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)

New Kaipule Bluetooth Sensors

We have a new range of Kaipule Bluetooth sensors that while intended for OEM alarm systems are stand-alone as regards Bluetooth. They are sensor beacons, sending out Bluetooth LE advertising when events occur.

There’s a gas detector, smoke detector, temperature/humidity sensor, water leak sensor, door sensor, PIR movement sensor and remote control.

Bluetooth Temperature/Humidity Sensor
Bluetooth PIR Sensor

All, apart from the remote control, have a low battery report when the battery is low and a heartbeat every 10 minutes.

The style and functionality of the Kaipule products make them particularly suited to smart building applications.

The Use of Beacons in Smart Cities

There’s a recent paper by Gonzalo Cerruela García, Irene Luque Ruiz, and Miguel Ángel Gómez-Nieto of the University of Córdoba, Spain on State of the Art, Trends and Future of Bluetooth Low Energy, Near Field Communication and Visible Light Communication in the Development of Smart Cities (pdf)

The paper explains how technologies (NFC, BLE, VLC) will be important for the Internet of Things in smart cities and how they will need to be connected via LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Weightless, LTE, and 5G. With regard to Bluetooth LE they say:

Another challenge for the attention of BLE technology is the limited range problem; the range is directly dependent on Broadcasting Signal Power. An increase in signal power makes BLE devices less energy-efficient. Moreover it is necessary to improve accuracy in determining proximity to a BLE device.

The range problem will become less of an issue once Bluetooth 5 devices become available.