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Sand Reserves: Eliminating Conflicts, Protecting Ecology & Ushering Development with Effective Monitoring

By Pratap Hegde, MD : Telematics4u
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Computing infrastructure for this IoT solution

  • Local partners in each district to execute field operations like IOT device installations in district local trucks and trouble shooting in case of tampering. There are various applications of IOT in a typical Natural Resource (Sand) Ecosystem. First of all an onboard computing equipment which has location sensing feature and a data transmission module is installed on a vehicle for getting the location information of the vehicle. Another technology is the Communication Gateway Engine which would receive these location data, then a smart phone application for transporters and consumers for ease of booking, transportation and carrying out the payment transactions, would make a comprehensive IOT technology implementation.
  • Software platform can load and work in remote area where internet connectivity is very low. The software platform is highly optimized to function at a very low speed internet. The technology is more textual, less of graphics, but highly interactive in nature. As far as the data communication from vehicle to cloud is concerned, we use GPRS communication technologies. LoRA is not a feasible option as yet, however we would be working on further optimization of these networks going forward.
  • Execution partners in every district to provide on-ground support to district administration via MIS reports, etc and alert on any probability of illegal activities or non-compliance. These reports are generated upon request on the fly. As this is an ecosystem and the platform delivers values to various ecosystem stake holders, reports are customized for every stakeholders as per their login credentials. Ofcourse a aggregated monthly/ weekly reports are part of these deliverables. On real time basis, few of the stake holders can see on their smart phones, the status of the Permits and legal / illegal trip management.
  • A cloud based robust IT infrastructure with a IOT middleware which can handle 100s of records of all the trucks which are plying for sand business. As mentioned above, each truck is fitted with onboard computing equipment with location sensing technologies and is continuously monitored on real time. Each truck carries a defined weight of sand load. There are weigh bridges at sand stock yard and they are integrated. Ideally if we can install an IOT weighing sensors it would be good, however they are not feasible (both technically as well as economically) and also not necessary from a business perspective as there are other checks and balances in the trade. The load of the truck carrying a defined quantity of sand is monitored via a MDP Trip sheet.

Challenges faced

  • Collating the structure of how PWD does the operation in each of the districts and building a comprehensive platform which covers all the business cases of all the districts.
  • Finding the right cellular operator which has better GPRS coverage in each districts and accordingly inserting the same in GPS/GPRS devices for the all the trucks.
  • Developing a Platform which can be easily accessible in remote areas where the internet connectivity is slow for issuing daily permits for PWD teams in taluk level stockyards.
  • Happened to do multiple experiments in providing a right GPS / GPRS device which can be  fixed in Canoes [boats which doesn’t have any power facilities] to track the canoes which carries the sand from the river sand bed to banks in coastal region districts.
  • Coverage of GPS is not an issue but the GPRS coverage for realtime data transmission some time is a challenge. This is mitigated by an intelligent storage functionality in the device which ensures store-forward facility, without any data loss.
  • The field condition of the operation (both for trucks and canoes) are highly prone to extreme weather conditions like rain, humidity, salinity, etc., leading to device malfunctioning, corrosion, etc. These are mitigated with proper mountings, IP66/65/67 standard packaging.

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Pratap Hegde

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