The difference between a good software development partner and a great one is that whereas a good partner implements a solution based on the requirements they receive, a great partner actually builds on the knowledge of its client to come up with new and innovative approaches. Our company is committed to new technologies and for this reason established a separate research and development division to uncover the possibilities associated with new technologies. Our goal is to rethink and optimize traditional solutions and apply them to the day-to-day problems our partners face.
Would you like to learn the route your customers’ take through your store? Would you like to create an automated guided tour? Do you want to increase the efficiency of your facility infrastructure? With indoor positioning, we can help tackle these issues and much more.
As technology evolves, traditional wired networks are taking a back seat and solutions where communication between devices is fast and can span stretches of kilometers without a hitch.
Nowadays with the advent of IoT technologies, smart homes are all the rage. But what does the technology mean for you? Doors that automatically open, irrigation systems that spring to life when your plants are dry, devices that communicate with each other – these are just a few of the solutions that we can offer you with IoT.
Today we constantly hear about the latest hardware innovations such as microcontrollers and sensors. But what are these exactly and what purpose do they serve? The following is a description of some of these hardware innovations and what we do with them.
Low-power microcontrollers are basically small computers designed for specific tasks. They take up very little space since they generally consist only of a microprocessor and peripheral devices integrated on a PCB. Whereas previously these devices only functioned across specific communication channels, now they can be connected to almost any smart device using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Some types consume very little power, so they last years without changing a battery. Although microcontrollers are perfect for prototyping, programming them is not an easy task since it requires a combination of both software development experience and considerable knowledge of electrical engineering. Microcontrollers are often mentioned in the context of Cloud Computing and IoT. This is no coincidence since these specialized tools form the basis of cutting-edge solutions in the area of “smart homes” or environmental monitoring.
Mini PCs are actually full-fledged computers that function similar to a desktop PC, but are a much smaller size. Their advantage compared to microcontrollers is that they can run at much higher speeds and usually have their own memory making them suitable for performing serious tasks. The mini PCs can run on standard operating systems, making it easier to be programmed, which also means more efficient development. These properties make mini PCs popular prototype devices. They can be used as microcontrollers with a number of peripheral devices connected. Since they can be connected to each other over the local network, they are a perfect choice for most IoT projects. Our central unit for the office access control system is based on such a mini PC. The device operates the magnetic locks for our entrance system and has worked without failure for many years now.
- NFC: a short-range wireless technology that is mostly used for authentication purposes. Passive NFC cards do not require a power source and are therefore very widely used.
- WifiDirect: establishes a network connection between two Wi-Fi devices where no router is needed. The communication between devices is extremely fast, stable and with ranges up to 100 m.
- ZigBee: a network solution where multiple devices (or nodes) connected in a mesh network can communicate with each other without a router. When a node fails the system will still operate without failure. Because the system can support any number of devices, ZigBee networks can cover kilometers if necessary. Although more prominent for outdoor systems, the protocol has also effectively been used for Smart Home solutions.
- 6LoWPAN: this standard is often referred to as the future of IoT. It uses a software solution to establish communication channels between devices that otherwise would not be able to interact with each other.
- BLE: (Bluetooth Low Energy):the appearance of BLE a few years ago opened the door to a whole new dimension of applications. The service provides a low-power communication channel between a central receiver and peripheral devices such as iBeacons. The peripheral device periodically transmits information that can be detected by any nearby receiver.
Special hardware devices
Smart phones are not always sufficient for some technologies. These solutions require specific hardware devices of whose selection requires skills and knowledge in both the fields of information technology and electrical engineering. We can help you define the requirements for your IoT solution and select the most appropriate device. In fact, we partner with hardware designers and manufacturers who can assist with any project that have special requirements.
To connect various circuit chips and controllers available on the market and ensure the communication between them often requires unique solutions. During the prototype development phase, this issue can be overcome by wiring, but if you want a compact system, the special circuit design is essential.
Sensors are suitable for the monitoring of the ambient environment and specific parameters. When integrated in a suitable architecture, sensors can capture measured data so it can be displayed via a Web interface or a mobile application. Since these are low-cost devices, you do not need to spend a fortune to build the hardware. With these types of solution you can measure ambient conditions in a variety of settings ranging from a server room, to a greenhouse or even a freight container.
iBeacons are transmitters that periodically send data and can work for years with the same battery due to very low power consumption. Mobile phones for example located near the transmitters can detect their signal. As a result, the business opportunities of such technologies are endless; we can for example identify colleagues as they enter the office or specific parts of the facilities or use the technology to send offers to customers who approach a store.
NFC cards are nothing new to the most of us, but not everybody knows that they can be used for authentication. These cards can therefore be used for login and pay purposes. Even fewer people know that data can also be written to these cards with right tools. Taking advantage of this feature, for example a fitness club can replace paper-based member cards with NFC cards to store specific information and e.g. allow entrance only during off-peak hours (for student memberships).
The possibilities are endless…