Performance at Scale

A look at the next generation KONUX IoT device and central device management system, 25.09.2019

Sébastien Schikora, VP of Product & Engineering at KONUX

As a data company, our goal is to deliver actionable insights to our customers. The quality of the insights, however, depends on the quality of the data collected. We learned the hard way that not all sensors are created equal. We know that high precision sensors are key in being able to derive meaningful insights, so early on we made a decision to invest in developing our proprietary autonomous IoT device, optimized for our predictive maintenance applications and extreme environmental conditions. We integrated the IoT device into our end-to-end solution to solve our data acquisition problem and make our customers’ lives easier. And we didn’t stop there. In the last two years, we made a multi-million euro investment and today we are happy to announce our next-generation IoT device and the corresponding IoT central device management system. This will be a huge enabler for the products we will be releasing in the future. I would like to share a few highlights with you:

Better, faster, longer

We have significantly improved the performance of our IoT device in a number of ways. To begin with, we managed to double the battery life from two to over four years in the field (including cold winters in Scandinavia). Even though our device is included in our fully managed SaaS solution and not something our customers buy directly, the fact that now they do not need to coordinate and manage service for over four years is surely a great improvement!

Learn more about our Predictive Maintenance System for Rail Switches

When it comes to capturing acceleration, we quadrupled the range, without sacrificing measurement resolution. We also added a self-test that guarantees the accuracy of the system, using two sensors with overlapping measurement ranges. In addition, we added lateral sensing capabilities to the vertical measurements.

Finally, when it comes to quality and security, the hardware is fully certified, meets state-of-the-art security requirements, and can be installed on both concrete and wooden sleepers. It even passed the Deutsche Bahn ice shooting test, where it remained fully fixed to the sleeper after being hit three times by a 4kg ice block shot with a speed of 290 km/h. It is an extreme test, but it is important in proving that our IoT device is safe on high-speed tracks, even in the harshest weather conditions.

Video courtesy of DLR Institute of Structures and Design, Stuttgart

Future-proof and scalable

Another key topic we have been working on is scalability and future-proofing. Our latest IoT device now supports firmware updates over-the-air, ensuring we can update security patches and comply with new security standards as well as deploying further features, such as better edge computing, without the need to access the IoT device and disrupt train traffic.

Another achievement we are really proud of is launching our Central Device Management System (CDM). It allows us to streamline the device activation process, the environment set-up, and the over-the-air firmware deployment. All of these are particularly useful in making larger roll-outs really quick and efficient.

What’s next?

Our IoT device will remain a key component in our Predictive Maintenance solution in the foreseeable future, and we certainly won’t stop there. The leaps we made in the past year and the knowledge we have gained will help us to continuously and efficiently deploy new functionalities. Moving forward, we will also be working on integrating the data collected from our own devices with data from our customers, as well as third party sensor systems.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our Winter ‘20 product release, which will include a major step forward in helping infrastructure managers improve availability and save costs.