AWS Launches IoT and the Connected Soap Dispenser: re:Invent 2015

For anyone who’s been following the development of the Internet of Things, the week of re:Invent 2015 was a big week. At the second keynote, Amazon Web Services launched AWS IoT at their premier conference hosted in Las Vegas. This new offering, as part of the the extensive AWS stack, will mark one of the biggest game changers for the modern business – meanwhile making competitors a little nervous.

As AWS sits as the top dog of cloud service providers, AWS IoT is a natural fit with Lambda, EC2, Redshift, DynamoDB, etc. and will undoubtedly be the IoT platform of choice for many companies moving forward. Data and their devices will be accessible, safe, and manageable. Users will be able to “easily and securely connect devices to the cloud” and “reliably scale to billions of devices and trillions of messages.”

Along with the launch announcement came our partnership announcement. But as an AWS IoT Integration Partner, we didn’t want to come to re:Invent with just our business cards or a hypothetical demo. We wanted to demonstrate the power of AWS IoT in an actual production system running on top of our management toolset, ThingLogix Foundry.

The Connected Soap/Sanitizer Dispenser

Over the past couple years, we’ve been working with SealedAir to develop their connected device service offering “Internet of Clean”. We decided along with Amazon and SealedAir to demonstrate one component of that offering, a simple but effective solution built around hand hygiene. At re:Invent, we joined with SealedAir, Dash Replenishment Services (DRS), and D6 Labs and deployed connected soap/hand-sanitizer dispensers, around the conference expo. This entire solution operates on top of AWS IoT. Each SealedAir dispenser counted ‘pumps’ and every minute, the ‘pump’ tally would get pushed to the cloud through a LoRa (Long Range technology) gateway.

ThingLogix Foundry, our management toolset for IoT data, processes the data and takes actions based on rules set in the Logic Manager. Notifications could be sent to notify a service operator of a low sanitizer pouch (i.e. 800 pumps equates to a low pouch) so they would know which dispensers need to be refilled.  Using DRS, dispensers automatically re-order more sanitizer when stock reaches the reorder threshold.

What did ThingLogix do?

  1. Worked with SealedAir to develop a connected device service offering
  2. Helped them prototype and build connected versions of their legacy unconnected equipment
  3. Developed the application logic which helps them monitor hygiene compliance

What was so great about this? It was real life. Real conference attendees were using the dispensers and we were getting real-time data based on that usage. More importantly, we could see the business value of IoT data on the AWS IoT platform: Refill notices and auto-replenishment for inventory. This type of technology could easily be used by large facility service crews at places like airports and (Las Vegas) hotels. As our CEO summed up, “They are able to give us better insights into facility use, sanitizer and soap levels, more efficient supply management and reordering.”

And maybe most importantly, a device like this could improve compliance: Food service companies could measure hygiene by seeing the amount of soap or sanitizer being used by employees. As Dr. Ilham Kadri, President of Diverey Care (a division of SealedAir), said at a talk she gave at re:Invent, “We had a dream of arming our customers with smart data – with smart insights.” She continued with their most important goal: “We are selling food safety… We are protecting lives… We are allowing you to have more labor productivity.”

All of these capabilities from a simple ‘pump’ tally? That’s the beauty of the IoT insights. Just as it has done with SealedAir, we’re excited to see how AWS IoT will transform the business landscape and what other business-altering services we will build on the AWS IoT platform.

Stay In Touch

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Please join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.