Who is at the coffee machine? Facial Recognition using Sigfox

Who is at the coffee machine? Facial Recognition using Raspberry Pi, OpenCV, and Sigfox.

Have you ever wonder how facial recognition works? Have you heard of Sigfox? Do you like Raspberries?

 

In this tutorial, we will see how to develop a prototype using a Raspberry Pi to recognize faces with OpenCV and send the Id of the recognized people through Sigfox Network.

 

In this tutorial, we will be using:

  • A Raspberry Pi 2 or 3
    I built this project using the Raspberry Pi 2. However, in order to write the tutorial, take screenshots, or just try, I’ve been using the model 3. It should work on both raspberries then.
  • An SD card
  • Shield SNOC with an antenna: http://yadom.fr/carte-rpisigfox.html
  • Camera Raspberry
  • An LCD display:
    I used the Grove-LCD RGB backlight: https://www.seeedstudio.com/item_detail.html?p_id=…
  • Few wires
  • Some carton to make the box
  • To prepare the Raspberry Pi, you also need a screen with HDMI port, a mouse, and a keyboard.

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How members of the Open-Source community contributed to launch an innovative solution to producing their own food.

From a Backyard Prototype to an Off-the-Grid Solar Smart Greenhouse. This is the story of myfood:

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“A new collective awareness is emerging – we’re taking control of our food system. Many people, however, seem to believe that food autonomy is out of reach. Some lack knowledge, some lack space, while others lack clear information. But myfood is excited to announce that it’s now possible to produce our own food in a simple, accessible and transparent manner. No prior experience required.”
Mickaël Gandecki, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

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It was the summer of 2015 and a 5-week accelerator program known as POC21 had nearly begun.

Engineer and financial-tech consultant Mickael Gandecki had been tinkering around with various methods of growing vegetables for years. The program, which took place at a 1500-acre castle outside Paris turned Gandecki’s prototype to a scalable product. Engineers, consultants, designers, and hobbyists brainstormed ways of decentralizing and securing food production. The winning concept chosen combined aquaponics, vertical farming, and permaculture. Most people have heard of these methods; however, not everyone knows where to get started, therefore the team’s goal was to find a way to make them easy to learn and implement. With the help of many contributors, the team has refined their solution many times throughout the last year. Contributors and participants make up the myfood Pioneer Citizen network. These members include people who support them and share a common vision of a sustainable future with fresh and healthy food for all.

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Within the year, the young startup deployed 20 smart greenhouses, allowing the community members to help spark innovations. These community members have reported a harvest between 1 kg and 1.5 kg (roughly 2 to 3 lbs) daily per greenhouse. The myfood systems are able to go completely off-the-grid with semi-transparent solar panels. The Raspberry Pi, Win10 IOT, Atlas Scientific sensors and the Sigfox network simplify the maintenance of the greenhouse. Users keep an eye on the health of their fish and vegetables remotely, automate water quality management, and have alerts sent to their smartphone when manual adjustments are needed.

The next steps for myfood include an expansion of their product offerings, a more powerful monitoring system, and a European wide launch in 2017. These product offerings include solutions from balconies, backyards and rooftops, up to small commercial farms.

These solutions are already available for those who want to join the Pioneer Citizen program at myfood.eu.

my food team

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Share your diving trips with TiFiz

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It’s never easy to share a passion like freediving with your loved one, especially when he doesn’t practice the same sport. Every year, I plan a few diving trips by the sea. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the blue, the real one, not a swimming-pool blue. To share my first diving trip in Port-Cros National Park with my sweetheart, I took a little box with me. I had initially bought it as safety gear, but in the end, it became much more than that! Have you heard about TiFiz? It is a water resistant GPS tracker with a battery that can last longer that any regular GPS available on the market. It is a concentrate of technology using a new network: Sigfox, which is dedicated to low-frequency connected objects.

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I discovered TiFiz during the crowdfunding campaign launched by Ticatag, a start-up from Lannion, in Brittany, France. I bought TiFiz because I was drawn to its ability to provide a waterproof geolocation system. How did I use TiFiz freediving? Before taking the box with me on a diving trip, I simply activate the tracker by creating an account on a website and subscribing to TiFiz small fee. It’s quite simple to do from a mobile phone or computer. I also had to select a mobile phone number and record a message – the message sent to the person when you press the magic button. I selected my sweetheart’s number.

My message was: “I will be diving here. If you don’t hear from me in two hours’ time, you may contact the coast guard.”

As I knew I would be traveling on a fully-equipped boat with a communication system, I attached TiFiz to my freediving bag to test it. TiFiz is water-resistant, but not waterproof. In case you considered taking the device underwater with you, it is not possible.

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To send the pre-recorded message, I just had to press the central button of the box. It is easy, even with gloves on.

The recipient of the SMS, in this case, my sweetheart will also receive the GPS coordinates.

This is my daily dive on a map within Port-Cros National Park. Amongst all the points represented on the map, only two were created by me, when I pressed the TiFiz safety button. The others were created automatically by TiFiz as we were moving with the boat. Tifiz has been designed to do so (regular geolocation) without any intervention by the person who’s carrying it.

It is quite reassuring, because if I was lost at sea without the ability to push the security button, the tracker would still be able to provide geolocation coordinates to help find me. Luckily, I never had the opportunity to test this GPS tracker in a critical situation.

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Anyway, TiFiz offered me the opportunity to share my first diving trip with my sweetheart, who had the option of following my daily dives through the geolocalized map.

Technology is great!

Costs

  • TiFiz costs 99 euros (I purchase mine at 85 euros with a three-month subscription included during the crowdfunding campaign).
  • After that, you need to add the access fees to the Sigfox network, which are not very high: around three euros per month.
  • Prepaid cards are also available starting at 20 euros for three months.

Discover more about Ticatag on their website

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Benefiting From the IoT Opportunity: Three industry trends that will make your deployment in 2017 a better one

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“Instead of focusing on the things in IoT, the focus will shift on what the things produce – data.”

There is no doubt the IoT space is growing at an enormous rate, in fact the number of connected devices soared to a 30 percent growth in 2016 from the previous year, according to one Gartner report. 2017 will be a year we see IoT not only continue to grow, but also mature as an industry. If IoT has not reserved a space in every company’s priority list, it should. Gartner projects by 2020 more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the IoT. If you are one of those companies, here’s some maturity trends you’ll see unfold over the course of 2017, which will help make your deployment and implementation more frictionless than early adopters. We love early adopters, but like anyone who has ever ventured into new territory can tell you, be it the person who purchases the newest smartphone, or the company that downloads the newest operating system, or the pioneers of space exploration, IoT had a few bumps in the road.

One maturation trend the industry will see is the wrangling of the abundance of IoT data. Instead of focusing on the things in IoT, the focus will shift on what the things produce – data. One of the greatest benefits of connected devices is the amount of real-time data that is available. All the value is in the data, yet harnessing the power of the data is one of the greatest challenges.

Beyond harnessing, companies will streamline the flow of data into consumable and actionable information, to avoid death by data, a phenomenon where too much data becomes overwhelming and the receiver simply tunes out. The information is still valuable, but because consumption of information was not put into a proper work flow, it goes into junk folders, deleted or simply ignored. Finding from a McKinsey Global Institute study, revealed that IoT data being collected by companies is not being used, and furthermore the data that is being used is not being fully exploited as up to 90 percent of data is only viewed once or not at all.

Consider for a minute droves of real-time data flowing in at a rate of over 100 push notifications daily. Perhaps you’re in charge of a several data centers and whenever there is a blip in the power grid, your phone erupts with messages about a disruption in power supply, the building generating is on, building generation is running, generating is running at 75 percent fuel consumption, blip in the power line, street power is still off, still running on generator, fuel is at 72 percent consumption, and so forth. Now, take the same disruption in power scenario and instead of 100 push notifications you get a recap of the day where you can see power spikes and dips, length of an outage and fuel consumption. Same information, just architected in a more useful, impactful and actionable manner.

2017 will be the year of data harnessing and more intuitive and actionable flow of information which will help companies identify new revenue streams, streamline operational processes, and increase efficiencies.

Another trend, to which we are already seeing, but will cumulatively expand, is more connected devices, or what I like to call the democratization of IoT. Depending on the analyst firm you follow the number of connected devices forecasted for 2020 fluctuates from 10 billion to 100 billion. Time will tell the exact number, but there is one thing for certain, the number of connected devices is rising and will continue to rise at a rapid pace.

Traditionally, the benefits of IoT have been limited to a very select small group of participants – an elite few – primarily due to limitations of technology. Limitations such as cost, battery life, and complexity, left an overwhelming majority of devices excluded from having a voice in IoT. We are now entering a tipping point in IoT, where there is a broader democratization in IoT with advancement in technology.

Traditional 3G / 4G technology was not built for things, it was built for humans, and while it works well for its intended people use, it’s not cost efficient for hardware nor per device connectivity. In addition, it has a very strict limitation on device battery life. Things, especially things in the scale of thousands, need to be operable for years or even decades without attention to their battery. Recharging device batteries in this type of quantity just doesn’t scale.

Dedicated IoT connectivity networks such as SIGFOX’s Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) provides wide range communications at a low bit rate, thus enabling connected devices to operate cost efficiently and at an unprecedented battery life. LPWAN by nature is battery consumption conservative, instead of constantly signaling to the devices, a device simply “wakes up” to transmit a short message, and then goes back to sleep. This technology is enabling mass adoption of IoT because it is built for things.

Rounding out the top three trends of 2017 will be the emergence of strong ecosystem partnerships. For anyone who has tried to implement a trial, they will tell you IoT is a complex landscape with many layers in the stack. To get started in IoT one needs to gather the chip, the module, the connectivity solution, data storage, hosting, reporting, data visualizing, and workflow management, which can grind on even the most seasoned of technology implementation experts.

In the case of IoT, the sum is not greater than its parts, rather the parts are equally important as the entire sum. Partnerships between hardware, software, and service providers stack are going to offer a complete IoT solution. Ideally, the partnership will be agnostic, like SIGFOX’s ecosystem partners, so customers will not be bound to one chip provider or one cloud platform.

Suppliers, no matter where they are in the stack, will help buyers connect the IoT dots, and not simply sell one solution in a vacuum. By doing so, the entire industry will help speed up the adoption, and more importantly the implementation of IoT.

As the IoT industry matures there will be more lesson it learns, but like the technology trailblazers before us who envisioned technology not for the sake of gadgetry, but the sake of making a tangible difference, the trail has bumps and will even leave a few bruises. There are lessons learned along the path that make the climb easier. The data, technology built for devices, and strong ecosystems were valuable lessons IoT learned this year and will only be stronger at these in 2017. There will be more lessons to learn in the year ahead. You don’t go through a 30 percent year over year increase without learning a few things.

Where things come alive.

How to turn your product or service on-demand?

With the proliferation of various IoT technologies in recent years, we’ve seen an ample amount of new solutions and opportunities for businesses. The majority of the solutions so far have been sensors for data collection or process control. What we haven’t seen too often, are solutions for improving customer-facing functions like marketing, sales and customer relations.

That’s why bttn was created – to act as a versatile human interface to support customer actions such as placing orders / re-orders and to engage customers in a dialogue. Simply put, to improve customer experience.

Today people hail taxis, order heating oil, place re-orders in online stores, request callbacks from customer service and whatnot with a simple push of a bttn.

Doesn’t Amazon Dash button already do this, you might ask? Kind of, but the Wi-Fi connectivity requiring end-user setup and compatible local Wi-Fi infrastructure puts limits to scalability and becomes costly to deploy, manage and support. This is where the massive value of Sigfox connectivity comes in.

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Steps to on-demand and better user experience

Here are some simple steps and few tips to help you get your on-demand solution done in no time with Sigfox bttns.

1. Decide what you want to get done?
All things start with setting a goal. What’s yours? Do you wish to give your customers a shortcut to your product or service? Or build a new business model?

Once you get a good idea, plan the interaction flow: what happens when a customer presses your Sigfox bttn. An example: warehouse manager presses a parcel service bttn to order a pickup to get fast shipping. Dribble on a paper – or a napkin. Whatever works best for you to get a good idea of how various parts work in your new service.

Tip: Get a bttn to test the interaction in real life. First with yourself and then with some friendly customer. The action can be just an email message at this point. It’s the end-user experience that counts.

2. Setup bttn actions
bttn actions are configured at my.bt.tn cloud service. It’s a straightforward process. If you know how to write an email you know how to setup bttn actions.

There are various actions you can do directly from the cloud such as sending email, SMS, post to social networks. You can also link up with simple tools such as IFTTT or Zapier to get more things done. For advanced integrations with business systems, bt.tn service offers secure authentication, HTTP(S) requests and modern RESTful APIs.

Tip: There’s a default HTTP template to satisfy most needs so light integrations can be done pretty fast. And the action can be changed whenever on the fly, so you can start with simple things and develop your solution further as your business grows.

setup action

3. Plan the hardware deployment
Usually, the most overlooked aspect in projects development is deployment. With bttn we have put a lot of effort to make everything run as smooth as possible on the cloud and hardware side so deployment is a breeze for you.

How to distribute the bttn devices to your customers? Do they know how to set up their bttns? Worry no more. Guess why we’re such big believers in stand-alone connectivity (and at the same time not so big fans of local infrastructure like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth)? Exactly. To be easy to use. Just power on and everything works. Like magic.

Tip: We’ve prepared a bttn deployment guide that covers everything from planning to actually execute the deployment. You can download it here.

4. Manage your bttn fleet after deployment
Now that you’ve successfully deployed tons of bttns to your customers the main thing is how to manage your “fleet”? It’s cloud time, baby. Bttn cloud has all the tools you need to remotely manage and configure single bttns or larger batches at the same time, to monitor bttn statuses and get automatic alerts and analytics.

Tip: Introduction to management tools is a guide you can download to get a grasp on the things that help you operate your business with bttns. Get it.

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Making connected devices accessible for all businesses
Bttn launched a new Sigfox powered device and a cloud service at CES2017 in Las Vegas. It’s an accessible solution for any company that wants to improve their customer experience and offer physical on-demand triggers.

Start going on-demand by going to bt.tn

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