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



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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Android and Nest are making the smart home feel smarter with Matter | Android Central



Matter is designed to solve the smart home with a new standard that all smart homes can operate on. Google is bringing Matter compatibility to its Android and Nest ecosystems to make pairing and controlling smart home devices as easy as plugging in a USB drive.

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Purina to take guesswork out of pet nutrition with IoT ‘smart bowl’ – Smart City



“Our Purina Chekr smart bowl is managed by our Purina intelligence engine built on and powered by AWS IoT services. “This system allows pet owners … To Read More, Please Visit Source

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Building Solar Energy Monitoring Systems Using IoT – floLIVE



The global Energy market is going through substantial change, with renewable energy at an all-time high, and growing fast. While Asia-Pacific continues to dominate, interest in solar energy is growing all over the world.

According to Mordor Research, “the renewable energy installed capacity reached 2713.60 GW in 2019, and it is anticipated to reach approximately 4391.18 GW by 2026, at a CAGR of 7.13% during 2021-2026.” Below you can see how renewable energy is being adopted globally, proving that worldwide, solar power and sustainable energy solutions are a seriously hot topic. (No pun intended.) To understand more about how IoT is facilitating this growth, keep reading!

Solar Energy IoT and Smart Home Monitoring Systems

Integrating solar energy into smart homes is becoming more popular as solar panels continue to reduce in cost, but this can only happen if there are solar energy monitoring systems in place – and that’s where IoT comes in.

IoT can allow consumers and businesses to monitor the use of solar energy on a much more granular level, giving a better understanding over which appliances and services are the most energy efficient, how much power is being used, as well as insight into when and how.

For enterprises looking to facilitate and maintain solar panels and renewable energy, IoT can allow for remote maintenance, and even predictive analysis that drives down costs even further. Deep visibility can allow companies to decrease the stress on their equipment, better balancing energy loads, and alerting ahead of time to issues such as overheating.

Large-scale Solar Operations Need Remote Monitoring to Suit

While residential application is a large part of the drive to renewable energy, many energy companies are looking into increasing their solar farms, and managing power consumption and renewable energy on a much larger scale. Solar power production for energy companies can be improved exponentially with the help of IoT monitoring. As sensors become more affordable, and connectivity solutions evolve, enterprises could see huge benefits from IoT, without much risk to speak of. Here are four examples:

Maintenance: Traditionally, workers on a solar farm would need to locate and check every panel regularly to ensure that they are working as expected. These inspections can become a thing of the past when all your solar panels are connected to a centralized data source. In fact, when there’s a problem, your asset management system can let you know with a simple alert, freeing up your staff for higher value tasks. With predictive intelligence, you’re less likely to suffer as a result of outages or power issues.

Performance: By amalgamating the data that comes from your panels, grid managers will be able to spot anomalies such as solar panels or units that are under-performing, and even the reasons why, such as temperature, dust, or extreme weather conditions. Managers can then make smart changes, such as moving units, increasing the volume of cleaning, or making changes in insulation or alignment.

Security: Especially when solar panels and solar farms are in rural areas (often the case when it comes to renewable energy sources), it’s essential to have a monitoring system to keep them secure from physical theft, or even vandalism. With IoT sensors, you can establish rules for theft-related alerts, such as movement around the panels, or if a panel has been removed from the outer structure of the grid.

Forecasting: With business intelligence tools integrated into your IoT monitoring system, analytics can help you see true business growth at a much faster rate. For example, anticipate how much energy will be needed on a specific day, streamlining how much energy you use and conserve, respectively. This can improve the balance of supply and demand in the smart grid itself, saving serious zeroes off your bottom line.

When it Comes to Solar Energy… Not all IoT Technologies Are Created Equal

IoT monitoring systems have a few key needs, but top of the list is connectivity. However, this is not just any connectivity. As solar panels are often in rural areas, and sensors can often be manufactured in one location and sent to another where the energy grid is based, availability is a key issue to address first and foremost. There could be many thousands of panels or units on a large-scale solar farm, so price is also an important point to consider. One of the main contributors to cost is battery life, as the battery is often more expensive to replace than it would be to deploy new devices and sensors altogether.

LPWAN solutions and cellular IoT connectivity are a great fit for IoT monitoring in the Energy sector, with the packet size and data rates to meet these unique needs. floLIVE offers a one-of-a-kind solution in the form of software-defined connectivity, providing global connectivity through globally distributed core networks deployed in different regions. Each of these hosts a local IMSI, and they are centrally managed over the cloud. This unique approach has formed the world’s largest IMSI Library. In practice, this means that sensors can be manufactured anywhere, and IoT devices simply connect locally when they are turned on. This not only eliminates data privacy and security issues, but it also reduces the amount of time the IoT device has to be awake each time it transmits information, extending the lifespan of its battery overall.

Solar Power is the Future – and IoT Technology is Making That Happen

The IEA expects solar energy to play the biggest role in jumpstarting fresh growth in global renewable energy because falling costs are already below retail electricity prices in most countries. The cost of solar power is expected to decline by a further 15% to 35% by 2024, spurring further growth over the second half of the decade.”

The world is ready for solar energy, but without an IoT solution in place for remote monitoring, the benefits are going to be limited for today’s enterprises.

Ready to discuss your roadmap for sustainable energy augmented by IoT technology? Let’s talk.

This content was originally published here.

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