How we introduced a brand new firmware design and adjustable climate feature for a major US bed retailer.
Our client’s backstory
Our client is one of the market leaders in sleep innovation powering the sleeping experience with bed technology, including biometric data tracking over night, comfortable adjustable features like mattress firmness, temperature, etc., that allows for creating unique sleep experiences that improve health monitoring and the wellbeing of users.
What is A Climate Adjustable Smart Bed?
High-quality sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Prolonged sleep deficiency results in an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, weight gain, and diabetes.
It may also be linked with emotional wellbeing - something that creates a feeling of contentment and contributes to better relationships, career, education, and financial health. Last but not the least, lack of adequate sleep over time has been associated with a shortened lifespan.
Achieving sleep quality depends on different factors, and the temperature of the bed is an important one.
A climate adjustable smart bed is revolutionizing sleep quality in the retail market, allowing couples to adjust the temperature individually, each for their own bedside. Being too hot or too cold when sleeping is easily fixable with the microclimate feature. Besides temperature regulation, the smart bed enhances healthy sleeping habits and emotional well-being.
Troubled sleepers fall into sleep more easily and wake up more restful with the smart bed technology that also lets you regulate mattress firmness (that adjusts to your moves throughout the night) and neck height, all the while tracking your sleep habits, heart and breathing rates. The climate and other features are easily controlled via app or remote.
Who is the product for?
- troubled sleepers;
- sleepers suffering from being too hot or too cold during the night (which is 80% of US smart bed users according to study);
- couples who have different sleeping habits and need customized sleep solutions;
- anyone looking to have a good night’s sleep and improve their overall well-being with IoT solutions.
What market need was identified?
With people having different sleep habits, the major bed retailer wanted to find a way to cover multiple needs of each sleeper whereby they can control different mattress features, and with the new smart bed edition, they can also enjoy individually adjustable temperature settings for each bedside.
The company conducted a research among its customers, and the results showed that 80% of users experienced being too hot or too cold when sleeping, which was an obvious indicator of the gap in the market. By adding an individualized microclimate feature to their smart bed, the company was able to provide yet an even smoother user experience.
Achieving high-quality sleep depends on different factors, and bed temperature is an important one. The company introduced temperature control in a breathable new mattress, using advanced temperature balancing materials in the new smart bed. The new mattress was up to 50% more breathable than the ordinary one, creating a microclimate that can be individually controlled by both sleepers.
Challenges for the tech team
The first challenge was time to market as the initiative needed to establish itself as the pioneering effort that promises to revolutionize sleep quality.
The second challenge was building a new hardware and firmware platform to power climate control that would be efficient and cost-effective. With new technology requirements and communication protocols, older hardware was not compatible, so a new scalable platform that allows for new features had to be created.
The third was having firmware and hardware designs built at two different premises. Klika was in charge of building the firmware, and the hardware design was to be set up at the client’s premises. Integration points of the two had to be planned carefully along the way.
How we did it
1. We used the agile approach to meet time to market requirements
Being in a different time zone than the client with a 9-hour difference required us to work systematically, since developing firmware is especially challenging when the hardware team works offsite. Working as a part of the client's team, we relied on agile practices to produce fast and efficient results, which helped us overcome the barrier of having a team in multiple locations, as well as respond fast to requirements.
2. We defined the firmware architecture for the embedded system
First, we designed the firmware architecture flexible and scalable enough to support the project. After it was approved by all stakeholders, the Klika team proceeded to write the code taking extra care to produce lightweight and highly optimized software as low usage of resources with embedded systems is preferred and helps avoid affecting the processing power and storage. Our team had to work with great precision, as even a small mistake could render the whole experience useless.
3. We simulated a hardware environment
The firmware development team used market– available hardware evaluation modules combined with pre- defined sensors and actuators in the system to simulate the hardware environment. This allowed the development of firmware to run in parallel with offsite hardware design almost independently.
We managed to integrate firmware with the offsite hardware design successfully
4. We had meetings with the hardware group to ensure successful hardware and firmware integration
The meetings were crucial to make sure hardware and firmware integration would be a success. A processor change was agreed upon to introduce new safety requirements. The team selected the real-time operating system for microcontrollers FreeRTOS which supported a quick and efficient adjustment.
5. We created a lightweight edition of the firmware before we moved to hardware and firmware production versions
We provided a simple hypothesis validation mechanism based on sleepers’ feedback we gained from the In-Home-Testing run on the special lightweight edition of the firmware and presented it to the Product Team. This allowed us to tackle issues and detect bugs before going to production.
6. We built a system for cloud-based feature updates
To support new function and comfort requirements based on the feedback of the In-Home-Testing group, we created a system for supporting over-the-cloud firmware updates for the dedicated application, which was running on an embedded Linux distribution created through the Yocto framework.
7. We used automated testing
In parallel with the firmware, our team focused on developing tests and test automation systems which helped detect bugs early in the process and ensure continuous integration testability. Some of the tests we used are Hardware-in-the- loop testing for firmware validation, oscilloscopes to verify analog and digital signal integrity, sniffers for verifying communication protocols, and data acquisition tools to complete bus transfer data analysis. By introducing the automatic test system, our client achieved faster development cycles and drastically reduced testing costs. The Klika team was the core development and quality assurance team, that helped bring this new solution to life.
Klika has been working with the market-leading retailer for the past seven years and one of its most successful smart bed editions counting over 1 million accounts was developed with Klika as the main tech partner. Our relationship and trust grew over the years and Klika has now 70+ people working on the smart bed technology.