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A Solution to Latency in IoT Devices

IoT Latency Solution IEEE Wake-Up Radio

In 2016, a PwC survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found:

  • 45% reported owning a fitness band
  • 27% a smartwatch
  • 12% smart clothing

Furthermore, 57% said they’re excited about the future of wearable technology as part of everyday life. In order for the full power of these devices to be realized, however, it is important to ensure that latency isn’t a problem.

The Latency Problem with Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

The challenge with IoT devices is that they run on batteries. This makes them convenient…no one wants to be tethered by a cord. But it also brings challenges. In order to preserve the lifespan of batteries, IoT devices systematically wake up from sleep mode to retrieve new information. The longer the device is asleep, the less power it consumes. This also means that there are fewer opportunities for information to be exchanged. This impacts the performance of the device, causing it to run slower (known as latency).

In today’s devices, low power consumption and low latency are in conflict with one another. Because of the advent of Internet of Things technologies, however, finding a low-power, low-latency solution is of the utmost importance.

IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio - Buy Now!The Most Viable Solutions to Latency

There is a great deal of research going on right now in the low-latency low-power field, with two dominant solutions emerging: Wake-Up Radio (created by IEEE 802.11ba standards working group) and Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart). In this context it’s worth noting that Bluetooth Low Energy is not the same as the Bluetooth prevalent in today’s consumer devices. Rather, it’s a new technology needs to be included in devices moving forward in order to take advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy.

Internet of Things device manufacturers must be cognizant of their options when it comes to these technologies. If your company is considering Internet of Things devices, it’s essential that you understand how Wake-Up Radio works, and how it may impact your products and your business, especially if the device will run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®).

Based on work of the IEEE 802.11ba standards task group, the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio highlights current and projected developments in this groundbreaking technology that allows devices to achieve low power and low latency at the same time, greatly reducing the frequent recharging or replacement of batteries. This report is especially useful for helping manufacturers analyze and prepare for the implementation of Wake-Up Radio when the standard is finalized within the next 2-3 years.

To purchase your copy of the IEEE Wake-Up Radio Report, click here. Or, contact an IEEE Content Specialist about an institutional purchase of the report.

Resources

16 Aug. 2016. IoT Facts and Figures. What’s the Big Data.

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Introduction to Predictive Maintenance

Introduction to Predictive MaintenanceAs the Industrial Internet of Things continues to grow, predictive maintenance technology is transforming industries by evaluating the condition of equipment, determining if and when maintenance and repairs are needed, and preventing failures from happening in the first place.

Since it’s estimated that the Internet of Things will be connected to 80 billion devices by 2025, it’s important to invest in performance-predicting technologies now to improve safety and reliability. (Kerravala, 2017)

How It Works

If the Internet of Things had its own “fight or flight” response, it would be predictive maintenance. It observes the start of a mechanism malfunction or deterioration, with the express goal of correcting said malfunction or deterioration before significant degradation in the component or equipment occurs. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2015). The result can be a significant increase in productivity and return on investment.

Predictive technology is helping many businesses and public services run faster, more efficiently, and cost effectively. The diagnostic capabilities of predictive maintenance technologies have increased in recent years, thanks to advances made in sensor technologies.

Take the city of Chicago for example, which in late 2016 deployed predictive technology to take out the trash — literally. It relied on smart sensors to help determine which dumpsters needed emptying and when, thus keeping the city cleaner and its residents happier. By utilizing connected technology to yield previously unobtainable data on waste management without significant human time investment, stress-ridden “what happens when…” possibilities can quickly become a thing of the past. Just ask Chicago’s sanitation workers.

Collaboration Is Key

As always, when any new technology is introduced, proper training is required to ensure it is applied appropriately. This is particularly true when it comes to the field of predictive maintenance technology, as its level of sophistication continues to evolve each and every day.

It’s important for professionals working in engineering, IT, computer science and related fields across all industries to be trained in the Internet of Things. For more information, check out the online course program IEEE Guide to Internet of Things.

Imagine living and working in an environment where technology is fixed even before it breaks. It’ll be here before you know it.

Resources:

McKinsey Global Institute. (2015, June). Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things. McKinsey & Company.

Kerravala, Zeus. (2017, Dec. 4). DDI is a critical component of IoT success. Network World.

Newman,  Daniel (2017, 5 Dec.). 3 Areas The IoT Will Impact You Without You Even Knowing. Forbes.

Sisson, Patrick. (2016, Sept. 7). Chicago’s new smart sensor network is a game changer for city data. Curbed.

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Is Blockchain the Solution to IoT Security?

Blockchain IoT securitySecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is an ongoing problem. The largely unregulated IoT market leaves plenty of room for device hacking. When considering applications such as smart homes and smart cars, this lack of security can be a real concern. A hacker, for example, could take over a self-driving car with someone in it, or make purchases based on access levels given to an IoT system. With all of the data that is collected and passed between IoT devices, strong security is a must.

While there are many security recommendations for IoT devices, such as biometrics and two-factor authorization, one potential solution is blockchain IoT security. Blockchain, which is most familiar for bitcoin and Ethereum, offers an intriguing solution for IoT security. Blockchain contains strong protections against data tampering, locking access to Internet of Things devices, and allowing compromised devices in an IoT network to be shut down. Hyundai has recently backed a blockchain start-up that is specifically designed for IoT security. Called HDAC (Hyundai Digital Access Currency), this innovative approach creates a permissioned private network.

“Some differentiating features of the HDAC token are that it has a new PoW mining algorithm (ePoW) that reduces mining monopolization, has 3-minute blocks, and has a private/public/permissioned blockchain.” (@ecurrencyhodler)

Thomas Hardjono, Chief Technology Officer of MIT Connection Science, suggests that we need infrastructure to manage devices, as well as data access. In a recent paper, he proposes a blockchain-based IoT framework called ChainAnchor. “This framework addresses device security with activation and security layers supported by device makers, data providers and independent third parties…The proposed framework includes layers of access that can keep out unauthorized devices or cut bad actors (such as a hacked device) from the network. It also includes cases for safely selling and removing devices from the blockchain.” (Compton)

If there is to be blockchain IoT security, however, there are issues to be overcome. For one, blockchain mining requires a large amount of processing power. Many IoT devices lack the power needed. Current blockchains are vulnerable if a group of miners controls more than 50% of the network’s mining hashrate. The global distribution of nodes in a typical blockchain makes this very difficult. But a home IoT blockchain’s processing power might be more easily hacked.

IoT security will continue to evolve as regulations related to their development and use continue their forward march. However the possibility of a blockchain IoT security system is something that may hold great potential.

Would you like to learn more about the Internet of Things? Check out our online course program: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things

 

References

Compton, J. (2017, 27 Jun). How Blockchain Could Revolutionize the Internet of Things. Forbes. 

@ecurrencyhodler. (2017, 21 Nov). The Solution to IoT is Blockchain Security. hackernoon. 

 

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GDPR will Help Enhance Cyber Security

GDPR cyber securityOn May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) go into effect. This broadly-reaching set of regulations related to how personal data is collected, processed, and stored, is causing fundamental shifts in the way organizations approach personal data. And rightly so: the fines for non-compliance are significant, at 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). GDPR cyber security will greatly impact internet of things (IoT) device developers, as these devices typically collect and transmit a great deal of personal data. It will no longer be acceptable to create IoT devices with weak security measures, as the manufacturers themselves may be held liable for data breaches caused by poor design.

The good news for consumers is that organizations must take the cyber security of personal data into account as part of their efforts to comply with GDPR cyber security requirements. Data privacy and data security, long considered separate things, are becoming intertwined thanks to these new regulations. Andrew Burt, Chief Privacy Officer and Legal Engineer of Immuta, states, “2018 will prove that cyber security without privacy is a thing of the past.” (Forbes) Article 32 of GDPR provides specific guidance related to data security and breach notification. Among other things, data controllers and processors are advised to include:

  • The pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data.
  • The ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services.
  • The ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident.
  • A process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organizational measures for ensuring the security of the processing. (Heimes)

It is advisable for organizations to begin now to make data privacy a part of their operational GDPR cyber security strategy. No matter where your organization falls within the process, from creating devices that collect and transmit personal data, to collecting personal data, to processing or storing data locally, on the edge, or in the cloud, the cyber security of personal data is a pressing concern. Hackers regularly target this type of information, and news stories about large data breaches are becoming commonplace. Every organization that falls within range of the EU GDPR requirements must reevaluate their cyber security strategy.

Does your organization need to begin implementing a cyber security strategy? Start with the IEEE online course program Cyber Security for Today’s Environment.

 

References

Olivi, G. (2017, Nov 24). Cybersecurity and GDPR: Where We are Heading. DLA Piper Privacy Matters.

Press, G. (2017, Nov 26). 60 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017. Forbes.

Heimes, R. (2016, Jan 6). Top 10 Operational Impacts of the GDPR: Part 1 – Data Security and Breach Notification. IAPP.

 

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Is Your Smart Device Spying On You?

Is your smart device spying on you?A regulatory agency in Germany just announced a ban on children’s smartwatches. This illustrates a growing concern among regulators and consumers alike regarding the privacy implications of smart devices. Is your smart device spying on you?

In the example of the smartwatch ban in Germany, the devices in question contain a remote listening capability. According to the regulators, this means the device counts as a spying device under German law. Worse yet, some smartwatches were found to transmit and store data without encryption. Parents could listen, unnoticed, to their child’s classroom, for example. But so could others who hack the device. Parents in Germany are being urged to destroy the smartwatches.

Concerns about smart device spying are not limited to Germany, however. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 40% of consumers are concerned that smart home devices reveal too much about their daily lives. After all, cameras and microphones within these devices can be hacked, and they are often found in the most intimate areas of the home, listening in on every conversation. While cheap devices that have been rushed to market may be more susceptible to hacking than larger brands, 60% of consumers in the survey felt that they had little or no information at all about the privacy of these devices. Smart device spying is a real and growing concern.

And it’s not just about listening to private conversations. These devices can also be controlled remotely by hackers to coordinate large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on sites around the world, all without the device owner’s knowledge. Privacy cannot be taken for granted, and device manufacturers must make the security of devices a primary element in the design.

However consumers of these devices have a role to play as well. Here are some ways that consumers can protect their smart devices:

  • When available, enable two-step authentication that requires physical access to the device in order to log in.
  • Ensure your internet connection is secure.
  • Install software updates issued by your device manufacturer immediately.
  • Change device passwords frequently.

Smart devices can be remarkably convenient for consumers, but the security of those devices cannot be ignored. Device manufacturers certainly have a role to play, ensuring privacy by design. However consumers must also do their part to make sure that their devices can’t be hacked. This is the only way to ensure that the benefits of smart devices outweigh the risks.

Want to learn more about cyber security, and how it related to not just smart devices, but other areas too? Explore the IEEE online course program Cyber Security Tools for Today’s Environment.

 

References

Griffin, A. (18 Nov, 2017). Low-Quality Devices Could Be Damaging the Idea of the Internet of ThingsIndependent.

Wakefield, J. (17 Nov, 2017). Germany Bans Childrens’ Smartwatches. BBC. 

Tung, L. (20 Nov, 2017). Is Germany Right to Tell Parents to Destroy Kids’ Smartwatches Over Snooping Fears? ZDNet. 

Cakebread, C. (15 Nov, 2017). Consumers are Holding Off on Buying Smart-Home Gadgets Thanks to Security and Privacy Fears. Business Insider. 

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Managing IoT on the Edge

edge computing internet of things (IoT)As Internet of Things (IoT) devices proliferate, so does the data that they produce. As more and more data is produced, organizations are finding it to be a costly endeavor to send, process, and store all of this data in the cloud. In fact, some organizations don’t even have the connectivity within their infrastructure to send large amounts of data to the cloud. (Anderson, 2017) Reliance on cloud computing alone also slows down device performance, as bandwidth constraints constrict how much data can be sent and received. Cloud computing alone cannot efficiently handle the IoT. This is why edge computing is becoming a critical factor in IoT deployments.

Edge computing moves data processing from the cloud to hardware on the “edge” of the network. By keeping the data processing local, latency is minimized, which is critical for deployments where real-time processing and time-sensitive decisions are mission critical. Artificial intelligence can help parse data and trigger local actions, such as scheduling maintenance with a facility that has the necessary parts, or deciding when a safety alert needs to be sent. Monitoring, diagnostics, performance optimization, and predictive maintenance are all functions that benefit from an edge computing solution.

In addition to reduced latency, there’s another key benefit to edge computing. It is estimated that the cost of a combined edge and cloud infrastructure is 1/3 of the cost of a cloud-only solution. (Gaunt, 2017) Most of this cost savings is realized through the reduction of bandwidth requirements and computing resources.

Of course, when moving to the edge, security is a critical factor. Cyber security must be deployed in both hardware and software to protect an organization’s data and hardware. As the cyber security of Internet of Things devices continues to develop, it is essential that IoT device manufacturers take into account the fact that some processing will occur on the edge, and build in security measures, including the ability to install updates as needed. Yet the edge may even be more secure than the cloud, as it is by its very nature decentralized. It is more complex for a cyber attacker to hack the decentralized edge, than the more centralized cloud.

Edge computing offers exciting opportunities for IoT development, and the intelligent processing of data that these devices produce. Investment of infrastructure to support the edge will continue, and should yield strong returns for organizations, both financially, as well as through better use of data.

To learn more about the Internet of Things, check out our online course program IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

 

References

Gaunt, T. (20 Nov, 2017). Pushing IoT to the Edge. Networks Asia. 

Anderson, J. (17 Nov, 2017). Managing IoT with Edge Computing. Network Computing.

Figueredo, K. (15 Nov, 2017). Edge Computing and AI: From Theory to Implementation. IoT Agenda.

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Powering Predictive Maintenance

Powering Predictive Maintenance from IEEE Innovation at WorkPredictive maintenance is one of the most compelling use cases for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In fact, according to IBM, predictive maintenance can prevent up to 70% of equipment breakdowns, and reduce downtime by as much as 50%.

In the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio (IEEE, 2017), this use case is highlighted as one of the biggest market opportunities in the next five years, impacting industries such as shipping and logistics, process industries, discrete manufacturing, utilities, and healthcare. Even governments are taking advantage of predictive maintenance: The United States Department of Defense just announced that it will use C3 IoT’s platform to develop artificial intelligence tools for predictive maintenance of assets. (Dignan, 2017)

As organizations begin to take advantage of predictive maintenance, the practical matter of deployment comes into play. Not every device and sensor used for predictive maintenance can be wired. Wireless applications are numerous, and powering those deployments in a sustainable way is critical.

That’s where IEEE Wake-Up Radio comes into play. This upcoming standard, being developed by the IEEE 802.11ba standards task group, will significantly increase battery life in Internet of Things devices. The energy savings is significant, increasing the life of a single battery by years. This reduces costs even further for organizations that seek the benefits of predictive maintenance, both in terms of the cost of the batteries themselves, as well as in the man-hours needed to physically change the batteries. Depending on the number of devices and sensors deployed within an organization, the cost savings can be significant.

The development of predictive maintenance devices and sensors needs to take IEEE Wake-Up Radio into account when planning future devices. If the devices will be connected via 802.11 (Wi-Fi®), then IEEE Wake-Up Radio is required in order to stay competitive in a crowded market.

To learn more about IEEE Wake-Up Radio, check out the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio, available now.

 

Resources

IEEE. (November 2017) IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio: An Application, Market, and Technology Impact Analysis of Low-Power/Low-Latency 802.11 Wireless LAN Interfaces. IEEE Educational Activities and IEEE Standards Association.

Dignan, L. (November 2017). C3 IoT Lands Department of Defense Deal for Aircraft Predictive Maintenance. ZDNet. 

 

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Industry IoT Growth Trends

Industry IoT Growth TrendsThe adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) systems for business continues to rise. In a recent study of manufacturing, transportation, and oil and gas organizations, 86% say that they are adopting IoT solutions, and 84% believe they are very and extremely effective. (Hedge, 2017) In this article, we take a look at some of these IoT growth trends, and what is driving them.

According to a recent Technavio report, the industrial wearables market is forecast to grow over 10% through 2021. (Burns, 2017) What is driving this growth? There are three trends that we see:

  • Digitalization and automation
  • A focus on workplace safety and efficiency
  • Growing adoption of smart sensors

One interesting example of an industrial wearable is smart glasses. Smart glasses allow an industrial worker to see not just the physical plant, but also computer generated images and sound over the plant. Imagine looking at machinery and seeing the placement and operational status of every sensor. This type of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) device eliminates the need for workers to carry additional electronics such as tablets and cameras.

Another recent study of IT professionals found that 77% of companies that have invested in IoT systems have adopted IoT security services, which is another of the IoT growth trends we’re seeing. (Reisinger, 2017) In fact, the top three reasons these IT professionals say they have invested in IoT solutions include:

  1. An opportunity to boost security
  2. Improve operational processes
  3. Reduce costs

Given the fact that IoT security is such a pressing issue, it is interesting that IT professionals see IoT systems as an opportunity to boost security. Perhaps the increased focus on IoT security enables IT professionals to bring a renewed focus on many security practices within the organization, and are the driving force behind this as one of the IoT growth trends.

In the industrial sphere, however, 90% of IIoT adopters say that the primary reason that they have adopted IIoT solutions is device health. IIoT devices enable industrial users to monitor and greatly improve the efficiency of their operations. In fact 73% plan to increase their investment in the IoT over the next 12 months.

Several of these studies note, however, that there is still opportunity to make greater investments in deep data analytics. Beyond the efficiencies generated by IoT devices, a great deal of data is also created. By investing in the artificial intelligence/deep learning systems that can make intelligent use of this data, organizations can experience even greater rewards from their investment in the internet of things.

Would you like to learn more about the Internet of Things? Check out the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things. This 8-course online learning program will help you learn the foundations of the Internet of Things, and help you get started in this growing field.

 

Resources

Reisinger, D. (2017,  13 Nov.)  Study Finds Internet of Things Will Continue Rapid Growth Rate in 2018eWeek.

Hedge, Z. (2017, 13 Nov.) New Research Shows Industrial Organisations Increasingly Focused on IoT Adoption, but Most are Still in Early StagesIoTNow.

Burns, M. (2017, 11 Nov.) IoT-enabled Industrial Wearables Market – Drivers and Forecasts by Technavio. The Daily Telescope.

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IoT Data Needs Artificial Intelligence

IoT Data Needs Artificial IntelligenceInternet of Things (IoT) devices produce massive amounts of data. From environmental and logistics data in the industrial IoT, to health data in your wearable, the IoT data being produced by billions of devices on a daily basis is far greater than human beings can process alone. In fact, according to Forrester, as much as 60-73% of data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics. All of this valuable information may just be sitting idle in data warehouses and lakes. (Barzilay, 2017)

Think about what could be done if IoT data was used and optimized. People could make better decisions. Resources could be more efficiently deployed. Money could be saved while improving the human experience. In short, better use of the data already being collected could vastly improve the lives of people and organizations. And we might even get smarter about the data we could/should be collecting, because not all data is useful. But how do we decide if we don’t have the capacity to look at all the data?

Enter artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) were practically made for each other, and can help us understand the context of the information that is collected. (Bergey, 2017) Normal algorithms alone are not sophisticated enough to manage the vast streams of IoT data. The information must be collected and analyzed, often at the edge of networks, rather than in the cloud, so that better decisions can be made.

According to Bergey, “Artificial intelligence is an example of massive real-time processing at the edge, enabling machines to perform human-like tasks. The in-machine sensors read, compare and physically map machine or robotic data to its environment, and include analysis and intelligent algorithms that look for patterns in the data, and will alert operators to anomalies and opportunities for process improvements that can save a manufacturing operation significant time and money.”

Another issue is data storage. Without artificial intelligence, we could be incurring the costs of storing and securing massive amounts of data that is essentially meaningless. It is much more efficient to use artificial intelligence systems to decide which data is important and worth processing/keeping, and which data can be discarded without consequence.

As Internet of Things devices continue to grow and proliferate, it is essential that artificial intelligence grow alongside them, managing the data flow and helping humans better manage the data they have. When deployed effectively, artificial intelligence systems can help improve the human experience while reducing the storage of meaningless information that simply wastes resources. The IoT needs artificial intelligence, and will be vastly improved through its implementation.

Want to learn more about the Internet of Things? IEEE offers an 8-course series called IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

 

Resources

Barzilay, O. (2017, 2 Nov). Can Blockchain and AI Accelerate the Arrival of the IoT Economy? Forbes.

Bergey, C. (2017, 2 Nov). Data Context vs. Content in an IIoT Environment. IoT Agenda. 

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Powering the Industrial Internet of Things

Powering the Industrial Internet of ThingsThe Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the potential to revolutionize industry. With use cases that promise to increase capacity and efficiency while lowering costs, IIoT technology is a smart investment that pays off quickly.

Some of the use cases that hold huge potential include predictive maintenance, which helps keep assets up and running, avoiding downtime and costly routine maintenance when it isn’t warranted. (Tracy, 2017) The safety of industrial spaces improves as sensors provide alerts about unsafe conditions. Assets can be tracked easily, making it easier to locate and move goods efficiently while monitoring inventory. Fleets can be deployed efficiently where they are needed, reducing overall resource consumption while maximizing impact. In short, IIoT devices and sensors can make it easier and more efficient to do business, creating safer, more productive environments.

IIoT devices and sensors often need to function in hostile environments, however, and can be expected to work 24/7. They are tucked away in hard-to-reach places and are increasingly smaller. Environmental conditions around the device or sensor can be very hot or cold, and sometimes humid or dusty. For example, machines may reach 150°C in a plastic packaging plant, or have to withstand freezing temperatures near a pipeline in Alaska. (Pasero, 2017) It is much more feasible to have devices that run on batteries, and those batteries need to last as long as possible. The challenge is that, while IIoT devices and sensors are often designed to last for 10-15 years, their batteries only last 2-3 years. Given that the IIoT market is expected to grow to 75.4 billion devices by 2025, that’s a lot of batteries that need charging and replacement. (Columbus, 2016)

Fortunately, there is a solution that can help to extend battery life in the Industrial Internet of Things. IEEE has just released the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio. This technology, under development right now by the IEEE 802.11ba standards working group, can increase the battery life of an IIoT device by up to 94%. This can add years to the life of a battery, and in turn an Internet of Things device. The duty-cycled IEEE Wake-Up Radio is added to the device, which only wakes up the device when it is needed. By maintaining a longer sleep state, the battery lasts longer. The result is cost savings, improved efficiency, and longer device life.

The Industrial Internet of Things will continue to grow because it brings such powerful return on investment. But powering the Industrial Internet of Things must be planned for, in order to reap all of the benefits this technology can provide. IIoT device manufacturers need to plan now to integrate IEEE Wake-Up Radio into their devices, and the IEEE Technology Report has the information organizations need to gain this competitive advantage.

Order your copy of the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio today, or request information about organizational pricing.

 

Resources

Philip, T. (April, 2017). The Top 5 Industrial IoT Use Cases. IBM Internet of Things Blog.

Pasero, D. (2017) Powering sensor nodes for industrial IoT. Power Electronics News.

Columbus, L. (November, 2016). Roundup of Internet of Things Forecasts and Market Estimates. Forbes.

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