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New healthcare sensors enable ultra-small size, lowest power and clinical-grade accuracy for next-gen wearables

 

–  Designers creating next-generation wearable health and fitness applications can reduce temperature measurement power by 50% with the MAX30208, as well as shrink optical solution size by 40% with the MAXM86161 from Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. In addition, design engineers can improve both sensitivity and accuracy with the highest signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) using the MAXM86161.

To provide value, wearable health and fitness monitors require greater accuracy in measuring human biometrics such as body temperature and heart rate, but device designers have been limited by sensor accuracy for small, battery-powered, body-worn devices. Maxim’s two new continuous-monitoring body sensors provide higher degrees of accuracy in measuring vital signs such as temperature, heart rate and blood-oxygen saturation (SpO2).

The MAXM86161 in-ear heart-rate monitor and pulse oximeter is the market’s smallest fully integrated solution that delivers highly accurate heart-rate and SpO2 measurements from hearables and other wearable applications. It is optimised for in-ear applications with its industry-leading small package size (40% less than the closest competitor) and best-in-class SNR (3dB improvement with band limiting signal for PPG use cases compared to closest competitor).

This enables development of devices that cover a wider range of use cases. MAXM86161 delivers approximately 35% lower power to extend battery life of wearables. In addition, an integrated analog front-end (AFE) eliminates the additional AFE typically needed to procure a separate chip and connect to the optical module.

The MAX30208 digital temperature sensor delivers clinical-grade temperature measurement accuracy (±0.1°C) with fast response time to changes in temperature. It also meets the power and size demands of small, battery-powered applications such as smartwatches and medical patches. It simplifies the design of battery-powered, temperature-sensing wearable healthcare applications.

Easier to use than competitive offerings, it measures temperature at the top of the device and does not suffer from thermal self-heating like competitive solutions. MAX30208 is compatible with up to four I2C addresses to enable multiple sensors on the same IC bus. The MAX30208 can be attached to either a PCB or a flex printed circuit (FPC).

Key advantages

–  High accuracy: MAX30208 delivers ±0.1°C accuracy in the range of 30°C to 50°C and eliminates thermal self-heating, a factor that affects measurement accuracy in competitive devices. MAXM86161 cancels ambient light for greater accuracy and provides highest SNR (Nyquist SNR is 89dB; 100dB SNR with averaging). In addition, Maxim provides algorithms for motion compensation to increase measurement accuracy.

–  Lowest power: To extend battery life of wearables, the MAXM86161 consumes approximately 35% lower power versus the closest competitor, with less than 10µA operating power (typical at 25sps) and 1.6µA in shutdown mode. Compared to the closest competitive solution, the MAX30208 consumes only half the power (67µA operating current during active conversion vs. 135µA) under a representative use case.

–  Ultra-small size: MAXM86161 is available in an OLGA package (2.9mm x 4.3mm x 1.4 mm), which is 40% smaller than the closest competitor. MAXM86161 includes three LEDs—red and infrared for SpO2 measurement and green for heart rate; MAX30208 is available in a 10-pin thin LGA package (2mm x 2mm x 0.75mm).
“Wearable devices continue to gain market traction, with global revenue now estimated to grow from $56.4 billion (€51.1 billion) in 2019 to $78.3 billion (€71 billion) by 2022 at a 4-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%,” said James Hayward, principal analyst at IDTechEx Research.

 

“Major growth drivers include additional value captured in the growth and evolution of products such as smartwatches and ear-worn products, alongside the adoption of dedicated wearable devices in key healthcare verticals.”.

 

Posted by ANASIA D’MELLO

IoT Applications in Construction

The construction industry is bringing real-time information into processes that are centuries old. Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors are collecting job site data in a more affordable, efficient and effective way than previously imaginable.

The construction job site is now ripe for fundamental changes that enable productivity, safety, process improvement and new tools. The Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing for the deployment of simple low power sensors that are able to communicate cost-effectively. As IoT continues to become more ubiquitous, it’s having a greater impact on how the construction industry is turning around. IoT makes it possible for every stakeholder to understand what’s happening at every stage of the construction process in real-time from planning to actual construction, post-construction and how the building is operated during service.

While the construction industry is changing at a glacial pace, construction companies who are adopting technology to successfully address common workplace concerns and streamline processes are benefitting from increased efficiencies and improved responsiveness to the increasing demands of the industry. Flat productivity, decreased margins, more schedule overruns and increased competition are some of the obvious reasons construction companies should consider the adoption of IoT technology and digitization. Data has now become a critical asset for business, and informed decisions can only be data-driven.

Generally, productivity, maintenance, security and safety appear to be the leading drivers of IoT adoption in the construction industry.

Productivity

The construction sector is conditioned by deadlines and targets. It’s mandatory to avoid backlogs because they result in budget increases. IoT can enable more readiness and efficiency thus improving productivity. IoT leaves people with less menial work, and, instead, they’re allocated more time to interact with project owners and amongst themselves, generating new ideas to improve project delivery and customer satisfaction.
Construction requires an adequate supply of materials to ensure the smoothness of the project. However, the late supply of materials often occurs at the site due to poor scheduling caused by human error. Through IoT, the supply unit is fitted with a suitable sensor it’s possible to automatically determine the quantity and make automatic orders or raise alarms.

Maintenance

Power and fuel consumption will result in wastage if not actively managed, and that will impact the overall cost of the project. Through the availability of real-time information, it becomes possible to know the status of every asset, to schedule maintenance stops or refueling and turn-off idle equipment. Further, field sensors help to prevent problems from happening, which reduces warranty claims, helping the bottom line and keeping customers happy. Beyond notifications for decreasing stocks, sensors can be used to monitor materials condition like the suitability of the temperature or humidity of the item/environment, handling issues, damage and expiration. Equipment suppliers have had to evolve from just being suppliers to partners who continuously monitor and maintain equipment, leaving clients to focus on their core business.

Safety and Security

Some of the biggest challenges encountered on a construction job site are theft and safety. Human security agents are not adequate to monitor a huge site properly. Using IoT enabled tags, any material or theft of items is easily resolved as these sensors will notify the current location of the materials or item. It’s no longer necessary to send a human agent out to check out everything.

IoT allows for the creation of a digital real-time job site map together with the updated risks associated with the works and notifies every worker when getting closer to any risk or entering a dangerous environment. For example, monitoring the air quality in an enclosed space is critical for workplace safety. IoT technologies will not only prevent staff from being exposed to dangerous conditions but can also detect those conditions before or as they happen. With real-time IoT data, workers are empowered to be more predictive about job-site issues and prevent situations that could lead to a safety incident and lost time.

Handling equipment and machinery for too long may also cause workers to experience fatigue, which in turn disturbs their concentration and productivity. IoT makes it possible to monitor signs of distress like abnormal pulse rates, elevations and user location.

Multi-Technology: The Future of Geolocation

Successful IoT geolocation requires multi-technology solutions that leverage cellular, Bluetooth, LP-GPS, WiFi, and more while focusing on next-gen LPWAN.

In the big world of IoT, location tracking is the next frontier! Location tracking for humans is already an integral part of our lives, especially for navigation. Traditional technologies enabling this are not only expensive; they also have technical boundaries that prevent successful scaling. For IoT geolocation to become a reality, it must be extremely accurate, very low cost, and significantly low touch.

Where Is the Market?

Research and Markets predict revenues from “Geo IoT” will reach $49 billion by 2021.

Research and Markets report in “Geo IoT Technologies, Services, and Applications Market Outlook” that just as location determination has become an essential element of personal communications, so shall presence detection and location-aware technologies be key to the long-term success of IoT. They add that Geo IoT will positively impact many industry verticals.

Connecting IoT objects is already a large market growing exponentially with the mix of unlicensed Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies such as LoRaWAN, and combined more recent introduction of Cellular IoT technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M. Adding Geolocation to this introduces a whole range of new applications not possible before. Some of these applications are:

  1. Asset management
  2. Fleet management
  3. Anti-theft scooter/bike rental
  4. Logistics/parcel bags tracking
  5. Worker safety for oil and gas
  6. Elderly and disabled care
  7. Tracking solution for skiers
  8. Pets and animal tracking

The above applications represent a large existing market that can only be captured with extremely low cost and low power trackers. 

The Challenges of Asset Tracking

Whether it’s railway cars, truck trailers, or containers, tracking valuable assets on the move is a pain point for many large, distributed organizations involved in logistics and supply chain management. These large organizations typically rely on partners such as distributors to register check-in and check-out events correctly.

The registration process at specific checkpoints is usually manual, intermittent, and subject to human error.  To address this issue, an IoT low-power asset tracking system that leverages Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) trackers brings a “timeless” checkpoint solution. Specifically, LoRaWAN™-based trackers, due to their low power, low cost and lightweight, standardized infrastructure, provide the first truly reliable tracking solution that allows logistics operators to reduce downtime during transportation. 

In the logistics sector, many business use cases suffer additional costs due to inefficient utilization of assets. Transport companies need to invest in freight railway cars; car logistics companies need to invest in truck trailers; and, of course, there are the standard containers and pallets.

The profitability of #AssetTracking business use cases directly depends on the minimization of asset downtime: every day or hour lost in a warehouse, lot, or rail station reduces the given asset’s #profit potential. || #IoT @ActilityCLICK TO TWEET

However, measuring this downtime is also a challenge. Traditional solutions involved cellular or satellite trackers, which require significant CAPEX, but perhaps more importantly also ongoing OPEX due to battery replacements and connectivity costs. In some cases, trackers are located in hard-to-reach areas especially when mounted on railroad cars, or in oil and gas rigs, which make it very costly to replace batteries—especially if there are hundreds of thousands of trackers deployed in the field.

For now, at least, humans do battery replacement. It’s one of the dominating OPEX factors in the Total Cost of Ownership ( TCO) of the whole IoT solution. These replacement costs actually made it difficult to justify the mass adoption of conventional geolocation solutions in the logistics sector.

LPWAN Trackers: a Game Changer

LoRaWAN is the LPWAN connectivity standard developed by LoRa Alliance—primarily for unlicensed ISM spectrum—to disrupt both existing technology and business models.

On the technology front, LoRaWAN’s main impact pertains to a drastic reduction in power consumption. Reducing battery usage ultimately affects OPEX-related to ongoing maintenance. It also creates new opportunities for more dynamic tracking, as communication events are less costly.

On the business model side, logistics companies can now trade off between CAPEX and OPEX: most LPWAN systems operate within an unlicensed band. For example, the leading LoRaWAN™ technology operates in the 915MHz band in the US, the 868MHz band in Europe, and equivalent ISM bands in other parts of the world. This means that logistics companies can invest in their own wireless networks to reduce or eliminate variable connectivity costs.

The cost of LPWAN network gateways has decreased due to higher production volumes. They’re now affordable even for very small logistic centers, such as a car distributor.

Next Generation LPWAN trackers

The potential of LPWAN-enabled tracking requires a new generation of hardware. The lower radio frequency and lower power consumption are only parts of a massive effort to decrease the power consumption of entire IoT systems. In order to achieve the latter, we would need to develop a “multi-technology geolocation tracker platform” that can combine GPS, Low-Power GPS, WiFi Sniffing, WiFi fingerprinting, and Bluetooth. The goal is to reduce overall power consumption while providing location information opportunistically in a variety of scenarios (e.g. indoor/outdoor, urban/rural, slow/fast moving, and so on).

Another key factor of such a multi-technology solution is the usage of LPWAN technologies such as LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, and LTE-M for backhauling geolocation data to the cloud. This is the key. Traditional cellular technologies, such as 2G/3G/4G, are just too power hungry to meet the target goal of 5-10 year battery lifetime. However, there will be licensed Cellular IoT options based on NB-IoT/LTE-M that will also be used for some of the applications.

Actility argues, “Merging an IoT network solution like LoRaWAN with multi-mode geolocation technologies for outdoor and indoor positioning would increase battery lifetime at least ten times more than the standard cellular solution using GSM/AGPS.”

As demonstrated below, LoRaWAN and LP-GPS (AGPS/GPS) significantly increases battery lifetime.

Image Credit: Actility

A Multi-Technology Future for Geolocation

The future of IoT geolocation will require a commitment to robust multi-technology development. We’ll need multi-technology cloud platforms that will intelligently combine Over-The-Top (OTT) geolocation technologies—such as GPS, Low-Power GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth—with network-based TDoA geolocation technologies using LoRaWAN and/or cellular. Such innovations require close cooperation between public network operators and geolocation service providers. 

La puce-système NB-IoT avec géopositionnement par satellite du chinois Nurlink est opérationnelle

Dévoilée en avant-première fin février à l’occasion du Mobile World Congress, la puce-système SoC NK6010 compatible NB-IoT de la start-up chinoise Nurlink, créée en 2017, est désormais opérationnelle. Une première communication « réelle », sur la région de Nankin en l’occurrence, a pu être mise en œuvre entre la puce et la plate-forme IoT dans le nuage de China Telecom via le réseau NB-IoT de l’opérateur.

Selon la firme américaine Ceva qui a cédé sous licence à Nurlink sa plate-forme Ceva-Dragonfly NB2, c’est une étape majeure vers la production en volume du SoC de la jeune société chinoise.

Pour rappel, la plate-forme Ceva-Dragonfly NB2, annoncée il y a tout juste un an, est une solution modulaire et intégrée compatible avec la spécification 3GPP Release 14 eNB-IoT (enhanced NB-IoT) dite Cat-NB2 (en référence à la spécification 3GPP Release 13 NB-IoT dite Cat-NB1). Elle s’articule autour du processeur Ceva-X1 bâti sur une architecture DSP+CPU à cœur unique et doté d’instructions ad hoc, et fournit un environnement unifié pour l’exécution à la fois de la couche physique et de la pile de protocoles eNB-IoT (également incluses dans la solution).

Pour les utilisateurs qui développent des produits NB-IoT qui exigent aussi des fonctions de géolocalisation par satellite, la solution Ceva-Dragonfly NB2 dispose en option d’un package matériel GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) avec récepteur RF et frontal numérique multiconstellation.

A ce titre, la puce-système NK6010, qui cible des marchés comme les compteurs communicants, les dispositifs électroniques portés sur soi, les traceurs d’actifs et les capteurs industriels, intègre un frontal RF, un émetteur/récepteur RF, un sous-système radio cellulaire en bande de base, une unité de gestion de la consommation et un processeur d’application. Selon son concepteur, elle est apte à communiquer dans toutes les bandes de fréquence NB-IoT exploitées par les opérateurs mobiles les plus importants. Le SoC embarque également un sous-système de positionnement par satellite multiconstellation (GPS, Beidou, Galileo et Glonass) à ultrabasse consommation.

« La plate-forme Ceva Dragonfly-NB2 nous a permis de réduire considérablement notre time-to-market car elle a fourni la plupart des briques de base de notre SoC, des éléments clés qui avaient déjà été validés sur silicium et préintégrés, précise Kong Xiao-Hua, le CEO de Nurlink. Programmable, la solution nous a quand même permis d’ajouter notre propre valeur ajoutée et de réaliser un produit vraiment différentié. Quinze mois nous a suffi pour passer de l’accord de licence à une première communication NB-IoT réelle avec notre silicium et nous sommes déjà engagés avec plusieurs opérateurs de par le monde pour certifier notre puce-système. »

New LTE Modules Developed Specifically for CBRS Applications

Sequans has introduced two new modules optimized for the design of devices for LTE CBRS(Citizens Broadband Radio Service) networks. The CB610L and CB410L are the first two modules designed from the ground up to enable easy and massive deployment of IoT devices on private LTE CBRS networks.

They are cost-effective modules that can support a wide range of medium data rate applications – including industrial IoT and M2M devices, gateways, and broadband consumer devices – and the very small form factor LCC package enables easy mounting into small and thin devices or mini-PCI or M.2 NGFF carriers.

According to Mobile Experts – Key building blocks for the CBRS market have been solidified, which means the market is ready for a commercial rollout beyond trials. They expect a surge in small cell shipments between 2020 and 2023 – an annual shipment of about 400,000 small cells and radios will result in sales of over $900 million, and more than 550 million handsets, CPEs, and IoT devices cumulatively shipped during that time.

Sequans is a member of the CBRS Alliance, an industry organization dedicated to supporting the development, commercialization, and adoption of LTE solutions for the US 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service. 

Sequans CBRS  Modules Product Features:

  • Available in two versions:
    • CB610L for LTE Cat 6          
    • CB410L for LTE Cat 4          
  • All-in-one standalone module solutions      
  • Easy integration into IoT, M2M, and broadband devices      
  • 3GPP Release 10      
  • Small LCC (leadless chip carrier) package, 32 x 29 mm      
  • Supports CBRS networks in USA on LTE band 48, and MNO networks worldwide on LTE bands 42/43      
  • Includes drivers for all major host operating systems      
  • Includes a comprehensive set of interfaces      

The CB610L and CB410L modules are based on Sequans’ Cassiopeia LTE-Advanced platform, which is compliant with 3GPP Release 10 specifications. Cassiopeia supports a frequency range from 170 MHz up to 3.8 GHz and highly flexible dual-carrier aggregation that allows the combination of any two carriers of any size up to 20 MHz each, contiguous or non-contiguous, inter-band or intra-band. Cassiopeia also includes Sequans’ advanced receiver technology for improved performance. 

CB610L and CB410L are ideal for adding LTE connectivity to electronics devices for industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and broadband consumer applications. The LCC package allows for a cost-efficient platform and simple PCB design. The modules support a wide variety of interfaces, including USB 2.0 host and device, SDIO 3.0 host, USIM, UARTs, GPIOs, SPI and I2S/PCMTDM for audio.

From idea to finished product

Everything starts with the discovery of a need. Sometimes we ourselves see a need that nobody has seen before. At other times the signal comes from our users. Irrespective of where the thought is born, we are always eager to do a thorough job to develop the best solution.

Initially we gathers to examine the need. At this stage we visit which experience this need. A thorough evaluation of current working methods and their advantages and disadvantages is performed.

A creative but thorough work

When we have created a good understanding of the need, work starts on finding the best possible solution regarding functionality, safety and efficiency. Different ideas and thoughts are tested in the development group.

Finally, when we have come so far that we have a first prototype, extensive internal testing starts. Here the product is often changed on many points in order to even better solve our customers’ needs.

Tests under real conditions

But in order really to get a confirmation that our solution fits the needs of our users, it is time for a validation. A number of prototypes are placed at customers with whom we are in close collaboration. They get to test the product for a certain period and then revert with their points of view.

A new innovative product reaches out to the entire world

After having performed any modifications based on these tests, the product is ready for production. From the point when a need is discovered, the whole world now has the possibility to use the solution in order to perform day to day activities.

 

Espressif Announces the Release of ESP32-S2 Secure Wi-Fi MCU

Shanghai, China
May 15, 2019

 

Espressif announces the release of the ESP32-S2 Secure Wi-Fi MCU, which is a highly integrated, low-power, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Microcontroller SoC supporting Wi-Fi HT40 and 43 GPIOs. Based on Xtensa® single-core 32-bit LX7 processor, ESP32-S2 can be clocked at up to 240 MHz.

ESP32-S2 is a highly integrated, low-power, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Microcontroller SoC supporting Wi-Fi HT40 and 43 GPIOs. Based on Xtensa® single-core 32-bit LX7 processor, it can be clocked at up to 240 MHz.

With state-of-the-art power management and RF performance, IO capabilities and security features, ESP32-S2 is an ideal choice for a wide variety of IoT or connectivity-based applications, including smart home and wearables. With an integrated 240 MHz Xtensa® core, ESP32-S2 is sufficient for building the most demanding connected devices without requiring external MCUs. 

By leveraging Espressif’s mature and production-ready software development framework (ESP-IDF), ESP32-S2 achieves a balance of performance and cost, thus bringing faster and more secure IoT connectivity solutions to the market.

 

Features

CPU and Memory

  • Xtensa® single-core 32-bit LX7 microcontroller
  • 7-stage pipeline
  • Clock frequency of up to 240 MHz
  • Ultra-low-power co-processor
  • 320 kB SRAM, 128 kB ROM, 16 KB RTC memory
  • External SPIRAM (128 MB total) support 
  • Up to 1 GB of external flash support
  • Separate instruction and data cache

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 1×1 transmit and receive
  • HT40 support with data rate up to 150 Mbps
  • Support for TCP/IP networking, ESP-MESH networking, TLS 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 and other networking protocols over Wi-Fi
  • Support Time-of-Flight (TOF) measurements with normal Wi-Fi packets

IO Peripherals

  • 43 programmable GPIOs
  • 14 capacitive touch sensing IOs
  • Standard peripherals including SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, ADC/DAC and PWM
  • LCD (8-bit parallel RGB/8080/6800) interface and also support for 16/24-bit parallel
  • Camera interface supports 8 or 16-bit DVP image sensor, with clock frequency of up to 40 MHz
  • Full speed USB OTG support

Security

  • RSA-3072-based trusted application boot
  • AES256-XTS-based flash encryption to protect sensitive data at rest
  • 4096-bit eFUSE memory with 2048 bits available for application
  • Digital signature peripheral for secure storage of private keys and generation of RSA signatures

Optimal Power Consumption

ESP32-S2 supports fine resolution power control through a selection of clock frequency, duty cycle, Wi-Fi operating modes and individual power control of its internal components. 

  • When Wi-Fi is enabled, the chip automatically powers on or off the RF transceiver only when needed, thereby reducing the overall power consumption of the system. 
  • ULP co-processor with less than 5 uA idle mode and 24 uA at 1% duty-cycle current consumption. Improved Wi-Fi-connected and MCU-idle-mode power consumption.

 

Software

ESP32-S2 supports Espressif’s software development framework (ESP-IDF), which is a mature and production-ready platform, already used by millions of devices deployed in the field. Availability of common cloud connectivity agents and common product features shortens the time to market.

 

Applications

ESP32-S2 offers a universal Wi-Fi connectivity solution for a variety of applications, ranging from consumer to industrial use-cases. Furthermore, the computing power and memory expandability also makes it a suitable solution for simple ML-on-edge applications. 

While it can support a large number of use-cases, the main target application use-cases are listed below:

Smart-Home Connectivity

Ranges from simple solutions like light bulbs, smart door-locks, smart sockets to white goods and kitchen appliances, over-the-top (OTT) devices and video streaming devices like security cameras

  • Supports Mesh Network, which can be applied to large-scale commercial lighting and smart-home network solutions.
  • Allows efficient interfacing with a wide range of sensors, which is suitable for the needs of different smart-home scenarios.

Battery-operated devices

Connected Wi-Fi sensors, Wi-Fi enabled toys, wearable and healthcare devices

  • Small 7 mm ⨉ 7 mm QFN package, which is ideal for wearable devices
  • Low power consumption, in hibernation mode, of less than 5 uA enables application in battery-operated devices or long standby-time devices
  • QSPI/OPI supports multiple flash/SRAM chips for flexible configuration of NVM and volatile data storage

Industrial automation

Industrial automation includes wireless control and robotics, smart lighting, HVAC control, which can ensure high-quality technology development and a long life-cycle for products.

  • With its high RF performance and security features, it can meet strict requirements and high standards of reliability and efficiency for electronic control.

Retail & Catering Applications 

POS machines and service robots

  • Advanced security features enable the protection of sensitive data on the chip and the flash device
  • Small form factor 
  • With 14 highly sensitive touch sensors and an LCD interface, ESP32-S2 targets low-cost securely connected HMI devices, such as POS machines

 

Engineering Samples of ESP32-S2 beta will be available in June.

For more information, please contact Espressif Business Team.

Qu’est-ce que NB-IoT ?

Usages de NB-IoT

NB-IoT ou Narrowband IoT est un nouveau standard de communication Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN ou Réseau basse consommation longue portée) spécialement conçu pour l’Internet des objets (Internet Of Things) développé par 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project, l’organisation derrière la standardisation des réseaux cellulaires).

 

Graphique représentant l'évolution exponentielle du nombre d'IoT dans le monde jusqu'à 2025

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: statista

 

 

Avec l’avènement de l’IoT, les problématiques liées à l’industrie 4.0 et la prédiction des experts d’avoir plus de 75 Milliards d’objets connectés à l’aide d’un réseau sans fil d’ici 2025, il est nécessaire de créer des technologies adaptées à ces nouveaux besoins. Ce standard permet aux objets connectés de communiquer de gros volumes de données sur de très grandes distances avec une latence très élevée.

Certains annoncent même que cette technologie représente le futur des standards de communication IoT et sera celui le plus utilisé d’ici 2025.

Nous allons donc vous présenter ce nouveau standard en détail afin d’appréhender les avantages pour l’IoT.

 

NB-IoT en détails

Modes opérationnels de Narrowband IoT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Ericsson

 

 

NB-IoT ou Narrowband IoT ou encore appelé LTE-M2 est une technologie basse consommation et longue portée (LPWAN) validée en Juin 2016 qui peut fonctionner de trois manières différentes:

  • Sur la bande de fréquence 200 kHz anciennement le réseau GSM
  • Avec le réseau LTE qui réserve des ressources pour NB-IoT
  • Au sein d’un réseau indépendant

Le spectre de fréquence GSM de 200kHz est peu utilisé aujourd’hui et laisse donc potentiellement la place, pour ce type de technologie, d’apporter une nouvelle solution LPWAN.

Tout comme LoRa et Sigfox, ce standard permet à des objets basse consommation de communiquer  avec des applications externes à travers le réseau cellulaire.

Partage des bandes de fréquences LTE NB-IoT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Couche physique de NB-IoT [EN]

 

 

Le constructeur Chinois Huawei est un fervent défenseur de cette technologie déjà disponible en Chine. Il a fortement contribué ces dernières années dans la définition technique de cette technologie.

Cas d'utilisations de Nb-IoT

Echange d’un grand volume de données

A la différence de LTE-M, il n’est pas basé sur le protocole IP mais utilise tout de même un protocole basé sur l’échange de message (message based). Il a pour avantage de proposer un taux de modulation plus rapide que LoRa ou Sigfox. Il peut donc échanger une plus grande quantité de données à un rythme moins élevé. LTE-M quant à lui, est plus adapté à des applications qui nécessitent une plus grande bande passante.

 

Une latence élevée

Techniquement NB-IoT utilise donc la bande de fréquence de 200kHz et la modulation OFDM pour les communications entrantes et SC-FDMA pour les communications sortantes. Par son design, il n’est pas prévu d’avoir des temps de réponse de l’ordre de la milliseconde.

Il permet d’avoir des débits de 20 à 250Kbit/s en download ou upload avec une latence inférieure à 10 secondes environ. La latence (latency), dépendra de la qualité de la puce de communication, du réseau, de la qualité de réception et de la distance avec l’antenne la plus proche.

 

Utilisation des réseaux mobiles existants

NB-IoT s’appuie sur les réseaux 4G existants dont un certain nombre de fonctionnalités et mécanismes sont hérités. Il est donc compatible avec une mobilité à l’international grâce à l’itinérance aussi appelé roaming. Cela signifie aussi que ces réseaux sont accessibles sous licence et sont pilotés par des opérateurs spécialisés dans le domaine. La qualité du réseau est donc gérée par des experts du métier.

NB-IoT est considéré 5G ready, c’est à dire qu’a sa sortie il pourra être compatible avec cette nouvelle norme de transmission.

Nous sommes donc face à une technologie qui est loin d’être temps réel à cause de sa grande latence. Les cas d’utilisation sont donc pour des besoins qui ne nécessitent pas ce type de contrainte.

 

Les avantages de NB-IoT

Les avantages de NB-IoT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

source: Accent systems

 

 

Cette nouvelle technologie apporte un certain nombre d’avantages par rapport à son domaine d’utilisation.

La faible consommation

Le premier point critique dans le domaine des objets connectés est la consommation électrique. Comme vu plus haut, le nombre de devices intelligents ne fait qu’augmenter. Il est donc primordial que ces supports consomment le moins possibles pour plusieurs raisons:

  • Lutter contre la surconsommation électrique
  • Il n’est pas envisageable de recharger ou changer des batteries d’un tel nombre d’IoT
  • Pourquoi consommer de l’énergie alors que ce n’est pas nécessaire ?

Cette technologie est dites LPWAN donc répond aux standards de consommation minimale.

 

La fiabilité

La communication de ces objets via NB-IoT n’est certes pas temps réel mais se doit d’être fiable dans le temps. En s’appuyant sur des réseaux existants et sous licence, les opérateurs sont déjà en charge de la qualité de service de ceux-ci. Ils pourront ainsi garantir une QoS (Quality Of Service) suffisante pour ce type de fonctionnement.

 

Diminution des coûts

La simplicité du standard sur lequel repose cette technologie permet de créer des puces de communication peu onéreuses. En effet, une puce qui supporte uniquement NB-IoT est beaucoup moins chère à produire qu’un module qui implémente LTE-M par exemple. De plus, le fait d’être orienté très faible consommation, c’est encore une économie substantielle.

Contrairement à certains autres technologies, il n’y a aucunement besoin d’une passerelle (gateway) pour que cela fonctionne.

 

Une couverture plus adaptée

Reposant sur le réseau actuel de la 4G ce mode de communication est aussi bien adapté pour une utilisation en intérieur (Indoor) ou en extérieur. Ainsi la seule problématique, quand il sera implémenté, sera de vérifier la couverture des localisations de vos devices IoT.

 

Cas d’utilisations

Ce standard a été pensé pour de nombreuses applications et cas d’utilisation pour le domaine de l’IoT et l’IIoT (Industrial Internet Of Things). On retrouve entre autre:

  • Les objets pour la mesure intelligente comme pour l’électricité, le gaz ou l’eau (compteur d’eau) par exemple
  • Les systèmes de surveillances comme les alarmes ou les alarmes incendies
  • Les villes connectées ou smart city qui permet de piloter par exemple les lampes, le mobilier urbain ou encore le suivi du remplissage des poubelles
  • La mesure des données de santé personnelles à l’aide d’objets connectés
  • Le domaine médical trouvera un avantage certain pour la surveillance des constantes de santé à distance comme le montre le document disponible ici.
  • L’état de certaines machines industrielles qui ne nécessitent pas un fonctionnement temps réel

Il existe de nombreux cas d’utilisations auquel répond NB-IoT. Les cas présentés ci-dessus se veulent réels et sont des problématiques ou des sujets de réflexion actuels. Mais de manière générale tout objet connecté qui aurait besoin de communiquer sur de longues distances et qui ne nécessitent pas des temps de réaction trop rapides pourraient être concernés.

Advantech commence dores et déjà à créer des solutions d’acquisition de données ou de communication industrielle qui implémentent NB-IoT. Vous pouvez les retrouver sur cette page.

 

Etat du déploiement de NB-IoT

Carte de la couverture mondiale de NB-IoT 
Source: gsma.com Mobile IoT Deployments

NB-IoT ne peut fonctionner « out of the box » sur le réseau actuel 4G sans l’implémentation du standard par les opérateurs en charge de la couverture mobile du territoire qui vous concerne.

Aujourd’hui la France n’a toujours officiellement lancé aucun réseau qui implémente cette nouvelle technologie. Donc NB-IoT n’est, pour le moment, officiellement pas disponible en France. Cependant l’opérateur SFR travaillerait sur ces sujets en partenariat avec des industriels du secteur. Orange, quant à lui, a lancé des zones de tests pour LTE-M mais aucun travaux sur NB-IoT semble en cours (Alors qu’ils ont déployés NB-IoT en Belgique)

Pour rappel la France a vu naître deux technologies concurrentes à savoir Sigfox et LoRa ce qui explique l’état de déploiement actuel de NB-IoT.

What is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

How Industrial IoT (IIoT) Helps Manufacturers

What is IIoT and Impact on Manufacturing?

Before we discuss IIoT, let’s understand what is IoT. Internet of Things, IoT is a network of things, intelligent computers, and systems that are connected to the internet to collect and share data in time series manner. A ‘thing’ can be any physical object or device that is capable of transmitting data. So, from consumer products like a television set, refrigerator, or large commercial products like windmill and oil well, and everything in between is considered as ‘Thing’. The collected data is sent to a central Cloud-based service where it is aggregated and processed with other data and then shared with end users in a useful way. Various studies predict that over 30 Bn devices will be connected to the internet over the next 5 year. The IoT will increase automation in homes, cities, stores, and in many industries such as automotive, chemical, FMCG, and others.

The Industrial IoT is part of this larger concept known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The application of IoT in the manufacturing industry is called the IIoT (or Industrial Internet or Industry 4.0). The IIoT will revolutionize manufacturing by enabling the acquisition and accessibility of far greater amounts of data, at far greater speeds, and far more efficiently than ever before. A number of innovative companies have started Industry 4.0 initiatives and driving IIoT projects to make their factories smart factories.

What are the Benefits of IIoT?

Earlier, manufacturers have machines connected using DCS, SCADA, PLC, or similar operational technology. Most of these are siloed efforts lacking wholesome visibility across the factory or a plant. The IoT changes this by greatly improving data collection efficiency, scalability, time & indirect labor savings for industrial organizations. There are numerous IoT success stories where companies are already benefiting from the IIoT through cost savings with better energy conservation, predictive maintenance, improved safety, and other operational efficiencies. IIoT initiatives are breaking the data silos for industries and connect all of their people, processes, and data from the shop floor to the top floor. Business leaders can use IoT data to get a full and accurate view of how their enterprise is doing, which will help them make better decisions.

IIoT Protocols for Data Collection

IIoT shifts the paradigm for machine data. Ability to collect and process data at large is one of the biggest advantages of IIoT platforms. However, manufacturings plants have a variety of equipment and heterogeneous devices where machines. This poses a challenge in data collection while making a transition to the IoT. Different IIoT protocols such as UPC-UA/DA, bi-directional MQTT, and others are preferred as communication protocols.

Challenges for the IIoT

Although security is touted as the biggest challenges for IIoT projects, in our experience of over 150 IoT projects globally, technology maturity of the enterprise and interoperability are probably the two biggest challenges surrounding the implementation of IIoT. Tech writer Margaret Rouse writes, “A major concern surrounding the Industrial IoT is interoperability between devices and machines that use different protocols and have different architectures.” Datonis IoT Platform offers a wide array of such protocols and ability to build custom protocols making it easier to rapidly build & deploy IoT Solutions in industrial scenario. The second aspect of technology maturity or culture of change adoption is crucial for IoT implementation. It may be a huge effort to uplift the old infrastructure to support IIoT projects and bring cultural changes to make such projects successful, as operational transparency unearthed by IoT could be shocking at times.

The Future of the IIoT

The IIoT is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 28% over next 7 years, claims IDC. It is widely considered to be one of the primary trends affecting industrial businesses today and in the future. Industries are pushing to modernize systems and equipment to meet new regulations, to keep up with increasing demand, speed and volatility. Businesses that have embraced the IoT have seen significant RoI in terms of improvements to productivity, quality, maintenance, safety, energy savings, and decision making. This trend will continue to grow as IIoT technologies are more widely adopted and benefits are evident.

How Blockchain, AI, and IoT Are Revolutionizing Businesses

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The dynamic landscape of today’s reality is largely influenced by revolutionary innovations that have disrupted our current ways of conducting business. It is imperative to understand how businesses, policy makers, and governments can leverage the powerful potential of emerging technologies to unlock a bright future for the competitive world tomorrow.

Information technology has revolutionized business operations leading to higher ROI, smooth process management, and overall increased productivity and efficiency. The business world over are now getting ready to deploy solutions with the advent of emerging technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Converging Blockchain, AI and IoT to unlock trapped value

Let’s understand the details of how these trending technologies can add more value while solving critical issues for your business.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a decentralized, transparent, and secured digital ledger of activities that can be programmed to record virtually everything of value. Blockchain technology can then be utilized and tweaked to provide solutions, depending on the nature of the business.

  • Blockchain is a database that is shared over a computer network.
  • Once data is added to the database, it’s very difficult to alter it.
  • Records are bundled together in a block and are added to one chain one after another.
  • Blockchain creates hash values to protect data from alteration.
  • Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, and public digital ledger that provide transparency and security.

Since blockchain is still emerging as a technology, some of the most common challenges that businesses face is scouting the right resources that understand using and deploying this technology effectively.

Blockchain can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, integrating machine learning with blockchain makes it phenomenally cost effective. In fact, when integrated with IoT, it effectively works on its own without human intervention.

On the other hand, when blockchain is used along with AI, which gets predictive analysis of customers by assessing their preferences based on their online activities such as likes, cookies, preferences and other data collected by an algorithm, it ensures that the data we use is secure and incorruptible.

Security of data is most important thing that Blockchain provides. AI needs to be able to secure personal data — blockchain can solve that. Additionally, blockchain cannot be cost effective without AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI focuses on machines that react like humans using various algorithms. AI technology includes speech and facial recognition, machine visions, and more. Below are points describing AI and its features in greater detail:

  • AI focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.
  • AI has reshaped organizations by introducing new opportunities.
  • AI includes the ability of a machine to perform learning, reasoning, problem solving, and planning.
  • AI is also used for collecting real-time data, and by performing intelligent search, it can interpret text and images to discover patterns in data.
  • AI uses various algorithms for machine learning.

AI is growing tremendously as tech giants such as Google, Microscope, and Amazon offer AI as a service. And developers can bring their own data to train algorithms that suit their needs.

AI is best at predictive analysis, but it can solve a similar-looking problem statement. Suppose AI detects faces better than humans but that algorithm is not suitable for solving, say, a math problem.

Additionally, AI is used for accessing data, but when it comes to real-time data and analytics, it faces some problems. With the help of IoT, we can gather large quantities of data in a different format and store it in the cloud.

AI helps machines learn from their experiences and data, while IoT is all about interactions between devices using the Internet. IoT is a powerhouse for data collection, which is then used by AI to learn and make predictions.

Real-World Example

Smart homes, with the help of sensors, manage things efficiently. Suppose that whenever a fridge runs out of milk, an IoT sensor will detect that there is not milk and, since the device is connected to the Internet, will notify the grocery store. Then, milk will be repurchased via a payment conducted online and received by an online wallet. This is a perfect example of AI and IoT working together.

IoT devices need AI for making them work efficiently, and in turn, AI cannot work properly without IoT devices, since they provide a huge amount of data and are used for predictive analysis. Both, together, can bring a revolutionary change in our society and business.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT involves a network of devices that connect inanimate objects to the Internet without human intervention.

  • IoT provide unique IDs to objects, computing devices, digital machines, and interrelates them.
  • Organizations are accepting IoT in various industries for understanding customers, improving decision-making, and adding value to business.
  • IoT includes hardware, sensors, data acquisition, pre-processing, and cloud analysis.
  • IoT is a system of « things » embedded with sensors for connectivity to perform a better exchange.

Smart cities have adopted AI for real-time data analysis and for keeping track of their actions. Dubai is considered one of the most digitally progressive cities, and soon, it will be considered the first blockchain-based city, as it is adopting innovations that utilize blockchain.

Additionally, smart cities can reduce resource consumption and traffic congestion by using IoT devices, optimizing the use of electricity, water, and other resources.

Blockchain is adding value to IoT by making devices more secure by encrypting data, which is then transferred via the Internet. At this stage, technology is already facing security threats. But when blockchain is combined with IoT, it can generate amazing security innovations across industries.

Blockchain builds trust, reduces costs, and accelerates transactions, making stronger bonds with the customer and provides efficient products.

Blockchain and IoT make a perfect match, providing secure data and taking business transactions to a new level.

The convergence of blockchain, AI, and IoT will maximize benefits for each of these and minimize the risks. IoT is connected to devices where data can be hacked, stolen, or defrauded. Introducing AI will help defend it from malware and hackers while blockchain can help maintain transparency and security. Combining all three technologies will make them more powerful and strengthen aspects of the technology that are more vulnerable.

With permission of Ankita Shrimali