IoT Design Considerations: Cloud

By definition, most IoT applications include some Cloud-based component. Many manufacturers entering the IoT space are new to Cloud development, which makes decision-making for Cloud applications, such as how and when a product will connect to the Cloud, difficult.

“How” an IoT-enabled device communicates with a Cloud application, refers to what protocol is being used. Many early IoT implementations followed a proprietary protocol, where the device manufacturer implements its own standards for communication. Recently, companies have become aware that a standard protocol is needed for IoT communications to be successful. Some have started providing third party, end-to-end solutions with platforms to develop and host applications.

“When” an IoT device connects to the Cloud, refers to the frequency of data exchange with the application. Devices that are always on (connected to a power supply) can easily stay linked to the cloud. This improves the ability to be “near real time” when communicating with the Cloud application. Battery-powered devices often only connect to the internet and send data periodically in order to conserve battery life. In this case there is a delay, as the device has to re-establish its connection to the wireless router and then to the Cloud server. Battery-powered devices should also consider implementing a “heart-beat,” so that the device can connect to the Cloud periodically without an event to trigger it. This allows the application to know the device is still online and has power or battery-life remaining for when an event does occur..

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

 

The IoT in 2025

When we talk about the future, wandering minds drift toward watery visions of flying cars, personal robots, and hover boards where all work is banished by fully automated technology. I tend to picture this kind of future a bit more like Wall-E: humans as a race of fat sluggish incompetents surrounded by an entirely preset system. Thankfully this vision just doesn’t line up with reality.

The Internet of Things (IoT) in its current state is almost a tongue-in-cheek phrase representing the market for connected devices. Familiarity with smartphones that connect to the internet has sparked all sorts of new devices with similar compatibilities. These devices range from shades that sense the heat and direction of the sun, adjusting accordingly, to the already-standard Nest thermostat. What makes this technology unique is a dual-compatibility to “sense” its surroundings and to connect to the internet.

That is today. When we look at the future of the IoT, we need to take into account our world’s culture values. Technology is driven by what consumers want, but most people don’t really want to end up with how Wall-E depicts automation of experience rather than of environment. No one wants their computer to pick how they are going to dress. What they would like is a computer capable of  presenting all their options, helping them find what they are looking for, placing an order, and delivering the package. The concern comes when looking at automating joyful activities: think of a computer taking over the technical joy of sailing, biking, writing, playing an instrument, etc. It’s a horrible thought. People don’t want to automate enjoyable difficulties.

Opening up the concept of the IoT, we discover that as time goes on, this technology should become, in a sense, less noticeable. As the design and technology behind the products becomes more powerful, homes will connect automatically in the background and every device will be infused with a sense of awareness. Picture waking up on a beautiful day, your shower’s temperature is set right where you like it, shades open automatically when you wake  to let in the sun and you can hear the coffee maker beginning to brew downstairs. This is all set by a chain of events which will become even more subtle and seamless as time goes on. At some point, the house should even be able to recognize special days throughout the week and year and make change the environment accordingly. Other environments will be updated in a similar manner: restaurants will know what you ordered last time and waiters will be able to offer suggestions based on your past choices; and grocery shopping will be triggered by they way you read the recipe logged on your phone and direct you to the aisles. Simply put, every electronic device will have some level of human awareness. Products will fit into a greater web of connectivity, providing for simple transitions between the appliances that we use every day.

The Internet of Things is just the modern preliminary to the modern ecosystem, where objects are bound together in a way that promotes automation while preserving the activities you love.

IoT Design Considerations: Antenna

Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options in this area, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board).

In addition, manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

IoT sensor data leads to industry innovations

Ready or not, the Internet of Things () is here to stay and the data it generates will be the driving force for future innovation and efficiency. According to Frost & Sullivan, 40 percent of all IoT data generated by 2020 will come from connected . This data has already begun to affect many industries, and as IoT gains popularity, the uses for this data will grow.

Three industries that already are seeing the importance of gathering  data include manufacturing, marketing, and smart cities.

Read more at Embedded Computing Design or download the PDF now.

Grid Connect is a Distributor of the Best Networking Products

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Grid Connect Inc. carries and distributes only the best networking products from top-tier manufacturers throughout the world. Each device from every manufacturer is thoroughly tested to make sure it meets Grid Connect’s high standards of quality while complimenting our own manufactured products.

A major difference between Grid Connect and our competitors is that we are typically the master distributor or exclusive distributor for the products we sell. For our partners, this means that we do all the work: local inventory, marketing, sales, tradeshows, seminars and full technical support. In all cases, we understand and can skillfully support each product just as well as the manufacturer. As a distributor, it is our goal to provide high quality products and expert support to all of our customers.

Some of our outstanding partner companies with the most superior technology in the marketplace include:


To get a full view of the high quality products we distribute, browse the Grid Connect store now.

Employee Spotlight: Erik Krietsch, Senior Developer

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Erik Krietsch is one of two developers we have here at Grid Connect. Erik spends a lot of his time working on the ConnectSense App. This involves adding new features and fixing bugs as well as a long list of all the things that go into putting out the best app possible.

Erik has always loved working with computers and started learning his first programming language when he was 15. After building up his skills in a variety of ways, he was able to start getting paid for what he loves to do when he was 20. After years of experience in a diverse array of jobs and mentorships, Erik met Adam Justice (VP of Grid Connect) and John Allured (Lead Developer at Grid Connect) at an OpenHack meetup. Soon after this, Erik joined the Grid Connect team and hasn’t looked back, “I find the work interesting” says Erik, “the problems we face are challenging without being monumentally frustrating.”

Erik enjoys running, reading comics, and playing with his two beautiful daughters (4 years and 10 months).

Local Entrepreneurs Honored

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4300 Commerce Court – Lisle, IL 60532 (630-955-3593)
Press Release
September 17, 2015

 

Local Entrepreneurs Honored

The spirit of independence and success was highlighted Wednesday, September 16, as 28 suburban professionals were honored at the 16th Annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards sponsored by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

More than 200 people attended the event at the Naperville campus of Northern Illinois University. The annual EEA program recognizes successful entrepreneurship in the suburban region. The honorees demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship, including willingness to take risk, drive, perseverance and business creativity.

Keynote speaker Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, founder and director of JJR Marketing in Naperville, talked about five drivers that are a part of an entrepreneur’s journey: authenticity, vision, gratitude, connecting and innovation.

“It’s about taking something that already exists and putting it into another context,” she said. Camacho-Ruiz, herself a former EEA honoree, spoke of how she began her journey at age 5, selling figs from a tree in her family’s backyard, and noted in many cases youthful exuberance can be a big motivator for entrepreneurs.

“I probably would have waited to start my company if I knew what I know now,” she said. “Sometimes that youth, that naiveté, that childlike approach to things helps you achieve your goals.”

Many of the honorees spoke of their respective leaps of faith that led them to their ventures.

Presenting sponsors for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards are B. Gunther and Co., NIU College of Business, Focus Capital Advisors, JJR Marketing and The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. Marketing partners are MRA, Leaderboard Tournament Systems and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce.

Awards were presented in 7 categories: The honorees will also be profiled in the October 12th issue of the Business Ledger.

For additional information call Jim Elsener (jelsener@dailyherald.com), at 630-955-3593.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Early Stage: Coleen & Brian Graham, Coleen’s Better Than Breadsticks, Villa Park; Janee Matteson, Kayak Morris, Hinsdale;       Linda Murray, Vista Linda Eye Care, Mount Prospect.
  • Growth: Henry Matthew Bellagamba, Fullerton Engineering, Rosemont; Chuck Pine, Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café, Darien; Julie Savitt, AMS Earth Movers, Lake Villa.
  • Innovation: Mara Hauser, 25N Coworking, Geneva; Michael Heilmann & Lawrence Jordan, Wi-Tronix, LLC, Bolingbrook; David Larsen, Larsen Manufacturing, Mundelein; Maureen O’Brien, Global Women’s Leadership Forum, Batavia.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Ronald L. Allen, Board Member, Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce; Murray Gordon, MAGA, Ltd., Riverwoods; Diane Middlebrooks, Itasca Bank & Trust Company; Terri Roeslmeier, Automated Business Designs, Rosemont; Roy Spencer, Perma-Seal Basement Systems, Downers Grove.
  • Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs: Austin Dempsey, Fox Valley Entrepreneur Center, Batavia; Nic Zito, Rev3 / Choose DuPage, Naperville.
  • Regional Spirit: Ellen Huxtable, Advantage Business Concepts, Batavia.
  • Young Entrepreneur (under age of 40): Derek & Gavin Burseth, Burseth Farm, Woodstock; Adam Justice, Grid Connect, Inc., Naperville; Geneva & Rena Pedersen, Treasure Breads, Yorkville; Diana Peters, Symbol Training Institute, Addison; James Ratke, Urban Produce Farms, West Chicago; Matt Zahora, Chicagoland Aviation, Romeoville.

For additional information call Jim Elsener (jelsener@dailyherald.com), at 630-955-3593.

The Business Ledger is the leading provider of business news and information about businesses and the economy in suburban Chicago. The Business Ledger is a sister publication to the Daily Herald and part of the Paddock Publications family.

It’s time to get smart

Connected products also are a smart play for manufacturers by enabling them to stay connected with their customers like never before. Smart products can deliver maintenance reminders, special offers, recall notices and other notifications at prescribed intervals. The data captured by these devices can help manufacturers get to know their customers better. For example, by gathering usage data, washing machine manufacturers can know which of the functions owners use most, helping with future product development. Sensors in the appliances can trigger alerts when a component is about to fail, allowing customers to set up service calls proactively, which boosts customer loyalty. Even information about how much detergent customers use, water temperature preferences and wash cycle choices could be packaged and sold to detergent companies as consumer insight information.

At the same time, connected devices are becoming fairly inexpensive to manufacture, and they can be sold with a higher price tag. In general, connectivity can be added for a material cost of about $10, plus the cost for app development and cloud hosting. While lower cost devices, such as coffee makers or toasters, may not be able to support the added cost, larger ticket items (washers/dryers and refrigerators, for example) can. Much of it depends on the added convenience and value the connected device brings to the consumer.

The possibilities presented by smart products are very attractive, so designers are thinking of ways to add connectivity to products. Along with adding the Internet component, smart products present other unique design considerations.

Read more at ECN Magazine or download the PDF now.

IoT Design Considerations: Size

Many manufacturers start testing the IoT waters by modifying their existing product designs to add networking technologies. Because these devices already exist, many early entrants into the IoT world fail to redesign the product to effectively allow for its newly added connectivity. Fortunately, there are a number of compact modules available for networking technologies that will fit in a manufacturer’s existing products.

These small modules vary. Some are surface mount, others through-hole, or pin-header and some still use a specialized mating connector. Also, how the network connector or antenna connector are integrated into the product differ from module to module. Designers must consider the space they have available on their circuit boards and/or in the product’s enclosures to allow whatever technology selected to be used in existing designs.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

Illumination Innovation

Internet of Things technology is paving the way for innovators to explore new realms of connected products. Kevin McCarthy, the founder of McCarthy music, has spearheaded the creation of the Illuminating Piano a product that helps people learn to play the instrument. Apart from the normal functioning of the black and white keys, this keyboard is outfitted with lights that emanate from the note which is to be played next. A custom software program displaying the sheet music accompanies the product, and communicates with the keyboard what colored lights need to be lit and at what pace.

We think this product is a fascinating way to integrate connectivity and “smarts” into a product that hasn’t been revolutionized for years. Additionally, this gives a new way to learn a beautiful talent, and we applaud that. Learn more about this interesting use of IoT innovation here:   [https://www.mccarthypiano.com/]