Our client, Advantech, is a leading provider of innovative embedded and automation products and solutions. Advantech recently introduced an “IoT Sensor Node Starter Kit” that integrates with their WISE-PaaS/RMM cloud platform. Having a busy events schedule Advantech want to show their products in real world solutions that easily demonstrates their value proposition. The decision to make a small greenhouse that responded to environmental conditions was agreed.
The client explained that they wanted to showcase some key technologies of their solution:
- The hardware reading a wide range of sensors
- Automation of greenhouse functions based on sensor readings
- Opening the window
- Turning on an extractor fan
- Controlling humidity with a water mister
- Heating the greenhouse
- Internet connectivity to their WISE PaaS cloud service
- Easy to read web dashboard showing historical sensor readings
- The ability to use real-time, online weather readings from around the world to change the state of the greenhouse
- Integration into Microsoft Azure cloud services
One of the key decisions was to choose the right greenhouse model, as this is the focal point of the demonstration. With such a tight delivery window we decided to partner with a local model maker to create a bespoke design, this enabled us to specify the exact usage scenarios to showcase Advantech’s products. Not only did we want to sense certain environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and light levels, we also wanted the greenhouse to constantly react based on the current environmental readings. Using Advantech’s WISE-1520 module and development tools, software was written to read the various sensors and post the data via WiFi to Advantech’s WISE PaaS/RMM cloud service. The next step was to create a web dashboard in Microsoft Azure that displays the data in a clean and concise way. Within Microsoft Azure, we are able to analyse the data coming from the greenhouse and send messages back to change it’s state, e.g. open the window if the temperature gets too high, or turn on the water mister if the humidity drops below a certain threshold.
Advantech have a busy schedule of exhibiting their products at high profile industry events across Europe and the greenhouse is always in great demand within the company. By creating a working model of a real-life scenario Advantech can show the versatility of their WISE-1520 product range in action, rather than having explain theoretical use cases with slides or handouts. Another key benefit is the simplicity of setting up the demo, to get it running is just a matter of plugging in a power connector and network cable, then opening a web browser on phone, tablet or laptop. This reduces the need to send technical engineers onsite to set up the demostation.