On March 25, we just wrapped up our first-ever “IoT into the Wild” Product Launch. During the online launch, we unveiled a series of 12+ AIoT solutions for outdoor applications, covering devices from low-power sensors to ultra-long-range gateways featuring Edge AI. Most of the products are now available for pre-order on our landing page.
If you’ve missed the launch, you can watch the launch reply on YouTube.
For those who prefer to get all updates directly on this blog, here are the concise and to-the-point highlights from the event.
Eric Pan, Founder & CEO at Seeed, kicked off his launch keynote by sharing an inspiring Flashback of 2021, which shows how Seeed worked with partners and the community to deliver open tools for people to innovate.
After the short video, Eric cut to the chases and explained the reason why the launch is themed as “IoT into the Wild”.
Why IoT into the Wild?
“Since 2008, we have been providing open-source hardware modules to makers all over the world. There have been so many exciting possibilities we have witnessed. But we’ve been also exploring in the past few years how we can leverage these possibilities and bring more productivity into the field. It’s much more difficult than just the proof of concepts. It requires a lot of engineering, a lot of fieldwork, and a lot of pains and gains. But I think it’s really interesting to find out what are the frontiers for IoT. We have been keeping hearing the demands about sustainability, environment protection, wildlife, smart agriculture, and carbon offsets. But we see too few IoT devices ready for that. That is the frontier, the most challenging scenario for electronics and wireless communication. And Seeed is up to the challenge!
The digital transformation starts in the civilized world. It has everything for IoT: the power, the shelter, telecommunication coverage, and the people around them. But the wild is more on the opposite. It’s off the grid, it’s reckless, it’s too far away, which is making a perfect frontier for IoT as well…We need to prepare the coverage so all this important information could be transmitted back in real-time. We need to have process power close to scenes, we need edge computing. We need to work with the community to build more futuristic solutions by updating our legacy devices or installing all the lasted technology into the scenes. ”
Frontier 1: Coverage in the Wild
The first frontier is telecommunication coverage. Only about 3.5% of the whole planetary surface is the built-up area (cities, towns, and villages) where telecommunication coverage is available. So for any IoT project in the wild, coverage will be the first constraint to be resolved. Tackling this challenge, the long-range wide-area network LoRaWAN has been playing a critical role. Since public LoRaWAN network like Helium and The Things Network is expanding very quickly, people can always set up their own coverage on demand.
To expand the coverage, the IoT devices should be ready for multiple scenarios: from indoor to outdoor, from urban area to rural area, and from industrial to emerging. It also has to support wide coverage of up to 10 kilometers. It’s also necessary to make it accessible for even non-tech people who can build up coverage in simple steps, and manage the network in a way they are used to. All data can be instantly available in API for easy integration into existing systems.
Last year, Seeed has been shipping over 100,000 LoRaWAN Gateways which are compatible with the most popular IoT Cloud services including Helium, TTN, Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. The first released product during the launch is the next generation of LoRaWAN Gateway: SenseCAP M2 Data Only.
SenseCAP M2 Data Only features a built-in 3dbi high-performance antenna that supports building the coverage up to 10 kilometers. The gateway is built with securities from silicons all the way to the cloud. It also provides an easy setup thanks to the SenseCAP Hotspot APP’s Bluetooth configurations. Powered by PoE (Power on Ethernet), the whole system has strong extensibility for 3G and 4G and GPS options. For owners who have multiple devices, Seeed also offers fleet management options through the Dashboard where local councils are ready to support debugging. By working with global distributors and partners network, Seeed promises worldwide 24X7 support. The SenseCAP M2 Data Only LoRaWAN Gateway will be released in April and the price will be unveiled.
SenseCAP Hotspot APP is already available on Google Play and App Store for free. With the APP, Hotspot owners can easily add SenseCAP Hotspots onto the APP where a dashboard is available for updating the location, antenna, and also for running diagnosis.
A rich set of SenseCAP Outdoor enclosures are made available with IP66 design supporting outdoor applications from -30 to 85 census degrees. Seeed also works with RF Explorer to provide a different grade of antenna, all the way from DVI to adobe. All the accessories will be ready for outdoor deployment.
Frontier 2: Sensors as a Service
According to Eric, making getting data with sensors as easy as a service is the second challenge of IoT into the Wild. How to make reliable, easy-to-deploy, and scalable sensor devices are the foothold of Seeed’s SenseCAP LoRaWAN Wireless Sensors covering devices to monitor the air, the soil, and the objects.
SenseCAP LoRaWAN Wireless Sensors are designed in IP66 with the concept of Solid for the Wild. With a 19AH battery, they can survive from -40 to 85 census degrees for more than 10 years. With the built-in antenna, they can transmit the signal back up to 10 kilometers of the line of sight. To make the deployment accessible to non-tech-savvy, the series support 3-step to get the data and an open API to be integrated to the most popular cloud platforms: Azure, AWS, and private servers on the Edge. The remote maintenance is made easy with the cloud cool provided. The SenseCAP LoRaWAN Wireless Sensors cover an S21x series of basic sensors which can collect data of Air Temperature Humidity Sensor, Light Intensity, co2 emissions, soil temperature, moisture and conductivity. The prices vary from 49 to 119 dollars.
Apart from the basic sensors, a LoRaWAN Data Logger is released, which supports Analog, I2C, UART, RS485, and common protocols. It enables to turn over 100 common-used industrial sensors into LoRaWAN Sensor Node. With a waterproof enclosure, it will be available in Q2 at the price of 49 dollars. To make it more expandable for the maker community, Seeed also presented an S2110 LoRaWAN Controller which is based on a Raspberry Pi RP200. The controller also supports a plug-and-play Grove system of over 500 modules to ensure the community to create fit-in applications.
One of the highlighted parts is that Seeed also introduce two ultra-low-power Machine Learning and LoRaWAN powered SenseCAP sensors. The two sensors perform always-on inferencing with vision and sound. Combining both tinyML and LoRaWAN technologies, the two sensors are able to do real-time inferencing with low energy consumption, which unlocks endless applications in the wild. The standard Machine Learning models are available to be updated and trained in real-life scenes. Regarding the availability, the SenseCAP LoRaWAN Sound/Vibration AI Sensor will be ready to ship in June at 59 dollars meanwhile the SenseCAP LoRaWAN Vision AI Sensor will be ready in July at 69 dollars.
Based on its existing SenseCAP compact weather stations, Seeed introduced an advanced 10-in-1 compact co2 monitoring station SenseCAP S1000. It’s the smallest compact station with the IP66 design. It’s maintenance-free and each device is calibrated in the wind tunnels to guarantee its consistency and to achieve five ppm precision for measurement. It’s easy to deploy in the grid with flexibility, targeting to meet the growing needs of meteorological monitoring for carbon neutrality. And the price is two percent of existing solutions, at 2199 dollars and it will be available in Q2.
The weather station has already been deployed in several cities to monitor carbon emissions. During the launch, Seeed also invited Professor Ning Zeng to showcase how he and his team apply the device to achieve carbon neutrality.
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Frontier 3: EdgeAI for the Real World
The next frontier is about AI. There are so much fresh real data out in the field. AI Machine learning has already found applications across a huge variety of tasks and scenarios and is especially important for any application that involves collecting, analyzing, real-time inferencing, and responding to large sets of data. To name a few, coral reef growth monitoring and inferencing, drones to detect wildfires, smart agriculture, and oil plants and farms.
Seeed has been supplying all sorts of Edge Computing AI accessories for the community ranging from SoMs (the core module) to carrier boards, to the heat sinks, to enclosures, and sensors (different kinds of camera radars). But the challenge is it’s too complicated for them to deploy. By working closely with Nvidia, Seeed aims to deliver the latest Edge AI tech in full solution for both developers and system integrators to apply AI easier than ever before.
During the launch, Seeed released a reComputer Jetson series, which will be shipping in April and available in 4 different models. reComputer Jetson series are compact edge computers built with NVIDIA advanced AI embedded system (Jetson Nano & Xavier NX) and Seeed reference carrier board. reComputer Jetson is compatible with the entire NVIDIA Jetson software stack, cloud-native workflows, and industry-leading AI frameworks, helping deliver seamless AI integration. With rich extension modules, industrial peripherals, and thermal management combined with decades of Seeed’s hardware expertise, reComputer Jetson is ready to help you accelerate and scale the next-gen AI product emerging in diverse AI scenarios.
For many AI projects on the Edge, a powerful AI computation and a server-client mechanism to improve the overall RoI is much needed. As the inferencing server is playing a more and more important role, Seeed introduced a powerful inference serving at the Edge: reServer. It integrates Nvidia’s powerful computing modules (Jetson Xavier NX, and AGX Orin) and Triton open-source server software (pre-installed) to make it simple to use. Featuring a click-to-deploy, reServer is easy for developers to update existing infrastructure with AI. With effective thermal management of the vapor chamber, reServer is made into a compact enclosure that is portable to carry around for various applications. It’s equipped with hybrid connectivities including 10GbE per second (for AGX ORIN), 2.5GbE per second, 4G, 5G, and other connectivities, a built-in store, and rich IOs.
reServer will be available in 2 models. Jetson 20 is based on Jetson Xavier NX starting at 899 dollars in quarter 2. And by the end of this year, it’s expected to have the powerful AGX Orin module supported, named the reServer Jetson 50. The price will be defined by that time.
As a highlighted part, Seeed also invites a series of ecosystem partners to join the launch to share their Edge AI journey with Seeed. The partners are leading AI software and development platforms including YOLO v5, Edge Impulse, Cogniteam, Zenus, Always AI, and Deci. (A big shout-out to Glenn, Adam, Ari, Panos, Marty, and Assaf).
Frontier 4: Co-Inventing the Wheels
Collaboration is the key message for the last frontier. Seeed has been surviving today by enabling a lot of innovations with hardware. In the last part of the launch, Eric looked back on the collaborative projects that Seeed has been working on for the last decades, including oscilloscopes to palm-sized drones, from single board computers to educational kits.
But the hardware itself is not the full solution for people to create real impacts. After the flashback, Eric also shouted to call for more collaborations with the ecosystem, partners, and community members to create and bring full innovative solutions to the wild and transform industries.
“Through the whole journey, we see it’s more and more important that we work with the people. Seeed Studio is very good at opening the device for people to really deploy them. And we have the full stack of IoT engineering teams to support any challenging IoT projects to build from scratch and modify on the fly. And we have the engine manufacturing and customization services which we have been serving thousands of projects already. So for partners, they are usually experts in their specific domain who have unique data sets algorithms, and know-how but lack of hardware capability. What Seeed can do is to help them scale their projects make them interaction production-ready whenever the distribution is going out to our direct customers and we share the profit back either by royalty or donate to specific organizations.”
To offer a jump-start for the collaborations, Seeed released a LoRaWAN Dev Kit for beginners. The kit includes a Wio Terminal which is a controller with display and Machine Learning capabilities and the five most popular Grove modules. It offers a plug-and-play experience for beginners to build LoRaWAN projects. Pried at 99 dollars, the kit will be available in April. Seeed will offer scale-up services and support for community projects based on the Kit to facilitate more IoT applications.
According to Eric Pan, makers know how to innovate, meanwhile, the UN Sustainable Development Goals should be the WHY for technological innovation. “SDGs gathers actually a pool of urgent challenges that we humans need to face, and IoT can come into play.” Seeed also initiated a Tech4Good Bounty Program, which offers all-year-round hardware and scale-up services sponsorship to support new technological applications to tackle sustainable development challenges. In the future, Seeed will work more closely with NGOs partners, such as Project 15 from Microsoft to enable more people to adopt more scalable IoT technologies to make an impact.