algorithm with frame retransmission mechanism.

Polysense's WxS 8800 universal sensor node series is in production and immediately available for ordering. 


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Peelable stickers boost the IoT


By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have developed a new fabrication method that makes thin-film electronic circuits peelable from a surface, enabling stickers to add connectivty to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The technique not only eliminates several manufacturing steps and the associated costs, but also allows any object to sense its environment or be controlled through the sticker.

A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/8tNrPVi4OGg.

"We could customize a sensor, stick it onto a drone, and send the drone to dangerous areas to detect gas leaks, for example," said Chi Hwan Lee, Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

Lee's transfer printing process cuts down manufacturing costs by using a single wafer to build a nearly infinite number of thin films holding electronic circuits. Instead of high temperatures and chemicals, the film can peel off at room temperature with water.

A ductile metal layer, such as nickel, inserted between the electronic film and the silicon wafer, makes the peeling possible in water. These thin-film electronics can then be trimmed and pasted onto any surface. Putting one of the stickers on a flower pot, for example, made that flower pot capable of sensing temperature changes that could affect the plant's growth.

Lee's lab also demonstrated that the components of electronic integrated circuits work just as well before and after they were made into a thin film peeled from a silicon wafer. The researchers used one film to turn on and off an LED light display.

"We've optimized this process so that we can delaminate electronic films from wafers in a defect-free manner," Lee said.

Telit links to IBM Watson for Industrial IoT

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Telit hs connected its deviceWISE IoT platform to IBM's Watson IoT platform. 

The combination of IBM's Watson IoT platform and Telit's deviceWISE gives manufacturers and other industrial businesses powerful new options for near-instant onboarding of industrial products, systems and assets, and applying advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and application development. deviceWISE streamlines the process of integrating industrial IoT (IIoT) devices and applications by providing a large library of native device drivers and industrial protocols. This eliminates the need for custom coding and other expensive, time-consuming integration tasks, so businesses can add value to their IIoT bottom line and realize competitive benefits even faster. 

The IBM Watson IoT platform, available on the IBM Cloud, brings real-time insights to IoT data and powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based capabilities including Cognitive Analysis, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing.

"This new agreement enables manufacturers and other industrial businesses to leverage the combined strength of the world's two best solutions for IIoT and AI," said Yosi Fait, Telit CEO. "By working together, Telit and IBM are ensuring that IIoT lives up to its full potential for maximizing efficiency, productivity and more."

"AI makes it easier and faster for manufacturers to aggregate, analyze and act on data from multiple sources," said Stephan Biller, Vice President for Offering Management, IBM Watson IoT. "Telit's deviceWISE complements IBM Watson's AI capabilities, making the two solutions a natural fit that benefit manufacturers and other industrial businesses worldwide."

For more information, visit https://www.telit.com/m2m-iot-products/iot-platforms/telit-devicewise-for-factory-iiot-platform.
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Plessey boss steps down suddenly

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

www.eenewspower.com/news/plessey-ceo-shock-resignation

The man that revitalised Plessey Semiconductors nearly a decade ago has left the company abruptly in a shock move.

Michael LeGoff used the fab at Plymouth, which had been used by X-Fab, to build LEDs using a gallium nitride of silicon process. That led to interest in migh power micro-LED engines that coul dbe used for augmented reality smart glasses.

He will carry on for a short transition period.

There's an interview I did with him at SEEING THE LIGHT

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Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty at eeNews Europe
. Hyundai backs Ionic Materials for solid state batteries

. Electric bus to use solid state batteries and fuel cell range extender

. Helix chip in data centre power design win

POWER TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH
. 400x boost for graphene in solar cells

. Thermoelectric generator powers IoT nodes from a five degree temperature difference

NEW POWER PRODUCTS . Offline buck converter targets IoT applications


. Modular supply with low acoustic noise has 18 outputs


. 1300W quarter brick DC-DC advanced bus converter can be used as upgrade

Broadcom deal sees return of vertical integration

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

The $18bn acquisition of CA Technologies marks a major change for Broadcom and a turning point in the industry.

The deal highlights a move back to vertical integration in the industry. While Amazon and Apple have bought chip designers, now the chip designer is buying a service provider. As the cost of chip design and manufacture increases at 10nm and below, companies are looking to benefit from the margins further rup the value chain, and vertical integration is coming back as a result. This deal marks a signficant move in that trend for electronics companies.

Broadcom has always grown by acquisition, driven originally by Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli, and later after it was itself acquired by Avago after a series of scandals. But the deals have always been at the component or embedded technology level.

The CA deal is much more about mainframes and enterprise software and services, and Broadcom is a mojor supplier of networking devices and systems for data centres. The deal is also about protection after the ambitious bid to acquire Qualcomm. Failing to create a chip giant leaves Broadcom vulnerable to other players in the market, which CEO Hock Tan knows all too well.

There is more on this at www.eenewseurope.com/news/isnt-henrys-broadcom-any-more

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Friday, July 13, 2018

First COM Express Type 6 board to support 6 core Intel processors

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

ADLINK has launched a COM Express Type 6 module that it claims is the first to support both the Xeon and high end Core i7 processors. Back inApril congatec launched the first type 6 board to support the 6-core Cofee Lake Core processors.
 The Express-CF modules use the Intel Xeon and 8th generation Intel Core processors (formerly Coffee Lake H) with up to 6 cores (Hexa) and up to 48GB memory capacity for applications such as image processing and analysis, 4K high speed video encoding and streaming, medical ultra sound and predictive traffic analysis.

The Express-CF modules are the first to support both the 8th generation Intel Core processor family and Intel Xeon processor E-2100M family. The 6-core Core i7 processors support up to 12 threads and a frequency boost of up to 4.4 GHz. Compared to earlier mobile quad-core Xeon and Core i7 CPUs, the additional two cores of the new Hexa-core CPUs results in more than 25% performance boost at no significant cost increase.

ADLINK’s Express-CF provides standard support for up to 48GB non-ECC DDR4 in three SO-DIMMs (two on the top side, one on the bottom), while still fully complying with PICMG COM.0
mechanical specifications. Modules equipped with the Xeon Hexa-core processor support both ECC and non-ECC SODIMMs.

With integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630, the Express-CF supports up to three independent 4K displays via DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and LVDS. ADLINK also offers either eDP or analog VGA as build options by customer request. Additionally, the Express-CF supports Intel's Optane memory and NVMe SSDs through high speed PCIe x4 Gen3 interfaces, allowing applications access to the highest speed storage solutions on the market today.

www.adlinktech.com/Products/Computer_on_Modules/COMExpressType6/Express-CF_CFE

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

ST targets IoT with value line microcontrollers

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

ST Microelectronics has launched new 'value' low cost microcontrollers aimed at at real time Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The H7x0 Value Line of microcontrollers trim embedded Flash to the essential, still allowing secure boot, sensitive code and real-time routines to run safely on-chip, leveraging access times over 25 times faster than for external Flash (for cache miss). If needed, applications can scale-up either by adding off-chip serial or parallel (up to 32-bit) memories and leveraging the MCUs’ broad external interfaces and eXecute in Place (XiP) capability, or by porting to other pin-to-pin compatible STM32F7 or STM32H7 MCU lines, with up to 2Mbyte Flash and up to 1Mbyte RAM, supported by the same ecosystem with the same easy-to-use tools.

The Value Lines include existing peripherals, hardware accelerators, and the real-time architecture with ultra-fast internal buses, short interrupt latency, and fast (~1ms) boot-up. The MCUs are also energy efficient, with flexible power modes, gated power domains, and on-chip power management that simplify design and reduce BOM cost.

With execution performance up to 2020 CoreMark the devices are aimed as the entry point to IoT innovation in medical, industrial, and consumer applications. With up to 125°C as the maximum junction temperature, developers can leverage the full core and peripherals performance even when ambient temperature increases.

The entry-level STM32F730 delivers 1082 CoreMark performance running at 216MHz aided by ST’s unique ART Accelerator™ for zero-wait-state execution from Flash. Features include cryptographic hardware acceleration, a USB 2.0 High Speed port with PHY, and a CAN interface. There is a 64Kbyte Flash, 8KByte Instruction and data caches for high-performance execution from internal or external memories, 256KB of system RAM and 16kB+64KB of Tightly Coupled Memory (TCM) for the most critical routines and data.

The STM32F750 adds a TFT-LCD controller with ST’s proprietary Chrom-ART Graphics Accelerator. It has hardware acceleration for hash algorithms, two CAN interfaces, an Ethernet MAC, camera interface, and two USB 2.0 interfaces with Full Speed PHY. There are 64Kbytes of Flash, 4Kbyte instruction and 4Kbyte data caches, 320KB of system RAM, and 16kB+64KB TCM.

The high-end STM32H750 delivers 2020 CoreMark performance at 400MHz and adds a hardware JPEG coder/decoder to the TFT controller and Chrom-ART Accelerator for even faster GUI performance. There is also a CANFD port and additional CANFD with time-trigger capability and best-in-class operational amplifiers and 16-bit ADCs running at up to 3.6Msample/s. The 128KByte Flash, 16KByte instruction and data caches, 864KByte system RAM and the 64kB+128KB of TCM all feature ECC (Error Correction Code) for safe execution from internal or external memory.

The STM32F730, STM32F750, and STM32H750 Value Line MCUs are in production, in various LQFP and BGA package options from 64-pin to 240-pin. Prices start from $1.64 for the STM32F730, $2.39 for the STM32F750, and $2.69 for the STM32H750 for orders of 1000 pieces.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two clear winners for IoT networking says report

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Over the last two years, the LPWA market has evolved from a chaotic rivalry between 15 wireless formats into a clear market with winners and losers. In their latest report, Mobile Experts lays out the two major market areas that are emerging: LoRa and NB-IoT. This will drive shipments to 700m by 2022.

"The most important distinction between different LPWA formats is not the technology. The business model has emerged as the most important way to segment the market," said Principal Analyst Joe Madden. "RF performance aside, some enterprises insist on control over their own networks. This is extremely beneficial to LoRa, along with a few other unlicensed technologies. LTE-M and NB-IoT benefit from basic choice to use an operator-based network. For customers that are willing to use a widespread network, the superior link budget of NB-IoT comes into play."

Source: Mobile Experts

The report compares LPWA wireless formats in deep technical detail, comparing the main formats with regard to range, capacity, density of connections, battery life, and cost. Key vertical applications are:
  • Smart Meters
  • Industrial IoT
  • Asset Tracking
  • Building Automation
  • Smart Cities
  • Automotive IoT
  • Consumer White Goods
The report also looks at how 5G IoT will come into play with LPWA applications, and forecasts the prospects for 5G IoT devices to add value where NB-IoT and LoRa devices are already entrenched.

"A few years ago, people began latching on to the idea of an interconnected society, referring to it as the 'Internet of Everything' in which a single network allows very diverse sensors and devices to interact with each other. In fact, we don't see that happening. Many smart applications have emerged, but they are using different networks, because customers are making independent decisions on network technology and devices—meaning the markets are growing more vertically instead of horizontally," said Madden.

See the LPWA 2018 report

Similarly researchers IDtechEX are also predicting a compund growth of 46% in low power networks to 2025, growing to 2.7 billion LPWAN IoT connections in 2029

IoT Low Power Wireless Networks and 5G 2019-2029.

To determine the number of IoT connections based on these protocols, now and forecast, one must look beyond the ‘smoke and mirror’ marketing of all these choices, with inconsistent and often inflated numbers of connections loosely given by proponents. This is due to each of the proponents being acutely aware that they need to be seen as the communication protocol of choice before potential adopters sniff loss of confidence and momentum, leading to an inevitable shake-out of some of these options.

The study looks at LPWAN and related technologies – including wireless local area networks and 5G as comparisons. By volume, licensed communication technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE will have more connections than unlicensed versions (such asLoRa and Sigfox) by 2021, despite entering the sector later.




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ST buys Draupner Graphics for GUI tech in the 'HMI of Things'

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

STMicroelectronics has bought software specialist Draupner Graphics, the developer and supplier of TouchGFX, a software framework offering outstanding graphics and smooth animations for embedded graphical user interfaces (GUI) with minimal resource requirements and power consumption. 

This will trigger more sophisticated interfaces on embedded sytems such as smart home and building automation systems, appliances, wearables, and audio and video systems, says ST, creating what it is calling the 'HMI of Things' for Human Machine Interfaces (HMI). We suspect this phrase won't catch on! 

However, the move is signiccant as several of the STM32 ARM Cortex-M microcontroller product lines already support TouchGFX.

“Draupner’s TouchGFX software is a highly advanced and optimized graphic user interface solution for microcontrollers. We have been working closely with the team for 5 years and regularly see the value TouchGFX is already delivering on STM32 MCUs in different consumer, appliances, industrial, and medical applications, said Daniel Colonna, Microcontroller Marketing Director, STMicroelectronics. “The acquisition of Draupner Graphics will accelerate both TouchGFX and STM32 roadmaps to offer embedded developers and their customers more advanced features, raising the bar of human-machine interfaces across all of the devices that people interact with every day.”

“As a leading software vendor on the global market, joining the leading supplier of 32-bit embedded MCUs will give us early access to roadmaps and plans that will speed feature integration and increase adoption of our tools and STM32 MCUs,” said Jorgen Mygind, Business Development Manager, Draupner.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.