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Overview

If a device fails in the field, and no one was there to see it – it still failed. When will it be fixed? Could it have been fixed before it failed? Technologies like IIoT can provide data, information, and insights about equipment that is failed or failing so that it can be addressed reactively, or proactively, depending on the priorities of the maintenance and repair policies of an organization.

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IIoT Insights – Simple

The very simplest insights that an IIoT system can provide are those that report a change in “normal status”. These can be immediate triggers that provide alerts about something failing, something going beyond a set limit, or something returning to a known good state. No matter the application, the information is a “snapshot” view of the state at a moment in time. The upside to this kind of information is that it is immediate, and it is reporting a real thing in the real world that needs to be addressed NOW. However, if the item being monitored is critical to the operation of the facility, it would be more useful if the information could be used to warn of an impending failure so that the failure can be avoided altogether.

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IIoT Insights – Complex

The more complex insights that an IIoT system can generate are those that consider more than a single data point comparison – usually including some advanced calculations or analytics. In these cases, a trigger or alarm can also be generated, but the condition can alert the appropriate users to conditions that may be leading to a failure. For example, for some refrigeration units, the parameters (current draw, cycle times, etc.) of a good working unit is known. Thus, if the refrigerator is drawing more current or cycling more frequently than it should, this information can be used to alert the users that there is an issue with the refrigerator that needs attending to so that the refrigerator does not fail catastrophically.

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IIoT Insights – Visualizing

In both simple and complex scenarios, all the data collected and transmitted to the back-end can be visualized in any number of ways. For many users, a real world mapping of the items with various color codes and labels is sufficient for their needs. Others need very high level summary table views, while still others need detail views of all the variables. Because the information from the remote devices is centralized in the back-end, all this information can be graphed, mapped, calculated, coded, and displayed however the users like to match their specific needs. They say a picture is a worth a thousand words – a visualization of data may be worth much more than that!

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Bonus: IIoT Insights – Remote Control and Remote Signaling

Of course, once the users have the insights, most times they will want to do something about the situation. In the IIoT system Cellio supports, there is also the option to send control data back to the field to control indicators, equipment, etc. For example, imagine that a refrigerator was detected as failed or failing, not only could an email or SMS be sent to a distribution list of people that worked with that refrigerator, but an alarm could be turned on near the refrigerator to alert people in the area that it needed attention immediately. This ability to manually or automatically send and control information to the alarm (light, buzzer, or otherwise) allows the IIoT users to “complete the loop”.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”.  With insights from the IIoT system, users can inspect all of the monitored items at all times. Additionally they can be alerted when items fail or when conditions may indicate and impending failure. And to close the loop, the system can generate a response to the situation that could be gated by a human or send automatically. Cellio provides all these capabilities and more out of the box.

Overview

We have heard a number of customers say the following phrase, “because we don’t have someone there watching it all the time.” And for equipment and supplies that are critical to the operation of the business, certain failures need to be identified as soon as they happen (if not before). With inexpensive devices that can be placed in and around the assets in an operation, the ability to monitor devices in real time can provide insights that could be used for advance notification as well as notifying anyone/everyone involved so that critical issues can be resolved as quickly as possible. In some ways, not only can the Cellio IIoT devices help to make and save money, they can also be considered as inexpensive insurance.

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IIoT Devices to Identify Issues Before, During, After Failure

The very nature of IIoT devices deployed in a distributed manner in and around the assets in the operation translates into constant monitoring. What is monitored, and how, is critical to generating the information that can be used to determine if things are within, if they are trending out, or if they have exceeded acceptable operating parameters.   Armed with this information, critical elements in the operation can be remotely monitored, reported, and produce notifications to equipment and process owners for preventative maintenance and issue resolution. Most importantly, if the issue is located in a place that is not typically monitored in some other way, the IIoT device can assure that if something goes awry that someone gets notified – immediately. The IIoT device, via the sensor, detects the “out of bounds” condition, generates an alert that is relayed via the Gateway device to the back-end. The back-end evaluates the state and based on the priorities and settings of the organization, notifies those people and resources appropriate for the response. If used for collecting data regularly about the state of the equipment (or inventory level), the information could notify relevant stakeholders about potential issues that could lead to a failure before the failure occurs. Depending on the impact of a failure, detecting it in advance might be more valuable then simply fixing things after they fail.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”.  If someone isn’t able to watch critical resources 24×365 having affordable devices that are watching the critical resources may very well be the best option for assuring and insuring that issues are detect and resolved as early as possible – ideally averted all together. When you consider that these humble devices can be deployed and provide alerts to situations that could cost Million$, you might start to wonder if a case could be made to an insurance company for reduced premiums.

Overview

They say, “what gets measured gets done”. This is no truer than in IIoT installations where the saying might be adapted to “what gets measured gets reported, regularly”. In fact, there are a growing number of stories where some frontline workers and some managers have initially been reluctant to have IIoT devices installed – the additional visibility that comes from devices regularly reporting measurements may expose practices that are inefficient and detrimental to operations and net profits. In time, reluctance turns into relief.

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Using Ingredients in the Correct Order

In many businesses, research and experimentation has been done to determine the best order in which to use ingredients. However, in practice, where there is not enough oversight or attention paid to the level or order of ingredients, the ingredients may be added or used in the incorrect order. The net result of the use of ingredients in the incorrect order can be sub-optimal sizes, durability, or value of the resulting product. Ultimately, across many production sites and many batches, this amounts to significant losses in profits. IIoT devices installed and monitoring can identify those areas in which ingredients where not fully utilized or used in the incorrect order to notify business owners of opportunities to address “best practices” as quickly as possible and the information can be leveraged as a “teaching moment”. Ultimately, if and when the workers and managers get on-board, they can leverage the IIoT devices to increase their own visibility and validate their adherence to the standards. The real “win” is when they decide to become partners in evaluating additional areas and opportunities to improve results.

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Ordering Ingredients in Time (Risk of Running Out)

Associated with using ingredients in the wrong order, we have seen where ingredients that are running low are not re-ordered in time. In the worst case, this can have catastrophic impacts on the current production batch (where everything has to be destroyed and disposed) or at best case an emergency delivery (with all the additional “rush” charges, overtime, and lost productivity) is delivered in time to keep things running with no interruption. In the spectrum between “destruction and interruption” there is a wide range of losses that are incurred. With IIoT devices in place, potential issues related to ingredients running low can be identified early and addressed in a timely (and cost effective) way. Most importantly, this information does not rely on someone remembering to check the levels or rely on them to measure the levels accurately and consistently. The dependability of the IIoT generated measurements becomes the primary input – with full expectation that workers or process owners will audit the measurements regularly to confirm the IIoT provided measurements.

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Timely Reporting of Equipment Failures

If there isn’t a predictive maintenance program in place to adhere to scrupulously, the next best thing is to have IIoT devices monitoring equipment to detect the moment that operating parameters have gone outside acceptable ranges. This real-time, and near-real-time, information can be the difference between knowing things are running well and hoping that things aren’t failing. For example, a simple water pump required to keep process equipment cool could fail and then minutes or hours later critical equipment that depends on the cooling water can fail bringing the whole operation to a halt. With IIoT devices monitoring the water pump, these early risks can be detected immediately and addressed before they turn into irreparable damage and guaranteed extended downtime. With the relatively small expense of the IIoT devices, significant increases in income can be realized.

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Bonus: In Depth Detailed Analytics

Extra benefits come from having IIoT devices collecting data from multiple aspects of the industrial processes, supplies, and logistics for future analyses. While the immediate benefits are in the instant visibility to levels and measurements, the longer term benefits will come from collecting a data history and correlating the data with other environmental variables to uncover hidden factors and validate any proposed improvements. For example, in one case, it was identified that the weather had a direct and measurable impact on the rate of update of various ingredients. With this insight, future production runs now take into account weather reports to adjust ingredient inventories. In yet another case, data was analyzed to see why certain sites were producing more optimized results, it was determined through the data across all sites that the suboptimal site was failing to fully utilize one ingredient before switching over to the subsequent ingredients. All of these findings demonstrated real losses in revenue and net income. Based on the findings, both revenues and income were increased without any indirect or unintended consequences.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”.  In many cases, the recommendations provided by corporate groups and third parties is well-researched and valid.   From the conveyance of the information to putting it into practices that are adhered to, there is a wide range of implementation success and compliance. Is it any wonder that outcomes are also so widely varied? With IIoT devices, the data from across all sites, all production runs, and various operators and managers can be gathered, viewed, compared, and analyzed. As we find most frequently, it isn’t that workers and managers don’t care, they just have so much on their plates that they can’t pay attention to everything, nor all at once. When no one else is able to pay attention to critical measurements, you can count on Cellio.

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Overview

Pragmatically speaking, successful innovation, evolution, and technology adoption have focused in areas where the benefit is at least an order of magnitude greater than the cost – in technology this is equivalent to a “slam dunk”. From the business perspective the classic 2×2 grid of value versus cost is usually consulted as a tool to map out and compare options and courses of action. Let’s explore, at a high level, how Cellio helps organizations access the most desirable quadrant on the value map.

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Value/Benefit is both Direct and Indirect

We find that many of our customers have a number of business pressures to move from a manual process of data collection to a more automated approach. The obvious solution is an inexpensive wireless solution that doesn’t require running cables or wires (which can be quite costly and subject to damage by rodents, equipment and regular wear and tear). From wireless edge devices, data can be gathered at a frequency that satisfies the needs of individuals and process inputs that will keep them informed of either the actual measurements and generate alerts to situations of concern that need attention to avoid critical errors – in this way, the data appears “real time” to the users. Some of the indirect benefits include reducing or eliminating risky measurement or monitoring situations that put workers in harms way. Additionally, workers have been known to get distracted or prioritize other activities over the measuring activities leaving the downstream data users questioning the status and accuracy of reports of the upstream inventories, levels, status, etc. Thus, the consistency, regularity, and automated data provided by the wireless data logging, monitoring and reporting can provide data in a timely manner on which people and processes can depend and make informed decisions.

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Costs/Effort need to Account for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The analyses our customers have run on costs consider items that include lost efficiencies, overtime pay, time spent from non-core activities, missed information from inconsistent measurements (resulting in critical situations that require remediation), potential risks to people and equipment, equipment maintenance, and other factors.  These factors are then added to estimates for expected gains in productivity, purchasing optimization, logistics efficiencies, and consistency of data for future analytics. In comparison, the cost of the devices and sensors is relatively low, as are the minimal amounts of maintenance of the installed devices, and the low annual data related fees for transmission and storage.

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Cellio Delivers on Low-Cost/Effort and High-Value/Benefit

The relative ease, affordable pricing, and ability to deliver a full Cellio IIoT deployment in a very short period of time (including data connections, data storage, dashboarding, native mobile app access, customized alerts/notifications, and connections to enterprise systems) squarely places Cellio in the upper right quadrant of the Cost/Value chart.

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Bonus: Cellio LoRa

One of the aspects of the Cellio system that enables the system to deliver significant value for the cost can be found in the use of LoRa for extending the range from Edge devices (Transceivers) to the Gateway devices. This ability to place as many Transceivers as desired in an area and have them all report back through a single Gateway drives the costs out of the edge devices and assures that the overall solution is as affordable as possible. Additionally, factoring in the small battery usage of the LoRa edge devices (a 9VDC battery can last for 5+ years without having to be replaced) and system-wide installation, maintenance, and dependability are greatly enhanced.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily deploy and expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”.  Cellio has been designed to shift the equation to more heavily favor value over costs.   From the design of the devices to consume as little power as possible, transmit only the desired data, drive down associated transmission costs and battery consumption, and deliver a whole solution that consistently provides successfully deployed systems from end-to-end in as little time as possible, Cellio delivers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

One of the most powerful features of a well-implemented IIoT solution is the ability to get reports and alerts/notifications of just those conditions that are cause for concern – exceptions. The reason “exceptions” are so powerful is that in their apparent simplicity there is a considerable amount of complex thinking and decision making to know the most important things to monitor and the frequency to monitor them. In general, it is important to align the reporting time with the rate of change (or potential failure rate of a thing monitored) as well as considering the response resources, timing, and remediation process. For example, monitoring and reporting on something every minute that doesn’t require attention or concern but on a weekly basis is overkill, while monitoring something once a week that could have immediate ramifications within an hour is not aligned either.

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Exceptions in Monitoring Gas Fill Levels

Consider the scenario where your organization needs to monitor the level of gas in a tank.  Depending on the size of the tank, the refill frequency, and the usage rate, a small personal tank might require a more frequent rate of monitoring than say a large industrial tank that is filled once a week and has a capacity to last for two weeks of operation. In the case of the small personal tank, hourly checks might be warranted with an immediate exception reported when the tank gets to a level where the user has enough time to get a refill or replace the tank before it runs out. In the case of a large industrial tank, once a day checks could accommodate verifying the level, identifying any potential leaks, and also in rare cases alerting the “owner” of the tank that it needs to be refilled if it goes below the “safety” level. In the industrial tank scenario, it is important that the “safety” level be set such that the daily reporting and the time to get the tank refilled are considered and factored in. In both cases, the owners of the tanks would only expect to see an alert/notification when the tanks reach their thresholds – this consistency will lead to owners paying attention to and responding to the alerts/notifications in a timely manner. If the exceptions are set incorrectly (where they are not that meaningful) the owners may increasingly ignore the alerts/notifications since they get too many or too late.

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Exceptions in Monitoring Mobile Assets

For many mobile assets, it is important to know both the location and also the current “state” of the asset. A good example is a container that the owners would like to know exactly where they are located and also if the container is empty or full (and possibly if the container is upright or upside down). With this information, owners can determine which assets are utilized and which ones can be scheduled for use. In addition, users can set exceptions to send alerts/notifications to let them know when one of their containers “goes off the grid”.   Whether the container has gone into a “dead zone” for signals, across a border or boundary, or is headed in a direction that it shouldn’t be going, these timely exceptions can help avert costly mistakes and losses. Imagine the case of a container that is worth $10k’s of dollars (USD) and is expected to stay within one state (say Texas), assuming the container is checking in four times a day with its status (location, signal strength, battery level, empty/full) if at some point the container starts to head “off course” or ceases to check in, an alert could be triggered at the first missed “roll call” or after the second or third missed check-in to alert the owner that there may be an issue to be investigated further. If all the containers are checking in regularly and within their set boundaries, then no notifications or exceptions are generated and the owner can be confident that things are within the required parameters. An additional benefit is that the owner can look at a map of all the assets at any given time and see, with confidence, where everything is and what the status is of each asset. This convenient “report” can save significant time and money when considering the manual effort that goes into tracking mobile assets today.

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Exceptions in Monitoring Farming

In agricultural settings, there really isn’t the concept of “a day off”. Plants and animals have to be fed, watered, and monitored 24×365 to assure optimal growth and health. The inputs to these processes typically include large “bins” that hold fertilizers, feed, raw ingredients, finished goods, liquids, gases, and many others. Batch, distribution, and delivery logistics are critical to make sure that the right items are delivered to the right location on the farms in the right quantity, at the right time, and in the correct order. If deliveries are delayed (or missed altogether) the crops and livestock will be put at risk. In most cases, accurate advance warning of low-level conditions can make the difference of buying the optimal quantities in time to optimize purchase price and delivery. Thus, alerts and notifications generated from exceptions that are aligned with the low level condition (or fill condition) and inform all of the owners along the process of issues and opportunities to address and leverage, respectively, in order to squeeze as much efficiency out of the resources as possible – all while prioritizing the welfare of the crops and livestock in their care.

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Bonus: Mapping Exceptions

Of all the potential reporting “views”, few are as profound and concise as a map. Whether the map is a classic geographical format, or is arranged as a process view, or even configured as an organizational hierarchy, the map provides a considerable amount of information in a small area. Maps are made even more useful by color-coding those items that are in an exception condition with colors (like RED = bad) so that users and owners can quickly see those items needing attention and then focusing in on them. Similarly, and sometimes preferred by users/owners is a map that is displayed as a table with color-coded cells. The advantage for users who have a table view is that the data can quickly be exported from the view and imported into other tables, emails, or documents for use in managerial reporting. Depending on the factors most important to users/owners, colors, data, and alerts can be configured to display the exceptions that are most relevant and timely so that they can be addressed accordingly.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”. When determining alerts, notifications, and reports various users and levels of organizations, it is important to consider how, why, how often, when and what the result will be when an alert or notification is generated. The alignment of the condition monitored with the timing of the response can assure that when a user/owner receives and alarm that they will pay particular attention to the exception and take whatever steps necessary to address the condition before it becomes critical. So, it’s also important to “Inspect what you except.”

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Overview

Most people don’t realize just how many sensors are already installed to monitor things around us every day and in every aspect of our lives. For example, smoke detectors (and carbon monoxide detectors) are in most every house and apartment. Temperature sensors (thermostats) are installed in every house that has an air conditioning/heating unit. Hot water heaters have a temperature sensor built in to detect/manage/maintain the temperature of the hot water. Float switches are in our toilet tanks to keep them from overfilling and flooding our homes. In cars, sensors for fuel level, engine temperature, oil level, and emissions are monitoring the performance of the vehicle. And in Industrial settings, even more sensors are present to keep equipment and processes in range – and alert us when they go out of bounds. The primary drawback for most of these sensors is that the information from the sensors is integrated into and limited to the device – not accessible remotely by users or other devices. Remote access to the data from these sensors could improve efficiency and safety. Consider the example of a mission critical pump motor that keeps an area from flooding and works on a float switch. If no one is there to manually monitor the water level, the switch, the motor/pump, and the flow of water being discharged, blind faith is relied upon that the system is working. Wouldn’t it be smarter and safer to know when the water level is too high and have confirmation that the motor is switched on and running?

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Simple Electro-Mechanical Sensors

Sensors are typically digital or analog. This simply means they indicate if something is ON/OFF, or provide some level of measure between ON and OFF. For example, the digital signal of a fill level in a tank might be that it is EMPTY or FULL or that the acceptable set level has been exceeded. Alternatively, an analog sensor used in the same tank might generate a signal that indicates a measurement of the level of the liquid in the tank to an accuracy of within an inch. Both of these sensor types are useful and acceptable for monitoring tank level – it depends on the application. In either case, the mechanism may be mechanical and the output of these sensors is electrical.  This electrical “signal” provides the information that is then used to determine the level and whether there is a need to turn something ON or OFF.

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Simple Connections to Inputs

Most of these simple sensors have one output that provides the electrical information (the signal) to devices like Cellio through a direct wired connection. Once the sensor is wired to the Cellio Transceiver device, Cellio monitors the electrical signal for the measurements from the sensor and then transmits them wirelessly to Cellio Gateway devices. From the Cellio Gateway devices the information is sent to back-end data storage where it can be used for alerts, notifications, computations, analytics, display, and decision making. The collected data can be graphed, compared, calculated, stored, deleted, shared, re-transmitted, and much more.

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Turning Simple Sensor Inputs into Complex Decision Making

Data from one sensor monitoring one aspect of one item can be used to produce powerful results, especially if monitoring something that had previously gone without monitoring. More impressive, and complex, results can be achieved by remote monitoring aspects of many items in a process, a facility, an enterprise, up and down a supply-chain, and especially across a geography. For example, monitoring the water levels of a widely spread set of monitoring wells/reservoirs could give citizens, businesses, and public officials advanced notification for conditions that could turn into flooding, mudslides, traffic accidents, and other emergency situations. How the collected data from the sensors is aggregated, analyzed, and distributed is critical to how the data can be used for decision making. Decision making with Cellio and connected devices could be as simple as sending out and alert/notification over SMS or email. Or it could be as complex as sending a signal to a device (like a PLC) or to another process system that starts to pump the water in a coordinated way to alleviate current conditions and avoid compounding the problem by swamping out a pump further downstream. The impact can be profound.

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Bonus: Turning Inputs into Outputs

Seeing consistently, accurately, and timely what is “in the field” not only improves visibility and situational awareness to make more informed decisions, but it also provides a platform from which to use the informed decisions to remotely control devices in the field. As noted above, as the picture (on a map, in a table, through graphs, in a process diagram, or other relevant visual representation) forms from reports of devices in the field, short term, mid term, and long term options can be assessed while immediate action can be taken to alleviate conditions that could lead to equipment failure (unless allowing the equipment to fail would lead to a better overall outcome). Cellio devices also provide the capability to output electrical signals that can be used to signal/control devices in the field. For example, an output could turn on a red light that is used to signal workers of an error condition (or a green light that is used to signal an all clear condition). These output signals, coupled with simple or complex logic and help process and equipment owners close the loop.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”. From simple sensors generating simple data link tank empty/full, to vast networks of tanks that warn of impending flood conditions, Cellio can be counted on to monitor and wirelessly report the data so that it can be used to make very simple or very complex decisions – and then send information back to the devices to respond in as efficient and effective a manner possible.

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Overview

For some users, having a simple notification or alert when a certain condition exists, is all the remote monitoring they want. For example, there are compliance requirements in many industries where if something is too full, too empty, too high, too low, an item has gone active, or an item has failed that someone needs to be notified quickly in order to protect people and property. In many of these cases the monitoring of the devices is done manually by workers and volunteers checking the status regularly and in many cases recording and reporting the information via paper logs to clerks or managers who transcribe the logs and record them electronically. Depending on the regularity, consistency, and accuracy of the manual checks, compliance may or may not be achieved. These manual “costs” may be quite high when calculated over a year’s time. If the manual checks are not accurate or consistent, the failure to meet compliance can “cost” many orders of magnitude more than the costs of the manual checking. With remote wireless monitoring, checks can be done as frequently, consistently, and accurately as desired. Most importantly, alerts and notifications can be generated automatically when specific conditions exist such that the situation can be addressed before it becomes non-compliant. Alerts and notifications can be as simple as an SMS or email.

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Simple Manual Monitoring that could be Remote Monitoring

Many applications that require manual monitoring today already have electrical equipment and/or sensors in place that can be converted simply and inexpensively to remote monitoring. For example, water levels are measured by sensors that provide a digital reading representing the current water level – this is recorded manually by a worker or volunteer who checks the reading every day (or more frequently when it is raining) and records the level in a log book. The person takes the log book and hands it to a clerk (or calls it in to a clerk, or sends via email, etc.) where the clerk enters it (hopefully accurately) into a spreadsheet or perhaps a corporate data system.   The spreadsheet or corporate system is then used by a manager or director to compile the reports that demonstrate that all of the items are being checked regularly to meet compliance, measurement, and/or other requirements. These types of checks are regularly done for other risks as well – liquid levels that may be too low/high, pressures that are too high/low, temperatures too high/low, timings too long/short, equipment that is on/off, and many others.

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Simple Connections to Inputs and Outputs

For most of the items being checked manually there is an electronic means of detecting the range of values that need to be reported and recorded. In some cases, the electronic “sensor” is as simple as a switch (similar to a switch in a toilet tank that turns off the water when the tank is full – we count on these every day!). Similar, but more complex switches may have multiple “positions” that change based on the level of fill. Even more complex switches generate electrical signals that vary within the range of things they are measuring. Many sensors do not directly display the measurements in a human readable form, but instead provide electrical information proportional to the thing being measured. Other sensors have simple indicators (red/green), digital displays, or even more sophisticated interfaces. For sensors that provide digital or analog outputs, connecting them to Cellio is simple and inexpensive. Cellio provides screw terminals where the wires from the sensor(s) can be directly connected into the Cellio Transceiver and the readings collected and transmitted as frequently as desired.

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Simple Alerts and Notifications

Based on collected data, whether from other cloud services or from sensor readings, alert and notification (SMS, email, HTTP posting, etc.) conditions can be set to notify any and all personnel who need to receive notifications in whatever means they need to be notified. In the case noted above, assuming that a “high water mark” was detected, Cellio would have reported the reading or sent a triggered report through the network to the back-end where it would have been evaluated against the set criteria and the relevant alerts/notifications/messages would have been sent to designated people, processes, and possibly other data systems to notify them of the measurement and “out of bounds” condition.   If the water level were to rise even higher and another level was measured that indicated an “emergency level”, that measured level would also be sent or would have generated a triggered report that might set off a different set of notifications, to a different set of people, processes, or data systems to deal with the new condition. Similarly, if the water to fall below the high water mark, a new alert might be sent to “call off” the alert condition and return the status to “normal”. All of the conditions, alerts, notifications, and integrations are configurable through Cellio.

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Bonus: As Much Complexity as You Need

Cellio’s integrated connectivity and back-end services provide all the tools necessary to view the collected data via graphs, tables, summary data, calculated values, estimates, analytics, and even sending and receiving data to enterprise systems or other cloud data services. These capabilities make the evolution from simple alerts and notifications to highly sophisticated analytics, forecasting, and integration to larger enterprise systems inexpensive and relatively easy. You choose the complexity that you want when you want.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”. The rules around notifications and alerts are something that should be considered intentionally and deliberately. Who gets the notifications, how they get them, how frequently they get them, and what they are supposed to do in response to getting them will have a profound impact on the value of receiving them- implementing these decisions is where Cellio really shines.

At the simplest level, we have had customers get an IIoT system from sensors to alerts/notifications set up in less than half a day.

Overview

At the edge, the amount of data generated by sensor devices is seemingly small (like individual raindrops) – in the 10’s of bytes. And if reported at a rate of once per day, this data still seems quite small (like a trickle) – 100’s of bytes a month leading to 1,000’s of bytes per year and possibly 10,000’s of bytes over a decade or more. With one device and one check-in per day this is in the realm of kilobytes (KB) of data that is collected and stored. But things change drastically if sensors check in every second (86,400 seconds in a day) or every minute (3,600 minutes in a day) and this is further compounded if there are 10,000’s of devices. Pretty quickly data collection, storage, analytics, and archival can turn into GigaBytes, TeraBytes, and even PetaBytes. A colleague used to counsel customers about server efficiency and to be on the lookout for the one additional server needed in a data center that would force their hands to have to build the next new $50M data center – he referred to it as the “$50M server”. Careful and deliberate choices of the minimum data records needed to be collected, analyzed and stored are important choices with data coming from devices deployed throughout an enterprise.

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Device Design and Trade-off’s Effecting Monitoring and Analytics

If the objective is to minimize data, then only the data needed should be collected. And the data should be collected at a rate that is needed for the purposes of monitoring and analytics. For the purposes of monitoring, the amount of data retained could be kept quite small. For the purposes of charting trends, calculating rates, or performing analytics, the amount of data will be larger, but how much data is kept and for how long will be critical to the impact of the amount of data storage and computing resources required.

As the data is collected on the server (in the cloud, on-site, or in the corporate network) the parsing, calculations, and calibrations of the raw data will have an impact on computation resources. The selected data is usually stored with information about time, location, identification of the source, and any other relevant elements. This data is immediately useful for display, monitoring and reporting purposes. Graphing, animated gauges, and basic calculations are additionally useful “on-the-fly” operations that can be done with the data.

Total data storage needed is driven by the total number of data elements collected, retained, and any intermediate values that have been computed and retained as well. Thus, if all original raw data is stored, the calibrated and computed data is retained, and other intermediate computed values are retained as well, the original data could be represented and stored in three (3) or more formats in a very quick fashion. This is important since storage requirements are compounded by the number of devices sending data at the rate the data is sent. Ultimately, if no raw data is parsed, filtered, or discarded, the amount of data stored can grow at an alarming rate. Although it would be interesting to keep all the data collected from all the sensors for all time, this can come at a hefty cost. A more efficient and cost effective approach is to determine which data, at what frequency, and at what historical level is relevant for analytical and trending purposes and discard those records/elements that don’t meet the established criteria.

 

 

Bonus: Minimizing Data Collected, Transmitted and Stored

Although there are tradeoff’s for the amount of data collected and transmitted, some of the primary benefits of minimizing data include:

  • Maximizing
    • battery life
    • transmission distances
    • efficiency
  • Minimizing
    • data bandwidth
    • data transmission charges/fees
    • data computation and storage fees
    • server power consumption

 

 

Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. There is a saying that you should “Inspect what you expect”. The selection and placement of sensors, the reporting frequency of the data, the storage and retention of the data and resulting analyses will ultimately impact the collection and storage requirements for organizations and applications. With thoughtful planning, you won’t have to make the budget request for the server to retain the “$50M data record”.

Overview

As much as technology has progressed, there remain a significant number of repetitive tasks done manually in industrial settings that have been waiting for the price of equipment and service to be at a level where business cases can justify moving to more reliable, consistent, and automated systems.  The business “pains” in these environments are often described by the amount of overtime being paid, the potential risk of injury for performing risky behaviors, the costs of not having the information in a timely manner resulting in emergencies, and the need for more accurate and timely information to make better decisions – remotely. Turnkey offerings of affordable Industrial sensor technologies, affordable Industrial connectivity hardware, and reliable connectivity services for data delivery are now a reality.

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Continuous and Repetitive Manual Data Collection (and Blindspots)

Most industrial environments have onsite and offsite inventory supply inputs that can range from full to empty, high pressure to low pressure, high flow to low flow, etc. over the course of minutes, to hours, to days, to months. Having an accurate read of the state of these inventories at a frequency that is relevant to their relative use, can help:

  • upstream business and process owners that are responsible for planning, purchasing, and replenishing the inventories in a timely and cost effective manner
  • immediate business and process owners who control and manage the actual equipment and flow of the supplies into other processes
  • downstream business and process owners that count on the outputs from these inventories and need confirmation about the continuity of supply

These manual checks currently involve everything from:

  • teams of drivers driving routes to every pickup location hourly/daily looking to see if anything needs to be picked up,
  • workers climbing ladders or towers every day (or multiple times a day) regardless of weather or conditions to check levels in multi-story bins and tanks,
  • employees carrying measuring devices to determine the operation of equipment, depths of reservoirs, and environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.),
  • and many many others.

Whether these checks are collected on paper logs or electronically, if not done consistently and somewhat predictably, can create blindspots for all of the business and process owners.

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Automated Data Collection (Data Visibility)

The most immediate benefits gained from a solid IIoT installation are:

  • Predictable measurement frequency
  • Reliable accuracy
  • Real time visibility/reporting/mapping
  • Ability to share measurement results
  • Exception alerts and notifications

IIoT installation(s) can range from simple installations of boxes that simply track the location or existence of an asset (especially important if the asset is mobile) to more involved installations where holes need to be drilled in the top, side, or bottom of a vessel and sensor instrument(s) installed to measure/detect the level of inventory. The outputs of measurement instrument(s) are connected typically to small connectivity equipment that communicate the information wirelessly over the cellular network to the back-end where the data can be processed and presented to any and all business and process owners that want or need to know the changing status of the inventories.

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Additional Benefits

The nature of the activities where IIoT is initially best suited are those that improve safety, improve visibility to critical resources, and/or monitor remote assets that would be cost prohibitive to “put eyes on” 24×7. The equipment installed in these situations is typically always “listening” for events that need to be reported when and if they occur – and as they occur.   The benefit of having this event driven information is that issues can be addressed quickly and before they turn into real problems, processes and assets can be tracked and management much more efficiently, and the ongoing and historical data can be used for insights into opportunities for greater overall operational efficiencies and savings.

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Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. Moving from very manual activities to more automated data collection and reporting can seem daunting when just starting out – that is why we have assembled all the pieces you need with Cellio.

 

Overview

Some important considerations when designing and implementing an IIoT system for remote monitoring and control are the ongoing recurring costs associated with the data generated, transmitted, and stored by the various deployed devices. Some of the primary sources of recurring costs include: cellular service, data hosting, and data analytics.

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Cellular Data (and other Connections to the Network)

Depending on the selection of technology, the amount of data collected and transmitted, and the rate of reporting the collected data to the network, the estimated or calculated data can vary significantly from the actual data that is ultimately assessed and charged. For example, edge devices may generate 10’s or 100’s of Bytes of data and consider additional overhead for protocols or other layers of devices that then forward the data on to the network (assume 10’s or 100’s of additional Bytes for each layer or level of hierarchy). In subtotal, 100’s or 1000’s of Bytes are likely transmitted each time to the network. Add to the device and protocol generated data any additional data (private or public) the network assesses for every session/transaction made by and between the network. These session “costs” can be in the 1000’s of Bytes per session and can vary depending on the service provider, service coverage/quality, and the design of the devices.

 

 

Data Hosting

Although the price of accessing, storing and retrieving (or even pass through forwarding) of data has come down in price drastically, there is still a real cost for data storage whether it goes through AWS, another third party, or to a corporate data storage facility. These costs are based on real costs of equipment, facilities, electricity, maintenance, support, and staffing. Depending on the requirements set by the consumers of the data (and downstream analytics) and the amount of data generated and transmitted to the data storage facility/resources, the total amount of data accumulated, stored, and ultimately charged for could be quite significant.

 

 

Data Analytics

Although “analytics” is the newer entrant to the IIoT value chain, it has real costs as well. Consider that analytics requires the retrieval, computation (multiple computations, multiple iterations of computations, and multiple layers of computations), storage, and ultimately transmission of the result to all the destinations subscribing to the results. This compounding effect of the amount of data generated by each edge device, the amount and duration of storage of the data, and the ultimate computation of the data analysed across those devices from the data store – analytics can consume a disproportionately large number of computing resources to satisfy a users’ analytic requests.

 

 

Conclusion

The Cellio Wireless Network has been designed to be as quick, affordable, and high quality. Cellio Wireless Transceivers allow the Cellio system and customers to quickly and easily expand existing systems with as many sensors and controllers as they like (with minimal incremental expense).  The data collected in the back-end data system can be easily and rapidly mapped and provided for view on PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc. both via browser views as well as automatically generated native mobile app views. Sharing and modifying the dashboard views is quick and easy. All of this is available and easy to put in place today. We know that getting IIoT/M2M/IoT solutions successfully designed/implemented/running from scratch can be tough if you try to do it alone – that is why we have assembled all the pieces you need with Cellio.

When estimating the actual costs associated with data from your IIoT devices, make sure to consider not only the amount and frequency of data generated and transmitted from each edge device, but also all the other layers of costs associated with transmitting it to network storage (consider the frequency of data transmitted) and the duration of storage. Finally, take into account the amount and complexity of the analytics expected to be done on some or all of the data collected and stored from all of the devices.   Evaluating IIoT systems with the “end in mind” will highly influence your final selection(s).