IoT News Roundup

Accenture calls industrial IoT a $14.2 trillion opportunity; ams offering light makers an IoT-ready chip; Gimbal in cahoots with Shazam and Koupon Media; Elisa launches IoT service in Finland, Estonia.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jan 23, 2015

Accenture Finds Big Economic Potential for Industrial IoT
Calling it the biggest driver of productivity and growth in the next decade, Accenture released a report this week finding that industrial applications of the Internet of Things could boost the global economy by $14.2 trillion during the next 15 years. Yet, despite the growing availability and falling costs of sensors, processors and other industrial IoT (IIoT) tools, the report says that the potential impact of industrial IoT applications rests largely on manufacturers making a fundamental shift from merely making products to offering a hybrid of products and services built on the ability (borne through IoT systems) to measure and predict the outcomes of industrial systems. Accenture calls this the "outcome economy." These outcomes might include guarantees that end users of IoT-enabled products will save energy, or increase yields.

Accenture found that few of the world's leading companies are ready to embrace this kind of shift in objective, however. It collaborated with the Industrial Internet Consortium to conduct a survey among more than 90 executives whose firms are actively pursuing IIoT initiatives. While most respondents called the IIoT a net creator of jobs and expect it will reduce their operational expense, 88 percent admitted that they "still do not fully understand the underlying business models and long-term implications of the IIoT," according to the report. And nearly three quarters say they have not yet made "concrete progress" with IoT technology.

Ams Introduces Smart Lighting Platform
Chip and sensor manufacturer ams has launched the AS7211 chip, which luminaire manufacturers can integrate into lighting systems, both as a networked autonomous daylighting manager and as a platform for integrating a range of other sensors used in smart-building energy-management applications. Autonomous daylighting uses photopic sensors to constantly adjust lighting output based on the amount of natural, ambient daylight. Photometry is the measurement of visible light, and photometric sensors measure lighting conditions in places where the human eye is the main receiver, such as the level of illumination shed on workspaces, or even on television screens. (Photopic sensors are used to adjust a television's display in response to changes in ambient light, for example.) These systems reduce the amount of energy required to illuminate a space, while also ensuring that the lighting output is adequate and consistent.

The AS7211 contains a photopic sensor to enable autonomous daylighting, but the chip can also support any other sensor (such as one that measures occupancy, temperature and humidity) that the end user wants to use, or an RFID reader module, so long as the sensors or reader can be connected to the chip via an I2C bus (a type of serial connector). The AS7211 sits between a light fixture's LED driver and a building energy-management software platform, which is linked to the building's environmental control systems to optimize energy use and ensure occupant comfort. It communicates to the building energy-management system through a universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) link into the building's computer network. (The chip can also be used with fluorescent lights, in which case it sits between the network and each fixture's fluorescent dimming ballast.) Additionally, the AS7211 supports a wide range of standard radio interfaces, including Bluetooth Low Energy (version 4.x), ZigBee and Wi-Fi.

According to ams, these capabilities mean that lighting providers can turn products into multi-sensor hubs, which could save building managers the hassle of mounting discrete sensors throughout a facility.

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