Internet of Things (IoT) Tech Digest - March 2017

Verizon launch US-wide Cat-M1 network

Verizon has launched a US nationwide 4G LTE Cat-M1 network providing a base for adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) by developers and businesses. The network covers 2.4 million square miles. Cat-M1 is a type of chipset designed for sensors, using little power for long battery life, making it suitable for many IoT uses such as monitoring in agriculture. Verizon will be offering customers multi-year price-plans starting from USD2 per month per device. 

French train system to get IoT network

SNCF, the French national train company, plans to install sensors across thousands of miles of its tracks, and on trains, to enable it to predict when carriages will need maintenance. The company sees this as a means to improve safety, improve efficiency and by identifying a problem in advance would reduce repair costs. The data from sensors, which will also be placed on stations, will be sent to IBM’s cloud and analysed by IBM Watson. On the Parisian mass transit rail lines, 200 trains are already equipped with about 2,000 sensors that will send 70,000 data points per month to engineers. SNCF will be connecting its entire 30,000 km track network, 15,000 trains and 3000 stations.

IoT data

AT&T is working with IBM to provide AT&T enterprise customers insight into IIoT data by using IBM’s Watson platform and IBM Machine Learning Service. The service should help companies better predict maintenance schedules for machines. For example, gas or oil companies could collect data from a number of wells and through analysis of it could better detect odd events and anomalies.    
There is also evidence of consolidation as the IIoT solution market begins to mature. Progress, an app developer company, is acquiring DataRPM, a cognitive predictive maintenance company that services IIoT markets, for US30 million. DataRPM’s platform predicts random failures using Meta Learning, (its proprietary technology) to enhance the quality, accuracy and timeliness of equipment failure predictions. The company’s customers include Jaguar, Samsung and Mitsubishi. Offerings updated in the wake of the acquisition should be available in 2017.   

Mosquito menace monitoring

According to a report in several Indian newspapers including The Hindu and the Times of India, the IoT will soon be helping to monitor mosquitos in the Indian city of Vijayawada. The Smart Mosquito Density Monitoring System (SMDMS) was granted IDR1.55 crore (1 crore = ten million) for the project to deploy 10 IoT enabled devices in every square kilometre, and 620 optical sensor devices over the city’s entire area. These devices will gather data to enable the cataloguing of mosquitos by area, species and gender. The data will be sent to the Indian Health Department and the mined data will be used to guide local agencies for location-specific insect control.

East Hampshire council to set up IoT network

East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) in the UK is working with a local entrepreneur to develop IoT network services in the region. The SigFox-based low power, wide-area (LPWA) network service will involve 1.8-metre-tall, 20 cm wide antennas being installed on public buildings throughout the county to provide suitable coverage. More details of the commercial models will be released later in 2017. Use cases identified by the developer include collection and analysis of data from sensors for humidity, water-levels etc, deployed across the district. 

IoT in shipping

Zebra Technologies believes it has overcome the problem faced by haulage companies in the US – how to utilise all available space inside trailers. Zebra’s SmartPack Trailer uses 3D depth-sensing technology and a megapixel camera attached to the dock doors of warehouses to analyse the packed efficiency of the trailer through backend ERP systems where the data is combined with other data such as the weight and dimensions of each parcel. The information gained is sent back to workers on the floor via mobile devices to help them improve load capacity. Zebra says that SmartPack offers an improved load efficiency of three to four percent.

IBM and DCU working on water monitoring

IBM is working with Dublin City University (DCU) Water Institute to provide deep learning capabilities for sensor platforms that will monitor marine and freshwater environments. The sensors and the analytics may be able to detect environmental changes that could impact on public health and safety. Pilots will take place in the USA and in Ireland, with the first sensors being deployed at Lake George, New York State. The aim of using IoT principles is to deploy more sensors cost effectively; deep learning analytics makes sense of the new data that can be collected.

Internet of cows

Moocall is a company that has developed a tail-mounted sensor to alert farmers to a calving cow. The device sends alerts to a farmer’s smartphone when contractions reach a certain level (as indicated by tail movement). Vodafone provides the IoT network to remotely manage and monitor the sensors. Moocall predicts that its sensor could reduce mortality rates of calves and cows by 80%.

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