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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).