The IoT For All team canvased nearly 4,000 exhibitors spread out over 2.75 million square feet and trekked over 7 miles each day to discover the hidden IoT gems at CES. Beyond the headline-grabbing autonomous concept cars and cuddly but somewhat creepy AI-powered robots, we found some cool companies making meaningful progress in the journey toward a connected world. Below are our six favorites from the show floor that probably didn’t get the coverage they deserve.
It looks like 2018 is shaping up to (finally) be the year of enterprise IoT. There are numerous factors at play including increased standardization at the protocol level, continued gains in cloud computing, the availability of several low-cost, wide-area wireless connectivity options such as LTE-M, NB-IoT, and LoRa, and a plethora of inexpensive and diminutive sensors that can be embedded into nearly anything. We’re excited to see how things play out!
1. Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF)
The OCF is a large and growing industry consortium that unites several formerly disparate organizations including the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), IoTivity, and the AllJoyn Alliance. The mission of the organization is to establish and certify the interoperability standard for connected devices – enabling them to discover and communicate with one another, regardless of manufacturer, operating system, chipset, or physical transport.
Nearly every major player in the technology industry is an active member, plus hundreds of smaller companies, and momentum appears to be gaining in adopting the standard.
OCF is active in the open source community and provides specifications, reference implementations, and oneIoTa, data models in RAML and JSON format, to accelerate integration and deployment. They also offer a certification program that ensures that OCF certified products are fully discoverable and interoperable across the network.
At their booth in CES, OCF demonstrated a fully interactive Smart Home concept with connected refrigerators, locks, HVAC units, alarm systems, and other components from various vendors including Samsung and LG.
Devices that are OCF certified are guaranteed to be interoperable and seamlessly connect to the network – enabling consumers to quickly assemble an integrated smart home out of various manufacturer’s products.
2. Greenwave Systems
Greenwave Systems is a global IoT company that provides managed technology products and services to mobile carriers, telecommunications companies, utilities, and other service providers. Their AXON Predict platform provides a powerful drag-and-drop analytics engine and data visualization capability that works both at the edge and in the cloud – enabling natural language queries and a dynamic “what if” scenario exploration.
With AXON Predict, enterprise customers and data scientists can quickly maneuver through massive amounts of data and tease out insights that lead to better operations – especially in the data-intensive world of the Industrial Internet of Things.
Greenwave also provided a preview of a very slick, low-cost, battery-powered asset tracker based on standard LTE technology that could shake up the market later this year. If it can deliver the performance described to us, we expect customer demand to be very high. Stay tuned to further developments and announcements from them as Mobile World Congress approaches in February.
IOTAS has created a data-driven, multifamily software platform that enables property owners and apartment managers to add smart home solutions for their tenants. Apartment managers that partner with IOTAS receive a fully installed, turnkey solution that includes all sensors, connectivity, and third-party integration.
Smart apartment buildings have numerous benefits including lowering friction for tenant turnover, better marketability, decreased operating costs, and appealing creature comforts for tenants. IOTAS’ customers have seen lift in lease rates as compared to standard non-smart apartment buildings and their companion app greatly simplifies the resident move-in/move-out process.
This convenience has been particularly appealing to tech-savvy millennials and have come to expect digital home features such as keyless locks, smart lighting, in-building notifications and social connectivity, and automated energy systems.
Kerlink is a leader in the carrier-grade, LoRa gateway market and announced its second generation of products under the Wirnet iBTS brand. They also sell one of the few weatherproof, 64-channel gateways on the market and have been recently selected for large-scale LoRa deployments in India, Argentina, and New Zealand.
For CES, Kerlink partnered with Senet to deploy a regional LoRa network in the Las Vegas area to support demonstrations and future commercial deployments. The Las Vegas rollout represents the first production network in North America to support native LoRaWAN geo-localization without GPS.
The technology, licensed from Semtech and based on Differential Time of Arrival (DTOA) algorithms, triangulates a device’s position using the arrival time of signals to multiple gateways within a local network. Accuracy is slightly less than standard GPS, typically between 50-100 meters, but that is still sufficient for certain asset tracking use cases where the extra precision is not required.
ADT, in partnership with Reemo Health, introduced a customized Samsung Gear smartwatch with embedded cellular and Bluetooth capability designed for senior citizens and other at-risk populations.
The watch is provided as a completely managed turnkey service with no upfront cost based on a 2-year subscription. The offering includes the smartwatch, a wireless charging station, and 24/7 access to ADT trained professionals to assist with any emergency. To call an ADT professional, you simply swipe to the call center screen, press, and hold. The watch’s cellular capability takes care of the rest and you can talk directly to the service representative through the watch itself – no external device is needed.
ADT is currently marketing the product to businesses that cater to the elderly such as assisted care facilities and hospitals and plans to launch a consumer version later this year. The user interface of the watch is very elegant and easy-to-use and it can connect to other Bluetooth-enabled health and wellness devices such as blood pressure or glucose monitoring solutions. The entire product is very secure, compact, and most importantly, HIPAA compliant, since sensitive medical information may be stored and transmitted.
Taoglas is a global leader in the area of base station, external, and embedded antenna solutions for cellular (2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G), LPWAN (LoRa, Sigfox, LTE-M, NB-IoT), GPS/GNSS, and short-range (Bluetooth, WiFi, Zigbee).
Unless you’re an RF engineer, it can be difficult to fully comprehend how important antennas are to the overall reliability and performance of your wireless IoT system. Because miniaturization is so important in IoT applications, much of the focus these days has been on embedded chip-level antennas that are specifically tuned to the environment and frequency in which they operate.
Taoglas recently released their Terrablast 2.4 GHz embedded antenna made out of a glass-reinforced epoxy laminate that is 30% lighter than ceramic and very impact resistant. To demonstrate its ability to take a licking and keep on ticking, they heaved it off of a 39-story building and posted the video to YouTube.
Who says B2B antenna marketing has to be boring?
Hope everyone in the IoT ecosystem enjoys an innovative and prosperous 2018. See you at IoT Evolution in Orlando later this month!