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The vision for the Internet of Things is to inject precision into existing processes across industry, be it agriculture, health, automotive or industrial. But it’s one thing for IoT advances to look attractive on paper. Quite another to deliver, as the saying goes, in the field.

 

Like, say, a tomato field.

 

Take, for example, Analog Devices’ Internet of Tomatoes fields. ADI’s project, one of industry’s longest-running IoT field (yes, I said it) trials, initially was conceived as a sensor-to-cloud project to help farmers better manage their crops. It has achieved that. But along the way, it has evolved into something more.

 

Indeed, it has become a proving ground of sorts for new IoT technologies. In the latest incarnation, the Internet of Tomatoes is helping to validate how applicable blockchain, the latest fintech technology, is to other industries. Team members are starting to deploy blockchain as a trusted ledger to help the ecosystem validate claims like grown closest to market, freshness and taste.

 

In the first phase of the Internet of Tomatoes, project leaders used in-field temperature, humidity and light sensors to help farmers pinpoint how much to water their tomatoes, and to hone in on the best time to apply pesticides. It was successful, as the Master Mechanic has written. But the team didn’t stop there.

 

At a time when the Analog Garage was incubating technology to enable handheld spectrometers, the Internet of Tomatoes team built a cloud analytics platform that can predict how good a given tomato will taste.

                                                                                                                            

Now, project leaders would like to link the two processes, and broaden the platform so it can measure and track the tomato’s entire life cycle, from seed to salad. Or sandwich. From there, they envision the platform will one day identify the tastiest tomatoes while they’re still in the field. And they will track them as they pass through distribution centers and into restaurants and grocery stores.

 

And if they can get enough growers to participate, it could eventually develop into a certification system that identifies the best, so farmers could get compensated for prize tomatoes from chefs, foodies and others who are willing to pay a premium for them.

 

To do that successfully, they will need an accounting system that is not only secure, but trusted up and down the food chain, so to speak. They’re using blockchain. Or, the Blockchain of Tomatoes, as project leaders call it.

 

Francis Gouillart just spoke about the opportunities and challenges ahead for the Internet of Tomatoes project at the FLEX Conference and Expo in Monterey, Calif., last month. Gouillart is Chief Food Officer at ripe.io, a blockchain startup with aspirations to become the de facto ledger of record for agriculture and, eventually, food.

 

Image: Francis Gouillart 

 

Blockchain, the enabling technology for digital currencies like Bitcoin, has been gaining popularity as a record-keeping tool for other applications as well, from industry-standard groups to healthcare exchanges. Blockchain has proven to be a trustworthy ledger because data is distributed across a growing number of sites that all independently validate records. Further, each record builds on the last. So even if a majority of community members agree to alter a historical record, they could not do it without rewriting each subsequent record as well.

 

Analog Devices, together with Gouillart, has been putting together a pilot ecosystem for Blockchain of Tomatoes in New England. Team leaders have enlisted farmers, produce distributors, retailers and restaurants. In addition to in-field measurements and spectrometer readings, they are also recording transportation conditions, including temperature and length of time refrigerated. The goal is to build a trusted scorecard that validates farmers’ claims of taste, freshness, locally produced – and however else they might like to position their crop.

 

Ultimately, the blockchain could be used to build trust in every grocery store aisle. The system could be used, for example, to identify same-day freshness of seafood, meat and poultry, and to know food is free of unwanted additives or processing. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

 

Can you think of other communities with sensor-to-cloud applications that might benefit from blockchain technology? Let us know!

SGInnovate is a private-limited company wholly-owned by the Singapore government. But to the Analog Garage, it’s a partner in our mission to help entrepreneurs research, prototype and scale their ideas. Ron Cellini, one of the Analog Garage team members focused on connecting with start-ups in Asia, spoke at an event hosted by SGInnovate. Ron told us the event, Sensor Technologies and Its Impact, attracted dozens of promising startups and researchers.

 

 

In addition to Ron, other participants on the panel were Adrienne Mendenhall, Country Manager for Access Health Singapore who highlighted the infinite possibilities and impacts of sensor applications in healthcare, and Dr. Vishram Mishra of Microsec shared insights on improving security for sensor technology.

To help guide the panel discussion about the future of sensors in the connected world, Ron explained the Analog Garage’s charter and how Analog Devices’ accelerator helps startups turn ideas into businesses. He also shared a few ideas the Analog Garage is currently incubating, including:

Ron said the event turned out to be fertile ground for the Analog Garage to harvest new relationships for Analog Devices, with the potential for several new sensor-to-cloud projects as a result. He’s not ready to tell us about them yet. But who knows? Maybe we’ll find out about some of them when the next opportunity to present at SGInnovate comes around!

There are very few places in the world with such an active, vibrant startup community as in the San Francisco Bay Area. Which is why some Analog Garage Venture team members conduct their strategic partnership exploration extensively there.

 

Silicon Valley Senior Marketing Manager Sylvain Marseille collaborates to find solutions to important problems with Analog Garage’s Bay Area accelerator partners, like Alchemist. Alchemist is unique in that it exclusively works with startups with solutions for the enterprise.

 

 

Sylvain says he enjoys working with Alchemist because its B2B focus aligns well with Analog Devices (ADI), which is so well entrenched in industrial markets. He just attended a Demo Day for one Alchemist class. And the cycle is set to begin again, with the next class set to kick off in August.  

 

Image of Alchemist Demo Day kickoff

 

We sat down with Sylvain and Ravi Belani, a Managing Partner at Alchemist, to talk about what goes into preparing a class for its Demo Day, and how the activity helps further the partnership between Alchemist and the Analog Garage.

 

Ravi Belani                                 Sylvain Marseille

Ravi Belani, Managing Partner at Alchemist                              Sylvain Marseille, Sr. Marketing Manager Analog Garage

 

Q: How does the Analog Garage and Alchemist work together?

Sylvain: We are a Strategic investor in the Alchemist fund. This gives the Analog Garage team preferential access to the startups once they have been accepted into the program.

 

That’s really valuable to us. Because there are just so many new ideas cropping up all the time in the sensor-to-cloud space that we couldn’t possibly review them all. So it’s great to have a partner like Alchemist help vet potential B2B partners for us, and pave the way for us to connect with them at an early stage. That way, we can help them develop their business, leveraging the technical and business resources that ADI has to offer.

 

I’m the primary ADI contact for Alchemist, so I act as an advisor to the startups that need help with B2B sales and marketing, product strategies or pitch preparation.

 

Q: How does Alchemist prepare for demo day?

Ravi: The teams work intensively for five months before Demo Day to get ready for the big day. In general, the teams are maniacally focusing on getting traction and improving their products to put their best foot forwards when Demo Day comes around. Of course, in the weeks leading up to Demo Day, there is an added focus on the Demo Day presentation – including practices in front of a cross section of Alchemist's staff, pitch experts, Alumni who had successfully Demo'd previously, and real investors. There is continuous and ample feedback given to the founders as they go through the practices culminating in the final Demo Day presentation.

 

Q: What types of demos were presented at demo day?

Ravi: At our last Demo Day we showcased 19 startups that ranged from infrastructure to applications to services. Some of the Demo's that got the press' attention included a battery efficient high-density sensor network for industrial IoT; autonomous AI-enabled drones for agriculture that can kill weeds without requiring farmers to use toxic pesticides; a next gen, agile visibility dashboard into manufacturing operations and sensors; an error analytics platform for developers to do root cause analysis on their code; and a course management app built by Carnegie Mellon alums for higher ed students.

 

You can see all the presentations and connect with the companies here.

 

Q: Sylvain, What were your impressions of Demo Day?

Sylvain: You know, I was really impressed. I’ve attended lots of showcase-type events for startups. But this was the first time I’d been to one hosted by Alchemist, so I didn’t know what to expect. Hats off to Alchemist – the event was very well organized, and the startups were all of really high quality. Each of the teams were solving real-world problems in the B2B space.

 

Q: Ravi, how do you evaluate ideas that reduce the cost for things like farming using robotics?

Ravi: When we look at ideas, in general, we are looking at how significant an impact the venture can have if things go right. We are more concerned with backing risky ventures that could have a huge impact vs. safer ventures where the downside risk may be limited, but the upside is limited as well.

 

In robotics for farming, we are looking for validation that the technology innovation in the product is significant, or that the team has some unfair advantage in fulfilling it. In the agriculture robotics company in the last class - Farmwise - the team was distinctive technically as the founders were some of the top grads out of MIT and Stanford's AI Labs and launchpad programs.

 

From a cost perspective, we want to see that the value proposition to all the stakeholders make the product an inevitability given both cost reductions and/or value creation. And that there is a long-term competitive advantage at scale if competition encroaches as the company grows

 

Q: What do you think of the role AI in b2b applications?

Ravi: We think the role of AI in B2B applications is incredibly significant in its scope of impact -- and will be one of the most significant trends in the foreseeable future. There are several trends converging which is why AI is suddenly so salient: the emergence of APIs has exposed data sets in the enterprise space that used to be hard to interact with; sensors are becoming so cheap and ubiquitous that there is the ability to create intelligence across many aspects of the enterprise that was not previously available; machine learning algorithms are becoming deeply impressive. Given these, we think AI in B2B will affect almost every industry and every function -- it's hard to overestimate the impact AI will have.

 

Q: What are some of the future problems that Alchemist start-ups are solving? 

Alchemist founders are attacking large problems using innovative technology. There is a wide variety of innovations and markets.

 

Here is a sample to give you a feel:

  • Universal Connectivity for Industrial IoT Devices24/7 Earth Monitoring using Solar Unmanned, Perpetual Flying Aircraft,
  • Next Gen IP Routing
  • Spatially Moving Sound Technology using distributed Wearable Speakers
  • Stress trackers for seniors

 

The list would be far too long for us to include everything here. Those interested in learning more should visit us here!

What better place to evaluate the state of the startup ecosystem than in Israel, the nation that calls itself the Startup Nation? And what better venue than Geektime Next, among the premier startup events in the Startup Nation?

 

That is why Analog Garage decided to become a community sponsor for this year’s event and actively make connections with the Israeli startup ecosystem, enabling 100 young entrepreneurs to attend the event.  Amir Eldad represented the Analog Garage at the event and served as a judge for one of the competitions.

 

Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is very broad and deep, and Amir said that representation at the Geektime event covered virtually the entire landscape. But the three primary areas of interest were consumer, IoT and cybersecurity. He told us he was focused mostly on finding interesting sensor-to-cloud IoT technology. Toward that end, he came across many new innovations in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

 

“Machine learning and AI were front and center,” he said. “Much of what I saw were solutions that took advantage of sensing and artificial intelligence to fine-tune existing applications with a level of granularity that wasn’t possible just a few years ago.”

 

During his search, he said the trend toward precision was particularly evident across three key areas: digital health, agriculture and sports fan engagement.

 

In digital health, he said, he encountered a concentration of sensor-to-cloud innovations applied to precision medicine and personalized nutrition.

 

In agriculture, there were innovations like ADI’s Internet of Tomatoes project that enabled farmers to more finely – and accurately – apply water, fertilizer and pesticides to boost productivity and cut costs.

 

 

And in sports, new products focused on tailoring sporting event experiences for individual fans, depending on their demographics and tastes, their favorite teams and players and – even location in the stadium.

 

“I was very impressed by the Geektime event,” Amir said. “It delivered a great mix of the Israeli startup ecosystem. It was definitely the right place to be.”

 

For more on start-up activity in Israel check out the recent Master Mechanic post featuring Alain Guery

One of the unexpected pleasures for the Analog Garage team as we expand our global exploration are the innovative projects we find that are focused on solving local problems.

 

Of course, there are plenty of efforts in every corner of the world with the potential to make a difference on a global scale. But everywhere we go, we always seem to uncover projects with a local flair.

 

It’s more common to come across those in India or China, each with huge domestic market potential. But even in a country like Israel, which is much more globally focused because of its small population, tends to solve problems that hit close to home. We’ve come across some ingenious sensor-to-cloud development, for example, that is aimed at growing more produce with less water, which is a precious resource there.

 

In places like India and the Philippines, where electricity is expensive and unreliable, we invariably meet up with innovators focused on things like low-power design techniques, better battery chemistries and energy harvesting. In the Philippines, where the landscape is freckled with cellular towers, inventors are intent on harvesting spurious radio signals and converting them back into energy.

 

India is also host to a fast-developing healthcare startup community. Much of the innovation there is focused on customizing diagnostic devices to be portable, sealed and very low cost for use in poor, dusty rural areas.

 

In Singapore, where space comes at a premium, inventors gin up ways to solve transportation bottlenecks and better manage waste disposal. Like, for example, a municipal hub system we saw that was designed to streamline shipping delivery by minimizing the time that large, expensive gas-guzzling trucks are on the road.

 

It might seem hard to believe that a place like China, where therapies like acupuncture and massage have been widely used for centuries, is combining its prowess as home to one-fourth of the world’s manufacturing, to create robot masseuses. But it’s true. One startup at an incubator we visited is developing a robot that massages with a plucking action to more closely mimic Chinese technique.

 

 

What innovations have you come across with a decidedly local flair? How might the Analog Garage tailor Analog Devices technology for those innovations? Let us know!

ADI Senior Manager, Raj Senguttuvan just got back from visiting China as part of the Analog Garage’s regional expansion into Asia. He said he “was blown away” by the fertile start-up ecosystem there. Find out why in this short video interview with Raj.

 

Click here to view the video: 

On Location: China’s Vibrant New Start-up Climate - YouTube 

 

Visit the Analog Garage at Analog Garage | Analog Devices 

 

 

When it comes to locking down a network, the security you put in place is only as good as the weakest link. If someone’s given you a password to access their network, then guess what? You are the weakest link!

 

For the Internet of Things, one of the biggest security risks are the countless millions of exposed sensors and actuators used to automate tasks like lighting and climate control. That’s why there’s such a focus on integrating security right into hardware to authenticate machine-to-machine communication, as we discussed last month in our blog post, “A Smart City is a Secure City.”

 

But hardware tampering and theft is not as big a problem for computing networks. Servers and data centers are behind lock and key. And most people keep close tabs on their laptops, smartphones and other connected devices. That’s why only eight percent of computer hacks last year involved physical attacks, according to Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report.

 

But don’t start patting yourself on the back just yet. Because although we’re responsible guardians of hardware, we’re terrible at locking down accounts, which are all entry points into valuable data stores for cyber thieves. According to the Verizon report, 81 percent of the breaches in 2016 leveraged stolen and/or weak passwords like “password123.”

 

The most obvious way to defuse our ability to, wittingly or unwittingly, grant access to critical networks is by employing multi-factor authentication, or MFA. As the name implies, MFA means you’ll need more than one method of validating that it’s really you who is requesting access. Most of us have encountered one of the simpler MFA techniques at gas pumps, many of which require a PIN or zip code as well as a credit card before accepting payment.

 

The problem with MFA schemes today is that they require more effort on our part, which is something too many of us are unwilling to endure. If we were, then one in six personal passwords on the Internet wouldn’t be “123456,” would they?

 

If MFA is ever going to neutralize human password management, then it will have to be as painless as it is effective. That’s why the Analog Garage and others are hard at work developing sensor-to-cloud platforms designed to limit access only to authorized account holders. Some of them are built around biometrics, like fingerprints, voice patterns and iris scans.

 

Others are tied to specific personal devices, like smartphones and fitness trackers. Which means that, like IoT nodes, personal devices will need hardened authentication features built right into the silicon.

 

No one authentication option is foolproof. So the best way to lock out unauthorized access is to use a combination of three or more factors, such as the presence of a phone along with a fingerprint scan.

 

Most of all, as people prove over and over, it will have to be painless to use. It’s the only way for the industry to look us in the eye like the host of the old BBC TV show and say, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.”

Bloomberg Markets caught up with the Analog Garage on-site last week at the Harvard Innovation Lab, just as the university’s program awarded more than $300,000 to incubate new ideas.

 

Bloomberg Market hosts discussed with Maria Tagliaferro, Director of Technology Advocacy, the intersection of the analog and digital worlds, the Analog Garage’s role in furthering the exploration in sensor-to-cloud answers to today’s most pressing problems, how university incubators like the Harvard Innovation Lab fit in the mix and the importance of the Boston area ecosystem.

 

Why the Boston area? “It’s a hub in every sense of the word,” Tagliaferro said. “It’s the hub for Massachusetts, which Bloomberg named the number one innovation state. It’s the hub for medical. It’s the hub for education. And it’s an international hub.”

 

Listen to the Bloomberg Markets interview with Tagliaferro HERE.

image of Maria (right) on air with Bloomberg reporters Carol Massar and Cory Johnson (left) 

The light bulb has become the symbol for an idea. But when ADI’s Doug Gardner sees a light bulb he thinks, “security breach.”

 

Gardner told attendees at EmTech Asia in Singapore earlier this year that the Smart City and the overall Internet of Things can’t realize their full potential without security that is rearchitected for connected things. (The Analog Garage was a sponsor for EmTech Asia, a MIT Technology Review-hosted event).

 

Machine-to-machine communication will drive decision-making by intelligent systems, without human intervention. So each node in the system must be secure.

 

That will be more challenging with connected devices deployed in public buildings and city streets, where hackers can manually tamper with them. In contrast, corporate datacenters are physically out of reach for most cyberthieves. In fact, Verizon just released its annual Data Breach Investigations Report and found that only eight percent of computer hacks last year involved physical attacks such as breaking into a datacenter or stealing a smartphone or laptop.

 

 

The potential for those numbers to be far higher for the Internet of Things is a scary prospect, Gardner said. He pointed out that five million lightbulbs are replaced each day. And as municipalities increasingly turn to smart bulbs to manage lighting more economically, each of those bulbs becomes a potential source of vulnerability.

 

 

Today’s assigned identity security constructs like public key infrastructure, or PKI, are ill-equipped to manage access for Smart Cities, Gardner said. A security framework for the IoT’s systems of systems must begin at the edge, with identity rooted in the silicon. A so-called hardware root of trust sits below applications, drivers and the real-time operating system, monitoring activity. That puts it in a better position to identify rootkits and spot out-of-character activities.

 

And for human interaction – such as for maintenance workers replacing lightbulbs – adopting multi-factor authentication that incorporates biometrics will be critical to controlling access.

 

Multi-factor authentication will be vital for putting a lid on existing cyberattacks by requiring more proof points than simply passwords to gain access to computer networks. According to the Verizon report, 81 percent of the breaches in 2016 leveraged stolen and/or weak passwords.

 

There are many obstacles on the road to the Smart City that must be cleared before we can realize the vision of cleaner, safer and more efficient municipalities. And the Analog Garage is busy clearing the path in many ways, from developing sensors tailored for Smart City applications to exploring new techniques to keep those sensors powered and secured.

 

The most recognizable LIDAR system for the automotive market looks sort of like a salad plate-sized dome that sits atop the roof of the automobile.  The next smallest is about twice the size of a hockey puck. So you might find it hard to believe the Analog Garage is prototyping a LIDAR system for new markets that’s no bigger than a D-size battery? But it’s true.

 

So how did we do it? There is a lot of technological ingenuity that went into developing this system that unfortunately I’m not at liberty to share. But this much I can say: it’s impressive how many design constraints you can shed when you focus on solving a particular problem rather than just shrinking an existing system.

 

Let me give you an example. Drones can be great fun for hobbyists and video enthusiasts. Police use them for recon. Doctors are delivering medicines with UAVs. What they’re not very good at is landing. Which is a problem.

 

At the Analog Garage, we think LIDAR is a promising technology for overcoming drones’ landing difficulties. It’s very precise, works day or night and can operate in all sorts of weather. But traditional LIDAR systems are too big and expensive.

 

Once we took a step back, we realized we could strip away much of a traditional LIDAR system for this application, and make it small enough and cost-effective enough to help drones land. Because we don’t need the three-dimensional map of space that a full LIDAR system can generate. We just have a one-dimensional question that we need to answer here: how far is the drone from the ground below?

 

Our prototype system can answer that question. It can scan up to 40 meters, and is accurate to within 5 cm. Which drone designers tell us will give them the soft landing they are trying to achieve.

 

What other problems can a tailored LIDAR system solve? Share your thoughts below!

Once the stuff of science fiction, handheld chemical labs are now fast becoming a reality. Advancements in opto-electronics performance and miniaturization are opening possibilities for the well-established science of material analysis using wavelength dispersion. Imaginative scientists, researchers and engineers are laser-focused on advancing the technology and exploring a wide swath of uses, everything from the fields of psychiatry and medicine to agriculture, industrial and consumer protection.

 

The technology behind the portable chemical analysis is called near-infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS. NIRS shoots beams of light into objects and then discerns chemical makeup by tracking which photons bounce back. A handheld sensor-to-cloud NIRS device trumps traditional chemical lab analysis because it is quick, portable, inexpensive and non-destructive.

 

What would you unearth with the power of an instant chemlab in your pocket? Who might benefit? What are the business opportunities?

 

There are many challenges to overcome before all the possibilities of spectroscopy can be realized, including widening the spectrum used for analysis and boosting the power and sophistication to detect and measure more and more compounds in lower concentrations and ever more challenging conditions.

 

Analog Devices, with its expertise in precisely measuring physical phenomena, is hard at work turning the vision of NIRS into a reality.

 

Through the Analog Garage, Analog Devices is making connections at the leading edge in fields like healthcare, agriculture, chemistry, and biology to help ensure that engineering development is aligned with what researchers are trying to achieve with the technology. It’s one of the big reasons, for example, that the Analog Garage is a founding partner of Pulse@MassChallenge, an incubator focused on digital health. 

 

There is so much possibility and so much activity in NIRS that it can be difficult to keep up. Researchers at Keio University in Tokyo, for example, just reported that they identified a specific channel in the brain in which the presence of oxygenated hemoglobin varies with dosage levels of antidepressants. The discovery could lead to new and better treatments for depression.

 

And researchers in China are dialing in the best method for assessing leaf nitrogen in pear orchards, something that is urgently needed to improve quality and yields. Of course, Analog Devices’ own Internet of Tomatoes project is leveraging NIRS to help farmers grow better-tasting tomatoes.

 

To be sure, applications for spectroscopy are sprouting. Consider that:

 

  • NASA says the Mars 2020 rover will be armed with SuperCam, a device equipped with three different spectroscopy technologies to give it broader capabilities to analyze the elements.

 

  • The beverage industry is exploring different ways to apply ultraviolet and visible light spectroscopy to make beverages look and taste better. Brewers, for example, are beginning to leverage the technology to manage the bitterness of IPA beers.

 

  • In India, where an estimated two-thirds of people drink adulterated milk, researchers are putting NIRS to work spotting unwanted contaminants – including additives like urea and antibiotics and lead from paint chips.

 

One day, consumers will have in their pocket, likely built right into their smartphones - like the Changhong H2 – the ability to quickly assess alcohol content of a drink or detect the presence of a date-rape drug, assess dosage levels in generic drugs, gluten and sugar levels in foods and much more.

 

Indeed, the possibilities are seemingly endless for NIRS. And the Analog Garage is at the center, helping to connect entrepreneurs with ideas for how to apply it with leading-edge technology from Analog Devices.

 

Do you have ideas for how to apply NIRS to a real-world problem? Heard of any interesting applications? Share your comments below!

As the massive Mobile World Congress event began to wind down, the Master Mechanic caught up with Alain Guery, the Analog Garage Director of Emerging Business, at the Barcelona show. Our conversation turned quickly to what we saw at the Israeli Pavilion on the show floor.

 

Alain Guery

Taken as a group, the 62 startups inside the Pavilion were a microcosm of the show itself: other than a few glitzy smartphones, wearables, VR gear and smart home tech, most companies were focused on critical – if far less sexy – tasks of building secure and capable networks and cloud frameworks to support the onslaught of new devices.  A third of the startups, for example, focused on security while only a dozen featured projects in VR or wearables.

 

Israel has certainly earned its Startup Nation nickname. The startup scene in Israel is surprisingly large and active for such a small country. And as a measure of its success, only the US and China have more companies on the tech-centric NASDAQ stock exchange than Israel.

 

In his role at the Analog Garage, Guery spends a lot of time tapping into Analog Devices’ Israeli innovation network. So we decided to take the opportunity to tap into his expertise.

 

Q: Just how vibrant is Israel’s startup activity?

A: Israel is a full-on startup country. There are something like 4,000 active startups, which is about one startup for every 2,700 inhabitants. No other country has that many startups per capita.

 

Q: Every country’s startup culture is a little different. What makes the Israeli scene unique?

A: First of all, the Israeli market isn’t large enough to support many new innovations by itself. So entrepreneurs there think globally – far more so than innovators in large markets like India.

 

Another thing I’ve seen is that Israeli startups are very focused on solving specific technical problems. Startups in Silicon Valley and the US tend to have more of a big vision, a grand plan. In that sense, the two startup cultures are very complementary, because many times you’ll see an Israeli startup working on an answer to a technical problem that a Silicon Valley company will need to achieve their vision. We really gravitate to that kind of thinking at the Analog Garage. Solving specific technical problems is what ADI was founded on.

 

Q: Why do you think Israel’s startup scene has blossomed as it has?

A: They have a culture that is very tolerant of risk. I believe the mandatory civil service requirement trains them in how to manage risk. They all have to put three years into the Army. They also receive a very strong technology grounding and learn leadership skills.

 

Q: How would a startup in Israel connect with the Analog Garage?

A: We work a lot with investors there, so that’s a good network to connect through.  And MassChallenge, one of our incubator partners has a very successful program in Israel. As a matter of fact, MassChallenge is now taking applications from eligible Israel startups through March 28th.  Applying now through MassChallenge may lead to great opportunities for some startups.

 

Follow the Analog Garage blog to stay up to date with technology trends and what Analog Devices is doing to remain Ahead of What's Possible.

For Singapore, smart city is more than a vision, according to Ron Cellini of the Analog Garage. It’s a work in progress. Cellini should know. Part of the team that’s helping to expand the Analog Garage’s footprint in Asia, he’s focused mostly on Singapore and the Philippines.

 

He says that the government in Singapore has been very proactive, booting up a string of incubators to help put great ideas from university research programs to work. And smart cities is a primary area of focus.

 

“In Singapore, the government is like a laboratory,” Cellini said. “The fear of failure is very low.”

 

By employing smart technology, Singapore is looking to ease problems unique to the island city-state, like transportation bottlenecks, space and debris management. All of that requires smart, secure sensor-to-cloud technology.

 

With the Analog Garage expansion into Asia, Analog Devices this year decided to sponsor EmTech Asia for the first time. Held last month in Singapore, the MIT Technology Review-hosted event brought together more than 700 scientists, technology executives, and investors from more than 20 countries to talk about how to solve problems like the ones Singapore is facing.

 

Doug Gardner, CTO of the Secure Technology Group at Analog Devices, was among the presenters at EmTech Asia. Check out A Smart City is a Secure City blog post for more information on his talk.

 

Ron Cellini recently recorded a video where he discussed more about EmTech Asia. Click on the link here.

 

Stay tuned for more from the Analog Garage as we begin to ratchet up our activity in Asia and other regions around the world!

Baseball, as sports pioneer Branch Rickey famously said, is a game of inches.

 

Now, more than a half-century later, we still know that to be true – and not just for baseball, but for every sport. Increasingly, though, we’re also coming to understand that how those inches are won or lost comes down to metrics that are far more delicate, intricate, personal and precise than that singular imperial measure.

 

Despite the explosion of sensor-to-cloud systems, the ultimate system for the quantified athlete remains elusive. There are still myriad challenges, like understanding which metrics to record, when to record them and how to leverage them to elevate athletes to the pinnacle of their abilities at precisely the right time. Oh yes, and how to convince athletes to trust the system.

 

What better place to tackle the complex problem of the quantified athlete than the Boston area, which boasts the best of healthcare, technology, and research? And, oh yes, fabled sports teams – like the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics – that have claimed more than their share of inches in competition over the years, including the 2017 Super Bowl.

 

Joyce Wu, a member of the Analog Garage’s Emerging Business team, is laser-focused on solving the problem of the quantified athlete. She just attended two Boston-area forums on the topic, the Rise of the Quantified Athlete at Harvard Innovation Labs, and MIT Sloan’s Sports Analytics Conference. So the Master Mechanic thought it was the perfect time to tap into her insights.

 

Q: The quantified athlete is potentially a very lucrative market, and it has attracted a lot of entrants. How do elite athletes, team and sports organizations view what they have to offer?

A: They certainly are excited by the prospects of getting an edge by monitoring their progress in new and exciting ways. And they see the data as a potential tool they could use to improve their performance and market themselves.

 

Q: What is Analog Devices doing for the market?

A: Our customers are designing a variety of highly accurate wearable health monitoring devices using ADI’s optical, bio-impedance, ECG and motion sensor technologies and signal conditioning expertise.

 

Q: What are some of the challenges in this market that companies are working on solving?

A: There are plenty of challenges that come along with the opportunities. Privacy and security are critical for most all sensor-to-cloud systems, and the quantified athlete is no different. They want to be sure that any platform they buy into will have the security to protect their data, and let them control who gets to see what.

 

Athletes, coaches, and trainers can be overloaded with data. In order to be successful, you have to streamline the data flow and analysis so that their job is no harder – and hopefully easier.

 

The flip side is that startup companies are pitching their one metric, and coaches don’t know if they can trust that. These companies really have to understand their metric inside and out, how it affects performance by themselves and in combination with other metrics. And most importantly, they have to be accurate and reliable.

 

Q: What’s hot in this space right now?

A: No question, it’s sleep and recovery. Because peak performance is not just about training. Rest, stress and recovery are also critical. I’d say that heart rate variability, or HRV, is becoming a critical metric because it can tell you so much about stress and fitness.

 

 

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Is the India startup scene getting ready to pop? I’m starting to think so.

 

I just got back from a fact-finding tour to Bangalore for the Analog Garage, and I have to say that I was impressed by what I found. The startup climate around universities, where the Analog Garage likes to focus, seemed healthy – and far more active than it was even five years ago.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to see the culture changing to be more entrepreneurial. Not long ago, most engineering graduates hoped to land jobs at large, well-established tech companies. At the top schools we visited, like the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, we saw a lot more engineering students who hope to start their own company after graduation.  Part of that, I think, has to do with the success of Indian startups like Ola, Flipkart and Snapdeal. Those have really helped fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in India. There are over 100 startup incubators and accelerators in India with 20+ just in Bangalore, often called the Silicon Valley of India.

 

A lot of the startup activity I saw during my tour focused on uniquely Indian problems. Like medical devices that are designed to be very low cost so that smaller, more remote hospitals can afford them. And testing equipment that takes into account dusty environments and unreliable power distribution.

 

We also saw opportunities to leverage innovations that the Analog Garage is shepherding in other regions. With 1.2 billion people, India has great potential to expand the market for those innovations.

 

Stay tuned for more from the Analog Garage as we begin to ratchet up our activity in India and other regions around the world!  And please feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/raj-senguttuvan-a949858