I had the wonderful opportunity to attend IDTechEx in Santa Clara CA, November 18-21, 2014, and explore the tradeshow. This was an interesting event, in that it encompassed several different technology groups, The Internet of Things (IoT), Energy Harvesting & Storage, 3D Printing, Wearable Technology, Supercapacitors, Printed Electronics and Emerging Materials.
As an engineer, I find conferences and tradeshows a great way to keep pace of the emerging technologies that direct our future. This year, I had an alternate motive for attending in that Linear Technologies/Dust Network was showing an INFINETIX Designed SmartMesh® Gateway as part of Linear's/Dust Networks booth under their Partner Solutions.
INFINETIX as an Engineering Services company saw the Dust Network approach as a great fit for several of our customers, and we wanted to understand the technology better. We developed our own gateway product as a development platform, using the BeagleBone Black as the base Linux computer. This open sourced computing platform is both low cost, and has the performance necessary for the gateway. Consequently we were able to use it as is for both the standard gateway and a version with cellular back haul capabilities. In an unintentional, but fitting tribute to the 3D printing section of the show, we 3D printed the cases for the display units with clear laser-cut Plexiglas tops and bottoms to better show off the solutions.
At the tradeshow I was interested in what markets were really interested in the Linear/Dust Network Solution and what challenges face those needs. IoT has many meanings to different people; energy efficiency and reliability are what the Linear/Dust Network solution brings to the table. Knowing today's price point, it may not be the best solution for the consumer/wearable space, but for the industrial, commercial, agricultural, safety and governmental space where performance has a higher priority than cost the Linear/Dust Network solution is the best solution available.
Being on a tradeshow floor that also had energy harvesting and energy storage technologies, it truely opened my eyes on how well the dust motes fit that model as well, where they can harvest energy from available sources to run indefinitely. In an industrial environment, the cost of changing the batteries may easily exceed the cost of the unit. So minimizing this cost is a huge benefit.
Of course each customer's specific needs, requirements and potential energy sources vary, so having a great understanding of the underlying technologies allows INFINETIX to fill those needs whatever they may be.
I am excited about our position in this emerging market, and our partnership with Linear/Dust Networks.
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