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Internet of Things

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At ARM, we’ve had the opportunity to work with our partners to define the mobile revolution and now we’re hard at work doing the same for the growing wearable devices category. We’re simply cracking the surface of wearable technology – a market set to expand to $30 billion a year by 2018 according to market research firm IHS.

 

And though we’re in early days, we’re already coming to some important conclusions on how best to build a wearable device that’s efficient, accurate, powerful and useful. At its core, the key challenge in wearable devices is achieving an all-important balance between processing power and energy efficiency – and it’s at this place that ARM’s expertise and pedigree has helped us lead the way in architecting wearable technology.

 

A deep dive into our position on wearable technology can be found in a new ARM whitepaper but let’s look at a few of our findings on how we can help build the best wearable devices.

 

One of the most interesting and challenging parts of the wearable technology sector is addressing just how diverse they can be – encompassing simple fitness trackers to high end smart watches and everything in between. They need to be able to take in and process data streams from any number of sensors including accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS antennas, temperature and pressure sensors. They can run anything from a simple real time OS to a rich OS implementation such as Linux or Android. And in this diverse landscape there’s a common set of challenges, the need to be “always-on, always-aware” while also being lightweight and highly power efficient.

 

ARM has been a major innovator in this space and products like the Cortex-M are especially designed to maximize power efficiency. These chips are perfect for fitness trackers or simple smartwatches – providing just enough processing power and incredible power efficiency. And if you need a bit more power, the Cortex-A series can enable advanced performance without adding a large drain on energy. Coupled with a Mali GPU, these chips can bring a rich graphical user experience to a smartwatch or similar device.

 

Wearables bring a whole new power class requirement vs. that of a traditional smartphone. For example, the average smartphone requires a daily charge of around 3,000 mAh, but a wearable device needs to use around 300 mAh per week… For wearables to make sense for end users, they need to be able to work often and charged infrequently. But even so, we can use the knowledge gained in our experience with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices as a jumping off point. At ARM, we’ve been working on optimizing SoCs for use in wearable devices. This includes things like using smaller memory caches to save on both die area and power consumption – making our chips smaller and more energy efficient. And these changes are meaningful: we’ve been able to halve the L1 cache size from 32K to 16K while only experiencing a 10 percent impact on performance.

 

One of ARM’s greatest strengths is our vibrant and robust partner ecosystem. It means that we have the privilege of tackling the challenges of wearable devices from all angles and across the diverse spectrum of wearable technology.  We fully expect to see this category of devices blossom in the coming months and years – and with it, we’ll discover new and better ways to address the specific needs of wearables. We look forward to seeing where this path takes us and fully expect to see uses and form factors that we’ve not yet even imagined. And throughout the journey, we’re confident that ARM offers the best platform – providing an industry leading balance of processing power and power efficiency – on which to build the next generation of wearable devices.

ARM Step Challenge Photo.jpg

 

Catch me if you can!

 

The "infamous" competition returns for ARM TechCon 2014 with 21 competitors (representatives) from the event's medalist sponsors as well as some folks from ARM vying to be the grand champion of the ARM Step Challenge. Armed with an ARM-powered FitBit (see Fitbit Flex Teardown by iFixit), each competitor's steps will be precisely tracked from 12:01 AM October 1st to the end of October 2nd and projected on a live leaderboard via ARMStepChallenge.com (note: website will be live once the expo floor opens on October 1st). Each competitor has a daily goal of 10,000 steps, but the winner of the ARM Step Challenge at 51st DAC averaged nearly 20,000 a day which equals out to be 10 miles a day! So in short, you won't see competitors taking elevators, escalators or taxis to their next engagement.

 

For everyone else, if you don't yet own a Fitbit, I encourage you to jump on the wearable fitness bandwagon. Besides tracking your steps, the wristband can also track calories burned and your sleep quality. Personally, it quickly made me realize how few of steps I was walking since I'm in an office majority of the day and has forced me to take a nightly run (the only way I can keep up with my wife's steps who is busy chasing two young toddlers all day).

 

Now let me introduce you to the competitors:

From ARM, we have Ian Drew, CMO and Executive VP Marketing and Business Development, and John Heinlein, VP Corporate Marketing

 

Altium: Sara Hosely, Marketing Projects Coordinator

AMD: Sumit Agarwal, Senior Manager, Software Engineering

AppliedMicro: Gaurav Singh, VP Technical Strategy

Cadence: Brian Fuller, Editor-in-Chief

Cavium: Gopal Hegde, VP and GM, Data Center Processor Group

Express Logic: John Carbone, VP Marketing

Freescale: John Dixon, Director, Corporate Marketing

HP: Larry Kelmar, Senior Director, HP/ARM Alliance

IAR Systems: Marie Gylldorff, Web Director

Lauterbach: Jerry Flake, Western Sales Manager, USA

Mentor Graphics Corporation: Colin Walls, Embedded Software Technologist

Qualcomm: Adam Kerin, Senior Manager, Marketing

Rambus: Frank Ferro, Senior Director, Product Management

Samsung: Kelvin Low, Senior Director, Foundry Marketing

STMicroelectronics: Alec Bath, Field Applications Engineer

Synopsys: Phil Dworsky, Director, Strategic Alliances and Publisher, Synopsys Press

TSMC: Lluis Paris, Deputy Director, Worldwide IP Alliance

Xilinx: Dave Tokic, Senior Director, Partner Ecosystems and Alliances

Xively: Chad Jones, VP and Internet of Things Strategy, LogMeIn

 

UBM, the ARM TechCon Event Organizer, has Brian Gillooly (VP and Editor-in-Chief, Events) as their representative.

 

Best of luck to everyone and I look forward to seeing all the friendly banter via the community and social media (#ARMTechCon on Twitter)!

With wearable products such as fitness bands, watches and glasses gaining traction we are excited to be working with ARM partners in building the wearables revolution.  A joint whitepaper between ARM and Freescale has recently been published and gives fascinating insight into the enablement path of wearables from a silicon partner perspective.

 

Taking the reader through the market dynamics this paper also showcases many of the exciting wearable devices that are already launched on ARM powered Freescale MCUs and processors.  As well as existing products, key design challenges are also examined including the needs to balance ultra-low power, small form factor and always on functionality.

 

Getting the technology into the hands of the innovator is seen as a critical enabler of wearables and the paper finishes up with a look at the newly launched Freescale WaRP board (Wearable Reference Platform) which combines an ultra-low power Cortex-M based Kinetis KL16 MCU with an i.MX Cortex-A based 6SoloLite Applications Processor running Android operating system.

 

The Whitepaper ‘Overcoming the size and power trade off in wearable designs’ is available now to download at Freescale.

At the HPC User Forum in Seattle this week, PayPal along with HP and Texas Instruments talked about making order out of Chaos using the HP Moonshot systems ARM Cortex-A15 based TI cartridge.

 

 

PayPal Engineers talked about how they need to make order out of chaotic data streams that include 3 million events per second, 25TeraBits of data ingestion per hour and 20MB/second of machine data from thousands of servers. They need to process all this disparate data real time and now with creative processing they can correlate events in seconds vs hours.

 

PayPal talked about watching the HPC space because their use case falls between the grey area of Enterprise servers and HPC and they were not able to scale and meet their processing needs using existing methods and approaches. It was exciting to hear PayPal engineer Ryan Quick talk about his Aha moment when he saw a presentation from HP about the Moonshot cartridge from TI and the realization that with the powerful combination of Cortex A-15 processors, 8 TI DSPs, internal fabric and networking capabilities, TI had effectively built an HPC cluster on an SoC. The proof point was when he measured the power running his application and found that running his application he was getting 11GigaFlops/Watt processing throughput.

 

You can see his presentation at the HPC forum here - HPC at Paypal: Leveraging DSPs for Systems Intelligence - insideHPC. He talks in detail about the SoC capabilities he uses on the TI Cartridge in this blog from our partner TI here - Creating order out of chaos – in real time - Multicore Mix - Blogs - TI E2E Community.


As I was watching the video the statement about 11GigaFlops/Watt peaked my interest and got me thinking about how would this compare to the world's Top 500 super computers. So I checked out the data on the Green500 website (The Green500 List - June 2014 | The Green500) from June of this year. To be fair your mileage will vary based on the HPC workload that is being executed and some configurations are more suited to a broader set of HPC workloads than the example discussed in this blog. But… I looked for a supercomputer that was in the Top10 on both the Green list and the Top500 list and the best number that I got was 3.2GigaFlops/Watt. To me that is certainly something that engineers will sit up and take notice of.

ARM TechCon is rapidly approaching and this year is shaping up to be even bigger than in the past! The 2014 event, which is now just a couple of weeks away, will offer a lengthy list of technical sessions addressing some of the biggest challenges facing embedded systems developers today.

 

For example, Christian Légaré, our (Micrium) EVP and CTO will present on “Embedded Systems, Catching the IoT Wave," in Location G on Wednesday, October 1, at 4:00 pm. As part of his presentation, Christian will review and analyze the IoT design challenges related to code size and RAM requirements for the major networking stacks, optimizing TCP/IP resources versus performance, using Java from Oracle or other vendors vs. WiFi (radio only or integrated module), Bluetooth (classic vs. LE), and IoT protocols.

 

This relates on our recent news announcing our latest µC/TCP-IP driver for Qualcomm's low power QCA4002 Wi-Fi chip used in Netcom's GT202 module, a ready-to-use module that rounds out the hardware and software ecosystem to achieve IoT connectivity.

 

But perhaps most importantly, we will roll out our IoT strategy during this year's show. Our approach and product set is geared towards helping developers connect their real-time “thing” with the cloud, and bringing this power to your embedded device. Watch for news on this the week of September 22 – and be sure to come by and learn more during the show, we'll be in Booth #801.

 

As the leading provider of commercial operating systems for ARM-based processors, we welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss the changing face embedded software and help you to understand how to accelerate your projects and meet their most pressing deadlines through the efficient use of a professional-grade RTOS.

 

Mike Kaskowitz

Vice President Sales and Marketing

Micrium

I have been involved with the Internet-connected embedded device industry since the late 90s, and have always been involved with creating open standards. Now, anyone who has done this knows how slow and at times painful this can be. So why in the world have I gone through all that trouble? Thinking back, what really got me excited about Internet technology was how it completely transformed the world. A fairly simple set of Web and Internet standards, with clear layering and just enough interoperability, enabled innovation across our entire society. Today people use the Web in just about every function of life and society. What has always really intrigued me, is can we do the same for Things? I strongly believe we can, and the ingredients are the same.


There are three major ingredients needed to make the Internet of Things a really successful platform for innovation:

 

  • Internet connectivity,
  • Secure data transportation,
  • and Data semantics.

 

Why does Internet connectivity matter for things? Can't we just gateway everything in their specific application and "hide" the embedded from the Internet? Internet connectivity for embedded devices really does matter, as it enables us to leverage the Internet as an platform for innovation, rather than using technology as a control point. Besides that, there are a several technical advantages:

 

  • Clean layering for connectivity allows us to build generic, high-volume, inexpensive network standards that are re-usable even in a fast moving innovative industry.
  • Networks are easier to build and maintain than application specific gateway infrastructure.
  • The Cortex-M architecture enables advanced cryptography on any embedded device, IP to the edge means strong security to the edge.
  • IP based networking allow us to deal with mobility on, and choice of networks.

 

We're excited about all the positive developments in this space such as WiFi and Thread (see Thread: What makes it different?), but also the roadmap for low-power LTE and the new standard for IP over BT Smart.

 

The real goal of the Internet of Things is to leverage devices in services, and to do that we universally need to securely move data around. This is achieved using application layer protocols (yes, many) and secure transports (yes, always). Let me be the first to say it, there is no single protocol for the Internet of Things. Instead, there is a set of Internet protocols that together cover the needs of most IoT applications: CoAP, HTTP and MQTT. I helped develop the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) to enable Internet communication for constrained micro-controller based devices over low-bandwidth networks. It provides most REST features found in HTTP, but with minimal overhead, simple processing and asynchronous transactions. Using CoAP is like riding a bike, it gets you exactly where you need to go with little energy. Although HTTP is mainly known for transferring media, it is also the most widely used protocol in IoT today. HTTP is like flying a plane, it is suitable for less constrained devices over networks where synchronous transactions are suitable between two end-points. Finally, the publish-subscribe paradigm sometimes makes sense in applications where a single-to-many relationship exists and a broker can be used. MQTT is like a freight train, the publish-subscribe alternative to HTTP, but with all goods to central station and then to transferred to points beyond. Recently we published a solution to combine the best of both CoAP and publish-subscribe called CoAP-MQ. All of these protocols make use of Transport Layer Security (TLS), or in the case of CoAP, Datagram TLS (DTLS), to ensure end-to-end integrity and confidentiality of data. We are seeing great progress in both security protocol support for the needs of IoT applications, as well as the ability to leverage public-key cryptography thanks to Cortex-M micro-controllers.

 

In the end though, what really matters is the data and the relationships we create between the services that use it. Through simply providing media types, simple REST interfaces and a markup format, the Web enabled endless innovation. Application layer standards for IoT, combined with suitable data formats for IoT applications are the key to enabling a similar wave of innovation for the Internet of Things. Device management is a key requirement for embedded devices, as embedded devices need their security, provisioning, updates and configuration managed typically without a human in the loop. Two promising standards provide us with a way to achieve both standard application data formats along with device management using the same underlying protocols. The OMA Lightweight M2M standard provides a secure system specification for both application data and device management flows, defining a re-usable Object model and basic device management objects. These objects are simple media types in either binary or JSON format. The IPSO Alliance will be announcing its first set of Smart Objects compatible with these standard formats for application data soon.

 

This is an exciting time for the Internet of Things, a great toolkit of standards is available to let smart people innovate. For that to happen though, we also need to provide a software ecosystem to make standards easily available to developers. We will be doing what it takes to make that a reality.

 

Come join us on October 1-3 at ARM TechCon 2014 in Santa Clara, CA to hear more about our plans!

 

 

ARM has long been credited with having brought the mobile revolution to the world. Its adoption helped create devices which brought in a level of connectivity and mobility unseen in the past.

 

But, it’s clear now; what we've seen so far seems to only be the beginning of something even bigger. The mobile revolution has seeded a revolution of its own and we’ll soon be presented with the next levels of possibilities in connectivity and convenience.

 

Though yet to reach mainstream adoption, wearables are gaining a lot of traction. These devices demand a level of efficiency much higher than those of mobiles due to tighter constraints on area and weight and the need to be ‘always-on and always-aware’.

 

A typical wearable consists primarily of a CPU, a connectivity device, battery and last but not the least; sensors.

 

At MakerFaire 2014 Bay Area, iFixit team did teardowns of some of the popular wearables in the market. Here’s a video showcase.

 

   

 

Wearables however are only a subset of a larger class of devices.  This larger class is basically composed of devices which possess the capability to interface and interact with you through an app on your smartphone, with communication being enabled by Bluetooth technology called Bluetooth Low Energy.  This class of devices can simply be titled ‘Appcessories’ – accessories which use a smartphone app for interfacing, thus enabling them to stick their bare basics of data collection and communication. Here’s Simon Ford, Director of Platforms at ARM introducing you to Appcessories.

 

 

Products like the Scanadu Scout and Estimote are perfect examples of appcessories. Both are based on the ARM® Cortex®-M0 CPU. I am excited to see what appcessories lay in store.

 

The various development platforms made available by ARM and its partners bring affordable innovation and exploration possibilities, so you can your bring your clever ideas to life.

 

There is a wealth of knowledge available for you to get started. So, visit the following links and your road to innovation can begin right away.

 

Getting Started | mbed

Thread Group.png

I get a lot of questions about Thread, the new industry organization focused on networks for home automation. What is it? What problem does it solve? Do we really need another IoT-related standard? Read on!

 

My own house is a good example of why we need Thread. My home automation system has evolved over the past 8 years using four different networks – Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Insteon. Those networks connect a wide variety of devices from over a dozen different manufacturers. My connected home works great but requires a technically savvy “administrator” (me) to install and maintain the devices and networks. Until we have a unified network standard, the home automation industry will remain fragmented and cannot achieve “mainstream” status. What we need is “the Wi-Fi of home automation networks” and that’s the idea behind Thread.

 

Today, there’s no clear winner in home automation networking because none of the options meet all these requirements.

  • Whole-home coverage – A network has to cover the entire home with no need for user “engineering” work such diagnosing coverage issues and installing multiple routers around the home. Therefore, a mesh network is a good fit because it dynamically reconfigures itself and grows to the size of any home.
  • IP based – The network must be open, extensible, discoverable, addressable from anywhere, and scalable like the Internet. In other words, we need to put the "I" in IoT and that means using IP protocols.
  • Easy to install – Joining a new device to the network must be fast and intuitive without requiring the user to perform any complicated procedures.
  • Secure – The network has to be secure and trustworthy.
  • Reliable – The network must be extremely robust with no single point of failure.
  • Low power –  It must work on low power devices such as window and door sensors and door locks. These types of devices should run for many years on a battery, often a tiny coin cell.
  • Interoperable – A recognizable logo must guarantee network interoperability. No more “islands” of unreachable devices.
  • Proven –  This new network is needed immediately so it must be built on existing, proven technologies.

 

What’s needed is a mesh network that is IP based, easy to install, secure, reliable, low power, interoperable and based on proven technologies. A little over a year ago, a group of seven companies came together to write the specs for exactly such a network – Thread. The founders are ARM, Nest (now Google), Silicon Labs, Freescale, Samsung, Yale Lock (part of Assa Abloy), and Big Ass Fans (Yes, they really do make some very large fans). The spec is built on a solid foundation of proven industry standards including IEEE 802.15.4 wireless mesh networking (MAC / PHY as ZigBee) and 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over constrained networks). Thread specifies how to assemble and configure these and other mainstream industry standards into a complete software stack that meets the requirements listed above. Thread members with products conforming to the specification can go through a certification process to qualify for the Thread logo, the consumers’ assurance of network interoperability.

 

ARM is currently working with the other six Thread founders to finalize the spec and complete the first rounds of interoperability testing. Because it uses existing standards, Thread is on a fast track and certified products are expected next year. Basic information is available on the Thread website: Thread Group. Membership opportunities and additional technical details will be revealed at the upcoming Thread Group Information Event, set for September 30, 2014 in San Jose, CA. Watch the website for more information as the date approaches.

Kris Flautner

The I in IoT

Posted by Kris Flautner Sep 12, 2014

ARM Internet of Things - IoT.jpgI am often asked about the Internet of Things: is there really something new here, or is IoT really just a recycling of M2M with a trendier name? I strongly believe that the I in IoT stands for something important that doesn't automatically describe every connected device solution that's around. No, the I doesn't mean that every device needs to be connected to a cloud on the other side of the planet: a switch in a room can - and probably should - talk to the light next to it directly without cloud involvement. And no, the I does not mean that all the Things need to babble about their social lives on Facebook or Snapchat. The I does, however mean that the above scenarios should actually be possible - even if they are not obviously desirable - and easy to do if it makes sense. The I also means that ultimately one should be able to get devices easily from multiple vendors, a welcome change from the days of "Ma Bell" when all telephones had to be supplied by the one phone company.

 

But the I has a deeper meaning as well: it refers to the principles that are used to design the Internet that have deep roots in its architecture. Values like the end-to-end principle, which hold that application logic should be at the edge of the network and not in its fabric has allowed an unprecedented amount of innovation. The open approach to designing and layering the protocols that make the Internet work ensured that the Internet's architecture is robust and that it evolves in a tractable way. The same approach to the problem is valid and desirable now when we are starting to put ten to a hundred times more things on the Internet than people. The good news is that we aren't starting from scratch: many of the architectural layers and technologies already exist on the web and can be adapted to work on IoT devices.

 

With the widespread adoption of modern microcontrollers (MCUs) in very inexpensive and energy-efficient form factors, we now have the ability to make even the smallest embedded device a first-class citizen of the Internet. The open standards that support their operation have evolved to the point where they can be deployed on constrained devices (and networks) in a secure and robust way. The Internet of Things really only becomes a reality when we connect things with services in a seamless, secure and simple way. To understand just how big of a paradigm shift this is, we can look back at the history of the web. The Internet before the web was very much silos of solutions from the likes of America On-Line (AOL), Prodigy and CompuServe, forming technology and content silos very much like M2M systems. Web technology completely changed that industry in the '90s, providing a technology platform that enabled innovation and market growth at an unprecedented pace. Facebook would certainly have never existed before the web unless one of the on-line services decided that it was important, and even then it would have only been for your friends on that one service. We believe that building the Internet of Things the right way - by taking seriously the deeper meaning of the I - will enable a similar paradigm shift.

 

 

In order to take advantage of the market opportunities this will bring, two major hurdles will need to be overcome: building a strong software ecosystem and making the right connectivity, security and management standards available to developers (in implementations, not just in specs!). It turns out, that even though the IoT market is made up of many vertical segments, most applications that can make use of Internet connected devices have a common foundation. Let's take smart cities, basic wearables and smart home devices as examples. These all share the need for basic OS functionality like drivers, device security and provisioning support. And although network connectivity varies from application to application, in general the IP networking, security, application layer and device management needs are all common.

 

It is important for ARM and our partners to take a proactive role in this ecosystem. This means that when the right standard isn't already sitting on the shelf in a pretty package, we need to put in the work to evolve one that fits. We saw such need for a home connectivity standard and teamed up with NEST, Freescale, Silicon Labs, Samsung Electronics, Yale Locks and Big Ass Fans to form the Thread Group to create one. The standard will offer interoperable connectivity in the home, designed in a way that leverages existing layers of the web stack, offering end-to-end security and ease of use.

 

 

Long story short: we need to leverage the learnings from the evolution of the Internet if we expect the IoT to be as big or even a bigger opportunity than the web was in the '90s.   The predicted scale of tens to hundreds of billions of connected devices requires a scalable, open, and layered architecture that is ready to evolve over long periods of time. To accomplish this we need to put the right building blocks into place today both in terms of the necessary software components to build devices and services, as well as the ecosystem to support the deployment of solutions.

 

Come join us on October 1-3 at ARM TechCon 2014 in Santa Clara, CA to hear more about our plans!

 

IFA Berlin consumer electronics show has seen a host of exciting new ARM powered devices being launched.  Smartwatches were as expected prevalent with a number of announcements from major tier 1 OEMs.

 

One of the earliest device vendors to market with ARM powered watches, Sony Mobile announced their latest generation device, the Sony Smartwatch 3 which will be running Android Wear.  Powered by ARM Cortex-A7 Processors the Smartwatch 3 packs a number sensors including ambient light, accelerometer, compass and GPS.  Bluetooth 4.0 ensures energy efficient tethering to your smartphone.

 

One of the most hotly anticipated Android Wear Smartwatches started shipping last week, the Moto360. The first of a new breed of watches to sport a circular display, the ARM Cortex-A8 powered watch is sure to grab a lot of attention with its particular emphasis on styling and build quality.  Announced a couple of months ago the along with the first wave of Android Wear watches, we have had to wait a while to get our hands on the Moto360, but we are sure it will be worth it.

 

Along with the previously announced Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch we are seeing an impressive array of ARM powered Android Wear watches arrive on the market, with more to follow I'm sure.

 

This is a fascinating time as we witness the birth of a new class of ARM powered mobile wearable devices, we can't wait to see what comes next in this fast paced market.

What started as a discussion about trends in soft (hardware) and software IP is turning into a larger discussion about the meaning of IP and the need for standards in the IoT. -- JB


Hi Peter. Your thoughtful response on LinkedIn is appreciated. I enjoy a good discussion and will try to answer some of your questions.

 

Your comment about the obviousness of IP starting as software was exactly why I chose the first part of my title: “Soft (Hardware) and Software IP Rule the IoT.” In today’s semiconductor world, all IP does start as soft IP. It is software in the sense that it uses a high-level language like RTL, C++, Verilog or VHDL for modeling and development.

 

However (and this is critical), to the rest of the world this definition of software is mostly meaningless. In fact, they recognize software as applications written in languages like Java for modern or C/C++ for legacy systems (see Ref. 1). Part of this move toward the former is that many of today's computer science and even EE graduates are more competent in Java than C/C++.

 

Why is this important to chip and even board designers? The IoT end-user will have a much greater affect in the design of both hardware and software IP. Intel has even given this trend a name, calling it “experience driven design.” (Ref. 2)

 

Studies from analysts suggest that the major growth in the IoT will occur in the development of software apps and that hardware (soft IP) will become a commodity (Ref. 3). This was one of the points I was trying to make. I could have titled the story something like: “Commodity Hardware-based IP and Software Applications Are the Major Drivers for the IoT.” Had I done so, fewer people would have read the story and most would completely missed the different meanings of the word, “software.” These semantic differences continue to challenge the way hardware and software engineers interact with one another and will be a big problem in the IoT.

 

Your comments about standardization are right on. I’ve written about the need for standardization and even ZigBee variants in other articles (Ref. 4). I would only add this thought to your good justification for standards. Bodies like the IEEE and IEC are critical, as are web-based standard organization (e.g., CoAP), mobile allicance organizations and others. Still, standards start from a source. For the IoT, one of the major sources of (defacto) standards are the microcontroller creators like ARM and Intel. ARM especially has a very large ecosystem that is providing many of the early mobile products for the IoT. In that ecosystem are numerous board and higher-level system integrators that will directly affect the types of standards that emerge from organizations like the IEEE, etc.

 

Volume – meaning low-cost AND desired end-user features – are key to IoT growth. For the chip and board engineering communities, designing to for tight margins and shrinking time-to-market constraints will require a focus on standards and an understanding of the full meaning of software.

 

(Agreed – the second part of my title about markets is lacking and will be addressed in another blog. Thx.)

 

References: (For my benefit as much as for the readers.)

  1. Five Steps to IoT Development
  2. IP That Senses and Cares
  3. Will IoT Break M2M Silos for Start-up Apps? - see Gartner quote
  4. IoT Success Depends upon Decoupling

By: Jonah McLeod, Dir. of Corp. Mkt. Comm. at Kilopass Technology Inc.


Anyone creating applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) will soon have a standard messaging protocol, the Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT). Created in 1999 by Dr. Andy Stanford-Clark of IBM, and Arlen Nipper of Arcom (now Eurotech), MQTT began life as a means of hobbyists automating their homes. (See Dr. Stanford-Clark’s YouTube TED Talk for more.) MQTT 3.1.1 entered a 60-day public review period, beginning July 7, 2014, in preparation for a member ballot to consider its approval as an OASIS Standard. The review will complete September 4, 2014.

 

MQTT enables the equivalent of a social network for things in that it provides a publisher-subscriber model of communications. Consider the sensors in an earthquake early warning system. Each time any sensor (client) detects earth movement it publishes its location and reading, a “topic,” to a server or message broker. Anyone who subscribes to this topic will be notified.  This example illustrates features of MQTT that make it well suited as an IoT communications protocol.  First, the protocol was designed as a lightweight protocol to work over lossy or constrained cellular or satellite network, where connections can be problematic.

 

In its simplest form, the protocol requires two bytes and allows for 15 different message types (one reserved for a total of 16). Five deal with connection to the message broker (server). Two establish connect and acknowledge connection to the broker.  One disconnects from the broker. The remaining two provide for a keep-alive function for the connection (ping request to broker and ping respond to client).

 

Five message types deal with clients that publish topics to the message broker using three levels of QoS (quality of service) 0, 1, and 2. With the first, the client publishes a topic without acknowledgement (assuming that as long as there is a network connection, the message broker received the topic). The second (level 1), the client publishes a topic and receives an acknowledgement from the broker.

 

The third (level 2) has extra handshakes to avoid the client having to republish the topic until acknowledgement. In this level of QoS, the client publishes a topic to the message broker, which generates a publish-receive response to the client. The client then issues a publish-release confirmation to the message broker. The broker then issues a publish-complete response to the client.  In this manner the broker acts as an intermediary between publishing clients and subscriber clients—the equivalent of a social network provider for things.

 

The remaining four message types deal with the subscriber. Two from the client to broker subscribe or unsubscribe to a topic. Two from the broker to the client acknowledge subscribe and unsubscribe to a topic.

 

MQTT was designed to accommodate the special needs of mobile applications as contrasted with HTTP, which was designed for the wired Internet.  For example, in Stanford-Clark’s TED Talk, he describes an application to provide commuters updates on ferry service in the English Channel. The application publishes the arrivals and departures of ferries at all the ports in the service area, an example of small amounts of data published continuously throughout the day from many clients published (ferries) to large numbers of client subscribers (commuters).

 

Pipelines are another example, which illustrates another feature of MQTT –– its ability to scale. In his presentation “MQTT and Java,” at the International Software Development Conference Q Com New York in June 2013, Peter Niblett, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member, cited the pipeline as giving rise to MQTT. Niblett explained that the pipeline had 4000 sensor nodes and had to be expanded two-fold. The existing network was built on polling where every sensor was queried for its status and a response was issued. It took on the order of 20 minutes to interrogate the entire pipeline. Doubling the number of sensors would mean over an hour to perform the task.

 

The solution Niblett described was based on changing the polling network into an exception reporting system, since many of the sensors’ status—temperature, pressure, control valve setting, etc.—changed only when oil was present. Oil like cargo doesn’t flow continuously but rather in response to orders. And like cargo, the progress of the shipment along its path of travel is important to monitor continuously. Using the exception system built around an early version of MQTT, the pipeline network could easily accommodate growth over time. It also reduced network traffic on the satellite link connecting the pipeline network to the back office servers.

 

Niblett cited a number of emerging applications that will be built around MQTT, including automobile companies to manage fleets of leased vehicles and ultimately to enable the connected car. Other applications included home monitoring for health and safety, financial notifications, asset tracking for common carriers and supply chain management. With a robust networking protocol like MQTT becoming a standard this year, the Internet of Things is set to enjoy the explosive growth that market analysts are predicting.

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LG has officially announced it's new Android Wear smartwatch -- The LG G-Watch R. It comes with a 1.3-inch Plastic OLED (P-OLED) full 360-degree display. LG says that it isn't trying to replace the original G Watch, but rather offer another choice: The R is an elegant device that looks and feels more like a classic watch than its squarish predecessor.

 

http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/27/lg-g-watch-r-official/

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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today unveiled the Samsung Gear S, the next generation smart wearable device that expands the smartphone experience to the wrist.  The new Samsung Gear S delivers an up-to-date smart wearable experience with 3G connectivity and wearable optimized features to meet the evolving needs of consumers.


https://www.samsungmobilepress.com/2014/08/28/Samsung-Gear-S-Enhances-the-Smart-Wearable-Experience-1

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Good news for electronic DIYers! Kickstarter lines on an incredibly innovative project- Atomwear, which is a micro, modularized, open source, wearable BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy) device for DIYers.

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Atomwear appeals to all those interested in the latest advances of the tech field. It makes any BLE projects easier. Just like building blocks for kids, Atomwear components allow you to build it into whatever you like, to create more fantastic modules, or to speed up your development cycles. Even though you are neither a programmer nor an electronic engineer, you can also use Atomwear to make a wrist strap by yourself. All you need to do is just assembling Atomwear modules with FPC and putting them into a rubber ring.

 

 

Atomwear is multi-functional. It features many micro-sized modules. Using acceleration sensor module, combined with our pedometer algorithms, it can act as a Pedometer and Motion tracker. Assemble the Temperature & Humidity sensor module with the OLED display module, you can easily get the real-time temperature and humidity. By detecting the distance changes, BLE MCU module plays a role of Bluetooth intelligent anti-lost locator. And many other functions, like Pressure & Altitude detection, E-Compass, Gesture recognition, HID Input, Bluetooth Smart Beacon, etc. Use your imagination, you can do more than you can expected! The possibilities are endless!

 

 

In terms of overall performance, Atomwear takes your DIY projects to the next level and it’s a powerful tool for education and creativity. Now the fund-raising activity is hot on Kickstarter. Your support will make it easier to buy components in bulk quantities at much lower prices, as well as be able to have the Atomwear boards assembled professionally. In return, you will get a more powerful Atomwear at a lower price. Time is ticking , go to kickstarter to get the details right now!

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