Sensor2Cloud applications depend on access to sensor data via an IP-based network. Translators or gateways are often necessary to integrate even simple sensors into an IP-based network. Single Pair Ethernet is now the missing link for seamless connectivity between sensors and the Cloud.
Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is a key technology for end-to-end connectivity between sensors and the Cloud or for IIoT applications in general. The idea is to use the same standardised protocols (IP-based) from the Cloud to the sensor and thus enable seamlessly networked communication. The great advantage of seamless network connectivity to a sensor/actuator is that computer-based OT applications that are located in the company/factory network guarantee direct access to these sensors and actuators. Thus, the part responsible for automation is not disturbed, and at the same time the OT application and the Sensor2Cloud application are not burdened with typical tasks for automation planning (planning in real time or displaying the process image). The result: the implementation of Sensor2Cloud applications requires much less effort than with traditional technologies based on automation.
PerFact Innovation GmbH & Co. KG developed a distance sensor used in level monitoring for baking racks, with the sensor made network-compatible by means of an adapter. The passive sensor thus became an intelligent sensor that can report the fill level. Particularly advantageous is the fact that the higher-level software receives processed data and no longer needs to convert a sensor-dependent raw signal, for instance. Also, a mobile app can show the seller in the baking shop the fill level of the individual baking compartments in real time.
This happens because the sensor can identify itself and notify where it is installed (storage compartment). This drastically reduces planning effort (wiring). This self-identification is the basis for real Plug’n’Play and is generally enabled by established IT network technologies. Single Pair Ethernet in particular now also enables the practical wiring of individual sensors, which makes this paradigm shift from passive sensor to intelligent data provider possible. In the practical example of the baking rack, timely refilling is possible.
A similar example is the notification of building technicians on an industrial property that a malfunction has occurred. When a fault signalling contact is triggered, the signal is transmitted from a digital IO sensor via mqtt to an IoT platform that notifies the on-call technician via SMS, for example, and simultaneously creates a ticket in the operator's ERP system. A LAN network is available in most technical rooms. Alternatively, an LTE gateway can be used. The sensors are connected via a media converter (classic LAN to Single Pair Ethernet) with power supply, whereby only 1 converter is required per room and the sensors can be wired in a line thanks to multidrop. The installer need only configure the inventory number as an mqtt topic, under which the sensor then reports status changes. Thanks to a sensor’s ability to self-identify, there is no need to create mapping tables or wiring diagrams. The technician can simply connect the fault signalling contacts, which saves significant effort.