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6 companies using IoT to make the world more sustainable

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From retrofitting outdoor lighting to agritech monitoring tools, check out the companies employing IoT solutions to make the world more sustainable.

Today (22 April) is Earth Day, an occasion to shine a light on the importance of our environment and to celebrate efforts made in order to protect it.

While we’re in the midst of some pretty startling figures when it comes to the climate crisis, there is still reasons to have hope about the future of our world.

Earlier this year, we took a closer look at the subject of sustainability and how future proof our planet, which included turning the spotlight on 10 start-ups powering the future of energy.

Now, we have six more start-ups to highlight, all of which were winners at Digi International’s Green Tech Customer Innovation Awards. Digi International is a global IoT provider and each of these sustainable start-ups used its IoT technologies to create a greener more sustainable world.

Infinitum Electric

US-based company Infinitum Electric is a motor technology company that aims to deliver high-efficiency, durable, lightweight and IoT-enabled electric motors to the market.

It was founded in 2016 closes $12.5m Series B round of funding at the end of 2019. According to the company’s director of product, Shams Shaikh, its latest design is up to 60pc lighter than traditional electric motors.

New Sun Road

New Sun Road is a California-based public benefit corporation developing data-driven IoT technology solutions for solar-based power systems.

Founded in 2014, The company’s systems include a suite of IoT products that are designed to optimise the management of renewables-based power systems, which in turn can be used to provide clean, reliable energy to underserved communities.

Nobel Systems

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Founded in 1992, Nobel Systems specialises in geospatial services, software engineering, software integration and cloud spatial solutions

The company uses a cloud-based IoT asset management system that gives water districts access to real-time data, which helps them monitor their status and performance preventing leaks and reducing costs.

Reborn Electric

Having started in 2016, Reborn Electric is a Chilean company that converts diesel-engine buses to electric power. The electric mobility company retrofitted its first bus that same year, which became fully operational in May 2018.

The company is now preparing to launch its first electric vehicle factory where it plans to manufacture more than 10 vehicles during 2021.

Schréder

German company Schréder is the developer behind Owlet Nightshift, a remote management system for monitoring, controlling, metering and managing outdoor lighting.

The IoT system enables cities to retrofit aging lighting infrastructures with long-lasting intelligent technology. The smart lighting system reduces energy consumption, which reduces CO2 emissions.

WiseConn Engineering

Agritech company WiseConn Engineering was founded in 2006. It develops technology to measure and control water and other fluids in such diverse areas such as agriculture, mining and hydrology.

WiseConn uses IoT technology in a mesh network configuration to capture data from low-power sensors and transmit it back to the farmer’s control station for complete, optimal irrigation control.

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NUIG to spend €5m on research to help address global issues

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Several key research areas have been identified by NUI Galway to work towards for 2026.

NUI Galway’s recently launched research and innovation strategy includes a €5m investment on support for its multi-disciplinary research teams as they grapple with several global issues.

The strategy, which lays out plans for the university’s next five years of research, focuses on six areas: antimicrobial resistance, decarbonisation, democracy and its future, food security, human-centred data and ocean and coastal health.

“As a public university, we have a special responsibility to direct our research toward the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues,” said to Prof Jim Livesey, VP for research and innovation at NUI Galway.

“As we look into the future, we face uncertainty about the number and nature of challenges we will face, but we know that we will rely on our research capacity as we work together to overcome them,” Livesey added.

The plan focuses on creating the conditions to intensify the quality, scale and scope of research in the university into the future. This includes identifying areas with genuine potential to achieve international recognition for NUI Galway. It also aims to continue to cultivate a supportive and diverse environment within its research community.

NUI Galway has research collaborations with 3,267 international institutions in 114 different countries. The university also has five research institutes on its Galway city campus, including the Data Science Institute, the Whitaker Institute for social change and innovation and the Ryan Institute for marine research.

Its research centres in the medtech area include Science Foundation Ireland’s Cúram and the Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab.

The university will also continue to involve the public with its research and innovation plans through various education and outreach initiatives. It is leading the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network, which it claims, will “bring the public into the heart of research initiatives”.

Another key area identified in the strategy report is the development of partnerships with industry stakeholders. NUI Galway has spun out many successful companies in recent years, including medtechs such as AuriGen Medical, Atrian, Vetex Medical and Neurent.

According to MedTech Europe, Ireland has the highest number of medtech employees per capita in Europe along with Switzerland.

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France hails victory as Facebook agrees to pay newspapers for content | France

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France has hailed a victory in its long-running quest for fairer action from tech companies after Facebook reached an agreement with a group of national and regional newspapers to pay for content shared by its users.

Facebook on Thursday announced a licensing agreement with the APIG alliance of French national and regional newspapers, which includes Le Parisien and Ouest-France as well as smaller titles. It said this meant “people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected”.

France had been battling for two years to protect the publishing rights and revenue of its press and news agencies against what it termed the domination of powerful tech companies that share news content or show news stories in web searches.

In 2019 France became the first EU country to enact a directive on the publishing rights of media companies and news agencies, called “neighbouring rights”, which required large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content. But it has taken long negotiations to reach agreements on paying publishers for content.

No detail was given of the exact amount agreed by Facebook and the APIG.

Pierre Louette, the head of the media group Les Echos-Le Parisien, led the alliance of newspapers who negotiated as a group with Facebook. He said the agreement was “the result of an outspoken and fruitful dialogue between publishers and a leading digital platform”. He said the terms agreed would allow Facebook to implement French law “while generating significant funding” for news publishers, notably the smallest ones.

Other newspapers, such as the national daily Le Monde, have negotiated their own deals in recent months. News agencies have also negotiated separately.

After the 2019 French directive to protect publishers’ rights, a copyright spat raged for more than a year in which French media groups sought to find common ground with international tech firms. Google initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefited by receiving millions of visits to their websites. News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions complained about not receiving a cut of the millions made from ads displayed alongside news stories, particularly on Google.

But this year Google announced it had reached a draft agreement with the APIG to pay publishers for a selection of content shown in its searches.

Facebook said that besides paying for French content, it would also launch a French news service, Facebook News, in January – a follow-up to similar services in the US and UK – to “give people a dedicated space to access content from trusted and reputable news sources”.

Facebook reached deals with most of Australia’s largest media companies earlier this year. Nine Entertainment, which includes the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, said in its annual report that it was expecting “strong growth in the short-term” from its deals with Facebook and Google.

British newspapers including the Guardian signed up last year to a programme in which Facebook pays to license articles that appear on a dedicated news section on the social media site. Separately, in July Guardian Australia struck a deal with Facebook to license news content.

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Flight Simulator says Windows 11 has been downloaded on Xbox • The Register

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Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, will not fly until the first half of next year at the earliest, as the manufacturing giant continues to tackle an issue with the spacecraft’s valves.

Things have not gone smoothly for Boeing. Its Starliner program has suffered numerous setbacks and delays. Just in August, a second unmanned test flight was scrapped after 13 of 24 valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system jammed. In a briefing this week, Michelle Parker, chief engineer of space and launch at Boeing, shed more light on the errant components.

Boeing believes the valves malfunctioned due to weather issues, we were told. Florida, home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the Starliner is being assembled and tested, is known for hot, humid summers. Parker explained that the chemicals from the spacecraft’s oxidizer reacted with water condensation inside the valves to form nitric acid. The acidity corroded the valves, causing them to stick.

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