Let’s add some real Edge to the Edge

– A trend report from IoT Solution World Congress (IoT SWC) Barcelona.

What are the tech giants discussing, what is the IoT technology of tomorrow and what are the main takeaways from one of the leading  IoT industry events? Our CTO Niclas Norlén gives you his thoughts and reflections of IoTSWC 2018.

At this year’s edition of IoTSWC the trend was quite clear and even stronger than last years edition – all the actions happens on the Edge of the network. Today we are seeing the tech giants Microsoft and Google fighting for attention for their Edge technologies, whilst a few years ago the battle were rather about their Cloud technologies.

The intensified investments in Edge technology does not come as a surprise. For example the chip giant Arm predicts to have shipped 1 trillion IoT chips within a 20 year period. The majority of the ARM chips are used in applications at the Edge, in everything from sensors to gateways.

 

Crunching data at the Edge

So why this enormous investment and this massive amount of IoT chips prediction by ARM? I think it can be explained by just mentioning one of the cases I heard about at the congress;  The elevator manufacturer Schindler have 1.5M elevators connected on a global basis, each generating 2.5G of data every day. You can do the math but the conclusion is that there is an overwhelming amount of data that needs to be crunched every day.

Now ask yourself:
Where is the best place to crunch all this data? In the cloud, sending the data through a Telco? Or locally at the Edge with low latency and thus no cost for sending data to the cloud (which for Schindler would be a significant cost…)?

Well you’re right, the majority of all data has to stay at the Edge. And this is the reason why the “Cloud” giants as Microsoft and Google are making significant investments into what they call Edge technology. They are on a mission to make it easy to crunch data and send the data that brings value to the cloud. And all this data is generated by sensors many times having an ARM core.

The tech giants have extended their offering now not only covering operating systems and technology for the Cloud but also offering for the Edge gateway that normally has the processing power required for those operating systems.

 

A missing piece in the puzzle

But wait, there is a missing piece in the three piece puzzle Edge device (sensor) – Edge gateway – Cloud. This piece is one of the most important ones and the very foundation of IoT.

You need an operating system for the ever so constrained devices, devices which are is the very source for all data; an operating system for the sensors and actuators. In those constrained devices we often see the low cost CPU’s, the majority of those from ARM with the prediction of 1 trillion of devices within 20 years. Those CPU’s have very limited resources compared to the CPU’s in the Edge gateways. An operating system for those devices must have a very small footprint yet provide an easy way to develop an application for processing of sensor data.


The IoT tech giants offering stops at the Edge gateway today – the device with significant processing power that connects the sensors and actuators to the cloud. But even further to the left in the picture you have the real Edge devices that is the very source of the data – the majority of all devices are found here, the temp sensors, presence sensors and vibration sensors to mention a few.

 

Retrofit demands Zero Wires

But there is more needed from the operating system for the constrained Edge devices. There is a strong trend in retrofitting sensors and actuators especially within Smart buildings, driven by green legislations, and Industrial Sensors networks, driven by predictive maintenance. Two industries that got much attention at IoT SWC, having separate focus tracks at the congress. For this retrofitting to become cost efficient the devices needs to be Zero Wire, i.e. either battery powered or powered by energy harvesting technologies. This means that energy efficient hardware and an operating system providing an energy efficient connectivity and data processing (i.e. Edge Computing) is a must.

In our product strategy the retrofitting trend is one of the main driving force. Our R&D focus to stay on the cutting Edge of technology developing our ultra low energy operating system and an ultra reliable communication stack for constrained devices.

Leaving IoT SWC I’m even more confident that we are on the right path adding some real Edge to the Edge.

 

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How to start your IoT initiative – solve your tangible problem!

Starting your IoT journey is as exciting as it is overwhelming. Digitalization is booming, but there is still a big gap in the information to be found and many companies are left irresolute. In all of this confusion, the most important issue is often forgotten; before you start your journey, you need to know where to start it.

 

Start with a tangible problem
Our most important recommendation of all (which is the foundation of every successful IoT solution) is ”Start with a tangible problem!”.

Today a lot of companies are asking “What’s your strategy when it comes to digitalization of your business?” or “What does your future IoT solution look like?”. Our recommendation is to wait with those questions. Instead, start where there are real problems.

If you start with a tangible problem, you will have a solid business case to rely on early in the project, and you will also face less internal resistance with the rest of your team. If your team understands the benefits of the IoT initiative, they will be more eager to start up the development journey. For example, let’s say you have problems with high installation costs; everybody in your organisation understands that this is an issue. If you decide to address this issue in your solution, you will have a solid business case and a motivated team.

The key in every IoT initiative is to not create problems – instead, focus on solving real ones. You can’t always predict what kind of needs your customers will have until you roll out your product in the field, so why spend resources on creating solutions that may not even be useful? Don’t worry, there will be room for improvements later on. Identify your tangible problem and build a business case around it where you clearly can see benefits such as reduced cost, reduced downtime, increased utilization rate, less time spent on support/installation, energy savings, etc.

So we ask again, what’s your problem?

 

New guide released
Now you know where to start, but how do you go from there? Luckily, we have years of experience in reliable connectivity and helping big companies in their IoT development. It is our goal to provide you with the knowledge needed to fully benefit from the possibilities of IoT, and that is why we have created a guide called 7 steps to launching a successful IoT solution.

Download our free guide today to get valuable insight in the process and technology. 

We hope that you, once you have read these 7 steps, feel confident that your IoT journey will be a success story!

 

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MiraOS v2.1 new features released - low energy mesh, BLE beacons, Mix&Match formation and high precision time synch

MiraOS release 2.1: Ultra low energy mesh redefined – getting high on going low!

Wireless technology provider LumenRadio has released an update of their embedded operating system for wireless connectivity – MiraOS. One of the main features is the improved ultra low energy consumption for battery operated solutions where they have broken new ground.  

MiraOS enables products to become smart and connected through large-scale wireless mesh networks. With LumenRadio’s patented technologies and radio development expertise, product manufacturers can get an ultra-reliable and Future-Proof wireless solution with the most resilient technology on the market.

In addition to decreased energy consumption, the main new features in the MiraOS v2.1 are BLE beacon support, high-precision time-stamping of data and the (patent pending) Mix&Match formation™ technology.

 

Ultra low energy mesh, >15 years in routing mode
At LumenRadio, low energy meshing mode has been a dedicated focus for their research and development department and their goal has been to reach the lowest consumption possible. With the upgrade to MiraOS v2.1, the energy consumption in meshing mode for battery powered devices has been reduced to half compared to the 2.0 version earlier this year. This means it is reduced to less than 16uA, which enables more than 15 years operation in routing mode from an AA-sized battery, and a leaf node running on a coin cell battery can easily last for 10 years. This consumption is calculated when sending a 160B data message every minute. No other wireless technology can today match this ultra low energy offer enabling Zero Wire technology. In fact, the limitation is based on the lifetime of the battery which today is maximized to 15 years due to self-discharge.

 

 

Mix&Match formationTM
Another unique new feature in MiraOS 2.1 is the patent pending Mix&Match formation technology which enables unique interoperability and allows low energy consumption and high data rate configurations to communicate in the same network.

Mix&Match formation gives the possibility to use battery powered meshing nodes in a local network and then build a backbone with mains powered high capacity nodes with long range to send the messages to the gateway. The patent pending Mix&Match formation™ gives a unique flexibility in building large networks with different speed and energy consumption demands. No other wireless technology provider can offer this today.    

 

Support for BLE beaconsMiraOS v2.1 has support for BLE beacons witch gives possibilities for device diagnostics, network status or any kind of one way communication. Beacons can be used for indoor positioning, sending out sensor values, mobile marketing or any other advertisement based data. By combining beacons with MiraOS IPv6 mesh technology it is easy to remotely update the data and contents broadcasted through the beacons.

 

High precision times stamping of data
High-precision time-stamping of data using multiple wireless sensors enables advanced correlation analysis. In MiraOS 2.1 the relative precision of timestamps is below <+/-5μs /hop for any size of the network which is exceptional. This is important in for example industrial sensor networks and gives extreme accurate time synchronization of events and data.   

 

New features in MiraOS 2.1

  • Ultra-low energy, <16μA for routing nodes
  • Mix&Match formation™ technology – patent pending
  • BLE beacon support
  • High-precision (<+/-5μs) time-stamping of data
  • Increased network speed performance – 1200 data messages (160B) per minute
  • Hardware support for Nordic nRF52840, NXP MKW41x and LumenRadio
    MLE / MWA modules.

Want to know more about our technology? See our collection of Whitepapers and guides here:   

 

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Low Energy Mesh – an unofficial world record?

Reduced energy consumption in wireless connectivity is a strong demand in many industries. LumenRadio’s focus in perfecting wireless has led to unique results within low energy mesh. Having wireless products running on the same battery through the whole lifecycle is a demand which could, by some, be considered a dream – we just made it a reality.

 

For manufacturers within HVAC, Building Automation or Industrial Sensor Networks, the main drivers of low energy mesh technology in battery powered devices is retrofit. Old buildings need to be retrofitted with modern technology to meet the requirements within energy efficient buildings, and industrial machines needs to go Zero Wires to attain lower installation cost, lower product costs and to have a increased service life of the product.  

 

At LumenRadio this has been a focus for our R&D department for some time. When we launched the MiraOS v2.0 in April we were proud of the results within low power mesh but today, five months later, we are even more proud since we have reduced the energy consumption even further in the MiraOS v2.1. We have not only outperformed the competition, but also set a new standard for low energy mesh technology.

 

MiraOS v2.1 enables ultra low energy consumption for battery operated solutions. The current consumption for meshing nodes is now reduced to less than 16uA, which enables more than 15 years operation in routing mode from an AA-sized battery. And a leaf node on a coin cell battery can easily last for 10 years. This consumption is calculated when sending a 160B data message every minute. This low energy consumption gives manufacturers the possibility to significantly lower their product- and/or their maintenance costs either by reducing battery size or having long maintenance intervals of the sensors.   

 

Meshing mode Leaf node
Coin cell battery 3 years 10 years
AA-sized battery 15 years* 15 years*

*Battery life will be limited to 15 years due to the self-discharge rate of batteries.

 

No other wireless technology can today match our ultra low energy mesh offer. Some have succeeded with 5 years of battery life when you have a 5 minute interval on your data collection, but we have gone far beyond that. In fact, with MiraOS, the only limitation is the pure shelf-life of the battery; as of today’s specifications, no AA-sized battery can last longer than 15 years, due to self-discharge. So, when the lifespan of batteries increases, we will gladly accept the challenge and provide you with an even longer running time! We call our dedicated low energy focus Zero Wire technologyTM.  

 

As shown above, this is significantly better than any other competing wireless technology. And in fact, the best possible with today’s batteries. Could it be a new unofficial world record? We think so.

 

 

Want to know more about our technology? See our collection of Whitepapers and guides here:   

 

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