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Posts From June, 2015

Mouser-backed Formula-E driver Piquet to bring the heat to London 

26 June 2015 08:56:00

Mouser Electronics has announced that expectations are soaring for Formula-E Driver Nelson Piquet Jr. as he and his team head to London after a commanding victory at the Moscow ePrix.       

The Mouser-sponsored Piquet drives the all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E, which can go 0–60 in three seconds and has a top speed of 150 mph. Piquet heads to the season-ending London ePrix double-header June 27th–28th with two first-place finishes and a commanding lead in the driver championship standings.  The popular driver is now ranked No. 1 among the Formula-E series drivers with 128 points and a comfortable 17-point lead over No. 2 Lucas di Grassi. Piquet races for the Mouser-sponsored China Racing Formula-E Team, which is now ranked third overall as they prepare for the upcoming races in London.       

A new 15 turn, 3-kilometer circuit has been built through Battersea Park in south London. The track is next to the River Thames, just across from Chelsea and with some of the most famous features of London's skyline in the background.  “We are amped up. The feeling around here is positively electric,” said Todd McAtee, Mouser vice president for business development, Americas. “With Piquet behind the wheel, we have high hopes for a historic World Championship Victory – a superb finish to an exhilarating inaugural Formula-E electric car race season. In tandem with our supplier partners, we are thrilled to support this high-tech sport that is paving the way for future automotive technologies.”       

Mouser is sponsoring the China Racing Formula-E Team this year in partnership with its valued partners Molex and Vishay Intertechnology.  Since every advanced, sophisticated component that goes into a race car is all about precision and gaining a performance edge out on the track, auto racing is the perfect vehicle to build top-of-mind awareness for Mouser and its industry-leading manufacturer partners,       

Formula E is a new FIA global racing series featuring cars powered exclusively by electricity. It represents a vision for the future of the motor sports industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle. Fans can vote on FanBoost for Piquet (or their favorite drivers). The three drivers with the most votes win FanBoost.  The live leaderboard shows how each driver is performing and updates every time a new vote is cast. Racing fans can learn more about FanBoost at http://www.mouser.com/formula-e.

At the recent Moscow ePrix, Piquet quickly took the lead from the second he left the grid. He broke away and led the race by as much as five seconds with 15 laps remaining, before managing his energy to eventually win by two seconds. He also took the top prize in California at the Long Beach ePrix in April after back-to-back podium finishes in Uruguay and Argentina. To watch a YouTube video from the race in Moscow, click here.     

 

Mouser’s Moon Challenge winners to send mail to the Moon 

23 June 2015 04:45:00

Mouser Electronics, the global authorised distributor with the newest semiconductors and electronic components, congratulates the winners in Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Space Challenge – the latest contest in Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together program. The two lucky winners, Roberto Chiesa Bartelmebs of Brazil and Rodolfo Magnus of Texas will have their photographs and ideas sent to the Moon.       

The Empowering Innovation Space Challenge, accessible only on Mouser.com, marks a historic event in space as the first commercial lunar landing. To prove their genius, the entrants submitted a photo and idea, in 100 words or less, on what technology best represents the world today. The engineering community shared their ideas online to receive votes for which idea and photo should travel aboard Astrobotic’s Griffin Lander to the Moon.

Both winners will have their entry and photo placed on the Moon’s surface in the Astrobotic MoonMail capsule. Roberto’s entry, in part, said:  “Digital electronics is the mother of current technologies and with it the software that manages the information. Electronics can move the world. The Moon cannot be different.”       

And, Rodolfo’s entry said: “The internet represents today’s world better than other technologies because for the first time we humans are connected in ways that before were only dreams…. This technology will be fundamental when colonizing the Moon to remain connected to our Mother Earth.”      

“I can’t think of a more ultimate prize to capture and inspire the imaginations of engineers’ worldwide,” said Glenn Smith, Mouser’s president and CEO. “This Space Challenge was a great follow-up to the Robotic Challenges. We’d really like to thank Astrobotic for their partnership. Sending a personal payload to the moon is an unbelievable engineering prize.”

“We are excited to welcome Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together Space Challenge winners aboard our first lunar mission,” says John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. “This partnership is a great example of how Astrobotic is opening up access to the moon for companies, governments, universities, and individuals. The winners will forever be connected with the Moon in the night sky thanks to Mouser and Astrobotic.”

The Space Challenge is part of the Empowering Innovation Together program – a way that Mouser and Imahara are connecting with engineers through innovation and creativity that defines engineering design.     

The Empowering Innovation Together Space Exploration Series is sponsored by Platinum Program Partner Microsemi and Diamond sponsors Vishay Intertechnology and Phoenix Contact.

To learn more about Grant Imahara, the Empowering Innovation Together campaign and Mouser partnership, www.mouser.com/empowering-innovation.

Wi-Fi to Carry up to 60% of Mobile Data Traffic by 2019, finds Juniper Research 

17 June 2015 09:37:00

New research has forecast that Wi-Fi networks will carry almost 60% of smartphone and tablet data traffic by 2019, reaching over 115,000PB (Petabytes) by 2019, compared to under 30,000PB this year - representing almost a four-fold increase.

Addressing the Wi-Fi Offload Benefits & Challenge

The new research - Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019- found that mobile data offload, [data migration from a mobile network to a Wi-Fi network], offers several key benefits to industry stakeholders. Offload not only addresses the issue of patchy coverage, but also has the potential for the creation of new services such as VoWi-Fi (Wi-Fi Calling) and to increase the usage of existing 3G/4G services.

However, the research cautioned that Wi-Fi offload brings challenges to Operators of effective deployment and ROI (return on investment). “Operators need to deploy own Wi-Fi zones in problematic areas or partner with Wi-Fi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo”, added research author Nitin Bhas.

Additionally, operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers, especially in the US. According to Wi-Fi service provider iPass, there were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014 and expects this to more than double this year to nearly 90 million.

Other global mobile data traffic highlights include:

  • Global mobile data traffic generated from devices including smartphones, featurephones and tablets forecast to exceed 197,000PB in 2019.
  • Juniper estimates global smartphone data consumption to be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015.
  • Developing markets such as the Indian Subcontinent are forecast to witness higher growth rates and increased market share of the total mobile data traffic over the next 5 years; with operators in India already witnessing close to 100% y-o-y growth in data usage.
  • North America and West Europe will together account for over 50% of the global mobile data being offloaded in 2019.

The whitepaper, Wi-Fi Calling Operators is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research and interactive dataset.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

Worried about executing an IoT strategy? Top 10 things manufacturers must consider 

17 June 2015 05:11:00

While the opportunities for embracing IoT are incredibly exciting, it is essential that manufacturers ask the right questions from the beginning when identifying and executing an IoT strategy said Mark Lee, CCO of Intamac, an IoT enabler and innovator with over a decade of experience in this sector. 

Mark continued: “IoT is a relatively new sector where best practices around things like security are constantly evolving and certainly not widely adopted across the industry. This means manufacturers have to be extremely careful when developing their IoT strategy and selecting an IoT technology partner. Asking important questions about security, reliability and customer experience from the beginning is essential in order to avoid potentially disastrous consequences in the future. 

“A classic example is consumer products being shipped with ‘username’ and ‘password’ as the default login settings. In most cases the user won’t change these, either because they aren’t aware or because the product doesn’t prompt them to do so. As a result, the user is automatically vulnerable to attack and it is from small errors like these that the IoT’s ‘insecure and hackable’ reputation was born.” 

While Mark does acknowledge this reputation, he says that in Intamac’s experience, by rigorously scrutinising your strategy and solution architecture, manufacturers are able to successfully develop and bring exciting new connected products and services to market. Mark offers his top 10 tips for manufacturers: 


1.    Value proposition – Have you considered what the added value of connecting your products is, and is it meaningful? The IoT industry is littered with examples of gimmicky products, with tenuous business cases. The usual rules apply: ‘Does connecting the product solve a real problem it didn’t solve before it was connected or add value in some other way?’ If you are increasing productivity, adding useful functionality, reducing maintenance and repair costs, or providing something people don’t already have then chances are that you will have a solid business case and a viable connected product.

2.    Security – Remember it is your company’s brand reputation that will suffer if there are problems with security, personal data breaches or similar, not the reputation of your IoT technology provider. Contract provisions to penalise the supplier are possible but this is unlikely to fully offset the damage to your brand reputation. As a result, you need to know that the technology and your provider has a quality reputation within the industry, and uses best practices such as encryption and locking down communication to minimise the risk of a security breach to the greatest extent possible. 

3.    Data – By 2016 53% of manufacturers will offer smart products, but the biggest game-changer for these companies will arguably not come from the added product value, but from the data created by the end-user. Companies considering an IoT strategy must ensure this information is collected, and used to discover deep and meaningful insights into the end-user, their behaviours and how they use the product, to drive product development.

4.    Business Model – Implementing IoT technologies also creates the opportunity to modify your current business model to incorporate services with a regular revenue stream, or potentially new markets, products or partnership opportunities for extra value services. Make sure you have considered all the options, and have the technology in place to do so before you launch your product. 

5.    Scalability – While you might not need a cloud infrastructure resilient enough to cope with millions of users now, it is possible that you will in the future. How easy will it be to scale your cloud and will it still be cost effective? These questions need to be addressed from the beginning to ensure a complete rebuild is not required at a later date. 

6.    Reliability – It is important that your connected products work as reliably as your unconnected products. This isn’t only about risk of reputational damage. Depending on what the connected product is, the consequences of poor reliability could be serious (for example, a remotely controllable lock that you are unable to unlock). Ensure you have a reliability feedback loop to confirm a product has acted upon a message when it has received it. Without this you have no way of knowing if your command (unlock/lock etc.) has been received and acted upon. The technology in your product has to work every single time without exception. 

7.    User install – When a consumer buys a new product they want it up and running as soon as possible, and while it may be easy to create something that technically works at proof of concept or lab stage, it can be painful for the user to set up and use in the real world if the right design steps aren’t taken. Make sure you do thorough trials of your product before launch and be open to the feedback you receive. 

8.    User experience – We live in a world where there ‘has to be an app for that’. Consumers want to control their technology from their smartphones and expect this functionality. However, consumers will judge you on the user experience of the app, rather than the technology itself. Have you considered building an app? And, if so which functions would be of value to include on it? Make sure the user experience is clean and simple to ensure easy usability. 

9.    No Internet?  - People often ask what happens to IoT when there is no Internet, and it can be extremely inconvenient if simple things like turning your lights on and off won’t work because your Internet is down. This issue is pronounced in IoT security systems, when the house can effectively be blind without the Internet. You need to ensure architecture is in place to prevent these issues. For example, Intamac’s technology features ‘distributed intelligence’ which means its partners’ products are resilient to loss of Internet connectivity, allowing them to function autonomously. 

10.    Data efficiency - A significant part of the rational for connecting products is to collect and analyse data, such as diagnostics, usage or performance. It is easy to take the view ‘we will collect as much data as we can and crunch it in the cloud’, but it is important to consider the cost and other ramifications of this approach, both for the user and you. Remember, the more data you collect, the greater the cost. It is important therefore to have an efficient data management system in place, so that only useful data is collected and that this process is intelligent and optimised. 

Mark concluded: “The most important thing to remember is to choose your IoT technology partner carefully, and then plan, test and refine your connected product for as long as is required before you bringing it to market, as it is your reputation that is on the line if something goes wrong. Having said that, this industry is moving quickly, and manufacturers need to take this opportunity seriously. To be left behind could be highly costly to a manufacturer at this exciting and revolutionary time for the industry.” 

How will integrated mass notification systems change the industry? 

17 June 2015 04:18:00

The mass notification systems (MNS) market has historically been segmented between indoor, wide-area, and distributed recipient notification hardware and software. In its most recent report on the MNS market IHS found that some end users are beginning to install integrated MNS solutions that use a combination of indoor, wide-area, and distributed recipient notification technologies to ensure notifications reach the largest number of people. IHS expects integrations of multiple notification modalities to be a key driver of growth in the Americas market over the next five years. IHS found the fastest growth within the Americas industrial market. IHS expects a large percentage of this growth to be the result of increased uptake in integrated MNS solutions. IHS expects the industrial market to increase by more than 7% over the next five years to more than $320m as a result of the uptake in integrated MNS solutions. 

Our Take

What is driving the uptake of integrated MNS solutions?

  • A major factor contributing to the uptake of integrated MNS solutions is the introduction of IP notification appliances. The use of IP notification appliances such as speakers, sounders, strobes, and digital signage has enabled MNS vendors to connect these appliances to building management systems and life safety control panels which can also send messages via indoor, wide-area, and distributed recipient notification systems. This allows end users to send notifications across multiple notification devices to ensure notifications are received. 
  • Enterprise MNS solutions are also driving investment into integrated MNS solutions. IHS found that large industrial end users have a need to integrate their notification systems across multiple facilities and regions. This enables the corporate office to monitor and notify employees throughout an organisation of an emergency and allows local offices to notify the corporate office in the event of an emergency. 
  • The ability of an organisation to use their MNS solution for purposes other than emergency communications was found to be a major factor when deciding to install an integrated MNS solution. IHS found that organisations are installing integrated solutions for business processes, business continuity, and information technology uses.


What does this mean for the MNS market? 

  • As end users look for more integrated MNS solutions, IHS expects systems integrators and physical security information management (PSIM) vendors to take a more prominent role in the MNS market. 
  • Increased demand for integrated MNS solutions is also expected to drive more open protocols within the MNS software market. As end users demand seamless integration with existing notification appliances IHS expects MNS vendors to adopt more open software protocols to enable multiple systems from different manufacturers to work together. 

The need to notify personnel in the event of an emergency is expected to remain a key driver of growth in the MNS market; however, as integrated solutions gain more traction in the MNS market IHS expects systems integration companies to have a larger role in the market. This is expected to result in more cooperation between MNS suppliers as end users drive demand for seamless integration of notification solutions.    

Ultrahaptics to receive €1.49M Grant from the European Commission under Horizon 2020 

09 June 2015 03:59:00

Ultrahaptics, a developer of ultrasonic free-space haptics technology, has announced that it is to receive a grant of €1.49M in the latest round of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2.

The company applied for the grant under the commission’s Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme which aims to foster the development of fast-growing, innovative SMEs with promising, close-to market ideas bearing high disruptive potential in terms of products, services, models, and markets.

Ultrahaptics has developed a technology that uses ultrasound to create feeling in mid-air. By holding their hand over ultrasound speakers the user can feel virtual objects, control switches and buttons.

Speaking of the grant, CEO, Steve Cliffe said: “We are enormously proud to have been selected as one of only four companies in the UK to receive this funding. Our innovation will be truly disruptive in the way we interface with technology, and this funding will help us develop the breadth of applications. We are already engaged with key partners in multiple markets but the applications really are limitless. Everything you touch physically today, every light switch, dashboard control, keyboard, you could feel yourself touching virtually, in mid-air, in the future.”

RS Components supports mission to find Ireland’s brightest coders 

09 June 2015 03:50:00

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents, the global distributor for engineers, is helping to support IT in education and nurture an interest in coding for future engineers with a donation of 50 Raspberry Pi devices – small, credit card-sized computers that can be used in electronics projects – for an event to find Ireland’s best and brightest young coders.

CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects takes place on 13th June, allowing members of CoderDojo – community-based programming clubs for young people, supported by the Coderdojo Foundation – to show off their skills and the projects they have created, from websites and apps to Scratch projects, HTML and other advanced coding languages. RS has also offered a prize of €250 worth of RS products for use in future projects. 

The event, now in its fourth year, is open to younger members of society from aged seven to 17. It will be held in the RDS Dublin, where the BT Young Scientists Competition is held each year. Up to 500 projects are expected to be showcased, double that of last year, and the event includes participants from around Europe, with around 10% of projects from CoderDojo members outside of Ireland.

Gary Bradley, country manager - Ireland, RS, said: “CoderDojo’s Cool Projects is a fantastic initiative that supports innovation, which is something RS is committed to doing. What these participants can develop with a little help does not fail to amaze me and it is great for RS to be a part of that support.”   

One of last year’s winners at the Coolest Projects event was Niamh Scanlon, who created an app that pinpointed the map location of all electric car charging points around the country, whether they were currently in use and if so, how long for - all in real time. The app also provided directions to the charging points. Niamh has since gone on to develop the app for Android phones, which is expected to be available on the Play Store soon. She is now also working on an Apple version.

Electronics firm supports local school’s STEM project 

01 June 2015 04:20:00

TDK has announced that TDK-Lambda UK is again supporting 6th form Diploma students at The Ilfracombe Academy with a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) project.

Developing skills and practicing scientific practical techniques is core to the Applied Science curriculum. The unit involves students in a range of practical sessions, which involves the analysis and separation of substances and the use of various high-tech test and measurement instruments and sensors.

“We have been working closely with the course tutor and STEM lead, Vikki Cooper to develop a session that fulfils the needs of Unit 4 in their Diploma that focusses on scientific practical techniques but also ensures that all Health & Safety requirements are met,” said Anne Sutton, training and development officer at TDK-Lambda UK.

Working with the component engineering team, groups of students had the opportunity to review some electronic components, before analysing them in more detail using TDK-Lambda’s state-of-the-art test & measurement equipment. The merits of all the different practical techniques used throughout the day were compared and contrasted by all of the students during the closing session.

“Many TDK-Lambda employees began their careers in engineering with apprenticeships, internal training and graduate paths,” Anne added. “This type of STEM activity can provide invaluable help and advice to students looking to take their first steps on the career path and, interestingly, all of the engineers involved in this project attended The Ilfracombe Academy for their own formative education.”

 

 

Michelle WinnyMichelle Winny

With a combination of news, products and feature articles, Michelle provides up-to-wire commentary on new technology and legislation. Coupled with in depth coverage for specifiers and purchasers of electronic components and equipment, Michelle brings everything within the electronics market directly to her readers.