by Jared Weiner | 07/03/2019
Sensors Expo & Conference 2019, an event focused exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems, took place from June 25th through June 27th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA. The exhibition hall featured more than 350 exhibitors and 7,500 attendees from around the world, and was co-located with the inaugural Embedded Technologies Expo & Conference, the Medical Sensors Design Conference, and the Autonomous Vehicle Sensors Conference, as well as the inaugural OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress.
This year’s Sensors Expo featured 10 distinct tracks, each supported by technical sessions, presentations, round table discussions, case studies, and sensor solutions from leading suppliers. The IoT & Wireless track appeared to be particularly popular again this year, with the tracks dedicated to advanced analytics and artificial intelligence also drawing a great deal of attention. The opening keynote―Engineering Discover: Building NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, presented by Allison Barto of Ball Aerospace―highlighted the design and deployment of NASA’s latest space telescope, focusing on its unique sensing requirements as well as the many challenges that have affected its testing and deployment. Qualcomm’s Gerardo Giaretta delivered the second day’s keynote, What Does 5G Mean for IoT?, focusing on the status of 5G networks and the implications of 5G connectivity across a range of industries and use cases.
The Embedded Technologies Expo & Conference also featured 10 distinct tracks, similarly accompanied by technical sessions and presentations. VDC had the opportunity to present our best-in-show “Embeddy” awards at this new conference, and we were overwhelmed by the nearly 70 nominations we received in the weeks leading up to the event. Award nominees were evaluated on technological, corporate, and industry significance, with the selection of Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners for the most cutting-edge embedded products or services presented at the show. This year’s winners:
GOLD: OneEdge, by Telit
Earlier this year, Telit announced its OneEdge Solution. A long-time leading provider of IoT modules, Telit designed OneEdge to simplify and speed the design, development, and management of products using other Telit solutions. Among other features, OneEdge includes zero touch on-boarding, built-in security, and edge programmability – all features which should help organizations save time and focus resources on more strategic areas of IoT product design and deployment.
SILVER: Lightning Mobile, by FogHorn
FogHorn has made further additions to its leading edge AI portfolio. In addition to its established footprint in larger, industrial systems, the company has expanded to Android-powered mobile devices. With logistics having emerged as one of the strongest use cases for IoT, the ability to drive more intelligence to edge- and field-workers can provide enterprises even more value. The company has also continued to add new logos to its partner roster, including IoT blue-chips such as Dell, GE, and Wind River, which should help propel both further growth, and also new use cases going forward.
BRONZE: Open Edge for IoT, by VMware
This solution is compelling as it creates a more seamlessly integrated offering for customers to leverage a range of Dell Technologies for IoT use cases. Consisting of commercially supported versions of the open source EdgeX Foundry framework, running on Photon OS and managed by Pulse IoT Center from VMware, along with builds available for Dell Gateway hardware or other low-cost ARM reference boards, this stack provides a ready-to-use toolset for developing, deploying, and managing IoT data collection and applications at the edge. Open Edge can help provide faster time-to-value by accelerating the implementation, deployment, and operation of IoT projects.
WALKING THE FLOOR
I met with a variety of companies and organizations exhibiting at the co-located Sensors Expo & Conference and Embedded Technologies Expo & Conference; the following is a brief summary of some of the announcements on which I was briefed and product demonstrations I witnessed while at the show.
Honeywell’s Safety & Productivity Solutions group showcased a number of products from its sensors portfolio, which includes a variety of instruments for measuring force, level, motion, position, pressure, and more.
Laser Technology, Inc. demonstrated the level measurement capabilities of one of its TruSense laser sensors. These instruments are used primarily by customers in the water and wastewater space, but are appropriate for a wide range of liquids- and solids- based level measurement applications.
Microchip, which featured one of the larger booths at the show, provided an overview of its SAM R34/R35 Low Power LoRa System-in-Package devices. Microchip’s demo centered on smart city applications, and featured use cases such as smart trash cans and smart parking spaces. Microchip also displayed a few examples of linear and rotary inductive position sensor applications from a recently-acquired brand, Microsemi. These sensors provide accurate measurements without the risk of being affected by stray magnetic fields.
MultiTech shared details on its announcement that Yokogawa selected MultiTech’s LoRaWAN ruggedized IoT gateway (the Multiconnect Conduit IP67 Base Station) for its Sushi Sensor solution, an asset management and integrity wireless solution for the Industrial IoT. The Sushi Sensor is a great example of ways in which industrial organizations are leveraging LoRaWAN technologies for IoT applications.
Omron discussed the upcoming launch of its new line of full metal proximity sensors, the E2EW Series, which are used primarily within the automotive industry. These sensors feature improved sensing distances for certain types of metals, and will help aid the manufacturing process for automotive manufacturers transitioning from iron components to those made from lighter-weight aluminum.
Semtech provided an overview of the many IoT-related applications enabled by its LoRa gateways and transceivers, which are ideal for providing connectivity both over long ranges and within hard-to-reach indoor locations. Earlier this month, Semtech announced that a Turkish systems integrator had incorporated Semtech’s LoRa devices as part of an asset tracking solution at Istanbul Airport.
TDK announced the availability of the Chirp CH-101 MEMS-based ultrasonic Time-of-Flight sensor. This solution combines a MEMS ultrasonic transducer with a power-efficient digital signal processor on a custom low-power mixed-signal CMOS ASIC, its versatile and accurate measurement capabilities appropriate for use within a variety of automotive, consumer, IoT, and other applications. TDK’s booth, among the most expansive at the show, once again featured wide range of sensor-related products and demonstrations.
TE Connectivity showcased its broad portfolio of sensors and sensing components, including various force sensors, position sensors, pressure sensors, and much more.
Trusted Computing Group hosted a workshop at the Embedded Technologies Expo & Conference titled, “Let’s Build in Security: A Workshop to Secure Embedded and IoT Systems.” At this well-attended event, TCG’s Steve Hanna highlighted best practices in building secure IoT-connected devices, such as building a customized security plan that addresses the specific threat profile for every device under development.
TT Electronics unveiled several sensor products, including new reflective sensors, fiber optic transmitters, and a miniature slide potentiometer. TT’s new reflective sensors, the OPB9001 Series, is appropriate for space-constrained industrial and medical applications, as the sensing module’s small package precludes the need for external resistors, regulators, and capacitors.
VEGA Americas displayed a number of products from expansive portfolio of level and pressure measurement solutions, including the industry-leading line of VEGAPULS 80-GHz radars for liquids and solids level measurement.
Xilinx shared a demonstration highlighting the capabilities of its Versal AI Core and Versal Prime series of adaptive compute acceleration platforms (ACAP). ACAPs are unique in that they are highly integrated, multicore, heterogeneous compute platforms that may be modified at both the hardware and software levels to better suit the requirements of a wide range of applications. Xilinx announced earlier in the month that it had shipped its first Versal series devices to tier one customers through the company’s early access program.