Hands-on innovation: That's what visitors to the Innovation Center Munich get in the newly equipped outdoor area, where they can experience practical uses of digital solutions.
What do bees and construction equipment have to do with IoT
? To find the answer, you can experience a real digital beehive in live use at the T-Systems Innovation Center Munich. The new outdoor innovation area has beehives that feature digital technology. They are equipped with sensors from startup BeeAnd.me, which record important condition data in the beehive, identify anomalies, and send the data to the Open Telekom Cloud
. Is the beehive not gaining weight? Is the number of flight movements declining? Or is the temperature in the brood chamber increasing to a dangerous level? Beekeepers can get all of this information via an app on a smartphone or tablet PC.
Beehive with IoT solution
"The digital beehive isn't just relevant for beekeepers," says Dr. Stephan Verclas, head of the Innovation Center. "Essentially, the beehive lets us demonstrate how predictive maintenance
works. That's relevant for every company that wants to continuously record the status of machinery and equipment and use this data to reduce downtimes and improve service." And the digital beehives also help the environment: More than 85 percent of agricultural yields in crop cultivation and orcharding depend on pollination by bees.
Sensors for rental equipment
A vibrating plate in the outdoor innovation area shows how easy it is to equip and retrofit machinery and transportable assets with IoT solutions. "The manufacturer of this vibrating plate wanted to equip their rental units with sensors and redesign the models to do so," explains Verclas, "That is a complex, expensive undertaking." The vibrating plate in the outdoor innovation area demonstrates how easy it is for companies to retrofit such equipment with sensors: Simply affix the sensor to the housing and network it; the T-Systems solution begins recording vibrations instantly and sends the respective data to the cloud.
Device tracking with GPS
The company that rents out the vibrating plates can gain valuable information from this data, for example to help them prevent impending equipment failures. Was the device only used for a few hours over the weekend? Or was it running nearly around the clock? When rental companies have this information, they can target specific devices for maintenance before they are given to the next customer. "And the solution can do even more," explains Verclas. "It also indicates the position of the device. Sometimes expensive equipment like this disappears, or the rental company does not know exactly where it is used. A GPS system integrated in the sensor reveals the location." This makes it possible to verify if renters actually do protect the rented object against theft, as is required by most standard rental contracts.
Digital drone shield at work
The solutions in the outdoor innovation area also take to the air. According to the DFS, the German air traffic control organization, 600,000 drones flew in German airspace in 2017 alone. The owners of the drones, many of which are equipped with high-resolution cameras, do not always have good intentions. The drones land in prison courtyards, get dangerously close to aircraft, or spy on companies' factory sites. "In our outdoor innovation area, we show how drones can be detected in real time. To do so, we use multi-sensors, such as infrared and acoustic sensors. The data is then forwarded to a software solution that analyzes the data and identifies the drone," says Verclas.
Identify drones on the ground
This data makes it possible to identify drones extremely quickly, often before they even leave the ground – that is, as soon as they are switched on. The pilot's position can be identified in the same manner. Companies that use the digital drone shield can guide the police directly to the potential attacker's location. After all, police and military forces are the only people authorized to repel drones in Germany. Verclas: "The outdoor area is essential to demonstrating how our digital drone shield works. The 450-square meter interior of the Innovation Center doesn't have enough room."
The containers in the outdoor innovation area expand the established premises of the Innovation Center Munich (ICM): in addition to the ICM's indoor area, workshops can now be held in parallel in the outdoor innovation area, on topics such as design thinking, co-creation, customer journey, and rapid prototyping. Customers can also experience innovations and the latest solutions in the areas of Internet of Things
, and networking
live and in person. And all this just a few steps away from one of T-Systems' largest data centers. "Thanks to the addition of the outdoor area, from now on we will be able to hold several workshops at the same time," says Verclas.