IoT News Roundup

By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Two IoT consortia, one strategy; transistor design promises to extend battery life for wireless devices; Verizon's M2M business accelerates, but has long runway; HP announces all-in-one IoT service and vertical energy solution; Gooee signs on with EVRYTHNG, Aurora Group.

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Open Interconnect Consortium and Industrial Internet Consortium Seek to Foster Interoperable IoT Devices

The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an Internet of Things standards and certification organization formed last summer, has announced what it calls a “strategic liaison agreement” with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), a fellow IoT organization that was formed last spring.

The goal of the agreement is to accelerate the emergence of interoperable IoT products and protocols based on a common connectivity standard. The OIC is developing an IoT interoperability standard, while the IIC is supporting open standards through the creation of testbeds, and by defining broad IoT architectures for industrial applications. Through the terms of the agreement, the IIC will share its use cases and architectural requirements focused on the industrial market. In return, the OIC said, in a prepared statement, that it will “ensure that its specification and associated open source project (IoTivity) will deliver the necessary features in an IoT communication framework” to meet the IIC’s framework and use-case requirements.

Cisco, Intel, General Electric and semiconductor company MediaTek are key stakeholders in the OIC, while all of these companies save for MediaTek are also founding partners of the IIC (in addition to AT&T and IBM).

New Transistor Design Promises to Extend Battery Life

Power management will be key to the success of long-lived IoT deployments that use remote devices, and a new transmitter design, which debuted this week at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ International Solid-State Circuits Conference, shows promise as a path to longer-lasting batteries.

Many battery-powered IoT nodes spend much of their time sitting idle, not transmitting or receiving data. But even in this stand-by mode, these devices are consuming battery life.

The new transmitter design, created by a team helmed by Anantha Chandrakasan, MIT‘s Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor in Electrical Engineering, could reduce this “off-state leakage” by a hundred-fold in devices that transmit around once an hour so. The design, which is based on a new approach to how the electromagnetic signal is generated, as well as a novel circuit design, could support the transmission of signals over Bluetooth, as well as the long-range 802.15.4 wireless-communication protocol.

Verizon Report: Businesses Have a Long Way to Go With IoT

Using a combination of its own usage and customer data, as well as research it commissioned from market research firm ABI Research and other third parties, telecommunications service provider Verizon released a report this week that found a scant 10 percent of the enterprise has deployed IoT technologies in any meaningful way, due largely to the complexity of putting the various infrastructure, connectivity and security elements in place.

That said, the company has seen the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections—a key foundation of any IoT system that leverages cellular communication—on its network skyrocket between 2013 and 2014. Its customers in the manufacturing sector led this trend, with a 204 percent growth in M2M connections, while those in finance and insurance made a 124 percent increase. Media, retail and transportation also showed strong growth in M2M deployment, with smart cities and health care at the bottom of the list, showing 46 and 40 percent growth, respectively. Overall, Verizon achieved a 45 percent year-on-year revenue growth in its IoT business in 2014, according to the report.

The report highlights a number of applications that its customers are deploying, such as usage-based insurance services that leverage a cellular connection linking a car’s odometer mileage to the insurance company’s servers. But despite strong potential, only 8 percent of vehicles currently offer such connectivity.

A study that Verizon commission from ABI Research predicts that by 2025, the number of connected devices employed in business-to-business applications will reach 5.4 billion.

Hewlett-Packard Launches IoT Service Platform

HP Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, a new service from Hewlett-Packard, is designed to help cellular service providers manage multiple sensors and vertical industry applications running on machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, while at the same time performing data analytics and other business-focused applications via a single secure cloud platform.

The service includes remote management, device discovery, configuration and control of IoT traffic on mobile devices. Cellular service providers can run the solution on the cloud service, and with the cellular devices of their choosing.

Coinciding with this launch is HP’s Energy Management Pack, the first vertical application developed for the HP IoT Platform. It is designed to help telecommunications providers and their utility customers offer home automation and energy control services to consumers, industries and municipalities. Linking mobile devices to various gateways, meters and lighting systems, the Energy Management Pack can enable a range of applications, HP reports. For example, municipalities could manage public lighting fixtures based on variables such as weather or emergency-response plans. Residents could use applications deployed through the Management Pack to track and optimize energy usage via sensor-enabled, wireless systems inside their homes, such as thermostats or lighting systems.

Both the HP IoT Platform and the HP Energy Management Pack are available worldwide now. HP has not disclosed pricing.

EVRYTHNG, Gooee Collaborating on LED-based Network; Gooee Signs Licensing Deal

Gooee, a manufacturer of sensor-enabled lighting components, announced this week that it is partnering with EVRYTHNG, whose cloud-based management platform creates and maintains digital identities for physical objects. Gooee will use the EVRYTHNG platform to manage the movement of data from and to the cloud and Gooee’s hardware gateway, which controls its lighting components and sensors. Using application program interfaces (APIs), Gooee’s customers can remotely control their lighting, sensory and energy consumption. The partnership marks a significant expansion for EVRYTHNG, since most of its clients are manufacturers of consumer packaged goods. Those companies are using its services to manage smart packaging applications—such as unique QR codes that consumers can scan to join various customer-loyalty programs.

Gooee has also announced that it has signed a licensing deal with LED lighting company Aurora Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Aurora will integrate Gooee’s chips and LED control devices, as well as its data platform (managed by EVRYTHNG) into it branded products, which are used within commercial, hospitality and residential project spaces. The license also extends to Microlights, Aurora’s specialist retail lighting company.