Mobile World Congress: Narrowband IoT pumping water at 250 KBPS

The Internet of Things (IoT) integrates a diverse range of “things” into the digital age. Even commonplace products not usually thought of in connection with modern internet technology can be monitored. To illustrate this scenario, Intel, Infineon Technologies and Device Insight presented their first joint showcase at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF16) last year: a water pump as a “cellular connected product”. The response was enormous. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Feb 27 – March 2, 2017) the three partners will go a step further.
Device Insight at the Mobile World Congress 2017

The IoT vision is to connect several billion things. Doing so requires affordable solutions which can provide even hard-to-access devices with a reliable signal. This is where the new NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology comes in: NarrowBand IoT enables “narrowband” communication, which is characterized by extensive and stable network coverage with exceptionally high building penetration and very low energy consumption at a peak downlink rate of 250 kbps. This technology trend is being further pursued in the context of 5G (under the codenames “Mission Critical” and “Massive IoT”). Apart from other KPI improvements, 5G enables a massive number of connections with extremely low latencies. The technology is predestined for IoT applications, e.g. in industrial manufacturing or the automotive sector. And these are precisely the areas which Intel, Infineon and Device Insight are targeting with their ongoing development of the water pump show case at MWC 2017. Munich-based IoT experts Device Insight were brought on board because their IoT platform CENTERSIGHT analyses operational data, monitors device states and provides accurate maintenance forecasts.

Bring on the water through NB-IoT

In Barcelona, the three partners will show what can be achieved by combining industrial control and cellular connectivity with an end-to-end IoT platform. The technical demonstration focuses on a water pump, a so-called “cellular connected product”. An XMC™-family Infineon microcontroller manages the pump and provides all relevant data via Intel’s new XMM 7115 NB-IoT modem, which for the first time transmits data via a real NB-IoT connection to Device Insight’s CENTERSIGHT IoT platform.

CENTERSIGHT is responsible for the real-time monitoring of the pump’s operating data. The platform responds proactively to suspicious data changes by sending predictive maintenance service alarms to the responsible parties. Such a service event could include the fill level dropping below a specified threshold or early signs of an anomaly in the flow rate. Remote-controlled pump management is based on a bidirectional communications concept which makes it possible to send configurations and parameters to the pump in real time.

“IoT demands are increasing”

Water Pump_Device Insight at Mobile World Congress 2017
The IoT application of a water pump.

“As it becomes possible to connect growing numbers of devices to the Internet of Things using NB-IoT, the scalability requirements of IoT platforms will rise correspondingly,” according to Marten Schirge, Vice President of Sales at Device Insight. “IoT platforms have to be capable of administrating millions of same-time connections, for a diverse range of use cases with varying levels of complexity. That’s why the IoT market needs extremely scalable platforms based on a light-weight protocol that supports many industry protocol standards. Together with Intel and Infineon, we will provide a compelling demonstration in Barcelona of how the Internet of Things can be used in industry: from the controller to connectivity through to the IoT platform which allows virtually unlimited scalability while managing millions of devices at the same time.”

Florian von der Neyen, Head of Business und Innovation Strategy at Intel, added: “Based on the collaboration between Infineon, Device Insight and Intel, we were already able to bring together all essential elements, i.e. industrial control, cellular connectivity and the IoT platform, in a demo for our showcase at IDF16 (Intel Developer Forum 2016) in San Francisco. We are highly appreciative of Device Insight as a pioneer of IoT platforms.”

Maurizio Skerlj, Senior Director and Head of Industrial Microcontrollers at Infineon, explained: “Real-time capability is key for the industrial Internet of Things. The connected water pump, as a complete solution from the application to the cloud, has already caused a stir. In this example, an XMC microcontroller with its high real-time capability and reliability works seamlessly with Intel’s NB-IoT mobile technology and Device Insight’s IoT platform.”

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