2016 was a very interesting year from KnowNow’s perspective. We made a decision to pivot, we won some battles, lost some skirmishes and we have made some customers very happy. We also had to say goodbye to some old friends too. As Dave & I both said to each other at our end of year review “it has been a rollercoaster of a year!”.
Welcome to the sixth and final instalment of our ‘Future Watch’ series. Chris tells all about BeatHouse, a futuristic project that is 2-3 years ahead of the market!
Beathouse – Home Monitoring
G: Just before we finish, can you tell us a bit more about BeatHouse which connects into home monitoring, being able to just switch something on and go?
C: Yeah, so BeatHouse is 2 to 3 years ahead of the market so it’s a bit futuristic and it was set up by us for our good friend David Pepper. David had 3 requests. Firstly I’ve got this new Passivhaus so it’s a carbon neutral sustainable home with no central heating, it’s got a towel rail and a wood-burner as it’s sources of heat. It’s an incredibly comfortable, beautiful home on the South Downs so it’s in a great rural setting so he wanted information proving his energy consumption was as expected.
Secondly, A shedload of money was spent on this home so he also wanted to ensure he wasn’t paying any money to the national grid for electricity other than that he has to use for his TV, his phone, his computer, not for his energy. The final request was that his wife Sarah doesn’t want any of the data to leak out.
The role of the weather
He just wants his house to work. It should know what it needs to do. What we need to do there is we need to learn what he likes. We need to understand how the house behaves, in an action environment. So much of the energy in a place is driven by the weather, there’s a correlation between your weather and your current energy footprint. There’s also a correlation between whether you are happy with the energy footprint and how you’re feeling. Do you need to change the temperature? This is about your comfort level.
Does your business see innovation as the way to keep one step ahead of your competitors? Could you use an expert to quickly get you up to speed in the world of Big Data, the Internet of Things or Industry 4.0?
“KnowNow is one of just a few companies at the forefront of dealing with data in a manner that is suitable to the IoT” – Clive Longbottom, ComputerWeekly.com July 2015.
We are offering qualifying organisations the opportunity to engage us for a half day innovation workshop to help uncover new business value in your existing data and find out where connecting your assets will create new sources of valuable information.
We spent part of last week building an dollshouse. Are we mad? Our home monitoring solution needed an easy and accessible way for people to visualise the resulting data. Rather than build a set of flashy dashboards we thought we would visualise it in 3D using a non-state of the art victorian toy – an IoT dollshouse.
Article by Connor Moore – responsible for the KnowNow IoT Dollshouse project
The Dolls House being built with the LED’s turned on.
BeatHouse – the start of the story
Companies are starting to realise that the data that they are creating through their business creates new value towards the company. At KnowNow Information we like to help these companies by consulting and providing data services that include data management and analytics.
KnowNow will be undertaking a mini tour of its IoT demonstrator during September. The story kicks off with an update to the demo we already have showcasing IBM Bluemix at the IoT Lab in Hursley. The demo is a bite-sized version of BeatHouse.
KnowNow is one of just a few companies at the forefront of dealing with data in a manner that is suitable to the IoT – Clive Longbottom, July 2015
There is an excellent articlepublished on ComputerWeekly.com today written by Clive Longbottom. Clive came to IBM Hursley last week on the day that our BeatHouse demonstration was installed in their IoT laboratory.
IoT lab IBM Hursley
As well as looking at the demonstrations we had a wide ranging discussion about everything from the growth in requirements for data expertise to the implications for security and privacy.
This week we have been setting up a demonstration of our BeatHouse service at the IBM Internet of Things (IoT) lab in Hursley, Winchester. It will be used by ourselves and IBM to demonstrate how you can use their suite of technologies to rapidly develop new services using real-time information.
What is BeatHouse anyway?
BeatHouse – Grand Prix analytics for your home
BeatHouse is our name for a home monitoring and actuation system that allows you to automate the control of heat and energy throughout your home. Sensors measure the temperatures in various spaces and signals are sent to vents that allow the heat to be efficiently shared.
The name BeatHouse comes from the initial deployment – a new build home being built in the middle of the South Downs National Park. It is replacing the old police house that stood in it’s place, hence the name. You can watch video of the original house being demolished here.
The new BeatHouse is being built to Passivhaus specifications which means that it will be highly insulated. It will only take 4 towel rails and the heat from its occupants to provide all of the heat that will be required. This has made it the perfect location for us to test our sensor technologies.
So how does BeatHouse from KnowNow Information work?
From late August and throughout September, KnowNow Information trialled the first five prototype sensor packs, built in conjunction with our partner and using Raspberry Pi. They are designed to deliver precise real-time and historical readings of various data to our clients from any location in the UK with cellular coverage, regardless of network – provided by our partner Mobius Networks.
During the trial period, we focused on temperature sensing. All five sensor packs ran for close to 4 weeks with no interruptions. We had one here in the KnowNow office, while the other four were deployed remotely, at two controlled locations. The flow of data was great to watch, with updates coming from each device whenever a change of 0.1° Celsius was detected; 30~70 updates per day per unit. In this respect, the devices proved both reliable and consistent:
Finally I’ve finished creating the new KnowNow Information website which you can see here. We had previously used a template from the retired Apple product iWeb that served us well in the first few weeks of our company but looked like something from 2005 and no longer really served it’s purpose.
The new website has been created from the ground up using raw HTML and Twitter Bootstrap for the CSS. We had some help from our recent intern, Artem Skulimovskiy who worked on CSS options and also took some of the photography for the site.