Using Agile-IoT technologies in an IoT solution for energy saving in vacation rental properties

The domain of vacation rentals has drastically evolved over the last few years, thanks to popular online platforms like AirBnB and HomeAway. Unlike hotels, which are usually equipped with complex automation technologies, vacation rental properties are still running behind and have not yet adopted connected home technologies. The reason is usually the lack of dedicated IoT solutions which do not require complex house renovations and high initial investments. The lack of connected home technologies turns out to be a missed opportunity for the owner or manager to save energy, money, and time and to simplify the management of the property.

Modosmart (www.modosmart.com) wants to solve this problem and has developed ELIO, an IoT solution which reduces the energy expenses in vacation rental properties thanks to the automation of air-conditioning and heating based on presence detection technology. The system includes two devices developed by Modosmart, namely a window sensor and a room sensor unit which includes presence detection and temperature and humidity sensing. The devices are in pre-commercial state, tested and validated with a set of early adopters. They use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for communication. In addition, the solution is equipped with an off-the-shelf air-conditioning controller able to control any type of infrared based A/C split machine.

Modosmart was selected as one of the eight startups awarded in the first open call launched by the Agile-IoT project and which had proposed project ideas to integrate the Agile-IoT gateway into existing IoT solutions. Our project aimed to integrate the Agile-IoT gateway hardware and software stack into the Elio solution.

The project started on the 1st of January and ended on the 30th of June. During the first half of the project there has been a thorough analysis of the gateway stack with the aim to allow the gateway to speak with the custom devices developed by Modosmart. The outcome of this phase was a proof of concept demo showing the gateway communicating with an ESP32 board, equipped with BLE communication and using the same Nordic nrf51822 microcontroller used in our custom BLE devices.

During the second three months of the project, the proof of concept board has been replaced by the real devices of the Elio solution. At the end of this phase the gateway was able to collect presence, temperature and humidity data from the room sensor unit, to monitor weather a window is open or close and to control the air-conditioning by speaking to the off-the-shelf controller.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Agile-IoT project and to the received funding, the Elio solution is now able to rely on a modular, robust and flexible gateway which can accelerate the time-to-market. The modularity, robustness and flexibility is a result of the fact that the Agile-IoT gateway is built on top of a Docker containerized system powered by ResinOS, which is an operating system bringing the containerization approach to embedded systems. The benefits of using  a modular containerized framework is demonstrated by the fact that by developing our own container we have been able to connect the Agile-IoT gateway to our devices without any modification to the other parts of the system.

Developing on top of a Docker based system has been the first experience at Modosmart, and thanks to the possibility offered by the Agile-IoT project and to the support received by the project’s technical team, we have been able to achieve our objective in a relatively short time and without facing major obstacles.

 

Image from PxHere

Agile for the retail analytics industry: Thinkinside experience

Thinkinside is a company specialised in retail analytics. It’s flagship product RetailerIN (www.retailerin.com) allows to analyse customers behaviour in retail stores and to suggest possible interventions on how to optimise store operations and organisation. The product exploits IoT devices in store in order to collect anonymous information on customer’s behaviour. Examples of such IoT devices are Bluetooth Low Energy TAGs placed on products, or people counters at the entrance. Such devices are typically connected through an in-store gateway to the cloud where data is processed and analysed at scale.

Being a software company, one of the key challenges we face on a regular basis is on how to design and develop custom hardware components in order to either explore new services or accommodate specific customer needs. This typically involves specific hardware and IoT devices to be integrated. With the IoT ecosystem comprising many hundreds of new players offering one or two parts of the IoT puzzle, finding the right hardware + software solution is often a time-consuming task, especially for small companies like Thinkinside.

The Agile project allowed us to tackle one of the key pain points of ICT companies working in the IoT+retail sector, and in particular

  • Interoperability and integration of IoT hardware platform and components: by relying on the Agile gateway and the readily available hardware and software components, integration and interoperability can be simplified a lot, especially during the initial design and fast prototyping phase of the solution.
  • Fast implementation and prototyping: the Agile hardware and software modules allowed us to develop solutions and prototypes in a very small time. This is considered as key when developing Proof of concepts for customers or when developing new solutions.
  • Support for many different standard hardware solutions covering different options in terms of connectivity, sensing boards, costs, form factors, etc.: the Agile software can run on many different hardware platforms. This allows us to easily scale the solution to the most appropriate hardware platform required to address customer needs.
  • Allowing companies to focus on value added services (rather than hw design and maintenance): our focus is software and the creation of innovative retail services and solutions. By mitigating the risk involved in the design and implementation of hardware component, we can focus on our key expertise (software) and create, in a faster way, new services to ne introduced in the market.

Iacopo Carreras, CEO Thinkinside

 

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Announcing the 8 winners of the Agile IoT Open Call #2

The second Open Call of Agile IoT opened in February 2018. 38 Companies from all over Europe applied for this call. Out of those 38 great ideas, 8 got selected to start their project with the Agile IoT Gateway.

AGILE is an adaptive and modular hardware and software gateway for the Internet of Things (IoT) with support for protocol interoperability, device and data management, IoT apps execution, and external Cloud communication, featuring diverse pilot activities, Open Calls & Community building.

The projects of the 2nd open call started May the 2nd of 2018 and will end after 6 months. During this period, they will integrate the Agile IOT gateway into their projects.

Below are the eight teams selected by the jury.

Continue reading

Ex Machina: Middleware for a modbus energy monitoring solution

In early May, Ex Machina, one of the 8 winners of the first open call, presented its progress with the AGILE platform to professional IoT developers and advanced IoT geeks in Athens.

Manolis Nikiforakis, Ex Machina CEO, described an environment for building powerful industrial IoT solution, using a typical energy monitoring use-case as an example.

The Ex Machina solution is built on open source technologies like Eclipse Kura, Eclipse Kapua, Eclipse hawkBit, Thingsboard.io, Agile-IoT, Resin.io, Node-RED, openHAB, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266/32, Modbus, and MQTT.

AGILE Open Call #2 – Have you submitted yet?

We launched our second AGILE Open Call on February 1!

Are you an IoT Hardware and software developing SMEs, entrepreneurs or start-up? Then this open call is for you!

We are looking for companies to evolve and enhance the AGILE gateway software and find new hardware applications for it. Both hardware and software related projects that use the AGILE IoT stack are eligible for this open call.

The total amount of funding is 400,000 € and a maximum of 8 companies will be selected for a sub-grant of 50,000 € each.

So don’t wait, start your application now! You have until March 30, 2018 at 17h00 CET to submit your project.

Find out more

Announcing the 8 winners of the Agile IoT Open Call #1

This first Open Call was a great success: As Agile’s first open call for projects came to an end, 56 companies from all over Europe submitted their ideas to our open call. After a rigorous selection process, 8 companies were selected as the best fit to continue their project with the Agile IoT Gateway.

AGILE is an adaptive and modular hardware and software gateway for the Internet of Things (IoT) with support for protocol interoperability, device and data management, IoT apps execution, and external Cloud communication, featuring diverse pilot activities, Open Calls & Community building.

Over the first 6 months of 2018, the 8 selected companies will continue to integrate the Agile IoT gateway into their products. Keep reading below for more information on the exciting ways in which the 8 projects will work with us on extending the Agile IoT gateway into their project.

The eight teams, which have been selected by our jury, are the following:

Continue reading

AGILE Open Call – Have you submitted yet?

We launched our first AGILE Open Call on October 1!

Are you an IoT Hardware and software developing SMEs, entrepreneurs or start-up? Then this open call is for you!

We are looking for companies to evolve and enhance the AGILE gateway software and find new hardware applications for it. Both hardware and software related projects that use the AGILE IoT stack are eligible for this open call.

Total amount of funding is 400,000 € and a maximum of 8 companies will be selected for a sub-grant of 50,000 € each.

So don’t wait, and start your application now! You have until October 31, 2017 to submit your project.

Find out more