Apr 16, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
The IoT segment continues to grow at an outstanding pace. However, for many companies outside of the IoT space, it can be a challenge to make their solutions support IoT, especially those with legacy or non-digital assets.
The traditional approach to solving this involved hooking the asset up to cellular IoT hardware, writing proprietary commands for asset-to-device communications, and then somehow interfacing the whole thing with cloud services. But implementing this is a lot of work for any company to contend with, and comes with many issues and costs including:
- the need for developing edge processing, cloud services, APIs, and mechanisms for interfacing to assets
- fulfilling requirements such as massive scaling, power efficiency, signal range, and simple/easy usage
- development costs, management costs, and time to revenue.
These were some of the challenges encountered by Axibio, a France-based waste management solutions company focused on helping municipalities in Europe comply with the EU’s biowaste disposal requirements. When the European Parliament ratified the EU Circular Economy Action Plan in 2018, requiring all EU states to increase recycling, Axibio set out to help communities with a unique biowaste disposal solution. Their solution was to track biowaste by individuals while incentivizing them with rewards for ecologically conscious behavior.
Their solution, known as the Gaïabox, is a smart, solar-powered biowaste collection bin, that is placed in municipalities for residents to dispose household waste such as food scraps and other compostable items. Residents are rewarded for ecologically conscious behavior in an “earn as you throw” model. Each time residents deposit biowaste into the Gaïabox, the system measures the weight and records it into the user’s account, and eventually uploads the data to the cloud. Since residents are charged for the amount of waste they dispose of, the weight recorded by the Gaïabox is translated into credits against their overall garbage disposal fee.
The idea was simple, but the process of building the edge-to-cloud infrastructure to support this IoT application was a challenge.
Stepping it up an Octave
To solve this challenge, Axibio enlisted the help of Sierra Wireless, an IoT pioneer that has helped OEMs and enterprises successfully bring connected solutions to market over the last 25 years. Axibio chose Sierra Wireless OctaveTM, the all-in-one edge-to-cloud solution for connecting industrial assets. This solution includes Octave-supported devices which connect to an IoT asset and are powered by a Qualcomm MDM9206 LTE IoT modem with integrated CPU, built-in edge protocols to allow communication between the IoT asset and Octave-supported device, and end-to-end cloud connectivity including cloud-based services, all backed by extensive developer documentation.
Not only did Octave facilitate straight forward integration of IoT capabilities into the Gaïabox, it also solved some other challenges including:
- Device communication protocols: Octave includes its own Octave Resource Protocol for communicating with devices over UART. Developers also have the option to use Modbus and CANopen.
- Pay-by-message billing model: Axibio needed a more consistent and predictable cellular data usage model than that provided by the traditional pay-by-data size (i.e., pay by the amount of data transferred) model. Octave solves this with its own data usage plan based around the number of messages sent, regardless of their size.
- Power efficiency: as a standalone, solar-powered device, it was mandatory that the Gaïabox be power efficient. Octave-supported devices help through their Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies.
- Network choice: The Octave-supported devices help a variety of cellular networks going as far back as 2G, allowing for the selection of the optimal network available at a given location.
It’s exciting to see Sierra Wireless using our products to enable comprehensive end-to-end solutions for their customers, especially those that promote eco-friendly practices. Octave-supported devices, which are based on Qualcomm Technologies modems with an integrated CPU, provide a connected intelligence with edge devices. Customers can choose between Sierra Wireless’ Ready-to-Connect FX30 gateway, for a turnkey solution, or integrate the Sierra Wireless AirPrime WP7702 module into their own hardware design. To speed prototyping of Octave-based solutions, Sierra Wireless also offers the mangOH Red and mangOH Yellow open source hardware platforms.
Want to learn more about Octave and the Qualcomm MDM9206 modem? Check out this webinar Simplifying the Wireless, Intelligent Edge for Industrial IoT Solutions. You can also learn more about how Sierra Wireless helped Axibio in their case study: “Earn as You Throw”: How Axibio Connected the Circular Economy to the Cloud. For more information on the Axibio solution, check out this video on YouTube.
If you have an IoT project that you would like to be featured on Qualcomm Developer Network, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact via our Project Submission page. Also be sure to check out some of the IoT projects that have been submitted to our Project page, including our own Merch Cart with mangOH Yellow project that was built using Octave.