Somewhere, high on a snowy mountain in Canada, is a 1,000-foot-high broadcasting antenna tower that is not doing its job. TV viewers in Canada are watching their hockey team’s playoff on TV when it is interrupted- cue howls of frustration!
The broadcast company can send out an engineer to fix it, but it will take some time. He/she must drive to the site, get up the icy mountain and then climb the 1,000-foot tower – hopefully with the correct tools and parts. It’s a lengthy and possibly dangerous endeavor. But, if it is not done, it will cost the broadcaster a lot of money.
For example, the NFL Super Bowl football game, which attracts more than 100 million viewers worldwide. If a broadcaster has a problem that causes an interruption, it will be fined $1 million for every five seconds it is down. On top of that, advertisers would be very upset for even a second of interruption to their $6.5 million, 30-second advertising slot!
Keeping the TV programs on
Around eight years ago, engineer Pietro Casati was asked by a friend at a national broadcaster to help solve such an issue. The broadcaster wanted a solution that could identify what was happening within the radio frequency (RF) antenna environment and help prevent failures in the future.
This led to Pietro forming a company that does just that. The company, Direct Antenna Control System (DAC System), monitors broadcast antennas, allowing owners to fix interruptions in time.
Recently, DAC Systems wanted to expand its offering, adding real-time capabilities including trend analysis and machine learning. This would help it to give customers real-time warnings of when something had or was about to go wrong.
For this it required a trusted partner, experienced in Internet of Things (IoT) with a stable, available IoT platform. DAC Systems chose Cumulocity IoT. “Software AG has all we needed, and looking at its customer references reassured us,” said Pietro.
With outstanding support from Software AG’s Professional Services team, DAC Systems now has a beta version of the product with which two “friendly customers” are going to trial – one is already live.
The new platform can remotely monitor, analyze and alert users with multiple antennas – all on one screen. It identifies problems quickly, offering a “diagnosis” that can either be cured online or in person. “It’s like an antenna doctor,” said Pietro. By knowing the nature of the problem, owners can send engineers out quickly, along with the right tools and parts to fix it.
By analyzing data, antenna owners can see seasonal patterns of behavior – ones that may cause issues, like extreme temperatures. Customers will save money and time in maintenance, plus avoid the massive penalties that are possible with downtime.
Using Cumulocity IoT, DAC System now has the freedom to concentrate on its strengths in additional innovative solutions development, while being able to confidently rely on a market-leading partner.
In the future more devices will be paired with DAC System antenna-monitoring system for tracking and analyzing data. It has built customer-branded widgets for their dashboards and customers will be alerted over any abnormalities. The solution is hosted in the cloud on Microsoft Azure.
To learn more about Cumulocity IoT please click below for a free trial.