“IoT is already well established and still set to grow, with more than 41 billion IoT devices in use by 2027. What’s more, Gartner predicts that more than 80 percent of enterprise IoT projects will include an AI component by 2022.”
Przemek Lopaciuk, ReadWrite | These Three Industries are About to be Hit by AIoT
Additional to this gaining popularity in connected devices, before the COVID outbreak, Embedded AI in support of IoT things/objects was on track to reach $4.6B globally by 2024. AI in industrial machines was on track to reach $415M globally by 2024, with collaborative robot growth at 42.5% CAGR. Machine learning will be playing a role in this growth surge.
Industries like transportation, supply chain, energy, and manufacturing are reaping the benefits of the added computing, analytical speeds, and other solutions that AI provides within the IoT context. The development of AI is a way to more fully manage connected technologies to speed up work processes and help eliminate human error.
How AIoT Works And What Is Better About It
“In the artificial intelligence of things, you can think of the internet of things devices as the digital nervous system, while artificial intelligence is the brain of the system.”
Bernard Marr, Forbes Contributor | What Is The Artificial Intelligence Of Things? When AI Meets IoT
AI technology combined with the Internet of Things in practical applications allows infrastructure to achieve more efficient IoT operations. Human-machine interactions will improve and enhance data management and analytics. AI will fill gaps where human limitations impede results.
Developers are embedding AIoT into software, chipsets, and platforms. Intel®, for example, offers a range of ICs that support supercomputing, edge-to-cloud, deep learning libraries, and ingredient chip solutions for other developers like Microsoft Azure and AWS. One idea under discussion is powerful implementation between connected-devices that would allow them to straddle between edge and cloud computing, speeding up delivery when needed, while allowing data to be stored to go to the cloud.
AI collects, harnesses, and implements data to manage industrial operations. It can use data from its operation or data supplied from external sources or a combination of both. AI with IoT will optimize machine-to-machine communication.
“IoT networks with both autonomic and cognitive functional components provide intelligent control for neural transport (detection and triggering of communications) and connect the overall system. The IoT technology market will benefit from engineering design in terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing placement in centralized and edge computing locations.”
Research and Markets, Artificial Intelligence AI in Big Data
The Edge Supports Data Loads Generated By AIoT
Edge computing speeds up data-heavy technologies because it keeps all of the processing and data much closer to its point of origin. Data doesn’t have to travel as far or compete with other incoming transmissions for bandwidth, saving money.
When you’re continually using massive amounts, not having to transport it to server operations can rack up significant savings.
AI synergizes solutions by allowing the inclusion of more advanced predictive capabilities. The ability to tap into trends that are transforming product and service ecosystems like the consumer, industrial, and enterprise verticals where the response to personalized service edges out competitors (no pun intended). AI is increasingly becoming an integral component of business operations, including supply chains, sales, and marketing processes, product and service delivery, and support models.
Smart factories and warehouses, which many agree have been the earliest adopters of IoT technologies, will have the next competitive advantage because they already have their IoT infrastructure in place. Having more of your operation online allows AI to leverage data points.
Remote sensors, smart meters, and production machines will not only be the source of operation critical insights, but they will be able to respond intelligently to AI implementations within their environments due to their capability to process the vast amounts of data.
The right products will reach the market more quickly. Production lines will automatically factor in external market demand, by providing new insights from this harvested operational data.
AI In Healthcare
AI in healthcare can emulate human cognition and the analysis, interpretation, and comprehension of medical data, using a combination of complex algorithms and software. Additionally, data collected through remote sensors has the potential to keep people safe from infection, especially during highly contagious illnesses like COVID19. AI is essential whenever the amounts and complexity of data are this massive.
The categories where AI applications assist providers include diagnosis and treatment recommendations, patient engagement and adherence, and administrative activities. In many instances, AI outperforms humans in healthcare tasks but due to ethical issues, the idea of large-scale implementation is still in the future.
AI appears in healthcare in a variety of forms.
- Machine learning
- Language processing
- Rule-based expert systems
- Robotic automation
- Diagnosis and treatment applications
AI And The Smart City
To harness intelligence from the big data pools collected by IoT devices around urban environments, authorities, businesses and residents need the analytical capabilities that artificial intelligence and machine learning bring to the table.
AI is making smart city roadways more responsive and even more anticipatory. One category that many have seen for some time is the smart traffic light. Sensor information monitoring traffic flow and vehicle detection shortens lights when no cars are present saving, commuters valuable travel time, and reducing frustration. Traffic monitoring systems also issue alerts in real-time to divert traffic to circumvent accidents, construction, and other situations as they arise.
Digital Signage And On-Demand Multimedia Content
Live video feeds and real-time surveillance fulfill the need for rapid transmission of diverse ranges of information in commercial environments. Electronic displays are becoming more targeted in the ability to present information to the public. AI can filter through massive amounts of data to respond to specific changes in an environment. The ability to detect changes will allow terminals to provide the right updates as needed. AI takes smart signage to new levels of relevance within the context of a smart city, shopping experience, or transportation hub.
AI in smart cities is going to play a big role in making urbanization smarter and growth sustainable, making the cities more convenient. Advanced features will improve environments where residents live, walk, and shop.
Final Thoughts On Leveraging AI With The IoT
This is a developing story. Having AI and analytics allows people to harvest insights from IoT data that is far too big for the human mind to grasp, much the same as a crane allows humans to lift materials and reach higher when constructing a skyscraper. AI is a fantastic tool. It really is the next stage of “cashing in” on all of the connectivity that the IoT brings.
A PoE camera system is an excellent way to monitor a business or home. More cost-effective and efficient than traditional surveillance equipment, PoE set-ups are also easier to install and expand upon. With the PoE IP camera world changing rapidly, however, selecting the right system can be overwhelming.
Here are a few considerations to take into account when trying to select the best PoE camera system for your needs.
Indoor Versus Outdoor PoE Camera System
The first step in choosing the right camera system is to decide whether you want cameras indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both. Outdoor PoE cameras are waterproof and built to last, even when continually exposed to the elements. They come in a range of protection ratings depending on the potential impact of materials the camera needs to withstand.
Indoor cameras are less expensive than outdoor cameras, but they are still durable and available with special features like Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) capabilities and audio recording.
PoE cameras are available in four designs. The type of camera you select for your system will depend on variables like space, features, and budget.
Box cameras are the traditional style of camera used in indoor surveillance systems. They tend to be durable and long-lasting but may require an external light source in poorly-lit areas.
A bullet camera is essentially a box camera with a protective outer shell. These are sometimes used in outdoor situations where the camera and lens require protection from rain, snow, or intense sun. Bullet cameras often feature larger lenses for an enhanced visual field.
Dome cameras are small cameras located inside a transparent, protective dome. These cameras are usually mounted on the ceiling and come in standard, mini, and micro sizes.
Turret cameras, also known as mini-dome or eyeball cameras, are small and feature a ball-and-socket design. Their structure makes them popular for PoE systems, and they can be installed both vertically and horizontally. Turrets and domes are less intrusive than other types of cameras.
IP cameras are far more powerful than analog cameras and the resolution has gotten much higher. The most common resolution cameras on the market today include: 1080p (2MP), 1440p (4MP), 1920p (5MP), and 4K/2160p (8MP). The higher the image quality, the wider the field of view, and the greater the need for bandwidth and storage capacity.
Special Camera Features
Both indoor and outdoor cameras are available with special features.
PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom).
A camera with PTZ capability can pan out for a broader view, tilt up or down, or rotate to increase the visual field and zoom in on areas of interest. This feature offers the most control over focal length.
Cameras with an audio recording feature have a built-in or external mic and transmit sound in one or two directions.
Cameras equipped with night vision use infrared technology or EXIR (extended infrared) to provide good vision in dark areas or at night.
Cameras with a motion detection mode only come on when triggered by movement, saving on video footage and storage.
Number of Cameras
The number of cameras needed will depend on the square footage you want to be covered and the types of cameras in the system. High-quality cameras with wide-angle lenses provide a greater field of vision enabling the installation of fewer cameras. Keep in mind, however, that a business can be liable for nearly everything that happens on its property. For this reason, more cameras may need to be installed.
Once the type and number of cameras have been determined, the best networking option will become more evident. There are essentially three ways to connect cameras to the network:
- PoE Switch
- PoE Injector
- PoE Network Video Recorder (NVR) and Router
PoE switches provide power to the network and can support from four to 48 cameras on a single system. All you have to do is connect the PoE cameras directly to the PoE switch and it will provide both data and power.
For networks that lack a PoE switch, a PoE injector between the camera and the router provides power to the PoE camera. Another option for the non-PoE router is a PoE Network Video Recorder which connects the router to the PoE camera.
PoE Camera System Pricing
The price of IP cameras is now more affordable than ever before and higher resolution won’t necessarily add significantly to the price. Depending on the type of camera, special features are either standard or optional.
As far as switches go, pricing varies depending on capabilities. Highly customizable and immensely powerful systems can now come together at a relatively affordable cost.
Contact us for more information or to obtain a custom quote.
A team of NASA scientists has turned to Ethernet to capture clear video footage on Mars. The use of a camera and a laser mounted on the front bumper of an autonomous or semi-autonomous planetary rover called the K-REX2 has solved image quality in airless environments. Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology connecting the camera and laser to sensors, takes advantage of power and data delivery capability over a single cable to run these low-powered smart devices (PD) in space.
Not a part of the recent Mars 2020 mission, this nimble little vehicle is an exciting addition to upcoming missions to the moon and beyond. Ara Nefian, the Senior Scientist from Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT/KVR) and NASA’s Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG), based at Moffett Field close to Silicon Valley in California, have taken on the task of developing of the K-REX2 rover.
SGT is an award-winning, nationwide service provider of high-value engineering, mission operations, scientific, and IT solutions to the federal government. Based in Greenbelt, MD, the company has received excellence awards in 2001 and 2005 for their work as contractors at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA Team Develops Planetary Rover Using Ethernet Connected Video Navigation System.
Ethernet Supported Technologies In The Navigation System
Image of the K-REX2 Rover bumper courtesy vision-systems.com.
As of June 2020, the team has been running night experiments on the Roverscape test facility to finetune the navigation setup, which comprises two main components. The multi-dot laser projector and camera, seen above, are designed to provide the granularity needed to avoid obstacles over rugged terrain.
Another of the challenges these technologies address is the weight constraints of the navigation system. These lightweight, low PDs are more efficient to transport to these faraway locations than older technologies. These systems are always on, making them ideal candidates for Ethernet power delivery. They can navigate using sensors to detect obstacles, even in areas that are in total darkness.
Earlier Generation Rovers Successfully Launched To Mars
Over the years, NASA has sent a total of five rovers: Sojourner, Spirit & Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.
1. The Sojourner Rover was part of the Mars Pathfinder Mission
- Landed in July 1997
- It was the first robot on the surface of Mars
- Weight 23lbs and traveled at a top speed of 0.02 mph
- Carried two instruments
2 & 3. The Spirit & Opportunity Rovers Mars Exploration Mission
- Landed January 2004
- Finding evidence of water on Mars
- Weight 374lbs each and traveled at a top speed of 0.1 mph
- Carried five instruments
NASA’s Opportunity Rover Mission lasted 15 years, far beyond the original 90-day plan. The rover communication system failed as the result of a severe Mars-wide dust storm. Its final communications came on June 10, 2018. Thanks to this mission, scientists found proof that ancient Mars had water. The rover lasted 60 times longer than designed.
4. The Curiosity Rover Mars Science Laboratory Mission
- Landed August 2012
- Finding out if Mars once had what life needs: lasting water and the right chemicals to support life
- Weight 1,982lbs and traveled at a top speed of 0.09 mph
- Carried ten instruments
5. The Perseverance Mars 2020
- Landing February 2021
- Look for signs of past or present life. See if humans could one day explore.
- Weight 2,260lbs and travels at a top speed of 0.09 mph
- Carries seven instruments
More About The Perseverance
The Mars 2020 mission launched on an Atlas V-541 from Cape Canaveral on July 30, 2020, carrying the Perseverance, a large roving vehicle sent to Mars surface to conduct mobile studies of the surface environment. The rover will review habitability factors, past life, and collect samples to be evaluated and provide insight to help NASA prepare for future missions.
The Perseverance, courtesy NASA.
In contrast to the K-REX2, the larger Perseverance rover has an equipment deck that will deliver the Mars helicopter to a separate area for test flights. NASA teams have equipped it with the following instruments for scientific investigation.
- The Mastcam-Z camera
- WATSON camera
- MEDA environmental instrument
- RIMFAX radar imager
- PIXL x-ray fluorescence spectrometer
- SHERLOC UV Raman spectrometer
- SuperCam chemical analyzer
- MOXIE oxygen generation experiment
The MOXIE and the electronics required to support test instruments are mounted on or below the rover equipment deck.
The Mars 2020 spacecraft will land in the Jezero Crater on the Mars surface on February 18, 2021. Perseverance will drop the Mars Helicopter and move aside for an experimental technology test flight that involves hovering three meters above the surface.
K-REX2 Drilling Capabilities
Though deployment of the K-REX2 is still in the future, it is interesting to note the capabilities it will need to carry out its mission. The Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies (ARADS) team is developing its plan for K-REX2 drilling on Mars. Between 2016 and 2019, ARADS Teams have held yearly, month-long field tests in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the places closest to a Mars-like environment on earth. They are using these site visits to develop strategies for collecting and analyzing samples.
Soil samples will also be scanned for biochemical analysis. These instruments will look for molecules that provide tell-tale biomarkers that some form of life existed on the planet.
Other Obstacles That Factor In When Roving On Other Planets
There is an impact of temperature extremes and the dynamic range between darkness and light on sensitive equipment. Airless environments are also asteroid prone. Earth’s atmosphere provides viscous drag as objects pierce it. The energy density is sufficient to cause atmospheric molecules to dissociate and component atoms to become ionized on the way down to its surface. Lunar, asteroid, and other planetary surfaces have thinner or no atmosphere and are less protected. There’s also the problem of jarring that can occur as extra-terrestrial vehicles navigate rugged, uneven, and even treacherous surfaces.
The Camera Image Quality In Airless Environments
The ability to capture images in light extremes presents another issue. Anyone who has taken a photo when the light was too bright or too dark, will understand the challenge these types of images present. The solution is a narrow band filter on the Osela series laser that doesn’t pick up light frequencies outside of the laser’s wavelength.
VisionSystemsDesign reports the K-REX2 camera system developer is AlliedVision, a company out of Stratroda, Germany. The system, built around the 1388 x 1038 Sony ICX267 image sensor, can reach camera speeds of 18 frames per second (fps) and is a Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology.
Light Source In Total Darkness
NASA uses an industrial laser to emit uniform, evenly-spaced dots that blanket the terrain and allow the camera to register. These dots out-illuminate other light sources and give the rover detection system a read on the surface conditions in front of the vehicle.
NASA’s Hazard Detection System
The image stream from the camera showing the laser dots feeds into a software program that accesses an OpenCV library. The system determines potential obstacles by dot’s position along a horizontal line, leveraging any shifting of position to read changes to the surface using a detection algorithm.
Teams are testing the K-REX2 at a two-acre outdoor planetary terrain facility to simulate both day and night conditions to gauge image quality and safely navigate past boulders.
Rocks and surface images recorded in day and night testing scenarios for the K-REX2. Courtesy vision-systems.com.
Concluding Thoughts On Ethernet In Space
Low-cost delivery of power and data over a single cable–whether Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6A, or even fiber optic (most likely the choice in this implementation due to temperature extremes)–saves money and time.
Despise not small beginnings.
Power over Ethernet makes sense. What started as a cost-effective technology to repurpose telecommunications cabling in commercial properties is soon to reach Mars. Not bad for something dreamed up by a few budget-conscious people looking to keep more of their hard-earned money.
Learn about Versa Technology’s PoE networking solutions.
The COVID pandemic lockdown had a substantial impact on the Ethernet market in the first quarter of 2020. Because people weren’t in the workplace, things like switch replacements were put on hold. It wasn’t the only factor, though, as things had already begun to slow somewhat toward the end of 2019. One very probable reason for the slow down is the transition to 100Gb Ethernet. According to the same International Data Corporation (IDC) press release (linked to above), shipments for the 100Gb switch rose 52.1 percent year-over-year to $5.5 billion. 100G revenues grew 9.9 percent year-over-year in 1Q20 to $1.28 billion, making up 20.8 percent of the market’s revenue.
Lighting, security, and host of other technologies are moving into this new Ethernet level, and the networking solutions needed to support them means that higher-grade switches are not far behind.
The 100G Ethernet Ecosystem
Every year the Ethernet Alliance publishes a State of the Ethernet infographic. This blog is going to take a look at one of the highlighted advances—fatter pipes. Because Powered Devices (PD) have become more sophisticated, more data is needed to run. Though these solutions are low power, they also need more power delivered over the same cable.
The 2020 State of the Ethernet is calling for “fatter pipes.” More data needs to get to the end-user. This blog will tie some of these advances in Ethernet technology to the places you will find them.
State of the Ethernet 2020: Image courtesy of the Ethernet Alliance.
Ethernet 2020 | Rural Road Becomes Super Highway
As IoT continues to become a functioning reality, what we don’t see is the infrastructure supporting it. To keep up as a delivery system, Ethernet has had to find ways to bring more data along existing lanes. A lane is a single, dedicated twisted pair within a Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6A Ethernet cable. Earlier versions of IEEE 802.3 were one-way.
In contrast, 1000BASE-T (100Gb) and subsequent iterations [2.5/5/10/25/40 and beyond] use four lanes bidirectionally. Each lane carries a share of the total data rate.
Image courtesy Ethernet Alliance.
More Lanes Deliver Larger Amounts of Data
More data needs to travel simultaneously. Ethernet developers take advantage of a process called signal modulation in a form called Pulse-Amplitude Modulation (PAM).
Amplitude is the maximum extent of a vibration or oscillation, measured from the position of equilibrium. Modulation seeks to control the amplitude so as to be appropriate to the size of the data load. PAM is an analog signal pulse modulation scheme, where carrier pulses vary according to the sample value of the message signal.
An encoded message transmits in the amplitude of signal pulses. In other words, PAM describes data transmission by varying power levels in a regular timed sequence of electrical or electromagnetic pulses.
Why is this important?
Because more data can flow seamlessly using only enough power needed for that amount of data, the process becomes more efficient.
Bits Versus Bauds
In Ethernet, data and power are transmitted over one cable. Carrier signals divide into intervals. The way this works is that data divides into bits consisting of 1s and 0s. In data transmission, the bit rate is the number of bits sent per second (bps) per one pulse per band. Bps is the measure of how many bits transmit in that pulse over the same band.
In contrast to bit, a baud is a signal oscillation. Baud rate is the number of signal units (electrical oscillations) per second. The higher the baud rate, the more the number of bps transfer.
Why is this important?
Because things like Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and more, are all data hogs. The more Ethernet can power and transmit data to these technologies, the more cost-effective they will run.
Ethernet 2020 | Speeds And Sampling Rates Are On The Rise
Higher data rates are being achieved through this use of higher sampling rates and taking advantage of different modulation techniques. That is why 100GBASE is driving sales in Ethernet switches, and 200GBASE and 400GBASE are close behind.
Let’s take a closer look at what these names mean.
100 Gigabit Ethernet
100GBASE is a protocol for receiving/transmitting rates of 100Gbps. The packet transfer rate is 148.88Mpps (Million Packets Per Second) of throughput for switches and routers.
Officially, the IEEE 802.3bm-2015 standard, which defines 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE) and also 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE) over fiber cables. The 40 Gbe is designed for use within the organization between servers and the Ethernet switch, while 100 GbE is geared to long-distance switch-to-switch transmission.
200/400 Gigabit Ethernet
200GBASE / 400GBASE or Terabit Ethernet is Ethernet transmission at one trillion bits per second (1 Tbps). Terabit Ethernet is still in the future, but the term refers to Ethernet above 100 Gbps. The IEEE 802.3bs task force defines 200 Gigabit (200GBASE) and 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400GBASE) as Terabit Ethernet. Carriers and large enterprises are working to reach 200Gb and 400Gb in 2020. How much the pandemic has slowed this implementation is anyone’s guess.
Once the end of the lockdowns occurs, the workplace will experience further the rise of these new advances in Ethernet delivery.
The Ethernet Alliance credits business and learning applications as key drivers behind hundreds of millions of Ethernet ports shipping per year. The local area network (LAN) and the repurposing of existing telecommunications copper networks gave birth to the development of Ethernet technology. They estimate over 70 billion meters of cable has been deployed over the last 15 years alone. Sustainability, both financial and environmental, have always been at the center of Ethernet development, and that core value continues today.
Other applications appear in the areas of automation, smart building controls, and industrial settings. Wherever harsh environments occur, Ethernet
The State of The Ethernet Going Forward
The uncertainty over Ethernet in this season hinges on a date when a more significant percentage of businesses are going to return to peak capacity. With another wave of COVID apparently on the horizon, timelines may be a little impractical, especially since many people are continuing to work remotely.
Happily, the longer view is much more certain. We stand on the cusp of a surge in new Ethernet capability. We are stepping into the 100GBASE category, and well on our way toward Terabit Ethernet (200GBASE and 400GBASE) and all that provides.
Learn more about Versa Technology Ethernet Switches.
It’s not any port in a storm when you’re dealing with networks. Data has to get to its correct destination with maximum efficiency. Managed PoE switches give you greater control over your network than by using an unmanaged switch. Not only can you control how your ports are configured, but how data travels, how fast it travels, who has access to that data, and the ability to fix network errors remotely.
Switches come in sizes to 48 ports. Managed switches best support the Internet gigabit standard (variant IEEE 802.3ab). Still considered the gold standard, it allows unlimited devices and users–the cornerstone of managed PoE switches.
Consider your budget, network size, and speed, security and configuration needs before choosing either a managed or an unmanaged PoE switch. Keep in mind, a managed switch acts as a brain of your network whereas an unmanaged switch is basic–no bells, no whistles. Since managed switches are more expensive and need oversight, know the differences between the two before you choose.
Managed PoE Switches
There are two kinds of managed PoE switches. They allow you to customize your port configuration as needed to your LAN so that you get the best performance when and where you need it. You use managed PoE switches when milliseconds count, where security and remote accessibility are paramount.
- A limited managed switch is a “smart” switch. These affordable switches allow for a limited number of configurations. They are good for home and small offices seeking cost-efficiency and the option to change up configurations. Also called “web-smart” switches, they usually are managed individually.
- A fully managed switch gives you control over your ports and configurations. It is more expensive than a smart switch but allows you to remotely troubleshoot and fix problems impacting your LAN as well as prioritize LAN traffic. These switches can be managed both individually and as a group and offer more features than a smart switch.
Managed PoE switch features depend on the model and manufacturer, but offer such features as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), Virtual Local Access Network (VLAN) support, port mirroring and bandwidth rate.
Applications include both metro-wide transportation projects and where mission-critical configurations and security are optimal needs, especially over fiber-optic networks that require remote management to control downtime.
Unmanaged PoE Switches
Commonly known as “plug-and-play” switches, unmanaged switches are simple and need no skilled management. There’s no particular set-up. They simply allow devices to communicate with each other. Unmanaged PoE switches have lockable port covers for basic security for small networks and temporary network workgroups. Quality of Service (QoS) is built-in so you know its fixed ports are working optimally.
Unmanaged PoE switches do not have IP addresses like managed switches, only Medium Address Control (MAC) addresses. There’s no prioritization regarding data packets and each packet simply goes to its pre-configured MAC address. They often connect edge devices to network spurs and simplify the installation of wireless access points (WAPs) and IP cameras. One device per port. Note that they don’t support IGMP and can confound networks as they treat multicast and broadcast traffic the same.
Unmanaged switches are often used in maritime and energy applications, IP surveillance camera setups, and home businesses using SOHO routers.
Managed Ethernet Switch or No?
Managed switches can be used as unmanaged switches, but not visa-versa. Whether you’ve set up a network of IP cameras to secure your business, networking your home’s smart devices, or are configuring an enterprise network utilizing industrial departments at varying locations, you have to consider the following:
- Number of devices
- Size of network
- Configuration changes
- Remote troubleshooting and access
- Your IT team
- Features needed
- Cybersecurity needs
Managed PoE switches provide major security as you can create access controls that keep threats at bay. This is especially important when you’re updating Army network switches like project manager, William “Rich” Richardson and his team does.
Richardson says that “by increasing the speed and bandwidth of the infrastructure—from 1 gig to 10 gigs, in most cases, is pretty significant.” He adds that “going from old, obsolete data networks to the latest and greatest state-of-the-art technology being deployed—is really rewarding. It’s great seeing these systems being brought out of the Dark Ages and into the light.” Military and industrial applications use managed PoE switches as they have a large network that needs oversight. An unmanaged switch will suffice if you’ve just a few devices and a small network that doesn’t need oversight.
According to Industry Herald 24, touting a 2020 Report from Report Consultant, the “global managed Ethernet switch market is projected to grow at a CAGR +12% during the forecast period 2020 to 2028.”
What does this mean for your decision whether or not to use a managed PoE switch for your network? Scalability. If the managed Ethernet switch market is growing at a rate indicating that its performance is optimizing networks across the globe, it is more cost-efficient to focus on scalability than scrapping legacy systems.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) supports low voltage technologies like LED lighting systems, sensors, and HVAC controllers that have become standard in today’s commercial office building. PoE power devices (PD) draw less power than legacy devices, and because they are smart, they can turn off and on automatically. PoE energy costs are low and getting even lower, as smart office spaces are becoming more and more efficient. These sensing capabilities are making commercial office space more affordable for businesses to lease and own.
In this blog, Versa Technology will take a quick look at the energy-saving impact of PoE Lighting, its constellation of the attached devices, and the results of a recent study of its benefit in the smart building space.
Philips Study on Connected Lighting
The digital nature of LED technology brings illumination and IT together, allowing lighting systems to participate in the IoT.
Philips, Interact Office, PoE Technology,
The Smart Connected Lighting System for Offices.
According to a study done by the lighting manufacturer Philips, in a Class-A commercial building in San Francisco, CA, 19 percent of all energy is consumed by lighting. And not surprisingly, the company also found that up to 80 percent of energy savings came from LED lighting, integrated sensor, and HVAC technologies. Combined with other technologies, LED lighting systems are having a significant impact on business right now.
In the study, the total operational savings in terms of energy resulted from the following automated functions:
- Occupancy sensing
- Daylight harvesting
The combined reduction in power consumption for that San Francisco property over a 2-3 year period resulted in an $83K payback.
A Deeper Dive into Other Savings for PoE Energy Costs
Personal control apps, accessible through smartphones and tablets, allow workers to raise and lower lighting levels or back off heating or cooling functions and use energy more precisely than presets. Comfortable spaces improve the overall efficiency of occupants, adding to the payback in terms of employee wellbeing. Philips is quick to state that worker productivity is just as measurable and essential as the savings enabled by LEDs and sensors.
Because PoE lighting systems can also connect to open API control systems, they can simplify the processes of scheduled maintenance, inventory and ordering of replacement products. Further, prescriptive maintenance capabilities collect and analyze real-time and historical performance data as well as alerting facilities teams of bulb outages through centralized control platforms.
Since sensors are now embedded in LED installations, LED lighting can also track actual occupancy. Philips found that the average office space density is at 50 percent. Tracking occupancy levels allows facilities teams to optimize space more effectively. This improved efficiency results in substantial savings to businesses, as the average cost per desk/per year, is approximately $10K. The average yearly rental space savings resulting after optimization is up to $5/ft2.
PoE Lighting An Important Role In A Digital Ecosystem
Smart building technology is being applied to create a digital ecosystem where insight into usage and optimization can be harnessed to improve the utilization of the space and the environment for those who occupy it. This data, in turn, provides insights that were never achievable before, and allow businesses to create connected applications and services that deliver new capabilities and value to employees and customers.
Philips, Interact Office, PoE Technology,
The Smart Connected Lighting System for Offices.
A siloed approach for each of these subsystems, the company states, was making data collection practices redundant. The open API that developers can use to integrate other systems helps achieve flexibility and consolidates the overall management process of facility management.
Images from an IP surveillance camera operating over a Power over Ethernet (PoE) network is limited by a distance of 100 meters between ports. If your IP camera must be set up over 100 meters from its network source (LAN), you will need at least one PoE extender as your receiver signal will lose integrity beyond that distance.
The 5 Different Types of Extenders
PoE passes electricity and data on a pair of twisted CAT5e or CAT6 cables. The various PoE extenders plug into your new or existing IP camera system, allowing you to view images from distances up to 4,000 meters (roughly 2.5 miles). It’s designed to extend your TCP/IP network by increasing voltage and boosting your network’s signal. There are 5 types of Ethernet extenders to choose from:
- Fiber Media Converters: single-mode fiber extends up to 60 km, multi-fiber only to 500m
- UTP Ethernet Extenders: 4-pair UTP cabling extends up to 500m, other units to a maximum 2.5 km
- Coaxial Cable Extenders: extends up to 1,000m using legacy coaxial cables
- Radio Wireless Extension: can extend network several miles
- Cellular Extension: can extend network anywhere there’s a cellular signal
Radio wireless extenders use two wireless access points (WAPs) to create a wireless bridge. The limitation is that that wireless bridge must be in the line of sight of the network. Cellular extenders bypass that limitation as these extenders use cellular signals to gain distance.
PoE extenders provide relatively inexpensive solutions to IEEE802‘s distance issue. That’s where they differ from using a PoE switch to achieve distance. Although you can plug several cameras into the switch, your switch can’t be plugged in directly to your Network Video Recorder (NVR). PoE extenders can be plugged directly into your NVR, but with one caveat: it can only connect one IP surveillance camera.
PoE Injectors vs. Extenders
You might wonder why you need an extender if your system is already using a PoE injector. They have two different functions. A PoE injector simply powers up your non-PoE enabled camera to make its images viewable by your network. PoE extenders increase the distance that you can use for your IP devices and do not require a power source.
By definition, however, a PoE extender is also a PoE injector since it makes images viewable by your network by reducing the amount of cabling needed.
Should You Use a UTP or an STP Extender?
It depends on your application. UTPs are less expensive and do a good job of reducing noise. However, if you suspect or know that you will have excessive electromagnetic (EM) interference between your camera and NVR due to camera placement, STPs will shield that noise. STPs are commonly used when you install IP surveillance cameras at a venue that uses sensitive machinery like hospitals or airports. But if you’re installing surveillance cameras within an office building for instance, using UTP will work just fine in most cases.
How Many PoE Extenders Will Be Needed?
The rule of thumb is one extender to one camera and one NVR. If you are setting up an IP surveillance camera greater than 100m from your network without an extender you will lose signal integrity. Why? Because CAT5e and CAT6 cables would not be able to handle wattage load as the twisted cables are usually the standard 22 gauge.
Your extender will have a PoE in port and a PoE out port. Connecting your PoE extender to your IP surveillance camera is simply a matter of plugging it inline. You connect the cable to the PoE in port from the NVR or PoE switch. The PoE out port connects to your IP camera. No matter how many PoE extenders you use, your IP device requires at least DC38 voltage left at the camera to work with your NVR.
Most IP surveillance cameras that exist in a building will work fine within the standard 100m distance. How much is 100m? It’s 328 feet or about 1.1 times the height of the Statue of Liberty, including the pedestal. Visualizing that distance, you get an idea of how easy it is to lose your camera’s signal after 100m. Using the 100m metric, you will be able to make an educated guess of how many extenders that you will need to make your project work. For instance:
- If your IP camera is more than 100m but less than 200m you will likely need only one extender.
- If you need to be 300 to 400m, you will likely need at least two or three extenders.
- If you are connecting a remote camera from around 1km away, the extenders won’t help you. You will need a fiber PoE solution.
So for every 100m of distance, use an inline extender, dependent on your application. Outdoor cameras setups should use weatherproof, outdoor IP66 rated extenders while indoor cameras don’t need to be. However, if your cameras are lodged in a building with sprinkler systems, waterproof.
The Future of PoE Extender
One looming consideration is whether PoE extenders as we know them today will become legacy in the near future as cabling trends toward CAT7 and CAT8. Looking toward scalability and interoperability with current systems, today’s PoE extenders currently work best with CAT5e and CAT6 since CAT7 and CAT8 aren’t approved for telecommunications yet.
But according to a white paper authored by Jean-Jacques Sage, Marketing and Innovation Director of Nexans, the United States PoE growth rate through 2025 is about 20 percent. With that PoE growth rate coupled with the ongoing innovation of the IoT, as technology increases gigs, extenders will most certainly be updated to make IP surveillance cameras work over the faster data lines and in remote locations.
Because Power over Ethernet (PoE) Powered Devices (PD) show up in user-facing smart-building deployments, they are ideal for collecting data. Moreover, the points where they are positioned and the kinds of data they collect make them extremely useful in the Machine-Learning (ML) space. In fact, you could say ML and PoE technologies have a symbiotic relationship. That data specific to the people occupying a room, building, or city provides the right insight to help managers, developers and other machines simplify the smart management process.
Smart buildings and smart devices are getting smarter by applying these data-driven insights. This process streamlines the functionality of homes, workspaces, and learning environments, making things like lighting more personalized. As a result, ML brings a whole new level of sophistication, personalization, and functionality to the world of low powered devices.
This blog will look at how ML works with PoE and the value it’s bringing to the table.
Machine Learning Defined
Machine learning applies artificial intelligence (AI) systems, including algorithms and programs, to automatically learn and improve experiences without human intervention. It develops computer programs that process data to “self” learn and improve existing systems.
There is a distinct difference between AI and ML. In AI, machines think like humans independently. In ML, continuous data mining harvests insights.
With ML, the efficient running of a building is the chief goal. Humans are still required. ML automates the process while anticipating and evolving. Change is seen over time, or you could say learning occurs.
ML implements in two phases. First, developers train neural network models using massive datasets. Without the help of machines, these data sets are too large for humans to interpret.
Once trained models are verified, they move into the inference engine phase. Inference is the predictive part of the application set. From a dictionary perspective, inference is the process of deriving strict logical consequences from assumed premises. The ML apps use the trained model to class external data and queries. Parallelization distributed between multiple training nodes sorts through enormous amounts of data to improve the model accuracy.
With ML, the importance of the rapid return of the results means that hyperscale computing needs to be deployed and always with a view to keeping costs down. As a result, the competition between cloud service providers is steep.
Machine learning growing adoption in business across industries reflects how effective its algorithms, frameworks and techniques are at solving complex problems quickly. The global machine learning market was valued at $1.58B in 2017 and is expected to reach $20.83B in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 44.06% between 2017 and 2024.
Louis Columbus, Roundup of Machine Learning Forecasts and Market Estimates 2020
Device as ML Data Collector
The smart home, office and city employ a diverse set of connected technologies that are not only simplifying management processes, they’re making bank. Up to 83% of IT leaders say AI & ML is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say it is transforming their business. [Enterprise Technology Trends, Salesforce Research.] Customer experience is a Midas touch the hospitality industry has capitalized on in recent years. That principle has definitely wicked its way into the approach for better smart space product development.
Additionally, the data capture process is amping up with 5G. Because 5G is also an enabler of IIoT, it provides the speed needed for IIoT applications. As the data from the IIoT amasses, ML and AI will increasingly gain insights.
Why ML Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation In PoE Is Important
In the 2020 state of enterprise machine learning, the authors cite three main uses of ML.
- The reduction in company costs (38%)
- The generation of customer insights and intelligence (37%)
- The improvement of customer experiences (34%)
Customer insights drawn from ML are enhancing business process effectiveness in verticals like security, billing and supply chain management helps service providers to identify anomalies and alert customers. Smart billing helps service providers improve customer satisfaction by enabling smart billing to optimize rate plans automatically.
In smart settings, ML optimizes satisfaction is through predictive maintenance scheduling and automated order processes for replacement parts. Connected devices leveraging the last mile Ethernet ecosystem to bring broad-based solutions that are interoperable and cost-effective.
Places Where Machine Learning and PoE Intersect
The best way to understand how ML will begin showing improvement for the end-users is to discuss how it is used within different technologies—autonomous cars and smart buildings.
How Autonomous Vehicles Use ML
Autonomous vehicles are, by definition, driverless. They have neural networks that synthesize to help vehicles learn how to react in real-time. These features use apps based on algorithms that take sensor data to predict driver responses. The sensors rely on speech and facial recognition and make these “perceptions” and plug them into the car driving system. An autonomous driving algorithm can also learn multiple routes between home and work and choose the roads with the least amount of traffic based on traffic alerts.
How Smart Buildings Use ML
In the smart building, ML is both supervised and unsupervised.
In the training session, algorithms in supervised ML sort through labeled training data. The supervised algorithm learns from previous examples by pairing inputs with the desired outputs. The algorithm searches through the data set for the input that corresponds to the desired output.
In unsupervised ML, the algorithm searches for previously unpredicted data sets with no pre-existing labels and a minimum of human supervision.
One of the ways this learning might show up is in a smart lighting platform, “knowing” a preset light level for a meeting or classroom. When the teacher starts a presentation, it not only lowers the light to predetermined levels to allow a presentation screen to show up, it might also lower blinds on the windows. Smart lighting algorithms might learn when to turn on motion sensors for lights for a cleaning crew and when they come on, have them turn on at 50 percent intensity.
As these smart space trends continue to develop, ML technology will continue to make the places we live and work more efficient, intuitive, and personalized.
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Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
If there’s a lesson to be learned from being stuck at home during COVID, and struggling to get things done at home that might have taken seconds in the office, it’s this–the agile workplace wins. Workplace agility is nothing new, but developing it has taken on a new urgency. Essential workers with the good fortune to be able to work, needed to socially distance literally overnight. The notion of workstation flexibility, once bordering on the absurd, has now proven to be essential. We’re wiser now. We realize how fragile situations can be and that agility is critical.
Why? Agility equals readiness. It allows buildings to respond to the dynamic flow of priorities of its inhabitants. It’s a two-way conversation between architecture and people, and it’s changing our understanding of what’s smart about the smart building.
This blog will explore seven qualities that embody this idea of the agile workplace and the flexibility organizations need. There are more, but we felt these were an excellent place to start the process if an organization were ready to take on this process more fully.
One: The Agile Workplace Is Sustainable
Key considerations for designing sustainability into an agile workplace are worker wellbeing, technology integration, and workflow enhancement.
Worker wellbeing leverages environmental capabilities to optimize the conditions for the mental and physical health of employees.
Technology or smart building integration uses technology tools to maximize a building’s potential to be as close as possible to energy-neutral (net zero) or energy-efficient. It’s more of a journey than a destination.
Workflow enhancement in smart, agile workspaces relies on automated controls and cross structure transparency to simplify the process of management. This is the heart of sustainability.
“Rather than designing things that can only be used once, design so they can be disassembled and used again,” says Gary Clark, chair of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Sustainable Futures Group.
Here’s the Sustainable Futures Group list of preferable characteristics for a working environment.
- No fixed desks
- Mobile technology
- Settings promote mood and activity
- Sticky spaces for deep collaboration
- Blurring inside and outside
- Contact with wind, sun, and greenery
- Mixing eating, working and socializing
Each of these factors combines to amp up the agility of the responsiveness of a building.
Image courtesy: Summertown
Two: It Centers on the User
The workspace adapts to the inhabitants in the space providing ease of use. That means that as the needs of users flow with their business priorities, the space can quickly adapt. Areas throughout the building may differ based upon the unique ways it is used, conforming to worker specifics:
- Meeting spaces
- Chillax zones
Each space uniquely conforms to the workers in that space.
Rather than using a traditional office approach, where workers have assigned desks and rooms where they work each day, designers and facilities teams model spaces on the Activity Based Working (ABW) principle. In ABW, workers choose where they work each day and even move items around their workspace to address the moment’s priorities. The emphasis is on better collaboration, efficiency, and productivity.
Three: The Agile Workplace Self-Diagnoses
The implementation of building controls and cross-platform visibility is a rapidly growing approach in building management. These platforms and apps pay for themselves in a relatively short period, saving man-hours and reducing the need for manual processes. One app that embodies this principle is Gridd® Mobile, an app used for cable management in raised floors. Designed as a tool to be implemented alongside FreeAxez’ raised access flooring system, the augmented reality app gives facility managers, IT teams, electricians and maintenance personnel the ability to see the status of the power and data cabling beneath the floor from the convenience of a tablet or a smartphone. It even allows them to access product information to help troubleshoot problems without disruption.
In an agile campus setting, machine-to-machine communication builds efficiency and eliminates steps.
Image courtesy: FreeAxez
Four: It Offers Convenient Operational Controls
Properties with intelligent lighting systems, smart HVAC, deploying a full range of PoE devices, including sensors, help conserve power, simplifying maintenance. IP addresses make device tracking easy. Managing resources, as well as the ordering and inventory, are visible on a single screen with aspects becoming automated.
Next-generation building automation systems and controls will interconnect entire building mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, combined with lighting and daylighting. Sensors and personalized controls will make easy the efficient use of power, improving management productivity.
Cloud-based and IoT-connected systems allow enterprise-wide and remote access. They automate predictive and preventive technologies like leak detection sensors and water valves shut off.
“Most discussions of smart buildings today focus on data collection and user customization,” says Paul De Santis, LEED AP, Partner with Goettsch Partners. “The data is mostly derived from enhanced sensoring, while the customization is driven through new mobile technology interfaces.”
Five: It Offers Multifunctional Spaces
A multifunctional space not only addresses the need for multiple functions within one area of a structure, but it also goes beyond. It also adapts to the larger setting, whether in a city, campus, or public space. Flexible workplace designs offer employees flexibility and adaptive accessibility for ADA compliance. Inclusivity allows employees to feel comfortable and productive.
Six: It Leverages the Modular Building Approach
Floors that can be reconfigured over a weekend, walls that move to make places bigger and vice versa—these technologies future proof and adapt allowing a workforce to evolve freely without the constraints of a building—people first then a facility. That is the right prioritization.
Image courtesy: PortaFab
Seven: The Agile Workplace Collects and Analyzes Data to Improve Tenant Experiences
Behavioral data—both of people and buildings—uncovers gaps and allows decision-makers to customize the experience, remediate, and thereby boost the potential performance of both. Small corrections make a big difference in the long run.
Why Develop Workplace Agility?
“Opportunity doesn’t make appointments, you have to be ready when it arrives,” Tim Fargo, American author, keynote speaker, angel investor, and entrepreneur.
As we’ve seen with COVID, there are just some things you cannot foresee. Preparation and responsiveness have won the day for many people. Developing an agile workplace is a smart investment in the future, and it’s also a smart investment today.
Responsiveness and efficiency in taking care of your biggest asset, your people, is money well spent and that care is going to work its way out to care for your customer, and that is agility indeed.
Not every IP camera is Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled. If your customer’s existing security cameras aren’t PoE enabled, they will need to upgrade by using either a switch or a PoE injector for IP cameras. PoE injectors save you from using both a power cable and an Ethernet cord to power up and connect your IP cameras to your network. They’re cheaper, easy to set up, and a cinch to move if you need to adjust your devices elsewhere. Before you use a PoE injector, you’ll need to know what kind of switch that you’re dealing with.
What’s Your Setup? What Do You Need?
First, you need to determine whether you need the PoE injector. You’ll need one if you’re using a non-PoE switch. How do you know if you have a non-PoE switch? Plug your device into the switch and your switch will determine whether it is PoE or not. If it’s not, you’ll need the injector to power and view the data from your IP cameras.
- PoE switch: also called an endspan, you need no injector to power your device, just plug your switch directly to your IP camera
- Non-PoE switch: also called a midspan, it acts as a middleman between your switch and IP camera to enable power to your device
If you’ve determined that you need a PoE injector, you’ll notice that it is usually noticeably smaller than your switch. One side will have your PoE ports. The other your LAN ports.
If you’re using a wired IP camera, you’ll need an Ethernet cable to power up and transmit. What kind of Ethernet cable to use depends on what kind and how many IP cameras and their connection distance from the LAN.
- Category 5e: cheapest, slowest, crosstalk reduced, not especially scalable
- Category 6: limited distance, nearly no crosstalk, supports 10 Gbps up to 164 feet at 250 Mhz
- Category 6a: most expensive, practically no crosstalk, supports 10 Gbps up to 328 feet at 500 Mhz
Most wired PoE use a Cat5e or a 6 cable.
An IP camera and an Ethernet cord are all you need to start to use your PoE injector. Now that you’ve determined your setup, you can decide what kind of PoE injector that best fits the need of your client.
But what Kind of PoE Injector Do You Need?
PoE injectors are either active or passive, single or multiple port, Mode A or Mode B. The multiple port injectors can be a 4, 6, 8, or 24-port injector. A single port will work for a single camera. The more cameras, the more ports you need to power up your IP cameras. As a rule, use a PoE injector unless you have many IP cameras, which in case, a PoE hub makes more sense and is more data and cost-efficient.
Know your network speed since that’s also where the data flows. You might think that gigs are better, but most injectors and IP cameras operate just fine on 100Mb bandwidth.
- You’ll want a PoE injector that is active. An active injector is always a 48 volt. You can use passive, but that just dumbs down your system.
- You can either use Mode A or Mode B, but Mode A is your safest bet as you’ll be using pin pairs 1 and 2, 3, and 6. This works best with 48V IP cameras. However, if you’re using a 24V device, you’ll always use Mode B since it uses power over the spare pins. It’s not that one mode is better, it’s just that Mode A is more standard and that 24V just works with Mode B only.
It’s important to note that not all IP cameras use the same amount of power. Use a power supply that handles within 80 percent of the max rating for your expected load.
How To Use Your PoE Injector
Now that you know which Ethernet cord and what category cable will work with your particular setup, here’s how to use your PoE injector to get your IP camera network up and running.
- Make sure all your equipment is in working order before mounting your IP cameras.
- Plug your Ethernet cord into the injector’s PoE port as well as into the IP camera port.
- Mount your camera where there’s good lighting.
- Use another Ethernet to plug your non-PoE switch to your injector.
As you can see, using your PoE injector for IP cameras isn’t brain surgery. Just plug your cord into your injector and camera, mount your camera and there you go. You’ll get anywhere from 15W to 70W per port on an active switch.
An Interoperable Future: PoE Certification
A press release cited by Market Watch states that there will be nearly 40 billion connected devices by 2025. The ensuing IoT infrastructure demands that secure and cost-efficient solutions will be needed to manage those devices. A PoE enabled network will provide cost installation savings, flexibility, less chance for failure, and centralized power management whether you’re using a VoIP phone, PoE enabled wireless access point, or IP security cameras.
The next logical step for PoE past the current standards is interoperability. According to the Ethernet Alliance, the launch of the Gen2 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Certification program is underway. If you’re a PoE stakeholder, it will be especially important for you to know how the certification process will work and affect your PoE-enabled systems and devices.