IoT Project: IoT Application & Cloud-based Middleware for Large UK Boiler Manufacturer
Ideal Boilers, one of the UK’s largest boiler manufacturers with over 100 years’ experience in the heating industry, were facing new forms of competition from smart thermostat companies. But as the potential owner of the entire home heating ecosystem — from home appliance through to smart thermostat, smartphone software and cloud-based middleware — this traditional boiler manufacturer was in a uniquely advantageous position. We aimed to create a product that would not only provide their customers with the convenience and cost-saving efficiencies of smart, remote home heating control, but also transform their own business intelligence landscape by harnessing the power of Big Data.
OUR IOT SOLUTION
We developed a cross-platform, user-friendly mobile app with an intuitive interface that allows users to easily control their home heating from any location.
For the front end, we used the Apache Cordova framework to create a mobile app written with HTML, CSS and EmberJS that could be released natively across iOS and Android from a single code base, with no duplicated processes or extra development costs.
The back end was written in Elixir, using the Phoenix framework. Elixir is a highly scalable, highly concurrent programming language which provided the distributed computing features we needed for an IoT project of this magnitude.
“This app is brilliant. It’s simple to use but very clever. The heating schedule screen is a breeze to use and enables you to alter the “on”, “off” times quickly and without fuss, from the comfort of your phone. This is one of the best user apps I’ve ever come across. Well done Ideal Boilers.”
- iOS app store reviewer stevesp60, October 2018
The Ideal Touch app was launched in May 2018 across both iOS and Android platforms. Its features currently include:
Advanced scheduling: users can set more than 40 time and temperature control periods per week
Amazon Echo and Alexa integration
Geolocation: automatic home heating control based on user location
Weather compensation: using real-time information from more than 6,000 weather stations
Constant temperature monitoring: both inside and outside the house, reducing overall energy consumption.
Holiday function: user can set periods of inactivity
Manual override: for remote temperature control
Multiple user access: several household members can connect via their own mobile devices
Fault Reporting: alerts user when fault detected
Customer service: remote smart support from Ideal Boiler Customer Service
The Benefits for Our Client
Maximum Reach Through Cross-Platform Release:
By working with a software stack that allows for simultaneous release across iOS, Android and web, the cost of developing and releasing separately across multiple platforms is significantly reduced.
Increased Business Intelligence:
Under the hood, we developed a cutting-edge middleware layer which has transformed the company’s operational intelligence landscape. Using custom-built APIs and Google BigQuery, we created a cloud-based middleware system that will store a vast pool of anonymised operational data on a network of thousands of boilers across the UK.
This data provides Ideal with the opportunity to analyse data trends and in future look to predict issues before they happen and take proactive action.
“Touch Connect is a big step for Ideal Boilers as we move into the area of smart, connected technology. We have had positive feedback so far on the aesthetics and ease of use of the app as well as the associated customer benefit of having heating control anytime, anywhere. We’re looking forward to utilising the data that is being collected for the benefit of both our customers and future boiler developments.”
- Jonathan Wilkinson, Head of IoT, Ideal Boilers
Our team of IoT developers are proud to be working with Ideal Boilers on this project to continually push new features and improvements to the app. The potential that Big Data provides in terms of innovation for Ideal is an exciting journey to be part of.
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