News | 04/22/2016 Liebherr collaborates with Microsoft on smart refrigerator prototype

Liebherr Appliances and the software manufacturer Microsoft are working together on a refrigerator that will offer customers in the pharmaceutical industry new possibilities for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. A “Internet of Things"-prototype will be presented to the public, for the very first time, at the Hannover Messe für Industrie (HMI) 2016. This project is a product as part of a collaboration between Microsoft and Liebherr in the area of refrigerator and freezer digitalisation.

The pharmaceutical industry face the challenge: they require extremely reliable refrigeration technologies for the storage of highly sensitive substances and products, such as medicines, vaccine or insulin. Refrigeration temperatures have to be precisely maintained around the clock, therefore the secure, reliable operation of appliances is imperative. The development of intelligent connectivity solutions for commercial refrigerators and freezers creates new monitoring and maintenance possibilities for professional users.

From 25th - 29th April, at the Hannover Messe für Industrie 2016, Microsoft and Liebherr will, for the first time, present the refrigerator prototype. The pharmaceutical refrigerator is connected with a communication module based on the Windows 10 IoT Core, which analyses data utilising the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. In this way, the refrigerator’s general status data and temperature data can be retrieved at any time.

Using machine learning – the automatic evaluation of data, with recognition of control processes and deviations – and Azure Stream Anlaytics for real-time predictive analysis, it is then possible to recognise any changes in the appliance’s refrigeration performance at an early stage. Well in advance of any actual damage to stored products, the system will generate a service ticket in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and the relevant technician will then be able to plan this into their service call.

In addition, the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system integrated into the communication module allows the refrigerator to be updated remotely. The advantage: within the framework of new services, Liebherr is in the position to introduce new features and functionalities with greater speed and flexibly.