Mondo: Automated IoT solution to reduce time, errors and costs
Engineering a sustainable energy future through more IoT-enabled mini-grid communities.
At a glance
DiUS helped Mondo meet a growing demand for community and mini-grid solutions by scaling the rollout and provisioning of its IoT-device-enabled energy management platform faster and with fewer issues. The automated, zero-touch solution scaled the manufacturing and rollout of Mondo’s hardware and software platform, Ubi™, while cutting provisioning time by 97%. With a fully automated deployment process of all software artefacts, Mondo now experiences virtually zero factory errors and a 50% reduction in production costs.
Yackandandah Community Mini-grid
The project features 14 houses with 110kWh of batteries forming one of Australia’s first mini grids, and deploys 169 Ubi™ systems.
Mondo provides services and technology for essential infrastructure in the energy, water and transport sectors, including transmission connections, grid-scale storage, smart energy management systems, mini grids, and community energy hubs.
The Australian innovator is pioneering community mini-grids and regional energy hubs by providing the technology to support homes and businesses to generate, manage, store and share energy. To support this vision it has developed the Ubi™ Energy Management Platform to allow local groups to manage energy through sustainable means, either consuming it or feeding it back into the grid. Communities that have adopted Ubi™ have realised substantial energy and cost savings.
Using IoT-enabled devices to manage energy consumption across communities
Ubi™ is an Internet of Things (IoT) device-enabled energy management platform. It monitors a home’s electricity consumption, solar system and battery—enabling fast, accurate information for the owner in real time.
When multiple homes or businesses in an area have an Ubi™, these systems form a network to communicate with one another. The Ubi™ network allows a community to track and share their collective renewable energy targets and unlocks the ability for them to trade energy locally. This not only allows the individuals in the network to save money but, just as importantly, enables that community to make a huge contribution to supporting renewable energy uptake in Australia and defers the need for expensive electricity network upgrades.
Following the successful Yackandandah trial, Mondo saw the powerful potential of Ubi™ and wanted to devise a plan to scale the platform.
How to scale operations faster with less issues
One of Mondo’s biggest challenges was manufacturing Ubi™ devices at scale without a heavy reliance on skilled labour and a high-touch provisioning process. Prior to working with DiUS, the final stages of production required a skilled electrical engineer to manually test and provision each individual device, which took approximately one day to complete and was prone to a greater chance of error.
While trying to scale, Mondo encountered other challenges such as the ability to maintain reliable internet connections, running secure and safe updates and tracking the platform’s health status in real time. Energy projects involving both hardware and software are typically complex, requiring a deep understanding of the energy domain as well as specialist technical expertise. As a small and newly formed team, Mondo sought a partner with expertise in hardware device development and cloud-based IoT platforms.
DiUS was chosen to partner with Mondo to enhance the Ubi’s software and hardware so it could be rolled out to more homes, more quickly.
What we did
We provided specialist expertise that spanned AWS IoT Core, cloud and embedded engineering, as well as an understanding of device manufacturing.
DiUS was engaged early and worked with Mondo to identify the areas that would have the greatest impact in addressing these challenges. Being a relatively new product in market, we conducted a detailed value stream mapping exercise covering the product development lifecycle through to the factory end-of-line and the provisioning process.
The team needed to deliver:
- a more streamlined production process,
- automated over-the-air upgrade of the device’s software (including the ability to remotely detect faulty devices),
- greater security protocols to ensure the device was able to withstand an expanding user base.
There was a particular focus on reducing costs, ensuring quality and minimising production times as the device production needs increased.
We worked closely with Mondo’s external hardware manufacturer to improve the production process as well as design software and hardware specifications to best solve the obstacles Mondo needed to address to scale production. Key to these improvements was the development of an automated, zero-touch solution that enabled a single electrical engineer to oversee production, consisting of hundreds of devices each day, resulting in devices ready for sale 97% faster.
DiUS took advantage of AWS IoT Core to automate the device provisioning process for Mondo so all existing and future devices could be easily connected to, and updated, via the AWS cloud. AWS IoT Core certificate management was integrated into the manufacturing pipeline to commission each Ubi™ device with its own, unique asymmetrical keys to deliver enhanced security across the network of devices and simplify the integration process with the various communication protocols. Data collection, Amazon Kinesis streams and control messages are able to be managed independently and securely.
These software enhancements supported better in-field device management and more reliable network connectivity through over-the-air software updates, 4G & Wifi network management, device logging and monitoring, and self-healing.
“DiUS fit really well into our team. They were able to articulate a clear path forward and developed a strong working relationship with our technical people.”
– Gary Butcher, Manager Platforms, Mondo.
Results for Mondo
Mondo has now made it easier for energy users to have more choice in the way they engage with the energy network, whilst still maintaining a robust, reliable, affordable power grid for all.
We delivered an automated, zero-touch solution that has cut provisioning time by 97%. With a fully automated deployment process of all software artefacts now experience virtually zero factory errors and a 50% cut in production costs.
By working closely with Mondo’s technical team and focusing on leaving behind an enduring capability, Mondo is now in a position to manage this new production process and support all ongoing changes required for the Ubi™ device. This work was instrumental in giving Mondo the confidence to move to production of Ubi™ to support mass market demand.
Over and above the technical engagement, we worked closely with the Mondo product team to establish a lean and agile approach for the continued development of the Ubi™ platform. Mondo had been trialing agile approaches for some time, but working closely with DiUS allowed the team to collaboratively implement an approach that fit with Mondo’s organisational and cultural environment.
We helped Mondo work through challenges in a practical and open format, leaving the team with the capability to continue to drive the Ubi™ technology forward. DiUS’ ability to seamlessly fit in with the Mondo team was key to a successful outcome, establishing new ways of working and the foundation for a strong & ongoing partnership.
“DiUS provided us with the IoT expertise we needed to scale our software and hardware device development. They also helped us find the right long-term approach to Agile that works for us. The approach has now become second nature to us and the team is performing in a more collaborative way than we did before.”
– Kirstie Wu, Technical Lead, Mondo.