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Pizza Parlor Supply Chain: Use IoT to maintain fresh imported ingredients

CLIENT: Hal’s Pizza promises their customers an authentic Italian pizza made with fresh
local ingredients. An important part of the company’s unique value proposition is that they produce their own dough from our imported from Italy. To compliment the unique and authentic flavor of the dough, Hal’s sources fresh meat and vegetables from local farmers. This business model also allows Hal’s to maintain a competitive edge by keeping costs low and ensuring product quality.

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To maintain product freshness, the company utilizes a series of logistics, transportation and storage-based services. Raw materials are delivered to manufacturing facilities and then forwarded to store locations using refrigerated trucks. As their business is highly dependent on many perishable items, it is important that they keep a constant temperature range for all items throughout the distribution cycle.

Everyone knows you can’t sell pizza without cheese and especially not without dough. Due to recent extremes in weather patterns, Hal’s has unfortunately experienced too many instances of unusable ingredients showing up at stores due to excess heat or extreme cold. Hal’s has built a loyal customer following by offering fresh, quality ingredients and store managers aim for nearly zero stock-outs because they know more than a few unhappy reviews could be bad for business.

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SOLUTION: Perishable goods need extra care to make sure they arrive fresh and Hal’s can achieve this by incorporating GeoTraq’s Cell-ID technology into their refrigerated truck fleet. Devices enabled with sensors for temperature monitoring can relay status information at scheduled intervals and sensors can be programmed with thresholds to send alerts in the event of any deviation from predefined settings.

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IMPACT: All information and alerts can be viewed by any employee who has access to a web enabled device. The ability remotely monitor temperatures as inventory moves to and from the manufacturing facilities allows Hal’s to achieve and maintain the kind product consistency that will keep their customers happy and coming back for more.

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Designing Digital Birth Certificates for Airplane Parts in the Internet of Things

Cradle to Grave: Could some processes be too complicated for an IoT solution?

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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are currently working on a permanent solution to address grey areas in the documentation chain of replacement aircraft parts. While there are no hard and fast laws on the books, there are a few guidelines. Exporting parts from the US to the EU requires a specific document but determining the airworthiness of a part can be done in-house by an accredited repair person or as an incoming part accompanied by an undefined range of acceptable documentation according to FAA recommendations.

The only group of parts that are assessed outside of this grey area are Limited-Life Parts (LLP) which consist of major structural components like the air-frame, engine, propeller, landing gear or rotor. Understandably, there is an industry-wide consensus that no repair shop will accept an LLP without its back-to-birth documentation.

These “birth certificates” ensure (and prove) that the manufacturer determined life limit—the time before a part becomes susceptible to fatigue or failure—has not been exceeded. This process helps identify worn out parts sooner which can potentially avoid maintenance delays, escalating recall situations, or even more serious incidents.

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Everyone agrees upon the importance of traceability, but the document trail is a complex web of paper work which consists of manufacturer certification, removal and installation documents, maintenance records and even statements from previous operators. Currently, log cards are used to record the movement and corresponding life cycles of parts.

These are the kinds of puzzles that IoT solutions providers have the potential to solve with smart connectivity. Far from a turn key solution, these kinds of operations will not
be solved overnight. The Singapore Air Show was an excellent venue for discussion and presentation of possible solutions to ongoing supply chain inefficiencies in aerospace.

Using the Internet of Things (IoT) with Construction & Fleet Equipment

CLIENT: Phyllis has worked hard to build West Coast Machinery. Over the past decade her company has developed a reputation for excellent customer service and dependable equipment rentals. While looking to expand, Phyllis encountered an opportunity to acquire a smaller rental company that would turn her fleet into a multi-state enterprise.

This acquisition pushes West Coast Rentals into territories that are currently undergoing a construction boom and the company stands to generate a substantial pro t over the next several years. Unfortunately, geographical areas with high concentrations of construction are also targets for theft.

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Phyllis is aware of construction employees being paid o by organized theft rings for providing information and availability on equipment. This Intel aids sophisticated professional thieves who dismantle equipment and sell stolen parts to unsuspecting contractors online. For equipment that is removed from the site intact, she knows recovery rates are extremely poor as stolen equipment is often exported to Central and South America.

Taking a calculated risk in expanding, the company cannot endure the indirect costs that will be incurred from stolen equipment. These inventory losses will take the form of business interruption, short-term rental costs, project delays and lost production time due to long lead-times before new equipment can be acquired.

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The cost to replace some of West Coast Machinery’s heavier equipment can run as high as $200,000, so it is imperative they keep very tight control over inventory. While worksite supervisors are accountable for implementing theft prevention programs and job-site inspections, it is ultimately Phyllis who will bear the burden when equipment goes missing.

SOLUTION: Phyllis started her company in a small town where she was never very far from the equipment and created a great record keeping system that included photographs, serials numbers, dates of purchase and model numbers. Now that the equipment would be much farther away her methods of inventory need to be updated to accommodate the new business model.

The installation of GeoTraq’s cellular enabled location and tracking devices on equipment will allow Phyllis to receive scheduled location up- dates from any piece of equipment whether it is in the yard or out for use on a construction site. GeoTraq’s low cost of deployment and lifetime ownership brings Phyllis peace of mind without digging into her bottom line.

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IMPACT: Phyllis’ company does not have to be a statistic among the 300 million to 1 billion in annual losses incurred from equipment stolen from construction sites. She knows where her inventory is at all times and thanks to GeoTraq’s global coverage, she can even consider expanding West Coast Rentals into neighboring countries.

Propane and Oil Companies Use IoT to save big with cellular remote tank monitoring modules

In an effort to reduce costs and increase customer service levels, propane and heating oil delivery companies are turning to remote tank monitoring to provide actionable analytics that reduce the need for additional trucks and staff over time.

It’s winter and the local news in your area announces that a cold front is expected to sweep in and bring temperatures down to below zero for more than 50,000 residents. As the demand for oil increases almost overnight, the local delivery company begins fielding hundreds of calls from frantic residents for emergency deliveries.

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An operational nightmare, propane companies are liable if any of their customers freeze to death due to a late delivery. Creating a system for optimal resource allocation in this kind of situation is imperative to save lives, costs and keep businesses out of the courtroom.

By equipping tanks with sensors connected to a secure cellular network, timely push notifications can instantly be sent to the dispatch center via text or email when tanks reach predetermined levels. This information can also be sent directly to a web portal which can easily be accessed from any web browser or enabled device.

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Now with the ability to effectively manage and forecast fuel inventory the delivery company can reduce the risk of downtime and lost productivity. Even more importantly in the case of extreme winter temperatures, delivery routes will become hyper efficient as they will no longer be susceptible to wasted manpower, fuel or time by sending out trucks to top o customer tanks that do not need refilling.

Additionally, the need for rush and emergency deliveries will be significantly reduced as the operations team will have the ability to monitor fuel levels remotely and anticipate when a customer’s tank needs a ll up well before it reaches dangerous levels.

Power Pirates – Developing countries can use USSD & IoT devices to monitor and deter energy theft

Electricity theft is a real and serious problem in countries all over the world. Not only does it result in higher rates for paying customers, it creates physical danger in the form of hollowed out utility poles and damage to the grid in the form of power surges and outages due to high loads. Done manually, identifying and confirming theft is a time-consuming and inefficient process. Enforcement and labor-intensive site audits often cost more than the value of the actual losses.

In underdeveloped and developing countries this issue is much more important because the loss of energy translates into higher premiums for already scarce resources and pulls funds from citizens and governments that could otherwise be used for future capital investments and modernizing infrastructure.Smart grids, also known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) installed at key points in the distribution grid use sensors to identify anomalies like when meters have been tampered with or removed from their location. This information can be combined with software that allows municipalities to accurately monitor consumption, adjust energy flow and create optimal balances between supply and demand.

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While the roll out in first world countries has seen success, the technology has previously been very expensive for use by developing nations who would benefit from it the most. To combat this issue, cost-effective solutions are being tested in different markets around the world. A researcher from Midlands State University in Zimbabwe has developed a framework for creating a smart grid that can monitor electricity theft using mobile technologies.

By updating consumer meters with Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, a sensor and battery, they will be able to facilitate communication to a back-end system using the Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) gateway at the mobile switching center. This way, the meters can still communicate with the power carrier even if the meter gets disconnected from the electricity grid as a result of tampering.

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The report identifies GSM as the ideal network for sending information and alerts to the utility control center. Using a process of detection, recognition and communication, the installed monitoring mechanisms should be able to support the transmission of small payloads of data based on a duty cycle. In this schema, the monitoring indicator goes to sleep and wakes up when the time interval is detected for scheduled or periodic reporting.

Using the ideas presented in the report, countries that are not equipped with 4G infrastructure can still benefit from and utilize Internet of Things (IoT) technology. By way of mobile cellular networks, these nations have a means to acquire actionable analytics on the physical state of devices, equipment and infrastructure.

Using Cellular IoT for energy monitoring for solutions statewide in schools systems

Across the country, school districts are dealing with shrinking budgets. Increasingly, important funds are being diverted to rising energy bills, often the second largest annual budget item behind salaries. In the face of escalating operating costs, many districts have to o set costs in other ways, like reducing maintenance and other resources that affect facilities.

On top of dealing with reduced upkeep, many school buildings are decades old and not energy efficient. Since most schools can’t afford to rebuild entire campuses with energy efficient buildings, districts and departments of education are often looking for other ways to save money and reduce utility costs.

 

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While not widely advertised, there are a number of state and federal programs that provide energy incentives in the form of rebates, grants and loans. The purpose of these programs is to support new technology for energy efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of operating facilities to save money in the long term.

Since school’s cannot operate without lights, heating or cooling, the creation a smart energy solution with a company like GeoTraq can help education departments develop a statewide energy monitoring system.

Experts in long-range, wireless cellular connectivity, GeoTraq technology allows energy systems to be monitored statewide from any web enabled device. Independent of Bluetooth and WiFi, districts will also benefit from the substantial savings that sidestep the added expenditure of additional infrastructure like routers, gateways or antennas.

 

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Using GeoTraq’s cellular IoT network, sensors can be used in devices set to alert administrators when mold is detected, asbestos, gas and water leaks. Excess or insufficient wattage for heaters, air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers can also be monitored. Light and temperature sensors can be used to maintain the appropriate amount of light for learning and keep indoor climates within the 67 ̊- 74 ̊F range, which is optimal for facilitating reading and math skills.

Remote energy monitoring will keep costs down by reducing operational expenditures in the form of utilities and labor. The benefit of less money going out means more resources can be used towards classroom instruction and the provisioning of a safe and comfortable environment for learning.

Before the Flood – Using IoT Technology to prevent water heater failure or damage

Aside from mother nature, there is another kind of flood that happens in homes quite unexpectedly and without the benefit of a storm warning. Water heaters are an often-overlooked appliance whose neglect can result in devastating financial consequences.

While there are two kinds of water heaters—ones that come with and without tanks—both types may experience leaks as a result of pressure buildup. The worst place a water heater can be installed is in the attic and most companies recommend that you place water heaters in areas like the basement or garage.

 

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According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), 69% of all water heater failures result from a slow leak or a sudden burst and generally cost as average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible is paid.

It usually begins with a slow leak and erupts with sudden burst which can result in ceiling fixtures ending up in bathtubs, giant holes punched in the wall as well as wood floors, carpets and other expensive furniture becoming ruined with water damage.

While the cause of water heater failure can vary, some mistakes in installation cause problems like having the wrong size heater for your home or soldering fittings directly onto the water heater which can melt plastic parts and cause serious damage. Drain pans, when property set up still only provide a few minutes of advanced notification, and that’s only if someone is around to notice that the pan has over owed.

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While you can’t depend on the emergency broadcast system for help, you can lean on cellular technology to provide a solution. It is possible to set up sensors that will periodically monitor the temperature and pressure relief valves as well as the drain valve at the bottom portion of the tank. When the sensors detect a threshold related to pressure buildup or an excess amount of water in the pan, a text message can be sent the homeowner letting them know that there is a potential problem brewing.

Using cellular based smart home technology to provide even just a few hours’ notice can save individuals from potentially catastrophic situations.