Making the Internet of Things
MCQN Ltd has been working in the Internet of Things since 2008, and with a background in both embedded software and web app development over the preceding decade we are perfectly placed to help bring your Internet of Things project to life.
From the first thoughts about the possibilities and choices of platform through to scaling up for mass-manufacturing we can assist. Get in touch if you'd like to discuss things further.
Here are a few examples of what we can do:
R&D: When Blue Fountain were looking to apply their supply chain expertise to the farming industry they needed someone to design and build the sensor hardware. We designed and built a number of prototype units packed with a variety of sensors to try to measure the level of chicken feed in farm silos and then relay it back to Blue Fountain's servers over a 3G data connection. The sensors were deployed in a field trial which successfully determined which ones would give the required information on the feed level so that replenishments could be delivered at the correct time.
Bespoke Development: ScraperWiki commissioned us to develop an Internet of Things device which would let them know whenever they'd made a new sale. Taking inspiration from shipping (both ScraperWiki and MCQN Ltd are based in the port city of Liverpool) and the practice of salespeople to ring a bell whenever they close a sale, we came up with the Ackers Bell.
As you can see in the photo above, it's a traditional ship's bell mounted in a custom designed wooden frame. The frame was cut on the laser-cutter in our workshop, and then a solenoid and Arduino Ethernet board hidden inside the bell. The software on the Arduino talks to an API that ScraperWiki provide which signals any new payments to their bank account. Whenever a new sale gets paid for, the bell will give a ding-ding to let everyone in the office know they've another happy customer.
Software: When leading Internet of Things service provider Xively.com wanted to make it easier for their users to connect Arduino boards to their service they hired us. Building upon our open-sourced HttpClient library for Arduino, and our work on the Arduino Ethernet library, we wrote the Xively-Arduino library and some example programs to use it.
The library works equally well with either the Ethernet or WiFi flavours of Arduino, and makes it simple for users to record or retrieve sensor data using Xively.com. Now any user setting up a new feed is directed to the library and examples.
Installations: As part of an art project we worked with the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology to monitor environmental conditions on FACT's roof terrace garden. We measured the temperature and light levels, an assortment of air quality metrics, plus a number of readings to how dry the soil was. All of the data was reported up to the Internet, so people could keep an eye on the garden from anywhere in the world. You can read more about it on our blog post about the FACT Garduino.