Yodit Stanton at OpenSensors shares her insights with Cisco on how cities can apply similar principles to those she’s implemented to improve the lives of their citizens
What do Space Planners and Facilities Managers really want to know before installing sensors?
Q: What type of sensors are available?
Office utilisation monitoring: desks, meeting rooms and breakout areas
Opportunities for sensors to provide reliable data inc. averages and peak demand:
Q: How do sensors detect desk occupancy work?
There are different techniques that are used to detect desk occupancy, the most common and inexpensive is based on heat. The sensors look for a temperature reading at 37 degrees because in most offices unless you have an office cat like we do (hello Princess), most of the time there isn’t something warm sitting in a chair unless it’s a person. If there’s body heat registered, the desk is occupied.
Q: Do we have issues around privacy?
Well, there are always concerns about privacy. It’s very important for management to be clear with employees why they’re installing the sensors. The sensors are used to understand what the current usage of a space is and how to improve the design, or having already redesigned the space, they’re now trying to determine whether it is getting better results. The people we’re working with are primarily concerned about employee well-being and types of sensors used to support this are air quality, temperature, noise, light, humidity and CO2.
We recommend phased implementations vs. big upfront design i.e. encouraging an iterative model but with clear aims. We don’t believe that ‘smart buildings’ are binary and upfront large investment both with software and especially with IoT projects usually just end up in frustration. We’ve found that showing information and gathering feedback quickly, really helps inform the design process based around evidence and real data.
Starting from a prioritised list of problems and working backwards to the necessary data and then installing sensors is easier. We spend a lot of time testing sensors and we are totally neutral in our recommendations. With that in mind, we also encourage a bit of consideration of what the basic infrastructure should be, for instance we use gateways, etc. that work using open protocols to enable future sensors to ‘talk’ to the same network.
Q: What type of air quality sensors are available?
Commercially available sensors can measure the level of potential contaminants including; O3, NO2, NO, SO2, CO, PM2.5 and lead. Most of the devices are easy to connect and provide quality data measurements so that non-technical staff can deploy them.
Q: Is it possible to benchmark for instance comparing occupancy and other metrics between buildings?
Yes. We can tell you, for a set of desks, the average occupancy by the day, week or month. Data is typically sampled every 10 minutes as it’s tagged with the date and time so the aggregate information tells you a lot about the space needs. It’s as if you had high speed, invisible survey takers running around, just making a note of whether the desk is occupied or not every 10 minutes.
Q: How do you select sensors?
We spend a lot of time testing sensors but we are absolutely neutral in our recommendations. Here are some factors to consider in assessing options for sensors.
accuracy, precision,and bias of measurement
range of sensitivity
speed of response time
Q: What is the process of deploying sensors?
OpenSensors recommends a phased approach, from proof of concept to full-scale deployment, to ensure a successful installation of an IoT network in a business environment. Our aim is to reduce the time to go live and minimize risk.
Phase 1 Evaluate sensors:
Evaluate different sensors for quality, signal-to-noise ratio, power consumption and ease of setup by trying them out on a very small scale in a lab.
Phase 2 Proof of concept:
Do a full end-to-end test to verify that the queries and analytics were feasible by connecting 5 to 10 sensors to a cloud infrastructure.
Phase 3 Pilot phase:
Move out of the lab into your actual environment. Typically, this requires somewhere between 30 to 100 sensors. We suggest a one to three month test to ensure that the sensors work at scale and the gateway can handle the load, similar to production usage.
Phase 4 Plan and implement full-scale deployment:
After the pilot phase, there should be enough data to verify network performance and your choices for sensors and connectivity, after which, full deployment can be planned in detail and implemented.
Contact us if you would like assistance on sensor selection, network design, or planning a proof of concept deployment.
Don’t do these things in your IoT project..
Our company is built around and dedicated to enabling customers to access data they haven’t previously been able to using sensors. Three years into this journey finds us now processing over 10 million sensor messages per day from more than 100 companies in Europe and North America!
What have we learnt so far?
– Multi disciplinary teams; In IoT we believe the strength of a team is in building experitise in project management, hardware, networks, software, data and open APIs.
– Minimising sensor installation headaches are key; Our latest sensor deployment in London last week saw us reduce installation time to only 20 seconds per sensor. We believe sensors should be easy to place and simple to move which is why we also have training schemes available to our clients so that they can manage the physical repositioning of their own sensors post deployment should they choose to. Flexibility and control are as important to us as they are to you.
We are always investigating and building partnerships to find the best solution for our clients and this has focused us on standardising around open network protocols such as LoRa. We now have a large number of happy customers using the following types of LoRa sensors.
Recent clients include; Zaha Hadid Architects, 360 Workgroup, Fourfront group, TripAdvisor and many others.
As much as possible we have tried to share tangible learnings and experience reports with the wider community. Some examples of our publications and webcasts that have proven hugely popular include:
Thank you to all our customers, partners, advisors and the wider IoT community. We look forward to the next 3 years of learning, growing and being part of this incredible ecosystem.
British employees will tell you how hard they work and they are right; these days we are spending more time in the office than any other EU country except Austria and Germany. How can the time spent indoors be made more comfortable and agreeable? It’s hard to isolate one sole influence that affects productivity when in fact there are many to consider. Studies have shown that despite an average working day of 8 hours you’re probably only productive for around 3 of those. The WELL Building Standard is a set of best practices and guidelines focused on human health and wellness. The culmination of seven years of evidence-based medical research in partnership with leading scientists, doctors, architects and wellness thought leaders was pioneered by Delos. WELL is based on medical research on the health and wellness impacts of the buildings we spend most of our time in.
WELL certification concentrates on performance and requires a ‘pass’ score in these seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. With WELL certification awarded at one of three levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum, it is now much easier to gauge the gaps between comfort, well being and employee work output.
There is much research showing the effects of lighting, noise, temperature, and CO2 on our productivity.
That lull in energy you’re feeling might not be a sugar crash after all. Don’t blame it all on cake. There is a marked connection between light and productivity amongst other key factors. Daylight and “blue-enriched light bulbs” help employees stay alert by lowering melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. But that’s not the only factor at play here influencing our alertness.
We are less conscientious of air quality, but poor indoor air quality also cuts productivity. Insufficient ventilation concentrates pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2). High CO2 levels have been shown to reduce concentration, attention span, and memory in classrooms.
The adverse effects of poor air quality can be dangerous (see Sick Building Syndrome).
To address these issues companies are recycling indoor air to maintain healthy CO2 levels.
Clacking keyboards, co-workers yakking away and phones ringing are some of the common gripes employees give for the reduction in their concentration. World GBC’s 2016 report estimates that productivity dropped by 66% in performance and concentration due to ambient noise distractions.
It’s probably no surprise that with high temperatures (over 32C), productivity declines but the same is true when the temperature decreases below 15C, making people less focused on work and thus less productive. A 2004 study links fewer typing errors and higher productivity when work spaces are warm enough. Let’s not forget about humidity either as that affects perceived temperature and comfort levels so keeping a good level of it is key to maintaining a healthy and productive office environment.
Our clients use sensors for light, noise, temperature, and CO2, as well as measuring air quality (i.e. particulates) and various gasses including potentially harmful ones (e.g. VOC and CO) to monitor the workplace environment and help create healthier surroundings. Pollution in large cities is increasingly problematic and it is vital that HVAC systems successfully filter out pollutants and gases from the outside world so employees can go about their days confident they are not compromising their well being just by going to work. OpenSensors aggregates data from a variety of sensors for the next generation of smart Building Management Systems and with experience in helping companies combine data from new workplace sensors, even interoperating it seamlessly with existing systems is easily done. We also operate the world’s largest repository of air quality data and process over 10 million sensor messages per day – that’s the equivalent of one message each for the entire population of Portugal!
It has never been easier to measure environmental factors within buildings and analyse the data to give a fully comprehensive overview. Companies can optimise employee well being and efficiency using data from light, noise, temperature, and CO2 sensors with unprecedented ease. A win win for everyone.
The uptake of new technologies such as the Internet of Things is accelerating in Commercial Real Estate
OpenSensors Founder and CEO Yodit Stanton was a guest speaker on a panel for Bisnow’s ‘Future of Real Estate Event’ which brought the most innovative & creative industry players.
The uptake of new technologies such as the Internet of Things is accelerating in Commercial Real Estate, with a significant % of landlords, occupiers and contractors taking part in deployments and developing a comprehensive plan of action with regards to integration.
The benefits to the property world, will be seen in terms of workplace efficiencies, energy savings and employee’s wellbeing. It was clear that the savvy technology buyers of smart buildings understood that these benefits would only be delivered by demanding technology providers integrate seamlessly with all products of the built environment. With the significant traction that sensing technologies are gaining in the marketplace, technology companies will be rightly held to a high standard on interoperability with existing systems.