K2 Buddy Solar panel snow guard


IoT Device Management Platform – K2 Systems GmbH

The Challenge

Heavy weather events are occurring more and more frequently. In this context, heavy snowfalls in particular can have a negative impact on PV systems and affect their service life. In combination with the increasing tendency to use larger modules with lower load limits, this can lead to damage to the modules, higher maintenance costs and lower electricity yields. With K2 Buddy, customers of K2 Systems can ensure the safety of their PV systems even in snowy regions and avoid unnecessary maintenance. This means more profitability for installers and more safety for their customers.

K2 Buddy IoT Platform

The K2 Buddy platform manages the automatic and secure connectivity of Buddy sensors, wherever installed in the world. Moreover it manages the remote access of users, whether owner, installer or service staff to the sensors, on a strictly need to know basis. Both installers and end users have specifically designed and dedicated mobile apps building on the OpenRemote web components. The platform includes rules to program alerting at scale, drag-and-drop tools for creating dashboards for service organisations, and web-hook integration for other service applications.

Installation and monitoring

K2 Systems offers a dedicated Buddy App, designed from the ground up using the OpenRemote web-component library. The Buddy App allows installers to set up and configure Buddy sensors. Integrating with the application K2 Base for retrieving project configurations, installation is child’s play. Once installed, installers have an overview of all installations in the field. Of course, end users also have their own app to monitor snow loads and receive notifications for heavy loads. It goes without saying that users can easily add and remove devices and set their notification preferences.

Heavy snow load alerts

Based on the type of construction, and parameters such as angle, dimensions, and mounting types, critical weight limits need to be calculated differently. Through OpenRemote rules engine, hidden in the background, sensor data are translated for each and every Buddy sensor into a single percentage indicating whether you are reaching a critical limit. This is done at scale for thousands of sensors. Subsequently, both installers and end users receive timely notifications making them aware about reaching the limit.

Connected Sources

K2 Systems has developed their own Buddy sensors and gateway. The product is based on the Espressif ESP32 and automatically registers to the K2 Buddy platform, building upon OpenRemote’s auto provisioning template. Using certificates, products automatically register, create the corresponding assets in the K2 Buddy platform and synchronise data using MQTTS. In addition installers can directly access devices through BLE and configure the settings of the gateways, directly from the app, even without internet access.

IoT Device Platform for Manufacturers

Managing IoT devices can become complex for manufacturers distributing large numbers of products to customers, whether for your installer, distributor or service manager.

The OpenRemote IoT Platform connects and controls different all your devices, using auto provisioning combined with MQTT broker, or its Edge Gateway. More importantly, alerts are set to monitor optimal performance as well as unexpected behaviour. Notifications are send to installers or end users to take action.

A dashboard for you as manufacturer, and mobile apps for installers and end users. All can be tailored to your specific context and identity, and hosted in your own secure environment.

Use cases