IoT News Roundup

IBM, TI announce IoT asset-authentication service; Silver Spring Network plugs into city-wide lighting-control system; AvaLAN announces solar-power kits for remote radios; Withings using ams sensor for air-quality monitoring in Home device.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Apr 10, 2015

IBM, Texas Instruments to Create Service to Provision, Authenticate IoT Devices
IBM, which last week announced that it is investing $3 billion over the next four years to create an Internet of Things business unit, revealed this week that it is collaborating with Texas Instruments (TI) on a cloud-hosted provisioning and lifecycle-management service for IoT devices.

The companies will create "silicon tokens" built into TI chips. Each token can be used to provision, activate and register an asset in which the chip is embedded, and then, at the end of the asset's useful life, the token will be used to decommission the asset. The tokens will also be used to uniquely identify the devices. TI and IBM are also creating what they call a Secure Registry Service, designed to "provide trust and authentication practices and protocol across the value chain – from silicon embedded in devices/products to businesses and homes," according to a statement issued by the company.

In addition, IBM is rolling out two new IoT services. IBM Aviation Maintenance, for the aviation industry, is designed to manage lifecycle, safety and optimal use of aviation components. The second, IBM Product Line Engineering, is intended to help engineers design products efficiently, regardless of industry. IBM also announced cloud-based solutions that leverage the Bluemix IoT development platform to help companies develop and deploy IoT devices—for internal use, such as tracking assets, or for product offerings.

Silver Spring Networks Gets Green Light in Paris-Wide Deployment
Silver Spring Networks, a provider of wireless networking systems used for advanced utility-metering and smart-city applications, announced that following a pilot program in Paris, its communications and control modules will be deployed city-wide and used as part of an intelligent street light and traffic control system being managed by French energy services company EVESA. The firm employs a combination of light sensors and real-time weather conditions to manage when streetlights are powered on or off, as well as traffic flow sensors to manage traffic lights. EVESA will use Silver Spring's modules, installed in subterranean cabinet-based controllers, to control the lights based on its sensor network. Silver Spring Networks utilizes radios that communicate via a mesh network, following the IEEE 802.15.4g wireless communication protocol, and employ the IPv6 networking protocol.

EVESA's goal is to deliver the city of Paris a 30 percent reduction in energy use by 2020, through more efficient street lighting.

AvaLAN Introduces Solar-Power Kits for Remote Radios
AvaLAN Wireless, a company that sells secure Ethernet wireless radios (operating in the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radio bands) and appliances used for access control, smart grid, surveillance, industrial Ethernet, digital signage, remote sensing and remote control applications, is now selling solar-power kits designed to provide power to its wireless radios, even if they are installed in remote locations with no or unreliable grid power. The company has introduced three different kits, which generate 300, 600 or 900 watts, respectively. All include mounting brackets, cabling, charge controllers, weatherproof electronics enclosures, and one to three 300-watt solar panels. The kits' enclosures are designed to accommodate two 260Ah batteries (not included with the kits). The kits range in price from $4,650 to $7,714 and are available at AvaLAN's website.

Air-Quality Measurements for the Smart Home
Chip and sensor manufacturer ams reports that Withings, a consumer electronics firm whose line of connected devices are focused on personal health and wellness, is using the ams AS-MLV-P2 micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) gas sensor as part of its home-monitoring device, known simply as Home. The sensor measures ambient concentrations of gases associated with bad air quality, including alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, amines, and aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Withings is adding this sensor to its home monitor because long-term exposure to these types of volatile organic compounds can be harmful to human health at certain concentrations.

The Home device tracks the levels of these chemicals, and in the event that the sensor detects them at a concentration that could cause negative health impacts over long-term exposure, the device blinks red and sends the user an alert, via the Home smartphone app. In this way, users can turn on fans or open windows to diffuse the chemicals—either immediately or when they return home. Using cleaning products, painting, or burning aromatic candles could cause the Home device to trigger these air-quality warnings.

The Home device, released earlier this year, also contains a video camera, a motion sensor, and a two-way microphone. When it detects noise or motion, it triggers a recording and sends still images to the user via the app. Withings markets the unit as a home-security device that can also be used as a baby monitor. It links to a home network via a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.

Heiko Ulmer, the director of marketing for ams' chemical sensors, says the sensor was first deployed in 2000 and has long been used by automotive manufacturers as part of ventilation systems for managing a vehicle's air quality. More recently, a number of building-energy and automation-control systems deployed in Europe and Asia have begun using the AS-MLV-P2 gas sensor as part of their building-ventilation systems.

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