Ever watched the Ted talk by Simon Sinek, How great leaders inspire actions? Not yet? Then I encourage you watch this 20-minute talk. This video covers the most fundamental thing that most companies fail to address: connecting with customers! Often companies focus on their products, going into details about the technical features, price, engineering innovation, etc. However, they fail to address the basic thing that is needed for a successful sale: Why they are offering the product? Answering this question bridges the gap between product and market. Revenue is an outcome, not the sole purpose of a company’s existence.
Let us take an example of a conventional sales pitch for the embedded computing platform: System on Module (SoM).
“We offer SoM that has a SoC, memory, power circuitry, Operating System, and BSPs, all integrated on a small form-factor board that offers you a platform for building your next embedded product”.
Sounds exciting? Well, it depends. However, it does not generate a great interest. Now, how about the following as a sales pitch?
The new kid on the block
The emerging IoT industry is an aggregation of products and services, complementing each other to enable efficiency and cost optimization in multiple industries. It does not have a vertically oriented value chain. IoT end nodes will be scattered in billions in various industries.
As mentioned in my earlier post ARM vs Intel: The new war frontiers, COTS processors will not be ideal for building these end nodes, as the latter are application specific. Companies would be inclined to adopt custom processors as they offer flexibility to assemble only required parts. These parts can include analogue sensor, DSP, proprietary IP, etc. Further, custom processors substantially reduce BoM cost and die size, which will minimize power dissipation. It also helps companies to differentiate their product from those of their competitors. In view of failing Moore’s Law, customization is the answer as it can reduce the BoM cost significantly.
Plus an exciting quiz on IoT
I am pleased to cover once again our quarterly IoT Project Day event, an event for demos and talks. More importantly, it's an event for exchanging knowledge, inspiring others and networking with peers. As usual, we are happy to have it at Microsoft, Bangalore, and we thank them for opening up their venue for this purpose.
Today's event was a mix of electronics, sensing applications and analytics. Because, in the world of IoT, one thing without the others is not all that useful. Collecting data is not useful if you don't analyze it at some point. Electronics is not useful if you don't drive it with intelligent firmware. Gadgets are not useful if you don't think about wireless connectivity. Finally, you need to use the right sensors to gather real-world data that suits your application.
A report from the national level winner for Innovative Science Model
It was indeed very exciting when my son Ujwal called me from Hyderabad that he has been selected for national level under Innovative Science Model category for Vidya Bharathi. When our Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked kids to save electricity at home, the thought of leveraging Smart Home to save electricity was brewing in Ujwal’s mind.
Saving electricity via Smart Home is not a new thought, but we started exploring what scenarios can maximize the benefits. A little more study told us that many while going on vacation turn on the lights at home for safety and it consumes electricity all day and night. Using Arduino and SIM 908 he built a Smart Home with "vacation mode" capabilities where the lights turn on automatically when it is dark. This system controls multiple lights to simulate someone at home.
From smartphones to IoT end devices
With Intel’s exit from smartphone processor market, the competitive zones are redefined in its rivalry with ARM. Is ARM’s domination the only reason for Intel’s exit? With no competing architecture, is ARM a monopoly in smartphone processor IP market? What are the new areas of competition between ARM and Intel? I will attempt to answer these questions in this post.
The following terms will be used in this article:
APIApplication Programming Interface
IoTInternet of Things
OEMOriginal Equipment Manufacturer
SKUStock Keeping Unit
SoCSystem on Chip
A survey of websites about sensors
Whenever we conduct hands-on workshops on IoT at IEDF, one question comes up often: Is there a place to know what sensors are available? The fact that so many people have asked the same question suggests that this is a problem worth solving. The world of sensors is vast and varied. There are many manufacturers selling different types of sensors. Sometimes two sensors may measure the same physical quantity but their operating principles are quite different. Sensor characteristics play an important role in selection and these characteristics must match the requirements of an application.
The first thing to do then is to find out what portals are already out there that provide this service. A quick search online showed that there are in fact a handful of websites that do this but none of them were in a form that was user friendly. Sometimes relevant technical information was incomplete or missing. Links from portals to manufacturer websites were broken. There was no way to compare two sensors, the way we are used to comparing two consumer electronics (laptops, smartphones) feature by feature.
Personal stories and reflections
Yesterday the world celebrated Arduino Day, whose avatar outside the U.S. these days is known as Genuino Day. I remember last year's event, which was organized by the official Arduino group in Bangalore. There was greater participation from the community last year and lot more demos on display. This year's event was rather low key in comparison but it was just as engaging in other ways.
At least three events were happening at the same time in Bangalore and I chose to attend this one at IKP-EDEN, Koramangala. Some of you may know IKP-EDEN and what they do. They are an incubator-cum-makerspace for entrepreneurs, start-ups and makers. They are not just a co-working space like many others in Bangalore. Rishi, the co-ordinator at IKP-EDEN, had invited makers and entrepreneurs to share their personal stories and journeys into starting up.
An industry perspective
The concept of modularity is widely deployed in many industries such as transport & logistics, packaging, software and many more. Although the interpretation may differ across various industries, in simple terms modularity means that a large system can be created by combining many standardized small sub-systems or units. The benefits are enormous in terms of reduction of system development time & cost and addition of scalability, convenience, and customization.
In this article, we will explore how adopting modular approach in development of IoT devices can accelerate the proliferation of IoT. Before we start to connect the dots, let’s start with the basics of IoT.
First coined by Kevin Ashton back in 1999, the phrase has evolved a lot over time. In simple terms, the phrase can mean 'Ubiquitous Connectivity'. IoT promises an era, in which discrete things or objects are connected through Internet or other connectivity mediums, and these objects individually or collectively achieve some meaningful result. So, maybe in the near future, when you are left with few beer cans, your fridge can directly order beer from an online grocery site. That would be awesome!