Exploring the World of Big Data: Techniques and Applications

Julie Hall

Posted on: 2023-04-08

The Ecolabs Centre of Innovation for Energy is a start-up incubator at Nanyang Technology University in Singapore. They help companies design software solutions for a more sustainable world. Printed Power is one such innovative company. Founded in 2008, Printed Power set out to create a wireless sensor. This ultra-low power sensor would harvest ambient energy from its surroundings. Ambient energy refers to energy captured from external sources, such as solar power, thermal energy and kinetic energy. When captured correctly, it can run small devices. The Printed Power sensors would run exclusively on energy captured this way. Having a system of sensors with a minimal footprint would be a very energy-efficient solution. Such a system works on a distributed energy source, which improves resilience and ease of operations. From smart homes and buildings to transportation and automation; from logistics to data centers and precision agriculture – Printed Power sensors promised a whole range of applications. Printed Power could promise such versatile uses due to its Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. Each of the sensors would be a Bluetooth-enabled smart device that would collect data from its environment. They went ahead and created the hardware.

Once developed, the Printed Power hardware consisted of the sensors, fitted with rechargeable batteries. What they needed now was complementary software that could connect these elements and provide an IoT platform. At first, Printed Power sought out software development companies in Singapore and India. But they could not find one that matched their budget and needs. Looking for cost-efficient options, they learned of Rudra Pandey and his software development and data analytics company in Boston. Printed Power met with Deerhold. In an initial presentation, they explained their technology and requirements. They needed software that could read, analyze and visualize large quantities of data from their sensors. Deerhold was more than willing to get involved with this exciting project.

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In 2019, Deerhold set out to develop a software solution tailored for Printed Power. For this off-site project, Deerhold began by carrying out research and resource development. Understanding the hardware components took time. And after three months, we were confident in our knowledge of the sensors. We moved on to writing the software. Our team was in charge of both the server and client side of the software. We designed the IoT systems and the message protocol. The sensors would be placed in different locations – homes, offices, factories, etc. – depending on the customer’s use. Our product needed to read and aggregate the data from the different sensors in the different locations. Then it would visualize the readings and patterns in the data. Seeing the data makes it easier for Printed Power’s clients to analyze the data and performance of the sensors. Our technology gives businesses valuable insights into their own operations. This goes a long way in helping them make better, accurate decisions. Deerhold is a small but versatile company. With our headquarters in the US and subsidiaries in Nepal and Japan, we bring together a diverse team. For front-end development and custom data visualization, we used React and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. We queued the data with RabbitMQ and Python. We also employed Django, MongoDB, Nginx, and Vue JS.

This was an intricate project with all kinds of challenges along the way. But these hurdles helped us grow as software developers and project managers. We would not have had it any other way. Our product needed to be multifunctional and adaptable. In the pilot, we tested the sensors in a cold-storage facility. The goal was to track and prevent heat loss through the doors. Deerhold made a system of vibration sensors, temperature sensors and door proximity sensors. These all worked together to detect the opening and closing of the door. Deerhold configured the sensors and received a steady data stream from the system. We visualized this input so the cold-storage company could make timely interventions. Having one sensor that harvests different kinds of energies is no easy task. With this project, we were entering uncharted territory. We had to figure things out on the go. The scope of the project was adjusted several times, and we mitigated these changes through open communication with the team and the client. We pushed ourselves to think on our feet and work hard to get the project done on time. As a tech startup that was built from the ground up, Deerhold understands ambition. After all, we are a company that offers software development, mobile application development, web application development and a dozen other tech services. Printed Power wanted to scale up their project for global access. We understood that, and designed a product that was fit for most countries. Unfortunately, because our pilot was in China, there was limited AWS access. Figuring out how to adapt the product for China became a new project. Deerhold worked with an on-site team in China and collaborated with an AWS team. This took another two to three months, which demonstrated our resilience and flexibility. Like every challenge that comes our way, our team overcame this one too.