Enabling Smart HVAC Systems

Challenge:

HVAC_image_ipadThe customer – a leading manufacturer of controllers for commercial and residential heating systems wanted to enable smart management and configuration of their systems via mobile devices, such as smartphones. Access to the heating controller needed to be available to the owner and optionally by a service technician.

Wired connectivity offers the opportunity to provide access and control for an owner through a cloud service, but in this case, wireless connectivity was preferred as a means of providing on site control and near proximity remote access. However, typical Wi-Fi® applications require the controller to connect to an access point, giving the service technician access to the owner’s network making it a security concern. The customer not only wants feature flexibility but ease of use as well. Could Lantronix provide a more cost effective, secure, easily integrated, and user friendly embedded solution?

Key Requirements:

- Wireless connectivity
- Provide compatibility and coexistence with the latest deployed Wi-Fi accesses point without detrimental performance
- Ease-of-deployment is critical. System owner must be able to connect the controller to the home Wi-Fi network simply, easily and quickly by non-technical users
- Heating system to be managed by either a PC connected to the owner’s network or by the owner using a smart device
- Security – Service technician access provided only by connecting directly to the heating controller access point, without any connection to the owner’s private network and by permission of the owner
- Wireless device server solution must have a small footprint; the heating controller has limited space inside its enclosure

The Solution: Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi – Embedded Wireless Device Server

As one of the smallest embedded device servers in the world, the Lantronix xPico can easily be integrated into the heating system controller. By enabling the device as a Wi-Fi client, the owner of the system can connect their controller through a commercial access point to a personal computer or programmable logic controller (PLC), allowing the owner to intelligently monitor and control their heating system, while reducing their operational cost. Simultaneously, an authorized service technician can be permitted direct access through the xPico Wi-Fi Soft AP function without the need to log on to the owner’s private network. By utilizing the xPico Wi-Fi, the technician can now have managed access to the diagnostic health and performance data of the heating system, troubleshoot any problems that may arise, and optimize operation all through the use of a tablet or other smart appliance. The xPico Wi-Fi Soft AP function makes the installation very easy and painless.

Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi Deployment Application:
Enable direct access to device data via smartphones and tablets

xpico-wifi-diag

Results:

- Ease-of-implementation which reduces technical support calls
- Simultaneous and independent access to the heating system by both the owner and service technician
- The xPico Wi-Fi solution is the right size, simple to integrate onto the heating controller circuit board, and easy to connect to a wireless home network for immediate management
- The owner saves operation cost by using a smart management system and has easy access to manage it locally and even remotely
- The manufacturer of the system leads the competition with their innovative solution to a market challenge and was able to implement in a very short space of time

About the Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi

Reduce your development costs, shorten your time to market, and leverage mobile solutions with xPico Wi-Fi, one of the world’s smallest and most flexible Wi-Fi device servers. xPico Wi-Fi is a pin and form factor compatible state-of-the-art member of the xPico family, providing low power, Soft AP and simultaneous client mode, full IP and WLAN stacks. The xPico Wi-Fi is a complete device server suitable for mobile M2M applications and includes industry best 5-year warranty.

Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi Key Benefits:

- Easy to deploy and use: No need for software development or to write a single line of code.
- Simultaneous Soft AP and Client mode: Allowing for easy points of access while maintaining a secure network without the need for special clients.
- Innovative form factor: Compact footprint: 24mm x 16.5mm.
- Mobile-ready: Enables direct access to device data via smartphones, tablets and connected PCs.
- Robust: Device server application suite hardened by Lantronix® over the last decade.
- Secure: 256-bit AES Encryption.
- Industrial-ready: Operating environment at extended temperatures: -40° to +85° C.
- Standards-based: Conforms to latest WLAN and IP internetworking standards ensuring interoperability with a broad range of deployed equipment.
- Customizable: Designed with customizable capabilities for rapid OEM adoption.
- Power: Low-power profile optimized for battery-powered devices.
- Peripheral Connectivity: Serial, SPI, USB (device), GPIOs.
- Ease-of-Migration: Easy migration path to and from xPico Wired designs.
- Guaranteed: 5-Year limited warranty.

Learn More »
For more information on the Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi embedded device server.