IoT opportunities in Smart City applications at Embedded World 2016

Only a few hours to go till we unpack our ARM mbed Internet of Things (IoT) demos at Embedded World (EW) on the ARM booth in Hall 5 stand 338. What is really impressive this year is that visitors at the show will see the diversity of solutions now offered by the mbed Partnership. At the ARM booth itself, our focus is showing how connected networks of sensor nodes can make construction environments and tools smarter. When one thinks of IoT, construction isn’t the foremost runner in terms of the industry that can be revolutionized through connectivity. Contrary to this initial notion, connected sensing in physical environments can allow multiple ways in which efficiencies can be derived, across vast areas, where connectivity to the internet is a challenge and could represent a risk prone environment for those working in it. In many ways, construction environments are a good sampling of the challenges in Smart City IoT.

Read on to find out more about these demos and what else we will be on display at the ARM booth at EW.

mbed based LoRa Building Safety is a demo we assembled with our partners at IBM and MultiTech to show how IoT can be used to improve safety in harsh environments.  This demo consists of a hard hat fitted with an accelerometer and LoRa radio connected to a MultiTech conduit, feeding data in to IBM Bluemix for analysis and visualisation. If the hard hat experiences a knock above a specified threshold it raises an alarm for other construction workers to help their colleague.  LoRa was chosen for this environment due to its long range indoor and outdoor capabilities while only requiring a small battery.  Other sensor options are available depending on the environment conditions, such as temperature, noise, air quality or chemical exposure can be appropriate for different use cases.


The sensor employed for this is the Seeed Studios 3 Axis digital accelerometer with I2C Grove connector.  It’s connected to the FCC certified Multitech mDot LoRa module which connects to the Multitech Conduit gateway running Linux-Yocto and Node.RED.  Data is then sent to the cloud using the MQTT protocol then analyzed and presented using IBM’s Bluemix.


mbed Enabled Smart Construction is a demo of a commercially available product being deployed that was based on our smart city reference design.  The team at Converge took the mbed Smart City reference design featuring 6LoWPAN, to develop a product that is able to inform construction companies when concrete is strong enough to enable further construction. Concrete monitoring is a cost intensive, manual task which impedes work on a site for days and tends to be tremendously inaccurate and only done by analogous sampling and slump tests. By using IoT for this task it reduces the continuous task of manual measurements by the workforce while also reducing overall project cost.  This solution is now built in to various large construction sites across London by Laing O'Rourke, UK’s top concrete manufacturer.

How does it work?  The K64F running mbed OS reads a temperature sensor at the end of a long wire which can be lowered deep in to a concrete cylinder. Data is then sent over 6LoWPAN from the Atmel radio shield to a gateway located somewhere onsite which contains the other part of our reference design – the Atmel 6LoWPAN Gateway.  Data then continues its journey to the mbed Device connector over IPv6 Ethernet CoAP where the nodes can be remotely managed.  Using a REST API the Converge Webapp registers for updates and processes the temperature data ready for display and alerts to be sent to the construction team when the concrete is mature enough.

mbed will also be shown in other parts of the booth, for example the IoT Subsystem for ARM Cortex-M processors is a demo showing mbed OS running on the new ARM test chip consisting of a Cortex®-M3 and Cordio® radio IP.  This demo shows the TRNG sending random numbers over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to a nearby smartphone.  Full details and photos are available on the blog here.

Many more demos will be shown by our mbed ecosystem partners across the show floor.  Why not take a walk over to…

· Silicon Labs (booth 4A-128) who will be showing off the Thunderboard Wear development board derived from our mbed Wearable Reference Design.

· ST Microelectronics (booth 4A-138) will have many mbed demos on show including a Bluetooth beacon scanner built from a Nucleo-F401 development board and BLUNRG BT-LE shield and demonstrations of secure microcontrollers supported by mbed .

· u-blox (booth 5-158) will be happy to give a demo of their ODIN-W2 module that includes WiFi and Bluetooth and the new Bluetooth Low Energy NINA-B1.

· OnSemi (booth 5-178) will be demonstrating mbed OS and the 6LoWPAN networking protocol stack running on NCS36510, a low-power system-on-chip with 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4-2006 hardware accelerated MAC and transceiver.

When it comes to the end of the day and you are struggling to find a taxi why not meet the team at Semtech (booth 2-631) who have fitted the city’s taxis with LoRa radios and also giving away demo kits for you to get involved.  

Don’t forget to check out the embedded wall on the ARM booth which is rather impressive with over 70 different ARM based development boards on display. While there are more than 70+ boards in the ARM ecosystem that we would have liked to showcase, it’s all we had space for.  If you know of any other ARM based boards we have missed off the list get in touch and enter our daily competition to win a selection of development kit here.

See you at the show.

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