Jan 26, 2018
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
We work with a lot of developers in edge computing, embedded development and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and you know what we’re finding? The IoT use cases they’re asking us about apply to many lines of business. In other words, most companies have use cases around industrial control, automation, metering, condition monitoring, asset management and tracking. That means a big IoT opportunity for developers and engineers.
So we’ve been working on ways to bring out more of those use cases to give developers ideas for edge computing in their own industries. The result is our Smart Wine Demos that highlight three segments of wine making: agriculture, manufacturing and logistics. The demos show off the potential for building IIoT applications that use sensors, gateways and beacons with solutions from Qualcomm Technologies and cloud and edge computing.
In my descriptions below, you’ll see ways to apply IIoT to each segment for monitoring, automation, control, asset management and tracking.
Demo 1: Agriculture
Suppose you wanted to implement IIoT outdoors to collect data about environmental conditions. Our agriculture demo simulates conditions in a vineyard. It's exactly the kind of technology used in precision agriculture to ensure crop health by monitoring the temperature of the air, moisture in the soil and exposure to the sun. Our agriculture demo simulates conditions in a vineyard.
We developed an IIoT prototype around Qualcomm Technologies and AWS technologies using three sensors:
- The sensor on the left monitors temperature. We use a can of compressed air to simulate a sharp drop in temperature, which activates the fan that farmers use to circulate heat and keep frost from damaging the fruit.
- In the middle is a moisture sensor. The irrigation indicator glows green when the moisture level in the soil is within range and switches to red when we simulate over-watering by dipping the sensor into the water receptacle.
- The sensor on the right captures data on the amount of ultraviolet light the grapes are receiving, which is related to flavor and ripeness. We shine a flashlight at the sensor to simulate intense sunlight.
What’s the technology behind this demo? All three sensors are connected to a 96Boards Sensor Mezzanine board, mounted on a DragonBoard 410c development board that serves as a gateway device. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E processor on the DragonBoard 410c uses AWS Greengrass to run Lambda functions locally instead of sending data back and forth between the device and the cloud. Based on the Lambda function processing, the DragonBoard 410c activates the fan and the moisture indicator LED, and it also sends local data to a dashboard displayed above the vineyard model.
The dashboard shows temperature, moisture and UV index. It also shows estimated savings in transmitted data due to processing locally instead of in the cloud, as well as savings in compute time due to eliminated latency and savings in water consumption due to restricted irrigation.
By running analytics and functions locally on the DragonBoard 410c, the demo illustrates the benefits of edge computing in a wide-area, outdoor environment.
Demo 2: Manufacturing/Production
Next, suppose you wanted to monitor conditions in a manufacturing environment. We developed a demo to simulate conditions inside the winery.
This time we use a gateway device, sensor, beacon and AWS IoT Core services.
- The sensor on the wine cask monitors temperature. We shoot compressed air at the sensor to simulate a sharp drop in temperature. That triggers an adjustment in the climate control system.
- The Qualcomm Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon from the CSR1010 Development Kit is attached to a shipping pallet. When we move the pallet by hand, the gateway detects changes in the beacon’s signal strength to impute a change in the pallet’s location and uses a cloud-based app to send a departure notice.
The temperature sensor and beacon communicate with an Advantech EPC-R4760 ARM-Based Box Computer powered by the Snapdragon 410E processor. The gateway edge computing device uses AWS IoT Core in the cloud to engage climate control, record outgoing shipments of wine and update the dashboard displayed above the model, as shown below.
So, you can use Qualcomm Technologies’ solutions/software to hand data off over local and wide area networks to the cloud for processing on AWS IoT, or use AWS Greengrass for local processing on the edge.
Demo 3: Logistics
Finally, you can implement long-range asset management and tracking with an LTE IoT cellular module that communicates with a fleet management service. Our demo simulates wine on a pallet and a dashboard that tracks conditions of the shipment as the wine goes to a commercial store.
- The demo uses GPS to track the current geographic location of the wine on a map, showing events like unscheduled stops and on-time delivery.
- A sensor on the pallet records increases or decreases in temperature and sends an alert if the shipment is outside of an acceptable range.
- Another sensor records shock and vibration, with geo-coding for chain of custody. That way, the time and location data is preserved should the shipment be dropped or damaged in transit.
The tracking device is built around Sierra Wireless’ mangOH Red development board and WP Series IoT modules, with Qualcomm MDM9206 modem from Qualcomm Technologies. The device uses the integrated application processor to run pre-integrated open source Linux application framework and cloud services.
The demo highlights the possible cost-saving integration between modem and application processor, the potential to cover hard-to-reach locations deep inside buildings and in rural areas, and LTE connectivity with IoT products now and well into the future.
What will you create?
We’ve built additional demos that cover even more of the end-to-end path of wine production, showing hand-held devices that scan the product when it comes into the distribution center. And, to illustrate IIoT in retail, we have other demos that model physical traffic inside the store (lingering, hot spots), smart shelf merchandising and point of sale (PoS).
If your organization depends on industrial control, automation, metering, condition monitoring, asset management or tracking — as most organizations do — then have a look at the webinar series Developing for Industrial IoT with Linux OS on DragonBoard 410c. It’s a good way to start aligning your business processes to take advantage of Qualcomm Technologies hardware and cloud software designed for IIoT.
Also, look for us at Embedded World in Nuremburg, February 27 - March 1. We’ll be there with these and other demos.