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IIoT platform extends from the cloud to the depths of a mine

Jul 17, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 580 views

Advantech announced an IoT platform initially targeting mine safety that combines BTI’s “MIOTY” LPWAN sensor solution running on an Ubuntu-powered Advantech ARK-2250L gateway connected to a Hitachi IoT Service Hub running on Microsoft Azure.

Because Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) projects tend to be complex, multi-product endeavors, Advantech has lately been entering into IoT collaborations, such as its Embedded Linux & Android Alliance (ELAA) consortium and recently announced Solution Ready Packages (SRPs) cocreation program. Today at the Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, the company announced a new collaboration with Behr Technologies, Inc. (BTI), Hitachi Solutions America, and Microsoft on an end-to-end IIoT platform that will initially target the mining industry.



BTI MIOTY conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The new IoT platform is billed as “the first mass-market, end-to-end wireless gateway solution to ensure connectivity with sensors for production-level industrial and commercial applications.” In the mining safety example, the system starts with IoT endpoints in the form of wearable heart rate monitors worn by miners in high-risk environments. The technology was originally tested in the NORCAT Underground Centre in Sudbury, Canada.

The wearables are equipped with BTI MIOTY low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) nodes. BTI MIOTY also runs on an Ubuntu Linux driven ARK-2250L IoT gateway along with Advantech’s
WISE-PaaS EdgeSense IoT software framework.

The BTI MIOTY/WISE-PaaS platform running on the ARK-2250L gateway connects to the Hitachi Solutions’ IoT Service Hub predictive analytics SaaS platform hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. The project uses a version of the IoT Service Hub that has been optimized for the mine safety application. The Azure-hosted software provides intelligent machine learning capabilities that “continuously analyze the data and provide actionable insights,” as well as a rules-based AI engine, says Hitachi. GUI based dashboards are available to monitor worker location and health.

Announced in April, BTI MIOTY can transmit up to 1.5 million messages per day within a radius of five to 15 kilometers, with no carrier requirements, claims BTI. The solution is said to aggregate real-time health data from hundreds of workers on a single ARK-2250L.

BTI MIOTY is claimed to be the first IoT solution to use the ETSI LPWAN standard, which is built on telegram splitting ultra-narrow band (TS-UNB) technology for low throughput networks. The ETSI-based BTI MIOTY solution enables the deployment of private IoT sensor networks “with unprecedented capacity, high Quality-of-Service (QoS), and low total cost of ownership,” claims BTI. MIOTY runs on the unlicensed 915MHz (North America) and 868MHz (Europe) frequencies at 2.4Kbps.



ARK-2250L, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The IoT platform leverages the MIOTY 1.0 Starter Kit with Azure, which comprises an Ubuntu-powered ARK-2250L component as well as wireless sensor nodes. The MIOTY Starter Kit nodes are available with temperature, humidity, pressure, vibration, digital, and analog sensors — and with this latest application, heart rate monitors. The ARK-2250L stack includes an SDR front-end and Azure cloud connector, which appears to work under the Advantech WISE-PaaS EdgeSense IoT platform.

Advantech’s ARK-2250L, which was listed among the first devices to support Amazon’s AWS Greengrass IoT platform, runs on an Intel 6th Gen “Skylake” dual-core U-series Core CPU. The 260 x 140.2 x 54mm gateway supports up to 16GB DDR3L, and offers 2x GbE, 6x USB, 4x RS-232/422/485, and 2x mini-PCIe, plus VGA, HDMI, SATA, mSATA, and optional iDoor expansion. The system is well-suited for the mines with its -20 to 60°C support, vibration, shock, and humidity resistance.

 
Further information

More information on the unnamed IIoT solution may be found in Advantech’s
announcement.
 

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