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How did the IoT make it possible to meet the challenges of maintenance and service continuity on technical sites?
As part of an internal innovation project, EDF’s user proximity service department was looking for a solution to remotely monitor the environmental conditions of its technical premises. Mr. Penhouet, a computer and telecom engineer, chose to turn to IoT and more specifically LORAWAN because this technology met all the project’s technical, time-to-market and cost constraints.
The criticality of the electricity supplier’s business requires reliable IT and telecom solutions. However, even with a very low failure rate, one observation is recurrent: incidents are often linked to the environment. An air-conditioning failure that caused the equipment to overheat was the trigger for the search for an innovative solution to anticipate these incidents.
The experimental project was therefore born out of the need to collect and analyze in real time key data relating to the ambient conditions of the technical premises – temperature, humidity, luminosity – and to do so independently of the existing network.
To meet the cost constraint, Mr. Penhouet and Mr. Bouleau, the project leaders, quickly turned to LoRaWAN technology as a technical solution for autonomous data transmission. After sourcing several LoRa communicating sensors, they selected a multifunctional sensor that could be installed quickly to measure all the necessary parameters.
As the technical premises are spread throughout the territory, it was important to have a centralized management interface in order to obtain a global vision. Two platforms were studied, including the Synox software suite, which was chosen for its maturity and scalability while offering a controlled cost.
The SoM2M#IoT platform was tested to remotely manage all the sensors but also the connectivity. It provides users with indicators that give an overall view of the objects and their proper functioning. It is completed by the SoDATA#Viz platform which allows to analyze data and to share them through dashboards updated in real time. Thanks to its e-mail notification system, the distribution and processing of information have become more efficient. The pilot solution’s contacts now receive alerts when thresholds are exceeded – temperature for example – thus accelerating the detection and correction of any incidents in complete safety.
The SoM2M#IoT platform
has been tested to remotely manage all the sensors and connectivity. It provides users with indicators that give an overall view of the objects and their proper functioning.
The SoDATA#Viz platform
allows you to analyze data on dashboards that are updated in real time. Thanks to notifications, the distribution and processing of information is more efficient. Alerts are sent when thresholds are exceeded, facilitating the detection and correction of possible incidents.
Mr. Penhouet said “We chose Synox platforms because they allowed the management of connected objects and also offered an intuitive interface for data visualization. The SoM2M#IoT platform is agnostic and integrates all the networks on the market (LoRa, Sigfox, Cellular…) which will allow us to integrate other sensors if needed regardless of the technology they use.”
We were looking for a mature solution for rapid deployment, which is what Synox offered us. From decision-making to the purchase of equipment and deployment (connectivity, dashboards, etc.) thanks to Synox’s end-to-end support, the first Proof of Concept was completed in less than a month!
David PENHOUET, IT & Telecom Engineer
Management: IT and Telecom Department
Department: User proximity service
Number of employees in the department: +1 000
Regional agency: East / North West
- 15 users of the solution
- 150 sensors at the end of 2019, 1000 in 2020
- +75 sites equipped in France
- Aim for zero network failure with remote monitoring in real time of the environment of the telecom technical premises (switch/servers)
- Have an independent LoRaWAN local network solution to benefit from a second means of information feedback
- Easily and securely access critical information to prevent the risk of incidents and breakdowns
- Autonomy and time saving for accessing information on room conditions
- Maximization of equipment availability and optimized service continuity
- Energy savings through the provision of critical information on the use of technical rooms
After a first conclusive Proof of Concept carried out on 5 sites, the project went into a pilot phase with the installation of sensors on more than 75 sites in order to verify the value proposition of the solution. The data collected enabled the first dashboards to be developed and the platform’s alert system to be configured as accurately as possible. After 6 months of using the platforms and the creation of 75 dashboards by a team of 3 users, the incident detection processes were structured, resulting in a time saving in incident resolution.
This remote monitoring project for technical premises could, depending on the company’s direction, be extended to most tertiary sites. The platforms will eventually be used by some fifteen people in charge of IT or building management at regional sites. Each manager will be able to remotely monitor compliance with recommended temperatures and thus guarantee optimal conditions in the technical premises to extend the life of the equipment and enable better management. In addition to the environmental conditions, the solution has enabled the identification of new areas for improvement in the management of the premises. Mr. Penhouet explains “Thanks to the data displayed in SoDATA#Viz, we have access to new information. We noticed that often the light was left on in an unoccupied room, we can now set up alerts and save energy!”
Mr. Penhouet also mentions several complementary projects “As Synox platforms are open and interoperable, the next test steps will be to transmit the data to our services platform via the MQTTS protocol for massive big data processing. We also plan to cross-reference them with other data sources to continue improving our processes and monitoring.”
“We still need to validate the value proposition with our internal customers, which will allow us to open up the solution to other use cases and make this monitoring solution sustainable, or even for a more massive deployment,” concludes Mr. Penhouet.
“If I had to describe your solution in 3 words? Simplicity, connectivity and ergonomics.
The Synox solution provides us with knowledge, thanks to the reliability of the data reported, we were able to identify several problems that were easy to resolve, such as the failure to comply with recommended temperatures in technical premises.
David PENHOUET, IT & Telecom Engineer
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Editor and integrator of IoT platforms, Synox supports companies and communities wishing to implement, easily and safely, their IoT projects regardless of the objects and technology used.