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Summary: O-CELL helps reduce the environmental impact of infrastructures with CrateDB

On April 4th, we had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with O-CELL and sharing how their real-time monitoring solution helps reduce infrastructures' environmental impact with CrateDB 🌎

Our host, Hernán Lionel Cianfagna, CrateDB's Senior Solutions Engineer, welcomed us all, summarized what we would expect during this 40-minute webinar, and introduced the guest speaker for this online event, Charles-Edouard Ruault, O-CELL Co-Founder

It's a pleasure collaborating with O-CELL and their team on projects like this and having the chance to share their use case more widely! 🙌

O-CELL and its goal to reduce the environmental footprint 🌱

Founded in 2017, O-CELL is a French company that aims to reduce the environmental footprint. For that, O-CELL created a solution to reduce energy and water waste and lower the ecological impact of infrastructures. 

When they started the company, the team sought to leverage new technology to solve existing problems. O-CELL identified a matching use case in a small town near Paris that wanted to build a living lab to experiment smart cities concept

They needed to have a multi-purpose platform that could collect near real-time energy consumption prediction and other environmental parameters and provide easy-to-read dashboards for the city's representatives, and in this data access for the technical staff and detect abnormal behavior. 

At this point, many use cases needed to be covered.

The solution: Real-time monitoring of buildings and equipment 📊

O-CELL was able to design a flexible solution built around dedicated services to ingest, process, and present the data. 

According to  Charles-Edouard Ruault, there were several things to consider regarding processing power and storage, like reliability and scalability. This shows a very high-level architecture of the platform, as O-CELL's Co-Founder explained in detail. 

O-CELL platform solution

These high volumes of data are sent to O-CELL's ingestion framework, which will decode, process, normalize and store the data in CrateDB. The alerting system monitors the data flowing into the system and evaluates rules to trigger alerts when needed. There's an API that is used by our mobile application, and customers process the data and use these insights. 

For this solution, Charles-Edouard Ruault explains that they're using various sensors, as the image below shows. Watch the webinar recording to learn more about this solution in detail. 

O-CELL created a powerful tool that led their first partner city to purchase a license. From then on, they sold to other municipalities. Still, O-CELL realized that the same need was present in other industries facing the challenge of rising energy prices and wanting to lower their environmental footprint.

Today, O-CELL has many well-known groups as customers. This solution helps them understand their facilities' consumption and lower their bills by receiving alerts when abnormal situations are detected.

O-CELL energy savings solution


The database that becomes part of the solution 💡

O-CELL's Co-Founder shares that they had to make the right choice from day one. So during their technology assessment, they discovered CrateDB, which solves many of the well-known nightmares that one can have with traditional databases

"Having a full tolerant cluster with automatic data replication and easy addition of a new node to scale seemed like a very good promise."

- Charles-Edouard Ruault, Co Founder, O-CELL 

O-CELL has been using CrateDB since the early stages of its project. With the system's evolution over time, CrateDB has supported O-CELL in every phase of the business. 

According to Charles-Edouard Ruault, O-CELL's experience with CrateDB has been great. As a small company, they have limited resources and must use them wisely. With a database like CrateDB, which needs very little maintenance, their team doesn't waste time solving, for example, replication issues.

"CrateDB has delivered its promises."

- Charles-Edouard Ruault, Co Founder, O-CELL 

Recently, O-CELL explored several CrateDB versions, version 5 being the most recent, and there are several improvements that Charles-Edouard Ruault highlights, including performance and SQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. 

Know more about CrateDB v5.2: Scrollable Cursors, Bitwise Operators and New Aggregations.

Our speaker also explained how they designed the data schema in the database, which stored the data collected by the sensors. One of the basic goals of the system was to be extensive and able to store many data types and add new ones easily. 

The data is sent from the sensor as binary frames and encoded according to the sensor's manufacturer's specifications. For example, the IoT endpoint service received this frame storage in a dedicated table with made that data reflecting the signal quality.
The decoder service will then fetch those frames, process them using the corresponding algorithm, normalize the data, and store all the data as indicators. So these indicators are just time series that can contain different data types sent from the same sensor, and at the same time.

CrateDB allows O-CELL to store all the indicators of produce by the sensor simultaneously into one single database row, which is excellent for storage and query performance.

CrateDB, other options, and integrations 👩🏻‍💻

Comparing CrateDB with other options, Charles-Edouard Ruault shares that the high availability and scalability are some of the features that differentiate CrateDB. The clustering sharding mechanism allows to ensure that data is replicated to at least another machine, which means that the failure will not impact your whole system, no data loss, no downtime. 

O-CELL integrated other tools with CrateDB, like Tomcat with Java applications.

"The Java integration was excellent and easy because CrateDB also provides a JDBC Driver to interact with the database. So every standard Java framework can work on CrateDB."

- Charles-Edouard Ruault, Co Founder, O-CELL

Finally, Charles-Edouard Ruault shared why they chose to go for the Cloud.

One of the first requirements was to have data hosted in France because O-CELL was running with the government cities and looked to several Cloud providers and found that Microsoft had data centers in France and that CrateDB was supporting the Azure Cluster discovery mechanism, which made them feel safe, because when they needed to add more nodes to their cluster that would be easy to do. 

"We've been pretty happy with this setting, and the system is running smoothly." 

- Charles-Edouard Ruault, Co Founder, O-CELL

Toward the end of the webinar, Charles-Edouard Ruault shared a live demo of the system. Watch it all here.   


See you at the next event! 👋