When Nova Scotia remote monitoring firm Rimot needed help refining its advanced mobile radio infrastructure, they turned to Mitacs Accelerate intern and University of New Brunswick (UNB) postdoctoral fellow Hung Cao, and a multidisciplinary Mitacs-funded research team from UNB, Dalhousie University and Acadia University.
Mobile radio systems are critical tools for emergency responders, and Rimot’s system used the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud-based applications to monitor sensors for outages that could impact communication.
But new challenges arose, as the large volumes of data being transmitted were congesting networks and creating performance slowdowns. As a result, vital data was going unused and technicians were often required to investigate, which caused system downtime and grew costly.
We are now seeing the fruits of our labour pay off with research that is getting baked into our commercial offerings. — James Craig, Chief Technology Officer, Rimot.
Cao and the research team set out to develop a platform capable of using machine learning to quickly and accurately identify sensor problems and, in turn, predict future issues, reduce outages, and improve the system’s reliability. They proposed combining cloud and edge computing to eliminate the distance and time it takes to send data to centralized sources.
“The Mitacs project with Rimot had a perfect correlation with my IIoT research at UNB,” says Cao. “We were trying to develop an architecture and analyze the incoming data from the IIoT devices at any time and everywhere.”
Cao is continuing to work under the supervision of UNB data science professor Monica Wachowicz on the optimal mix of edge and cloud intelligence, while the Dalhousie researchers explore security threats to IIoT systems. The Acadia team will soon work on a predictive model using external weather data.
“Our project is part of an emerging innovation ecosystem that is needed in the Atlantic region, where we can reach critical mass for harnessing collaborative efforts, meaningful impacts, and provide a unique environment for national and globally competitive businesses,” says Wachowicz.
James Craig, Rimot’s Chief Technology Officer, says bringing the three teams together allowed the company to utilize their combined strengths. “It has been a pleasure working with all of them and we are now seeing the fruits of our labour pay off with research that is getting baked into our commercial offerings,” he says.