Ubiwave, the leading provider of reliability-critical, low-power wireless sensor networking systems, announced that BearBox, UK’s leading provider of Machine-to-Machine communication solutions for Access Control, has selected Ubiwave as its supplier for wireless sensor solutions.
The sector of Storage Logistics is currently re-inventing its business model thanks to the advent of wireless sensor technology. BearBox is a leading automation supplier fuelling the sector changes by providing end-to-end automation solutions. Ubiwave delivers the wireless mesh network products in the end-to-end chain.
The challenge with Storage Logistics automation is in linking the large number of different sensors and actuators to the control system in a reliable and secure way. As an example a typical self-storage warehouse contains 500 to 1000 doors to monitor and switch, and in addition key pads, sirens and gates to monitor and control. Wiring all these control points together to a wired bus is not only extremely expensive, but also error-prone and presents security risks. John Hale, CEO of BearBox, comments: “Wiring costs for control & monitoring of every single door are so high that customers will not even consider wired automation.”
The system is simple yet effective: Wireless nodes guard doors and activate alarm systems. Additionally the health of every network device is constantly reported to a central control panel. A live visual feed through the internet alerts BearBox of anomalous events on the spot.
John Hale adds: “We selected Ubiwave’s wireless communication system for our applications after a 6 month trial period. Ubiwave’s products proved to be reliable in the harsh metal-rich environments we operate in and installation is a matter of plug-and-forget. Our installers have electrician’s skills, they are not educated in wireless technology. Hence ease-of-installation was a key requirement.”
Bearbox has completed the installation of a large self-storage warehouse near Oslo, Norway, belonging to City Self-Storage group, and 5 others are going to be commissioned before the end of November 2006. Before the end of 2007 Bearbox is planning to roll out Ubiwave technology for over 10.000 doors.
In Ubiwave’s wireless mesh network devices automatically form a wireless network through which messages are sent and received. “Thanks to the built in redundancy in the communication paths between devices, our wireless mesh networks significantly improve the reliability of the network beyond the level of traditional wired bus systems”, explains Niek Van Dierdonck, CEO of Ubiwave.
Wireless communication, in a mesh network topology, does away with the problems of wiring, and at an attractive cost point. On top of replacing the wires, the wireless sensor technology enables new functionalities that, in turn, unleash new business models in logistics. The new business models, which are increasingly adopted by logistics players, do away with the one-on-one relation between a storage room and a tenant. Instead a storage room is used as a temporary holding place in supply chain management: One party delivers to goods and at a later time another party collects the goods. There is no need for both parties to be at the same place at the same time. This model is not only useful in supplier-customers relationships but also for within the distribution and maintenance chain of one company.
Ubiwave is a leader in the wireless sensor networking market and provides embedded software, hardware modules and tools to OEMs in safety- and reliability critical applications, both in building automation and industrial automation.
On this platform, termed UbiNet(TM), the mesh communication software stack is executed on OEM modules. A workbench of tools supports the OEM customer during all phases of the project chain: from the definition over the design, test, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the wireless sensor application. Both the ZigBee-capable and the Synchronized Wake-Up mesh stack are self-organizing and are optimized for improved reliability.
Identified by ON World as a leading platform provider, Ubiwave’s Synchronized Wake-Up marries two contradictory requirements: low-power and mesh-capable. In a mesh network, devices depend on other devices to forward messages through the network in a multi-hop fashion. In the traditional mesh approach a meshing device will be in a listening state whenever it is not transmitting. Since a device when listening draws almost as much current as it does when transmitting, low-power behavior is not possible. In Synchronized Wake-Up the devices will synchronize the wake up periods to minimize the awake periods thereby offering battery lives up to 5 years on standard AA batteries.
BearBox has developed and patented technology for the wireless control of remote machines via GSM. The company is now a leading Machine to Machine (M2M) developer and has developed a number of products including “smart” GSM enabled delivery units and an advanced stock location product as well as an access control system.
The company was initially founded to provide a high-tech solution to the “final mile”. The delivery of time critical spare parts and materials to field service engineers and sales reps is a fast growing, high margin sector of the UK delivery logistics market, and final mile costs are over half the total cost of delivery. In 2002, BearBox launched the world’s first national intelligent delivery box network – a network of smart delivery units on sites across the UK which has now grown to over 200 locations.
The BearBox was voted Best Postal Technology in the May 2003 World Mail Awards, and in 2004, the Company was awarded a prestigious DTI backed SMART award; valuable recognition for the company and its technology. The Company had two UK patents granted in 2005 with multiple worldwide patents pending.