The design challenge for ZoneMate was to create an intelligent zoning system that addresses the need for personalised comfort, energy efficiency, and seamless future-proof integration with all major existing HVAC systems and supporting technologies. The project aimed to develop a user-friendly, adaptable solution that leverages AI and machine learning to enhance living and working environments. Additionally, the system needed to be future-proof, compatible with a wide range of damper and sensor brands, and suitable for residential, light commercial, educational, and aged care settings, ultimately surpassing traditional zoning systems in terms of functionality and adaptability.
The ZoneMate design solution underwent a thorough development process focusing on seamless integration with existing HVAC systems, and leveraging AI and machine learning algorithms to optimise personalised comfort and energy efficiency. Key milestones included seamless integration with the Milieu Smart Thermostat and Milieu Labs App, as well as incorporating Thread radio technology for future-proof IoT device compatibility. The design team overcame roadblocks by ensuring ZoneMate's compatibility with a wide range of damper and sensor brands, making it versatile for various application and installation types. The final solution provides professional installers with an easy-to-install zoning system that continuously improves over time, meeting the challenges of modern climate control requirements.
ZoneMate's design impact is multifaceted, encompassing commercial, environmental, and societal aspects. Commercially, it offers a competitive edge by integrating AI and machine learning, enhancing the user experience, positioning Milieu Labs as a market innovator, and increasing demand for professional design. Environmentally, ZoneMate promotes energy efficiency and reduces waste by optimising HVAC systems and enabling remote monitoring. Societally, it provides more good air days - improving quality of life by providing personalised comfort and a healthier living environment through better air quality, humidity control, and motion detection. ZoneMate's innovative approach sets a new benchmark in zone control systems, inspiring positive change and contributing to a sustainable future.
AI and machine learning capabilities enable ZoneMate to become smarter over time, auto-adjusting settings for optimal comfort while conserving energy. This includes sensing excess humidity and intelligently adjusting settings, reducing the risk of mould formation by sending app alerts when humidity levels are high for a predetermined time and the air conditioner is off, activating fresh air systems to enhance air quality, and more. Thread radio technology allows seamless integration with other IoT devices, ensuring the system remains future-proof and up-to-date with the latest advancements. ZoneMate is flexible and offers a wide range of damper and sensor brands to choose from, with fast setup and an easy installation process that takes just 5 minutes. This saves valuable time for both consumers and professional installers. Cloud monitoring and automatic over-the-air software updates ensure that ZoneMate remains secure and functional. Remote diagnosis and resolution of issues are also possible, and the manual damper testing feature simplifies troubleshooting. The Milieu Climate app offers remote control, with integration to popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google for user convenience. ZoneMate's design caters to a variety of settings, including residential, light commercial, educational, and aged care settings. It supports up to 16 individual zones (with future expansion) and can work with both wired and wireless zone sensors for adaptability to diverse scenarios and requirements.