Taking workplace occupancy monitoring to a new level with Massive IoT
In this blog we take a look at how a collaboration between 3 companies led to a successful development of a massive IoT product for Workplace Occupancy Monitoring.
Based in Ottawa, Canada, Canadian IoT solutions and platform provider RedLore built a Workplace Occupancy IoT solution for one of the world’s leading Workplace Occupancy specialists.. Wirepas was on hand to provide the low-power wireless mesh network.
RedLore’s customer is an expert in Workplace Occupancy Monitoring. And that’s a big deal: some of the world’s largest corporate real estate organizations depend on their workspace analytics platform and industry expertise to help evolve their global real estate portfolio with confidence.
The customer’s analytics platform offers cloud-based data visualizations that provide accurate and actionable insight into office space utilization. IoT devices underneath each desk integrate several sensors, the signals of which are combined to accurately assess whether a person is present.
For IoT specialist RedLore, selecting the right IoT technology was absolutely key. Allowing the application to scale to thousands of devices in a single building, run for years on a battery and have the ability to remotely and wirelessly upgrade the devices to enable new features.
RedLore selected the Wirepas low-power mesh communication technology from a list of more than 30 IoT communication technologies, which also included ZigBee and Bluetooth/BLE. A decisive factor in favor of Wirepas Mesh was that all sensor devices can route messages for other devices to bridge long distances to a gateway, and can do so while operating for years on a minimal energy budget.
“We found that Wirepas Mesh not only fit the technical needs, but also presented a mature platform that was optimized to be simple and reliable to build solutions upon. It allowed us to go from a paper specification to a certified product in only 4 months.”
Niek Van Dierdonck, CEO of RedLore
Rather than following the traditional path of pushing all the raw sensor data to the gateway or the cloud and run the algorithms there, RedLore had another solution. Their Sensor Analytics Wizard (SAW) was used to develop the occupancy detection algorithms locally on the IoT device itself. The major advantage of local sensor analytics is that the low-power devices needn’t send out messages if there is no change in occupancy status. And thanks to the smaller volume of messages in the network, the network can grow larger and the device’s battery lasts longer.
At present tens of thousands of devices have been deployed in the field, with the largest installation comprising of more than 3000 devices.
“The added benefit of the RedLore/Wirepas IoT combination is that we can gradually add new use cases and applications to existing installations because the occupancy sensors form a backbone network. HVAC monitoring and environmental monitoring are the obvious candidates that customers wish to deploy.”RedLore’s customer CEO
As the installation partners of RedLore’s customer can often only install at night and on weekends, the installation has to be quick and right the first time. To this end RedLore’s customer is using RedLore’s Sensor Installation App. It uses the Near-Field Communication interface of the nRF52832 to commission devices in the field. Network and device configuration parameters are sent to the device. At the same time, the installation location of the device is uploaded in real-time to the dashboard.