All Things CC:

All things Commuication & Computing….

Posts Tagged ‘Bluetooth LE

IoT Stories (Week Ending May 31st 2014)

Pew Research Center recently released a report titled The Internet of Things Will Thrive By 2025. This was, obviously, picked up by many news and blog sites. Washington Post’s Mohana Ravindranath wrote about it in a post titled “Some see possible drawbacks in ‘Internet of Things’”, and provides a good summary.  The post has one typo – it claims 1,900 people responded, whereas actually of the 12,000 people canvassed 1,606 responded. He has summarized inputs fromVint Cerf, Andrew Bridges, John Senall and Miguel Alcaine. Mohana has captured good set of quotes from one of the authors of the report – Lee Rainie, director of Pew’s Internet & American Life Project. Wired has good summary of the report as well.

Scot Stelter over at RFID Journal mentions the report but points out the lack of coverage in that report with respect to RFID, his post (RFID Stakeholders Need to Prepare for the Internet of Things) has good insight into how RFID will be important, and professionals in the RFID field need to be prepared for IoT.

Alain Louchez over at InformationWeek takes another Pew Research report and explains how the manufacturing in the US can benefit with the aging workforce and IoT.

Last week was the week before Apple’s WWDC – and lot of speculation on how Apple is going to play in Home Automation and IoT started out by Financial Times in Apple seeks to work Jobs magic on the internet of  things (paywall). GIgaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham explains it well in Here’s how Apple’s smart home program will work.  EETimes in “Apple’s IoT ‘Good Housekeeping’ Label: MFi “ gets into a little bit more detail and indicate that it involves around the MFi program (just as Stacey’s post) but indicate that it would support ZigBee protocol as well. Roger Kay at Forbes jumped in with “Will Apple Play Nice On The Internet Of Things?“. Roger makes the case that Apple won’t be in a position to dominate unlike the Smartphone or Tablet segment. While I agree with that analysis, Apple may continue to influence and benefit because Smartphones & Tablets will be an integral part of most IoT solutions.

The Economist gets into the over-hype around IoT – a very nice and thought provoking article titled The internet of nothings. It covers the chart put together by ZDNet on showing the surge in Google search aassociated with IoT, how the acquisition of Nest marks a tipping point. Two interesting observations:

#1. The post points out the real challenge is connecting the Cloud and the Node (Sensor or Actuator):

Devising sensors and algorithms to handle the front- and back-ends of the IoT are the easy part. Unfortunately, few developers are tackling the really difficult bit in the middle—the myriad infrastructural gaps that lie between the sensors in things at the edge of the internet, and the data collection and analysis performed by servers in the cloud at the centre.

#2. It questions the numbers being published (on number of connected devices) especially claims being made by Cisco:

…while Cisco Systems, a network-equipment firm in California, expects there to be no fewer than 50 billion. Cisco is so enamoured of the IoT that it has installed a “connections counter” on its website. On May 26th, the number of “things” connected to the internet was over 12.4 billion and counting.

The vast majority of the billions of things connected to the internet on Cisco’s website, for instance, are not the toasters, refrigerators, thermostats, smoke detectors, pace-makers and insulin pumps that the IoT’s true believers enthuse about. Almost exclusively, they are existing smartphones, tablets, computers and routers, plus a surprising number of industrial components used to beam performance statistics back to corporate headquarters.

Talking about Google, Business Insider is covering its rumor to buy DropCam (originally reported by The Information). It is probably pure speculation but if it bears fruit – Google could be really powerful in combining Dropcam, Nest, and Android (and YouTube/GoogleTV/Chromecast in the living room) and bringing order to Home Automation & Monitoring.  Dropcam cameras have motion detection, Nest has a proximity sensor and between the two they could make for a solid, self-managed security system as well.

This week’s links also has a story with a cliche headline “With ‘Internet of Things,’ your fridge will know when milk is low“. This resulted in an interesting exchange on Twitter which you can read here. The blog post title is misleading because the focus is more on security. It has been distributed over many different websites – for example you can find it here and here.

Intel, Qualcomm and Freescale are three semiconductor companies that tend to show up in IoT Articles. This week I came across a post by Lee Schafer that starts off going over the Texas Instruments Launchpad:

On the Texas Instruments eStore it takes only $19.99 to jump into “the Internet of things” by purchasing a Connected LaunchPad unit to bring an everyday device onto the Internet. Better be patient, however, because they are sold out.

Finally a post on Wired is definitely worth reading – ‘Beautiful mistakes’ will form groundwork for the internet of things. The essence of the post:

Similarly, it will take user-generated products and hacked physical connections for brands to make sense of the internet of things. It will be ugly, soldered-together networked devices (not the gamified toothbrush) that will light the way for them. Beautiful mistakes and unexpected outcomes that will form their strategies.

 

Advertisements

Written by Ashu Joshi

June 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm

The Future of Fitbit Ultra

leave a comment »

In the past few months I have been using Fitbit as an example for eHealth & Fitness services and also as an example of how connectivity, and consumer web services are changing the landscape. I finally ended up buying my own last week. I am definitely tracking my “steps” with the Fitbit Ultra and the other thing that I am doing is to monitor if I am sleeping well. But my motivation was to understand the intersection of technology with eHealth & Fitness. And I am big believer in the notion/concept of “Connected Life” and Internet of Things, and the Fitbit Ultra is an exemplary device.

So far the Ultra does what it claims and it’s amazing that the device uses an accelerometer to detect movement BUT it is the magic of software (in this case I believe it is good old C-based firmware) that turns data into knowledge. Take a look at the clip of job ad from Fitbit website:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as a startup they have made a wise choice – of using an low power SOC like the MSP430 from TI – start with a technology that gives incredibly long battery life. I have gone a few days without having to charge my Ultra and it holds up very well. This can only be accomplished by ultra-low power processor coupled with the accelerometer to keep it powered! I also suspect, very strongly, that the MSP430 SKU being used actually is one with an RF Link built into it. The Fitbit Ultra needs the wireless link to sync with the PC and upload the data to the Fitbit site.

The challenge, I believe, is that the wireless technology from TI won’t be built into Tablets or PCs or Smartphones – and hence for bypassing the need for a PC or Mac sync with a dongle is important and it needs to be there future. And the same ad above makes it clear – Fitbit is looking into Bluetooth (and I would guess it would the LE Low Energy version to sustain battery life) and/or Zigbee (which also consumes very little power). The sooner they liberate themselves from the PC, the more innovative the Ultra will get… I would suspect & argue that with the sophisticated processing being done on the accelerometer data from the Ultra – there would be no shortage of beneficial use cases of such an incredible device.

Written by Ashu Joshi

April 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm