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Remote Monitoring for Energy Sector

Active Equipment/High Value Assets on Remote Sites

The evolution of products into intelligent, connected devices is enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) and is radically reshaping industries, companies and competition. The convergence of digital technology, machines and the internet will bring the following benefits to an energy service/maintenance company:

1. The development of new capabilities enabled by a secure, safe and reliable wireless connection

2. The creation of a new company asset for and energy service/maintenance company in the form of customer data, a proactive, intelligent approach to decision making in the management of assets and facilities

3. A significant increase in the quality of customer service through improved utilisation, shortened response times, pre-emptive maintenance and reduced down time

4. Deeper and longer lasting customer relationships through a lasting connection to the infrastructure

5. Significant savings in the cost of data collection

6. The opening up of potential new business models and innovative new solutions

Vilicom has outlined a connectivity solution for the purpose of monitoring equipment at remote locations in the Energy Sector. The proposed remote monitoring system allows the user to set up a network of connected devices feeding telemetric data, remote sensor alarm data, security monitoring, CCTV and remote login to onsite equipment to instantly diagnose and resolve issues without the need to deploy a team of engineers to site. This solution can be installed cost effectively while increasing its capability to review greater knowledge and information access for each site through one central location.

The Technical Solution

The solution is comprised of a network of data capture units connected to each on-site asset and wireless linked to a dedicated cloud platform using satellite, cellular or both. This enables live system monitoring and data collection.

 

Key features of this system are:

  • Future proof, flexible and cost effective using a proven established cloud platform from partners such as Mobile Operators, Data Capture and Equipment suppliers
  • Highly reliable with redundancy and failover to alternate cellular networks using global roaming
  • 24/7/365 access to system data
  • Scalable up to millions of terminals worldwide
  • Highly secure and encrypted device communication standards using IPSec protocols
  • Compliant to European ATEX regulations for explosive atmospheres

Fig. 1.2 - Applications in Intelligent Oil and Gas Fields

Solution Overview

All on-site systems require continuous monitoring and any offsite monitoring solution must deliver an equally high and reliable solution service for each key area. Any remote system should have the capability to monitor additional ancillary systems such as tamper alarm, Power Supply Unit (PSU) et al, in order to support the continuous availability of the equipment on site. Security and reliability are the key drivers for a successful remote monitoring service. This connectivity
solution to support remote monitoring is proposing to offer this service via a mobile network data services.

Fig. 1.3 High Level Network Architecture Diagram

 

Offering a link over a mobile network ensures the security of the link with 99.95% reliability allows thesite to remain accessible. Using the mobile network for your remote site access ensures a cost effective secure solution to provide remote access to your sites. The 3GPP protocols embedded in the mobile network protocols ensure network security I maintained and the M2M platform.Each site on the system can be accessed at any time of day from any location via the M2M platform.This platform has the capability to actively monitor and flag alarms to the Network Operations Centre but also allow continuous connectivity for relay of telemetric data and remote connectivity to investigation of alarms and on site equipment checks and software updates. Vilicom install network equipment connected directly to the Client equipment via a secure industrial ruggedized router located on site connected via a LAN/Serial port to allow a remote login functionality. This router is connected to an external network via a mobile network operator. A high level network architecture diagram is outlined in Figure 1.3 above.

This network infrastructure allows Client engineers to live monitor alarms, feed daily/hourly telemetry readings, diagnose and troubleshoot equipment alarms from anywhere they choose. This functionality provides swift diagnosis of alarms, allows the user to document (and report) on any issues, and negates the need to visit site to reset non critical alarms. For critical alarms received, an engineer located on site will have the necessary information to hand to allow a swift fix of the fault raised. In the table below we have outlined some of the functionality available on a platform such as this, however other options are available.

 

Alarm Descriptor

Comment

Equipment Telemetry Data

Daily Telemetry can be fed back to Energy Solutions Company servers

Remote Login Functionality

Remote user can log in to equipment on site to check alarm status, reset alarms, carry out software updates

Tamper Switch

Dry contact alarm connected to equipment housing to notify if cabinet open

Temperature Limits (40°C)

Dry contact temperature sensor in equipment cabinet to notify if temperature exceeds predefined limit

PSU Group of Alarms

Heartbeat functionality to notify if system is powered off

Other

Other alarms can be added on request.

Table 2.1 – Functionality Overview

 

For the purposes of our connectivity solution, Vilicom’s mobile service operator is provided through the Mobile Operator M2M platform. Vilicom have agreements in place which enable us to deploy Mobile Operator provided global SIMs to any remote device. However, the system is designed to be vendor agnostic, and this allows flexibility in the network provider chosen for full deployment. Vilicom is an existing supplier to world’s leaders in M2M service delivery. The M2M sector has been developing for over 20 years, and today we can provide an end-to-end solution for industrial remote monitoring: from building a business case through technical deployment to training staff and managing the service. Working in partnership with Mobile Operators, these capabilities include: global M2M platform; global M2M-specific SIM cards; a broad portfolio of M2M terminals, application and service enablement development, testing and deployment; network connectivity; and system integration — all from a single supplier, with a single contract.

 

Secure Transport of Energy Company Data

The Vilicom solution provides a secure connection via the Mobile Operator M2M API which is
implemented using the IPsec protocol by means of a secure GRE/VPN tunnel. All traffic in the IPsec pipe will be fully encrypted from source to destination. All traffic entering this system is encrypted and encapsulated in the IPsec GRE tunnel for transport. The hand-off from the Energy Company API will be a standard Ethernet frame which is then encrypted and encapsulated in the Mobile Operator IPsec tunnel for transport to the remote end handoff point. The frame is then handed back to the energy company remote end API with no change from the frame that entered.

 

On-site Support & Maintenance Contract

Should a router become faulty or communication link fail for any reason and the issue cannot be resolved either by the staff on site or via remote log in, Vilicom can send engineers to site to resolve the issue. Vilicom have the expertise and resources to hand to respond in such a situation establish committed SLA’s with our customers to ensure each field is managed to specific requirements.

 

About Vilicom

Vilicom is a leader in Wireless Consulting and System Integration. Over the last 20 years we have delivered projects in over 20 countries. Vilicom has recently completed a review of remote monitoring services for the Energy sector. As a telecoms support and service company Vilicom globally specialize in providing unique connectivity solutions for remote and limited coverage areas. Vilicom provides and installs purpose built telecoms solutions that support machine to machine (M2M) monitoring systems. The system provided can also be deployed to remote sites (common in the energy sector) which has critical equipment that requires continuous and constant alarm monitoring and also remote login capabilities on a 24-hour basis. Vilicom have developed relationships with Mobile Operators and remote monitoring equipment vendors to develop a safe, secure and reliable technical solution your team can rely on.

Vilicom Contact:
Gearoid Collins – Head of Sales & Business Development
gearoid.collins@vilicom.com