Lighting control and more taking guest experience to a new level

Case Mount Kelvin: A symphony of 4,786 lights at VALO Hotel & Work

The challenge

Beyond lighting: wireless hotel automation

Mount Kelvin is changing the guest experience, one hotel at a time. The company’s principle is total lighting control, which means that all luminaires in a room including table, floor and reading lamps can be controlled with the Mount Kelvin guest room management system. VALO Hotel & Work (‘valo’ means ‘light’ in Finnish) in Helsinki presented a unique challenge: each of its 422 rooms are hotel rooms by night, office spaces by day. So with hundreds of rooms, dozens of public areas and thousands of luminaires that must do double duty to create different room experiences, how do you enable both kinds of guests to optimise their lighting? To further complicate the picture, VALO management layered in a need for occupancy data, motion-driven guest location data and future functionality like adding sensors to control motorised curtains.

Mount Kelvin

The right lighting and temperature control can mean the difference between a good stay and a delightful one. Mount Kelvin is a guest room management system that’s easy to use, super-easy to install and operate…and does its bit in preserving the planet.

Mount Kelvin

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The solution

Wirepas Massive enables total control

Your average lighting control system is optimised for one thing: command lighting, which requires relatively low data traffic. The lighting solution that VALO needed involved all lights – floor, ceiling, wall and desk lighting – as well as transmitting occupancy data. Such variability and information retrieval increases data load dramatically over command functionality.

For wireless control, there are two options: Star topology and Mesh topology. Wifi is a good example of Star topology, where base stations are required for wireless coverage. Mesh is divided in two categories, flooding mesh (BLE Mesh) and routing Mesh. When you add devices in flooding mesh, they impact network loads almost exponentially, because data is transmitted everywhere. Centralized routing mesh (Zigbee) requires that all commands need to go through a gateway and then to the device in question. Wirepas provides adaptive flooding and adaptive routing, a decentralized structure that’s ideal for quick communication, as it allows each device to dynamically choose the best route to get data to the cloud.

With traditional wireless connectivity, many small Zigbee subnets would be required to deliver data. At VALO you might need 40 sensor-dedicated subnets, all painstakingly engineered not to interfere with each other and with Wifi channels reserved for guest and management usage. Need to add a luminaire to such a network? It would have to be custom-commissioned to a specifc sub-network. With Wirepas Massive, the entire hotel forms one massive mesh network, where signals travel from device to device, automatically selecting the most available channels. This enables installations like VALO to scale very large, with little design constraint, as long as there is a sufficient density of devices. In the coming years, it will be super easy to replace or add luminaires or sensors.

Mount Kelvin guest room management systems were quickly installed to enable the management and control of lighting solutions and motion sensors, for both visitors and VALO employees. Over the years, device firmware can be updated over-the-air (OTA) thanks to Wirepas Massive.

The results

Wonderful lighting, valuable data

Most hotel lighting solutions can’t provide the wealth of options that guests want while keeping things simple and intuitive. Nor do they provide the data that management needs to make better business decisions. Wirepas Mesh is as robust as wires, but much easier to install and modify. Mount Kelvin, together with Wirepas, changed all of this for VALO. In addition to quickly and simply achieving just the right lighting in public spaces and rooms, hotel management are building heat maps of space usage throughout the hotel – valuable occupancy data that staff will use to optimise hotel usage and space.

Wirepas Massive
Wirepas Massive allows us to scale the size of our installations with very few design constraints. With BLE Mesh or Zigbee, we would have ended up planning and installing small subnets and still suffering data throughput issues. With Wirepas we just need a sufficient density of devices – no one needs to think about device placement. That makes installations fast…and simple. There’s nothing else like it.

Visa Parviainen CTO, Mount Kelvin

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How does it work

Simple, yet sophisticated architecture for Wifi -worry-free installation

LED drivers from Helvar and sensors running Wirepas Massive software automatically search for each other and form an efficient, robust mesh network over which Mount Kelvin guest room management system data travels. The more sensors there are in the network, the stronger the signal, in adjacent rooms and between floors. Mount Kelvin powers most switches with motion-driven energy (no batteries required), while occupancy sensors are mains-powered. Devices communicate with each other using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ultra-low-power 2.4 GHz nRF52832 hardware from Nordic Semiconductor. Since hotels are full of Wifi signals and there’s a lot of radio chatter in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, each device running Wirepas Massive dynamically jumps channels and uses minimal transmition power in order to save energy and to minimise impact with other devices. Thanks to Wirepas Massive, VALO’s entire lighting and sensor network connects to the Internet via a single network gateway.

Each hotel room typically includes:

  • Ceiling, wall, floor and/or LED strip luminaires

  • Luminaire drivers by Helvar

  • Switches and power sockets

  • Door sensors

  • Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors

The Mount Kelvin gateway is the most sophisticated part of the system. Paired with the Wirepas Massive network, it replaces all individual room control components. It represents a huge savings in cost and space, and vastly simplifies installations. Working together, the gateway control, Wirepas Massive technology and wireless switches made installation a snap.

True value

The right lighting, simple installation, data harvesting and future-proofing

Just the right lighting can make a hotel visit so much more enjoyable. But when each room doubles as a workspace, lighting modularity is crucial. With the Mount Kelvin system connecting over Wirepas Massive, the VALO team was able to achieve just the right lighting effect for all scenarios. They were also able to gather sensor data that will enable them to further optimise the guest experience. Another advantage of the Wirepas Massive/Mount Kelvin system is that it is inexpensive to install and simple to change—adding luminaires and additional sensors of different kinds is simple, with no commissioning required.

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