B&B Electronics, a specialist in the development of mission-critical network connectivity products, has introduced the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform. Wzzard is a complete wireless sensor connectivity platform intended for the rapid deployment of scalable, intelligent, reliable Internet of Things (IoT) networking in remote and demanding environments. Wzzard was designed to help integrators, VARs and service providers efficiently develop and deploy secure, smart, self-powered, and scalable IoT applications.
Unlike a traditional SCADA application where sensors and edge devices are simply passive conduits for raw data, edge decision making delivers a more effective network. Using iterative control limits and gateway data aggregation to support applications closer to the network edge, the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform brings this intelligence to the network starting at the sensor, creating a more responsive, reliable and efficient network.
There are several key components and technologies that comprise B&B Electronics’ Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform.
First, Wzzard Intelligent Edge Nodes will connect, via conduit fitting cable gland or M12 connector, to any industry-standard sensor. General-purpose analogue inputs, digital input/output and thermocouple interfaces are included. B&B has already integrated internal temperature and accelerometer sensor options, and can integrate other application specific sensors upon request.
The Intelligent Edge Nodes are easily configurable, using Android or IoS smartphones or tablets and the Wzzard app over Bluetooth LE 4.0. They can be configured to communicate only data outside specified thresholds, reducing the cost on cellular networks, as well as to associate other useful information (geo-location, device name, and up-time) with the collected sensor data for upstream analytics applications. Control time synchronization is used to maximize battery life, exceeding 5 years for many applications. Nodes are IP67 rated for outdoor use and include both magnetized and screw mount options.
In terms of the communications component B&B chose SmartMesh IP wireless sensing technology from Linear Technologies’ Dust Networks. SmartMesh IP is based upon the wireless IEEE 802.15.4e standard and creates full-mesh networks, sometimes referred to as “mesh-to-the-edge” networks. SmartMesh IP networks use a triple-play of wireless mesh technologies – time diversity, frequency diversity, and physical diversity – to assure reliability, resiliency, scalability, power source flexibility, and ease-of-use. At the core the technology is an intelligent mesh network with advanced algorithms and power saving technologies that enable powerful features not available from other WSN providers.
Wzzard’s Intelligent Edge Nodes can join the mesh network at any time without gateway interaction. Nodes attach automatically, and the SmartMesh IP technology dynamically self-configures to re-form the mesh network. To ensure data always reaches the gateway, nodes will determine their optimal RF paths to other nodes and back to the gateway. The SmartMesh IP protocol implemented within the edge nodes includes advanced network management functions and security features such as encryption and authentication. For more information: B&B Smart-Sensing What is Smartmesh
Wzzard also uses the lightweight, publish/subscribe messaging transport MQTT protocol for sensor communications. MQTT is a simple messaging protocol created for M2M and IoT applications over wireless networks. Its efficient distribution of information to single or multiple receivers, low power usage and minimized data packets make it suitable for mobile or remote locations. Unlike older SCADA protocols such as Modbus, MQTT places few restrictions on the volume or type of data that can be communicated. This facilitates a meta-data approach where multiple IoT applications can act upon the information simultaneously without having to know its origin.
B&B’s programmable, industrial-grade Spectre router serves as Wzzard’s Intelligent Gateway. It can connect equipment and other devices to the Internet or Intranet over either wired Ethernet or wireless cellular connections. Spectre is built for plug-and-play simplicity with extensive remote management, deployment and customisation options. It is a robust, flexible gateway designed for easy deployment in demanding environments and the cellular version creates secure connections in locations where cable connections are impractical.
Processed information from the sensor nodes is published through the Spectre Gateway up to the customer’s IoT application using MQTT transport protocol.
SeeControl is one of the first IoT platform providers to leverage the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform and MQTT protocols to develop applications. (More information at: B&B/SeeControl Partnership)