A Walk in the Woods – ClearBlade takes IoT into the CountrySide

June 19, 2020

Author: Aaron Allsbrook

This week ClearBlade announced its new partnership with Trilogy.  We are excited about this partnership as it allows existing customers of ClearBlade to take their solutions into new areas of their business.  Trilogy is bringing high speed wireless networks to rural America making it a perfect enabling technology for ClearBlade to deploy IoT applications into locations like farms, mines, substations, oil wells, supply chains, and solar power plants.


Today ClearBlade has its edge working tirelessly at railroad crossings in remote parts of the country where fiber doesn’t run and 5G antennas are not hanging.  These edges are gathering data about how those crossings are working and keeping the public safe.  That edge looks at voltages, measures brightness, listens for bells, feels acceleration all to draw a conclusion about the health of the crossing itself.  It is generating lots of edge data and is smart enough that today sends back only what’s interesting and in need of action.  


The crossing solution is valuable, and provides measurable ROI but leaves everyone asking, “what if we could send back more information?”, “what if we could take all the edge data from all the crossing and run analysis?”.  Would we find train approach speeds are not optimal?  Would we find that equipment can be maintained accordingly to a more optimal schedule?  Would we find a particular set of installations are prone to a certain type of failure?  Would we find differences in quality of maintenance by time of day?  This data while interesting and maybe valuable to answer many questions is trapped due to the limited network and high cost associated with sending it back to the data scientists.  It suffers from the same challenge of streaming your favorite netflix show in HD over a 3G cellphone.  


Today ClearBlade has its edge grinding away on data in mines in the cold north.  These mines produce the core elements of our batteries and microchips which are key to a greener future and future of computing.  The edges in these environments work to make sure workers are kept out of harm’s way, calculating positions, distances, geofence violations, activating warnings, barriers, and alarms.  These edges process huge amounts of data in realtime, removing duplicates and creating higher level business focused events.  


Like molten slag on a Kresshauler this massive data is scraped and thrown away as it’s too expensive to send back to a cloud or server.  The connectivity rates are just too high to justify sending the information back.  Again this data, too hot and with unknown value forces us to ask many questions, “are there diamonds in the data?”, “what could we learn if we knew how often workers went to certain locations?”.  What veins of data gold are sitting in the rock of the overwhelming sensor feeds for the machines running at optimal efficiency?  


As Trilogy is bringing new network to the rural locations in the United States, ClearBlade is excited to introduce its Edge Data Platform into an environment where high speed connectivity and local data centers exist for edge computing.  This is a huge opportunity for us and for our customers to find new insights, learn new patterns, and ultimately make technology work for the domains of our businesses.

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