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It’s Really Up To You, and It Might Be More Flexible Than You Think

Introduction

We here at Device Solutions are passionate about IoT – and equally as passionate about our oft stated Cellio design philosophy: “make it as easy as possible to connect almost any sensor or sensor instrument and controller to back-end data systems to make sensing and control as easy, affordable, and scalable as possible”. Cellio’s ability to be flexible – from sensor to dashboard – allows you to configure and control your end-to-end solution at multiple stops along the eco-system to best fit your needs.

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Caption: Flow of data from sensors mounted on real world assets to back end data storage and dashboard view, through user interaction and ultimately back to indicators and systems on real world assets – all under your control

 

So just what are Cellio’s “Control Indicators”, “Control Systems” and what is your ability to control the power of Cellio? Let’s explore the meaning of “Control” and place it firmly in your hands.

 

The Cellio Universal Protocol – CUP

To achieve our goal of providing an affordable, flexible, low power, controllable / programmable IOT device, the smart folks in R&D created the “Cellio Universal Protocol – CUP” specification to help minimize the need for custom SW / HW while still maintaining a high degree of flexibility in most Cellio applications. Servicing a plurality of interfaces between node (sensors, transceivers, gateways, local radio links, wireless links to the cloud, servers and dashboards, protocol standards, and hardwired I/Os to name a few) could be daunting and create multiple avenues for error introduction (and excessive current drain if not optimized). Minimizing this risk was achieved by establishing a proprietary thin layered message exchanging protocol that allows for easy programing and adaptability to make for easy installation and execution.

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Caption: Cellio Universal Protocol – CUP, enables control and configuration at virtually all points of the IoT eco-system allowing easy and efficient customization and deployment

Many factors have been considered to allow devices supporting different protocols to successfully communicate. CUP must be:

  • Generic enough to run over a number of different transport layers
  • Capable of sending multiple messages in a single server transaction
  • Both forward and backward compatible
  • Capable of receiving messages in a continuous stream
  • Able to recover from lost data
  • Able to connect to most any front-end and most any back-end

Different physical media are also supported by the Cellio architecture including (to name a few):

  • TCP Sockets
  • 900 MHz RF radios
  • Serial Links
  • Digital and analog connections
  • Control signal outputs
  • SMS Text / Email

 

It Starts With the Sensors

Cellio Wireless Transceivers are designed to support as many as 16 General Purpose Inputs and Outputs (GPIO) supporting most any of the various sensors, sensor instruments, indicators and/or controllers. The transceivers communicate with the sensors and controllers via a direct connection – either physical wires or physical cables. The importance of controlling sensor behavior is not lost with Cellio’s ease of use philosophy. The CUP will ensure the programmable control of the sensors are accurate while at the same time maintaining the goals of your Cellio deployment. Examples of Sensor control programming include:

  • Scheduling wake up / reading / polling times (between 2 seconds and 24 hours)
  • Sensor trigger points – interrupt driven sensor wake up conditions / ranges
  • Scheduling sensor data reporting / check in times
  • I/O pin configuration / voltage levels

A wide variety of off the shelf and custom sensors / transducers are supported by Cellio today. The flexible design of Cellio allows Device Solution to work together with our customers and eco-system partners to expand the interface protocols supported (ex:  Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP, BACnet) to ensure the Cellio solution meets sensor protocol requirements in a wide variety of applications.

 

Transceivers, Gateways, and Server Controls

Transceivers are also controllable via the CUP. They can be controlled to provide their data to Gateway(s) on a regular basis or based on specific events. In the case where an event triggers an immediate reporting of data to the Gateway, the Cellio Wireless Cellular Gateways can be programmed to transmit the data to a backend server (check in trigger, rate, or time) or transmit an immediate SMS message to get the alert out as quickly as possible. Transceivers transmit data to the Gateways, and receive information from the Gateways as well to control devices that in turn control equipment, machinery and other sensors. Gateways are designed with internal modules and antennas to support both the 900MHz LoRa transmissions to communicate with the Transceivers in the network, as well as options to communicate with cellular networks and Wi-Fi networks.

CUP provides a means for controlling the Gateway configuration, including: Server IP and port address, transmission reports, location data, modem capabilities, channel status, FW version, HW configuration, time of day requests, and SMS destination.

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From the Gateways, data can be sent over cellular networks and/or local Wi-Fi networks to local facility networks and data storage (as simple as updating an internal spreadsheet) or they can be sent over the internet using public and private (VPN) networks to third party cloud storage vendors, IoT platform vendors, or back-end enterprise corporate data systems (CRM, ERP, PIM, etc.).

From the data store, dashboards can be created and utilized to visualize the information, analytics can be performed on the data, external data can be augmented to inform a bigger picture, and inferences/insights/recommendations can be generated to either automate other processes or inform users on conditions and opportunities of interest. From here, control data can be send back to Transceivers via the CUP interface to turn on indicators for users or communicate with control equipment.

 

Summary

In summary, the Cellio eco-system is conceptually simple, yet highly flexible, configurable, and controllable. To achieve our goal of providing an affordable, flexible, low power, controllable / programmable IOT device, the Cellio Universal Protocol – CUP specification was created to help minimize the need for custom SW / HW while still maintaining a high degree of flexibility in most Cellio applications. Let Device Solutions help you meet you IoT/M2M/IIoT objectives in an efficient manner with the Cellio line of products.

 

In IoT/M2M/IIoT we have found that no one organization can deliver a best-in-breed complete solution on their own. There are organizations with best-in-breed sensors, best-in-breed controllers, best-in-breed wireless networks, best-in-breed IoT Platforms, and other best-in-breed equipment/integration/back-end enterprise systems. Device Solutions and Bright Wolf recognized each other’s respective best-in-breed offerings and decided to link them to provide a best-in-breed system to seamlessly connect sensors and controllers to back-end systems.

Bright Wolf is a software company that has built and deployed an industrial strength IoT Platform. The Bright Wolf IOT Platform has proven itself. They count CAT Marine, Phononic, and Haemonetics among their 50+ clients. Bright Wolf is designed for change and longevity. Their dashboards are constructed for low friction, short learning curve, and intuitive adoption. With facile interfacing to the enterprise, it is a future resistant platform that allows a company to plan for the long term

Device Solutions Inc and Bright Wolf LLC combined the Cellio Wireless Network and Bright Wolf’s IoT Platform to assemble a system that makes it virtually plug-and-play to design, implement and integrate large enterprises quickly and at-scale. The combined solution allows most any sensor and most any controller to be connected to a cloud-based backend data store and analytics platform making the information readily available to dashboards that can remotely monitor and control any device in the field. This ability can move an IoT/M2M/IIoT application discussion from the possible to deployed system solution in a matter of days or weeks.

Device Solutions partners with Bright Wolf on a number of projects for clients. Bob Witter, CEO of Device Solutions Inc says, “It is amazing that the platform Bright Wolf integrated with our Cellio System is so extensible. Scaling the system is almost as easy as simply adding more transceivers and gateway devices to monitor and control as many remote assets as you want to track and analyze – the sky is the limit.”

Cellio supplies the signals and Bright Wolf coordinates the data. Sensors that measure things like level, pressure, tilt, flow, and temperature are connected to Cellio devices which in turn are connected wirelessly to the Bright Wolf IoT platform to visualize the data, analyze inter-related variables, and provide results that are insightful and actionable. This end-to-end system can replace pen and paper logs, collating handwritten journal entries, manual auditing, and other historically manual processes that may have real costs in terms of labor hours, logistics, efficiencies, safety, and other significant opportunity costs. In fact, the combined systems provide the ability to audit data values as they are collected, provide regular data updates, and generate alerts and notices for events that are “out-of-bounds” in real time.

You could consider the combined Device Solutions/Bright Wolf offering an “incremental upgrade” for industrial, agricultural, and transportation/logistics organizations that can have a profound effect. Simply the visualization and status of assets in the field in real time can make decision making more visible and more intuitive. Analytics of real time data can give operators the ability to act more quickly, adjust to changing constraints, and even enhance the ability to forecast needs to address future issues before they become real problems. The ROI of cost efficiencies cannot be ignored. Foresight is monetized.

David Houghton, Director, Business Development, puts it this way, “Given Bright Wolf is focused on software, we often find ourselves working with clients to connect their next generation products which can take, in some cases, years to make it to market. Our relationship with Device Solutions and the integration with Cellio has allowed us to work with clients around end-to-end solutions with well-defined problems. The model changes our dialogue from big picture strategy to targeted business cases and production rollout – literally applying IoT to solve real world problems, now, today.”