Tag Archives: GPRS

Smart irrigation system to improve kiwi production in Italy

Italy is the second major kiwi producer after China with a saleable production around 448.000 tonnes last year. Both countries with New Zealand, Chile and Greece suppose the 93% of worldwide production by a research of the Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO).

The CSO informed in 2015 that the grow surface for kiwi on the Mediterranean country was 24.440 ha, most of them in the regions of Lazio, Pedemont and Emilia Romagna.

Emilia Romagna Region (Italy)

Emilia Romagna Region (Italy)

FAMOSA is an Italian company that works on technology-based support for agriculture, offering solutions for crop monitoring and management. They have developed wireless sensor networks, based on Libelium technology, in a kiwi plantation with GPRS and Sigfox to develop accurate irrigation strategies for farmers.

Comparing GPRS to Sigfox

Kiwifruit is one of the most sensitive fruits in terms of quality which is given by size, sweetness and dry matter. In order to reach the best quality, the Rivista di Frutticoltura e di Ortofloricoltura considers that it is essential for farmers to develop a good irrigation strategy to attain marketable products and to reduce product losses.

Agriculture organizations are deploying cutting-edge technologies in their plantations to improve processes, to maintain high quality standards and to ease farmers daily works. “We have chosen Libelium Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensor Platform for its wide range of sensors and the easy development of software for data acquisition and transmission”, has stated Massimo Noferini, CEO of FAMOSA.

Waspmote Plug & Sense! installed in kiwi plantation

Waspmote Plug & Sense! installed in kiwi plantation

For this project, the company has installed two different wireless sensors to monitor soil water status to plan irrigation in a kiwi orchard. Data has been recorded with the same system but information has been transmitted to the platform by two different wireless connection: GPRS and Sigfox. The main aim has been testing reliability and costs during 2016 kiwi growing season.

Two Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture have been deployed with watermark sensors in different depths to control soil moisture with fruit diameter sensor to measure the size of the fruit; and temperature and humidity sensors to monitor environmental conditions. One of the sensor platforms is connected to a GPRS shield and the other with Sigfox. The first one represents the classical widely used data communication network and the second one the rapidly diffusing LPWAN technologies.

The information collected by the sensors has been sent to esiFARM, FAMOSA’s platform, that includes both GPRS and Sigfox technologies. To manage GPRS stations however a server has had to be configured. In this case Meshlium IoT Gateway has been used embedding Meshlium Management System making data handling easier. Farmers can get valuable information to schedule irrigation timing to avoid stress conditions, which is fundamental on kiwi plants.

Functioning diagram of the FAMOSA deployment

Functioning diagram of the FAMOSA deployment

FAMOSA has detected some differences between both technologies after the deployment:

    • GPRS:
      • A server is needed to host data that has to be maintained by the local services.
      • There must be GPRS/3G/4G coverage.
      • It is needed power consumption hardware because GPRS node requires a long-duration battery pack or external power supply. The hardware needs to stay awake for a long-time and requires a longer communication session.
      • It needs a SIM card that usually takes some days to be activated. Even if international SIM cards are available, there is a strong dependence to a contract which make connections liable to changes and reliability.
    • Sigfox:
      • It dumps data to a unique service which is accessible worldwide: data can be managed autonomously or by an intermediate service.
      • Coverage is already diffused in Italy so it is not available everywhere although it is rapidly growing worldwide.
      • It doesn’t need a handshake step with the network, while based on an acknowledge response.
      • Communication is very short and allows the device to stay dormant for a long time allowing a much longer duration to batteries.
      • Registration is quicker than GPRS, based on an annual fee.

Fruit diameter sensor

Fruit diameter sensor

The final user has not been aware nor suffered the difference between the communication through GPRS or Sigfox. Battery pack proved to have a life long enough to cover the season both in Sigfox and GPRS devices. In general, any field deployment should be as simple as possible and have a ready and reliable answer during installation tests.

Precision Farming to make smart irrigation decisions

Developing technological projects in rural areas may involve several difficulties because of the absence of physical communication infrastructures and the costs which are often unaffordable. However, wireless sensor networks suppose a great opportunity because of the low installation, maintenance and also operative costs.

esiFARM platform

esiFARM platform

FAMOSA is collaborating with farmers to introduce the IoT approach with esiFARM in their fields. The platform allows to collect information from the sensor platforms and other information sources such as georeferenced cameras pictures or multispectral analysis of satellite imagery. EsiFARM includes models to help farmers in decision and alerts (irrigation, pathogens and maturation).

“Farmers were impressed by the ease of the installation, which proved to be able to give real-time and comprehensive information in less than one hour of full installation”, has argued Massimo Noferini, CEO of FAMOSA. During 2016 season between March and October the decision support system has worked well and continuously. Farmers have been able to monitor without interruptions soil water status to have irrigation always under control.

Kiwi crops in Emilia Romagna

Kiwi crops in Emilia Romagna

The deployment of soil water status sensors at different depths has allowed to compare the effect of irrigation strategies. Farmers have had a prompt warning about any water stress condition to recover from a growth deficit. In this kiwi project, the irrigation system was activated by the farmer.

Source: Libelium


Magellan Selected for Hertz NeverLost 6 platform

 Navigation Solutions, a Hertz Company and developer of the award-winning NeverLost in-car GPS system, and Magellan, a leader of innovative GPS devices and content services for vehicles, fitness, outdoor and mobile navigation, announce the selection of Magellan as the exclusive manufacturer for the NeverLost 6 platform, Hertz’s next generation of connected services, which will be integrated into Hertz vehicles in 2014.

The NeverLost 6 platform features include:

  • ARM Cortex-A9 architecture with quad cores running at 1.0GHz
  • 5.7″, 4:3 square aspect ratio, high resolution, brightness and contrast TFT display
  • GSM and GPRS protocol stack with 3G release 4 compliant technology
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity module
  • GPS module built upon the SiRFstarIV™ architecture
  • A number of other off board components such as Keypad, LCD, camera module, Accelerometers and Gyros sensor board and etc. will connect through a flex cable


“As a long-time partner and a pioneer in the automotive navigation industry, Magellan was a logical choice for the Hertz NeverLost 6 platform,” commented Roger Stevens, president, Navigation Solutions. “Hertz prides itself on being the fastest and easiest car rental company and NeverLost is key to Hertz offering its customers flexible mobility solutions. Rental customers want useful navigation content, and popular travel services. Magellan’s SmartGPS Eco offers the right combination of relevant content and integration capabilities with the NeverLost 6 platform.”

In addition, Navigation Solutions has selected Magellan’s SmartGPS Eco for integration in Hertz vehicles in 2014. The Magellan SmartGPS Eco is the latest advancement in Magellan’s cloud based connected car services that delivers content saving drivers time and money, provide safer navigation and keep them informed with location and social content.

The Magellan SmartGPS Eco is a cloud based platform aggregating location and social content. It leverages the cloud for location intelligence, and personalization. Drivers can choose the content they want, and it is all displayed simultaneously in a standard HMI.

“Navigation Solutions is the GPS innovation leader in the rental car industry. Magellan is delighted to continue our long standing partnership with Navigation Solutions for the Hertz NeverLost program,” said Peggy Fong, president of MiTAC Digital Corporation. “We are proud to have Hertz NeverLost as a customer for the launch of our SmartGPS Eco services. The SmartGPS Eco aggregates unlimited content, which is then personalized based on driver preferences and location. Each driver gets the right content, at the right place, at the right time.”

Source: Magellan

Telit launches automotive M2M modules

Telit Wireless Solutions, a global provider of high-quality machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions, products and services, today announced two modules are to be added to its lineup of automotive grade products. Both products are part of the company’s popular xE910 product family. The GE910-QUAD AUTO becomes the company’s top recommended quad-band GSM/GPRS Class-10 product for Automotive and Telematics integrators and OEMs starting or upgrading designs going forward. The UE910-EU V2 AUTO is a new and hardened variant of the dual-band UE910 V2 series designed for use in the most demanding automotive applications, delivering a downlink speed of up to 3.6 Mbps and uplink of up to 384 Kbps. Both products are based on market’s latest release chipsets and slated for long-term availability protecting OEM’s and Integrator’s design investments. The company is introducing these products from its booth A15-A16 at Telematics Munich 2013, Europe’s largest business conference and exhibition for the connected car industry.

The products include a 3GPP TS26.267 compliant in-band modem according to the eCall EU directive, leveraging Telit’s expertise in audio processing and tuning, accessible via a wide set of dedicated AT commands. The modules are developed and manufactured under ISO TS16949 quality specifications meeting or exceeding supply chain requirements from OEM automotive. The GE910-QUAD AUTO and UE910-EU V2 AUTO are ideal platforms for all embedded mobile data applications in the line-fitted automotive, telematics, fleet and logistics management segments.

Targeted at applications requiring or benefitting from global coverage, the 850/900/1800/1900MHz quad-band GSM/GPRS engine in the GE910-QUAD AUTO is voice-capable supporting both analog and digital interfaces. Powered by an ARM11 processor core, designs integrating the GE910-QUAD AUTO can eliminate the need for an application processor, running the automotive or telematics application directly over the embedded Python Script Interpreter. The module delivers GPRS class 10, 3GPP Release 4 compliant data communications and is equipped with a full-speed USB 2.0 interface and ten 1.8V I/O ports. The product is also offered with an optional factory-mounted SIM chip from m2mAIR which provides additional remote diagnostics and control functionalities for the deployed application while eliminating the need for an external SIM card holder, generating additional BOM cost savings and improving overall ruggedness. For information on Telit’s services business unit, m2mAIR and the SIM chip, visit www.m2mair.com

The UE910-EU V2 AUTO is designed specifically for European automotive and telematics applications leveraging dual-band UMTS/HSDPA 900/2100MHz and 900/1800MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE. It is voice-capable, also supporting both analog and digital interfaces. The module is equipped with a high-speed USB 2.0 interface, UART port, ten 1.8V I/O ports and an ADC converter. Upcoming support for Java J2ME makes the UE910-EU V2 AUTO ideal for projects requiring an embedded application framework.

“With introduction of the GE910-QUAD AUTO and UE910-EU V2 AUTO, Telit is again making a clear statement of commitment to the automotive market,” said Felix Marchal, Chief Product Officer at Telit Wireless Solutions. “This rollout brings our automotive portfolio to top standing in the industry with five models ranging from 2G to 4G in various sizes and mounting technologies.”

The xE910 form factor family protects investments by offering complete pin-to-pin compatibility among companion products in GSM/GPRS, UMTS/HSPA, HSPA+, CDMA 1xRTT, EV-DO and LTE, with and without embedded GNSS capabilities. For more information about the xE910 family of modules and other Telit products, visit www.telit.com.

With over a decade of exclusive focus on M2M, reducing technical risk and shortening time to market for OEMs and integrators, Telit is the industry’s ONE STOP. ONE SHOP. We leverage M2M’s broadest portfolio in cellular, short range and positioning technologies paired with m2mAIR services covering application enablement as well as mobile network and internet/cloud sides of connectivity. Telit products and services are delivered with global support and logistics exceeding exacting requirements from customers large and small. Now innovate!

Source: Telit

Intelligent efficiency: Turning data and energy efficiency into valuable assets

In the past, it has been all too easy to think of energy efficiency as a chore, a marginal ‘upgrade’ to existing infrastructure or processes that may save a bit on utility bills in the long run – and a few tons of CO2 or gallons of water for the environment too, says Craig Anderson


A recent paper by sustainability and energy efficiency research group GreenTech Media astutely noted that: “All around us, embedded in every commercial building, manufacturing facility and corporate campus, is a vast, untapped energy resource: efficiency.”

If we look at it this way, energy efficiency is a potential revenue stream of sorts – an underused asset that can be exploited to improve business performance and reduce unnecessary waste. You might put your coins in a pocket with a hole in it for a while, thinking it would be too expensive and time consuming to fix it, hoping not too much would fall out. But what if you were offered a repair that not only stopped the loss but actually added more coins to your pocket afterwards?

As long ago as 2012, the World Economic Forum came to the conclusion that data was a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold . For energy efficiency, data is the means to tap into the savings – it is the thread to sew up the hole through which waste is lost.

The internet age has brought data to everyone’s doorstep, desktop and – via smartphones – pocket too. With internet banking any account holder can get an instant breakdown of what they spend their wages on each month; comparison sites let us save ten pence a year on our phone lines with a few clicks; online shops let us spend hundreds even faster.

Despite its name and purpose, energy efficiency was not traditionally very efficient. Replacing all the light bulbs or toilet flushes was a blanket approach that was certain to achieve some savings, but did not target its efforts or costs compared against the benefits.

This is where data is the key, and where the idea of intelligent efficiency shines: with an accurate picture of where the greatest inefficiencies are, or where the easiest ‘wins’ can be found, efficiency-improving measures can be accurately focused to achieve the greatest returns on investment. With the technology now available to easily gather data on anything, anywhere, it is possible to see exactly how to most efficiently implement efficiency measures.

What is needed, then, is to find the easiest way of gathering the necessary data to make intelligent efficiency a practical, affordable reality. In the past, a similar ‘blanket’ approach was often used with data gathering technology – a large off-the-shelf or badly-tailored system would be offered or specified that would get the job done, but required a disproportionate investment of time, effort and often disruption to normal business operations.

A large up-front cost with obvious inefficiencies built in, and the common prospect of extra expenses for ‘customisation’ to come, has proven a quick way to have many an efficiency project die on the drawing board. When a substantial proportion of that cost is for ancillary aspects such as wiring and installation, it is often even harder to justify.

Modern technology and innovative thinking have, however, led to the development of far more flexible propositions. Advances in battery technology allow stand-alone devices to run for months or years without requiring any sort of ‘hard’ installation, and wireless technologies now allow stable, remote data transfer via several communication pathways.

Network solutions can be efficiently scaled almost infinitely, from a single data source to thousands of monitoring streams. With UHF/VHF radio, GSM/GPRS, SMS, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and PSTN working in conjunction, a modular system can be perfectly tailored to suit any installation environment for the most efficient combination of initial and ongoing cost.

To put these principles into context: using the right equipment, tiny, battery powered sensors can be easily installed to monitor everything from electricity, gas and water meters to heat, humidity and CO2 levels in a single room. Using the right choice of telecommunication format, this data can be gathered instantly, wirelessly, and seamlessly, then viewed and analysed on a computer or smartphone screen anywhere in the world.

For example, a common set up uses UHF/VHF transmitters on local sensors within a building , which transmit their data at no ongoing cost to an on-site, centrally-located ‘data concentrator’. This collects all the local information and sends it on as a condensed packet to a secure web server via landline for minimal data transfer costs. This not only saves on the ongoing expenditure, but also massively reduces the amount of wiring necessary to monitor potentially hundreds of points. Such a setup could also incorporate extra sensors using GPRS for outlying areas beyond the range of radio, seamlessly integrating their readings into the data stream.

Once safely on a secure web server, users and software packages can utilise historical data, calculated projections and correlated comparisons to see, immediately, where the biggest, fastest and most effective efficiency savings can be made. All this is possible without any great cost of setting up the data-gathering infrastructure, thanks to advanced wireless communications and modern battery technology.

This means that anyone, anywhere – from a single business premises to a national utility supplier – can gather and make use of the data they need, when, where and how it suits them. Flexibility, adaptability and modularity are the keys to the future of intelligent efficiency; they allow the principles to be put into practice in the most efficient way possible.

Source: Caroline Smith  HWM Water