Event report: IoT Solutions World Congress

Posted On: 17th November 2016

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The IoT Solutions World Congress is a world leading IoT Industry event organized in Barcelona during October 25-27.

The congress drew the attention of more than 8000 visitors and well known companies in different sectors such as telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing, and renewal energy. The main topics during the event were related to security and the adoption of new standards to cope with the expansion of IoT devices in the near future.

In terms of security, one of the main concerns in the industry is the way sensitive information is protected in IoT environments. This was clearly visible after the recent attack that took down major websites. The attack was orchestrated by an organized network of a hundred thousand IoT devices that were hacked due to poor security designs and default password settings.

Manufacturers and organizations are currently establishing and deploying secure and reliable end-to-end mechanisms from the chipset level to transmit the massive amount of data that IoT networks are expected to handle in the coming years.

In this regard, operators are also looking into new network standards that will be able to maintain a large number of IoT devices in an affordable way. Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology standard specifically designed for the Internet of Things. The technology is compatible with existing telecommunication networks and is providing a higher indoor penetration as well as low energy consumption at a lower cost.

Intel – IoT Solutions World Congress Hackathon

During the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Intel in collaboration with Microsoft organized a coding competition event were approximately 250 members participated and more than 20 projects were developed.

The theme of the Hackathon competition was to use existing IoT platforms to produce a concept solution with social impact in areas like healthcare, education, transportation, and environment. Zenterio attended and won the first award at the event as part of the innovation initiative within the company to encourage employees to participate proactively in these events.

The Zenterio team together with an external member developed an affordable irrigation system targeting local communities in underdeveloped countries with extreme heat and dry environments. In these areas, water scarcity is a tremendous issue and is affecting 1.1 billion people worldwide. By 2025, it is expected that two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.

In these conditions, local agriculture is a serious problem for these communities where water becomes a precious resource that needs to be carried from very long distances.

Traditional sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are not efficient enough due to the waste of water that is evaporated. In addition, these systems lack an accurate method to control water consumption depending on the necessity of each plant.

The Zenterio team developed a simple and affordable solution using unglazed clay pots. These kind of pots are widely available worldwide and can be manufactured in the local communities.

These pots can be made in any size and form and they are dug into the ground near the plants. The pots are filled out with water and closed with a lid. Since the water remains contained in the pot under the ground, the evaporation of water is minimal.

These pots filled with water are slightly wet from the outside. In extreme dry conditions, the roots of nearby plants are desperately in need of water. In fact, the roots are essentially water sensors and eventually they are able to find the wet pot. At this time, the roots of the plant are attached to the outer part of the clay pot.

In this scenario, due to the porosity and the force that the roots apply to absorb the water from the outer part of the pot, the plant is able to get the water from the inside out. Hence, the plant will only extract the water that needs whereas the rest of the water remains in the pot.

This solution can be applicable to several plants with different water consumptions using the same pot since they are self-regulated with the amount of water they need. Also, the solution can scale up easily since the production and maintenance cost is low.

Using this concept, the Zenterio team developed a mechanism to detect when each pot needs to be refilled. For the purpose of the event, affordable floating Near Field Communication (NFC) stickers were used.

Once the plant has consumed most of the water from the pot, a NFC reader placed at the bottom of the pot detects the signal of the NFC sticker and sends the information to a central unit that automatically refills the pot. The concept can also be extended by replacing the NFC mechanisms with the use of iBeacons.

The concept was using Intel technology and Microsoft cloud solutions together with open source IoT frameworks. After the event, the concept was released as an open source project for everyone to collaborate. The concept was presented during the IoT Solutions World Congress at the Intel booth were visitors could try the solution.

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