IoT roundup: Smart buildings, airport headaches and off to Paris

This week’s internet of things roundup takes a trip to the airport to learn how IoT can ease security line angst and then jets off for Paris and India.

Internet of Things security camera looming over city

Part of the fun of tracking the IoT market in recent months has been seeing the numerous places where it’s impacting daily life for almost everyone, and not just in the consumer segment – enterprise IoT, increasingly, is shaping people’s experiences in several ways.

Transportation made headlines in the IoT sector recently, as Zensors (a real-time video analytics company) and Pittsburgh International Airport teamed up to ameliorate one of everyone’s least favorite parts of the air travel experience – the security line.

Closed-circuit TV cameras linked to pattern-recognition algorithms in Zensors’ back end analyze the length of the line and, using machine-learning techniques, predict approximate wait times, as well as whether those wait times are increasing or decreasing. The system also considers other factors, like how many TSA agents are working and what time of day it is and issues an estimated wait time to digital signage every minute.

It’s not the first piece of IoT tech that Pittsburgh International has implemented in order to make travel easier. An IBM-created smartphone app integrates with airport notification systems and purpose-built Bluetooth beacons to enable blind travelers to navigate the airport without the need for a guide.

Sitting (and connecting) in Paris

If that flight takes you to Paris, for example, there’s IoT work afoot there, as well. A crowdsourced smartphone app interacts with Bluetooth beacons on benches and other pieces of public infrastructure to help city officials track population movement in various locations across the city of lights.

The smartphone app, made by Nodle, promises to provide internet connectivity to IoT devices via its users. After users install the app, Bluetooth-powered IoT devices connect to the phone and use its mobile network to send data where it needs to go.

The benches themselves were built by French manufacturer Groupe Saint Léonard. The idea is to provide real-time general population data, based on the benches’ Bluetooth beacons detecting nearby numbers of people that will be useful for city planners when they’re designing new public spaces. The 3,000 new benches will be placed in Paris’ parks and Metro stations.

Smart buildings saving you money?

Synchronoss Technologies has teamed up with Microsoft to deliver a smart-building management implementation to track power usage, promising big savings on energy costs. The flagship customer is Rackspace, whose San Antonio headquarters has been instrumented for the service.

As with many IoT implementations, the value is generated in the back end. Synchronoss’ energy consumption sensors feed data back into Microsoft’s Azure IoT cloud for analysis of every electrical fault and usage pattern in the million-square-foot Rackspace HQ. The analysis can predict power use, set baselines and alert real-time when power is being used inefficiently. The system covers HVAC equipment, lighting systems, security equipment like cameras and motion sensors and more.

Feeding the world with IoT

We’ve documented quite a few agricultural IoT stories over the past year, but HPE’s recently announced partnership with the Agastya International Foundation – a science education charity – is a bit different.

The partnership will see HPE set up a training campus for underprivileged computer-science and engineering students in Gudipalli, India. The plan is to teach IoT technical skills that those students will need to help boost farming productivity, improve efficiency and give clearer insight into the cultivation process.

Given the Indian government’s stated goal of doubling famer incomes by 2025, any technological boost to the country’s agricultural sector should prove helpful. HPE has promised to provide IoT hardware like ruggedized edge gateways, access to the Microsoft Azure IoT cloud as well as the company’s own OT Link platform software, and expert instructors to speed the process along.