R&D and Architecting of Baby Care IoT

IoT system architecture, algorithms for custom components development, ready-to-implement product roadmap, hardware architecture specifications and working prototypes of custom devices for Summer Infant

Problem

Customer

Since 1985, Summer Infant produces safe and high-quality feeding, bedding, bath and travel gears for parents and their babies. Committed to improvement and innovation, the company continuously evolves their product line, adopting the emerging trends and technologies.

Smartification Of Infant Products

In light of the opportunities that Internet of Things offered, the company fostered the idea of augmenting their products with smart connectivity and tracking features. The project goal was in creation an autonomous baby care ecosystem that links up infant products with embedded sensors, local monitors, smartphones, PCs and analytical software for better awareness of the child’s health through triggered notifications and real-time biometrics tracking. Correspondingly, the project scope comprised:

  1. IoT system architecture and components interaction design.
  2. Smart sensors engineering and production.
  3. Firmware logics development and integration with hardware modules.
  4. Web backend and mobile applications development.

Vendor Selection

Because its complexity, the IoT project involved four geographically scattered vendors, each one assigned with a particular task. Following the positive reference from Evoz, who got a sound kickoff of a smart baby monitor with Itransition, the Customer selected us for initial research and development and further architectural and technological guidance of the project.

Solution

From hardware and firmware to middleware and software, Summer Infant ecosystem embraces:

Summer Infant ecosystem

Itransition’s Contribution

  • Requirements collection & elaboration
  • R&D and IoT system architecture
  • Software and hardware prototyping
  • Supervision of software and hardware production

Research & Development

Itransition’s team was tasked with end-to-end IoT system architecting, including software and hardware design, interaction scenarios elaboration, technology road mapping, scope definition and particularized project planning.

From an array of existing IoT platforms, Itransition had to choose one or design a custom solution that would seamlessly connect miscellaneous endpoints, while providing a solid ground for solving the following challenges:

  1. Connectivity of disparate devices and smooth first-time setup. Consolidating hardware from different manufacturers, easy introduction and configuration of newly connected devices.
  2. Transferring and processing different-sized data, from full HD video streaming to irregular small data from low-data-rate sensors.
  3. Wireless infrastructure maintenance. Backhaul mesh among wireless routers and network self-healing.
  4. Uninterrupted operation in all possible configurations. Ensuring steady infrastructure work, even when some components are disabled.
  5. Remote access to the system. Ensuring ability to access and manage baby care network from devices outside the infrastructure.
  6. Secure over-the-air update amid backward compatibility. Providing for automated firmware and software update preserving custom user settings.

Our team investigated and compared device management, integration and security aspects of existing connectivity solutions:

IoT Platforms SoCs Protocols

Texas Instruments SimpleLink

Cypress WICED (former Broadcom WICED)

Atmel

Qualcomm IoT platform

CSR

Bluegiga

Texas Instruments

Nordic

ZigBee

Z-Wave

CSRMesh

chirp.io

AllJoyn

Thread

Besides, we outlined pros and cons of different data transfer options: direct communication of all devices with cloud-based backend or the introduction of transmitters of specific type.

For non-trivial tasks, Itransition researched unexplored technologies, going beyond the scope of IoT. For example, we scrutinized automated device-to-smartphone coupling via alternative communication channels, including sound, light and touch, along with traditional BLE, WiFi Direct and USB.

Working Prototypes

In cooperation with an Israeli firmware producer and Chinese hardware manufacturer, we engineered two working prototypes of smart infant products managed by an Android application. While offshore partners were responsible for the prototypes’ production, Itransition’s experts developed the control panel for managing smart components from mobile apps.

Smart Changing Pad Smart Bottle Maker

Embedded with load cells, changing pads measure the baby’s weight and height during diaper changing, empowering parents to track the real-time metrics on their smartphones.

An unparalleled gear for preparation of baby formula, smart bottle maker consists of a water pump, warmer, 6 bottles and an electric motor that activates the system in line with the pre-defined schedule.

Code-level Services

Besides all-round advisory, Itransition was involved into backend development based on AngularJS 1.5, as well code review of a video streaming application for custom Android-geared tablet (Dedicated Display). Developed in bound with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, the Dedicated Display was produced by a Taiwanese team for the purpose of real-time baby monitoring.

End-to-end IoT system architecture.

Algorithms for custom components development.

Ready-to-implement product roadmap.

Hardware architecture specifications.

Working prototypes of customs devices.

Process

Multivendor Distributed Team

While delivering strategic guidance of the project, Itransition worked in cooperation with software vendors and non-software companies located in different parts of the world. We applied agile practices within distributed Scrum framework, empowering all teams communicate accurately and unambiguously, share common infrastructure and arrange processes efficiently, avoiding downtimes.

Cooperation map

Core Technologies

  iOS Android Backend

HTTP Communication

AFNetworking

Retrofit and OkHttp

oData; .NET MVC

Message Queues

RabbitMQ-c/MQTT-Client Framework

RabbitMQ Client/Android-MQTT

RabbitMQ broker

Languages

Swift, ObjC

Java

JavaScript; C#

Charts Visualization

Daniel Gindin Charts

MPAndroidChart

 

Database

Realm

Realm

MS SQL Server

Exhaustive IoT System Architecture

As an optimum solution, we selected de-centralized mesh network to enable custom sensor-powered and handheld devices communicate wirelessly without relying on PCs or dedicated hub services.

Solution Architecture

For high availability and fail-safety, Itransition offered an algorithm for the network self-healing and self-organizing through automated access point creation on every infrastructure component. In case a node breaks down or connection gets unreliable, the system builds another AP to transmit a message to the destination.

Addressing first-time setup and connectivity challenge, we generated in-depth connectivity flow that highlights two possible scenarios: new device entry and configuration or earlier enabled device connection.

To provide safe access for all participants to the infrastructure we offered OAuth-based protocol. All mobile clients and embedded devices received auth credentials via JSON Web Tokens from the Cloud App.

Besides, Itransition offered several connection flows with the use of custom BLE profile, Wi-Fi and BLE + Wi-Fi.