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Transformation of Mobile App Concept into Reality

Client Profile

Founded in 1933, this client is the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services. Since its beginnings, it has offered the industry’s broadest range of irrigation products for farms, golf courses, sports arenas, commercial developments and homes in more than 130 countries around the world.

Challenge

The client wanted its customers to be able to connect with its irrigation controller over Wi-Fi using a smartphone or tablet device. This would require the development of an accessory component or user interface adapter (UIA) and the mobile app for the iOS 5.0 operating system. More specifically, the client asked ESN Technologies to develop software for a Wi-Fi stack with TCP/IP for Explorer 16 Development Board that included:
  • Wi-Fi as hotspot for SoftAP
  • UART to TCP/IP communication in interrupt mode
  • RB-SLIP protocol implementation
The iOS app development and interface through Wi-Fi would require:
  • Development of screens for startup, controller settings, and setting start times and station properties
  • Establishment for Wi-Fi connection and status checking
  • RBNP protocol implementation

Strategy

ESN Technologies follows a well-defined software development life cycle model that takes an iterative and incremental approach to project execution, from requirement development for each build/ milestone, to the revision of project documents, planning, testing and bug fixing. A member of the ESN Technologies a quality analyst with responsibility for reviewing and updating project documents, organizing testing activities, and conducting regular code reviews and walkthroughs. Working with the quality analyst, team members strive to enhance the quality of the software delivered by:
  • Preparing software specification based on a thorough study of requirements
  • Investigating technology choices for project implementation
  • Creating system design documents
  • Facilitating client review of beta versions with incremental functionality to obtain early feedback
  • Maintaining strict adherence to Microsoft guidelines for coding standards
  • Performing regular code reviews and walkthroughs by quality analyst and senior team members

Technology

  • MPLAB IDE (v8.87)/MPLAB X IDE (v1.41) (with C30 compiler)
  • Microchip Application Libraries v2012-08-22 for Windows
  • Microchip Explorer 16 Development Board
  • Microchip PIC24FJ128GA010 controller
  • Microchip MRF24WG0MA Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) daughter board
  • MAC OS X PC with v10.8
  • iPad with iOS v5.0
  • Xcode v4.4.1-4F1003
  • In-Circuit Debugger (ICD3)

Results

ESN Technologies successfully developed the mobile app to provide wireless communication capability with the client’s irrigation controller. The software is integrated into the microcontroller and supports all irrigation parameters. The mobile app:
  • Controls all time durations for the client’s irrigation control board
  • Supports landscape and portrait modes
  • Supports four different programs and each program with 48 stations
  • Displays the SSID name on every screen
With firmware and iOS application developmente xpertise, efficient project management and effective communications, ESN Technologies transformed this client’s concept into a reality.