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We're going underground with the IOT

This week a colleague of mine was invited to undertake some tests to see how our devices worked when installed under manhole covers. We were told to expect poor results as others had struggled in the past but the device performed really well. We were presented with 3 types of manholes (light, medium & heavy) and we did some testing with both GSM (GPRS) and 169MHz radio equipment.

Things went really well with us being able to communicate from beneath all three types on manholes with both GSM (GPRS) devices and the 169MHz radio kit.

So why is it we have succeeded where others have failed..? First of all with the GSM (GPRS) equipment we have a well tuned antenna but more importantly we do some clever power management making sure the GSM device gets plenty when it needs it making communications as robust as is possible.

Frequency also has an impact. The higher the frequency the waves the harder they find it to burrow through objects such as manhole covers. Different GSM operators use different bands. We use multi network sim cards to give us the best performance possible. The frequency is also why the 169MHz radio equipment has worked so well.


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Making (radio) waves

In the coming weeks we will be introducing a new range of radio transmitters, suitable for meter reading, building monitoring, smart cities, smart factories, IOT, M2M and lots more. We have recently been doing some range testing and the results are fantastic. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques and the general advancement in electronics we have been able to achieve 5.7 miles (around 9 kilometres) at a price point that is around 10% of something comparable I was deploying 20 years ago. Not only is the kit lower in price but it’s also smaller, lighter & easier to use.

What clients will be able to do is install equipment with confidence – this kind of range means that it will be easy to get across a factory, building development or even a decent sized town, with lots of sensors and meters reporting back to a single hub. We will be able to then use GSM based technology to get the data into IOT clouds or provide interfaces to get the data into PLC’s, SCADA systems and such like. A stronger signal means more robust communications which in turn means better reliability and therefore low operational costs.


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Making sense of the internet of things

Things are moving at a fast pace in the internet of things world but recent dialogue with various industry experts shows me there’s a bit of a bottle neck in the data collection side of things. It’s vital that accurate data is collected reliably, that the solutions are easy to deploy and have the ability to be centrally managed. This is precisely why we have created a a solution that allows you to connect thousands of different types of sensors from hundreds of manufacturers and have the data available via an API. Within minutes of plugging in a connector you can data flowing, available securely online. Data that is accurate & reliable from locations very remote and without power.

Thanks to our catalogue of proven configurations and a solution platform that facilitates sensor management parameters bets understood by instrument technicians can handled by the click of a mouse. Zero, span, tag names, thresholds… all configurable from your computer, laptop or even smart phone from wherever you are in the world, wherever your equipment is. Now that really is making sense of the internet of things. We’ve turned hardware into easyware.


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Mitigating IOT deployment risks

There’s no need to keep on re-inventing the wheel and deploying a proven piece of kit not only reduces development time but also increases the chance of success. Solutions such as the Metron ensure that accurate data is delivered reliably and with “out of the box” solutions available that encompass many different verticals and utilise thousands of sensors the no matter what you want to do there’s a good chance we have a “plug and go” option for you.

As the world of IOT evolves then the need for M2M and telemetry technology increases. In order to make life easy & affordable for the IOT world we have developed a way for data from pretty much any sensor to be made available through a simple and well documented API so no matter what you want to monitor it’s there, at a click of a mouse.

Sensors need to be deployed appropriately and often they need to be configured to suit the application, and thanks to the Metron platform this can all be done from thousands of miles away using your computer.

Data collection & integration has never been easier.

   


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Being aware of great things

It’s amazing how you can go through life and not be aware of something that is brilliant. I like to do a bit of running. Nothing competitive, just a way to try and keep the weight off as the years advance. I think it’s fair to say it’s more jogging than running. Over the years the legs have got stiffer, especially when getting out of bed in the morning, and the minor injuries become more frequent. I’ve increased my mileage in recent weeks and this led to a calf strain which was pretty sore. A personal trainer friend suggested I try out a foam roller so the next day I went shopping and within days I could feel the improvement. Two weeks later my calf is fine and I'd not taken the rest normally recommended. I’ve just done a quick web search and see the theory of lengthening muscles is by no means new and foam rollers have generally been around for about ten years. What I do know is that they are brilliant and have not only helped my calf but also helped with the general aches and pains I get in my legs.

Why didn’t I know about them sooner..?

I hear similar things from customers. They have either spent forever trying to find a suitable solution or have gone with others and found them to be lacking. Had I known to search for ‘foam roller’ on the web I’d have been laughing. As a supplier one of the tricks is working out what people search for. If I google ‘reduce leg pain after running’ I don’t get told about foam rollers.

We connect your sensors to the internet making the data available to you so you can view on your computer, tablet or smartphone; you can integrate to other software; you have configurable alerts. The solutions are compatible with tens of thousands of sensors from major manufacturers. Indexed and proven. It’s out of the box., ready to use. It’s finding those business who need the equivalent of my foam roller..!

  

  

   


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Plug And Play Remote Monitoring

We are all guilty of it.... not reading the instruction manual. I did it yesterday when a new washing machine arrived and predictably I forgot to remove the transit screws. It happens all the time with our customers - we get calls about things that we thought were clearly presented in a fairly brief manual. Units are returned that have been connected to the mains even though it's clear the device operates from 12/24Vdc.

What we all want is plug and play and that's what we've brought you. We have catalogued hundreds if not thousands of sensors from the a wide range of manufacturers and can supply you with a ready to use remote monitoring solution. All you need to do is wire in your sensor and the readings are avalable through a web site and for collection via a simple and well documented API.

It's proven. It's affordable. It's flexible. It's the Industrial Internet of Things Out of a Box.