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Getting Onto the IoT

Today we talk IoT enablement. Two sources with different goals.

The first one is a platform called iChipNet from ConnectOne (we’ve seen their modules before). And it’s brought to you by a concern for interoperability, which they see as a big barrier to IoT adoption.

When we think “interop,” often we think about hardware compatibility – sensors from different sources working with hubs and brokers and what not, humming away like a well-tuned orchestra. But it’s more than that: much of ConnectOne’s emphasis is on the ability to connect with the Cloud.

The platform consists of:

  • Internet controller chips
  • Ethernet modules
  • WiFi modules
  • A hub (which is one of their modules configured as a WiFi access point); connects to the router via Ethernet
  • A Cloud solution
  • A smartphone app library

IoT_overall_block_diagram.pngThe first three are for Things; the hub is optional; and the last two are to bridge the difficulties they say customers encounter trying to get the whole system working. With the hub, it’s possible to have a kit produced for customers where all of the modules and the hub have their WiFi network information preloaded at the factory so that there’s absolutely no setup required by customers.

The Cloud solution consists of a gateway simply to get communication going. There are no “big data” analysis packs or anything involved (they’re not disallowed; they’re just not provided by ConnectOne). The messaging protocol they use*is proprietary; it’s something they’ve used internally for about 15 years. Because all such details are abstracted under their API, it doesn’t matter to their target customer. There are no pre-defined “objects.”

Meanwhile, Konekt has announced a starter kit for getting devices wireless access through cellular technology (standard cellular, not something like SIGFOX). Called Konekt Dash, it’s a board that can connect directly to cellular service that they’ve pre-provisioned (they’re reselling existing cellular services). Once a designer is up and running, if they want, they can use an API to manage their own cellular service in a sophisticated way between multiple carriers.

They include various “shields” (plug-in modules) for sensors as well as for power options. The platform is hardware-agnostic, meaning that they can plug their “Global SIM” into Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBoard hardware.

The slightly odd thing is that they’re billed as a “newly-funded” company – and yet the news is that they’re running a Kickstarter campaign. Why would they do that if they’re funded? For the same reason that many people do – not for the money, but to get feedback and a sense of demand.

You can find more about ConnectOne’s iChipNet platform and the Konekt Dash in their respective announcements.

 

*Look for much more on messaging protocols next Monday.

 

(Image courtesy ConnectOne)

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