All,

as you  might have heard in the past, Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremen (awi) has been using Barix products (namely, Barionet and Instreamer) in a science mission (PALAOA) in antarctica since quite some years now. The Barionets are used for general control and power management, while the Instreamer is used to realtime encode audio from Hydrophones and stream to Neumeyerstation located in Antarctica as well.

There is a very nice, detailed paper available from the PALAOA website (link: here), explaining details and difficulties of the whole setup.

Here is another link to the story, this time in german, with more the scientific view, sound samples etc: PALAOA.

And here is a direct link to the live stream from Antarctica, encoded by a Barix Instreamer: http://icecast.awi.de:8000/PALAOA.MP3

One thing to notice .. Barionet and Instreamer, both standard “consumer temp range” Barix products, work flawlessly since years in the setup in Antarctica, being operated sometimes at -50′C, constantly (24/7) delivering control and monitoring of the station and an IP Audio feed of the hydrophone(s).

What works that reliably in this remote location under extreme conditions should do well for you too, ain’t it ?

Johannes

Have you ever lost food due to a broken fridge or freezer, or did you ever find a door not shut on your kitchen fridge – after one day ?

Worst, of course, if these things happen in a place you do not regulary stay, such as a weekend cottage or vacation home !

I did this even better …. unplugged the freezer because i needed the power outlet to recharge the car battery .. then forgot to plug back in the freezer …. result, after 5 days …. quite a loss of food ! And a mess to clean up …

Barix Barionet devices can come to the rescue here ! If done right, you can monitor the fridge or freezer for both breakdown as well as open doors etc, without doing any modification or adding sensors to the fridge.

Here’s the secret: get a current sensor such as the RIBXKTF from Functional Devices (costs around $15 if you search online). you will need to install it, best in the electrical cabinet, so the source power for the fridge runs through it. The output of this specific type resembles a “contact closure” (it’s probably a transistor), so you can connect, depending on the type of Barionet you use, up to 4 or even up to 8 of these sensors.

The sensor will not detect the usual “standby” current of a fridge (while the compressor not being active), but it will definitely transmit “on” when the compressor runs.

A fridge/freezer should not be active all the time, there should be alternating periods when the compressor is active and inactive.

A typical graph is here:

Freezer Activity example

Freezer Activity Example

By monitoring the sensor for activity, you can now derive quite some information about your fridge !

- constant “off” tells you the fridge is probably plugged out, switched off or fuse blown, compressor dead etc
- constant “on” tells you the fridge is using a lot of energy, probably because the door is not shut correctly or ice buildup

By calculating the duty cycle (percentage of the fridge being on in a certain period) over time, you can even detect growing inefficiency, when a de-icing makes sense etc – of course, the “nominal” values vary by fridge and average load and need to be determined.

Calculation and alarming can be programmed right into the Barionet or done in a higher level home automation system (such as XTension for the mac – i’m using that myself).

One time rotten food/loss of content can easily cost more than the “Barionet freezer monitor”, if you already use Barionets in your house, just add the sensor …. and of course, this functionality can also be applied to heaters, fans, pumps – about anything which is meant to be on “some times” but not always …

If you want a programming example for the Barionet, contact me – happy to provide that to you as source code.

Home automation that makes sense – with the Barionet, the real-world I/O interface from Barix !

All the best,

Johannes

Barix IP solution supports multi-language communications for security, entertainment and public address

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, September 14, 2011 — Barix Audio over IP solutions are now live at the Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort in the Maldives Islands, distributing high-quality, multi-lingual voice and music to its guests in nine zones. The system, installed by local systems integration firm EIT Private Limited, delivers audio to multiple points, creating a unified, resort-wide notification and entertainment system.

The Kandooma Resort is a full-service, 160-room resort located on Kandooma Island on the South Male Atoll in the Maldives Islands, renowned for its world-class diving and surfing. Besides its beautiful, oceanside setting, the Kandooma Resort is noted for its advanced technology, providing free Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, and flat-screen TVs with satellite programming to guests.

Barix met resort requirements for high performance, reliable presence and security applications over the IP network at a reasonable cost. Mohammed Afzal, director of EIT Private Limited, stressed the importance of the system’s scalable topology.

“Barix provides a multi-purpose PA system that is easily expandable to accommodate future growth at the resort, which was very important,” said Mohammed Afzal, director of EIT Private Limited. “The system streams in-house music, live paging and recorded messages. It also supports multi-language playback, which is helpful in emergency situations. No other company serving our market could provide a solution that met the resort’s requirements.”

Afzal added that Barix devices are open and easy to customize. “Barix gives us the flexibility to customize intercom and other applications with the existing hardware,” said Afzal. “The programming language is easy to understand and helpful to companies that want to build custom solutions for their customers.”

The complete solution includes a Barix Annuncicom PS16 Paging Station at the core. The PS16 is a multifunction, standalone IP intercom, paging and PA master station that connects to multiple end devices without the need for PCs or server software.

Resort staff can deliver live pages and announcements from the PS16 to Barix Exstreamer 100 IP audio decoders in nine zones with a single press of the button, targeting messages to specific zones or buildings; or initiating “all-call” announcements.

EIT Private Limited also installed one Barix Annuncicom 100 two-way audio device to override the network-wide audio stream in emergency situations. The Annuncicom is responsible for streaming pre-recorded security announcements to the Exstreamers in all zones. Nine amplifiers and 200 loudspeakers support playout across the grounds.

Built-in amplifier, local input adds value for businesses broadcasting “retail radio” and multi-room distribution applications

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, August 29, 2011 — Barix AG comes to IBC 2011 (September 9-13, RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam, Booth #3A48) with its next-generation Exstreamer IP Audio device for multipoint networks.

The Exstreamer 205 IP makes retail and hospitality applications dramatically simple. Each room or location requires a single Exstreamer 205, a network connection and power outlet, two common high-quality audio speakers and minimal wiring.

The device delivers a wealth of features to simplify infrastructure and reduce deployment costs for in-store media systems. Its built-in 2×25 watt, power-efficient class-D amplifier minimizes equipment needs at the end point, lowering costs while retaining superior audio quality. Businesses can distribute branded retail radio broadcasts, customized “store and play” programs, or simple background music streams to as many locations as the network can support, without the need for separate amplifiers.

The Exstreamer 205 is also the first Barix IP audio device to add a local, line-level stereo input. This allows direct connection of an in-zone audio source to the device for local playout. This is ideal where local, non-streaming content is available, whether from a guest’s iPod or a digital signage system.

“Exstreamer customers have requested an audio input to feed local content into the device, using its powerful, integrated high-quality amplifier,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and Founder of Barix. “This gives our customers more options for where to use Exstreamer products. Hotel and spa treatment rooms in larger hospitality systems are perfect examples.”

Businesses operating digital signage systems can also benefit from adding the Exstreamer 205 to out-of-home networks. Operators can establish a general background stream for the entire network, with the flexibility to interrupt the stream and play out local content at any location. Offline content protection is enhanced via a MicroSD slot, which enables local playout of (encrypted) content directly from the device while minimizing opportunities for theft or modification.

The Exstreamer 205 also offers priority ports for connection into a master paging system, such as the Barix Annuncicom PS16. This allows a facility manager, security guard or other operator to break into the network stream to make a page or announcement — also overruling any local audio sources.

Like previous models, the Exstreamer 205 decodes and plays multi-protocol and multi-format audio streams, including MP3, AACplusV2, WMA, PCM, G.711 and EtherSound. Volume and channel selection is controllable via an API through IP or serial port, a built-in IR receiver or the Barix Volume Source Control (VSC) device.

Folks, i just wanted to share the picture of the recent installation of a Barionet with the C-MOR video solution.

The photo nicely shows how the Barionet works as a central component of the video surveillance solution.
The IP based IO device does not only integrate sensors to trigger alarms, but also actors to activate visual and audible notifications.

Barix Barionet in Police showroom

Barionet in Cmor demo

Johannes

ITvilla implements Barix Barionet devices at the heart of a major automated access control system for efficient traffic management

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, August 2, 2011 — Barix announced today that ITvilla, an automation consulting company in Estonia, has standardized on Barix Barionet IP devices for automated access control at four busy shipping ports in Estonia. The Barionet devices play a key role in solving access, traffic, and network management challenges, integrated within an automated ticket and traffic management system that more efficiently manages traffic flows and entry ticket validation for passengers and vehicles.

The Estonian ports serve as a base for vehicle ships taking passengers to destinations in Estonia on the Baltic Sea and to surrounding countries such as Finland. Traffic volume is significant all year, and is especially high during the summer months. This translated to traffic congestion and long delays for ticket and passenger validation when using the manual entry system at the port and onto the ships.

ITvilla, an Estonian automation consulting and system integration company, was contracted to support the E-Port Project for four passenger ports, with an objective to reduce load times and allow faster access to greater volumes of vehicle traffic.

“The manual validation process for vehicles and passengers prior to driving onto the vessels proved very time-consuming,” said Neeme Takis, CEO of ITvilla. “It was decided that automated entry ticket validation and traffic management of waiting lines would allow for more efficient access. The E-Port Project required an IP controller that could manage configuration data for all types of peripheral hardware, understand all communication protocols, and manage the entry and exit sensor behavior for multiple types of vehicles passing through the port.”

ITvilla chose the Barix Barionet as the automation controller between the periphery devices and the server of the access system. The Barix Barionet provides both the physical and logical interface between the server and the peripheral devices, storing the periphery device configuration and driver software. It also translates the signals and commands between the peripheral devices and the server, offloading the server from device-dependent processing. The Barionet controllers additionally offload the server from simpler tasks such as barrier closure decision-making, which happens after the expected number of vehicles has passed.

“The Barix Barionet controllers are the heart of the project, efficiently meeting all of the E-Port Project’s access and traffic management requirements,” said Neeme Takis, CEO of ITvilla. “The middleware based on Barix controllers features strong network management support, quickly finding and resolving problems with network peripherals, and remotely controls and monitors vehicles and their passengers. This results in vastly improved traffic management and vehicle flow even during peak volume seasons.”

The Barix Barionet controllers are also responsible for logging signals and actions onto an external network server, managing the manual control option for peripheral devices, and sending regular status and immediate action data to an external monitoring system. These controllers provide remote support, and track the status and health of all E-Port Project peripheral devices.

One Barionet controller located in the outdoor ticket terminal device controls the bar code readers, keypad, VFD, buzzer, barrier and numeric displays; and reads vehicle presence and height sensors for one entry lane to the port.

There are a total of 16 Barionet controllers and Barix IO12 extension modules in each port. The controllers are connected via a LAN, including an optical ring for the longest connections. The server is connected to the same LAN. The WLAN extension of the LAN enables control of the loading process from the board of the vessel, using PDA devices.

“The E-port Project is a nice example of the flexible and cost-effective use of the Barix Barionet in infrastructure projects,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and Founder of Barix AG. “The open Barix approach provides Barix partners with easy integration and utilization of Barix product offerings. Integrators and project managers can quickly and easily build unique solutions for challenging installations. The ease of use, coupled with strong product functionality in remote monitoring and automated access control, enabled ITvilla to easily write a custom application on the Barionet controllers that operates reliably on our standard, cost-effective devices.”

The Barix Barionet is a network-enabled, programmable automation controller for industrial automation and facility management systems. It is pre-loaded with a web configuration and user interface application for monitoring and control of all on-board I/O functions. Custom applications can be developed using the built-in BCL interpreter (Barix Control Language).

The Barionet supports standard interfaces such as SNMP, CGI, HTTP, and Modbus/TCP to access local I/O and program functions. It supports a broad variety of standard protocols such as TCP/IP, SNMP, HTTP, and CGI. It communicates over a standard built-in 10/100 Ethernet port, making the devices ideal for automation and monitoring applications in buildings, industry and IT systems.

Balingen Police Department will showcase burglary alarm triggers over the network; Barix IP devices will link an alarm system and the C-MOR video monitoring solution

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, May 11, 2011 — Barix AG today announced its latest in a string of successful integration partnerships with leading software and solutions providers in the security and surveillance market. Barix has now partnered with za-internet GmbH, developer of the C-MOR remote video surveillance solution, to fully integrate Barix Barionet products into the C-MOR solution as universal, IP based I/O interfaces.

At IFSEC (May 16-19, 2011, NEC, Birmingham, England, Hall 4, Stand G155), Barix is planning a unique demonstration that will exhibit how Barix Barionet IP control and monitoring devices will be used in the burglary prevention center showroom of the Balingen Police Department in southern Germany to trigger alarms in C-MOR solutions.

C-MOR, a well-known, affordable remote video surveillance solution (www.c-mor.com) is available as software or as an appliance, targeting residential and commercial security markets. Popular commercial applications include surveillance in retail environments, horse stables, and gas stations.

The Barionet’s versatile I/O establishes communication between C-MOR and external “things” systems such as lights, security systems or motion sensors. Interfacing to sensors (motion sensors or a an alarm output of a security system) and actors such as lights, lock-down equipment and security system trigger inputs is fully supported. This functionality further allows C-MOR to serve as a versatile internet alarming upgrade for a traditional security system, as it can raise alarms over the internet to browser-capable mobile phones, supporting live video feeds of the site in alarm.

The Barionet product family is specially developed for automation and monitoring applications as well as interfacing solutions in buildings, industry and IT systems. Barionet devices provide an ideal link between hardware/hard-wired solutions and the IT world in an era of increased convergence.

In the case of the C-MOR integration, Barionet devices communicate with the surveillance solution via TCP/IP and with sensors and actors via traditional hardware interfaces such as contact closures and serial ports. Implementation with C-MOR is especially simple as the only tool needed is a standard web browser.

The Barionet 50 used in this application is a freely-programmable I/O device server with contact closure inputs, relay outputs and serial ports, so even highly specific and complex interface functions can be implemented. No programming is required for standard applications, and the device supports the most common IP-based standard protocols such as SNMP, web/cgi, Modbus/TCP and ASCII based I/O protocols.

A Barionet is a great product to monitor environmental parameters, power useage, contact closures etc.

If the Barionet detects an alarm condition, it will need to notify you. But how?

Sample code for sending email, operating a SMS modem etc is already available from us.

Here is a very nice method to do this via the popular iPhone by using an application called “prowl”. The Prowl makers operate a public server and manage the delivery to the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch “prowl” app via the standard iOS notification scheme (so, very little consumption of power/bandwith on the iOS device).
You need to purchase the prowl app from the app store ($2.99), register and generate an API key on the prowlapp website, and you are good to go!

On the Barionet, you will need a small application which
- opens a TCP connection to the prowl api server, api.prowlapp.com, port 80 (http)
- sends an “add” command with a meaningful notification message to the server (see example below)
- close the connection.

That’s it!
The alarm message will arrive within very short time at your iPhone, where you can configure quiet times, alarm tones etc.

here is an example for a string you would need to send (replace the xxxxx… with the API code you get from the website):

“GET /publicapi/add?apikey=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx&event=alarm%20temp%3e65F%20too%20high&application=fridge HTTP/1.0″ (plus 2x CR/LF)

Note: you will need to do the URL encoding (%20 for space etc) in your program if your message contains blanks or special characters.

We can provide a sample BCL program on request.

Johannes

P.S: Once you have implemented this, let us know so we can feature your application!

Multicast routing between (remote) networks
icon4 07 15th, 2010| icon3Comments Off

Have you ever faced the situation that you want to use Multicast between subnets, but Routers don’t forward it OR the application/device generating the Multicast traffic is using a TTL of 1, so the blocks don’t get forwarded by the router?

Barix developed a “Multicast routing/tunneling” firmware for the Barionet which turns that device into a flexible, multi site multicast forwarder/router. Effectively, it bridges multiple multicast groups between multiple sites, and can also include single hosts. The functionality is independent on the actual protocols used with the Multicast, being it automation, IP Audio, Video, VoIP, SIP or RTP.

Here is the rough concept:

  • A Barionet is installed in every subnet where multicast traffic needs to be pickeed up or delivered.
  • The device(s) does “UDP” tunnelling to forward the Multicast packets to the other Barionet(s) in the other subnet(s). At the same time, they serve as a tunnel receiver/endpoint to receive encapsulated Multicasts from the other networks.
  • Up to 8 independent multicasts (address/port) can be configured, and up to 8 destinations – either Barionets in other networks as tunnel endpoints, or hosts which then receive the packets unicast.
  • The TTL field of the multicast blocks can be “ignored and set to configured value” or handled as usual (decrementing).
  • Tunnelling can be configured to use “IP over IP” or plain UDP – both have advantages and disadvantages.
  • Monitoring of the application is possible via SNMP.

The first customer uses the application to route VoIP/VHF radio traffic between multiple operations centers in a large company. However, applications can be found wherever multicast needs to be routed between subnets and routers, IT providers or policies prevent that.

Please contact Barix if you are interested in that solution!

Johannes

Barionet can tweet alarms via Twitter
icon4 07 6th, 2010| icon3Comments Off

What if …

the Barionet, the IP Automation device from Barix, would tweet ?

This is quite simple to achieve. We have sample BCL code, which allows you to do just that. Being it contact closures or temp sensors, these can be monitored, and in case of out-of bound data, the Barionet can directly talk to the twitter servers and “tweet” an alarm message.

Contact us for the source code (and beware, it’s sample code ..)

Johannes

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