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Maciej Sułek
Chief Technology Officer
23.11.2022 | 3 min

OG’s IoT solar security prototypes that helped raise $18M

To shine in the energy industry, you must take care of safety first. See how we helped the Norwegian startup Kyoto in this area.

OG’s IoT solar security prototypes that helped raise $18M - 2024 23
Table of Contents
  • Image recognition system
  • IoT system with infrared sensors
  • Digital security of the IoT infrastructure

OG’s IoT solar security prototypes that helped raise $18M

In 2019, the Norwegian startup Kyoto sought innovative solutions to revolutionize how we collect or store solar energy.

We helped them in this mission, and one of our tasks was to create prototype security systems for their solar power plant.

The prototypes we created were an integral part of the project that eventually received nearly $18,000,000 in investor funding.

Here they are.

Image recognition system

You probably recall American action movie scenes where the janitor who oversees eight monitors takes a nap while the burglars sneak between the dark corridors, right?

Well, we wanted to avoid this scenario in Kyotopia. The power plant consisted of many expensive components, and due to the project’s target location, which was supposed to be deep in an African desert, there was a high risk of theft or damage caused by wildlife.

Due to problematic logistics and potential theft risks, the classic security system would be too expensive and not secure enough.

We came up with a remote security mechanism instead. We designed and developed a dedicated image recognition system that caught moving objects like people, vehicles, or animals and sent security notifications in the web app. The tool cut out appropriate recording fragments and saved them, allowing full archivization of events.

More importantly, we created a fully functional and reliable prototype, ready to be shown to investors in less than a month. We relied on AWS services for sending the records for storage and streaming, while the image recognition was executed on a ready-made Nvidia microcomputer with our custom software.

Thanks to such a system, you can observe any number of objects from anywhere in the world. This is substantial financial savings and a convenient and effective way to protect an industrial site from unwanted visitors.

IoT system with infrared sensors

In addition to securing the concentrated solar power plant area, we also had to ensure the safe operation of the associated energy storage system.

In the battery system designed by Kyoto, energy isn’t stored in the form of electricity but only in the form of a hot liquid with molten salts. It’s a complex system of pipes and tanks that requires constant temperature control. Such liquids can’t be too hot or cold, and any leakage can be fatal.

To detect such threats ASAP, we’ve created a thermal sensor system that monitors temperatures in critical places of the battery system and raises alarms if emergencies occur. For example, the system could immediately detect dangerous events, such as a drop in liquid temperature caused by a leak.

On top of that, we added a dedicated web application to the sensor system, which allowed the technician to monitor the system status in real-time on a clear, functional dashboard.

Digital security of the IoT infrastructure

Last but not least, we had to secure the IT and IoT infrastructure as a whole. Mounted cameras recorded the image and sent it to the cloud, and sensors captured critical information. There was constant data transfer between the IoT and the cloud, and in the case of a power plant, such information can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

To ensure infrastructure security, we used the fine-grained access control method and set strict rules on who and how can intercept what data. We’ve restricted employee data permissions to a level where they can only access what is absolutely necessary for their work.

We’ve also created a process where data transfers to a person only after sending a request. It’s a safer alternative to continuous image streaming, known from classic monitoring solutions because it requires additional interaction from the application side. In addition, it’s cheaper and more efficient because it doesn’t generate data transfer whenever it is not required.

If you’d like to learn more about the incredible success of Kyoto’s startup project, read the whole story HERE.

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