As Alternative Energy Sources Rapidly Emerge New Connected Field Service Solutions Using IoT Are Paramount


Aug 2020


The ongoing modernization of energy grids and sustainable energy sources and the integration of renewable energy and optimization of energy use have the potential to help us reverse the damage being caused by climate change.

Modern technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), are being deployed across many applications in the broad energy sector, including energy demand, supply, transmission, and distribution.

IoT is be employed for improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy, and reducing environmental impacts of energy use. The enabling technologies of IoT, including cloud computing and data analysis, are being embraced given the amount of money that can be saved, and on the frontlines, Connected Field Service (CFS) may hold the most promise of all.

There are, of course, massive challenges associated with deploying IoT in the energy sector, including privacy and security concerns, which energy policymakers, regulators, economists, and service providers are solving with IoT, blockchain, and cybersecurity measures.

Based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda, energy efficiency is one of the key drivers of sustainable development. It offers economic benefits in the long-term by reducing the cost of fuel, supporting new means of energy generation, and reducing emissions. Nowhere is this more interesting than in the Electric Vehicle (EV) world, which uses IoT and high-speed cellular and satellite networks to power smart cars, to support Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications to help reduce accidents, and to connect to larger smart city systems for traffic and pollution control.

The ecosystem of IoT solutions associated with just the EV market is massive and growing, is complex, and ready for simplification through more automated, intelligent IoT platforms, networks, cloud applications, local computing (including mesh networking), and more.

An area Cloud of Things is seeing tremendous interest in is the monitoring, management, and maintenance of charging stations, as well as the tracking of available battery power for IoT systems that are not “electrified” in the traditional sense.

With the right combination of devices and sensors, we can add connectivity to the alternative energy infrastructure and support systems that provide control over these endpoints, from a central location.

IoT is a paradigm in which objects and elements of a system that are equipped with sensors, actuators, and processors can communicate with each other to provide meaningful services, but for this to work, IoT platforms like Cloud of Things DeviceTone IoT suite must include automation, cybersecurity, and open integration features, and must be simple to deploy and manage.

DeviceTone helps manufacturers of products, like EV charging stations, easily add telemetry using hardware sensors with embedded firmware, which are used to sense and collect data. This data is processed locally and through our gateway, which routes the collected data to control centers or the cloud for further storage, processing, analytics, and business intelligence applications.

In the CFS realm, we help manufacturers of these systems add recurring revenue services (monitoring/maintenance) with applications that enable field service to be delivered remotely or on-site, but with greater digital tools for technicians.

We are also very active in balancing between new and old energy infrastructures; for example, one project we are working on has the potential to automate the balance the power consumption between the home charging station for an electric car and the regular home electricity system, so when tenants come back from work and connect their cars to the chargers, it won’t overload the electricity system of the whole house.

Working with partners like monogoto (we announced our global cellular secure networking bundle with them last week), we can deliver end-to-end solutions that include secure connectivity, which is mission-critical for applications like maintaining EV charging stations.

Wireless communication systems are becoming more powerful with 4G and 5G networks growing around the world, and now make it possible to set up and run distributed solutions. For example, a national provider of EV charging stations can now offer nationwide CFS to their customers (whether energy providers, governments investing in public EV services, and more).

Beyond this example, the growth of renewable sources of energy, including wind, thermal, and solar power plants, can greatly benefit from CFS solutions built on IoT platforms and connected on private LTE networks. The generation of energy is mainly located in very remote areas. Ensuring reliable IoT communications in remote places is challenging, but solutions are coming online every day that help turn alternative energy businesses into compelling competitors, especially when their systems are securely connected and efficiently operated.

Not only do more connected energy services improve reliability and availability, but the data generated and then analyzed also builds deeper insight that can guide expansion and investment. Computing IoT data is itself a challenging issue given the huge amount of structured and unstructured data generated from various elements of IoT systems such as sensors, software applications, smart or intelligent devices, and communication networks. This is why it is so important to ensure access to the right clouds, to multiple clouds, orchestrated between local edge computing for certain applications, and distributed computing and aggregated data analysis for other applications.

Any energy management system based on IoT can monitor real-time energy consumption and increase the level of awareness about energy performance at any level of the supply chain, including supporting “battery operated” options. When we can check the level of the battery, for example, and predict when the battery should be recharged or replaced, end-customers are not at risk of their solutions failing.

There is so much we can create – so much we can collaborate on together – to improve how we live and how we consume. The key in IoT is the key in the energy industry – and the telecommunications industry – and that is ecosystem partnerships that allow us to interconnect and securely support solutions that require innovators to “play well with others.” It’s time we start working aggressively together to combat climate change, to roll out clean and renewable solutions, and at Cloud of Things, we are proud to contribute to future solutions that are poised to make a huge, positive impact.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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