The world continues to change and become more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. This change has resulted in explosion of information that has created a need for a new kind of intelligence to help build a Smarter Planet. Analysts say that there are over 30 billion RFID tags instrumented, over 2 billion people on the web and a trillion interconnected objects. Additionally, about 15 petabytes of information is generated on a daily basis. One must ask how we manage all this information…IBM Smarter Planet.
IBM Smarter Planet has begun to change the world on a large scale: RFID tags to trace meat and poultry from the farm, through the supply chain to supermarket shelves; Intelligent Oilfield, based on IBM’s Integrated Information links real-time sensor capabilities in the field to powerful analytical capabilities to increase production and reduce costs; Intelligent energy by installing remote monitoring and control devices that provides information on the current state of the grid; and automating processes across mainframe and distributed environments in banks to reduce costs and improve responsiveness.
Now, because of new technology “In The Valley”, you can bring smarter planet to your home. Gene Wang, a Serial entrepreneur Gene Wang started People Power, a maker wireless network devices that monitor energy consumption of household devices. Last week at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, the Palo Alto, CA company announced that it will start selling its $150 software developers kits on March 31, 2010 which gives inventors all the tools they need to create wireless energy sensors for various home appliances and applications.
People Power calls its SDK the SuRF Developer’s Kit, which stands for Sensor Ultra Radio Frequency. The company used a surfing theme throughout: the circuit boards on which developers can build a device are called SuRF Boards; it’s sponsoring a SuRFing Contest with a prize going to the maker of the cleverest device; and its open-source platform for the devices is called the Open Source Home Area Network, or OSHAN (pronounced ocean). “We are helping people ride the big green wave,” Wang said.
The brain of the SuRF wireless sensor platform is a Texas Instruments TI-CC 430 system on a chip that combines the microprocessor and the radio that can be connected to your existing household appliances. SuRF's ultra-low power consumption reduces cost and minimizes the physical footprint of development projects. The SuRF platform radio operates at 900 megahertz (MHz), a lower frequency than the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) at which many electronic devices operate, such as Bluetooth headsets, Wi-Fi access points and microwave ovens. Wang said they went with 900MHz because it gives the senors’ signals longer range. Most importantly, 900MHZ frequency will not interfere with your wireless house phones, cell phone, or Bluetooth headset.
Since PG&E and other utilities are installing millions of smart meters in California and around the country to better track and potentially regulate in-home energy use, (and increase your bill), People Power’s SuRF wireless sensor platform is just in time for the Smarter Planet in your home.