ACTIVE - the Advanced Connectivity Platform for Vertical Segments, High Impact Initiative (HII) of EIT Digital - has been working with leading European industrial partners from Finland, Italy and Sweden since 2016, to produce a unified approach for developers and industry supporting the widespread growth of IoT (the Internet of Things). As the innovation project heads to the close of another year, ACTIVE is pleased to announce nine new products with paying customers, and an extensible platform for fast customer IoT-solution delivery. These ready-built modules can be tailored to customers' exact needs.
Global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that there will be 20 billion IoT devices generating trillions of dollars' worth of business value by 2020*. These include multiple types of “things” - such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices and electricity usage meters. ACTIVE was launched to provide cyber-secure connectivity between them, via middleware, device management and application-programming interfaces (API).
“Despite the impressive growth figures, the IoT market is in its early stages, dominated by domain-specific platforms, proprietary architectures and vertically-divided technology silos. ACTIVE addresses some of these market issues by offering a unified approach, consisting of end-to-end components and solutions,” says Matti Frisk, the Activity Leader.
ACTIVE innovation work has focused on two main streams: a research-based innovation project, and the ACTIV8 IoT connectivity platform.
Delivery of nine new products with paying customers
EIT Digital Partners involved in ACTIVE have improved many cloud-based products with new functionalities, and defined specifications for future products.
“Thanks to these improvements our partners have increased their sales, and thus improved the sustainability of the European digital industry, strengthening its global position,” Matti Frisk continues.
ACTIVE brings new know-how on security, connectivity and device management. Applications have been developed for a wide range of verticals – from avionics (helicopter telemetry data storage & transmission), construction equipment management (machine rentals and usage monitoring), facility management (real-time people flow) and logistics (distribution of perishables with innovative technical solutions), all the way to health (mobile health monitoring with medical grade wearables and security) and public safety (Internet of public safety things with reliable and secure connectivity).
Extensible IoT connectivity platform
“The ACTIV8 IoT connectivity platform provides protocol translation, data analysis and storage, as well as scalable cloud-native architecture. With micro service-based architecture and open source software components, ACTIV8 is cutting edge, scalable and easy to extend. As the ready-built modules allow the ACTIV8 platform to be tailored to customers' exact needs, it is ideal for service providers committed to fast IoT-solution delivery,” Mr Frisk explains.
When a customer decides to acquire ACTIV8, they buy it either for its existing functionality or as a project to set up a bespoke service. The competing solutions may offer more ready-built functionalities, but they often come with their own complexities: unlike open source ACTIV8, they require licence fees and the threat of vendor lock-in.
ACTIVE has also successfully used the EIT Digital subgranting model (an allowance of up to 60,000 euros per subgrant per annum) to acquire several partners, and bring end-to-end connectivity to the ACTIV8 platform development, in the form of sensor technology, gateway protocol translations and cloud functionality file services.
ACTIVE8 device management functionality includes device bootstrapping and data modelling. Platform connectivity options include Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), Low Range (LoRa), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), WiFi, and Cellular. IoT device management is based on lightweight machine-to-machine (LWM2M) protocol, and Bluetooth connectivity management runs on the Bluetooth mesh networking protocol.
ACTIVE is part of EIT Digital’s Digital Infrastructure Action Line, which focuses on enabling digital transformation by providing secure, responsive, intelligent communications and computation facilities for multiple markets.
The following EIT Digital partners have contributed to ACTIVE’s work: Ericsson (Sweden and Finland), Engineering Ingegneria Informatica (Italy), Bittium and Bittium SafeMove (Finland), RISE (Sweden), KTH (Sweden), Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy), Aalto University (Finland) and Tampere University of Technology (Finland).
HitSeed Oy (sensor technology), Tuxera Oy (gateway functionality) and Eficode Oy (cloud services) were brought into ACTIV8 development using subgrants.
*Gartner Newsroom: Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016
See also Juniper Research: IOT connections to grow 140% to hit 50 billion by 2020, as EDGE computing accelerates ROI
EIT Digital Innovation Activities deliver new products or services, create startups and spinoffs to commercialise outputs from projects, and encourage the transfer of technologies for market entry.