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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IoT Business News

The world’s largest IoT event arrives in the Bay Area next week!

The North America IoT event will arrive in the Bay Area next week for the final leg of the 2017 World Series. The world’s largest IoT event will host over 9,000 attendees in the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA where it will be co-located with the Blockchain Expo and AI Expo. The 3 events will feature 500+ industry leading speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge on the latest technology trends and the future of these sectors, in addition to a free exhibition where you can see the latest innovations in action from over 300 companies, ranging from exciting start-ups to tech giants.

The 3 events will feature 500+ industry leading speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge on the latest technology trends and the future of these sectors, in addition to a free exhibition where you can see the latest innovations in action from over 300 companies, ranging from exciting start-ups to tech giants.

Taking place on the November 29-30, the IoT Tech Expo North America will explore the entire IoT ecosystem, and with so many unmissable sessions to cover, here’s a hand-picked selection of highlights from each conference track:

Connected IndustryKeynote: Realizing the Value of IIoT

Opening the Connected Industry track, Lionel Chocron, Vice President Industry and IoT Solutions at Oracle will be asking; To what extent do you need to redesign organisations, partnerships & operations to realise the value of Industry 4.0? Chocron will be discussing how Oracle are identifying and working with new ecosystem partners and how to support your products and processes through the entire product life cycle. There will be further discussions around developing your own proprietary platforms vs working with external vendors. November 29 – 9:20am.

Data & Security – Case Study: Data Protection in USA Market

Senator Ben Kieckhefer will join the Data & Security conference track to discuss data protection in the USA. Ben Kieckhefer is the Senator of the State of Nevada and will be presenting a case study specifically focusing on North America, and the regulations governing data protection within the IoT market, both existing and future. November 29 – 4:30pm.

Developing for the IoT – Keynote Panel: Monetisation – Unlocking the revenue potential

Senior-level speakers from Wells Fargo, Visa, Geotab and Momenta Partners will be discussing different strategies to enable monetisation and achieve competitive advantage whilst asking the question; Should companies move away from one function devices? The session will explore the role of collaboration and how partnerships can help unlock revenue potential, ways in which new data sources can be utilised to provide new opportunities and what problems this may cause, before examining the different strategies for start-ups to monetise new products and move towards value based outcomes. November 30 – 2pm.

IoT Innovations & Technologies – Bluetooth Session: The Expanding Role of Bluetooth in the IoT – Bridging the Gap Between Connected Places and Smart Places

Bluetooth will host a unique series of fireside chats which will tap into some of the leading integrators, suppliers, customers and analysts to explore the impact of a newly expanded range of fit-for-purpose network topologies from Bluetooth across multiple sectors, including Smart Industry, Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, and Smart Homes. Panellists from Bluetooth, Intel, National Instruments, Aruba and more will explore how Bluetooth technology is transforming connected places into smart places. November 29 – 9:20am.

IoT in Enterprise – Keynote Panel: IoT Technologies in Enterprise

Leading speakers including Thyssenkrupp’s CEO and Software AG’s CTO will join the keynote panel alongside Shell, Treeline and Evans Data to discuss the impact that integrating IoT technology from wearables to smart lighting has on an enterprise, the main stakeholders affected, and what benefits can be leveraged by a business when integrating IoT.

Leading speakers including Thyssenkrupp’s CEO and Software AG’s CTO will join the keynote panel alongside Shell, Treeline and Evans Data to discuss the impact that integrating IoT technology from wearables to smart lighting has on an enterprise, the main stakeholders affected, and what benefits can be leveraged by a business when integrating IoT. The session will explore which blue sky IoT technology could be utilised by enterprises in the future, the leaders within this field and their successes, and what regulatory and legal issues will enterprises incorporating IoT technologies have to consider in the future? November 30 – 9:50am.

Smart Transportation & Cities – Panel: Connected Spaces – using IoT for public safety and increased quality of life

Featuring CIOs from the City of Albuquerque, City of San Leandro and the County of San Mateo, this panel discussion is not to be missed. These CIOs will look at how technologies like smart phones, NFC, RFID, beacons and sensors are being utilised in cities and beyond for both increasing public safety and maximising the QOL of citizens, in addition to issues surrounding data collection from IoT projects around traffic monitoring, waste management, water metering and street lighting such as privacy, and analytics? The session will also explore the connectivity issues, the role of cloud for data storage and analytics and the factors needed to get engagement from government and citizens alike. November 30 – 3:40pm.

The co-located events will host a further 9 conference tracks covering a range of industries which are being disrupted by Blockchain and AI. These include:

Blockchain Expo – ‘ICOs, Tokens & Cryptofinance’, ‘Blockchain for Enterprise’, ‘Developing Blockchain Applications’, ‘Blockchain Technologies’ and ‘Transforming Financial Services’.

AI Expo – ‘AI in the Enterprise’, ‘AI in Consumer & Digital Transformation’, ‘AI for Developer’s and ‘Bot & Virtual Assistant Development’

There is just  a week left to register for the IoT Tech Expo North America in Santa Clara, CA and there are a range of tickets available from free passes to all-access passes to the 3 co-located events. View the ticket types and register here.

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IoT Tech Expo

M2M Cellular Innovation Aims to Increase the World’s Food Supply

M2M Cellular Innovation Aims to Increase the World’s Food Supply

M2M Cellular Innovation Aims to Increase the World’s Food Supply

Unearthing the IoT in Agriculture.

Increasing the world’s food supply is a major issue. Crop diseases can have a devastating humanitarian and economic impact and with sustained global population growth it is estimated that by 2050, a 70 per cent increase in food production is required to ensure the world is fed.

Against this backdrop global IoT cellular communications specialist Eseye is today announcing a new product partnership, with agricultural manufacturer Burkard Engineering, to fight against crop disease.

With 20-40 per cent of the world’s crop losses attributed to disease, the accurate prediction and prevention of diseases is a vital area to address. Burkard Engineering has developed connected real-time pathogen monitoring equipment to provide an early warning system of crop disease risk. The system uses Eseye’s AnyNet Secure global cellular data services to deliver data onto the AWS Cloud to provide farmers with tailored information from their own fields.

The Burkard Auto Sampler sits permanently within a farmer’s field remotely collecting DNA. Crop data is then transmitted back to the AWS Cloud where it is analysed and reported in a matter of minutes, enabling farmers to see exactly which fields are at risk and act accordingly to treat the crops. Once out of trials the product, which is part of the UK Government’s Innovate UK project, is expected to scale globally.

Stuart Wili, Managing Director at Burkard, says:

“We are finally giving farmers an answer to their concerns over the ramifications of crop disease. This not only provides peace of mind, but the solution also supports the environment, removes risk and saves precious time, resources and ultimately money.”

Paul Marshall, Chief Customer Officer at Eseye, says:
“Eseye’s work with Burkard and AWS is a prime example of the range of economic, social and environmental benefits which can be reaped through IoT. By using AnyNet Secure cellular and AWS Cloud solutions, the agricultural industry can harness the knowledge and foresight from accurate data in making informed decisions. We are delighted to be part of this project and look forward to seeing the benefits rolled out across the globe.”

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IoT Business News

Gemalto launches world’s first “all-in-one” IoT module delivering global LTE connectivity

Gemalto launches world's first "all-in-one" IoT module delivering global LTE connectivity

Gemalto launches world's first "all-in-one" IoT module delivering global LTE connectivity

New IoT module provides 12 band LTE coverage plus fall back to 3G and 2G in a single device.

Gemalto is expanding Industrial IoT connectivity with a significant breakthrough in wireless engineering – the industry’s first IoT module to provide global connectivity on 12 LTE bands plus, 3G and 2G cellular coverage all from a single device.

This greatly simplifies logistics and distribution and lowers the cost of global IoT deployments.

In the decade ahead, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market value is expected to exceed $ 195 billion, transforming manufacturing, energy, transportation and many other sectors1. Coined the 4th Industrial Revolution, the IIoT relies on highly efficient, global connectivity solutions that can be easily deployed anywhere in the world.

The ‘all-in-one’ IoT module

The new Gemalto Cinterion® PLS62-W IoT Module delivers highly efficient LTE Cat. 1 connectivity on all 12 LTE bands while providing seamless fallback to multi band 3G and 2G networks if 4G is not available. This allows device manufacturers and integrators to develop one application that can connect anywhere in the world, even when solutions move between different regions and cellular network standards.

Embedded systems simplify and speed up new product development

A powerful Java® embedded system included in the IoT Module adds processing power to IoT solutions. It makes application design easier and faster by sharing memory, a large library of existing open source code and recognized software building blocks. In addition, it simplifies lifecycle management and streamlines integration with back-end IT systems.

Optimized power management

An advanced power management system ensures reliability, and provides optimized sleep mode to preserve power and extend battery life. This is critical for remote industrial applications, a sector expected to reach 5.2 billion in by 20252.

Andreas Haegele, senior vice president IoT products at Gemalto, said:

“Ideal for worldwide tracking and tracing, telematics and fleet management solutions, the Cinterion multi band LTE Cat. 1 module with 3G, 2G fallback is a one stop shop for cellular IoT connectivity, no matter where your IoT solutions are deployed or where they move”.

“The highly efficient Cinterion PLS62-W is perfectly suited for applications that need to operate across many different wireless network environments for many years”.

1 Markets and Markets
2 Grand View Research

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IoT Business News

Digitalist Flash Briefing: What Powers The World’s First Green Cargo System In Switzerland? The IoT

Today’s briefing takes us to Switzerland where plans are underway for a greener, more efficient future – powered by the Internet of Things.

  • Amazon Echo or Dot: Enable the “Digitalist” flash briefing skill, and ask Alexa to “play my flash briefings” on every business day.
  • Alexa on a mobile device:
    • Download the Amazon Alexa app: Select Skills, and search “Digitalist”. Then, select Digitalist, and click on the Enable button.
    • Download the Amazon app: Click on the microphone icon and say “Play my flash briefing.”

Find and listen to previous Flash Briefings on Digitalistmag.com.

Read more on today’s topic

 


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine