With a new bundle of hardware and software, Thingstream aims to give manufacturers everything they need to make dumb products smart.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) connectivity provider Thingstream has launched its own IoT Starter Kit, a bundle of hardware and software designed to enable manufacturers to more rapidly develop smart devices.
Once embedded into a product, the Thingstream Starter Kit will enable it to connect to almost any GSM network worldwide and communicate with applications via MQTT messaging.
According to executives at Thingstream, part of Swiss mobile communications software company Myriad Group, the starter kit comprises:
- The Thingstream IoT module, which offers GSM/GPS connectivity out of the box, including an ARM Cortext-MO+ energy-efficient processor and flash memory;
- A companion baseboard to allow developers to use the 15 GPIOs [general-purpose input/output pins] contained in the IoT module;
- The Thingstream Global IoT SIM;
- Three months of full access to the global network and connectivity software tools, including a data flow Stream Editor.
“We want to make IoT connectivity simple and address both commercial and technical challenges,” explained Neil Hamilton, vice president of business development at Thingstream.
“Traditionally, building a connected device that communicates remotely has been a costly process. Any connected hardware has had to support TCP/IP to communicate, taking up power and space, while making the data vulnerable to security threats.
Thingstream uses USSD messaging via GSM networks. Sometimes referred to as ‘Quick Codes’, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data messaging data is a protocol used by mobile phone networks to communicate with a service provider’s computers. When a user sends a message to the phone company network – to register their phone for the first time, for example, or to query their bill – it is received by a computer dedicated to USSD. Because USSD is a feature in all cellular networks, Myriad executives argue, it can provide secure IoT connectivity – without the internet being involved at all.
This, according to Hamilton, removes complexities around roaming and also reduces power consumption and space by removing processing capacity that would normally be used for TCP/IP. “We believe our solution is particularly compelling to the market, as it combines ubiquitous global access with the necessary hardware, ready to be bolted on and connected to a whole variety of devices,” he said.
Smart buttons with Bright Wolf
In other news, Myriad Group and IoT integration expert Bright Wolf last week launched what the two companies describe as the “world’s first end-to-end IoT button solution.”
Connecting exclusively to the Thingstream global connectivity network, the buttons, which are not much bigger than a USB stick, pass small payloads of information securely to Bright Wolf’s Zipline, a IoT data management application.
This provides a visual interface for adding business context and notifications at scale, including flexible integrations with existing enterprise workflows, public cloud infrastructures (including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform), as well as back-end enterprise systems. The goal here is to overcome the challenges associated with gathering and analysing data collected by IoT devices in the field.
In effect, this means that device makers can create not only smart products, but also associated smart services that allow customer not just to operate but also optimize their operations, by incorporating these buttons into devices and machines. “These devices still perform their physical functions as before, but also collect and share a stream of data aout their status and conditions in the world around them,” as Bright Wolf explains in a recent blog post.
“It’s the data they produce, and the insights your system derives from this data, that enable your organization to offer far more valuable products and services to customers that are not so easily replaced.”
Thingstream was established by Myriad Group two years ago and is focusing on developing its technology for the IIoT market in applications such as asset tracking, logistics/supply chain, facilities management, energy and environmental monitoring.
Coming soon: Our IoT Build events, taking place in London in November 2017 and San Francisco in March 2018 are a great opportunity for attendees to explore the platforms, architectures, applications and connectivity that comprise the IoT ecosystem.