The Demand For IoT Continues
As the IoT market underwent some unexpected shifts due to the coronavirus pandemic, many vendors continued to push out a variety of new connected devices and IoT solutions.
IoT spending did take a hit this year, but many organizations said they will continue to invest in IoT initiatives despite the pandemic — and even because of it. Some of the drivers include new initiatives for public health, retail experience and energy efficiency in buildings.
[Related: The 10 Coolest IoT Startups Of 2020 ]
This means there will be a continued need for new kinds of sensors and improvements in edge computing so that small, constrained devices, for instance, can consume multiple video feeds and run deep learning algorithms to monitor and enforce mask compliance and social distancing in facilities.
But new IoT devices are serving a number of other needs, including assessing IoT security for corporate networks, monitoring supplies and crops at farms and keeping tabs on the health of seniors.
What follows are some of this year‘s hottest IoT devices, ranging from crop sensors and edge computers that can run neural networks to wireless sensor systems and health monitoring solutions.
The EPC-C301 is a fanless box PC from Advantech that is designed to perform machine vision applications at the edge. The PC is powered by an eighth-generation Intel Core processor and uses Intel’s OpenVINO toolkits to optimize performance on applications like automated optical inspection and automated plate number recognition. The PC, which comes with Advantech’s WISE-DeviceOn IoT management software, features four gigabit Ethernet ports and four USB 3.2 ports for camera inputs. It also comes with four USB 2.0 ports and four UART ports for card readers, barcode scanners, fingerprint sensors and other devices. In addition, the PC sports two CANBus ports for automation and medical applications. The PC can operate in temperatures ranging from -4 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The BOXER-8250AI is a small fanless PC from ASUS subsidiary AAEON that uses an Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX chip to provide high-performance AI computing at the edge. The Jetson Xavier NX chip comes with a six-core Arm processor, 48 Tensor Cores and two Nvidia engines that can run multiple neural networks simultaneously, allowing the system to deliver up to 21 tera operations per second. The PC comes with 8 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 16 GB of onboard eMMC memory that can be expanded through a Micro-SD card slot. The PC also has four USB 3.1 ports, five gigabit Ethernet ports and two COM ports for connecting various cameras and sensors. With a fanless design, the PC can withstand dust, and it can operate in temperatures ranging from 14 degrees to 149 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arable Mark 2
The Mark 2 is a solar-powered crop and weather sensor from agriculture tech startup Arable that aims to help farms and food producers make better decisions around irrigation, spray applications and disease and pest management, among other things. Once deployed in a crop field, the $1,595 sensor collects data on a variety of crop-related things like precipitation, temperature, leaf wetness and crop water demand. The data is then sent via an LTE-M, NB-IoT or 2G connection to the cloud, where the data is run through machine-learning models, which are supported by Arable‘s global network of 30 calibration-validation sites across 12 climatic zones to ensure insight is accurate and reliable.
Amazon Web Services is getting into the rugged edge computing space with Snowcone, a small, 4.5-pound portable device that collects, processes and transfers data to the AWS cloud from IoT sensors and other endpoints in disconnected environments outside traditional data centers. The device is designed for remote or extreme conditions that lack consistent network connectivity or environments that require portability, including hospitals, and first-responder vehicles, military operations, factory floors and oil rigs. It can be used as an IoT hub, data aggregation point, application monitor or lightweight analytics engine. Customers can order AWS Snowcone, which is generally available now, from the AWS Management Console, and AWS will ship the devices directly to their edge locations.
The CoreKinect TankTrack is a battery-powered farm storage tank level monitor and asset tracker that aims to help farms keep track of their fuel or fertilizer. Built with a multi-mode NB-IoT and LTE-M system-in-package from Nordic Semiconductor, the new device from IoT sensor manufacturer CoreKinect is customizable and can be attached to storage tanks using four permanent magnets. The device can send tank level and GPS location readings to the cloud, which can be access from any smartphone, tablet or computer. CoreKinect claims that TankTrack, which lasts for 10 years and can be set up in under one minute, can provide an immediate return on investment if it prevents a single unnecessary delivery of fuel or fertilizer.
NetStick Ethernet Cradle
The NetStick Ethernet Cradle is a mountable Ethernet module from Global Telecom that can turn the vendor’s NetStick USB LTE modem into a private IoT network. The accessory requires “virtually no setup,” according to Global Telecom, and it comes with multiple ways to mount or place near endpoints, including mounting brackets, suction cups and a magnetic base. The NetStick Ethernet Cradle comes with a ruggedized design, withstanding temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius and lasting for more than 80,000 hours of use. There are two versions of the device: a Wi-Fi version that uses the NetStick modem into a hub for up to 55 users or devices and a USB-to-Ethernet version that can add connectivity for devices supported by WAN, Ethernet or RJ45 connections.
Swift Sensors Series 3
The Swift Sensors Series 3 is a wireless sensor system that supports up to 300 feet in wireless range, up to 150 sensors for each gateway and sensor battery life of six to eight years. The system, which consists of sensors and gateways, provides a major improvement in range, sensor density and battery life over previous generations, making it easy to deploy large industrial IoT systems. The Series 3 Platform includes a new water-resistant sensor enclosure for improved durability, a “find my sensor” console button that lights up sensors selected on the console, “instant on” one-touch sensor activation, an enhanced web app and an optional USB cellular network module. Sensors for sound, light, pressure and motion are planned to be added to the platform in the future.
Ordr IoT Discovery Sensor
Ordr’s IoT discovery sensor is a plug-and-play device that lets organizations easily identify IoT devices on the network that could leave them vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. Order, an IoT security startup, provides the device as part of its IoT Discovery Program, which is meant to make it easier for organizations to learn about IoT security issues on their networks. The small sensor device plugs into the SPAN port of a network switch or a network tap that captures network traffic details to quickly create an inventory of IoT devices communicating with the network that organizations may have not necessarily known about. Ordr’s Core software then lists, classifies and rates the security risk of all the IoT devices found on the network in addition to analyzing their behavior and what they’re communicating with.
Vayyar Home brings a twist to smart home monitoring with 4D radar imaging sensors that can monitor the wellbeing of individuals within a home environment or senior living facility. This means there is no need for wearable technology, buttons or cameras to detect falls or home intrusions. The device’s sensors can monitor location, posture and vital signs, which allows caretakers to keep track of when individuals get in and out of bed, roam at night and visit the bathroom. The device, in conjunction with Vayyar’s software, can also analyze the data to identify trends, which as whether there are early signs of health conditions, like dementia and UTI. While the device is expected to start shipping this year, no pricing details are currently available.
Curve is a new multi-purpose tracker from Vodafone that goes beyond traditional Bluetooth-based trackers by adding three other connectivity types: GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular, the latter of which is enabled with a built-in SIM card. With its companion smartphone app, users can follow the location of the tracker in real time and create personalized alerts for when the tracker enters or leaves certain areas. The tracker is lightweight and comes with a battery that can last for up to seven days, allowing users to track a variety of items, from keys and laptops to bags and cars. Curve is available in the United Kingdom for an upfront cost of 20 pounds, and it requires monthly 3-pound subscription for at least a year.