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Digi launches cellular gateway at Sensors Expo

Steve Rogerson
June 23, 2016

At this week’s Sensors Expo in San Jose, Digi International introduced Digi Connect Sensor, a battery-powered, enterprise-ready, cellular gateway for wireless connectivity at locations with either no power or low power.
In offering plug-and-play, Connect Sensor allows for remote sensor monitoring to be deployed in environments previously considered too harsh, remote or not economically viable. With versatility and flexibility to accommodate off-the-shelf sensors, such as flow, level, pressure and environmental conditions, the cellular gateway could help make sensor use ubiquitous.
Because it provides remote monitoring without the need for additional infrastructure, power supplies or third-party applications, the gateway is suitable for energy, water, industrial and government installations that need to expand monitoring capabilities due to oversight requirements, or to increase operational efficiencies, as well as implement Industry 4.0 or smart city initiatives.
Featuring integration with Digi Device Cloud, Connect Sensor allows individual companies, systems integrators and IoT providers to offer expanded monitoring capabilities and deliver new levels of visibility. With cellular connectivity at each sensor and low cellular data usage rates, it also eliminates the need to configure local wireless networks and makes it cost effective for data backhaul.
Connect Sensor also works with Digi's Connect Wizard, a mobile application for this type of battery-powered gateway. The application uses a Bluetooth connection to provide local installers, technicians or drivers with instant feedback on sensor values via Android and iOS smartphones or tablets. This provides local personnel with immediate status on possible actions and replaces the need for out-dated LCDs.
Endress+Hauser, a supplier of industrial measurement and automation equipment, recently selected Connect Sensor for its inventory management to offer complete connectivity of industrial sensors in remote locations.
Providing an optimal combination of incorporating low-cost sensors capable of multiple uses, data transport via global cellular networks and power available wherever it is needed, Connect Sensor key features include:

  • Flexible power source options: Features a long-lasting, non-rechargeable battery with two to three-year average life, sleep mode to conserve power between sensor readings and the option to power from an external source using the internal battery as backup power. As a result, users have the flexibility to make the device self-powered, or take advantage of existing power supplies, including solar.
  • Cellular choice: For global connectivity, Connect Sensor is available in 3G HSPA+ with 2G fallback. North American users can also choose an LTE Cat 1 version.
  • Supports LTE Cat 1: With support for LTE Cat 1, the band specifically created for IoT and M2M communications, Connect Sensor devices are efficient, require less power and are optimised for data transfer.
  • Sensor variety and flexibility: Multiple IO options and simultaneous connections offer flexibility to address multiple sensor-based environments. Connect Sensor can work with virtually any 4/20mA, analogue out, digital out or pulsed output sensor, and can power multiple external sensors, eliminating the need for external supplies or batteries.
  • Enterprise-grade security: Security may be implemented at the device, transport and platform level.
  • Appropriate for harsh environments: Features weather-proof Nema 4 enclosure to protect sensors from the elements, as well as Atex Group 2 and UL class one, division two ratings.
  • Increased awareness and customised reporting: Integration with Digi Device Cloud provides visibility and centralised management for all Connect Sensor devices; Device Cloud also serves as the platform for sensor data collection.
  • Increased levels of customisation: Configurable read-report intervals and customisable alarms provide alerts when sensor value is above or below threshold levels.
"There's an insatiable appetite for data along with an increased need to extend operational visibility," said Joel Young, chief technology officer of Minnesota-based Digi International. "With Connect Sensor we've created a practical, self-powered, remote monitoring solution that takes advantage of existing cellular data transport networks. Enterprises can now place sensors in locations where it simply wasn't previously possible in order to obtain valuable feedback and better manage their operations in remote or harsh environments that lack power."