Tech Tuesday: IIoT and the Problem of Power
North Star Systems is a hardware and software developer in Saskatchewan, Canada that manufactures Tattle Systems, a tool that supports business operations. Tattle Systems capabilities take technology to the next level. Real-time remote location, level, and data reporting define Tattle Systems. In our North Stars Systems Technology Tuesday series we will be exploring the business, culture, and impact of the technology industry. In our latest article, North Star Systems shares our thoughts on the big statement that IIoT can do anything!
We’ve got the power
You’re right in the middle of a fascinating and educational YouTube video (okay, it’s about cats, but we don’t judge). Your smartphone interrupts with: “switch to low-power mode?” Not a problem – you just reach for your charger block and look for an outlet or tap into your vehicle’s power supply. But what happens when neither is available? If it’s your smartphone, you may have to endure a few social-media-free hours. If it’s a sensor, transceiver or other component in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), power loss is not an option.
IIoT (and its non-industrial cousin, IoT) connects devices such as computers, sensors and actuators into a powerful, integrated web. IIoT elements can include heat and motion sensors; appliances, valves, switches, fluid level and temperature sensors, and much else.The human interface IIoT components – desktop, tablet, and smartphone computers – are typically close to power supplies. But many components of these distributed, wireless systems are not.
IIoT components such as remote sensors and actuators (for example to control valves) are often deployed where there is no convenient source of electricity. Yet they must function independently and reliably.
There are a few different ways to address the problem of power. One, of course, is to reduce how much juice you need by using ultra-low-power sensors and system components. Of course, this sometimes means getting the developers and systems engineers at North Star Systems R&D shop to design and build a solution when you need something special that doesn’t yet exist.
Once the components of your IIoT system are in place, you can cut power consumption further by programming them to use as little juice as possible. Everyone has experienced that annoying smartphone app that’s constantly checking in for updates in the background and draining your battery. IIoT devices are programmed to prevent this sort of thing.
While IIoT devices can be made extremely efficient, they still need some power, even if it’s minimal. Certainly, batteries are part of the solution, but batteries eventually go flat and need to be recharged. Better if you can generate power on-site. North Star Systems are “solar ready,” for example. That is, if there is a remote location with no easy access to power, built-in solar panels help keep the IIoT components running.
In cases where solar isn’t practical, IIoT system designers need to get innovative. Where is a source of power – any power? If there is a mechanical system that is producing vibration, it’s possible to design “energy harvesters” that turn those vibrations into electricity. Likewise, heat produced by an installation can be converted to electricity using thermoelectric materials.
With imagination and innovation, IIoT can benefit widely distributed systems anywhere there’s a wireless connection. We’ve got the power.
READ MORE TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY ARTICLES HERE – https://www.tattle.systems/category/technology-tuesday/
North Star Systems leads in the creation of innovative technology, including the Industrial Internet of Things. We pride ourselves on outstanding service and our TATTLE Products provide solutions to streamline the operations of your business.
If you would like to know more about how North Star Tattle Systems can help you reach out to our team today!