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Things to consider when selecting IoT -solutions

Circumstance Monitoring

14.11.2016

Concepts of IoT and digitalization are highly hyped. They are promised to revolutionize everything and bring out huge savings. The change will be great but what one should do right now in order to enjoy the benefits of the new technology immediately? For me, these hyped words mean more efficient and faster ways to measure, set, optimize, document and report processes and different circumstances. This becomes possible when data can be collected quickly and inexpensively from many locations. In this article I introduce a few of my thoughts concerning things to be taken into account when selecting IoT -solutions and -suppliers in the field of circumstance monitoring, as well as the products and services we have on offer.

Mitä asioita kannattaa ottaa huomioon olosuhdevalvontaan liittyviä IoT-ratkaisuja ja -toimittajia valittaessa?

Is the data collected from right places? How often should the data be collected? Is the gathered data reliable; what is the accuracy, frequency and long period stability of the measuring method, sensor and measuring device? Is the selected method right one? Should the devices be calibrated by routine? How long will the batteries work with the chosen measuring and data exporting frequency? What possibilities a system provides to data visualization, reporting and analyzing? What kind of interfaces are available for mounting the system to external analytic structures? 

The quality of the collected data is extremely important. If the compiled data isn’t trustworthy for example due to inaccuracy or wrong kind of collecting station, even the best algorithm or neural net won’t be able to fix the results afterwards. IoT-measuring devices are often powered by batteries, so the actual durability should be taken into account. The latest technology and Internet enable collecting and processing information in unprecedented comprehensive and efficient way. It is already possible to make high quality measurements with reasonable costs by using the wireless technology even at such places where it hasn’t been possible before. Therefore data can be collected in huge amounts, which places more requirements for data visualization and analyzing. Usually several information systems are required to cover all the necessary features.

Is the system protected enough, is it secure? Should the control system be better protected, or should it be kept entirely separated from internet in critical destinations with extra system connected to net for surveillance and alarming? Is it possible to build a one-way system, so the internet assault isn’t possible? What kind of notifications and alarms should the system give? How flexibly the alarms should be routed to various persons in charge in different times and days of week? How about holidays and exception times? Oh, and where is my data being processed and kept? Lately there has been news concerning an attack to a network connected into building automation system, that could have caused significant financial damage by piping being frozen when the heating got out of operation. This raises a question, is the information security taken seriously enough and are there ways to prevent assaults. A realist also searches ways to observe these kinds of happenings – or at least ways to hinder the consequences, like lowering temperatures – as early as possible to forestall the mishaps.

Laadukkaita mittaustietoja on jo nyt mahdollista saada langattomilla tekniikoilla järkevillä kustannuksilla sellaisista paikoista, joista niitä ei aiemmin ole saatu.

Indeed, it’s easy to list all these questions. Therefore, I also want to provide some answers. Our job at Nokeval is specifically to develop and produce a Finnish service for circumstance monitoring. Our mission is not to sell the first inexpensive subcontracted gadget we find by major turnover, assembly media and directions. Instead, we design and manufacture all our products by ourselves, here in the city of Nokia, Finland. We run our Ovaport –network service developed by ourselves in an appliance hall located in Finland. Both wired and wireless devices as well as the gateway devices surpassing data from the measuring sights are self-planned all the way from the component level. The programs rolling in the devices are also our own production, so we know exactly how the bit moves from the measuring device to the server. Our wireless devices work either two-ways in mesh-type network, or one-way by sending data from the measuring point. Batteries are tested to work several years in battery-powered devices. Alarm messages can be timed most flexibly, with holidays taken notice. We develop our products continuously, mainly by the feedback and wishes received from our customers. Customing products and systems for each customer’s specific needs is also provided by request. All devices are manufactured in our electronics factory at Nokia.

There are of course numerous measuring devices and programs available from multiple providers. Where we differ, is the assistance and knowledge for choosing right measuring procedures, sensors and devices. All services are measured to be the right kind for specific need, without any extra mandatory costs. We also provide calibrating, calibration certificates, ready-to-use-assembly, training services and personal support.

Text: Lari Maasalo, Chief Services Officer

Pictures: bluecoat.com, ook.co

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