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European Infrastructure Powering the Internet of Things

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EnABLES (European Infrastructure Powering the Internet of Things)

Période du rapport: 2019-07-01 au 2020-12-31

By 2025 the world will have 1 trillion IoT (internet of things) sensors, most of which will be wireless IoT edge devices. IoT brings unprecedented opportunities and potentially will enhance all our lives putting sensors everywhere (on, in and near equipment, infrastructure, people, environment) to make the world a better, safer, more secure, reliable, environmentally aware and efficient place. However it also bring unprecedented problems if the battery life of these devices is limited and our lives are plagued with devices failing everywhere all the time.

So the mission of EnABLES is help users understand how ‘battery life’ can be extended to outlive the operational life of the device it powers by finding ways to minimize device power consumption where possible using ambient energies as a power source. This encompasses the following technologies:- energy harvesting, energy storage, micro-power management and their system integration. Another key element is getting the developers of these technologies and their users and integrators to come together as an ecosystem and work more closely together to ensure technology components are standardized, inter-operable and system optimized.

To help build this ecosystem and accelerate adoption starting with the technologies developed by the partners themselves EnABLES offers a ‘transnational access’ (TA) program opening up €2Bn of key research infrastructure and a pool of >130 researchers to both academia and industry to undertake ‘power IoT’ feasibility studies coupled with a joint research activity (JRA) portfolio (collaborative projects between the 11 project partners) demonstrating the impact of collaboration and developing application driven ‘power IoT’ solutions for the future.

The consortium comprises 6 research & technology centres (Tyndall, CEA-Leti, CEA-Liten, FhG-IIS, FhG-IMS and Imec-NL) that provide the TA offering. JRAs focus on developing the necessary tools, protocols, libraries and databases as well as advancing the state-of-the-art of prototype platforms, test structures, simulation models and tools. The consortium also incorporates knowledge hubs of excellence (KIT/HIU, U-Southampton, U-Perugia, U-Bologna, POLITO) who (along with the research and technology centres) are responsible for the JRAs delivering frontier research across various disciplines including materials science, modelling & simulation, fabrication, device engineering, metrology, characterisation, circuit design and system integration. The EnABLES Virtual Access offering leverages the Real Vibrations Database & Energy Harvesting Network Data Repository provided respectively by Knowledge Hubs U-Perugia and U-Southampton to help people how much energy can be extracted from various ambient energies.

The ultimate aim of EnABLES is to build the ecosystem descried, show the benefits and impact of such an ecosystem with a supporting access infrastructure and determine how to make it sustainable beyond the life of the project.
EnABLES has already made significant progress in the 1st reporting period in building a ‘power IoT’ starting community. The 6 research institutes have opened their doors offering free access to their expertise and infrastructure to do feasibility studies seeding and accelerating the development of solutions to extend battery life of wireless IoT edge devices, ideally making them outlive the devices they power. These institutes along with the 5 knowledge hubs have worked closely together to map out a series of JRAs (Joint Research Activities) to develop the TA (Transnational Access) offerings of the future, focusing on system optimisation based on real life applications, standardisation and inter-operability. A major element of the 1st period activity has been in setting up the website and other social media channels to explain the EnABLES concept, vision and potential impact and to set up the infrastructure for physical and virtual access (VA).

Good progress has been made relative to the project KPIs with over 235 stakeholders (206 from the EU) already subscribed from 26 countries and 35 Transnational Access (TA) requests received, 16 of which have been funded and started (& 7 more in the review funnel). An Industry Innovation Committee (IIC) with leading industry names (Analog Devices, UTRC, Perpetuum, ST, RGS, Varta) has been set up to guide EnABLES along with a Research User Group (RUG) that undertakes peer reviews of EnABLES TA proposals. Dissemination activities are also on track with EnABLES clearly positioning itself as a leading light in developing and accelerating Power IoT solutions via events such as EnerHarv, SSI and IDTechEx. Reaction to EnABLES has been extremely positive not only forming a structure and cohesion to existing power IoT research by academia and industry but also bringing many other stakeholders to the ecosystem. This is a critical step in order for energy harvesting and related technologies (micro power management and storage) to be successfully and optimally system integrated and finding their way to commercialisation.
The Transnational Access and Virtual Access offerings comprise outputs from world leading research in 'power IoT' form the EnABLES partners. These are used in turn as building blocks to progress the state of the art via the free of charge feasibility studies (TA & VA) that EnABLES seed funds and progresses the integration of these technologies in the use cases for both academic and industry researchers. The JRAs will comprise future TA offerings and entail collaborations between the project partners in developing the necessary tools, protocols, libraries and databases as well as advancing the state-of-the-art of prototype platforms, test structures, simulation models and tools. As an example EnABLES has published deliverable 5.1 that provides a series of standard templates for characterizing parts that will in future enable 'apples versus apples' comparisons as well as drive the standardization and inter-operability of parts, thereby enhancing their scope for system integration.

Much of the 1st reporting period has been consumed in setting up the TA & VA offerings and initial results from the 1st funded projects are starting to appear now. Later in the project as the outputs of the TA programs become published the net impact of these activities will become more evident.