Every major electronic company seems to be jumping into the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. For example, AT&T and IBM have joined forces to develop and offer new products and services for the M2M market. The goal is to gain more insight about the data generated by M2M in a variety of industries, such as city planning and utilities, to help manage equipment and reduce costs.
B&B Electronics has teamed up with KORE and Raco Wireless, both M2M service providers, to offer its Spectre 3G cellular router in a starter kit that lets developers try out M2M applications before committing to a final service contract. The Spectre router provides 3G HSPA+ and GPRS/GSM cellular plus 10/100 Ethernet, RS-232/422/485, and Wi-Fi interfaces (Fig. 1).
Cisco’s “fog computing” solution is designed to aid in the implementation of the Internet of Everything (IoE). The Cisco IOx brings the open-source Linux operating system (OS) and Cisco’s IOS network OS together in a single networked device to handle data sensed in an IoE application. IOx initially will be available in Cisco industrial routers this spring.
Freescale Semiconductor is heavily into IoT with both hardware and software. It offers the Kinetis KL03 32-bit ARM processor for embedded wearable and IoT applications in a 1.6- by 2-mm package. Freescale also recently announced its wearables reference platform (WaRP), which supports the development of multiple types of fitness, health, and wearable designs. In addition, Freescale is working with Oracle to offer the One Box IoT Gateway Platform. It provides a way to build products based on the Java ME Embedded software, the MQX real-time operating system (RTOS), and Freescale’s ARM-based processors.
Greenvity recently introduced a line of modules for home IoT applications that use either ZigBee wireless or HomePlug Green physical-layer (PHY) power-line communications (PLC) technology. Its GV-Controller is a home gateway and lighting controller module. The GV-LED is an LED driver module. The GV-Sensor module is used to sense motion, light, or temperature.
Intel’s recently formed Internet of Things Solutions Group includes the Wind River business unit. Its main products will be the Atom E3800 processor family and the Quark SoC X1000 Pentium-class embedded systems-on-chip (SoCs).
Laird’s BT800 series modules use Bluetooth. Based on the dual-mode Bluetooth v4.0 standard, they are designed for handheld computers, barcode scanners, medical devices, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, and industrial cable replacement. A Laird Bluetooth USB dongle is available.
Lantronix offers a variety of M2M products and services. The xSenso remotely monitors and logs data from sensors. The tiny xPico Wi-Fi embedded device server provides serial to Wi-Fi connectivity (Fig. 2). The PremierWave high-speed cellular solution connects remote devices and mobile equipment. The company’s new professional services business will help develop and deploy new M2M products.
Lesswire’s WiBear ITS Car2x transceiver module helps integrators develop products for the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and roadside units (RSUs). It supports the IEEE 802.11p and ETSI ITS G5 wireless standards for the 5.9-GHz band as well as IEEE 802.1a/n.
Libelium and IBM are offering a 6LoWPAN/IPv6 IoT development platform combining the IBM Mote Runner software development kit (SDK) with Libelium’s Waspmote sensor platform. The 6LoWPAN stack source is available, and the sensor nodes are programmed in Java and C#.
Microsoft is offering its Windows Embedded OS for use in IoT applications. It will compete with BlackBerry’s QNX, Oracle’s Java ME Embedded and Java SE Embedded, Embedded Linux, and Google’s Android Embedded.
Murata’s SN8000 Wi-Fi 11n module targets home automation, industrial control smart energy, and medical applications. It uses Broadcom’s BCM43362 802.11b/g/n chipset and the Broadcom WICED Wi-Fi software solution. A development kit is available.
Novatel Wireless recently achieved AT&T network certification of its advanced M2M devices. The MiFi powered SA2100 is a programmable M2M gateway for commercial and consumer telematics and telemetry markets. The MT4100 is a GPS-based device for fleet management with driver behavior reporting, geo-fencing, and messaging.
Qualcomm Atheros is a big believer in IoT and M2M. Its QCA4002 and QCA4004 Wi-Fi chipsets and modules address home appliances, lighting, and security systems. They use the AllJoyn protocol framework. Also, Qualcomm’s QCA7000/7005 power-line communications (PLC) chips are based on the IEEE 1901 standard and interoperable with the popular HomePlug PLC-based products.
Semtech’s long-range (LoRa) SX127x family of wireless chips boasts IBM’s Mote Runner software to provide M2M or IoT connectivity applications up to 9 miles.
Sierra Wireless already provides AirPrime embedded cellular modules, AirLink gateways and routers, and AirVantage services and platforms. Now, its Legato development platform helps provide faster time-to-market for new M2M applications. This open-source software is based on Wind River Linux.
Telit Wireless, a longtime supplier of embedded cellular modules, and ILS Technology announced a new version of the deviceWISE Application Enablement Platform (AEP) that provides cloud service capabilities for M2M and IoT. The update offers a full range of standard application programming interfaces (APIs) to send and receive device and machine data stored in the cloud. TR50 standard compliant APIs can retrieve data via HTTP or MQTT. The Telit xE910 family of modules is widely used in M2M products.
The Texas Instruments ZigBee Light Link development kit lets consumers use their smartphone or tablet to control their LED lights with off/on commands or change their color or brightness.
Swiss company u-blox offers a wide range of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) modules for location-based M2M applications. The embedded MAX, NEO, and LEA modules can acquire and track all visible GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS, and SBAS satellites. The CAM-M8Q includes a built-in antenna (Fig. 3). The ARM-based CO27 Internet of Things Starter Kit uses a 2G, 3G, or CDMA cellular modem.
Vitesse Semiconductor’s recent Gigabit Ethernet chips target IoT end-point products and related infrastructure. IoT gateways and industrial IoT applications will use special switches to aggregate IoT data. These new ICs feature low-power Energy Efficient Ethernet, synchronization with IEEE1588 or Synchronous Ethernet, and special security options.
Wind River is providing a version of its software to facilitate the development of IoT applications. The Wind River Intelligent Device Platform targets gateways and hubs. Also, ThingMagic’s Mercury xPRESS platform aids in the development of IoT applications using RFID wireless.
Finally, the Wi-SUN Alliance creates interoperable wireless solutions for use in energy management and smart utility network applications. It recently announced the certification of a product supporting the ECHONET Profile developed by NEC and Toshiba.