EDF is working with Nokia to test IoT technologies in its R & D laboratories in Ile-de-France. His various professions also lead a work on big data.
EDF is slowly but surely moving towards the Internet of Things. After carrying out a general interest study on the subject for all of the group's businesses in 2015, the energy company's R & D division began a more concrete testing phase at the end of 2017. It has teamed up with Nokia to evaluate the use of IoT technologies in an industrial environment.
"We want to define the strengths and weaknesses of each protocol and technology, in an agnostic approach, out of the marketing promises, to enlighten the group's business lines," summarizes Stéphane Tanguy, director of research programs on information tools. EDF and IS responsible for R & D. He insists on the importance of conducting real tests in the laboratory and not relying solely on the simulation of physical phenomena. "It's important to see how sensors and protocols behave in an industrial environment, how they go from a 'sleep' mode to an 'active' mode for example, to know the real energy consumption, to understand the exchanges between objects. and protocols ... ", he explains.
EDF tests A wide range of technologies
EDF, by the nature of its activity, wants to ensure the robustness of the different IoT solutions before a massive deployment. Among the parameters monitored especially by R & D teams, there is the endurance of objects, their consumption, but also the cost per use. On the network side, it is the level of penetration of materials by the signal (especially concrete), geolocation services and, of course, cybersecurity that are reviewed. EDF tests both cellular technologies (NB-IoT, LTE-m) and networks using free frequencies (Sigfox, LoRa).
These tests, which will run until the summer of 2018, will allow EDF to build an IoT toolbox in which the various businesses of the group will be able to draw for their projects. In parallel with this work of the R & D teams, divisions of the group have already developed POCs (prooves of concept) on various possible use cases of IoT, such as the protection of workers in remote areas or "geo-tracking". "We had identified a hundred different use cases for our business in our 2015 study, the potential is important, says Stéphane Tanguy.The deployment schedules are different according to the business.
Big data & data science
The purpose of the IoT is to put together new data that is useful for improving operational efficiency, saving money and creating new services. But the company already has many data that it seeks to exploit better. "We already have process sensors (temperature, pressure) that are used for monitoring, but do not necessarily communicate in real time, they are already providing us with valuable information that was confined to separate and heterogeneous applications. Let's pour them into datalakes to de-silot them and analyze them.The goal is to apply algorithms to find correlations, develop applications, make inter-factory comparison, learn from ... ", details Stéphane Tanguy.
If EDF does not appear particularly ahead of the IoT, it is rather well positioned on the big data. "When I talk to other manufacturers, I see that we are well placed to put in place innovation devices to apply new data-science techniques to our data."
By Sylvain Arnul, Usine Digitale, February 14th, 2018