Uber’s inferior copy of the original ERIC MASABA – TEXXI

TEXXI, the brainchild of Eric Masaba is what Uber has based its idea on.  Yet Uber is failing miserably.  Why?  Because TEXXI has solved what Uber cannot.  Lets see why?

The premise: TEXXI provides the basis for trading ‘roadspacetime’ packets in a future exchange construct. 

Fleet routing typically takes place at a command and control level but TEXXI intends to change this dynamic with a revolutionary form of road and traffic management, combining blockchain, geolocation, social network with decentralised network concepts and with predictive analytics that would eventually become an artificial intelligence (AI).

TEXXI intends to replace the modes of road and motorway (highway) financing currently used, by providing an anonymised store of value for people so that anyone can invest in the road system independently of banks or their government and with a guaranteed daily return.

BUT WHY TEXXI?

Transport within a country will always have value.  But with the rise in urbanisation posing significant problems to many of the world’s cities, especially the very largest megacities, infrastructure cannot cope with the demand for transport by millions of users each day.

This increase in the urbanisation rate predicts that 90 per cent of all humans will live in cities in 2050.  China alone will move 400m people into cities by 2030.

As a direct consequence, the imperative is to find new financing options while at the same time keeping the road open to all those who need to use it.

Petrol Duty (gasoline tax) by itself, cannot hope to cover the costs in upgrading roads whether it be for repairing potholes, resurfacing routes or bridge maintenance.

A new model is needed that is socially equitable and that can be implemented through well understood principles.  And this is where TEXXI comes in.

TEXXI is the key Transportation Demand Management Solution based on ridesharing, where efficiency and attractiveness to the end user have been incorporated.

TEXXI understands that roads must be treated as a scarce resource that is contended in both space and time.  This is achieved through a system entitled Transit Exchange which is a means to rationalise access to any “transport space” such as road-space, waterway, or airspace system based on the construct of a Commodity Futures Exchange.

Put simply, it enables real-time, dynamic ridesharing on a very large scale in any type of vehicle that carries passengers or freight.

The Transit Exchange is the “operating system” upon which TEXXI runs.  It essentially generates trip packages to the end users via various apps such as Uber, Lyft or Didi.  These trip packages are built on demand maps that can be consumed by any market operator in the exchange.

TEXXI is essentially the icloud providing funding to municipal operators.  The closest system to it is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) system but for all vehicles at whatever altitude.

TEXXI as AI

Using mathematical optimisation techniques, the Processing Layer of the Transit Exchange examines and aggregates origin-destination requests for transport and dispersed users in both space and time (who may or may not know one another) and applies operational concepts and “knowhow” garnered from successful prior deployments.

The Transit Exchange would provide timely relevant trip package suggestions for ridesharing to those users and the vehicle operators in the locality.

So Where is the Money?

TEXXI would generate income for municipal road operators from the very market making functions on the “Commodity Futures Exchange for Transport” used to fill the empty seats in the fleet or vehicles operated in the “transport space”.

Congestion pricing, road pricing and vehicle pricing charges can all be applied to users.  Also, to protect the poorest in society, a negative congestion charge could be implemented.

An investor would receive a set of returns using sophisticated techniques (the applicability of solving NP-hard problems on Ridesharing), with varying yield to maturities which can be replicated, providing an alternative to money market funds and represented through the mechanism of a blockchain coin offering.

Homomorphisms could be applied to anonymise the transport data (adding an extra layer of privacy protection and allow ready access to encrypted data over public blockchain for auditing and other purposes) making available Highly Liquid investable security instruments (Transit Exchange Bill or TE Bills) via the Transit Exchange.

TE Bills original purpose is to store value represented by demand for travel in a locality, resulting in a Computational-Crypto-Currency backed by an auditable commodity called “transport demand” – basically monetising real-time transport demand.

The Road Pricing model

This is built on three layers;  PHYSICAL, CONGESTION and VEHICLE.

The PHYSICAL LAYER is the actual road itself. This is what vehicle licensing and road tax pays for with the flat licence fee per vehicle. While this number can be set at anything, for the system to be fair, each road, based on how it was constructed, could feasibly have a different charge. We see this already in many countries with toll roads. This is the base layer – the access price – or ROAD PRICING.

The CONGESTION LAYER is the variable pricing layer, which is most adaptive to real-time demand conditions. Most cities charge one rate for parking during the busiest hours and another rate for overnight. Based on demand patterns and adapting to demand, any road could have variable congestion charging, which could also be negatively set by rewarding people who have scheduled to use the road, but stay off it at the busiest times. They could receive payment in tokens that can pay for other infrastructure uses like parking on the network.

The VEHICLE LAYER is where differential pricing related to fuel type, energy efficiency and recyclability comes in. Vehicles that are more polluting would pay more, but if the operator fills the vehicle with as many people as is permitted, this cost is thus rational. This also encourages larger capacity vehicles up to a given size for most trips and would thus promote ridesharing. Access to the roadspace at a given time is purchased in the same way as traders buy other commodity futures or forwards – via an exchange. This construct has worked semi-miracles for food production over 170 years – and it can work just as well for 21st century transportation and mobility.

IoT World Forum 2017

What is The Internet of Things?

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else.

This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.

The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices… That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).

So basically, the IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

IoT World Forum 2017 – What it was like?

The conference title is bit of a misnomer.  IoT World Forum 2017.

With this title, there was an expectation of very high level presentations which would be informative of the trends and impact that this new technology is set to make.  Unfortunately, the overall impression fell short; whilst the session titles were indicative of the present issues, the presentations were underwhelming.

The content could have been easily gleaned from leading sites such as CrunchBase, The Register, Lifehacker, FossBytes, Ars Technica and even the BBC Technology web pages.

Speaker Presentations

Day One
 Internet of Things: Reality Check – Maciej Kranz, Vice President of Strategic Innovation, CISCO

Maciej Kranz identified that IoT has been developing in the background, quietly changing long-standing industrial processes – fundamentally reshaping the Internet.

The reason for this shift is three-fold:

  • The Internet has mostly been implemented in greenfield environments, while IoT deployments are generally in brownfield environments, requiring integration and migration of legacy and vendor-specific systems
  • The IoT-enabled Internet has created an extremely rich, heterogeneous array of business and consumer use cases, requirements and environments
  • With IoT, the Internet has been transformed into a real-time conduit of unimaginable amounts of data that can be analyzed to make better decisions, improve performance, and grow profits

These changes have profound implications on many of the core characteristics of the Internet:

  1. Market structure
  2. Connected devices
  3. Change enablement
  4. Technology concentration
  5. Cloud/analytics
  6. Security focus
  7. Standards

These elements add up to a profoundly different Internet environment, transformed by IoT. Companies and vendors are rethinking every aspect of their business strategies including development approaches, partnerships, go-to-market strategies, supply chain, security and more.

And that’s just the beginning. As the foundation for many other emerging technologies such as machine learning, fog computing (distributed cloud) and blockchain, IoT has put industry on the path to sweeping transformation.

Emerging IoT Business Opportunities -Patrice Slupowski, Vice President Digital, ORANGE

Mr Patrice Slupowski is an established speaker and aware of the emerging opportunities that IoT encompasses. He spoke mainly on Orange’s projects in IoT covering other related technologies that fundamentally are part of and enmeshed with their projects such as AI, API’s, mobile applications, Virtual Reality and personal data.  The focus was on Telco.

 IEEE Perspective on Global IoT Market – Lloyd Green, IEEE

Lloyd Green is Director of Engagement Marketing and Creative Community Services for the IEEE.  Mr Lloyd spoke about defining, delivering and evangelizing IEEE-SA digital and marketing services to drive growth, innovation, and brand recognition. His talk was focused on initiatives on a common adoption of an IoT global standard where the industry is failing due to many standards leading to issues in relation to data privacy and hacking.  His focus was on seeking to build consensus technical standards to advance adoption of the technology across multiple industry sectors.

 GE Digital: IoT and Digital Transformation – Vincent Champain, GM, GE Digital Foundry

This was an infomercial on how is helping to drive the digital transformation in all fields (not only IoT) by bringing together all the stakeholders in a collaborative effort between the private and public sectors.  They are essentially building an open platform, where 14,000 developers can collaborate with GE’s customers and partners to create new applications.

 Transforming BT with IoT – Chris Sims, MD for Marketing and IoT, BT

Start-ups and SMEs were offered a chance to submit new IoT solutions in time for BT’s launching of BT Infinity Lab Competition.  This gives the winning company to test its idea at scale and potentially bring it to market working with BT, Techhub and other partners.  The aim is to expand and develop the company’s IoT portfolio.  This was the process of how BT dealt with the competition and results were given.

The Future of Industrial IoT – Robin Hancock, Head of Mindsphere IoT Platform Ecosystem, Siemens

One of the best quotes from the conference came from Robin Hancock who stated: “90% of the projects out there are Proof of Concept (POC) and they are based on pretty narrow use cases.”  I initially thought that this was one of the most important presentations as he was focused on talking about how to work on creating an actual product.  But then he focused on Siemens’ Mindsphere offering a cost effective, scalable cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) in developing apps.

Monetising The IoT Ecosystems – Rami Avidan, CEO, TELE2 IoT

This was one of the better presentations where a very practical solution was given on how IoT as managed to be applied to an industrial “welding project”. Basically, ESAB is a global supplier of welding consumables and equipment.  They have developed a connected welding solution entitled Weldcloud, allowing enterprises and welding services companies to better monitor and optimise the performance of their welding equipment, increase quality and develop new customer services.  Tele2 IoT have created a IoT connectivity solution allowing ESAB an easy way to build connectivity

The Missing Context in IoT: Mark Osborn, Director Salesforce IoT EMEA, SALESFORCE

This presentation was focused on Salesforce along with Customer data can maximise ROI.  The talk was focused on identifying how forward thinking customers are taking advantage of real time tech to act proactively and use information about what their customers are doing right now to prevent problems before they occur.  The talk was on Salesforce’s IoT Cloud and how it can update and combine data from IoT devices with contextual Salesforce data (IoT Profiles).

With IoT Profiles, a connected sensor sends an alert to the IoT Cloud stating that it has a fault. This alert combines with the service agreement applied to the device and suggests a course of action. For example, the manufacturer could dispatch an immediate repair team or schedule maintenance.

Product Agility and Flexible Monetization for Industrial IoT Solutions – Matthew Dunkley, IoT Strategy Director Flexera

Flexera discussed the factors that lead to successful IoT monetisation.  They identified that manufacturers who know how to bring innovative products to market and monetise them effectively will be the winners of the 4th industrial revolution.

They defined the new IoT business model with its successful execution depending on whether all the prerequisites have been fulfilled.  This is where security and an effective licensing model play a critical role.

They also identified a successful software business model as being based on insights into how customers use products.

Unfortunately, this was not applicable on an industrial scale.

How to Scale an IoT Business with IoT Cloud – Bernd Gross, CEO, Cumulocity

This was a sales pitch on how great Cumulocity is.  In some ways, they deserve it as Machination as given them the status as a leading IoT Device Management Platform Vendor.  The following is a brief description of what the company does.

Cumulocity, a Düsseldorf-headquartered Nokia Siemens Networks spin-off, offers an IoT platform available for public cloud, private cloud and on-premises deployments. It provides functionality in key platform areas and integration with 3rd-party systems if built-in features do not satisfy all require­ments. It focuses its growth on indirect sales with systems integrators, car­riers and engineering software companies.

Cumulocity also focuses on OEM sales with a dedicated sales team and through partners. Cumulocity emphasizes its platform’s ease of deployment, open integration architecture and configurability.

Day 2
Enabling the path to IoT Scalability – Neal Forse, CEO, WND UK

WND UK is a SigFox Operator.  SIGFOX is the world’s leading provider of dedicated connectivity for the IoT.  This was a infomercial on how great WND is and what they can do for the customer.  One of the best factors that came out of this was that the product doesn’t not do IP and is therefore secure.  The presentation did not go into the dynamics of this but IT IS NOT SECURE.  It uses a VPN which can be hacked.

The role of Machine to Machine Sim in IoT Business – Emmanuel Routier, SVP, M2M, ORANGE GROUP

The presentation was on how Orange is tackling IoT and how it forms part of the company’s strategic plan.  Through this plan Orange is confirming its desire to become the trusted partner for companies in their digital transformation and the benchmark operator of the IoT.  He identified the company’s vision and commitment on the following basis;

  1. Facilitating open innovation.
  2. Accelerating the development of our regions.
  3. Providing operational solutions to guide businesses through their digital transformation plans.
  4. Offering anyone and everyone a constantly growing selection of connected objects to change their daily lives

Broadly speaking the presentation was focused on Orange’s goal to help companies tap into the full potential of Big Data and the Internet of Things.

IoT Ecosystems – Maria Hakansson, Vice President and Head of IoT, ERICSSON

This presentation was one of the most boring ones overall.  Maria spoke about how the agile approach puts one ahead of the competition regardless of the services launched, business models introduced or ecosystems partnered with.

Developing Successful IoT Business Models – Dr. Sebastian Wahle, BOSCHE (Bosche Software Innovations GmbH)

Bosch took the stage and spoke about real-life use of IoT from Oyster farming to scooter rental.

Tasmanian oyster farming start-up The Yield, in which Bosch is also an investor, wanted to use the IoT to monitor water quality. Because oysters are “filter animals,” they can absorb contaminants from their environment. If the water is polluted by runoff from a heavy storm, for example, the oysters can absorb germs or bacteria that will make people sick when they eat them.

Sebastian Wahle, digital strategist at Bosch Software Innovations, calls this “The Internet of Oysters.” Data is collected by sensors in the immediate vicinity of the oyster banks. Then algorithms record and analyze the data, making it available to the farmers to check on a smartphone to find out the ideal time to harvest.

Bosch is clearly steaming ahead with IoT; its AMRA (asset monitoring for railway applications) system is in use at Swiss rail freight company SBB Cargo. AMRA monitors connected rail car and freight locations to help smooth logistics issues; it also checks for vibration and temperature to see if there is any damage along the way.

Dynamic Security and Connectivity – Remy CRICCO, Chairman of the SIMalliance

Remy Cricco, Chairman of the SIMalliance Board, explained how the eSIM addresses challenges of today’s connected world – security, flexibility and programmability.

The presentation explored:

  • The key differences between a traditional SIM and an eSIM, and advantages the latter has over SIM cards, including several connectivity profiles embedded in one single SIM.
  • How the eSIM can be leveraged to secure IoT and M2M deployments.
  • The importance of the Secure Element industry, represented by SIMalliance members, and the value it brings to the eSIM ecosystem
  • Why the eSIM must be seen as a “versatile Secure Element”, which will help the cybersecurity industry to detect threats and attacks, secure data transmission between machines and end users, and ensure device integrity.
Managing he IoT Sprawl – John Candish, SAP’s IoT Connect 365 business

This presenter was reading from a document – he was so bored that his presentation was boring.  He basically spoke about SAP’s new product entitled SAP IoT Connect 365 of which the following is a summary;

SAP IoT Connect 365, enterprise service simplifies the complex connectivity, scalability, and management of the Internet of Things (IoT) through a single contract and connection to a fully managed, cloud-based solution with global reach, a secure infrastructure, and real-time control.

  • Simplify complex multicountry deployments through a single contract and connection
  • Achieve singular and secure IoT connectivity, scalability, and management
  • Manage connected objects and protect data and privacy across multiple networks and technologies
  • Streamline operations and optimise assets and relationships
  • Utilise direct connections, global reach, and interconnected mobile networks
  • Realise faster, more efficient device and services deployment with less impact
eSIM for IoT – Julian Hardy, CEO, ESEYE

This presentation covered the definition of an eSIM which is the following;

The term “eSIM” relates to a new standard being promoted by the GSMA – the association that represents network operators worldwide.

It will come in the form of an integrated SIM chip, one that cannot and need not be removed from a device – something that consumer electronics manufacturers are also keen to adopt for connected items around the house as part of the Internet of Things, and something that’s been used by some car manufacturers too.

The information on it will be compliant or rewritable by all operators, meaning a user can decide to change operator with a simple phone call. A new SIM will not be required, nor should there be any time delay in switching the eSIM to its new purpose. There will also be no physical swapping over required by the user.

That was the original premise of the eSIM, but one of the advantages it offers from a design point of view is that you make a smaller device because there’s no need to accommodate a SIM card or the tray that holds it, hence the use in devices like the Apple Watch 3.

The key idea that Julian covered was eUICC Compliance for this type of device.

IoT Technology and Development Support – Steve Beck, General Manager, Telecommunications R&D Group, SONY ELECTRONICS

This presentation was about Sony’s R&D Group Technology Office.  And the initiative and projects that they are working on in developing IoT products that can help enhance Sony offering both to retail customers and on an Industrial level.  The following is from their site;

In 2016, Sony launched a new research and development initiative called the “Future Lab Program.”

The Future Lab Program embraces an approach to technological research and development that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future. As part of this approach, the program will share concept prototypes with users while still at the development stage, and look to them for inspiration, leveraging their feedback to refine and evolve its projects.

IoT Large Venue Security – Brittany Shaheen Vice President & Chief of Staff – ARMORED THINGS

This was one of the most controversial and shocking presentations in that it upset a few delegates – the latest terror attacks were mentioned without respect for the people sitting in the audience.  But it worked and was effective.  The following is from their website.

Armored Things is using Internet of Thing devices to keep large venues safe from hackers and terrorists.

Their slogan is “We help our customers save lives, time and money.”

Armored Things automates incident response by engaging devices that are already live in many venues, such as lights, cameras, locks, and sensors.  They aim to transform policy, dusty ‘3-ring binder’ emergency plans, and translate them into instant, technology-based response.

This would highlight anomalies and detect unusual behaviours before significant harm is done.

Creating New Services with IoT – Madeleine E Martinsen M.Sc, Head of R&D Service Hoist & Underground Mining, ABB

ABB’s mining division is looking at using IoT to help prevent fires in the  mines and in its control room. It is already using the IoT and virtual reality to help support its hoists remotely. Madeleine Martinsen, head of R&D Service Hoist and Underground Mining at ABB, advised the audience to “get a partner” to help speed them into the IoT.

Conclusion

I was impressed with the overall conference content as it covered what the major companies are doing in the IoT sector.  The challenges that they are facing; the collaborations that they are being built and the various business models that are being designed to tackle the uptake of this technology.

I have some reservations however as there was a lot of selling of one services and key issues were not tackled such as privacy and security.  Some of the speakers were not even “experts” in their field and only knew about IoT on a very basic level.  This came through quite strongly when there was a discussion on tackling the afore mentioned issues as well as the issue related to energy.

And some of the presentations were literally lifted from the content of the presenting company’s website.

There is a niche for this information and the delegates did get something out of it but as mentioned in my introduction 99% of the information could be researched using key words on Google.

There is not restriction in relation to how IoT is applicable to TOC – with some digging and research, an effective conference can be created focused on the Industrial Application of IoT.

RFID, Raspberry Pi & LBS

The experimentation with Raspberry Pi goes on. RFID is the next stage in effective Indoor Location Based Services and to understand this the following is a small project that brings RFID to the Raspberry Pi.

A brief history of the Raspberry Pi

The first batch of 10,000 Raspberry Pi’s went on sale in February 29th, 2012. And towards the end of 2011, the SD card image for it had already been downloaded more than 50,000 times. Eden Upton designed them for education – specifically python, hence the “Pi” part of the name.

But the tiny board has caught the eye of already experienced programmers and electronic hackers. This has caused a return to a DIY culture with the Raspberry Pi at the forefront of hackers, makers and the curious to understand what is happening “under the hood”.

Location Based Services and RFID

One of the key developments in LBS technology in 2014, is the standards based RF Pattern Matching, based on RFID. This network-based positioning method is based on radio link measurements collected from the network and/or the device. In short, it uses the device’s own radio signals to identify its location, eliminating any dependency on satellites or other network hardware, which is traditional in LBS..

This technology works extremely well in dense urban and indoor environments, and is being used in both mission-critical public safety applications as well as commercial deployments in the US.

In the Internet of Things, truly smart objects essentially are embedded with both an RFID tag and a sensor to measure data. This is easily illustrated using the Raspberry Pi.

The project

For a detailed explanation, check http://skpang.co.uk/blog/archives/946

This project uses the SL030 RFID module with the Raspberry Pi. This will allow the Pi to read the 13.56MHz Mifare RFID cards. The SL030 modules uses the I2C interface at 3.3v.

Software Setup

Install the i2c driver.

Install the Quick2Wire Python library.

Change to the directory where the Quick2wireWire is installed. In our case (your setup might be different):

cd git/quick2wire-python-api/

Download the example python script (thanks to @whaleygeek whaleygeek.co.uk) by:

wget http://www.skpang.co.uk/dl/rfid.py

Change the file permission to allow execute:

chmod +x rfid.py

Start the Python script:

sudo ./rfid.py

Swipe a RFID card or tag onto the reader and the information on the card should be displayed

Hacking Location Based Services & IoT with the Raspberry Pi

Introduction

There are very exciting topics that influenced me over the past few years namely Location Based Services (LBS), The Internet of Things (IoT) and the humble Raspberry Pi.  But first a brief background – I am not a technical person by discipline as my background is in sales in marketing related to the Conference and Events Industry, which I have been involved in for the past 7 years.

Location is personal passion for me to the extent that I chose this as the title for my MA thesis. The following is my personal journey in linking, apparently disconnected technologies that surround this subject.

When I studied this I did not have any idea in regards the technical aspect surrounding LBS but I did identify key people in this arena and interviewed them to find out what their thoughts were for the future of this technology. But I wanted to understand Location on a more primitive level, in which I could create a project that would allow me to experience this.

My problem was a lack of technical knowledge.

Defining Location Based Services

There are various definitions of Location based services and they all agree on the following:

  • LBS it is a software application;

  • for a IP enabled mobile device;

  • which requires knowledge of where the mobile is located;

  • they can be query based services;

  • providing the end-user with useful information an example of which is “Where is the nearest ATM?”;

  • or they can be ‘push-based’ by delivering coupons or other marketing information to customers who are in a specific geographic location.

Location Based Services is not new technology. It is based on military technology entitled Geographic Information Systems which has been around for 14 years or so.  With the advent of the mobile phone and especially the smartphone, Location Based Services has steadily gained acceptance and a foothold in the market place.

Originally the spread of the use of LBS had been mainly via users ‘checking in’ into location based service applications, not unlike checking in via airport booking. This was a time where LBS was in the very early adopter phase; for example, Foursquare and Gowalla, both check in services, were were launched around that time.

The combination of clever Smart devices and social apps, such as Facebook have introduced applications which revolve around Location.

Juniper Research has forecast the mobile location-based services market to exceed $12 billion in 2014, driven by increased app store usage, smartphone adoption and new hybrid positioning technologies.

Enter Internet of Things (IoT)

I started to attend ‘the’ IoT Meetup in London which introduced me to projects that were created by both experts and novices alike. These meetings seeded the possibility of understanding location on a more hands on approach.

According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020.

According to ABI Research more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020

Two very separate figures but still, this a lot of interconnected devices. The best definition that encapsulate IoT is the following;

Companies and organizations explain the Internet of Things in various ways, but the Internet of Things, or IoT, is most commonly described as an ecosystem of technologies monitoring the status of physical objects, capturing meaningful data, and communicating that information through IP networks to software applications.

The recurring themes in all definitions of the Internet of Things include smart objects, machine to machine communication, RF technologies, and a central hub of information.

How are these two disciplines related?

So what is the common factor for these two apparent unrelated technologies?

Radio Frequency Identification – RFID

 So,

The Internet of Things requires a few necessary components to enable communication between devices and objects. Truly smart objects essentially are embedded with both an RFID tag and a sensor to measure data.

And,

One of the key developments in LBS technology in 2014, is the standards based RF Pattern Matching, based on RFID. This network-based positioning method is based on radio link measurements collected from the network and/or the device. In short, it uses the device’s own radio signals to identify its location, eliminating any dependency on satellites or other network hardware, which is traditional in LBS..

This technology works extremely well in dense urban and indoor environments, and is being used in both mission-critical public safety applications as well as commercial deployments in the US.

So effectively Location is that much closer than before..

The final piece in the puzzle.

That is where the Raspberry Pi comes in..

Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit-card-sized microcomputer, which was originally created to encourage kids to learn how to program in the United Kingdom. However it has tapped into a huge pool of interest among hackers who wanted to use the low-cost hardware to connect devices together in interesting ways..

 I have used this little device to gain an awareness and understanding of how Location fits in all of this with out learning indepth code.

 The Project (outline)

 The aim of the project was to identify Access Points in any given geographic location in which the Raspberry Pi is taken.

 Essential hardware;

 The programs used are:

If a Raspberry Pi is not accessible then this can be duplicated on a laptop.  This can be achieved because the operating system for the Raspberry Pi, entitled Raspbian, and the one for the laptop, entitled Linux Mint, share the same foundation – Debian.

Outline of process

Connect the GPS and Wifi modules to the Raspberry Pi.

Run a session on Kismet which is a Wifi-Spectrum and Traffic Analyzer that relies on the Wifi adapters ability to enter in “monitor mode” – essentially this is gathering on the surrounding AP in any geographic location.

The GPS gadget is essentially gathering co-ordinates of the location of the device. This has been configured to work with Kismet.

The data gathered by Kismet is logged. This data is massaged into shape by running it through a “python Script”, ready to be shown in a Google Earth or Google Map session not unlike the map below.

Map showing AP's
Map showing AP’s

In conclusion, this is an exciting development and can be adapted by implementing RFID and the relevant programs which are available within Debian.  All this with an essential understanding of Linux with a certain depth of knowledge of CLI and a bit of imagination.

To follow – setting up the Raspberry Pi for LBS

Arch Linux OpenVPN Server on Raspberry Pi (part 2)

Once yaourt has been configured, download the “netcfg” package by issuing the following commands;

yaourt netcfg

There will be a list of programs that have netcfg as a search string. Choose the netcfg by the appropriate number:

If you are editor savvy then choose to edit the file before it is downloaded to suit your purposes. There will be a prompt to delete the network package (netctl) which is automatically shipped with Arch. Accept the changes.

Setting up the network on for the OpenVPN server

A quick word about subnets –

The setup is a client to site bridge and as a consequence the client is connecting to the servers network. To avoid conflict in connection, the server subnet should be different from the client subnet. To illustrate by example, if the client subnet is of the following configuration 192.168.1.0/24, then the server subnet should be 172.17.173.0/24 to avoid a routing conflict. So if the server subnet is 192.168.1.0/24 then there would be a routing conflict.

The genreral advice is that the server subnet should be of a non-standard subnet with the folowing choice:

10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255

172.16.0.0. – 172.31.255.255

192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255

The network configuration can be easily be changed in the network configuration for the wireless router.

If using linux, information of the network configuration can easily be found using the following commands via CLI;

iwconfig

ifconfig

ip route

Setting up a static IP Address

This setup uses the “netcfg” framework to manage the network connections, which include the following;

A VPN tap adapter

A Bridge adapter

Ethernet which is already handled by the bridge adapter.

As mentioned previously, the Arch setup is a CLI affair. Use Nano (editor) to open a new file called bridge. To do this change into the directory and create the file entitled bridge via the following commands;

cd /etc/network.d

nano bridge

Then type the following exactly apart for your own network values;

INTERFACE=”br0”

CONNECTION=”bridge”

DESCRIPTION=”VPN Bridge Connection”

BRIDGE INTERFACES=”eth0”

IP=’static’

ADDR=’192.168.1.0′

NETMASK=’24’

GATEWAY=’192.168.1.254′

DNS=’192.168.1.254′

the file is saved by CTRL + O and then exit out of the editor (CTRL+X). The VPN Adapter is added at a later stage.

The next step is to configure which profile netcfg will load by editing the following file;

/etc/conf.d/netcfg

and configuring the networks as follows:

NETWORKS=(bridge)

Save and exit nano. The next step is to disable DHCP and enable the ethernet static IP address by the following commands:

systemctl disable dhcpd@eth0.service

systemctl enable netcfg.service

Reboot the Pi to enable the changes.

part 3 to follow

Arch Linux OpenVPN Server on Raspberry Pi

Brief introduction

After reading so many articles in setting up a VPN for the Raspberry Pi the one used in this guide was published in Linux User and Developer Magazine. Whilst the article is excellent, expanded notes have been added for those new to Linux. This is split over three posts so please be patient.

Arch Linux has been used as the OS for the OpenVPN Server on the Raspberry Pi and for the OpenVPN Client the OS given reference to is any Debian based OS.

The following link sums up what an OpenVPN is;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVPN

and for the Arch Linux description please see the following summary;

  1. OpenVPN is a robust and highly flexible VPN daemon. OpenVPN supports SSL/TLS security, Ethernet bridging, TCP or UDP tunnel transport through proxies or NAT, support for dynamic IP addresses and DHCP, scalability to hundreds or thousands of users, and portability to most major OS platforms.
  2. OpenVPN is tightly bound to the OpenSSL library, and derives much of its crypto capabilities from it.
  3. OpenVPN supports conventional encryption using a pre-shared secret key (Static Key mode) or public key security (SSL/TLS mode) using client & server certificates. OpenVPN also supports unencrypted TCP/UDP tunnels.
  4. OpenVPN is designed to work with the TUN/TAP virtual networking interface that exists on most platforms.
  5. Overall, OpenVPN aims to offer many of the key features of IPSec but with a relatively lightweight footprint.
  6. OpenVPN was written by James Yonan and is published under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVPN

Preparation

OpenVPN Client on the Raspberry Pi – Please note that because Arch Linux is a rolling release, “netcfg” is not available in the main repos. Also GUI is a not default on Arch so there is a reliance on the command line.

For instructions on flashing the latest Arch Linux ARM image please see the following link;

http://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv6/raspberry-pi#qt-platform_tabs-ui-tabs2

The user name is root and the password is root at the Arch Linux login prompt. If you are using wireless rather than wired connection then run the following command to gain internet access;

wifi-menu

Choose the correct AP, then run the following command;

pacman -Syu

to update system.

The VPN server on this set-up for the Raspberry Pi is be made up of the following software components:

  1. Base Arch Linux system
  2. OpenVPN – the software used to create a secure VPN
  3. Netcfg – used to easily manage the multiple network adapters needed
  4. Bridge-utils – used to bridge the VPN and Ethernet adaptors
  5. SSH – will provide secure remote access to the Raspberry Pi and the files on it

To download the main components as listed bar “netcfg” run the following command;

pacman -S noip bridge-utils openvpn

Netcfg is based in the unofficial arch repos (AUR). So to download any packages from here you will need packer or another program like yaourt. To download yaourt run the following;

curl -O https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/pa/package-query/package-query.tar.gz

tar zxvf package-query.tar.gz

cd package-query

makepkg -si

cd ..

curl -O https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/ya/yaourt/yaourt.tar.gz

tar zxvf yaourt.tar.gz

cd yaourt

makepkg -si

cd ..

Part 2

Tender beginnings with Python

These are scrap book notes on the basics of Python Programming. This is not meant to be definitive guide as there is no “correct” way to play with linux..

I use two distros, Debian and Arch Linux. The body of reference used for the notes is “Python Programming for the absolute beginner, Michael Dawson. If you are new to Python, there are various versions of Python. The book uses Python 3.1.1.

The Raspberry Pi comes with python and related tools pre-installed but if you are new to Python and Linux then you may not realise (as I have done) to use the correct versions on a separate Linux box.

There are many articles on how to download Python version 3.x – the easiest method is

Open root in your favourite terminal and run the following

apt-get install python3.2

once loaded exit out of root and your may open python via the GUI or type

python3.2

on the command line. Debian comes preloaded with various versions of python so stating the version is important if using the command line.

Why do I mention this? Because this affects the way the syntax is used. There are also various programs that you are able to use to code in Python; Vi Editor, IDLE, Gedit etc..

The one that I am using is IDLE as it is the easiest because it is specifically designed to be used with Python. To download,

Open as root in the terminal of your choice. Run the following command;

apt-cache search idle

this comes up with a list of results. The one to look out for is

idle3 or

idle-python3.2

I have loaded the latter by running the following command

apt-get install idle-python3.2

exit out of root and to run idle from the command line type the following

idle-python3.2

Writing your first program – open idle and type the following.

print(“hello world”)

in order to run the program you will have to save it, so do so in a folder of your choice. Then hit F5.. it should print out hello world

The task of the print () function is to display a value (or a sequence of values). You can call a function by using the function name followed by a set of parentheses. You can also pass a function values to work with called arguments between the parentheses.

In the example above you passed the print () function with the argument “hello world”, which the function used to display the message hello world

More to follow..

Minecraft-Pi : the first stages

Minecraft, heavily inspired by Infiniminer, is a sandbox indie video game written in Java originally created by Marcus “Notch”W Persson. The game focuses on allowing the player to explore, interact with, and modify a dynamically generated map made of one meter sized blocks..

For more information, please click the following links..

http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft

http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Pi_Edition

Preparing the SD Card

The following instructions are applicable if you are running Linux. Place SD card in the computer.

Run the following command –

df -h – this gives information of the mounted devices.. You should be looking for the following output

/dev/mmcblk0p1

Unmount the device –

umount mmcblk0p1

I like to format the disk, so I run the following command. To do this you need to be a superuser;

mkfs.vfat -n {name of device of your choosing} dev/mmcblk0

Two things to note, the name of the device is without the braces and the p1 is left out off the device’s name

as an example, mine is the following;

mkfs.vfat -n minecraft -I /dev/mmcblk0

This will take a few moments..

To load the Raspbian image on the SD card run the following;

dd bs=1M if=2013-09-25-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/mmcblk0

This will a bit of time so you could make yourself a cuppa..

Once the image has been loaded place the SD Card in the Raspberry Pi and boot up..

Connect the Pi to the internet and run the following commands..

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Loading Minecraft on the Pi

cd into your home folder

cd ~

download the minecraft package

wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.minecraft.net/pi/minecraft-pi-0.1.1.tar.gz

decompress the tar

tar -zxvf minecraft-pi-0.1.1.tar.gz

move into the minecraft directory

cd mcpi

and to run game

./minecraft-pi

🙂

David Whale – The Raspberry Pi Expert

I came across David Whale in Foyles in London 2 weeks ago whilst purchasing a copy of Practical Raspberry Pi by Brenda Horan. The main reason for the purchase was to look into the subject of cross compiling.  The initial question that I asked David was based on how accurate chapters and articles in books and magazines are referencing projects related to the Raspberry Pi.

We both agreed that articles written on any projects related to the Raspberry Pi in magazines contain a number of inaccuracies but he did go on to say that anything that is published in books goes through much more of a stringent control process than in magazines.

Now you may be wondering why I spoke to David? David runs a blog on some very exciting Raspberry Pi Projects one of which that stands out is the “Raspberry Pi Internet of Things Demonstrator”. Why? Because it aptly defines the concept of “The Internet of Things”.

The Demonstrator is basically two Raspberry Pi’s connected with each other in a controlled environment over a simple LAN. The aim of the project is to ask partipants to come up with ideas of what the two devices would be communicating.

Let me briefly mention what we mean by the Internet of Things – if a “thing” can be connected over the internet, it will be able to participate in the WWW network of sensors and output devices (referencing David’s blog). The concept can be applied to various ideas which include healthcare, crop management and security.

To use an recent commercial example. The Good Night Lamp is based on sharing presence and availability of people across the globe. The idea – once a Primary lamp is switched on in a location (any where in the world) then any lamps that are connected also switch on simultaneously.

For more interesting Raspberry Pi projects by David click here .

Linux leaning towards Mobile

Linux, which is arguably the most important free software project, is making a clear shift towards mobile development.  This is highlighted in the Linux Foundations latest Linux Kernel Development: 2013 Update  with mobile focused companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung and Google are pushing ahead of enterprise server vendors to make Linux their own.

Since 2005 the Linux community has included over 10,000 individuals across 1,000 different organizations. Not only is the group big, but it moves exceptionally fast: the Linux community merges 7.19 patches every hour, or roughly 171 changes every day and more than 1,200 per week. This is impressive on its own, but doubly so when we recognize that many changes don’t get accepted into the kernel and so aren’t included in that number.

According to the update, whilst Red Hat maintains its lead in Linux kernel development; Linaro, a non-profit engineering organization founded in 2010 by ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas instruments (TI), with significant behind-the-scenes engineering involvement from Canonical, climbed in the rankings from position 25 in 2012 to position 4 in 2013. Qualcomm also made a big jump in which in 2012 it didn’t even make the list but in 2013 it hit position 17.

Texas Instruments, Samsung and Google also all climbed alongside Linaro and Qualcomm.  Mobile is clearly claiming a significant role in Linux kernel.

Alongside this, Linux is also becoming more commercial with this trend hitting overdrive in 2013.  As the report notes, the top 10 contributors, including the groups “unknown” and “none,” make up over 55% of the total contributions to the kernel. Even if one assumes that all of the “unknown” contributors were working on their own time, over 80% of all kernel development is done by developers who are being paid for their work.

table_linux_kernelCompanies in Linux Development 2013

It is envisaged that volunteer developers are unlikely to remain such for long. As in other successful open-source projects, quality developers quickly get hired if they show talent. As a consequence, the volume of contributions from unpaid developers has been in slow decline for a long time. In 2012 developers with no corporate affiliation made up 14.6% of contributions which is now fallen to 13.6%.

As far back as 2002 the Boston Consulting Group found that the majority of open source developers were not only highly qualified, they were also generally well-compensated for their open source contributions.

This corporate involvement might be a problem if it were somehow restraining Linux kernel development, but it’s clearly not. Linux has remained relevant to a variety of different markets, including enterprise servers and consumer mobile, because it invites participation by a number of different vendors. Marten Mickos (a member of the board of directors of Nokia) stated that;

The purpose of the (free and open source) license and the governance model is not really to enable like-minded people to collaborate, although that’s a benefit too. It’s about enabling unlike-minded people to collaborate. The beauty of open source is that people who dislike each other can produce code for the same product.

Nowhere is this more evident than Linux development, for which we should be very, very grateful.

The following infographic shows the development of Linux trending towards Mobile in 2013..

Linux Infographic Sept 2013