Zero-configuration platform for wireless sensing and actuation: Page 3 of 6

July 13, 2017 // By Nelson Matthys, VersaSense and Jackie Rutter, Linear Technology
Creating, deploying and configuring applications for Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios remains complex and costly for many users. VersaSense’s Micro Plug-and-Play (MicroPnP) platform addresses this complexity problem and provides a zero-configuration and fully standards-based solution that radically reduces the cost of acquiring, building, and operating wireless sensing and actuation Internet of Things systems at scale. MicroPnP combines true Plug-and-Play integration of sensing and actuation peripherals with Linear Technology’s SmartMesh IP, providing ultra-low power and reliable wireless mesh networking.

2) Automatic software installation and maintenance. Once a peripheral is plugged in into a MicroPnP device, all corresponding device driver software is automatically requested to the network gateway and subsequently installed over-the-air. From this moment on, the peripheral is fully functional and available for remote interaction by end-users. To further accommodate application developers, the network manager exposes RESTful APIs to query all devices and directly push sensor data into the cloud.

3) Ultra-reliable mesh networking at extremely low power. At the network level, MicroPnP integrates with Linear Technology’s SmartMesh IP embedded wireless mesh networking. SmartMesh IP is a commercial implementation of the Time slotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) mode of IEEE 802.15.4e, and combines its performance with meshing capabilities and the ease of use of IPv6. To ensure high data reliability in the face of RF interference, multi-path fading, and other environmental factors, TSCH combines a reservation-based Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) scheme with channel hopping. By continuously monitoring the state of the network, and optimizing the TSCH schedule for every device, a MicroPnP network can run autonomously for a decade on a single pair of AA-batteries.                      

4) Avoiding vendor lock-in through open standards and protocols: the MicroPnP protocol stack on every device is fully compliant to IEEE, IETF and IPSO standards, and therefore easily integrates with third-party solutions. At the link layer, SmartMesh IP uses IEEE 802.15.4e TSCH, while the traditional IPv6-ready IoT ‘upper stack’ is composed of IETF-6LoWPAN, UDP, and CoAP. In addition, every MicroPnP peripheral adopts the IPSO data model that tackles the interoperability problem between heterogeneous devices and third-party applications. The IPSO data model defines a common Object Model, consisting of a URL template and standardized set of data types that enables application software to meaningfully interact with devices, including software in other devices.

5) Effortless application development and integration. Finally, a suite of software libraries (available in JavaScript, Java, and NodeJS) provide programmatic access MicroPnP-enabled networks, while allowing for the establishment of NAT-proof connections between end-user applications and MicroPnP devices. As these libraries integrate directly with the MicroPnP software stack on every device, network gateway, and cloud element, they empower everyone to build complete IoT systems in minutes.

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