Jalan Technologies

An IOT based PowerStrip to Revolutionize Energy Management

About the Client

The customer is a TEDCO funded rural startup based in Frederick, Maryland, United States. It develops power strip technologies that allow users to wirelessly unplug certain electronics when they are not in use. The company’s powerstrip monitors the electricity used by items plugged into it and limits unnecessary current flow, 

enabling its users to reduce electrical wastage.

 

TEDCO funded rural startup based in Frederick, Maryland, United States started in 2019 with a vision to revolutionize energy management using iOT. Their flagship product – iOT based PowerStrip allowed users to manage it wirelessly. It is connected with Mobile applications which provide various monitoring options like which appliance is being used and limit unnecessary power consumption with periodic reporting.

Client’s goals

In layman terms – the client was on a mission to minimize electricity wastage with the help of technology. The CEO and founder who is also a Building Sustainability consultant and adjunct professor of sustainability at Arizona State University, says-“ It’s a cultural mission. If you walk around your home or office at night, every glowing light is like a little energy vampire siphoning off precious resources. That’s one piece of the puzzle. Multiply the drain by an apartment complex or 500 cubicles and you start to understand why saving energy is so important. We have the technology to do better. It’s an imperative now more than ever”

 

They wanted to combine energy-saving products with high-tech software to give users detailed analytics and precise control over their electricity usage. They were committed to bring the often costly task of energy reduction within reach of every business and building manager. The ultimate goal is to help consumers save money and energy.

The Core Problem

Our client had a very brilliant solution to build mobile application controlled IoT devices which help customers to control, monitor and save their energy. But building sophisticated IoT based energy management systems not only require expertise with web based applications but also handling embedded IoT devices. 

 

One of the biggest problems was to build an end to end IoT system to transmit the message to and from between our cloud server and the IoT device. With the help of an electronics expert, we embedded a small wifi chip into the IoT device to establish the connection between device and router. Now to transmit the message to and fro – we selected MQTT protocol as it’s lightweight and can work with lower bandwidth. 

 

Once the messaging was established, it was obvious that we would be dealing with a large volume of data handling and processing. To handle this, we implemented microservices architecture using Ruby on Rails to balance the high volume traffic. 

 

To build the mobile application – we went forward with cross platform technologies to reduce the development time and easy maintenance. 

Jalan Technologies’ Collaboration

Jalan Technologies become their technology partner in 2019 in the starting stage of their journey. Our team wanted to create an energy management platform/mobile App that gives the user
 
  • Personalized Energy Analysis  
  • Interface – React 
  • Order Data Persistent – MongoDB 
  • FIX Protocols to exchange messages between FIX engines
 
The combination of their expertise in hardware and ours in software development resulted in an advanced power strip that was engineered to capture 20,000 data points per hour. The users can connect, track and manage devices via the mobile application for ultimate control of their energy footprint. The easy-to-read  commercial dashboard provides detailed, real-time analytics and projected savings. 
 
The application distinguishes the power strip from other power strips in the market. With the mobile app, the users can turn one device off or on, on the command which is not the case for other power strips. The app also allows the user to view data on how much energy they are using or losing on various electronics.
 
As a company, we built the IoT system which communicated with cloud server using the MQTT protocol. MQTT is a lightweight publish/ subscribe messaging protocol designed for low-bandwidth, high latency, unreliable networks. MQTT’s features make it an excellent option for sending high volumes of sensor messages.
 
The power strip would run a local MQTT server and send data every second upstream. The backend in RUST would also listen to this data using MQTT and store it as a time series in the database. This data is then surfaced using sockets in the mobile application using React Native.

Results

Their advanced power strip and energy conservation startup idea led the company to earn top honors at the Shore Hatchery’s spring 2018 Gull Cage, a Shark Tank- style business startup competition. The company pre- sold 200 strips to residential customers even before launching the product.

Tech Stack

Rust is a multi-paradigm, general-purpose programming language designed for performance and safety, especially safe concurrency.

 

React Native is an open-source UI software framework created by Meta Platforms, Inc. It is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, etc.

 

C is a general-purpose, procedural computer programming language supporting structured programming, lexical variable scope, and recursion, with a static type system.

 

MQTT is an OASIS standard messaging protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport that is ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth.

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