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CES 2020: Smart Tech Everywhere

Illustration: © IoT For All

CES 2020 kicked off the new decade with a bang! Foldable screens, autonomous vehicles, smart home tech and robots ruled the roost this year. IoT For All logged over 20 miles in less than 3 days and was amazed at how connected technology is penetrating every niche of the consumer and enterprise markets. With the promise of low-cost edge devices and pervasive 5G just around the corner, we predict that businesses that fail to connect their products, people and services will be disrupted faster than they can fathom.

Micron

IoT For All had a wide-ranging and illuminating conversation with Raj Talluri, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Business Unit at Micron Technology. Raj is a veteran of the tech space and previously held leadership positions at Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

Micron’s $20+ billion-dollar business focuses on memory and storage solutions and is headquartered in Boise Idaho. Raj manages one of four internal business units specializing in memory (DRAM and Flash) for mobile and edge devices. From his perspective, IoT has already arrived, with scale evident in the consumer space, and he believes that eventually everything will be connected as costs come down and frictionless connectivity is pervasive. Micron is already benefitting from the race to 5G with memory demands for mobile devices at an all-time high. Newer trends like context-aware computing, personalization and foldable displays should continue to boost Micron’s leading position in the smartphone market since there is a high demand for edge memory and storage.

EnOcean

EnOcean offers patented energy harvesting technology that can be used in building automation, smart home and IoT applications. Andreas Schneider, CEO and Co-founder, demonstrated how their self-powered modules and controls harvest and manage the smallest amount of kinetic energy from their environment and transmit state information over Bluetooth, Zigbee or EnOcean’s proprietary ultra-low-power wireless standard. The removal of batteries in certain applications greatly reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the operational burden of large-scale deployments since batteries don’t need to be monitored or replaced. EnOcean tech has been embedded into many popular products and Andreas is bullish that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

TomTom

TomTom is a Dutch multinational company dedicated to the creation of location technology and data assets to enable autonomous driving and improved traffic awareness. They predominantly sell to automotive OEMs who embed their location technology into displays and car navigation systems. Their location data comes from a variety of sources including fleet management partnerships, legacy navigation devices and smartphone apps. They manage and deploy a fleet of high-tech vehicles that travel around major highways and ingest large amounts of high definition road data such as signs, shoulders, lane widths, road grades and surroundings. Currently, TomTom has mapped approximately 40% of the major highways and plans to move to larger at-grade intersections and side streets soon. They make their data available to third-parties via an API service that is sold on a consumption basis.

STRATIS

IoT For All met with STRATIS CEO Felicite Moorman on the show floor to learn more about their IoT platform aimed specifically at the multi-family dwelling (MFD) market. Apartments, student housing and condos have unique requirements from a connectivity and monitoring standpoint and STRATIS’ platform addresses those challenges. To date, they have deployed their technology to approximately 325,000 units in both the US and Japan and have over 70 employees worldwide. STRATIS works with major smart home device vendors such as Nest and pre-integrates them to enable a plug-and-play experience for landlords and tenants.

Geoflex

Geoflex is bringing hyper-precise positional data (2-3 cm resolution) anywhere in the world using a network of base stations, sophisticated algorithms and existing GNSS/GPS infrastructure. Cyrille Michaud, Geoflex’s Commercial Director, said that the French company has been perfecting its technology for nearly five years and is starting to roll out commercially for applications in precision farming, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Through their SDK and API, customers can augment the typical GNSS/GPS location accuracy of 5-10 meters and increase precision by an order of magnitude or more.

Taoglas

Based in Ireland, Taoglas is an established leader in antenna design and offers a comprehensive array of internal and external antennas for various applications in numerous frequency bands. Since IoT For All last visited them, Taoglas acquired Firmwave to move up the stack into providing fully integrated, end-to-end solutions. One such solution is Horsepal, offered by Horseware Ireland, which provides detailed location, activity, temperature and humidity through a unique battery-powered device that straddles the horse and connects to a downloadable app.

Taoglas recently announced an ultra-low-power, real-time kinematic (RTK) edge module to provide centimeter-level accuracy through complex GNSS/GPS/GLONASS satellite correctional techniques. This module, called EDGE Locate, is available as a standalone unit or can be bundled into a multi-function developer board for research and development. 

Silent Beacon

Silent Beacon offers a wireless panic button that can be worn as a pendant or slipped into your pocket or purse. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can instantly call 911 or send your GPS position to multiple contacts you configure in their companion app.

Kenny Kelley, Founder and President, said that their device is equipped with a speaker and a noise cancellation microphone for hands-free communication during an emergency. Unlike other panic button services that charge a monthly monitoring/connectivity fee, Silent Beacon uses your existing smartphone’s cellular connection so there are no monthly fees. The device can be purchased for $99 US on Amazon or WalMart and the company does offer an optional 24/7 call center for additional peace of mind.

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