Technology for Industries to Move Forward

Today, what is needed more than ever, in an era of the COVID-19 pandemic, is innovation. The world needs a metamorphosis of sorts, and with it, amazing innovation to help industries continue to operate in a way that is both safe and productive. But perhaps, most importantly, this transformation needs to help our world remain connected during a time of social isolation. Enter the IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence), and in some cases working in tandem.

Research from IDC shows spending on AI is set to accelerate across the public sector due to automation and social distancing compliance needs in response to COVID-19, forecasting European AI spending of $10 billion for 2020, with a growth at 33% through 2023. What’s more, AI solutions deployed in the cloud will experience a strong uptake.

Add to that the fact that industries like healthcare, utilities, construction, and others need to continue to push forward, finding ways to be beneficial and sound and it becomes the perfect storm—and the ideal opportunity—for innovation to thrive.

Often, the challenge becomes distinguishing which innovations have the wherewithal to withstand the test of time. That is where Connected World can help, finding some of the hottest products for the fast-paced, ever-emerging IoT market, with its annual IoT Innovations award.

Each year, technology companies submit nominations. The judging committee at Connected World evaluates the most transformative innovations to hit the market, looking at what makes the technology unique, what the of type of product solution it is, how the company worked with others on the innovation, as well as other product attributions.

Each of the entries are then evaluated by each judge on a number of criteria including creativity of innovation, market competition, partners, go-to market strategy, price point, market need, addressing an industry painpoint, and more. The editors also consult with outside industry experts and conduct follow up with the candidates throughout the research process.

In an age where companies that have been tempted to put their digital transformation strategies on the backburner, now more than ever before when innovation is essential in era of disruption, it’s a wonderful time to recognize the winners of the Connected World IoT Innovations for 2020. So please join Connected World in congratulating the 2020 IoT Innovations winners.

The IoT Innovations were judged by Specialty Publishing Media, with the help of Dan Miklovic, member at The Analyst Syndicate.

Product: Digi XBee Tools

Company: Digi International

Simplifying and expediting the entire lifecycle of IoT (Internet of Things) application prototyping, developing, testing, manufacturing, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance provides huge benefits. To help, Digi Intl., launched Digi XBee Tools last year. The suite of hardware, software, and services promote rapid IoT product development for fast time-to-market, as well as ongoing monitoring for devices deployed in the field.

Here is a closer look at the technology: The tools support development with Digi XBee radio frequency and cellular communication modems. The suite includes: configuration and test tool, application prototyping, code library supporting edge compute functionality, APIs (application programming interfaces), deployment tool for mapping a network and analyzing network strength, mobile configuration and testing tool, cloud, and edge tools for rapid deployment, ongoing security monitoring, and more.

While the set of tools was developed internally at Digi, some of them do incorporate third-party components. The tools include free, individually priced, and subscription-service products.

This innovation is designed to make developers’ lives easier and to improve every aspect of their processes. Every phase of the process was carefully examined for opportunities to reduce frictions, provide code samples, and support the goals of developers, product managers, and administrators in getting products to market and managing deployed device networks.

“Kudos to Digi for coming to market with the Digi XBee Tools, designed to meet the needs of the market. Rapid manufacturing of configured devices is critical in today’s world where we need to get technology up and running quickly.”
– Peggy Smedley

Product: ALTA Advanced Edge Gateway

Company: Monnit Corp.

Affordable, accessible, and security is key when incorporating a broad array of wireless sensors and transmitting that sensor data to the cloud. Monnit Corp., recognizes this and launched ALTA Advanced Edge Gateway in March of this year.

The technology is a sensor-to-server solution that securely delivers IoT data to mainstream cloud providers.

The device addresses requests for economical hardware that allows the rapid deployment of Monnit’s low-cost wireless sensors and direct transmission of sensor data to the cloud—without an external platform.

The Edge Gateway features integrated iMonnit Express 4.0 software for sensor pairing, parameterization, visualization, and the designation of MQTT brokers. The Ethernet-based gateway is customizable for MQTT topics and message formats. Data arrives at the cloud in a human-readable format. Also, with the Edge Gateway, users own all data outright.

Here’s what helps it standout: The gateway is economically priced (MSRP is $425). It is scalable, as one gateway accommodates up to 100 wireless sensors. Also, it may transmit sensor data to multiple cloud providers or servers and supports a majority of Monnit’s wireless sensor types, with full compatibility imminent. Further, the gateway “fingerprints” data via cryptographic validation stamp; authenticated data then arrives at the data consumer.

Monnit developed the Edge Gateway in-house using Microsoft’s .Net development tools and open-source Linux. Monnit directly sells and supports the gateway; however, customers may private label the device for sales or integration into a specific offering. Third parties may also provide product support as needed. Additionally, the Edge Gateway can support custom edge-based IoT applications, making it a good fit for IoT OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) and ISVs (independent software vendors). Product beta testing took place between March 3 and 5.

“I personally appreciate that all Monnit hardware is American-made. Even more, the company has an intense focus on security, usability, and affordability during product development with the ALTA Advanced Edge Gateway that helps it stand out.” – Peggy Smedley

Product: MultiTech Conduit 300 Gateway Developer Kit

Company: MultiTech

Those looking for a product with high security and streamlined edge-to-cloud management should look no further than MultiTech. The company launched MultiTech Conduit 300 Gateway Developer Kit, which delivers next-gen cloud orchestration for the industrial Internet of Things, in February of this year.

The developer kit features mPower Edge Intelligence, which enables edge-to-cloud orchestration and analytics together with a high-performance, secure processor to support Dockers and containers for easy programmability and built-in compatibility with leading IoT software platforms.

The MultiTech Conduit 300 features increased computing capabilities, expanded device-to-cloud integration, and enhanced data security. It includes mPower Edge Intelligence and is a 16-channel LoRaWAN gateway with dual high-speed Ethernet ports and an embedded LTE cellular radio driven by a secure processor, which enables software portability to a variety of processing configurations for future deployment and scalability.

The IoT gateway kit solution is integrated into a whole solution and the company worked with IoT cloud partners, LoRaWAN sensor partners, developers, integrators, and cellular carriers. Per unit hardware pricing includes a complimentary device-management platform called DeviceHQ.

What helps this product stand out is its high security hardware, simultaneous communication between gateway and endpoints, approved use for global LoRa channel plans, easy deployment, multiple backhaul options, and multiple power options, which support different use cases and applications.

“The MultiTech Conduit 300 Gateway Developer Kit is the epitome of innovation. The product cost effectively and securely streamlines edge-to-cloud management and analytics, which is much-needed in today’s era of innovation.”
– Peggy Smedley

Product: MicroAI

Company: ONE Tech

Too often, IoT (Internet of Things) solutions simply gather raw data and send it to the cloud to be analyzed. The result is a considerable lag time between when data was collected and when decisions could be made. Now, gathering operational data from connected assets can deliver incremental analytical value to an IoT environment. This is where ONE Tech’s MicroAI comes into play.

With this technology, IoT data can be processed in realtime right in the local city or plant, enabling managers, operators, and decisionmakers to secure their IoT devices and receive insights from their IoT solution immediately.

MicroAI harnesses a machine-learning algorithm, previously only available in the cloud, that is now able to live with a small footprint inside an IoT device. By ingesting raw asset and environmental data into the IoT device, it generates alerts and predictions that optimize connected asset performance and enhances IoT security oversight. It can also be expanded to network together multiple IoT assets for simultaneous monitoring, which enables accelerated anomaly detection, performance benchmarking, distributed communication, and advanced attribution analytics in connected devices. It worked with Renesas to power end-to-end IoT solutions for entire cities and enterprises.

There are two big differentiators to the technology: the ability to predict future events with high accuracy and precision and the ability to live directly on the IoT device in order to provide faster actionable insights into asset behavior.

“Immediacy is the name of the game with ONE Tech’s MicroAI. Giving data directly to plant or city operators is a true game changer.” – Peggy Smedley

Product: OptConnect ema

Company: OptConnect

Companies that are looking for a reliable connectivity solution no longer have to decide if it is better to buy or build a solution for themselves. OptConnect ema from OptConnect, which launched in May of last year, is a smart embedded modem solution for M2M and IoT applications.

It is a fully certified LTE Category 4 modem with onboard intelligence, embedded firmware, and software paired with OptConnect’s suite of managed services. OptConnect was also recently granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office due to ema’s unique combination of hardware, software, and on-board intelligence that provides connectivity-as-a-service.

What makes this product different is it was built to be intelligent, managed, and monitored, with plug-and-play functionality built-in. OptConnect manages the operational complexities of connectivity. Some of the managed services include: carrier monitoring, customer care center, warranty, realtime monitoring, realtime management, secure private IP network connections, summit customer portal, auto reconnect feature, custom data plans, API integration, device level monitoring, data overage risk mitigation, fulfillment and just-in-time ship-to-site logistics, activation and configurations, and remote management and remediation.

With the technology in place, users can leverage it for reliable and robust connection, while mitigating the risk of deploying their own custom build or the cost associated with certifying their own hardware. This means companies can focus on what they do best—their business—and leave the complexity of managed connectivity to a partner.

“OptConnect ema manages all of the complexities of typical IoT connectivity internally so that customers can focus on running their business, making it ideal for customers across a wide range of industries” – Peggy Smedley

Product: ThingWorx

Company: PTC

Standing the test of time, ThingWorx includes technologies and tools that enable users to rapidly develop, deploy, and extend IoT applications and AR (augmented reality) experiences. Developers and solution builders are able to: connect their devices, analyze their data, implement applications and user interfaces, manage and remotely control devices, and deliver new types of experiences through visualization.

PTC leverages it heritage in CAD (computer-aided design) and PLM (product lifecycle management) to ingest that input into ThingWorx. The technology contains a broad set of features, including a variety of connectivity options, application development tools, analytics, and AR technology all built around a single, realtime view of a physical object in the digital world—the ThingModel, the core engine of the platform that provides a 360-degree view of a physical asset and its operational context.

ThingWorx is the centerpiece of PTC’s IIoT portfolio and is comprised of a rapid applications development platform with device connectivity, machine-learning capabilities, augmented reality, and integration with device clouds. These capabilities combine to deliver a comprehensive IoT technology stack that enables customers to securely connect assets, quickly create applications and experiences, and innovate in new ways to capture value.

Here’s what makes it a true innovation: The platform eliminates complex connectivity, programming, and deployment tasks for developers while providing end-user solutions that deliver high levels of return on investment. Also, it includes a suite of industrial machine drivers for more than 150 protocols, which enables users to connect any machine data source, offering many connectors to other systems and platforms.

“PTC is an innovator and leader in the AR space—with a clear vision of how IoT and AR come together. It has built up ThingWorx into a tool that businesses can use to solve complex business challenges.” – Peggy Smedley

Product: Monarch Go

Company: Sequans Communications

IoT (Internet of Things) device makers can tap into an all-in-one solution to connect devices to Verizon’s network in a matter of minutes. That’s why Sequans Communications calls its new product Monarch Go—because a device maker can just plug it in and go.

The technology is an all-in-one modem component that provides instant LTE-M connectivity for IoT devices running on Verizon’s LTE-M network.

It is based on Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT technology and includes embedded antenna, Verizon ThingSpace SIM, and optional embedded GPS. It comes already certified by Verizon and includes everything needed to connect IoT devices to Verizon’s LTE-M network with no testing work required.

Monarch Go comes with a Verizon data plan, managed by Verizon, and linked to Verizon’s management platform. Being certified by Verizon as an end device means the connection of wireless IoT devices can be enabled in a very short amount of time compared to prior modules.

It is somewhat similar to a module connectivity solution in terms of purpose, but includes much more, such as the embedded LTE antenna, operator SIM, and more.

“For IoT device makers, Sequans Communications Monarch Go will help you get up and running quickly. The company has proven time and time again that it knows how to enable connectivity that makes a big difference for the industry.”
– Peggy Smedley

Product: SkySpark Everywhere – Embedded Edge Analytics Platform

Company: SkyFoundry

Historically, data would need to be sent to a cloud platform to provide the analytics and visualization capabilities. Now, SkySpark Everywhere from SkyFoundry provides the full end-to-end functionality. The comprehensive embedded edge analytics platform for IoT (Internet of Things) and device data enables all of the capabilities, features, and power of the SkySpark platform to run small, low cost devices located at the edge.

The full SkySpark installation requires only 17MB of memory, a 1GHZ processor, and 512MB of RAM. This enables advanced analytics to run as the equipment is being monitored, eliminating the need to send data to a cloud for analytics processing.

This is essential for many mission-critical applications where latency and reliability limit the effectiveness of using a cloud for analytics. Analytics capabilities include pattern recognition, advanced math, and machine learning. A built-in UI (user interface) automatically presents results to operators in a standard browser.

The SkySpark Everywhere Embedded Edge Analytics Platform is part of the SkySpark Analytics family of software and provides the same unified user environment, analytics engine, and tools as is available when deployed on a server or cloud-computing platform.

It goes to market exclusively through partners that deliver end solutions to customers. Partners include systems integrators, specialty engineering firms, and OEMs. It is sold as licensed software and priced according to the size of the application measured by “points”—being anything you want to collect data for, such as a sensor. Entry point pricing is $60 for a license that can be used on small IoT edge devices with 10 points under analytics.

“For those looking to run small, low-cost devices located at the edge, SkySpark Everywhere Embedded Edge Analytics Platform from SkyFoundry delivers. This innovation provides much needed end-to-end functionality.” – Peggy Smedley

Product: LM960A18

Company: Telit

Telit’s LM960A18 Mini PCIe (mPCIe) data card is well-suited for products that demand high throughput such as routers, mobile gateways and access points, and delivers Gigabit data rates via Advanced LTE and offers a cellular connection for products in network appliance environments.

The LM960A18 is an industrial-grade Cat 18mPCLe module and single-SKU globally certified product that covers more than 23 bands and achieves 1.2 Gbps downlink and 150 Mbps uplink speeds. It offers support for CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio System) and LAA (License Assisted Access) that are suitable for augmenting public LTE with private LTE based routers and gateway devices in industrial and manufacturing warehouses, campuses, stadiums, buildings, and more.

As an example, it joined the FirstNet lineup to provide the first responder community with solutions and access points to provide the highest performance in 4G/LTE connectivity, leveraging 4×4 MIMO, 5x bands and band combinations, and full GNSS support. It is compatible for use inside fire trucks, ambulances, and other first responder vehicles.

What makes this technology unique is it is a mobile broadband adapter card to support CBRS – band 48. The global-use, full-size PCI Express Mini Card helps OEMs quickly deploy next-generation products delivering carrier broadband-like user experience by overcoming challenges of complexity, high costs, and bandwidth limitations.

“The high speeds of Telit’s LM960A18 are ideal for bandwidth-intensive public safety applications—meeting a direct need for these industries when they need it most.” – Peggy Smedley

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