IoT News Roundup

Cisco ramps up software to analyze torrents of IoT-derived data; Link Labs, Semtech collaborate on long-range radio module; Spansion, Sensoplex fast-tracking wearables development; O3b launches new satellites to bring broadband to developing world.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Dec 19, 2014

Cisco Announces Software, Services for IoT-related Analytics
Networking giant Cisco recently announced new software and services designed to enable companies to reap the true value of Internet of Things technology—namely, data. The products are being rolled out through a portfolio of software packages sold under the moniker Connected Analytics. Each software package is targeted at a specific vertical market—events (such as for fan engagement at sporting events), retail (to network and analyze security camera imagery, for example), or call centers (to track customer data across a company and improve service)—and for a specific application within that vertical, such as network deployment, mobility or collaboration.

The analytics software is part of a larger "fog computing" initiative within Cisco to push more computational power to the edge of IoT networks, rather than in the cloud. In line with this, the Connected Analytics software is built to run on Cisco's IOx platform, which enables software applications to run directly on Cisco industrial networked-devices, such as routers, switches and other devices.

Cisco's Consulting Services arm estimates that analytics will drive 38 percent of what it expects will be a $19 trillion IoT market throughout the next decade. Cisco also recently released findings from a global survey of 1,230 individuals who work in manufacturing, the public sector, transportation, retail, oil and gas, utilities, metals or mining. Roughly half hold information technology jobs, while the other half are employed in operational technology positions. Forty percent of survey respondents said they consider their biggest hurdle in deriving actionable insights from data collected through IoT systems to be the inability to interpret and analyze the information. The survey found the same percentage of respondents expect that most of their IoT-derived data will be processed at the edge of their networks (in line with Cisco's fog-computing model), rather than centrally, by 2017.

LinkLabs, Semtech Collaborate on Long-Range Radio Module for Wireless Sensors
Link Labs, a wireless sensor product design company, and Semtech, a manufacturer of analog and mixed signal semiconductor products, have co-developed a long-range, low-power bidirectional radio module, known as the LL-LP-20, that operates in the 868 MHz and 915 MHz ISM frequency bands. According to the companies, the module is fully certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use in the United States, and by Industry Canada (IC) for use in that country.

Thanks to the certification, a third party could integrate the radio module into a wireless sensor without having to run the product through FCC or IC certification tests. The radio has a range of more than 9 miles in a rural environment, and around 3 miles in urban settings. Sensors with Semtech radios can operate for up to 10 years before the device's battery becomes depleted, the company reports, based on usage patterns. Semtech employs spread spectrum radio modulation, which sends signals across a wide bandwidth and at low power. The firm markets its radio for uses in long-range wireless sensors for such applications as utility metering, security systems, lighting controls and fuel supply tracking.

Senet, which provides fuel-tank monitoring services, uses Semtech's 868 MHz radio module in its sensors that measure fuel levels inside propane and oil tanks used for building heat, for example. The LL-LP-20 comes with Semtech's LoRaMAC software stack for integration with the LoRa partner ecosystem.

Spansion, Sensoplex Partnering to Fast-Track Wearable Technology Development
Spansion, a manufacturer of flash memory, microcontrollers, and analog and mixed-signal products, is partnering with Sensoplex, which makes wearable devices for sports, fitness, wellness and mHealth ("mobile health" technology applications, which allow individuals to track various health metrics, such as heart rate or respiration, using wearable sensors and mobile phone applications) companies, to offer a software development kit and an evaluation platform. The platform is designed for third parties to use to design and develop wearable products with integrated inertial, biological and environmental sensors, along with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication modules and low-power processors. The companies will demonstrate the solution at next month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), to be held in Las Vegas, at Spansion's booth, MP25471.

O3b Adds Four Satellites to Its Low-Altitude Satellite Network
O3b, which operates Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites used to deliver high-speed and high-capacity broadband Internet access to the estimated 3 billion people around the world who lack access to it, launched four new satellites on Thursday from the Space Center in French Guiana. This is the third set of four satellites that the company has launched. The satellites circle the globe at an altitude of approximately 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles), whereas standard geosynchronous satellites, which are generally used for broadcast communications or tracking weather, operate at approximately 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles) above the Earth.

Positioning its satellites in middle orbit allows O3b to reduce round-trip data transmission times to 150 milliseconds or less, which decreases signal latency enough to support cloud applications, streaming video or multi-user online games. The company is deploying satellites to a coverage zone spanning the 45-degree north and south latitudes, which it says will allow it to deliver its services to almost all emerging-markets countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Bringing reliable broadband services to these markets, the company reports, will create a foundation for a wide range of potential Internet of Things applications.

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