Case Study - HVAC Add - Smart Controller

The Customer

The customer is India's leading air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company looking to add innovative features to air-conditioning products and thereby keeping pace with changing product-user interaction scenarios.

THE PROBLEM

The existing HVAC controller solution could not compete with international solutions due to being outdated in some respects, such as:

  • No dedicated remote controller
  • No monitoring or control from remote locations
  • Was not feature rich enough to be comparable to international solutions
  • Could not be made feature rich to be comparable without pricing itself out of the local markets
  • User Interface (UI) was not modern and intuitive

THE ANALYSIS

  • Connectivity to a server had to be established for true remote control on a global level
  • To add a smart element to the solution fault prediction algorithms had to be developed
  • A low-cost module for connectivity had to be designed that would make the solution viable in local markets
  • A user-friendly UI on a smart phone had to be implemented to make the solution available to smartphone users

THE SOLUTION

  • Designed a Wi-Fi enabled module to connect to the existing HVAC controller
  • A cloud-based server was implemented to accept HVAC data
  • Events set up to trigger automatic emails and text messages from server to pre-configured recipients
  • Implemented a simple and intuitive, yet modern UI on Android / iOS

THE OUTCOME

  • The customer could now compete with international solutions using a homegrown alternative that is just as feature rich, but priced with the local markets in focus
  • A dedicated embedded system remote control solution made the current HVAC solution user friendly and competitive
  • Local & remote-location monitoring & control achieved
  • Performance data being fed to the design teams for betterment of algorithms
  • Fault prevention / Preventive Maintenance
  • Improved servicing efficiency
  • Improved UI

Technology Areas

  • HVAC Control Retrofit Add-on
  • Machine Connectivity
  • IoT / IoE
  • Remote Monitoring & Control
  • Fault Prevention & Analysis
  • Mobile Apps

TECHNICAL DETAILS

HVAC_SmartCon

Hardware

  • Single board module – double sided PTH
  • Schematics, BOM, Layouts & Gerbers: PADS from Mentor Graphics

Firmware

  • Code in C

Software

  • C#
  • .Net Framework 4
  • SQL Server

Mobile

  • AngularJS on Cordova framework for Smart Phones

Cloud

  • Azure Cloud

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