Did we have a Sigfox Connect in 2020 ?

Sigfox Connect is usually one of the MAIN EVENT for the LPWAN community as the technical solutions provided by Sigfox were, in the last 5 years, the one presenting disruptive innovations around low power radio communications suporting the IoT revolution. I was usually rushing on my blog to communicate and explain how these innovations could transform our markets…

This year in 2020, I’ve made 5 days before starting to write something because, I see nothing really interesting to tell about this event, at least on the technical side. I could fill many pages on the quality of the event, starting by the backgrounds, the phone ringing in background, even on recorded conferences and the number of conferences about the same topic (supply chain). Christophe Fourtet had a great talk… for Sigfox beginner… and my preferred event’s backgrounds. But what about the yellow texts scrolling ?!? WTF !

So, I could write tons of line on this topic, but let’s try to go to the only and main announcement of this year, nothing technical, something like a company business pivot. Basically, after watching Ludovic conference, I had to refer to the only one online press post to understand what it was about. The morning keynote had some of the elements related to it but honestly I give the same to my IoT students on the first 30 minutes, so for the vision I’ve been a bit disappointed. You can check my IoT slidedeck.

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IoT overview 2020 update

Traditional update of my teaching support on IoT. This year I’ve addressed my speak to larger and different audiences. As a consequence I publish a totally renewed slide-deck with 203 slides. I’ve improved the IoT business model description, use-cases and technology area. I also detailed the platform side of the IoT solutions.

Feel free to reuse this content for your own conference and speak. I’m available for conference, talk … let me know.

The full PDF is available on the following link.

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Ceph deep scrubbing and I/O saturation

Ceph is a distributed storage system use in Cloud environment. Recently I’ve been facing an I/O congestion during night period.

This I/O saturation is impacting the application performance on OpenStack even if the system was really resilient to this activity level.

In this post I’ll explain why I had a such situation on the CEPH infrastructure and what are the settings to modify this I/O level.

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Embedded product with Raspberry Pi Compute Module

Raspberry Pi is a good solution for creating low-cost, powerful embedded devices when you have no need of self powered solution.

I had to create a such device recently to make a programming machine for my IoT devices. I was looking for a compact solution, powered with PoE, industrial grade, able to run a Java program and host a custom HAT with my home-made chip programmer.

Here you see a picture of the first prototype of this product with the different components visible: The green board is a Rapsberry Pi compute module CM3+ with 16GB eMMc flash drive. The blue motherboard is a Waveshare PoE board for CM3+. The Black board is my custom HAT hosting the programming solution based on a STM32.

In this post, I’ll detail a bit these different components and the way they are configured to illustrate how to easily make a such system alive.

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First steps with Helium IoT network

Helium is a crowdsourced-crypto-blockchain-Iot network working with LoRaWan. With all these trendy name, for sure they had the key elements to raise a large amount of money. That’s great for the development of this technology.

I’ve decided to write about this IoT network after an interesting talk given at the Zurich IoT meetup today (thank you CoVID-19 for making us the opportunity to reach such event, today online, bad things can get positive sometime).

Helium is a crowdsourced network. It means, like for TheThingsNetwork or Amazon Sidewalk, the infrastructure, at least the gateways part (antennas) are provided by anybody, basically you and me. That way the network deployment costs are really limited and the network have no boundaries.

Compared to TTN, Helium network is “crypto-blockchained” basically, the gateway owner are mining different challenges like registering some network change, proving the location of a gateway, cryptocurrency transactions… For this work, for maintaining the network architecture and relaying the messages, the gateway’s owner are earning HNT (Helium Network Tokens) ($2.24 each today).

Compared to TTN where you make it running for free, just because you are convinced about the sharing economy, Helium base its business model on a promise of getting some money back from your investment the gateways (+energy, communications…).

Helium is an IoT network, a LPWAN for being more precise. It relies on LoRaWan standard protocol & gateways. You need to add an Helium miner software on a backend system to make it running.

So they are looking to Uber-ize the telecom domain, at least this is what they are expecting.

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Hacking a thermometer for world health

In a previous post I’ve been presented an idea for creating a kind of satellite solution for watching over pandemic progress over the world using low cost connected thermometers. You can get the details of this idea in my blog post “What IoT can propose against Pandemic“. Basically the proposal is to add an ultra low cost IoT communication feature into a thermometer and report the information when an over heat has been detected. That way we could be able to determine the level of pandemic and its geographical progression over time. So I won’t detail all the business model and financing proposal, you will find all of this in my previous post.

The second step is now to make a prototype of a such device to show how too make it possible. For making this I’ve selected the thermometer you see on the picture above and decided to hack it and connect it to Sigfox network. This thermometer comes from Amazon and cost 14€ but is really like all low cost thermometer we can find.

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Ultra Low cost IoT, a breakthrough to innovation

Ten month ago, I was starting investigating the Ultra Low Cost Iot thanks to Sigfox given access to the experimentation they made in this area. The Ultra Low Cost IoT is defined by manufactured devices under or near the cost of $1.

Such level of price are enabling scalable deployment of devices and mass data capture, more than it has ever been able to made. And basically, it is not a question of device cost, it is a question of scalable use-cases where the higher device cost where a business model killer.

This is basically reducing the price of devices by a factor of 5x to 10x. No miracle, this is also reducing the device capabilities and concerns different use-cases than the one previously designed. In another word, Low Cost IoT is not classical IoT for a lower price, it’s a new IoT area where we find new use-cases, new business model and more generally is source of innovation.

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