Ellenex microservice platform designed for industrial LPWAN monitoring solutions at scale. One of the key features, implemented in the platform is the capability to apply complex formulas to any data from the device for analytics, accurate alarming, and visualisation of degree 2 or 3 parameters.
The above image feels standard and intuitive to the untrained eye, but the amount of planning and development that has gone into building such a system cannot be explained in one blog post. I will explain the conceptual information about how we implemented complex formulas on Ellenex Platform without going too deep into the technical specifics.
When we started working on the data processing architecture, the primary requirement was not to hardcode things on the sensor. We wanted to get the raw readings accurately on the platform and then manipulate it for presenting data in a human-readable format. The system has to accommodate different types of sensors, and users must be able to manipulate the readings however they choose.
For example, PLS2-N / PLS2-L are our standard submersible level sensors for NB-IoT and LoRaWAN, respectively. While we have hundreds of variants in each depending upon their measurement range, enclosure type, and other physical differences, at the network on firmware level they behave identically and always return the level for a liquid density of 1. This will work exactly as intended for measuring water level but not all liquids are water and if a client wants to measure diesel they must divide the level with a different density value to get the diesel level. We cannot hardcode the density on the sensor as it goes against our primary requirement.
Other platforms in the market either let the user write their own code for calculations or worked for a limited set of calculations but do not account for different edge case scenarios like tank shapes, getting volume instead of level or using a completely different type of sensor that measures the distance from the top of the tank to liquid surface level with ultrasonic sensors like DUS2-N / DUS2-L and then converting it to the level of liquid using simple subtraction.
All our requirements could be addressed by letting the user write simple math equations and building the processing system to evaluate the received data and load it into a time series database that can easily be interpreted. So that's what we did.
one of the best use cases to explain the capability and difference of the implemented service, compare to other platforms, is the project with one of our partners in the land topography field. We simply implemented the complex degree 3 and 4 formulas from the land scan with laser scanners to specify the volume of the water stored in dams and water catchments.
It was just a matter of copy and paste for us, but huge benefit and saving in time for the partner and end users.
Our system has three major sections to handle a wide range of math scenarios.
1. Payload Parameters
We store the data received from the device as different variables which the user can modify. We call these payload parameters.
2. Value Parameters
These are for storing constants like Liquid Density or Sensor Range
3. Calculated Parameters
Last and most importantly, these parameters have various math calculations to convert simple input values into different values that users need. These values are then loaded into the time series database for reporting, graphs and alerts.
All Ellenex devices are preconfigured with these sections based on our customer requirements.
We ensure operations like these are set to the optimal default values so the user doesn't have to understand everything. If you buy a level sensor to monitor a cylindrical diesel tank, you can let us know the dimensions, and we set everything up for you.
If you want to tinker with a formula or add something new completely, you have the power and access to these sections to modify the values.
Hopefully, this article has given you more information and clarity on how easily you can apply and modify math formulas to parameters received from an IoT device. In the next one, I will discuss more in-depth about device management and how you can create a formula for one device and apply it to multiple devices at once, and how easy it is to manage devices on the Ellenex Platform.
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