News: Q&A with Glaze

In October Glaze conducted a seminar with more than 50 participants from many industries. The agenda comprised a review of the IoT landscape, an exploration of IoT cases and examples of how IoT-projects are successfully managed from idea to aftermarket. There was a very lively debate and there were many interesting perspectives and questions. We have selected a few of these questions and answers that we think have general interest:

What protocols will “win” in the future?

Fredrik Svensson, Glaze: “It is a relevant and hard question. Right now there is a lot of competition in the market in all segments, with many players on the low-power long-range technologies with little consolidation on the market and also a lot of fragmentation on the higher-bandwidth semi-long range technologies. On the short range high bandwidth market it seems that Wifi and Bluetooth have the market penetration to stay relevant and also transform their characteristics to suit many IoT scenarios. Who will win? Well, as is often the case I think that openness will eventually prevail and allow ecosystems to evolve. I would not be surprised if we would see GSM-based solutions take the leading role for long range solutions in the next years as this is an area where there already is a lot of investments in infrastructure and there is great coverage as well as a lot of technology development.”

In your case review, you hinted that you were early on fixed on a legacy product architecture that made certain things more complicated. Can you say that today with the new technologies that development is much faster?

Flemming von Holck, Glaze: “Well, you are right that if we had the same requirements then with today’s technologies we would have been able to complete the project faster. However, if we were to implement the same product today, I would assume that the requirements would have been that much higher, so that the total development time would roughly be the same. So in a way, certain elements such as mechanics, electronics and software always require a minimum of development time in order to create a satisfactory user experience. This also means that you when developing products today have to utilize the possibilities that new technology gives, otherwise you are creating products that will be obsolete when hitting the market.”

There is a lot of Industry 4.0 and IoT hype. What is the difference between Industry 4.0 and IoT?

Fredrik Svensson, Glaze: “In a way Industry 4.0 is just a specialization of IoT, sometimes referred to as IIoT, Industrial Internet-of-Things. IIoT incorporates machine learning and big data technology, harnessing the sensor data, machine-to-machine communication and automation technologies that have existed in industrial settings for years. The driving philosophy behind the IIoT is that smart machines are better than humans at accurately, consistently capturing and communicating data. This data can enable companies to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner, saving time and money and supporting business intelligence efforts. In manufacturing specifically, IIoT holds great potential for quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain traceability and overall supply chain efficiency.”

Let us know if you have any IoT questions you would like to discuss:
Managing Partner, Jakob Appel, jakob.appel@glaze.dk, +45 26 17 18 58

Positioning technologies currently applied across industries:

Global Navigational Satellite System: Outdoor positioning requires line-of-sight to satellites, e.g. GPS: the tracking device calculates its position from 4 satellites’ timing signals then transmits to receiving network
–    via local data network, e.g. wifi, proprietary Wide Area Network
–    via public/global data network, e.g. 3G/4G

Active RFID: A local wireless positioning infrastructure built on premises indoor or outdoor calculates the position based on Time of Flight from emitted signal & ID from the tracking device to at least 3 receivers or when passing through a portal. The network is operating in frequency areas such as 2.4 GHz WiFi, 868 MHz, 3.7 GHz (UWB – Ultra Wide Band), the former integrating with existing data network, the latter promising an impressive 0.3 m accuracy. Tracking devices are battery powered.

Passive RFID: Proximity tracking devices are passive tags detected and identified by a reader within close range. Example: Price tags with built-in RFID will set off an alarm if leaving the store. Numerous proprietary systems are on the market. NFC (Near Field Communications) signifies a system where the reader performs the identification by almost touching the tag.

Beacons: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals sent from a fixed position to a mobile device, which then roughly calculates its proximity based on the fading of the signal strength. For robotic vacuum cleaners an infrared light beacon can be used to guide the vehicle towards the charging station.

Dead Reckoning: Measure via incremental counting of driving wheels’ rotation and steering wheel’s angle. Small variations in sizes of wheel or slip of the surface may introduce an accumulated error, hence this method is often combined with other systems for obtaining an exact re-positioning reset.

Scan and draw map: Laser beam reflections are measured and used for calculating the perimeter of a room and objects. Used for instance when positioning fork-lifts in storage facilities.

Visual recognition: The most advanced degree of vision is required in fully autonomous vehicles using Laser/Radar (Lidar) for recognition of all kinds of object and obstructions. A much simpler method can be used for calculating a position indoor tracking printed 2D barcodes placed at regular intervals in a matrix across the ceiling. An upwards facing camera identifies each pattern and the skewed projection of the viewed angle.

Inertia: A relative movement detection likewise classical gyroscopes in aircrafts now miniaturised to be contained on a chip. From a known starting position and velocity this method measures acceleration as well as rotation in all 3 dimensions which describes any change in movement.

Magnetic field: a digital compass (on chip) can identify the orientation provided no other magnetic signals are causing distortion.

Mix and Improve: Multiple of the listed technologies supplement each other, well-proven or novel, each contributing to precision and robustness of the system. Set a fixpoint via portals or a visual reference to reset dead reckoning & relative movement; supplement satellite signal with known fixpoint: “real time kinematics” refines GPS accuracy to mere centimetres; combine Dead Reckoning and visual recognition of 2D barcodes in the ceiling.

LoRaWAN: A low power wide area network with wide reach. An open standard that runs at unlicensed frequencies, where you establish a network with gateways.

Sigfox: A low power wide area network reminiscent of LoRa. Offered in Denmark by IoT Danmark, which operates the nationwide network that integrates seamlessly to other national Sigfox networks in the world.

NFC: Used especially for wireless cash payments.

Zigbee: Used especially for home automation in smart homes, for example. lighting control.

NB-IoT: Telecommunications companies’ IoT standard. A low-frequency version of the LTE network.

2-3-4G Network: Millions of devices are connected to a small SIM card, which runs primarily over 2G, but also 3G and 4G.

Wifi: The most established standard, especially used for short-range networks, for example. in production facilities.

CATM1: A low power wide area network, especially used in the United States.