Categories
Enterprise Tech Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT Security Challenges and how can we address them?

From music speakers to thermostats, to lights and accessories, everything has some sort of intelligence; We are living in tech heaven, to be precise. Having moved from keypads to touch interfaces, we are currently in the no interface era. Every company is focusing on getting the maximum done with very little interaction with the device, and that means voice-activated computing powered by artificial intelligence.

Opportunities IoT Implementations Can Bring

The thing that makes everyone excited about the future of IoT is the versatility of solutions it can provide. This also makes IoT the buzzword of the decade because we can expect an explosion of IoT solutions in various sectors.

Internet-equipped sensors on any device make it possible to tap all the unused data, and analysis of this data leads into inferences about things that are usually considered ‘offline’. This can lead to better productivity, reduce cost, and can bring about a sustainable lifestyle.

Think about it – there are so many devices we use on a daily basis that is generating vast amounts of data. This data provides great insight into user behaviour, the implications of this data over the lifecycle of a device is still unknown. For example, the information generated by health bands provides insight into your daily habits, like step counts, heart rate and sleep pattern.

Wearable technology enabled bands, accessories and even clothes are connected to the phone and are recording data about everything from blood pressure to the posture.

Further, this can help transform insights into action through powerful applications thereby creating new revenue and business opportunities.

Also speaking of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is not just the companies building consumer-facing products that are a big deal, there are many companies providing wireless power solutions and cloud-based solutions that are more useful. This increase in IoT adoptions have also made organizations rethink traditional IT approaches.

Need for Security:

Since the term ‘IoT’ was coined first, the definition has evolved a lot. In a generic sense though, this is a highly intelligent Machine-to-Machine technology which has potential to revolutionize how we live and work.

While we enjoy these benefits, there is a huge chance that things could go wrong. Chances of data leaks, modification, the hacker gaining control over your products etc. Hence, it is important to focus on these areas and ensure that we are safe and secure.

Further, the increase in the adoption of IoT based technology in areas of a home, retail and industrial automation, health & fitness monitoring and connected vehicles as well as the advent and growth of Smart cities, has also resulted in a greater need for a better model to secure these products.

Key Security Challenges and Solutions for protecting IoT devices

Security and Privacy are critical issues for any company that offers IoT Based products and solutions. According to Gartner, it is expected that by the year 2020, we will have over 25 billion devices connected to the Internet.

It is important to understand the key security challenges that come along with IoT; this needs more attention to detail than anything else. With the rise of connected devices, IoT based products need built-in security that can cover every aspect of the design. Let us look at the top 5 areas that can help make secure IoT solutions.

1. Secure Product Lifecycle:

Security must be addressed throughout the device lifecycle, from the initial design to the operational environment. Ensuring the product boots up with the known configurations and only digitally signed applications are installed.

The products have to be tamper-proof as well. The device should ensure data encryption is used; for when in transport and at rest. Also, it’s important to use secure APIs and tokens for access authorization. Usage of PKIs will also ensure Data Integrity.

The devices need to be properly secured to mitigate risks for organizations and individuals from malicious attacks.

2. Maintain Updates on Devices:

When we analyze the reasons behind the increasing numbers of vulnerabilities on IoT products, there clearly stands out two important reasons:

  1. Lack of standards and guidelines in the manufacturing of IoT devices.
  2. More open source platforms usage also allows attackers to stay ahead of the curve.

To address this, it’s important to have a security validation done on these devices before deploying these products in a work environment. It is also important to perform continuous updates and patching on personal devices to reduce vulnerabilities.

3. Secure Device Settings:

Data Leaks in IoT is another threat vector which most of the companies need to focus on. In the wake of massive data breaches and data theft cases we’ve seen in recent years, more effort needs to be made to secure IoT-related data to ensure the privacy of consumers and the functionality of businesses and corporations.

The gateways that connect IoT devices to company or manufacturer networks need to be secured as well as the devices themselves. IoT devices are always connected and on. In contrast to other devices, they go through a one-time authentication process, which can make them perfect sources of infiltration into company networks. Therefore, more security needs to be implemented on these gateways to improve the overall security of the system.

Data Integrity is a key aspect that would need focus as well. Certificates for devices validate identities to make sure only authorized users and machines have access to the device. It creates an encrypted link and allows information to be transmitted privately. They also make sure that any messages or data transferred from/to the device are not altered.

Good security principles are needed; regardless it is a low-powered device or a desktop class laptop.

4. Defense in Depth Strategy:

Defense in depth often includes usage of products and solutions like AV software, firewalls, anti-spyware programs, hierarchical passwords, intrusion detection and biometric verification.

Defense in Depth strategy would be the ideal solution for securing data from the IoT devices. Defense in Depth is an information assurance mechanism where multiple layers of security controls are placed throughout an information technology system.

A well-designed strategy will help system administrators identify people who attempt to compromise a device. If a hacker gains access to a system, defence in depth minimizes the adverse impact and gives administrators and engineers time to deploy new or updated countermeasures to prevent recurrence.

5. Default Passwords:

Most devices are ready to use out-of-the-box, attackers have learned how to leverage this to access devices discovered on the internet through tools like Shodan which has an inventory of Cameras, Refrigerators and other IoT devices. This has also been leveraged to employ devices to participate in massive attacks on the Internet.

In October 2016, Dyn DNS was attacked with IoT devices which were taken over in this way and caused a prolonged outage for sites including Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.

Changing your default password on all devices helps prevent this type of attack and helps maintain your privacy.

Summary:

IoT devices can help simplify and improve our visibility and capabilities, at the same time it can expose us to new threats, taking a few simple steps will help protect us against these threats:

  • Keep devices up to date
  • Choose Secure settings available
  • Change all default passwords.

Building a successful IoT environment will require massive amounts of coordination and strong analytics. More platforms are coming up to sync up devices on a data level, and not just with respect to connectivity alone.

Just like any other field, there are many sceptics around in tech industry as well. They predict IoT as a bubble that would burst very soon. But for the rest of us, we are definitely heading towards a better, sustainable future where there’s going to be a lot more evolution happening on the IoT front and we will be there to protect it.

 

Categories
Explainer Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT Basics: How to Install an OS on Raspberry Pi

Due to a lot of requests, we’re introducing the ‘IoT Basics’ to our Explainer series covering all the important things you need to know to get started with a Raspberry Pi, aimed at newbies. We will be covering topics like – using a breadboard, the use of resistors, GPIO pins, among others. Let us look at how to install an OS on Raspberry Pi.

We all start pretty much in the same place; Buy a Raspberry Pi, unpack it, connect it to the power cable, install an Operating System and then may be start brainstorming for things to do with the Rpi, or start playing minecraft. (If you’re curious about the game, check pi store after installing the OS)

So, let’s begin with installing the OS.

First, select the Operating System. You can find the list of supported OS on ‘downloads’ page on the Raspberry pi website. You can download the OS from here.

IMPORTANT: Please note that the ‘dd’ tool can write over pretty much any partition on your machine, including the linux partition. So, please be careful when you specify the device name for writing over.

Preparing the SD card:

Run $ df -h to list all the currently mounted devices. Then insert the SD card and run the same command again. The newly appeared device on the list in the SD card that we are going to be writing the disk image to, so note the device id of the same. The device id on my machine is /dev/sdb

If your device id has a suffix like ‘p1’ or ‘1’ then it is referring to the partition. But remember that we need to write to the whole disk and not just the partition, so wherever we use the device id, drop the partition suffix and write unless specifically mentioned. For example, if the device id is /dev/mmcblk0p1 or /dev/sdb1, drop the last part ‘p1’ or ‘1’ respectively.

Now unmount the SD card, so that files can’t be read in or copied to the card while the image is being copied to the card.

Run $ sudo umount /dev/sdb1 including the partition number. If the list of devices showed up more than one device due to multiple partitions, unmount all of them. The command requires root permissions, so if you are not logged in as root, prefix all commands with sudo.

Now, run $ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb command to write the OS image to the card

Make sure you replace the ’if’ parameter value with the path to the OS image that needs to be written, and the ‘of’ parameter value needs to be replaced with the device id of the SD card. Please make sure to be careful to specify the right name for the device name, as mentioned earlier. The device name should be specified without the partition number.

This will roughly take up to 3 to 4 minutes and the terminal would look like the process is frozen. If you are using an SD card reader, then the LED on it would blink continuously. Otherwise just run $ sudo pkill -USR1 -n -x dd on another terminal, and the progress would be displayed in the original terminal window.

Note: The block size is mentioned as ‘4M’ in the command. If it does not work, then change it to as less as ‘1M’ but remember that this will slow down the process quite a bit.

$ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb
958+1 records in
958+1 records out
4019191808 bytes (4.0 GB) copied, 405.585 s, 9.9 MB/s

Finally, use $ sync to ensure that the write cache is flushed and it is safe to unmount the SD card.

If you are using windows, then check out Win32DiskImager utility.  Okay now that we’re done prepping the memory card, what next?

Booting for the first time:

For this you would require a USB keyboard, USB mouse, 5V USB power supply, HDMI monitor (I just connect the pi to my television), and of course the Raspberry Pi.

Installing OS on the Raspberry Pi3

Connect power and you should see the boot sequence on the TV. After first boot, the Raspberry Pi boots up in setup mode and if not, you can type the following command to get there:

$ sudo raspi-config

First things that need to be done are, resizing the file system to use the entire SD card, in my case it is 32GB. Check the first option on the setup menu. Then change the location and timezone to match yours. By default it is set to United Kingdom.

Now on rebooting the Raspberry Pi, it boots with the new configuration. The setup is now done and ready to use for any projects you’d like. For getting started with your first ever DIY project on the Raspberry Pi, check out this project.

Categories
DIY Projects Internet of Things (IoT)

Interfacing a Motion Detector Sensor with a Raspberry Pi 3

In the previous posts we discussed about why Internet of Things is the buzzword of the decade and how to get started working on a Raspberry Pi to fire up an LED light. But now we’re stepping up the game from lighting up LEDs to detecting motion.

Sitting in front of the laptop staring at my pi3 and the sensors I had just bought, I was wondering what to work on. Something that is pretty cool, not mundane, something that can be used as a building block for the upcoming projects, yet not very complicated for beginners.

Some brainstorming and my natural inclination towards image processing led me to interfacing the raspberry pi with the PIR motion detector sensor. One might wonder what a motion detector sensor has to do with images. Fret not, I have a camera module that is going to come in handy for the next building block.

The bigger picture I’m looking at, is to activate the camera module and detect a face in the frame when the motion detector sensor is triggered. Watch this space for more such building blocks, like installing opencv and learning more image processing, to lead up to the bigger picture.

Introduction to the sensor:

PIR sensor is a motion detection sensor that is used to detect whether a human has moved in or out of the sensor’s range. They are inexpensive, low power, small and easy to use. PIR is made of a pyroelectric sensor, (refer image) the rectangular crystal (which detects the level of IR radiation) covered with the round can. Ideal input voltage is 5V and the output signal when motion triggers the sensor is 3V.

The IR sensor in a motion detector is split in halves, because we’re only looking to detect motion, and not the IR levels. The sensor we are using use the BISS0001 chip. This chip takes the output of the sensor and does some minor processing on it to emit a digital output pulse from the analog sensor. Remember that the sensor can also be set off by your cat, just saying!

Motion Detector Sensor Raspberry Pi 3

Moving on to the project, let’s wire up the sensor to the Raspberry pi. You could connect the sensor directly to the GPIO pins of the pi, however we’re going to be connecting via a breadboard because it is easier to expand this project in the future. Remember that the sensor would work just as good, no matter which way you pick to connect it to the pi.

  1. Plug three M to F jumpers into the three pins on the PIR sensor.
  2. Plug the input pin (PIR-VCC) into the positive row of your breadboard, ground pin (PIR-GND) into the negative row, and output pin (PIR-OUT) into the other blank row.
  3. Connect the pin 6 (GPIO-GND) on the pi, to the negative row of the breadboard and PIR-OUT into any other blank row.
  4. Use another jumper wire to connect the pin 2 (GPIO 5V) on the pi to the positive rail of your breadboard (The same rail as PIR-GND wire)
  5. Connect the pin 26 (GPIO 7) to the same rail as the PIR-OUT. This is because we will be using pin 26 as an input to sense when the PIR detects motion.

Now that the hardware setup is done, let’s push some code into the pi so that it prints out a statement when the sensor senses movement.

https://gist.github.com/yayyme/88269e70674749580ca6b6c45f12b50c

The PIRs have a potentiometer inbuilt, that can be tuned to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor. Clockwise tuning increases the sensitivity, so if the print statements are running on an infinite loop, then tune the potentiometer in the anticlockwise direction.

Unfortunately, this method uses up a lot of computation power and makes sure the sensor keeps sensing continuously. We definitely don’t want that when we’re working on a more “real world” application. Since this is a pet project and something that we’re going to be using as a building block to a bigger project in the future, I’m inserting time.sleep() statement to not let the sensor work continuously.

Watch this space for more posts in the coming days. We will discuss on the architecture of Raspberry Pi, why I chose the Pi3 over Pi2, and more such topics on the foundation of IoT and Raspberry Pi. Also, do let me know if you have any questions or ideas!

Categories
Features Internet of Things (IoT)

SAM Labs Helps Kids Learn Coding through IoT

SAM Labs, Maker of educational technology kits to learn coding, engineering, and DIY; SAM teaches incredibly complex concepts through a hands-on and visual approach. Without any prior knowledge of coding or programming, one can program the SAM building blocks by connecting the dots in the SAM Space app to form wireless circuits and learn.

The journey for this company has been exciting. Great ride since the Kickstarter campaign, the pop-up at the Science Museum and Joachim’s TED talk has been giving them great lime-light, attention and of course learning.

The kits are comprised of sensors and actuators (inputs and outputs). These are what we call SAM blocks.

SAM Labs

Within each kit, there is an assortment of blocks that hook up to our app, SAM Space. The blocks and the app are designed with one project to get you started, but not to give too much away. They want users to feel they have gained a springboard to inventing. You can see the whole process below.

Within the app, circuits can be customised with dynamic elements and inventions can even be internet connected. With a wide range of sensors and actuators, a diverse range of add-ons within the app, and endless projects to complete.

SAM Labs Circuit Design

Great design isn’t just about great and colourful looking products, it has to provide for great user experience. Simplicity and user-friendliness is what makes it a good product.

SAM Labs is currently being used in some schools around the globe to aid teachers and students alike to learn coding and programming. Microsoft has also been a fabulous helper in promotion and a driving force of users to SAM from the fantastic articles published throughout the past few months.

They want to ensure that kids have the skills to be able to build their futures. By using SAM, they gain a visual and hands-on approach to coding and STEM subjects that engage all kids – no matter their gender, ethnicity, abilities, or age.

If you’re wondering, how do you get started for your kid, first download the app and teeter around with it for a bit. Then, pick the Inventor kit. This is a fantastic one to introduce coding and engineering principles through scientific exploration as this kit was designed in collaboration with the London Science Museum.

SAM Science Museum Kit

They hope to bring in more awesome projects and a new industry standard within the educational field to gamify education and make school feel like play. “Internet of Everything for Everyone” is one statement the company vouches on.

The powers of engineering and the IoT are crucial to the development of technology and innovation in the future. By giving these to kids, we’re giving them the power to sculpt the future of technology, not just use it.

Categories
Internet of Things (IoT) IoT News

India’s First IoT Focused CoE in Bengaluru

NASSCOM today launched India’s first Centre of Excellence – Internet of Things (CoE-IoT) at the NASSCOM Startups Warehouse in Bengaluru. The CoE will focus on leveraging IT strengths and creating a new age industry with the support of IoT based ideas.

The CoE is a joint initiative between the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Education and Research Network (ERNET) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

IoT board

The CoE laboratory along with the NASSCOM 10,000 Startups Warehouse has the capacity to incubate up to 40 start ups and can accommodate around 10 emerging companies per shift for prototype/ design and usage of lab facilities. The CoE also provides a separate space for validation, verification and demonstration as well as concept labs for developing IoT solutions for application areas like Agriculture, Automobile, Telecom, Healthcare and Consumer IoT.

The CoE is also supported by Accenture, CISCO, Cyient, EMC, Intel, HCL Technologies, Qualcomm, Tata Consultancy Services, L&T Technology Services, Robert Bosch and VM Ware as Strategic partners.  Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, IBM, Microsoft have signed up as Infrastructure partner to the initiative.

NASSCOM also shared some of the key-findings at the launch event. India has seen a Market Growth of 28% in IoT business from FY2015 to FY2016. Nearly 120 firms are offering IoT Solutions in India, out of which around 60% startups emerged after 2010. In the past 3 years, Indian IoT firms have received funding worth USD 60M and the IoT market in the country is expected to grow to USD 15B market by 2020. This would mean, roughly about 5% of the Global Market.

An increase in the adoption of IoT based technology in areas of home, retail and industrial automation, health & fitness monitoring and connected vehicles as well as the advent and growth of Smartcities, has resulted in a greater need of better solutions that lead to the evolution of a lifestyle dominated by technology. Few days ago, even HP announced the Industry First Converged System for IoT.

If you are keen to start developing IoT based solutions and products, there are many affordable boards available in the market today. Last week, MediaTek also announced their Helio based Development board with more powerful sensors for developers.

Divya has also written an article on how to get started with Raspberry Pi and building your first IoT DIY project. Have a look!

Categories
Internet of Things (IoT) IoT News

Meet Helio X20 Development Board from MediaTek

MediaTek today launched its Helio X20 Development Board, based on MediaTek’s high-end Helio X20 mobile processor, making it the first development board in the industry to use Tri-Cluster, deca-core and ARM® Cortex®-A72 technology.

To enable the widest range of smart gadgets and IoT devices to be prototyped, the board offers an extensive set of interfaces and connectivity peripherals. This includes interface for cameras, touch-screen displays and MMC/SD cards. Wireless communication is supported with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. GPS location acquisition is also included.

MediaTek Helio X20 Development Board
Source: MediaTek

The Helio X20 Development Board will be available in Asia soon and can be purchased from ArcherMind Technology. Its currently available here.

MediaTek’s Helio X20 Development Board leverages the Tri-Cluster deca-core structure  to more efficiently handle different types of workloads. It can delegate simple tasks to one cluster of cores, while directing more complex and more power-hungry tasks to the other clusters for smoother performance and extended battery life. It sounds to be an ideal platform for Android developers working on innovations for today’s existing and emerging markets.

The MediaTek Helio X20 Development Board is designed with the Linaro 96Boards specification, so it is compatible with other 96Boards products for other solutions. That means developers can easily incorporate their work into the Helio X20 Development Board and enjoy all the flexibility and creativity the board has to offer.

With this board you can prototype solutions for existing and emerging markets including POS, VR, advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS), digital signage, vending machines and more.

Categories
Internet of Things (IoT)

Why is IoT the Buzzword of the Decade?

As the car was approaching home, her GPS location was sent to the home thermostat. After a long tiring day, she entered her perfectly dim lit, warm home, to her favorite playlist playing in the background. As she sunk into the couch, over a conversation with her virtual assistant on the home speaker, she reviewed how her day went and the virtual assistant ordered pizza for dinner ..” – This isn’t an excerpt out of a movie. This is right now, we are already in the future. Well, almost. Since the term ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ was coined first, the definition has evolved a lot. In a generic sense though, this is a highly intelligent Machine-to-Machine technology which has potential to revolutionise how we live and work.

From music speakers, to thermostats, to lights and accessories, everything has some sort of intelligence; We are living in tech heaven, to be precise. Having moved from keypads to touch interfaces, we are currently in the no interface era. All the tech giants are focussing on getting maximum done with very little interaction with the device, and that means voice-activated computing powered by artificial intelligence.

When we say IoT, they include things we use on an everyday basis, from wearables to medical parameter sensors, to geographical and environmental sensors, and sensors monitoring the working and the lifecycle of devices.

Think about it, there are so many devices we use everyday, that possibly generate so much data when connected to respective sensors. This data could lead to so many different insights on user behavior and the device lifecycle.

Sensors and Wearables:

Internet-equipped sensors on any device make it possible to tap all the unused data, and analysis of this data lead into inferences about things that are usually considered ‘offline’. This can lead to better productivity, reduce cost, and can bring about a sustainable lifestyle. The thing that makes everyone excited about the future of IoT is the versatility of solutions it provides. This makes IoT the buzzword of the decade because we can expect an explosion of IoT solutions in various sectors.

google glass wearables IoT

Wearable technology enabled clothes are connected to the phone and are recording data about everything from blood pressure to the posture. Also speaking of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is not just the companies building consumer facing products that are a big deal, there are many companies providing wireless power solutions, and cloud based solutions that are more useful to a developer.

Challenges in IoT:

One big issue in the evolution of the Internet of Things is however, the interoperability, inability to connect to all the devices using just one app. There are many companies currently aiming to solve this issue by giving cloud based solutions to connect devices among each other.

Building a successful IoT environment will require massive amounts of cooperation and coordination between firms. But now more platforms like the Google cloud platform is coming up to sync up devices on a data level, and not just with respect to connectivity alone.

Some impressive products have already been around in the market for a while now; Smart pill reminders, that provides a smart and simple solution for patients forgetting to take their daily medicine dosage, or stick to the prescribed amount of medicine. Smart door bells, that combine computer vision, facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence to bring about a revolution in door bell systems.

Just like any other field, there are many skeptics around in tech industry as well. They predict IoT as a whole as a bubble that would burst very soon. But for the rest of us, we are definitely heading towards a better, sustainable future where there’s going to be a lot more evolution happening on the IoT front.

Did you like what you read? check out this article on how to Build your first IoT Application using Raspberry Pi.

Categories
DIY Projects Internet of Things (IoT)

How to Glow an LED using Raspberry Pi and Python

Today, most of the IoT based applications and products are powered by Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t yet read the previous article, about why IoT is the buzzword of the decade, do check it out! Raspberry Pi is a pocket sized affordable computer which is both fun to play around and build projects as per your ideas. You can plug any computer monitor or TV into the Pi for the display. To get started, you can further connect a standard keyboard and mouse to use it like a mini computer. In true sense, It’s as good as a full sized desktop computer. You can browse the internet, create documents and spreadsheets, watch high definition (HD) videos and play games as well. In this article, we look at a simple DIY Project on how to build your first IoT application using Python to glow an LED.

Raspberry Pi is pretty simple to get started. It provides you a practical approach to learn programming. If you’re familiar with Python, and know how to connect LEDs and resistors to a breadboard, you are good to go! However, if you’re not familiar with Python then I recommend going through this website.

Make sure you have a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian Jessie installed. The circuit is connected as shown below.

LEDs Glow IoT Demo

Connect the LEDs and Raspberry Pi to the breadboard as shown in the diagram using Jumper Wires. Hook up the Raspberry Pi to a monitor via the HDMI port on the board.

Launch the terminal and open ‘nano’ text editor, or you could use any text editor that is already familiar to you. This demo is as simple as a Hello World program. Running the following code will make the LEDs blink.

https://gist.github.com/techdotink/92216a99cf8d6596c3b1dee2b18b7261

Now that we have blinking LEDs, lets go ahead and build a silly game. Modify the current code that picks a random number from a given list, glows green LED when you guess the number correctly and glows the red LED if you’re wrong. Run the following code, happy playing!

https://gist.github.com/techdotink/1302f7b4ecdd2493322b296b9581bda2

The sheer form factor and hardware coupled with its ease of use, gives Raspberry Pi the capabilities to interact with everyday things/devices and makes it one of the favourite boards for IoT based products. People around the world are already making phenomenal tools using Raspberry Pi and also share them with the community.

I hope building your first ever IoT project was fun. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Keep checking this space for more projects in the coming days!

Categories
Internet of Things (IoT) IoT News

Microsoft brings in Wireless 3D Printing for Windows 10 IoT Core

Today, Microsoft introduced the Network 3D Printer app for its IoT-based platform (IoT Core) which gives wireless functionality to 3D printers. Windows 10 IoT Core is a version of Windows 10 that is optimized for smaller devices with or without a display, and that runs on the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, Arrow DragonBoard 410c & MinnowBoard MAX. Windows 10 IoT Core utilizes the rich, extensible Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API for building great applications. With Windows 10 IoT Core. you can make devices to integrate richer experiences such as natural user interfaces, searching, online storage and cloud based services. This Network 3D Printer application gives 3D printers what traditional printers had with Wi-Fi capabilities for years, allowing users to print without being connected to the computers.

Setting the IoT system is pretty easy. You just have to connect the Raspberry Pi to a 3D printer using the USB connection. This Windows IoT Core app works on the Raspberry Pi and takes the command for printing jobs wirelessly and then pass them on to a chosen 3D printer. This mini-computer will then start transmitting the printer to a network, allowing a Windows PC to see it and take the print command. The app also lets multiple computers to share a printer and pass the print commands.

The Network 3D Printer works with these below printers at this moment – Lulzbot Taz 6, Makergear M2, Printrbot Play, Plus and Simple, Prusa i3 Mk2, Ultimaker Original and Original+, Ultimaker 2 and 2+, Ultimaker 2 Extended and Extended+.

The Network 3D Printer App currently works only on Raspberry Pi. We should be seeing support for other boards soon.

Earlier at build 2016, Microsoft launched the Azure IoT Starter Kits, similar to the Internet of Things (IoT) starter kits which would help developers start with development for these technologies. The Azure IoT Starter Kits are available on Github here. You can Download Windows 10 IoT Core for your device here. Here are few sample projects to get an idea on how the IoT Core platform is helping builders make stuff.

Categories
IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

What makes a City Smart? IoT Elements and Key Interactions

Guest Author: Shakthi V

In my previous articles in the IoT series, we saw about Security & Privacy and Device Level Security needs; it is time for us to get to the final one in the series where we get to a serious possible area where we can see IoT help us. A recent study found that over the past few years, the definition of “Smart Cities” has evolved to mean many things to many people. Part of being “smart” is utilising information and communications technology and the Internet to address urban challenges. The number of urban residents is growing by nearly 60 million every year. In addition, more than 60 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. As a result, people occupying just 2 percent of the world’s land will consume about three-quarters of its resources.

Moreover, more than 100 cities of 1 million people will be built in the next decade. This also an area where the current Indian PM is looking to move the nation into. And if implemented clearly, it will be a great thing for the economy and the quality of urban life in our country. Today, let us conclude this series about the IoT with a look at smart cities – one of the major implementations of IoT.

IoTscheme
Courtesy: http://internetofeverything.cisco.com

As the diagram above shows, there are three kinds of interactions that are important in a smart city scheme of things, People to People (P2P), People to Machine (P2M) and Machine to Machine (M2M). The processes and protocols make these interactions secure, tight and also maintain data integrity. Please note that we are talking about essential civic services also here. So security and processing overhead should not, at any cost affect the overall turn-around time of any process, the results in that case will be disastrous and counter-productive.

Now let us examine various elements in the eco-system above –

  1. People – People now have various ways of accessing the internet and methods are limited only by imagination and budget. Going forward, we are going to go beyond the humble wearable device and access the internet in very complicated ways that are just fantasy today. For example, we will be able to swallow a pill that diagnoses our entire physical health and reports it to the cloud via the internet where the medical and healthcare system will automatically respond and initiate handling and treatment based on that data. There are going to be many other ways that we are going to constantly pump data into the cloud every second. People will then become the nodes of the internet, complicated, scary but definitely on the way!
  2. Data — With IoT, devices typically gather data and send it over the Internet to a central source, where it is analyzed and processed. Rather than just reporting raw data, connected things will soon send higher-level information back to machines, computers, and people for further evaluation and decision making. This transformation from data to information in IoT is important because it will allow us to make faster, more intelligent decisions, as well as control our environment more effectively.
  3. Things – these along with people form the crux of the IoT and the smart cities. These are a heterogeneous collection of devices that collect and may/may not process data before sending it for further analysis into the cloud. Things will sense more data, become context-aware, and provide more experiential information to help people and machines make more relevant and valuable decisions. They can be permanent things built into structures like bridges for load estimation and strength evaluation or temporary things built into milk or food cartons to track movement and consumption and to update health records
  4. Process – This is a set of rules and regulations that govern the data exchange, security levels and the access grid in the IoT that runs a smart city. Relevant connections and right information coupled with right delivery help a process add value to the network and make the smart city context-aware.

And the key technical aspects that bind all these together are Big Data, Big analytics, Stable connection and clear collaboration. A well thought out infrastructure with all these driving execution is the kay foundation of a smart city.

So what are the key areas that a government can hope to implement the IoT and make a city smart? That is simple, it has to be Structure Management, Traffic Management, Water Management, Power Management, Waste Management and Policing. If we can get these functions optimized and set up with a layer of IoT whereby the sensors or devices talk to a central controller equipped with an intelligent process that makes real-time decisions based on incoming data, we have a Smart City!

Let us now try and see a few examples of how this can actually help a city and hence all of us. It is a known fact that street/road lighting consumes a major percentage of the power that is produced in the world. We also know that roughly 60% of road lighting across the world uses technology invented in the 60s. The LED lighting movement is gaining a lot of traction and the world is switching to efficient lighting solutions based on LEDs. Let us look at an IoT implementation of this.

  1. We take a survey of all the lights in the city roads, replace them with LED lights in phases
  2. Once the lights are all LED, we tie them up to a communication and control grid that has a central processing unit
  3. The Lighting CPU has a set of simple rules like
    1. Dim lights when they come on and gradually increase intensity as evening becomes night
    2. Prioritize lighting to public utility spaces where crowds gather and move around frequently
    3. As night becomes dawn and natural light takes over, dim lights first and progressively switch them off
    4. Covered structures get light till the sun is out and shining
    5. In the event of rain/storm/lightning, ensure that the lights do not short out and if that happens, switch to an available covered array that can illuminate the same area
    6. Use ground sensors to detect footfall and illuminate intensity based on density
    7. Traffic LEDS never go off/unmanned
  4. The policies above are controlled, let us say by something like an XML based protocol that enables different sensors and the lighting grid to talk the same language.
  5. At the same time, the lighting pattern. movement pattern, failure pattern and weather pattern are constantly collected on the cloud for regular analysis and lighting policy feedback
  6. Effectively, the system runs itself and optimizes itself.

The scheme above for “lighting as a service can literally save a quarter of a city’s wasted electricity in road lighting, couple that with LED light energy savings and you will have enough energy to never have a power outage in a city. And if we additionally tie a green and renewable source to power lights, the city has literally infinite lighting capability. Sounds like fantasy? It’s actually possible. Amsterdam is exploring this as we write this article.

There are many such possibilities, imagine city that calls an ambulance when it senses a citizen having a health emergency, or one that alerts the police when a known offender tried to manhandle city property or financial structures. Best is a city than can sense a potential IED, alert ER services, evacuate people and cordon off the area! Like I said, sky is the limit!

With that, I end my third article in the IoT series! Back soon with something exciting! What are your thoughts? Let us know!