Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Great IoT opportunities with SAP and LoRa

In our blog on Internet of Things (IoT) and big data of Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Pieter described IoT as a popular term for an ecosystem of machines, sensors, chips, vehicles, servers etc exchanging information. The information sent from these machines is all gathered, and depending on the defined processes, can lead to an automatic action. E.g. ‘The container is moved > Update the shipment document’. IoT data is not only used for specific actionable events, but also exist for research and analysis reasons.



The digital mouse and rat trap case

In a co-creation project together with Dimo Systems, Acorel showed the strength of the SAP solutions and the Lora network. The Dutch start-up Dimo Systems brings mouse and rat traps on the market that are connected to the Internet of Things. Xignal is the name of these digital traps and they are equipped with sensors that send a notification as soon as an unwelcome rodent is caught. Pest control is a labor intensive activity. In addition, by law many companies (e.g. food processing industry or medical sector) have to prove that their facility is free of rodents.


Once the trap closes the user instantly receives a push notification via the Internet of Things platform of SAP, part of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and the closed mousetrap automatically results in a service order document in the field service cloud system of SAP. SAP transposes the catch of a mouse or rat directly into an action and a pest control employee is assigned to it. SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer Field Service integration provides for the automatic service order entry, scheduling and billing process.  By using Xignal companies only pay for pest control services if there actually is a catch. This saves a lot of labor for periodic inspections in which all traps are commonly checked without anything caught. Furthermore, by means of the integration with SAP all relevant service actions and data is collected in one single system instead of in many separate applications. So, the Xignal SAP Fiori dashboard can easily provide the desired insight on the control of mice or rats.



SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things

This in-memory IoT platform can help you quickly develop, deploy, and manage your own real-time IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The platform offers you the capabilities to:
  • Access and connect all of your devices, manage their individual lifecycles – and control them remotely
  • Collect, store, research, detect patterns, analyze all collected data by using the built-in engines of SAP HANA for prediction or geo-spatial analysis – and visualize the data with advanced analytics to provide all desired insight on the control of mice or rats
  • Create next-generation, real-time mobile apps to instantly notify the assigned pest control employee and provide all necessary information to do his job
  • Connect your IoT scenarios in the cloud with your cloud or on-premise enterprise systems like SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer to trigger your field service processes for the automatic service order entry, scheduling and billing, and easily access device information.
  • Create next-generation, real-time customer or partner portals to provide self service for trap sales order, complaint, Q&A and invoicing processes, and to provide insights on the control of mice or rats

LoRa

LoRa – which stands for long range, low power – is the wireless network protocol of the Dutch telecom provider KPN we used for connecting the mouse and rat traps with the Internet of Things platform of SAP. LoRa can exchange small bits of information between low-energy objects and systems over a large distance. The network has a national coverage in the Netherlands. This makes LoRa the perfect energy-efficient and cost-efficient solution for use with the Internet of Things.

Key advantages of the LoRa network can be described as:
  • Practical
    Easy, incidental data exchange, such as on/off, busy/idle and full/empty.
  • Energy-efficient
    A LoRa device can send and receive data for two years using just two AA batteries.
  • Cost-efficient
    Low connectivity costs.

To apply LoRa you need a number of components. Each of these components takes care of a part of the connection or interface between the user (application) and the end node.

  • Lora Node
    The frequency and rate at which data is sent and received is relatively low. This makes it possible to put the nodes between the data transfer into hibernation or standby. This allows the power consumption of the nodes will go down drastically. Because the power consumption is low, the battery is able to keep the node online for years without recharging.
  • Lora Gateway
    Transporting small amounts of data bi-directional from and to the Internet is done by means of a LoRa Gateway. A gateway is able to connect thousands of Lora Nodes with the Internet. Each LoRa node thus connects with one or more gateways. The gateway takes care of the fact that the receipt or transmit of data ends up in the right place.
  • Server
    Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections. It is responsible for handling (and de-duplication) of uplink data received by the gateway(s) and the scheduling of downlink data transmissions.
  • Application
    This is the end user application like SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things providing support for your end-user processes like transposes the catch of a mouse or rat directly into an action for a pest control employee.

Lora makes it possible to create a private network by placing a own gateway. Each gateway covers a radius of several kilometers. The advantage is that there are no subscription charges made for each individual node. In case coverage to a larger area is required then use of the KPN public LoRa network is the alternative.


The possibilities of IoT with SAP and LoRa are endless. Feel free to contact us if you want to investigate your ideas in IoT and if you have any questions on SAP and LoRa.

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