What’s Your Emergency Communications Plan?

As our cities become increasingly connected and transform into Smart Cities, there is an opportunity to streamline emergency communications. Cities and municipalities can leverage a variety of advanced technologies and incorporate them into their own emergency communication plans. Emergency management decision makers tasked with improving city-wide emergency and disaster plans now have access to technology that can assure connectivity in the harshest weather or environmental conditions; increase visibility into dangerous environments; and, optimize response times. Wireless Short-haul for the Win Wireless short-haul solutions can create an industrial-strength Wi-Fi connection that was built to withstand earth’s most challenging conditions. These Sensor-2-Server (S2S) types of technologies are used for a variety of municipal and government use cases, but they are particularly suited for outdoor communication needs. While they are often used for day-to-day use, such as traffic management, they are a viable option for providing secure, reliable connectivity as part of any city or local government’s emergency communication plan. VVDS for Emergencies With an industrially hardened, high-speed wireless short-haul solution in place, cities can experience the benefits of Voice, Video, Data and Sensor (VVDS) information, even when cell towers are overloaded. In a world where we increasingly rely on connectivity, it is essential to keep government and municipalities online during the worst-case scenario. Industrial-grade Wi-Fi that is tested and proven in the most extreme weather conditions is designed with that in mind – keeping local government officials and first responders online. As a result, rescue efforts stay motion. With a VVDS-enabled technology in place, first responders achieve additional visibility into conditions. This real-time view allows for fast action that minimizes collateral damage. It also protects first responders, giving them an advantage in dangerous situations and offering a real-time view of environment they are heading into. Secure, Reliable Solutions Industrial wireless short-haul networks also offer the benefits of being highly secure. There are solutions with encryption capabilities that prevent data hijacking. As more cities become Smart Cities, decision makers will need to make Smarter emergency communication plans that align with the new technology landscape. There are S2S solutions on the market today that are designed for unrelenting performance in the outdoors. These solutions enable better response times, secure data transmission, increased visibility and higher-level risk assessment. When emergencies strike, every moment counts. Having a reliable connection can make the difference in saving lives. Is your city leveraging wireless short-haul solutions for emergency preparedness?

Data that Drives Electric Vehicles

There was a lot of hype surrounding electric vehicles when they first hit the market for consumers. Supporters saw electric vehicles as a key solution for battling gas prices and making a positive impact on the environment. Over the years, several countries throughout the world have incentivized the purchase of electric vehicles through subsidies available to both the car makers and the buyers. However, as we roll into 2017, sales are short of expectations in the U.S. Currently, we’re seeing only about 400,000 electric vehicles on the road. In President Obama’s First term, he said that he believed the U.S. could have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. When January 2016 hit, the estimate was looking like it could take up to another four years to accomplish the goal – especially with continuing low gas prices and troubled electric vehicle battery technology. To help further the push towards electric vehicles, the White House recently hosted an electric vehicle datathon to find and discuss what data would drive the deployment of more electric vehicles on U.S. roads. The event was co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and four National Laboratories. The White House announced that electric vehicle experts, automakers, charging-station providers, cities and states collaborated with software-development and data-analysis communities as the group looked for answers to the electric vehicle challenges. Together, they worked to better understand how plug-in (electric) vehicles contribute to and help the environment and economy. They also worked to find out find out what it will take to make U.S. consumers more interested in purchasing electric vehicles. Electric Vehicles and the Right Data Electric vehicle manufacturers, well aware of the challenges and slow adoption, have also worked to provide U.S. citizens with appealing electric vehicle options. During the R&D process, these manufacturers are challenged with improving vehicles to increase purchases and usage in the U.S. Battery challenges aside, careful selection of communication technology is essential to improving data and performance of these vehicles. Without proper data collection and transport, vehicle performance cannot be analyzed and improved. One of the leading electric car companies uses Sensor-to-Server (S2S) solutions for RTK base station communications to improve data and correlation. As the Internet of Things (IoT) infiltrates more areas of our everyday life, S2S solutions designed to be robust and reliable in heavily industrial environments work as a communication solution for many industries across the board. From typical industrial environments like oil/gas and water/wastewater, to smart cities and the automotive industry and more specifically, electric vehicles. S2S solutions offer high-speed, long range connectivity with 900 MHz RF technology and they can support third party applications. As the electric vehicle industry looks to data for overcoming challenges, these solutions are designed to collect, protect, transport and control critical data from network end points all the way back to the server. Electric car manufacturers have a ways to go in terms of driving more adoption from consumers, but they have a nice selection of IoT and sensor-based technologies to help improve data and communications.

Connected Traffic Management Systems

Connected traffic systems are the next push in our growing digital world. There is a massive opportunity to leverage modern technology for a variety of traffic applications. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to advancements within many municipalities to optimize public transit, traffic management and public safety. As a result, cities around the country are looking to technology and connected devices to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. Connected Traffic Systems Technology U.S. Commuters spend 14.5 million hours stuck in traffic every day. The Urban Mobility Scorecard from 2015 reported that commuters generally needed to allow 48 minutes for a trip that would take 20 without traffic. The report predicted that conditions would continue to worsen if dedicated programs, policies and projects are not expanded. From a public transportation perspective, many cities are dealing with outdated infrastructure that can lead to severe delays and transportation outages. Voters in San Francisco, for example, recently approved a measure for a $3.5 billion regional bond to update its aging BART transportation system. In addition to investing in and fixing ageing infrastructure, U.S. cities also aim to become smarter and prepare for the future by leveraging technology. The U.S. Department of transportation has recently offered nearly $65 million in grants to cities around the country that are working on advanced transportation initiatives. The grants support a number of projects including traffic signal technology to reduce congestion at street lights, transit trip planning technology and applications, ride-sharing services, and more. While the cities work on the ground, there are also efforts to improve air traffic congestion. AT&T recently announced that it is partnering with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a traffic management system for drones. Sensor-2-Server for Traffic Management Sensor-2-Server (S2S) solutions offer reliable connectivity options for municipalities looking to fix traffic flow issues and create smoother traffic management. By leveraging S2S operations, the city or municipality can enable intelligent communications at the edge of the communication network, from the sensor at the traffic light back to a specific server, enabling advanced data analytics. Cities with outdated communication infrastructures, such as a T1 phone line for traffic control systems, can easily update their network with wireless S2S solutions. S2S technologies are created to perform in extreme weather, offering a real-time monitoring solution around the clock. The cost of operations is significantly reduced with S2S solutions and they deliver the connectivity needed for modern IoT networks. Some S2S solutions are equipped with the ability to introduce custom, third-party applications at the edge, which can help reduce costs and enable new automation capabilities. As cities throughout the U.S. embrace IoT and work to become Smart Cities, traffic management is a major initiative. While cities work to improve aging infrastructure, they can help improve traffic congestion by incorporating a traffic management system that can leverage data from an S2S network to optimize traffic flow.

Creating A Safer Environment with IoT

We can get a better understanding of the world around us by consistently monitoring our environment. The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled large-scale environmental monitoring for commercial, industrial and research purposes. New innovations are constantly in progress that will allow us to make better, safer decisions in our everyday life and protect our environment. For example, imagine how much safer roads would be if your car could warn you about upcoming road hazards such as heavy snow or black ice based on weather and road condition data. When connected to an IoT network, modern technologies can also be used to collect data for weather predictions and monitoring. Oil and gas companies can better protect marine life and ocean environments with offshore leak detection systems. On land, residents living near coal power plant facilities can feel better about the air they breathe when air-quality is consistently monitored. Sensor-2-Server (S2S) communication and networking solutions are increasingly used to help monitor the quality of the environment to prevent and actively identify a number or potentially dangerous situations, such as hazardous material leaks and fugitive emissions. From environmental impact assessments and air quality monitoring to soil dynamics analysis, S2S solutions are meant to gather data from any sensor at any point in the IoT network and bring it back to a specific location to be acted upon. With S2S technology in place, operators can consistently gather and transmit data that affects the quality of life for the world population. It’s important to find a solution that has been proven in the harshest environments – that can withstand the weather extremes and volatile elements. Understanding Your Environment in Real-Time In many applications, especially when safety is the top priority, it is critical to review timely and accurate data to ensure there are no glaring issues with the environment. S2S technologies for environmental monitoring should offer real-time information, as well as large quantities of data that can be analyzed to understand trends through predictive analytics engines. Here are some additional applications where S2S solutions can be leveraged for environmental monitoring: CBRN Monitoring for protective measures where chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare hazards may be present Fugitive Emissions Monitoring for volatile organic compounds (VOC) – this is especially common in oil and gas Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) to ensure compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Subsea Monitoring for exploration, research and offshore oil and gas applications Levee Performance Testing to understand levee load capacity and prevent breaches. Water Level Monitoring to track rainfall or water levels in industrial settings. River Flow Monitoring to determine how much water flows through lakes and streams. Seismic Monitoring and volcanic monitoring to provide early detection of these events and enable authorities to warn citizens in advance to take appropriate precautionary measures. As we become increasingly connected to the world around us, we also gain visibility into the surrounding environmental conditions. This offers a wide and diverse range of industries a unique opportunity to monitor the environment in new ways and make intelligent decisions to prevent future negative impacts on the environment as a whole.

Ships that Sail Themselves

Is it time for ships to sail off on a journey by themselves? As the Internet of Things (IoT) connects the world, while the robotics industry continues to innovate, man and machine are merging together like never before. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have impacted a number of industries from agriculture to security. If recent news is correct, it won’t be long before autonomous cars are traveling roads alongside us. Now, organizations and government agencies around the world are actively working to bring autonomous vessels to our oceans. What can we expect from unmanned ships operating in our largest bodies of water? IoT and robotics are being considered for a variety of commercial and military purposes at sea. For most of the world, it seems autonomous ships are in the testing phase, but there are big plans in the works around the globe: The British engine maker Rolls Royce Holdings, PLC is leading the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications initiative with several other organizations and universities. The company is eyeing a timeline of remotely controlled ships setting sail by 2030 with completely autonomous ships in service by 2035. The timeline will be heavily dependent upon automation technologies’ ability to carry large amount of data from ship to shore to ensure safe operations. Recently, the UK’s Automated Ships Ltd and Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime, unveiled plans for a light-duty ship for surveying, delivering cargo to offshore installations and launching and recovering smaller remote-controlled and autonomous vehicles. “This ship is considered the world’s first unmanned ship for offshore operations and is being eyed for many uses including offshore energy, fish farming and scientific industries.” In the U.S., the Navy has begun to consider autonomous ships for a number of applications, but is cautiously approaching these new technology advancements. According to National Defense Magazine, “The Navy for now appears to be in no hurry to pour big money into drone ships and submarines. And there is little tolerance these days for risky gambles on technologies.” However, the article acknowledges that robots at sea could help do the jobs that are dangerous or costly for human operators, such as hunting enemy submarines, detonating sea mines, medical evacuations and ship repairs. The European Union (EU) appears to have a vested interest in sea robotics. As infrastructure costs rise for improving rails and roads, they have begun to seek alternative ways to move large quantities of cargo. According to Maritime Executive they have, “had a long-term goal of making short sea shipping more competitive with road and rail transport, which is under stress from the transportation bottlenecks caused by increasing volumes of internal trade.” As the EU faces massive infrastructure costs to upgrade road and rail, there is increased attention and effort directed at the “motorways of the sea.” The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been testing a robotic ship called the “Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel,” and has been running sea trials on its radar system. The radar is fastened to a parasail that enables heights of 500-1,500 feet. These are just a few of the autonomous vessel projects in the works. In order for unmanned vessels to operate, it is clear the ability to transport data in massive amounts will play a critical role in the success and safety of those sharing the sea with autonomous ships. As technologies evolve to meet these big data needs, we can eventually expect to see more unmanned vessels in the sea, improving offshore applications, making human jobs safer, and creating new efficiencies for organizations looking to optimize international trade.

Big Data: Election Analytics and More

During the 2016 election season, we’ve seen considerable media coverage on big data and predictive analytics.  The access to massive quantities of data has played an increasingly important role not only for predicting the election winner, but also for driving candidates’ campaigns. During the 2012 election we saw political data science and big data leveraged by campaign managers to tap into the public opinions of the candidates. The information garnered from those data points led to decisions that shaped campaign strategies. Since 2012, we’ve seen substantial advancements in political data analytics. A recent Forbes article explains this well, “In recent years, political data analytics has advanced from simple micro targeting to true predictive data science, and the track record is good. Some of the brightest minds in the field are using massive amounts of data, complex models and advanced algorithms to determine the best way to appeal to big swathes of the electorate without alienating possible converts.” A GOP strategist recently claimed that analysts have about 400 data points stored for the average American voter and noted that they are constantly querying the database for insight. Predictive Analytics is an increasingly useful and complex practice — and it is not limited to presidential elections. It can be used in almost every industry to drive intelligent and informed business decisions. First, let’s define predictive analytics in relation to this post. This definition from TechTarget highlights the role of statistical analysis and machine learning to arrive at an actionable model: “Predictive analytics is a form of advanced analytics that uses both new and historical data to forecast future activity, behavior and trends. It involves applying statistical analysis techniques, analytical queries and automated machine learning algorithms to data sets to create predictive models that place a numerical value, or score, on the likelihood of particular events happening.” Beyond the Election With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) we are currently seeing predictive analytics leveraged for applications across industries to help organizations make better operating decisions. Here are a few application examples recently highlighted in Forbes: Models designed to predict where crimes will be committed Predicting the price of oil Insight into how upcoming events might influence a business Predicting the probability of success for a startup Identifying trends in the academic literature Predictive Analytics and S2S Communications Today, there are technology solutions designed for intelligence-enabled decision making. Sensor-2-Server (S2S) communication solutions in particular, help meet the increasing demand for data. S2S by definition is an intelligent communication that begins at the sensor level and targets servers for specific reasons. With an intelligent communication system to enable predictive analytics, operators can leverage new technology to improve the profitability of their businesses. As an example, let’s look at the one of the predictive analytics use cases listed above– a model for predicting the price of oil.  If an oil and gas company has an intelligent system in place, it can respond in real-time to its oil production levels. The data can help operators determine if production should be increased or decreased in certain areas to maximize profitability. Predictive Analytics Recap Predictive analytics engines allow organizations to analyze more data, faster. Key decision makers gain insight into trends and patterns that may be otherwise overlooked. They can make intelligent predictions that shape business operations and strategy. With the right techniques in place, an organization will make better decisions, cut costs and increase profitability. And for those who are running for public office? They now have more insight into the opinions and trends for voters than ever before. This has changed the game in a lot of ways because campaigns can be tailored to an audience based on specific data.

Is Sensor-2-Server Technology the Next Big Wave for Oceanic Monitoring?

The National Geographic Society defines oceanography as, “an interdisciplinary science integrating the fields of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering to explore the ocean.”  A brief history of oceanography, laid out by the National Geographic  Society, begins with the first oceanographic studies completed by the H.M.S. Challenger Expedition from 1872-1876, which was the first voyage that collected data related to the oceanic environment. The more advanced forms of oceanography did not begin until World War II when the U.S. Navy studied the oceans to gain communication advantages across the Atlantic for submarine warfare. In the 1950s and 1960s, submersibles were introduced and ultimately became the technology that revolutionized oceanographic exploration. Modern technology has enabled more in depth exploration of the ocean. It offers tools to observe the environment, study the living beings living within it, and explore the unexplored. With the increasing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is safe to say that more innovation will continue to drive oceanic research and exploration as we are able to connect more sensors and devices to the equipment that helps us learn more about the vast and expansive oceans. IoT technology allows researchers to take a scientific approach to the examination of the ocean through recorded and analyzed data. Some of the technologies already in use today include, vessels and submersibles, observing systems and sensors, communication technologies, and diving technology. Sensor-2-Server Technology for Oceanic Monitoring As IoT adoption rapidly expands, and in many ways changes the way things work – researchers continue to find new and innovative ways to explore the ocean. Some technology manufacturers are offering Sensor-2-Server solutions (S2S) for monitoring and data collection. S2S is defined as intelligent communication that begins at the sensor level and targets servers for specific reasons. The concept of S2S is about creating intelligent transmission from a specific location back to the appropriate server with the appropriate intelligence to drive action for change. For oceanographic purposes, this type of technology unlocks the opportunity to incorporate more data points than ever before. Some Sensor-2-Server solutions offer platforms to host third-party applications in addition to creating the communication links for devices. This new class of wireless IoT communication solutions is starting to be adapted for oceanographic research today. Below are some real-life applications that leverage modern Sensor-2-Server technology: Communication with an ROV on the ocean over a distance of about two miles Vessel telemetry for units that operate in a variety of changing environments from quayside to middle of ocean Remote access to GPS stations in Alaska over approximately 13 miles to optimize the quality of data transfer for ocean mapping. Connecting remote coastal radar systems measuring ocean surface currents around Coral reefs during an upcoming experiment along the very remote NW Australian Coast. S2S technology will continue to lead to new and exciting ways for researchers to uncover some of the ocean’s mysteries, understand how it works, and learn the behavior of its creatures.

IoT Evolution Podcast Recap: Edge Computing Future

Edge computing has become a topic of hot conversation as the technology capable of supporting sensor-2-server data transport has matured. The realization of true edge computing is accompanied by a host of benefits, including real-time data transmission, maintenance needs and considerable savings for operational expenses. Is edge computing the cut-and-dry future? Ken Briodagh, editorial director with IoT Evolution, plays devil’s advocate on a recent podcast with FreeWave Technologies CMO Scott Allen. He asks, essentially, “If companies focus resources on the real-time data transport at the edge – sending small packages of data at a time in the interest of speed – are we losing the benefits of big data? Do we lose the information that big data sets can provide in terms of predictive analytics and, ultimately, machine learning if we discard bits and pieces of data at the edge that we’ve deemed irrelevant?” Listen to the podcast below for Allen’s response! Overall, edge computing has three main drivers: latency–our need to have the data in milliseconds; loss of communication–able to solve the factory problem without shutting down the entire plant; proximity–sensors in the field monitor the data back to the edge. Edge Computing Solution Depending on the industry, a mixed bag of both programmable and edge computing solutions is an answer to Briodagh’s question. In some cases, especially with the oil and gas industry, companies rely on a sensor-2-server stream of communication, where they need to have the information in real-time, and if there is a problem, be able to act locally and fix the issue before anything drastic happens. The network is a combination of radios communicating with sensors that pass the data to a gateway and up to a cloud system. The network uses only small data sets to transmit a continuous flow of intelligent, sensor-based information, optimizing bandwidth in situations where latency is crucial. Next for the Edge There will come a time when using edge technology will just become a regular line item expense needed to do business in this modern age. Some early adopters have already started using gateway systems as a cookie cutter roll-out for all future expansions. Many worry the cost of entry is still too high to integrate, even though the need for transmission is great. As our digital age grows, infrastructure complexity and the desire to implement the latest technology grow along with it. Altogether, edge computing is still in its infancy stage, so no one really knows what data  we deem irrelevant today will be vital tomorrow.

Securing Assets with Outdoor Wi-Fi

The video surveillance market is anticipated to grow to $42B by 2019. Many industries today are using video monitoring as part of their physical security efforts to protect assets.  As the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly adopted by more industries, careful consideration must be made when leveraging Sensor-to-Server (S2S) solutions for video-based security applications.  From a technology perspective, IoT is beneficial for video security because it enables more data collection to drive intelligent business and security decisions that will better protect assets. However, with more sensors and devices connected to an IT network comes increased exposure for cyberattacks. It was inevitable that IoT would cross over into the physical security space, but the idea of security devices connected into an IoT network is concerning to many security professionals. In 2015, HP reported that up to 70 percent of IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Any intelligent communication that is leveraged in an IoT environment must be designed with security in mind and have the ability to protect the network against cyber-attacks. Without ample security in the environment, companies risk severe consequences such as compromised data or denial of service. Outdoor Assets Protected Some outdoor shorthaul, Wi-Fi-based S2S networks are now designed to securely monitor and transmit voice, video, data and sensor (VVDS) information for asset monitoring and control. Additionally, any industry looking for an outdoor network robust enough to provide Wi-Fi connectivity may also benefit from these outdoor Wi-Fi solutions. From emergency communications to municipalities, industrial networks to golf courses or campgrounds, and more, there are numerous use cases where Wi-Fi is beneficial for connectivity and also for high-speed shorthaul communications needed to enable VVDS data. In IoT environments there are sensors on every single asset, constantly pulling data, so they need to make sure that security features are part of the technology’s design. For the operator seeking outdoor Wi-Fi to connect physical security devices and enable video monitoring, it is important to be familiar with the technology they are selecting. The Wi-Fi networks best suited for outdoor environments will have a rugged design with proven reliability in extreme environmental conditions. When the right security measures are in place, these solutions can ensure that data is protected through a variety of means including encryption, authentication, virus and intrusion protection, and by being physically tamperproof. Although robust, outdoor Wi-Fi can provide the connectivity needed for VVDS applications, but it needs to be able to withstand and prevent cyber security attacks. When the right technology is selected and enabled, asset protection can be enhanced through video. How are you protecting your assets?

IoT is for Automotive

The Internet of Things (IoT) has made an appearance in just about every industry (including automotive) that uses automation and has opened the door for the automation of pretty much anything and everything. Today, there are more devices than people and by 2020 there is expected to be 26 Billion – 50 Billion internet connected devices being used throughout the world. If one thing is true – and if the staggering stats above are any indication – we’re headed towards a fully connected world at a very high speed. Think about everything we can do now that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. We can lock our doors and shut off the thermostat from an app on our phone. At the push of a button, we can buy laundry detergent and have it shipped to our home. Industries with geographically dispersed and remotely located assets can cost-effectively add sensors and smart devices to every single network endpoint – to automate systems and drive intelligent business decisions locally and from afar. Racetracks are the next place IoT is surfacing, while automobiles with infotainment systems (connected by the IoT) continue to fill the streets. Autonomous Automobiles In the tech world, you’ve probably seen industry buzz and research data that verifies the reality of autonomous (or at least semi-autonomous) vehicles commonly traveling our roads in the near future. In fact, a few of the most innovative car manufacturers have already released vehicles with some autonomous features. If anything is for sure it is that the driverless car is much more than a fantasy today– there are people working to develop these vehicles right now. In the meantime, IoT has already begun to leave its mark on the automotive industry. So, what are some real life examples of unique ways that IoT communication solutions are being used in the automotive industry today? The Racing Industry The auto racing industry can automate many systems and processes for drivers and also generate data to support real-time decision making with IoT communication solutions. In one use case, IoT technology enables video data and high speed connections through a point-to-point system. With the data made available to drivers, they are able to adjust their racing strategy in real-time and make smarter decisions that decrease risk and save time. Electronic Car Testing For one electronic car manufacturer, IoT communication solutions are being used for engine testing and maintenance by using real time kinematics (RTK) base station communications to improve data and correlation. What Helps Drive the IoT for Automotive? Sensor-to-Server (S2S) communications have emerged as an essential solution for IoT networks in a variety of industries from industrial settings like oil and gas, to environmental monitoring, to the automotive industry. S2S solutions that are designed specifically for industrial-grade IoT networks, offer high speeds and extended distance connectivity via RF technology that can also support third-party applications. These solutions meet the demanding needs for collecting, protecting, transporting and controlling data from network end points all the way back to the server. As the world around us becomes more connected on a daily basis, we’ll continue to see new innovations released in many different marketplaces. In the automotive industry, IoT is leading to the inevitable release of autonomous vehicles. We can expect to see S2S communications play an increasingly important role for auto manufacturers looking to improve innovation and connect the network devices that were previously not connected.

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