Onze startup Babbler wint prijs in Duitsland voor beste startup.

Onze IoT startup Babbler heeft vanmiddag in Dusseldorf een substantiele prijs gewonnen voor beste startup. Van 31 startups uit heel Europa zaten we bij de beste drie!

Zie www.babbler.io

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Black Swan at IoT TechDay 2016

Two ‘things’ stood out firmly today at the IoT Tech Day 2016 in Utrecht. Both are potentially disruptive in nature. Ironically they are disruptive for precisely the ‘disruptiveness of IoT’ we all start to believe is actually upon us today.

First a simple but nonetheless scary observation: there is too much contention for space in the 2.4Ghz radio bandwidth range. Not just WiFi access points – 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n – flood the spheres but also BlueTooth devices, car alarm systems, microwave ovens, DECT phones, ZigBee devices and even home video broadcasts tend to talk heavily and loud in this part of the spectrum. So if you want to make sure that your connected thing will be able to deliver its data or collect its commands in a timely and disruption-free fashion you will have to connect your thing elsewhere. The 5Ghz range is still relatively quiet but the question remains, for how long? And what if every Bob and Alice start to connect all their gear and flood the available space?

The Dutch Radiocommunications Agency, the national expert in (and enforcer of) the regulation of bandwidth use, does not know. And they are proud to admit to their lack of insight. At this point they are not even sure if certain parts of the frequency ranges should be regulated or not. They are however currently creating scenario’s that will help them draft up policies for future regulation. These scenario’s will be based on rational and logical combinations of plausible but yet unknown variables. How many devices, what type of communication, what density of connections, which networks? Coming September they will publish their findings.

Why they do not know, you ask? Because they believe they – and we, the IoT practitioners – have stumbled upon a ‘black swan’ (Look for Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable). An animal so rare that it upsets all our previous observations and calculations. A highly disruptive animal because it challenges the expertise of the experts. So our Radiocommunications Agency’s advice is as simple as it is dumbfounded: “Do not trust the expert in this matter”. Try to figure it out for yourself by experimenting, joining forces with others, by failing fast and moving on.

Laughable as this might seem, they do have an excellent point: IoT in it’s current shape is unfinished business. A lot of data, yes. A lot of potential, sure. A flurry of technical excitement, absolutely. But all of this to no clear end. There are no killer apps for IoT, yet. Maybe this is an advantage, actually. If you can find a well defined problem, if you are willing and able to imagine a fitting approach toward a solution. Then you might have your killer app sooner than expected. We tend to help with that. Join us and let’s create your own scenario’s.

Showcasing our LoRa device at the KPN IoT Roadshow

Dutch telecom operator KPN is rolling out its LoRaWan network in the Netherlands. To promote LoRa based solutions like our Babbler (www.babbler.io), KPN is running a roadshow in Dutch cities.

The following photos give an impression of the first roadshow event at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol:

 

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Visit us at Fruit Logistica 2016 in Berlin

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We will be demonstrating Babbler between 3 and 5 February at the Fruit Logistica 2016 in Berlin. Fruit Logistica attracts over 60.000 visitors every year, with over 2800 exhibitors. Please drop by if you are visiting and try to enter our shipping container without being detected!

We are at Hall 21 stand F04 (EU-FINISH).

More details: http://www.babbler.io/blog/

 

The Internet of Things will be much, much bigger than mobile

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At the Mobile World Congress 2015 we attended the 4YFN innovation sessions, many of which addressed the expected Internet of Things revolution.

The following is a summary of a presentation by Alexander Izomisov of Ericsson on the Internet of Things and why it will have more impact than most people expect. Ericsson supplies telecommunications hardware for many of the worlds network operators.

What is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things (IoT for short) is a buzzword in the high-tech and startup landscape. IoT encompases all the devices we are starting to use that access or put data on the internet. Cars, heart-rate monitors, vending machines, weather stations, thermostats and many more devices have suddenly become ‘smart’ by being connected to the internet.

50 billion internet devices in 2020

From a telecom perspective this changes the world fundamentally. Between 2010 and 2015 the voice connections handled by mobile networks doubled as more consumers adopted mobile phones. That number is expected to grow to 9,5 Billion users in 2020, after which everyone will have a phone and the volume of voice calls will probably flatten out (you can only speak to so many people on the phone or watch so many youtube video’s on your smartphone – even if you are a teenager 😉 ).
Data however is a completely different story. There is no real limit to the number of connected devices you can own. I have a connected thermostat, connected TV and connected solar panel in my home, my car connects to the internet, i can buy internet connected lamp bulbs and so on. And that is just the devices that i make decisions about. Manufacturers are increasingly adding IoT tech to everything from coffee vending machines to greenhouse equipment. Between 2010 and 2015 the volume of data that mobile networks handled grew 14 fold and is growing exponentially. Whatever the number of IoT connected devices in 2020 (50 Billion according to some) it is clear we have a completely different order of magnitude growth than we saw with voice connections.

The networked society

Numbers aside, the internet of things will have a profound impact on our lives. Commonplace objects in our homes, workplaces and public spaces will be connected. We are entering what some call the ‘Networked society’ in which the concepts of network and connected devices will be redefined. And it will happen in the next 5-10 years.

Enter 5G

Mobile 3G and 4G networks using IPv4 simply cannot cope with the exponential growth of mobile data. 5G is the telecom technology that promises to keep the networks ticking over in the next 5 years. 5G promises much lower power consumption for connected, low power devices coupled with much higher bandwidth. It promises 100-1000x the bandwidth of current networks with much lower latency and the ability to cope with 100x as many devices. IPv6 will allow the 50 Billion devices to have their own address on the network.

IoT standards for your connected coffee

Freshly brewed from the Mobile World Congress 2015…

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The internet of things(IoT for short) encompasses many devices made by many different vendors. Internet standards such as REST, HTTP and IPv4 are not suitable for many of these devices. So vendors are creating their own protocols for communication and management of sensors and devices. That means two vendor’ ’smart’ devices with the same function will not work together. So if you buy a thermometer for inside your house and a thermometer from another vendor for in your garden you will likely need a different app to access each. This is annoying for consumers, adds hurdles for vendors and is generally silly. By analogy, imagine if electricity sockets were not standardized in a country. You would need US power sockets and Euro D power sockets in the same room.
So it would be great if a bunch of thermometer vendors agreed to use the same protocols. The good news is that standards are emerging fast:

  • Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a document transfer protocol for constrained devices. In CoAP every byte counts. It sits on the lightweight UDP transport protocol and adds reliability and meaningful semantics for data exchange between devices and servers on the internet.
  • MQTT is a publish/subscribe messaging protocol designed for lightweight M2M communications. It was originally developed by IBM and is now an open standard. A drawback is that it requires TCP, which is a greater burden on connected devices. Keep in mind these are tiny devices with not much memory, often running on a battery.
  • Lightweight Machine to Machine (LWM2M) adds specifications for remote device management on top of CoAP. Basically it provides standards for reading and writing values or triggering commands on remote IoT devices. LWM2M is provided by the Open Mobile Alliance, a non-profit organisation which provides standards for the telecoms industry. The Open Mobile Alliance also provides a central registry with generic descriptions of many device types. Vendors can register their specific devices in th registry.

ARM endorses CoAP, LWM2M and MQTT

These standards are starting to get serious traction. For example ARM, the company that makes and ships tens of bilions of central processing chip for just about anything that moves (smartphones, tablets, sensors, beacons etc), is including native CoAP, MQTT and LWM2M support in their free mbed operating system which will be available at the end of 2015.

Connected coffee

The following shows a demonstration setup by Nordic semiconductors, which produces ARM based chips and components for IoT devices. The cup has a bluetooth low energy beacon which is detected by a bluetooth low energy sensor on the coffee machine. The coffee machine communicates over the internet using a bluetooth gateway on a Raspberry Pi.

Simply place the cup and the machine looks up your coffee preferences and makes coffee!

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