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Business Overview

The client is a technology company that develops and implements various automated process solutions for large-scale agribusiness. The project consisted of creating a mobile system to monitor emergencies and generate real-time warnings for grain silo complexes.

Scope

The idea of the system was to address common challenges in agricultural infrastructures. Its main goal was to minimize staff response times for frequently-occurring equipment-related incidents.

Previously, employees relied on local systems to periodically monitor essential indicators, which prolonged the time between receiving warnings and resolving issues.

This project would require the development of iOS and Android applications to alert staff of emergencies, along with a web platform that administrators could use to configure monitoring and notification settings.

The mobile system should:

  • Remotely monitor equipment conditions
  • Increase the reliability of all system elements such as sensors
  • Decrease the possibility of severe damage to elevator components caused by emergency stops
  • Improve the quality of staff members’ work through the ability to continuously monitor crucial parameters
  • Increase the quality of the agribusiness’ provided services

Solution

Solution

The silo complex already had an embedded system that tracked data from multiple sensors on equipment such as conveyors and grain legs. A programmable logic controller (PLC) collected data from the sensors and processed it.
NIX engineers developed a complex solution including the development of the following elements:

  • Microcontroller configuration
  • Administration panel and API interface
  • Mobile applications for iOS and Android

The solution allows employees to monitor essential parameters through a mobile app and receive notifications if conditions deviate from the norm.

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How it Works

Sensor data proved to be highly useful for monitoring systems from mobile devices.

Embedded Development

Using the Modbus protocol, a microcontroller captures the PLC device’s required memory addresses and sends them to cloud storage, where the Azure IoT hub parses data. After that, the app function, created by NIX engineers, saves them in a NoSQL database and sends push notifications when warning signals occur.

Given the technical specificity of the microcontroller we used (Arduino MKR ZERO based P1AM-100 with P1AM-ETH), we needed to upgrade the standard software development kit (Azure IoT hub).

The microcontroller’s limited memory did not allow reading and processing the necessary data at onсe,so our engineers developed an algorithm that splits the data into more manageable pieces (while taking into account that interdependent data must be transmitted in one packet).

Our engineers also wrote a server emulator that simulated the PLC device’s operations for preliminary testing of data transmission.

Administration Panel and API Interface

NIХ engineers developed a web platform for data configuration. An administrator can set up the necessary sensor data to track and assign users who have access to them and receive push notifications if events occur.
Our engineers also developed an API to provide mobile devices with up-to-date telemetry data, as well as the history of any changes.

When the mobile app starts up, it calls the API and gets the equipment structure related to locations assigned to the user. These values are then stored in the SQL database. If the user wants to, for example, get data for a particular piece of equipment, the API will return the data stored in the NoSQL database, which is much faster than SQL. This data is sent quickly to end-users even if the requested history is, for example, dated over a year.

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Mobile Applications

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Mobile Applications

We developed native iOS and Android applications to allow employees to check assigned locations remotely in real-time and receive notifications about emergencies.

Users also can browse histories to learn how indicators may have changed during specific periods.

Outcome

Outcome

Our solution benefits the client by significantly reducing their emergency response time. Unlike the previous method, which involved multiple intermediaries, NIX developed a system that ensures an immediate warning signal directly reaches the assigned person. The ongoing access to data not only boosts overall staff efficiency but also optimizes storage conditions in silos.

 

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Team:

14 experts (Project Manager, Business Analyst, UI/UX Designer, 2 C++ Developers, 3 .NET Developers, 1 iOS developer, Android Developer, QA engineer, JS Developer, 2 Markup Developers)

Tech Stack:

JavaScript, Swift, Python, Java, Angular, EntityFramework, C++, Azure IoT Hub, .NET Core

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