Cargotec Develops Intelligent Cargo Handling with Global IoT Connectivity Services From Orange

Cargotec Develops Intelligent Cargo Handling with Global IoT Connectivity Services From Orange

Cargotec Develops Intelligent Cargo Handling with Global IoT Connectivity Services From Orange

Three-year, multimillion euro IoT global connectivity deal. Cargotec will benefit from better collaboration, predictive maintenance.

Orange Business Services and Cargotec have signed a three-year, multimillion euro agreement for worldwide IoT connectivity that helps Cargotec keep goods moving efficiently and safely.

Cargotec, with headquarters in Finland, is a leading provider of cargo and load handling solutions. Cargo traffic is one of the vital services that helps keep our global society up and running. Millions of items, from raw materials to consumer products, are transported locally and between countries around the clock.

Cargotec‘s business areas – Kalmar, Hiab and MacGregor – are leading players in their fields, and they have a unique position to optimize global cargo flows and create sustainable customer value. Kalmar offers cargo handling equipment and automated terminal solutions, software, and services that are used in ports, terminals, distribution centers and various industries. Hiab provides on-road load handling solutions to customers operating in the land transport and delivery industries, while MacGregor offers solutions and services for marine cargo and offshore load handling.

Cargotec aims to become the global leader in intelligent cargo handling. This requires connectivity during every stage of its customers’ lifecycles. The IoT connectivity solution from Orange will integrate intelligence into the machinery to provide better collaboration for daily operations, monitor and maintain equipment to enable the highest possible uptime and react remotely before problems arise. It will also help Cargotec develop insightful data-driven services.

The Orange IoT connectivity service provides tangible business benefits for Cargotec, enabling new digital services and delivering a much higher degree of operational efficiency, both internally and further down the value chain at the customer level. These include: seamless IoT SIM card ordering, simple activation and tracking through a dedicated portal; one price per IoT SIM card regardless of location; and scalable connectivity reaching 220 countries and territories.

“A reliable IoT communications infrastructure, global presence, with local support everywhere in the world, and an attractive business model are vital for us to become the leader in intelligent cargo handling. We chose Orange Business Services for these reasons,” says Soili Mäkinen, CIO, Cargotec.

“Cargotec is determined to grow its business through strong customer focus and improved IoT services that are vital in its development. We are very happy to have been selected as their provider of choice and to help enable their ambitions to lead and transform the cargo handling business globally,” says Fabrice de Windt, senior vice president, Europe, Orange Business Services.

Orange already supports over 14 million connected devices through its Datavenue IoT and data analytics solution across a variety of sectors, including automotive and transport, smart cities, industry and manufacturing and daily life (smart home, healthcare and wearables).

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Fujitsu Develops World’s Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Fujitsu Develops World's Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Fujitsu Develops World's Smallest Sensor Device Supporting LPWA Communication

Eliminates Need for Battery Replacement. On-site data can be directly transmitted to the cloud across several kilometers just by placing an 82x24x6 mm miniature sensor.

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced development of the world’s smallest sensor that eliminates the need to replace batteries.

The new sensor supports Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless transmission technology that can reach a broad area with low power.

As the spread of IoT systems gains momentum, expectations are rising for sensor devices that support LPWA technology, which can wirelessly transmit sensor information directly to the cloud. In order to create systems that employ this technology, there has been a demand for the development of easy-to-install miniature devices using solar cells to achieve both convenience and low cost, which dispense with the need to replace batteries.

Fujitsu Laboratories previously developed power control technology(1) that can operate a beacon with the power provided just by a solar cell. Conventionally, power output variation of solar cells due to temperature had been tolerated by enlarging the size of energy storage elements. Now, however, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed technology that achieves high power efficiency by controlling signal transmission timing based on the temperature variation measured by a temperature sensor, which makes it possible to reduce the required energy storage elements for signal transmission by half. This has enabled Fujitsu Laboratories to successfully miniaturize the device to a size of 82x24x6 mm, creating the world’s smallest sensor device supporting LPWA that does not need replacement batteries.

In a test of the sensor device using this technology, Fujitsu Laboratories confirmed that the collected temperature and humidity data can be transmitted to a Sigfox(2) base station over a distance of about 7 km. Since it is now possible to acquire measured data even from locations where it is difficult to secure power and install power cables just by placing these sensor devices, the maintenance-free deployment and management of IoT systems has become a reality, accelerating the process of on-site digitalization.

Development Background

The spread of IoT systems has progressed in recent years, and it is predicted that by 2020, several tens of billions of IoT devices will be connected to the cloud through networks. In IoT systems, information collected from multiple sensors installed in the field, need to be transmitted to and analyzed on the cloud, and LPWA has been gaining attention as a wireless technology that can directly transmit data to the cloud with low power consumption across a wide area. From a convenience and cost standpoint there are high hopes for miniaturization, which not only meets the LPWA standards, while utilizing solar cells that eliminate the need for replacement.

Issues

Fujitsu Laboratories has previously developed power control technology using miniature circuits that can transmit data over short distances wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This technology realizes sensor devices that support BLE without the need to exchange batteries, providing power with solar cells, and reliably activating a wireless circuit by monitoring and adjusting the balance between power generation and consumption.

Sensor devices using this previous technology, however, could not support LPWA. That’s because the time required for transmission with LPWA is significantly longer than with BLE. LPWA transmits small amounts of data slowly in order to ensure signal quality over long distances. In effect, this means that a single transmission can require significant power usage of up to about 1,500 times of BLE.

About the Newly Developed Technology

Now, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed new power control technology to ensure transmission power while minimizing circuit size. This technology’s advantages are as follows.

1. Power control technology that permits power variations with temperature

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed power control technology that can control the timing of LPWA signal transmissions in real time, based on temperature data collected from a temperature sensor. With this technology signal transmissions are only carried out at the time when the activation voltage, which varies with temperature, is maximized in order to prevent it from falling below the minimum operational voltage for LPWA module. By using power efficiently in this way, it is possible to tolerate variation in power consumed by the wireless circuit or power generated by solar cells due to temperature. This eliminates the need for the excess energy storage elements that were previously necessary to respond to power fluctuations, enabling miniaturization of the sensor device with the smallest power storage elements required.

2. Power monitoring technology that reliably activates the temperature sensor

In order for the power control technology to operate reliably, the device must be able to continually and reliably activate the temperature sensor with a small amount of power. To resolve this challenge, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed power monitoring technology that analyzes voltage changes in power source, and accurately judges whether or not sufficient power has been stored to operate the temperature sensor. This technology can prevent unnecessary shutdowns of the temperature sensor by using the minimum amount of power based on the temperature.

Effects

This technology was implemented using Sigfox, an LPWA standard, creating the world’s smallest sensor device (82x24x6 mm) supporting LPWA communications without the need to replace batteries.

Fujitsu Laboratories verified that temperature and humidity data could be transmitted once every ten minutes, over seven days directly to a base station about 7 km away, in an environment with illumination of 4,000 lux. Fujitsu Laboratories also verified that the data could be visualized through the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform, Fujitsu Limited’s IoT data utilization platform service, which has received Sigfox Ready Program for IoT PaaS certification as an IoT platform that connects to the Sigfox cloud.

This means that sensor data can easily be acquired in the cloud just by setting sensor devices, even in places where it is difficult to secure power or install power cables. This will enable maintenance-free installation and management of IoT systems, accelerating the process of digitalization in the field.

Future Plans

Fujitsu Laboratories will continue to conduct field trials aimed at the real-world use of these sensor devices, incorporating this technology into the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform and Fujitsu Frontech Limited’s sensor solutions as connected devices, with the goal of commercialization in fiscal 2018. Furthermore, we will continue to develop technologies to miniaturize sensor devices.

Comment from Yoshihito Kurose, President, KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS):

“As the utilization of IoT is expected to continually increase, KCCS predicts that solutions utilizing the low power consumption feature of the Sigfox network will be developed in a variety of industries.”

“KCCS believes that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.’s development of a sensor device, which does not require battery charging by way that device operation is enabled by a solar battery, will promote the use of Sigfox not only in Japan but around the world.”

“As the Sigfox Operator in Japan, KCCS is working with Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and other partners to enable everything to be connected to the Sigfox network and is contributing to the creation of a safe and pleasant society.”

[1] Developed power control technology Fujitsu Develops Industry’s First Flexible IoT-Supporting Beacon That Needs No Battery Replacement (press release, March 25, 2015) http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2015/0325-02.html
[2] Sigfox A global IoT network using LPWA provided by Sigfox, a company established in France in 2009. KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd. is the sole network service provider in Japan.

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Semtech develops disposable LoRa IoT nano-tag

Semtech develops disposable LoRa IoT nano-tag

Semiconductor specialist Semtech extends its product and services reach further into IoT networking technologies with a new disposable LoRa-enabled Nano-tag for IoT.

Already known to Internet of Business for its work at the Port of Cork in Ireland, Semtech has now developed a new breed of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors with ‘disposable’ characteristics.

LoRaWAN (standing for long range, wide area networking) is a protocol specification that uses unlicensed radio spectrum in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands, in order to enable communication between remote sensors and gateways connected to a network.

Semtech’s latest nano-tag reference design is a disposable, ultra-thin and low-cost device that can be integrated into disposable systems or attached to assets to communicate a specific event trigger.

As defined here, nano-tags are octagonal pieces of microscopic nickel – 6 to 10 microns thin and ranging from 0.3mm to 0.5mm wide, which feature a micro-image of a personalized brand, created to order. They are extremely robust, chemically resistant, able to withstand temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius without oxidising and with a melting point of 1,453 degrees Celsius.

Read more: Ireland set to benefit from Semtech’s LoRa IoT Network

Smart decision-making

According to the company, Semtech’s LoRa-based nano-tag is suited to deployment across numerous IoT verticals that utilize event data for ‘smart’ 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 cloud datacenters when a ‘simple’ event is detected. The LoRa-enabled reference design is said to be capable of working with existing LoRaWAN networks.

Semtech has grand designs (or at least big ambitions) for this technology; the company claims that this could enable the proliferation of completely new types of IoT applications. These would be new apps that require real-time feedback, in logistics and shipping, healthcare and pharmaceutical, asset tracking and general-purpose compliance applications, for example.

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

“By offering lower cost, disposable LoRa-enabled tags, 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,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president and general manager for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group.

“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,” he added.

These disposable LoRa-enabled tags will be commercially available in both flexible tape and paper substrate formats in 2018 and are currently being trialled by a number of LoRa Alliance members.

Read more: Actility launches LoRaWAN networks in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia

Disposable computing

Disposable computing is indeed now ‘a thing’ then, both in terms of hardware and software. RFID-enabled passes, name badges and other forms of identification have been around for most of the current decade if not longer.

And it is now reasonable to think in terms of short-term software functions being released as ‘disposable apps’ (an app for a special event or conference for example), especially now that it’s possible to install and delete these pieces of software so rapidly and ubiquitously on our smartphones.

Disposability in terms of both hardware and software could be a key trend for the IoT in 2018. There’s a throwaway statement for you if ever there was one.

Read more: Thin film batteries set for solid (state) growth

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Inmarsat develops a comprehensive global IoT network with JT Group

Inmarsat develops a comprehensive global IoT network with JT Group

Inmarsat develops a comprehensive global IoT network with JT Group

New partnership agreement combines cellular and satellite network to deliver global connectivity for IoT solutions.

Inmarsat has announced the formation of a new strategic partnership with international telecommunications provider JT Group (formerly Jersey Telecom), that will enable Inmarsat to deliver a holistic connectivity solution for Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

The global network will combine Inmarsat’s existing satellite communication infrastructure and cellular data provided by JT. This will enable Inmarsat’s customers to access a global connectivity network from a single provider to deliver the next generation of IoT technology.

Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, commented on the significance of the partnership:

“This is a hugely important partnership for Inmarsat. Integrating a global cellular solution with our satellite communication network means that we can provide all of the connectivity necessary for an IoT installation, to anywhere in the world.”

“This gives us a much more powerful offering when we bring our IoT solutions to the market, as it means our customers only need to liaise with one provider, not go to one company for satellite connectivity and another for cellular data.”

In the first demonstration of the transformative potential of a global IoT network, JT and Inmarsat have worked with Actility to establish a smart city initiative in Kigali, Rwanda. The satellite-enabled, city-wide IoT network utilises JT’s M2M sim cards within Actility’s base stations to create the connectivity gateways required for IoT applications. This connectivity solution has enabled a variety of large scale IoT projects to be deployed in Kigali, including a smart bus project, real-time monitoring of air pollution level, precision farming and a connected surveillance system.

Tom Noel, Managing Director, International Division, at JT commented on the partnership:
“We are delighted to be supporting Inmarsat in rolling out a global connectivity solution, to support its IoT network. With over 600 direct roaming partners, we can offer a multi-network communications solution that spans almost every country in the world, and our M2M sim solution is purpose built to deliver the connectivity required for IoT. We are looking forward to taking this partnership with Inmarsat forward and continuing to service our customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, wherever they are in the world.”

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Purdue researcher develops technology powered by body heat

Purdue researcher develops technology powered by body heat

Kazuaki Yazawa, a research associate professor at Purdue University, Indiana, has developed technology that can be woven into a specially designed fabric, harnessing human body heat to power IoT devices. 

The question of how to power the burgeoning IoT is one that many companies have attempted to answer. Radio waves, Wi-Fi backscatter, Low Power Wide Area Networks, light, graphene – all have been put forward as potential ways to keep IoT devices ticking over. This week, a new possibility has emerged from the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University, Indiana: body heat.

The concept of powering an IoT device through nothing more than body heat will be of particular interest to developers working in wearables. Connected medical devices, such as respiration and heart-rate monitors are an obvious application.

Research associate professor Kazuaki Yazawa has labelled his creation ‘flexible thermoelectric generator technology’. It uses semiconductor strings woven into a fabric, takes heat from any type of surface it meets and converts it into a small amount of electricity.

Conventional thermoelectric generators require elements to be at least one-inch thick in order to generate a decent power output – hardly suitable for a wearable device of any sort.

Yazawa believes that his solution, which uses woven semiconductor strings to replace traditional thermoelectric generators, will be more flexible and easier to manage. “The only way to reduce the thickness of the module is by designing the thermoelectric generator using a weaving technique. This allows the technology to be very flexible and dense,” he said.

Read more: New mHealth sensor developed to monitor blood-flow with wearables

Body heat could replace batteries

The key to any wearable hoping to harvest power from body heat will be flexibility. If something is to be built into clothing or fabric, it needs to be manageable. “Lengthening the threads and using a unique combination of insulation makes the generator more flat and manageable,” said Yazawa. “This makes it ideal for use in clothing or any shape that can be wrapped in a flexible fabric that has waste heat, such as a chimney or coffee cup.”

“These semiconductor strings are able to harness the maximum amount of heat from the body or other ambient heat sources, providing reliable power for IoT devices and eliminating the need for batteries.”

It’s clear to see how this technology could be applied in the world of healthcare, where the use of IoT devices is predicted to empower both patients and professionals. “Heart monitors, respiration and perspiration monitors are very useful for the elderly or those recovering from a trauma. There also is a huge market for wearables in sports to optimize human performance,” he said.

“If you have a patient or an athlete who is overheating, real-time information of their vitals could be used by coaches and medical professionals to better monitor and treat their players or patients. These types of devices need energy to be actively charged so they can be used continually.”

Read more: Healthcare: The IoT doesn’t need no AI hype

Possibility for automated cooling?

Theoretically, anything that takes heat out of a system is going to provide some kind of cooling effect. Yazawa has suggested that his technology could be used for some kind of cooling wearable, although the potential applications for that are still unclear.

“Anything that takes heat and converts it to another form of energy is also providing a cooling effect,” he said. “Therefore, this technology also could provide a continuous cooling treatment. This could be especially beneficial from a sports or military perspective. The flexible substrate could be applied to undergarments and when athletes are running the technology could help give that little bit of charge.”

Developers will not have to wait long to work on potential body-heat powered IoT devices. The Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization has patented the technology and it is already available for license.

“We have analyzed and modeled the technology. It has been validated in the lab,” Yazawa said, and “is ready for further testing and development.”

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