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Virtual coffees

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Informal chat and debate

Our virtual coffee sessions invite you to put the kettle on and join CENSIS for a catch up on Zoom. They are not recorded and are designed to let you connect with other companies, researchers and stakeholders working in the same space.

If you have an idea for a virtual coffee, please let us know.

Visit our events page to read more and register for upcoming virtual coffees and other events.

2021 Virtual Coffees

  • 4 Feb: Technical challenges of asset tracking

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Jim Cockram and Stephen Milne. Event details.

    Tracking assets – be that parts, equipment or people – and knowing where something is or how it is performing, often in real time, can help companies and organisations optimise resources, improve safety and compliance, generate operational efficiencies, or even identify new business opportunities.

    While all these benefits are of course welcome, there are still trade-offs to consider. This discussion will look at some of the technical trade-offs associated with the asset monitoring, and also explore how some of these might diminish as IoT technology advances.

  • 18 Feb: IoT for ‘smart villages’

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Rachael Wakefield and Stephen Milne. Event details.

    IoT for building ‘smart villages’ – communities that are using digital technologies including IoT networks to generate new business opportunities, strengthen existing ones, and ultimately drive sustainable local economic growth to help rural and/or remote communities remain competitive and viable.

    With the rollout of IoT networks across Scotland, the deployment of IoT infrastructure is already being used to revitalise and empower communities with a view to creating employment and attracting future investment.

  • 25 Feb: The security of IoT networks and safety of connected systems

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells. Event details.

    As we become more reliant on IoT in our daily lives (both at home and work), the risks of connecting devices to each other and to the internet have increased. The security of IoT devices has been a hotly debated issue – we have all read about incidents where a seemingly innocuous device has been used maliciously with examples that range from the frightening (hackers infiltrating baby monitors or connected toys to talk to children) to the audacious (criminals who attacked a IoT enabled fish tank to steal data from a casino).

  • 4 Mar: Data visualisation for IoT systems

    Led by Business Development Manager Jim Cockram and System Architect Kevin Power. Event details

    Data visualisation is an essential part of an IoT system, taking important data from sensors and presenting it quickly – and securely – on screen. Incorporating different elements such as charts and graphs, data visualisation gives end users a straightforward way to see and understand behaviours, trends and patterns in data and allow quick decisions to be made.

  • 18 Mar: Enhancing GIS data via IoT networks

    Led by Business Development Manager Stephen Milne and System Architect Kevin Power. Event details.

    This coffee break will look at the pairing of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – software that visualises spatial or geographic data as a map – with IoT devices and services.

    GIS technologies have been around for some time, and are a great way to visualise data. But by introducing IoT in to the mix, GIS can be significantly enhanced to allow end users to not only get an overall picture of a location, but also to get a full breakdown of how individual elements within that location are behaving or responding in real time.

  • 1 Apr: IoT – putting ‘low cost’ into context

    Led by Business Development Managers Rachael Wakefield and Jim Cockram. Event details.

    This coffee break will look at the costs involved in buying, implementing and maintaining an IoT system. What do we really mean when we say ‘low cost’?

    While the cost of IoT sensors and other hardware may be dropping year on year, there are other factors that need to be considered in the lifetime cost of an IoT system such as maintenance, hardware or software upgrades, or even the costs involved in scaling up an idea. Could IoT systems end up being quite expensive to operate after all? Might they end up looking similar to home printing solutions – cheap to buy but expensive to run?

  • 22 Apr: IoT and the 20 minute neighbourhood

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Rachael Wakefield and Stephen Milne, this coffee break will look at how IoT could be used to support the ’20 minute neighbourhood’, an idea where the daily needs of a community – such as food shopping, schools, work, and leisure – can all be met within a short walk from a person’s home. Event details.

     

  • 6 May: Heating homes and buildings

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers, Stephen Milne and Jim Cockram, this coffee break will look at the heating homes and buildings to create energy efficient spaces. How can sensing, imaging and IoT help individuals and businesses make homes and workplaces warmer and greener? Event details.
  • 20 May: IoBD - the Internet of Brewing and Distilling

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Director Michael Fletcher and Business Development Manager Cade Wells, this coffee break will look how IoT can support the brewing and distilling industries. From multinational companies to small batch producers of craft beer or sprits, brewers and distillers are beginning to recognise the benefits of IoT to not only manage their manufacturing processes, but also comply with regulations, create stronger supply chains, and even engage with consumers. Event details.

  • 3 June: Using IoT to support Scotland’s net zero ambitions

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Rachael Wakefield and Business Development Director Michael Fletcher, this discussion will explore the different ways IoT can help support Scotland’s ambitions to become a net zero society by 2045. Event details. 

  • 17 June: IoST – the Internet of Space Things

    Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Cade Wells and Jim Cockram, this session looks at the space, satellites and opportunities for IoT.

    According to SDI, the Scottish space sector is rising faster than anywhere else in the UK, aiming to grow in value to £4 billion by 2030. With Glasgow’s strength in the micro satellite industry, and Shetland and Sutherland vying to be the UK’s first spaceport with the potential to run missions from Scottish soil – not just supply the hardware and software – it’s clear there are lots of opportunities for Scotland’s own space race. Event details.

2020 Virtual Coffees

  • IoT for asset and people tracking

    December 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Jim Cockram.
    Whether you need to monitor a whole fleet of delivery vehicles to optimise driver routes, track shipping containments as they move across continents, trace pieces of expensive health equipment in a hospital, or observe the flow of people through airport terminals or train stations for smart city planning; asset tracking IoT technologies can help.

    This discussion looked at potential applications areas for asset tracking, key features of asset tracking systems, and explored some of the different technologies available, such as Cat-M1, NB-IoT or RFID.

    As we move towards whole farm management systems, the role of IoT will become more established in acquiring information from processes that would otherwise be too resource-heavy to achieve in any other way.

  • Resilient connectivity for smart applications

    November 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    Innovation in sensing and imaging is continuous, resulting in the introduction of new products and services to the marketplace. Many of these products and services rely on data communication to function optimally and provide the most benefit to the end-user.

    As we move to an era of devices being interconnected at a greater scale, the resilience of communications networks is expected and often essential. This coffee chat explored what challenges we have – and foresee – in the connection of devices over large geographic areas, and how closer partnerships with the communications technology ecosystem can yield solutions.

  • IoT for cycling

    November 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Rachael Wakefield.
    We were delighted to welcome Danny Cowe of the Mountain Bike Centre for Scotland to join Rachael as co-host. Danny gave us an introduction to some of the challenges and opportunities in the space and participated in the discussion. When we think of ‘smart’ transport, often the first thing that comes to mind are motor vehicles such as connected freight or autonomous cars; however, IoT is beginning to be used in cycling too.

    From managing the final leg of an online shopping order on a cargo bike, to offering new products to outdoor adventurers on mountain bike trails, smart systems and IoT technologies are beginning to play a part in this sustainable and active mode of transport. This discussion touched all types of cycling – for road, mountain trails, and cargo/delivery.

  • Augmented reality and digital twins

    October 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    Augmented reality can be used to visualise data, overlaying information over an environment through a headset, while digital twins are virtual replicas of physical devices, used to run simulations before things are built or new processes are deployed.

    Digital twins are already transforming some manufacturing processes, offering new ways to optimise condition monitoring, reduce costs, schedule downtime and enable the creation of connected products. Opportunities for AR and digital twins also outside of manufacturing too, e.g., city planners could create virtual cityscapes or transport networks, or city officials could use existing data to within augmented reality apps to create and ‘engage with’ hypothetical situations. This chat explored how insights gained from these technologies can help optimise and automate processes, and improve business outcomes.

  • IoT for ports and shipping

    October 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Jim Cockram and Rachael Wakefield.
    A lot of maritime trade is still managed manually, with containers and cargo tracked using paperwork and visual inspection. IoT technologies could greatly simplify and reduce this paperwork, while also creating a more secure and visible supply chain to dramatically change the way goods are moved and managed around the world.

    Discussion points covered were: Lower operating and capital costs; Cargo tracking; Condition monitoring; Security and resilience; Communications and connectivity.

  • Hydrogen

    October 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    Innovation in IoT is changing the way we work and live, and new products and services are being created all the time. This ‘digitalisation’ of our lives, and the ever growing number of IoT enabled devices may generates many benefits, but also creates massive energy demands.

    We asked: How do we balance our IoT thirst with global targets to cut energy use and reduce our environmental footprint? One way may be through the use of hydrogen. We discussed: How to power IoT devices with hydrogen technology; Supplying power to remote and rural locations; Using hydrogen for domestic and commercial use, including in transport; Storage issues.

  • The future of the workplace

    September 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    This week’s coffee break looked at the use of IoT to manage and navigate the ‘new normal’ working environments in which we found ourselves. It is clear that COVID-19 is likely to remain a challenge to the way we live and work for some time to come, and organisations will have to introduce new ways to organise workplaces to ensure the safety of employees and minimise infection risks.

    Carefully considered processes and procedures will play a part in addressing a number of COVID-19 challenges such as maintaining physical distancing, identifying asymptomatic carriers, or ensuring PPE compliance. This coffee chat looked at safe working practices and the use of technology to manage unpredictable events in work environments and minimise risks.

  • Remote sensing for environmental applications

    July and September 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    We repeated this virtual coffee break due to intense demand. This coffee break looked at remote sensing for environmental monitoring applications. Remote sensing is used in a range of applications for environmental planning and management; from monitoring coastlines and large bodies of water, to hazard assessments and natural resource management, measuring sea temperatures to forest growth, monitoring the impacts of natural disasters, or remotely tracking wildlife to prevent poaching.

    We looked at all the different available sensor systems and IoT technologies on drones, piloted aircraft and satellites that can be used to support the planning and management of land and water, and its resources.

  • Thermal imaging

    July 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    This coffee break explored an underpinning technology used in many IoT products and services – thermal imaging. This conversation was designed to be more technical than the others in the series and so we brought together technology developers and solution providers on this call, rather than end users.

    Areas of discussion included: Emerging application areas, such as e-health, automotive and personal safety: Lower cost mobile and fixed-location hardware and software solutions; Thermal imaging for enhanced performance in existing machine vision applications.

  • IoT cyber security for rural and remote communities and businesses

    July 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    This coffee break looked at cyber security and IoT and the importance of making things ‘secure by design’.

    On this call we focused particularly on remote and rural communities and businesses particularly in the Highlands and Islands. This also addressed application areas such as agriculture, hospitality and tourism, healthcare and fish farming. We looked at technical challenges, solutions and business opportunities in the space, from both a business and practical engineering perspective.

  • Transforming social housing using IoT

    July 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    In recent years we have seen many IoT devices designed for the home – from thermostats accessed via smartphones, to doorbells that allow us to see who is calling no matter where we are. While many products are aimed at individual households, social landlords are also beginning to recognise the value of IoT technology to create smarter, safer social housing that benefits both landlord and tenant.

    Increased maintenance costs, tenant safety issues, and fuel poverty challenges are just some of the issues facing social landlords and their tenants. Using IoT to address these issues can be transformative, offering landlords detailed information on all of their properties at once; identifying problems, prioritising interventions, and making developments safer, more energy-efficient, and cheaper to run. Several pilot projects have already taken place, including one between CENSIS and Maryhill Housing.

  • IoT and wearable devices

    June 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    While smartwatches and FitBits are normally the first things that come to mind when we think about wearables, in recent years the market has moved far beyond devices that simply track our steps or measure the quality of our sleep.

    Whether it’s connected wristbands, cards, clothes, or even jewellery almost every market we can imagine is using wearables – from sports to healthcare, manufacturing to construction, health and safety to finance.

  • Energy, power and renewables

    June 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Manager Cade Wells.
    The Internet of Things is helping to drive transformation across the energy sector, from power generation, through to transmission and distribution; even changing the way customers interact with companies through smart meter devices.  Over the coming years, the energy industry is going to become smarter, more efficient, more distributed, and more reliable, thanks in part to IoT.

  • Transport and logistics

    June 2020 – Led by CENSIS staff Cade Wells and Jim Cockram.
    Anyone with a challenge in this space and interested in using IoT to find a solution was welcome to this session– from transportation and logistics, to fleet vehicle management, passenger transport, transport planning or traffic management; even maritime and port operations.

  • Smart water systems

    June 2020 – Led by CENSIS staff Cade Wells and Michael Fletcher
    This session explored IoT and imaging systems as they apply to water monitoring and management.

    We covered the management, processing and monitoring of water and wastewater, and how sensing, imaging and IoT technologies may be applied to these spaces. It was designed to be of interest to public sector organisations and private companies.

  • Secure and resilient IoT supply chains

    May 2020 – Led by CENSIS members Cade Wells and Norman Mackenzie.
    This session explored the security and resilience of IoT supply chains. How can IoT supply chains be managed to ensure every electronic component in a product is safe and secure? How do we ensure counterfeit chips don’t find their way into IoT gateways? How do we avoid malicious software updates that might lead to personal details being leaked?

    We talked about the security of IoT systems and components, and building further trust in IoT systems to bring about greater IoT adoption. Related topics included IP theft, counterfeiting, introducing malicious hardware and software in operational environments.

  • Scottish food and drink

    May 2020 – Led by CENSIS staff Cade Wells and Michael Fletcher.
    This session explored IoT and imaging systems as they apply to Scottish food and drink. This discussion was aimed at anyone involved in Scottish food and drink – from farmers and producers to processors and executives, as well as retailers, policy makers and intermediaries working directly with industry.

    This is a big subject covering everything from how food is grown and livestock is managed to enhancing food compliance and safety and managing natural resources.

  • IoT for innovation in tourism in the Highlands and Islands

    May 2020 – Led by CENSIS team members Cade Wells, Rachael Wakefield, and Jim Cockram.
    This chat explored how IoT can impact the tourism sector in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. This event was specifically designed for businesses and organisations based in the Highlands and Islands that are focused on hospitality, tourism and leisure.

    On the day, Cade, Rachael and Jim talked about technology challenges, solutions, and business opportunities, highlighting some of our CENSIS projects in this space.

  • IoT in agriculture and forestry

    May 2020 – Led by CENSIS staff Cade Wells and Rachael Wakefield.
    This chat focused on IoT and imaging systems as they apply to forestry and precision agriculture. In forestry, this might mean remote systems that monitor growth in real time and assess tree health, support inventory and predict growth and quality.

    In an agriculture setting, the opportunities are equally vast, with a multitude of sensor-based systems available for monitoring soil, crops, animals, and storage facilities – in fact, any element concerning the production of food can be supported with new IoT technologies. Drones and autonomous vehicles can be successfully used in both sectors, as can data analytics and visualisation.

  • Sensing and imaging for health and wellness

    May 2020 – Led by CENSIS staff Cade Wells and Stephen Milne.
    This session explored how IoT and sensor and imaging systems can be used for health and wellbeing.

    This is a very wide topic, covering everything from personalised drug development, to medical wearables and providing support and care in the wider community for vulnerable people. Topics for discussion included: Health alert monitoring – wearables coupled with and in-home sensor and communication networks to helping older people to live independently for as long as possible; Smart devices and implants – communicating data to an app to support surgical after care and Wearable devices – for tracking the vital signs of hospital patients and alert medical staff when a condition worsens in real-time

  • Cellular-enabled IoT (NB-IoT)

    April 2020 – Led by CENSIS members Cade Wells and Kevin Power.
    This chat explored NB-IoT: cellular enabled Internet of Things. We looked at how the major mobile phone operators such as Vodafone and O2 are beginning to roll out NB-IoT: a low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology that uses cellular coverage for connectivity.

    We explored the topic from both a business development and practical software perspective. The session also touched on the myriad IoT applications for NB-IoT such as smart metering, bike sharing, wearables, parking, cities, security and asset tracking, home appliances and agriculture and environmental monitoring.

  • IoT for manufacturing process innovation

    April 2020 – Led by CENSIS members Cade Wells and Jim Cockram.
    In this chat, we looked at the transition away from older manufacturing models towards a new, integrated approach incorporating IoT and also things like automation, robotics, virtual reality, cloud computing and data analytics to improve productivity.

    We discussed how IoT systems can monitor and automate many complex processes where networks of smart sensors, coupled with real-time analytics, can act as drivers of significant improvements in their processes, transforming profit margins and operational efficiencies.

  • IoT for innovation in tourism

    April 2020 – Led by CENSIS team members Cade Wells and Rachael Wakefield.
    Cade and Rachael talked through some technology challenges, solutions and business opportunities, and highlighted some projects that have adopted IoT tech. Tourism and hospitality management/monitoring is a potentially important market for IoT, and including everything from how visitors interact and make the most of their visits to key attractions.

    It could also mean making attractions accessible to wider audiences when they cannot be visited in person. Other benefits might include supporting a sustainability agenda and promoting sustainable tourism.

  • IoT cyber security

    April 2020 – Led by CENSIS team members Cade Wells and Kenny Osborne.
    This virtual coffee break looked at cyber security and the Internet of Things and explored the importance of making things ‘secure by design’. Cade and Kenny talked through the technical challenges, solutions and business opportunities in the space, from both a business and practical software perspective.

  • Machine vision and machine learning on the edge

    April 2020 – Led by CENSIS team members Cade Wells and Helen Sandison.
    In this chat, we looked at machine learning, machine vision and edge processing. We explored core techniques in this space such as event detection, object recognition or tracking, and image classification.

    Cade and Helen also touched on some of the many application areas and end markets for these technologies and the group talked about some of the latest technology developments and business opportunities in the space.

  • IoT and smart home technologies

    March 2020 – Led by CENSIS Business Development Managers Cade Wells and Stephen Milne
    Our first chat after Lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020, this session focused on IoT and smart home technologies and we were joined on the day by an Aberdeenshire-based SME working in this space.

Take a look at organisations we have worked with

If you would like to find out more about our work with businesses of all sizes, public sector bodies and universities, we have highlighted some of the challenges we have faced together with our clients.

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