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31 January 2017

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Monitor - ISSN 1472-0221
The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 221, January 2017

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* Smart City Sensors Enhance Services and Understanding
* Your Questions Answered
* Measurement and Control Exhibitions
* Data Acquisition News Round-up

Smart City Sensors enhance Services and Understanding

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Smart Cities have the power to provide data about what’s going on in a number of unprecedented ways.

What is a Smart City?

A Smart City installs sensors which can share information with the public, businesses, city managers and other sensor systems. The city connects its sensors and services via the Internet of Things (IoT). The different sensor systems store their information in a common data warehouse to make it available to those who need it.

Manchester- Smart City

How Sensors help make Cities Better Places to Live

To effectively serve people it helps, for example, if the city authorities know how many people are going where and when. The flow of pedestrians affects the whole city environment. It is important to know not just the numbers of people but also how the numbers change over time.

An accurate people metering system provides feedback on changes in people’s behaviour within the city and allows the council to effectively manage the flow of people, vehicles and bicycles around the area. This is also known as Smart Mobility.

Urban Sensing

Using CCTV cameras and video analytics to anonymously detect people (so the system knows a person walked down a street but doesn't know who that person is) is one example of smart city sensors in action. The people, bicycle and vehicle counts are uploaded over the internet to “Brokers”. The Brokers process the data and makes it available to all end users - comprising an Internet of Things.

Sensing Pedestrians

In the high streets and city centres, Pi VT Smart Counters are counting people. They provides both real-time and historical data for “Big Data” analytics.

They can also be used within individual retail units to discover vital business information like sales conversion rate, average queuing time and the most popular area of a store.

Outside, the Smart Counters are attached to lampposts around the city.

Sensing Bicycles

The Smart Counter can also be used to count bicycles. This helps monitor and support the promotion of healthy travelling and gives a measure of how green or pollution-free areas are within a city centre.

counting bicyclists in the smart city

Sensing Vehicles

Smart Counters accurately count cars down roads and at junctions. Councils can effectively manage the flow of traffic along the busiest routes across the city and monitor the days and times of the heaviest congestion.

Combining the Counts and Scoring Effectiveness of Smart City Projects

The Internet-of-Things data provided helps quantify the use of footpaths and cycle ways. It shows the use of roads, including commuter routes around schools and major routes through the city centre. This can help score the effectiveness of Smart City projects such as City Verve, which aims to build and deliver a smarter, more connected Manchester in the UK.

From a health perspective the Pi VT Smart Counter provides Smart City data to monitor the effectiveness of sports activity, events and jogging routes within parks.

Counting on Public Transport

The Smart Counters are not just being used around the city streets. Buses, trains and trams can also benefit.

Sensing Passengers on Buses

Transport authorities can know the numbers of people arriving by bus at various points in the city, by time of day. The data helps revenue protection – reconciling tickets bought with passenger numbers. It also enables effective fleet bus management with services around the city centre. With real-time GPS location of buses, it gives a clear picture of what is going on.

Sensing the users of Trains and Trams

Monitoring the numbers of people arriving on platforms again provides vital information on the use of routes by time of day.

Sensing Train Users

The Smart Cities of the not-too-distant Future

We’ve given a taste of just a few of the benefits of the Smart City, giving cutting-edge connectivity to sensors and devices, and the IoT.

The data is there for whoever needs or wants it. Enabling clever solutions to urban problems.

For more information contact [email protected].

Your Questions Answered: Saving Data from an RS422 Laser Sensor



I had some time to try out the software and I've got some understanding and got the basic working. I have used ComDebug and we communicate with RS422 to my instruments.

I can send the ascii commands to the laser sensor and I get a reply with the correct measurements.

Data in ComDebug

We would like to log this file. I am not sure how to set it up.


You need to extract the actual data from the reply and log that. To do this

  1. In ComDebug, create a channel to hold the data (in Edit the Data Channel Details).
  2. Parse the message to extract the data. Press the Parse button in the Messages screen and use these settings:
    Add Action: Ignore Until +-
    Extract: Extract Until Carriage Return
  3. Click Step to test.
  4. If all well go back to the Logging screen and start saving readings.

If you have a question about using Windmill contact [email protected], [email protected] or call +44 (0)161 833 2782

Measurement and Control Exhibitions

The quarterly update of measurement and control exhibitions and conferences around the world.

Expo Control

28 February - 2 March 2017
Moscow Russia
Technologies and decisions for quality assurance, measurement and testing.


5-9 March 2017
Chicago USA
Showcase for scientific and technical innovation with a singular focus on laboratory science.


14-17 March 2017
Trade fair for automation, control, measurement and robotics

ArabLab Expo

20-23 March 2017
Dubai UAE
Featuring laboratory technology, measurement & testing, instrumentation robotics and automation.


27-31 March 2017
Lausanne Switzerland
Electronic design, automation and test event.


27-29 March 2017
Nantes France
Exhibition on quality, measurement, accreditation and instrumentation


29-31 March 2017
Warsaw Poland
International trade fair of analytical, measurement and control technology.

Internet of Things World Europe

13-15 June 2017
London UK
Includes IoT architecture, data and analytics, manufacturing, energy, environment, smart cities and transportation,

DAQ News Round-up

Welcome to our round-up of the data acquisition and control news. If you would like to receive more timely DAQ news updates then follow us on Twitter - @DataAcquisition - or grab our rss feed.

Robot skin senses warm bodies like a snake locating nearby prey

A heat-sensing film could let robots detect when humans are around, like vipers hunting out warm-blooded prey. The flexible, transparent coating is made of pectin, a low-cost plant material used to set jam.
Source: New Scientist

Industrial IoT Encourages Growth in Building Automation Systems

New IoT-related technologies have led to a resurgence in demand for building automation systems which monitor various subsystems such as HVAC, lighting, power systems and security systems.
Source: Arc Advisory Group

LED electrodes made from graphene for the first time

German researchers have succeeded in manufacturing organic light-emitting diode electrodes from graphene for the first time
Source: The Engineer

Your walk could be a password that connects devices on your body

Sensors on different parts of your body can pick up your "gait fingerprint", letting wearable devices securely connect with each other.
Source: New Scientist

Europe Leads Growth in Gas Monitoring and Sensing Device Global Market

5.3% Growth forecast for gas sensing market.
Source: BCC Research

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Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
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Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
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