Electric Imp IDE Transitioning to impCentral in March 2018

As announced last July, Electric Imp’s development environment is transitioning from its legacy IDE to the newly-released impCentral. As the successor to the Electric Imp IDE, impCentral combines the best software development and production management features of the IDE with a more intuitive and easier to navigate user experience, plus advanced product and device management features.

For the time being, the legacy IDE will continue to be available at https://legacy-ide.electricimp.com, or via links within impCentral. Users can choose to transition code and devices from the legacy IDE to impCentral until March 2018. At that point, all code and devices will automatically migrate to the new environment and the legacy IDE will be shut down.

Additional information about the transition will be announced through future emails. In the meantime, questions can be addressed in the Electric Imp forums or by visiting the new Electric Imp Dev Center.

Electric Imp Blog

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

New Electric Imp Dev Center Features Enhanced Database Searches, Improved User Interface, and Much More

Electric Imp has a large and growing IoT developer community which now extends to more than 20,000 users. Consequently, we need to support ever wider ranges of experience and expertise among our developer community. That is the task of the Electric Imp Dev Center, which has evolved into a world-class hub for IoT product creation and Squirrel documentation. The Dev Center now hosts more than 900 pages of content — three times the number of pages three years ago. In that time, the IoT has matured, and our developers are innovating quickly.

Now the time has come to lay the foundations for the expansion of our communities and the Dev Center over the next three years and beyond. So we are excited to bring you our next-generation Dev Center.

image

A colorful new paint job overlays a powerful engine

The brand new site, created from the ground up, uses Drupal. For those who haven’t heard of it, Drupal is one of the leading lights in the world of online publishing content management systems. It is an open source product that has many big-name users around the globe and is backed by a diverse community of coders who keep it up to date, secure and ensure its relevance for many years to come.

Drupal brings some immediate benefits to Dev Center users:

  • More rapid updates
  • Faster, more accurate search
  • Responsive user interface
  • Platform for great new developer features

Drupal also allows us to provide a Dev Center that can continue to grow at the pace we’ve experienced over the past four years — roll on the next 900 pages! — while remaining responsive to developers accessing its resources from their browsers, and to Electric Imp’s engineers and writers as they keep the existing content up to date and add more.

You can get a taste of this flexibility in the new Dev Center’s Knowledgebase, which provides a speedily searchable database of technical notes, known issues, hints and tips, and FAQs organized by subject matter. We couldn’t offer that with Jekyll, the system we currently use to build the Dev Center.

image

The new Electric Imp Knowledgebase

We have also taken the opportunity to brighten up the design. In particular, we have made finding your way around the site much more intuitive and quick. The site has been reorganized into functional areas: getting started, software development, hardware design, manufacturing information, tools documentation and, with the Knowledgebase, a beefed up help section — all with the intention of making it easier for a given user to get straight to the information they need.

The primary site navigation — moved from the right to the left of the screen — is section-specific and expandable, enabling you to reach the content you want quickly without cluttering your workspace. New and updated content is flagged on the homepage, and within each of the sections, along with popular documents and library refreshes.

image

Improved navigation

Finally, we have given the new site its own location on the web, so please update your bookmarks. The new Dev Center can be found at https://developer.electricimp.com/

For an initial period, we’ll continue to host, but not update, the old Dev Center, so please begin making use of the new site straight away. All the content from the original site is available in the new one, which is already being updated as Electric Imp’s impCentral™ rollout continues. We’re aware of some small presentation issues, which we’re working on at the moment, but please feel free to drop us a line via the Electric Imp Forum if you spot any issues.

You are Electric Imp’s community of developers and customers, and the Dev Center is your resource. All the changes have been implemented to create a site that is more responsive and accessible for makers, engineers and manufacturers, so please do let us know if  you have comments or suggestions for improvements.

We appreciate you helping us build a resource that is here to assist you for the long haul.

Electric Imp Blog

Nicolas Windpassinger, Schneider Electric: On why culture trumps technology in IoT adoption

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming into the enterprise; there is no doubt about that. The thought of the work executives have to undertake in their organisation to accommodate digital transformation is only eclipsed by the thought of what happens if their firm gets left behind. In other words, if you don’t digitize, you die.

Not this correspondent’s words – but those of Nicolas Windpassinger (pictured), global partner program vice president at Schneider Electric. His new book (left) offers little in the way of compromise. “The title is a good explanation that you need to change, you need to evolve, all of us, personally and professionally,” he tells IoT News. “If you don’t evolve or learn, you’ll die, and your competition is going to take care of you.”

The window of opportunity to take advantage of IoT, Windpassinger argues, is gradually shutting. But the problem has always been the lack of magic formula to make things work. If it were so easy, everyone would be doing it by now; we wouldn’t have to wear out shoe leather pounding round industry events, or reading every analyst report we can get our hands on.

For Windpassinger, this point of getting past the ‘you want to succeed, you need to be IoT’ one size fits all mentality is key. Companies – and company cultures – differ. “It’s very interesting,” he says. “If you go to an IoT event, you look at the startups, you look at the companies… they’re selling technology, but what are they solving? What is their core value proposition?

“Very often we say to succeed in the IoT you need to be a startup. Well the reality is that it’s not true, and there’s quite a bit of literature on that,” adds Windpassinger. “If you are a pioneer, and you have been very successful in your marketplace, it’s easier for big or medium-sized companies with a strong legacy of customers to digitize from the edge.

“Everybody talks about Uber – they’re always the same stories. They’re really the exception – if you look at the literature, a small company has a lot of difficulty to beat a well-established pioneer.”

Yes, there is no magic formula, no one page or sentence that enables organisations of all sizes just to flick a switch and ‘become IoT’. However, whatever the size of your organisation, as the book details, there are common steps that can be taken. The book outlines what it calls an IoT4 methodology, going through each section; how the IoT structures itself from a technology perspective; offering differentiation strategies; different business models; and transitioning from an analogue to a digital customer experience. If you don’t know the rules of the game, how can you expect to win, as the prologue puts it?

Don’t expect this book to be a tech-heavy trudge, though. This is for two reasons; firstly, anyone who has read such tomes knows the majority of the material is out of date by the time it hits the shelves; and secondly, because it’s difficult to predict how the market – particularly though standardisation – will go.

On the standards issue, Windpassinger recounts being at an industry event a couple of weeks ago, and the impression was clear. “You look at all those standards, it’s just crazy,” he says. “Everybody is designing their alliance, or their ecosystem based on their specific use case, or based on [something else]… since there is no global standard, everybody teams up.

“Is it going to last like this? Are some of the consortia going to team up and try to go for these global standards? Honestly, I don’t really know, and I don’t think anyone on the market really knows where it’s going to go.”

Neither is Digitize or Die a guide to help organisations sort out their customer value proposition – the book assumes companies already have that bit tied down – but where the book excels is around giving examples of companies who have successfully digitised, alongside companies who failed, as well as how the cultural side, instead of the technological focus, remains a key theme.

“The middle management is key to successful or unsuccessful digital transformation,” says Windpassinger. “It’s an education book for the middle management – or the top leaders who can use the book towards their middle management to initiate change.

“The core idea of the book is really that digital transformation is a people transformation more than a technology transformation, and to be able to initiate change at the management level, it’s about educating those people, creating a sense of urgency amongst them, and be able to explain to them,” he adds. “Yes, it’s a threat, yes, it’s a struggle, we as a company can choose not to do anything, but in a couple of years it’s going to be very difficult, or we consider that we need to transform ourselves as a company – and this begins by educating people about the different options.”

Editor’s note: You can find out more about Digitize or Die and purchase it here. All benefits from the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and Fondation de France.

Read more: Digitize or Die book extract: The importance of leadership and middle management for IoT

iottechnews.com: Latest from the homepage

Three Ways Electric Cars Are Changing More Than The Way We Drive

Part 1 of the “Future of Transportation and the Internet of Things” series

The world is moving away from cars based on the internal combustion engine (ICEs). The future is electric. With Tesla leading the way on what’s possible with electric vehicles, more traditional auto manufacturers are following suit.

Volvo has announced that all of its cars will have electric motors by 2019. Aston Martin is planning the same by 2025. General Motors plans to have at least 20 electric vehicles (EVs) by 2023. The list goes on.

Much of the pressure is coming from countries banning ICE sales in the not-too-distant future (The Netherlands by 2025; ChinaIndia, and Germany by 2030; France and the UK by 2040). Industry and consumers, however, want electric as well.

When everybody wants something, it tends to happen. The question is, what will be the ramifications? One safe bet is that the market for your ICE-based car will be drying up quickly – so think about selling now. But beyond concerns for personal finance, we can also expect EVs to have a dramatic impact in a number of areas including climate conditions in cities, the automotive industry in general, and energy distribution worldwide.

Lower emissions

The obvious benefit of electric cars – the reason countries, industries, and individuals everywhere are pushing for them – is lower emissions. One of the cities most concerned about emissions is Beijing. Back in 2015, the notoriously thick smog of the city disappeared quickly when authorities banned driving for two weeks in preparation for a World War II commemoration parade. The day after driving resumed, the smog returned.

Today, Beijing is planning to replace the city’s nearly 70,000 taxis with EVs. Doubtless, this is a step in the right direction. Yet, while Beijing tends to get the lion’s share of press coverage when it comes to smog, other cities face similar challenges. From Paris to Mexico City and all around the world, lower emissions from electric vehicles will help to improve health for citizens locally and fight climate change globally.

Industry change

The automotive industry is not just General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, and the rest. It’s also made up of countless suppliers of parts and components. But when you move from a traditional ICE to the electric engine, you lose about 90% of the parts. Electric engines are just simpler.

This means that for companies in the automotive supplier ecosystem, much of the market is going away soon. The simplicity of electric engines will also be felt further down the value chain. Service centers, for example, will feel the hit. Many of these centers – particularly the large chains – use the inexpensive 3,000-mile oil change as a loss-leader to upsell customers on needed maintenance. But without oil in the electric engine – and without as much need for maintenance – many of these chains will have to rethink their business models to survive.

New energy horizons

One of the most significant impacts of EVs will be on the way energy is distributed – because in addition to being modes of transportation, EVs will also act as energy sources that can plug directly into the grid.

This will help address the challenge of “demand response.” The problem to solve here is one of grid stability in the era of renewable energy. Traditionally, large, centrally located energy generation plants – coal, gas, and nuclear – have churned out a steady supply of energy that results in a fairly stable grid.

However, the renewable energy paradigm – based mostly on solar and wind – is neither centralized nor steady. Rather it is distributed across rooftops, solar farms, and mountain tops. And it is variable according to weather conditions.

With renewables, in other words, utilities have less control over the supply side of the equation – meaning how and when energy is generated. This has the potential to lead to instability on the electricity grid. If you can’t manage the supply, then you have to use demand-side management, also known as demand response. This can be done through incentives, and the technology is advancing such that, increasingly, the process is becoming automated.

By providing a storage mechanism that can both take energy in and send it out, car batteries on EVs can act as frequency regulators for the grid. This is a big deal that has the potential to change energy distribution forever.

At night, say, when the wind is blowing, a car battery can store energy generated by wind turbines. Or, in the middle of the afternoon when everybody wants air conditioning on a hot day, the same batteries can distribute some of their energy. This leads to improved grid stability.

Industry convergence

Let’s just note, however, that the entities with the closest relationships to the owners of the batteries so critical to grid stability would not be the utilities but EV manufacturers. What’s stopping Elon Musk from enticing Tesla customers from sharing their batteries? Tesla could enable its customers to provide energy from their batteries – and then sell it on the grid for a profit. Customers make money. Tesla makes money. Utility companies make money. Everybody is happy.

This transforms the automobile industry into an energy industry. At SAP we talk a lot about digital transformation as a response to digital disruption. This is disruption at its most dramatic.

Elon Musk aims to make 500,000 Teslas in 2018. Let’s say he falls disastrously short and only hits half his target. Let’s also assume an average 80 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery size in the EVs. (Tesla cars today have battery sizes ranging from 60 -110 kWh.) That’s 250,000 cars x 80 kWh – and you’ll see that this fleet would have the capacity of 20 gigawatt hours of storage. For comparison, a gigawatt is roughly the output of a nuclear power plant. So, Tesla will be producing the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants worth of storage, at least, per year.

Electric vehicle manufacturers will be able to aggregate the energy on their networks and sell access to their “virtual power plants.” It is a whole new world.

Stay tuned for more on how the transportation industry is changing forever.

To meet the market’s expectations for increasingly fast, responsive, and personalized service, speed of business will be everything. Find out how innovative processes can enable your business to remain successful in this evolving landscape. Learn more and download the IDC paper “Realizing IoT’s Value – Connecting Things to People and Processes.”

This blog was first posted on TomRaftery.com and has been re-posted with permission.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine