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Nortech uses NetBird to securely connect and manage IoT devices remotely

· 3 min read
Mikhail Bragin

Nortech is a company that delivers an end-to-end solution that turns joining Industry 4.0 into a step-by-step process, making it easy to start collecting and using industrial IoT sensor data.

Nortech's unique hardware and software solution captures, stores, and analyzes equipment data to increase the productivity and efficiency of physical assets. Nortech is a distributed multi-national company headquartered in Bergen, Norway, with an office in Lisbon, Portugal. They leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud providers to store, analyze and present data to their customers.

How Nortech saves energy and lowers CO2 emissions

An applied example of what Nortech does would be route optimization, emissions reporting, and energy optimization for sea vessels based on wind, vessel speed, fuel consumption, and data collected from onboard systems. Nortech's hardware integrates with existing and custom onboard sensors and sends data to the cloud for further analysis. Their holistic approach looks at all energy consumers on the vessel to find the ones that can be optimized for better performance. Nortech's platform offers an intuitive dashboard that system operators use to make better decisions, resulting in fuel cost savings and lower CO2 emissions. Nortech supports the customer’s journey towards a more sustainable operation.

Nortech is future-proofing the sailing fleet’s ability to do physical asset management. This includes automated reporting, equipment fault detection, and supporting condition-based monitoring.

Simple and more secure approach to connecting IoT devices with NetBird

To successfully operate the platform, Nortech needs to remotely manage IoT devices and ensure stable and secure data transfer to the cloud.

Halvard Løvik Nortech's CTO first learned about NetBird on Reddit and decided to try it out as a simpler alternative to an existing solution based on OpenVPN. Setting up a VPN solution like OpenVPN takes time and substantial administrative overhead, as it requires a firewall configuration to manage access, design and credentials distribution, certificates management, etc. NetBird practically requires just an installation and takes care of authentication and authorization. There is no need for dedicated IT support, and access can be easily managed from a central cloud dashboard.

"NetBird has helped us to achieve cost savings and drastically reduce complexity in our offerings to our customers. The effort spent from discovering NetBird until we had it running on one of our test units was a matter of minutes of work."

Halvard Løvik, CTO

Halvard brought NetBird to the team, where Guilherme Andrade (Lead Cloud Engineer) and João Dias (Lead Software Engineer) quickly set up a pilot project with one of their existing customers, operating cargo vessels. After a few weeks of being out in the Pacific Ocean, Nortech's IoT devices with a running NetBird agent proved to be consistently and securely transferring data. Guilherme and João could connect to the devices remotely and perform required maintenance without exposing IPs to the public internet. Nortech decided to deploy NetBird agents on 500+ IoT devices running on their customer's assets worldwide this and the following year.

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