Aries Embedded announced one of the first computing modules with the SoF PolarFire function. It is equipped with a Linux RISC-V SoC chip with a Microchip Microsemi FPGA processor. The M100PFS has the same dimensions of 74 x 42 mm as the similar M100PF module from Aries and is equipped with PolarFire FPGAs without RISC-V core for Linux.

The two major M100PFS SKUs are:

  • M100PFS-025ADA0 — MPFS025T FPGA with 23K LE, 68 math blocks, 4x SERDES; 1GB LPDDR4 RAM for HMS (RISC-V/Linux); 4GB eMMC
  • M100PFS-250AECC — MPFS250T FPGA with 254K LE, 784 blocks, 16x SERDES; 4GB LPDDR4 each for HMS and FPGA; 8GB eMMC

Source: http://linuxgizmos.com/linux-powered-module-charges-up-the-risc-v-polarfire-soc/

Aries’ M100PFS a competition for Raspberry Pi 4 in IoT
M100PFS

PolarFire SoC from Microchip combines the previously introduced PolarFire FPGA card with 4x RISC-V U54-MC SiFive core. Microchip claims that PolarFire SoCs are superior to hybrid SoCs with an arm / FPGA, such as Xilinx Zynq, with more configurable and open RISC-V designs, lower power consumption and much better real-time deterministic functions. I am In December, the company called it „the first FPGA SoC chip with deterministic and consistent RISC-V processor clusters and the deterministic L2 memory subsystem enabling the use of Linux and real-time applications.”

Industrial use of market Raspberry Pi 4 SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

ONiO.zero running without battery can revolutionize the IoT market

ONiO, a Norwegian specialist in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) for the medical industry, announced ONiO.zero, a RISC-V-based microcontroller with very low power consumption, which can work completely from the energy harvested from the environment. ONiO claims that its design can take energy from the radio spectrum and operate up to 24 MHz.

„ONiO.zero is a wireless MCU with very low power consumption, which uses energy acquisition technology,” wrote the company about its creation. This means that ONiO.zero only works on ambient energy. There are no coin cells, supercaps, lithium and batteries, but still offers a lot of performance.

Battery-based solutions have an unavoidable warning about battery replacement. This leads to increased costs over the entire lifetime. ONiO.zero avoids this problem and reduces operating costs. ONiO.zero is self-powered and supports a wide range of power sources, from multi-frequency RF bands supporting GSM and ISM to optional external sources such as solar, piezoelectric, thermal and voltaic.

Source: https://www.hackster.io/news/onio-zero-offers-up-to-24mhz-of-risc-v-microcontroller-performance-on-nothing-but-harvested-energy-70285321d50d

The microcontroller itself is based on the architecture of the RISC-V instruction set of the open source type (in particular RV32EMC) and operates up to 24 MHz with a supply voltage of 1.8 V. The controller will work if necessary with lower voltages. You can get 6 MHz at 1 V and 1 MHz at 0.8 V, and the system still runs slower, but as fast as 450 mV. Includes 1 KB ROM and 2 KB RAM, as well as 8-32 KB of ultra low power flash memory, capable of 100,000 read and write cycles up to 850 mV.

ONIO.zero running without battery can revolutionize the IoT market

ONiO.zero contains a crystalline Low Energy Bluetooth transmitter (BLE) that can operate at a voltage as low as 850mV, an IEEE 802.15.4 (UWB) broadband transmitter operating in the 3.5-10 GHz band, and optional radio transmitter 433 MHz MICS for the industrial, scientific and medical band (ISM).

ONiO.zero hasn’t been released yet. For more information check the ONiO.zero product page.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://moduino.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

NarrowBand-IoT the new black of Industrial IoT

The NB-IoT is becoming a standard in wireless communication of IoT devices, for standalone solutions and complex installations with thousands of units, coordinated with gateways. Will NarrowBand-IoT replace other wireless technologies in industrial automation?

What exactly is NarrowBand?

NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology in the field of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) dedicated for IoT devices, operating on the licensed frequency band used by telecommunications operators.

The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include:

  • long battery life (up to 10 years),
  • efficiency in the amount of data transferred,
  • intra-building penetration,
  • the ability to connect even tens of thousands of devices in one system,
  • a global standard,
  • a high level of security and low cost

You can build mass solutions and those that until now were considered unprofitable. NB-IoT technology works in the licensed band, so there is no risk of interference and blocking communication by competing networks.

The service life of devices powered by two AA batteries is up to 10 years. However, the devices themselves are constructed in such a way that they can work for many years without the need for technical supervision and recharging the battery.

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

The latest research results from IoT Newark developers reveal that 49% of respondents use AI in their IoT applications. There is also a growing concern about user privacy and the more frequent introduction of ready equipment.

35% of respondents think security is the major concern for any IoT implementation, mainly due to the type of data collected from the things (machines) and humans, which is very sensitive & personal. We can expect to see more and more encryption everywhere. Businesses who initiate IoT projects treat IoT security as their top priority.

SBCs the main platform for Industrial IoT

SBC is still the preferred hardware foundation for IoT gates, then 54%, followed by personal projects (30%) and silicon supplier platforms (13%). It is unclear whether the latter includes a commercial computing module. As shown in the graph above, many IoT programmers need third party help, especially for edge-to-cloud communication.

About 45% of respondents use environmental sensors for IoT devices, followed by motion sensors (26%) and optical / image sensors (15%). WiFi (67%) is the most popular wireless technology in Internet of Things projects. The next places are Low cellular energy and Bluetooth, followed by LoRa at 21%. The survey results also include responses to programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT data, project motivation and more.

Artificial Intelligence influencing Industrial IoT

From the end of 2017 to 2018, artificial intelligence-specific processors (AI) began to appear on mobile devices. The goal is to make smartphones more intelligent. As GPUs shrink, AI-related equipment becomes necessary for the Internet of Things.

Support for enterprises from platforms such as Google TensorFlow will be introduced in 2020 with equipment adapted to artificial intelligence. TensorFlow is already optimized for mobile devices and can be quickly launched on single-board computers. In many ways, AI frameworks are better than other mobile frameworks, such as ReactJS. The AI structure is not designed to work with the user interface. It’s perfect for the Internet of Things.

Until the end of 2020, artificial intelligence will be as important for IoT devices as the cloud.

IoT Security with latest SLM 9670 Industrial Grade TPM 2.0

Like other embedded systems, Industrial IoT design faces a constant stream of threats. As hackers adopt new attacks, developers rush to close security holes. Deployed devices need to update IoT firmware, increasing potential security vulnerabilities. For example, using a simple firmware verification check can leave the software published. In this situation, the developer may expect to be able to query external resources for verification and catch attempts to replace the firmware with hacked code. However, even relatively novice hackers can replace the firmware with code that ignores such verification checks. To secure these vurnerabilities comes Industrial Grade TPM 2.0.

Securing devices with Infineon industrial grade TPM

Infineon Technologies AG has unveiled a new security chip that defines the first TPM (Trusted Platform Module), designed specifically for industrial applications such as industrial computers, servers, industrial controllers and edge gates. The module protects confidential data in connected devices and reduces the risk of leakage of this information due to attacks, e.g. hackers.

The OPTIGA TPM SLM 9670 module protects the integrity of industrial systems and the identity of users using them. The system controls access to sensitive data at key locations in industrial environments, such as an automated factory. It also protects the cloud interface if the network uses one. The security system fully meets the TPM 2.0 standard developed by the Trusted Computing Group and is certified by an independent test laboratory in accordance with the criteria contained in this standard. The new module is meticulously controlled and certified by Infineon. Thanks to its use, it is possible to shorten the time of designing and introducing the device to the market, thanks to the ready security solution in the system.

The TPM system has a lifetime declared as 20 years. It allows programmers to perform firmware updates, which in turn enables them to meet the long-term security requirements in rapidly changing industrial environments. In this way, it can also reduce maintenance costs of industrial equipment thanks to secured remote software updates. The TPM chip will be available in serial production in the second half of 2019.

TPM 2.0 Key Features

  • Random Number Generator (RNG) according to NIST SP800-90A
  • TPM FW update functionality installed
  • 6962 Bytes of free NV memory
  • Full personalization with Endorsement Key (EK) and EK certificate
  • Up to 3 keys in the volatile memory
  • Up to 7 keys in the NV memory
  • Up to 8 NV counters
  • Support of various cryptographic algorithms:
    • RSA-1024 and RSA-2048
    • SHA-1 and SHA-256
    • ECC NIST P256
    • ECC BN256

Security chip implementation in Industrial IoT devices

With knowledge of latest Industrial IoT security measures, the choice of proper end-point conroller or gateway is much easier than you think. Some manufacturers can implement TPM 2.0 security chip in production process, to allow users to generate certification keys after purchase, maximizing security of their installations. TECHBASE offers wide range of solutions, optionally aided with TPM system.

For example, ESP-32 based solution, Moduino X series and eModGATE series products offer the support for such security measures. Read more in Industrial IoT Ecosystem brochure, to understand the importance of reliable and secure hardware for Industrial IoT.

The RAK2287 is a mini-PCIe LPWAN hub module based on the Semtech SX1302 that can be easily integrated with existing routers and other networking equipment with LPWAN gateway capabilities. It can be used on embedded platforms that offer a free mini PCIe slot with SPI connector. In addition to LPWAN functionality, the module is equipped with a ZOE-M8Q GPS chip that provides GNSS functionality.

This module is an exceptional, complete, and cost-efficient gateway solution offering up to 10 programmable parallel demodulation paths, an 8 x 8 channel LoRa® packet detector, 8 x SF5-SF12 LoRa® demodulators and 8 x SF5-SF10 LoRa® demodulators. It is capable of detecting an uninterrupted combination of packets at 8 different spreading factors and 10 channels with continuous demodulation of up to 16 packets. The module is well suited for Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, that require node density of up to 500 nodes per km² in an environment with moderate interference.

Source: https://www.semtech.com/company/press/semtech-releases-a-new-portfolio-of-solutions-lora-edge-to-simplify-and-accelerate-iot-applications
LoRaWAN RAK2287 concentrator module

LoRa RAK2287 features

RAK2287 key features and specifications:

  • LoRa Connectivity:
    • Semtech SX1302 LoRa Transceiver with 2x SX1250 Tx/Rx front-end
    • Tx power – up to 27dBm
    • Rx sensitivity – down to -139dBm @ SF12, BW 125 kHz
    • LoRaWAN® 1.0.2 compatible.
    • LoRa band coverage – RU864, IN865, EU868, AU915, US915, KR920, AS923
    • 1x iPEX antenna connector for LoRa
  • GNSS – GPS / QZSS, BeiDou, Galileo, and GLONASS via U-blox ZOE-M8Q GPS SiP; 1x iPEX antenna connect for GPS

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/08/06/rak2287-mini-pcie-lorawan-concentrator-module-supports-up-to-500-nodes-per-km2/

Use of LoRa in industrial automation

Use of wireless connection makes life and work easier for us every day – from radio stations and GSM to Wi-Fi wireless networks, Zigbee, short-range Bluetooth connectivity and LoRa. With the spread of internet access, the possibility of using wireless connectivity for a new type of service and application has opened. Terminology such as M2M (Machine to Machine) – remote communication between devices and IoT – a network of applications and devices communicating with the Internet have been created.

Device equipped with LoRa module is delivered with a LoRaWAN protocol stack, so it can be easily connected to the existing, fast-growing LoRa Alliance infrastructure – both in privately managed local area networks (LAN) and public telecommunications networks to create wide area low power WAN (LPWAN) on a national scale. LoRaWAN stack integration also allows connection to any microcontroller, such as LoRa Gateway industrial device from TECHBASE.

Pros and cons of using Raspberry Pi 4 in IoT

Every fan of new technologies has heard of small single-board computers (SBC) in the form of Raspberry Pi 4. Raspberry debuted on the market in many different versions, and the current model is Model 4B. A lot of people got infected with it for DIY, programming or Linux. But new board comes with variety of pros and cons, as compared to previous RPi3 versions.

Industrial use of market Raspberry Pi 4 SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

Sigfox announces changes improving IoT applications

First major announcement is that Sigfox will launch a private network (PAN) that will allow IoT customers to choose private and global services according to their needs. The service was launched for the first time in France in the first quarter of 2020, but Sigfox will be implemented in over 65 countries.

The operator’s wide area network (WAN) will be completed next year in cooperation with Eutelsat. Sigfox provides coverage worldwide using the nano-satellite constellation launched by Eutelsat.

The Sigfox PAN offer will benefit from the existing Sigfox WAN ecosystem. Thanks to the potential to use all components on the market and the use of very low transmit power to support facilities without the need for batteries, the Sigfox PAN offer offers enormous potential,

Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and co-founder of Sigfox.

According to Sigfox, by the end of 2019, there will be more than 15 million registered facilities and over 1,500 customers using this solution in various industries around the world. Sigfox says that PAN customers can expect the same as WAN customers in terms of support and quality. PAN clients can choose to subscribe to additional „WAN Extension” services if needed if the device needs to communicate outside the local network.

Sigfox improving the accuracy of Atlas geolocation services

Internet of Things operators have now launched Atlas Native Complimentary. It is made available free of charge in exchange for the rights to process data regarding GPS data. These data are compared to the fingerprint of the Sigfox network using machine learning, which increases accuracy to 800 meters.

To further increase the accuracy of its geolocation services, Sigfox said it has completed the global implementation of Atlas WiFi in collaboration with HERE Technologies’ mapping experts.

Sigfox uses the global WiFi access point database here. Access points are checked by the Sigfox WiFi tracking module and more closely track the location of external and internal resources with less battery consumption than using GPS.

We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Amadeus and share our combined expertise to create real digital transformation of the travel sector. Our strategic alliance named PinPoint will not only help to improve the travel experience, but this will also change completely the game for an industry looking for decades for THE technology able to save costs while improving efficiency and quality of services

Raouti Chehih, Chief Adoption Officer at Sigfox
eModGATE with ESP32

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Sigfox wireless technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery powered sensors market growth

The lifetime of IoT sensors varies greatly: some last a year years, others 10, the first being the most realistic. When organizations need to deploy engineers to install new batteries in sensors and employ staff to monitor them, the benefits of technology itself are beginning to run out.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

It is estimated that in 2020 nearly 31 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things. Such forecasts provide ample opportunities, especially for producers associated with the products that make up it, and they are intensified by the developing IoT technology.

Source: https://globenergia.pl/co-laczy-internet-rzeczy-i-perowskity-fotowoltaika-do-zastosowan-wewnetrznych/

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Sequent Microsystems has introduced the Raspberry Pi „4-relay” add-on to the Industrial IoT market. Four relays switch lines for loads up to 10 A and 250 V, can be stacked up to 8 times with max. 32 switched relays.

It can be used to control loads of up to 10A and 250V. You can control directly all your lights and appliances. Pluggable connectors accept 18 to 22 AWG wires and simplify the installation, specially if you are planning to use more than one card. The cards are stacked with 18mm male-female standoffs. All the hardware required for the installation is provided. Relays are controlled through I2C IO Expanders, using only 2 pins on the GPIO interface and leaving all the other pins available for the user.

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/279405789/4-relays-for-raspberry-pi-8-level-stackable-10a-250v-each/

Some industrial IoT devices, based on Raspberry Pi platform already offer Relay expansion modules. One of them is ModBerry 500 CM4 series, introduced in 2014 – later upgraded with latest Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4+. ModBerry standard configurator offers up to 12x Relay expansion, with additional customizable options available for larger orders.

ExCard modules to peak the performance

Every TECHBASE’s industrial computer is supported by ExCard add-on modules for extra RS-232/485 serial ports, Ethernet ports, PCIe slots, analog input and output, digital I/Os, relays, M-Bus interface, opto-isolation, accelerometer, etc. To provide specific communication paths, ModBerry can be rigged with additional Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module, 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, GPS and Wireless M-Bus.

The latest options for ModBerry series are:

  • SuperCap expansion, to provide constant power supply as a UPS option
  • OLED 0.96” & new OLED 1,3″ screen, allowing the control without the need of connecting into the device
  • ESP32 module as a security chip, to add a firewall into control installation and ensure constant operation of the device, even with power drops and random events
  • Aluminum case, to grant much higher durability for extra harsh industrial conditions
  • M.2 NVMe SSD controller for extra data storage
ModBerry 500 with Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4