What technology are you using?
Q: Brief overview of the technology you are using?
A: Our team is developing out-of-the-box ready sensor nodes with on board microprocessor, GPS module, solar cell charging circuit, and LoRa module to transmit data packets over the air from remote locations. Each node will be registered with our cloud based platform (SensorNet), allowing the user the opportunity to monitor data in real time. We currently use commercially availible sensors for the monitoring of nutrients in the Great Lakes region, but are reaching out to cutting edge sensor development start ups to work out a full end to end solution to the problem.
Q: How does this technology advance the field/process of detection?
A: Our solution will offer the user real time monitoring of nutrients on any device with our user friendly cloud based platform. Sensor nodes come with the necessary firmware and are out-of-the-box ready and easily installed. This product offers the user the capability of drastically increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of monitoring virtually any parameter relating to water quality. Just plug in the desired sensors, install the node at the desired location, and observe the data on your smart phone or computer! We offer live time series plotting features, an easy-to-use query interface, a machine learned notification scheme and data mining techniques to provide predicted values based on node data and historical datasets. We are implementing a brand new way of monitoring into the scientific community. Not only will users be able access their data, but our notification system will give the user insight to detect sources of contamination in the water network.
Q: What innovations are you bringing to the sensor technology? Network technology? Data analytics?
A: aqInfo strives to innovate LPWAN and SDN techonologies, making them more acccesible than ever to inexperienced users. The SensorNet plat- form offers a suite of high quality data analytics tools to make environmental monitoring a breeze, allowing the user to solely focus on using data rather than collecting it. Spreadsheets of data and high quality plots can easily be generated for any deployed node that they have purchased, allowing the user to see correlations between nodes and better predict the spatial and temporal dependence of the observed phenomenon. Data mining of the big data we would be generating presents the opportunity to implement machine learning optimizations for core SDN and data analytics algorithms, setting us apart from many existing IOT solutions platforms.
Q: What has been an unexpected technological issue that you had to face?
A: We have a beautifully designed platform, however we are still in the search of robust sensors to integrate into our system. We are currently talking to multiple producers of cutting edge sensor technologies to ensure that we provide the most resiliant and thoughtful solution on the market.
What brought you to the Internet of H2O challenge (besides the prize money)?A: aqInfo was working on building an IOT solutions platform before the competition started. Jack Press, founder of aqInfo grew up on living on Lake St. Clair and personally witnessed the impact of nutrient loading into the Great Lakes System. Obsessed with computers and electronics, Jack still decided to pursue his graduate studies in Environmental Engineering specif- ically to implement his solutions into the realm of water quality engineering. The Internet of H20 competition gave us the chance to focus our develop- ment on a specific solution to prove that this technology actually works. In many ways the Internet of H20 competition was an ideal stepping stone for our startup to gain exposure and for us to gain experience and insight in deploying solutions for environmental problems.
Reflection on the pilot:
Q: What do you hope to learn about your technology during this pilot?
A: During the pilot, we are able to monitor the quality of our data being transmitted and the frequency at which it is transmitted. We can use this information to learn about optimizing our power management solution allowing for nodes to remain powered and functional for long periods of time without service. We can also use this information to get a statistical measure of the quality of our recieved packets. This initial test run will help determine parameters to use in building simulations for optimizing network scalability.
Q: What have you learnt already after your deployment? If there were issues during your deployment, how do you plan to mitigate them?Q: What benefits has this challenge offered regarding the refinement of your product / services?
A: During our first deployment we have learned that our sensor node was quickly working with the provided LoRaWAN gateway and sending data packets as expected. Before deploying, we increased the frequency at which our node was sending data packets so we would not have to wait 10-15 min- utes to validate that it is working in the field. Spontaneously we decided to leave the sensor for permanent deployment to prove it can function as planned. So far we have learned how to take steps towards optimizing the node firmware in order to minimize power usage. With this data as well as data from our own testing, we are able to get an idea of our signal purity as a function of distance from the gateway, and get a statistical measure of successful vs. null data packets. We learned that we need to focus hard on teaming up with sensor development start ups to provide the most robust end to end solution.
A: This challenge has offered us an opportunity to narrow our sights and focus our platform on a difficult environmental problem affecting the Great Lakes region. This has given us the opportunity to improve our platform greatly to cater to this solution and has provided us with many useful con- nections in both environmental science and network engineering fields. This project has led us to develop a powerful database to handle LPWAN sensor node data and deliver it to the user in a slick way.
Overall, how has the experience been working in this project and with the Internet of H2O Organizing team?
A: This experience has been very positive for aqInfo, and has given us a chance to demonstrate a successful deployment with data being fed straight from Lake Erie to our cloud platform. It was a dream come true for aqInfo to see a LoRaWAN gateway installed within a water treatment plant. We feel confident that we should be the authority responsible for optimizing the sensor node IoT platform for water infrastructure.
What do you hope will happen after the competition is over?
A: We sincerely hope that others will see the value of our platform and product. Winning the Internet of H2O competition would provide us with the runway that we need to begin manufacturing and scaling our platform. This would give us the opportunity to transform our existing platform into something truly great; a go to tool for the monitoring and addressing of environmental problems. As owners of aqInfo, we would then make this our full time career and top priority.
What would you say to other cities that are trying to do projects like this?
A: We are strong advocates for this type of competition. With the pre- dictions about the vast expanse of the IOT market in the upcoming years, there is surely many bright individuals working on developments in this field. This provides cities with an oppoortunity to reach out to developers and get them focused on using their technology to address real environmetal issues, and improve the quality of life of the cities citizens.