More Accurate Location Services

More Accurate Location Services

I met with the representative of an interesting company with a different take on indoor location services. Years ago I listened to a podcast called the Gillmor Gang and a famous (at the time) blogger Robert Scoble was always extolling the virtues of beacons. They will be everywhere and do all sorts of things, he repeated like a mantra.

Things got quiet, then I met Quuppa at Hannover Messe 2018. They have a beacon that has multiple antennas that does a better job of location than trying some of the older triangulation technologies.

The company has just announced a partner event, something that gives me an excuse to point you toward something interesting. I’m assuming that few if any of my readers are heading to Finland any time soon.

Quuppa, a Finnish company that delivers indoor positioning technology, announced its second annual partner event will take place June 5-7 in Helsinki, Finland. With a theme of “Defining the Future,” the event will feature speakers from Quuppa and its partner ecosystem, networking events and a Solutions Showcase Expo that demonstrates the current and future capabilities of real-time, global indoor location services and solutions. The event demonstrates the success Quuppa has had delivering on its go-to-market strategy that centers on providing an open positioning platform both in terms of hardware and software APIs, where each company focuses on what it does best, helping speed time-to-market.

The event will also highlight a day of presentations featuring “success stories,” with case study presentations that showcase the wide range of use cases for Quuppa’s unique indoor location technology. Featured success story topics include improving efficiency and customer experience in retail, asset tracking in large scale, Industry 4.0, manufacturing use cases from Japan, safety in a secure environment, generating business KPIs from location data, and employee safety indoors and outdoors.

Quuppa utilizes a unique combination of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and the Angle of Arrival (AoA) methodologies, as well as advanced location algorithms that have been developed over the course of more than 15 years, to calculate highly accurate indoor positioning.

The Quuppa Ecosystem includes more than 70 best-of-breed companies worldwide that deliver best-in-class software solutions, tags and installation services, as well as system integrators and solution providers that offer end-to-end solutions. Companies across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing and logistics, retail, healthcare, sports, law enforcement and security, government and others rely on Quuppa and its ecosystem partners to unlock the full potential of indoor location-based services without compromising accuracy, compatibility or cost.

“Quuppa’s ecosystem continues to thrive, and our partner event is a place to gather and share expertise and best practices for global indoor location services,” said Fabio Belloni, head of Quuppa’s Partner Ecosystem. “What we are seeing more of as the ecosystem expands is partner companies seeking answers from their peers—not just from Quuppa—on wide-ranging topics such as how to launch a large-scale deployment, how to forge partnerships to grow in new geographic areas, how to best conduct a demo, and more. Companies are realizing they no longer need to develop everything on their own, they can choose best-of-breed solutions from our incredible ecosystem partners. It’s amazing to see how quickly the Quuppa Ecosystem is growing and the unique partnerships that are forming because of it.”

One such partnership that has emerged within the Quuppa Ecosystem is between Japanese motor manufacturer Nidec Corp. and Synapses Lab, an Italian technology design company. The companies work together utilizing Quuppa’s precision location technology, Synapses’ platform for tracking and 3D modeling, and Nidec’s electronics and engineering expertise to develop autonomous solutions that will deliver improved productivity and security in the manufacturing industry.

“Building a solid and reliable ecosystem is essential for our company,” said Domenico Mariotti, CEO and cofounder of Synapses. “Such a system enables us to tackle new challenges and different use cases every day, sometimes beating any expectations we ourselves had for our solutions.”

“In the Japanese manufacturing industry, some early birds are now trying to introduce IoT to their factories,” said Hiroshi Mochizuki, Small Precision Motor and Solutions business unit at Nidec. “They do not allow position data to have jitter, so Nidec decided to select Synapses’ platform utilizing the Quuppa Ecosystem. Synapses has successfully developed its platform, of which the filtering capability and database structure is duly optimized for Quuppa’s technology. Nidec strongly believes that problem-solving requests by its customers will be soon made, and good results in increase of productivity and security are expected to become visible in a short period of time, thanks to the availability of Synapses platform.”

NI Focusing on Test and Measurement Updates LabView

NI Focusing on Test and Measurement Updates LabView

NI Week was last week, and for only the second time in 20 years, I didn’t go. NI, formerly National Instruments, has been focusing more on test and measurement lately. Not so much automation. My interest is mostly on its IoT efforts especially TSN. I figure I can get an interview with Todd Walter or whomever without the expense of a conference.

NI’s core competency lies as the provider of a software-defined platform that helps accelerate the development and performance of automated test and automated measurement systems. At NI Week it announced the release of LabVIEW 2018.

Applications that impact our daily lives are increasing in complexity due to the rapid innovation brought on by industry trends such as 5G, the Industrial Internet of Things, and autonomous vehicles. Consequently, the challenge of testing these devices to ensure reliability, quality and safety introduce new demands and test configurations, with decreased time and budget. Engineers need better tools to organize, develop and integrate systems so they can accomplish their goals within the acceptable boundaries.

Engineers can use LabVIEW 2018 to address a multitude of these challenges. They can integrate more third-party IP from tools like Python to make the most of the strengths of each package or existing IP from their stakeholders. Test engineers can use new functionality in LabVIEW 2018 to strengthen code reliability by automating the building and execution of software through integration with open interface tools like Jenkins for continuous delivery. Capabilities like this empower test engineers to focus on system integration and development where they can offer unique differentiation, rather than get bogged down in the semantics of how to use software tools or move IP from one to another. For test engineers using FPGAs for high-performance processing, new deep learning functions and improved floating-point operations can reduce time to market.

“NI’s continued commitment to its software-centric platform accelerates my productivity so I can focus on the challenges that yield the highest ROIs,” says Chris Cilino, LabVIEW framework architect at Cirrus Logic. “LabVIEW continues to minimize the effort of adding tests and code modifications to our validation framework, delivering a consistent process to maintain our software and incorporate the reuse of valuable IP without rewrites.”

To meet demands like testing higher complexity DUTs and shorter timeframes, engineers need tools tailored to their needs that they can efficiently use through their workflow, helping them to meet their exact application requirements. LabVIEW 2018 is the latest addition to NI’s software-centric platform that features products tailored to needs within distinct stages of their workflow – products that have been adopted in whole or in part by more than 300,000 active users.

With InstrumentStudio software providing an interactive multi-instrument experience, TestStand test management software handling overall execution and reporting and SystemLink software managing assets and software deployments, this workflow improves the productivity of test and validation labs across many industries. Each piece of the workflow is also interoperable with third-party software to maximize code and IP reuse and draws on the LabVIEW Tools Network ecosystem of add-ons and tools for more application-specific requirements.

Engineers can access both LabVIEW 2018 and LabVIEW NXG with a single purchase of LabVIEW.

Software, Robots, Friday Updates, Automation and Ethics

Software, Robots, Friday Updates, Automation and Ethics

It’s Friday before Memorial Day and I’m catching up on a number of items I’ve read this week concerning automation and ethics.

  • GPR
  • AI (Eric Schmidt / Elon Musk)
  • Robot Market
  • Automation Tsunami
  • Rockwell Automation OPC UA
  • Schneider Electric Triconex
  • Peaceful Fruit

GDPR

Marketing people lust after your information. Trust me, I was in the business. If a magazine or website can collect your email address and provide (sell) it to a marketer, fantastic. If they can add name, company, address, and telephone number(s), all the better.

Some companies have treated you (us) like a commodity to be harvested and sold. Now in the wake of the European GDPR regulation, companies have been flooding us with emails telling us that, while in the past they may have done all that to us, in the future they’ll do less of it—maybe. Makes me wonder about all of them.

As for me—I have an email list of people who have signed up for my occasional newsletter. I use them only for that. No one besides me sees it.

Artificial Intelligence

Remember the old Groucho Marx line, “Military intelligence is an oxymoron”? Well, how about adapting the phrase to modern times? “Artificial Intelligence is an oxymoron.”

I wrote a little about that yesterday. Scanning my news items today, I see Eric Schmidt contesting with Elon Musk on the subject—“Elon is just plain wrong.” Yep.

Robot Market

According to Tractica, a market intelligence firm, Consumer Robots, Enterprise Robots, Autonomous Vehicles, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are expanding their share of the $52.7 billion annual robotics market.

A new report finds non-industrial robots represented 70% of the $39.3 billion robotics market globally in 2017, growing from a 64% share in 2016. By the end of 2018, the market intelligence firm expects that non-industrial robots will rise to 76% of the total market, which will have grown to $52.7 billion by that time.

Tractica’s analysis finds that most robotics industry growth is being driven by segments like consumer, enterprise, healthcare, military, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles.

The epicenter of robotics continues to shift from the traditional centers of Japan and Europe toward the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) hotbeds of Silicon Valley and China. ”

Tractica’s report, “Robotics Market Forecasts”, covers the global market for robotics, including consumer robots, enterprise robots, industrial robots, healthcare robots, military robots, UAVs, and autonomous vehicles. These categories are further segmented into 23 robot application markets. Market data within the report includes robot shipments and revenue segmented by world region, application market, and enabling technology. The technologies included in the attach rate analysis are machine vision, voice/speech recognition, gesture recognition, and tactile sensors. The forecast period for this report extends from 2017 through 2025. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’’s website.

“Automation Tsunami”

Steve Levine in Axios Future of Work newsletter reports, “There is barely a peep from Washington in response to a widely forecast social and economic tsunami resulting from automation, including the potential for decades of flat wages and joblessness. But cities and regions are starting to act on their own.”

What’s happening: In Indianapolis, about 338,000 people are at high risk of automation taking their jobs, according to a new report. In Phoenix, the number is 650,000. In both cases, that’s 35% of the workforce. In northeastern Ohio, about 40,000 workers are at high risk.

Check it out on his website. I have mixed feelings on the issue. On the one hand automation has replaced humans in dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks. And…we are facing a coming labor shortage if demographic data suggestions hold out and politics inhibits immigration. On the other hand, we do have short term crises for people who can’t find work. That is a very real social and personal problem.

Rockwell OPC UA

I’ve written a couple of times lately about how Rockwell Automation has switched direction and adopted standard technologies OPC UA and TSN. It has just informed me that its FactoryTalk Linx software allows OPC UA communications across industrial IoT technologies from different vendors.

Companies can now take advantage of the OPC UA standard in Rockwell Automation products to achieve interoperability among their industrial IoT devices. Support for the vendor-neutral standard is provided through the FactoryTalk Linx communications software, which allows Rockwell Automation and third-party products to exchange data.

Schneider Electric Tricon update

Schneider Electric has released Tricon CX version 11.3, the most powerful version of its EcoStruxure Triconex safety instrumented system. This version embeds cybersecurity features within its flagship process safety system.

Peaceful Fruits

I am interested in good products, ethically produced, that perform a social good. I’ve invested in a local coffee house that buys coffee from a distributor/roaster who buys directly from the farmer. Not only does the farmer (and his workers) earn a living wage, the coffee is ethically grown, and also tastes great.

A message came my way this week about Peaceful Fruits. This young man joined the Peace Corps and worked every day for two years to make an impact on people’s lives in the Amazon rainforest. Living in the Suriname jungle, he worked jointly with indigenous tribes to build systems to preserve independence and sustainability.

It was here that Evan first tasted the acai berry — which grows naturally in the rainforest — and he decided to take the first step in helping to make advances in the food industry.

As the founder of Peaceful Fruits, an Akron, Ohio-based company specializing in whole fruit snacks, Evan speaks to this generation’s pursuit of nutrient-friendly, label-accurate, and eco-sensitive food. And with childhood obesity skyrocketing, it’s a great time to revisit which snacks our kids are eating on a daily basis. “The snack industry is slowly lurching forward because of increased consumer demand for healthier and more responsible options — and this is an opportunity to teach the next generation of kids that everyday food can be tasty, healthy and sustainable.”

His goal beyond changing the food industry is to educate and empower young people to pursue big goals that have big consequences. “Sure, I’m in the healthy fruit snacks business, but I’m really in the business of promoting wellness, sustainability and a cultural shift in how we think about what we put in our bodies.”

Internet of Things Prominent at Dell Technologies World

Internet of Things Prominent at Dell Technologies World

A few of us gathered for a round table discussion of Internet of Things while I was at Dell Technologies World at the beginning of the month. I arrived a little early and had a private round table for several minutes before others arrive and the discussion became broader.

Ray O’Farrell, CTO of VMware and GM of IoT at Dell Technologies, said the focus of last 6 months since the new Internet of Things organization was announced included these three points:

1. Dell is 7 companies, trying to achieve one cohesive strategy across all; one organization when facing customers.

2. Best way is to work within the ecosystem, that is history of VMWare.

3. Building technology and leverage solutions. This is a complex undertaking as not all challenges within IoT are alike—there are few cookie cutter applications.

The evolution of Internet of Things within Dell to Dell EMC to Dell Technologies constitutes an upward spiraling path encompassing the greater breadth of technologies and organization reflecting the post-merger company. When I first came along, the concept was building an ecosystem around selling an edge device appliance. Now the strategy is much broader bringing the goal of IT/OT convergence closer to reality. As I’ve mentioned before, the IT companies are attacking that convergence from the IT side after years of manufacturing/production oriented suppliers trying to accomplish the same thing from the OT side. Maybe like the old country song we’ll meet in the middle someday.

Everyone talks Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days, and Dell Technologies is not exception. However, AI is not the science fiction doom and gloom predicted by Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, and others. Mostly it entails machine learning (ML) from detected patterns in the data.

Or as Dell Technologies says, it is applying AI and ML technology to turn data into intelligent insights, drive a faster time to market, and achieve better business outcomes.

News summary

• Dell EMC PowerEdge expands portfolio to accelerate AI-driven workloads, analytics, deployment and efficiency

• Deepens relationship with Intel to advance AI community innovation, machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) capabilities with Dell EMC Ready Solutions

• Dell Precision Optimizer 5.0 now enhanced with machine learning algorithms, intelligently tunes the speed and productivity of Dell Precision workstations.

• Dell EMC uses AI, ML and DL to transform support and deployment

14th generation Dell EMC PowerEdge four-socket servers and Dell Precision Optimizer 5.0 are designed to further strengthen AI and ML capabilities.

According to the recently released update of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) 2018 IT Transformation Maturity Curve Index, commissioned by Dell EMC, transformed companies are 18X more likely to make better and faster data-driven decisions than their competition. Additionally, transformed companies are 22X as likely to be ahead of the competition with new products and services to market.

“The Internet of Things is driving an onslaught of data and compute at the edge, requiring organizations to embrace an end-to-end IT infrastructure strategy that can effectively, efficiently and quickly mine all that data into business intelligence gold,” said Jeff Clarke, vice chairman, Products & Operations, Dell. “This is where the power of AI and machine learning becomes real – when organizations can deliver better products, services, solutions and experiences based on data-driven decisions.”

Unlike competitors’ four-socket offerings, these servers also support field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs)3, which excel on data-intensive computations. Both servers feature OpenManage Enterprise to monitor and manage the IT infrastructure, as well as agent-free Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) for automated, efficient management to improve productivity.

Dell EMC is also announcing its next generation PowerMax storage solution, built with a machine learning engine which makes autonomous storage a reality.

Leveraging predictive analytics and pattern recognition, a single PowerMax system analyzes and forecasts 40 million data sets in real-time per array4, driving six billion decisions per day5 to automatically maximize efficiency and performance of mixed data storage workloads.

The new Dell Precision Optimizer 5.0 uses AI to automatically adjust applications running on Dell Precision workstations to maximize performance by:

• Custom-optimizing applications: Dell Precision Optimizer learns each application’s behavior in the background and uses that data to employ a trained machine learning model that will automatically adjust the system to optimized settings and deliver up to 394% improvement in application performance.

• Automating systems configuration adjustments: Once activated and a supported application is launched, the software automatically adjusts system configurations such as CPU, memory, storage, graphics and operating system settings.

Speaking of partners and collaboration, Dell Technologies and Microsoft join forces to build secure, intelligent edge-to-cloud solution featuring Dell Edge Gateways, VMware Pulse IoT Center, and Microsoft Azure IoT Edge

News summary

• Joint IoT solution helps simplify management, enhances security and help lowers cost of deployment at the edge

• Built on innovative analytics applications, management tools and edge gateways to enable network security from edge devices to the cloud

• Accelerates IoT adoption in industry verticals key to economic growth and development

The joint solution offers an underlying IoT infrastructure, management capabilities, and security for customers looking to deploy IoT for scenarios like predictive maintenance, supply chain visibility and other use cases. The solution will deliver:

• Intelligence at the edge with Microsoft Azure IoT Edge: This application extends cloud intelligence to edge devices so that devices can act locally and leverage the cloud for global coordination and machine learning at scale

• Management and monitoring of edge devices with VMware Pulse IoT Center: This provides more secure, enterprise-grade management and monitoring of diverse, certified edge devices including gateways and connected IoT devices, bios and operating systems.  This ecosystem will be built over time involving deeper integration and certification to support customer requirements.

• High-performance, rugged Dell Edge Gateways: IoT devices with powerful dual-core Intel® Atom™ processors connect a variety of wired and wireless devices and systems to aggregate and analyze inputs and send relevant data to the cloud

VMware Pulse IoT Center will serve as the management glue between the hardware (Dell Edge Gateways or other certified edge systems), connected sensors and devices and the Microsoft Azure IoT Edge. Initially, Pulse will help to deploy the Microsoft Azure IoT Edge to the requisite edge systems so that it can start collecting, analyzing and acting on data in real-time.

Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Embedded Computing News From Hannover Messe

Amongst the cloud and manufacturing IT booths in Hannover was a sizable booth nestled in the middle housing Arm, the processor company. Here Ian Ferguson, Vice President, Ecosystem Development, met with me to discuss some of the latest embedded computing news.

Arm licenses chips which are optimized to the OS for customer companies to use and customize.

Its software business includes a device manager for small device apps for provisioning and connecting. It has also announced a bridge to IBM Watson.

Its software product, Embed, runs on ARM. Among the areas of focus is smart meters and tracking of small assets. Ferguson also mentioned smart buildings–especially lighting.

Security is a key focus working at the chip level to detect intrusions, “device health”.

News briefs:

• Rapid industry adoption of Mbed Platform with more than 300,000 developers (>30% growth over the past year) and 80 partners

• Arm expands integration with IBM Watson IoT, and partners with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to deliver BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) flexible IoT security authentication

• Mbed drives IoT business value for logistics, utilities and smart cities as organizations shift to Industry 4.0

Help organizations take advantage of the opportunities offered by IoT data and combine this with their business data to create valuable business outcomes. However, in talking with these organizations, many feel that pursuing opportunities to achieve these business outcomes through IoT opens themselves up to more IT complexity and greater security concerns.

Security and complexity of integration are legitimate concerns that addressed with Arm Mbed Platform. This platform provides the necessary IoT building blocks including, connectivity, device management, security and provisioning with the support of a 300,000+ strong developer community that has grown more than 30% in the past year.

It’s also supported by a growing ecosystem of 80 contributing partners such as IBM, which is bridging the Mbed Cloud with IBM Watson IoT Platform. We’ve integrated Mbed Cloud with Cybertrust and GlobalSign to provide more flexible security authentication for IoT devices.

Mbed Cloud and Mbed Cloud On Premises were designed to provide device management, connectivity and provisioning that customers demand, supported across multiple public and private clouds, on-premises and hybrid environments.

IoT security should be easy to implement, not an inhibitor. The new integrations between Mbed Cloud and Cybertrust and GlobalSign enable customers to BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Certificate) for flexible and secure IoT authentication, leveraging the public key infrastructure they already use. Security should also be built into development, which is why Arm is planning to make its free open-sourced development platform, Mbed OS, the first OS to support PSA-Compliant trusted boot, storage and opaque cryptography.

However, even when security is built-in, software updates are often needed to maintain a strong security posture, which is a challenge when there are millions of devices already deployed out in the field. Through an expanded integration with IBM Watson IoT Platform, its users can now manage, provision and update firmware over-the-air for their IoT devices through Mbed Cloud.

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