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UBICC, the Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal [ISSN 1992-8424], is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of information technology. With a world-wide membership, UBICC is a leading resource for computing professionals and students working in the various fields of Information Technology, and for interpreting the impact of information technology on society.
BUILDING-UP AN AUTOMATED DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM Petri Oksa, Jussi Nummela, Mikael Soini, Lauri Sydänheimo and Markku Kivikoski Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Department of Electronics, Rauma Research Unit, Finland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ABSTRACT The need for gathering real-time information in building and industrial environments has increased in recent years. In the building environment, along with automatic utility meter reading, other information is increasingly needed e.g. room temperatures or device conditions. In the industrial environment, for instance in the paper industry, information on paper reel locations is essential when developing logistics and supply chain management. This paper presents a particular system definition of the automated data collection system and clarifies management issues. The study is based on the automated data collection system (ADCS). ADCS is an open and advanced platform e.g. for building control and monitoring systems. This study also analyzes ADCS data loads, quality of transmission, and error sensibility in different system parties. By using ADCS infrastructure, the usually inconvenient attachment and registration of new devices can be solved. Keywords: Data collection, information, automatization, meter reading 1 INTRODUCTION 2 BASIS OF THE AUTOMATED DATA Device-independent and open data collection in COLLECTION different kind of applications is a very important area under current consideration. An open architecture This chapter presents a common overview for an consisting of actuators, sensors, transmission media, automated collection system. The basic building-up secure data transmission, compact messages, and procedure for an automated data collection system message types presents a big challenge in designing consists of phases such as new device attachment, the whole system and needs comprehensive study operations during maintenance and system before implementation procedure. operations. In the attachment phase, new device ADCS is a common name for an open data attachment activities are presented, and in the second collection system, it is planned to be suitable for phase, operations during ADCS maintenance are applications such as automatic meter reading explained. In the last phase, the functions of system (AMR/AMS) , RFID-systems , and for operation are clarified. building automation sensor networks –. In AMR systems, for instance, the amount of 2.1 Attaching transferred data is small. Thus, an ADCS offers a varied choice and the features required to manage the One of the main goals of the device attachment data transmission. As Figure 1 in chapter 3 will show, procedure is to be “Plug & Play”. As discussed in , the advantage of ADCS is in its versatile options for home-networking solutions should be easy to install, public utilities and their customers. Many of these providing PnP and/or autoconfiguration features, and features suggest the desirability of real-time should enable remote maintenance from the service, processing and methodology which is one of the network, or manufacturer site. Reliability and main motivations behind this paper. robustness are also considered mandatory, as This paper is organized as follows: chapter 2 residential users will have difficulty identifying and clarifies the basis of the automated data collection. handling problems and home-networking products Chapter 3 presents a solution for ADCS data need to operate all day and night long . collection system on the basis from chapter 2. When an actuating device is installed, the Chapter 4 presents a case study for ADCS data concentrator automatically updates itself with the collection and chapter 5 concludes the study and values from the device registers, for example device takes a look at future work. number- and energy consumption values. The exception is a pulse reading technique that cannot be read via the device register. Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal 1 The information is sent to the main system to rarely are these systems based on an open ensure that a new device is connected to the system. infrastructure. The same information is supplied to all relevant Automated configuration will simplify the subsystems. This should minimize the occurrence of system operator's task of building and maintaining human mistakes in the information flow , , . the sensor network . As in most novel AMR and Basically, most of today’s AMR consumption ADCS systems, the new device attachment meter registration is not based on entirely self- procedure is designed with easy management configurable or automatic updating methods and functions. these systems are not generally open-based. Therefore difficulties often arise in the case of 2.3 System Operation software updates when vendor support is needed to solve the problems. In addition to this, some From the system user’s point of view the ADCS software conflicts cannot be solved or can take a is self-configurable after the registration procedure. long time to be found. Even a vendor can come up The ADCS network is monitored and maintained by against software conflicts that cannot be solved the DCU. Two-way communication allows network without the help of external software consultations control and software updates to be controlled by the . Also the lack of plug & play standards is an main system programming tools. For instance, meter obvious disadvantage. reading intervals can be configured from a system A new AMR consumption meter installation and management site, so there is no need for additional configuration is normally handled by an electrician pre-configuration for the sensing or metering devices. visiting the building and reconfiguring the main Also all other software updating is handled by the system. Commonly, the consumption meter is pre- main system applications. configured by a vendor according to the The necessity for data content is greatly requirements of a utility company. After a meter is dependent on device-based definitions. Table 1 installed in a building whose energy consumption is outlines the basic information needed to complete the to be metered, the rules of communication between data transmission. Certainly, much more detailed the meter and main system are established by the information can be acquired, but at the same time it means of main system tools. In the last phase, the increases the amount of data transmission , . metering information (for example meter ID number, The amount of data transfer should be kept as small energy consumption, type of meter, meter location or as possible. property information) is stored in the meter value database. 3 A SOLUTION In , the biggest challenge in all symmetric security systems is how to exchange the initial This chapter presents a solution for automated encryption key safely. In many communication data collection system and clarifies the ADCS protocols, this is carried out without any security functions. Under subheading A, the data collection procedure or the challenge has been left to the procedure is clarified. Below subheading B, system application developer to solve , , and . If operation is presented and below subheading C, the an adversary receives this first insecure message, the DCU (Data Collection Unit) registration is security of the whole network is threatened. One determined. Under the subheading D, analysis of the solution to this problem is to exchange the primary ADCS solution is given. key through physical contact . Novel sensor registration should ensure security 3.1 Data Collection procedures to authenticate new devices safely into the system with easy and fast registration, for For an ADCS, a metering device could be for example as executed in . In practice, this means instance a utility meter, actuator or sensor. The that a new device receives a primary key from the communication between a metering device and a registering device that is synchronized with the master device is two-way based as seen in Figure 1. network master node. This means that In this architecture model, the heart for data communication in the new network is immediately collection is the Master DCU (MDCU). The MDCU secure . operates as a data server and data storage. All users can access the data through the MDCU. The Slave 2.2 Operations during Maintenance DCU (SDCU) can also store data but it also forwards the information to the MDCU. The SDCU includes An important and essential issue in future database storage in case of data transmission errors metering systems is the establishment of automatic (packet corruption or loss) or total blackouts. When a configuration  and easy installation methods. So data transmission blackout or error occurs, the far there are many equipment suppliers whose metering information is saved in the SDCU database systems are designed to operate automatically, but and retrieved by the MDCU during the next MDCU Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal 2 reading schedule. Thus, the metering information If the MDCU somehow does not receive the will not be lost. Further, the MDCU includes a message, then the Type C message is retransmitted database backup in case of power- and data until MDCU receives the message and sends the transmission failures. acknowledgement (Ack) message to complete the registration (message type B, see Table 1 for message types). A notification message from the new device attachment is then sent to the SDCU and stored in the database in the MDCU. This message consists of at least the new device’s ID number and name. After this is done, the user who is logged on to the system can view the stored metering data and information from the database to exploit, for example, a meter reading value or sensor data , . Appropriate message types and descriptions in ADCS registration are presented in Table 1. The functionality of each message type is also described. Table 1: Example message types in ADCS. Message Description Function Type A Request DCU DCU attachment to MDCU Type B Acknowledgement Ack to MDCU Type C Negative Ack Retransmission to Figure 1: The main parts of ADCS data collection MDCU Type D Data content Data content from meter/ sensor The ADCS infrastructure is designed for automatic configuration. The basic procedure is that all network maintenance is configured by the MDCU. According to Table 1, four message types are In this way, the SDCU is pre-configured at a new proposed: Type A, Type B, Type C and Type D. DCU attachment. This means that when a new These short messages do not need large data content metering device is within range of the MDCU, it and do not substantially increase the data packet updates all necessary information from the MDCU. length. Data packets include the pre-defined After that, a new metering device is ready to collect metering information such as energy usage, the pre-defined metering data, for example, from an temperature, or moisture (see Table 2). apartment building environment. A new device authentication is carried out by user authentication when a new user enters his or her 3.2 DCU Registration username and password. After logging on to the system the user can view the metering data. Because One of the most common architectures in data of minor secrecy demands and the nature of the collection systems is a centralized architecture. In collected data, a primary key exchange is not needed. this architecture, the MDCU manages registration, authentication, and device control and monitoring. 3.3 System Operation Other general types are semi-distributed and distributed architectures, presented in . In this The SDCU is pre-configured by the MDCU paper, centralized architecture is selected because of software tools before the attaching procedure. In all its suitability for small systems where the amount of such procedures, the MDCU recognizes the device, collected data is also relatively small . executes the registration with the new device, First, the attaching of a new metering device to updates the metering database, and maintains the ADCS system is defined. When a new DCU network operation. The network operation includes comes within the ADCS identification range, the control and maintenance operations, operations MDCU wakes up and automatically sends a query under maintenance, and the metering interval message through the network to the new metering changes and configurations. device. The other MDCU or SDCU works as a When the aggregate of sent and received queries repeater to forward the query message to the from the database is estimated, the data load can be destination MDCU. After that the MDCU verifies checked with ADCS centralized architecture . To the message format and if the format is correct, the simplify, the more queries made the more data MDCU confirms that the message includes valid transmission and load. Moreover lots of queries lead content for the data exchange. to larger network requirements where the main focus Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal 3 is to enable sufficient data transmission, and to avoid load profile, system functionality and usability congestion problems. So, this assumes that data estimation is presented . In the system packet size should be minimized or a network must application layer the ADCS is data load effective, have sufficient capacity to carry out the data self-configurable and useful in the building transmission demands. The ADCS also supports automation environment where changes in the integrated push- and pull based queries over the environment are commonly predictable. Also the hierarchy. authentication can be executed without primary key In ADCS architecture, data load is optimized by exchange. Short messages and small data packets are cutting query requests and message lengths to a the starting point in defining of ADCS data minimum. Hence, the query sequence is in such a transmission. The number of messages is also small; form as to be suitable for any kind of data collection only the required data is transmitted. network type and is also self-configurable for The basis for more accurate designing and network and device extensions. This paper discusses specifying an application-specific automated data data load and network requirements only generated collection system is presented in . in the ADCS system itself. Table 2 compares different metering 4 VERIFICATION: A CASE STUDY characteristics and suitable environments for ACDS. Some less obvious differences are in need of This chapter presents a case study for the different metering parameters between domestic and proposed ADCS data collection. The case study industrial building environments. exploits a centralized network architecture model presented in . The network architecture model is Table 2: Examples and comparison of different evaluated by a simulations procedure to verify the metering characteristics and suitable metering overall performance in different traffic conditions. environments Value Unit A B 4.1 Data Collection- and Traffic Simulations Electricity kWh x x Quality control e.g. outages x x A method for system verification is determined Temperature °C/K x x under this subheading. First, the system architecture Moisture ppmv x x is presented and then verified with the simulation Data load kbs/Mbs x x Humidity % x x procedure presented under subheading 4.2. This Lighting conditions lx x x simulation procedure concentrates on building HVAC °C/K x x automation activities. Figure 2 presents ADCS data A=domestic building environment (apartment buildings, single- collection features in a basic building automation family houses, rented flats) environment. B=industrial building environment Because of a small amount of transferred data, possible retransmission does not generate notable external traffic load on the transmission network. The ADCS also implies the requirement of supporting multihop networking and the flexibility of data transmission that can be used to quickly modify or exploit the infrastructure. A significant feature of ADCS network is the detection of data transmission failures that improve the quality of transmission. These networks are also inherently self-healing, so users do not have to worry about losing communication with control devices across the building automation system . Combined with wired- and wireless based transmission media, the ADCS offers a good solution for sparsely populated areas. Especially in novel meter reading systems, which support a wireless infrastructure, easy device installation and attachment, these multiform transmission media hybrids are extremely valuable. 3.4 Analysis In this chapter, the analysis of the ADCS data Figure 2: The ADCS data collection features Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal 4 4.2 Simulation Results wireless 433 MHz is another issue to be solved in the future. This study does not commit itself to a specific To evaluate traffic load, the centralized network structures or parameters, and therefore, architecture model and its usability for ADCS in these appear likely to be the next major focus for practice, the information flow simulation was future research projects. executed. The centralized data collection architecture of ADCS is shown in Figure 3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors would like to thank the National Technology Agency of Finland (TEKES) for funding this research. REFERENCES  M. Kezunovic, and T. 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Perera, “Feasibility for Automatic Data Collection,” in Proceedings of Table 3: Some common directive system selection parameters for ADCS Twisted-pair Parameter PLC RF WLAN WiMAX TCP/IP Optical fiber WSN cable Max. 100-150 m ~50 m (in ~200-500 m Up to 10 km Up to 100 m ~500 m Up to 20 km 2 km out- communication building) door-~10 m distance indoor Suitability for Average High Average High High Average High High AMR Data communi- Modem Base station Base station Base station Subscriber Ethernet Line modem Master node cation interface line Network Power line Radio IEEE 802.11 IEEE 802.16 Protocol- IEEE 802.3i IEEE 802.3j 802.11, communication wiring frequency based Bluetooth, principle 802.15.4, UWB Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal 6
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