Published: September 29th, 2017

Sierra Systems of Vancouver developed a solution that won Gold in the newly introduced Best Internet of Things Solution category. Sierra Systems is a great example of how open source machine learning can drastically reduce processing costs by automating the analysis of large, dense amounts of technical data.

This solution connects a pre-existing pipeline inspection tool — and its microphone-based acoustic measuring ability — to a machine learning system. Built in Python, the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, and other tools, the resulting machine learning model transformed the acoustic data into a series of images that the customized model could learn from.

Small enough to operate in the field, the model has shown the ability to detect leaks with 99.3 per cent accuracy, at a rate of approximately 150 times faster than the existing manual process — a massive leap forward in efficiency and reaction time.

Sierra’s IoT-based solution was recognized by Microsoft for its innovative use of machine learning, winning the Canadian 2017 Impact Award in Data and Advanced Analytics Innovation.

The real significance is found in the planned business outcomes. Beyond lowering review costs, the new process can have a direct impact on maintenance and can lead to a dramatic reduction in the loss of water, gas, or oil from a leak. Given the solution’s scalability, the impact of machine learning and data analytics can rapidly bring this efficiency to hundreds of thousands of pipelines crisscrossing the world.

SILVER: New Signature Canada

Digital transformation isn’t just for enterprises. A solution provider and Silver CDN Channel Elite Award recipient New Signature demonstrates, some of the companies that stand to benefit the most from digital transformation operate in smaller-scale, traditional industries.

Take the example of a central Florida-based renovator and builder of commercial buildings that, according to New Signature, aimed to be a modern company in a traditional industry but was facing roadblocks preventing them from elevating their operations.

Fortunately for them, New Signature, specializes in helping businesses improve their customer service through the deployment of full-service Microsoft solutions, including cloud services, infrastructure management, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The construction firm was having difficulty monitoring unauthorized site visitors and ensuring that workers were using safety equipment properly. To solve its problem, New Signature built a prototype RFID (radio-frequency identification) reader for Winter Park, procured the appropriate RFID tags, and connected the company’s data streams to the Microsoft Azure IoT hub.

Once the construction company’s data was streaming to the cloud, New Signature then built an architecture of supporting Azure IoT services allowing company staff to stream, analyze, store, and visualize the data. The system also sends real-time text and email alerts to worksite operators.

The information received from the alerts helps the construction firm identify whether anyone on-site has authorized access or not, and ensures that those who are authorized are following appropriate safety regulations by tracking their personal protective equipment.

The company has even used its new system to optimize the number of sub-contractors needed to finish a specific job, and by monitoring safety equipment, has saved money on violation fines.

This mix of modernized business operations and actionable intelligence is helping the construction firm transition from manual processes to digital ones, ensuring future operational efficiency and giving it a competitive advantage in the large-scale construction industry.


BRONZE: STYLUSOFT INC.

The 2017 bronze award winner in the Best IoT Solution category is StyluSoft Inc. The company founded by former Microsoft Canada executive has integrated its cloud hosted facility management solution with environmental monitoring and radio frequency and identification equipment.

The solution automatically monitors facility assets including power, water, heat, humidity, and vibration 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will automatically create and dispatch trouble tickets for the appropriate internal or third-party resources.