With Ford SYNC successfully giving millions of customers the in-car connectivity they crave, Ford and Bug Labs are together exploring the next frontier in how to make connectivity more available, affordable and personalized for the hundreds of millions of consumers expected to buy a vehicle across the globe by 2020.
Today, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Ford and Bug Labs, an open-source hardware and software provider that offers the tools and support needed to prototype, pilot and produce innovative networked devices, announced a joint development agreement to collaborate on a new in-car research platform named OpenXC.
This may not be the most expensive smart grid acquisition so far this year. But in terms of cementing cellular networks’ place in the smart metering landscape, it’s major news. The two plan to merge their two platforms into Itron's OpenWay system, Philip Mezey, president and chief operating officer for Itron's global energy business, said in a Wednesday interview.
We’ve been waiting for over a year to get some details on just how Cisco’s disruptive, end-to-end internet protocol-enabled smart meter architecture might roll out to real-world markets. Well, we’ve got those details, and they add up to a very competitive offering from Cisco and meter partner Itron -- if the smart meter market isn’t all sealed up, that is.
As one of the leading manufacturers of the equipment that routes data around the Internet, Cisco Systems is in good position to know just how many 0s and 1s go zipping around all day, every day. Today it released an annual analysis of how much Internet usage is growing on mobile devices, and the report produced some staggering numbers.
For example, Cisco estimates that the amount of data that was ferried to and from mobile devices last year was eight times greater than the data on all of the Internet in 2000. Global mobile data traffic is expected to see an 18-fold increase between 2011 and 2016. Not surprisingly, video is a big reason: Cisco expects there to be 7.6 exabytes of data flowing to mobile devices every month in 2016, about 70 percent of the total of 10.8 exabytes of data per month. (An exabyte is more than 1 billion gigabytes and equivalent to 250 million DVDs, if that helps you wrap your mind around it.)
Then came the home energy management flood, with dozens of startups and a handful of IT giants aiming millions of dollars of investment at the still-nascent market. Ambient, despite ongoing programs with big utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Baltimore Gas & Electric and Commonwealth Edison, dropped off the radar for a bit.
On Monday Texas Instruments follows Broadcom by implementing a fat radio chip that can offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM radio, NFC and GPS, plus Russian satellite system Glonass, in one package. But what is different about this chip is that it also has a controller that can manage some tasks usually handled by the phone’s processor. And keeping the processor asleep is a key way to save on power.
Are consumers ready for the next-generation home network that will transform how all of us will interact with our home entertainment systems, as well as our home's security, energy, health monitoring and environmental systems?
Many technology watchers have predicted the arrival of the automated smart home - that home owners will seek out and install the latest, coolest gizmos that will make a house truly smart. Well, it ain't gonna happen that way.
Instead, powered by ZigBee RF4CE - a low-power, low-data-rate version of Wi-Fi, this new network is the choice of the world's cable companies and service providers as the way to introduce new services and applications to the home. Cable companies have realized that is not enough to provide high-quality video and web connectivity. If they want to engage their customers and keep them as subscribers in a web connected world, they already have the total infrastructure in place to provide a wide range of other services.
In the Qingyuan Forest, located in southern China's Guangdong Province, a wireless ZigBee-based sensor system—with nodes installed on poles and mounted on treetops—can detect environmental changes in the air and alert park officials in the event of a wildfire. The solution is a pilot of the Early Stage Wildfire Detection and Prediction Wireless Sensor Network system, provided by Insight Robotics Ltd., a Hong Kong startup company founded by researchers at the University of Hong Kong. Insight Robotics developed the system in cooperation with the Qingyuan Forestry and Guangdong Academy of Forestry. The system also includes a thermal imaging camera to seek visual evidence of flames.
Insight Robotics, formerly known as Insight Innovation and Technology Ltd., was founded in 2009 by a group of mechanical, electrical and software engineers from the University of Hong Kong. The company's early work focused on the use of robotic technology not only to detect flames, but also to aid in the rescuing of people from fires using unmanned robotic units.
The word of the hour at DistribuTECH 2012 was 'interoperability.' That’s no surprise, since more than half of the utilities' responses to a KEMA survey during the event indicated that they had selected their smart grid technology based on performance and interoperability.
But just a few paragraphs down in the early findings from the survey of more than 100 vendors and utilities, it's reported that, while nearly half (46.8 percent) had tested the security of their systems, 15 percent indicated they would not test security capabilities. “Cyber security awareness is low; it is important,” KEMA said of the findings, “but not a main concern.”
The introduction of the Smart Grid on a mass scale requires robust and reliable communication services. In general, a combination of two communication systems is taking on the challenge: short range or mesh wireless and narrowband power line communication (N-PLC). Both systems face challenges when millions of devices send and receive information and each of them has its place in various deployment environments and regional regulatory climates.
The idea of using the AC mains for communications is not new. The concept of sending communication signals on the same pair of wires that are used for power distribution dates to patents from 1924 implementing "Carrier Transmission Over Power Circuits”. The simple carrier signaling evolved to using various modulation schemes that comprise N-PLC. Only in the last two decades, however, advancements in communications technology made N-PLC a commercially viable solution for large scale deployments.