David Copley - Sensor City and the Fourth Industrial Revolution


The April 2018 Codemill Digital skills meetup had David Copley introduce us to Sensor City and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.David Copley is the Industrial Systems Specialist at Sensor City supporting the LCR4.0 programme. He has a background in automotive electronics development for both Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs and is now working with SMEs in Liverpool City Region to adopt Industry 4 (4IR) technologies.

Sensor City is a Liverpool-based technical innovation centre and University Enterprise Zone. It's a joint venture between Liverpool University and Liverpool John Moores University. The idea behind the Sensor City is to create a community of collaboration and upskill the local community, it's a global hub for sensor technologies - the place for companies to come together and work on sensor related technologies and IoT.Some key points from the talk:

  • LCR4.0 - Liverpool City Region Industry 4.0 - fully funded by EU initiative to support SMEs within Liverpool City Region in adopting Industry 4.0 technologies for products and processes.

    • Vision: transform manufacturing in Liverpool City Region, give businesses access to the support, facilities and technology needed to make things happen, bring together world class practical support

    • Targets: deliver support to 300 SMEs in Liverpool City Region, support 70 new product development cases, create 60 new jobs in supported businesses

    • Initially they thought they will consult with already existing production lines, but due to the equipment they've got, they do a lot of product development from scratch - from concept to pre-production in one building.

  • Range of technical expertise:

    • Sensor systems

    • Electronic integration

    • Product design

    • 3D prototyping

    • Digital marketing

    • Project management

Some case studies mentioned:

  • CNC Robotics - provided them with monitoring technology

  • Gallagher Medical Devices (GDM) - supports the rapid prototyping of the housing, electronics and embedded software.

  • Feedwater - Sensor City built a peak detector circuit to analyse the signal from the sensor and will be designing a conductivity module

  • Real Space - benefited from design skills, academic/industrial collaboration and the latest technology - provided a number of CADs

  • Aqua Running - helped reduce valuable liaison and discussion time with suppliers

Heather Norton - Tackling Climate Change with Code


The March 2018 Codemill Digital skills meetup was all about dealing with climate change by using code and had Heather Norton, software developer at JBA Consulting, talk about her experience working at ForeCoast® Marine.Heather introduced the audience to the field of marine energy and explained how you can use simulations to analyse biggest issues and find better solutions, thus save money and produce cheaper and cleaner energy.

Some key points from the talk:

  • UK is research and development leader in the field of offshore wind energy, however the field is quite new and still considered to be experimental.

    1. While producing the ForeCoast Marine software, the team spent a lot of time speaking to people and working out how they make decisions in real life in order to create optimal decisions using computer.

    2. The idea is to change the variables and simulate as many times as possible until you get the most optimal solution.

    3. Since building and running time of a windfarm is around 40 years, using historic weather for the simulations is not good enough anymore, the simulations have to be adapted to the climate change.

    4. Due to the massive amount of data needed for the simulations, the idea is to collaborate with others and share the climate change models with the world.

    5. There is an actual ecosystem of climate change models available online.

You can see the slides here:

Jon Topper: A Brief History of Cloud Infrastructure


The November 2017 Codemill Digital skills meetup had Jon Topper (Scale Factory) give us a brief introduction to History of Cloud Infrastructure.Jon Topper has been doing DevOps since before we called it that and has been in the IT industry since 1997 and shared his experience how cloud infrastructure changed through the years.

Some points from the talk:

  • 1999 - server room in the basement, single 2MB connection to the internet, used desktop PCs. Installing a new server was a very time consuming activity - 2-3 weeks.

  • 2000 - "Growing up", network installation

  • 2001- Hypervosor, split responsibility

  • 2004 - Infrastructure as code

  • 2006 - AWS EC2

  • 2013 - Containers

  • 2015 - Orchestration, kubernetes

  • 2017 - Serverless


  • On-premise VMWare basically dead

  • Traditional config management losing favour

  • Packer / Terraform in heavy use

  • The cool kids are using Kubernetes (But, really, don't run it yourself)

  • Consider Lambda for async workloads

  • Serverless likely to increase in popularity

You can see the slides here: