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At Oracle OpenWorld 2015, Regal Beloit, Optimal Design, mFrontiers and Oracle showcased an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) implementation -- all at one booth.
The booth displayed a V-Green Variable Speed Product, a pool pump motor connected to Wi-Fi via a V-Link Wireless Adapter. The motor was created by Century Electric Motors, a subsidiary of electronic motor manufacturer Regal Beloit, based in Beloit, Wis. Prior to the creation of the motor, Regal Beloit didn't have any products connected to IoT.
Mitch Kiser, electronic design engineer at Regal Beloit, explained that the motor on display at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 had sensors with the ability to register 150 different data points, collecting data on both internal and external function. Current types of data gathered include voltage, current power and the user's schedule. According to Kiser, with the kind of data Regal Benoit can get from the motor's sensors, it can pinpoint demographic areas down to the regional level. For instance, Kiser has already been able to determine that people in Northern and Southern California use their pools differently. With the addition of Oracle Big Data Discovery, he can get down to county and city-level demographics. "We can provide products and services by region," Kiser said.
"We spend every day sitting in meetings trying to figure out how users are going to use [our products]," said Nathan Snell, territory manager at Regal Beloit. "We're hoping [IoT] is going to help us develop higher yielding products out of the gate."
Kiser added, "We went from analog products to digital products. Digital products have a lot of data. Using IoT, we can use that data to make better products."
Unlocking data to show customer use
Snell explained that while Regal Beloit was aware that it had lots of useful data locked away in the motor, it didn't have a good way to get it out and into a useable form. So, Regal Beloit contracted engineering and product design firm Optimal Design in Arlington Heights, Ill., to build custom sensors and a wireless adaptor connected to the motor. To connect Regal Beloit's motors to the Oracle Cloud, Optimal Design turned to Libertyville, Ill.-based mFrontiers for its mFinity IoT platform. The V-Green Variable Speed Product on display at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 had these sensors and the mFinity IoT agent built in. The sensors gather the data generated by the motor, and the wireless adaptor broadcasts the data via Wi-Fi through the V-Link Wireless Adapter to the mFinity IoT platform running in the Oracle Cloud.
Nathan Snellterritory manager, Regal Beloit
Optimal Design introduced Regal Beloit to mFrontiers. Regal Beloit already had a lot of its systems running on Oracle, which, Kiser explained, would make it easier for Regal Beloit to start using an Oracle-based IoT platform in conjunction with its motor's sensors. Kiser was happy to see Regal Beloit using Oracle cloud. With Oracle, he said he could move data between the cloud and on-premises databases. Scalability was another key factor. "If they can't build cloud architecture right, it can't scale," he said. "We really like the fact that it can scale and is stable."
Regal Beloit didn't just want to be able to scale the number of motor units, but also the number of data points collected from each one.
Right now, no one knows what data points are going to be the most relevant in homes, so Optimal Design is leaving options open to add and change what types of data the Regal Beloit pump motor is collecting. As the technology develops, Joe Wascow, co-founder and CMO at Optimal Design, said, "Ecosystems are being built inside of peoples' homes." The way those ecosystems develop will determine what types of data the pump motor needs to collect.
BI analytics at the end of the line
Regal Beloit and Optimal Design get access to Oracle Big Data Discovery and Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Cloud Services through mFrontiers. Unlike Optimal Design, mFrontiers didn't start out as an IoT company. "We evolved our enterprise mobility platform into an Internet of Things platform," said Walter Sloan, vice president of business development at mFrontiers. mFrontiers aggregates data from Optimal Design's V-Link Wireless Adapter and makes the data available for analysis with Oracle Business intelligence Cloud Services. The mFinity IoT platformM runs in the Oracle cloud. "Oracle is our cloud provider of choice because they are the only ones who provide both hardware and software infrastructure," Sloan said.
The pool pump motor is already connected to Oracle BI Cloud Services and at Oracle OpenWorld 2015, Oracle had a proof-of-concept dashboard displaying a live feed of the functioning motor at the other end of the booth. The live feed showed data use and when the device was turned on and off -- something visitors to the booth could do using an iPad. The dashboard also included sample data generated to represent multiple pumps over a period of months. The Oracle BI Cloud Services dashboard displayed graphs comparing the effectiveness of pumps and tracking performance trends by day and by month.
In the future, the involved companies hope to offer predictive maintenance and an application to track the most cost-effective times of day to use the pump. Kiser explained that while the demonstration at Oracle OpenWorld 2015 was only for the V-Green Variable Speed Product, Regal Beloit intends to expand its wireless adapter to other water-based motors.
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