Electric radiator manufacturers are looking for new sales through an innovative product that provides:
- Energy savings
- Ease-of-use for the consumer
- Conformance with new ERP regulations.
Cotherm proposes the integration of a new technology and the construction of a proof of concept (POC) to validate market interest prior to development. The main product functions are kept on the native HMI of the temperature controller. Advanced functions are accessible using a smartphone app with communication by Near Field Communication (NFC).
- 2 models developed: Controller with simple knob or with display
- 2 apps generated
- 12-month development after POC validation
- 4,6 /5 rated at European market survey (Digifed European program)
- Market introduction: March 2021
Challenges faced by electric space heater manufacturers:
Electric space heater technologies have made tremendous progress compared to the first heating products, the so called “toasters” introduced in the 70’s. Inertial materials appeared in the early 2000 offering smoother heating to create a more homogenous room temperature, regulators evolved from the standard mechanical controls with fixed ON/OFF control, to PID electronic controls. These controllers advanced to the next level with algorithms that enabled advanced heating functions that aligned with users’ real behavior. Programming, open window detection, adaptive start control and presence detection are a few examples of functions that were definitively adopted by the new Ecodesign European regulation in 2018. This makes electric space heaters more energy efficient with features like programming that enables energy savings of up to 15% (Source ADEME: HERE ).
As the number of functions increased, the access to them became more complex. A solution had to be found to make all these functions readily accessible and affordable for any user.
The solution that manufactures of radiators proposed most for entre-level products was a tiny LCD display for programming radiators. This was the solution for programmable heating controls required by EU legislation. However, those LCDs required users to spend up to 15 minutes crouched near a radiator with a product notice. This caused users to abandon the LCD for the most part. Thus, LCDs proved to be unsatisfying and expensive solutions for features that were used once or twice per year. The differentiation between products of different manufacturers was also reduced, as all brands offered identical controls: a 1.5’’ LCD and 4 push-buttons.
Solutions using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi were also introduced. However, accessibility of these products was limited to technophiles because of the preliminary installation set up that required codes for pairing of multiple equipment.
Cotherm developed the ERD Easy Touch solution using NFC in response to the requirement for simplicity of usage and democratization of energy savings.
Saving Energy with NFC
With energy costs increasing, it’s astonishing that fewer than 20% of electric radiator owners use the programmable
controls that reduce consumption by up to 15%.
Looking for a solution to this dilemma, Cotherm discovered one in Near Field Communication and mobile apps,
which make communication with smartphones very easy to use with many benefits:
- No paring: It doesn’t need a paring code, just touch the NFC tag with your smartphone and communication starts.
- No waves: No radio waves are emitted when it’s not used.
- No data leaks: It is highly secure and data exchanges only occur at proximity.
- No installation: Communication is immediate and account creation with cloud and safety issues are relayed in a second stage.
- Direct app activation: Like a magic touch, the tap of the smartphone to the NFC tag automatically launches the app and reads the electric radiator’s information.
- Accessible to all family members: There is no need to get the master account or cloud access. All family members or guests can access the equipment with their own smartphone.
NFC and the smartphone app make this solution accessible to everybody with no worries.
A POC for market survey:
Cotherm, experts in temperature regulation for heating appliances, adopted the IoTize solution as its exclusive solution for NFC. This allowed rapid implementation and deployment of an NFC-enabled controller that interfaces with smartphones to provide a more accessible and easier to use interface for the programmable features of electric space heaters.
Using IoTize’s NFC module as a reference design, Cotherm quickly integrated NFC into a POC that used their ERD space heater. The POC was used in demonstrations and a market survey of DIY distribution networks, and the enthusiasm for the controller design allowed Cotherm to quickly validate the product concept and launch its development.
Bringing together Cotherm’s expertise in space heating controls and product design and IoTize’s
expertise in NFC, resulted in a unique, new NFC-enabled electric radiator controller called ERD EASY TOUCH.
IoTize expertise takes the form of wireless designs and a software ecosystem that accelerates implementation and
deployment of new devices that connect to smartphone apps.
On the hardware side, IoTize’s TapNLink wireless modules pre-implement the features required for NFC appliances. Adding NFC to an existing electronic design is a simple matter of configuring those features. No coding is required to create a POC. With its ST25DV dynamic NFC tag, TapNLink achieves the winning combination of responsiveness, low-power consumption and price that is required for mass market appliances – More information here
TapNLink wireless modules can be added onto a design as a component or used as reference designs and
embedded on the manufacturer’s electronic board.
The TapNLink hardware is equally adapted for use with hybrid apps that are created using IoTize’s automatic
app generator, or with native apps that are created using other app design tools. With IoTize’s automatic app
generator, designers immediately create their first apps with no coding. The resulting apps are based on standard,
cross-platform tools for Android and iOS : More information HERE
ERD EASY TOUCH solution
ERD 501 controller with knob) and ERd511 controller with LCD display.
Here are the ranges selected for this use case