5 Things to Look for in An IoT Network Management Solution

IoT Network Management

BehrTech Blog

5 Things to Look for in an IoT Network Management Solution


In a previous blog post, we have explored why network and device management is the linchpin of an IoT system. By streamlining device provisioning and authentication, network monitoring and diagnostics, alongside software maintenance and updates, it enables businesses to successfully manage the complexity of large-scale IoT networks.

Having said that, not all network and device management offerings are created equal. While sharing similar key functions as mentioned above, different solutions can significantly vary in terms of user experience and the flexibility to adapt to specific network requirements. Amidst the growing fragmentation of the IoT ecosystem, integrability and interoperability will be at the forefront of a future-proof solution. This week, we walk through five important considerations when looking into a network and device management option.

[bctt tweet=”Not all IoT network management solutions are created equal. Here are 5 key considerations you should know.”]
IoT network management

1. Modular, Platform-Independent Design

Even with the proliferation of SaaS and cloud-based services over recent years, businesses have come to realize that the cloud isn’t ideal for every IoT scenario. When latency, data privacy and compliance prevail, many would incline towards an on-prem deployment where data processing takes place locally within the company’s firewall. In many cases, a hybrid approach where workloads are divided between on-prem servers and public clouds is deemed optimal.

A versatile network and device management solution should cater to whichever deployment option you might end up with. Being platform-independent means that it can leverage the most modern infrastructure while allowing for easy migration from one computing environment to another. In parallel, a modular design where functionalities are loosely coupled provides the flexibility to deploy different software services on- or off-premises, independently from one another. With this, you can take advantage of a hybrid architecture to maximize your data potential.

You might also like: IoT Architecture – 3 Reasons Why Microservices Matter

2. Cross-Vendor Device Compatibility

Today’s exploding number of hardware vendors has turned the smart device ecosystem into a highly complex landscape. For an IoT system to generate the most value, cross-vendor devices are required to effectively address multiple business challenges and use cases. For example, a smart building system may include occupancy sensors, environmental sensors and leak detectors, each of which is procured from a separate vendor. As the IoT landscape quickly evolves, seamless and straightforward integration of new cutting-edge devices is another prerequisite to sustain the viability and innovativeness of your connected system.

A solid network management solution is device-agnostic and offers a simple way to incorporate cross-vendor hardware models and data structures into the IoT workflow. Within a few simple steps, you can define the sensor model, payload type(s) and the unit(s) of measurements. This way, incoming data from diverse devices can be easily consumed and displayed in a user-friendly manner.

3. Open Architecture with Powerful Integration Tools

In unlocking business intelligence for enhanced decision-making, IoT data must be ingested into the enterprise systems and applications that are best-suited to derive its implications and suggest and automate the corresponding course of action. Each business has its own tailored applications and over time these applications will also evolve to meet changing needs.

An open architecture with modern interfaces allows data to be easily transported from end devices to any existing and future applications. While most device and network management software offer some sort of integration capabilities, the difference lies in their readiness, ease of use, and functionality. For example, REST APIs are a powerful and scalable tool for on-demand data requests, but you’ll need other API frameworks and protocols like gRPC or MQTT to enable real-time data streaming. A powerful solution delivers a rich set of APIs that can cater to every need, as well as robust native cloud connectors for minimal complications when integrating into leading hyperscale clouds.

4. Built-in Security

Security must be thought out and embedded in every component in your IoT workflow. When it comes to device and network management, a top requirement is having all data traffic encrypted with industry-standard security protocols – be it from the base stations to the management server or from the management server to end applications. Typically, Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a proven choice for secure data communications between applications, servers and across the Internet. Equally important is making sure that robust API authentication mechanisms are supported, so connection attempts and data requests are only permitted for authorized client servers.

5. Intuitive, Customizable Management Portal/ UI

Even if REST API is available for integration and management from the user’s preferred interface, the network management solution should come with a clean, consistent and intuitive UI on its own. All functionalities like device management, data monitoring, network status information, and backend integration should be readily accessible and easy to navigate across the UI. Likewise, incoming messages should be updated in real-time and there needs to be an option for message filtering and data export. The most user-friendly solutions also make it easy to customize and white label the UI to the user’s branding as needed.

When bundled with a connectivity offering, a network and device management solution provides everything you need to get the network up and running, so you can focus on deriving your IoT data value and shorten time-to-market. The criteria discussed above are fundamental to validate the readiness and long-term viability of your chosen solution.


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Simplify IoT Network and Device Management with MYTHINGS Central

IoT Architecture: 3 Reasons Why Microservices Matter

BehrTech Blog

IoT Architecture: 3 Reasons Why Microservices Matter


In the software development world, microservices, also known as microservice architecture, are a rising star. And, there’s a good reason for this: They provide a lightweight, flexible and scalable approach to building and running applications. As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to gain a foothold, the manifold benefits of a microservice architecture are key for large-scale, complex IoT systems. In this blog, we explore microservices and why they are so important in an IoT architecture.

[bctt tweet=”As IoT continues to gain a foothold, the manifold benefits of a microservice architecture are key for large-scale, complex IoT systems.”]

Microservices – A Best Practice for Agile Software Development

Microservices refers to a distributed architectural approach where a software application is made of a set of modular, loosely coupled and independently deployable components, or services. Each service has its own set of code; provides a unique function; and communicates with other services over open protocols and interfaces. By minimizing the interdependence among different components, each piece of code can be changed and updated separately without touching the others. This greatly accelerates software development time while making it easy to maintain, upgrade, and scale an application.

Well-designed microservices use industry-standard containers like Docker to encapsulate discrete services within individual containers. Containers deliver an extra degree of protection and agility by isolating individual software services from one another and from the host environment. Containerized microservices are infrastructure-agnostic, meaning they can be deployed and run uniformly in any computing environment – be it a computer, an on-premises server, or a cloud. Plus, different from virtual machines that require a dedicated operating system each, containers can share the host’s OS kernel instead of running one on their own. As such, they are exceptionally lightweight, which reduces the overall IT resource requirement and management overhead.

How IoT Adopters Can Benefit from Microservice-Based Solutions

Containerized microservices have been widely popular among software developers for some time, but their benefits are just as attractive to IoT project leaders and decision makers. The intricate and fast-evolving IoT architecture requires seamless interaction among heterogeneous devices, protocols and applications, as well as the ability to easily migrate from one computing environment to another. At the same time, continuous upgrade, integration, and maintenance are vital to ensure relevant, secure and up-to-par operations of IoT applications. Software and platform services that make use of a microservice architecture can help to do just that. Below are three benefits of microservice-based solutions for IoT adopters when building connected systems and applications.

MYTHINGS Central Microservices
An Example of the MYTHINGS Central Microservices

1. Flexible and Agile Deployment

Microservice-based software – whether for IoT network and device management or application enablement – provides maximum flexibility and control over deployments. As software services come loosely coupled, users can decide to employ only the functionality they need while deactivating the rest to save computing resources, reactivating any single services when the need emerges, is just as simple.

2. Resource-Efficiency and Portability

Containerized services are lightweight and can be scaled on a standalone basis depending on data workload, allowing for more efficient use of the computing resources. On top of that, services can be deployed on or off-premises, independently from each other, to better cater to organizational needs and optimize system operations. For example, services requiring significant computing resources can be moved to the cloud, while mission-critical services that demand faster response time can be deployed locally for enhanced security and reduced latency.

3. Resilient Operations and Easy Updates

Loose coupling and containerization practices further help to mitigate risk in running IoT applications. As services function separately from each other, the failure of a single service won’t disrupt the entire system, making its operation highly resilient and secure. Each service can also have its own release cycle for easy maintenance and fast updates without requiring a system shutdown. Likewise, new services can be swiftly introduced without the need to re-architect the whole system.

Microservices have helped to reinvent software development. Now, they are doing the same thing in the IoT space. The modular and loosely coupled nature of microservices brings lighter, and more distributable IoT software that is easier to migrate across different computing environments – from data centers and the cloud to more resource-constrained infrastructure like an edge gateway. Concurrently, they provide with highly resilient and scalable applications, allowing businesses to stay nimble as requirements continue to change.


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[vcv_posts_grid source=”%7B%22tag%22%3A%22postsGridDataSourcePost%22%2C%22value%22%3A%22post_type%3Dpost%26amp%3Bpost_status%3Dpublish%26amp%3Bposts_per_page%3D5%22%7D” unique_id=”9543551b” pagination=”0″ pagination_color=”#ffce00″ pagination_per_page=”10″]PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3RzLWdyaWQtaXRlbSI%2BPGFydGljbGUgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0cy1ncmlkLWl0ZW0taW5uZXJ7e2N1c3RvbV9mZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV9oYXNpbWFnZV9jbGFzc19uZXdzX3Bvc3RfZ3JpZF9pdGVtfX0iPjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZS1jb2xvci1iLTMzLTMzLTMzIHZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1leGNlcnB0LWNvbG9yLWItMzMtMzMtMzMgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWF1dGhvci1jb2xvci1mZmNlMDAgdmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEtY29sb3ItYi0zMy0zMy0zMyI%2BPGRpdiBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLWltYWdlIiBzdHlsZT0iYmFja2dyb3VuZC1pbWFnZTp1cmwoe3tmZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZV91cmx9fSkiPjxhIGhyZWY9Int7cG9zdF9wZXJtYWxpbmt9fSI%2BPC9hPjwvZGl2PjxkaXYgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1jb250ZW50Ij48cCBjbGFzcz0idmNlLXBvc3QtZGVzY3JpcHRpb24tLW1ldGEiPjxzcGFuPlBvc3RlZCA8L3NwYW4%2BPHNwYW4gY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS1tZXRhLWRhdGUiPm9uIDx0aW1lIGRhdGV0aW1lPSJ7e3Bvc3RfZGF0ZV9nbXR9fSI%2Be3twb3N0X2RhdGV9fSA8L3RpbWU%2BPC9zcGFuPjwvcD48aDMgY2xhc3M9InZjZS1wb3N0LWRlc2NyaXB0aW9uLS10aXRsZSI%2BPGEgaHJlZj0ie3twb3N0X3Blcm1hbGlua319Ij57e3Bvc3RfdGl0bGV9fTwvYT48L2gzPnt7c2ltcGxlX3Bvc3RfZGVzY3JpcHRpb25fZXhjZXJwdH19PC9kaXY%2BPC9kaXY%2BPC9hcnRpY2xlPjwvZGl2Pg%3D%3D[/vcv_posts_grid]

Discover MYTHINGS Central Microservice Architecture

Manage Massive-Scale IoT Networks with MYTHINGS Central

LPWA Network Management - MYTHINGS Central

BehrTech Blog

Manage Massive-Scale IoT Networks with MYTHINGS Central


MYTHINGS Central provides an all-in-one network management solution for MIOTY low power wide area networks.

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are changing the wireless game with signature features such as broad range, ultra-low power consumption, and low device and operating costs that cater to large-scale IoT deployments. One single LPWA network can support hundreds, if not thousands of sensor nodes – depending on the specific radio technology.

With such a huge network size, a key element to consider when looking to adopt any LPWAN solution is effective network and device management. A highly scalable, future-proof architecture requires a tool that makes it easy to provision large numbers of nodes, view all messages from a single interface, and seamlessly transfer your data to other IoT platforms and enterprise systems.

In this blog, we take a deep dive into MYTHINGS Central, a dedicated software service from BehrTech for streamlined deployment and management of LPWAN architecture using the MIOTY™ (TS-UNB™) technology. Included in all MYTHINGS offerings, MYTHINGS Central provides an all-in-one solution for device on and off-boarding, cloud/backend integration, data monitoring, and network troubleshooting.

You can access MYTHINGS Central using our out-of-the-box web-based user interface (UI) or via a RESTful API. In this blog, we focus on network management using the web interface. For more information on how to use the API, please contact us at support@behrtech.com.

[bctt tweet=”MYTHINGS Central provides an all-in-one network management tool for massive-scale MIOTY LPWA networks.”]

MYTHINGS Overview Page

When you log into MYTHINGS Central, the Overview page presents an overall view of your MYTHINGS network including managed Base Stations, the number of connected sensor nodes, and existing MQTT connections. Managed Base Stations send updates to MYTHINGS Central regularly, so you’ll always stay up to date with your MYTHINGS network.

MYTHINGS Central Overview Page

Powerful Device Management

Onboarding nodes is easy in MYTHINGS Central. Every MYTHINGS-enabled sensor node includes a unique 32-bit node ID for identification and authentication purposes, and a 128-bit network session key which ensures that messages from MYTHINGS sensor nodes are encrypted during transmission.

You can add nodes in MYTHINGS Central UI in a number of ways. Many MYTHINGS-enabled nodes include a Quick Response Code (QR) tag. You can use a QR reader to read the node information. Alternatively, you can scan a QR image directly into MYTHINGS Central by pointing the QR code into your device’s camera.

Being able to quickly identify a sensor node is important and in MYTHINGS Central, you can assign a descriptive name, location, and information fields to your sensor node.

MYTHINGS Central - Add New Node
Adding a new node in MYTHINGS Central

User-Friendly Messages

You can view messages containing telemetry and radio information such as signal strength from connected MYTHINGS nodes as they are received by the Base Station. This is very useful for troubleshooting. You can also filter messages by node and export message data from a single node or all nodes to a csv file for further analysis.

MYTHINGS Central - Messages Page
Monitoring incoming data

Flexible Node Type Configuration for Vendor-Agnostic Sensor Support

The number and types of sensors in the IoT world are almost endless, reporting everything from temperature and humidity to sound and movement. Even within each group of similar sensors, data requirements can vary widely. Take temperature sensors as an example. One use case might require regular updates of the room temperature with 1 to 2-degree deviation tolerance, whereas another might require greater preciseness, requiring values to the fifth decimal. Also, you need to consider whether the temperature needs to be reported in Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin.

To keep up with the vast assortment of IoT sensors, MYTHINGS Central includes a unique Data Description Structure that enables you to flexibly define your own sensors. Simply specify some meta data including model, ID, and telemetry data of the node in a JSON file and upload it to the MYTHINGS Central. Once defined, the Base Station will be able to recognize the node’s type, interpret its payload and in turn, display the data in a user-friendly manner in the UI.

MYTHINGS Central Data Description Structure

Easy Integration with External Systems

MYTHINGS Central was designed with the expectation that you want to forward data to external analytics platforms whether in the cloud or on-premises. Integration with cloud-based applications is fast and straightforward using our built-in cloud connectors and support for IoT messaging protocols like MQTT. Our fully developed REST API also allows users to access and execute MYTHINGS Central functions on their own system and interface.

Microsoft Azure cloud integration is embedded in our software architecture. When a new node is added in MYTHINGS Central, a native Azure function automates the creation of the IoT device in the Azure IoT hub, thus avoiding the need to create the device a second time in Azure. An Azure mapping, representing a virtual connection between a MYTHINGS sensor and a corresponding IoT device in Azure – is easy to set up in MYTHINGS Central.

Robust Plugin System for Enhanced Integration

MYTHINGS Central further includes a plugin system that extends system functionality and enables data streaming not available with our RESTful API.

The plugins have their own release cycles to simplify maintenance and updates and can be deployed in any computing environment. Unneeded plugins can also be easily deactivated to save computing resources. In addition to being able to use the built-in plugins, developers can create new plugins. To create a new plugin for MYTHINGS Central, contact support@behrtech.com.

MYTHINGS Central Plugin Architecture

AWS Bridge Plugin

MYTHINGS Central supports connectivity with AWS IoT Core through our aws bridge plugin. After mapping nodes in MYTHINGS Central, node messages received by the Base Station are forwarded to the IoT Core in the AWS cloud, where the data can be analyzed and visualized using a back-end application. Communication between the plugin and AWS IoT is secured using the X.509 Public key infrastructure and X.509 digital certificates to associate a public key with an identity in the certificate.

Cumulocity Plugin

Using the Cumulocity Plugin, MYTHINGS Central provides integration with Cumulocity IoT for visibility and control over your IoT assets in Cumulocity. After mapping nodes in MYTHINGS Central, when the Base Station receives messages from a node, the data is forwarded to the Cumulocity IoT cloud, where it can be analyzed and visualized.

Ericsson IoT Accelerator Plugin

MYTHINGS Central provides the Ericsson IoT Accelerator plugin upon request to help users easily deploy a highly functional and scalable LPWAN – 5G hybrid architecture. Ericsson IoT Accelerator is a global IoT platform built to connect and manage cellular devices from various telecom network services worldwide. With the plugin, you can relay MYTHINGS data to the Ericsson backend to seamlessly manage all devices and data across both LPWAN and cellular networks via a unified platform/UI.

Multi Base Station Support for Improved Network Range

Although a single Base Station can receive messages from thousands of sensor nodes, an extended LPWAN network might include managing several Base Stations. In MYTHINGS Central you can assign Name, Information, and Location fields to each Base Station to easily identify Base Stations that you are managing.

By default, each Base Station communicates with its local instance of MYTHINGS Central. You can, however, manage multiple Base Stations from a single MYTHINGS Central instance to extend the coverage of your MYTHINGS network. For example, you could manage two Base Stations located 5 kilometers apart from each other from a single instance of MYTHINGS Central. After you have configured MYTHINGS Central to manage multiple Base Stations, each time you add or delete a node from MYTHINGS Central, the changes are sent to all connected Base Stations.

MYTHINGS Central - Multi-base station management
Multi Base Station Management

To sum up, network and device management is a crucial part of any IoT deployment. MYTHINGS Central includes flexible and powerful features to help you quickly set up and administer your end-to-end IoT architecture – accelerating time-to-market of your IoT project. As it comes included in all MYTHINGS offerings, you can avoid the hassle and costs of procuring a third-party network management service. If you’re interested in learning more about the MYTHINGS architecture, check out some of our other blogs including MQTT and why you should use it in your IoT Architecture.


Simplify IoT Network and Device Management with MYTHINGS Central

Unleash Business Insights & Opportunities with IoT Data Analytics (Interview with Losant)

IoT data analytics

BehrTech Blog

Unleash Business Insights & Opportunities with IoT Data Analytics

An Interview with Losant


The success of IoT hinges on the ability to not only aggregate massive amounts of data but also process and translate it into actionable information that can help tackle real business problems. The latter is exactly what an IoT application enablement platform has to offer. Such a platform provides users with a tool to swiftly deploy an IoT application and draw insights from their data from the ground up without requiring years-long expertise. This week, Nugeen Aftab from Losant joins us to discuss the importance of IoT data analytics and how an application enablement platform can help enterprises realize the value of their data.

[bctt tweet=”Losant’s Nugeen Aftab discusses the role of data analytics in IoT and how an application enablement platform can help enterprises realize the value of their data.”]

1. Tell us about Losant. How do you position yourself in the IoT space? Who are your customers?

Losant is an IoT application enablement platform that provides enterprises with a complete toolset to create their own IoT applications. Losant itself is a horizontal platform, but we work primarily with companies in the industrial sector, with telecommunications providers, and with companies looking to implement smart space initiatives.

2. What’s the role of data analytics in IoT?

One of the biggest benefits of using IoT in a solution is that it enables companies to analyze and react to information from their environment. Creating a copy of the physical world doesn’t do any good if we can’t derive insights from it to then act on them. Companies implementing IoT solutions into their companies or product lines should look to analyze the data coming through for maximum output. Losant specifically helps customers react to data in real-time. Our strengths lie in real-time stream processing, but we also have historical data processing capabilities available to our customers through our integration with Jupyter notebooks. Losant has written extensively about this topic. We released a guide last year that covers the value that IoT data has. You can access it here.

3. How does an application enablement platform differ from existing enterprise systems? What is the interplay between these two?

Existing enterprise systems are meant to solve challenges within one function of an organization. A CRM system is used to help keep sales and marketing efforts organized. An ERP system is used as the backbone for the financial management of a company. An application enablement platform can touch many different functions within a company and can be used to solve a plethora of challenges. Our tools can be used to power operations or supply chain applications or can be the backbone for customer-facing, revenue-generating applications. Today, Losant has multiple integrations already in place with existing enterprise systems so that customers can send to or receive data from Losant into their existing ecosystem.

4. What do you think are the top use cases of an IoT application enablement platform for businesses? How does it help businesses monetize their data?

The tricky part about finding a top use case for IoT is that IoT is a technology, not an industry. Thus, it can be used in a variety of applications. When customers are implementing IoT in their companies, they could be looking at one of three reasons: to increase revenue through new or improved offerings; to decrease costs throughout their operations, or to mitigate risk for customers or employees. With everything going on in the world today, during the COVID pandemic, companies are putting more emphasis on automating their processes and reducing human elements in the process. For many companies, the way to do that is through IoT.

IoT can help businesses to monetize their data, that’s for sure. For instance, Losant works with quite a few companies that are pulling telemetry data on machinery they sell to their customers. This data helps the companies provide better service, which makes happier customers. This data, however, can also be packaged up into an application that is then sold as a service to customers, giving customers the ability to view and react to data and controls themselves.

5. What are the key industrial/technical requirements for an IoT implementation?

This can vary significantly depending on the project. When looking at an IoT implementation as a whole, there are three core components that need to be addressed in any project: hardware, connectivity, and software. Losant provides the software piece of the stack through our public cloud offering or through other types of deployments, but having some knowledge around hardware and connectivity is beneficial in order to make the best choices when it comes to sensors/gateways and connectivity platforms. When it comes to working within Losant, there aren’t any specific skill requirements, but it certainly helps to have a basic understanding of web development. Software engineers and software architects use Losant daily, but Losant is a low-to-no-code development platform so anyone can start to build applications.

6. How do you see the role of wireless technologies like LPWAN/ MYTHINGS impacting IoT data analytics?

Having LPWAN technology opens up a plethora of opportunities that weren’t available before. Over the last couple of years, LPWAN has become a more prominent technology in IoT use cases, especially, as we’ve seen, in industrial and smart space use cases. We chose to partner with MYTHINGS because of the flexibility that the hardware-agnostic BehrTech platform provides—this aligns very closely with the agnostic and scalable nature of our platform as well.

7. How will Losant and BehrTech work together to benefit industrial and commercial users?

Customers utilizing both of our technologies should expect an efficient and easy process in building productio-level applications. Getting data from the MYTHINGS base stations into Losant has been proven to be easy and scalable. With our partnership, customers should feel like there is one less step and one less area for complications in the tedious process of creating an end-to-end IoT solution!


Nugeen Aftab
Nugeen is the Partnerships Growth Manager at Losant, building a partnership ecosystem that helps Losant provide customers with the best that IoT and application enablement have to offer. Throughout all of her work experiences, Nugeen’s passion is using technology for positive innovation, which is how she first got involved in the IoT industry. When she’s not travelling for work, she’s travelling for pleasure and trying every new cuisine she can.


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Unleash Massive Business Insights with BehrTech and Losant

How Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Transforms Commercial Buildings (Interview with atlasen)

indoor air quality monitoring

BehrTech Blog

How Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Transforms Commercial Buildings

An Interview with atlasen


Environmental control, especially indoor air quality monitoring, has gained growing importance in modern building operations, especially with the new tide of advanced sensor and wireless technologies. This week, Dr. Jihyun Park, Founder and CEO at atlasen, shares with us her expert insights on IoT adoption in the commercial real estate sector, the benefits and requirements for an indoor air quality monitoring solution, and the future outlook of the smart building market.

1. Tell us about atlasen. What are your products and vision, who are your customers?

atlasen develops and provides innovative indoor environmental quality (IEQ) management system using IoT equipment and artificial intelligence (AI) analytics engine. We value the humans-first principle and prioritize occupants’ feedback in real-time IEQ management.

For contemporary building controls, IEQ management is often employed as an essential component to optimize building energy management. atlasen brings a new perspective on this part. In particular, user satisfaction in buildings is prioritized over energy usage. As evidenced by our studies, the satisfaction level of building occupants has a positive impact on actual energy use. In some cases, lower satisfaction levels due to overcooling in summers or overheating in winters could lead to a detrimental effect on energy savings as planned.

Our system is utilized in the building automation system, indoor air quality monitoring market, and building energy use optimization. Our main clients include real estate building properties groups, electric power companies, and leading energy system integration companies who are the leader of smart buildings.

[bctt tweet=”The competence in data transmission and network security will be pivotal factors for IoT success in the commercial real estate industry.”]

2. How do you see the demand for IoT adoption in the commercial real estate industry today? What are the key drivers behind it?

The IoT-integrated smart built environment leverages the data science to enhance user experience in buildings, and, as a result, offers added-values to prospective customers. For instance, the operational costs of buildings could be reduced drastically by learning from dynamic occupants’ end-use patterns. Positive ROI outcomes could easily offset the implementation costs induced by IoT deployment in a relatively short term. With an increasing interest in health and well-being in buildings, IoT investment offers an additional advantage to evaluate the quality of indoor built environments and deliver long-term impactful applications. For instance, improving the health of workplaces could lead to reductions in sick leaves and attrition. The readiness of communication technology is envisaged to accelerate the adoption of IoT for the commercial real estate industry in the foreseeable future. In particular, the competence in data transmission and network security will be pivotal factors for success.

3. What is the importance of indoor air quality monitoring in smart buildings?

Good levels of indoor air quality (IAQ) can improve the health, comfort, and well-being of building occupants and reduce risks of developing respiratory symptoms. However, IAQ problems can be challenging to diagnose and often involve the intricate combination of concurrent IAQ conditions. For instance, carbon dioxide is odorless and colorless, and as such occupants cannot easily discern the level of concentration -usually the higher the concentration level, the higher the rate of sick building syndrome symptoms. In the contemporary sustainable design practice, green building rating systems, such as WELL, LEED, BREAM, and many others, consider IAQ as one of the critical indexes and stipulate exposure thresholds for pollutants to ensure the healthy indoor environment requirements to be met.

Smart buildings are envisaged to harvest the power of the IoT network to monitor critical environmental indexes, such as IAQ, to transform the way buildings are operated. The objective is to deliver a human-centric, healthy and affluent indoor environment that improves occupants’ health, comfort and satisfaction to the highest standard.

[bctt tweet=”Smart buildings are envisaged to harvest the power of IoT networks to monitor critical environmental indexes like IAQ, to transform the way buildings are operated.”]

4. What benefits can property owners and facility managers harness from implementing an indoor air quality monitoring solution?

In the holistic building performance evaluation, indoor air quality is often considered as a critical factor among others, including thermal, lighting and acoustic quality. Maintaining good IAQ can improve occupants’ comfort and satisfaction levels. Property owners and facility managers gain benefits from satisfied occupants as a result of enhanced indoor air quality that contributes to holistic indoor environmental quality. Continous indoor air quality monitoring will provide actionable insights for facility managers to prevent problems at a fraction of the expense and effort that will be required to solve them.

5. What does an indoor air quality monitoring architecture look like?

atlasen’s IEQ system is designed to benchmark user satisfaction with associated environmental data. Ultimately, our system prompts users, such as facility managers or building owners, with actionable guidelines to tackle problems associated with low satisfaction levels and comfort. The underlying data processing workflow involves three major steps: (1) indoor environmental quality data acquisition, (2) user satisfaction benchmarking and end-use survey, (3) indoor environment management guidelines output. To assess the occupant satisfaction level, we integrate multiple evaluation metrics, including 1) building regulations and recommended levels for the healthy indoor environment and certifications, 2) outdoor environmental conditions, 3) building facility systems, 4) occupants’ basic information under the circumstance, 5) occupant real-time survey on satisfaction.

6. What are the sensor connectivity requirements in this context?

atlasen sensors provide built-in functions to collect real-time IEQ data and require a dependable network to communicate with our cloud-based diagnosis platform in real-time. Our consideration for IoT communication is to ensure data transmission accuracy and maintain the highest network security standard. When deploying sensors in large buildings, the effective coverage of the sensor network will require the controllable accessibility in context while retaining the efficiency of data acquisition and interoperation in motion with scalable capacity.

7. From your perspective, what makes MYTHINGS the right solution? How does it outperform legacy communication options?

atlasen’s LEO (AT04) delivers high-performance IEQ assessments with its extremely compact dimensions in its class. LEO can measure up to 15 different IEQ conditions simultaneously in real-time, including Temperature, Humidity, Carbon dioxide (CO2), Carbon monoxide (CO), Particulate Matters (PM10, PM2.5, PM1.0), Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC), Formaldehyde (HCHO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone (03), Ammonia (NH3), Illuminance, Sound Level and occupancy detection. In some cases, more than 100 sensors can be deployed on one floor. MYTHINGS provides robust and effective wireless communication for our sensors in action to deliver streamlined real-time data acquisition and facilitate data integration for the contextual analysis. Synchronizing all sensor data at a large scale is unquestionably the essential challenge to accelerate the uptake of IoT. In particular, IEQ data acquisition and transmission depend heavily on the effective network coverage provided by the chosen communication protocol. MYTHINGS addresses this critical data interoperation challenge through its high scalability and extensive coverage.

8. What predictions do you have for the smart building market in the next 3-5 years?

The paradigm of a smart building is not ‘green or energy’ anymore. ‘Healthy or Human-centric’ built environment is a top priority in the smart building market. Smart buildings are evolving and will continue to evolve with a human-centric controlling system. With the advancements of information and communication technologies, we envisage a broad spectrum of IoT equipment inside buildings to improve our living quality and boost productivity while minimizing environmental impacts. Both sensing accuracy and communication efficiency are essential. Meanwhile, ensuring cybersecurity to protect privacy is gaining a growing interest among all and will become even more prominent when scaling up such technology for broader society. Resolving challenges arising from these considerations will serve as the key to success for sustainable market growth. From our experience worldwide, we at atlasen, believe that a building can make people healthy or sick, happy or sad, creative or lethargic. An anti-virus or protective indoor environment can be one of the key issues. Smart buildings will play a leading role in making our lives healthier and more affluent.

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring - Atlasen

Dr. Jihyun Park is the Founder and CEO of atlasen and associate lecturer at the Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Dr. Park is a Building Scientist holding Ph.D. in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), U.S., Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) and LEED AP in Building Design and Construction. Her passion is to support and improve design, management and performance of the workspace, through profiling the physical and environmental quality of existing built environments to correlate with user satisfaction.

About atlasen

The atlasen platform incorporates continuous IEQ sensing, including Air, Thermal, Lighting, Acoustic and Spatial, and user satisfaction assessments using the innovative prediction model coupled with expert walkthrough assessments, to provide added values to the built environment.


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Exploring Wireless Connectivity Trends in Industrial IoT with Texas Instruments

industrial wireless connectivity

BehrTech Blog

Exploring Wireless Connectivity Trends in Industrial IoT

Five Questions for Mattias Lange, General Manager of Connectivity at Texas Instruments


Wireless connectivity is a key IoT building block and an enabler of technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. In industrial contexts, the demand and requirements for wireless communications have drastically evolved in recent years as new technologies pave the way to previously unseen possibilities. This week, Mattias Lange, General Manager of Connectivity at Texas Instruments shares with us an insider’s view on the latest developments in IoT and industrial wireless connectivity and what that means to businesses.

1. Tell us about Texas Instruments. What is your focus and vision in the IoT space?

More than a decade ago, before the Internet of Things (IoT) became a buzzword, TI had a simple idea: make it easier for developers to add radio technologies such as Wi-Fi®, Ethernet, Sub-1 GHz, Bluetooth® Low Energy, Thread and Zigbee, to their embedded applications and have them work together seamlessly. The prospect was mind-blowing. Wireless connectivity would open doors for developers, allowing them to collect data and provide an unlimited range of new services.

Today, thousands of companies use a variety of connectivity standards as the foundation for their connected devices. Still, as I travel to meet with developers around the world, I hear a common question: Is the IoT trend really taking off as it should?

The fact is people expect electronic devices to have wireless capabilities. Announcements of large IoT investments are made daily. As companies in more traditional, established spaces like metering and manufacturing become more automated, they are building IoT strategies and overlaying connectivity to modernize and streamline their operations.

As often happens when transformational changes occur, there is an expectation that they will happen faster than they do. And when the change finally arrives, its impact is often larger than expected. This is where we will see the real impact of IoT in the long term, and we need to remain nimble to adapt to ever-evolving market needs and demand.

2. How do you see the importance of wireless connectivity in the next industrial revolution?

The single most important innovation in business and commerce is the ability to move and analyze massive amounts of data to drive informed decisions. Wireless networking is at the heart of this data migration, and the ability to bridge the last mile of data through connected IoT devices is a vital part of the data cycle.

Imagine if you were able to create simpler, smaller designs while increasing performance and lowering costs. Imagine if data could be processed quickly and seamlessly to maximize efficiency.

As we look to the future, the IoT landscape will continue to evolve and technology will likely continue to significantly change and advance along with it. The impact of this evolution will mean increased global demand for innovation excellence across multiple industries.

Being able to anticipate customer needs, adapt to industry trends and swiftly adopt the right new technologies will be even more vital to the life and longevity of businesses than ever before. With all of this in mind, the multimillion dollar question still remains: Will you evolve with it or be left behind?

You might also like: [E-book] Wireless Connectivity for Massive-Scale IoT Deployments

3. What are the common roadblocks to wireless implementations in industrial settings?

While communication speed has been a priority for decades, there’s been a stronger focus lately toward long range and low power connected devices. The networks that long-range, low-power devices use are often referred to as low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs). Examples of applications that benefit from LPWANs are environmental sensors like temperature and air quality and battery-powered flow meter sensors for water, heat and gas.

These sensors typically communicate very infrequently – with minutes to hours between each engagement. For such applications, the technology is optimized for long-range radio-frequency (RF) communication at the expense of high data throughput.

Today, LPWAN solutions have a lack of scalability and are less robust due to interference issues and coexistence problems with other radio networks. Many existing solutions are not able to offer very high data delivery consistency over time. Battery life is also limited due to inefficient transmission methods.

[bctt tweet=”While communication speed has been a priority for decades, there’s been a stronger focus lately toward long range and low power in industrial settings.”]

4. How does LPWAN help to overcome these roadblocks and fuel industrial IoT adoption?

TI is one of the founding members of the recently formed MIOTY Alliance, which serves as the governing body of the MIOTY LPWAN solution. The MIOTY standard offers a complete long-range and low-power solution for worldwide Sub-1 GHz communication.

MIOTY can help IoT developers overcome design challenges such as:

  • Difficulty meeting long-range requirements
  • Achieving long battery lifetime
  • Performance degradation in high-node-count networks

MIOTY has many inherent advantages, including:

  • A combination of coding and narrowband operation enables long range RF communication.
  • Reduced packet overhead and efficient coding result in current saving.
  • More robust communication and larger networks are possible due to the telegram splitting

The MIOTY solution offers a star network for low-power end/leaf nodes, as well as a gateway solution for cloud connectivity. As of today, MIOTY offers a private network, but the expectation is that third parties will also offer a network solution as a service.

The MIOTY standard operates in license-free bands around the world. There are no costs involved in using the radio spectrum, unlike narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) solutions.

5. Where do you see the industrial wireless market headed in 2020 and beyond?

MIOTY is truly the LPWAN solution for the future. It offers scalable, robust network performance, which is a core requirement for industrial IoT. In addition, the MIOTY standard provides low power due to effective system architecture. When combined with the low power SimpleLink RF SoC, this architecture makes long battery life possible. As the IoT landscape continues to grow and evolve, the MIOTY standard and the SimpleLink™ platform create a viable connectivity option for worldwide Sub-1 GHz communication.

About MIOTY Alliance

The MIOTY Alliance was formed this year to combine the expertise of the world’s leading tech companies to develop a complete ecosystem of IoT technologies that makes the MIOTY connectivity protocol more accessible, interoperable and consumable for companies worldwide. Fraunhofer, BehrTech, Diehl, Texas Instruments, Ragsol, Stackforce and WIKA have joined the MIOTY Alliance to achieve this goal.

Find out more about the MIOTY Alliance here.

Mattias Lange
Mattias Lange is the General Manager for Connectivity at TI, which includes the SimpleLink™ microcontroller (MCU) platform. Mattias focuses on defining and executing TI’s strategy and product roadmap for wired and wireless MCUs enabling IoT deployment for industrial and automotive markets.


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The Greatest Use Case for Two-Way Communication in LPWAN

Two-way communication in LPWAN

BehrTech Blog

The Greatest Use Case for Two-Way Communication in LPWAN

When devising an IoT architecture, the subject of unidirectional (one-way) vs bidirectional (two-way) communication is likely to come up at least once. In Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) for remote telemetry applications, bidirectional connectivity has aroused mixed feelings among many industrial adopters. Due to security concerns, there’s been a common preference for unidirectional communication to connect LPWAN sensor networks.

Yet, as the industrial IoT knocks on the door, two-way communication is revealing a new host of compelling use cases that were previously less known. For those looking to get a better grasp of this topic, this blog delves into how industrial users can reap the benefits of bidirectional connectivity for granular LPWAN telemetry sensors while clearing major concerns around it.

The Concept of Two-Way Communication in IoT

Way before the term “Internet of Things” exists, M2M two-way communication had been part of our daily life. Think of the last time you send and receive an SMS on your phone or trying to upload and download something from the Internet with your PC.

As IoT ushers in a new wave of connected devices, we continue to witness growing pervasiveness of two-way connectivity, particularly in the consumer space. For example, by setting up the connection between your wearable device and smartphone, you can have incoming calls displayed on your smartwatch and easily choose to answer or decline them from the wearable screen. Similarly, it is easy to view and adjust the settings of your smart thermostat via the phone while being away from home.

As in the first example, bidirectional communication can be established directly between two devices. But with the cloud, you more often see it associated with data exchange between devices and a cloud-based analytics platform via an IoT gateway – as in the second example. Leveraging machine learning and AI algorithms to analyze user preferences, the cloud then processes these inputs and issues a response to the IoT device.

Two-Way Communication
In most IoT consumer use cases, device-to-cloud bidirectional communication is leveraged for ease of use and enhanced user experience.

How about the Industrial IoT Space?

Industrial users are usually hesitant in adopting IoT two-way connectivity for telemetry applications due to its security implications. Until today, bidirectional communication mostly pertains to time-sensitive, closed-loop communication between controllers and I/O modules that are contained on the shop floor. The idea of exposing critical operational data to the Internet via two-way wireless connectivity now stirs up concerns around data privacy and malicious attempts. Plus, the fact that many legacy systems are designed with minimal security features in mind further magnifies these concerns.

Another major reason why two-way communication takes little spotlight in industrial LPWAN is that it isn’t a prerequisite for many condition-based monitoring use cases. Quite often, companies only focus on fetching data from previously isolated and disconnected assets for fine-grained operational insights and integration into higher management systems like ERP. Decision-making is then executed through separate workflows such as dispatching technicians for asset maintenance or setting up supply orders – rather than actuating field sensors.

The Greatest Use Case for Two-Way Communication in LPWAN Sensor Networks

What industrial users often miss out when considering bidirectional communication is its enormous benefit for device configuration and management. With the emergence of industrial innovations that rely on extensive telemetry networks like the digital twin, the ability to provision and configure sensor networks at scale has become more imperative than ever.

In LPWAN deployments with a vast number of endpoints, manually registering each device to the network is a labor-intensive and daunting process. Leveraging two-way connectivity, you can automatically authenticate and provision remote endpoints over the air (OTA). Likewise, if a device is no longer needed, you can conveniently retire it from afar – without the need to travel to the site.

Beyond device on- and off-boarding, bidirectional communication is also a game-changer for seamless and hassle-free configuration of field devices throughout their lifecycle. This advantage is particularly pertinent in industrial operations where regular sensor calibration is key to accurate process and asset measurements.

Under changes in ambient conditions, mechanical wear and tear or a shift in the required operating range, industrial sensors are subject to measurement errors from time to time. For this reason, calibration which us relevant adjustment(s) in sensor configuration, must be performed periodically to minimize unwanted deviations in sensor outputs. The process can be very time consuming, especially if devices are hard to reach. With bidirectional communication, you can issue calibration metrics to remote IoT sensors in simple steps to save big on time and costs.

For the new generation of smart sensors purpose-built for functionality and power efficiency, over-the-air device configuration is even more important. Instead of capturing a single parameter, today’s smart sensors are self-contained and designed with multi-sensing capability in mind. In this context, two-way IoT connectivity enables simple (re-)configuration of different sensing functions, as well as message frequency along the line – to optimize device performance and battery life.

For example, you can switch off irrelevant sensing units to drastically save on energy and later switch them back on when the need arises – all conveniently from the control center. Likewise, if the sensor is transmitting too often, it’s easy to adjust the message frequency from afar.

Coming Back to the Security Question…

Contrary to popular belief, two-way wireless connectivity doesn’t always mean Internet-connected. (Third-party) cloud architecture might seem prevalent in IoT, but it’s by no means a must – especially in industrial deployments. With a privately managed and controlled network, bidirectional communication between connected devices and your backend/ management console can stay safe on-premises.

Two-Way Communication in LPWAN
In industrial contexts, private IoT deployment allows users to secure bidirectional communication on-premises.

Two-Way Communication in LPWAN

While most legacy solutions offer bidirectional communication at the user’s disposal, their underlying mechanism is fraught with a major pitfall that risks message delay. Typically, in an LPWAN network, a downlink message is issued to end devices only if an uplink message has been sent. To minimize power consumption, the device is active just for a few seconds after the uplink transmission to listen for whether a response is coming back. However, it’s common that data processing at the backend for downlink communication can take longer than the provided time window. As such, sensor devices could go back to sleep before the downlink arrives, meaning it must be postponed to the next time an uplink is sent – which could be an hour or even a day later.

To mitigate this risk of obsolete messages, the MIOTY protocol used in MYTHINGS networks allows devices to go back to sleep immediately after the uplink transmission and wake up only some seconds later to listen for the response. By giving the backend sufficient time to schedule downlink messages, this mechanism enables a highly responsive, yet power-optimized LPWAN networks.

Wrapping Up

For industrial IoT applications that rely on vast, granular LPWAN telemetry networks, two-way communication is often less about actuating field sensors. Instead, its greatest use case lies in the ability to manage and (re-)configure sensor devices at scale and conveniently from afar. The larger the network, the greater the benefits. With the right architecture, security and data privacy concerns can also be ruled out to help you fully harness the value of your connected infrastructure.

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MIOTY Alliance – What It Is and Why You Should Join

MIOTY Alliance

BehrTech Blog

The MIOTY Alliance – What It Is and Why You Should Join

MIOTY Alliance

There’s a new technology alliance in town, and it’s led by some heavy hitters in research and technology. But, before we dive straight into what the MIOTY Alliance is all about, let’s take a step back to review the wireless IoT landscape and the state of low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) in 2020.

Wireless IoT Connectivity in 2020

Manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, smart cities and smart buildings are completely focused on connectivity these days. The Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted our lives and transformed these industries over the past decade, and we expect even more wireless innovations to make their mark in 2020 and beyond. Among the fastest-growing wireless technologies are low-power wide area networks. LPWAN possesses unique characteristics that make it particularly attractive for industrial and commercial markets. Nevertheless, there are several challenges associated with legacy solutions like LoRa, Sigfox and NB-IoT that limit their long-term viability and ability to enable critical IoT applications like predictive maintenance, environmental monitoring and worker safety. 

Enter MIOTY – A New LPWAN Protocol

Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, MIOTYTM (TS-UNB) is a new LPWAN protocol designed to combat the complexities of massive industrial and commercial IoT deployments. At the core of the protocol is patented Telegram Splitting technology, which is uniquely built to conquer the interference, scalability and mobile challenges of existing LPWAN technologies like LoRa, Sigfox and NB-IoT. It is also the only LPWAN protocol standardized by ETSI (TS-103357). Watch this video to see how it works.

Introducing the MIOTY Alliance

Developing a powerful technology like MIOTY is only half the battle, successfully bringing it to market is equally challenging. That’s why Fraunhofer, BehrTech, Diehl, Texas Instruments, Ragsol, Stackforce and WIKA have joined the MIOTY Alliance. The MIOTY Alliance was formed to, of course, promote the use of MIOTY, but more importantly combine the expertise of the world’s leading tech companies to develop a complete ecosystem of IoT technologies that make this powerful connectivity protocol more accessible, interoperable and consumable for companies worldwide.

What’s available on the market so far?

In 2019, BehrTech (that’s us!) introduced the first family of wireless connectivity products and solutions leveraging MIOTY, called MYTHINGSTM.  MYTHINGS is purpose-built for complex industrial and commercial IoT sensor networks; providing the most robust, scalable and mobile connectivity on the market. MYTHINGS’ open end-to-end architecture, allows users to choose their own devices, integrate with their own systems and processes as well as manage their own network with MYTHINGS Central; an all-in-one network management platform for device on and off-boarding, cloud/backend integration and network troubleshooting. Watch this video to learn how MYTHINGS works. 

Wireless Technology for IoT

Why should you join the MIOTY Alliance? 

The biggest barrier to IoT adoption and success is inaccessibility to data. There are numerous innovative technologies that promise to deliver new business insights and value with data analytics and AI, however those technologies are worthless if you cannot reliably and securely access the data in the first place. The success of the IoT industry is dependent on reliable connectivity, which remains a huge obstacle for numerous industries like mining, manufacturing and oil gas. These industries are faced with complex and often remote environments where traditional wired and wireless connectivity options are not feasible. In addition, many legacy assets, machines, and facilities are not designed to connect beyond plant networks, creating huge data silos. Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) represent the fastest growing IoT communication technology. And there is no other LPWAN protocol available that provides more robust, mobile and scalable connectivity needed for the flood of IoT applications. By joining the MIOTY Alliance and partnering with members like BehrTech, we can provide bigger and better wireless IoT connectivity solutions for our industrial and commercial customers worldwide, while driving our businesses deeper into existing markets and creating entirely new market opportunities.

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IoT Connectivity: 4 Standards That Will Shape 2020 and Beyond

IoT Connectivity

BehrTech Blog

IoT Connectivity: 4 Standards That Will Shape 2020 and Beyond


IoT connectivity is fundamental and it’s no exaggeration to say that the wireless technology selected has a profound impact on the success of any IoT initiative. That’s why tech leaders are constantly on the hunt for the latest wireless trends and technologies to unveil potential business values and adoption opportunities. For those looking to stay ahead of the wireless curve, in this blog we identify four emerging IoT connectivity standards that are poised to shape the digital landscape in 2020 and beyond.

IoT connectivity

Also Recommended for You: [Free Ebook] The Ultimate Guide to Wireless IoT Connectivity for Massive-Scale Deployments 

1. Standard-based LPWAN

Geared for low-bandwidth, low computing end nodes, the newer Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) offer highly power-efficient and affordable IoT connectivity in vast, structurally dense environments. No current wireless classes could beat LPWAN when it comes to battery life, device and connectivity costs, as well as ease of implementation. Due to this unique combination of features, LPWAN has established itself as a key driver of massive, latency-tolerant sensors network in industrial IoT, smart building and smart city sectors.

While there are a plethora of LPWAN protocols available today, you might want to look into the distinct advantages of standard-based technologies. Given the explosive growth of IoT connected devices, Quality-of-Service, scalability and interoperability will be cardinal criteria in your wireless decision. Carrier-based standards like NB-IoT and LTE-M, together with MYTHINGS – an IoT connectivity solution based on the latest ETSI open standard for low-throughput networks, have emerged to complement proprietary technologies (e.g. LoRa, Sigfox etc.) and specifically address these requirements.

In terms of applications, NB-IoT and other carrier-based LPWAN standards are set to be a core pillar of the future smart city networks. Leveraging existing cellular infrastructure, these managed networks provide extensive coverage in urban areas, while removing infrastructure expenses. On the other hand, for industrial deployments where data security and ownership prevail costs, privately deployed solutions like MYTHINGS will rise as a preferred option. Besides, industrial facilities are often located in remote regions that are poorly serviced by network operators.

[bctt tweet=”LPWAN has established itself as a key driver of massive, latency-tolerant sensors network in industrial IoT, smart building and smart city sectors.”]

2. 5G

The latest cellular standard has been the subject of endless discussion and excitement across the board. And while telco service operators have successively announced the launch of early next-gen cellular networks in several countries since mid-2019, 3GPP Release 16 and with it, the “full 5G vision” is still yet to come. Planned for completion in late 2020, Release 16 will bring major enhancements on ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC). On top of that, it will introduce a host of improvements as part of the “5G efficiency” roadmap – including reduced network congestion, higher power efficiency and enhanced mobility. With that said, 5G roll-out will span over the next few years and devices supporting full features are further down the road.

Besides its destined role in the consumer mobile market, 5G is deemed to be a major catalyst for other emerging tech trends like augmented/virtual reality and connected vehicles. Providing reliable and omnipresent IoT connectivity in urban areas, the technology will also play a vital role in telehealth innovations alongside public safety and mission-critical communications.

In terms of Industrial IoT, 5G is positioned to be a core enabler of time-sensitive networking for factory automation. With the introduction of the private 5G deployment option, cellular operators aim to tackle the burning security and data ownership concerns among industrial users. Yet, the high costs and nascent hardware (i.e. base station) support still leave a big question mark over the business case of private 5G networks.

3. Wi-Fi 6

While the term Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11.ax) has been hovering in the air for some time, its full specifications and official launch only came later last year. Given Wi-Fi’s prevalence in our daily life, it’s no surprise that the latest generation has garnered rapt attention at the CES this year. There’s already an abundance of compatible gadgets, and as hardware prices continue to drop, 2020 is expected to be a major turning point for Wi-Fi 6 adoption.

A primary upgrade of Wi-Fi 6 over its predecessors is the greatly enhanced overall network bandwidth (i.e. <9.6 Gbps). And, while ultra-HD video streaming might be the first thing that comes across your mind, the improved throughput indeed aims to address a more IoT-specific challenge – device co-existence. Rather than enabling a single device with lightning speed, Wi-Fi 6 targets to support a much larger number of endpoints per router concurrently – without compromising data throughput per device. To do so, the router employs multiple antennas, and the total used spectrum is divided into a much larger number of sub-channels for simultaneous data streams from multiple devices.

As with previous generations, Wi-Fi 6 will be the backbone of broadband IoT connectivity in home and enterprise networks. Simultaneously, by mitigating the congestion issue, the technology is poised to level up public Wi-Fi infrastructure and transform customer experience with new digital mobile services. In-car networks for infotainment and on-board diagnostics will be the most game-changing use case for Wi-Fi 6. Yet, the development is likely to take some more time.

4. Bluetooth 5.X

Built upon the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) specifications, Bluetooth 5.0 introduces a major leap in terms of throughput, speed and range. Previously, the use of BLE was limited to low throughput endpoints like beacons and wearable only. So, you would need the classic, power-hungry Bluetooth protocol for any forms of audio transmission. Today, Bluetooth 5.0 offers a highly energy-efficient option to stream audios and send large data files without quickly draining your device battery. If speed isn’t a top requirement, Bluetooth 5.0 also allows devices to communicate at low data rates in exchange for a much-improved range of up to 200 meters, making the technology ideal for next-gen smart home gadgets.

Bluetooth 5.1 and, most recently, 5.2 are the two latest derivatives of the fifth Bluetooth generation. While not significantly different from Bluetooth 5.0, they offer compelling features for highly precise direction finding and indoor navigation services. The protocols employ innovative Angle-of-Arrival and Angle-of-Departure (AoD) techniques to enable sub-meter localization ability. On the other hand, the downside of these approaches lies in the complex and expensive hardware design of the fixed locator receivers or beacons as they require an array of antennas for signal reception or transmission.

Bluetooth 5 versions support the mesh-based architecture to enable extended range for indoor positioning systems and low-power industrial sensor networks. However, it’s worth noting that the mesh topology is inherently energy-intensive and when it comes to large-scale deployments of IoT connected devices, network planning and configuration can be a major undertaking.

Final Thoughts

Each of these IoT connectivity standards is likely to secure their place in the IoT world, and it’s up to you to decide which technology is the best fit for your digital solution and use cases. Often times, industrial and enterprise users will end up with a hybrid and constantly evolving architecture that incorporates multiple wireless technologies to fully harness the IoT potential. In this context, it’s paramount to devise a flexible, robust and backward-compatible wireless infrastructure that can seamlessly scale to meet your changing needs. And, this should be considered right from the outset of your IoT project.


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This study will prove that MYTHINGS delivers significantly higher interference resilience than LoRa technology

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IoT for Manufacturing: A New Way to Unlock Insights from Field PLCs

IoT for manufacturing

BehrTech Blog

IoT for Manufacturing: A New Way to Unlock Insights from Field PLCs

With global spending on IoT for manufacturing expected to rapidly increase, plug-and-play connectivity is critical to enable companies to integrate legacy PLCs and industrial systems into an IoT environment with ease.

If you’re familiar with the manufacturing world, chances are Programmable Logical Controllers (PLCs) are nothing new to you. Having their roots in the automotive industry, PLCs are omnipresent across all modern industries today and akin to the brains of factory automation systems. While coming in many shapes and forms, industrial PLCs are used for a common purpose – real-time production control. A PLC gathers data from thousands of input sensors, processes it and triggers automated actions on the corresponding output device like actuators, alarms and switches. Besides manufacturing, PLCs are also an integral part of most building automation systems.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) disrupts the industrial world, integrating legacy equipment with IoT connectivity becomes paramount. While some might question whether IoT will eventually replace PLC systems, seeing these two as mutually exclusive options isn’t the way to go. Indeed, given massive operational data concentrated in a PLC, being able to interface it with an IoT architecture could unlock unprecedented visibility on the factory floor. Not to mention, PLCs have gained their credit as a robust, versatile automation instrument, and it doesn’t look like manufacturers will move on without them anytime soon.

The PLC Challenge in IoT for Manufacturing

Until recently, IoT-enabling PLCs had been a major undertaking. The explanation is simple. Invented in the previous century, they weren’t originally designed to be connected to an external system. PLCs might be able to communicate with each other or to a local dashboard at best, but their core functionality is real-time control, not remote networking. As such, data flows within PLC-managed automation networks are closed-loop and stay locked on the factory floor. On top of that, most, if not all, older PLC models employ a plethora of proprietary, vendor-specific protocols that hamper interoperability and data exchange. As PLCs are intended for several decades of use, it’s not uncommon to find these older models dominating a standard manufacturing facility.

Next-gen PLCs do not come without networking challenges, either. Many of them provide built-in Ethernet capabilities and an onboard web server to be directly plugged into the Internet. Nevertheless, running cables around factories is expensive, dangerous, and conducive to production shutdowns. In many outdoor, geographically dispersed industrial settings with challenging topography (e.g. open-pit mines), Ethernet wiring isn’t even an option. Also, PLC web servers require a case-by-case configuration to enable data sharing with an IoT system.

Despite the common understanding, not all PLCs are really integrated into the factory-level Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. Doing so often requires complex, error-prone PLC reprogramming alongside cumbersome wiring which cost several weeks of production downtime. Certain SCADA systems are even proprietary and only compatible with PLCs from a specific vendor. This complicates the implementation of a unified remote monitoring network for cross-vendor PLC models and protocols.

Plug-and-Play Connectivity for IoT in Manufacturing

With the rise of advanced IoT technologies, connecting legacy PLCs is now much less of a hassle. Emerging plug-and-play solutions can help you easily IoT-enable your PLC without invasive hardware modifications and inefficient, labor-intensive cabling. Such a solution brings together two major pieces of the puzzle: a retrofit integration gateway and robust, long-range wireless connectivity. Using automation-specific protocols, the integration gateway interfaces with a legacy PLC to acquire critical data points. An IoT transceiver, connected with the gateway on the other end, then transports the data to a remote base station through a reliable wireless radio link, minimizing cable needs.

IoT for manufacturing

With a versatile solution, you can have a wide range of supported PLC models and physical interfaces to choose from, enabling scalable and cost-effective implementation of a larger monitoring and control system. At the same time, it allows you to select only the most essential PLC data tags for sending, instead of burdening your backend with influxes of useless information. The wireless connectivity must also be designed for rebar, structurally dense industrial facilities with heavy radio interference from running equipment and existing networks.

Besides simple and flexible implementation, an optimal PLC integration solution fulfills other critical requirements of your IoT deployment. It renders you with complete data control and ownership to decide whether to keep data entirely on-premises, forward it to a third-party cloud/ application platform for further analytics, or adopt a hybrid approach. Equally important, it ensures the security of your critical automation networks through a one-way wireless link and end-to-end data encryption. As legacy industrial systems were built with few security functions in mind, one-way data transfer from the PLC helps avoid attempts to remotely control machines through reverse communication.

Harness PLC data for Real Operational Values

Providing IoT connectivity for legacy PLCs enables companies to close the OT/IT gap and unlock real-time visibility into their operations. Previously, it used to take days or even weeks to collect data and generate operational reports from legacy industrial systems. With this delay, it’s often too late to handle an issue and costs can quickly escalate. Now, real-time insights allow businesses to timely pinpoint and act on bottlenecks to optimize processes and reduce costs. You probably know that in manufacturing, even a small improvement can make a big impact on the bottom line.

Below are some of the best examples of how you can leverage PLC data to augment operational efficiency:

  • Monitor machines and equipment and get alerts when anomalies are detected (e.g. motor overheating and excessive vibration, conveyor jams, valve/ pipelines leakage).
  • Execute predictive maintenance through data modeling and machine learning.
  • Oversee production rates and counts, cycle time, changeovers, scrap rates…to trace sources of performance losses (i.e. speed, availability and quality).
  • Monitor fill levels of tanks and silos for just-in-time refills or emptying.
  • Track energy consumption of equipment and systems to identify waste sources.
  • Automate data collection for FDA and OSHA audits in industries like pharmaceuticals and food and beverage.

Given their established role in the industrial world, PLCs are poised to play a major role in IoT for manufacturing. With the advent of plug-and-play connectivity, updating brownfield PLCs for IoT is no more an expensive and daunting task. By breaking down data silos and tapping into unprecedented operation insights in real-time, the opportunities to enhance operations and bolster your competitive edge are endless.

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Connect Your Field PLCs to IoT with BehrTech and MAJiK