Tag Archives: IoT

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Top 10 IoT technologies for the next two years


Gartner has revealed a list of the top technologies that will unlock the Internet of Things’ full potential in 2017 and 2018.


Fresh on the heels of CES and Mobile World Congress shows, Gartner has compiled a list of the top 10 Internet of Things technologies that should be on every company’s radar over the next two years. Among the key takeaways include security, device management and low-power, short-range networks. According to the firm, this handful of principles will have a broad impact on organizations, affecting everything from business strategy and risk management to a wide range of technical areas such as architecture and network design.

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So without further ado, Gartner’s top 10 IoT technologies for 2017 and 2018 are:

IoT Security

The IoT introduces a wide range of new security risks and challenges to the IoT devices themselves, their platforms and operating systems, their communications, and even the systems to which they’re connected. Security will be required to protect IoT devices and platforms from both information attacks and physical tampering, to encrypt their communications, and to address new challenges such as impersonating ‘things’ or denial-of-sleep attacks that drain batteries. IoT security will be complicated by the fact that many ‘things’ use simple processors and operating systems that may not support sophisticated security approaches.

IoT Analytics

IoT business models will exploit the information collected by ‘things’ in many ways, whether that’s understanding customer behavior, delivering services, or improving products. However, IoT demands new analytic approaches. These tools and algorithms are necessary now, but as data volumes increase through 2021, the needs of the IoT may diverge further from traditional analytics.

IoT Device (Thing) Management

Long-lived nontrivial ‘things’  will require management and monitoring. This includes device monitoring, firmware and software updates, diagnostics, crash analysis and reporting, physical management, and security management. The IoT also brings new problems of scale to the management task. Tools must be capable of managing and monitoring thousands and perhaps even millions of devices.

Low-Power, Short-Range IoT Networks

Selecting a wireless network for an IoT device involves balancing many conflicting requirements, such as range, battery life, bandwidth, density, endpoint cost and operational cost. Low-power, short-range networks will dominate wireless IoT connectivity through 2025, far outnumbering connections using wide-area IoT networks. However, commercial and technical trade-offs mean that many solutions will coexist, with no single dominant winner and clusters emerging around certain technologies, applications and vendor ecosystems.

Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks

Traditional cellular networks don’t deliver a good combination of technical features and operational cost for those IoT applications that need wide-area coverage combined with relatively low bandwidth, good battery life, low hardware and operating cost, and high connection density. The long-term goal of a wide-area IoT network is to deliver data rates from hundreds of bits per second (bps) to tens of kilobits per second (kbps) with nationwide coverage, a battery life of up to 10 years, an endpoint hardware cost of around $5, and support for hundreds of thousands of devices connected to a base station or its equivalent. The first low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) were based on proprietary technologies, but in the long term emerging standards such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) will likely dominate this space.

IoT Processors

The processors and architectures used by IoT devices define many of their capabilities, such as whether they are capable of strong security and encryption, power consumption, whether they are sophisticated enough to support an operating system, updatable firmware, and embedded device management agents. As with all hardware design, there are complex trade-offs between features, hardware cost, software cost, software upgradability and so on. As a result, understanding the implications of processor choices will demand deep technical skills.

IoT Operating Systems

Traditional operating systems such as Windows and iOS were not designed for IoT applications. They consume too much power, need fast processors, and in some cases, lack features such as guaranteed real-time response. They also have too large a memory footprint for small devices and may not support the chips that IoT developers use. Consequently, a wide range of IoT-specific operating systems has been developed to suit many different hardware footprints and feature needs.

Event Stream Processing

Some IoT applications will generate extremely high data rates that must be analyzed in real time. Systems creating tens of thousands of events per second are common, and millions of events per second can occur in some telecom and telemetry situations. To address such requirements, distributed stream computing platforms (DSCPs) have emerged. They typically use parallel architectures to process very high-rate data streams to perform tasks such as real-time analytics and pattern identification.

IoT Platforms

IoT platforms bundle many of the infrastructure components of an IoT system into a single product. The services provided by such platforms fall into three main categories:

  • Low-level device control and operations such as communications, device monitoring and management, security, and firmware updates
  • IoT data acquisition, transformation and management
  • IoT application development, including event-driven logic, application programming, visualization, analytics and adapters to connect to enterprise systems

IoT Standards and Ecosystems

Although ecosystems and standards aren’t precisely technologies, most eventually materialize as APIs. Standards and their associated APIs will be essential because IoT devices will need to interoperate and communicate, and many IoT business models will rely on sharing data between multiple devices and organizations.

Many IoT ecosystems will emerge, and commercial and technical battles between these ecosystems will dominate areas such as the smart home, the smart city and healthcare. Organizations creating products may have to develop variants to support multiple standards or ecosystems and be prepared to update products during their life span as the standards evolve and new standards and related APIs emerge.

Interested in reading more? You can find a more detailed version of Gartner’s analysis here.

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The smart router is ready for IoT play


The evolution of router has reached the IoT’s doorsteps, and it raises some interesting prospects for industrial and smart home markets.


The router used to be largely a dumb device. Not anymore in the Internet of Things arena where node intelligence is imperative to make a play of the sheer amount of data acquired from sensors, machines and other ‘things.’ The IoT router marks a new era of network intelligence — but what makes a router smart?

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For starters, it employs embedded hardware platforms with DIY capabilities while balancing the performance and power consumption requirements. Next, an IoT router provides the operational status on an LCD screen while manipulating the data from different interfaces. In human machine interface (HMI) applications, for example, a smart router offers LCD and touch screen interfaces on expansion I/Os.

Take the case of the DAB-OWRT-53 smart router, which is developed by the Belgian design house DAB-Embedded. The sub-100 euro device — based on Atmel’s SAMA5D36 processor and OpenWRT router hardware platform — is mainly targeted at smart home and industrial IoT applications.

The smart router of DAB-Embedded

The IoT router supports popular wireless interfaces such as Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Z-Wave, as well as a diverse number of wired interfaces including Ethernet, USB, CAN 2.0A/B, KNX and RS-232. And all the data from these interfaces can be stored in either microSD card or NAND flash.

Anatomy of Smart Router

The Atmel | SMART SAMA5D36 is at the heart of the smart router design. First and foremost, it optimizes power consumption in the battery-operated router that features 3.7V lithium polymer battery support with charging capability over a microUSB connector. The router boasts eight hours of battery lifetime while being in full ON mode with Wi-Fi communications.

Second, the ARM Cortex-A5 processor shows a robust performance in the communications domain. For instance, the SAMA5D36 implements routing functionality to transfer data from one Ethernet port to another in a way that router designers don’t require an external hardware hub or switch. Moreover, Atmel’s MPU offers greater flexibility to run a lot of embedded software packages such as OpenZWave and LinuxMCE.

Third, the SAMA5D36-based IoT router offers users the ability to manipulate firewall settings, Disable PING, Telnet, SSH and UPnP features. Furthermore, the hardware security block in SAMA5D3 processor allows the use of CryptoDev Linux drivers to speed up the OpenSSL implementation. The Wi-Fi module — powered by Atmel’s WILC3000 single-chip solution — also supports the IEEE 802.11 WEP, WPA and WPA2 security mechanisms.

The smart router of DAB-Embedded employs Active-Semi’s ACT8945AQJ305-T power management IC, but the real surprise is Altera’s MAX 10 FPGA with an integrated analog-to-digital converter (ADC). That brings the additional flexibility for the main CPU: Atmel’s SAMA5D36.

The FPGA is connected to the 16-bit external bus interface (EBI) so that IoT developers can put any IP core in FPGA for communication with external sensors. All data is converted inside the FPGA to a specific format by using NIOS II’s soft CPU in FPGA. Next, the SAMA5D36 processor reads this data by employing DMA channel over the high-speed mezzanine card (HSMC) bus.

An FPGA has enough cells to start even two soft cores for data preprocessing. Case in point: A weather station with 8-channel external ADC managing light sensors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors and more. It’s connected to the FPGA together with PPS signal from GPS for correct time synchronization of each measurement.

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OpenWRT Framework

The SAMA5D36 embedded processor enables DAB’s smart router design to customize free OpenWRT Linux firmware according to the specific IoT application needs. The OpenWRT framework facilitates an easy way to set up router-like devices equipped with communications interfaces such as dual-port Ethernet and Wi-Fi connection.

What’s more, by using the OpenWRT framework, an IoT developer can add now his or her own application (C/C++) to exchange data with a KNX or Z-Wave transceiver. OpenWRT even supports the Lua embedded interpreter.

Next, while DAB-Embedded has built its smart router using the embedded Linux with OpenWRT framework, Belgium’s design house also offers a board support package (BSP) based on the Windows Embedded Compact 2013 software. That’s for IoT developers who have invested in Windows applications and want to use them on the new hardware: the DAB-OWRT-53 smart router.

Later, the embedded design firm plans to release smart router hardware based on the Windows 10 IoT software and Atmel’s SAMA5D family of embedded processors. The Belgian developer of IoT products has vowed to release the second version of its router board based on Atmel’s SAMA5D4 embedded processor and WILC3000 chipset that comes integrated with power amplifier, LNA, switch and power management. Atmel’s WILC3000 single-chip solution boasts IEEE 802.11 b/g/n RF/baseband/MAC link controller and Bluetooth 4.0 connection.


Majeed Ahmad is the author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future.

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Atmel wireless connectivity supports industrial IoT revolution


The BTLC1000 exhibits the lowest BLE power consumption in the industry.


With both this year’s CES and Embedded World now behind us, it’ll be interesting to see which of the gadgets unveiled during these shows find a way to market — some will go to production, others won’t. I am skeptic about the smart shoe offering self-fastening mechanism… And during these two weeks, the IoT revolution has silently progressed in industrial automation. (You will be surprised if you read some very serious white papers extracted from the Internet of Things series published by Bosch.)

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While attendees flocked to Vegas, progresses were made in industrial automation thanks to hard work being done in Germany. In fact, these two worlds — consumer oriented and industrial — are both relying on wireless connectivity, including products from Atmel: the ATWILC1000, ATWILC1500 or ATWILC3000 supporting Wi-Fi and ATBLC1000 supporting BTLE 4.1,which  was recently crowned “Product of the Year” from Electronic Products.

According to Bosch’s white paper “Leveraging the Internet of Things: Companies can streamline business processes for stakeholders across the extended enterprise,” we realize that Bosch’s managers have brainstormed about the IoT to extract the added business value for the enterprise, like for example, “in manufacturing, data automatically collected from smart and connected products, give companies meaningful feedback as to how products should be reengineered, and provides opportunities for additional revenue through selling services.”

In order to become smart and connected, industrial products need to integrate either a Wi-Fi connection supported by ATWINC1500, or a Bluetooth supported by the very tiny (see above) ATBTLC1000.

IoT-scalability-courtesy-Bosch

Shows the requirements for scalability on two current customer PoCs at Bosch Software Innovations. These PoCs start in year one with a very low umber of connected devices and sensors. However, in a short space of time, they scale massively upward for commercial launch and rollout.

From the above graphic, extracted from another white paper from Bosch, “Realizing the connected world-how to choose the right IoT platform,” we can derive two crucial information. The first is the fact that IoT is already a reality in the industrial market segment, not really known to be fashion driven like could be consumer electronic. The second information is about scalability. In both examples, the number of connected devices was very low, but in a short space of time they scale massively, reaching 500k devices for the first and up to 3 million for the other. A single industrial automation application can generate a very good semiconductor business, including sensors, MCU and wireless connectivity device. In our previous blog, we have investigated the ATWINCxx00 family bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to any embedded design. Let’s take a look at the award winner ATBTLC1000 device supporting BT 4.1 connectivity.

Atmel's BTLC1000

The BTLC1000 is an ultra-low power Bluetooth SMART (BLE 4.1) SoC with an integrated ARM Cortex-M0 MCU, a transceiver, a modem, MAC, PA, TR Switch, and a power management unit (PMU). It can be used as a BLE link controller or data pump with external host MCU, or as a standalone applications processor with embedded BLE connectivity and external memory. If we look at the key features list:

  • BLE4.1 compliant SoC and protocol stack
  • Lowest BLE power consumption in industry
  • Smallest BLE 4.1 SoC — Available in WLCSP (2.26×2.14mm) or QFN ( 32p 4×4 mm)
  • Optimized system cost — High level of integration on chip reduces external Bill of Material significantly
  • Wide operating Voltage range — 1.8 – 4.3V
  • Host Interface — SPI or UART
  • Certified modules — FCC, ETSI/CE, TELEC
  • Enterprise Development support & tools with the ATBTLC1000 Xplained Pro

The main reasons why the Atmel BTLC1000 has won the Electronic Design award are power, cost and certification. This chip not only exhibits the lowest BLE power consumption in the industry, it’s also the smallest BLE 4.1 SoC (see picture) offering optimized system cost, thanks to high level of integration. If companies like Bosch supporting industrial automation segment for years (if not centuries) start to be seriously involved into smart connected IoT systems, no doubt that ATBTLC1000 and ATWILC1000 devices have a bright future…


This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Eric Esteve is a principle blogger and one of the four founding members of the site. This blog first appeared on SemiWiki on January 10, 2016.

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New gateway will connect billions of Bluetooth devices to the IoT


The Bluetooth SIG’s new architecture and toolkit will enable developers to create Internet gateways for Bluetooth products.


The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) just introduced a new architecture and supporting set of educational tools that enables developers to quickly create Internet gateways for Bluetooth products.

These gateways allow any Bluetooth sensor to relay data to the cloud and back again. This architecture expands the potential functionality of the IoT by giving anyone the ability to monitor and control fixed Bluetooth sensors from a remote location, whether that’s turning off their lights while away or unlocking their front door for a pet sitter.

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The Bluetooth Internet gateway architecture and toolkit show developers, Makers, hackers and OEMS how to quickly and simply create a connection between Bluetooth and the cloud without the need for a smartphone or tablet to serve as the middleman. This essential communication capability is the next step to enabling the IoT by giving people and systems control of sensors regardless of proximity.

The new architecture will meet an immediate need for smart home developers looking to create a hub for all the sensors in a home or to integrate gateway functionality into existing products. It couldn’t come at a better time either. A recent report has revealed that out of the 4.5 million people identified as IoT developers in 2015, 1.4 million of them were focused on building smart home applications.

“People want to monitor their home security system from their couch and office. The Bluetooth Internet gateway architecture provides a standard way for any developer to create this gateway functionality. Routers, thermostats, security systems – the always on, always connected infrastructure in the home – can now speak to and control tiny, low power sensors and relay that information to the cloud, providing control from anywhere,” explains Steve Hegenderfer, Director of Developer Programs.

This architecture is part of Bluetooth SIG’s bigger play to grow throughout the IoT and home automation markets. Plus, it will help them extend the range of Bluetooth data transfers beyond the wireless range of Bluetooth itself.

“The key value promised by the IoT is that we can make life a little better by linking technologies and giving people more knowledge and control,” said Errett Kroeter, Bluetooth SIG VP of marketing. “Our new Bluetooth gateway architecture enables the IoT to do just that. We are extending the monitoring and control of Bluetooth enabled sensor devices to the cloud and making the data accessible.”

Intrigued? The Bluetooth Internet Gateway Smart Starter Kit can be downloaded here.

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The power of the platform in IoT and wearable designs


What IoT developers want? A candid look at the wearable designs shows how platform approach is helping design engineers confront daunting challenges in the IoT arena.


“Providers become platforms” is the second most prominent finding of the Forbes story entitled “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES 2016.” Interestingly, all the five disrupting forces outlined in the story relate to the Internet of Things blaze one way or the other. A coincidence? Not really.

CES 2016 was mostly about demonstrating how the advent of a connected world is possible with the creation of an array of smart and interconnected devices. However, the IoT juggernaut, while exploring the true value of connectivity, also requires new business models, which in turn, makes time-to-market even more critical.

Smart badge brings efficiency in enterprise, hospitality and healthcare

Take smart wearable devices, for instance, which were arguably the biggest story on the CES floor this year. A wearable design comprises of one or more sensors, connectivity solution like a radio controller, a processor to carry out system-level functions, storage to log information, display and battery. And what IoT and wearable developers want?

A platform that allows them to facilitate the finished products quickly and efficiently. The design engineers simply can’t afford experimentation with the basic blocks as they need a precedence of basic hardware and software functions working efficiently and smoothly.

Anatomy of Wearable Design

First and foremost, wearable designs confront power constraints even greater than mobile devices. Not surprisingly, ultra-low-power MCUs lie at the heart of wearable designs because they combine flash, on-chip RAM and multiple interface options while intelligently turning power on and off during activity and idle periods, respectively.

The next design conundrum relates to the form factor because these devices are being worn, so they have to be small and light. That, in turn, demands even smaller circuit boards with a greater level of integration. Enter the IoT platforms.

Amid power, performance and form factor considerations, the choice of a right IoT platform means that designers will most likely get the basic building blocks right. And that will allow IoT developers to focus on the application, differentiation and customer needs.

That’s what Atmel is aiming for with the launch of a reference platform for cost-optimized IoT and wearable applications. Atmel’s ultra-low-power platform, which was announced over the week of CES, is aimed at battery-operated wearable devices requiring activity and environment monitoring.

Power has a critical role in the key IoT building blocks

IoT Developer Platform

Below are the key highlights of Atmel’s platform offering for the IoT and wearable designs.

Processor: Microcontroller’s low-power requirements make it a likely choice in wearable designs; MCUs that communicate and process sensor inputs draw very little power from the battery while asleep. Remember the L21 microcontroller that made headlines back in 2015 after leading the low-power benchmarks conducted by EEMBC ULPBench.

Atmel’s SMART SAM L21 MCU — based on ARM’s lowest power Cortex-M0+ processing core — scored 185 in the benchmark and was able to bring the power consumption down to 35µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode.

Communications: The BTLC1000 is an ultra-low power Bluetooth Smart (BLE 4.1) system-on-chip (SoC) that comes integrated with ARM Cortex-M0 core, transceiver, modem, MAC, power amplifier, TR switch, and power management unit (PMU). It can be used as a BLE link controller or data pump with external host MCU or as a standalone applications processor with embedded BLE connectivity and external memory.

Atmel claims that its BTLC1000 Bluetooth solution — a 2.2mm x 2.1mm wafer level chip scale package — is 25 percent smaller than the nearest competitor solution. And Electronic Products magazine has corroborated that premise by calling it the lowest power BLE chipset that consumes less than 4mA in RX and less than 3mA in TX at 0dbm.

Security: Atmel is among the first chipmakers to offer specialized security hardware for the IoT market. Its microcontrollers come integrated with anti-cloning, authentication and encryption features.

Display: Wearable devices often show data such as time, measurements, maps and notifications on a display, and here, capacitive touch provides a very intuitive form of interfacing with the information. Atmel’s MCUs can directly manage capacitive buttons through software libraries that the firm provides.

Furthermore, Atmel offers standalone display controllers that support capacitive button, slider and wheel (BSW) implementations. These touch solutions can be tuned to moisture environments, a key requirement for many wearable applications. Atmel’s maXTouch capacitive touchscreen controller technology is a leading interface solution for its low-power consumption, precision and sensitivity.

Sensors: The development framework for the wearable designs features BHI160 6-axis SmartHub motion sensor and BME280 environment sensor from Bosch. It’s worth noting that Bosch is one of Atmel’s sensor partners. However, wearable product designers are free to pick sensors of their choice from Atmel’s other sensor partners.

Software support: The software package includes RTOS, Atmel’s Studio 7 IDE and Atmel START, which Atmel claims is the world’s first intuitive web-based tool for software configuration and code generation. Moreover, Atmel Software Framework (ASF) offers communication libraries for Bluetooth radios.

Atmel's developer platform for IoT and wearable designs

The truth is that the design game has moved from hardware and software functional blocks to complete developer ecosystems since the iPhone days. Now the ecosystem play is taking platforms to a whole new level in the design diversity that comes with the IoT products.

The choice of a right IoT platform means that designers will most likely get the basic building blocks right, and then, they can focus on the application and customer needs. It also provides design engineers space for differentiation, a critical factor in making wearable devices a consumer success.

 

 

IoT

30 stats that prove the IoT has arrived


Numbers don’t lie! 


If you’re still unsure as to whether the Internet of Things has arrived, just take a look at these figures.

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  • 50 percent of IoT solutions will originate in startups less than three years old by 2017. (Gartner)
  • 50 million smart gadgets will be sold during this holiday season. (MediaPost)
  • 6.4 billion connected things will be in use by 2016. (Gartner)
  • 5.5 million new things will get connected every day in 2016. (Gartner)
  • 20.8 billion devices will be connected globally by 2020. (Gartner)
  • 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. (BI Intelligence)
  • 4 billion connected things will be in use by the consumer sector in 2016. (Gartner)
  •  13.5 billion smart gadgets will be used by consumers in 2020. (Gartner)
  • $698 billion spent globally on IoT this year. (IDC)
  • $546 billion in will be spent on connected objects by consumers next year. (Gartner)
  • $868 billion will be spent on connected things by the enterprise in 2016. (Gartner)
  • $1.3 trillion will be spent globally on the IoT in the next four years. (IDC)
  • $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years. (BI Intelligence)
  • $11 trillion is the total impact that the IoT applications can have on the economy by 2025. (McKinsey)
  • $7.4 billion in investments over 887 deals have been made in the IoT space in the last six years. (CB Insights)
  • $14.4 trillion is how much the global IoT market will be worth by 2022, with the majority invested in improving customer experiences. Industry-specific use cases will generate $9.5 trillion (66%) including smart grid and connected personal vehicles, while cross-industry applications will generate $4.9 trillion (34%) including future of work initiatives and travel avoidance. (Cisco)
  • 174 million smart homes are in existence worldwide this year. (MediaPost)
  • 339 million homes will become smart in 2016. (MediaPost)
  • 21% of all U.S. households are already using smart home technologies. (Strategy Analytics)
  • 45 percent of all Americans will either own smart home technology or invest in it by the end of 2016. (Coldwell Banker)
  • 250 million connected cars will be on the road in 2020. (Gartner)
  • 1 in 5 cars on the road will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020. (Gartner)
  • 1.6 billion connected things will be used by smart cities in 2016. (Gartner)
  • 518 million connected things will be used by smart commercial buildings in 2016. (Gartner)
  • $101 billion in revenue will be generated on commercial building automation systems in 2021. (Navigant Research)
  • 76.1 million wearable devices shipped in 2015. (IDC)
  • 228 million smart wearables to be shipped in 2020. (Berg Insight)
  • 173 million connected wearables will ship in 2019. (IDC)
  • 34.3 million smartwatches will be shipped around the world in 2016. (IDC)
  • 88.3 million smartwatches will ship by 2019. (IDC)
  • 21 million wearable devices shipped in Q3 2015 alone. (IDC)
  • 1.43 billion smartphones shipped in 2015. (IDC)
  • 40 billion wireless connected devices will be active in 2020. (ABI Research)
  • 19 billion Bluetooth-enabled gadgets will ship over the next five years. (ABI Research)
  • 400 million BLE Beacons will ship by 2020. (ABI Research)
  • 40 percent of the top 100 discrete manufacturers will rely on connected products to provide product as a service. (IDC)

While not all of the forecasts match up completely, they all share the same upward trajectory. Safe to say, the IoT is here!

Netflix

Rewind: These brands are embracing the Maker Movement


A look at how major brands can leverage the burgeoning Maker Movement and IoT to enhance both the customer experience and their marketing efforts. 


If you need any further validation that the Maker Movement has picked up steam, just take look at what some major brands have done over the last several months.

Netflix

The Adafruit Pro Trinket-equipped Netflix Socks detect when you’ve dozed off and send a signal to your TV, automatically pausing whatever it is you’re binge-watching.

Adidas

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This concept shoe is made up of an upper constructed from ocean plastic materials along with a 3D-printed midsole of recycled polyester and gill net.

New Balance

This pair of high-performance running shoes will include a 3D printed-midsole.

Nike

The Back to the Future II-inspired, self-lacing Nike Mags are now a reality.

Lexus

This concept RC F connects to a driver and displays their heartbeat in real-time through electro-luminescent paint.

Disney

The turtlish BeachBot autonomously creates large scale sand drawings.

Facebook

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The Parse for IoT SDK supports the Arduino Zero with the Wi-Fi 101 Shield as well as the Arduino Yún.

Royal Caribbean

The cruise line’s latest groundbreaking ships, the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, features two bartending robotic arms that precisely mix drinks to order.

Amazon

The online empire revealed the latest prototype of drones it will deploy as part of its Prime Air service, as well as a connected Dash Button that lets shoppers reorder frequently used household products with a simple touch.

Dole

This ‘wearable’ banana, which was designed for the Tokyo Marathon, is equipped with an LED display and sensors under its skin. The smart fruit monitors a runner’s race time and heart rate, and even shows tweets urging them onwards.

Kagome

This piggybacking robot, aptly named Tomatan, feeds a wearer tomatoes as they jog.

Levi’s

The clothing company partnered with Google’s Project Jacquard to bring touch-sensitive smartphone control to jeans.

AIAIAI

The Booty Drum is a wearable unit that turns ‘twerking’ into music. (NSFW.)

EasyJet

The European airline, with the help of CuteCircuits, unveiled a first-of-its kind smart uniform for both cabin crew and aircraft engineers. The futuristic, LED-laden outfits will enhance communication and passenger safety procedures.

GE

The company’s FirstBuild microfactory debuted an affordable, in-home nugget ice machine, Opal, that went on to garner more than $2 million on Indiegogo.

Local Motors

The manufacturer plans to begin selling the first highway-ready, 3D-printed cars next year within the price range of $18,000 to $30,000.

Hershey’s

The sweets giant partnered with 3D Systems to make an advanced chocolate 3D printer.

Barilla

The pasta maker held a 3D printing competition to explore new shapes and designs.

Crocs

The shoe brand showed off a possible future alternative to heading out to its store by experimenting with drones as a delivery option at a pop-up store in Japan.

Domino’s

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The Easy Order smart button pairs to a smartphone app via Bluetooth and makes ordering your favorite pizza simpler than ever.

Hoover

Rplic

The company let customers 3D print parts for their vacuums by downloading the accessories on Thingiverse.

Huit Denim

The UK jean specialist used Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint and Arduino to turn its window storefront into a touch interface.

Samsung

The Talking Fridge was embedded with Arduino-based sensors to detect customers and sell itself in real-time.

… and while not the brainchild of McDonald’s itself, this project was pretty awesome. The McNugget vending machine is comprised entirely out of LEGO. Simply insert a €2 coin, sit back and let it deliver a box of chicken in seconds, complete with the requisite dipping sauce.