IoT lights will help offices get more from less

The value of IoT (internet of Things) lighting technology can be measured in square metres, says Gabriel Wetzel of Bosch Software Innovations.

The company has supported lighting installations with its IoT software, where sensors built into luminaires keep track of the number of people in office and meeting rooms, so businesses can get more use out of every square metre of building space.

A major trial is underway in at the London headquarters of Land Securities: The property developer is exploring the benefits connected lighting solutions can bring to commercial buildings. Therefore Zumtobel Group Services provided a customised solution, implementing luminaires, sensors and a lighting management system together with the cloud-based IoT software of Bosch Software Innovations in three meeting rooms in the building.

Wetzel explains: ‘The system needs two parts: the first part is sensing, and the second part is the software, where we acquire all the data coming from sensors, and that’s where Bosch comes in. We filter, analyse and represent this data in an intelligent way, so the building operator is able to read it, understand it and take measures based on it.’

Users access the interface on a smartphone, tablet or PC, with different dashboards designed for different business functions, such as general users, managers, or HR. 

‘Each desk will be monitored, and in each room you’ll have an easy way to interact with the system, to book rooms, or to find a colleague that you want to meet with

Gabriel Wetzel of Bosch Software Innovations

One of the most promising applications for the technology is space management. Anyone who has worked in an office knows that meeting rooms are often left empty, even when they have been booked. Wetzel says that typically only 50 to 60 per cent of rooms in an office are occupied at one time.

By using rooms more smartly, companies have the potential to save on the space they occupy. This means the business case is 'pretty easy to calculate', says Wetzel: the ROI can be measured in square metres. And that’s not to mention the savings that can be made by turning off lighting and HVAC when rooms are not in use.

Space management is likely to become increasingly important in today’s flexible office environments, where employees don’t necessarily have a fixed desk location, says Wetzel. ‘If you do desk sharing, you probably have fewer desks than people because they’re not all in the office at one time, so it makes sense to know if you have enough for everyone who is there. You can also help employees find the right desk in a big building. For example if you occupy several floors, it could be helpful to know that there is free space on the floor below. Or if you’re running a small project, you might want to find a spot where there are 10 desks together. This kind of flexibility is really important.’

At Land Securities, the lighting system in the three rooms is controlled via Litecom, a lighting management system which also enables data services. The system works in association with the existing Dali instillation and in the future it will also be able to support technologies including Power over Ethernet (PoE). In one office space, human centric light is considered and Litecom is utilised to control tunable white luminaires. The focus of this room is the increasing of people’s productivity and well-being through lighting. In a meeting room, the intelligent lighting system reacts to the way the space is being used and it is able to adapt to different discussion and presentation scenarios. The occupancy data collected is analysed and visualised on a cloud-based dashboard that has been co-developed between Bosch Software Innovations and Zumtobel Group Services.

The technology could also make it easier for businesses to share office space with each other, by tracking where space is left unused.

While Bosch’s software provides the means to analyse the data, Wetzel is clear that the data itself belongs to the customer. Customers can use the data for whatever they like, but no data is collected or shared between customers, even in anonymised form.

With other kinds of sensors, the same technology could also be used to monitor air quality and enable predictive maintenance of lighting and other equipment. And space management systems could be easily integrated with services such as parking, allowing visitors to reserve a parking space while they attend a meeting.

In the future, Wetzel believes the technology will contribute to offices becoming ever more flexible. ‘Each desk will be monitored, and in each room you’ll have an easy way to interact with the system, to book rooms, or to find a colleague that you want to meet with. That's future for all of us, first installations are already running.'

 

  • The new Gooee Arena at the heart of the LuxLive 2017 is dedicated to lighting and the Internet-of-Things.  The exhibition and conference on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November. Entry is free if you pre-register at www.luxlive.co.uk