Expertise in wireless IoT sensors
Complete Product Design
By being able to test your ideas and design early on, you can significantly reduce the time to market for a product. We are quick in all phases of building prototypes and mockups, including hardware/firmware development, and establishing a working server solution. Of course we have several 3D printers for quick testing of mechanical design. Through our long-time partnerships we are able to deliver prototypes requiring virtually any production technique.
One of the core disciplines in all IoT solutions is to build stable hardware as a base and to have the right firmware architecture to build on it. Each project begins with careful selection of the right hardware components, such as sensors, wireless technology, and a power source. The hardware engineer works closely with both firmware- and mechanical engineers throughout the project.
Stable firmware begins with a good architecture and lots of testing. Depending on the specific project requirements we mix the appropriate set of technologies into the firmware, such as C, C++, and an RTOS. In all of our IoT solutions we are able to update the firmware in the IoT device over the air which enables us to add functionality even after the user has deployed our IoT device to the field. For this reason, firmware development is ongoing at all times after production, to ensure the user can enjoy the best version of our solution.
Mechanical and Product Design
Most of our products are built into custom designed plastic enclosures. This allows us to design the product exactly as we want it to look and function as we are not limited by the physical dimensions of a standard plastic enclosure. Mechanical design generally starts together with the hardware design process, and the two teams often exchange input with each other.
Antenna performance is not only about the design of the actual antenna, but also about good hardware design, and about matching the hardware to the particular antenna being used. The matching is done by tuning certain components in the laboratory to optimal values, and it is arguably the most difficult of all engineering disciplines involved in IoT. In a system with poor antenna matching, the antenna might disturb other parts of the hardware to the point where the device does not work properly. Good antenna matching will give you significantly longer reach, and your product will work in areas where other products do not.
With a cellular wireless solution, selecting the right telecommunications provider (SIM card provider) can be a jungle with considerations about price, roaming, and coverage on selected technologies (e.g. 2G, LTE-M, NB-IoT). We work with different Telco providers and will select the optimal solution based on the use case to ensure that we are able to connect to the right networks in any place.
A strong cloud solution is important for a stable and scalable system, and we are experts in building high performance IoT server solutions. A simple server solution might work well for 10 IoT devices communicating with the cloud, but it will most likely not be stable if you start adding thousands of devices. We have experience in scaling from few prototypes to thousands of users and devices in the field. For our IoT solutions we normally run several separate servers in parallel, for device communication, databases, user interface, and several others including backup systems. This flexible server architecture ensures our system is up and running even in peak times and easily enables us to expand the scope of our service.
The communication between IoT devices and webserver can be intercepted by an ill-intended 3rd party. As the threat of cyber attacks increase, so do the requirements for security in IoT solutions. While such protection involves encryption and exchange of keys which requires some extra data to be sent back and forth, ironically, many wireless IoT technologies are being migrated onto narrow-band solutions which are designed for transmission of relatively small amounts of data. Overcoming these contradicting requirements requires expert knowledge. We follow modern standards for encryption and are able to do this with as few bytes as possible, thereby ensuring strong reliability. Cybersecurity is at the core of our development process and concrete security measures are incorporated in every stage.
A user-friendly interface is a cornerstone in everything we develop - both in mobile- and web-apps, but also the interface between user and IoT hardware. Every Alert House product comes with an iOS app, an Android app, and a web UI (accessible through a browser) to reach the customers where it’s convenient for them. Building the perfect UX design is often a matter of limiting rather than adding functionality which most users will never need. We work closely with end users in order to ensure we build products which meet exactly what the user needs. Through our in-house developers we have full control over the data and how we display it. We also provide API integrations.
From the beginning of the design process we keep production methods and cost in mind. This sometimes requires deep knowledge about certain areas in production technology which is why we often involve our production partners in the development phase already. As an example, the choice of plastic material can be crucial for obtaining the desired product properties.
At Alert House we focus on our expertise in wireless IoT sensors and embedded systems. In this fast-evolving industry, we aim at staying ahead of the latest technology and allocate a significant amount of resources to gain new knowledge about future developments and optimization potential.