M2M & IoT

Since 1997 we have been driving device management projects and working on embedded and connectivity solutions ― even before the term ‘M2M’ came into use. To date, we have acquired deep domain knowledge, understanding of specifics and bottlenecks and high maturity in providing professional services in M2M & IoT.

Designing M2M/IoT solutions for end users and service providers

Our experts identify and gain deep understanding of a problem, design architecture, choose the most suitable deployment scheme and pick hardware and software from the list of proven and trusted vendors. We implement and host applications within a proprietary M2M platform built around the most up-todate technologies, protocols and standards.

Enhancing the client's M2M/IoT solutions

With ongoing experience in M2M & IoT solution design we bring value to our clients in a number of diverse activities not limited to:

  • Integrating new devices in the existing M2M ecosystem
  • Enhancing data analytics & reporting capabilities
  • Designing exhaustive device management mechanisms
  • Optimizing system scalability and performance
  • Designing M2M apps marketplace, SDK and samples
  • Improving system deployment and maintenance mechanisms

 

True M2M - Connected Devices, Applications and Users

M2M platforms are considered to be ‘the brain’ of any M2M solution keeping everything in memory, making decisions, communicating with everything around, connecting and managing all the other parts of a complex M2M anatomy.

Device Management is the key component of any M2M platform with key features including connecting various devices, sending and retrieving data, monitoring device and network status, updating device software and firmware, uploading and removing applications. Device Management has been one of our core competences since1997 when we were making our first steps in development of monitoring and control solutions.

We have designed 20+ device management solutions of different levels of complexity, performance and built-in functionality - from a standalone application running on a single PC and managing hundreds of devices to a highly scalable distributed system taking care of millions of connected things - sensors, meters, routers, hubs, base stations, servers and applications.

SIM management is an essential part of M2M platforms that is in charge of SIM-capable connected devices (e.g. wireless routers communicating to the platform over cellular networks). SIM activation and deactivation, sending and receiving SMS to a device are the key features achievable thanks to interaction of the M2M platform with different MVNO SIM management platforms using their proprietary APIs.

Comprehensive User management of a true M2M platform gives service providers significant flexibility and strength in defining user hierarchy, roles, access rights and policies, features and applications a customer or its certain users can access, user profiles with various custom data and password policies, activities logging and other security features.

Core functionality of M2M platforms includes providing M2M services to end users - in most cases via applications running on top of the platform. Thus, Applications management is a very important system component providing API that grants applications access to the platform and ensuring smooth applications deployment, upgrade, removing capabilities. This component can seriously simplify the administration of thousands of applications connected to the platform.

Diagnostics and Predictive Maintenance are integral parts of a true M2M platform. It is crucial to gather exhaustive diagnostics information and, which is more important, to predict potential failures of a platform or devices connected to it. Based on our long-standing experience in analyzing various data (alarms, error logs, in/out messages, performed operations, etc.) and specific tools that automatically parse it and simplify analysis can dramatically decrease time spent on resolution of errors occurring in the system and respect a Service Level Agreement you placed with your customers. We also recommend to embedd an intelligent rule engine into the platform which allows you to define at least such basic rules as “if the parameter exceeds the limit then raise the critical alarm” or “if the warning occurres ten times over the last 30 minutes then raise the major alarm”. That will help you to predict serious problems with either devices or the platform itself and thereby to protect the system from potential outages, customer complaints and even financial losses.

Data Management and Analytics are the key components of a good M2M platform. Diverse data from variety of devices is displayed in a most optimal and efficient way. Unified access to the data, no matter what it goes through: a database query or a remote REST API call, built-in analytical tools, integration with external analytical systems (like SAP, for example) makes M2M platform especial, depending on how powerful its analytics and reporting capabilities are.

Since MERA has been working in this area for more than 10 years, we faced diversity of available solutions:

  • Business Intelligence tools
    • Open source (SpagoBI, …), or
    • COTS (MicroStrategy, Cognos, Informatica, …)
  • Various reporting frameworks (JS, Java, .NET, Python or PHP based)
  • Commercial and free of charge databases, both relational and non-relational
    • Oracle, Sybase, MS SQL
    • MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL
    • Cassandra, Redis, MongoDB

Depending on what kind of problems you need to solve – we can help you in designing a right solution architecture and in choosing the most appropriate software that you can use to decrease development costs and to speed-up the time to the market.

The true M2M platform needs to have various and very creative Billing mechanisms:you shall not limit yourself in ways of getting the revenue. Billing your customers is based on a number of connected devices, a number of messages sent per day, a set of available applications and a number of users they allow to connect to the system. You can even separately sell access to your platform from external third party applications. The more flexible and rich charging schemes you have, the more customers you will get onboard, the more revenue you will gain.
 

Automated system tools are important components of a true M2M platform. Since 1997, MERA has been implementing various Administrative applications to provide

  • Smooth system upgrade without or with minimal loss of service
  • Smooth scaling of the system by automated deployment of new instances without affecting the service
  • Automated system maintenance procedures
  • System monitoring procedures to always keep track of the current behavior of the system
  • Automated debugging and logging tools

All those applications helped a lot to simplify the usage of the systems we were responsible for; increasing their robustness and availability, that in turn resulted in a great customer satisfaction and consequently – better sales.

Telematics and In-car Infotainment

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Knowledge of specialized platforms

  • In-car platforms: QNX CAR 2, Toyota Entune, Meego and Tizen
  • Client platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry

In-car infotainment applications

  • 2D&3D navigation with turn by turn guidance and augmented reality
  • Multimedia player, internet radio and social network client apps
  • Location based services (weather, POI, price recommendations)

Car to smartphone connectivity

  • Voice calls, SMS and data
  • Phone media content playback and control
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC as communication protocols

Diagnostics and user interfaces

  • Track/store/display/send car parameters (Speed, MPG, etc.)
  • Remote control and diagnostics
  • Car diagnostics and safety monitor
  • UI for embedded platforms (multi & single line text display, resistive & capacitive touch screens)

Smart Metering

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End-to-end smart metering systems design

  • Sensors firmware
  • Gateways firmware & software
  • Cloud web service & Analytics

Design for battery powered and reduced function devices

  • Low footprint OSes (FreeRTOS, ThreadX, eCos, TinyOS)
  • Deep sleep modes, CPU frequency scaling, power consumption optimizations

Knowledge of industrial standards and protocols

  • Wired & Wireless long range communication
  • Wireless PAN networking (ZigBee, ZWave and 6LoWPAN standards, Bluetooth)
  • Applications based on COAP/DTLS protocol
  • Metering protocols (LonTalk, BACnet, IPMI, Modbus)

Cloud web services

  • Dashboard and device maintenance interfaces
  • User interface for device readings and event reports
  • Analytics & reporting (real-time & historical) based on metering data
  • Device management: over the air firmware/software update & provisioning

Healthcare

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Human vital signs monitoring

  • Monitoring human vital signs through sensors installed on a person
  • Real-time analytics, exceptional cases detection and alarming
  • Specialized applications providing dedicated healthcare services with use of real time measurements
  • Personal healthcare or doctor/nurse function (several patients monitoring)
  • Share measurements and analytical reports with a friend or doctor
  • Hosting historical measurements, big data analysis and human behavior evolution reporting

Patients treatment

  • Hospital org structure management
  • Patients cards records storage
  • Medical actions planning for a patient, tracking status
  • Medical dictionary database

Fleet Management

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Typical features

  • Vehicle location tracking
  • Geo-fencing
  • Data cross-validation (OBD vs GPS data)
  • Over the air firmware upgrade & device provisioning
  • Integration of 3rd party safety solutions via CAN bus
  • Least-cost routing: Wi-Fi=>GPRS=>Satellite connectivity
  • Driving safety features:
  • Driver’s mobile calls prevention during driving process
  • Speed limit violations control
  • Advices and guidance to driver
  • Driving behavior control

2G/3G/4G/Satellite/Wi-Fi connectivity

OBD-II & J-bus protocols: J1939, J1708, J1850, Dual wire CAN, SCP, K-Line, KWP2000

Home Automation

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End-to-end Home Automation system

  • Cloud web service
  • Vendor agnostic communication layer, easy integration of devices
  • Home Automation Gateway software (residing on IP router or IPTV set-top-box)
  • Different Home Automation technologies (Zigbee, ZWave, Bluetooth)

User-customizable home automation scenarios

  • Event triggered actions (e.g. lights off when no motion)
  • Defining periodic actions (e.g. forced polling sensors)
  • Sensors provisioning with a period of automatic sending data
  • Integration with video surveillance
  • Defining automatic actions for a notification
  • Defining criteria for notifications and alarms

Industrial Automation

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In-depth knowledge in specialized real-time OSs

  • Competence in Wind River VxWorks, QNX, FreeRTOS, ThreadX

Virtualization and domain separation design

  • Wind River hypervisor based solutions (Type 1 hypervisor)
  • VmWare Hypervisor knowledge (Type 1 hypervisor)
  • ADEOS environment usage experience

Area specific communication protocols and peripheral buses knowledge

  • SPI, RS-232 and RS-485 peripheral buses
  • CAN, CANOpen and FlexRay protocols
  • CIP protocols family (EtherNet, DeviceNet, etc)
  • SAE J1939 diagnostic protocol knowledge

Specific design processes and embedded design guidelines

  • IEC 61508, ISO 26262 functional safety standards
  • MISRA C compliance checking (Coverity and IAR embedded workbench tools)

M2M Devices Connectivity Troubleshooting Tool

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M2M Service Providers offer different kinds of M2M services. Once an M2M device stops transmitting metering data, the helpdesk service has to quickly identify a reason and to find a solution. The goal is to understand where the problem comes from: 3G channel, IP infrastructure, or the device itself

  • The first step is to analyze the device wireless connectivity status – whether the device is really connected to the network
  • Use MVNO remote API to retrieve information about M2M device (SIM) status
  • Use data from MVNO (SIM state, last packet data session, etc.) to perform initial analysis of device connection status
  • Collect and structure information, then pass it to a helpdesk support for ticket creation

Data Centers Environmental Control

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Knowledge of specialized platforms

  • Full-featured management application for meshed networks of wireless sensors and controlling devices

    Automated environmental control

  • Real-time monitoring of data centers environment (temperature, humidity, water leaks, energy usage
  • Gradient environmental maps, 3D room plan
  • Rich user interface

  • Dashboards, charts & tables
  • Gradient environmental maps, 3D room plan
  • Native mobile clients
  • Extensive sensor network management

  • Network configuration
  • Status & faults monitoring, root case analysis
  • Metrics and KPIs gathering
  • Automated sensors firmware update
  • Industrial protocols support

  • LonTalk, BACnet, Modbus, IPMI

Smart Metering Solution

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End-to end Advanced Metering Infrastructure solution over lost mesh networks

6LoWPAN over 802.15.4 networking with full support of IPv6 and 2 types of clients

  • Dumb sensors/meters, powered from power supply
  • Gateway terminals with GPRS access to Internet, IPv6 tunneling in IPv4 for old networks

Major device management features

  • Terminal registration, monitoring and restart
  • Firmware Updates, Time Distribution, SLAs, KPIs, Mass-management
  • Cryptographic agility, PKI support, Terminal Secure Boot

Major smart metering services

  • Meter readings & events
  • Digital IO (Electro-Mechanical Relay, Solid-State Relay)
  • Circuit breaker & Last gasp
  • Support of M-Bus and DLMS/COSEM
  • Smart, proxy and direct dumb-pipe modes

Intelligent Energy Management

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Innovative energy monitoring and management system that enables control of energy usage in commercial and retail business and helps organizations to maximize and maintain their energy savings

Key features

  • Advanced analytics
    • Exception based alarm handling
    • Data analytics
    • Energy usage reporting
  • Asset management
    • Device management (installation, configuration, devices registry, logbooks
    • Energy usage reporting
  • Energy saving projects creation and tracking, ROI calculation
  • Built-in issue management system
    • Reporting & tracking of different types of issues

Key benefits

  • Assistance in detecting and analyzing energy waste
  • Guidance in definition of corrective actions aimed to reduce energy losses
  • Remote access to energy data across multiple locations

Digital Tachograph Solution

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  • VxWorks based, NXP LPC chipset (ARM), custom hardware solution
  • Legal requirement for heavy duty trucks, provides for driver activity/work hours monitoring
  • Connects to speed sensor and J1939 vehicle diagnostic network to perform precise speed and distance monitoring
  • Authentication using smart card (driver, company, workshop, control cards)
  • Internal flash and smart card events storage
  • Printer for control activities report (daily/weekly work hours, over speeding events, etc.)
  • Optionally provides GPS/Glonass capability for vehicle location monitoring
  • Optional reporting of vehicle parameters (fuel level, G-Sensor, etc.)

GPS/Glonass Vehicle Tracking Device

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  • FreeRTOS based, NXP LPC chipset (ARM) , custom hardware solution
  • Development of bootloader and drivers from scratch
    • GSM/3G/GPRS modem drivers
    • GPS and GLONASS module drivers
    • Fuel Meter, accelerometer and other external sensor device drivers connected via UART/CAN buses
  • Separately installed unit, legal requirement for public transportation vehicles and heavy duty trucks
  • Reports vehicle location and certain parameters to central monitoring server
  • Dual GPRS/CDMA modem solution for high reliable connectivity
  • Capable of reading and reporting data from sensors (Fuel sensor, Accelerometer, CAN bus devices)
  • Optionally allows for driver video surveillance
  • Provides emergency call capability

Home automation application

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Mobile App – controls smart electronics (Switch, Light Switch, Motion etc). Control could be done anywhere by means of cloud.

Components implemented

  • Cordova plugins – JS and Java layers connection
  • Helpers – set of helpers functions
  • Device list – add, delete, show devices in list etc.
  • Rulers – timers, events etc.
  • Remote – set of remote operations with cloud
  • Edit Device – handle device setting

Remote patients monitoring

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Real time monitoring of human vital functions

  • Oxygen saturation
  • Temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Respiratory rate
  • Perfusion index

Cloud data storage and processing

  • Real-time monitoring, extensive analytics and reporting
  • Data aggregation by seconds, minutes, hours, sessions
  • Historical raw data (available through SDK)

Healthcare applications and user features

  • Sleeping quality
  • Sleep apnea detection
  • Fall detection
  • Smart alarms

Embedded social networking, sharing results with doctors or friends

Android mHealth application

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  • Android application connects over Bluetooth to a healthcare device, which monitors vital parameters.
  • The values are then sent to the back-end running in a cloud environment.
  • Client can see information via smartphone and a doctor can use WEB interface for the access to the data.

M2M Research: ETSI M2M Lab (Internal R&D)

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  • Light and voice detection Zigbee sensors network (based on Arduino devices)
  • Communication hub bridging Zigbee and ETSI M2M protocol
  • ETSI M2M gateway prototype (collocating gateway & application server)
  • The app subscribed for light/voice metering data and detecting ‘waste- of-lights’ periods
  • Extensible with other M2M communication protocols (e.g. COAP)
  • Secured network between the communication hub and the gateway (security certificates)

M2M Service Enablement Platform (1/2)

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Responsive HTML5 user interface

  • Desktop, tablet and mobile views
  • Customized styling & branding

Extensive user management

  • Different user roles & access rights
  • Automatic UI & application adjustment
  • Built-in user messaging & alerting system

Flexible & secure communication with M2M endpoints

  • Adapters concept (a new protocol -> just a new adapter)
  • MQTT is supported out of the box
  • Security mechanisms are activated on demand

Built-in system maintenance capabilities

  • System health and user activity monitoring
  • Network and API usage statistics
  • Live system backup and software upgrade
  • Live system update (add/remove nodes)

M2M Service Enablement Platform (2/2)

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M2M applications management

  • Applications hosting & execution environment
  • Automated applications installation & de-installation
  • Matching of applications to particular accounts and users

M2M applications out of the box

  • Bulk SMS sender (towards M2M SIM-capable devices)
  • Location tracking application

Advanced platform features

  • Global system search
  • Exhaustive logging mechanism

Integration with external systems

  • Interface to Telco SIM management platform
  • Open REST API for integration with 3rd party application

Highly reliable and scalable solution

  • Public and private cloud deployment
  • Cluster of N active nodes
  • TCP and HTTP load balancers

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