Portable devices: optimizing battery autonomy

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Portable devices, industrial handheld devices, portable instruments, and mobile handheld computers. No matter the name they go by, these handheld devices are common sights across many industries today and are tools that many professionals cannot image working without.

Whether it is a mobile measuring tool, a sensor, a monitoring terminal, or a custom device like Leica Geosystems CS20, these devices are constant companions of field technicians who demand a battery autonomy and life that will enable them to remain useful throughout an entire shift. Optimizing battery autonomy and enabling hot-swapping battery packs are key to avoiding a drained device and being high, dry, and disconnected far from a charging station.

The Software Challenges

  • Optimize the software stack for minimal power consumption while optimal performances (fast boot time to be operational on site rapidly, video/image rendering)
  • Set up different levels of battery saving modes
  • Allow ‘hot swap’ of batteries

The Witekio solution

  • A proficiency at developing complete embedded system software
  • Deep understanding of low-level software layers to implement efficient system performance improvement
  • Proficient low-level software development thanks to industrial & energy market in-depth knowledges
  • Proactive approach with advices, definition of improvement goals
  • Deep knowledge of hardware capabilities

2 areas where software can help solve battery autonomy challenges that you’re facing with your portable devices

Battery Autonomy and Form

Battery autonomy is a key concern of industrial handheld device users and the longer their device can be used between charges, the better. A larger battery is rarely the solution, though, as this only adds weight and can make devices unwieldy. Instead, Witekio engineers can help design smarter embedded software solutions to this challenge.

Designing the embedded software of a device to leave it in an ‘eco static’ mode when not in use can save significant battery power. As well, a sleep function that is engaged to moment the screen is turned off can prolong the battery life of the device while also offering immediate wake-up for reduced downtime.

Alternatively, a deep sleep mode with an alarm function can be engaged to save even more power, with the only cost being a slower wake up time. Processors can be left in ultra-low power mode, and on-board systems in deep sleep until the device is turned on once again.

Need software experts to optimize battery autonomy?

Hot Swap Batteries

Even where energy consumption is optimized for maximum device battery autonomy, professional users may still need additional power in excess of what their battery can provide. While adding additional battery power to the device is a potential hardware solution, it comes at the cost of weight and utility. Instead, adapting the device software to enable ‘hot swapping’ batteries is an alternative software solution that maintains a lighter device and offers a better user experience.

Witekio engineers have experience developing ‘hot swapping’ options for handheld devices that do not need the device to be switched off in order to conduct the operation. Instead, the user selects a specific battery swap mode, makes the change, and then returns to the normal mode for the device.

This hot swapping means that a handheld device will remain smaller and easier to handle by the user, while ensuring that the device always has sufficient energy to complete the industrial task at hand.

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Virginie Duplantier - Marketing and Communication Director
10 February 2021