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Developing a Proprietary Secure Wireless IoT System for Specific Use Case

Software Development
IEEE 802.15.4, Lonworks, RS-485, Panel design, Printed membrane keypad, STM8 (low cost, low power), Submeter power measurement, PIR sensor.

A New York based venture-capital-backed energy management systems (EMS) startup. The company centered on bringing wall-street market prediction techniques to the energy sector by predicting and preventing peak-energy power consumption for commercial real-estate heating and ventilation systems.

Why did the client contract with WED?
The EMS company reached out to a trusted partner, Echelon, to find a stable and reliable resource to complete their existing projects and to continue development of their line of projects. The company had a negative experience coordinating many part-time semi-retired and moonlighting contract engineers. It was not able to get many part-time resources to collaborate and deliver on the necessary timeline. Through WED’s positive reputation by successfully integrating LonWorks power-line technology with several restaurant equipment devices for a major QSR smart-kitchen initiative, WED was recommended by Echelon to assist with their effort.

Project Details
The initial project involved creating a power-line communication lighting control for the parking lot and street lighting that could be controlled and monitored using the existing power lines that supply energy to the lighting devices.

The first generation of products were power-line communication Lonworks-enabled 480V three-phase submeter, lighting control, and IoT enabled load center control panel. There were designed as quick-turn designs, then guided through and passed ETL safety testing and certification.
Later, the Lonworks C-band power-line communications communication system was determined to not be appropriate for some installations. A wireless solution was desired. This at a time before IoT had any accepted standards, and before WiFi had become ubiquitous we developed a proprietary secure wireless IoT system from the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard to meet the client’s specific business needs.

This utilized 2.4GHz IEEE standard 802.15.4 wireless networking (still in widespread use today) with a star-network topology and a novel labor-saving reliable deployment, locating, and commissioning process. The custom wireless devices included a wireless IoT gateway edge device, 3-level heat-pump thermostat, battery-powered wireless occupancy sensor, battery-powered wireless light-harvesting sensor, battery-powered wireless thermostat, wireless troffer 0-10v ballast controller, wireless wall-switch with built-in sub-meter, wireless IoT three-phase load monitoring sub-meter, electrical panel controllable load-center, and other proprietary devices.

Each of the AC power wireless devices and the wireless thermostat were guided through, passed, and obtained certification with compliance testing agencies for the US, Canada, and Europe markets.

The products are well accepted by their end-users, found to be reliable, and perform as required. The wireless communication system performs well and is flexible enough to work reliably in many varied and complex scenarios where wireless solutions normally experience difficulty. The client’s products did not suffer from technological bottlenecks due to their ability to continue to return to expand their offering as opportunities appeared in the market.

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