RoviTracker Blog

RoviTracker and the Internet of Things

by Alain Eav | on 31 Oct, 2016 | Permalink

The Internet
In the 1960’s, the idea of multiple computers that could communicate between each other was born. That idea was tested when researchers connected two computers, one in California and one in Massachusetts, using a telephone line to transmit data.

Since then, computers and the internet have grown dramatically. This growing technology has changed the way people live their lives and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the way we communicate.

Communication and Connection
For most of history, a communicated message could only travel as fast as a human could carry it. This meant it could take weeks or even months to receive information from someone else. Communication technology in the 20th century changed everything. Radio, telephones, and TV all meant we could listen and watch people from around the world in real time. The internet has only furthered our connectivity and continues to do so as technology grows.

The Internet of Things
Real time data can now be sent to and from devices. This can include computers, tablets, phones, streaming devices, gaming consoles, watches, and vehicles. The average home in America contains 7.8 devices that are connected to the internet. More and more devices are becoming “smart” which means there are constantly new ways to implement this technology to improve industries. The Internet of Things (IoT) is exactly just that: things that are connected to the internet and have the ability to communicate with other things instantly.

For example, devices could be included in the construction of a bridge. These devices could collect all sorts of data about the components of the bridge and communicate that data back to engineers. Those engineers would be able to know of cracks, weaknesses, warping, damage, and other critical information allowing them to fix problems before it’s too late.

The IoT and Your Heavy Equipment
There are endless uses and applications when it comes to the Internet of Things. Many of the popular advancements in the tech world come in the form of laptops or wearables such as watches and headphones, but other industries stand to benefit as well. The heavy equipment and machinery industry is not typically equated with smart technology. But monitoring your equipment with the effectiveness and convenience of this kind of technology could be of great financial benefit. Current methods of reporting the status of equipment, its location, hours of operation, and other information you need, can take a significant amount of time, manpower, and money.

RoviTracker and the IoT Help Your Business
The tracking and maintaining of heavy equipment can be made more cost effective and time efficient for any business that owns or rents simply by implementing new technology. And that’s exactly what RoviTracker was designed to do.

We created RoviTracker because companies lacked information and insights into problems like maintenance, component failures, and utilization of equipment at job sites. These insights help companies better allocate equipment, service them on time, and most importantly know what brings them the best ROI. We also saw a disconnect between vendor and clients, our platform allows both parties to connect and share data with each other, doing so provided the transparency and increased business interaction.

We're in the business of providing data and lots of it. We have a hardware device that gets installed onto the equipment and data is communicated via cell towers. Our software then allows our clients to better analyze, predict, and forecast business decisions.

Now you can monitor your equipment from a computer screen rather than spend hours of driving to do it in person. Essentially, your equipment can communicate with you, thanks to new technology and the Internet of Things.


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Predictive Analytics and the Heavy Equipment Industry

by Alain Eav | on 9 Feb, 2016 | Permalink

In the industry of heavy equipment, it is vital to monitor and service the equipment to ensure it continues to function properly. Equipment malfunction and failure can be catastrophic and cost a company significant amounts to fix or replace. The ideal situation would include the ability to monitor the equipment in real time. While a visual check over to ensure usability is all good and dandy, there are also other ways to monitor the performance of heavy equipment. One rapidly growing method is the use of predictive analytics.

What is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics combines several monitoring methods to establish regular trends and predict the future path of those trends. It utilizes data mining, machine learning, statistical algorithms, and predictive modeling to analyze and observe the current performance of a piece of equipment and predict future performance, including possible failure or malfunction. This is accomplished through the collection and analysis of historical data combined with current, real time data. This data is pulled from multiple sources to provide more accurate readings.

How it is Used?

While predictive analytics can be used in almost any industry and business, here at RoviTracker, we place more of an emphasis on tracking and maintaining heavy equipment. Through the use of predictive analytics, users are able to monitor the fuel level, engine run time, and battery voltage of their equipment. They will be able to know if their equipment is working properly or if there are any issues that may cause the equipment to fail in the near future. Rather than reacting to problems when they occur, the user is able to detect when problems may happen and take steps to prevent those problems from growing into malfunction or failure. It can also be used to determine when regular maintenance should take place.

It is far easier and more cost effective to service heavy equipment before it fails or malfunctions. Through the use of predictive analytics, problems can be detected early, often before they even happen. The user is able to take a more proactive approach to ensure everything is still working properly. It is significantly more cost effective to perform minor maintenance compared to equipment replacement.

RoviTracker provides predictive analytic service to monitor equipment in real time.


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The Rise of Hybrid Light Towers

by Alain Eav | on 30 Oct, 2015 | Permalink

In fifteen years, we went from cell phones the size of Shaq’s shoes to the 5-inch iPhone, from 56K dial-up connection to one computer per household to an average of 5 devices per home, from a Suzuki Samurai that couldn’t take a turn without falling over to a Tesla that runs solely on batteries and has become the safest sports car in the world. And yet, it’s taken four times that to see innovation in light towers.

You can find towable light towers at road construction sites or, if you’re in the oil, gas, or mining industries, rigs or pits. Most light towers consist of a diesel engine, three or four 500W-1000W light fixtures, and a small AC generator to power the lights. This has been the standard since 1954, when the Allmand Bros in 1954 introduced the first light tower of its kind. Now, nearly 60 years later, we’re finally seeing change in these products. So what sparked this movement?

Old HID light tower

There’s a number of different factors, but it can be boiled down to these four, which are all interrelated:

  • EPA regulations placed
  • Diesel engine cost skyrocketed
  • Cost of solar energy products came down
  • Longer lasting AGM batteries and more efficient solar modules

The EPA regulations were made with the goal of decreasing our carbon footprint. The regulations hit engine manufacturers hard, especially in the diesel space. Engine prices increased over 37% between 2012 and 2014, and lead time became an unbearable five months. The regulations forced engine manufacturers and distributors to build certain engines to order, instead of stocking them.

Products with a 20HP+ engine took a huge blow and companies producing them began looking for alternatives. Even smaller engines ie. Kubota, Perkins and Koehler's to name a few, saw an increase in price. Companies in the light tower space began replacing engines with batteries and solar technology, which kept them above water. “Going green” became more enticing when solar energy products became cheaper and more efficient.

However, using solar light in towers meant that light fixtures needed to change from HID to LED because of the power demand of HID lighting. Finally, in 2010, LED companies released rugged, bright LEDs that were powered by 12-64V and hitting 30K lumens at an affordable price. The last piece of the puzzle fell into place and manufacturing solar light towers became feasible to produce and sell.

Solar light towers took off because, unlike standard light towers, they could be configured to have automatic light switches. The standard diesel light tower required someone physically going in to manually turn the engine and light on at nights and off in the mornings. A solar light tower, on the other hand, can be equipped with a photocell to trigger lights on and off at sunrise and sunset, respectively. Other advantages like silent lighting, zero emissions and no engine to service were huge benefits. But there was one drawback--it was dependent on sunlight, which meant a lack of light would pose potential safety hazards. That is until companies like Tesla release their state of the art batteries and management system.

It was then that the hybrid was introduced. It incorporates the automation of the solar light tower but also has a small diesel engine to charge batteries in low-sunlight conditions, which ensures that there will be light regardless of weather conditions. This automation is vital to light towers in industries like Oil, Gas, Mining, and construction because of their typical remote locations. The cost per day in labor, travel, and safety alone is burdensome to an employer, especially when one site has a minimum of three light towers and there are multiple sites. The hybrid not only saves thousands of dollars per year in manhours, but also in tower service and refueling.

Hybrid light tower

The hybrid light tower does not completely alleviate the burden of supervision. Generally, a company man doing equipment inspection also captures data like engine hours, fuel level, oil level, light fixture status, and battery voltage--a hybrid still necessitates checking-up on its solar charge level. All in all though, despite being in its infancy, the hybrid is an amazing product and has the potential to help the environment while saving companies time and money.

Monitor data by Rovitracker Inc.

Here at RoviTracker, we give you the ability to monitor the health of your hybrid light tower remotely and provide predictable analytics. Interested in using cutting-edge technology for real-time data to cut costs? Drop us a line at info@rovitracker.com.

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