3 expert tips to help you optimise your smart home system design projects
This Smart Home Day, we’re bringing you our top development tips for designing products for smart home systems.
1 Give consideration to energy demand response when designing new products
In the future, energy providers will need to better balance provision of electricity, requiring less energy to be used during times of peak demand to help keep the grid stable.
For instance, there will be peak points in energy demand, where people go home and plug in their cars or turn their kettles on.
If you’ve got an immersion heater at home, it might be your immersion heater – or whatever is controlling your immersion heater – basically has told not to turn on or to use a smaller amount of power than it would normally throughout the day.
Therefore, it’s important to design your smart home product whilst bearing in mind that the device may well be instructed from time to time to use less energy.
Of course, this will have an impact on end users. If you want your heating on, you turn it on expecting some heat pretty soon after!
But at what cost?
End users heating their homes to a lower temperature (although many households in the UK are already rationing heating due to soaring energy prices)?
Or perhaps not heating homes up for a hour or two, because local substation is having too much power pulled through and is turned off for an hour?
It’s vital to design new smart home products with energy demand response in mind.
Home energy management systems (HEMS) are the future. Industry analysts expect the global home energy management systems market to reach US$ 6 Billion in the next 5 years.
If you’re product designing for smart home systems, it’s best to get ahead of the game now and give HEMS careful consideration when planning your development projects.
2 Beat the chip shortage by designing for hardware contingencies
We would strongly advise on considering your hardware contingencies at project start.
Design your software so that different hardware variants can all be on the same codebase. That way, your software will support your hardware variants transparently.
For example, you may consider migrating from STM32, to GD32; although very similar, the differences between them mean you must factor in the software effort necessary to get it working on your product development.
There’s still some way to go before we see the back of the global chip shortage, and for many, getting the components of choice involve either lengthy lead times or tracking down alternatives (not always as easy as it sounds, by the way). Thus, flexibility in design is more important than ever.
By designing with different hardware capabilities in mind from the start, you’ll find that early additional cost should mean less pain later on in your product development.
3 Plan carefully for licensing and certification requirements for your smart home product
Remember to plan for certification and licencing for your smart home device or system.
If you’re going to white label your product for other companies to use, they have to go through the same licencing, even though the product and the software are the same. They have to go through the same licencing.
When designing for Matter Standard for example, you have to be accredited.
Matter Standard’s governing body, the CSA (Connectivity Standards Alliance), has what they call a ledger of approved devices, which is kept updated. Successful completion of the Matter Standard certification process is necessary in order for your smart home device or system to be added that ledger.
This offers transparency in terms of the smart home devices and systems that are truly Matter Standard certified.
Other Smart Home platforms and systems, such Google Home and Apple Homekit, have similar requirements.
In general, when designing for smart home; factor in – and be sure you are fully aware of – the certification and licencing requirements for the communications standard you are targeting, as costs can quickly escalate.
Ready to accelerate your smart home development projects?
ByteSnap’s embedded hardware and software engineers have helped many companies successfully accelerate to market custom smart home product designs.
Get in touch to discover how we can help you.