Technical articles from Abelon staff

Sorting Things Out: How to get into IoT

Connecting things together is what humans do.  Combine that skill with the need to eat and drink gave rise to the first soft-drink vending machine connected to a campus network.  No more need to leave your seat to find out if there was a cold Coke waiting for you.  That was back in the 1980s and embedding computing power into real-world devices and connecting them to the Internet is now called the “Internet of Things” or IoT.  In just a few years there will be billions of enabled devices connected to the Internet.

Joining the IoT party challenges product manufacturers to become service providers.  A consumer buys the product, plugs it into the ‘net and subscribes to the service provided.  There is a clear upside for the makers of things.  They can establish a lasting customer relationship through the data collection and the subscription. That relationship can be carefully deepened and leveraged.  

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Enabling Your Smart Meter Product

Building Smart Metering products is complex.  The device must safely and securely measure energy consumption as meters have done for decades, but a Smart Meter must also accurately calculate bills, be a part of the energy supplier’s systems and be a part of the customer’s information network. 

The Smart Meter can be seen as part of the on-going Internet-of-Things (IoT) and cloud revolution.  It is also a key part of the national smart grid infrastructure. You won’t yet be controlling your Smart Meter with your phone, but you will have access to your bill, your energy use and innovative Smart tariffs that can meter energy at special rates and times.  Smart metering is all about communications, but not those prevalent in a typical cloud.

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Hardware Integration Choices - Build, Buy or a bit of Both?

A common discussion point with many of our clients, particularly the smaller ones, is whether they should try to buy an “off-the-shelf” hardware platform, or design a bespoke system from scratch.

The usual answer is “it depends” and while I’m not claiming that we have the definitive design solution I’d like to share some of the lessons that we have learned over the last decade regarding the most cost effective way to develop products for our customers.

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Embedded Firmware Refactoring, Optimisation and Migration

Even if you aren’t planning to develop a brand new product, there are a number of options to help improve your current embedded product line.

Legacy products are often based on older hardware platforms which often become obsolete or end-of-life by the silicon vendor. Customers are also always looking for better features and improved performance but either don’t want to invest in new hardware or need to retain the current field population of devices.

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SIGFOX – A new technology for IoT comms?

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  SIGFOX – A new technology for IoT comms?

It’s quite likely you’ve never heard of SIGFOX, or if you have it has been sketchy at best on details. So what is it, and why should you care?

SIGFOX has been designed from the ground up as a low throughput data transmission technology, including a back-end managed data service, and is specifically intended to avoid many of the drawbacks of many current wireless technologies.

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