The rise of smart, precision agriculture


Smart technologies are largely changing agriculture and crop production. Collecting field data has been a manual process so far, involving scouting and collecting soil and plant samples, sending them to a lab for testing, and waiting for results to be analyzed. Recent developments in field-based sensors are shrinking this timeline and allow accurate measurements from the field to help farmers make faster, more actionable crop production decisions.

This is just the beginning of the smart, precision agriculture revolution. IoT mesh radio communication networks enable near real-time sensing of soil and crop conditions to adapt farming strategies to the changing conditions of the field. Sensors empower the farmer to react quickly and dynamically to maximize both output and inputs relative to crop performance.

Read more on PrecisionAg Institute


Blockchain as a key to security for Smart Cities

As Cities discover the power of Big Data and ubiquitous IoT devices to enhance the efficiency and livability of the urban environment, more attention to security threats should be paid: the more IoT sensors are deployed, the greater could be the risk of attacks from hackers and other bad actors.

Using blockchain and its secure, decentralized mechanism, Cities have the opportunity to bring connectivity to scale without compromising security in the process. The immutability of the system coupled with cryptographic keys can be used to establish root identity for IoT devices. If adding some machine learning algorithms, device reputation and behavioral variations can be accurately tracked, thus engaging objects in secure autonomous transactions within a sphere of trust. Blockchain also offers powerful ledgering and audit capabilities through its inherent timestamp function.

Read more on The Hill


An introduction to the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things refers to a network of billions of physical devices around the globe. These devices are equipped with Internet-connected sensors that provide ongoing data collection and sharing. As such, IoT is transforming the way people and businesses learn about and connect with one another, with a number of possible consumer, industrial and urban applications.

Have a look at Seamgen's infographic on Robotics Business Review to find everything you need to know about IoT - and read more about Paradox Engineering's vision and technologies here.

5G technology and Smart Cities

The wireless industry is moving towards 5G and this is a good news for Smart Cities, as they depend on ubiquitous broadband connectivity to enable a range of critical services.

5G technology allows to deliver substantial increases in data speeds and capacity, as well as equally critical reductions in latency. As it needs to take advantage of higher radio frequencies, which cover a smaller geographic footprint due to the limited propagation of the radio signals, 5G networks require more antennas — in the form of small cells — as we are used today.

To avoid having them anywhere visible, 5G antennas will be more and more integrated into existing elements of the city scape, such as street light poles, bus stop shelters, car parking lots. This presents some novel technical and design challenges, but above all asks for new synergies between network planning and urban planning.

Read more on Wireless Week

Industry 4.0: finding the perfect wireless frequency


Industrial remote monitoring and management systems rely on radio communications to connect and control a number of wireless sensors, nodes and gateways. Some radio-based telemetry solutions use 2.4GHz frequency band networks: while fitting the needs of short range indoor and plant environments, they have some limitations in outdoor applications or in harsh conditions.

Sub-GHz wireless sensor networks - as PE Smart Industrial Network - provide superior performance where reliable data transmission over long distance is expected, even in complex industrial infrastructures or under challenging weather conditions.

Read more on Control Engineering Europe, March 2018 edition

Smart Cities give back about 125 hours to each resident every year

An Intel-sponsored study by Juniper Research estimates that Smart Cities can give back about 125 hours to every resident every year. By implementing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to collect and analyze data to improve public infrastructure and services, Cities can offer people a significant saving on their personal time in four key areas: mobility, healthcare, public safety and productivity.

According to the study, up to 125 hours per year could be saved if:

  • implementing integrated IoT-enabled solutions to enable intelligent traffic guidance systems, smarter parking management applications, frictionless toll and parking payments - this could account for 60 hours given back every year, with additional benefits in terms of reduced air pollution and enhanced quality of life;
  • supporting digital health services to create efficiencies – saving citizens about 10 hours a year – and allow more effective treatments for both patients and caregivers. Wearable apps and remote medicine applications could further reduce unnecessary visits to doctor’s offices and fasten waiting times for relevant prescriptions;
  • improving public safety through connected videosurveillance systems, emergency response and law enforcement applications - with nearly 35 hours per year which smart citizens could spare;
  • increasing public offices' productivity by digitalizing processes and services, thus simplifying the interactions between municipalities, people and businesses - resulting in about 21 hours saved every year.

Are there virtuous City examples we might look at? The study found that Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco and Singapore are the world’s leading cities integrating IoT technologies and connected services. They stand out because of their cohesive efforts to connect City agencies, citizens and businesses to improve overall livability – specifically around mobility (San Francisco and Singapore), public safety (Chicago, New York and Singapore), healthcare (London and Singapore), and productivity (Chicago, London and Singapore).

Low Power Wide Area networking technologies to connect Smart City sensing devices

In the next five years, Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networking technologies such as Sigfox, LoRa®, LTE-M and NB-IoT will connect hundreds of millions of Smart City sensing devices and enable reliable urban networks. LPWA technologies continue to displace existing outdoor networking technologies for metering and streetlight monitoring, but they are also disrupting Internet of Things solutions for parking, waste management, smart water networks, geotechnical monitoring, pollution monitoring and bike sharing.

New report from Research and Markets points out the most interesting upcoming trends, with a specific focus on Smart Lighting. Paradox Engineering is mentioned among companies and technologies to watch for.

PE Smart Lighting Node

Design future proof enterprise IoT devices

When designing enterprise IoT devices, ensuring adequate performance and adhering to cost constrains is not enough.

Connectivity is a fundamental choice: which wireless standard would work better? An in-depth analysis of the specific case should be carried out to assess the best possible level of network resiliency and coverage. Battery life is another key elements for any IoT device, as well as robustness to stand harsh outdoor conditions.

Interoperability, scalability, ease of deployment and maintenance are fundamental: how to build a future proof platform, if it is not designed to natively support multiple applications, and allow extensions and integrations over time?

Read more on RCR Wireless News

In the picture: Paradox Engineering's PE Smart Lighting Node - NEMA socket version


Smart energy management for smarter Cities

Population-dense Cities are huge sources of power demand, consuming two-thirds of the world’s energy and producing a similar proportion of carbon emissions. This places Cities at the heart of the climate change debate.

Smart IoT platforms can surely support utilities and multi-utility companies in cost-effectively managing energy distribution networks, enabling remote meter reading and sub-metering, and granting superior and real time visibility over distribution architectures.

Another aspects to be considered, at least from a consumer perspective, is the possibility to break the hegemony of a centralised distribution system and make power more local through the so-called microgrids. This sort of projects support locally driven energy schemes and allow communities to share available resources or sell their own renewable energy back to the grid.

Regulatory policies play an important role, but new innovations are emerging to make the technological side work. Blockchain technology could be a key facilitator of secure, transparent energy trades between individuals or organisations.

Read more on Power Technology

Smart railway stations for ‘living’ transport hubs

Railway stations have become an important part of the discussion when it comes to Smart Cities. The Internet of Things and the implementation of advanced device and data management platforms could contribute to make stations more attractive, pleasant and efficient for passengers and consumers.

Smart railway stations could reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing power consumption and GHG emissions (think of Smart Lighting or Smart Waste solutions), but also become interactive terminals, integrating with urban mobility infrastructure to make it easier for passengers to move around.

Station managers need to widen the scope of their businesses to capitalise on an increasing number of people passing through. Railway stations can evolve into ‘mini-cities’ within a city, thus offering in one location all accomodation, shopping and leisure services that incoming and outgoing travellers require.

Read more on Railway Technology