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Environment Monitoring and Control System - EMACS

Instructions and support materials

System Overview

Let's start with Aimagin's view on Internet of Things (IoT), which are as follows:

  1. Web applications only permits access anywhere anytime. Nice looking dashboard can be easily made.
  2. IoT devices need to be more intelligent, for continuous operation, even when internet is not available. This is why we focus on maintaining our core competency in developing and using Matlab/Simulink blockset (industrial standard tools for advanced control system design and development) to generate embedded source code, allowing more complex and reliable system to be developed faster and easier.
  3. Need ultra-low power for battery operation.
  4. Need secure and reliable connectivity.
  5. For maximum benefits, need to turn massive IoT devices' data into useful information.
  6. Low cost. This is especially important for Agriculture sector.
We believe that a complete IoT package should cover at least the following functions.
  1. Monitor
  2. Alert
  3. Control
  4. Analytics
  5. Redundancy

Environment Monitoring and Control System (EMACS) is Aimagin's Internet of Things (IoT) product line for all kinds of environment monitoring and control tasks e.g. agriculture, industrial plant maintenance, computer server room, warehouses, etc.

EMACS system consists of the following components.

Hardware
1. EMACS nodes
2. EMACS gateway
Software
3. Aimagin Connect (Android application)
4. Aimagin W2D 2 server (Web application user interface)
5. Aimagin Analytics (Big data analytic web application)

1. EMACS nodes

There are 4 types of EMACS nodes.
  1. Sensor nodes
  2. Actuator nodes
  3. Interface nodes
  4. Repeater nodes

Sensor nodes are devices which sense environmental conditions. For examples, sensor nodes include ambient temperature sensor, ambient humidity sensor, thermocouple sensor, RTD sensor, AC current sensor, ambient light sensor, PM2.5 sensor, 20mA interface, digital input and analog input.

Actuator nodes are devices which can control other devices. For examples, actuator include digital output, analog output, stepper motor driver etc.

Interface nodes allows EMACS nodes and EMACS gateway to communicate with existing devices via standard communication protocols, for example, RS232, RS485 and CAN BUS. Interface nodes facilitate interfacing with existing or legacy devices and network.

Generally, repeater nodes are required in two circumstances.
1. To extend the communication range.
2. To provide redundant communication channel for safety critical applications.

Communication between EMACS nodes and EMACS gateway is via short-range 2.4GHz wireless radio link, namely, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) mesh network. The following is a typical operating range for EMACS network.

Environment Line-of-sight Antenna gain Range (m)
Indoor No - Wall in between 5dBi - Omni directional 10
Indoor Yes 5dBi - Omni directional 30
Outdoor Yes 5dBi - Omni directional 100
Outdoor No - Obstruction exists 14dBi - Directional 100
Outdoor Yes 14dBi - Directional 400

2. EMACS gateway

EMACS gateway is a device that enables communication between W2D 2 server and all the devices in the mesh network. W2D 2 server is Aimagin Web application that allows users to easily monitor and control IoT devices in the network, via web browsers. EMACS gateway can connect to W2D 2 server via 3G/4G, WIFI and LAN.

LORA and NB-IoT, are currently two enabling IoT technologies for ultra low power wireless connectivity. Both LORA and NB-IoT allows each devices to connect directly to a server.

Unlike LORA and NB-IoT, EMACS design is based on the use of ultra low-power BLE Mesh Network as core network protocol that enable communications between various nodes and gateways. Communication between a server and devices is centrally managed via EMACS gateway. Such approach is based on the need to:
  1. Lower cost (enable each device to communicate directly to the server may add unnecessary costs).
  2. Make the best use of existing infrastructure in terms of bandwidth and coverage (WIFI, LAN, 3G/4G).
    This approach allows EMACS system to acquire more sensor data, more frequently, at no additional costs, typically hundreds kilo bytes every minute.

There are cases where LORA and NB-IoT may be suitable, e.g. no need for near real-time data at high acquisition frequency and the distance is very large (10+ km). In such cases, it is also possible to add LORA and NB-IoT nodes' data to Aimagin W2D 2 server.

3. Aimagin Connect

Aimagin Connect is an Android application used to configure EMACS nodes and gateway.

4. Aimagin W2D 2 server

Waijung Webpage Designer version 2 (W2D 2) is Aimagin's second generation web application that extends the functionality of W2D version 1.

The goal of W2D 1 was to allow embedded engineers to design and create an online web server, for running in a STM32 microcontroller with very limited resources such as 120 kBytes RAM and 1 MBytes FLASH memory, using drag and drop approach with minimum knowledge about Web application programming.

The goal of W2D 2 is to add more features to W2D, for examples, responsive design, more optimized and stable code, user management, role and permission management, big data analytic integration.

5. Aimagin Analytics

As previously stated in our view on IoT, we believe that, for maximum benefits, it is important to be able to turn data into useful information. Aimagin tries to make this happen with innovative approach - Aimagin Analytics.

Aimagin Analytics is a separate web application data analytic software that can be integrated with Aimagin W2D 2, allowing users to turn massive IoT devices' data into useful information.

Key benefits

EMACS benefits can be summarized as follows.

  1. A large section of of flexible sensor nodes, actuator nodes, interface nodes can fit a variety of applications. More node types can be made upon customer requests.
  2. Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh Network allows for:
    1. Ultra-low power operation. A sensor node can last more than 2 years on 2 AA battery while data are update every minute.
    2. Easy installation and relocation. No need to install wire, cable or power outlet everywhere.
    3. Possible redundant communication channels. In the case, one communication route is broken, redundancy can be made available via other sensors in the network or additional repeater nodes.
    4. Every devices can be configured via Android application - Aimagin Connect.
    5. Every devices firmware can be upgraded via Android application - Aimagin Connect.
  3. Flexible EMACS gateway connectivity via either WIFI, LAN or 3G/4G.
  4. Cloud or on-site W2D 2 server is possible.
  5. Possible integration with Aimagin Analytics - our data analytic software.
  6. Multiple alerting channels e.g. Naver Line, SMS, Email.
  7. Fail-safe mechanism. Use Google cloud as back up server that monitor system status and provide alert when necessary.
  8. Redundancy in all levels i.e. server, gateway, and nodes.
  9. W2D 2
    1. Role and permission management: Customer can assign a system administrator who can easily manage role and permission that controls access to various part of the system.
    2. Separate fail-safe alerts for maintenance personnel. Maintenance personnel always gets alert about system status that needs attentions before users.

Products and services

To summarize, Aimagin offers the following products and services as IoT platform.

  1. EMACS system comprising:
  2. EMACS nodes
    1. Sensor nodes
    2. Actuator nodes
    3. Interface nodes
    4. Repeater nodes
  3. EMACS gateway
  4. Aimagin Connect (Android app)
  5. Aimagin W2D 2 (Web app) both on-site and cloud services
  6. Aimagin Analytics (Web app) both on-site and cloud services
  7. Customization services
  8. Research and development services

Sample applications

Server room

Monitor temperature, humidity, electricity and provide alert when air condition or power down events are detected

Agriculture

School

Monitor temperature and humidity. Convert to heat index. Integrate with weather forecast services. Provide alert to teachers when students are outside for too long.

Learn more