Published on 12/11/2014 in Customer Stories
Homogeneous energy management and predictive maintenance for machinery. These can only benefit a company. That was SmartLog’s reasoning when it began to develop two specific applications on its machine -to-machine (m2m) platform. Guy Claesen, COO of SmartLog, explains how the story started with the company ABN, active in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). “Energy management was becoming increasingly important for customers. The existing products only provided monitoring of consumption, not control of installations. Around two years ago, ABN decided to develop a specific m2m platform with a smart algorithm. Since this platform can control not just HVAC installations but any machine or robot, the decision was taken to establish a separate company.”
Carefree energy management
The fledgling company has strong ideals. Through m2m solutions, it aims to provide a total solution for customers. At the moment it is marketing two end-toend solutions to achieve this. “StoreConnect is intended for the retail market and prevents unnecessary energy loss through automatic control of air conditioning, ventilation, etc. The potential savings here are huge, if you remember that air conditioning makes up 40% of the total energy costs in non-food retail, for example.” A small console on the wall manages the entire installation and forwards all the information to the SmartLog databases. The customer has his own dashboard showing all the statistics: outside and inside temperature, consumption, CO2 emissions, etc. “We have been adjusting the interface for a long time as everything must look nice in the retail sector. Our customers are proud of their efforts and want to demonstrate this to their audience.” SmartLog’s second product, HealthCheckbox, is intended for predictive maintenance of machine fleets. “This can be used to take action before a machine breaks down, in the case of a compressor with pressure loss, for example. Interventions are more efficient, because you know exactly what is going on. Costs are reduced and the life span of the machinery is increased.”
M2m solutions allow machines to communicate with each other autonomously and intelligently. Of course a producer of such applications needs to be able to depend on a reliable network provider. “First of all, communication must be possible at any time and should be of high quality. Stable and extensive network coverage is crucial. Our applications are also bi-directional – they report as well as control. So a secure communication with identification and authentication is also extremely important. This made Proximus the obvious choice. The combination of 3G coverage and its new m2m factory platform made the decision easy. Thanks to the platform, any connected object is able to send and receive data to any business application. The platform is state of the art, ready for use and integrated with 3G communication. Following a test, it was found to be perfect for remote management of our application.”
Four months after the first StoreConnect installations, the engineers can hardly keep up with the demand. This is only logical, with cost savings of 25 to 30% and a reduced carbon footprint. In a worst case scenario, the customer can expect an ROI of one year, but usually it is much less. “Our customers are beginning to see that smart technology really does make a difference. The smart story is a differentiating factor today. It generates a shift from ‘nice’ to ‘need to have’ and from ‘good profit’ to ‘happy profit’, which makes everyone a winner.”
SmartLog was founded at the start of 2014 and specializes in m2m solutions. It is a subsidiary of ABN, active in HVAC installations. SmartLog currently has four full-time employees and around ten research and development partners.
Guy Claesen is COO of SmartLog, with a professional background in ICT and m2m, including various restructuring projects for LRM
and companies like Ubizen and eXpanded Media.