Intelligent infrastructure and computing applications are proliferating, especially at the edge, in the form of sensors, gateways, routers, and switches. Smart sensors are transforming the automation world by improving sensor reliability and increasing plant performance by providing actionable information. These sensors, as an enabler for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), will play an increasingly important role in process automation in the future. They typically generate 20 to 50 times more data than their non-intelligent counterparts, provide more refined sensor readings, and can monitor sensor health and perform self-diagnostics. Similarly, industrial network gateways (an IoT Gateway) are now evolving rapidly from simple network interfacing and protocol conversion to a primary enabler of sensor-to-cloud integration and edge computing.
Background: L&T Technology Services (LTTS) partnered with a Japanese food processing company to develop a sensor node and IoT gateway for measuring and transmitting vibration data from the conveyors.
Today’s gateways, whether Ethernet, wireless, or cellular-based, are transforming the industrial IoT network edge. Going beyond the traditional applications, gateway products now enable sensor-to-cloud integration, thus further supporting a company’s transition towards an IoT-based digital enterprise.
The Solution: The gateway developed by LTTS helped the client to collect operational status from the conveyor by establishing an IoT gateway. This gateway communicated between the sensor node and the Cloud, and collected vibration data for further analysis. This data could be accessed by people in the form of dashboards through a web application.
Business Value Delivered: LTTS’s sensor to cloud connectivity solution connected sensor node to IoT gateway using ZigBee protocol, and IoT gateway to the Cloud server using 3G/LTE Internet line. The operational data from the conveyor was sent to the Cloud server and transferred to the web-based analysis tool. Algorithms in the analysis tool helped the client to visualize and monitor conditions in real time and to take operational decisions. Various other interfaces such as LTE, WI-Sun, I2C, SPI, and RS232 were used as part of the connectivity solution. Cellular and wireless gateways are reliable enablers of remote access, monitoring, and service for assets that may be distant, widely distributed, mobile, or previously not integrated. Web application capabilities were leveraged to ensure data connectivity and user authentication.
Cloud application platforms provide a modern approach for developing and deploying software applications. The approach is gradually displacing the older client/server model in which large, complex, monolithic applications were deployed. In this case, LTTS used cloud computing services from Amazon Web Services platform.
Edge devices will be increasingly used to input data to analytics applications via the Cloud, which will further drive the need for edge-to-cloud integration.
Keywords: Cloud Computing, Edge Devices, Gateways, Product Development, L&T Technology Services, ARC Advisory Group.