“ We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them ”
—Albert Einstein
  • Marina Notrima
  • June 23, 2017
 

How we Nailed it!

Under the LEAN motto “Nail it, then scale it”, several Qubists organized a one-day event that brought together a team of professionals from different disciplines to work on a challenging target. The organizers decided to implement a time limit because it stimulates focus, creativity and alertness. And so last Friday, on 16 June 2017, ten ambitious and energetic software developers, engineers and architects met at the wonderful geWoonboot and started hacking.

So what and why did they exactly do?
As Toon is extending its footprint across Europe, we will soon be dealing with many end users who, next to heating, also have air-conditioning in their homes, which is a fairly new feature for our display. And so to deliver a good product we need to know exactly what the needs and wants of our end users are. That is why the goal of Nail it! was not to develop a product, but to deliver a ‘value proposition validation tool’, i.e. a concept. This tool will eventually be installed at several homes in Southern Europe for further validation. 
The very first Nail it! event had two specific goals: 1) Connecting the ‘Heating/ Domestic Hot Water' schedule to the air conditioning and 2) implementing a room thermostat algorithm in Toon, this time for cooling and not heating.

 

As a result of thorough preparation work, the event progressed smoothly. Thanks to the organizers all the necessary infrastructure was in place, and so the team could focus on creative, hard coding challenges without having to solve any futile hardware or connectivity issues. Intercool Technics had sponsored the event by donating an air conditioning split unit without cooling capabilities, which enabled testing with an actual device.
The team spent eight tough hours brainstorming and hacking to solve the two solutions. The Nail it! format really took the hackers out of their comfort zone, and as a team they demonstrated great creativity going well beyond what seemed possible at first. 

At the end of the day the hack team was ready to demo the results for the highly excited stakeholders. The development of the two solutions was ambitious and demanding, but the team managed to demonstrate the results without a single glitch. The first solution was done using the Sensibo SKY smart remote control (Wi-Fi & Cloud API), while the second connection was made with the Remotec ZXT120, controlled via Z-Wave. Toon displayed the temperature as measured by the Sensibo SKY unit, meaning that the setup is already prepared for 'multizone’. This will allow our end users to manage and pre-program the temperature in multiple rooms.

No doubt, output delivered at an event like this is quite different from ‘normal’ development, and is not a product or feature, but just a concept. This concept will undergo vigorous testing as Proof of Concept in about ten Spanish homes this July. This way we can learn more about the needs related to air conditioning in a close to real situation, before committing to any effort to productize the concept.

Congratulations to the team who absolutely Nailed it! last Friday. To many many more challenging and successful Nail it-s to come!