AKODATA NB-IoT: Example of Application in Food Retail

October 15, 2019

Avoid waste and costs in the conservation of products stored with AKODATA IoT temperature and humidity probes for commercial refrigeration

 

Most stand-alone services in Food Retail (Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, Convenience Stores, Cash & Carry) do not have any type of monitoring. Due to the revolution that the refrigeration sector is experiencing as a result of F-Gas, there are increasingly more of these services, in some cases exceeding 60 devices in the sales room. Moreover, many of them must have the ability to be moved over the surface of the establishment to adjust their position depending on the promotion and season of the year, which makes it very difficult to monitor their temperatures using MODBUS, LONBUS or similar.

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That is why at AKO we wanted to provide a solution with AKODATA NB-IoT* for monitoring the temperatures of these assets, which can be responsible for tens of thousands of euros in stored products, and where proper maintenance of the temperature and a reliable alert system is critical for our customers’ business.

 

AKODATA NB-IoT* is an innovative solution used to ensure the correct conservation of the product and to reduce the energy expenditure derived from this conservation. It consists of three blocks:

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1) AKODATA: 100% cable-free Temperature and Humidity Probe, with IP68 protection, capable of withstanding temperatures up to -40 ºC.

It is equipped with a powerful swappable battery, with a 3-year battery life and with an internal memory which stores the temperature and moisture data for another three years (with the logging interval set at 15 minutes).

 

2) NB-IoT* Connectivity: also known as Internet of Things – Narrow Band.

This connectivity completely guarantees the communication of the devices even in historically unfavourable environments for other wireless technologies (such as WIFI, RFID, GPRS …).

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NB-IoT’s main feature is its capacity to penetrate the signal and ensure connectivity, even inside cold rooms (where the Faraday effect has always been a drawback), basements, etc.

The main advantages of this type of communication in the refrigeration field are:

  • Reliable connectivity, ratified by 3GPP (global standard in the authorised spectrum).
  • Safety guaranteed by double authentication and a strongly encrypted interface.
  • Allows a virtually unlimited number of connected devices.
  • Greater indoor and outdoor reach.
  • Low energy consumption.
  • Ideal for devices that generate moderate data traffic and have a long service life.

 

3) AKONET.Cloud: This is AKO’s new remote and multisite management and monitoring platform.

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AKONET.Cloud allows you to monitor all the devices, of all facilities, at a single access point, allowing for:

  • Grouping devices by establishment, region, positive or negative refrigeration, areas of the establishment, etc.
  • Managing users and permissions inside and outside the organisation.
  • Configuring the devices.
  • Managing and notifying alarms, as well as their monitoring and resolution.
  • Automatically generating high value reports for decision-making.
  • Integrating data with third-party software using API-Rest.
  • Accessing from any terminal (PC, MAC, iPhone, Android, etc.)

Due to its ease of use and installation, as well as its 100% cable-free operation, AKODATA NB-IoT* is the ideal solution for stand-alone refrigeration units, since it enables the correct conservation of stored goods at all times, detecting methods for energy saving and preventive maintenance, and alerting in real time of any type of user configurable alarm:

-   Knowing the real ambient temperature in which the product is being conserved.

  • Many of these services give a false reading, either due to improper positioning of the ambient probe, or due to its poor quality.

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  • It provides information about the time that the service is inside the setpoint and how the temperatures are concentrated over time.

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In this example we see how initially there was an large part of the day in which the ambient temperature was below the desired setpoint, and after an action on the setpoint temperature of the unit almost 100% of the setpoint time is achieved.

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In this other example, we are looking at the temperature histogram, which indicates that the regulation of the refrigeration unit usually reaches the upper limit of the setpoint range, which allows us to make decisions to lower the temperature setpoint by 1.5 °C and to better conserve the product.

-   Sending instant Alarms, and monitoring of the work carried out to correct the incident:

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Here we can observe how we can determine the severity of the alarm, and the notification rules, or in other words, who the system should notify (which can be established by day, time slot, etc.).

The system also provides a follow-up of the incident. In the image below we can see how by clicking the “Add Confirmation” button, a menu opens in which we can register the corrective action taken to deactivate said alarm.

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When we click “Confirm”, the system records the comments and records the time of the resolution and the user in charge.

-  Powerful Automated Report Engine that provides useful information, totally eliminating the time spent in generating them, avoiding transcription errors, etc. and making internal and external auditing work easier. These reports can be automated to be sent as often as required to our e-mail. Here are some examples:

Advanced Temperature Quality Report

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Temperature Concentration and Time in Setpoint per day.

Standard Temperature Report

 

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Continuous recording of maximum, minimum and average temperatures, and relationship with the desired setpoint, per day.

 4.- Conclusions

AKODATA NB-IoT* is the optimal solution for the monitoring of stand-alone services, where it provides the following benefits:

-   Ensures the quality of the product stored at all times.

-    Allows the continuous mobility of the services adjusting to the different promotions throughout the year, thanks to the total absence of wiring.

-    Alerts possible risk situations for product conservation.

-    Prevents economic losses and opportunity costs arising from the spoiling and/or loss of the stored product.

-    Communication is direct without the need for network infrastructure (neither IP’s, nor opening of ports, etc.)

-    Data security is guaranteed by encryption and redundancy.

-    Connectivity is assured, which is of vital importance when we are dealing with critical processes such as the conservation of stored goods.

-    It practically reduces to zero the time spent in generating reports, in addition to ensuring the accuracy of the data obtained.

-    Thanks to its robustness and design, the device can be installed in frozen services and with high humidity levels.

-    It’s easy use and installation practically eliminates any learning curve.

At AKO we constantly work in the search for efficient, simple and durable solutions that positively impact our customers’ business.

* Products based on NB (Narrow Band) technology are available where the operator has deployed this network.