Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is linking more and more of the offline world to the online one. Interfaces are transforming what were formerly analogue devices into digital reality – for both consumers and companies.
The IoT is now an inescapable part of our everyday business and personal lives. In our homes, it facilitates digitised communication between users and networked everyday objects, such as cars, wearables, and kitchen appliances. In industry, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) regulates the measurement, analysis, and control of processes. In this way, production as well as supply chains and logistics can be evaluated and controlled intelligently and automatically.
The Challenge Posed by the IoT
Many companies already have initial ideas on how to make their products "smart". They are however, either struggling with implementation or have already experienced initial setbacks. This is not least due to the high complexity of the tasks. In most cases, very large amounts of data must first be transferred either to the cloud or to the corporate data centre via established gateways and then the relevant data for a corresponding IoT use case must be stored in the data lake. The data can then be analysed and evaluated and, if necessary, the findings can be fed back. It should also be ensured that all these processes are protected against third-party access. All in all, therefore, there is much more to an IoT project than simply uploading data to the cloud – and there are no “ready-to-wear” standard solutions.
Every IoT approach is, therefore, a completely new concept. By building interdisciplinary teams, inovex offers a holistic solution to this challenge. We support you at every stage, from planning, security concepts, and hardware selection, provisioning, and the collection of data streams in data lakes right through to the rollout of the finished product. This includes the selection of suitable frontends for Business Intelligence Solutions, such as PowerBI or a custom web frontend. It’s a complete end-to-end offering.
Our Technology Stack
- Amazon IoT Core
- Microsoft Azure IoT
- Google Cloud IoT
- Bosch IoT Cloud
IoT Components + On-Premise Installations
- Embedded Linux
- Embedded Android
- Edge IoT Runtimes (Kubeedge, etc)
- HiveMQ Broker
- Container + Kubernetes
- Eclipse & Apache IoT Components
- Time Series Databases
IoT Application Areas
The automotive industry, in particular, is in the midst of a transformation towards increasingly smart products. This is due not only to in-vehicle edge devices which ensure that vehicle manufacturers remain in constant and close contact with their customers. Instead, our way of driving is also changing. inovex collaborated with a major car manufacturer to install the IoT components in a car-sharing fleet and roll them out worldwide. This project involved linking the vehicles’ control units to a cloud infrastructure built by inovex in order to process the data collected.
The Internet of Things is also gaining ground in mechanical engineering and Industry 4.0. The Industrial IoT (IIoT) helps, for example, in monitoring and directing production and logistics. Sensors not only measure production performance; instead, they can also detect and correct errors more quickly. IIoT also enables predictive maintenance. Based on the data collected, the system detects which machines require maintenance – before damage occurs.
But not all machines and devices are immediately IoT-enabled. Our brownfield projects, for example, involve updating older equipment to make it fit for the future. We have already developed solutions that read data from our customers’ production facilities and operation technology (OT) networks, then transfer it to an IT infrastructure and process it all there. The data analysis takes place in the customer’s own data centre.
The possibilities of the IIoT do not, however, end at company boundaries. Within the framework of the KOSMoS project and with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a solution has been developed which connects manufacturing companies with one another, thus creating a secure, digital value-added network across company boundaries. inovex is responsible for the data management and analytics aspects of the project.
TVs, lights, washing machines… Nowadays, almost the entire household can be networked to increase consumer convenience. Companies can use the data gained from these networks to better understand the usage patterns, service life, and popular application scenarios of their devices. This know-how can then be incorporated into product development. Our experts here at inovex have already collaborated with a telecommunications provider to develop voice assistance for a smart speaker. This is a state-of-the-art IoT device which optimally distributes intelligent features, such as hotword detection and integration with smart home systems, between the cloud and the device.
Another smart device we helped develop is an eReader – complete with cloud connectivity and online store. This project involved optimising the battery life and making technical adjustments to the eInk display driver performance and memory management, thus creating an attractive consumer device.
AI + Analytics
Networked cameras and sensors also link the topic of IoT closely to the fields of safety and quality assurance / predictive quality. Computer vision enables companies to monitor manufacturing processes and respond promptly to errors. One of our IoT platforms, for example, is capable of detecting leaks in industrial machines – and of doing so completely automatically. When we created the platform, we developed Azure-based data services. One of their functions is the visual representation of live data from production. Employees should, therefore, be able to see at a glance where a problem exists – without having to interpret complex number sequences.
Even away from factories and living rooms, the Internet of Things is changing our lives. Not only are our household appliances becoming smarter, but so, too, are the cities in which we live. In our offices, we experience these changes every day. Smart meeting rooms, for example, automatically detect occupancy, and in the beverage warehouse, microcontrollers and sensors ensure that inovex employees are always supplied with enough refreshments. All this information converges in the cloud. Here, too, it is important to ensure that tasks are optimally distributed among sensors, edge gateways, and the cloud in order to balance out data security, performance, latency, and implementation costs.
But smart buildings can do more than just improve office life. Instead, they can also make it safer. One of our customers commissioned us to create an IoT operating system for security cameras. Here, third-party developers can use a software development kit (SDK) and an interface (API) to expand the functions of smart security cameras. The focus here is on edge and machine learning functions. These ensure that the cameras can process data in real time and automatically raise alarms.
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Head of Application Development
The 'Service Meister' Project
As part of a consortium of 15 companies, professional associations, and universities we are working on the Service Meister (Service Master) project to develop an AI-based service platform for German SMEs.Read more