Future 'Sensor's Facebook'

'Sensor’s Facebook' - the Social Sensor Cloud

Is bonding between sensors possible? In the future, the only answer to this question is yes. It is however doubtful, that the purpose will be friendship as it is for the people-orientated version.  Behind this idea the concept „Sensor's Facebook“ is about the creation of a strong use for the industry and the developers of appliances in the wide field of M2M and IoT (Internet of Things). "By developing the Social Sensor Cloud, we are constructing something like a „Facebook for Sensors”, so Dirk Sommerfeld, CTO of the Berlin start up company azeti Networks. The team already finished creating the first technical services and established them in clients systems.

The concept provides that indicated value and data from sensors is supplied to the Social Sensor Cloud. It can also be subscribed by applications of various sources.  The first features of a sensor data marketplace  – the next stage of development in the sensor cloud concept – are already in use. For example as a monitoring solution for cell towers or as observation technology for highly sensitive products in storage facilities.

"What's important, is that in the future data can be exchanged between private cloud solutions. This happens fast, easy and automatically without programming complex interfaces for the system." so Dirk Sommerfeld from azeti. At present, cell tower manufacturers in Africa and Asia are realizing MSP-models based on the Social Sensor Cloud Technology.  For example: The outsourcing partner simply connects to a fuel sensor, like to a friend in facebook and e.g. gets the necessary parameter and information, if a fuel tank is coming close to a dangerously low fuel level.

The azeti SONARPLEX technology is already in use in different healthcare projects in Kuwait to centrally control critical infrastructures, sensors, IT and medical equipment. Furthermore, values of certain parameters that differ from the norm will be intelligently transmitted to the relevant center to ensure a fast intervention. "We are able to supervise also medical equipment and if necessary we contact the hospital staff about malfunctions as well as the supplier for a maintenance visit", informs Dirk Sommerfeld.

The foundation is the SONARPLEX technology and components of the Social Sensor Cloud. Cutting points between systems no longer apply. Applications and systems „subscribe“ the sensor's data via the Social Sensor Cloud.


azeti NG M2M Multipurpose Gateway

Monitoring and Managing Mobile Towers via M2M Telemetry

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has shown: the Berlin tech company azeti Networks AG meets with its SONARPLEX technology all current and future requirements especially for operators of mobile towers in remote regions enabling them to cope with their specific challenges: from intelligent sensor data collection and on-site processing over communication with the Network Operations Center (NOC) to the integration of managed service partners via the sensor cloud. Monitoring the overall status of the mobile tower site, steady control over different security installations, electronic access control and management of technical equipment – based on azeti’s M2M software SONARPLEX, the data of various sensors as well as of active and passive on-site components is collected and processed locally at the mobile tower. Subsequently, the filtered information is sent to the Network Operations Center (NOC).

In the mid of February on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, azeti Networks has presented its SONARPLEX-technology together with the azeti NG M2M Multipurpose Gateway. The new M2M Gateway generation of the Berlin tech company offers multiple interfaces for the communication with sensors and SNMP devices. On the one hand, sensor data can be transmitted using the serial interfaces RS-485 (2x) and RS-232 (1x). On the other hand, the azeti NG supports wireless communication with sensors over Zigbee, Bluetooth and WiFi. Furthermore, the Gateway offers open API’s (for example REST or SNMP) for specific data requests.

The azeti NG offers the possibility to process the collected sensor data locally and only to send an alert in case of exceeding predefined thresholds (azeti I ‘m OK-Technology. The SONARPLEX 5 M2M Software helps to reduce the data traffic by up to 90%).

The communication between the azeti NG and the NOC is possible either over ethernet networks including WiFi or mobile networks (GSM). In case, the connection to the NOC is interrupted, the Gateway can still collect and process sensor data as well as storing it on the internal SD flash memory card. As soon as the communication to the NOC is restored, in the meantime collected data and alerts can be transmitted completely.


Essential: the SONARPLEX technology

The SONARPLEX technology meets (from a hard- and software perspective) all the current and future requirements, from intelligent sensor data collection and on-site processing over communication with the Network Operations Center (NOC) to the integration of managed service partners via the sensor cloud.

Monitoring the overall status of the mobile tower site, steady control over different security installations, electronic access control and management of technical equipment – based on azeti’s M2M software SONARPLEX, the data of various sensors as well as of active and passive on-site components are collected and processed locally at the mobile tower. Subsequently, the filtered information is sent to the Network Operations Center (NOC) or to azeti’s Sensor Cloud.



How Are Massive Server Rooms Kept Secure?

We’ve all seen pictures of huge, never-ending server rooms, some extending throughout entire factory-sized buildings. When you think about the amount of effort it takes to secure your home computer, can you visualize the difficulty of securing hundreds, if not thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of servers?

Keeping this massive amount of servers secure from the elements and from hacking is no easy feat. Below are the three of the most important elements to securing a massive server room.

1)      Extensive and detailed software to monitor and control all conditions

Much like your home computer, servers require a lot of physical care in order to increase their capacity and efficiency.  Small details such as the temperature and humidity could endanger every piece of information stored in this data center, so the first step is to always ensure that you have efficient monitoring of environmental factors.  Services like the monitoring solutions by azeti will check that every aspect in the server room is at proper working level. Information that is gathered will allow the servers to run efficiently, warn of potential failures and ensure longevity of the technological equipment.

Using this kind of monitoring can be the difference between a successfully maintained data system and one that will be inevitably lost to the natural elements. To see the detailed extent of tracked conditions, data depictions and acquired data, take a look at a breakdown of azeti’s sonarmanager console.

2)      Installation of vital software on each server

As all server data is connected to the internet, it’s an attractive goldmine for hackers looking to find valuable information or simply enjoy the challenge of taking down servers. Any stable server room will be using powerful hardware and software firewalls on any connected computer; this includes computers being used by employees, rather than solely those in the server room.

All servers will need to constantly install up-to-date security software, and set them to check for viruses regularly. The most secure software products will have a Common Criteria certification, meaning that they have been tested for vulnerability to hacker access.

Encryption software will also help protect all information passing through the computers. This will scramble data to make it difficult for any hackers to read and will create a more secure password protection.

3)      Reducing the impact of the human and disaster factor

Regardless of the size of a server room, it could take only one staff member making a mistake for huge amounts of data or servers to be damaged. All employees must be trained on how to keep data secure and use their computers safely. They should only be granted access to data they need, rather than all servers’ information.

Employees must be knowledgeable (even experts) at treating, fixing and understanding the hardware and software behind servers. They must be educated in the particular aspects of the server room at hand, and should be trained to handle any kind of emergency that occurs.

Additionally, backup options must be put in place – not only in case of an employee mix-up – but also in cases of a disaster such as a flood. The best option is to have backups situated in a different country and even continent, so as to ensure that the likelihood of damage to both server spaces is reduced.



azeti’s SONARMANAGER and Things to Know about the Console

Of the varied products that azeti offers, sonarmanager is undeniably a product that many with interest in technology should get some information on. After all, the product is quite innovative and of course, it can offer a considerably innovative function. After all, it can be used to handle more than one sensor appliances, as well as more than one IT systems simultaneously. Naturally, there are more sonarmanager has to offer and if you have some interest in sonarmanager, the followings are some things about the console that you might want to consider getting some information on.

Constituting a console that serves as a management console for azeti’s SONARPLEX appliances, azeti’s sonarmanager can display accurate and up-to-date information on the status of the monitored elements and in addition, it can provide performance reports as well. Not only providing performance reports, the console can also display graphical data depictions which, of course, are not the last things that the console has to offer. After all, the console also has a Dashboard through which it can offer mixed graphical, as well as numeric and textual views of the elements that are currently being monitored.

On top of offering the said functions, sonarmanager can also remotely monitor virtually all critical factors that include both software and hardware origins. Moreover, the console can actually monitor all of those critical factors even when IT infrastructures are actually heterogeneous and even at considerably large distances, as well as when there is only unreliable network connectivity to rely on. Thus, using the console can be a very flexible, efficient, as well as cost-effective thing to do. In other words, azeti’s monitoring solutions which involve the use of sonarmanager is certainly amongst the most cost-effective monitoring solutions on the market as sonarmanager can be used to monitor objects no matter how distant the objects are.


Machine2Machine Magazine

Building the Global Society of Sensors
According to Gartner, in 2020 up to 26 billion devices (’things’) are connected to a wired or wireless network, providing a huge amount of information about almost everything conceivable. Integrated sensors and actuators are equipping ‘things’ with intelligence and allow people and machines to collect data ranging from the condition of conveyor bands over the number and kind of groceries left in the fridge to the average traffic flow on a specific road. [1] Gathering the innumerable amount of data provided by billions of smart devices builds the foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT), while the underlying process of machines talking to each other in order to share this information called machine to machine communication (M2M) enables the IoT.

The benefits of IoT and M2M can be tremendous, wherefore companies setting up new business models, leveraging the generated data and creating service models on top of it. The opportunities of earning money seem to be infinite. But there are a couple of major challenges to solve, in order to make the collection and provision of information as efficient as possible.

Main challenges identified are:

  1. To prevent data flooding as a result of the unstructured communication between billions of devices
  2. To prevent the grow of large but encapsulated sensor networks (walled gardens), where only specific and predefined devices can interact
  3. To push the creation of virtual sensors forward as they are providing the possibility to derive, generate and finally correlate information from sensors, as a direct result of the integration of numerous devices

The development of the azeti Social Sensor Cloud (SSC) is partly financed by the Investment Bank Berlin and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and significantly supported with research by the Technical University of Berlin. A team of scientists led by professor Adam Wolisz, who is also adjunct professor at the University of California in Berkeley, enables azeti Networks to make the SSC real in order to tackle the above-mentioned challenges by facilitating intelligent cloud-based data transactions.

The massive rise of data traffic in the next couple of years caused by the accruing number of devices sending information indicates clearly the need for an intelligent cloud-based management of data streams. A forecast for 2018 from Cisco states that global M2M traffic will grow to 907.5 petabyte monthly. The relative share of M2M-related traffic in total mobile traffic will increase from 1% at the end of 2013 to 6% in 2018. [2] But these numbers comprise both useful data as well as junk data.

In order to cope with this, the SSC offers the possibility to decide which information is worth to store and which is not. Only so called Sensors of Interest (SOI’s) are delivering information, which is demanded. If information of the SOI is frequently requested, specific subscriptions can be set up for individual provision, allow to discriminate between the data. This demand oriented collection process of the SSC, based on the capability to provide only data on request and not in fixed intervals makes it possible to avoid data traffic jams by reducing the collection of junk data. At the same time, suppliers have full control over the data they are offering. They can select in detail, which information they want to share and which not. The same applies to subscribers, who can also decide about the subscription to certain sensors and storage of the obtained data. This in build features allows suppliers as well as subscribers of data to fulfill their contractual, legal or regulatory storage obligations in a secure way. The necessity for those storage capabilities can be clearly shown, when companies like Telco operators are asked to provide data about the availability of their infrastructure and the fulfillment of their public service obligations. They can prove to comply with this, by storing historical data about the condition of their networks. In the field of managed services, companies have also contractual obligations, which they have to fulfill. For example, providers of fuel refill services need steady data about the fuel level in tanks for emergency power supply systems. The provision and accessibility of that mission-critical information is important for them to achieve service level agreements.

In order to integrate as many devices as possible, azeti Networks develops together with the Technical University of Berlin an open source communication protocol for a universal connection of sensors and actuators to the SSC allowing for cross-dimensional data pooling. In addition, the SSC supports all common communication protocols, for full coverage of existing communication standards and to keep the cloud open to everybody and every ‘thing’. Because the real added value of information results from the possibility to choose between different sources of sensor data and to correlate as well as analyze those information, which is a prerequisite for the next generation of tailored applications for the B2B and the B2C market.

‘Risk of Forest Fires’ as virtual sensor

 Another essential concept is called virtual sensors. They are defined as the collaboration of physical sensors from which comprehensive information can be derived by combining their data. This will change the informational environment by far. With the inclusion of data from various sensors on a global scale, individuals as well as companies can create their own set of information based on their selection of and subscription to different physical sensors. In order to illustrate the concept, one could think of a virtual sensor called ‘Risk of Forest Fires’, based on the data of temperature, humidity and wind sensors in a specific area. The combination of all the data can improve the quality of predicting those fires.

In the next step, the SSC will provide data brokerage and billing for sensor data.

Making ‘things’ only smart by equipping them with intelligence is not enough. The final goal should be to form a society of sensors as the basis of ambient awareness. In order to achieve this, the communication of sensors has to take place in a unified way while collecting only the data that is demanded. azeti Networks Social Sensor Cloud tackles those upcoming challenges making the Internet of Things even smarter.

AUTHOR: Florian Hoenigschmid, azeti Networks AG


[1] Reference: Chui, Michael / Löffler, Markus / Roberts, Roger: The Internet of Things, McKinsey Quarterly March 2010, in: http://mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_internet_of_things (retrieved: 5th of February, 2014).
[2] Reference: Cisco VNI Mobile Forecast, Highlights 2013-2018, in: http://www.cisco.com/assets/sol/sp/vni/forecast_highlights_mobile/index.html (retrieved: 5th of February, 2014).
var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-44727348-1']); _gaq.push(['_gat._anonymizeIp']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();