The scale of this project is strikingly illustrated by the following figures: Endesa had more than 282,000 devices in 2019, which were controlled remotely by a team of 15 people. To ensure that these devices were functioning smoothly, the technical field service was on the road for around 159,000 assignments.
But it was not just the massive number of devices to be managed that made the project exceptionally challenging: The great variety of manufacturers, models, and different protocols also contributed to the high degree of complexity of the project. In addition, the various communication technologies and different needs or requirements of the more than 45 remote services that Endesa offers its customers had to be taken into account.
To benefit from the advantages of an IoT approach for this environment, a team of amplía experts developed and implemented a customized solution for Endesa based on the proven IoT platform OpenGate©. Consideration was explicitly given to the specific requirements of the individual business areas and specialist departments. The OpenGate© platform provides real-time information on all performance parameters and processes of the IoT infrastructure, which in turn directly supports Endesa’s entire highly complex power distribution network.
Monitoring functions are also part of the package. A rule-based engine allows tasks and operations to be performed according to triggers or periodically. In the event of anomalous or exceptional operating conditions, the Endesa team is automatically notified and an alarm is triggered under defined conditions. It also allows the status of all elements – communications, devices, sensors, etc. – to be captured and analyzed. In addition, diagnostics and firmware updates for the devices can be carried out according to the SIM cards or the associated provider.
Among other things, the IoT project has significantly reduced the time required for incident management to an average of three to five minutes. The number of field assignments also dropped significantly. The relationship with communication operators also benefited from the project: It was possible to optimize the costs of the communication infrastructure, as well as expenditure in general, as Support and Maintenance can now work more efficiently.
In addition, the time-to-market for new projects was measurably reduced: The introduction of a communication architecture no longer had to be planned and managed over several months, but could be rolled out in a matter of weeks.
Transport containers for motorbikes are not only expensive, but tracking them is also a challenging task. In this case, it was also difficult to get information about the stock and location of temporarily stored containers from the individual dealers. The consequence: There were significant distribution management problems. Despite an oversized inventory of transport containers, there were sometimes delays in deliveries due to not having enough containers in stock – which ultimately led to dissatisfied customers.
The company’s primary goal therefore was to minimize these costly disruptions and to obtain structured information about the locations of containers at any given time. The shipping workflow and warehousing were to be optimized on the basis of this information. Another requirement was that the solution could be integrated with the company’s existing systems. This is because it was by no means intended to be a standalone system; rather, the task was to use the new solution as part of the existing internal processes and to enrich them with valuable information.
To solve this problem, the team of experts in charge of the project developed a concept to track the transport containers remotely and in real time – during the entire shipping process from leaving the factory to handover to the dealers. Sensors in the metal boxes constitute the hardware side of the solution. Using the “Secure Directed Diffusion” (SDD) protocol, optimized for sensor communication, the OpenGate© platform collects the data for further analysis.
In this way, the company can query the location of its units in real time, and at any time, and check if they are carrying an order or not. As a result, the status and movement profile including stop times are also available at any time and from anywhere. This means returns can also be managed with vendors and distributors in an agile process. Automatic alarms indicate when a container has delivered its consignment and remains motionless for more than one day. This allows the company to minimize expensive periods during which containers are empty and optimize their storage.
By introducing the tracking solution based on the OpenGate© platform, the company was able to optimize its warehousing through a powerful IoT concept, thereby measurably reducing costs. The locations of the valuable containers are now known at all times, and in real time. Delivery times can now be better adhered to, leading to more satisfied customers – and contributing positively to the company’s success in the long term.