IoT News Roundup

By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Ofcom plans for IoT growth; Pragmatic IC receives funding boost; ON World survey shows growing confidence and interest in industrial IoT; Punch Through Design releases Windows app for developers; new pressure-sensitive safety pads from RF Technologies; Regen Energy, Ayla Networks team up on building energy-management solution.

Ofcom Lays Out IoT Path Ahead for the United Kingdom
Ofcom, an independent regulator for the communications industries in the United Kingdom, has issued a report detailing its plans for promoting investments and innovation in the Internet of Things. The document focuses on IoT applications in transportation, health care, energy, asset tracking and urban infrastructure. It notes that the key areas of work to enable the growth of IoT technologies in these areas are spectrum availability, data privacy, and network security, resilience and addressing. There are currently more than of 40 million devices connected to the IoT within the United Kingdom, according to the report, and a recent Ofcom-commissioned study predicted that this figure will grow more than eight-fold by 2022, at which point 360 million devices will make more than a billion data transactions daily. The full report is available here.

Pragmatic IC Raises $8.2 Million to Grow Its Operations
Pragmatic IC, a U.K. startup that is developing ultrathin, flexible microcircuits designed to be integrated into everyday products and packaging to support tracking and sensing applications, has raised £5.4 million ($8.1 million) in funding. The company plans to use the infusion to hire additional personnel, and to ramp up production capacity to 100 million flexible integrated circuits at its production facility at the National Center for Printable Electronics, located in Sedgefield, England. Cambridge Innovation Capital led the funding round, with support from ARM Holdings and other stakeholders. Procter & Gamble and Hallmark are among the consumer goods manufacturers with whom Pragmatic IC is working on development projects.

Survey Says Industrial Sensor Network Users Bullish on IoT
Global technology research firm ON World recently completed a survey showing that two out of five firms using an industrial wireless sensor network (WSN) consider Internet of Things platforms and cloud-based systems to be important strategic investment areas. The survey, conducted in collaboration with the International Society of Automation (ISA), involved 220 industrial automation vendors, end users, systems integrators and industry experts worldwide. Among WSN end users, 42 percent said they consider cloud-based systems "important" or "most important" investment areas, whereas 37 percent said the same of Internet of Things platforms. Just over half of the respondents (54 percent) called the use of IP-addressable wireless sensors "important" or "most important," compared with 45 percent who said the same thing two years ago, when ON World surveyed WSN end users. Thirty-nine percent of respondents indicated they believe that industrial IoT applications will become ubiquitous by 2019. And 80 percent said they think their organizations will employ wearable technologies, such as smart watches, smart glasses, smart clothing and personal safety monitors, within the next five years.

New Windows Programming App for Arduino Developers
Punch Through Design, a hardware and software development firm, has released a programming application called the Windows Bean Loader, which Microsoft Windows-based developers and hobbyists can use to write applications for LightBlue Bean, a low-energy Bluetooth Arduino microcontroller with an integrated three-axis accelerometer, an LED indicator light, a temperature sensor, six digital input-output pins and two analog pins to support peripherals such as a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module. Using Surface Pro Tablets and Windows 8.1 laptops, users can upload code LightBlue Bean without cables or a physical connection.

New Pressure-Sensitive Safety Pads from RF Technologies
RF Technologies, which manufactures safety- and security-related health-care products based on radio frequency identification and other technologies, has announced sensor pads as part of its Sensatec Fall Management Solution. The waterproof pads, made from an antimicrobial material, are designed to alert caregivers whenever patients get out of beds or wheelchairs. The pads connect, via a four-pin connector, to an RF Technologies 600 Series Sensatec alarm unit, which wirelessly alerts caregivers in the event that a patient gets up from a chair or bed. According to the company, the pads can be reused for up to a year and can be completely submerged and cleaned.

Regen, Ayla Networks Partnering on Energy Management
Regen Energy—a provider of software designed to help building managers heat and cool buildings more efficiently while maintaining comfortable indoor environments by optimizing the output of heating or cooling units across a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system—has announced a partnership with Ayla Networks, a firm that connects heating, cooling, water-management and other building infrastructure systems to the Internet. Ayla already works with a number of large HVAC hardware manufacturers to enable building systems to communicate to its cloud-based IoT platform. Through the partnership, Regen Energy will be able to help building managers whose systems are linked into the Ayla platform to more quickly and easily deploy Regen's energy-management software.