Silver Lake

Technology used in a smart way in the world of recreational domains. On the one hand for the smart management of electricity on the campsite and on the other hand for the smart control of the level pumps in the lake.

Silver Lake
Microsoft Azure, smart reader, kiosk, electricity measurement, PLC pump control, IoT edge, ReactJS


Belgium has a lot of beautiful places to offer, the Zilvermeer in Mol is one of them. The recreation area is located in the Belgian municipality of Mol. The provincial domain has an area of 157 hectares and includes a recreational area such as a camping site. Something for everyone!

Adding technology to a recreational domain can be done in different ways. You can make waste bins smart,(see our case in Limburg) or make visitors pay not with physical money but with a virtual coin, you can also add gamification on the domain and... Plenty of possibilities!

We were presented with two exciting cases of the Zilvermeer by our partner Citymesh and we used our teeth right away! It was the first project where we could work together with our 3 partners, Microsoft, Nedap and Phoenix Contact. Whether it was interesting and fascinating? YES!

Case 1: Pump control

The silver lake has two lakes. When the large lake has reached a certain water level, the pump in the lake has to transfer the excess water to the smaller lake. Now this was still done manually, but this had to be done, and could be done differently. In order to take a dip of cooling the water has to meet two requirements. The temperature has to be at least 17° and the water level has to be high enough.

Solution: We mapped the temperature in real time. We used two PT100 temperature sensors, which we placed at 10cm and 1meter depth. To monitor the water level we used an ultrasonic sensor from SICK. The ultrasonic sensor emits sound waves and these waves collide with the water surface. The value is read out via RS485 and transmitted wirelessly to the PLC at the pump via the radioline modules of Phoenix Contact. Thanks to these radio modules we can supply our RS485 wirelessly up to 20km away! (in unobstructed view). The PLC will use the measurement data to determine when the pump should be active and also offers this data via Azure.

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Why 868Mhz? We chose 868Mhz because this frequency cannot be disturbed. Through wifi you can easily get interference. Think at home, your modem is set up in the storage room on the ground floor. Chances are that the signal does not reach your desk upstairs. Of course we want to avoid this and frequency 868Mhz is ideal for this!

You knew that one! The Silver Lake uses a natural purification system in their swimming pond!

Case 2: Electricity kiosk

In addition to the lake and recreational facilities, the Zilvermeer also has a camping site. In order to supply your caravan or mobile home you need a power socket. The intention was for the visitor to be able to activate/deactivate his socket completely independently and the consumption of this socket will be charged automatically.

Solution: For this case we developed a kiosk. Through this kiosk the visitor can place money on his personal badge. Then he can select the socket he wants to use and link it to his badge. The number of kilowatts consumed is then deducted from his balance.

We've also provided security. This deactivates the socket automatically and immediately when the plug is literally pulled out. This way, no one can secretly draw energy from your socket while you are sleeping, for example. You then have to go to the kiosk again and activate the desired socket.

How do these 2 cases work technically?

The technology we use is mainly PLC next combined with Azure IoT Central for management and visualization. This is also the first project in which we collaborate with our three partners.

1. Microsoft

We use Azure IoT Central for the management and visualization. Via IoT Edge we communicate with the sockets and the Ultrasonic sensor. We then obtain data and can visualize it in IoT Central. This gives us the opportunity to monitor the data from the power sockets in real time. Which socket is currently used, which has the largest consumption, we can closely monitor the water level, is the pump still active and much more. It offers very interesting observations.

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2. Phoenix Contact

From them we use the PLCnext. This PLC series is based on a Linux operating system that also has real-time capabilities. The automation part or Real-time part is therefore completely separate from the other possibilities offered by the PLC (such as NODE-JS/Python etc.) The Phoenix ecosystem has sufficient interfacing possibilities for us to read or control different sensors or peripheral devices. In our case, the Real-time part of the PLC will determine when the pump should be activated or deactivated.

3. Nedap

At Nedap we use a smart card reader, the NVITE reader. This reader is used in the kiosk when you want to scan your badge.

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