Extensive Upgrade: 11 New Features to Personalise the Internet of Things
Simplified IoT data display, more effective sensor use, smart re-ordering – that’s what the Conrad Connect upgrade does for you.
We are constantly improving Conrad Connect, to ensure the ongoing success of your IoT business. Our latest and definitely most extensive upgrade since the launch of the platform comprises eleven new features. All of them have been specifically developed to make digitalising your company easier by employing interlinked sensors and automation software, and by using data visualisation dashboards to facilitate the decision making process. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the new features and show you how to make the most of the upgrade.
Easier Information Extraction from IoT Data
The continuous stream of data collected by interlinked sensors is fed into your Conrad Connect dashboard that serves as the main data hub . Widgets enable a customised display of both actual and historical sensor readings on different dashboard pages where new features provide even more options to modify the display according to your needs.
1. Straightforward Data Display
We’ve streamlined page navigation which enables you to focus entirely on the data, with no need to waste your precious time on anything else. A new navigation bar contains buttons that click quicker through your various dashboards which now also come with a full screen mode that hides any navigation elements.
2. Simplified Dashboard Management
The new “Manage” button on the Dashboard Management page makes renaming, rearranging and removing widgets pretty straightforward. Means you instantly see whether your dashboards are labelled in a consistent manner, to help viewers intuitively understand what is displayed.
Changing the particular order of the dashboards to have a quick look at all the readings is done by drag and drop. The Change Dashboard function automates clicking through consecutive overview pages, with the displays changing at user-defined time intervals. This allows you to keep an eye on the overall situation.
And if you want to rearrange all widgets on an individual overview page, use the Clear Dashboard button to start anew with a clean sheet.
3. Data Comparison within a Widget
A new comparison icon lets you add a second sensor reading to an existing widget, and enables superposing one variable onto the other in diagrams. This comes in handy if you want to, for instance, assess room temperature levels and relative humidity at the same time. If available, the symbol is made up of a black and a white rectangle placed next to each other.
4. Size, Placement, Date Range – Customisable Widgets
Widget displays constitute a valuable tool when it comes to deciphering IoT data to get some useful insights. New features now simplify the identification of relevant information. Widgets showing historical readings allow you to user-define date range settings. Goes without saying that the button that lets you switch between day, week and month views is still there. For instance, that helps you decide whether rooms are aired out sufficiently often, to keep aerosol levels low in the time of Corona.
Moreover, you are now able to both increase widget size to have a closer look at some highly relevant readings, and reduce size in the event they aren’t really important at the moment. This is done using the triangle icon in the bottom right corner of each widget that allows adjusting the height and width of widget windows. And if you want to prevent other users from unnecessarily changing size or arrangement of widgets, you can do so using the padlock symbol displayed in the navigation bar.
Effective Use and Better Understanding of Sensor Data
All IoT-based process automation and data analysis starts out using smart sensors. It’s these sensors that collect the information that helps you take your smart office setup and your digital business models to the next level. This is why we are introducing new features that enable a more accurate sensor configuration and management to suit your needs. This also furthers the understanding of why and how the data are acquired which, in turn, helps you make informed decisions.
5. Quick Response to Sensor Alerts
Knowing where the sensors are located before manually checking the device status, or changing batteries, tends to save you a bit of walking distance. Our floor plan service includes a list that shows where each and every connected sensor has been placed. Clicking on the sensor in question results in its position popping up on the floor plan. Means you can work out the shortest route right away.
6. Use Status Changes instead of Setpoints as Triggers
While the majority of sensor automation routines is executed as a result of a reading reaching a preset value, some scenarios may require using a simple change of sensor status to trigger a routine. This option is now also available on our platform.
When to use this option? Here‘s an example: Conrad Connect can notify you as soon as the charge level of a sensor battery reaches a lower limit. Up to now, you might have been alerted multiple times in quick succession because the sensor repeatedly detects a low battery level. And if you’ve set up a Smart Ordering routine for replacement batteries this may have resulted in multiple order placements. Using the battery level change option (i.e. “normal” vs. “running low”) instead means only one trigger signal is generated and, hence, only one order will be placed – just as you intended.
7. Choose a Status Holding Period in the Advanced Settings Menu
The Advanced Settings menu is displayed on the right-hand side of the project editor window and allows choosing the Status Holding Period. Either enter the period expressed in seconds, or set the value to “permanent”.
When to use a status holding period? For instance, choosing a permanent holding status makes sense if you use a logic AND gate to check whether the office building window contacts detect an open window after everyone has left the premises after work. This setting keeps alerting you as long as one single window is still open, and that regardless of how many windows you’ve closed already. Means you minimise the risk of attracting intruders, and also save money on heating bills.
8. Better Understand Sensor Readings
A better understanding of how sensors take readings facilitates the interpretation of the collected data. This is why our dashboards now show the type of sensor being used. Just move the mouse cursor over the name of the sensor in the relevant widget.
Streaming-type sensors only transmit information if their status has changed, such as in the case of window and door contacts. On the other hand, periodic sensors take readings at pre-defined intervals. For instance, the majority of temperature sensors forward the collected data every 10 to 15 minutes.
What’s more, from now on, sensor readings aren‘t only displayed in dashboard widgets but also in the sensor information menu of the project editor, and on the page that allows you to manage all connected devices.
Simplified Staff and Customer Account Management
Being able to operate multiple user accounts helps companies and resellers improve the Conrad Connect user experience for employees and customers alike. Two new features take user account management to the next level.
9. Admin Login: Simplified Monitoring of User Behaviour
All our Professional and Enterprise packages come with a multiple user account option. Administrators benefit from a new section that logs all user activities across the entire platform. This log facilitates identifying both who created a certain project, or when precisely a specific widget was removed from a dashboard. Which makes troubleshooting and fault-finding a lot easier.
10. Straightforward Conrad Connect Setup for Resellers
Our Reseller Program here at Conrad Connect is an simple way to expand your product range by adding groundbreaking IoT services. From now on, you can create additional accounts upon request, compile tariff lists, and already put together a basic setup before wrapping everything up in a ready-to-use package and handing it over to your clients.
Smart Ordering: Online Purchases Made Easy
Conrad Smart Ordering means restocking printer supplies, batteries and dishwasher tablets for the coffee station at the office just takes one mouse click or voice command. A new feature will be available shortly that lets you customise your automated purchase order procedures even further.
11. Available Soon: Automated Just-in-time Ordering of Consumables
How much is too much? Stocking the right amount of consumables can be tricky. The new stock counter listed in the actuator menu of our project editor will soon allow improving the timing of purchases via Conrad Smart Ordering. Now it’s up to you how low stock levels can run before placing an order.
This is how the stock counter works. First, you need to enter the maximum quantity you want to keep in stock, let’s say 100. Afterwards, provide the stock level which, when reached, will trigger the placement of an order, let’s say five. The counter keeps monitoring the remaining products and resets itself to 100 as soon as the last one has been used up, starting the whole process afresh.
Every time stock levels reaches a low of 5, the project adds the a user-defined order quantity to the shopping chart of a chosen online supplier and then waits until you confirm the order. Means it takes one mouse click to make sure you only stock exactly the right amount of consumables which , in turn, affects the bottom-line of your business in a positive way.
So, which of the new IoT features do you plan to use, to push forward the digital transformation of your business ? Make the most of the recent Conrad Connect upgrade, everyone, and have fun!