Modular IoT networks
The Task: An IoT startup required a modular hardware and software platform. Targeted at non-programmers, its main focus was ease-of-use, enabling users to configure sensor/control tasks just by clicking together building blocks. IoT platforms have been around for some time; there are many great hardware and software systems by big names that allow the development of custom solutions. However, most still require the user to do significant hardware and software development before getting to the point of solving actual real-world problems, such as, “if this is getting too hot, turn on that fan. And text message me.” Lots of businesses go the long way around—employing specialists and developing a platform first, then the business solution.
The Challenge: This client removes all major engineering and programming and gets the user directly to solving her problem. A teenager should be able to open a “Getting Started” box and create a climate control system in under 30 minutes with no prior experience. Make it low-cost so any small business, individual, or college student can afford it. And make security priority number one. No hacking into or taking over devices. Use strong authentication. Check off a long list of sensors, control outputs, power sources, and communication interfaces. They will do Grandma Tests.
The Project: Starting with plenty experience in designing IoT systems, I tested different solutions, breaking typical IoT systems into reusable pieces then evaluating the right method for gluing them back together, without the user knowing anything about the glue (i.e., communication bus and protocols). Hardware development and software front-end evolved side-by-side, as one always reflected the other. With help from great industrial 3D-designers, the modules were refined several times. Prototyping is in its final stages as I write this. Once they go public, I will post a link here. Make sure to come back or drop me a note and I will keep you posted.