IoT News Roundup

AT&T, Samsung and AirWatch sponsor new Georgia Tech lab; JFK airport uses BLIP Systems tech to track wait times; Skypatrol, Vodafone partner on M2M; New Braunfels, Texas, transitions to smart meters.
Published: August 14, 2015

Georgia Tech IoT Lab Announces Founding Partners
The Center for the Development and Application of Internet-of-Things Technologies (CDAIT), a new, interdisciplinary research and education lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, has announced that AirWatch, an enterprise mobility management platform, as well as telecommunications firm AT&T and consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung Electronics, are its inaugural sponsors and founding members. The nonprofit, partner-funded center was founded by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) to facilitate the development of, and grow awareness around, Internet of Things technologies.

Professors and other researchers from Georgia Tech will work with representatives from the member firms to identify and address technological challenges across a wide spectrum of IoT products and services, according to CDAIT. The companies, in turn, will support researcher efforts at the lab. (In May 2015, CDAIT’s managing director, Alain Louchez, wrote this thought piece for IOT Journal’s Expert Views column.)

BLIP Systems Gets In Line at JFK
New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has installed a Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-based system that captures transmissions from smartphones and other mobile devices carried by individuals waiting in lines, and uses that data in order to estimate wait times. The expected wait times are displayed on monitors located at Terminal 4’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint, customs and border protection areas, and taxi queues.

The technology, provided by Danish firm BLIP Systems, employs both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios to collect the Media Access Control (MAC) addresses being broadcast by individual phones or tablets carried by passengers (or, in the case of the Port of Aalborg, drivers). Its receivers then encrypt and time-stamp the MAC addresses and forward them to a server, hosted by BLIP Systems, where the data is filtered and analyzed by the system’s software, which calculates the median time from each queue area’s entrance to exit points.

BLIP Systems also provides wait times to passengers in airports in Dubai, Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona and Copenhagen. At the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, the technology has helped the airport’s management to reduce wait times by as much as 33 percent by better allocating staff members and security agents.

In Denmark, the Port of Aalborg uses BLIP System technology to improve traffic management and estimate the number of vehicles moving into and out of its port, as well as their speeds.

Skypatrol to Integrate Vodafone SIM
Telecommunications and machine-to-machine communications firm Vodafone reports that it is working with Skypatrol, a supplier of integrated GPS tracking solutions designed for use in vehicles, to provide subscriber identity module (SIM) cards for its tracking systems. Skypatrol offers packaged solutions to banking finance departments, automotive dealers, fleet-management companies, rental agencies, and sellers of specialty vehicles, such as motorcycles.

In addition to GPS tracking, these services include other amenities, such as helping locate stolen vehicles and improving fleet utilization. Vodafone’s global network supports cellular communication devices throughout the United States, as well as in more than a dozen countries throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru, activating more than 10,000 new M2M SIMS per month.

New Braunfels Moves to Smart Electric and Water Metering
New Braunfels Utilities (NBU), the utility provider of New Braunfels, a Texas town of 63,000 located between Austin and San Antonio, is converting its ratepayers’ electric and water meters to an advanced metering infrastructure that allows two-way communication between the utility and its customers. NBU has selected Silver Spring Networks as the networking platform provider.

The manufacturer’s metering device will be mounted to third-party meters—NBU is using water meters provided by Master Meter and electricity meters from General Electric—and communicate via a mesh network using the IPv6 communication protocol. The metering devices will communicate with pole-mounted access points and NBU will use Silver Spring Networks’ Utility IQ suite, a software-as-a-service platform, to read and manage the meters.

Initially, NBU will leverage the smart meters to automate meter reading, turn service on and off as building occupants move in and out, and disconnect service for non-payments, according to Josh Roper, Silver Spring Networks’ VP of advanced metering. Smart meters can also enable more advanced applications, such as demand-response programs, which entice ratepayers to reduce energy consumption during peak consumption periods in exchange for lower rates. Roper says NBU may eventually utilize these capabilities.