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Category "Digital"

21Aug

Why IoT Platforms

by Team Digireach

An IoT Platform enables direct provisioning, management, and automation of connected devices within the Internet of Things Universe. It’s basically a multi-layer technology that connects the hardware, irrespective of it type, to the cloud using flexible connectivity options, security mechanisms and data processing powers.

We’ve seen what an IoT Platform is (for more detailed information, click here), so now let us see why an organization should use an IoT Platform, and what factors to keep in mind before selecting a platform.

Because IoT is a system of systems i.e. it’s a network of devices and software applications, it has a lot of sub-domains of expertise, which is rarely accommodated by a single organization in itself. Since IoT depends on the correct synthesis of engineering fields as distinct as mechanical, electrical, software, etc, IoT Platforms are a great way to overcome technical difficulties arising from managing various teams of specialized engineers.

However, a single IoT platform cannot cater to all the various needs of the industry. Thus, there are a near infinite number of platforms for the various different breeds of applications, to cater to the needs of all industries and organizations.

Unlike other platforms (mobile platforms, desktop platforms, etc.), IoT Platforms have a lot more variety and customizability available to the businesses which employ them. This, in addition to the various benefits which IoT offers, is why IoT Platforms are in such demand in recent times.

There are some factors which need to be considered while deciding on the most compatible IoT platform-

  1. Scalability and Flexibility- whether the platform will scale with the changes in scale of the system. Also, it has to flexible for the various technological changes which will undoubtedly occur every few years, i.e. the network should be integrable with different networks.
  2. Stability- the platform provider should be trustworthy and be capable of providing the platform for a long term. If the provider folds, the business may crash.
  3. Model Pricing and Business type- whether the platform is suitable for the type of business it needs to be used for, and also whether the pricing is suitable for the services offered.
  4. Time to Market- i.e. the time it will take before the platform is up and running for use in public domain, and how the provider would help in getting there.
  5. Security- lastly, one of the most important factors, security. Security is absolutely critical to every IoT system. Each aspect of the platform should have security built into it. Device-to-cloud security, application authentication, data encryption, etc are some of the things to be on the lookout for.

IoT solutions are getting more and more complex and dynamic, involving larger ecosystems of devices. With all the new types of remote interactions between humans and devices, IoT platforms are spearheading a new model for the digital transformation.

11Jul

Sensors and Data Streams in IoT

by Team Digireach

Internet of Things (IoT) brings a whole new world of data, real-time streaming requirements, operational difficulties, security, and a large stream of massive data that needs to be made available for use at scale. IoT devices find application in various settings- factories, industries, power plants, vehicles, etc. to name a few. These devices output massive amounts of data from the sensors they use. This data is streamed non-stop and is used for making future predictions, assess the current conditions, optimize the working, etc.

The data from the onboard sensors is based on things like humidity, temperature, air conditions, luminance, etc. The data from these sensors is used by billions of other devices, people, organizations and places. While the management of such a network has its own problems, the opportunities are abundant too.

First, let’s talk about the sensors. Sensors first appeared decades ago, as a means to detect changes in quantity and give the output as an electrical or optical signal. They have been used for many purposes and in various fields over the years, from utilities and energy, to manufacturing and industries. Now with the rise of IoT, the uses of sensors – and the data streaming from them – has diversified manifold and continues to do so. From the largest of aircrafts to the smallest of pacemakers, the data from the sensors flows from the devices to the network and back and this has made the IoT a major contributor to Big Data.

Today, organizations are investing heavily in capturing and store the data from the sensors, but it is extraction and analysis of that data which is the daunting task. To take full advantage of data streams in the IoT, organizations must understand the exploding number of ways “big” IoT data needs to be filtered, mashed up, compared, contrasted, interpolated and extrapolated. The 4 ‘V’s which need to be considered by the organization are-

  1. Volume- whether the massive amount of data being received can be accessed, stored, processed and analyzed.
  2. Variety- whether the various types of data and their formats can be managed on the fly.
  3. Velocity- whether the data can be captured and analyzed as fast as the rate at which it is being generated.
  4. Veracity- whether the data has been filtered, validated or cleansed and made trustworthy enough for use as basis of data-driven decisions.

If these conditions are suitably met by the organization, they can easily distinguish themselves from their competitors and be at the forefront of the IoT Industrial Revolution aka Industry 4.0.

7Jun

IoT in Utilities

by Team Digireach

 

IoT is considered as the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. The concept of IoT is to develop advanced solutions and services, enhance productivity & efficiency, solve critical problems, and improve real-time decisions. IoT is changing industry business models, and the utility industry is investing in IoT technology to transform its operations and enhance customer experience. IoT connected utilities can monitor and regulate operations in real-time to maximize efficiency and perform preventive maintenance. Moreover, IoT accelerates digital transformation in utilities.

Implementation of IoT can drastically change the direction the utility industry is headed towards. Many utility companies are on the verge if adopting IoT. Simply the investment in smart grid, smart meters, and home automation can allow utility companies to comprehensively recapture the energy industry and drive top-line growth.

When the utility industry adopts IoT, it connects with the consumer, with the grid, with the world, on a whole new scale. There’s a huge influx of data that can be harnessed to improve services. Companies can utilize smart meters and grids to optimize how the power is distributed. These systems enable greater forecasting capabilities, thereby driving down costs of generation through more efficient scheduling and reliability in the grid, as well as enabling customers to foresee spending patterns and better plan their energy usage over time.

A few applications and benefits of IoT in utilities:

  1. Smart meters are IoT-connected sensors on consumer utility lines. These report data back directly to the company, enabling real-time monitoring and analyzing of data. This can also alert company of maintenance issues and help resolve issues quicker.
  2. Condition-based maintenance routines can be improved by utilities using sensors which measure performance. Data is collected via communication networks to pinpoint problems and predict possible issues using analytics.
  3. Smart buildingscan control light and temperature in real time for maximum comfort and efficiency using interconnected sensors and building control systems.
  4. Precise water irrigation systemswith IoT sensors, including trickle and subsurface methods, greatly reduce water consumption and have the ability to integrate with utility demand response systems.
30May

Deployment of IoT

by Team Digireach

The Internet of Things (IoT), also sometimes referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE), consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. These devices, often called “connected” or “smart” devices, can sometimes talk to other related devices, a process called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This technology allows for a level of real-time information that we’ve never had before. We can monitor our homes and offices remotely to keep them safe and efficient. Businesses can improve processes to increase productivity and reduce material waste and unforeseen downtime. Sensors in city infrastructure can help reduce road congestion and warn us when infrastructure is in danger of crumbling.

However while this may sound simple enough, its proper deployment is anything but that. An IoT deployment is a process. Unless a business undertakes and completes each part of the process, the deployment will be rich with problems as well as data. Around the world, businesses of many sizes are hitting roadblocks because their IoT deployment is delayed, stalled, refused to work as designed, failed to pass regulatory requirements or didn’t deliver the expected results–sometimes all the above.

  1. Planning- The first step to a good IoT deployment is its planning. This is more about the vision that the management team has in mind about the project than the actual technological aspect of IoT. The management team needs to have a clear grasp of what they and the project have to deliver or the project will be doomed to a premature and unfinished end.
  2. Designing- After setting business goals, designing a compliant network that will deliver them is the second stage. A thorough network design and specification needs to cover the schematic of the network, the choice of components, their locations and identify any issues that might crop up at any point.
  3. Certification- Cellular based IoT deployments also require certain certifications and clearances for the network as well as the devices on it.  Ensuring devices are approved is vital to get the regulatory and carrier sign-offs that mean your deployment can go live.
  4. Testing- No deployment can go live without a thorough period of testing. Testing should not just be about the technology. It is important also to check against the original business goals.

When this process is complete you get to the fifth and final stage where an IoT deployment begins a digital transformation, improves operational efficiency, cuts costs, drives revenues and unlocks profitability.

21Mar

The Internet of Electric Cars

by Team Digireach

Electric cars are the heroes that humanity needs

Electric cars are the need of the hour with global warming looking over our shoulders every second. They’re eco-friendly, highly responsive to controls, quiet and less maintenance. The perfect counter to the alarmingly high carbon footprint on Earth.

Of course, they come with disadvantages too. With a range of 60 to 130 miles per charge on an average, they have mileage significantly lesser than gas powered cars. That can be a quite a hassle if you frequently take long trips. Few can afford the luxury models that give an output of 300 miles per charge.

Charging an Electric car is a time-consuming task as the process can take up to whopping 8 hours to complete. Even if you opt for fast charging, it will still take 30 minutes for you to be on your way. It is a major disadvantage when time is of essence. Time is of essence and this delay can be a major deterrent for people considering buying an electric car.

EVs and their battery packs are expensive, and they need frequent replacement. However, state incentives and fuel cost savings can make up for the difference in cost incurred. And of course, contributing to a cleaner environment and save the human race from extinction due to global warming is both the goal and the reward in itself.

These problems need not be the end of the world though. Even electric cars deserve a hero and that hero is called the Internet of Things.

All of the problems mentioned above can be resolved to one degree or the other with IoT. With its remarkable ability for remote monitoring, predicting, identifying and resolving the problem can be done in a jiffy. The result is the reduction of unnecessary expense, and a hassle free trip. IoT also provides valuable information about charging stations nearby. And of course, you can access updates in your EV as soon as they are launched.

10 percent of transport vehicular emissions are just from vehicles stuck in traffic jams. With IoT connecting the car to traffic signals, public transport timetables and real time updates of traffic, harmful emissions will reduce drastically. By the year 2025, more than 50 billion vehicles enabled with IoT will hit the road. Just enabling a car with IoT is doing a lot to reduce emissions. IoT in an electric vehicle is a planet saver.

 

 

16Mar

Do Solar panels and Smart meters make good partners?

by Team Digireach

By now, we’ve all heard about the Internet of Things. This concept involves connecting mundane devices to a grid, thus enabling them to communicate either with each other or a central base.

IoT is user friendly. The daunting factor of technology is omitted by the simple measure of providing an interface that compacts heavy technological information into short, precise capsules that can be accessed with just one click. Mobile phones are the most popular choices for the interface but there are a lot of options that are available to suit different needs.

IoT’s biggest achievement is the ability to monitor devices remotely and take the necessary actions. The ramifications of this power is astounding. For one, it gives us a way to solve the current crisis of global warming that could mean the end of our existence by enabling us to use inexhaustible sources of energy like Solar power. Solar panels require constant maintenance and checks to function smoothly which is impractical in terms of cost labour and viability. Remote monitoring changes that scenario drastically.

With the increasing popularity of smart meters provided with the current electricity supply system, it was only natural for solar companies to also jump on to the bandwagon and provide customers with its myriad benefits.

So what are the advantages of smart meters?

It is installed at no extra cost.

It saves time and human resources by eliminating the need to manually check meters.

Smart meters give an exact record of electricity used and hence allows companies to charge accordingly as opposed to bills calculated on estimated usage.

But how beneficial has this really been for solar energy users?

While solar panels and smart meters are definitely compatible, there have been issues that have resulted in irate customers.

Foremost among the complaints are that bills are calculated on the basis of estimated usage or on the amount of electricity supplied. This happens because supplier does not get accurate export data from the network that connects them to customers’ smart meters. As a result, bills get doubled or tripled.

Getting a smart meter installed isn’t compulsory. You can hang on to your old meters as long as they function well.

But all hope is not lost. The benefits of smart meters can still be accessed with the help of the Internet of Things.

With IoT’s characteristic detailed monitoring and hyper alertness for any discrepancies, it is possible for solar energy providers to circumvent the problems of inaccurate billing. The quality of service and billing accuracy really depends on the supplier you choose so always ensure that you research your solar energy provider in detail.

 

 

 

 

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