5 Innovative Ways To Use Digi XBee Cellular
In April we partnered with Digi International to give away a drone as well as give 50% off the Digi XBee Cellular Dev Kit. To enter the contest we asked for one of two things, tell us how you'd use Digi XBee Cellular or what features you like most about Digi XBee Cellular. We had so many great ideas submitted during the giveaway and we wanted to share more of the remarkable applications using Digi XBee Cellular.
Big Data for Big Cities Big Cities are congested. Parking is a mess, rush hour lasts all day, and public transportation often runs behind. Anyone who's spent more than a few hours in places like LA, New York, or Chicago groan at the thought of trying to get across town on a tight timeline but what if that could change? Data mining and analytics offers the opportunity for individuals to streamline their commute, find parking, and catch the bus so long as the data exists. Small, battery-powered cellular tracking devices offer an opportunity for live-d data that can be aggregated and analyzed in real time. Traffic patterns can be eased as end users are given alternate routes, parking spaces can be reserved and located with ease, and public transportation can be tracked live. Products like the Digi XBee Cellular offer this kind of potential because of the tiny form factor, LTE throughput, and low power consumption. The relatively low cost adds business sense to such an application, as adoption and use by the masses is price prohibitive. Advertising offers another potential cost benefit, as location and interest-based analytics offer better ways to get the right business message to the right people at the right moment.
I would design autonomous robots that can function and communicate across large distances. These robots can explore remote areas that would not be easily accessible by humans such as volcanoes, steep cliffs, etc. I could also see robots used for remote training purposes where the robot has to give student feedback remotely. Students would be able to interact with these robots and give feedback to the instructor. The instructor would be able to transmit gestures to the robot for additional visual illustration in the remote classroom. I like the fact that cellular provides almost unlimited distances, combined with an XBee for a win/win solution out of the box.
I would build a smart energy harvesting system using xbee cellular modem on solar panels to dynamically turn-on/off the panels, identifying the defected ones, and change the angle facing sunlight to obtain the maximum power from the panels. The serial/sms data obtained from xbee cellular modems would help to control panels from a remote area than being at the actual site. No carrier certification is a good feature which saves a lot of time for obtaining a certification from the carriers. Also, the low power consumed by the modem modules is beneficial in using them on solar panels. The availability of libraries in C and Java help us do simple coding to control the modules.
Farmers are constantly facing the challenge of poor crop yields which can be extremely costly. This new product will solve farmers pain points from the sky! The Digi X Bee cellular will be mounted on DJI phantom drone which will be used to gather critical data from sensors on: temperature, irrigation, soil conditions and pests on a regular basis. Farmers will get a crop status report and receive cell phone alerts on critical issues that need immediate attention. Over the course of the season the data will be aggregated to provide analytics and trends which will help optimize crop yields for the next season.
I have reviewed quite a few electronic devices that are coming to market. Almost all of them tend to focus on powerful hardware, and look to attract developers on the illusory promise that great hardware is all they need. With this hardware centric focus, developers get lured in only to find themselves stuck months later as they try to wade through the swamp of poor APIs and lack of documentation. This in turn not only slows down the effort, but often causes the project to get abandoned as other groups bring their products to market faster. From all appearances, Digi has worked hard to remove the barriers to entry with the XBee Cellular product. They have not only provided a first rate piece of hardware that is designed to fit into a common form factor, but they have accompanied it with their great looking graphical interface, XCTU XBee Configuration and Test Utility. Adding to this, the user documentation, with its step by step instructions and screen captures in its examples, make it very approachable for a new user. This little cellular modem opens up a world of possibilities around remote, connected hardware that can now take advantage of the cellular infrastructure that is already in place. Its commonality with the rest of the XBee line offers users an easy path to add increased capability to their already existing hardware product lines.
Thanks again to everyone who entered!
Contact Symmetry Electronics at 866-506-8829, email us or start a live chat and we'll be glad to help you with your projects!