ARM to showcase Internet of Things at HQ

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ARM says work is underway to transform its Fulbourn Road HQ into a hub for Internet of Things technologies. The chip giant and its partners have won £800k from the government’s Technology Strategy Board to deploy network technology and 600 connected sensors across its premises.

These are to be driven by ARM-based chips and will be used to control car park lights, meeting rooms, heating and water management systems, all with the aim of saving energy and demonstrating how the Internet of Things – or machine-to-machine communication – can achieve this. The whole system will be open for inspection.

Partners include: AlertMe, IntelliSense.io, Enlight, 1248, Red Ninja, Neul and Badger Pass.

Lee Omar, CEO of Red Ninja said: “We are delighted to be working with Internet of Things  thought leaders ARM, Alert me and Enlight to create apps that create real value from Internet of Things assets.  Our experience is creating value from large and diverse data sets, we are looking forward to mashing up this data to create innovative apps.”

ARM says: “This collaboration between some of the UK’s most advanced technology companies will also provide the technology industry with key lessons on how a new generation of intelligent, connected products and services can be fully implemented, with the potential for worldwide adoption.”

Cambridge-based AlertMe is extending its remit by providing ARM staff with kits to monitor their own homes for energy efficiency. EnLight is upgrading outdoor lighting, and Intellisense will measure pressure and flow in ARM’s heating and ventilation

Cutting edge telecoms sat launches

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London-based Inmarsat, which provides mobile satellite telecommunications, has launched its latest spacecraft.

Alphasat I-XL rode an Ariane 5 to orbit, lifting clear of the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 16:54 local time (19:54 GMT) on Thursday.

The satellite is the product of a major public-private partnership involving Inmarsat and the European Space Agency. The 6.6-tonne Alphasat incorporates a host of new technologies that should benefit both parties.The Ariane flight lasted just over half and represents the first test of a new heavyweight class of chassis, or bus, that will allow European manufacturers to make telecoms spacecraft that weigh up to 8.8 tonnes with a power output of 22kW. This has led some to refer to the Alphasat design as the “A380 of space”.

For Inmarsat, the most important aspect of the new satellite is the inclusion of an advanced digital signal processor made in Portsmouth in southern England. This processor, allied to the platform’s smart 11m X 13m antenna system, can channel significant bandwidth and power on to specific locations on the ground.

In addition to its commercial duties, Alphasat has a number of experimental payloads to test. The most noteworthy of these is a laser-based communications system.

Developed in Germany, this technology will form the basis of Europe’s forthcoming orbital data relay system, which will permit gigabit connections between Earth observation satellites and the ground.

Alphasat will validate the laser terminal by downlinking pictures from the EU’s Sentinel-1a radar spacecraft when it launches next year.

City sensors: the internet of things is taking over our cities

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The internet of things is taking over our cities. Here are five examples of how its shaping the urban environment:

Express parking
Los Angeles introduced a smart parking system, LA Express PARK, last May. Wireless sensors embedded in parking spots detect if they’re available and let drivers know via a smartphone app or digital sign. It is also able to measure demand, so prices can be adjusted accordingly.

Gunfire locator
ShotSpotter systems implemented in cities including Washington DC use acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunfire, so police officers can respond more effectively. The sensors narrow down the location of the gunshots by combining when each picked up the sound.

Smart grid
Intelligent systems in the electrical grid have been tested in cities in Italy, Canada and the US. Smart meters monitor consumption in real time, so households and providers can track energy use more accurately, and reduce bills or create structured pricing plans.

Pothole reporter
The Street Bump app was developed by the mayor’s office in Boston to help drivers alert authorities to potholes. The free app uses the accelerometer and GPS in a smartphone to detect bumps in the road. The data is aggregated to highlight streets in need of repair.

Air-pollution sensor
In 2011, A network of air-quality sensors was installed in Salamanca, Spain, as part of an EU-funded project to create sustainable traffic management systems. The data is used to measure how traffic regulation can affect pollution levels.

Oracle hitches Java to ‘Internet of things’

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The company hopes that Java can supplant C in embedded-device development projects.

With an upgrade to the embedded version of Java announced Tuesday, Oracle wants to extend the platform to a new generation of connected devices, aka the Internet of things. Oracle also hopes that Java can supplant the C language in some embedded development projects.

The company is releasing Oracle Java ME (Micro Edition) Embedded 3.3 and Oracle Java ME Software Development Kit 3.3, providing a client Java runtime and toolkit for microcontrollers and resource-constrained devices. Version 3.3 is geared to low-powered devices and systems without screens or user interfaces. It also supports the ARMv5 through ARMv7 chip architectures and enables greater connectivity between edge devices and network peripherals and systems.

Oracle anticipates that Java developers can leverage their skills building applications for very small devices to begin developing solutions for the Internet of things, which includes devices ranging from street lights to home automation and security systems. Oracle appear to be making strides in addressing segments of the marketplace that historically have not been large users of Java.

The Java ME 3.3 Embedded rollout features improved device APIs to increase the number of external peripherals that can be integrated, runtime monitoring, and logging enhancements are featured. Supported developer boards include Raspberry Pi and Keil STM32 F200 Evaluation Board. Java ME SDK 3.3 backs Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit systems in addition to Windows XP 32-bit, and it has plug-ins for the NetBeans IDE and Eclipse.

Oracle also is looking to provide partners with the ability to customize Java ME embedded products for different device types and market segments with its Oracle Java Platform Integrator program, which provides support, patches, and updates. Downloads of Oracle’s embedded Java technologies are available at Oracle’s website.

 

Phone anti-theft put through paces in New York and San Francisco

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New measures to curb soaring levels of mobile phone theft worldwide are to be tested in New York and San Francisco.

Prosecutors will test measures on Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 to measure effectiveness against common tactics used by thieves. Various cities across the world have called on manufacturers to do more to deter phone theft.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has written to firms saying they must “take this issue seriously”.

In a letter to Apple, Samsung, Google and other mobile makers, Mr Johnson wrote: “If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem.”

Kill switch

Prosecutors in the US are following a similar line – last month meeting representatives from the technology firms to discuss the matter. They are calling for a “kill switch”, a method of rendering a handset completely useless if it is stolen, rendering a theft pointless.

Statistics from the US Federal Trade Commission suggest that almost one in three robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone. In New York, 40% of robberies are phone thefts – a crime so common it has been dubbed “Apple-picking” by police.

London has seen a “troubling” rise in mobile phone theft, the mayor’s office said, with 75% of all “theft from person” offences involving a phone – 10,000 handsets a month.

Close scrutiny

The firms have offered theft solutions to help combat the problem. Apple’s Activation Lock – which will be part of the next major iPhone and iPad software update – is to come under close scrutiny.

Thieves will often deactivate a phone immediately to stop it being tracked after a theft. Activation Lock is designed to make it harder to then reactivate, as it requires the entry of the log-in details used to register the phone originally.

For Samsung and other handsets, prosecutors, aided by security professionals, will be testing theft recovery system Lojack.

“We are not going to take them at their word,” the prosecutors in New York and San Francisco said in a joint statement.

“Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves.”

Source: BBC