Skip to main content

A “movement digitisation” sensor as a brick for disruptive IoT services

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LEGO (A “movement digitisation” sensor as a brick for disruptive IoT services)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2020-01-31

Look around you, people and objects are moving! Terabee’s mission has always been to enable access to digital movement information. Over the years, we have identified the need for application-specific sensors and products to gather data, process it and provide valuable decision-making information.
With the steep rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) market, a significant number of opportunities appeared: everybody nowadays needs low-power and low-cost products for digitizing presence and movement! With the help from the European Commission and specifically EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), Terabee is going to fulfil new IoT needs by exploiting proprietary new sensing technology creating high quality, cost-competitive sensor-based products with efficient and customizable onboard intelligence.
Terabee started with a selection of six mature applications spanning across fields such as Smart Cities/Buildings, Smart Factories and Mobile Robotics. A pool of products - based on the same background technology - is developed to fulfil modern needs of mobile robots and industrial automation (mostly positioning systems, anti collision systems, and movement / temperature monitoring devices), but also people counting for smart buildings, stock monitoring for smart farms and cities.
The products being developed are easy to use, efficient and customizable. Some of them are designed to operate in harsh environments. All products are not just simple sensors, but intelligent devices which include application layers, with lots of smart algorithms embedded as edge computing. These products will provide direct benefits to both industry and society. For example, we foresee better safety/control systems helping to reduce risks and accidents in industry, while people counting devices installed could bring considerable energy savings for heating and cooling of large public structures, such as conference centres. In a virus outbreak situation, our devices can be adapted to monitor people's density, helping to maintain social separation during re-opening of public infrastructures.
The world is changing fast, and Terabee is geared to enable a better change!
Since the beginning of the project, we have experienced some good and promising results. We have used the first few months of year 1 to define details of the different products to address the applications identified in the LEGO Grant Agreement. A common structure was put in place for all the development teams and specifically adapted to this project.
During the remaining part of the reporting period 1, work was focused on two major concerns:
Progressing the development of the products defined
Performing an extended market study on all the products defined

Therefore, all applications’ development were pushed forward, mostly on hardware and software development, with a priority to the most promising applications, and for which we raised a lot of customer interest. This allowed us, at the end of reporting period 1, to have prototyped nearly all of our application products (achievement 1). More than that, one product has been completed and launched to market (our first industrial-grade sensor), while another two products are already advanced enough that we have already delivered functional prototypes to highly interested customers (one IoT device for people counting, and one robotics device to help mobile robots following humans).
In parallel to the product development, we undertook a major market study which refined our business understanding and strategy (achievement 2) and that we extended by one month compared to our initial plan. This extra effort was necessary to complete the comprehensive market study document, the contents of which are proving to be very useful and rich in learning. By conducting interviews with customers, it brought additional confidence in our positioning and products and in validating the product definitions. Also, on some other occasions, we used the interviews as a very important input to adapt our specifications to market needs that we had not previously identified.
We started communication about the future products to educate our customers on what to expect, and began writing SEO-optimised content to generate high Google rankings for natural website traffic. We also attended a number of trade fairs, both as exhibitors, but also as attendees. This enabled us to gather client inputs and to build greater awareness in the markets. All of this was a good start to our dissemination activities (achievement 3).
During this heavy development phase, we managed to dedicate enough time to explore a few innovative ideas and write enough material about it with a consequence of managing to file three different patents (achievement 4).
As mentioned in previous paragraphs, some of the products we are developing can have an interesting socio-economic impact. Smart cities solutions such as people counting will help optimizing building efficiency, but also will help social separation in crisis situations such as the virus outbreak. Industrial products will enhance more and more factories automation and optimization, but also anti-collision systems will add a new layer of safety to some human robot collaboration scenarios. Digitalization of stock monitoring sounds a more trivial application, but this also brings significant socio-economic benefits; for example, optimization of waste collection would save truck mileage and thus less CO2 in the world, while digital silos will avoid people climbing tall structures to check levels, with consequent risk reduction of all operations.
Impact to the company:
Switching from technology-led products to application-driven products, helped to create more interest and enquiries from our community. This new strategy, combined with the expanding of our methods of communication, helped us to extend and renew our customer database, while entering new geographies and markets. It translated directly into the number of inquiries received, and raised our direct sensor sales. It also opened some specific bespoke developments that are customer driven, to bring future volume sales. What comforts us greatly, is that most of these developments are related to the applications included within the scope of the LEGO project.
From now to the end of the project, we expect to deliver all the defined deliverables and products, and install multiple pilots in customers facilities. Based on the number of inquiries we have received, we are confident that we have the potential to secure some volume contracts before the end of the project.
application picture for digital stock management scenarios
product picture - industrial grade follow-me for robots
product picture - industrial grade range finder
operational scenario for follow me
Project new products / prototypes in a trade show
digital stock monitoring device - prototype image
people counting L - product / device picture
application picture of people counter at the door on the back
prototype rendering - industrial grade low-cost thermal camera
geeky 3D picture of people counting and room monitoring
terabee team picture
prototype rendering - industrial grade indoor GPS