CES 2017: Heptagon’s RF Digital teams with GE Appliances’ FirstBuild to launch Simblee connected smart wine chiller

RF Digital, a Heptagon company and FirstBuild, a subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier company, launched FirstBuild’s new Wine Chiller featuring a smart integrated bottle management system, enabled by RF Digital’s Simblee connectivity and development ecosystem.

The chiller was designed and prototyped through the use of a collaborative open innovation process in conjunction with RF Digital’s team. It incorporates the unique Simblee technology and product development methodology, that facilitates an easy path from rapid prototyping to mass production.

The new smart wine chiller exemplifies FirstBuild open collaboration model, which is paramount given increasing demand for time-to-market. Simblee helps companies to leap ahead in their rapidly changing markets.

The Simblee framework consists of an ecosystem of modular foundational blocks, including cloud, mobile apps, sensors, actuators, and wireless subsystems combined with a proprietary operating system that serves as the glue.

The Simblee operating system allows developers to focus on actual use cases versus the plethora of internal hardware, software, cloud and mobile client complexities. The framework optimizes reuse while preserving the desired customization, enabling the agile product innovation methodology for IoT products with a seamless path to mass production. In addition, to the wine chiller, Simblee has also successfully been used in five other forward-looking appliance ideas as part of FirstBuild’s Future of Cooking Hackathon.

“The FirstBuild iterative innovation model is very timely and compatible with RF Digital’s management methodology and products,” says Armen Kazanchian, Founder & President of RF Digital. “Due to competitive pressures, the waterfall approach of customizing cookie-cutter IOT reference designs is rapidly running out of steam: We have solved this problem and enabled agile development for IOT products!”

“FirstBuild’s chiller is an exciting new product for wine enthusiasts and represents a major step forward in functionality,” says Dr. Erik Volkerink, chief executive officer of RF Digital and chief business officer of Heptagon. “It is great to see our solution being used to create a compelling product in only a few months rather than years and helping our customers to be more competitive.”

“The leading-edge Simblee team has been remarkably responsive,” says Sam DuPlessis, FirstBuild Design leader. “We had a few very productive work days with both teams, and everything came together quickly and seamlessly.”

“The platform enabled us to make multiple rapid refinements of our actual use-case and improving our product,” said James Kim, a senior engineer of FirstBuild. “We were up and running with a functional system, including an iOS and Android mobile apps, in just a few days.”

“As a passionate wine collector, I always wanted a storage solution which would automatically keep inventory records, making it smart, simple, and more convenient,” says L. Srinivasan, GE Appliances E-services manager. “What started as an idea from a wine lover in the GE Appliances community rapidly became a functional design leveraging Simblee, and was being manufactured in FirstBuild’s microfactory in Louisville, KY.”

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