This week we have been setting up a demonstration of our IoT project, BeatHouse, at the IBM Internet of Things (IoT) lab in Hursley, Winchester. IBM are using it to demonstrate how you can use their suite of technologies to rapidly develop new services using real-time information.
What is our IoT project “BeatHouse” anyway?
BeatHouse is our home monitoring and actuation system. It 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 its 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 heat from occupants to provide all the required heat. This has made it the perfect location for us to test our sensor technologies.
So how does BeatHouse from KnowNow Information work?
Firstly, we deploy temperature sensors in the primary living spaces. Then we place additional temperature sensors in the warmest place of the house, the conservatory. A corresponding sensor goes in the coldest part of the house, the outside north elevation. The roof void contains the final sensor as this space is often either a heat store.
The data is then sent via wi-fi to a raspberry pi which acts as an MQTT broker. This allows us to feed the data via the cloud into NodeRed which is absolutely perfect for controlling IoT devices. Our lead developer, Tom Ashcroft has aggregated the sensor data into relevant topics ready for storing in a Cloudant database, running on the IBM Cloud platform.
The whole process takes us very little time to set up. To set up the demonstration for IBM labs took less than a day. IBM Cloud allows us to rapidly build, test and deploy each version.
Where does this IoT project go from here?
We are currently in talks with device manufacturers who may be able to create a specific sensor pack and MQTT broker that will greatly reduce the deployment costs per house. This will mean that a home monitoring IoT solution will become more affordable for individual homeowners as well as the care homes, eco houses and smart homes into which we are currently deploying units.
The aim of our current research efforts is integration of wearable technologies into the system. This will gather more information about the individuals within a house and begin to use predictive analytics to work out wellbeing. Tom, in particular, is busy playing with an Arduino Grove kit so we can augment the current sensors.
Available now – from KnowNow Information
So the BeatHouse service is available today. Whether you are an individual who would like to monitor your own home, someone who provides care for a relative or someone who manages hundreds of social houses then we’d be happy to speak with you.
Similarly, BeatHouse scales very well for larger buildings and developments. Leveraging IBM’s technologies we are able to deploy the service for large housing developments, luxury apartments or anyone who wonders why their car has a futuristic dashboard whilst their house has nothing of the kind.
By Connor Moore and David Patterson. Contact us via the form at the bottom of our homepage to find out more.