HW group IoT devices and SensDesk portal for data centers & server rooms

HW group - Monitor and Remote Control

HW group IoT devices and SensDesk portal for data centers & server rooms

Simple and easy to use solution for environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring in data centers and server rooms

Data centers and server rooms are one of the most critical and vulnerable parts of every company. A simple overheating issue can degrade application performance for the end-users. Not to mention critical damage by heat, water leaks, and fire.

We offer a simple and easy to install solution – HW group IoT devices and the SensDesk portal.

SensDesk offers you different user and administration levels and tools for mass operations making it robust and convenient even for large installations.
Thanks to SensDesk’s reports, graphs, and alarms you always know where the problem is. Technicians can receive alarms in real-time, drill down to the exact issue and start troubleshooting before the end-user experiences any impact.

Key features:

  • Complex remote monitoring
  • Detailed analysis of data, reports
  • Several layers of alarming and users
  • Temperature and humidity monitoring
  • Water leaks and fire detection
  • Motion detection

SensDesk: Monitoring and control portal for your IoT projects

SensDesk.com is a web-based service for online remote monitoring and control of HW group sensors and devices. You can monitor temperature, humidity, water leaks, digital inputs, voltage, current, energy consumption and many more. You can also remotely control your technology using outputs.

SensDesk is free application for users who can monitor any number of sensors, connected to up to three HW group devices. If user needs to connect more devices, paid accounts are available. Users can also buy their own dedicated SensDesk and run it as a virtual image on their own server.

Getting started with SensDesk: SensDesk – All information in one place

Smart devices or central portal – HW group follows both trends in IoT sensor technology

HW group - Monitor and Remote Control

Smart devices or central portal – HW group follows both trends in IoT sensor technology

HW group devices follow the two current trends in sensor technology. First, there are simple single-purpose devices with IoT network topology, dependent on a central cloud application for control. Then, there are smart devices for autonomous operation and networks with high security requirements. Each solution has its own advantages. Simple devices offer simple installation, configuration and central maintenance, thus reducing maintenance costs during the entire lifetime.

Advantages and disadvantages of simple vs. smart devices

The question whether it is better to use single-purpose devices or rather to integrate more functions into one device has been debated since the first microprocessors. By using more single-purpose devices, better system scalability can be achieved but possibly at higher costs. By integrating functions, hardware costs can be significantly reduced but there is an increased risk that a fault in one subsystem will make the whole system inoperable.

At the same time, the decision whether to use smart autonomous devices or a cloud-based solution should not be based on the device costs alone; it must reflect the actual application – for what purpose is an independent monitoring solution being implemented – as well as the system design and installation.

Smart devices like HWg Damocles2, Poseidon2, Ares LTE…
HWg SD-Devices
Autonomous operation without a permanent Internet connection
Easy installation by non-qualified personnel
Support for several types of communication protocols, easy integration into monitoring systems
Bidirectional communication works without the need for in-depth network knowledge
Internal logic can perform autonomous actions
Function easily changed using a unified portal
Extended support for M2M communication
Unified communication format
Internal datalog
Very stable operation
More complex system design
Higher system modularity
Installation requires expert personnel
System functionality limited by the portal capabilities
Higher price
Operation dependent on a third-party system

System design and scalability

Simple single-purpose devices offer a clear advantage. They contain a small, clearly-defined number of inputs, outputs and sensors. They do not combine functions within a single package; however, it is easy to combine different devices. This makes it much easier to design the entire ecosystem and also to extend it.

When designing a monitoring solution, it is important to keep in mind not just the function but also the range of monitored elements and quantities. Monitoring can encompass elementary quantities, such as temperature and humidity, and also things such as door contacts, equipment states, voltages or currents. From this point of view, single-purpose devices and smart devices serve equally well. In simpler applications, smart devices have an advantage because an all-in-one solution provides all the necessary elements and functions at low installation costs. So, to monitor the environment inside a rack, all that is needed is a STE2 with a thermometer, a humidity sensor and two door contacts, or a Poseidon2 3268 that can also control additional fans. However, in case of more complex applications, it is harder to keep the costs under control. Smart devices provide a limited number of inputs, outputs and sensors in various combinations; therefore, it is necessary to know all the available models and choose a suitable combination. It can easily happen that a user who needs just 1 additional digital input ends up purchasing an entire additional (and expensive) device.

Installation and configuration

Simple single-purpose devices are all configured at a single place – the central SensDesk portal.

Simple devices themselves do not process data in any way; they just send the data to a remote master system (the portal), where all further processing takes place. This requires highly reliable measurement devices and a robust method of registering them in the system; at the same time, it provides two significant advantages. All configuring and setting up is performed at a single place – in the central SensDesk portal. There is no need to configure each remote device separately, which might require creating tunnels through the Internet to each device. Anyone who has tried to make their data at home accessible over the Internet knows that setting up the required routing at the home gateway (e.g. modem) is not always a straightforward task. And while it is relatively easy to set this up for one device, it can become very complex for multiple devices. Simple single-purpose devices, such as SD-Devices or NB-devices, connect to the server automatically without the need to configure any tunnels.

Smart devices, by their nature, need to be installed by an expert who, in addition to the intended application, also understands computer networks, address translation, and so on. Such people are expensive to hire; moreover, they may not be always qualified and authorized to work on the equipment to be monitored. As a result, the installation may need two people – a technician installing the sensors and an engineer configuring the monitoring device. On top of that, if the installation is done at a customer’s premises, the customer’s IT department may need to be involved, too. If you need to monitor one rack, it is possible to fine-tune the settings and, with the help of the IT team, put in place remote access for possible reconfiguration. A large installation can use a virtual LAN (VLAN) to simplify the situation. However, in case of many devices at different physical locations, the situation becomes complex and the advantages of simple single-purpose devices quickly become an important factor.

Simple single-purpose devices send data actively to a remote server, thus minimizing the risk of problems with the installation.

Smart devices that allow connecting sensors and detectors to buses can save hardware costs but rigorous testing and documentation is needed. Without it, it will be very difficult to troubleshoot e.g. swapped sensors in full operation. Therefore, simple single-purpose devices make things much easier. These devices actively send data to the remote server; instructions for the installation crew can be as simple as “plug the brown sensor into jack 1 and the white sensor to jack 2”, minimizing the risk of errors.

In case of M2M communication, the communication port must always remain open on the target router / firewall, which requires the intervention of a network specialist.

Access to individual devices from the external network (Internet) is also uncomfortable with direct connections, as communication ports need to be open on the destination router / firewall (one port per device), which requires the intervention of a network specialist.

When SensDesk is used as an intermediary, there is a slight slowdown in communication, but there is no need to interfere with the network infrastructure, which increases the security of both the application and the rest of the network.

By using the portal solution for setting up the behavior, Saferange and other target application parameters, the security of not only the application but also of the rest of the network is again increased. This method is very user-friendly, and what is more important, it remains the same across different products.

Changing the device configuration

When it comes to reconfiguring the devices, the differences between simple and smart devices are similar as in the case of installation. The portal solution is simpler and faster to maintain. Moreover, a single experienced engineer can manage even very large systems.

M2M operation

When two devices need to cooperate, the solution must be chosen according to the particular application. Compared to all-in-one solutions, simple devices offer the advantage of easy scalability. However, a direct connection between two devices is always faster and more secure than an intermediate central portal. Due to the architecture of cloud solutions, when an action needs to be performed with an output of a device via the portal, it is necessary to wait until the device connects to the central server; this can take anywhere from tens of seconds to several minutes. On the contrary, Poseidon2 and Damocles2 devices can establish a direct connection between themselves and react within a few hundred milliseconds to a few seconds. However, if the devices are in different networks, such a connection requires special routing configuration; this may take significant effort or, in corporate networks, can be even impossible.

Suitable applications for smart devices

Smart devices, such as Poseidon2, Damocles2 or HWg-PWR, are ideal for use in critical applications where the reaction, such as the sending of a text message or switching an output, must be as fast as possible. These devices also keep track of the real time and maintain a time-stamped data log. Moreover, they support multiple communication protocols, such as SNMP, ModBus/TCP, MQTT and more; however, configuration is required for proper operation. They are, therefore, better suited for industrial applications or closed networks and systems.

Independence of the solution

The need for a truly independent monitoring is the strongest argument for using devices such as Poseidon2, Damocles2 or HWg-WLD (smart devices). These device can autonomously measure the monitored quantities, evaluate the measurements and, if needed, send alerts, turn on a back-up system or switch off the monitored equipment to prevent further damages. The only criterion here is the importance of the application and its purpose. To send e-mail alerts, all that is needed is a working connection to the Internet (a SMTP server); to send text messages, a HWg-SMS-GW3 in the same network can be used (some devices can also interface with a modem).

Any single-purpose device relying on cloud services or another server solution is dependent on Internet access. Such a topology introduces at least one element to the communication chain that the user does not have under control. For this reason, smart devices are better suited for critical applications, or for installations where a company policy prohibits the use of server-based or cloud services.

Suitable applications for single-purpose SD-Devices and NB-Devices

Simple single-purpose devices are primarily intended for larger installations in terms of their geographical scope or the number of sensors.
They are suitable for applications that encompass many small installations spread over multiple locations. They allow connecting a few sensors and detectors and thus enable simple installation. At the same time, they do not require any special configuration, apart from e.g. configuring the Wi-Fi in case of SD-Devices. All subsequent operations are performed in the SensDesk portal only, and can be done by a qualified person. The low per-device cost is an advantage when extending the system; it is sufficient to buy just the inputs or outputs that are needed.

NB-Devices are typically used at remote locations without electricity and internet..

Cooperation between smart and simple devices

Both technologies can be combined within a single solution. The SensDesk portal can be used as the unifying element for both monitoring solutions, combining their advantages. For example, smart devices can be used to measure values and simple devices to control remote outputs or watch for water leaks.

New Remote Monitoring and Controlling IoT Devices from HW group

HW group - Monitor and Remote Control

New Remote Monitoring and Controlling IoT Devices from HW group

SD devices for remote monitor and control

The SD Devices - IoT monitoring units.

The SD family contains simple devices for monitoring temperature, humidity and other parameters or for detecting water leaks, smoke or open windows and doors. The devices connect via wired Ethernet or wireless WiFi to the SensDesk IoT portal.

Basic features

  • Wired Ethernet as well as WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
  • Support for simultaneous Ethernet and WiFi operation (for easy setup)
  • 5V or PoE power
  • Simple installation, supports DHCP
  • Embedded WEB server
  • Security protected with a password
  • Support for the SensDesk IoT portal to visualize all measured data, send alarms and generate reports

Temperature and humidity monitoring with Ethernet and WiFi

A device for connecting thermometers, hygrometers, or other sensors via the 1-Wire bus. Allows connecting two 1-Wire or 1-Wire UNI sensors.

Digital inputs with Ethernet and WiFi

A device for connecting a door or window contact, a PIR motion detector or a smoke or gas detector, with a dry contact output. Allows connecting 2 independent sensors.

Two digital outputs with Ethernet and WiFi

A device with two outputs that can be controlled from the SensDesk portal.

Water leak detector with Ethernet and WiFi

A water leak detector with a moisture-sensing cable. Allows connecting 1 sensing cable of up to 85m length.

SensDesk IoT Portal – A unified monitoring center for HW group devices and sensors

HW group - Monitor and Remote Control

SensDesk IoT Portal – A unified monitoring center for HW group devices and sensors

SensDesk portal as a unified monitoring center

Create custom views and graphs, arrange devices into groups and view your sensor data in custom graphs. These are the basic SensDesk features. The new portal adds many functions for the administration of large-scale monitoring applications and sensor networks. At the same time, it unifies the communication with and control of all HW group devices, including the communication among them. SensDesk can be also connected to monitoring applications.

SensDesk IoT Portal – A unified monitoring center

When speaking of a Portal or a Cloud, most people think of a website with graphs or a remote repository that costs money. And it is often the case. However, SensDesk by HW group is not just a portal or a cloud; it is primarily a unified measuring and control center for HW group products. SensDesk gives a quick overview of sensor states, displays a history of measured values, and allows creating simple conditions to trigger alarm actions such as sending an e-mail or a text message or activating a remote output. Its main advantage is the unified presentation of information from many different sensors and detectors in a human-readable and a machine-readable form.

The SensDesk portal offers features for home users, small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), as well as large enterprises and corporations. For homes and small offices, it is often enough to monitor the current states of sensors and detectors, and to be able to download the past temperature or consumption values (or to receive an e-mail if a value is out of an allowed range). Larger clients put emphasis on the integration of independent monitoring with existing systems. This can be complex, and thus expensive, because different measuring devices provide data in different formats – either for legacy reasons, or due to the particularities of the measured quantities. In these cases, SensDesk provides the most value – it makes data from different sensors and devices available in a unified and serialized XML file format.

Basic SensDesk features

  • A simple and concise Dashboard provides an overview of only those sensors that are interesting for the user. Multiple custom Dashboards with different contents can be defined. For example, the IT department would only watch the data that is relevant for them, and so would the power engineers.
  • Independent Safe Ranges can be set for each sensor for the purposes of e-mail alerts. Support for HWg-SMS-GW3 in order to send alerts via text messages (SMS).
  • An overview of devices and sensors that can be sorted by the status (Normal, alarm, invalid) or by the unit of measurement.
  • Devices and sensors can be grouped according to their physical (Locations) or logical (Groups) place.
  • Graphs of measured values for individual values (sorted by the measured quantities) as well as for individual sensors; data can be exported to CSV, XML, PDF, SVG, PNG or JPG
  • Custom graphs combining different quantities can be created to watch for interdependencies.
  • Advanced user management with a simple administration can assign individual users only the permissions they need. Individual users are grouped under a Team.
  • Permission groups to assign users the rights to individual devices. While the User management restricts what the user can do, the Permission group restricts the resources that the user works with.
  • Export of current values to XML is available for all values belonging to a team as well as for individual dashboards and graphs, and provides for an easy integration with ERP systems.
  • SensDesk can be used either on the free platform operated by HW group, or on the customer’s premises using a virtual server.

There is no need to list the common features of all portals, such as the ability to display the readings from individual sensors and detectors and plot their history in a graph.

Supported HWg devices

User can connect following HWg monitoring and control devices into SensDesk IoT portal:

  • Poseidon2: Remote monitoring of sensors and detectors, and control of relay outputs over Ethernet.
  • Damocles2: Controlling digital inputs and outputs (relays) over Ethernet.
  • HWg-Ares: Remote monitoring of sensors and detectors, and control of relay outputs over GSM or LTE.
  • STE2: Remote monitoring of sensors and detectors over WLAN or LAN.
  • SD: Remote monitoring of sensors and detectors, and control of relay outputs over WLAN or LAN.
  • HWg-PWR: Remote monitoring a metering of water, electricity, gas or heat consumption.

What SensDesk versions are there?

  1. Free version: Devices max. 3 and number of sensors is unlimited
  2. SensDesk PRO: Portal will be installed on customer’s own server. Up to 100 devices and number of sensors is unlimited. Customer can raise the limit of devices by ordering SensDesk PRO Upgrade.
Try SensDesk with demo access: SensDesk IoT Portal
Getting started with SensDesk: SensDesk – All information in one place
Link to product pages: HW group Devices and Sensors