Branko Radulovic has been a part of the iTouch story since day one – and he’s now rejoined the company as Head of Software Development.
Back in 2018, Branko was working at Anaeko with iTouch CEO, KianPeng Yong, and they began brainstorming ideas for a tech-for-good company that could make a difference to Climate Change.
Both Yong and Branko were experienced software developers – and Branko is the rarest of things: a full-stack developer. Yong and Branko decided to focus their considerable talents on developing an IoT energy monitoring solution – choosing to spend their time helping governments to reach Net Zero, fighting climate change by improving energy efficiency.
Branko said, “The back-end and front-end of iTouch’s software development is led by me mostly, with help from Yong. Meanwhile Yong focuses mainly on hardware, the devices, the supply change, and managing the company. When it comes to services that we’re running, and the infrastructure, that falls on me.”
What tools are you using to house iTouch’s energy management suite of tools?
“AWS is our service provider for the infrastructure,” said Branko. “We’re using it the best we can and we’re exploring different plans for taking our technology to the next level.”
What is challenging about this IoT technology?
“Any IoT service in general faces a huge challenge to deal with the scale of traffic. IoT solutions involve many small devices in the field which are constantly bombarding the server. They’re small devices, but they generate a lot of traffic. We also need to support more than 5 years worth of historical data,” he said.
iTouch’s solution involves connecting every energy meter in a building with a LoRaWan network, which can reach 10km into a building. Once connected, a holistic picture of the building’s energy usage can be obtained – in one dashboard view. By connecting every energy source – including solar, electricity, water, gas, even car chargers – and taking readings every 30 minutes, a strategy can be put into place to ensure the building is using energy as efficiently as possible.
“Between analytics and custom reports, one of the biggest challenges is to support the amount of load that all these devices are putting on infrastructure. The infrastructure has to be scalable to meet the load. Every 30 minutes, each one of our smart meters are sending real-time readings out,” explained Branko.
“There’s no point in collecting data if you can’t use it. We need to create deep, insightful data analytics using these readings.”
Will iTouch be building a team as things scale?
Branko said, “Yes, as we scale up, that’s the plan. We have reached the point where we can’t be a small team any longer. We need to support all of our clients, while also installing and deploying new devices for new clients. This means investing the effort into putting proper procedures into place. We need to be dynamic. That means being able to pick up on things and move forward quickly.”
What positions is iTouch looking to fill in the future?
“Both front-end and back-end developers, and engineers experienced with server infrastructure,” he said. “We’re always keen to pick up engineers who can work on more than one area, for example, code base, as well as features requirements, and project management. Someone who can do more on the Dev Ops side and manage the whole infrastructure. We’re looking for engineers who are both talented and creative – who are willing to go outside their comfort zone and learn new skills.”
How did you end up in Northern Ireland?
Branko said, “I’m from Croatia and I arrived in NI roughly nine years ago. I was called over by Anaeko originally. I’m not a stranger to startups – iTouch was something that I joined from the very beginning, and I’m happy that that we’ve managed to help grow the company to the level we’re already at.”