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The Best Approaches to Automating IoT-Enabled HVAC System Testing – Embedded Computing Design

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HVACs are now smarter than ever as they can be remotely controlled with just a simple click on our mobile device using a connected application. HVAC systems can also be configured with Alexa or Google Smart Home to make our life more convenient through the use of voice controls. IoT technology has also made HVAC systems smarter and more efficient. 

HVACs are now smarter than ever as they can be remotely controlled with just a simple click on our mobile device using a connected application. HVAC systems can also be configured with Alexa or Google Smart Home to make our life more convenient through the use of voice controls. IoT technology has also made HVAC systems smarter and more efficient.  

Major components of a Smart HVAC system consist of the HVAC device, the cloud for communicating with the device, and a mobile application that controls device functions. Multiple HVAC systems combine in zoned systems that achieve greater energy efficiency and independent and customizable heating and cooling needs in different areas. 

HVAC Zone System

Why Test Smart HVAC Systems?

Since HVAC systems control the environmental condition of a particular area or region, it’s extremely critical to ensure their overall performance. Also, when the system is smart enough to be controlled by a remote application, it becomes vital to verify the end-to-end integrity of the mobile application, cloud APIs, and communications protocols and device functionalities both ways (i.e., from the mobile application to the cloud to the HVAC system and back).

If any of these components fail to function properly, the entire system may fail. And that’s why testing HVAC systems is a complex but crucial part of the development and deployment lifecycle.

Controlling HVAC on-the-go.

An Approach to Testing Smart HVAC Systems

In order to ensure the overall system integrity of HVAC system, there are three different approaches to consider:

1.   Functional Feature Validation

2.   API Testing

3.   Performance/Load Testing

Functional Feature Validation

HVAC devices have scheduling features wherein the scheduled mode and temperature can be set throughout the day or on a weekly basis using time slots. Some devices may facilitate the vacation/one-touch away feature, which can put the thermostat in “away” mode.

All these features can be validated using either manual or automated testing, which includes the testing of mobile applications and its connection to HVAC devices via communications protocol and APIs. One of the most important aspects is to ensure that the thermostat is energy efficient and its power consumption is minimal, which can be verified through usage graphs that give an overall picture of energy usage versus consumption.

(Editor’s note: Learn more about automated end-to-end system testing here).

(Functional Validation)

There are various tools and frameworks available in the market, but the best open-source tool, Appium, is widely used to test mobile applications and can be used with the Robot Framework for HVAC device validation via MQTT.

An HVAC device can connect to a Raspberry Pi and a Python script (that is Publish/Subscribed to request and response data) would read or write the values of thermostat device objects. Automation scripts can validate the functional aspects of a mobile application by updating the values that will be verified on the thermostat and reading the corresponding object values over an MQTT response topic it is subscribed, and vice versa.

API Testing

APIs are the building blocks developers use to establish communication between mobile applications and devices over communications protocols. Hence, it’s important to ensure that APIs give the expected response in the request sent to the server.

There are various tools available for testing Rest APIs, and Postman is one of them (Editor’s note: Refer to this blog for details on API test automation using Postman and Continuous Integration testing using Jenkins).

(API Testing)

Performance/Load Testing

When it comes to the testing of a large number of devices and handling concurrent users simultaneously, performance/load testing must be executed in order to ensure the reliability, scalability, and load-handling capability of a system. While N number of users are using the HVAC system at a time, its performance may degrade or the response time may become delayed, which can crash the server during heavy loads.

This can be overcome by detecting the ability of a server to handle a maximum number of loads at a given time and distributing them over the different instances via  load testing. There are various tools available in the market, with Locust being one based on Python that can be used to develop performance scripts that execute over N number of HVAC devices to derive the tolerance/behavior of the system.

(Load Testing)

Automated Testing: Be Cool

Smart HVAC systems are now a part of most residential, industrial, and commercial buildings, which is why testing the right approach to testing is mandatory if you hope to discover unknown defects, ensure higher efficiency, and maximize performance prior to and after release.

Shraddha Shah has been a QA Automation Lead at VOLANSYS Technologies for more than 2 years. She has vast experience in Web, Mobile, and Cloud Automation testing domains.

This content was originally published here.

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Google Nest Hub Max Smart Home Assistant (Chalk, Refurbished, Plain Box) – EXPANSYS Japan

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Best Amazon Prime Day Arlo, Nest, Ring, Blink & Smart Home Deals 2020: Top Security Camera, Video Doorbell, Floodlight, Alarm & Philips Hue Sales Presented by Deal Tomato

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Prime Day smart home & security camera deals for 2020 are finally here, browse all the latest Prime Day Ring Video Doorbell, Nest Protect & Thermostat, Philips Hue smart LED bulb, Arlo Pro & Blink Mini sales listed belowPrime Day home secur…

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Which Smart Home Heating Should You Choose?

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Not all smart heating control systems are suited for every lifestyle and home, with some more and less beneficial than others. SMART stands for ‘Self-Monitoring Analysis & Reporting Technology’, and differs from standard heating controls by allowing you to control every aspect of your heating schedule from either a phone or tablet. Although room thermostats and timers allow you to control each room instead of your whole home, as long as you have internet access, smart home heating devices let you control your heating from your phone, no matter where you are in the world.

Today, we’re running through 7 of the best smart heating thermostats and systems, comparing features, benefits and what type of home they’re most suitable for.

– 7 day, & 5/2 day scheduling with a pre-configured schedule included
– Choice of up to 4 time periods a day
– Minimum On-Time & Cycle Rate settings ensuring compatibility with many boilers
– Table stand for ease of positioning
– Alert messages to assist fault-finding with a fail-safe mode
– Wireless technology makes upgrading easier and the installation time shorter with less wiring involved

Best for:

– Homes that require high levels of automatic control that provide significant energy efficiency for a wide range of boilers and systems.

– Single Heating Zone Control
– 7 Day, 5/2 Day, or 24 Hour Control
– Programmable Room Thermostat
– Easily Programmed With The Associated App

Best for:

– Homes that are just starting to take the first steps into using smart home heating
– Homes that need a single heating zone control
– Homes that have either combination or standard boiler systems

– Touch-screen interface simplifies scheduling, changing and overriding temperature
– Location-based programming (geo-fencing) adds an automated layer of control, adjusting the customer’s home heating based on their location
– Scheduling features include 7 and 5/2 day bespoke scheduling with up to 6 time periods a day
– Simple flip-up wiring bar for easy access and an easy-to-install boiler or zone valve interface
– Direct wall mounting or wall-box mounting
– Optimisation features include optimum start and stop & delayed start boiler control. Allows the thermostat and boiler to work more efficiently together

Best for:

– Homes with any boiler and almost every heating system
– Homes with 230V on/off OpenTherm appliances (gas boilers, combi boilers and heat pumps)

– Ability to control water temperature and heating
– Self-learning functions to make every experience a unique one, helping it to understand your home’s needs
– Using a smart weather compensation feature and weather data, the vSMART can tell your boiler how hard it has to work to get your home to your required temperature
– You can connect multiple vSMART controllers to one app

Best for:

– Homes with Valliant ecoTEC system/open vented boilers
– Households that want to be able to control water temperature from anywhere too

– A 7-day full programmer that gives great flexibility offering up to three on/off switchings per day
– LoT display, providing text feedback that gives help and programming hints
– Automatic Summer/Winter 1 hour time change
– Choice of 3 different built-in programmes
– ‘Holiday’ button

Best for:

– Homes with heating and stored hot water in complete systems
– Homes with older gravity circulation stored hot water systems, where there’s no interlocking control valve
– Households with different heating needs from day-to-day

– One channel thermostat system with two radiator thermostats to start zoning your system
– Smart heating & hot water control
– Quick & simple to install using an industry-standard backplate
– Easy Zoning with the addition of extra Wiser Radiator Thermostats

Best for:

– Homes with combination boilers
– Households that want to start a zoned system to control individual zones within the home

– Automatic time and temperature control of domestic heating premises
– Optimum Start, Optimum Stop and Delayed Start
– No installer links or switches on the back of the unit means no adjustment is required for combi boilers and most central heating systems
– Scheduled maintenance alert
– Automatic Summer/Winter time change
– Up to four independent time & temperature settings
– Auto, manual, holiday, override and off (frost) modes

Best for:

– Domestic premises
– Most central heating systems and combi boilers

For more smart home heating controls, check out our full range today at MonsterPlumb. If you’re not interested in smart technology when it comes to controlling the heating and water temperature in your home, take a look at our selection of heating controls and valves.

This content was originally published here.

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