Thu Jul 18, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Garnet Instruments has joined the Alberta IoT Association as a Core (supporting) Member. This non-profit's mission is to position Alberta, Canada, as the worldwide center of excellence for the Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
The RV industry continues to expand its application of the IoT to control systems and conveniences, according to a manager at an instrument manufacturing company.
"Industry 4.0 is becoming an overarching mindset for manufacturers in many industries, including the RV industry," says Scott Weatherall, Commercialization Manager at Garnet Instruments. He says that is just another name for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Like many manufacturers, Garnet is utilizing IoT to capitalize on full automation in its manufacturing processes to increase production and meet customer demands. Its IoT efforts involve both its manufacturing functions such as robotics and other automation tools, and also its OE and aftermarket liquid tank management products.
Garnet makes and markets a line of liquid monitoring and management instruments, including its line of SeeLevel monitors for RV liquid tanks, batteries and propane storage tanks. RV News reported on the company's external black water tank monitors that use technology borrowed from the company's external crude oil tank monitors. For a copy of the article, click here.
Weatherall says by developing accessible, common communications protocols, suppliers can develop products that manufacturers can more easily integrate into their vehicle systems.
"We have to be able to make the data work for the manufacturer," Weatherall says. "That way, they can easily integrate the various components into their vehicle monitor and management applications."
Garnet's systems are developed around CAN bus technology, Weatherall says. CAN bus, or controller area network vehicle bus is an industry standard that allows microcomputers and devices to communicate with each other in an application without a host computer. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, CAN bus was initially developed by Bosch in 1986.
When vehicle systems start talking to each other, "even in a roundabout fashion, unifying that data and feeding it into a smartphone app makes it seamless to the owner," Weatherall says.
Once vehicle systems reach that point, the manufacturer can build in predictive analytics that add real value to the customer experience, he says.
For example, he says, vehicle could remind its owner a day or two in advance to replenish the fresh water tank based on past user activity.
As a component supplier, Garnet tries to stay “data agnostic” so any manufacturer can use the data, he says. It is his hope that Garnet can be the Switzerland of data.
For example, Weatherall says, "the company's black water monitors are made with a common alarm point at 90 percent so the OEM does not have to program each unit when it is installed."
"Being informed is being empowered," he says. "When you have the data in a useful form you can do more with it. In the future, we will be able to add artificial intelligence to vehicle systems and give the owner an even better experience."