ROBLOX, not Robolax

Most Easters, my wife puts together a beautiful dinner and gets little treats for the children. The children are mostly adults now though the tradition continues. There’s often last minute running around, here’s the text I received this afternoon…

When I first read it, I thought it was a medication “Robolax”? As I entered the store, I saw the manager walking towards me who I know personally. I asked if she has “Robolax” and she was about to point me to an aisle when I clarified that I think it’s an online game. Luckily she knew what it was. Turns out the game is called ROBLOX.

When I got home with the gift card I made sure to show my wife the spelling. Turns out it was her sister that gave her the spelling! Shortly after we received a phone call asking if two other children could come to the dinner. My wife asked me to go back to Shoppers and get them gift cards. Turns out one of the children also plays ROBLOX so I went back and bought another gift card.

Of course this made me curious so I had to go check out the company/game. Turns out it’s a big thing. ROBLOX is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was created by David Baszucki (CEO) and Erik Cassel in 2004. Erik passed away in 2013 and there’s a beautiful memorial page describing him on their site. The first beta release was in 2005 and the public release was in 2006. It’s already 12 years old! ROBLOX has 180 employees at their San Mateo HQ.

“ROBLOX is powered by a growing community of 1.7 million creators who produce their own 3D multiplayer experiences using Roblox Studio, our intuitive desktop design tool” based on Lua. It has “over 13 million newcomers sign up on Roblox every month purely through viral word of mouth” and “During peak times, we host over 1,100,000 participants simultaneously. Hundreds of elite creators make substantial revenues from their creations – top creators make well over a quarter of a million dollars a year”

Kids can play ROBLOX with their friends regardless of what device they use: iOS or Android tablet, Xbox, Mac, Windows 10 PC, Oculus Rift, Amazon Devices, and HTC Vive. A PS4 version is in development.

Here’s some stats from their site

And just last month they raise some serious cash: Roblox Has Raised $92 Million To Expand Its Gaming Platform Alex Knapp, Forbes, Mar 14 2017

Now you know as much as I do about ROBLOX, not Robolax!

Interactive Map of IoT Organizations — TAKE 2


UPDATE! I have a dedicated Web site for the map

www.iotmap.ca or www.iotmap.ca/blog

Interactive Map of IoT Organizations — TAKE 2


I am very excited to re-launch my Interactive Map of IoT Organizations. The first version launched a couple of months ago and received a lot of great feedback and some constructive feedback too.

mape-take-2-dec-4-2016-just-map

Here are the material changes from the first version:

  1. Each organization now has their specific address instead of being city-based
    I went back to every organization’s site to find their address. Some organizations are hard to find in the physical world, especially many of the small ones. For global organizations with no headquarters like Open Source organizations such as MicroPython, I look for the top contributor on GitHub and used the City they are from (not their home address!)
  2. “Knock knock, who’s there?” – I enjoy learning about each company and how they started so I can live vicariously through them. Where I had time and could find the information, I now include the Founder(s) of the organization and a link to more information about them. This is in addition to the “Founded” year which was in the first version
    argotics
  3. Category cleanup in Aisle 2″ – I played with the categories and I am still not happy with them. I’ve been researching how the IoT research companies categorize companies. Yes, I know, it sounds redundant to research research companies! I will publish a post on my findings and wil be revising my taxonomy as well. Folks are still trying to determine what it means to be an IoT Platform. For me, it’s most important to focus on standards and integration of systems as there will be organizations that specialize in one aspect of an IoT platform whether it’s the analytics, rules engine, device management, workflow, or visualization functions.
    categories-dec-4-2016
  4. More soup please” – The initial launch of the map had 246 organizations, this new map has 759 organizations. Thanks to many people on LinkedIn and through blog comments for suggesting their companies which accounted for 180 additional organizations. The other 330+ organizations I have been finding on my own by trolling news, Twitter, IoT conference Web sites, “Partners” sections of each organization.

I set up a Twitter account @EyeOhTee and although I still need to tweet more, you may see some interesting news on there and feel free to tweet out this post, plug plug!

Besides the basic data shown on the map, I also track many more attributes of each product within areas below. I will publish additional findings and analysis on this blog and LinkedIn.

  • Platform Features (Real-time Analytics, Device Management…)
  • Security (SSL, TLS…) & Authentication (OAuth, SAML, RADIUS…)
  • Integrations (to other products)
  • Application (Web, iOS, Android)
  • Notifications (SMS, email, Push…)
  • Local Storage
  • Hardware Platform
  • Operating System
  • Programming Languages
  • Wired Interface (ENET, GPIO, USB, RTU…)
  • Wireless Interface (BLE, Wi-Fi, 2G/3G, LPWAN…)
  • Location Interface (GPS, GNSS…)

I love to travel although it has been a while so, for each company, I have fun going to Google Street View to see where the company is based and what is around them. It’s surprising to see where the Internet of Things is growing. This is one of my favorites, not only growing Pumpkins but also a hardware platform.

amica-bergen

I hope you find the map useful and I would love to hear if, and how, it has helped you. Whether you located a company in your area to collaborate or a supplier for a problem you are trying to solve or just learning like me it will have made it worth the time I spend on this.

Without further ado, here is the [ map ]

Please excuse the Google ads as they help show my wife that I can generate a few $ to compensate and cover my DigiKey purchases!

Finally, thanks to David Oro for the additional exposure on IoT Central.


Pleasantly surprising Customer Service

On Thursdays we get the local “newspaper” (ahem, ad-delivery-vehicle). This week when I picked up the big elastic bounded delivery, I noticed a typed letter wrapped around what I thought was the newspaper.

I was shocked when I read the letter, now this is what I call great customer service and from a Teenager none-the-least

jeff-paper

IoT Standards / Organizations

It’s been an exciting past 2 months since my initial post “IoT Wireless Technologies“. Since then my brief article “Interactive Map of IoT Organizations” has seen a lot of feedback on LinkedIn and on my blog. Most of the feedback has been from organizations asking to get on the map but also from individuals who have found the resource useful when researching IoT organizations. At this point, the map has been viewed ~ 10,000 times. My most recent post on “IoT Programming Languages” also did quite well and ended up being a featured article in IoT Central thanks to David Oro.

The Google Sheet I used is now breaking (“Aw Snap!”) under pressure. I’ve spent the last few weeks going back and getting specific street addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for as many of the organizations that I could. I’ve cleaned up the data, re-worked the categorizations, and of course added oodles of organizations. I added organizations that I found on my own plus those suggested on LinkedIn and on my blog. I now have 17,163 data points across 600 organizations delivering 768 product lines. I really need to move it to a true DB now that the 398 different data attributes I collect have stabilized. A big challenge is that some companies expose very little technical information on their Web sites. Some appear to be re-brading themselves to take advantage of the IoT trend while others are full-fledged IoT companies.

One category of organizations that is super important for the wide-spread adoption of IoT, especially in the home, are standard specifications and interoperability organizations. Interop organizations are needed that can specify, test, and certify interoperability both at different levels, from the physical, radio, up to the application levels.

Below are the set of standards and organizations that I have come across so far. If you know of others, please comment on this post or send me a private note on LinkedIn. This is not a comparison of the organization or standards, simply a list in case you needed somewhere to start on your IoT journey.


Industrial


enOcean : ISO/IEC 14543-3-1X

enocean-alliance.org ] An energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems

M2M Alliance : M2M Summit

[ m2m-alliance.com ] Promotes M2M technologies and solutions

Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) : Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB)

[ sgip.org ] A utility-led project dedicated to incorporating common utility data models and applying IoT communication and publication/subscription protocols to create an Open Field Message Bus (OFMB)

Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI)

[ aioti.org ] The European Alliance for IoT innovation

IoT Consortium

[ iofthings.org ] An organization dedicated to growth of the IoT marketplace and development of sustainable business models.


Security


IETF : Open Trust Protocol (OTrP)

[ ietf.org ] A protocol to install, update, and delete applications and to manage security configuration in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)

Onviv : Profiles S, C, G, Q

[ onvif.org ] An open industry forum on a standard for interfacing IP-physical security products


Software


AllSeen Alliance (DEAD) : Alljoyn

[ allseenalliance.org ] A disbanded organization which created a collaborative open-source software framework called Alljoyn that allowed devices and applications to discover and communicate with each other. AllSeen has merged with Open Connectivity Forum.

Eclipse : Eclipse IoT

[ iot.eclipse.org ] An ecosystem of companies and individuals working to establish an IoT based on open technologies.

IEEE : P2413

[ standards.ieee.org/develop/project/2413.html ] A standard for an Architectural Framework for IoT focusing on networking, communication, compliance, dependability, and security

Industrial Internet Consortium

[ www.iiconsortium.org ] A not-for-profit setting architectural framework and direction for Industrial Internet. Founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel

IPSO Alliance

[ ipso-alliance.org ] Promotes the Internet Protocol as the network technology of choice for connecting Smart Objects around the world.

OMA : LWM2M

[ openmobilealliance.hs-sites.com/lightweight-m2m-specification-from-oma ] A Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) protocol

Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Open Connectivity

[ openconnectivity.org ] Created an IoT specification and sponsors iotivity, an open source framework implementing the specification.

OpenFog Consortium : OpenFog

[ openfogconsortium.org ] A group that accelerates the adoption of fog computing to solve bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Tactile Internet


Wireless


3GPP : NB-IoT

[ NB-IOT ] a narrowband radio technology to address the requirements of IoT

Bluetooth SIG : Transport Discovery Service (TDS)

[ bluetooth.com ] An energy-efficient specification for IoT

LoRa Alliance : www.lora-alliance.org

[ lora-alliance.org ] A low powered WLAN communications for IoT, machine learning, industry, and other applications

Open Thread

[ github.com/openthread/openthread ] An open source 6LoWPAN-based Thread wireless networking standard for IoT

Thread Group : Thread

[ threadgroup.org ] An open standard built on top of the 802.15.4 and uses 6LoWPAN for end-to-end IP-based wireless Device-to-Device (D2D) communication. “Nest, now part of Google’s parent, Alphabet, uses Thread as part of its Weave system for connecting smart devices around the home” [1]

Weightless SIG : IIoT Open Standard

[ weightless.org/keyfeatures/open-standard ] A 3GPP grade LPWA IIoT open standard connectivity

Wi-Fi Alliance

wi-fi.org ] A global non-profit association with the goal of driving the best user experience with a new wireless networking technology – regardless of brand

ZigBee Alliance : Zigbee

zigbee.org ] An ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications

ZWave Alliance

z-wavealliance.org ] A consortium of 375+ manufacturers and service providers for interoperablity of wireless IoT devices in smarthomes


References


[1] Nest gives Thread IoT protocol group a new president and a new open-source implementation, Peter Sayer, Network World, May 12, 2016 7:48 AM PT

[2] The IoT Ecosystem Calls for an Efficient Open, Workable StandardKuruvilla Mathew, Aug 12, 2016

[3] Comparative advantage in IoT standardization, IoT Mobile, Ken Figueredo, Aug 2, 2016

[4] Internet of Things Protocols, Postscapes

IoT Programming Languages

I continue to collect information on Internet of Things (IoT) organizations, their product lines, and the various technologies and integrations supported.

I’ve affectionately called my collection the “Thing of Things” and currently have 8,821 data points across 541 organizations, 532 product lines, and 63 countries. A large number of the organizations have formed over the past 6 years.

The organizations are mostly in the consumer IoT space although I have been adding Industrial IoT (IIoT) organizations as well. The category of product lines include hardware, software, sensors, IoT platforms, hardware manufacturers, operators, etc.

Since my background is mostly in wireless communication product development, my next analysis of the data is related to the programming languages used in the IoT. If you are interested in getting into IoT, this could help guide you on which language(s) to learn.

As my data collection continues, I will revise this chart. At this point it is difficult to say what % of the IoT organizations I have covered.

The “Other” languages include R, Lua, Groovy, Scratch, and Swift.

iot-programming-languages-oct-9-2016

As you can see from the above chart, Javascript, Python, Java, C++, and C are the most popular. With the fairly recent development of Micro Python (www.micropython.org) and smaller and cheaper micro-processors I expect Python and C/C++ will continue to be the leading languages of IoT.

Please share your thoughts and comments.

Interactive Map of IoT Organizations


UPDATE! I have a dedicated Web site for the map

please visit www.iotmap.ca or www.iotmap.ca/blog


As you saw from my last post I’m obsessed passionate about the “Internet of Things” and the “Web of Things

I’ve put a quick Google MyMaps map together based on the data in my every growing Thing of Things “database”. The map shows the location of the headquarters of each organization. The organizations include standards bodies, manufacturers of Things, IoT Platform companies, etc.

Here’s the map : [ link ]

You can click on a category on the left to highlight the organizations in that category. Or zoom into your neck of the woods to see if there’s an organization near you.

iot-organizations-around-the-world

Of the 246 organizations I have tracked so far, 59% (144) of them are based in the U.S.A. and 26% of them are based in Califonia (63). This graph shows the locations of IoT companies in the U.S.A with the exception of California.

iot-organizations-by-usa-state-other-than-california

IoT Wireless Technologies

I recently became interested in the various technologies and integrations involved in what many are calling the Internet of Things (IoT) or more recently, the Internet of Everything (IoE). Yes, it’s a broad category and over-used term. No, not all things are equal.

Whether there will be x or y billion or even trillion of connected “things” deployed inside and outside of our businesses and homes, it is fascinating.

I began collecting information on various home automation hubs, industrial IoT Platforms, hardware solutions, software technologies, and variety of different “things”. All of the data I collated into what I am calling my “Thing of Things” (ToT) database. OK, it’s a Google Sheet for now.

At this point, I’ve collected over 5,000 data points across a collection of 248 organizations, 112 product lines, and 289 attributes. I’ve kept track of the various sources and a lot of it is data that I’ve gathered by trolling vendor’s spec sheets. It’s far from complete and yet it’s bearing some initial insights.

Here are a couple of charts produced from my ToT.

The first chart is a high level count of the number of product lines using each wireless technology. The “Home Automation” category is mostly comprised of hubs. “Things” include lights, buttons, cameras, thermostats, sensors, power plugs, etc.

iot-wirelesss-technologies-bernard-jansen-sep-11-2016

This chart shows a bit more detail on various categories and the wireless technologies used within each category.

iot-wirelesss-technologies-2-bernard-jansen-sep-11-2016

 

HAL “Brazil edition”

The “Brazil edition” of HAL brings a significantly improved look and feel to the system. We have spent several months tweaking the user interface to use Bootstrap.

Here are a couple of screenshots to show how HAL looks now:

by organization

edit position

Responsive

  • The nice side-effect (ahem, feature) of using Bootstrap is that HAL is now responsive and loves smartphones, tablets, not just laptops
  • This is what a person’s profile will look like on a tablet
  • TIP: double click on a section header (e.g. Skills, Positions) to collapse or expand the section

View Profile

  • This is what the same person’s profile will look like on a smartphone

Responsive

Improved navigation bar

  • at the top of every page is the new navigation bar
  • depending on your privileges, more (or fewer) menus are displayed
  • and just like the rest of HAL, it’s bilingual

navigation bar

116558 – As a Project Manager I should not have to provide “Done” text in “Add status”

  • We removed the restriction which forced you to provide details of what was completed on the project when adding your periodic status

111003 – As a Project Manager I need the status history to include the dashboard items so a full picture of the status is maintained

  • The add / edit status dialog is accessed from within the “settings” tab (in previous builds there was an “add status” button at the top of each page
  • In previous builds, the “status” tab only showed what was typed in the “add status” dialog
  • Each time you click “Save” in the “Edit status” dialog, HAL takes a snapshot of the Doing and Done items from your board and appends them to your Doing and Done notes
  • The items that are snapshot from your board are those flagged to appear on the project dashboard, i.e. they are significant enough to be placed on the dashboard
  • The “status” tab now shows the snapshot of the items

Status tab

Add status dialog 

  • Added instructional text / guidance inside each of the text input fields to help the User understand what is to be entered

Add status

121453 – As a User, I need the board filtered as I type text so I don’t have to hit enter

  • as you start typing a card / item title or assigned-to person the cards are filtered
  • to reset the board to the default state, click ‘reset’

Filter board

119942 – As a User, I need to see the alumni on a closed project so I don’t have to click “alumni”

  • Previously, on completed projects, the roster appeared empty even though people had worked on the project. You had to click “show alumni” to see them which was not obvious
  • Now, for completed projects, the alumni are shown by default

roster on completed project

Bug Fixes

ID Title / Titre
118015 Migrate all includes to use Composer
118010 Dragged items sometimes remain in previous queue when you reload the board
106612 French users cannot edit the queues in settings tab
102780 go into settings and queues are not editable until you reload the page
120358 after saving a new milestone with dashboard flagged on, milestone drag/drop location is not remembered
121226 saving keynote with ?? causes error
121140 cannot see next month and previous month buttons in date chooser
121379 cannot add or edit a budget in settings tab
121123 edit position company list is incomplete, should be a lookup not a menu
119897 guests can add status on a project
119885 guests can edit task title and notes in tasks tab
121411 autocomplete menu is not styled like bootstrap menus
78171 the set type sub-menu is sometimes to the far right of set type menu item
48988 dragging item to area off screen causes dragged item to disappear until you drop it!
107202 Sometimes seeing double the cards on the board, ie each item duplicated
119984 re-ordering milestones, items not saved properly
119005 cannot clear the due date on an item
116386 undefined index : en in project settings
112542 adding item under my item fails
101733 export items to HTML the headings are in English even though the user’s language is French
116359 adding a person with no company results in Error 500
116437 don’t show photo frame in show people if there’s no photo for the person
112590 Sometimes drag/dropped items appear to move but on reload are back in their old queue
116393 Adding an item with colon in title fails
116608 edit status and save -> causes a new status record to be created
118857 Reset on board show show all queues
116757 Use Composer for package management instead of all the includes
116982 Use Composer for Google Spreadsheet
116655 Project with only current status, the status does not show under status tab

 

My caffeinated MotoX Play experience

Several weeks ago I knocked over my almost-full cup of coffee on the front porch and it spilled over my two smartphones. The work Samsung Note 5 survived just fine but my beloved Motorola Moto X Play didn’t fare so well. Everything worked fine except the top speaker.

So, I called Koodo to take advantage of the $7/mo I pay for insurance against defects or damage. They had me in turn call their sub-contracted company eSecuritel which was quite efficient and sends an advanced replacement unit. The process was fairly painless except for the part where they record you describing exactly what happened to prevent fraud. They explained that sometimes a brand new device is shipped if it’s a recent model but, as they get older, you’re more likely to get a refurbished device.

This all happened on a Friday.

On Saturday morning, my MotoX started working again fine, the speaker must’ve self-healed or just dried out the coffee. Unfortunately the coffee smell went away but I drink enough coffee to get my fix. It would’ve been nice to have a coffee-scented-MotoX.

By Tuesday afternoon the replacement device was delivered from the eSucuritel Burlington, Ontario center (Monday was a holiday).

I was hoping for a brand new MotoX but doubtful since it’s been out for a while. The replacement phone was not in original OEM packaging, rather a brightly colored Koodo branded box. A nIce touch was it came with a new power adapter and USB cable. The paperwork in the box said “If the broken phone is not returned in 15 days, you may be charged equipment and processing fees”. On the initial phone call I was told you actually have up to 45 days and the fee could be up to $175.

Finally, two weeks later I had a vacation day and thought I’d start the device swap. I charged up the replacement phone and, once booted, Android offered me to transfer the settings/apps by holding the two phones back-to-back. That failed so I set it up from scratch and, thanks to Google, the backup restored quite well.

Then I noticed the screen on the replacement phone looked a bit off. I put my original (“defective”) unit side-by-side with the replacement (“like new or new”) unit and check out the difference. The replacement phone is on the left, my original phone is on the right.

20160812_182609

In the image on the left some of the apps were not yet installed but look at the difference in colors on the display

20160812_182957

I called Securitel and the first agent wasn’t very apologetic. I commented that the whole purpose for the insurance and their service is to get a unit that works, not one that’s worse than the one I am repairing. He escalated to the Supervisor (based in Atlanta) and he was very helpful. He’s going to send a brand new LG G4 since they cannot get the MotoX Play any longer.

I am interested to see what arrives on Monday 🙂

HAL “Awakens” Edition

Enhancements

  • 101919 – As a Project Manager, I need to filter out the Alumni from the roster so I can see who is currently on the project
    • this is useful for long lived projects where people come/go onto/off of the project
    • by default the Alumni are now hidden when the roster is displayed. there’s a filter “show alumni” which will display the alumni

Bug Fixes

  • 107863 – Done and Next Steps under “status” tab are swapped : thanks Elena!
  • 107177 – the Clone item should not be available to users who are not authorized to add items
  • 107872 – Date on items should not be red until the day after the item is due : Thanks Yves!
  • 102059 – the new item card at the top of each queue should not be shown if the user does not have permissions to add items – blank card at the top of the queue is no longer shown if the user does not have privileges to add an item. Previously someone with a Guest user role sees the card but when they try to add an item it fails
  • 110969 – next and prev links do not work
  • 97592 – guest should not be able to add, edit, or delete project impact. Now a guest can only read the impacts, cannot edit or delete an existing one and cannot create a new one.
  • 100990 – Don’t need to log audit items for re-ordering item (places) in the queue
  • 87497 – anything after & in roster notes is not saved
  • 103527 – Changing photo on person’s profile does not work
  • 107881 – Filters row is wrapping making it hard to read/use
  • 102763 – date on comment does not show time
  • 102933 – My items shows everyone’s items
  • 106618 – Newly added items have comment field but existing ones have