A Montreal firm says it is about to release a wireless machine-to-machine communications system that will slash the price of monitoring industrial and home equipment.
iMetrik M2M Solutions Inc. said this week it has finished development of its cellular gateway system that collects data from wireless sensors in buildings or attached to equipment. The gateway transmits the data to iMetrik M2M’s data centre and is posted on a secure Web site, where customers can access reports and remotely control the sensors.
The as yet unnamed, unpriced service will be available in three months, Michel St-Pierre, iMetrik M2M’s CEO, although some customers who have already placed orders will get their systems earlier.
Machine-to-machine data collection isn’t new, but often organizations have to negotiate cellular service with local providers, says St-Pierre. His company will offer a turnkey solution that equipment makers and system integrators can sell for what is hoped to me a modest monthly fee.
“What we have developed is a complete wireless solution,” he said in an interview. “The sensors are battery-powered and wireless,” communicating to the gateway using 900 Mhz frequencies.
“The end user only has to position the sensor” – it could be stuck on a wall or hardwired to equipment – “plug in our gateway into AC (typically in a data centre) and they’re done.”
All the customer needs to have is a PC or smart phone with Internet access to get
The system will eliminate the long lengths of cable needed to set up wired sensor networks, St-Pierre said.
The company will be able to keep the price down of the cellular service because has contracted to lease space on the international network of iMetrik Global, a separate company that specializes in devices that monitor vehicles for leasing and auto insurance companies around the world. That company has contracted bandwidth from mobile carriers in 120 countries. iMetrik Global’s devices can monitor how far and where a vehicle is driven, and disable the ignition if finance payments are behind.
In the industrial world, iMetrik M2M says it will offer sensors that wirelessly watch a building’s temperature and humidity and link to the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems for automatic control. Other sensors will be hardwired to equipment and can send out alerts to maintenance staff.
The gateway – about the size of a smart phone -- will come with pre-configured SIM cards for the mobile carrier in each country it is sold in, which is why the solution is plug and play, St-Pierre said.
System pricing will be linked to the number of sensors and amount of cellular data in each installation. St-Pierre hopes it could be as low as $10 a month.