Uplight Builds its First-ever Orchestrated Energy Testing Wall to Improve Software Quality

By Kate Devitt on

For the past three months, the Uplight team has been building its first-ever Orchestrated Energy testing wall in the Boulder, CO office. The board will consist of 50 smart thermostats that are hooked up to Uplight’s Orchestrated Energy (OE) or demand management software, which leverages smart thermostats to enable energy customers to shift load. By installing a large-scale, robust testing suite for OE software, Uplight will be able to improve software quality and performance while decreasing software release times. 

Building the highest quality products is top of mind for Uplight employees; Stephon Barrett, Senior Quality Engineer at Uplight, had the idea to upgrade Uplight’s in-office testing suite. “I thought to myself, if we just got a board of wood and hooked up some thermostats, couldn’t we test at a higher volume?” From there, he began working with Steve Sloan, Data Engineer, and Heather Nowak, Senior Product Designer, to gather resources: a wood board, an easel, repurposed thermostats, wires, power transformers, and other tools. They recruited a cross-functional team including engineers, designers, product managers, and project managers to help with the task.

Brett Feldman, Software Engineering and Data Science Manager, adds that, “It’s exciting to see people from all pillars and all levels come together to work on this. Our Software Developer in Test Intern, Jesse Johnson, has worked alongside VP of Software Engineering, Evan Hung. We’ve had crucial contributions from people outside of the Orchestrated Energy team: Steve Sloan, for example, has a background in electrical engineering and has been a huge help with wiring thermostats.” 

The board consists of thermostat models that Uplight offers in its Marketplaces: Honeywell Home, ecobee, Nest, Emerson Sensi, and Honeywell TCC. By utilizing thermostat models that customers use to enroll in Uplight’s demand response programs, the wall can effectively test the customer journey from start-to-finish, and identify any points of friction. 

The team is installing the last few thermostats on the board and has begun enrolling them in test environments. By the end of the month, they are on track to have the wall completed and ready for use. With this testing system, the Orchestrated Energy team expects to catch bugs or software issues quickly during development and troubleshoot faster, ultimately improving software quality and providing a smoother customer experience. 

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