What do Space Planners and Facilities Managers really want to know…?
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:
- Desk utilisation
- How many flexible desks and bookable desks do you need?
- What are the trends of usage over the course the day, week or month?
- When is peak usage?
- Footfall (circulation and breakout areas)
- What is the usage and traffic for common and breakout areas like toilet facilities and kitchens?
- What are the trends of usage over the course the day or days of the week or weeks of the month?
- Meeting room quantity and size
- What is the right mix of meeting rooms for collaboration and communication?
- How many and how big should they be?
- What type of equipment such as projectors, large monitors, and white boards are needed and can be accommodated?
- Environmental issues (noise, lighting, CO2, humidity and temperature)
- What impacts employee wellness and productivity?
- What is appropriate noise level for the tasks employees are performing?
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 the 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.