One of the world’s leading providers of indoor electro-mechanical equipment wanted to switch the communication among all the electronic modules in their systems from cabled to wireless to save on installation and maintenance costs. We found the right innovative wireless solution to connect all their devices, matching the best choice in terms of functionality, performance and costs.
Our client had never implemented any connected product and had no specific skills around connectivity, radio frequency and wireless communication. We helped them find the best solution through system design and optimized development and production costs, giving them a complete service from concept to mass-production deployment. We also provided an important set of simulators, radio frequency equipment and shielded rooms: The perfect toolbox to let the customer shape a solid and reliable IoT solution to be launched on the market.
First, we identified the most appropriate wireless technology and wireless network topology to be used in the indoor environment where the system resides, connecting a set of devices (controllers positioned in the different parts of the system and a gateway positioned in the upper part of the building). We carried out the activity based on simulations and experimental results, taking into account technology readiness to market, HW costs (Bill of Materials), design and maintenance costs, and upgradability.
We built a reliable model that can be extended to different sizes in the same indoor situation. The simulations included different situations and building materials such as concrete, glass, wood and metallic structures. The structure around the system is mainly made of iron and it is not the best host for connected objects due to a very difficult propagation environment. What helped us in terms of propagation – exploiting correct reflections and avoiding shadowing effects – was a proper antenna form factor and a correct positioning in space.
The network topology was designed taking into account the physical space and distribution of the connected objects along all the electro-mechanical system. The goal was to satisfy all communication requirements among the nodes. Our solution needed to be scalable to different numbers of connected elements, from 10 to a maximum of 30-40. Some topologies were considered by taking into account technological readiness in the market and protocol effective implementation in the different commercial modules. Sometimes, low-level protocol customization was needed to optimize the way the nodes adapt their mutual communication inside the network.
We provided a big study on in-field measurements for exploiting the best coverage efficiency. For some small-size electronic modules, a custom integrated PCB antenna was designed. It is easy to install and able to withstand the vibrations and movements of the system. This took into account the possibility of real placement in space and the exact dielectric material used by the final supplier for the mass production.
Concept Reply specializes in the research, development, and validation of innovative solutions in the IoT (Internet of Things) field. Today, we are recognized as a canter of expertise and excellence in Testing and Quality Assurance, and include a Business Unit that specializes in this service. Thanks to our laboratories and to an international team of professionals specializing in the QA and Validation fields, we are able to offer companies end-to-end support for the validation of products and services, while also optimizing costs and time-to-market.