Home Automation

IOT Technology Solutions provides solutions for the home automation market by leveraging our experience working with connected devices in manufacturing and healthcare to bring IOT to the commercial market.

Smart home connected devices provide home owners with a better level of safety, security, convenience, and energy usage than a traditional non-connected home. Smart devices provide not only remote 24×7 monitoring of the home, but also offer immediate notification of events, enable control of devices while at home or away, and allow automated scheduling of devices to improve both convenience and energy efficiency.

Challenges

Big Data

One of the biggest challenges with home automation is the huge amount of data, with tens or hundreds of thousands of users, each with hundreds of connected devices, each reporting hundreds of data values each day, or capturing several megabytes of video each day. Home automation systems are prime candidates for non-relational databases, with a majority of the data consisting of time series data.

Control Feedback

Automation systems require not only the monitoring of sensors and devices, but developing systems that can control devices as well, and provide reliable and timely feedback to users while communicating with devices that require physical response delays, for example when locking a door, shutting a water valve, or opening a garage door. The non-guaranteed delivery of messages via self-healing mesh networks used in home automation systems require application level management of message queuing, timeouts, and retransmissions to account for the asynchronous nature of the environment.

Device Interfacing

Home automation devices are often small inexpensive devices with very limited processing power, designed to maximize battery life and communicate as infrequently as possible. There is little standardization between manufacturers and each device often provides their own manufacturer specific enhancements and features, making it difficult to generalize how devices operate while still leveraging what might be distinguishing market advantages of a device.

Real-Time Messaging

Home automation systems deal with huge amounts of data flowing through the system, not so much in message size, but tin the total number of message being sent. With devices constantly reporting changes, checking in so the system knows they are still online, or reporting internal device statuses, such as battery levels, tamper settings, etc., there is a constant flow of information, often needed by multiple subscribers, so that alarms can be triggered, rules fired, schedules maintained, and user interfaces updated.

Benefits

Safety

Remote notifications of safety issues, such as smoke, carbon monoxide, or water leaks allows quick response times to minimize property damage and danger to others.

Security

An automated home security system adds an extra layer of defense against potential intruders. Remote monitoring and control of doors, locks, and video cameras, along with sirens and alarms, act as a deterrent to criminals.

Convenience

The ability to schedule events, trigger rules based on sensors, and remotely access devices provides a new level of control and convenience not possible without automation. Voice response systems also add a new level of access allowing control of the home without using physical devices or switches.

Energy Savings

Smart thermostats not only save energy by more efficiently scheduling HVAC usage, but can adapt to changing schedules automatically, without user intervention.

Our Experience

Web Site Development

Our web development teams provide an array of services ranging from user experience and design, to graphics design, to full web application design and development. Our teams are familiar with and use the latest tool sets available to create modern reactive, mobile-friendly, real-time web sites, that leverage not only RESTful web services to access archived data, but also use web socket communications protocols to provide real-time updates to users, all over secure connections.

Mobile Application Development

We have mobile application developers with experience in both Android and iOS development to provide maximum consistency between native applications developed for each platform to help reduce support and maintenance costs and training. IOT Technology Solutions has worked bridging that gap from the physical world of hardware to the virtual world of software systems for years and can help leverage asynchronous communications and user interface design to provide a natural intuitive experience for users.

Technologies

Our developers keep current on the latest trends and tools available to support the high data bandwidth demands of our customers solutions. We have worked with large Kafka clusters for high speed messaging, as well as both relational and non-relational data stores, such as MySQL, Postgres, Cassandra, and Hadoop. We also have experience with the latest reporting and data analytics tools for extracting business intelligence from large data sets.

Deployment

Our people have extensive experience using Docker containers to isolate the components of our customer’s solutions. Docker allows our customers to maximize re-use, consistency, portability, and performance, while minimizing their maintenance and deployment resources and costs.

Domain Specific Languages

We have worked with Groovy-based Domain Specific Languages (DSL) to develop device drivers for home automation systems that allow disparate devices from many different manufactures to be represented using standardized models, yet still support device specific customizations as desired. Our experience includes the design and definition of Domain Specific Languages used on our FX5 platform to allow customers to script their own custom real-time data analytics modules.

Sensors and Devices

Our work in home automation has exposed us to years of experience working with both grid-powered and battery-powered devices, communicating via Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave. Our people are very familiar with the real-world limitations of these types of devices and the many possible failure modes of such devices when used in uncontrolled environments, and operating with limited resources.

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