Developing, supporting, and researching Bluetooth connectivity to integrate with Kohler Mira’s Intelligent Care range, designed to resist the transmission of waterborne bacteria in hospitals.

Background

Rada and its parent company Kohler Mira develop bathroom fixtures and valves for the commercial sector including hospitals, schools, and sports centres.

Their Intelligent Care range – the first IoT-connected project designed by Kohler Mira – is a series of “smart” washroom fixtures. The smart technology offers a huge list of benefits including periodic automatic flushing, a legal requirement in the UK that would normally have to be done manually for every fixture in the hospital by a member of staff.

Kohler Mira wanted the devices to be remotely monitored and configured using companion iPad and Windows desktop apps.

Challenges

Operating conditions – developing an appliance that would include delicate electronics and high-current heating elements while functioning in or near water at significant temperatures would be a serious challenge.

ModBus file reading – Kohler Mira’s initial prototypes using the IR ModBus file reading standard instead of the web or Bluetooth did not meet performance specifications. MyOxygen/ would need to develop and implement a custom variant of ModBus to reduce bandwidth of file-reading requests.

Close multi-stakeholder integration – partnering with Rada for the client-side software, Kohler Mira’s hardware team, and testing the Rada Communicator device that Kohler Mira were developing in partnership with VTech would require close collaboration using our usual processes.

Services

  • Mobile App iOS
  • Windows Desktop App
  • MVP/Prototype
  • Integration Azure
  • IoT/Bluetooth Hardware (BLE)
  • Discovery Workshops

Outcome

The final Intelligent Care range represents a significant technological advancement. There are currently no comparable products on the market.

MyOxygen/ worked with Kohler Mira and VTech to develop a communication device to overcome the time-consuming nature of the classic Bluetooth pairing process and the issues when there are many similar devices nearby.

The Communicator design made use of the hardware’s existing IR sensor, saving money – especially when our testing determined that initial chipset designs would not be compatible with iPad devices, a requirement of the specification.

We also located the parts of the Bluetooth and IR Modbus bridge that were causing the speed bottlenecks and developed an innovative method for reducing the data transferred by an order of magnitude. The scale of this speed increase means it is highly likely to be employed again in future Kohler Mira products.

We worked collaboratively with MyOxygen to help develop an iPad and Windows desktop app to control our Intelligent Care Range of taps. The team were great at helping us implement our app solution with a real desire to understand what we were trying to achieve.

James Lloyd

Category Lead - Rada

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