The smart thermostat market is projected to grow to over 5.9 billion by 2020 across various applications including residential, commercial and industrial. To keep up with this growth, startups and established companies need a way to streamline their design process and find an inexpensive, versatile and easy to use development solution to take a proof of concept into production as quickly as possible. By saving time developing a prototype, developers can spend more time incorporating key differentiating factors into designs that maximize revenue.
To accelerate the design of IoT devices, NXP has introduced the Rapid IoT prototyping kit. It integrates eleven NXP devices (microcontroller, low-power connectivity, sensors, NFC, secure element, power management, interface) in a small form-factor hardware design, and combines it with proven software enablement (drivers, RTOS, middleware, cloud connect) and a web IDE with GUI based programming. Refer to Figure 1 for the complete block diagram.
Rapid IoT provides the easiest path for anyone to take their connected device to a proof-of-concept by simplifying the design process. It eliminates the need to write code and integrates all the necessary functions required by an IoT device including the ability to sense, think and act.
Figure 1. Rapid IoT Prototyping Kit Block Diagram
Design Considerations and Implementation
Consider the image shown in Figure 2. The picture to the right is a traditional AC system and control unit and the picture to the left is the smart thermostat control design using the Rapid IoT kit. The traditional system includes a wall mounted indoor unit and a control unit to control the room temperature. These systems are bulky and expensive and do not include software, user-friendly interfaces, online connectivity and access to cloud storage for data analysis. In contrast, a smart thermostat control design incorporates all of the above and results in a cost-effective, efficient and easy to control solution.
Figure 2. Smart Thermostat Control Design w/ Rapid IoT vs Traditional AC system Control Design
To design a smart thermostat control using the Rapid IoT kit, the following criteria was considered:
- The control unit should have a UI to locally manage and control the thermostat.
- The smart device should have a UI to wirelessly manage and control the thermostat via BLE or Wi-Fi.
- Data processed and acquired can be uploaded securely to the cloud for future analysis.
To achieve this, the Rapid IoT design incorporates a temperature, humidity and air quality sensor. These parameters can be locally or remotely controlled by the Rapid IoT hardware or a smartphone, respectively. Wireless connectivity is possible via BLE or Wi-Fi while the hardware and smartphone UI was easily designed using the Rapid IoT Studio IDE tool without writing a single line of code and instead, using a drag and drop style of programming. To secure data uploads to the cloud, a secure tamper resistant authentication device is used.
Figures 3 and 4 show the Rapid IoT studio environment and the smart thermostat control function design and hardware. Figures 5 shows the Rapid IoT smart phone UI design and Figure 6 shows the smartphone application, which can be used to wirelessly monitor and control the control unit.
All the necessary files to build and test this design can be found in this NXP community thread.
Figure 3. Rapid IoT Studio – Function Design
Figure 4. Rapid IoT Kit Hardware – Control Unit UI
Figure 5. Rapid IoT Studio –Smart Phone UI Design
Figure 6. Smart Phone Application UI for Wireless Management and Control
If you have a question or concern, you can post it in our Rapid IoT community page.
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