Edge devices edging beyond remote monitoring with Kallipr

Edge devices are not things we often think about when it comes to the water industry. However, one Australian company is looking to shift the paradigm in a new direction.

Edge devices are not things we often think about when it comes to the water industry. However, one Australian company is looking to shift the paradigm in a new direction.

Edge devices provide an entry point into enterprise or service provider core networks. They can be anything from simple sensors up to complex industrial systems. What groups them is that they are all Internet of Things (IoT) devices. You could think of them as every “thing” in the Internet of Things.

In the water industry, many devices are being rolled out by different companies trying to achieve different things. With hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipes under the ground, there’s not much visibility about what is going on in and around those pipes.

This is where Kallipr is stepping up to the plate. Its range of Series 2 devices is looking to redefine the capture, measurement, and analysis of data in extreme environments. The movement from Series 1 to Series 2 was led by feedback from its customers and an understanding of the business models of water utilities.

“We focus on three things at Kallipr,” said Gerhard Loots, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “We focus on decreasing the cost of deployment, increasing device longevity, and reducing the maintenance costs of these solutions.”

It’s the old engineering mantra. If you can measure it, you can manage it.

Series 2

When looking at the reduced cost of deployment, Kallipr has reached new levels of remote monitoring. One aspect of that is remote provisioning.

“The Series 2 can automatically detect what type of sensor it has been attached to and load configuration files to it,” Loots said. “We use standard industry protocols that provide us with access to over 600 sensors that are compatible with our system, which we’re constantly expanding”

Installation time is another aspect of that. For example, if a water utility was to have 20,000 units installed, and each one needed 10 minutes to be set up, that’s 200,000 minutes. That’s more than 1.6 years of working days that need to be done by someone who needs to be paid.

“When we were looking at this, we wanted to ensure that shorter installation time worked seamlessly with the device’s durability,” he said. “The goal was to bring battery replacement time as low as possible. We’re budgeting 30 seconds for battery replacement on our device, but I believe our current record is 7.2 seconds.”

Another aspect of the battery is its patent-pending design. One of the challenges of the industry-standard lithium thionyl chloride batteries (Li/SOCl₂) is that the voltage drops immediately once they run out of charge. That makes it hard to know when such a battery might need replacing. Kallipr’s new technology gives users more accuracy as to when the battery needs replacing, resulting in lowering the cost of replacement as it can be planned proactively

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the only company in the world that can do this,” Loots said. “It puts us at the cutting edge of battery technology for data loggers.”

Military ruggedness

Data loggers are not things the average person is used to seeing as part of their daily lives. That means they get kicked off, moved around, and can wind up in unusual places. Kallipr has prepared for that by assessing the Series 2 against military ruggedness standards.

“We’ve worked hard to be best in class with the Series 2,” said Loots. “We can guarantee operations at five metres underwater. However, we have successfully tested the device as deep as 20 metres underwater. That’s important when you think about recent flood events in Australia and New Zealand. That data is essential for water utilities, and it’s a big task to get an electronic device to work well under those circumstances.”

The military standards have required Kallipr to rethink how it builds its devices. Its work sees the battery life extended to 20 years. That’s impressive when they are installing small computers in the Series 2, with blockchain and security certificate capabilities.

“That’s critical for environmental compliance data,” he said. “There’s no way to fudge the data. The relevant regulatory authorities can see the data generated from a specific sensor in a determined location at a set time. As far as we know, we are the only company currently doing that.”

Thinking for the future

Kallipr has thought beyond a single battery pack. It has designed a range of battery packs that can be installed on the Series 2. They’ve also considered connectivity, which can be an issue when specific networks are down.

“We’ve built the Series 2 to have more than one SIM card inside,” he said. “That gives users flexibility around service providers while also giving backup connectivity.”

Kallipr has also built a sustainable recycling system for the batteries. Given the large number of batteries that need to be replaced regularly, having this recyclability is vital for them.

With the launch of this product, Kallipr and Loots are already looking into the future. It’s not just the water industry that can benefit from their new technology.

“The next step for us is automating as much as possible,” Loots said. “It’s all about having the architecture to collect and interpret the data. That way, we can have people heading out to deal with a problem without needing more people to organise it. You could think of it like Uber, in that a service is provided as required. It’s also providing the opportunity to improve safety for people. The goal is to combine the right data sets so that people in the water, mining, wastewater, and similar sectors can control a robot to go where it is needed. With our systems, we want to build it in a way for the data to be addressable through more than just a dashboard.”

For more information, visit kallipr.com

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