Get to know the phenomenal HiBox project!
Our client turned to us with a request for help in the project, which is the result of the growing demand on the market for battery-operated or renewable energy using deposit boxes that are operated contactlessly via mobile devices. Solutions of this type are used, among others as:
- lockers in gyms, swimming pools, and other sports facilities,
- key/parcel lockers in hotels, premises rented through Airb’n’b or Booking.com services,
- lockers in shopping centers or railway stations.
Hibox are universal lockers that can be used individually or in the form of cabinets. Their operation is practically contactless, which contributes to savings and increases hygiene. Low energy consumption, solar charging, and a remote communication module mean that the device is not only green but also independent of additional infrastructure. Thanks to this, it can operate wherever it is impossible to use competitive solutions.
See how we achieved what the competition did not!
We have developed the full hardware of the device, starting with an electronic PCB, designed by electronic engineers, and ending with a mechanical housing, prepared by mechanic engineers.
In line with the ordering client’s guidelines, we created a BOM – a complete material list for the device, which allowed us to optimize the cost of the device while maintaining the required functionality of the project. An additional advantage of this action is also the increase in the product’s resistance to changes in the availability of elements on the market because with such a list it is easier to find replacements if the producer of an element decides, for example, to end the production of a given batch.
We used a microcontroller (uC) from the STM32/8 family in the PCB design. It was selected optimal from among those available on the market, taking into account the required technical parameters, availability, and purchase cost.
Another choice, resulting from the need to balance the energy required to power the device and the autonomy of the device, is the use of communication via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Low power consumption and high versatility allow Hibox devices to be set up even in areas that lack underground infrastructure.
Software & Firmware
The scope of the order included the creation of software that supports the device (firmware) and another one that works on servers, the so-called software, including the processing of large amounts of data (Big Data) in the cloud, and the creation of a responsive website.
We started coding the firmware in parallel with the assembly of the PCB, based on evaluation boards (demo boards), which in practice accelerated the work and shortened the time needed to launch the product on the market. We based the firmware on the FreeRTOS operating system, optimizing the expected processor response speed to critical tasks. Ultimately, in the project, we shaped the following software layers:
- HTTP (S) – REST API, SNMP, NTP, MQTT,
- OS (FreeRTOS),
- LWIP (TCP/IP),
- TouchGFX display drivers, GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI, USB, Eth, and other peripherals and drivers.
For the purposes of this project, we assumed that the user will be able to view the measurement data via a web browser. The data is presented to the user in a graphical form, taking into account various types of charts, filtering, sorting, etc. Moreover, users may have different permissions, ie access to all or only part of the data.
For the effective implementation of the above, we used:
- performance simulations that allowed us to design a system development path depending on its load increasing over time, resulting from the growing number of users,
- external, scalable providers of Cloud solutions,
- backend is written in Node.JS, using the Nest.JS framework,
- PostgreSQL database with replication to many servers to ensure scalability and data security,
- “mosquitto MQTT” broker,
- Angular for coding a responsive website,
- Solutions integrating mass SMS sending solutions (e.g. serwersms.pl), online payments (e.g. transfery24.pl), accounting systems (e.g. Symfonia), as well as Enterprise solutions (LDAP authorization, Zabbix monitoring, etc.)
- Kubernetes, to ensure future high scalability of the system, through dynamic multiplication of servers depending on the network load.
The client is very pleased with the results of our work.
Design enhancements by IDO Electronics engineers made the lockboxes more versatile. The work system we use allowed for a quick response to changes in the market and the activities of competitors, as well as introducing modifications suggested by end users while the design process was still in progress.
Version 1.0 of the device is now operational! We encourage you to visit our client’s website and check all the possibilities offered by this ultra-modern locker: https://hibox.pl.
If you want to learn more about the technical side of this and our other projects, please download the brochure from the link below: