Friday May 15, 2015

Internet of Things (IoT): How Positive Train Control Works

Here's a description at the L.A. Times Web site of how positive train control works using IoT techniques and Big Data.

See:

How Positive Train Control Works

Here's a quote:

 En route, the train’s position 
 and speed are tracked via GPS. 
 Signal status, broken rails, 
 curves, etc. come in from 
 wayside devices. Using these 
 data, the system tells the 
 engineer when to adjust speed.

 If the engineer doesn’t act, 
 the system takes over, adjusts 
 speed and, if necessary, brings 
 the train to a stop.
In light of the tragic train derailment in Philadelphia, it's always good to review things that can prevent this type of horrific occurrence in the future.

Tuesday Apr 07, 2015

Internet of Things (IoT) Rapid Agile Prototyping (Part 1)

When working on IoT proof-of-concepts, if you're not practicing Rapid Agile Prototyping, then you're not doing it right (and probably going too slow).

Rapid Agile Prototyping for Internet of Things (IoT), means you are covering 4 basic processes all at once (while continuously building and improving each of the processes):

  • Requirements planning – Set the basic needs of the project (what does the project do).
  • User design – Plan the biggest parts (how does it do it)
  • Construction – Implement the parts knowing that it will all continue to change and evolve as you get more feedback.
  • Cutover – commit to software control management system (such as git) and deploy the current instance to let customers and users try it out (and give valuable feedback)
  • Repeat and cycle on each of the 4 processes continuously and in parallel.

Here's a link that helps how to quickly ramp up the first part for choosing hardware:

Rapid Prototyping (IoT Hardware)

IoT Rapid Agile Prototyping means you can get your product out faster than the next guy, and in the IoT world, the one who is quickest to implement, will win. 🏁

Monday Apr 06, 2015

Amazon's Hidden New IoT Service for the Home - (Sneaky)

Forget the Amazon Dash Button! Amazon has a different sneaky IoT service for the smarthome planned. Instead of the superfluous plastic button you stick next to your appliances to order more supplies from Amazon (like you would easily do from a smartphone, tablet or PC), they hid a very important announcement of the automated Dash Replenishment Service (DRS).

Amazon DRS allows appliances to reorder their supplies automatically! (No humans, just robots ordering stuff for you from Amazon). It's like having R2-D2 watching your coffee bean supply in your coffee maker, and automatically ordering more before you run out! Artoo!!! You're awesome! Bloop-bloop-beeeep!!

See:

Amazon's Brilliant New Service

Here's a quote:

 Hidden inside the recent 
 announcement of Amazon.com's 
 new Dash button -- which lets 
 your order specific products 
 with a single plastic button 
 -- was a much more important 
 move for Amazon, and one that 
 has the possibility to truly 
 change how we order consumable 
 goods from Amazon.

 It's called the Dash Replenishment 
 Service (or DRS), and its ability 
 to automatically reorder home 
 goods straight from the devices 
 that use them...
Now, that's thinking! And, it's IoT as it's meant to be... with lots of cool robots automatically doing stuff without human intervention. Within reason of course. 😉

Thursday Apr 02, 2015

New Amazon Button: Internet of Things (IoT) a Bit Much, No?

Some IoT inventions are cool. Some IoT inventions you scratch your head and wonder what were they thinking?

See:

New Amazon Button

After your cat or dog finds this button and presses it over and over and over and over and over again, you'll probably scratch your head too.

Monday Mar 30, 2015

Breaking Free of Internet of Things - IoT Not About Devices

Here's an article on how IoT will be enormous, but will not be about devices, standards or inter-connectivity (think back to when iOS and Android first took off -- there were no standards or inter-connectivity between silos). The future of IoT will be about making sense of existing IoT data and turning that current device data into knowledgeable actions.

See:

What IoT is NOT about:
Breaking Free of IoT

Here's a quote:

 This perspective on the Internet of 
 Things has some interesting 
 implications. We predict that the 
 most interesting IoT applications 
 in 2020 will use data that already 
 exists today, rather than new 
 sensors.

 Why? Value is created by making 
 sense of data, and many data will 
 have more than one possible 
 source... New devices will be more 
 expensive to build, install and 
 maintain than solutions that mine 
 existing sources of data. When a 
 solution can be found that doesn’t 
 require new sensors or hardware, 
 it will prevail.
So, don't get all caught up in fancy new IoT devices and how they can use a Holy Grail new standard to interconnect. Think instead about existing devices today and how to best make sense of all that existing device and sensor data that exist today.

Tuesday Mar 24, 2015

IoB - Internet of Bees

It seems you can take the same RFID trackers meant for pallets in warehouses and superglue them onto an Internet of Bees to track their behavior.

See:

Bee Behavior Tracked

Here's a quote:

 Readers, used to pick up a 
 signal from the kit, are 
 connected to Raspberry Pi 
 computers, which log the 
 readings.

 The device has a reach of 
 up to 2.5m (8.2ft). 
 Previously used models were 
 restricted to 1cm (0.4in).
Apparently, no bees were harmed in the making of the IoB - Internet of Bees, but the ecologists did have to chill the bees to make them cold and slow in order to glue them with their new RFID equipment. It's like mini Cyborg-Honeybees. Just hope they don't mutate and come back to sting the scientists performing this experiment. I wouldn't want to see a Terminator Bee come about! 😱

Monday Mar 23, 2015

South by Southwest (SXSW) 2015 Wrap-Up: Interactive Trends

Here's an article on the wrap-up from this year's SXSW 2015. As you can see, #5 on their list is "iBeacons and IoT". Cool. iBeacons are a new way for your SmartPhone to get micro-location information, so instead of just knowing your on the corner of Sixth and Trinity, iBeacons lets IoT-enabled devices know your sitting on the third bar stool at the Jackalope dive bar, eating a burger and having a beer. Why would anyone want to know that? Who knows? Maybe, the bartender will give you a free side of fries for using their iBeacons app.

See:

SXSW 2015 Interactive Trends

Here's a quote:

 "SXSW is using beacons to propel 
 smart networking by using 
 proximity in a way that was not
 previously possible," said Scott 
 Wilcox, SXSW director of technology. 
 
 "Since SXSW takes place throughout 
 the city, beacons are allowing us 
 to use micro-locations and context 
 in conjunction with attendee profiles 
 to help people sync up in real-time." 
SXSW is usually a place to catch the next big thing. So, the tech savvy developer takes in all that happens there and applies that to a new app that will hit it big. Or, have a burger and beer and maybe get some free fries...

Friday Mar 13, 2015

IoT Moving Toward Enterprise, Away from Consumers

It's no wonder why more and more IoT Developers are moving their app development toward the Enterprise. The Enterprise is where all the business (i.e. money!) will be, according to this Inquirer article.

And, the Enterprise is an awesome starship too! Just sayin'...

See:

IoT developers eyeing Enterprise

Here's a quote:

 "The IoT connected applications 
 developers build for the enterprise 
 are essential to connect the 
 disparate parts of a distributed 
 IoT business solution, from mobile 
 devices, wearables and sensors, to 
 cloud and on-premise enterprise 
 back-ends.

 "Software developers will clearly 
 play a pivotal role in driving IoT
 innovation and business adoption in 
 2015 and beyond."
 ...

 According to the results, 63 percent 
 of data generated by 'things' will 
 move between devices and servers, 
 68 percent will communicate using 
 multiple technologies, while 40 
 percent will connect to cloud 
 services.
So, get your IoT app development going for the Enterprise. It's where no one has gone before.... Ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh-ahh-ahhhhhh... 🎼 🎧 🎶 🎹

Monday Mar 09, 2015

Highlights from MWC 2015 - CNN's Top 5 Glimpses of the Internet of Things Future

Well, another Mobile World Congress (MWC 2015) conference has come and gone, where lots of IoT gadgets and devices were demo'd, including the cool Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service proof-of-concept I worked on.

See:

MWC 2015: Five glimpses

Here's a quote:

 Mobile World Congress 2015 brought
 together 2,000 exhibitors and tens
 of thousands of delegates under one
 roof in Barcelona... What if cars 
 could talk to each other? 
Yeah, that _would_ be cool if cars could talk to each other. Imagine a BMW talking to a Mercedes? "Yeah, did you see that cute Volkswagen? Nice wheels, ja?" Oh, no? Not that kind of talking..? IoT talking? Right.

Monday Feb 09, 2015

RadioShack Store Closure List: Many Silicon Valley Stores Safe

Some people may wonder what the big deal is that RadioShack is closing many of its stores. Just recently for an Internet of Things (IoT) prototyping project I'm working on here at Oracle, I needed to connect an IoT-enabled Wi-Fi smart thermostat to our Oracle IoT Cloud Service. The Ecobee3 SmartThermostat is a great little device that can easily connect to our Oracle IoT CS, but it typically needs to be hooked into a home heating/cooling circuit to power it up.

Instead of doing that, I drove over to the local RadioShack and picked up a RadioShack Item #273-331, Enercell 24 VAC power adapter and connected it to run on my table top. Just being able to do that without waiting for an Internet shipment to arrive in 2-3 days, is one of the coolest things.

Going from my poor little Ecobee3 SmartThermostat just sitting there, dead in its box, to connecting it up with a couple simple wires from the correct type of low-voltage AC adapter (not found in most stores)...

and having it power up fine for testing and development with Java SE Embedded on my IoT Gateway and talking to my Oracle IoT Cloud Service, all in the same day without having to hunt around the Web searching for the right part, then waiting for it to ship...

is one of the greatest things about the few RadioShack stores that will remain open locally as Sprint stores. I hope the downsized company is able to stick around, at least a little while longer. IoT needs RadioShack, or at least the ones around here in the Silicon Valley.

See:

RadioShack Store Closure Map

Thursday Feb 05, 2015

A Sad Day for Internet of Things: RadioShack Files for Bankruptcy

It's a sad day for IoT. RadioShack, the 94-year-old U.S. based electronics chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday Feb. 5, 2015 after a deal to sell some of its stores to Sprint. For those of us who learned BASIC programming on the TRS-80 and bought and used Tandy electronics parts and hobby kits from the quirky little store, RadioShack will be missed.

See:

How RadioShack Helped Build Silicon Valley

Here's a quote:

In its heyday, RadioShack was so 
much more than a store — it was
an art gallery, a museum, a school.
"You didn’t really have really good 
electronics magazines full of 
what's available," Wozniak 
remembers. "You had a few catalogues 
that were full of things like 
walkie-talkies, but if you went down 
to RadioShack you could actually 
see something." 
As a teenager he would walk into 
stores and soak up information, 
spending hours reading labels, and 
memorizing prices and feature lists. 
It was inside those walls where so 
many watched the technological 
revolution unfold — and where they 
first jumped in.
Back in the 1980s, I was that teenager who walked into the local RadioShack just to soak in electronics and technology... And where I first jumped in to join the high tech revolution. Long live RadioShack! May it Rest in Peace...

Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

Raspberry Pi Model B+ On Sale - Get Them for $39 While They Last

Sale??? Did you say sale??? Sale!!! Raspberry Pi's are on sale! Yay!

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ Basic Starter Kit (comes with a Wi-Fi USB adapter and a case) which all together normally retails for $69.99, is now on sale for a short time, at the low-low price of $38.99. You save $31.00 (44%)!!! It's all about the Maths, bout the Maths, bout the Maths...

See:

Raspberry Pi Sale

Here's a quote:

 - Includes Raspberry Pi - Model B 
     Plus (Made in the UK)
 - Raspberry Pi Enclousure Case (Clear)
 - Wireless Wifi Adapter
Buy them now, while they're still in stock. And, when you receive yours, make sure to "sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-jdk", because..? Java! Duh.

Monday Jan 26, 2015

To Protect Against IoT Hacking: Remember First Cover Security Fundamentals

Here's an IoT article recommending to take a holistic approach to IoT Security by first making sure your network and basic security fundamentals are in place, before worrying about IoT hackers who might only attack the small devices on your network. Good advice, especially if you remember to bar all your windows but then forget to lock the front door.

See:

Don’t Let IoT Hype Distract You

Here's a quote:

 If I was an IT administrator, I’d 
 be more worried about the 
 smartphone in someone’s pocket 
 than the smartwatch on someone’s 
 wrist.”

 In other words, don’t even think 
 about the Internet of Things until 
 you’re already well positioned to 
 thwart attacks from more likely 
 vectors. Putting a strong IT 
 security system in place takes 
 priority over anything else.
With all the recent focus of IoT security being on the new, fancy-schmancy, whiz-bang IoT devices coming to the market, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture: that a strong, secure network with proper issuance of credentials, authentication and authorization regardless of the device or system, is the best defense against any type of hacking (including IoT).

Thursday Jan 08, 2015

CES Overselling IoT: Kinda like the pets.com sock puppet

Here's an article about how CES2015 is overselling IoT. It's an interesting take, since IoT is receiving a huge amount of hype currently, almost on par with the days of the pets.com sock puppet (the infamous mascot of the dot-com bust).

See:

CES Overselling IoT

Here's a quote:

 Consumers are a fickle lot, hard 
 to keep satisfied, and when they 
 discover that these nifty-sounding 
 devices are actually little more 
 than remote-controlled versions 
 of what they already have that 
 are hard to combine into anything
 more substantial, they will abandon 
 the technology in droves. That can 
 only harm the industry.
It's true that there's a danger of consumers soon realizing that IoT is nothing more than recycled remote-controlled smartphone apps that can do the same things we can do today, but skipping the part of walking right up to the thing and pressing a button on it.

Hopefully, more IoT developers will use Java Embedded technology to make IoT smarter and more modular, like Lego bricks (C'mon, add some Java based pluggable AI algorithms already! I'll help you, forgoshsakes!). If not, I know a pets.com sock puppet that can be re-used as the mascot of the IoT hype cycle. 🐶🐶🐶

Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

IoT: there is no neutral zone

In the Internet of Things, there is no Neutral Zone like there was in Star Trek, where Earthlings and Romulans could work out their differences over glasses of tranya. Instead, there is infighting and posturing of the AllSeen Alliance's AllJoyn, Open Interconnect Consortium's (OIC's) IoTivity, Apple's HomeKit, and many, many more would-be standards and protocols. Oy. Can we all just... get along?

See:

In IoT, there is no neutral zone

Here's a quote:

 In a true IoT world, [an] image of a 
 browning roast [in a Electrolux oven] 
 ought to be viewable on any [IoT]
 device, including [Samsung] TVs. 
 But it won't happen if electronics 
 vendors don't agree on protocols.
 ...

 If there is no agreement on IoT 
 enablement among the vendors, 
 "then this business will not 
 take off," Brockmann said. 
True that. The only way to deal with no current neutral protocol for the Internet of Thing (IoT) devices and servers is to use Java and JSON to come up with a set of neutral zone protocols that will adapt to any future standard (Java Objects Everywhere that can adapt to any future standard). That would be a better tactic than even the Corbomite Maneuver! 🚀🚀🚀

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Hinkmond Wong's blog on making the Internet of Things (IoT) smarter with Java Technologies

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