IoT News Roundup

Dell, ThingWorx partnering to help enterprise customers deploy IoT; new Semios module tips farmers off to impending frosts; ams NFC module powers keyless car entry and start; OIC adds bevy of new members.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
May 29, 2015

Dell Services Becomes ThingWorx Partner, Integrator
Dell Services, a business consultancy arm of Texas-based computer giant Dell, has begun working with IoT platform provider ThingWorx to develop and deploy IoT-based solutions for Dell's enterprise customers. In order to serve clients interested in employing Internet of Things technology within their businesses, Dell Services has joined the ThingWorx System Integrator Program, which empowers companies to rapidly deploy the ThingWorx IoT platform, as well as to help simplify the architecture, implementation and installation of IoT solutions. The companies will tailor their services to clients in the health-care, manufacturing and banking industries.

Semios Creates Frost-Alert Application for Farmers
Vancouver-based Semios, which uses networks of sensors, cameras and communications equipment to help farmers gain visibility into events inside orchards, vineyards or sites where any high-value crops are raised, has released a new product called Frost Module. When weather data indicates the possibility of frost, sensors located throughout the orchard or vineyard monitor for temperature inversions (up to 20 feet high) every 10 minutes, and Semios software performs wet bulb calculations, which determine the frost-point temperatures, based on air temperature and humidity. Based on the current stage of the crop's growth, the Semios Frost Module will send the user text and e-mail alerts so that they can take action to mitigate negative impacts of frost, such as by running wind turbines to circulate air. The annual cost for the Semios Frost Module is US$10 per acre, with subscription platform packages starting at US$60 per acre per year.

Semios also sells a system that uses cameras and insect traps to track the reproductive cycles of certain pests, by releasing pheromones to confuse and disrupt the inserts' mating rituals. This helps growers ensure greater yield, while also reducing their reliance on pesticides. Other modules are designed specifically for controlling plant disease and irrigation systems.

Marquardt NFC Module Turns Phones Into Keys
Austrian chip and sensor manufacturer ams reports that automotive equipment supplier Marquardt, which makes electro-mechanical and electronic switches and switching systems, is integrating ams' AS3914 NFC 13.56 MHz reader module to power a keyless-entry component, which Marquardt is marketing to carmakers. It will be used in the next generation of production vehicles from an undisclosed European premium carmaker.

The Marquardt NFC module can be mounted inside a car door handle, in addition to a center console. To operate the device, a driver would need a smartphone, a smartwatch or some other device with an embedded NFC module that has been paired to the car. The NFC module embedded in the door continually scans for NFC devices. By holding the paired NFC device within 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) of the door handle, the driver will be able to unlock and enter the car. Inside the vehicle, a second AS3914 NFC 13.56 MHz reader module will authenticate the driver and unlock the ignition, allowing him or her to start the car.

According to ams, the AS3914 module offers a unique antenna-tuning feature, high RF power output and a sleep mode that scans for tags and then powers up the module when a NFC device is detected. This low-power wake-up feature draws just 5µA when polling every 100 milliseconds.

Open Interconnect Consortium Adds 25 Members
The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an Internet of Things standards and certification organization, has attracted 25 new member organizations during the first half of 2015. The full list of new members, which includes corporations and research institutions from all over the world, such as Honeywell and Seoul National University, is available on the OIC website.

The OIC has also made agreements with two interoperability organizations, the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Forum. These groups develop and promote interoperability guidelines for digital media devices and networking protocols, respectively, for personal computers and ancillary devices and connectivity equipment, such as Wi-Fi routers. The agreements are designed to ensure that the standards and guidelines that all of these industry groups promote are broadly compatible with each other.

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