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Lengthen the life cycle of your connected device

There are many examples of devices having a shortened life cycle due to a power consumption issue, which leads to the battery of the device behaving unexpectedly. The frustration of users and claims of liability are a bad look and can cause damage to a company’s reputation. Fortunately, there is an answer for this problem many device manufacturers are facing: including automated power consumption measurements to your continuous integration of the software development cycle.

Devices with a long lifecycle need a power consumption profile to match

Power consumption should be measured over a long period of time to better monitor the life cycle of the device. This is important to do, not only during development, but before every major release of firmware. After all, the life cycle of your device’s battery correlates with the life cycle of your device. Especially when it is not easily replaceable.

For example, sensor nodes that measure the water level at the top of a buoy in the middle of the sea are designed to last for a long time without maintenance. In this scenario, the battery needs to last as long as possible so the power consumption needs to be known.

Measure the power consumption already during the product development

It’s important to measure the power consumption of your device during the product development process to avoid any unpleasant surprises. If the power consumption levels increase unexpectedly between software versions, the device might need software fixes which can lengthen the time to market and cause additional costs in the development.  

“We have developed a solution for integrating automated battery energy consumption measurements as part of the software development lifecycle, which has been successfully used in projects with customers,” says Esa Kivioja, Software Testing Department Manager at Etteplan.

Device manufacturers should test the power consumption by simulating the device's real-world use. This combined with the relevant operating environment will result in a realistic power consumption profile through which the power usage spikes and deviations can be observed and the necessary changes to software or hardware planned.

Software updates can cause an increase in power consumption

Modern devices require periodical software updates. Due to these updates, the power consumption of the device can change unexpectedly. Hence, it should be a standard operating practice to measure the power consumption during all software development activities. 

“Developing automated measurements as part of the software development cycle ensures that a sanity check for the battery’s power consumption level is run every time changes are made to the code. In addition, a longer test run can be done before updating the software in production, which gives a much more realistic consumption profile than measuring the consumption for a shorter specific time,” explains Jouni Karinen, Business Development Manager at Etteplan.

A good example of this is a pair of Bluetooth earphones that get a software update every once and a while. If the software update causes the device to have shorter battery life, it will significantly reduce the usability of the device for consumers.

Etteplan offers the necessary testing capabilities and knowhow to automate your devices power consumption measurements

As a multi-disciplinary technology service company that specializes in software and embedded solutions, engineering solutions, and technical documentation solutions, we’ve helped our customers to create a wide range of connected devices. With the unique combination of design and testing expertise, we can make sure that your device measures up to the highest market standards and has a long life cycle.