2020 Year of Collaboration

Collaboration in 2020

Collaboration is a key ingredient to secure opportunities. And a lack of Collaboration is a big impediment. So I was very pleased to see Manufacturers’ Monthly covering a recent project we did that needed Collaboration from multiple industry partners to work.

I presented this case at the IoT Impact 2019 manufacturing stream. I’ll include the main slides for that below. And this is for a product that was Made In Australia, not just because we want to, but because it was the only way it could happen in time.

Collaboration Case Study

The Collaboration Case Study is for the IND Technology Early Fault Detection system that was deployed to a rural SWER Line Monitoring trial as part of the Victorian bush fire amelioration program. This required us to coordinate the program and also do the primary electronics and embedded software design along with our supply partners gearing up for PCB Assembly, Cable and Loom Assembly and mechanical design and production for boxes, mounting and solar panels. All this in parallel with web services. For a new technology category. So we needed to work together very closely.

A Winning Combination covers the project. The story was put together by Connor Pearce of Prime Creative Media.

Successful Endeavours - CCBA Manufacturer of the Year 2019
Successful Endeavours – CCBA Manufacturer of the Year 2019

Collaboration Partners

It takes a team of partners to pull off a project like this. So here are some of the people we collaborated with:

And of course IND Technology were highly Collaborative as well.

IoT Impact Slides

These are the slides from the presentation.

A common IoT problem

•Buyers want a catalogue for solutions
•Catalogues don’t contain a viable solution
•There are plenty of sensors available
•Hardware platforms don’t fit the opportunity
•Software back ends are also often a barrier
•Total cost of ownership ends up too high

A possible solution

•Rapid design of a suitable hardware solution
•Get it made locally (in Australia)
•But the catch is that unless very confident, you don’t invest in this until you get the order
•So how quickly can it be done?

Example IND.T

•IND Technology EVFD – finds power system faults – reduces outages and bush fires
•Got the order for 65 trial units end of July 2017
•For Delivery in November 2017 (< 16 weeks)
•For a product not yet designed
•With features not yet confirmed eg. turned out most units had to be solar powered

IND Technology EVFD solar powered

IND Technology - EVFD Solar
IND Technology – EVFD Solar

Above is an example of one of the solar powered units as built but without the cover plate over the FPGA based processing systems that samples at 250MSPS.

Collaboration Ecosystem

Below is the Collaboration Ecosystem where Collaboration was needed.

IND Technology - Collaboration Ecosystem
IND Technology – Collaboration Ecosystem

The areas with dark borders are the parts we handled internally as well as overall coordination and integration. Each of the other areas was handled by one of our supply partners.

Precision Electronics Technologies received a supplier award for their contribution.

Precision Electronics Technology Staff
Precision Electronics Technology Staff

As did Connect Electronics.

Connect Electronics Team
Connect Electronics Team

And the overall result won the IoT Innovation Award for 2018.

IoT Innovation Award 2018
IoT Innovation Award 2018

So a very good outcome all round. And the trial was a resounding success showing that we have another weapon in our arsenal of bush fire prevention strategies. And isn’t that very timely at the moment?

So I’m looking forward to doing more Collaboration in 2020 and especially in IoT where it really needs whole ecosystem to deliver a solution.


Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years.


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This post is Copyright © 2020 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Disruptive Innovation in Photography

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma showed us that the business drivers of our current customers blinds us to emerging but currently unsuitable technology that eventually takes over our market. This has led to a focus on Innovation that looks to be disruptive as its primary goal. And I have come to the conclusion that this has hampered our attempts at Innovation. We have set the bar too high. And this isn’t what Innovation was about. Just a way of looking at a specific type of Innovation.

 

OK, I wrote the above as part of my review of of Frank Connolly of Think Quick and his approach to Practical Innovation. So Google knows I’m plagiarising myself. But here is where the relevance kicks in.

 

Light - a new camera concept

Light – a new camera concept

In my article on Light Cameras I covered a new concept in camera’s developed by Dr Rajiv Laroia who co-founded Light. The Light L16 is a new camera concept using multiple lenses and cameras to fuse a composite image given focal ranges and exposure ranges not possible in conventional cameras. An excellent example of disrupting innovation. and also an excellent example of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

 

Announced in 2016 and expected to be ready that year it was not shipping until mid 2017. Why? Because it is hard to do and the ASIC development was late and the core idea of doing the fusion inside the camera in real time is proving harder than expected and data transfers are too slow (they are transferring 16 cameras worth of data for 1 picture) and focus isn’t good enough and low light performance also isn’t good enough and did I mention it is hard!

 

I’m still impressed with the idea. But like all true disruptions it isn’t good enough when it first launches. Look at the modern DSLR. It shows you the picture you will take, it is seconds from taking the picture to being able to look at it. Focus is multi zone and you can decide how sharp or soft you want it and where. Auto exposure can handle high backlight shots and a wide range of light conditions. Fantastic. And decade in the making. The Light L16 isn’t surpassing it yet but you can see the trajectory and the camera of the future shows its potential now in what they are doing.

 

I’m also impressed with the open approach they are taking with customers. In a recent article Dr Rajiv Laroia explained why the Light L16 was delayed, how they were supporting their customers and what the plan for addressing the issues is. An excellent example of Collaboration with their customers rather than bunkering down defensively.

 

This still looks like it will be a success. It will just take longer than any of us expected.

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE

IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, is the largest professional engineering body in the world and has a world wide focus. I am a Senior Member and have always found it worthwhile. In the days before the Internet was as useful as it is now, they were the best source of regular and up to date news about technology advances and what was happening in the world of technology.

 

IEEE - Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE – Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

A great example of this is the IEEE Collabratec platform. This fosters Collaboration over a very wide range of topics including ethics. I’m a regular contributor and was very pleased to see the figures for the its use in 2017. Check out the graphic below. Click on it to get a larger version that will be easier to read.

 

IEEE Collabratec 2017

IEEE Collabratec 2017

So a very good year for Collaboration.

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet

There are many areas of the world where Internet services are not readily accessible. One of the ideas for providing poorly services areas with Internet was Google’s Project Loon which used high altitude balloons.

 

But there are also Satellite Internet contenders. Theses were nicely covered by recent blogs at CIS 471 and I’ve picked out some essential bits of information.

 

Boeing

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

The image above shows Boeing‘s plans to cover the earth with 2956 satellites. You can read more at Boeing’s satellite Internet project.

 

SpaceX

The next company is SpaceX who are also involved in rocket and satellite design. They are looking at 4425 satellites in low earth orbit.

 

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX believe that they can speed up Internet Back Haul by reducing the number of router hops required. The example above shows 5 space hops (including up and down) replacing 14 conventional hops. You can read more at SpaceX satellite Internet project status update.

 

OneWeb

And OneWeb are looking to provide Global Internet access, especially to the developing world.

 

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

They plan to use beam steerable techniques to allow frequency reuse and clean hand off as the satellites move overhead. And at seriously fast data rates. You can read more at OneWeb satellite Internet project status update.

 

What I found very encouraging is the degree to which BoeingSpaceX and OneWeb are collaborating and cooperating in order to make sure that they can coexist and all provide effective services. This included adjusting planned orbital heights and frequency usage.

 

So great to see another example of just how much Collaboration can enable opportunities, even when the collaborators look like competitors.

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Light Cameras

DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

Ignoring the play on words, the light camera is a major breakthrough in the use of multiple optical viewpoint cameras to create synthetic images that can be taken with something the size of a smart phone and rivals DSLR Camera photographs.

And spoiler alert, I’m getting one as soon as I can. Read on to find out why.

I enjoy photography and appreciate the balance between the size and convenience of my phone camera and the control and quality of image possible in my DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera.

Lets look at how a DSLR camera works. This image is by en:User:Cburnett – Own work with Inkscape based on Image:Slr-cross-section.png, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link.

Single Lens Reflex Camera Cross Section

SLR Camera Cross Section

The photographer can see the subject before taking an image by the mirror. When taking an image the mirror will swing up and light will go to the sensor instead.

  1. Camera lens
  2. Reflex mirror
  3. Focal-plane shutter
  4. Image sensor
  5. Matte focusing screen
  6. Condenser lens
  7. Pentaprism/pentamirror
  8. Viewfinder eyepiece

For a Film SLR camera the sensor is the film. For the DSLR Camera the sensor is a digital image sensor CCD or Charge Coupled Device. These cameras use precision ground lenses and are capable of high levels of control and image quality. They also don’t fit in your pocket unless you have a very large one.

Below is a high quality rendering of a DLSR Camera provided by David McSweeney of Guru Camera. Much appreciated David. Click  on the picture to get a full size version.

DSLR Digital Camera Section

DSLR Digital Camera Section

And if you wanted to understand how the lens works in detail and how to select one then I recommend this excellent Lens Guide article from James Miller of Photographer Touch.

The Light Camera

Light - a new camera concept

Light – a new camera concept

I am very grateful to Dr Rajiv Laroia who co-founded Light. Not only has he developed a breakthrough concept in portable digital photography, but he has been very open about how he went about it and how it works. This is an excellent example of the new Collaboration landscape we now work in. He took his idea to experts to validate it rather than hiding it and hoping no-one would steal it.

IEEE Spectrum have a very detailed article Inside the Development of Light which outlines the whole journey. There are several stand out points here:

  • he solved a problem he had – it represented a practical need he understood
  • he got expert advice early
  • it required a significant shift from the best of breed technology in place now
  • he knows his first version is just that
  • there is a long term product strategy in place
  • he is teaching the world how to do it so that he has first mover advantage rather than a monopoly

The last point is interesting for me. The days of monopolies are coming to an end. The days where a Brand could overcome deficiencies in an offering aren’t yet over but they are fading. Today you can source reviews from peers and industry forums and a Brand can’t as easily dominate a market just by reputation or marketing blurb. The products have to be as good as the Brand claims they are.

Dr Rajiv Laroia - cofounder of Light

Dr Rajiv Laroia – co-founder of Light

So back to Light. Dr Rajiv Laroia has started something we will all benefit from. The concept is brilliant and the results and funding are in place to make is commercially successful.

Will we see it in a smart phone soon?  I can see cut down versions of this concept being deployable in the very near future. The processing power is the challenge in a low power hand held device that is also doing cellular communications. So battery life versus quick availability of the finished pictures is the trade-off right now.

Is it doable in the long run? Absolutely!

Light in Action

Here are some videos covering the development journey, the first commercial version and the use of the camera.


Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.