Tag Archives: internet of things

Industry 4.0

Hannover-Messe-Logo_image_fullWhat on earth is Industry 4.0? It is a term coined by Hannover Messe, one of the most important industrial tradeshows today.

Essentially there have been four phases in industry starting with the industrial revolution. Today we are in the phase where information systems plays a major part, hence Industry 4.0.    Not surprisingly, the Internet of Things (IoT) features prominently at this year’s Hannover Messe.

Let Us Do Lettuce
A fascinating application of IoT is described on Microsoft’s blog as follows:

“One thing that will become clear this week: IoT is cutting across a wider range of industries than we’ve seen in the past. Fujitsu is bringing together its Eco-Management Dashboard, IoT/M2MP platform, Microsoft cloud services, and Windows tablets in a way that can enable managers, engineers, and scientists to improve product quality, streamline systems, and enhance functionality while reducing costs. For example, at its facility in Aizu Wakamatsu, Japan, Fujitsu is able to grow lettuce that is both delicious and low in potassium so that it can be consumed by dialysis patients and people with chronic kidney disease. They can track all of the plant info from their Windows tablets through the cloud. These solutions will also be able to help other agriculture and manufacturing companies transform their businesses through innovation.”

Who would have thought IOT and lettuce go together?

The Takeaway
Our world is changing rapidly. Because of the IoT there is plenty of opportunity for innovation. New West has plenty of innovative people. If one can grow lettuce, maybe one can track Fraser salmon too…?

Miele Smartoven
The Miele smartoven helping you cook


The Intelligent City

Microsoft's CityNextA hot topic these days is the intelligent city. So just what is it and how is it tied to the Internet of Things?

In this short post I will try and explain it by way of an analogy.

The Vending Machine Example
vending-machineWe have probably all seen and used a vending machine. You put your money in the slot, make your selection, and the corresponding soda drops down ready for you to take out and enjoy.

Behind the scenes there is an embedded microprocessor that is programmed to count the money you put in. If it is correct the program checks if there is a soda in the slot you have selected. Again, if yes, the program allows your selected soda to drop down.

Arduino Uno microprocessor card

This Arduino Uno is a typical microprocessor that can be embedded into “things”. It is very inexpensive and quite small.

It is relatively easy to program to suit your specific “thing”.


Now imagine that this microprocessor is connected to the Internet. Then a server at head office can communicate with the vending machine.

intelligent vending

The head office server can poll all the vending machines in the region and collate the information. The technicians can access this information while on the road via a laptop or smartphone and know what each vending machine needs for restocking.

If there is a technical problem they will be alerted so that they can go and fix the machine quickly – which is important for sales.

Head office will have powerful statistics on which sodas or popular, and that can allow them to purchase supplies intelligently.

In many cases the server is not physically located at “head office” but can be a cloud service provided by companies like Microsoft.

The Intelligent City
The vending machine example is fairly easy to follow. The same principles apply in many different areas of city infrastructure  and services. With intelligent microprocessors embedded into “things” like traffic lights, and turnstiles at stations and so on, one can improve traffic flow and public transportation. It is a big subject, you can read more in this summary wiki article.

People from all over the world are looking into Intelligent Cities:

Why is it so important? Increasingly people are living in cities, so it is important that we make these cities as efficient as possible. This is described eloquently by Florian Lennert in a recent TED talk:

While the concepts are not too complex, society is not there yet. A lot still needs to be done. That also means that for us as entrepreneurs there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.