Securing Mines in Brazil with IoT / LPWAN Wearables

15th January 2017

Securing Mines in Brazil with IoT / LPWAN Wearables

IoT‐enabled LPWA technologies and wearable devices can transform mining operations to improve safety conditions and monitoring performance across the value chain.

Mining represents an essential economic activity in developed and developing countries but the extraction and processing industry faces huge challenges. Above concerns such as fluctuating commodity prices, skilled labor shortages, high input costs, and time‐consuming statutory reporting, comes the need to provide safe working conditions for millions of people round‐the‐clock. In parallel, newly developed fusions of IoT‐enabled LPWA technologies and wearable devices are being developed to help makes mines not only more efficient and innovative but also safer places to work.

Connecting hard‐to‐reach mines

As part of ongoing efforts to improve working conditions, LoRa LPWA technology is used to connect mines in hazardous remote areas previously considered too challenging or costly for GSM alternatives. With its unique penetration capability, a LoRaWAN gateway deployed relatively speedily and inexpensively on a building or tower can connect to sensors more than 15 kilometers away or to water meters deployed underground.

Like all IoT technologies and devices, LoRaWAN is prone to hacks, which can not only disrupt operations but also put lives at risk. Reliable security is therefore crucial to the adoption and effectiveness of technology like LoRa and going forward will play a central role in the evolution of the entire IoT ecosystem.

– Roberto Williams, CEO, ROBBIoT

It was great to benefit from the deep experience that G+D Mobile Security brought to this project as specialists in the telecommunication business. Their solution‐minded approach for this use case helped us to leverage information security and apply it to other business models and sectors. The module now used by Massari delivers continuous monitoring via a real‐time dashboard

Advancing operational security

The development of security systems is recognized as a vital component of the success of IoT technologies by Brazil’s Ministry of Labor, who shut down more than 850 industrial plants in 2015 over threats to worker safety. This translated into substantial delay and economic losses within the Brazilian mining industry that year.

In response, G+D Mobile Security was invited to contribute to a pioneering project initiated in São Paulo in 2016. Massari Mining, a supplier of limestone to the country’s largest cement manufacturer, set up the project in order to investigate ways to monitor working conditions in mines. The aim of the project was to predict and prevent accidents by monitoring workers’ underground activity.

Establishing a complete monitoring ecosystem

Using LoRa technology and G+D Mobile Security solutions, a complete LPWA‐based IoT monitoring ecosystem was established that connected not only the workers but also the heavy machinery and the installations. Miners were equipped with personalized, wireless connected vests and helmets that continuously monitored their status and working environment in terms of temperature, humidity, potential fall areas, radiation and noise levels, as well as delivering their precise location in the mines. The data received was then compiled and analyzed using a real‐time analytics system.

Beyond LoRa

G+D Mobile Security is at the forefront of developing innovative and flexible solutions designed to meet the challenges of the connected society. We offer the tools that enable our customers to simplify and speed development whilst ensuring the security, reliability, power management and long life of LPWA applications. From secure elements to software protection solutions, from consulting services to platforms, G+D Mobile Security covers them all. LPWA security needs to match the low‐cost structure adopted by the modules and ecosystem partners and we provide ways of making this happen. LPWAN technologies offer boundless and versatile connectivity options. G+D Mobile Security solutions are agnostic and so enable us to adapt to multiple use cases and verticals and collaborate with various partners.

Leveraging our long‐standing experience within security and authentication, G+D Mobile Security was chosen as a strategic consulting partner in the project. We provided input into network and project setup, the creation of end‐to‐end security solutions for device authentication, and securing the transmission of data from the module throughout the network and to the application and analytics end points. G+D Mobile Security partnered with innovative industrial‐IoT startup ROBBIoT, whose focus is on mission‐critical operations such as mining, oil and gas extraction, chemicals and construction. They provide turnkey solutions designed to predict and prevent accidents with wearable devices and data analytics.

Using Intel technology, ROBBIoT integrated LoRa connected modules into workers’ vests and helmets that connected seamlessly to the mine’s LoRa network. Each module was then authenticated and personalized using G+D Mobile Security’s trusted key‐management technologies and access control that protect data transmitted from modules through the network and to the application and analytics end points.

G+D Mobile Security offers a level of security that goes above and beyond LoRaWAN standards for Critical IoT Infrastructure deployments. Our proven experience of managing billions of SIM cards, coupled with our connectivity platform that offers future‐proofed security and interoperability, enabled ROBBIoT to remotely manage and activate the workers’ wearable devices remotely and in real time throughout their lifecycle – regardless of the time of day or night they were in use.

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