Renfrewshire Council gets to grips with fuel poverty in IoT pilot

Renfrewshire Council gets to grips with fuel poverty in IoT pilot

Renfrewshire Council has seen a 600 percent return on investment from a project that uses IoT sensors to tackle health and heating problems experienced by tenants in social housing. 

A pilot project carried out by local authority Renfrewshire Council in Scotland has helped to tackled fuel poverty in social housing using IoT sensors, according to a report from Scottish Housing News.

The pilot has been underway since July 2016 and collects real-time data on temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels at 50 homes in and around Paisley. The sensors enable the council to flag up problems and take measures to alleviate them.

For example, high levels of carbon dioxide could signal that there are issues with air quality and ventilation, while low temperatures and high humidity could be an indication that a tenant is unable to adequately heat their homes and thus represents a case of fuel poverty.

The project, which saw tenants in terraced housing, high rises and cottages opt into the programme, has uncovered a number of problems with their homes, such as damp, heating systems issues and fuel poverty.

Read more: Smart thermostats gain traction in Europe and North America

Big ROI for project

The IoT network has already delivered an estimated 600 percent return on investment to the council, by preventing costs associated with property damage caused by problems going unfixed. The network was installed by a consortium of organisations, including CENSIS (the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) and technology suppliers Stream Technologies and Boston Networks. Smart asset management company iOpt Assets is collecting and managing the data.

David Amos, head of policy and commissioning at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The health of our tenants is of paramount concern. iOpt Assets’ easy to install technology gives us the ability to spot problems they have with energy or any issues with their housing that might affect their health. It will also help us take preventative action, where necessary, to protect, manage, or even improve our homes – from damp and moisture detection, to issues with air quality.

“The council is working with partners to create an environment in Renfrewshire that supports the testing and deployment of innovative Internet of Things technology and we were delighted to have facilitated this successful test with iOpt Assets.”

By the end of the year, IOpt Assets hope to roll out the IoT network to 2000 homes around Scotland.

Read more: WinterSense aims to tackle weather-related travel delays

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Ralph Lauren deploys wearable tech for Team USA’s Winter Olympics uniform

Ralph Lauren deploys wearable tech for Team USA's Winter Olympics uniform

Fashion giant Ralph Lauren and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have unveiled athlete uniforms for the opening and closing ceremonies at this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The jacket includes adaptable heat technology that can be controlled using a smartphone app. 

Even as temperatures in PyeongChang plunge to an expected 15 degrees Fahrenheit next month, Team USA’s athletes will manage to stay warm and look good while doing so.

The team’s opening and closing ceremony uniforms have been put together by Ralph Lauren to harness wearable technology, all while paying homage to some of American fashion’s most iconic symbols.

Beyond the jeans, mountain boots and brown suede gloves is a parka that contains in its lining heat-conducting ink, meaning it can warm up, on demand, just like an electric blanket.

Read more: British Athletics deploys digital pacemakers for Rio Olympics

Conductive inks to keep athletes warm

“Ralph Lauren is excited by the convergence of fashion and function, and we are committed to supporting Team USA athletes by outfitting them with the latest innovative technology. We’re proud that we’ve worked so closely with the athletes, as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee, to keep evolving and improving,” said David Lauren, chief innovation officer at Ralph Lauren.

“The uniform celebrates the American spirit, with iconic pieces updated with modern details and technical fabrications.”

Ralph Lauren deploys wearable tech for Team USA's Winter Olympics uniform
(Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Because the temperature conditions on the ground could change by the hour and athletes will be moving between indoor and outdoor environments during both ceremonies, the Ralph Lauren design team needed to avoid a temperature-specific jacket.

Instead, the heating system is made from electronic printed conductive inks – handily made into the shape of the American flag – that are sewn into the interior of the jackets. These conductive inks are flexible, stretchable and connect to a power pack with three thermal settings.

Each jacket offers 11 hours of heating time at full charge. Athletes can adjust the heat setting through an accompanying smartphone app.

Read more: US government to fund research into smart clothing for emergency staff

Ralph Lauren looks to technology once again

Despite being a fashion brand associated with the importance of tradition, this isn’t the first time Ralph Lauren has used technology to take its sports clothing to the next level.

In the past, the company has unveiled solar-powered backpacks and base layers with biometric tracking for ball boys and girls at the US Open. For the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Ralph Lauren upped Michael Phelp’s blazer game with illuminated panels spelling out ‘USA’.

This won’t be the last time that, as USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird says, “Ralph Lauren effortlessly weaves style and functionality into the opening ceremony uniform.” After all, one team’s fashion is another’s marginal gains.

Read more: IoT gets tops scores from sports teams worldwide

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Executives lack confidence when it comes to Industry 4.0, says Deloitte

Executives lack confidence when it comes to Industry 4.0, says Deloitte

Recruitment and training at every level in the corporate hierarchy may need a rethink, if companies are to reap the full benefits of industrial IoT, says a new report from Deloitte. 

Senior business executives are optimistic about the potential offered by Industry 4.0, but lack confidence when it comes to investing in the industrial IoT. 

That’s according to a new report from Deloitte, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Here – Are You Ready? Released to coincide with the World Economic Forum this week in Davos, Switzerland, this explores the business world’s readiness to  harness the opportunities offered by the Industry 4.0 trend that sees machines increasingly become connected and able to report on their status and performance, as well as the environment around them.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, it is set to define the business world over the next few years, as technologies such as sensors, analytics, AI, cognitive computing are increasingly applied to industrial processes. 

Deloitte Global, part of the management consultancy firm, surveyed 1,600 C-level executives from 19 countries for its report, quizzing them on their ability to leverage these technologies. 

Read more: Survey shows IIoT has “crossed the chasm”, claims Zebra

Lack of confidence

Almost nine out of ten respondents (87 percent) said that they expect Industry 4.0 to create social and economic equality and stability for their companies. But regardless of this, many firms feel that they’re not ready to harness these changes. Only one in three said they’re highly confident about stewarding their organisations in the connected world and just 14 percent said they were ready to implement Industry 4.0 technologies. Because of these attitudes, says Deloitte, businesses and executives risk falling behind.

At the same time, executives don’t feel that their organizations have the right talent to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution, either – but they’re trying their best to build more suitable teams. Again, more than four out five respondents (86 percent) said they’re working to hire people with the right skillsets for technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT. 

And companies that are already focused on Industry 4.0 are exploring roles that allow staff to leverage “greater innovation, alternative work environments and new approaches to learning and development”.

Overall, key decision-makers are aware that they must invest in technology to succeed in an increasingly connected world. But many of them are struggling to make a business case due to a lack of comprehensive strategies.

Read more: IIoT adoption increases, but projects still early-stage, says Bsquare

A unique opportunity

Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, has claimed that the fourth industrial revolution will have huge impact on the world as a whole, and not just the workplace. “The rapidly advancing technologies driving Industry 4.0 are bringing about social and economic change rapidly in an environment of unparalleled global connectivity and demographic change,” he said. 

“It’s a time of great opportunity, but also risk. We developed this research to better understand how executives are navigating the pervasive shift and to uncover areas where they can more effectively influence how the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacts their organisations and society.”


Our Internet of Manufacturing event is coming to Munich on 6-8 February 2018. Attendees will get the chance to learn more about how connected technologies open up new paths to increased productivity and profitability for industrial companies. 

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TeamViewer launches dedicated user interface for the IoT

TeamViewer launches dedicated user interface for the IoT

Remote monitoring specialist TeamViewer is aiming to provide a GUI for the IoT generation, giving insight into how smart devices are functioning.

Online support and collaboration software company TeamViewer has released a new dedicated IoT solution to combine remote access, machine and monitoring capabilities.

IoT remote management software is a key enabling technology for the devices that we seek to bring online in smart cities, industrial civil engineering deployments and inside our connected homes.

As these software tools and platforms proliferate, TeamViewer’s differentiator may be its ability to access and control IoT devices from anywhere in the world.

Read more: TeamViewer: IoT project teams need to ‘think like CEOs’

A GUI for the IoT generation

In many ways, TeamViewer is aiming to provide a graphical user interface (GUI) for the IoT generation. The company argues that, although many smart entities are being developed with new advances looking to connected devices without the use of a screen (voice recognition, gesture control and so on), we still need to be realistic.

“These [new user interface paradigms] will take some time and not all industries will know how that will work for their business straight away. Graphical user interfaces are therefore still being used and are likely to be used for some time,” said the firm, in a media advisory.

TeamViewer IoT comes with support for Raspbian, an open source operating system born on the Raspberry Pi single-board computer well-suited to small modular device deployments. Alongside Raspbian, TeamViewer IoT can port to other Linux distributions.

Read more: Here to stay: Why the ‘plan, build, run’ model is still relevant to IoT

Aimed at the channel

To be clear on this product’s positioning, TeamViewer IoT is aimed at value added resellers (VARs), system integrators (SIs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology enthusiasts.

It is built with end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication and what TeamViewer cheekily calls its ‘Easy Access’ function – basically a route to connecting related devices within the same physical or virtual network, so that devices can share data without the need to provide an additional layer of credentials.

“With a TeamViewer account, users can quickly set up the web-based dashboard and install the software on a Raspberry Pi. Furthermore, TeamViewer provides an SDK plus an MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) API so users can collect the data they need and include it in their dashboard,” explained Raffi M. Kassarjian, the company’s general manager for emerging products.

Read more: ISO formalises MQTT foundational IoT standard

Wiggle your widgets, if you want

Kassarjian elaborates, saying that the dashboard is flexible enough to provide users with the possibility to tailor their widgets according to their needs. It also provides a means to trigger an alert when a critical metrics threshold is crossed.

Users can integrate the data – by means of a Cloud REST (Representational State Transfer) API – in a different system if they need to do so.

The technology should deliver business benefits in a variety of industries and use cases, according to Kassarjian. “In industrial settings, TeamViewer IoT allows production managers and equipment suppliers to increase machine productivity, monitor operational efficiency and carry out preventive maintenance from anywhere in the world. Additionally, building owners and operators can use [it] in conjunction with smart building technologies to monitor and optimise energy usage, space usage and long-term capacity planning,” he says.

IoT platforms are, obviously, proliferating and developing at an exponential space, so TeamViewer’s claims that it has ‘key differentiators’, unique positioning or has achieved an industry first are somewhat dubious.

But as we’ve said before on Internet of Business in relation to TeamViewer, technical teams working on IoT projects need to elevate their device deployments in the total IT stack and and look at the bigger operational opportunities that the IoT can bring. Giving users a more familiar GUI-feel connection point to these devices could well be a first step on that road.

Read more: Barriers to IoT adoption: Removing inhibitors may create new opportunities

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TomTom gears up for autonomous future with AutoStream, MotionQ

TomTom reveals AutoStream for autonomous driving

Two new products from TomTom look forward to a future when autonomous tech is very much in the driver’s seat. 

TomTom, the Dutch traffic, navigation and mapping specialist, has launched two new technologies for autonomous driving: AutoStream and MotionQ.

TomTom AutoStream is a map delivery service that aims to enable vehicles to build up a picture of the road ahead, by streaming the latest map data from the TomTom cloud.  The concept has been launched with two initial partners: Chinese multinational technology company Baidu and Zenuity, a joint venture between Volvo Cars and Autoliv that focuses on autonomous driving.

Customers can configure AutoStream’s map data based on criteria such as sensor configuration and horizon length, according to TomTom. It can also stream different types of map data including ADAS attributes such as gradient and curvature and the TomTom HD map with RoadDNA.

Meanwhile, MotionQ is a predictive driving concept that aims to “ensure the comfort of passengers in self-driving transport”.  The technology was shown in the new Rinspeed Snap, a robo-taxi prototype vehicle on display at CES.

Read more: Autonomous driving will create $ 7 trillion “passenger economy”, says Intel

Teaming up with Qualcomm

TomTom has also announced a partnership with semiconductor and telecoms equipment provider Qualcomm. The two companies are working together to update location-based technology for autonomous driving. They are combining TomTom HD Map, with camera technologies and GPS data from Qualcomm’s Drive Data Platform. They say this will make the localisation technologies for connected car applications and autonomous vehicles more accurate.

“Whether you talk about smart mobility, connected cars or autonomous driving, the minimum common denominator is navigation technologies. The future of mobility relies on a mix of high-definition maps, real-time maps, advanced navigation software, and live data from vehicle sensors,” said Harold Goddijn, CEO, TomTom.

“That’s why this year we’ve made key introductions to drive this future, with the launch of TomTom AutoStream, TomTom MotionQ, and important partnerships with the likes of Baidu and Zenuity,” he added.

TomTom, which is well-known for its consumer navigation products, has a number of enterprise products in its portfolio too including cloud-based fleet management technology.

In October, fleet management company LeasePlan said it would offer TomTom’s fleet management technology to its corporate customers in a bid to improve performance by providing real-time data on key fleet metrics.

Read more: RealVNC: Navigating the future of smart vehicles

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