Mike’s B+B Insider

Wzzard

It’s Halloween season in Illinois. We start by decorating our yards with ghosts, gremlins, goblins and ghouls; the scarier the better. We put illuminated pumpkins on our porches and trust our teenage neighbors not to smash them until Halloween night. When the great day comes, the kids troop from house to house dressed up as miniature witches, super heroes, pirates and zombies. Some costumes are scary; some are funny. One year, for example, I found myself handing Snickers bars to a couple of killer bees. As a parent, of course, it’s difficult......

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Partner Conference

We’re well into autumn in Illinois. Leaves are changing their colors and Halloween decorations are springing up around the neighborhood. The often-quipped – yet seldom followed – edict of “no furnace until Thanksgiving” has already been broken at the Fahrion homestead. It won’t be long before I’m packing away the summer toys and contemplating taking up cross-country skiing. Autumn is a time of transition. We’ve been going through a transition at B+B as well.  We’ve been developing new products and new technologies, and working with many new partners. Energizing stuff. We shared......

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Wzzard Platform

You’re rarely more than a few feet away from a sensor these days.  There’s a sensor in your smoke detector that tells it to shriek at you when it wants a fresh battery.  There’s a sensor in your HVAC system that tells the unit when to cycle itself on and off, thus ensuring that men will always be too hot and women will always be too cold.  When you’re perusing the headlines on your Samsung Galaxy Tab, there’s a sensor that makes sure the tablet always knows which way is up.  (Even......

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Mesh Nodes

Remember low power wireless mesh networks? A decade ago they were the cover story in virtually every technical magazine. Industry analysts were raving about them. They were spawning one new startup after another. Folks everywhere were dazzled by promises of ultra-resilient, micro powered, wireless networks that would have more than enough bandwidth to handle sensor and I/O data traffic. I was no exception. They had me at “hello”. So I jumped right on board. B+B SmartWorx collaborated with a number of different startups. We helped evaluate their technology. We built many of......

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Bananas

Consumer Internet of Things technologies are generating a lot of excitement. Some are clearly going to be big hits. Others, like the Internet-enabled crockpots that I’ve seen for sale, may turn out to be as pointless as a Mikededicated banana slicer. (There are already 50 things in your kitchen that will slice a banana. But if you need yet another one, dedicated banana slicers are currently just $2.92 on Amazon, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members.) We’ll see how it all plays out. In the meantime, industrial M2M networks are already......

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Bear

I don’t usually sit down and start writing at 3:45 a.m. on a Monday morning, but I’ve just returned from a trip to Europe. Now my internal clock is confused about which time zone we’re supposed to be in. As a result — having decided that I’d better get up and get moving before they stop serving breakfast in Prague — my internal clock has roused me up and kicked me out of bed in Illinois. So here I sit, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and all set to have breakfast on another continent.......

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Industrial Internet of Things

The Internet of Things – Industrial Tools vs. Consumer Toys When people talk about the Internet of Things, consumer products like smart refrigerators always seem to be at the top of the list. The idea is that your autonomous, connected refrigerator of the future will be will be able to inventory your supply of strawberry Greek yogurt and order up a fresh stash when stocks run low. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t plan to be an early adopter. Hackers have already broken into one smart refrigerator. They hooked it up......

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Drone

Its 5:30 in the morning here at Chicago’s Midway airport, it’s still dark outside, and I’m not at my best. I had to get up early enough to make time for a 90 minute drive from my home base, plus showering, shaving and grumbling my way through all that Homeland Security rigamarole. An hour ago I was wondering if it was worth having gone to bed at all. But the coffee has kicked in, my plane is on time and the weatherman says my world will be 60 degrees warmer when I......

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Internet Of Things

As I write this I’m cruising at 32,000 feet and sharing a Wi-Fi Internet connection with 168 other passengers. I don’t know how many handheld wireless devices we’ve got between us but, the Candy Crush addict sitting next to me has already switched between a laptop, a Nexus 7 and a smartphone. A while ago he was kind enough to inform me that he gets five new lives each time he changes devices, which means that he doesn’t have to wait 30 minutes, beg friends for lives on Facebook or pay for......

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About the Author

Mike FahrionFor almost 15 years, Mike Fahrion has been sharing his unique perspective on life, liberty and the pursuit of anything and everything of interest to an engineer. A master of M2M device connectivity, Mike has an insatiable curiosity in how everything is connected;  people and places, machines and man, politicians and reality. He loves left field (he spends a lot of time there) – but you’ll find him funny, irreverent, thought provoking and always connected.

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