Cost-cutting software facilitates 'talk' between digital devices
An EU and industry-funded project has built ground-breaking software that automates communication between Internet-enabled digital devices, potentially cutting engineering costs by up to 75 % or more. The software is already in use across Europe, saving consumers money and benefitting the environment.
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Today, Internet-enabled devices can ‘talk’ to other devices. For example, sensors in a home can tell a heating system which rooms to warm up according to where people are. However, that process of communication is not automatic. In fact, 65 to 80 % of the costs of building any digital system are spent on constructing individual communication systems.
Getting devices to ‘talk’ to each other autonomously thereby dramatically reducing communication systems engineering costs and boosting competitiveness is a challenge faced by many software developers. The EU, participating states and industry-funded ARROWHEAD project is one of the few in the world that has automated such communication.
“The grand challenge we addressed was enabling the interoperability of Internet-enabled devices in the energy sector, smart buildings, electric vehicles and other infrastructure systems,” says project coordinator Jerker Delsing of the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. “We now hope our software can be standardised and used in a very wide range of devices.”
Benefitting people and the planet
ARROWHEAD software is already being used in several products and projects around Europe.
In some cities across Scandinavia, including Stockholm and Gothenburg, ARROWHEAD software is helping energy utilities cut their primary power consumption by improving communication with digital heating systems. The technology allows the utilities to have better control over consumption at peak times early morning and early evening which means that they do not have to switch to more expensive fossil fuels to meet the spikes in demand. This also cuts costs passed on to the consumer and limits the use of fossil fuels, benefitting the environment.
In another project, also in place in Scandinavian cities, waste-sorting companies are integrating ARROWHEAD technology in their container parks and garbage trucks, allowing them to ‘talk’ to each other. The system can help reduce the distance trucks drive and the amount of fuel they consume by communicating in advance which containers are full and which still have space.
ARROWHEAD software is also being used in Finland, Hungary and Italy to help electric vehicles communicate with charging stations. With the software, vehicles automatically know where they can recharge their batteries. Meanwhile, an Italian airport has also installed ARROWHEAD technology to help improve airport logistics.
“We have experienced a very strong interest in our software. Today, other EU projects are using our technology and building it into new systems,” says Delsing.” Meanwhile, big companies and projects including smart cities projects are keen to know what ARROWHEAD technology can do for them.”
Delsing was keen to point out that ARROWHEAD took security concerns and the potential for hacking very seriously from day one.
“ARROWHEAD has robust identification security that will prevent any data from leaking to competitors,” he says. “The strong market interest in our product reflects the high level of in-built security.”
ARROWHEAD received funding from the EU through the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking, which combined FP7 funds with dedicated financial support of the Joint Undertaking participating states and in-kind contributions from the project beneficiaries. Since 2014, the ECSEL Joint Undertaking has assumed and continued the activities of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking under the H2020 programme.