The ED-1608 is a generic module which is equipped with many sensors. In this article I will share my experiences in using this module to start tracking assets including temperature, air pressure and humidity.

The hardware

The manufacturer of the module states the module is developed to enable customers to be on the market in a matter of weeks.  My experience is that I can be online, monitor and act within a few hours after opening the box. The ED-1608 has a basic version and a full version. I have tested the full version which contains  an enormous amount of sensors. In my test I used the GPS, temperature, air pressure and the humidity sensor.

After receiving the module, battery pack and housing you have to assemble the three parts into a node. As it goes with hard and software you can change a million parameters but I did not change a single parameter. The default parameters will send temperature, pressure and humidity every five minutes and updates about location every six hours or a few minutes after it stops moving. The module is designed to be configurable for many different use cases but I wanted to test how easy it is to get it up and running in the MEUNGO platform.

The communication

After assembling the node it is ready to use, the sensors are sensing and the communication module is broadcasting every so often. I ordered a node which uses Sigfox for communication, another option is Lora. Sigfox is a wireless network to connect low-power objects emitting small amounts of data. When you order Sigfox with your node you also get login credentials to the Sigfox application. When you are logged in to the Sigfox application you can tell Sigfox where to send the data to as soon as it comes in from the node. I configured Sigfox to send the data straight into the MEUNGO platform, but before I was able to do that I had to set some settings in the MEUNGO platform.

The software

Data is useless unless you can turn it into actions. The MEUNGO platform allows you to turn data from the physical world into actions. To do this you need to tell the platform what exists in the physical world so you can create a mirror image in the virtual world.

Let’s assume we are modeling a truck to which we attach the node. In the MEUNGO platform I define the truck by giving it a name, image, description and attributes. The attributes can be any information (type) you like to associate with a truck, so it does not necesarry have to change over time or have to come from the physical world.

Beside the truck I also have to define the node. As a normal user of the platform you typically do not define nodes, but I will describe here what it involves. Like the truck definition, a node definition also has attributes, in this case location, temperature, air pressure and humidity. In the definition of the node I have to define how we are going to receive the data and how the platform should convert the data from its raw binary code format to the four mentioned attributes. In this case we will receive the data from Sigfox, to make this secure we will use data from the Sigfox backend to create secure credentials in the MEUNGO Sigfox connector which we then copy back into the Sigfox backend. We basically introduce them to each other so they can communicate secure. We only have to do this once for a node type. For the data conversion I configured the MEUNGO binary code converter to convert the data conform the message specifications of the module.

The nice thing about the platform is once I have defined this ED-1608 node it will be available as a node type to all future users of the platform and it can be used in any type of device. This will be true for any node type.

In the definition of the attribute of a truck, you can specify from what node attribute you are expecting to receive data. Once you have done all of this, you can start creating virtual truck instances. Every time you create a virtual new truck, the MEUNGO platform will ask from what node(s) the data is going to come to feed the attributes you have configured to receive data. In this case a node is identified by an identifier provided by Sigfox.

After connecting the physical world with the virtual world the MEUNGO platform will collect and store the data for a configured period of time, allow you to define user specific dashboards to look at real-time data and history and define real-time actions such as alerts, e-mails and API invocations. You can also start building applications using the events on your truck and using the history stored in databases.

So getting the ED-1608 module online consisted out of:

  • Defining the node type and configure the Sigfox application
  • Define the truck and match what attribute matches with what attribute of the node
  • Instantiate a virtual truck and match it with a physical node
  • Create a dashboard in the platform and define rules for triggering actions based upon some logic

All of this, except for configuring the Sigfox application, can be done in the MEUNGO platform.