2019 Sensors Expo and Conference

The Sensors Expo and Conference is held annually at the San Jose McEnery Conventional Center. This year, over 7000 attendees and 300 exhibitions met, networked, learned and shared the latest sensor technology and applications on June 26th and 27th.

Sensors are the core elements for Internet of Things (IoT). They can be embedded in new hardware equipment; i.e. a green field, or attached to the existing ones; i.e. a brown field, in order to collect, exchange, and analyze data. They are embedded within airplanes, cars, medical devices, industry production lines, health care or lab equipment, wearables, mobile devices, oil refineries, and heavy machinery. Their missions can be critical; for example, 737 MAX faulty sensor caused the system to push down the jet’s nose, consequently costing 346 lives in two separate crashes.

During the Expo, I learned that Smart sensors can even calculate position data without GPS/GNSS, thereby reducing power consumption. I also learned how embedded intelligence is achieved, using MEMs sensors to turn warbles into users’ daily companions through ultra-low power, high accuracy, small size and smart integration [1].

In another session, I discovered that SST Wireless designed and implemented quite a few industry sensors, including the Duo pressure and temperature sensor to support sewer operational efficiency by monitoring the pressure readings of the pumps to identify where clogs are forming as a result of the grease from restaurant dishes [2].

In 2025, half of the world population will be living in water-stress areas. There is presently work being conducted on smart sensor platforms for real-time water monitoring, detecting heavy-metals pollutions or even bacteria [3]. There are also sensors monitoring the air quality, but a lack of standards has led to poor performance of the sensors (an issue that is currently being addressed) [4].

A new open specification initiative is underway to achieve plug-and-plan interoperability for Industrial IoT. There was a session described the effort on security, open standards interoperability, and leveraging existing interfaces for the initiative[5].

With the rapid growth of IoT, sensors have gained more traction than ever—in some cases, life or death. At the same time, the improvement of sensors technology creates many more opportunities for smart systems and applications from consumer goods to industrial usages and from smart buildings to smart cities.

This was a very informative expo and in the next blog, I will share the pre-conference learning.

[1] A session of MEMS “A Dive into the Latest MEMS Pressure Sensors for Wearable & IoT Applications” by Jay Esfandyari.

[2] A session of Wireless industrial Sensors: A journey of Innovation & Discovery by Christopher Chong.

[3] The internet of Water: Insights in Water Quality Using Larget-scale sensor networks by Marcel Zevenbergen

[4] Measuring Air Quality: Solutions and Pitfalls in Particulate Sensors by David Pariseau

[5] Moving toward Industrial IoT Plus & Play: Standards Advancement for IoT Sensors by Doug Sandy

Big Data Analytics trends and Sensors’ Role

I attended the Big Data = Big Business Meetup last Thursday and a panel of experts shared their perspectives on the topic “Big Data Solutions – A look into Emerging Tools of the Trade”. It was a good session with 40+ participants.

One of the speakers, Tony Cosentino, VP at Ventana Research, shared the Big Data Analytics trends as follows:

  • Moving from 20th century designed data to 21st century organic data; from confirmatory analytics to exploratory analytics
  • Moving from sample type of analytics to sensors type. Analytics and data are coming together into one environment instead of being separate.
  • Moving the conversation from data to outcome or business orientation

I was particularly interested in Tony’s speech so I did some research about these trends as follows:

  • Designed data vs. organic data:

This Census Bureau’s blog explains that the Census Bureau has created “designed data” based on pre-specified purpose. In contrast, data collected  through internets, sensors and other systems are organic data. The blogger believed “The combination of designed data with organic data is the ticket to the future”.

  • Sample data vs. sensor data:

Sample analytics is used widely in the conventional market research. The research population is generally too big to be covered in a survey; therefore, researchers usually choose a portion of the population (i.e. sample) to do a survey. The sample size and selection are carefully determined in order to capture the representation of the whole population.

A sensor is a device that measures a physical quantity / activity and transforms it into a digital signal. Sensors are always on, capturing data at real time and powering the “Internet of Things.” Sensors can collect enormous data and Cloud computing and storage help to make the analytics possible.

  • Conversations on data vs business:

Data itself is not the focus of the conversation anymore. Nowadays, the business value provided by the big data is the focus.

I agree that the combination of organic data and design data will create valuable data. I believe we need to have a sampling mechanism with organic data since the volume is big. For example, NFC is one of the sensors. When the technology takes off, it will provide interesting data sets. How to translate the data into value added information for businesses take specific design.

This Hadoop blog suggests that “sensors can be used to collect data from many sources, such as:

  • To monitor machines or infrastructure such as ventilation equipment, bridges, energy meters or airplane engines. This data can be  used for predictive analytics, to repair or replace these items before  they fail.
  • To monitor natural phenomena such as meteorological patterns, underground pressure during oil extraction or patient vital statistics during recovery from a medical procedure.”

I think sensors go beyond these domains. For example: an NFC embedded wearable device can monitor body movements and vitals, such as heart rate and blood sugar. Digital health and fitness mentioned in a blog of Aaron Rose  is possible because of the sensors. The Fujitsu NFC smart glove shows a use case beyond digital health and there is unlimited space for monitoring these types of innovations.

These thoughts were triggered by a two hour Meetup. Can you imagine what thoughts will be triggered in two days? I am looking forward to attending the Big Data Innovation Summit held in Santa Clara on April 9 and 10th. With 80+ sessions, it will definitely broaden my vision and expand my imagination.

What are your thoughts on these trends?

Big Data Innovation Summit 2014

Big Data Innovation Summit 2014