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Industrial Case Study: Leveraging Remote Management to Improve Safety and Reduce Expenses

Man working on industrial refrigeration equipment

Cold storage facility owners and operators need technology solutions that are easy-to-use but powerful and comprehensive enough to meet the energy and compliance demands of their industry.

February 22, 2021 - Even under normal circumstances, the industrial refrigeration industry requires very high standards for protecting food safety and employee health. Obviously, those standards are not lowered during a pandemic that prevents workers from being onsite at a facility. Instead, it requires a solution that allows for remote management of a facility.

The Background

A private equity firm that owns an industrial refrigeration equipment manufacturer engaged Banyan Hills Technologies in 2019 to build software that could be used for remote monitoring and management.

The manufacturer, a leader in the industrial refrigeration industry with numerous Fortune 500 companies as customers, began leveraging Canopy, Banyan Hills Technologies’ Internet of Things platform, to provide their customers with advanced connectivity to industrial refrigeration equipment spread across multiple properties.

The business objective was to increase the manufacturer’s EBITDA through the subscription fees that would be paid by the manufacturer’s customers to use the software.

How We Helped

When the pandemic hit, more and more of this company’s customers began asking about the software and its ability to provide remote management of systems without being physically at a site.

For one customer in particular, the usage of our software went from just one property to 16 in less than a week. This happened while most of the United States was under some level of quarantine.

One of the managers working for that customer reported that as soon as he got access to the IoT software, he noticed the Safety KPI indicated that two of his ammonia detectors were disabled. The manager called the facility and, sure enough, someone had disabled the ammonia detectors a few days earlier while performing maintenance and forgot to reenable them.

This was a potentially lifesaving catch. Ammonia leaks are nothing to sneeze at. The manager of that facility was profuse on a call with us in expressing his gratitude and relief at having the ability to spot potential problems through the software’s remote management capabilities.

But that wasn’t the only reason the manager was happy with Canopy: he is also saving money on energy costs by adjusting setpoints based on data and analytics provided by the software. Now, the facility is more energy efficient in addition to being safer.

Our Collaboration

Cold storage facility owners and operators need technology that does more than just display a temperature. They need technology solutions that are easy-to-use but powerful and comprehensive enough to meet the energy and compliance demands of their industry. Banyan Hills Technologies’ Internet-of-Things software meets this important need.

Working with the portfolio company, Banyan Hills Technologies helped bridge the technical and business divide by evaluating the important business drivers and engineering a cloud-based solution to enable industrial refrigeration owners and operators to have one screen to view their facility’s health, energy efficiency, safety and compliance information and more.

Unlike other cold storage software providers, Banyan Hills Technologies was able to utilize a singular, direct relationship with the manufacturer’s equipment to provide better data for a wide variety of KPIs.

How Our Software Works With Industrial Equipment

At the sensor and device level, Banyan Hills Technologies’ edge agent software, Leaf, handles integration with our cloud software (Canopy). It can be installed and run on any base operating system/device hardware platform.

In particular, Leaf runs on current versions of Linux, Windows and Mac OS. It supports both 32 and 64-bit architectures, including Intel® x86, ARM and MIPS chipsets. Device components can be locally controlled through the Canopy Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) to enable customer interaction.

At heart, our edge agent solves the difficult problems of software provisioning, secure messaging, data synchronization and unreliable networks.
Sending remote updates and commands

Leaf can also be leveraged by industrial customers to centrally manage the distribution of software updates out to the Leaf agents that reside on the network of device endpoints. Also, it allows an operator to securely and safely execute remote commands on devices.

Leaf can send data to Canopy in the cloud or to a server on-premises. Some industrial customers prefer the latter for security purposes.

Canopy’s “Event Pipeline” is the heart of the solution, providing the centralized processing engine for data coming in at scale from the network of devices.

It also supports the real-time decision-making engine that allows for rapid response to complex events. Canopy takes real-time data from the network and centralizes it into a single management platform to support facility operations.

Create KPIs and generate reports

When customers log into Canopy, they can maximize the utility of the data being captured, processed and stored by setting up configurable KPIs and customizable dashboards.

The data can also be used to generate canned reports and view analytics.

Organizational and User Management

Don’t want some employees to have access to all of your data? No problem.

Canopy supports multi-tenant hierarchies, enabling operators to manage security credentials and user permissions based on their roles. Some industrial customers place restrictions on who can do what.

Overall, the solution is very flexible. This makes it an ideal option for industrial companies looking to bring a software product to market quickly and realize tangible returns on investment.

The Results

The manufacturer’s customers no longer need to log into several different systems to check energy usage, compliance issues and equipment KPIs. Canopy provides all the up-to-date information they need to run a facility at its best.

The software helps customers:

  • Leverage sensors and analytics to significantly reduce facility downtime
  • Monitor the number of alarms and failures on their equipment in real-time
  • Manage the health of the customer-facing endpoints
  • Enable alerts to notify when any KPI goes over a certain threshold
  • Enable automation management to automate routine tasks

For the private equity firm, the collaboration helped improve their investment in the company by adding a subscription product to the manufacturer’s offerings.

The private equity firm still owns the manufacturer. They are using the software to expand their service offerings and package various levels of support that can be purchased as on-going subscriptions by customers.

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