IOT News Roundup

By IOT Journal

AKUA selects Integron to provide global wireless connectivity for its IoT supply chain solutions ••• Inmarsat says IoT data could revolutionize global transport sector, restricted access may limit potential ••• WiSilica's health-care IoT, smart-lighting solutions support new Bluetooth mesh-networking standard ••• Actility selects Stripe as payments partner to power U.S. and global expansion for ThingPark Market ••• SURE Universal offers IoT smart-home solution for set-top box market ••• Hazelcast IMDG, Apache Cassandra partner on real-time smart meter IoT platform ••• Qorvo multi-channel IoT transceiver certified for Thread protocol ••• Acuity Brands offers street-lighting network solution using Silver Spring Networks platform to enable IoT infrastructure ••• OSIsoft, Shell signs enterprise agreement for worldwide operation.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week:

PRESS RELEASE:

AKUA Selects Integron to Provide Global Wireless Connectivity for Its IoT Supply Chain Solutions

Integron, a leading provider of managed services for the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, has announced a partnership with AKUA to deliver global connectivity for AKUA's IoT supply chain solutions.

AKUA provides persistent environmental monitoring and tracking solutions for intermodal cargo containers, enabling exceptional in-transit visibility of goods and shipments across the globe. AKUA's IoT technology empowers customers with real time intelligence needed to protect their valuable cargo, streamline operations, and increase their bottom line. AKUA's security features include end-to-end data encryption, and a patented, re-useable high security master gateway device that provides physical security of cargo containers. To support their continued expansion, AKUA turned to Integron to provide global wireless connectivity for its IoT gateway devices and sensors, delivered as a fully managed IoT service.

"Global connectivity is a critical aspect of our solution, and Integron was able to meet our unique set of challenges with their global carrier relationships and best-of-class services platform," AKUA Founder and CEO, Neil Furukawa said. "Integron stood out above other managed service providers in the space, and their international coverage and full range of device and connectivity management capabilities made our decision clear."

The partnership provides AKUA with a single provider that offers complete wireless management, with end-to-end visibility and control of their wireless assets. The arrangement allows AKUA to focus on its business while Integron's managed IoT services (including managed device and managed wireless services) provide ongoing operational visibility and cost containment for IoT deployments. This partnership comes followingrecent growth announcement by AKUA, where secure, global wireless connectivity continues to be critical for the growth of the company in the logistics and supply chain market.

"Integron is pleased to partner with AKUA to support the growth and expansion of their innovative IoT solutions in the logistics and supply chain market," stated Bryan Lubel, president of Integron. "AKUA is an innovator in the global supply chain market, and we are excited to work closely with them as they expand their IoT monitoring and tracking solutions."

PRESS RELEASE:

Inmarsat Says IoT Data Could Revolutionize Global Transport Sector, Restricted Access May Limit Potential

A new Internet of Things (IoT) research study from Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the world's leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has found that while global transport businesses expect IoT technology to revolutionize the industry, many of these organizations lack the skills and data-sharing processes required to extract the maximum value from the data generated by IoT solutions.

In May 2017 market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large transport companies across the globe for Inmarsat's 'The Future of IoT in Enterprise - 2017' report, which found that organizations from the sector have high hopes for the data generated by their IoT solutions. Around half will use it to monitor environmental changes (54 per cent) and speed up their time to market (48 per cent), 44 per cent will use it to better manage their assets, and 28 per cent will use it to monitor and improve health and safety.

However, the report also identified a number of challenges that transportation businesses must overcome to unlock the full value of IoT-generated data, with many lacking the skills and processes needed to do so. 40 per cent stated that they would need additional analytical/data science skills to successfully deliver IoT and in over half (55 per cent) of cases data gathered through IoT solutions was not shared throughout the organization, and is restricted to departments directly related to IoT development and deployment.

Commenting on the findings, Mike Holdsworth, Director of Transport at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: "The transport sector stands to be one of the primary beneficiaries from the windfall of data coming its way from IoT. Digital exhaust, the data generated by people's online actions, can be an important source of intelligence for transport companies, and as rollout of Wi-Fi on planes, trains and other public places continues, evermore data sets will become available. Furthermore, data generated by sensors placed on cargo, vehicles, employees and places, has the potential to fuel a revolution in the sector. But while the industry has long leveraged passenger data to dynamically manage routing and calculate fuel requirements, many of our transport respondents haven't yet mastered their approach to the data generated by connected things.

"Experimentation and innovation with IoT can only ignite when the right people can see the data generated by sensors and apply it to their specific challenges. However, in half of cases in the transport sector, access to IoT data is restricted to departments directly related to the deployment. This is a missed opportunity and suggests that many transport companies may be limiting the scope of their transformations," he continued.

Holdsworth concluded: "IoT is the driving force behind digital transformation in the sector and the technology will play an increasingly important role in helping transportation and logistics companies achieve a competitive advantage. Working with our partners, Inmarsat is delivering effective solutions for fleet management across road and rail platforms globally. Positioning and telemetry comes naturally to us. By combining our heritage in critical connectivity, with LoRaWAN technology and data analytics platforms that allow for the free-flow of data across organizations, we are helping to ensure transportation companies get ahead of the competition."

IoT is changing the way that businesses operate, but it is dependent upon reliable connectivity. Many of the locations that would benefit most from IoT technologies are remote and are situated where terrestrial networks do not reach, or do not work well, all of the time. Inmarsat provides global satellite connectivity with up to 99.99% uptime, allowing IoT projects to thrive, even in the most remote and hostile environments.

For more about the research and to download the 'The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017' report visit: http://research.inmarsat.com.

PRESS RELEASE:

WiSilica's Health-Care IoT, Smart-Lighting Solutions Support New Bluetooth Mesh-Networking Standard

WiSilica, Inc., a leading Enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform company, has announced its support for the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) mesh networking standard for emerging applications in building automation, sensor networks and asset tracking. WiSilica's Bluetooth Mesh solutions include all the required components to deliver a complete secure lighting and sensor connectivity platform for healthcare IoT and smart lighting applications.

Bluetooth Mesh, is the new standard designed for smart homes, public and manufacturing facilities. An extension of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol, WiSilica's first products supporting the Bluetooth Mesh specification are available now. WiSilica's Bluetooth Mesh solutions uniquely meets the reliability, scalability and security requirements in healthcare IoT and smart lighting markets that demand true industrial-grade solutions, proven global interoperability, and based on trusted Bluetooth technology.

The arrival of the Bluetooth SIG's Mesh technology is a significant milestone in standardization and market adoption. It will help bring interoperability to Bluetooth devices and new use cases including lighting, indoor positioning and asset tracking for the Internet of Things. Bluetooth Mesh support in smart lighting offers a range of expanded features, including real-time location sensing. This is especially critical for the healthcare industry, where patient and asset tracking, workflow optimization and hand hygiene compliance can all be supported under a unified energy management solution.

WiSilica's high-efficiency cloud-to-device IoT Platform powered by Bluetooth Mesh is designed to allow high-density deployments of IoT devices connected over BLE. In addition, WiSilica's platform supports Bluetooth 5 for extended range and higher throughput, providing customers with a complete full stack solution on a standard-based mesh network. WiSilica Bluetooth Mesh provides IoT devices with secure, full-mesh connectivity between devices.

"As a Bluetooth SIG associate member, WiSilica is excited to support the organization's push to increase the effective range and reliability of Bluetooth mesh," said Suresh Singamsetty, founder and CEO of WiSilica. "Our years of proven experience and customer success can provide our customers the opportunity to rapidly develop differentiating product features and performance enhancements. Our standard-based approach in combining a full-stack solution for location sensing and control means that new untapped markets, such as healthcare and smart lighting, can now leverage ever-present mobile devices to easily control and monitor their systems."

WiSilica's platform of IoT products are available as software and hardware components to enable end-products to be designed and manufactured with very short time-to-market. WiSilica's IoT module provides full stack from mesh networking to model layer application firmware that supports external interfaces including digital GPIO, PWM and analog inputs, enabling products from smart home appliances to industrial control to be designed very quickly.

PRESS RELEASE:

Actility Selects Stripe as Payments Partner to Power U.S. and Global Expansion for ThingPark Market

Actility, the industry leader in IoT network enablers, has announced that the company has selected Stripe, a San Francisco based technology company focusing on online payments and commerce infrastructure, to accelerate the global roll-out of ThingPark Market. ThingPark Market is already the market-leading e-commerce platform for LoRaWAN IoT, offering for sale over 175 products from more than 75 companies around the world. Using Stripe Connect, the most powerful marketplace solution for fast-moving businesses, ThingPark Market will enable payments from buyers to sellers in their local currencies in almost 30 countries, and accelerate further the global expansion of the platform.

"Thanks to Stripe's international digital payment capability, we expect to see the number of IoT solutions available through ThingPark Market increase by a factor of three by the end of 2017, and that growth rate to be sustained 2018," explains Christophe Francois, Actility Senior Vice President for Marketing & Digital. "The United States has also been one of our top targets to develop ThingPark Market, and we built the platform from the beginning with US Government commerce requirements in mind. We already have sellers who want to be part of the coming industrial IoT explosion in the US, so with Stripe we have now made ThingPark Market a seamless one-stop solution. Stripe offers an innovative digital solution which is a perfect match to our objectives for ThingPark Market of increasing efficiency, saving time and enabling global expansion in partnership with a single global payment provider."

"In a world where commerce is increasingly borderless and consumers expect speed and convenience, online platforms need to design best-in class experiences, regardless of the complexities of payments flows. We're excited to work closely with Actility to help thousands of businesses and customers around the world to trade with one another on the ThingPark Market platform", said Guillaume Princen, Head of Southern Europe at Stripe.

Because of the importance of the US opportunity, ThingPark Market will offer US buyers an optimized local selection of products, based on Actility's expert analysis of the use cases and requirements that offer the most compelling business cases in the US, and feedback from US customers. Initially offering devices operating in US LoRaWAN frequency bands, ThingPark Market will begin to offer localized applications and LPWA connectivity solutions in early 2018.

"There's more to our ThingPark Market offer than just selling products and services," explains Actility ThingPark Market Director Kamel Tansaout. "For us, customer service is at the heart of our marketplace organization, and we have made sure that the product information on ThingPark Market is accurate, up to date and comprehensive – second to none"

ThingPark Market meets a clear business need in the global IoT ecosystem. Sellers of devices, applications and connectivity will be able to extend their market reach, shorten their sales cycle, promote their products and services, and have easy access to new sales channels. For IoT solution buyers, the advantages include simplifying their procurement process through the e-commerce engine, and easy discovery of trusted products and applications tested with the ThingPark platform. The available products can be deployed world-wide, covering multiple LoRaWAN use cases and regional variants: EU 868, US915, AU920, EU433, CN470, AS923, R920

"Leveraging Stripe Connect, ThingPark Market will be a launchpad for the growth of industrial IoT powered by ThingPark in the US, and it will dramatically accelerate the growth of e-commerce as an engine for the growth of IoT, And Actility, around the world." concludes Christophe Francois.

PRESS RELEASE:

SURE Universal Offers IoT Smart-Home Solution for Set-Top Box Market

SURE Universal, creators of next-generation IoT software for electronics and appliances, is extending its leadership in the interoperable smart home market with powerful new solutions for set-top-box (STB) manufacturers.

"The set-top-box is the logical centerpiece of the consumer's home experience, says SURE Universal Founder and CEO Viktor Ariel, "All operators, MSOs and Telcos now want and expect smart home capabilities from the STB suppliers. To live up to its full service and revenue potential, the STB not only needs to be smart, but also interoperable, and backward-compatible with the consumer's existing electronics. SURE Universal now offers STB manufacturers a simple accessible solution that lets them meet these criteria, quickly and economically, using industry standards protocols and off-the-shelf smart home devices."

The SURE Universal Remote is already in use by more than 20 million consumers on their smartphones. It is the first software solution certified by the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standard, which moves into mass production later this year. SURE Universal Remote is ideal for STB vendors since it runs on both Android and iPhone devices and is focused on digital media, including such functionality as file sharing, content playing, and content streaming to the STB.

The new SURE Gateway is a software server for the STB, which is also based on the OCF standard. This ensures that STBs outfitted with the SURE Gateway software will work seamlessly across all OCF devices. In addition, SURE Gateway communicates to the existing Z-Wave and Wi-Fi smart home devices using the software bridge and the off-the-shelf USB Z-Wave and IR transmitters.

SURE Gateway is specifically aimed at the digital media STB vendors. Paired with SURE Universal Remote, SURE Gateway allows the remote control of the STB based smart TV functions including remote mouse, keyboard, content sharing, and streaming.

Today's smart home devices work off a variety of control protocols and radio technologies. For example, smart TVs and security cameras often utilize Wi-Fi, while conventional TVs and disc players use infrared (IR) control. Smart home sensors often work through the popular Z-Wave and ZigBee protocols, and some of the future growing radio technologies are BLE, Lora, and NB-IoT.

This technological confusion has made it difficult for STB makers and their operator customers to choose the right communication technologies and to establish a market foot-hold in the connected home. OCF is a new communication standard, backed by more than 400 leaders of the electronics industry.

While it is destined to become mainstream technology in time and hundreds of companies plan to roll-out their OCF products in 2018, there are few devices on the market today that are OCF compatible. Consequently, SURE Universal has built and OCF software bridge to the existing Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and IR communication protocols allowing the use of the existing off-the-shelf connected home devices with SURE Gateway and SURE Universal Remote.

In this way, the STB can seamlessly control all devices and appliances throughout the consumers' home, and SURE Universal solution can be brought to market by STB vendors with remarkable speed and economy.

"OCF compatibility represents a major shift in the smart home market," says Ariel. "Before this broad compatibility, STB makers didn't know which technologies to deploy on a practical level, which has hindered Telcos, MSOs and other service providers from expanding into profitable smart home services. Our solution is ready for integration into STBs now and is the only control software certified under the OCF and is future-proof for STB makers because of the OCF compatibility. SURE Universal uses a software bridge to communicate to the existing Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and IR devices, consequently, STB manufacturers don't have to wait for the OCF standard to become mainstream, and can deploy the SURE Universal smart home solution now using their existing STBs and off-the-shelf smart home devices."

By providing a standardized client, gateway and cloud offering, SURE Universal offers a complete software solution for smart home to STB makers and their MSO customers.

PRESS RELEASE:

Hazelcast IMDG, Apache Cassandra Partner on Real-Time Smart Meter IoT Platform

Hazelcast, the leading open source in-memory data grid (IMDG) with hundreds of thousands of installed clusters and over 39 million server starts per month, has announced details of a new IoT platform designed by Future Grid – the developer of an operational intelligence data platform which provides electric power generation utilities with a real-time, streamlined view of their Internet of Things (IoT) data. The platform combines the unique in-memory capability of Hazelcast IMDG with Apache Cassandra to process extreme volumes of data cost effectively.

Future Grid works with several Australian utility companies to automate the processing of sensor and smart meter data which crosses energy networks. Their customers are collecting approximately 3 billion data points every day. In terms of daily post processing this equates to 20 billion records as each record has multiple, individual data points - a massive scaling challenge. To make the most of this information, customers need a real-time data aggregation and processing solution which enables them to make complex real-time decisions.

When Future Grid first tried to solve this problem it used traditional relational databases. However, it soon became apparent that traditional databases couldn't cope with huge volumes of data in real-time, the main issue being that they can't execute algorithms against incoming data fast enough. Therefore, Future Grid decided to build its own solution combining Hazelcast IMDG with Apache Cassandra's persistence data store capabilities.

Chris Law, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Future Grid, explains: "We implemented Hazelcast IMDG at the core of our products in-memory capability, while also integrating it with a range of purpose built technologies to deliver the platform our customers required. For example, Hazelcast IMDG is integrated with Apache Cassandra which provides internal data storage in regard to reference data while maintaining a distributed grid architecture. We found integrating Hazelcast with Cassandra was a very straightforward process."

For Future Grid, Cassandra's persistence capabilities were pivotal. In the context of storing data in a computer system, persistence means that data survives after the process with which it was created has ended. Therefore, Future Grid amalgamated the strengths of the two open source solutions for its energy customers. Integrating Hazelcast IMDG with Cassandra makes more data available and effective. Importantly, the combined solution maintains the high availability and horizontal scalability of Cassandra, while delivering performance that is 1000x faster than disk-based approaches due to Hazelcast IMDG.

Law continues: "Using Hazelcast IMDG has enabled our customers to realise the dream of real-time data without the significant cost of traditional relational database models. Out of the box speed and resilience have helped our customers deliver operationally critical production systems."

Greg Luck, CEO of Hazelcast, said: "Hazelcast IMDG has been designed to continuously process big data volumes, while ensuring low end-to-end latency. Our technology is inherently quick and solves storage issues by forming storage clusters. It can also transmit reactive access patterns to notify analysts when values change. Therefore, it can be used as a cache for big datasets during processing, while forming in-memory data lakes for frequently used data. Importantly, it is also very easy to deploy."

PRESS RELEASE:

Qorvo Multi-Channel IoT Transceiver Certified for Thread Protocol

Qorvo (Nasdaq:QRVO), a leading provider of innovative RF solutions that connect the world, has announced that its GP712 System-on-Chip is the first multi-channel Internet of Things (IoT) transceiver in the industry to be certified for the Thread protocol. With concurrent support for Thread and ZigBee on different RF channels, the GP712 enables designers to use a single transceiver on their gateway products to simultaneously serve both IEEE802.15.4 implementations.

The GP712 incorporates Qorvo's best-in-class range and low-power operation, as well as robust RF technology that limits interference. Its multi-channel, multi-protocol design helps ensure that gateway devices are not made obsolete by shifting protocol standards. Capabilities can be added with simple software upgrades.

Thread President Grant Erickson said, "The Qorvo multi-channel IoT transceiver addresses the burgeoning demand for Thread-enabled products, and we're excited to see our members begin to capitalize on this opportunity. Qorvo has been an active contributor to the Thread Group for several years, and we congratulate them on successfully completing Thread certification."

Cees Links, general manager of Qorvo's Wireless Connectivity business unit, said, "A new market report from Berg Insight states that 91 million homes in the EU and US will be smart by 2020. However, no analyst can predict today which networking standard will rule tomorrow. If design engineers want to keep their options open for future directions, they should choose a multi-protocol solution for their gateway."

Qorvo's platform uses OpenThread. This Nest Labs initiative aims to provide an open-source implementation for the Thread standard for smart home solutions. Qorvo's Wireless Connectivity business is actively engaged as a contributor to the OpenThread community with the GP712 development platform.

More information about the IoT is available by downloading the Qorvo free e-book series, "Internet of Things For Dummies." The two-volume series is designed to help technical and nontechnical professionals understand the intricacies of the IoT. The e-books are available at: www.qorvo.com/iot-for-dummies.

Qorvo's Wireless Connectivity business is one of the leading developers of wireless semiconductor system solutions for connected devices, with a broad range of advanced RF chips and software for smart home data communications and the IoT. Information about Qorvo solutions for this market is available at:www.qorvo.com/applications/internet-of-things.

PRESS RELEASE:

Acuity Brands Offers Street-Lighting Network Solution Using Silver Spring Networks Platform to Enable IoT Infrastructure

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) has announced its Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. subsidiary has selected Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) as a technology and channel partner for its smart street light and smart city solutions. Acuity Brands has developed and will market its DTL DSN intelligent photocontrol, which will operate on a wireless network platform managed by Silver Spring Networks. The solution offers municipalities and utility companies enhanced functionality and adaptive control of their LED street lighting systems.

LED street lighting is an ideal infrastructure platform for delivering secure and reliable connectivity for smart lighting, smart metering and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Lighting system operators can leverage their lighting infrastructure assets by enabling IoT connectivity for smart lighting, smart grid and future smart city applications.

This new solution takes advantage of the reliability of the DLL Elite™ long-life, LED-compatible photocontrol from Acuity Brands, improves its functionality and combines it with the performance of the Silver Spring Networks standards-based, IPv6 networking platform and Streelight.Vision control management software. A cloud-hosted management environment centralizes monitoring and control of the lighting system and provides access to data through open APIs, allowing developers to create new value for operators and their customers. The networked lighting control solution is backed by service level agreements, 24x7 monitoring and over-the-air access to firmware updates.

"This innovative solution, which combines the DTL DSN intelligent photocontrol and Silver Spring Networks multi-application platform, brings together two market leaders to provide smart lighting control and networking to large-scale lighting operators. This solution will enable these customers to leverage their smart lighting canopy to easily and cost-effectively deploy additional smart city applications over time," said Trevor Palmer, Acuity Brands Lighting Vice President, Product Management Controls.

PRESS RELEASE:

OSIsoft, Shell Sign Enterprise Agreement for Worldwide Operation

Shell Information Technology International BV., has announced it entered into an Enterprise Agreement with OSIsoft LLC, a leader in operational intelligence. This agreement allows Shell to deploy PI System software across Shell's global operations which will help Shell to streamline IT, conduct advanced analytics and develop new digital services.

The program will track "tags" or data streams with OSIsoft's PI System and deploy select OSIsoft software across business groups.

"Data and digital technologies will play an increasingly important role in the oil and gas industry for maximizing capital investments, reducing downtime and helping companies meet their commitments to shareholders and customers," said Martin Otterson, Senior Vice President of Customer Success at OSIsoft.

Shell currently monitors over 7.5 million instruments with the PI System and conducts approximately 100,000 calculations per minute with data captured and shaped by the systems within select business groups. The PI Systems are also the data engine for 30,000 reports and 40,000 displays daily.

OSIsoft's offerings help customers remove organizational and purchasing barriers to facilitate companies delivering a data-driven culture for digital transformation.

OSIsoft also collaborates with customers on training programs and developing use case scenarios getting the most out of their PI System.

OSIsoft places a premium on creating a unified data infrastructure that provides any authorized employee or partner rapid and comprehensive insight into any device or application at any time. With a data infrastructure, supply chain managers can monitor pricing, shipping and production in real-time to optimize deliveries, lower costs and analyze long-term traffic patterns at select depots to postpone capital investments.

"Think of operational data as the Rosetta Stone of digital transformation – a vast store of information that holds the key to improving connectivity and developing new products. We've just begun to scratch the surface on what can be accomplished," Otterson said. "We help companies track and analyze more data. They don't have to worry about the number of tags. And more data means more and better insights."

The PI System is one of the world's most widely used technologies for the Industrial Internet of Things. The PI System captures data from sensors, manufacturing equipment and other devices and transforms it into rich, real-time insights that engineers, executives and partners can use to reduce costs, dramatically improve overall productivity or create new services.

Some of the world's largest organizations, including over 1,000 leading utilities, 95 percent of the largest oil and gas companies and more than 65 percent of the Fortune 500 industrial companies, rely on the PI System to manage their businesses. Worldwide, PI Systems manage over 1.5 billion sensor-based data streams.