Cloudleaf enterprise solutions orchestrate the flow of assets across the three dimensions of data, dashboards and decisions, writes Nitesh Arora, the head of marketing at the company
Cloudleaf IoT solutions are predicated on the most robust, secure and interoperable technologies available today. However, our story doesn’t end there. Although we’re undeniably a tech company, our solutions approach is decidedly non-technical; we view technology as the means not the end. In fact, we can extend this idea by saying that, for us, the success of an IoT implementation is measured, not by the number of sensors or cloud analytics apps, but by the degree to which it provides sustainable and measurable value to society, the environment and on the bottom line. By adopting a Three Ds solutions approach, we’re able offer rich live data, accessible from intuitive mobile dashboards from which operations managers can quickly make critical resourcing and prioritisation decisions.
Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s come back down to earth and talk nuts and bolts in terms that both engineers and everyday folk can understand. If you read our other article on page 16 of this issue, you’ll get a good idea of how the Cloudleaf Sensor Network helps those running industrial operations derive maximum business value in the areas of:
- Asset utilisation – Serialised management, location tracking and monitoring, utilisation, inventory control and dwell-time management
- Factory operations – Product quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), audit and regulatory compliance, safety and loss management, work node control and work in progress (WIP)
- Complex assemblies – Multi site/party workflows, supplier conformance, on-time delivery and penalty mitigation
- Condition monitoring – Predictive/prescriptive management, environmental monitoring and fault management
So let’s get further down into the weeds and talk about our tech.
The Cloudleaf family of products is made up from a collection of end-to-end hardware, connectivity, cloud services and apps that solve distributed manufacturing challenges and harmonise workflow relationships between people, systems and things. Our endpoint sensors, zone sensors and gateways form an intelligent-mesh that orchestrates the flow of realtime asset data, elegantly bridging the operation technology (OT) domain processes with back-office information technology (IT) business systems. We call this the CloudLeaf Sensor Fabric. Let’s take a closer look at the components:
Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric The Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric is composed of patented, easyto-deploy, purpose-built and location aware sensors and gateways, to enable smarter operations, with indoor, outdoor and in-transit coverage.
- Cloudleaf Sensors – Long-range sensors that securely collect and share asset location and condition data over our patented Bluetooth Smart technology.
Each Cloudleaf-enabled asset in the Sensor Fabric generates a unique digital fingerprint with location and contextual metadata (such as temperature, shock, vibration and more). More assets-sensors results in the more accurate data and better intelligence. There is virtually no limit to the number, class, location or mobility of assets that can join the fabric. Moving containers of raw materials, lab samples, sub-assemblies, components, finished products, high-value handheld tools and fixed industrial robots are all excellent candidate asset types. And given a two-to-five year battery life, long-range Bluetooth connectivity and sensor provisioning from the cloud, the costfootprint gets lower with each asset added to the fabric.
- Cloudleaf Zone Sensors – Zone Sensors provide more precise location entry/exit management and other micro-location use cases in critical workflow zones.
Zone sensors extend the accuracy of Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric by enabling enterprises to create more precise location zones and monitor entry/exit events. Zones can then be stitched together by the Cloud Platform to create travel paths or workflows to track compliance of any process. By relying on the patented trilateration and triangulation algorithms, an asset may be positioned to within 3ft in 3D space. Focus beam antennas (18, 60, 90 degrees) can further fine tune and extend the configurable proximity range from 70ft to 3ft. This means that plant operators, product QA/QC staff, audit and compliance agencies and lab managers are able to precisely determine the location/zone, status and condition of assets in-production or in-transit.
- Cloudleaf Gateway – Lightweight bi-directional connectivity to the cloud using Bluetooth Smart between sensors and industrial Wi-Fi or cellular to the cloud.
Acting as the glue between assets in OT domain fabric and the cloud, operations managers are able to strategically locate Cloudleaf Gateways for maximum coverage. Each gateway is capable of covering 70,000 sq. ft. of industrial indoor space and moving asset location, condition and command data over non-line-of-sight (NLOS) channels. (For the engineers out there: We achieve this by circumventing physical objects in RF communication path using a series of concentric innermost prolate ellipsoidal regions of space between and around Cloudleaf antennas. This region is called the Fresnel Zone). For any given square footage, this reduces the number of gateways needed to create a fully inclusive, high capacity IoT mesh. Cloudleaf is about efficiency in form and function.
Cloudleaf Rules Engine Easily model your complex business workflows and create rule hierarchies that automatically trigger corrective actions in real-time
Sandwiched between the IoT ecosystem and our cloud applications, is the Cloudleaf Business Rules Engine. In this space operation managers can easily conceptualise, build and execute product, labour and material workflows. Some might be as simple as A->B->C such as scrubbing and transforming raw IoT data into usable form. Others may require complex forward-chaining ifthen or event based techniques that factor in multiple locations, functions and relationships. More complex rules might include staff and material resources across various stages of the manufacturing process, require input from predictive maintenance analytics or need to exchange data with assets in the field. Regardless of complexity, we make it easy. By enabling you to model your business rules using the industry terms, measures and indicators you use every day you can start executing your production workflows on day one.
Cloudleaf Applications – our applications are purpose-built to help enterprises solve industry specific challenges and focus on their core competencies.
Actionable insights are only as accurate as the information used to generate them, which, in turn requires consolidating real-time data feeds from multiple source in the OT domain. But what are actionable insights, broadly speaking, we are reforming to value-added intelligence that help operations manager make better decisions and improve their visibility across their value-chain of suppliers, operations and distributor networks. This intelligence may be in the form of analytical trends, artificial intelligence (AI) -generated alerts, measurable key performance indicators (KPIs), reports or live dashboards that show hotspots in the production cycle. Behind the scenes our application programme interfaces (APIs), software development kits (SDKs) and middleware adaptors provide seamless extensible interoperability with enterprise systems for a truly connected end-to-end experience.
We believe that, for IoT solutions to be sustainable and value-added, they must, first and foremost be based on technology that is robust, interoperable, cost-effective and offers high-availability functioning. Our extensive library of APIs, SDKs and pre-built connectors enable seamless integration that enhance existing enterprise supply chain management (SCM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), material requirements planning (MRP), manufacturing execution system (MES) and analytics systems. By using the latest battle-tested connectivity standards, a patented location engine and industry-centric cloud applications we’re able to transform this digitalplant metadata into actionable insights.