Cloud Services are the Future of the IoT

[fa icon='calendar'] Nov 21, 2016 1:46:12 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Big data, Cloud, cloud service, connected devices, data, General, Internet of Things, IoT, smart technology, tech, technology

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is composed of an assortment of connected devices, but without cloud computing services, these devices wouldn’t have much more functionality than the standard household device. This is because the cloud allows devices to outsource the analysis and storage of any data that is collected through their connected sensors. The cloud’s internet-based computing methods act as the brain for IoT devices, removing the boundaries of inter-device, memory and space constrictions.

The IoT is growing at an exponential rate, making cloud services more important than they have ever been before. In order for the cloud infrastructure to accommodate for the mass amount of data being stored and transferred within the cloud, it will need to be developed at a rate similar to IoT technology. The cloud was designed on the very basis of being able to store information remotely, making it the optimum environment for the interconnectivity of internet-enabled devices. If the IoT industry plans to succeed, it is critical that the significance of cloud services is recognized.

There are many benefits offered by the cloud that would enhance the world of smart technology. The ingenious decision to move the serious data processing functionality of these devices to the cloud has opened the door for further technological advancements. Using the cloud for big data storage and analytics has done two main things that have helped enable the accelerated development of IoT technology. The first thing it does is enable devices to be smaller and use less power, making them much easier to integrate within any home environment. The second is that it makes it possible to continuously update the firmware as needed, which removes the burden from consumers and allows devices to be used for longer periods of time.

The overall accessibility and user-friendliness of IoT devices can be accredited to the power of the cloud. Having devices that every consumer can deploy within their smart homes is definitely a positive for the IoT. That being said, the cloud is able to do so much more for smart technology than simply make it easier for consumers to use devices. Creating a network of devices is entirely dependent upon having a reliable method of communication. The implementation of cloud infrastructure in IoT devices enables the ability to utilize multiple devices in a single network, while communicating simultaneously. Once multiple devices are communicating within the same cloud, the information and data that is collected can be accessed by all devices, thus establishing a more synchronized system.

This always available, web-based service is a perfect vehicle for helping the IoT thrive. Current cloud infrastructure isn’t quite large enough to support the expected rise in IoT devices over the next couple of years. That being said, more advanced cloud infrastructures are being developed to help compensate for the influx of connected technology. As the network of devices continue to grow, it will be crucial that the capabilities of the cloud are maintained as it is truly the only technology available that is equipped for storing and analyzing all the data created by the IoT.

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Simplifying IoT: Connecting, Commissioning, and Controlling with Near Field Communication (NFC)

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 12, 2016 1:30:16 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Bluetooth, connected devices, consumers, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Near Field Communication, NFC, smart home, tech, technology, Wi-Fi

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is in the process of transforming the way we live our lives by improving the quality of life with technological advancements in efficiency and safety. Consumers will be among the biggest beneficiaries as the home environment is one of the main platforms for the advancement of smart ecosystems. The habits of individual consumers will be detected by devices within smart home ecosystems and then that information will be used to optimize the environment. The connectivity of the IoT will enable the seamless communication among devices. Near Field Communication (NFC) can be used to help developers utilize internet-enabled devices in an effort to maximize the benefits of the IoT in daily life.

It is evident that NFC will be beneficial for smart home devices as nearly 40 billion connected devices are expected to be in use by 2020. NFC provides a simply solution for connecting IoT devices to a network. Any device that is lacking a quality user interface (UI) can be given user-friendly controls with a single tap via NFC. In addition to its ease of use, other benefits include explicit interaction through close proximity interactions, read and write capabilities, and communication with devices that are powered down. NFC is a low cost and low energy solution that will enhance the IoT experience.

Setting up networks of IoT devices clearly has several benefits, but enabling a connected smart home does pose some challenges. A pressing challenge is the difficulty of adding and removing devices within a network. The ability to manage devices can often be difficult when dealing with headless devices that don’t have a built-in UIs. There isn’t really a single way to setup various devices within a smart home environment as users are typically required to follow manufacturer-specific commissioning methods. NFC can be used to resolve these issues and improve the overall user experience.

There are many other challenges that are facing the IoT. However, NFC can offer solutions to some of the following concerns:

Commissioning Devices: As mentioned before, there isn’t a standard protocol in terms of the commissioning process for IoT devices. Users are confronted with too many different methods for adding devices to a network, especially when there are no UIs available. NFC uses a single tap, or proximity to commission a device, thus creating a standardized mechanism for adding devices to a network.

NFC-Based Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Pairing: Most IoT devices connect to a network via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth within a smart home environment, making it more important than ever that they operate with comparable efficiency. In terms of Bluetooth, the NFC Forum and Bluetooth SIG have collaborated to speed up the Bluetooth pairing process. This means that the very slow and time consuming process of device discovery and paring will be eliminated by using the NFC tap to enable an instant and secure connection. The NFC Forum also has been working with the Wi-Fi Alliance to make it easier to connect to wireless networks. Once the user taps the NFC device to the NFC tag for their Wi-Fi network, the device will configure itself and instantly connect without the user having to find the network name (SSID) or manually enter a password.

Headless Device Commissioning: Devices that don’t have a UI don’t have an easy way to add them to a network. Tapping these headless devices against an NFC tag with the networking key built-in will remove the headache of commissioning these devices. NFC is used to establish a secure and quick connection and then can erase the network key from the tag to protect it from being accessed by an unauthorized person.

Controlling a Device with No User Interface: There are a variety of smart devices such as light bulbs, environmental sensors, in-wall outlets, and more, that don’t include an integrated visual display. Even though Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can provide some IoT interactivity, there are still several issues when setting up and configuring devices. NFC offers a very simple and secure method for controlling IoT devices that don’t include a UI. Input interactions (network provisioning and configuration) and output interactions (reporting information and diagnostics) are enabled via NFC.

Access Control for the Smart Home: Environments such as condominiums and high-end apartments have multiple families living in them, which usually requires a massive amount of mechanical keys in order for everyone to enter their homes. Mechanical keys are expensive, time consuming to distribute, and can easily be copied. NFC offers a solution by giving property managers the ability to give tenants a smart card or mobile application to access their homes. Keys can be sent to friends and family members with no cost, and a record will be kept of who enters and exits the home. NFC technology will provide a secure, cost effective, and flexible rekeying solution for property managers.

Many of the current problems facing the IoT in terms of user-friendliness and accessibility will be resolved with NFC. The implementation of NFC can unlock the true power of a large assortment of IoT devices within a smart home ecosystem. NFC technology can enhance the user experience in a secure and flexible manner at a very affordable price. The potential impact that NFC will have on the IoT is widely recognized within the NFC Forum and the IoT SIG.

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How Big Data Affects Networks in the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 8, 2016 2:21:09 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in business, connected devices, data, data analytics, echI, Edge, Edge IoT, General, industry, information, Internet of Things, IoT, Joe Duncan, network, oT data, predict, resolve, tehcnologyt

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By Joe Duncan, Marketing

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been talked about as an industry dealing in data, because of the massive amount of information produced by sensor technology. In fact, harvesting data from connected devices has become one of the key excitements concerning IoT technology, as it allows for the drastic advance in the analytics of failure, evaluation, implementation and efficiency. With the newfound information, businesses and industries can know sooner and with more accuracy how their products/production are being affected by external factors. This information could be used in an industrial environment to regulate the humidity of a manufacturing facility when dealing with a sensitive material, or it could be used in the context of a grocery store advertising different coupons to a regular customer who is known to never purchase coffee. In these cases, advanced data analytics is crucial to the development of quick fixes when opportunities arise. Efficacy and speed is the name of the game.

However, the difficulty that has already begun to arise with this technology is the volume at which this data is gathered. Cisco throws out the fact that the past 2000 years have garnered about 2 exabytes of data altogether, while in the current era we are generating that amount every day. Questions arise about the value of all this data, and how to sort through it effectively so that a timely response can be implemented. One suggested resolution has been in the development of more advanced network technology at the local level. With the cloud being a big source for the analytics of IoT data, there is progress to be had by moving that process back to the device itself. This has process has been called moving toward the Edge, or more simply, Edge IoT analytics.

Companies able to invest in the stability and speed of their networks will have the ability, with the development of advanced data analytics through the IoT, to predict and resolve problems earlier. In addition, the cost in bandwidth to transport this massive amount of data to the cloud is far greater than analyzing it locally. Businesses and institutions interested in being competitive as the IoT progresses will have to capitalize on network technology which leverages computer capacity closer to the local network and to the device itself. Reliance on servers for the analytic and decision-making process will become obsolete as the increased volume of data makes that process expensive and inefficient.

The creation and sustainment of networks will go through massive changes as the IoT progresses. A high demand for local analytics will notably adjust the way we do networks especially when it comes to their efficiency and security.

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Data Analytics and the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 31, 2015 8:17:29 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in analytics, Big data, connected devices, data, data security, General, Internet of Things, IoT, manufacturers, pedometer, security, Sensors

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One of the major promises that discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) have put forward, is the advances to be made in consumer insight. The idea is that sensors and connected devices can send data on an open loop back to the manufacturer for analysis. This process would presumably secure many advances in a wide variety of things; not only would companies be able to understand their clients, but sensors may even be able to tell us more about the product in general. For example, pedometers on livestock have given scientists more knowledge about when cows are in heat, allowing for a 66% increase in insemination rates.

Many have referenced discoveries such as these to be the real goldmine of the IoT. Using big data analytics, manufacturers could generate the type of insight that could propel future developments. However, the concept of big data analytics is still a bit fuzzy to most people. A lot of the general knowledge of analytics is overshadowed by the half-belief that information is fed to a group of ancient mystic palm readers who come up with practical applications for the infinite mass of soundbite data. In reality, the sorting mechanism used to interpret the data from connected sensors is rarely earth-shattering and could even be accomplished on a closed loop. This is critical to keep in mind, especially as companies make decisions regarding data security.

Read more at ReCode.

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Tech In Motion Panel: IoT: More than Just a Buzzword

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 18, 2015 9:39:38 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, American RFID Solutions, Aubrey Jackson, business, buzzword, Chicago, connected devices, Events, future, General, Grid Connect, Harold G. Clampitt, HERE, home automation, interconnected, Internet of Things, IoT, Jason Kolb, Kaplan, Mahesh Ramananjaiah, Matt Krzus, panel, speaking, Tech In Motion, TechNexus, technology, Uptake, wearables

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When: March 25, 6:00PM
Where: TechNexus, 20 N. Wacker Drive Suite 1200, Chicago, IL

Session Title: IoT: More than Just a Buzzword

What the heck is the Internet of Things? Everyone's heard of it, but it seems like few have the ability to articulate what this buzz phrase actually means. Part of that is because the definition of IoT is so fractured. Everyone seems to have their own take on it.

For this event, we're talking to several panelists whose companies specialize in interconnected devices, whether they be for businesses, for the home, or wearables, and asking them the hard question: What is the Internet of Things to YOU? We'll also be talking about the future of this phenomenon.

Panelists:
Adam Justice, VP and General Manager of Grid Connect
Harold G. Clampitt, CEO and Founder of American RFID Solutions
Jason Kolb, CTO of Uptake
Mahesh Ramananjaiah, Senior Architect at HERE
Aubrey Jackson, Senior Software Engineer at HERE

Moderator:
Matt Krzus, Lead Data Scientist at Kaplan

About Tech In Motion:

Tech in Motion is broad by design, the goal of this group is to be interactive and allow technology enthusiasts to learn from other professionals, have questions answered in real-time, discover new tech, and hear stories that inspire. This group is a place for technology professionals who wouldn’t normally cross paths to meet, collaborate, and learn about what their peers are doing across the city. To learn more about Tech in Motion, click here!

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February 2015 Newsletter – Link Round Up

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 27, 2015 7:14:59 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in business, business models, connected devices, connectsense, consumers, FIRST Robotics Competition, General, Grid Connect, Huskie Robotics Team, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT design, IoT platform, IWCE, IWCE Expo, Las Vegas, M2M, machine to machine, Napervile North, network range, Newsletters, NNHS, Perry Marshall, robotics, transmission of data, transmission range, Wireless

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Putting User Interface at the Start of Your IoT Design Process - How are your buyers going to interface with your product? This is one of the toughest aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) product design right now. Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them and options for connected devices are numerous. > Read More at GridConnect.com

Going the Distance: How Range Affects IoT Design - The network range required for IoT devices plays a surprisingly important role even in the smallest design decisions. After all, the transmission of data is at the core of IoT devices. Transmission range depends on the type of network used, the environment it will be used in, and the types of data being communicated. > Read More at Remote Magazine

Upcoming Event: What You Need to Know About the Internet of Things - When: March 20, 8:30am-12:00pm | Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV - Room N259 - IoT applications have the potential to transform every sector of business by allowing enterprises to take informed decision, optimizing the process, and supporting innovative business models. The combination of ‘low-cost’ connected devices with the need for data drives Internet of Things. Examine business opportunities in everything from M2M to green buildings to smart devices, explore how to create a wireless business ecosystem with IoT platform, and what limitations IoT might have technologically. > Learn More at IWCE Expo

Companies Help Animate Naperville North Robotics Projects - What is 6-foot 5-inches tall and can haul recycling totes and bins to the curb? For members of the Huskie Robotics Team at Naperville North High School, the answer is obvious. It’s their new robot. More than 70 students from Naperville North, as well as a handful of Naperville Central students, are building a tall, 120-pound robot as part of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. The Huskie Robotics Team would not be able to function without the assistance of corporate sponsors such as Grid Connect. > Read More at Naperville Sun

What Do You Do When You're 100,000 Miles Away and Your Basement is Flooding? - Earlier this year, Perry Marshall, a revolutionary in sales and marketing, took a trip from Chicago to India. He had just gotten to his destination when he received a text from his ConnectSense Water Sensor that his basement was flooding. So what do you do when you're 10,000 miles away and your basement floods? Here's what Perry did. > Read More at PerryMarshall.com

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IWCE Panel: What You Need to Know About the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 26, 2015 8:43:26 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, connected, connected devices, Events, General, Grid Connect, Hassan Bawab, home automation, International Wireless Communications Expo, Internet of Things, IoT, IWCE, Las Vegas, M2M, machine to machine, Magic Logix, networked society, social web, Sudhakar Marthi, technology, what you need to know about the internet of things, ZOHO Corporation

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When: March 20, 8:30am-12:00pm
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV - Room N259

Session Title: What You Need to Know About the Internet of Things

Whether you call it the Internet of Things, machine to machine, Connected Devices, the Social Web of Things or the Networked Society, it is hard to deny that more and more "things" are being connected every day. The Internet of Things has exploded! From light bulbs to automobiles to buildings, things are getting a digital makeover as the IoT connects people, devices, and applications wirelessly, turning them “smart.” IoT applications have the potential to transform every sector of business by allowing enterprises to take informed decision, optimizing the process, and supporting innovative business models. The combination of ‘low-cost’ connected devices with the need for data drives Internet of Things. Examine business opportunities in everything from M2M to green buildings to smart devices, explore how to create a wireless business ecosystem with IoT platform, and what limitations IoT might have technologically.

Panelists:
Adam Justice, VP and General Manager of Grid Connect
Hassan Bawab, Author and CEO of Magic Logix
Sudhakar Marthi, Vice President Global Business Development of ZOHO Corporation
Barry Einsig, Global Transportation Executive, Internet of Things Group at Cisco

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About IWCE:

Since 1977, the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) has been the authoritative annual event for communications technology professionals in the working world. IWCE features over 350 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and trends in the industry. Over 7,000 individuals attend from a diverse group of industry professionals including government/military; public safety (law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical & 911); utility; transportation and business enterprise. This year’s show will be held March 16-20, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Conference Website: http://www.iwceexpo.com

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Putting User Interface at the Start of Your IoT Design Process

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 9, 2015 10:35:25 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in app, connected devices, data, gateway, General, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT design, IoT devices, laptop, LCD, LCD display, LED, LED display, module, network, product design, smart homeg, smart phones, soft access point, soft AP, tablet, UI, user interface, UX, Wi-Fi, White Papers, Wi-Fi modules, wifi

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How are your buyers going to interface with your product?

This is one of the toughest aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) product design right now. Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them and options for connected devices are numerous.

User interface options for IoT design range from using a smart home panel or gateway to an on-product LCD/LED display. The LCD/LED display can then be paired with LEDs or push buttons. In addition, apps to monitor and control connected devices can be web-based or available for on-the-go consumers with smart phones.

To determine what kind of user interface your product design needs, you must consider two things:

  1. The type of product
  2. The use-cases for this product

For example, is this product going to be used strictly in one location or on the go? Will it need to by physically touched to work or will it need to be operated remotely or both? Where will the user want to see the information that the device is collecting and how are they going to use that data?

Wi-Fi-enabled IoT devices may also have the ability to act as a soft access point (soft AP) to allow a user to “join” its network locally with a smart phone, laptop or tablet. Soft APs make product LED/LCD displays unnecessary since the screen of the connected device will serve the same purpose. Using a soft AP does not preclude the module from also connecting to the Internet and cloud-based services with some Wi-Fi modules though. This dual-mode is very attractive because the user can access the product remotely and locally, depending on the features and use-cases for the product.

So, what interface will provide the best user experience for your buyers? This needs to be one of the first questions you ask when designing a product for the IoT in order to provide the easiest and overall best experience for your customers.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Features and User Interface

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 12, 2015 1:46:31 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in app, business owners, Cloud, connected devices, connectivity, consumers, engineers, features, General, Internet of Things, IoT, laptop, manufacturers, networking technologies, product, product design, smart home, smart phone, soft access point, soft AP, tablet, UI, user interface, Wi-Fi, White Papers, Wi-Fi modules

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3. Features

The IoT allows companies to add features to their product that were never possible before. These features have a wide range of benefits and functions including automatic software updates (over-the-air), smart home and office connectivity, reminders for maintenance, special offers, recall notices and upgrades and remote or local access and control. It is also important for designers to work with their marketing team to be sure the features desired by marketing are not limited by the hardware and networking technologies selected by the engineers.

These features extend new benefits to manufacturers as well. The features that consumers use can provide manufacturers with valuable insight to their products and applications of those products. For example, washing machine may have 20 different functions on it, but because it is connected, the manufacturer can learn which functions the consumer uses and why and then improve the washer’s product design over time. This same connected washing machine can also email or call its owner to let them know when a part is starting to fail and needs to be fixed before a problem arises. These new features also open the manufacturer to new revenue streams presented by the data collected from the smart device. A company that sells a connected washing machine can sell data on detergent use to the companies that carry those products so that they can have better information on their customer as well.

4. User Interface

Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them. How are your buyers going to interface with your product? Options are numerous and range from using a smart home panel or gateway to an on-product LCD/LED display that can be paired with LEDs or push buttons. In addition, apps to monitor and control connected devices can be web-based or available for on-the-go consumers with smart phones. The type of product and its possible use-cases are important considerations when designing a product that can communicate information to its user.

Wi-Fi-enabled IoT devices may have the ability to act as a soft access point (soft AP) to allow a user to “join” its network locally with a smart phone, laptop or tablet. Soft APs make product LED/LCD displays unnecessary since the screen of the connected device will serve the same purpose.

Using a soft AP does not preclude the module from also connecting to the Internet and cloud-based services with some Wi-Fi modules. This dual-mode is very attractive because the user can access the product remotely and locally, depending on the features and use-cases for the product.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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How Naperville-based Grid Connect fits into the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 16, 2014 9:22:33 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, Chicago, connected devices, connected future, ConnectSense, connectsense, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things, interview, IoE, IoT, Naperville, smart outlet, wireless sensors

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In a nondescript Naperville office park, Adam Justice is working to bring the Internet of Things to the masses. He’s vice president of Grid Connect, a company his father Mike founded in 2003 that makes, distributes and sells commercial networking products. In 2013, Grid Connect launched ConnectSense, its first line of wireless sensors for home use to remotely monitor things, from your lights to your water pipes. As the company prepares to launch a ConnectSense smart electrical outlet, Adam Justice shares his vision for a connected future.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune or download the PDF now.

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