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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

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

Having trouble locating all your valuable equipment when you need to find it? Cellio Cellular Gateways with GPS can be used on equipment to track the location and movement of the equipment – tied to datahosting and dashboarding this can generate a map or table to give you instant access to the location of any mobile, stationary, or fixed asset you want tracked.

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Caption: Cellio Gateway attached to asset provides location information to back-end datahosting and dashboarding to provide location and alerts.

 

Cellular (CDMA, GSM) with GPS

Cellio Gateways are provided with either CDMA or GSM capabilities. Through the Gateway, GPS locations can be identified and then transmitted via the cellular networks to the back-end or cloud data hosting platform of choice. Depending on the frequency of updates from the Gateway the location and status of all assets can be determined at any time. Gateways can be configured, reconfigured, and even updated from the back-end without having to go to the field.

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Caption: Cellio Gateway fixed to asset provides GPS information over cellular to back-end datahosting.

 

Tracking Location and Movement

Data collected from the Gateway devices can be accessed from the data storage and used for mapping in a traditional map form, mapped into a table or spreadsheet form, or even mapped into various tiers of alert conditions to generate notifications (SMS, Email, Data Posting, etc.). The collected data can also be used to inform workflows, exchange data with other back-end or enterprise systems, as well as shared via dashboard views with employees and customers/clients via their own customized view.

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Caption: Collected GPS data can be used for mapping location, movement, status and generating notifications and alerts.

 

Bonus: LoRa Connection to Transceivers

With Gateways installed on assets/equipment that are either stationary or mobile, other devices that be used for signaling (inputs signals like a pushbutton or output signals like an LED display or alarm) can also be connected to the back-end via the LoRa wireless capability built into the Gateway devices. This additional capability can inexpensively extend the value of the system and the uses throughout your operation and the operation at client facilities or job sites.

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Caption: Cellio Gateway connected to asset also provides an infrastructure element for Transceiver devices to communicate with the back-end (via LoRa).

 

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, tables, 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. If your priority is knowing where your assets are currently located and detecting when they move, Cellio Gateways will do this for you – and more.

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Caption: Cellio enables assets to be tracked, monitored, and notified.

Overview

With 16 Points for Inputs and Outputs on each Wireless LoRa Transceiver, Cellio Transceivers are designed as agnostic as possible to support controls you may want to provide wirelessly to send an SMS or email alert, provide a digital signal, turn an item on or off, or provide user interface information to assets in the field and throughout your operations.   Companies with existing controllers, actuators, and/or indicators already in place can quickly and affordably move from no (or low) automated remote control and remote signaling to a more real-time environment – and all the advantages and benefits that come from signaling information to the field more regularly, more accurately, and digitally. Initially, simple SMS or emails can be sent to relevant stakeholders for exception based reporting to signal conditions in which parameters are higher, lower, or at some pre-defined condition of interest. Optimally, data from various inputs, analysis in the back-end, and user input can be used to provide automatic signals back to the field operations to improve efficiency and communication to equipment and workers throughout the operations. Cellio is designed to get data from where it is to where you need it be.

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Caption: Cellio Transceiver can be connected to up to 16 Inputs and Outputs allowing for very flexible and affordable configurations of indicators, actuators and controllers.

 

Cellio Transceiver Output Options

In order to support the broadest array of applications and industries, Cellio Transceivers have been designed to support the following output types:

  • Digital Outputs Connected To
    • Indicators
    • Actuators
    • Controllers
  • Digital Output Organization
    • Single Digital Signals
    • Scaled Voltage/Current Output
    • Digital Bus (RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, I2C, SPI)
  • SMS Messaging
  • Email Messaging

With this variety of configuration options, the Cellio Wireless Transceivers can be easily and readily adapted to interface with most any controller or signaling devices that you may already have, or may be contemplating installing, in your field operations.

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Caption: Cellio Transceivers support digital outputs allowing for integration with most all electronics and electronic that need to be signaled or controlled remotely.

 

Connecting Indicators and Actuators to Cellio Wireless Transceivers

The most direct control from a Cellio Wireless Transceiver is through a digital output pin to an indicator or actuator.  Using this approach simple indicators like LEDs, buzzers, alarms, flashers, vibration devices, and others can be signaled with a change in digital state and turned ON/OFF based on local conditions or remotely from information contained or computed in back-end data systems and data analytics (and/or through manual overrides from a remote dashboard). Actuators used for opening and closing flows, opening or closing relays, raising or lowering a level, starting or stopping a pump, and a host of other automations of manual switches can be integrated and tied into the Cellio Wireless Network. Put simply, devices that require manual control can technically be automated and controlled remotely. In this way, a very low cost set of indicators (up to 16) could be connected to any Transceiver and the combined set used as a user interface to inform users in the area of conditions requiring their attention or intervention.

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Caption: Digital outputs connected directly from Cellio Wireless Transceivers to indicators and actuators.

 

Connecting Controllers to Cellio Wireless Transceivers

A more sophisticated scenario leverages the outputs from the Cellio Transceiver to communicate with a controller or control system (i.e. programmable logic controller [PLC], remote terminal unit [RTU], supervisory control and data acquisition [SCADA], human-machine interface [HMI], programmable automation controller [PAC]). Cellio Wireless Transceivers can be used to send a simple signal to a controller or control system to signal a specific condition or event to then initiate the controller or control system to proceed with its programmed steps. Alternatively, the digital outputs can be configured in a bus format to communicate over a standard bus like RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, I2C, or SPI to output data and communicate with instrumentation, controllers, and control systems. In these cases, the value of Cellio would be to provide initiating information and for the controllers and control systems to do what they are designed to do best. In the case of a local loop, the Transceiver can be programmed and configured to do some basic calculations and generate outputs as needed to inform other local devices or to transmit the data through the Cellio Wireless Network to back-end data stores, analytics, and dashboarding.

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Caption: Controller and Controls System inputs are connected to Cellio Transceiver Outputs (either single signals or via buses) and data from the back-end is transmitted for use in signaling new actions to take or actions that should cease.

 

Bonus: Using SMS and Email as Alerts and Notifications

A valuable feature of Cellio for immediate notifications/alerts is the use of a Gateway to send SMS and email messages to designated stakeholders. In the simplest of installations, requiring not back-end data storage or analytics, Cellio can be used to simply send an SMS or email when certain thresholds are met or exceeded. When the threshold settings are satisfied, the Transceivers send their information to the Gateway and the Gateway can send specific messages to users. In more integrated systems, SMS and email messages can be sent to stakeholders (or other processes) AND the information about the threshold status can be transmitted to the back-end data storage for archival, analytics, dashboarding, and populating information in enterprise systems (ERP, PIM, CRM, etc.) to inform other parts of the business and optimize performance in areas such as supply chain management.

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Caption: Cellio Wireless Transceivers configured to message locally and non-locally based on threshold conditions that may be of interest to different stakeholders and possibly used for tying in back-end data and processes.

 

Conclusion

Cellio Wireless Transceivers provide a wireless link from indicators, actuators, controllers and control systems Cellio Wireless Gateways via 900MHz LoRa with a transmission distance of a approximately 1 mile (3 square miles). The Transceivers can effectively wirelessly enable existing controllers and control systems that are already in place in field operations – thus providing the least expensive and quickest path from manual control to automated remote digital notifications and control. So whether you are installing new controllers or control systems, or trying to retrofit an existing installation, Cellio Wireless Transceivers can be configured to fit your needs.