IOT News Roundup

ZigBee, EnOcean energy-harvesting IOT partnership; Ascom Unite Messaging Suite now integrates with Stanley Healthcare RTLS; ITU teams with Georgia Tech for IOT standards; Sigma Designs offers added security to its Z-Wave products; new DUOS app uses beacons to break the ice at conferences and events; Silicon Labs offers two new Gecko microcontrollers.
Published: December 18, 2015

ZigBee and EnOcean Alliances Ally to Create Self-powered Product Applications

The ZigBee Alliance and the EnOcean Alliance, a building-automation organization, are partnering to offer applications that use ZigBee-based technology with EnOcean energy harvesting. The partnership is intended to enable a broader range of self-powered IoT sensor solutions.

To accomplish this goal, a technical task force composed of ZigBee Alliance and EnOcean Alliance representatives will be established, with the aim of defining the technical specifications required to combine standardized EnOcean Equipment Profiles (EEPs) with the ZigBee 3.0 specification, which operates according to the worldwide IEEE 802.15.4 2.4 GHz standard. The alliances plan to complete the definition of this technical specification and share details of associated collaborative marketing and business activities during the second quarter of 2016.

ZigBee 3.0 is an open wireless IoT product-development specification that extends all the way from the physical layer to the application network layer. It includes certification and branding for improved interoperability across a growing range of market segments.

Ascom Unite Messaging Suite Interoperates With Stanley Healthcare RTLS

Health-care information technology solutions company Ascom Wireless Solutions reports that its Ascom Unite Messaging Suite now integrates with Stanley Healthcare‘s AeroScout real-time location system (RTLS). With the interoperability, Stanley Healthcare RTLS alerts can be sent via Ascom Unite. The RTLS solution is used by health-care facilities for staff-assist calls, asset management, infant and patient protection, and temperature management; therefore, alert calls necessary in the event of a problem would use the Ascom Unite functionality.

Potential health-care customers can view how the technology works and interoperates at the Stanley Healthcare Customer Experience Center, located in Waltham, Mass.

ITU and Georgia Tech to Collaborate on IoT Standards

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has formed an agreement with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) to monitor activities in IoT technology and develop standards together. The two organizations formed a memorandum of understanding to better identify the need for, and develop standards for, the Internet of Things industry. The work will be done with the help of the ITU Standardization Sector Study Group 20, which is already focused on such IoT technologies and applications as those in use in smart cities, as well as machine-to-machine communications and sensor networks.

Georgia Tech’s involvement in the collaboration will include the use of Georgia Tech’s Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT)—a think tank dedicated to identifying and solving challenges related to IoT technologies and applications.

The two groups will establish a joint steering committee, provide thought leadership to encourage standards groups and trade associations to participate in IoT-relevant discussions, organize and host topic-relevant events, such as workshops and webinars, and assist with the standardization work of ITU study groups.

Sigma Designs Announces New Security Measures

Sigma Designs, a provider of systems-on-chips and modules to companies looking to add Z-Wave technology to smart home devices, has announced that a new Z-Wave Security 2 (S2) framework will be available next year as part of Sigma Designs’ Version 6.7 software development kit (SDK). The Z-Wave security measures include a strong Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit, industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) and tunneling of all IP traffic through a secure transport security layer (TLS) 1.1 tunnel to eliminate cloud vulnerability, the company reports.

“We felt we had a responsibility to put extensive resources into arming Z-Wave devices with the most secure communication framework possible,” said Raoul Wijgergangs, the VP of Sigma Designs’ Z-Wave IoT business unit, in a prepared statement. A beta version of Sigma Designs’ Version 6.7 SDK will be released in February 2016.

New Events-Sector App DUOS Uses Beacons to Break Ice

DUOS is marketing a new “icebreaker” app that uses iBeacon technology to enable event sponsors and booth owners to communicate with attendees based on their location. It can also alert individuals to others DUOS app users within their vicinity, whom they could then message privately. The system is intended to be an alternative to physically sharing e-mails or phone numbers with others at an event.

The DUOS network instant-messaging functionality allows for push notifications to event-goers. First, event organizers attach DUOS-supplied Bluetooth beacons to specific booths, and attendees download the free iOS- or Android-based app from the iTunes or Google Play website. Attendees can then receive private and exclusive messages based on their presence at a booth, for instance, and they can also receive future messages based on their having visited a specific booth in the past.

Silicon Labs Releases Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko MCUs

Silicon Labs has released two new Gecko microcontrollers: the Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko.

These next-generation microcontrollers (MCUs) are intended to provide hardware cryptography, as well as energy management, for IoT installations. The new MCUs feature a hardware cryptography engine providing fast, energy-efficient, autonomous encryption and decryption for Internet security protocols, such as TLS/SSL.

Both the Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko come with a choice of 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores. They also come with a flexible energy-management system with a wide range of low-energy modes; a 12-channel peripheral reflex system (PRS) supporting autonomous interaction between peripherals, including deep sleep mode; configurable logic functions; and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) capable of sampling and performing autonomous comparisons down to stop mode. Both MCUs have scalable memory options (up to 256 kilobytes flash with 32 kilobytes of RAM).

The Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko MCUs come in two packages: QFN32, measuring 5 millimeters by 5 millimeters (0.2 inch by 0.2 inch), and QFN48, measuring 7 millimeters by 7 millimeters (0.28 inch by 0.28 inch), with production guarantees for the second quarter of 2016. The Jade Gecko pricing begins at $1.24 apiece in 10,000-unit quantities, while Pearl Gecko pricing begins at $1.65 apiece at such volume. The SLSTK3401A EFM32PG Pearl Gecko Starter Kit, priced at $30, enables developers to jumpstart their evaluation and development of Gecko-based applications.