AI, Cognitive Technologies and IoT applications can help in India’s inclusive growth: Microsoft

Through technology, Microsoft has been successfully influencing the way citizens, enterprises and governments engage in healthcare services, agricultural practices, education and everyday work. Microsoft recently showcased several projects that make use of the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) applications, cloud-based artificial intelligence, cognitive services.

The world is today powered by an intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. Some of the examples of transformative technology and IoT applications for a Digital India showcased were for agriculture, drinking water quality monitoring, and smart lighting etc.

Project FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. Next Microsoft and ICRISAT announced a pilot project of AI-based Sowing App for farmers. The program was expanded to touch more than 3000 farmers during the Kharif season of 2017 for a host of crops including groundnut, ragi, maize,etc. The Sowing App was developed to help farmers achieve optimal harvests by advising on the best time to sow using data about weather conditions, soil quality and other indicators.

Authorities across states have turned to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, IoT applications and data, the solution monitors the water quality. The solution is currently being used for Monitoring drinking water quality online by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (125 stations) and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board(KUWSDB) in Hubli–Dharwad & Bijapur (3 stations) and Online sewage treatment and flow monitoring by Delhi Jal Board (36 stations) to name few.

Microsoft Azure IoT is also powering India’s first Smart Street Lighting Project for the pink city of Jaipur, underscoring Microsoft’s mission of transforming public spaces digitally. In 1998, Microsoft initiated Project Bhasha to provide local language computing in Indian languages. And, now it is using AI for local language computing.  Read more…


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Electric Imp Announces Platform-Native Bluetooth LE Support for IoT Applications

Electric Imp today announced its platform now supports Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) communication, enabling manufacturers to quickly and easily address applications requiring local wireless connectivity.

With WiFi and Bluetooth LE supported natively, the Electric Imp platform can target a wide range of new use cases such as asset tracking, beacon management, wireless sensor integration, local smartphone connectivity, and other low power, low throughput communication applications.

As with the security features of impOS, the Bluetooth LE stack is continuously maintained and updated by Electric Imp, relieving customers of the burden of long-term security and compatibility maintenance. APIs provide powerful facilities such as advanced advertising filtering and GATT server management, enabling complex applications to be delivered quickly without extensive Bluetooth or embedded expertise.

“Support of Bluetooth LE is another way EIectric Imp has made it easier and faster for manufacturers to connect and deploy secure IoT-enabled devices,” said Hugo Fiennes, CEO and Co-founder of Electric Imp. “Through our powerful platform and robust partner ecosystem, Electric Imp enables manufacturers to focus on their core strengths, bringing greater value to the products they offer customers.”

The imp004m WiFi/Bluetooth module, manufactured and distributed by Murata, is the first with Bluetooth LE capability. Tested and approved by both wireless regulatory agencies and the Bluetooth SIG, the highly integrated module makes prototyping and shipping hybrid WiFi/Bluetooth applications easier than ever before.

For more detailed technical information, please see the Electric Imp Developer Center documentation.

Electric Imp Blog

Semtech Announces Industry’s First Disposable LoRa-enabled Nano-tag for Internet of Things Applications

RF tags

RF tags

New, ultra-low power LoRa-based tag features printed battery technology, enabling real-time, long range tag connectivity for numerous smart IoT applications.

Semtech announced its new nano-tag reference design, a disposable, ultrathin and low-cost tag that can be integrated into disposable systems or attached to assets to communicate a specific trigger of an event.

The LoRa-based nano-tag can be deployed across numerous Internet of Things (IoT) verticals that utilize the event data to enable smarter decision making.

The nano-tag is equipped with an ultra-thin printed battery and is designed to be integrated into products or systems that send messages to the Cloud when a simple event is detected. The LoRa-enabled reference design will work with existing LoRaWAN™ networks and enable the proliferation of completely new types of IoT applications, requiring real-time, reliable feedback including logistics/shipping applications, healthcare and pharmaceutical applications, asset tracking applications, and general-purpose compliance applications.

MachineQ™, a Comcast enterprise IoT service, is the first company to pilot the LoRa-enabled nano-tag with interested third parties on its IoT network in Philadelphia.

“As we continue to work with customers across a wide range of use cases, the innovative service made possible by coupling Semtech’s new nano-tag on machineQ’s dense IoT network opens a whole new set of use cases, across multiple industries, that were not commercially or technically viable using existing technologies,” said Alex Khorram, General Manager of machineQ.

Marc Pegulu, Vice President and General Manager for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group, said:

“By offering a lower cost, disposable LoRa-enabled tag, we can expand the current landscape of use cases for Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology and allow companies to integrate the technology to drive many more diverse IoT use cases. We believe the number of use cases should expand rapidly as our connectivity and Cloud partners start to leverage the disruptive nature of the LoRa-enabled tag.”

“We continue to introduce leading edge solutions based on Semtech’s LoRa Technology to fully leverage the differentiated capabilities and advantages of the technology’s long-range, low-power and low-cost connectivity.”

The low-cost disposable LoRa-enabled tag will be commercially available in both flexible tape and paper substrates in 2018 and are currently in trials by a number of LoRa Alliance™ members.

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Verizon Certifies Quectel Cat 1 Module for IoT Applications

Verizon Certifies Quectel Cat 1 Module for IoT Applications

Quectel Wireless Solutions, a leading global supplier of Internet of Things (IoT) modules, has recently received certification of its LTE Cat 1 EC21-VD module from Verizon, one of America’s largest carriers.

In the certification letter sent to Quectel, Verizon said Quectel’s EC21-VD has been approved through the Open Development certification process for use on Verizon Wireless network.

Delbert Sun, Quectel’s Product and Marketing Director, commented that:

“this means our EC21-VD module is reliable, well tested and proven in its capabilities for operating on Verizon’s LTE network. Now our customers can accelerate their IoT deployments in North America based on Quectel Cat 1 module.”

The Verizon-certified module was developed based upon Qualcomm’s MDM9x07 modem, and supports worldwide coverage of LTE and UMTS/HSPA+ networks. It is compatible with Quectel’s 3G module UC20, as well as multi-mode LTE EC20/EC25 in unified form factor. It is also backward compatible with existing EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks, ensuring that customers can easily migrate from LTE to 2G/3G networks.

EC21-VD features cost-effective, low power LTE connectivity, and delivers speeds of 10Mbps downlink and 5Mbps uplink. These make EC21-VD an ideal solution for IoT/M2M applications that are not reliant on full LTE speeds or huge bandwidth, but require the longevity and reliability of LTE networks, such as security, fleet management, asset tracking and smart metering.

Quectel’s EC21 Series contain 10 variants which can cover the networks of most mainstream carriers around the globe. EC21-A, another Cat 1 variant designed for the North American market, has earned AT&T certification in August this year.

For more information about Quectel EC21, please visit:

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IBM Employee Wellness and Safety solution in top 20 IoT industrial applications

The Internet of Things Institute has selected a safety project undertaken by IBM and North Star BlueScope Steel as one of the top 20 IoT industrial applications for 2017. North Star, which produces steel for global building and construction industries, piloted IBM’s Employee Wellness and Safety solution in 2016, using connected wearable devices and analytics to help monitor the wellbeing of industrial workers in extreme environments.

An industrial scope for wearables

In the ten years or so since Fitbit hit the market, wearables have been among the more prominent of connected technologies. A wrist watch that measures your heart rate or counts the steps you’ve taken that day is, after all, an easy concept to grasp. However, there’s more scope in wearables than their public image as personal fitness aids would suggest. Now, wearables are making their way into the industrial sector, as pieces of vital safety equipment that can help safeguard the wellbeing of people whose work brings them into contact with hazardous conditions.

There’s little doubt that such a solution is necessary. Employees working in extreme environments are called on daily to deal with high temperatures, open flames, toxic gas, and the management of heavy machinery.

According to the International Labor Organization, every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or diseases and 153 workers have a work-related accident. The global number of non-fatal occupational accidents reaches a staggering number of 317 million, annually. Even more concerning, 2.3 million people die each year from occupational accidents and diseases. Work accidents remain a huge, cross-industry problem, despite safety regulations and procedures. Even a non-fatal injury can have a potentially devastating effect on an employee’s health and livelihood. For employers, in addition to the distress of an employee suffering from injury, work accidents affect productivity, and companies can suffer significant financial losses. In the United States alone, workplace injuries and illnesses cost employers more than $ 220 billion annually, with 27 million working days lost per year. These rising costs are also hurting insurance companies and influencing coverage rates.

The role of analytics in worker safety

The problem is hardly negligible, and yet it’s extremely difficult to enforce proper use of protective equipment, or verify that correct safety controls are in place. The good news is that advances in IoT technology are giving rise to the connected worker – and a worker who is more aware of, and sensed by their environment, is inherently safer. Wearable and embedded sensors are making it possible for workers to be monitored within their surroundings to prevent injury from incidents such as falls, overexertion, gas exposure, heat exposure, proximity to heavy machinery or moving vehicles.

The IBM Employee Wellness and Safety solution piloted by North Star is one such cognitive research project. Conceived by IBM researchers in Haifa, Israel, the solution provides a wearables platform that serves as a real-time warning system for employees. It works by integrating data from multiple sensors within personal protective equipment, like smart safety helmets and protective vests, to alert organizations to potentially hazardous scenarios in real-time.

Wearable and Internet of Things technologies allows gathering, integrating, and analysis of sensor data embedded in personal protective equipment, such as smart safety helmets and protective vests, and in the workplace environment. When coupled together with innovative cognitive capabilities and external data sources like environment and weather, there is enormous potential for better managing health, wellness and safety to truly help transform the way we live and work today.

Further resources

If you are interested in the IBM Employee Wellness and Safety Solution, you might find these resources useful:

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