Hardware Bits: Power Management

Apr. 16, 2019

Welcome to Hardware Bits: A series of short articles about technologies used in the Internet of Things that
you might encounter. Whether you’re a potential client, partner, a tech enthusiast, or someone who just fell down the rabbit hole, we at Spaceti want to provide you with some quick insights into Spaceti’s signature devices – our Smart Stones and Parking Gems.

Not sure what they are? You might want to check them out here first and then come back…

From the Spaceti Lab

In order to make our solution applicable for modern and older buildings alike, the hardware team led by Tomáš Barták focused on making the installation of the sensors as simple as possible; especially in older buildings where it is difficult if not impossible to find new ways to lead cables.

This problem had an ingenious solution: Make the devices wireless and battery-powered. In this case, power management is one of the most important hardware elements and its ultimate goal is to save as much device’s power as possible. Why? Exchanging the batteries often is ineffective in terms of sustainability, costs and time demands. This of course affects the device’s functionalities.

“These can be optimised through design, i.e. proposing a specific functionality in a way that reduces consumption and the amount of data transferred. Even devices that react to external forces, such as touch, sound, movement, light, or any other trigger, can also be regulated according to the objectives of the solution,” says Tomáš Barták.

How to Extend Life?

Proper and sustainable power management extends the life of a device. One of the ways to achieve this is to limit its operation. We turn it on only in reaction to an event. Battery life is also affected by the components that influence the device’s consumption. And note that a rechargeable battery is not appropriate for long-term operation. The communication unit cannot be ignored either. It must be designed so it expends the least amount of energy for each piece of information. That makes sense, right?

We are often asked what is the life-expectancy for these devices? At Spaceti, our Stones and Gems can endure for 5-10 years without the need to exchange batteries, and even 15 years in the case of certain types of sensors.

How can we achieve that kind of long life? One of the methods of extending battery life is finding a communication module that consumes less energy. Another option is to use technologies that were originally intended for Internet of Things solutions. These are designed with low consumption in mind as well as sufficient transfer speeds and capacity. They can be found for example in Narrow Band – IoT (NB-IoT), a hot bit of tech we’ll discuss in the next edition of Hardware Bits.

Aneta Klímová
Aneta Klímová