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Helium Expands to Europe

Helium, the company behind one of the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless networks, is announcing the introduction of Helium Tabs, its first branded IoT tracking device that runs on The People’s Network. In addition, after launching its network in 1,000 cities in North America within one year, the company is expanding to Europe to address growing market demand with Helium Hotspots shipping to the region starting July 2020. 

Since its launch in June 2019, Helium quickly grew its footprint with Hotspots covering more than 700,000 square miles across North America. Helium is now expanding to Europe to allow for seamless use of connected devices across borders. Powered by entrepreneurs looking to own a piece of the people-powered network, Helium’s open-source blockchain technology incentivizes individuals to deploy Hotspots and earn Helium (HNT), a new cryptocurrency, for simultaneously building the network and enabling IoT devices to send data to the Internet. When connected with other nearby Hotspots, this acts as the backbone of the network. 

“We’re excited to launch Helium Tabs at a time where we’ve seen incredible growth of The People’s Network across North America,” said Amir Haleem, Helium’s CEO and co-founder. “We could not have accomplished what we have done, in such a short amount of time, without the support of our partners and our incredible community. We look forward to launching The People’s Network in Europe and eventually bringing Helium Tabs and other third-party IoT devices to consumers there.”  

Introducing Helium Tabs that Run on The People’s Network
Unlike other tracking devices,Tabs uses LongFi technology, which combines the LoRaWAN wireless protocol with the Helium blockchain, and provides network coverage up to 10 miles away from a single Hotspot. This is a game-changer compared to WiFi and Bluetooth enabled tracking devices which only work up to 100 feet from a network source. What’s more, due to Helium’s unique blockchain-based rewards system, Hotspot owners will be rewarded with Helium (HNT) each time a Tab connects to its network. 

In addition to its increased growth with partners and customers, Helium has also seen accelerated expansion of its Helium Patrons program, which was introduced in late 2019. All three combined have helped to strengthen its network. 

Patrons are entrepreneurial customers who purchase 15 or more Hotspots to help blanket their cities with coverage and enable customers, who use the network. In return, they receive discounts, priority shipping, network tools, and Helium support. Currently, the program has more than 70 Patrons throughout North America and is expanding to Europe. 

Key brands that use the Helium Network include: 

  • Nestle, ReadyRefresh, a beverage delivery service company
  • Agulus, an agricultural tech company
  • Conserv, a collections-focused environmental monitoring platform

Helium Tabs will initially be available to existing Hotspot owners for $49. The Helium Hotspot is now available for purchase online in Europe for €450.

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A bountiful harvest: Smart Farming

When talking about advanced technology in general and Internet of Things (IoT) in particular the first aspects that come to mind are things such as gleaming manufacturing production lines, industrial IoT solutions, critical infrastructure facilities, and consumer products for the home or fitness. It is rare that agriculture or farming gets included. Yet IoT is already having an impact within the agricultural sector, helping to improve productivity and yields.

The need

While food shortages can often be more of a food distribution problem than an absolute shortage of production per se, increases in agricultural food production are going to be essential in the years ahead. The United Nations’ World Population Prospects 2019 predicts that global population will rise from an estimated 7.7 billion people in 2019 to c.8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion by the end of the century, increasing the demand for food. This is combined with likely increased levels of prosperity and reductions in poverty, which has been shown before to always lead to increases in per capita food consumption as well as, importantly, changes in the food stuffs consumed. As the UN report puts it, “continued rapid population growth presents challenges for sustainable development”.

The response

First off, it’s important to say that any predictions of a Malthusian population crunch are likely to be way off the mark. In recent history, the agricultural sector has shown itself able to substantially increase levels of production, for example through the Green Revolution in the 1950s and 1960s that witnessed the use of new disease resistance high-yield varieties of wheat, rice and other crops.

But to ensure that food production can keep up with demand, a range of responses will be needed. Some of will be knowledge-based, others practice-based: for example, with knowledge of new farming techniques being spread, notably in developing countries; with increased used of hardier and more resistance varieties of crops; and with increased access to tools that enable greater productivity.

In some cases, this access to tools can mean access to farming equipment such as tractors or irrigation equipment. On others, it can include what is being called ‘smart farming’, ‘precision farming’, or ‘smart agriculture’.

Smart farming

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization summarizes smart farming as: “a farming management concept using modern technology to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products. Farmers in the 21st century have access to GPS, soil scanning, data management, and Internet of Things technologies. By precisely measuring variations within a field and adapting the strategy accordingly, farmers can greatly increase the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, and use them more selectively. Similarly, using Smart Farming techniques, farmers can better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health”.

In essence, smart farming is the deployment of advanced technology and IoT in agriculture.

The benefits that can be gained from this are manifold. There are the afore mentioned increases in production and greater effectiveness of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer. But there are also major environmental benefits to be gained through the more sustainable use of water, energy, feed and the soil. The commercial and economic benefits are also significant. An Irish Government initiative that promotes smart farming states that, on participating farms, it averages EUR 6,300 in cost savings per farm and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.

Using IoT and technology in agriculture

Despite the images that many may have of agriculture being technologically limited, this could hardly be further from the truth. Advanced technology and IoT have been rolling out within the sector in line with the developments elsewhere. One of the first studies to look at IoT in agriculture by Beecham Research identified several aspects where in which these could be used:

  • Sensing (or observation) technologies,
  • Software applications,
  • Communication systems,
  • Telematics and positioning technologies,
  • Data analytics,
  • Hardware and software systems.

Specific areas where IoT and related technologies are being rolled out within include:

  • Livestock monitoring,
  • Storage monitoring, for example in water tanks, fuel tanks, waste tanks,
  • Indoor farming in greenhouses and stables,
  • Forestry,
  • Arable farming,
  • Fleet management,
  • Fish farming.

There are a wide range of uses within each of these areas. For examples, drones are being used for crop spraying as well as providing remote monitoring of crop growth. DroneFly, a US-based drone supplier, provides a multispectral imagery drone for agricultural use that is enabled for sunlight detection; it further estimates that fertilizer can be delivered approximately 40-60 times faster than through traditional methods. 

Larger equipment is also being outfitted with IoT technology. John Deere, the major agricultural and horticultural equipment company, provides a range of precision agricultural equipment that enables automated guidance for harvesting equipment and data collection to assist with input placement and land stewardship, amongst others.

Some of the most important IoT solutions and tools involve observation and diagnostics. Sensing IoT solutions can be used, for example, to record and monitor conditional data from crops, soil, meteorological conditions, or livestock. As with IoT solutions in other fields, this data can then be integrated and diagnosed in order for automated decisions to be taken or alerts raised. All of this reduces the workload on the farmer while improving reaction time.

Conclusion

Although public awareness of IoT solutions within smart agriculture is less than those provided for industrial IoT solutions or within the consumer environment, the range of IoT tools, systems and applications that are being deployed is rapidly growing and will make an important contribution to the future farming and food needs of us all.

 

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This blog is the second part of a series covering the insights I uncovered at the 2020 Embedded Online Conference. 

Last week, I wrote about the fascinating intersection of the embedded and IoT world with data science and machine learning, and the deeper co-operation I am experiencing between software and hardware developers. This intersection is driving a new wave of intelligence on small and cost-sensitive devices.

Today, I’d like to share with you my excitement around how far we have come in the FPGA world, what used to be something only a few individuals in the world used to be able to do, is at the verge of becoming more accessible.

I’m a hardware guy and I started my career writing in VHDL at university. I then started working on designing digital circuits with Verilog and C and used Python only as a way of automating some of the most tedious daily tasks. More recently, I have started to appreciate the power of abstraction and simplicity that is achievable through the use of higher-level languages, such as Python, Go, and Java. And I dream of a reality in which I’m able to use these languages to program even the most constrained embedded platforms.

At the Embedded Online Conference, Clive Maxfield talked about FPGAs, he mentions “in a world of 22 million software developers, there are only around a million core embedded programmers and even fewer FPGA engineers.” But, things are changing. As an industry, we are moving towards a world in which taking advantage of the capabilities of a reconfigurable hardware device, such as an FPGA, is becoming easier.

  • What the FAQ is an FPGA, by Max the Magnificent, starts with what an FPGA is and the beauties of parallelism in hardware – something that took me quite some time to grasp when I first started writing in HDL (hardware description languages). This is not only the case for an FPGA, but it also holds true in any digital circuit. The cool thing about an FPGA is the fact that at any point you can just reprogram the whole board to operate in a different hardware configuration, allowing you to accelerate a completely new set of software functions. What I find extremely interesting is the new tendency to abstract away even further, by creating HLS (high-level synthesis) representations that allow a wider set of software developers to start experimenting with programmable logic.
  • The concept of extending the way FPGAs can be programmed to an even wider audience is taken to the next level by Adam Taylor. He talks about PYNQ, an open-source project that allows you to program Xilinx boards in Python. This is extremely interesting as it opens up the world of FPGAs to even more software engineers. Adam demonstrates how you can program an FPGA to accelerate machine learning operations using the PYNQ framework, from creating and training a neural network model to running it on Arm-based Xilinx FPGA with custom hardware accelerator blocks in the FPGA fabric.

FPGAs always had the stigma of being hard and difficult to work on. The idea of programming an FPGA in Python, was something that no one had even imagined a few years ago. But, today, thanks to the many efforts all around our industry, embedded technologies, including FPGAs, are being made more accessible, allowing more developers to participate, experiment, and drive innovation.

I’m excited that more computing technologies are being put in the hands of more developers, improving development standards, driving innovation, and transforming our industry for the better.

If you missed the conference and would like to catch the talks mentioned above*, visit www.embeddedonlineconference.com

Part 3 of my review can be viewed by clicking here

In case you missed the previous post in this blog series, here it is:

*This blog only features a small collection of all the amazing speakers and talks delivered at the Conference! 

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I recently joined the Embedded Online Conference thinking I was going to gain new insights on embedded and IoT techniques. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge variety of sessions with a focus on modern software development practices. It is becoming more and more important to gain familiarity with a more modern software approach, even when you’re programming a constrained microcontroller or an FPGA.

Historically, there has been a large separation between application developers and those writing code for constrained embedded devices. But, things are now changing. The embedded world intersecting with the world of IoT, data science, and ML, and the deeper co-operation between software and hardware communities is driving innovation. The Embedded Online Conference, artfully organised by Jacob Beningo, represented exactly this cross-section, projecting light on some of the most interesting areas in the embedded world - machine learning on microcontrollers, using test-driven development to reduce bugs and programming an FPGA in Python are all things that a few years ago, had little to do with the IoT and embedded industry.

This blog is the first part of a series discussing these new and exciting changes in the embedded industry. In this article, we will focus on machine learning techniques for low-power and cost-sensitive IoT and embedded Arm-based devices.

Think like a machine learning developer

Considered for many year's an academic dead end of limited practical use, machine learning has gained a lot of renewed traction in recent years and it has now become one of the most interesting trends in the IoT space. TinyML is the buzzword of the moment. And this was a hot topic at the Embedded Online Conference. However, for embedded developers, this buzzword can sometimes add an element of uncertainty.

The thought of developing IoT applications with the addition of machine learning can seem quite daunting. During Pete Warden’s session about the past, present and future of embedded ML, he described the embedded and machine learning worlds to be very fragmented; there are so many hardware variants, RTOS’s, toolchains and sensors meaning the ability to compile and run a simple ‘hello world’ program can take developers a long time. In the new world of machine learning, there’s a constant churn of new models, which often use different types of mathematical operations. Plus, exporting ML models to a development board or other targets is often more difficult than it should be.

Despite some of these challenges, change is coming. Machine learning on constrained IoT and embedded devices is being made easier by new development platforms, models that work out-of-the-box with these platforms, plus the expertise and increased resources from organisations like Arm and communities like tinyML. Here are a few must-watch talks to help in your embedded ML development: 

  • New to the tinyML space is Edge Impulse, a start-up that provides a solution for collecting device data, building a model based around it and deploying it to make sense of the data directly on the device. CTO at Edge Impulse, Jan Jongboom talks about how to use a traditional signal processing pipeline to detect anomalies with a machine learning model to detect different gestures. All of this has now been made even easier by the announced collaboration with Arduino, which simplifies even further the journey to train a neural network and deploy it on your device.
  • Arm recently announced new machine learning IP that not only has the capabilities to deliver a huge uplift in performance for low-power ML applications, but will also help solve many issues developers are facing today in terms of fragmented toolchains. The new Cortex-M55 processor and Ethos-U55 microNPU will be supported by a unified development flow for DSP and ML workloads, integrating optimizations for machine learning frameworks. Watch this talk to learn how to get started writing optimized code for these new processors.
  • An early adopter implementing object detection with ML on a Cortex-M is the OpenMV camera - a low-cost module for machine vision algorithms. During the conference, embedded software engineer, Lorenzo Rizzello walks you through how to get started with ML models and deploying them to the OpenMV camera to detect objects and the environment around the device.

Putting these machine learning technologies in the hands of embedded developers opens up new opportunities. I’m excited to see and hear what will come of all this amazing work and how it will improve development standards and transform embedded devices of the future.

If you missed the conference and would like to catch the talks mentioned above*, visit www.embeddedonlineconference.com

*This blog only features a small collection of all the amazing speakers and talks delivered at the Conference!

Part 2 of my review can be viewed by clicking here

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It's Not All Linux

In the comments section of my 2020 embedded salary survey, quite a few respondents felt that much of the embedded world is being subsumed by canned solutions. Will OSes like Linux and cheap, powerful boards like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino replace traditional engineering? Has that already happened?

A number of people complained their colleagues no longer understand low-level embedded things like DMA, chip selects, diddling I/O registers, and the like. They feel these platforms isolate the engineer from those details.

Part of me says yeah! That's sort of what we want. Reuse and abstraction means the developer can focus on the application rather than bringing up a proprietary board. Customers want solutions and don't care about implementation details. We see these abstractions working brilliantly when we buy a TCP/IP stack, often the better part of 100K lines of complex code. Who wants to craft those drivers?

Another part of me says "save me from these sorts of products." It is fun to design a board. To write the BSP and toss bits at peripheral registers. Many of us got a rush the first time we made an LED blink or a motor spin. I still find that fulfilling.

So what's the truth? Is the future all Linux and Pis?

The answer is a resounding "no." A search for "MCU" on Digi-Key gets 89,149 part numbers. Sure, many of these are dups with varying packages and the like, but that's still a ton of controllers.

Limiting that search to 8 bitters nets 30,574 parts. I've yet to see Linux run on a PIC or other tiny device.

Or filter to Cortex-M devices only. You still get 16,265 chips. None of those run Linux, Windows, BSD, or any other general-purpose OS. These are all designed into proprietary boards. Those engineers are working on the bare metal... and having a ton of fun.

The bigger the embedded world gets the more applications are found. Consider machine learning. That's for big iron, for Amazon Web Services, right? Well, partly. Eta Compute and other companies are moving ML to the edge with smallish MCUs running at low clock rates with limited memory. Power consumption rules, and 2 GB of RAM at 1 GHz just doesn't cut it when harvesting tiny amounts of energy.

Then there's cost. If you can reduce the cost of a product made in the millions by just a buck the business prospers. Who wants a ten dollar CPU when a $0.50 microcontroller will do?

Though I relish low-level engineering our job is to get products to market as efficiently as possible. Writing drivers for a timer is sort of silly when you realize that thousands of engineers using the same part are doing the same thing. Sure, semi vendors often deliver code to handle all of this, but in my experience most of that is either crap or uses the peripherals in the most limited ways. A few exceptions exist, such as Renesas's Synergy. They go so far as to guarantee that code. My fiddling with it leaves me impressed, though the learning curve is steep. But that sort of abstraction surely must be a part of this industry going forward. Just as we don't write protocol stacks and RTOSes any more, canned code will become more common.

Linux and canned boards have important roles in this business. But an awful lot of us will still work on proprietary systems.

View original post here

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The Anti-Quality Movement

by Jack Ganssle

[email protected]

Recently our electric toothbrush started acting oddly – differently from before. I complained to Marybeth who said, “I think it’s in the wrong mode.”

Really? A toothbrush has modes?

We in the embedded industry have created a world that was unimaginable prior to the invention of the microprocessor. Firmware today controls practically everything, from avionics to medical equipment to cars to, well everything.

And toothbrushes.

But we’re working too hard at it. Too many of us use archaic development strategies that aren’t efficient. Too many of us ship code with too many errors. That's something that can, and must, change.

Long ago the teachings of Deming and Juran revolutionized manufacturing. One of Deming's essential insights was that fixing defects will never lead to quality. Quality comes from correct design rather than patches applied on the production line. And focusing on quality lowers costs.

The software industry never got that memo.

The average embedded software project devotes 50% of the schedule to debugging and testing the code. It's stunning that half of the team’s time is spent finding and fixing mistakes.

Test is hugely important. But, as Dijkstra observed, testing can only prove the presence of errors, not the absence of bugs.

Unsurprisingly, and mirroring Deming's tenets, it has repeatedly been shown that a focus on fixing bugs will never lead to a quality product - all that will do is extend the schedule and insure defective code goes out the door.

Focusing on quality has another benefit: the project gets done faster. Why? That 50% of the schedule used to deal with bugs gets dramatically shortened. We shorten the schedule by not putting the bugs in in the first place.

High quality code requires a disciplined approach to software engineering - the methodical use of techniques and approaches long known to work. These include inspection of work products, using standardized ways to create the software, seeding code with constructs that automatically catch errors, and using various tools that scan the code for defects. Nothing that is novel or unexpected, nothing that a little Googling won't reveal. All have a long pedigree of studies proving their efficacy.

Yet only one team out of 50 makes disciplined use of these techniques.

What about metrics? Walk a production line and you'll see the walls covered with charts showing efficiency, defect rates, inventory levels and more. Though a creative discipline like engineering can't be made as routine as manufacturing, there are a lot of measurements that can and must be used to understand the team's progress and the product's quality, and to drive the continuous improvement we need.

Errors are inevitable. We will ship bugs. But we need a laser-like focus on getting the code right. How right? We have metrics; we know how many bugs the best and mediocre teams ship. Defect Removal Efficiency is a well-known metric used to evaluate quality of shipped code; it's the percentage of the entire universe of bugs found in a product that were removed prior to shipping (it's measured until 90 days after release). The very best teams, representing just 0.4% of the industry, eliminates over 99% of bugs pre-shipment. Most embedded groups only removed 95%.

Where does your team stand on this scale? Can one control quality if it isn’t measured?

We have metrics about defect injection rates, about where in the lifecycle they are removed, about productivity vs. any number of parameters and much more. Yet few teams collect any numbers.

Engineering without numbers isn’t engineering. It’s art.

Want to know more about metrics and quality in software engineering? Read any of Capers Jones’ books. They are dense, packed with tables of numbers, and sometimes difficult as the narrative is not engaging, but they paint a picture of what we can measure and how differing development activities effect errors and productivity.

Want to understand where the sometimes-overhyped agile methods make sense? Read Agile! by Bertrand Meyer and Balancing Agility and Discipline by Barry Boehm and Richard Turner.

Want to learn better ways to schedule a project and manage requirements? Read any of Karl Wiegers’ books and articles.

The truth is that we know of better ways to get great software done more efficiently and with drastically reduced bug rates.

When will we start?

Jack Ganssle has written over 1000 articles and six books about embedded systems, as well as one about his sailing fiascos. He has started and sold three electronics companies. He welcomes dialog at [email protected] or at www.ganssle.com.

 

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Internet of Things is the perfect example of something being so simple and elegant yet being an astounding and breakthrough innovation in the modern era of disruptive technologies. This technology has already projected its influence over typical machine-based industries like oil & gas, automotive, manufacturing, utilities, etc.

However, IoT is not only beneficial for production-based companies but can also be used for practical applications in B2C businesses like tourism and hospitality.

Internet of Things in the hospitality business not only helps hotels and restaurants to improve their services but also empower their guests to enjoy exceptional hands-on experiences. It creates a network of connected devices that offer smart and autonomous experiences to the visitors.

Internet of Things offers a ton of possibilities to a hospitality business. Big hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton have already implemented this disruptive technology to enhance their generous services and provide their guests with out of the box experiences.

Below are some applications of IoT that a hotel or any hospitality business can use:

 1.Guestroom Automation to Elate Customers:

After a long journey, guests expect a pleasant and warm stay from their temporary accommodation. They prefer a completely customized service as per their expectations and likings. Smart IoT solutions now empower hotels and guesthouses to provide their visitors exactly what they desire.

IoT allows the development of a centralized and connected network between different automated systems and appliances. For example, based on their desire and liking your guests can alter the luminosity and intensity of the lights from IoT based smart lighting solutions. Moreover, appliances can also conduct operations autonomously. For example, proximity sensors embedded in the room can detect the movement of the guest and turn on the coffee machine to brew the beverage.

You can also use this connected network to identify the preferences of your customers and use this information to surprise your customers with customized and personalized services the next time they visit.

Furthermore, hospitality businesses having their hotels in different locations can also share data about their customers in a common CRM to make sure that the guests come across the same experience in every branch of the hotel chain.

This cross-property integration allows hotels to keep their customers’ profiles in a centralized system that can be accessed distantly. IoT plays a crucial role in this as it enables a hotel to collect guest’s data and share it with its patrons via the common info management software.

 2. Predictive Maintenance of Room Appliance:

The biggest disappointment for a guest is when they enter their previously booked room and find a leaky pipe or damaged air conditioner. These instances not only affects the immediate experience of the visitor but also the overall reputation of your hotel.

In order to prevent these situations, you can use the predictive analytics capabilities of the IoT solutions. Smart sensors and meters can be installed in appliances and pipeline networks to identify the possibility of unexpected breakdowns and malfunctions before your guest encounters them. These sensors will notify the room service staff about bottlenecks and enable them to fix the issue before it actually occurs.

This predictive analytics system can hence be used by hotels to improve maintenance systems and prevent sudden failure of any appliance in any of the rooms. This not only will help you to boost your customer service but also protect your hotel chain’s reputation from getting spoiled. Additionally, you will also save a lot of money that is generally spent to repair the broken equipment at a moment’s notice.

 3. Guestroom Transforming Features:

The appeal of any hotel lies in its rooms. Primarily, it is the main aspect of a hospitality business that visitors’ book. Even if you give your users with relaxing spa vouchers or free-swimming pool amenities, they are more likely to be disappointed if you don’t provide them with best in class staying experience.

It is hence of utmost importance for any hotel to keep its rooms abreast with amazing features. One way to do so is by using devices powered with quintessential technologies that are capable of presenting an amazing experience to the guests.

Some of these devices include smart switches, electronic key cards, and voice assistants. Voice assistants Amazon Alexa can be programmed to specifically cater to the demands of the customer staying in the room. This IoT and AI-powered device will enable hotel staff to monitor the preferences and likings of the guests and provide personalized services the next time they visit.

4. Smart Solutions for Hotel management:

IoT not only empowers hospitality businesses to provide outstanding services to its guests but also manage other tasks related to its conventional operations. By using facility management services of IoT, a hotel can manage the consumption of its utilities and reduce the cost associated with its usage.

Furthermore, these solutions can also be used by hotels to manage inventory and optimize resource utilization. Hence, hotels can reduce their manpower and cut costs. Moreover, these services will also aid the business to increase its guest satisfaction through its unique staying experiences.

CONCLUSION:

The success of any hospitality business depends on the satisfaction it can provide to its guests. By using the technology of IoT and its features, a hotel can enhance its services and capture the heart of its guests.

IoT helps the hospitality business to enhance its services related to housekeeping and accommodation that in turn boosts the satisfaction of the customers. This also increases the reputation of the hotel chain which results in better business opportunities.

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IoT security is challenging but only few companies are taking action. Businesses are experiencing a significant rise in cyber-attacks and malwares, compromising devices and their security. In order to tackle this, Microsoft has taken considerable action and developed an end-to-end IoT solution, which is called Microsoft Azure Sphere that can safeguard the IoT devices from evolving threats.

 
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Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a buzzword but it is a reality. IoT has become an integral part of most industries, and IoT platforms providers are playing a vital role in the seamless deployment of IoT devices. IoT platforms provide great value to your business, allowing you to build, deploy, and scale products and reduce development cost by streamlining the process. However, many stakeholders are still confused about what IoT platform they should go with.

 
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IoT in Healthcare is believed to achieve that envisioned ‘Smart Healthcare’ as it led to establishing a digitized healthcare system. What could we expect from Smart Healthcare with IoT? Connected medical resources and healthcare services as experts in the industry believe.

However, is it feasible? Alternatively, are we still talking about an imaginary world of healthcare services and solutions?

Although we know the healthcare industry suffers from many healthcare inefficiencies, IoT is considered as a game-changer for the domain. Convenience, efficiency, and automation are all IoT stands for.

Did you know that Healthcare in America is grossly inefficient? Due to this, the cost of healthcare services is high. 

However, technology got the back of Healthcare and continually pushing up the sector to deliver better services with higher efficiencies.

Recently, the healthcare industry has gone through a significant transformation with the impact of IoT. According to Accenture, the forecasted value of the internet of healthcare things is expected to be $163 billion by the end of 2020. 

IoT in Healthcare has shown to add value to critical healthcare operations. It is also believed to offer greater efficiency and accuracy in the operations of healthcare providers. 

Let’s look at significant areas of healthcare services where upgrading systems and processes with IoT could bring significance is delivering value.

 

  1. Remote Health Monitoring

According to a stat, remotely monitored patients be 36 million by 2020, up from 4.9 million from the year 2015. World’s population has already become dense, and in that healthcare costs continue to increase. Individuals, as well as organizations, are seeking new ways to reduce costs and improve patient care. 

In a scenario like this, IoT emerged as an excellent tech help for the industry. Using IoT, the healthcare industry is becoming capable of providing new services and solutions through remote health condition monitoring. Devices are in-built with sensors and actuators and are capable of collecting and sharing digital data to other remote locations using the capability of cloud. It is helping the industry enhance the patient experience as well as the efficiency of health professionals. 

 

  1. Emergency Notification Systems

Innovation in IoT increases the number of connected devices, and emergency notification systems are one of its results. Due to connected devices and convenience of data sharing in real-time all due to IoT, today’s emergency notification system helps Healthcare overcome the two most essential in-efficiencies: speed and reach. 

Reach is essential in medical assistance. IoT not only helps healthcare institutions and professionals to act proactively but also enable them to speed up the assistance processes.   

 

  1. m-Health

Smartphones, along with innovative apps, are the most convenient way to collect health data and provide care. Besides smartphones, medical devices connected using a wireless networks also considered a vital health tool. However, one can look up to data and control and give command using the applications provided in mobile devices. 

With the help of it, the patient can be monitored at home.  IoT in Healthcare allows medical practitioners; on the other hand, the ability to set a patient-specific monitoring threshold as well as machine response parameters. It helps the practitioner look up to his patient not just from a remote location but also take action as per the change in the patient’s health. 

There are several advantages of mHealth, such as remote patient monitoring at home, out-patient tracking, home nurse scheduling, remote diagnostics, and lots more.  

 

  1. Wearable Heart Monitors

Heart rate is essential about your overall health. Heart monitoring is one of the easiest ways to gauge how well your body is working. 

However, people usually avoid giving notice of irregular heartbeats or pain in the heart as they have to visit the doctor. However, today, smartwatches and fitness trackers are built with technologies like heart rate sensors. It has made it easy to keep tabs on your ticker without seeing your doctor. However, they’re starting to do a lot more than track your data.  

 

  1. Point-Of-Care Medical Diagnostics

Point-of-care diagnostics though offered portability but lacked in delivering personalized and quick care — however, Point-of-care medical diagnostics with IoT. 

Lead the industry towards smart and connected point-of-care that ensures personalized care and complete security at a global scale. It represents an excellent opportunity to provide sensitive, rapid, low-cost connected diagnostics through point-of-care medical diagnostics.

IoT not only helps patients and medical practitioners but also affects health insurance processes for better. 

Connected devices have disrupted healthcare insurance completely. IoT based monitoring systems let the experts determine the trend in Healthcare. It enables them to come up with new strategies, i.e., replacing long-term health plans with short-term solutions explicitly designed as per individual needs. However, it needed precise data sets, and here, IoT in healthcare devices helps them collect. Having precise data, health insurance companies fine-tune their policies, and it also minimizes risks of losing funds due to unforeseen scenarios. 

 

How IoT Exactly Helps? 

Insurance firms are using monitoring sensor-based solutions which are today upgraded to perform IoT functions. These devices or solutions are biosensors, connected health devices, your Fitbit or other wearables along with mobile apps as a product in their insurance policies for monitoring and tracking your health factors, including customer behavior, identify kind of care needs to be served to a particular patient/customer.  

This also helps policymakers design the bill accordingly and help them meet their target customers as well as their needs. 

Having intensive and accurate data-set collected from IoT-powered health devices, health insurance companies are comprehensively stressing on the following processes for being predictable and forwarding with their policies and solutions foster customers spent more and more due to personalization.  

Monitoring – Companies leverage IoT solutions and track patient behavior closely, such as their minute’s activity, and habits of day to day life. Smartphones, wearables, and other connected devices help companies significantly to collect data. They later consequently analyze the data to come up with predictive decision making. 

Care optimization – Insurance companies also work closely with healthcare givers. You only get money once insurance claims are approved by the medical institutions.

IoT in Healthcare enables insurers to optimize your complete care. It helps customers avail exciting discounts on insurance premiums. Companies look up to IoT data along with analytical tools, and AI applied tools to have aggregated data. 

With the help of analytics, insurers can quickly tracks which clinical processes would have a better impact on the patient’s wellness. 

Payment – Payment systems are highly complex and often consist of multiple payers, insurance firms, government, and patients. In such scenarios, the industrial IoT system that provides real-time data as well as accessibility to enable care providers to get compensation for their services on time. 

Having IoT in Healthcare, the industry can answer and overcome from in-efficiencies, such as:

 

  1. Waiting Time

IoT in Healthcare could significantly help reduce waiting time to get care. Availability of IoT powered devices lets the patient stay at home during the entire process. Even they don’t have to pay for an in-person visit to the doctor. 

With IoT, a patient no longer needs direct medical attention; thus save himself from the stress of transportation, waiting times, and unnecessary additional tests. Therefore, no waiting time for healthcare assistance.

  1. Lost Time Accounts

A medical practitioner can’t recommend or suggest any healthcare support or service without looking into medical reports. Medical reports are essential, but it is challenging to keep them save and carry all the time. IoT that let the medical devices get access to data in real-time allows medical professionals to look up to patient’s information and reports. 

It eliminates Lost Time Accounts from the process, thus fosters faster health support. 

 

Wrapping Up

The future of Healthcare undoubtedly include IoT. Also, it is inevitable that IoT revolutionize the healthcare industry in several unexpected ways.

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The dynamic shift towards a digital and intelligent world has led to the emergence of various new and high-tech technologies. Among these innovations IoT stands above the rest, evolving at a remarkable rate, and providing benefits that were never seen before.

The hype of this technology is so immense that even cost-intensive and conventionally operating industries like oil & gas and manufacturing have started adopting it. It wasn’t just the hype that made IoT prevalent all around the industrial spectrum. Its benefits in the fields of remote monitoring and telematics were the main factors that helped it to become a recognized disruptive technology that connects the entire world.

Even though the Internet of Things has not reached its full potential yet, its benefits, especially for industries, cannot be underrated. One such industry that has benefited the most from the implementation of IoT is the industry of logistics.

Logistics companies play a crucial role in facilitating the transportation of goods from one location to another. IoT technology helps these companies to streamline their business processes and enhance visibility in the end-to-end delivery of products.

IoT in Logistics:

IoT devices are expected to reach a benchmark of 50 billion devices by the end of this year and the logistics industry will own the majority of them.

In 2016, the largest chunk of the entire global market presence of IoT was garnered by the segment of transportation and logistics. The global connected logistics market is again expected to grow by a CAGR of 30% until 2020.

Clearly, logistics is among the biggest playfields for the cutting-edge technology of Internet of Things. Companies in this vertical are leveraging the benefits of this technology to optimize their process execution practices and improve their overall efficiency of delivering the shipment.

IoT mainly revamps the two major verticals of a logistics industry namely warehousing and delivery. Both these segments take care of the goods while they are stored or delivered respectively. Let us explore the benefits of IoT in both these segments.

Benefits of IoT in warehousing:

1) Advanced Security and Safety Systems:

Keeping assets secure from theft is an essential aspect of any warehouse management system. IoT creates a secure environment via its advanced surveillance system that allows warehouses to keep their goods and articles secure from robbery.

Along with HD cameras and proximity sensors, IoT creates a complete surveillance system that allows warehouses to quickly detect theft. The handlers of warehouses can also gain alerts about theft in the form of a video from remote locations, which gives them ample amount of time to take necessary actions and contact the concerned authorities.

Furthermore, IoT also allow a logistic business to ensure the safety of their valuable workers and employees by reducing the possibilities of accidents. By monitoring the condition and performance of their heavy equipment and machines, companies can predict possible failures that can result in catastrophic situations.

2) Improved Quality and Performance:

IoT creates a connected infrastructure in the warehouses through RFIDs and sensors. These devices help a company to monitor parameters like temperature and humidity that can deteriorate the quality of the goods being stored in the warehouse. The connected ecosystem allows a warehouse to create a suitable environment for goods, whose quality depends on the environmental conditions.

Moreover, this ecosystem also helps logistics to boost their overall efficiency and improve the execution of different processes. Warehouses have clear visibility into their inventory levels that help them to manage their buffer stocks. Furthermore, the RFID tags help handlers quickly identify the location where the items are stored and get them prepared to be shipped at a moment's notice. Hence, all the tasks in the warehousing are optimized which results in boosted performance.

Benefits of IoT in Delivery:

1) Vehicle Tracking:

Delivering products to their destination is the primary purpose of any logistics company. Fleet vehicles like trucks are hence their most important assets. By using IoT capabilities, logistics companies can track their vehicles from remote locations and ensure timely cargo delivery.

This vehicle tracking makes use of GPS location tracking to identify the location of trucks while they are traveling. Logistic companies can remotely monitor:

  • driving habits of drivers,
  • weight of the truck,
  • preferable trailer conditions in which cargo is being delivered,
  • truck condition and performance.

By measuring and analyzing these parameters, logistics companies can make sure that the goods are being delivered safely. Moreover, these companies can use the data to reduce fuel costs, conduct on-board diagnostics, and ensure timely shipment delivery.

2) Predictive Analysis:

As we discussed above, IoT allows logistics companies to analyze data and develop useful insights. By using predictive analytics features, companies can get notified about probable component breakdowns or engine failure of a truck that can affect the delivery of items on time.

The data related to the route taken by the trucks, their speed, and road conditions can also be processed to determine the best routes for the fleet. Additionally, this feature of IoT can also be used to detect inefficiencies in the trucks and detect unexpected malfunctions that can delay the delivery of products.

CONCLUSION:

Logistic companies are now leveraging the technology of Internet of Things to boost their operations and gain visibility over their end to end supply chain. This transparency is further enabling them to keep a track of their goods, whether they are stored in a warehouse or are conveyed via fleet trucks.

This further helps these businesses to enhance their process execution and provide timely delivery services to their customers.

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The rise of eCommerce has changed the shopping habits of consumers drastically over the last few years. Online shopping has witnessed growth at exponential rates and has become a lifestyle of consumers. As technology is evolving at a rapid pace, businesses need to keep up with the constantly changing demand of people. One such tech wave is IoT (Internet of Things), which has revolutionized the web development landscape.

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What is IoT?

IoT is a vast network of interconnected objects that are bounded by standard communication protocols. It merges traditional technologies such as GPS, satellite technology, radio frequency identifiers (RFID), internet protocols, and more for different applications. 

Let’s dig in deeper to understand how IoT is impacting the Magento web development:

• Complex Web Design

The web development and design process are going to become a lot more complicated with the emergence of IoT. Users are primarily using the front-end interface for communicating with smart devices such as sensors, cameras, signaling equipment, and others that are operated with IoT. 

Implementing IoT in Magento web development enables web pages to load quickly and remove the hassle of delay in transmission time. Several websites would require advanced capabilities to communicate with back end databases that can store personalized data obtained from the IoT devices. Additionally, more future requirements would not only help web developers utilize powerful web development language to build a dynamic front-end interface but will also enable users to communicate with IoT devices in the backend. Hence the application of IoT in the realm of the Magento web development industry helps make web architecture and user interface (UI) more creative and interactive with users.

• Build an efficient web development team

A web development company must find the right mix of talent to design, develop, and deploy eCommerce solutions successfully. IoT is new in the world of web development, and so organizations are still wondering to determine the best method for managing their development team. However, a thorough understanding of the requirements can help structure the web development process. Moreover, it is vital to determine the kind of expertise needed to initiate the successful development of the project. And then, it involves finding out the right talent of the pool along with the right inventory that can be combined with coding expertise to develop a highly efficient solution. 

• Conquer Coding Challenges

One of the critical aspects that need to be addressed to ensure seamless integration of IoT with Magento web development is the coding challenges. Codes need to be developed rapidly, as there is no set industry standard to decide whether the code is efficient or not. So, by acknowledging coding challenges, it is imperative to plan a strategy to implement to manage the ever-changing coding challenges and yield better results for the website. 

Benefits of IoT in Web Development 

• More data generates Valuable Insights
• Increased Revenue
• Inventory Management
• Robust Backend
• Personalized and Engaging Customer Experience
• Seamless integration with Supported Devices

Conclusion
Hence, IoT seems to be a futuristic solution for the eCommerce sector. Though many companies are still unaware of the power of IoT and its impact on Magento web development, which helps drive business processes more efficiently and effectively.

If you’re looking for a full-fledged solution for your next eCommerce project, consider hiring a leading Magento development company that meets your development needs.

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IoT Gateways are becoming an essential part in various smart grids solutions, across Industrial, Residential, and Transmission & Distribution projects. Gateways help in addressing energy conservation at both the consumer and transmission level. Here, we will discuss some of the unique features of IoT gateways like clustering, interoperability, security, and others

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Over the next 25 years, the global energy consumption is estimated to soar by 40%, and unless we don’t stumble upon a vast coal mine, there is no way we can fulfil this requirement.

You may be thinking: “Renewable energy will do the job for us.”

Yes, renewable energy are paving the path for a more sustainable future, however, their mass adoption is still limited due to several barriers. They are highly dependent on natural occurrences, require a high capital investment, and are inflexible with traditional energy grids. It can’t be said with certainty when these limitless sources can be used to a full extent for our ever-growing electricity needs.

Till the time we overcome these barriers and adopt the renewables entirely, optimal and efficient utilization of non-energy resources is the only prominent option to stretch our days of existence with power supply.

Utilities are continually looking for a technological enabler that can help them optimize their processes and manage assets remotely. IoT is one such technology that is helping power generation companies to do so.

With its advanced telemetry and cognition capabilities, energy utilities can boost their energy transmission and distribution processes to facilitate the efficient flow of electricity and reduce energy wastage.

Let us see the ways with which IoT can help utilities for adequate electricity supply:

1)  Remote Asset Monitoring and Management:

This is primarily the most talked-about application of an IoT system. It allows energy companies to remotely manage their equipment; ranging from power generators to transmission lines. Sensors embedded on assets can measure parameters like temperature, vibration, pressure, wear, etc. that can be read by the utilities to identify the probable breakdown point.

This enable utilities to monitor the depreciation of their assets and govern the overall health of their power transmission and distribution architecture. By compiling the continuously stored data, insights and trends can also be generated to estimate the failure time. Subsequently, inspection and maintenance procedures can be scheduled to eliminate failures and reduce downtime.

Furthermore, by planning their repair and maintenance tasks as per IoT based real-time alert system, power generation companies can even reduce energy losses and enhance their operational efficiency. This helps them to optimize the consumption of their resources and facilitate the flow of electricity from power plants to consumers’ facilities in an efficient manner.

2)  Grid Balancing and Supply Rerouting/Restoring:

Smart Grids are a modern IoT variant of the existing power grids that include several energy measures and smart appliances like smart meters. Their implementation in the infrastructure of power distribution and transmission makes the flow of electricity from power plants to the end consumers more efficient and reliable.

However, there benefits far exceeds then simply supplying the electricity from one place to another. They allow utilities to lower operational costs and help customers to manage electricity consumption at home.

In terms of making the flow of electricity more efficient and promote optimum resource utilization, smart grids are the initial choice. As they work on a two-way interaction, they can effectively manage congestion on the power lines. They are even capable of ensuring the connection requirements of the generation stations such as frequency and voltage control to prevent instability.

Furthermore, the smart grids offer astounding electricity rerouting and restoring advantages. In case a transmission line breaks due to adverse weather conditions or voltage fluctuations, smart grids can find another route to transmit electricity to a locality. Other than facilitating a constant power supply, utilities can also use this feature of smart grids to identify causes that result in energy fluctuations. This empowers energy companies to reduce fluctuations that result in wire failure and hence boost their asset utilization efficiently.

Smart Grids also enable the indulgence of renewable energy resources. Let us see how:

3)  Renewable energy management:

As we discussed earlier, the IoT infuses two-way dialogue system in an existing electricity distribution channel. This means that instead of merely supplying power to the users and bill them once a month, the IoT system enables both the utilities and consumers to share information.

“In layman terms, even the end-users can now contribute to a smart grid.”

The most significant advantage of using smart grids is its ability to include renewable energy resources to an existing power grid. Thus, end consumers using solar panels to power their home appliances can discharge excess electricity into the power grid in exchange for money. Many countries like USA and India are providing subsidies to end consumers for creating a small-scale solar power station on their rooftops.

This is assisting in the mass adoption of renewable energy resources, which other than alleviating energy scarcity can also help in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Since smart grids act as a stable infrastructure to maintain voltage fluctuations, they can be used to manage the electricity flow from both renewable and conventional methods.

My Personal Opinion:

“As per marketsandmarkets, IoT in the energy market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24.1% to reach a value of USD 22.34 billion by the end of 2020.”

This showcase the potential that IoT can offer to the vertical of electricity transmission and distribution. Its implementation has the power to facilitate our energy needs and reduce our consumption to a great extent. As per a study by environmental impact assessment (EIA), by effectively utilizing existing IoT technologies, the industries in the US have reduced their coal energy consumption for producing electricity by 14 to 22%.

Similarly, as smart consumers, we can also implement smart meters and IoT based energy monitoring solutions at our homes and facilities to monitor overall power consumption and manage needs accordingly.

This can be the initial step to enjoy limitless power. Let us contribute by joining the IoT revolution and make our homes & industries smart for a sustainable future.

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A network of physical objects interconnected through computing devices like machine appliances, digital devices, objects, vehicles and uses APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and sensors to exchange data and connect with the internet is known as IoT or Internet of Things.

IoT platform connects the virtual and the real worlds. It helps the companies in managing IoT devices, connectivity, security, linking devices to back end system, collecting device data, building & running IoT apps as well as ensuring IoT interoperability.

According to a survey, approx. 75 billion devices will be IoT enabled by the end of the year 2025. 

Also, in the coming 5-6 years, the world will witness an investment of near $ 6 trillion on IoT out of which at least $ 3 trillion is expected to be invested in the health care industry for IoT.

And why not? The experts are also of the same viewpoint that by the end of the year 2020, approx. 90 % of the health care industry will adopt IoT. Generally speaking, IoT has already made its way to the homes of general people through Google, Amazon, Alexa, etc.

Almost all the IoT enabled devices to have:

  1. A device or a sensor;
  2. Data processing unit;
  3. A connecting unit;
  4. User interface.

Challenges Faced By The Health Care Industry

The health care industry faces constant challenges. No compromise is entertained when it comes to health. 

The number of deaths occurred due to delay in treatment or delay in the ambulance approaches, in the prevalence of road jam are recurring and very common.

However, these untimely deaths can be prevented by enabling IoT in house treatment in the health care industry. 

The devices that are capable of monitoring heart rate sleep cycle, energy expenditure can be helpful in the timely detection of the problems arising in the human body.

In other cases, the risk of infection post-surgery is a real threat to the life of the patient, and the result can be anything from a prolonged hospitalization to even death.

The other problems faced by the health care industry are health monitoring, timely detection of health problems, tiresome diagnostic techniques, inappropriate ambiance, inaccurate measurements, human error, etc.

Although health care is relatively slow as compared to financial or other industries in the incorporation of IoT devices, 40 % of health care is already using IoT. 

The slow growth is due to the following reason:

  1. The methods of health care go through rigorous tests.
  2. Security in health care is still a significant concern for the devices that are enabled with IoT.

Even the hurdle remains, yet the speed and connected health care are growing each day progressively.

Health care service providers need to innovate and plan for digital transformation and reach in those areas where there are not enough health care systems and professionals. 

The industry needs a reliable communication network partner to provide mobile and cloud connectivity. IoT App Development Company should take care of this issue.

Now the question arises as to how IoT Is Transforming the Health care Industry? Following are attributes and contribution in the health care industry:

In the coming years, IoT devices such as Coagulation testing and Activity trackers will adopt the world of connected things with a common platform from handheld devices to medical equipment as well as health records. The capability of IoT is inexhaustible for these devices. 

The potential to efficiently manage the health of the patient as well as monitor and track the problems is saving valuable seconds of the life of a patient, without having to visit the hospital.

With the help of IoT, the health experts can give a distant and remote diagnosis to the patient. Also, they can track medical assets that provide quality care instantly and manages health care efficiently. 

With the help of Wi-Fi and sensors, the ability to locate the correct section in a hospital has become easy for patients as well as health experts.

Almost all the health experts who have already adopted the IoT enabled services do believe in the crucial benefits of it. 

They think that the benefits will be to control and monitor sensors and medical devices from a patient’s heart monitor to his or her temperature gauges; the real-time data exist in health care. 

Further, patients and staff can securely manage IoT data by creating an effective as well as a safer environment through a standard application on mobile devices.

Perpetual Collaboration

Continuous collaboration amongst health experts and patients is imperative for health care organizations. By providing access to non-core data and applications to them whenever they need, will boost up the productivity level and will help in enhancing efficiency.

When it comes to diagnostic accuracy, WCE short for Wireless Capsule Endoscopy comes into the picture. 

The process involves the patient to swallow a small capsule camera that can record the patient’s internal organs. 

It has the potential to capture specific parts of the gastrointestinal tract that are not visible otherwise through diagnostic procedures. 

Also, it can detect bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which is not possible through traditional methods.

Maintenance of Cordial and Healthy Relationships

The health experts have to take special care to manage the risk by protecting the record of patients and other crucial data against external exploitations. 

This refers to ensuring the service continuity and no disruption in the event of a breach of trust. Many experts are saying that you can combine IoT with Android & iOS apps as well.

It will help you to reach out to more and more people and also make use of this wonderful trending technology.

A Flourishing Transformation

Hence, IoT is indeed a boon not only for health care but almost every industry that is capable of enabling its services through IoT. 

Its current pace of growth in health care is hopefully best for this domain. IoT health care means an efficient and more accessible patient care experience. 

It allows staff to do their work in a better way, and this is the reason why 80 % of health care experts forecast that IoT is going to transform the industry in a better way. 

With global network connectivity and infrastructure, it is high time for other health care providers to adapt and offer IoT enabled services to the patients nationally as well as internationally.

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What if your everyday devices like washing machines, lights, speakers, TVs, and cameras could communicate with you, send information to you and work on your commands even from distant places? With technologies like IoT and Artificial Intelligence, it is possible to digitize homes and make everyday devices smarter. Read on to find out how.

 
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