E.ON, a German energy company, is one of the leading suppliers of electricity and gas in the Czech Republic andthroughout Europe. They strive for reliability and acustomer-friendly approach and rank among the leaders inthe field of innovation in the Czech Republic. This is whywe were pleased when E.ON asked us to help them withfurther innovations. In a single project, we had to considertwo requirements: to create a battery-powered temperatureand humidity sensor for cable boxes and, at the same time,to test the new NB-IoT communication network.
The brief: we need to measure climatic conditions in cable boxes
Cable boxes are prone to high humidity and temperature. Improperclimatic conditions lead to corrosion, breakage of HRC fuses and,hence, a significant increase in maintenance costs.
Therefore, it is crucial for E.ON to select the supplier of cable boxeswhose products are the most resistant to climate conditions. Tocompare individual suppliers, E.ON decided to monitor humidity andtemperature in each cable box online. Therefore, E.ON needed a sensorthat would provide them with temperature and humidity reports on a daily basis for subsequent analysis.
At the same time, E.ON wished to try another innovation – the NB-IoTnarrow-band network newly offered by Vodafone. This is the only LTE - based data network with great coverage, even under the ground,specifically designed for smart devices.
Thus, the manner of communication between the device and the cablebox has been determined in advance. We already tried out the newnetwork when developing sensors to measure temperature near thebark beetle traps for the Kurovcoveinfo.cz project. We were thus ableto comply with E.ON’s requirements without any problem.
Our solution: a resistant sensor communicating via the NB-IoT network with a visualization platform and application for smartphones
Specially with regard to the increased resistance, we have decided fora robust CHESTER platform of our BLOX system; this platform can operate attemperatures from −45 to 70 °C and, thanks to its low energy consumption, itcan run on battery for up to 5 years.
We faced several challenges when designing the device:
The device must communicate via the newNB-IoT network.
The device must run on batteries forseveral years, so it must have low energyconsumption.
Installation must be easy and the devicemust be easy to maintain.
And we used the following technologies within the project:
Our outdoor CHESTER IoT platform;
NB-IoT network operated by Vodafone;
GNSS sensor position Module;
Bluetooth chip for easy configuration and administration of short-range devices.
We used the GRAFANA open-source solution to visualise the collected data.Furthermore, we provided E.ON with an application for smartphones enablingto update the firmware and administer the sensor.
We have invented and produced the first 40 pieces within 2 months followingthe order. The deployment was ensured by E.ON technicians themselves –who installed the sensors in cable boxes throughout the Czech Republic.
The result: quality of cable boxes under control
Thanks to our sensors, E.ON is able to check the quality of cable boxesonline and knows which suppliers to select. This means significantmaintenance cost savings.
In addition to the above, E.ON confirmed its position as the innovator thanks to this project. It has become one of the first companiesin the Czech Republic to use the new NB-IoT network. Based onE.ON’s experience, this network is very reliable.
We recommend the CHESTER IoT platform to theentire energy sector as well as to all otherareas where it is necessary to measure differentvalues in extreme conditions and transmit themeasured data. This even works in locations poorly covered by the regular signal (GSM).
Our configurable and easy to use products will help you make your projects real without the need to create your own hardware solution. However, if you have some project that our ready to use devices do not support or you have more specific needs, we can provide a custom made solution based on our hardware.
Moreover, our devices are made with developers in mind. You can make your own firmware for TOWER or get our CHESTER DevKit and start creating applications ready for modern industry.