Careful, what now follows is self-promotion – but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Really good advertising is rare and is often remembered for years. For those of you who don’t remember the Old Spice commercials with Terry Crews: My sincere condolences. Here’s a little memory refresher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=0hwpDnA0_V8
Not quite as crazy, but at least as cool as these commercials is merlin, our internet-enabled, smart data logger. The idea behind its development was very clear: data loggers are usually complicated to use, not necessarily suitable for the harsh conditions on a construction site and usually have to be connected by an electrician.
Keep it simple!
That was clearly too cumbersome for us. It’s not without reason that our motto is “Keep it simple!” And because work is more fun when it makes sense and you don’t have to waste time on tedious processes and unnecessary tasks, our office doors, for example, can be opened without a key. Convenience as a driver of innovation, so to speak!
That’s why the idea of optimizing data loggers for construction site use matured in our minds. “We have seen that they are often incredibly difficult to handle on the construction site,” explained our managing director Philipp Maroschek to me. “Most people on site aren’t electricians, so when they have to drive to the site for every little installation or maintenance job, it’s quite a hassle and expensive. merlin on the other hand you simply have to plug in and it work.”
Node we need
If only the development had been that easy. It all started with the NODE, an ambitious development project from the early days of eguana’s history, which is responsible for quite a few gray hairs on our developers’ heads. “A few times we really wanted to give up,” emphasizes Philipp. “We underestimated the complexity of making it fail-safe and robust, making a battery with a correspondingly long runtime, so that it could be used for all possible applications, and so on.” In a way a jack-of-all- trades, the NODE ended up being able to do everything, but none of it well. It is not without reason that “NODEfall” (inspired by the german word for emergency) is an established term in our company.
The project was put on hold and only resumed in 2019. Software and hardware have been completely revised and the little magic box has now been in use successfully for over a year, whether as a diaphragm wall monitor, for temperature measuring chains or distance measurement – pressures, flow rates, a large number of sensors are possible. “What also makes it so special is that specific business logic can be mapped to it, so we can adapt its functions individually to the user.” The recorded data is automatically transferred to eguana SCALES, where it is automatically processed and clearly displayed.
In contrast to its predecessor, merlin can not do everything – but it’s not supposed to. Because the things that he can do, he does really well. merlin is small, comfortable, flexible and also pretty smart – for example, if measured values reach a certain limit, it can react to this depending on the user-specific logic behind it; and when it detects a trend in these readings, it sends notifications accordingly. When used in diaphragm walls in combination with the appropriate sensors, it triggers an alarm if the level falls below a certain level, for example, or automatically opens valves when certain limit values are reached.
Designed for use on construction sites, it is also “durable, has a great battery life and is very easy* to use,” says Philipp. Our technicians have designed it to be extremely robust so that it can withstand everyday use on the construction site – we have tested its durability in various creative ways. After Philipp ran him over with a car for test purposes and developer Cesare drowned it, HR manager Julia let her children play with it – and merlin even passed this extreme endurance test without any problems. When the heating in the office building broke down, we used it to remotely check how many degrees it was in the office and how many layers of clothing we should wear for a working day.
merlin is waterproof
and survives the tap …
… the dishwasher …
… and complete drowning.
merlin is robust
on a car …
… or beneath it.
And he is absolutely childproof.
The agony of choice
What we also tried was changing the optics. We’re already looking forward to customer-specific models in special colors, whether mango yellow (a classic in our prototype construction), mint green (perhaps the trend color in summer 2022?) or rather metallic grey.
The decision is not only difficult in this respect, we were also faced with a hard choice when it came to naming our miracle box. In the end, however, we decided on merlin, the smallest falcon in Europe, which flies above things and keeps a close eye on everything. Or for merlin, the clever magician who makes miracles possible.
And the old NODE, what happens to that? Set it on fire, bury it, throw into the Danube; so many possible options. Our development team is currently thinking about a sculpture on which the NODE is impaled like on a trident. The king is dead, long live the magician!
Wer mehr zu unserem Zauberwürfel wissen will, setzt sich am besten direkt mit Philipp in Verbindung
*für unsere deutschen Leser: „wirklich extrem einfach“