Gravio Blog
December 6, 2022

Challenging the IoT Landscape with Sensors That Require No Batteries

EnOcean is a protocol and also an alliance that focuses on developing battery-less sensors that can last forever once deployed on a site. Using energy harvesting techniques that are able to convert kinetic and environmental energy to signals and transmit signals wireless over the air to gateways, sensors in the EnOcean protocol are ultimately the lowest maintenance sensors anyone can have.
Challenging the IoT Landscape with Sensors That Require No Batteries

Background

Have you ever wondered if there are any sensors out there that are wireless and require no batteries to run on? Yes, there are. In fact, they have an alliance called EnOcean Alliance. In this case, any sensor that uses the EnOcean protocol will require no batteries to be powered. The way it works is to harvest energy either from mechanical or environmental means to transmit signals between sensors and gateway.

In Gravio, we not only strongly believe in Edge Computing, but also ease of use whilst adopting 3rd party sensors on our platform. Within Asteria Corporation, we also focus our efforts on being a greener company which aligns with EnOcean’s sensor capabilities. Hence, the support we provide for EnOcean devices are beneficial to users, society and the environment.

What is EnOcean?

  • Energy harvesting wireless standard that operates in the Sub-GHz bandwidth. (frequency changes depending on the region)
  • Sensors that are built on this technology have self powered capabilities, this means that no batteries nor cabling are required to power the devices.
  • There are off the shelf gateways available to get started easily when you purchase EnOcean compatible devices.
  • It is not a mesh technology, this means that it adopts a star topology rather than a mesh. Hence, range will be limited.
  • Covering an average range of sensor types from Temperature, Door to Electrical Current measurement and Wireless Buttons for actuation.

How Does It Work and How Does It Compare To Other Protocols?

As you know, the IoT industry can be very confusing and challenging to grasp especially if you are new to the concept. However, most IoT concepts are similar to each other. In fact, the best way to choose the right IoT, is by analysing your current challenge and environment. Then, you will be able to justify the cost of a sensor that is $10 versus something that is $500 even though the metrics of measurement may be the same.

For the sake of comparison, we will use commonly known protocols in the market such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. In the next image, we will show how each protocol communicates wirelessly with a gateway or hub.

Basically, every IoT concept consists of a back end/gateway that communicates wirelessly to sensors that gather data from the environment. But in EnOcean’s case, the sensors communicate even without batteries!

How Does it Challenge the Current IoT Climate?

According to an article from IoT Analytics, it is estimated that there will be 14.4 billion IoT devices by the end of 2022 and this number will only grow exponentially with the increasing adoption of IoT solutions. With this many devices, obviously it requires a ton of education involved in order to learn the basics of IoT to prevent purchasing or using solutions that are overkill or under specified.

The next question in adopting IoT devices is usually, what is the battery life of these devices? If the answer is, it lasts forever. Then, that is a very compelling reason to adopt these devices. Perpetually, that is what EnOcean devices provide. A sensor that can essentially run on its own forever by harvesting energy from the environment. It is definitely a greener solution and requires less maintenance over a long period of time.

How Does Gravio Work with EnOcean Devices?

Gravio is an IoT and Computer Vision Edge Computing Platform that can be installed on any Windows, Mac or Linux PC. So, to get data from EnOcean sensors, you will require an EnOcean dongle connected to the PC with Gravio installed. Start the pairing process between Dongle and Sensor from within Gravio Studio and it is completed. Gravio Studio will automatically be able to retrieve data from EnOcean sensors.

Now you can create Actions and Triggers from Gravio Studio and begin to automate processes or build applications.

What Use Cases are Appropriate for Adoption?

Generally, the distance transmission between EnOcean Sensors and Dongle is about 30m line of sight. However, in any environment, having line of sight is rare, especially indoors. So you would expect EnOcean to be deployed in a narrower proximity. The use cases can range from Smart Buildings, Energy Efficiency to Smart Spaces. While we do not have any case studies in EnOcean yet, we are currently seeing a high rise in queries regarding Energy Efficiency. That is all we have today and see you all in our next article!

References:

  • https://iot-analytics.com/number-connected-iot-devices/

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