Category Archives: IoT

Let’s Make Zense

Zense is not a word in any dictionary.  Yet, how could we make sense of something that is not even defined.  Why we care anyway?  If you Google the word, let’s say it is a word, surprisingly you would find the word is used, in one case, to associate the outcome of your feel after the tasting of selective food, or it is the name of a Cafe in Hong Kong, that Cafe Zense does produce a delicious menu of desserts and curated coffees.  Let’s hear our side of the story.

IoT is more noisier than ever.  We remember the upticks of RFID in early 2000, and we did jump in to enable that left jacket pane of a high-end suit to be an IoT in the garment supply chain.  The visibility of supply chain items, from the Italy fabrics, the final sewing of all pieces of a high-end suit jacket, to the final replenishment of that particular jacket to the designated retail shop that puts in the order to the warehouse just an hour ago. The passive RFID tag on each jacket pane brings item level identification, making it a unique IoT, or a visibility item, if detected (by an RFID reader).

In general, an IoT, either by itself or attached to a physical object, carries a sensor, that senses and digitalizes some ambient element of the environment, somehow transmits the data with its built-in communication capability.

We go about our daily routines, be it along the route we always take going to work, or that flight leaving daily from an airport to its destination, or the freshly picked cherries on route to a market that is 8,000 miles away.

The sensor has the ability to sense. For example, in a sensors network, a sensor called, e.g., a temperature module such as that offered for arduino1, can detect a heat index of the surrounding environment, and if the Fahrenheit metric is used, the sensor can be designed to signal a value in degrees of Fahrenheit. The known degree value could mean differently.  Just think about monitoring the storage temperature of covid-19 jab from Pfizer in the supply chain. For example, ice cream, according to one Web information resource, is best to store at  0 (zero) degrees Fahrenheit or lower, but at serving, it is ok to be around 5-10 degrees. So the temperature sensed should be converted to a some text, rather than just a numeric value, for the human to understand the implication, if the temperature is ideal at this point, etc.  Such conversion of a numeric value to a textual information will be processed off sensor site likely.  The off-site processing basically is trying to offer a peace of mind to the end-user who is receiving such sensor data.  The calmness, or such state we called ‘zense,’ can be gained with IoT technology adoption.

From IoT to zense is challenging in areas of communications technology, computing at edge or cloud or even fog as some may claim, and the proper installation of sensors and the networks. This IoT topic is likely be a few main focus in this blog.

Bookshelf – Then & Now

An article on data management appeared in IEEE Computer recently (Data Management, IEEE Computers, 2017). The author, Lomet, D.B, talks about the cost of storage, and correspondingly the capacity now available at our fingertips, and posts the question of what the ‘world of data will look like in 50 years?”

Maybe 30 years ago, the boxes of IEEE Transactions on Computers hard copy sat in a storage shed. If I had my choice, I would probably display my collection in bookshelves at home or in an office. Yes, you have to go to the University library to get to read one of the issues, and yes, there was not the website IEEE Xplore at that time. The ease of data ‘acquisition’ coupled with data push – those notifications that so many of us are tickled to get, with our mobile devices gives reason that we want terabyte of storage. How often would we go back and look at that Whatsapp message 3 years ago? (Is there a way to do that – to give a date and Whatsapp will provide you the messages of that date? in app? at some website?). Since we do not have books and magazines (how many printed magazines still survive in the digital world?) to adorn our bookcases in our study, could we have some data management tool that is designed like a book that we can shelf, but controlled by our mobile device (best yet, selectable by voice and activated by voice via Siri or Alexa), that my Whatsapp messages of that date will be played out for my guests to enjoy, laughing at what a silly conversational topic then, and how one of the messengers was on target with a silly response. Would that be nice? This could extend to each vacation trip that you took, and a playback is auto by that ‘data book’ on your shelf.

Let’s hope.

IoT – Where Are We?

“Hype Cycle?” Yes, somehow there was a “hype cycle for the Internet of Things.” . At this time, we are looking into definitions of ‘M2M’ and ‘IoT’ – likely to be a variant of that offered by ETSI. We also want to develop a common working framework for IoT, and the infrastructure to spread the IoT-based services to all participants – obviously, it is an environment where IoT data is shared and managed. The following diagram depicts the initial thinking:

The right depicts the four components of an IoT Business Framework, and the left is the infrastructure with the service concept that is cloud provisioned. The center is an example of an IoT artifact – a smart city.