Drying wood using IoT
Valutec is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of industrial timber kilns. With operations in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Canada, the company has annual sales of around 30M USD and has delivered over 4,000 kilns to the market.
In pursuit of the optimal multi-sourcing service provider environment
Haninge municipality is located on the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden, and is home to around 86,000 people. It is responsible for education; social care; urban planning; public elections; recreation and leisure; and more, in the region.
Read more about this case here (in Swedish).
Managing one of Sweden’s largest IT infrastructure consolidation projects
The Church of Sweden is the country’s largest religious community. It has more than 3000 churches, 1300+ parishes and 13 dioceses. With over 6 million members, The Church of Sweden has an annual budget of around 1.4 USD billion.
The Church of Sweden is a vast organization with the mandate to provide church related services for the entire country. This equates to over 1300 parishes, covering an area of approximately 450,000 km², roughly the size of California. Principally, each parish in the country is responsible for its own IT. As a result, local units around the country maintained similar IT solutions and operational procedures. Parish administrative duties also needed to be simplified to enable local church officials to focus on their core activities. Following a pre-study of the organization’s processes, structure, and IT requirements, Data Ductus proposed a step-wise migration path from this fractured, costly and inefficient IT set-up towards a new shared IT infrastructure.
The IT consolidation solution is a two-layered offering that allows parishes to choose the number of centralized services they wish to use. At layer one, a virtual desktop provides each organization with the office/administrative suite it prefers. Users can access these cloud services from any device. At layer two, centralized HR and book-keeping services simplify salary payments, billing, and the like. The virtual desktop solution runs on the Citrix platform. A private cloud hosts all the data and related services. The solution includes a manned Service Desk for IT support.
To facilitate migration, Data Ductus also provides an “upgrade” service to parishes. This involves assessing the existing IT at the parish office – including everything from network connection to office computer – and producing a simple migration plan to the virtual desktop. Once approved, either the Data Ductus team or the local IT provider can carry out the upgrade.
With more and more parishes adopting the Citrix platform, IT consolidation economies of scale are driving down the OPEX of IT service operations, and the CAPEX for related facilities, hardware and network resources. Furthermore, as all the connected parishes share the same program versions, file sharing has become much easier. As a result, collaboration in administrative procedures has become a lot easier which in turn reduces administrative costs and vulnerabilities and improves overall quality.
Many of the mundane administration tasks are now handled centrally. For instance, the book keeping system includes an automated billing feature, prints invoices centrally and posts them to the recipient, all at the touch of a button.
The private cloud solution meets existing and coming regulations, such as GDPR. Finally, with one common platform, the IT organization can easily deploy and offer new services to parishes across the country.
As a side-effect, the initiative brought some considerable environmental benefits. Going from thousands of distributed servers in local data centers – often with more CPUs than needed – to a consolidated central data center, meant reducing the energy consumption considerably. Furthermore, the information security gains are obvious since risk exposure in the countless distributed data centers was overwhelming.
What the customer says
“When we began this project, it was with the awareness that parishes would have the autonomy to stick with their existing IT setup or onboard to the virtual desktop. This meant designing a solution that would reduce vicars’ administrative duties, giving them more time to do what they really want to do in a parish. However, it still had to give them a degree of control of their own processes.
Developing the two-layered solution solved this perfectly, as parishes can choose the level of service they wish to use. Well over two thirds of Church employees within local organizations are now using the solution. And I believe that once complete, we will have carried out one of Sweden’s largest nationwide IT infrastructure consolidation projects ever”, says Hans Eskemyr, the former CIO of The Church of Sweden’s national level.
Service deployment effort reduced from month to hours and changes from days to minutes
Telecom service providers face considerable challenges as they try to balance the rapid and continuous changes in consumer behaviour, with the availability of new online services. At the same time, content providers rely on quick service response from their telecom partners. If telecom companies are slow to respond or lag behind their competitors, content providers are quick to look for new ways of accessing the market.
In 2012, one of the world’s largest telecom companies introduced a new managed solution with secure services for enterprise customers. As customer numbers increased, the company began to struggle with long service delivery times and a continuously rising OPEX: it was taking an average of one month to deliver services to new customers and several working days to make configuration changes. Data Ductus were asked to develop a solution that would help the telecom operator stay ahead of competition. They wanted to:
- Simplify and reduce the time it took for the customer onboarding process
- Speed up time to market of new services
- Reduce OPEX/CAPEX
In October 2015, the telecom operator announced the deployment of an upgraded version of their cloud VPN service, utilizing Cisco’s platform for SDN and NFVI technologies and the Cisco Network Service Orchestrator. It features automated orchestration via a customer portal that accesses YANG-modelled services through the NSO’s open NBI REST API. The solution went live in February 2016.
The automation and orchestration part of the solution uses the Cisco NSO product as the orchestration engine. This platform is model driven (YANG) and allows a separation between the networks service layer and its device layer. This enables networks to be programmed with device agnostic services. Accordingly, a device can be changed from one vendor to another without the need to break or change a service. In fact, the services are agnostic despite the fact that the network comprises a mixture of physical (PNF ) and virtual (VNF) networks, distributed across two geographically separated Data Centres.
The orchestration solution is mainly divided into two major services, one for secure internet access and one for secure remote access. The customer can select between these services and configure them according to their needs, i.e. Bandwidth, QoS, value added Functions (e.g. Web security and mail security), etc. The configuration is then automatically mapped down to each individual device (physical or virtual).
The input data is automatically validated before the settings are approved, eliminating typing errors, type definition correctness, as well as validity towards global system thresholds. This type of validation, in combination with the removal of manual intervention, minimizes the risk of costly faults in the network. Furthermore, the orchestration optimizes network resources by “spinning up” new virtual network functions when they are required. This ensures Data Centre resource usage is kept to a minimum.
Thanks to the combination of Cisco products and Data Ductus orchestration design, the telecom operator can now make configuration changes to their services in minutes instead of days. Furthermore, they can do it without any OPEX involved, which provides them with considerable savings.
Time to market has also been greatly improved as new services can now be designed, without concerns about the complexity of the underlying network. New agile processes also add greatly to the speedy rollout of new services.
E.ON Delivers a Game-Changing Smart Home Solution to Customers
E.ON is one of the largest companies in the European energy markets. The company serves many millions of people in Europe and beyond.
In 1996 the Swedish electricity market was deregulated. Ever since it’s been easy for consumers to switch between providers. Competition is fierce. Energy companies faced a major challenge: convincing customers that a kWh from their company is better than a kWh from a competitor.
In the main they reacted by developing new websites to improve communication with customers. However, most had limited functionality. A standard “My Pages” menu rarely provided significant added value for people.
This remained the case for many years, but more recently the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up new possibilities for companies willing to embrace change. We were asked to help E.ON utilize IoT and develop a game-changing service for their customers.
E.ON has created a unique smart home solution. It’s built on the Crossbreed platform for IoT and service integrations which complement the existing IT infrastructure.
A new secure eco-system was developed to integrate the existing infrastructure with new IoT components and cloud services. Requirements included flexible APIs, automated process control, event management, model-based onboarding of new sensors and related data models, as well as management and analysis of the huge amounts of data generated by connected devices.
E.ON customers also had to be provided with new hardware – such as temperature sensors – that could constantly relay data while ensuring it remained securely stored for analysis. Moreover, web and app solutions had to be developed reflecting real-time power usage on their screens while enabling customers to control electrical equipment in the home.
Today, E.ON no longer only supplies electricity but also an expandable service platform to complement customers’ smart homes.
Developers can now quickly and easily develop apps for mobiles, tablets and computers. These apps, or more complete applications, give the ultimate customer experience on the web or a smartphone, adding value to both E.ON’s customers and E.ON.
With the 100Koll service, E.ON offers a brand new customer experience. The user can actively be online and receive real-time information, compared to the old days when customer interaction consisted mainly of monthly invoices.
What customers are saying
“With the help of 100koll, we simplify the everyday lives of our customers a little and improve safety in the home. And for those that are environmentally conscious, they can choose to use greener energy. Basically, 100koll is aimed at all solving many of challenges faced by our customers.”
Tobias Övall, Technical Product Manager for 100Koll at E.ON