MWC 2015 Behind the scenes: building our IoTMaker winner demo

Part of the prize of winning our IoTMaker competition (as well as a Cinterion Concept Board and an iPhone 6) was the promise that we would develop the winning concept into a working prototype and showcase it at Mobile World Congress 2015!

Those at the show may already have seen the 3G Bushfire Alert monitor demo on our stand (5A80), but we wanted to share some of the work that happened behind the scenes to make it real, which we did with our friends at Rec-Global and GTT who provided a real outdoor enclosure so we could test the PoC in the wild! You’ve already seen the schematic of Jason Mitcheson’s idea, now here’s the reality.

Building_3G_Bushfire_1

So, how do you make a 3G Bushfire Alert System? Well, you need a few simple ingredients:

  • Cinterion® Concept Board with SIM card with active GPRS and SMS [1],
  • Arduino Sensor Shield [2],
  • YwRobot LM35 Analog Linear Temperature Sensor [3],
  • IR Infrared Flame Detection Sensor Module [4],
  • Humidity Sensor Module SY-HS-230 [5],
  • Plus, of course, a 3G SIM for connectivity, and an outdoor enclosure and high gain 3G antenna for the system ‘when deployed’

You have a rough sketch to give you an idea of the final goal:

3GBushfire_Alert_2

Hardware assembly is then relatively straightforward, and then you get into the core challenge of configuring the sensors, concept board and 3G SIM to work together to deliver the outcome we want.

Once the basic configuration is completed, we needed to configure the flame and heat sensors to the appropriate level. After all, you don’t want a momentary flash of flame to summon a fleet of firefighting aircraft, so we calibrated the sensors to have an appropriate reporting rate, temperature, flame and humidity thresholds. To take this from prototype to reality, we would probably need to do some more extensive (and probably destructive L) testing to ensure that the system responded in the appropriate way to appropriate environmental triggers.

As we had no time to reinvent the wheel, the system relies on our SensorLogic platform in order to communicate the outcome of its sensor readings – that is to say, once the relevant environmental thresholds are reached, the system transmits the readings to our SensorLogic platform, which in turn can trigger further action. In a real-world scenario, that might be alerting the relevant fire prevention and protection authorities for the Australian outback in a timely manner. As an added benefit of using the SensorLogic Agent for our application we could not only use the application services for reporting of sensor values and events but could also nicely use the module services to provide information about the “health status” of the concept board, radio network link stability and geolocation.

The final missing piece of a live, working version of our sensor is of course the solar power base. From delivering similar solar-powered sensor systems in South Africa, (which you may remember from this post in our M2M Fact or Fiction quiz), this is of course relatively straightforward.

And there you have it – a working prototype of a 3G Bushfire Alert System and a worthy winner of our IoTMaker competition. It was developed in 48 working hours – just under 7 working days!

With IoT continuing to be a hot topic at Mobile World Congress 2015, if you’re down in Barcelona we hope you’ll join us on stand 5A80 to see it in person – and watch out for a follow up post with more pictures of the demo and how it’s running at the show.

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