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Smart Boiler – Predictive Boiler Maintenance
Published on Wednesday, July 11 2018
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Challenge Expiration Date: September 7, 2018
AbstractA device is needed that can collect, store and transmit data from all residential gas fired boilers for use in preventative maintenance cycles and predicting potential malfunctions. More details will be provided in the Detailed Description.
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation, experimental proof-of-concept data, and prototype delivery.
There are many types of residential gas fired boilers in use today. Newer models use digital busses, as OpenTherm, to collect maintenance data, but older models use non digital protocols (they provide only on/off). A device is needed that can be attached to a residential boiler and collect, store and send information regardless of the type/protocol for maintenance and predictive malfunction purposes.
The submission to the Challenge should include the following:
- A detailed description of your proposed Solution addressing specific Solution Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. This description should be accompanied by a well-articulated rationale supported by literature/patent precedents.
- Experimental proof-of-concept data obtained as outlined in the Detailed Description of the Challenge and delivery of a prototype if requested by the Seeker.
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DescriptionCustomers do not like unforeseen events at home that might generate hefty unplanned costs. Home heating systems (residential gas fired boilers) are a key element of the home (especially in winter) and must be maintained to avoid large costs. Customers usually enter into maintenance contracts and services to ensure they will get support in case of a boiler malfunction; however the intervention always comes after the failure, generating great inconvenience. Predictive software and solutions could give advance warning of boiler deterioration and potential upcoming malfunctions thus lessening the inconvenience and “surprise” of breakdowns.
We are looking for hardware/software solutions that can help customers and maintenance companies to predict a malfunction in a boiler. There are some newer solutions that can read digital bus, like Opentherm protocol, which is present in newer boilers, but there is a large base of boilers that don´t work with Opentherm. We are looking for a “Boiler Gateway” solution for all customers in one package.
The Challenge is to develop a device that is able to read and store information out of digital bus (like Opentherm) and non-digital boilers and other home elements to later on run ML (machine learning) algorithms to understand if the boiler performance is deteriorating and predict a future malfunction.
The Solver is expected to provide a device and associated software that could be installed on a home boiler to send data back to a central location. Boilers that support digital bus (like OpenTherm) will provide all data available (e.g. on/off, settings, consumption info, diagnostics) and older models will provide any limited data available (e.g., on/off). It is important that one device be able to handle all cases.
THINGS TO AVOID
The Seeker is not looking to buy someone else’s device, but to obtain something they can own (exclusive/non-exclusive rights).
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation, experimental proof-of-concept data, and prototype delivery. Prototype delivery will be at the request of the Seeker.
Any proposed solution should address the following Solution Requirements:
- The hardware (HW) (called a “Boiler Gateway”) will need to be able to connect to all residential gas fired boiler types (both OpenTherm and non-OpenTherm protocols) and collect, store and send data via digital bus. For OpenTherm protocol, the Gateway should collect all standard information (such as on/off, settings, consumption info, diagnostics, etc.). For non-OpenTherm protocols the Gateway should collect at a minimum On/Off/time data and any other info, if available. Figure 1 is a chart of common connection bus types in order of priority. The first three on the list must be included and the others are a bonus.[See Figure 1 -Map of different Bus types (in priority) and map code and message for Brand/Model (sometimes board manufacturers are the same for different brand/model)]
- The system must be powered by 100-220V 50-60Hz.
- The system must have a Zigbee Connection for Smart Home Connectivity. It would also be ideal if the prototype had an Ethernet port (useful for proof of concept (POC) phase to direct connection to the Application Layer in the cloud, but could not be present in mass production phase).
- Application Layer: Software (SW) stack that can be easily integrated with third party Smart Home (i.e. microservices using API)
- "Boiler Gateway" device needs to be amenable to mass production at a competitive cost (15-30€/$17-35$ per device)
- The proposed system should offer Seeker “freedom to practice”. There should be no third party patent art preventing the use of specific equipment and materials for their commercial application.
Your submitted proposal should include the following:
- Detailed description of a device/technology that can meet the above Solution Requirements.
- Rationale as to why you believe your proposed system will work. This rationale should address each of the Solution Requirements described in the Detailed Description and should be supported with any relevant examples.
- Experimental proof-of-concept data obtained as outlined in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. If requested by the Seeker, a delivery of a prototype is included. Solvers will be expected to deliver a prototype within 1 week after a request.
The proposal should not include any personal identifying information (name, username, company, address, phone, email, personal website, resume, etc.) or any information the Solver may consider as Intellectual Property or does not want to share.
Challenge rulesThis is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation, experimental proof-of-concept data, and prototype delivery. Prototype delivery will be at the request of the Seeker.
Receipt of a Challenge award is contingent upon theoretical evaluation and experimental validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seeker. If multiple proposals meet all the Solution Requirements, the Seeker reserves the right to award only the solution which Seeker believes best fits its needs.
To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, they will grant to the Seeker non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on September 7, 2018.
Late submissions will not be considered.
What happens next?
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.
InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this challenge.
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.