IoT News Roundup

Deloitte reports on IoT adoption in the oil and gas industry; Redpine Signals launches IoT-enablement platform; Gimbal takes beacons outside through outdoor media company partnerships; Identiv Labs helps startup fight shoe counterfeits.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 21, 2015

Deloitte Report Gauges the IoT's Role, Potential for Oil & Gas Industry
A new report from the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions finds that for the oil and gas industry, deriving economic value from investments in IoT technologies is not a foregone conclusion, especially as newly opened sources of supply have driven down oil prices.

The report offers specific guidance for upstream (exploration and production), midstream (transportation and storage) and downstream (refiners, retailer) players. Across this entire chain, the report concludes that IoT technologies can be employed toward "improving reliability, optimizing operations, and creating new value." But segment-specific hurdles are in some cases limiting those outcomes.

Upstream players are plagued not by a lack of data—tens of thousands of sensors are generating 1.5 terabytes of data per day, according to a 2014 report from the 21st World Petroleum Congress—but by the complexity of making sense of it, "in large part due to a lack of open standards that is limiting the flow of data at the aggregate stage and thus analysis," the Deloitte says.

Companies that operate pipelines will reap limited value from deploying basic temperature, pressure or vibration sensors to ensure the integrity and safety of their oil transportation networks, Deloitte asserts. Instead, they need more advanced devices. Says the report: "TransCanada and Enbridge are testing four technologies that essentially see, feel, smell, and hear various aspects of their oil pipelines: vapor-sensing tubes that 'see' bitumen spilled by shooting air down a tube; a fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing system that 'feels' fluctuations in temperature caused by bitumen leaking into ambient soil; hydrocarbon sensing cables that send electric signals to 'smell' hydrocarbons; and a fiber-optic distributed acoustic sensing system that 'hears' sound variations and can indicate a pipeline leak."

The authors note that refiners are beginning to leverage the power of standardized sensor networks, paired with analytics software, to shift from "time-based preventive planning to condition-based predictive maintenance strategies." Meanwhile, the report suggests that fuel retailers seek to work with automakers that are deploying systems that guide drivers to those retailers, based on GPS and other connected-car technologies.

The full report is available for download here.

Redpine Signals Offering Device Makers an IoT-Enablement Platform
Redpine Signals, a fabless semiconductor that develops M2M devices and wireless system solutions, has launched the WyzBee IoT platform, a set of hardware and software tools designed to help device manufacturers embed IoT technology into their products. The platform includes the WyzBee board, which contains an ARM Cortex M4F microcontroller and a multi-protocol wireless module with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and ZigBee radios; six-axis inertial sensors; an infrared receiver; push-buttons; LEDs; USB ports; and a WyzBee Thing connector to support the addition of WyzBee Thing boards, such as a GPS module, touchscreen display or rechargeable battery. In addition to the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee software stacks, the module runs an embedded TCP/IP networking stack with SSL/TLS/HTTPS security. To ensure security, the chipset is authenticated through a physical unclonable function (PUF) function.

Redpine also offers application development support within IAR, Keil or CoIDE from CooCox development platforms. The WyzBee platform also includes a debugging tool called WyzBee Workbench, which users can access to troubleshoot common bugs.

The WyzBee IoT Platform kits and WyzBee THING boards are available now from Redpine Signals.

Gimbal Partnerships Expand Beacon Networks to New Venues
Outdoor advertising company do it outdoors, which provides mobile billboards via non-conventional out-of-home media formats, such as Segways, to deliver marketing campaigns for well-known brands, including Pepsi, PetSmart and Xfinity, has partnered with beacon manufacturer and proximity-based mobile engagement platform provider. Through the partnership, do it outdoors will affix Gimbal beacons to mobile billboard units and use them to help to engage consumers who have downloaded various brands' smartphone applications and opted into receiving push notifications triggered by Bluetooth radio transmissions.

Regis Maher, co-founder and president of do it outdoors, says his company's fleet of mobile billboards are dispatched to actively engage with consumers in public places. By pairing do it outdoors’ billboards with Gimbal's beacons, Maher says, his company can offer brands a new, more direct means of customer engagement, based on proximity.

Gimbal is also partnering with another out-of-home media company, Vector Media, which specializes in large-format transit advertising, to deploy Gimbal beacons on busses throughout the country. Initially, the beacons will be mounted to 500 busses across the country. Vector Media's advertising brands will be able to reach consumers with branded smartphone apps through push notifications, as they ride or even walk past a bus outfitted with one of the beacons (the beacons will be paired with from specific brands’ ads displayed on the sides of the buses).

Bluetooth-enabled smart phones can receive radio pings from Gimbal's beacons at a range of up to 50 meters, according to Gimbal.

Identiv Labs and Chronicled Creating Sneaker Authentication Platform
Early this year, RFID security solutions providerIdentiv launched a project called Identiv Labs, through which it partners with customers in order to accelerate their products into the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT). The Lab is now working with Chronicled, a company that is developing an authentication platform to fight counterfeiting in the $1 billion athletic shoe industry, as a service for sneaker collectors, retailers and brands. The platform will use a tamper-proof label that will validate each shoe using a combination of NFC, Bluetooth and digital certificates.

Retailers, collectors and brands will use a mobile app to document and confirm that the shoes are authentic, and to also track their chain of custody through the supply chain. Chronicled plans to launch its authenticated consumer platform called SmartLabels by the end of the year. The technology will be applied to more than 15,000 pairs of sneakers—though the company did not name which brands it is working with.

Identiv Labs says Chronicled is one of more than 30 existing Identiv Labs customers.

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