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Case Study Embedded Software Internet-of-Things Tech

Case Study: Internet of Things

Futuristech solves these challenges by using a combination of WiFi Direct and BLE APIs of Android. This will allow a seamless communication between the Server and Client app

About the Client

A specialized logistics company in the UK that has been serving its customers for 35 years and has provided a diverse range of engineering services to a host of industries. The client has been involved with multiple industries including military,commercial and private telecommunications, logistics and manufacturing, always maintaining the highest levels of service and quality

The Challenge

Our client wants to develop a new product for their cabinets that will allow logistics company track their returned Zebra Handheld Computers. It will be a combination of developing an Android Application for the Zebra Handheld device and developing a software that will be integrated to their Cabinet hardware. There will be an Android Tablet mounted on the cabinet as a mechanism to track returned handheld devices. They want to implement the following requirements for the project:

  1. A real-time log of handheld devices returned in the cabinet.
  2. Employee Login for the Client App.
  3. Handheld should trigger an alarm if device has been undocked in the cabinet and there’s no employee logged in into the device.
  4. Option to login via the Server App and the Cabinet will be automatically opened for Employees to get the Handheld device.
  5. Employee should be able to scan their NFC Cards and the Cabinet will be unlocked.

Another challenge here is that the Server App should work seamlessly with the Client App (handheld device) without the need of an internet connection, but once an internet connection is established, the data from the server app should be automatically uploaded over to a cloud server.

The Solution

Futuristech solves these challenges by using a combination of WiFi Direct and BLE APIs of Android. This will allow a seamless communication between the Server and Client app. We chose WiFi Direct because it can support up to 256 simultaneous connections, unlike BLE which can only support 7-15 devices and is dependent on the device’s BLE hardware. WiFi Direct also has no limit in terms of the byte size data that can be sent to the server app, unlike BLE’s 20 byte limit. We only use BLE for detection if a Client app is nearby the Server App, if the client app is far from the server and there’s no employee logged in, an alarm is triggered from the client app.

Our client was so kind that they sent us the Arduino of their Cabinet Lock. We were able to utilize the Android SDK that communicates with the Arduino.

Here’s a demo of the solution that we implemented:

The Result

We ran a test before deployment to make sure there’s no runtime errors that will occur. Our client installed the application into the Zebra device and was able to simulate properly all the expected output of the project. Development was successful!