Beacons for Smart Space Management

Smart space management refers to the use of technology to optimise the use and efficiency of physical spaces such as buildings, offices, factories, and other facilities. This involves integrating various systems such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), security, and occupancy sensors, to create a more intelligent and responsive environment that can adapt to the needs of users and the environment.

The benefits of smart space management include improved energy efficiency, reduced operating costs, enhanced security and safety, increased productivity and employee satisfaction, and better utilisation of resources. By using real-time data from sensors and other devices, smart space management systems optimise the use of space, automate routine tasks, and provide valuable insights into how spaces are being used, enabling better decision-making and resource allocation.

Bluetooth beacons can be used for smart space management by providing a way to track and monitor the location of people and assets within a space. Beacons are small, low-cost devices that use Bluetooth technology to communicate with other devices such as smartphones, WiFi gateways, and other connected devices. By placing beacons throughout a space, it’s possible to track the movements of people and assets, and gather data on how spaces are being used.

For example, beacons can be used to track occupancy of employees within an office building, enabling more efficient use of meeting rooms and other shared spaces. They can also be used to monitor the movement of equipment, machinery, goods and materials. Additionally, beacons can be used for indoor navigation, providing visitors with directions to specific locations within a building and helping to improve the overall user experience.

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Using Beacons in Building Information Modelling (BIM)

The Journal of Information Technology in Construction has a new new paper on BIM Integrated Post-Occupancy Evaluation System for Office Buildings (pdf). It describes a system that enables conducting space-time queries and visualization of collected feedback to support effective decision-making in facilities management (FM).

The system collected occupant feedback on their comfort needs along with the contextual information and presented this to facility managers. This data is critical for assessing occupant satisfaction and for identifying the operation and maintenance (O&M) issues in good time so as to improve resource efficiency in buildings.

Bluetooth beacons were used for locating the occupants which has the advantages of wide range of usage, low cost and being simple to use. Beacons had to be placed so that they were not obscured by the building elements and signal levels were adjusted to avoid interference between the beacon signals.

The system demonstrated that such systems are practical, usable and that real-time building performance data can be collected and analysed.

Workplace Office Software Using iBeacons

Robin is workplace software that allows teams to manage meeting space and desk inventory via an office map. It uses iBeacons to determine worker presence.

People can book meeting rooms, move desks and find their teammates quicker. Analytics allow better understanding of space usage, identification of under-utilized areas and discovery of patterns in occupancy to proactively improve the office layout.

Robin has features that provide for return to work during the Covid pandemic with facilities to set up socially distanced seating plans that allow for your ideal capacity.

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Bluetooth Sensors for the Smart Home

Karl Wachs, author of the pibeacon plugin for indigo domotics Mac-based smart home software, has a new release on GitHub that includes many INGICS and Minew sensor beacons on our web store.

Indigo domotics provides complex conditions and advanced scheduling via an intuitive interface. The detection of Bluetooth sensors greatly expands the capabilities of the system.

Apple Mac Smart Home
Smart Home on the Apple Mac – Indigo also provide iOS and Web based interfaces.

The plugin tracks iBeacons using multiple Raspberry Pis. Sensor data is read and sent to a variety of output devices.

The use of the system isn’t just limited to the smart home. The system can be used in offices and industry SMEs to provide for arbitrary sensor based detection and triggering.

Please note BeaconZone only supplies Business to Business.

Kiosk Pro for iOS Uses iBeacons

Kiosk Pro is an app for iOS that turns an iPad into a public kiosk.

The technical documentation shows how you can trigger the showing of specific information when in the vicinity of a particular beacon. For example, if the kiosk is static, people with different beacons might trigger the showing of different information. If the kiosk is moving, for example a tablet being held, it might trigger the showing of different information based on the location of, for example, different exhibits. The kiosk can also be set to advertise iBeacon that can be picked up in iOS and Android apps.

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Bluetooth for Smart Buildings

While there’s lots of technology used in much of our lives, most buildings currently don’t use much technology. The current low level of sophistication is such that people tend to suffer uncomfortable buildings with common complaints rooms are “too hot” or “too cold”. There are clearly opportunities for significant improvement, not just for occupants but also for companies occupying buildings, the building owners and solution vendors.

Last year, the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), a leading international industry organisation with 380+ corporate members created a free white paper ‘Creating a New Deal for Buildings’ (pdf).

The paper explains how building automation systems (BAS) and IoT devices can be used to improve the value and utility of facilities. Solutions also provide ways to use less energy and ensure regulatory compliance.

The cost of automation systems isn’t large compared to building costs. The CABA are advocating the design of BAS, during the design phase, much earlier in the building process. The paper talks of the incentives and challenges. Open standards, ubiquitous connectivity and automatic discovery of devices are seen as aiding uptake. The paper goes on to clearly describe the benefits for owners, tenants and vendors. It also covers issues such as privacy, data ownership and sustainability.

The paper says:

“The introduction of LED lighting and the digitalization of lighting control systems add additional optimization dimensions to the interoperability potential of the BAS”

The first wave of Bluetooth Mesh devices have been connected lighting solutions. Bluetooth connected lighting paves the way for further innovations, on top, such as sensor networks for automation and control, asset management solutions and navigation solutions.

Bluetooth is is particularly suitable for smart buildings due to:

  • Compatibility and inter-operability. Vendors products work together and systems can be accessed via ubiquitous smartphones.
  • Low power. Independent devices can run for years on battery power.
  • Low cost. Standards based devices lower components and hence costs.

View the Bluetooth video on ‘The Expanding Role of Bluetooth in Smart Buildings’:

View Sensor Beacons

Read Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT)