allóra Factory collaborates with Quad Industries on push-button sensors
The Internet of Things is slowly but surely getting closer every day. allóra Factory has created a range of sensors for tracking a wide variety of parameters, from the temperature in supermarket freezers all the way to attendance levels in offices. They recently teamed up with Quad Industries to develop a push-button sensor.
A whole new market opening up
Telecom providers such as Proximus are currently heavily promoting their IoT solutions, based on the LoRa (Long Range) network. “Standard cell-phone-based networks such as 2G, 3G or 4G are not always suitable for many IoT applications. They are too expensive, can’t reach inside buildings or basements and are too power hungry. LoRa solves these limitations,” explains Tom De Ryck of állora Factory.
“The network is ideal for sending small amounts of data from objects in the field to a central application with a minimum of energy consumption. Its speed may be limited but it is relatively cheap, and its high stability makes it a convenient alternative to WiFi networks,” says Tom De Ryck. The Proximus LoRa network today covers the main cities in Belgium.
The list of possible applications is endless—smart meters sending out data about energy consumption, monitoring temperature in supermarket freezers, management of stock levels in warehouses or the occupancy rates of offices.
Sensors interacting with users
allóra Factory is one of the hardware partners for the IoT services of Proximus. “We have developed a range of long-range wireless sensors specifically for these applications. They are easy to install, consume very little energy— thus ensuring long battery life—and can be used to monitor a wide variety of parameters, from humidity and temperature to movement detection.”
“In addition, we have recently added a sensor with a push-button to our product range, for which we collaborated with Quad Industries,” states Tom De Ryck. “Simply put, the sensor enables interaction with users. For example, by simply pushing the button, they can communicate satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a service provided. Or they can indicate that a coffee machine needs refilling, or the printer has run out of paper.”
On a tight schedule
We chose to work with Quad Industries because of their in-depth expertise. “Although the push button consists of a relatively simple membrane switch, we were on a very tight time schedule. The sensor was part of a Proximus promo pack for software integrators, which was launched last November. We had to get it first-time right,” says Tom De Ryck.
The proximity of the teams and the close link between development and manufacturing proved crucial for the success of the project. “This enabled us to get from the prototype to the final product really fast, and solve any problems quickly. Last-minute changes were quickly executed, and the deadline was met. It was a very important project for us, and we are glad to have found a partner who showed an equally strong commitment,” concludes Tom De Ryck.