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  1. 3 points
    Description: Over the past few years, South East Water (SEW) in Victoria has been trialling a range of different Internet of Things (IoT) technologies with the goal of creating the most advanced water and wastewater network in Australia. The trials are aimed at identifying an IOT platform that will allow the connection of around one million monitoring and controlling devices across SEW’s water and wastewater network using a low power wide area network. This case study describes the activities to date. Source: Based on a webinar titled The Smartest Water Network in Australia delivered on 27 Sept 2016 to the Applied IOT Engineering Community of Engineers Australia by Andrew Forster-Knight, Group Manager Intelligent Systems, South East Water Biography: Andrew Forster-Knight has worked in the operation technology team at SEW for 13 years. He has a double degree in chemical engineering and science from Monash University. He is a patent holder of 3 patents for sensor and telemetry technology. He is passionate about innovation and excited about the possibilities of IoT. Introduction South East Water (SEW) is a government-owned statutory authority servicing over 1.6 million connections in the South East of Melbourne. SEW’s water network run from the Melbourne CBD down to the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, and up almost to Gippsland. The authority has 750,000 customers, growing at approximately 20,000 customers per year. It has billions of dollars’ worth of fixed assets, like pipe works, and about 24,000km of water and wastewater. SEW operates both a drinking water network and a sewage disposal network, as well as seven Class A Quality treatment plants that go along with those and some recycled water technology as well. This network includes: 350 + sewage pumping stations 200+ water pumping stations/ PRVs 70+ water storage facilities, 4000 + Pressure Sewer stations South East Water is different to many other water authorities because it maintains much of its expertise in-house. A key organisational driver for the organisation is around innovation, which can ultimately add value to the customer, effectively making their bills cheaper, through efficiency gains. A decade ago SEW operated a radio-based telemetry system but has now made the transition to a fully IP-based network, largely based on high-speed cellular communications, as well as some fixed fibre as well. In the past only large assets, such as the really big pumping stations and water tanks, had telemetry but with the high-speed backbones, SEW now has a much wider range of telemetry points including IP-based cameras, card access systems and other networks as well. In terms of the Internet of Things (IoT) the most significant development is the SEW is now augmenting that traditional high-speed network with the low-power, low data rate sensors. Currently, SEW has around 1,000 battery-powered sensors and this is expected to grow to around 6 million in the next 5 to 10 years. In total, SEW collects about 100,000 points in real time back to its data centre and through to our different enterprise departments and different analytics tools. Flow and rainfall ingress SEW’s journey began about 10 years ago when it designed a device, which by today's standard is quite primitive, which was a sewer manhole overflow detector. If there was a blockage in the sewer, it would rise up, tip a switch and the device would send an SMS which we’d capture, and process through our system. The thousand battery-powered devices that we've got in the network now, are iterations from that initial technology, now using data connectivity over the cellular network, standards-based protocols such as DNP3, and often incorporating smarter sensors using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). A MEMs-based gas sensor for detecting hydrogen sulphide in the sewer developed in-house by SEW For example, rather than mechanical level devices, we use ultrasonics to scan the sewer to get a flow measure which we then integrate the systems in the cloud that are connected to the Bureau of Meteorology data. As soon as a rain event comes through the system, the data is automatically analysed, and we can try and pinpoint where rain is infiltrating our sewer network. Rainfall ingress is one of the major problems for sewage networks because obviously, we end up treating rainwater in our treatment plants, increasing costs. “If we can fix that problem with IOT technology, it will put us a long way forward and justify the installation expenses”, Forster-Knight said. Network pressure Another IOT application includes measuring water network flow pressure. Using traditional monitoring approaches, you have to build a cabinet on the street with electricity connection, secure a footprint of land there, install traditional telemetry gear in and flow metering equipment. SEW estimated the costs at between $30,000 and $50,000 just to get a flow monitoring point. The onset of the battery-powered IOT technology that’s available now has allowed SEW to miniaturise that. All the equipment, including a highly powered low-flow detecting mag flow meter, with bi-directional flow recording, pressure-sensing, and water quality, can now fit in a small plastic pit. That's sending data back daily, and alarms in real time. We can do this with a battery because you only wake the equipment up from deep sleep to send data on certain conditions. The price point of IOT driven technology for the same application is around $3,000 to $5,000 mark, allowing SEW to put many hundreds more of these into the network. The IOT approach has allowed SEW to develop virtual District Metering Areas to detect if there is any leakage in a zone of the network. Traditionally to do that, you'd have to close the entire zone down using mechanical valves and have one feed-in so that you can detect when there’s potential leakage. Having many more sensors deployed using two-way flow sensors allows SEW to create virtual zones by placing measurement devices at strategic locations. SEW can then do automated flow balance without having to compromise the integrity or operation of the network. SEW’s operational crews are now armed with a simple traffic light interface which highlights which zones are showing signs of leakage or pressure issues, allowing them to target their leak detection efforts. Previously leak detection crews would walk the entire network over a three period, using listening sticks, and then start again. This is improving both efficiency and accuracy, allowing SEW to find major leaks that may have gone undetected. Laboratory on a chip SEW has also explored lab-on-chip technology in the water quality space, measuring for example free chlorine residuals. This is a very expensive process to do traditionally with large-scale assets required. By contrast, SEW is now using low-power printed sensors from a US company at a fraction of the cost, again allowing much greater distribution of the sensors. Similar sensors are being used for odour detectors that previously cost thousands, with associated powered sites, now available for $20 to $50. Automated Valves Another IOT technology SEW has embraced is a battery powered valve actuator from a small German company. SEW has hundreds of thousands of valves which are still mostly manually actuated, requiring an operator to go out with a large mechanical key. Valves can get stuck quite easily and there is traditionally no-visibility of the valve state or status (open or closed). An automated valve in the town of Nar Nar Goon in the Gippsland district The valves have cellular communications with microprocessors intelligently controlling the valve simulating human control with the ability to open the valve fast at first or slow, as required. The valve is powered by a briefcase size pack of lithium batteries buried next to the actuator. Again the valve is not awake all the time but responds to wake up call delivered via the SCADA system and the cellular modem. It also does a data session so it's really optimised for low power. So far we've been getting about two years life out of the battery pack, and then it's just a hot swap in the field with a recharged battery pack. SEW has installed about 35 of these devices so far, putting them where it makes strategic sense, like for flushing purposes. Traditionally an operator would open a valve and return four hours later to close it. So this really simple task can now be fully automated on both drinking water and wastewater networks. The network operators can now manipulate network flows, simply by clicking a button in the SCADA system, which is integrated with the sewer overflow detectors and the weather system as well. If the sewer network needs to have capacity, we can shut it down slightly. Forster-Knight said: “For a water or a wastewater company, the ability to control and manipulate your network in real time, from the back office is a huge step forward.” Pressure Sewers Another application that has developed is around its pressure sewer systems. Pressure sewers are effectively a replacement for the septic tank, normally found in rural areas, which can be an environmental risk if not maintained properly. With pressure sewers, every property gets a tank with a submersible pump and is connected into a much smaller version of the sewer system normally found in metropolitan areas. Working with local partners SEW has connected each installation via 3G cellular providing control and monitoring of each individual property. Because each property has to hold capacity, this allows SEW to smooth out the peak flows and pump during lower peak periods. “That's got huge ramifications for downstream investment. For example, it means we can use smaller pipes. We can use smaller transfer pump stations, and ultimately at our treatment plants, we can either defer major investment in the head works or downsize as required. That's where multi-million dollar savings have come through from an algorithm, running across thousands of machine to machine (M2M) connections,” Forster-Knight said. The current discharge profile is a typical diurnal flow pattern in a gravity sewer network, with morning and afternoon peaks. With pressure sewer, we have algorithms that hold certain pumps off, depending on how full the tank is, and empty them later in the day. The pressure sewer system also provides an analytical capability that SEW has never had before. For, example it is able to monitor pumps turning on and correlate it to rainfall data. If pumps turn on more frequently during rainfall it’s an indication there is a leak in a customer’s property and that’s something that we can feed back to them or it may be an indication of an illegal connection. Rainwater tank control Another application SEW has implemented is the manipulation of rainwater tanks to prevent flooding of local creeks and stormwater systems. SEE has instrumented a series of residence households so that they all don't discharge into the system at peak periods. Forster-Knight said: “The issue is that residents like to keep their rainwater tanks full. If they are empty and you get a storm, that buffers it okay. However, if another storm comes through the next day, you get still that huge runoff and the system can't handle it. “We thought there must be a smarter way. So we’ve put devices on every house now that measures the level of the tank. They talk to each other in real time, and also back to our central system. Once they get the prediction of the weather, they work themselves out so that they’ll each discharge their flow before the storm hits.” Every house is mapped by its roof size, and it’s a self-learning system. Every time it rains, the algorithm learns what happens to its tank profile, but the end-result is a smoother discharge into the stormwater system. This system has big benefits for suburbs that have constrained areas of stormwater, where the houses are so dense that normally there's not much that can be done. Typically every time it rains, their streets flood. As part of the system, SEW developed a smartphone app to give them visibility as to when it’s going to discharge, allowing them to do their own planning around it. Low Power Wide Area Networks Over the last 10 years, SEW’s battery powered smart devices were largely based on cellular communications. However, to move from thousands of devices to millions, Forster-Knight said SEW needs a low power wide area network. The issue is that cellular communications based devices still draw too much power compared to those operating on an LPWAN. A couple of years ago, South East Water went to market, for an LPWAN and got responses from around the globe. It shortlisted some technologies and did extensive trials. “All the technologies largely did what they said on the box, but the business models didn’t add up. The issue was that the ecosystems weren't there. We required an open system, with everything interoperable and secure. Really, we wanted the full wish list – battery mesh technology, long-range systems and the like, but we would have had to compromise because at the time the technology wasn't there. So we halted the project because we knew we wouldn't reach our vision for an IoT network.” Forster-Knight said. “However, in the last two years, a lot has changed, and it's going to continue to change. I think with the technologies that are emerging now, we will be able to get to the 10 to 15 years battery life that we need for our next phase of devices.” SEW is focusing their current investigations on NarrowBand IoT and LORAWan technology, with trials of both. Forster-Knight claimed they were among the most extensive trials in Australia and probably the world, for NB-IoT especially. What makes these systems attractive is their subscription-based approach, where the network will be there, making it plug and play. Forster-Knight said their ecosystems are already growing, and they “should be huge” in the next couple of years, providing a degree of future proofing and driving the cost down. NB-IoT is a licenced spectrum, so you get quality of service and a robust communications network. The LORAWan technology is currently in ISM free spectrum but is a strong contender according to Forster-Knight. Trialling process The trialling process begins with the Telcos providing SEW with desktop RF models, based on a terrain of Google Earth and others data sources. This allows predictions to be made. The next step is to conduct extent testing, with crews in the field driving and walking the streets to recalibrate those extents. The green area is the prediction of the extent of LPWAN coverage, which needs to be confirmed and calibrated. Within those areas of coverage, SEW is conducting extensive testing in the order of 50 to 100 test cases a day, covering every scenario, such as water meters, manhole sensors, fire hydrant sensors, near power stations, bodies of water, basements and even buried. We will be deploying between 700,000 and 800,000 devices just for our digital water meters and we have many more applications we want to do like those discussed so far. There should be over a million devices on this network. Our network will ultimately be an integration of our existing SCADA system with high-speed gateways on critical infrastructure integrated with the LPWAN for the non-critical stuff. Everything battery powered will migrate to the LPWAN network because the modules are going to be cheaper and the battery life is going to be longer. For any new capabilities, we will aim to leverage the same network. Operational management To manage all the data coming from the network, SEW built a network operations centre (NOC) at its new offices. This allows visualisation and control of all the devices in this case study in addition to CCTV and traditional SCADA. Engineers working in SEW’s Network Operations Centre. The NOC includes a six-panel display for detailed data and a large screen for situational awareness. We have real-time rotating networks through our sewer and water stations. All data analytics is done in this network operation centre. We have communications topology alerts, alarms, and health status as well as a rover system that interconnects all of the different corporate systems and will autonomously drill down as something happens in the network. “For example, if we have somebody open a door on an asset on the middle of the Peninsula, that will automatically drill down and it’ll tell you what vehicles are nearby, what jobs have been logged, any trends from the SCADA system,” Forster-Knight said. “It's a situational awareness tool that continually rotates throughout the day, and just gives that heads up to our operators so that nothing's ever missed. “As the IoT network rolls out the NOC Centre will really come into its own and the operations will really change and allow us to focus more on our core business of wastewater management.” Questions and Answers All questions from webinar participants All answers by Andrew Forster-Knight, Group Manager Intelligent Systems, South East Water Question: “What is the typical battery life?” Answer: That depends on the application. For something simple like an overflow switch that talks via exception and reports in a health check, you’ll you get ten years out of the primary lithium cells. For metering devices, the target life is 15 years with daily transmission and a payload of approximately 100 bytes. For more advanced stuff like water quality and flow measurement, we typically get between three and five years of battery life and that's a battery change onsite. We have a couple of patents in this area. One is for a low powered MEMS-based sensor where battery life is absolutely fundamental, so the entire design is built around a microcontroller that can run on an ultra-low current but is powerful enough to run any algorithms needed and still do all the communication. The device is called a Blockaid which includes an ultrasonic device with MEMs based gas sensors in it and includes some advanced algorithms optimised for running on a battery powered device. Question: What other patents do you have? Answer: One of the other patents that I’m involved with is a product called the OneBox, which is essentially a telemetry system, but it’s only using embedded electronics and has an algorithm. Again, the algorithms running on it integrate with our cloud-based systems to optimise those peak flows and smooth them out of the network. They're largely the two main ones that have been involved with, so everything from the core design through to user interfaces, and all-encompassing in the patents. Question: Is it your intention to market those products over water utilities? Answer: Yes. South East Water has a commercial arm called IOTA (http://www.iota.net.au/). Their mandate is to pick innovations out of South East Water, commercialise them and productize them and then take them outside of Victorian and outside of Australia which they have been doing. In Victoria, it's generally a shared system, so many of our innovations we will effectively give to any other Victorian Water Authority. We’re all owned by the same stakeholder being the Victorian government, but outside of that, there’s a commercial offering through our partners. Question: How are you securing your system? Are you concerned about network breaches?” Answer: Yes, security is at the forefront of everyone's mind here. With the networks we've got now, it's all cellular based but it’s all private network. We've got fibre into our buildings from the large Telcos so nothing goes over the public internet. Our protocols are encrypted where we ’re doing command and control. We've got some security from that aspect. Then there's the obvious physical security and everything else where the way we try and protect against that is for our remote assets is all about cameras, access control, and electronic keys. From there all the way through to our back-end systems. We’ve got security in place. We’re not saying that we’ve absolutely mastered that because I'm sure we haven't, but we're pretty comfortable in what we've got. It would take a huge effort for somebody to penetrate that network, and we do periodic penetration testing. For somebody sitting outside of our network and trying to wirelessly get in would be very difficult. Question: How much data are you sending per day from a typical monitoring station?” Answer: For devices where we want to get the 10 to 15 years battery life, we won’t be doing any more than 100 bytes a day, so really small packets on that low power Wide Area Network. For our traditional SCADA systems, where telemetry data is quite small, it would probably be around two to five kilobytes a day of real-time data. Because we're using them as gateways for cameras and other such devices, we get up to a couple of megabytes a day, and in some cases many megabytes depending on the activity the camera side. We've got over 9,500 M2M, SIM-card based connections. We use a platform called Jasper where you can optimise the profiles of all the SIM cards to share the costs across them, so whether it's a camera system, a laptop, or a telemetry device, we smooth them out. Roughly speaking we pay under $3 a month per device across that entire network. Question: Do you use edge computing concepts to minimise data transfer? Answer: It's not something we've done a heap of, but there’s a really big use case coming up for that it which is the disaggregation of flow data. That's done in the electricity AMI network now. They’re doing that where they can desegregate your data to say that your electricity is getting used on your washing machine, your fridge, etc by pulling it apart and doing pattern recognition. On the electricity side, they've got the benefit of having everything powered, so they can get that ten-second data grabs or even more frequently back through their IP backhaul. For us, that's going to be done with battery devices. We can't send that amount of data, so we do have to do that with edge computing. For example, water meters will have to process that data themselves. So they have to be super-efficient in order to do that and being able to send out summaries of that. This is a future thing. It's probably a few years away or a year, but our thinking is that the meters will do all of the processing as sufficiently as possible for a battery device, and send summaries of the disaggregation. That's definitely something in our thinking right now. Question: Is there any size limitation on the battery packs for actuated valves?” Answer: There's not. We get what the vendor provides at the moment, which is a briefcase size pack of regulated lithium batteries that are rechargeable. There probably isn't a limit to the size, but I think practicality it has to come into it. The bigger that battery pack, the more real estate, and the bigger the pit potential you have to dig and bury et cetera. But for our thinking getting two years out of a rechargeable battery pack, and being able to actuate a valve in real time is probably a good sweet spot for us. There has been some talk about building photovoltaic cells into the manhole covers, to trickle charge those batteries. We’re weighing up the investment to do that versus sending someone out for a 20-minute change over every couple of years, so it's a balancing act. Question: There have been news reports of lithium batteries blowing up in cell phones. Are there any concerns about that kind of thing happening in these battery-powered devices? Answer: For all of the stuff we do I the sewer network we actually lithium batteries that are intrinsically safe, certified. We have to be really careful about that because the gas build up in the sewer network could be explosive potentially. We pick the batteries that are designed to get that ATEX certification and they're generally pretty safe. Question: With so many sensors in the field, how do you prevent nuisance alarms from flooding the operator with alarms and notifications? Answer: That's something that can really kill a project or an initiative if you are flooding and spamming them with alarms. It’s about careful control and commissioning I guess of these devices. We discuss with the operations teams the threshold and alarm limits that are agreed on. With that said, all our devices are generally two-way communications, so that if there are thresholds causing nuisance alarms, we can quickly reconfigure them. It's not a huge issue for us because our analytics show the high frequency of alarms and we can get onto them pretty quickly. Question: Do you have a ballpark cost for a valve actuator?” Answer: It's around probably AU$15,000 by the time you install it, with road work and an excavator. The equipment itself is probably in the order of $10,000. It's a small start-up building these devices and they don't have a huge scale, but we think that will come over time. We're helping them to innovate and make them smaller and cheaper, but even at that price, they probably a fifth of the cost to do it the traditional way, which is building an actual chamber, and then having power from the grid power to do all that stuff. To us, it's a no-brainer to get the battery one. Question: Can you please explain how you work with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in sourcing their data, and do you provide them with your data as well? Answer: We work pretty closely with the BOM head office here in Melbourne, as well as the other third parties weather date providers such as Weatherzone. We wrap all the data up at the integration layer in some REST APIs . Question: Who pays for the pressure sewer stations at the customer’s house, and who is responsible for maintaining parts? Answer: Some people that have been on backlog scheme for many years where they get this technology available get that device for free. Others that want to connect early pay a token contribution fee and that’s largely where the growth is coming from. SEW effectively maintains and operates every single pump, on behalf of the customer, so the customer doesn't touch the device. For the really high-value properties down, especially down the peninsula, you can’t subdivide if you've got a septic tank. But if you put a pressure sewer pump in, where you can choose the location of it, all of a sudden they can open up their land. Questions: Apart from power, what are the other advantages of LPWAN. Answer: With traditional cellular technologies like 3G or 4G, anything underground you may get a signal or you may not, and so there's a lot of use of external aerials etc. When you go to low power Wide Area that’s using NarrowBand technology, so a really small slice of the spectrum. With that you get a better penetration, so for example in the case of NarrowBand IoT, it's a 20 dB gain on existing GPRS technology. If you can imagine wherever you get a phone signal now and where it just drops out, in the case of NarrowBand IoT it's another 20 dB further penetration than that, which typically works at about seven times the distance. If you can imagine that all of a sudden this penetration is much better than what your current cellular technology is. With LPWAN, we can go further to those hard to reach places, like water meters under manhole covers etc. Also, there are a lot of cellular black spots right now, which under the low power wide area will line up and be available. Question: What type of algorithms are you using? Is it a genetic algorithm, or another such as the fuzzy logic control? What are using for sewer pumping stations level control? Answer: We do machine learning and we use the Microsoft Azure platform for a few things, but that's largely around water and network link detection. For the sewer algorithm, they're probably not that advanced. They’re typically reverse engineering flow curves, and putting polynomials around that so that we can, within the realms of an RTU or a small control app, apply basic controls to adjust the pumps to where they need to be. Question: Surely having a 3G SIM on 4000 plus tanks is cost prohibitive and uncompetitive. Answer: You've got to weigh up what you call uncompetitive in terms of costs. Six or seven years ago the proposed approached was to sewer the entire Peninsula using traditional gravity means and it was going to cost around $500 million to do it. You have no guarantee that somebody is going to connect in, with massive pipes, deep trenching, property and road description. With pressure sewer that all goes away. We delivered it for about $250 million just by the change of technology and deferred major capital investment. Also, the benefits from the ability to monitor each house in real time are pretty insignificant. The SIM costs are about a couple of dollars a month per device but we get much more value back in the return on investment through the data and control we get. Question: Can you please advise a typical cost per point for a connection that you are looking at to achieve for the system? Have you done any cost-benefit analysis? How do you justify the investment? Answer: There are some prices in the market for LPWAN technologies already through Sigfox and LoRA. My personal view, looking at the business cases I need to mount, is that LPWAN connection fees need to be no more than about $5 per endpoint per year, which is a fairly substantial reduction versus the current cellular costs of about $36. Cost-benefit analysis is done on a case by case basis and takes into account the risks. For example, with a single sewer spill, we could be up for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and insurance and EPI, etc. In addition, we get the benefit of securing our network. With the case of the IoT network and the million devices, we will absolutely be giving a robust business case that will have to stand up to scrutiny by government and others. It will be challenged and pulled apart, so for every aspect of this network, the feasibility of it will be really rigorous. Question: Has it been considered that you implement solar panels into the existing networks to maintain the battery charge?” Answer: Yes, we're working with a couple of R&D companies because we would like them integrated into covers etc to prevent theft. Nothing really exists off the shelf so we have to do the R&D. The question for us is how much do we spend in terms of design and R&D and potential maintenance of these cells versus putting a rechargeable battery in there and getting out there every couple years to replace it. Question: Is there a back up to the 3G network applications you had.” Answer: We actually run dual SIM, so we use multiple carriers both with private networks, fired back into our main data centres and also our disaster recovery site. If one of the Telcos or the signal is down for whatever reason the system will automatically switch to a completely independent carrier, and the signal will come through that way, so that's how we handle the redundancy. It's a good question because a lot of our critical assets are on that. Some of them we do have fibre too, but largely speaking it's much more efficient and easy for us to put a 4G dual SIM router, and have two independent carriers to do the backup. Question: Do you foresee any customer behaviour change programmes to help even out water services demand as is done for electricity demand in the electricity industry. Answer: That gets talked about very often here but I don't see it happening in the immediate future. At the moment we don’t have the time of use and the only way we're really going to get there is to have a digital metering network to get that data. You can change behaviour a bit in terms of how much people are using, but when as to when people are going to have a shower, or use water, some people see it philosophically a little bit different. However, if we did that we would get a lot of value. A lot of our assets are over-designed. If we could actually reduce demand and have it consistently reduced, we could downsize or defer augmentation. There’s a really big value in it and we're looking at it. Question: When you mention the reduction in pumping sizes and smoothing out of pumping load, have there been any other initiatives that have been aimed specifically at energy savings? Answer: We actually integrate directly with the Australian Energy Market Operator. We've got pool pricing, where we follow the price of the market and we actually shed when the price goes high by turning off operations at the treatment plant or run off diesel generators. That actually saves us a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in electricity. We also do a heap of off-peak pumping demand forecasting to take pumps out of the peak time. Lots of little initiatives like that. Question: Has any residential smart water metering been rolled out in the network, and if so which technology? Answer: There's been a lot of trials in Australia and it’s a big focus in California. With the drought, there are arguments to say that if we had digital meters we potentially could have deferred Desalination because the efficiencies wouldn’t be that great. Around the world others have picked a technology and run with it, so they're largely AMR or AMI based systems using proprietary technology. We want IOT technology with open standards and that is only starting to happen now. There have been some announcements based on LoRA and also around SigFox which is in the proprietary bucket but with a big ecosystem. The Victorian Authority has done trials with different tech, and now I guess we're all looking for one that's going to stand up to a robust business case and deliver the customer value. Question: How does this of subscription system for Telecom assets works. Answer: For the current cellular system we use for M2M, that's a monthly fee based on the amount of data. I think there will be a similar process for the low power wide area networks. I think they will still have a tiered system where if you go over certain bytes or kilobytes you transfer into a different system, but largely speaking I expect that to be a fixed fee per year to get the data delivered to your door. Question: Do any of the Australian mobile carriers support LORAWAN network? Answer: No, not to my knowledge, but there are quite a few emerging companies that are going to become telecommunication providers for LORAWan, so in their own rights there will be Telcos providing an IoT network. Question: Do you have any issues with the penetration of water into the devices? Answer: It's a huge issue that we identified very early on. So we use IP 68 ratings, actually certifying to that and are potting electronics. That’s pretty much a standard now for any battery device we put out in the field. Question: This technology seems like it can be used in conjunction with Telstra Air. Would it be possible for Telstra to upgrade the SIM cards and allow them to also meet hotspots at Telstra Air network?” Answer: Yes, that’s effectively what it is. In the case of NarrowBand IoT, the Telcos will literally be reusing the same towers. In a lot of cases, it'll be a software upgrade to their cell tower and they’ll automatically be enabled for NarrowBand IoT. It will be a very minimal change for the Telcos and because it's licenced, the Telstra Air stuff is obviously Wi-Fi, this is a NarrowBand technology will work for the little devices sending small bytes of data, but yeah it's going to be an easy upgrade process for the Telcos.
  2. 2 points
    As far as buzzwords go, the Internet of Things (IOT) is breaking all records. Topping the Gartner Hype Curve for the last two years running, it has been described as THE defining technological trend of the next decade. The hype is around the projections that IOT technology will impact the vast majority of business processes in virtually every industry, effectively transforming the Internet and our economy as we know it. The message is clear for engineers starting their career – you need to know about this important technology if you want to have a full spectrum of skills that are attractive to employers of the future. IOT refers to the integration of physical objects with a range of communication technologies, enabling them to be monitored and/or controlled remotely over the internet. You can learn more about the technology in our Introduction to IOT, but a key message is that the opportunity is greatest for those prepared to understand how IOT can deliver innovation and provide leadership in building the business case for change in their field and in their organisations. To support our members, Engineers Australia is launching an online Community of Practice on 5 July 2016, called the Applied IOT Engineering Community. It’s a new and completely free service to student and graduate members, championed by the Information Technology and Electronics College of Engineers Australia. A key point of difference is that the community will primarily be online, allowing you to participate from your own desk or mobile device. This means regional members and those too busy to make face to face meetings can participate fully. Over the course of the next year we will have 48 webinars on the subject of IOT. If you participate in all of these and other community activities, it’s like getting a new qualification completely free. The first four webinars complement each other to provide a comprehensive overview, so we encourage you to sign up for those as a minimum. In addition, the community is supported by an online community platform with a calendar of events, discussion forum, member blogs, social media functions, a wiki and document library. The more ambitious young engineers will be actively participating in online discussion and using the social media function of the platform to blog their ideas about how to apply IOT in their field. This will help you build your thought leadership reputation and enhance career opportunities through building a following. A specific opportunity for recent graduates is to take up an official volunteer role to help run the community and manage the website. This is a great option for graduates seeking to network for job opportunities and add a current role to their resume. For further information, contact the community facilitator Tim Kannegieter, on <iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au>.
  3. 1 point
    The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to deliver a tidal wave of data. It has been estimated that 25 gigabytes of data is generated by the average smart car every hour. This will be a major challenge for any operator of fleet of smart cars. In the future, it is conceivable that all cars will be generating this amount of data and there were roughly 18 million vehicles in Australia alone, in 2015. This is just one example in a myriad of potential applications of IoT. One project that is generating more data than almost any other in the world is the Square Kilometer Array. It's an international astronomy project currently being built in Australia and South Africa. High frequency radio telescopes are being installed in South Africa and low and medium frequency radio telescopes are being installed in west Australia. This will be a coordinated system of 3000 radio telescopes with a combined area of one square kilometer. The system is going to be operational by 2020 and the computer infrastructure to handle the amount of data that will be coming from that system does not yet exist. The square km array is expected to generate 30 petabytes of data a day. There is no cloud service that can currently accommodate 30 petabytes of data per day. You may have seen charts which show generation of data from the IoT and production of storage devices, and they're diverging quite significantly. The world is already generating much more data than we can afford to store. Another example of such a large data volumes is Large Hadron Collider, which generates 10 times less data, about three petabytes of data per day, but they can still cannot afford to store it and process offline because they don't have the luxury to store all that data. Sometimes physicists complain they could miss some important revolutionary discoveries simply because they can't afford to store the data. So the world is becoming familiar with dealing with data in terms of petabytes (1015) and spy agencies around the world are reportedly collected data in the realm of Yottabytes (1024). However, experts are now saying that the IoT will force us to think in terms of Brontobytes (1027). To compare, three exabytes (1018) is the amount of data contained in half a million of libraries of the size of US Library of Congress, which is considered the largest library in the world. These large projects and the IoT generally is driving a paradigm shift towards new architectures for data analytics. Source: A presentation by Arkady Zaslasky, Data 61, CSIRO in a presentation titled Harnessing the IoT Data Flood
  4. 1 point
    This page lists a range of micro examples of IOT across a variety of industries: Smart Homes and Buildings: Security: Remote monitoring of properties can be freed of the need for wiring, making installation much easier. It is also easier to install remotely controlled actuators such door and gate locks. In addition, IoT systems can add a level of intelligence to home security systems, alerting you to unusual activity, letting you know if you are leaving home with a door or window open etc. Toothbrush. One may consider, “Why would you want to connect to a tooth brush?” Currently a dentist would advise you that you need to get your teeth cleaned by your dentist every 6 months but that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact some people might need to get their teeth cleaned by a dentist every 3 months because they’re not very good at brushing their teeth. For some people it could be every 9 months. Air conditioning: The point is being reached where your home can learn about its occupants and their patterns of behavior. For example a text message could be sent to the owner as notification at 10 am Monday morning advising that the air-conditioning is still on but with no-one at home, asking if the system should turn the air conditioning off. Intelligence enables a user experience that wasn’t previously possible because the instrumentation wasn’t available. Whitegoods: Whirlpool, is a manufacturer of white goods and they are starting to ship their products now within embedded connectivity. They aim to gain a better idea of how they their products are being used by their customers and to close the loop on the engineering process. They aim to deliver a product into the market in a way that facilitates the feedback to the design and engineering process. This will assist in optimising things like averting unnecessary part replacements, being able to make intelligent decisions about warranty lengths. It can also assist in maintenance by delivering the ability to repair products in place and to diagnose the problem before the technician gets there rather than having to visit firstly to diagnose the problem, order parts and the return later to effect the repair. This would naturally reduce the cost of warrantee repairs for the organisation. Swimming Pools: pHin is a company incubated at Playground Global that provides an end-to-end lifecycle of pool management service around delivery of chemicals, pool maintenance and everything to do with your swimming pool. The device pictured measures the chemical makeup of the swimming pool that it's floating in. It's connected via Bluetooth to a low-power hub and can be managed through a phone. It all started from one very simple IoT idea to build this floating device that would tell the homeowner when they needed to put chlorine in the pool but they've developed the business model out so that it now encompasses managing the entire ecosystem of your pool. If you need a pool technician, they'll automatically call it out. If you need chemicals, they'll automatically deliver it. They can do preventative maintenance on your pumps. They can help ultimately look at your electricity usage, etc.. Child activity: Elanation is a business that encourages kids go outside to play.Kids have a wearable device and they earn points by playing in the physical world so that they can come inside and play on their iPads and play games. There is an associated that runs on Apple devices and an entire backend for managing that business. Their wearable devices are manufactured in China Other devices are: the Quirkey smart egg tray, which lets users know when they need to buy eggs. Infrastructure: Asset management: A lot of servicing is typically done on a rules basis such as tightening the bolts every 2 years when in fact every 2.5 to 3 years may be sufficient if a condition based servicing model were used. IOT can be used to more easily instrument all elements of infrastructure to enable this. Another asset management business is SkyGrid which were accelerated through the muru-D accelerator which is Telstra's accelerator. Their whole idea is they can track anything, anywhere, at any time. They're really focused in the asset management space like vehicles, like all of the assets that are on a construction site or on an oil rig. They're starting to do smart hot water systems and working in the plumbing space or making those sorts of devices a much more intelligent pro-active maintenance aspect to their business. Concrete: A concrete truck company was pouring slabs of concrete and had been waiting for about 45 minutes to move on to the next one. The 45 minute period had been determined from some calculations for the worst case conditions such as temperature and humidity, for the concrete slab to harden. As a result, there was a high-cost for the cement truck and operator remaining idle waiting for a period of time to start the next pour. A simple sensor was created to place in to the concrete, to provide feedback to the operator that the next pour could proceed. The business was able to double its productivity just by that very simple, low cost sensing. The business process was optimized in a manner where commercially and technically it wasn’t previously viable to do so. Bridge monitoring: Sensors can be installed on bridges to measure the fatigue of various components in order to better enable predictive maintenance. It can also enable better measure what what kind of loads the bridge is being subject to. While predictive maintenance concepts have been around for a long time, it has previously been cost prohibitive to hard-wire sensors to large pieces of infrastructure. Safety helmets: A number of companies are designing and producing safety helmets that can monitor the users movement and impacts to the helmet. For example, if it detected a severe impact followed by no movement it may automatically call emergency services right away. Pipeline management: A Victoria water utility called GWM Water covering 71 towns and 32,000 properties implemented a rural pipeline intelligence project. This involved installing telemetry on rural meters and the pipeline network. The business case was around the usual of lower costs, reduced downtime, avoidance of upgrades and improved water security etc. The project used LPWAN technology from Taggle with 46 gateways and nearly 14,000 devices. A remote Terminal Unit was added to each of the existing water meters with a batter life of 10+ years. Data was recorded every hour and transmitted daily. Building information management (BIM) systems: A developing application of augmented reality where high quality digital visualisation glasses can be built into safety helmets for work on a building site. The glasses use sophisticated tracking, laser sensors and stereo cameras to track the user's location and project relevant digital overlays on building features as the user moves around. Building Management Systems will also be greatly impacted. Smart Cities: Parking: Smart parking is dependent on parking sensors. One of the daunting aspects of installing parking sensors is the actual insulation of hundreds of thousands of sensors in the environment. Ease of installation is a key success factor. Waste management: Rather than emptying garbage bins on a regular basis sensing allows optimization of the way in which that garbage is collected. Sensors can detect how full the bin is and even odours. Lighting: While sensors can be used to detect movement and light only as required, IoT can take this to a new level by mapping usage of public thoroughfares. Livability: Sensors can be used to determine a whole range of environmental indicators of livability in cities including noise, heat, air pollution, wind tunnel effects etc. Agriculture Animal tracking: A lot of people are considering how we track animals. One of the challenges with animal tracking is the replacement of the existing ear tag with a device which allows the location of the beast to be known any given point in time, this will add mass to that existing ear tag. At the moment there are problems where existing ear tags fall out because of their mass, and increasing Tag mass will exacerbate the problem. In this instance ultra-unit cost and additionally ultra-small mass or weight is really important. Cropping: There are numerous case studies now of smart approaches to crop management, e.g. environmental monitoring of crops. Ovass is a startup on smart crop data and analytics focused on reducing scouting effort around pests, disease and nutrition. Cisco has a joint venture with NSW government to improve agricultural practices using IoT. Deploying sensors rather than monitoring manually can improve the quality and consistency of montoring, as manual monitoring can be costly and inaccurate if environmental conditions outside of the monitoring period affect results. FarmBot covers water management. Detecting when animals or irrigation are using water in tanks, the quality of that water and providing that information back to the farm so they can much more closely manage and monitor their water usage across large farms in the middle of nowhere. They use satellite technology to get the data back to the cloud. Ovass does deep data analysis in the agriculture sector, aggregating data from multiple agricultural farms to provide a very, very deep analysis of what's happening inside that farm, using sensors to gather that data such as use of water, use of pesticides, yield of how much that the crops are actually generating etc It's a business that's using agricultural big data to provide some amazing insights that are then being supported by the data they're getting from sensors throughout farms. Transport Pallet Tracking: Pallet tracking is an example where a lot of people think of GPS. They ask for or say that they need a GPS tracker. Now for a truck that might make sense, where for the last 10 or 20 years people have been instrumenting trucks with a really expensive $3000 tracker that takes a lot to install. Now we’re getting to the point where users wish to not just track the truck but also wish to track the container, the pallets within it and individual boxes on the pallets. For those kinds of application, a lot of the time a pallet or a box might spend its life inside buildings. It may go from one country to another, into a shipping container, into a truck, into a warehouse or into a storeroom. There are some boxes and logistical applications where the device never really sees the light of day, and remains out of GPS range. GPS would be a really poor choice technology for some applications and there are other better options. In application such as tracking moving vehicles, response time and latency become really important. Smart cars: It has been estimated that 25 gigabytes of data is pushed by the average smart car every hour. They have microprocessors and dozens of sensors that collect lots of data including the route of the car, speed, performance of components, road conditions etc. The current challenge is how best to use this data for the benefit of the users. Environment Wildlife monitoring: CSIRO is involved in the continental scaled tracking of flying foxes to research mobility patterns of individuals. It developed a lightweight sensor device weighing 15 grams with GPS on it, including an accelerometer, and a radio transmitter. When the flying foxes stop at a nest, or base camp, then the data is uploaded to a hub and then transmitted to a processing center. Water health: Sensing for leakages of chemicals, sewage, turbidity and other pollution indicators. Other applications include bushfire detection, water levels in rivers, wildlife populations through listening for sounds etc, Manufacturing Automatic detection of hazards: CSIRO is involved in a project called Guardian Angel, which automatically monitors where people are in relation to moving machines. It can then take preventative action to stop accidents. Real time monitoring of yield: Before IoT, yield was managed as the end-to-end production from the factory over months or weeks. With IoT, floor supervisors can intervene to improve a situation arising from a machine or worker because this KPI is delivered in real time. There are also opportunities for training workers, safety, and standardisation. One affordable, wearable technology used in manufacturing is Epson glasses, which can provide augmented reality views to pinpoint particular production issues. Health Caring for the elderly in their home: One example of the application of cognitive computing in IoT is in health care for the elderly in their own homes (curtesy IBM). Asking the elderly to wear sensors is problematic because they may not raise an alert when they should or they alert when they shouldn’t and people stop wearing them after a while. An alternative approach is to instrument other things in the house such as fridge doors, light switches, bathrooms, movement sensors, and maybe infrared sensors etc. The cognitive software can then build up an understanding of what normal looks like. When something abnormal happens, the system can then raise an alert and make a call to the emergency services. Medical aids: One emerging technology is the Proteus pill, a pill with a digestible sensor. It can be used to monitor how much medication patients have taken and when they take it. This allows medical professionals to monitor whether patients are taking their medication correctly. Exercise monitors: The Garmin Vivofit is an example of a wearable exercise monitor. Home monitoring of patients with chronic diseases: The Australian department of health (DOHA) is developing a large scale project with Swinburne University which is studying the health and economic outcomes of introducting IoT home monitoring devices to high-risk patients with chronic disease. Utilities Smart metering of water: Australian smart metering company WaterGroup has developed a campus-wide smart metering solution for both water and gas for Australian National University in Canberra, with automatic alerts, data analytics and integration with sustainability management systems. This included a retrofitted data-logging device on existing meters, which converted them to smart meters. This system measures baseflow and detects leaks, and was able to return water savings that provided a return of investment in less than a year. Watergroup has also installed a Sigfox smart water metering system for Coffs Harbour City Council (the first Sigfox commercial smart metering system outside of Europe and North America), which covers around 80% of the population of the council area. Automotive Car to Car: Vehicles may be able to talk to each other for safety reasons such as collision avoidance, and for efficiency reasons such as better convoy performance in logistics. Car to Infrastructure: There are multiple ways vehicles could interact with infrastructure such as parking systems, highway safety features etc. Diagnostics: As with many consumer goods, diagnostic information can be sent from the the various things that make up a car and this can be used to deliver superior services to the owner and also to improve design of components. Ti can also improve investigation of equipment faults and better manage the need for product recalls. Sharing economy: Making cars themselves, internet enabled things can improve the ability to automate ride sharing business processes. Ownership changes: Processes around ownership changes of vehicles can be improved when the digital identity of the automobile is manifested at the point of manufacturing. Personalised Media: Vehicles with common IoT technology may be able to recognise you so that regardless of what vehicle you are in, it will deliver personalised media. This can be used for entertainment purposes such as in rental cars or can be used for business purposes across large fleets used in logistics or public transport. Driver behaviour modification: GoFar have a smart device that goes in your car and it scores your driving. It has a Bluetooth connection to your phone. It's helping you to drive better with logs and scores providing feedback. The economic incentive is to save you a lot of fuel. It helps you track your expenses and monitor / reduce your emissions. They did a successful Kickstarter, crowdfunding. Energy Energy Demand Management: Economics is the key driver for this application, as it affects the unit price of power. It also has implications for the environment and energy security. Demand can be controlled on the user side by introducing smart metres with circuit breakers. Hybrid Generation Systems: A smart hybrid generation system is used to run the King Island power supply in Tasmania (Hydro Tasmania). It combines energy from wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and diesel generators and also performs demand-side management using IoT devices. Smart metres installed homes allow users to monitor their electricity usage over the internet. Sources: The information on this page was primarily sourced from: Webinar titled IoT Application Development with Open Data-Driven Computing Platforms by Prof Dimitrios Georgakopoulos, Swinburne University of Technology. Webinar titled Augmented reality for ‘in context' visualisation of IOT data by Allan Thompson, PTC Technical Manager, LEAP Australia
  5. 1 point
    In order to fine tune the operation of our recently launched Applied IOT Engineering Community, we would like to find out more about what kinds of topics you want to hear about and what kinds of activities we should be doing. The core members of the community have created the following survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WTXQYJ We would greatly appreciate it if you could take just a few minutes to complete this and to provide any general comments on how you would like this community to evolve. If you have any questions about this survey or the community, don't hesitate to contact me via iotengineering@engineersaustralia.org.au. Best regards, Dr Tim Kannegieter Knowledge Manager Engineers Australia
  6. 1 point
    The success of the Applied IOT Engineering Community depends very much on the engagement of its members. As such we would very much like you to optimise your settings so that you are aware of what is going on and can engage fully. Due to privacy laws we can't do this for you. Following are the steps you need to take to be fully engaged: Firstly you need to be logged on to make changes to your settings. Click the sign in button at the top right or register if you have not already done so. Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter, which lists upcoming webinars and changes to the wiki. To subscribe: Click the down arrow under your name in the top right corner. Selected Account Settings >> Notification Settings Then tick the "Send me News and Information" box. Follow the main forums: Click on the Forums tab > then the IOT Engineering forum then click the Follow button top right Choose you frequency of emails (we recommend "when new content is posted" otherwise you can't participate in the live conversation). Repeat for the Industry News forum and also the Community Agenda forum if you want to get more involved. Follow new resources and announcements: Click on the Resources tab > then Case Studies Press the Follow button and select frequency of emails. Follow the Wiki: Click on the Wiki tab, then index and click the follow button. The above are the most important ones. However, we also suggest that you bookmark the following useful pages in your browser: Calendar of events Webinar Recordings On your profile page (down arrow in top right corner) A) upload an image of yourself (picture icon next to circle) and B) Say something about yourself by clicking the "Edit Profile" button. C) Tick any appropriate organisation membership. D) Consider enabling status updates so you can share what you are doing in the IOT space; E) Tick "news and information" and "automatically follow content" in the Notification Settings ; Do please choose to receive emails frequently as most communities thrive with regular interaction. Finally, don't forget to make a contribution by: Starting a discussion thread, ask a question or make a comment in the IoT Engineering Forum. Add a company announcement to the Industry News Forum or comment on any announcement. Add an IoT event you have heard of, or are hosting, to the Other IoT Events section of the Calendar Make a comment on any page of the Wiki. Post a blog and tell your friends about.
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