Intelligent Minibar Concept for Hotels

Dometic wanted to upgrade the existing communication solution between minibars and hotel reception, where the minibars were connected via RS-485 to the hotel Ethernet backbone. The solution did not function optimally but resulted in erroneous data collection from the applied sensor technology, extensive installation and maintenance costs, and a greater risk of fire at the cable-bridge between hotel rooms.

For Dometic Develco has developed hardware and embedded software which can be integrated with the existing topology based on RS-485 and Ethernet. For the data collection from the minibars Develco has developed a flexible 3-in-one solution. All minibars are installed with an identical main board, on which one of 3 different printed circuit boards PCBs can be mounted in order to configure the minibars to use one of 3 different communication technologies: the existing topology based on RS-485, a pure Ethernet-based network all the way to the minibar, or a wireless mesh-network based on ZigBee.

The embedded software of the sensors in the minibars has been improved so that the minibars can transmit data between each other and finally to a gateway via a closed mesh network based on the wireless communication protocol ZigBee. The gateway transmits the consumption data on to the reception where data are ready for check-out of the hotel guests. At the time for refilling of the refrigerator the service employee at the hotels can open and close the minibar with a small minibar security key fob.

Develco has developed the customized Ethernet-to-ZigBee-gateway, the remote control, and the upgrading of the intelligent minibar concept and been responsible for production and product maintenance.

Develco Dometic Intelligent Minibar Concept for Hotels
Develco Remote Control Dometic

Integrated Wireless ZigBee Communication with Secure Data Transmission at Long Distances

In hotels the minibars can be located on a large area, and a high data security is important in order to issue a correct invoice to the hotel guests. For these reasons Develco has developed a closed and secure mesh network with the wireless communication technology ZigBee. The hotel reception has up-to-date information about the consumption af beverages and snacks from each individual minibar and can bill the hotel guests correctly when checking out of the hotels. In addition, the hotels can achieve savings in connection with refilling of the minibars because of the intelligent minibar concept.


  • Ethernet, TCP/IP and DHCP.
  • Integration with existing RS-485 network.
  • ZigBee Mesh Network.
  • ZigBee to Ethernet Gateway
  • OTA Firmware update
  • Minibar Temperature Control
  • State Machine software design
  • Engineering Software Tool for minibar monitoring