Going the Distance with Cloud-Connected Industrial Sensors
Schneider Electric empowers their customers by connecting remote infrastructure to the cloud with IoT.
- Solutions in this case
Schneider Electric cements its place as a market leader by launching a game-changing IoT product - the Cloud Connected Sensor. This product sends data to the cloud via IoT. Their customers can now proactively monitor their remote infrastructure in real-time.
Schneider Electric wanted to develop a product that could easily collect operational and environmental data from their customer’s remote agricultural infrastructures. But they had two major roadblocks: finding a partner to develop the right platform to do the job, and finding a reliable long-range communication network that sends and receives data over vast distances.
Ineffective data transmission
The remoteness of many agricultural infrastructures makes it impossible to gather real-time data via sensors. Traditionally, remote communications used tactical radio-based transmission protocols, which limits the range of communications to 100 meters. But this limited range meant that data transparency was low and the consequences of not getting this data high.
For example, monitoring remote wastewater systems was fraught with difficulty. If a valve was accidentally opened and wastewater spilled into rivers and lakes, the operators would find out about it long after the event. In this scenario, damage control amounted to an industrial-sized clean-up.
Broadening the receiving range of the sensors so that operators could get access to real-time data was a challenge for Schneider Electric. They began investigating powerful, long-range telecommunication networks to reach their goal.
Data transmission was only one piece of the puzzle. The data still needed to be collected in a centralized platform for analysis and monitoring. They quickly realized that the only way to centralize data gathered by the sensors was via a cloud-based integration platform. Codit’s expertise in this area made them the strongest contender as a partner.
Thanks to Codit, we successfully followed our roadmap. ”
Schneider Electric partnered with Codit and together they connected the sensors to a long-range telecommunications network called LPWAN. Codit then developed a powerful cloud-based platform, XIOT, for capturing the data the sensors collected.
Long-range communication and XIOT
Codit connected the sensors to an LPWAN network, a powerful long-range data transmission system. The network antennas broaden the receiving range from 100 meters to 50 kilometers – 500 times the range of radio-based transmission protocols.
The Codit and Schneider Electric teams then developed a new Azure cloud-based platform, called the “XIOT Platform”, to capture the data the sensors transmitted. The XIOT platform can be easily implemented with a few clicks of a mouse button, something that was critical for the project “The simplicity was crucial for the creation of this product,” said David Palacin.
With a long-range telecommunications network and a robust cloud-based platform to capture data in place, the Cloud Connected Sensors could now monitor the remote infrastructures of Schneider Electric’s customers in real-time.
A proof of concept was developed and tested within a 3-month period and it was a huge success. Schneider Electric now has an innovative technology that easily connects remote infrastructures to the cloud via the Cloud Connected Sensor.
The product was rolled out across agricultural infrastructures, road transport, public transport, as well as companies in charge of water production and distribution. These companies now receive critical data in real-time and take immediate action when issues arise.
For example, the Cloud Connected Sensors prevent remote wastewater systems accidentally releasing wastewater and harmful chemicals into rivers or lakes. If a valve accidentally opens, the sensors send this data through the cloud to operators who are monitoring the infrastructure. The operators receive a real-time alert via a mobile device and can act quickly to address the problem.
“We’ve foreseen a 5-year prepaid version that includes absolutely everything – a company just has to create its account in the XIOT Platform app and then connect it to the necessary databases or monitoring systems. We also offer a solution where the customer keeps control of the Cloud infrastructure. In this case, the service is limited to data,” explains David Palaci.
Moving forward, the project will continue to expand, going through several stages of modifications and security adjustments. “There will also be a transfer of knowledge,” explains David Palacin, “With the help of Codit, we are building our own teams to take the lead and maintain it.”
Proficiency and partnership
“Codit provided comprehensive and specialized IoT expertise and great flexibility in terms of specifications.”
David Palacin Project Manager