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How to deal with an IoT that means almost anything

Steve Rogerson
March 6, 2018



The IoT is so broad it can mean almost anything, believes David Somo (pictured), senior vice president at electronics company On Semiconductors. Speaking at last week’s Embedded World in Nuremberg, he said that anything with sensors and connectivity could be classed as an IoT device.
 
“If machines are getting connected, they are part of it,” he said. “There is a whole range of emerging products, and then you have existing products that are being connected.”
 
He was explaining the additions to the company’s IoT design kit, launched at this event a year ago, and how different keys have been added as well as sensors and actuators.
 
“It now has Sigfox, LPWAN, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Thread,” he said. “It runs on Arm MBed operating system and we have just upgraded to the 5.5 version.”
 
The core board is still the same as what was launched last year but now has more configuration options, and it will connect to the IBM cloud.
 
“This helps customers who want to connect to different cloud environments,” said Somo. “We are getting interest because they realise they can use it to rapid-prototype and accelerate their time to market. We will continue to build on it.”
 
He said interest had come from a wide range of industries.
 
“The traditional industrial customers are doing more in building automation and factory connectivity,” he said. “They are looking at how to get more connectivity for power tools right through the manufacturing environment. We are seeing new companies trying to build home automation products or put machine vision into robotics. And we are seeing the maker community wanting to add new tasks.”
 
The kit has gained a multi-sensor shield and expanded software support. With this release, users can accelerate development timeframes and deploy IoT services more quickly for various connected wellness and industrial wearables as well as for smart home, predictive maintenance, asset tracking and other industrial IoT applications.
 
The kit is a modular node-to-cloud platform that enables evaluation rapid prototyping and development of IoT services. It gives access to a wide variety of sensing, processing, connectivity and actuation possibilities under the IoT umbrella through a range of shields and daughter cards that attach to the Arm SoC-based motherboard.
 
The multi-sensor shield adds inertial and environmental sensors. These coupled with, for example, the recently announced Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity shield enable the rapid prototyping of a wide range of ultra-low power smart home, industrial IoT and wearable devices.
 
Software is integral to the kit and, as part of this capability enhancement, Arizona-based OnSemi has released version 4.0 of its IDK software. This now includes native support for IBM cloud alongside the existing support for Carriots (Altair) cloud.
 
The company is developing an Android mobile app that will allow visualisation of sensor data and control of actuators from a mobile handset via Bluetooth Low Energy. The app can be dynamically customised for the application and use case being prototyped.