Smart Building Use Cases 3

Smart Building: 30 Use Cases You Can Implement Immediately (Part 3)

The third and final part of our article series is also about turning existing buildings into smart buildings with easy-to-implement solutions. Not because smart buildings are such a hyped topic right now, but because they can be used to achieve more efficient building operation, more security and a better user experience.

In case you missed the first parts: Click here for the first article and here for the second article – each with many interesting use cases.

Higher air quality for more concentration

Bad, stale air makes you tired and thus causes less ability to concentrate and more mistakes. This has an impact on educational institutions, offices, but also in production environments, where it can even increase the number of occupational accidents. The appropriate countermeasure is usually quite trivial: ventilation! But this is exactly what is done far too rarely in practice.

An approach that is as simple as it is efficient is therefore to monitor the CO2 content in the air using battery-powered wireless sensors. As soon as the recommended limit values are exceeded, a notification is given, for example by email, so that a quick response can be made.

  • More productive, focused employees
  • Fewer errors and accidents at work

Secure long-term archiving of important documents

Valuable documents, from old blueprints to delicate works of art, must be stored safely and under controlled conditions for years and decades. Deviations in temperature and, in particular, humidity can damage or irretrievably destroy these documents. The monitoring of environmental conditions must therefore be ensured reliably and permanently.

Compact indoor climate sensors can monitor temperature, humidity and even brightness. In the event of critical values, an alarm is triggered so that a timely response can be taken. Thanks to modern wireless technologies such as LoRa, it is also possible to network basements without reception problems.

  • Ensuring ideal environmental conditions in archives
  • Receive an immediate alarm message in case of problems

Control water consumption and save resources

High water consumption not only has a negative impact on the operating cost statement, but also on the ecological footprint. Only those who closely monitor consumption can take efficiency-enhancing measures and also detect leaking pipes.

By means of pulse counters, the units consumed in the smart building can be easily recorded and retrieved in real time via a dashboard. In addition, an alarm can be triggered if defined limit values are exceeded.

  • Save valuable resources and reduce costs

Ensure defibrillators are ready for use

Defibrillators save lives. Since every minute counts in an emergency, these life-saving devices are installed in more and more public places as well as in workplaces. But who ensures that the “defibrillator” is ready for use again in place after use?

This is where a simple monitoring solution can help: A low-cost wireless sensor detects when the device has been removed and informs those responsible in real time. In this way, it can be ensured that the defibrillator is ready for use again or is being made.

  • Ensure availability of life-saving defibrillators

Ensure a clear emergency exit or entrance

In the event of problems, emergency services must be on site quickly and have unhindered access, for example to office buildings, production halls or schools. Blocked or otherwise obstructed paths hinder the work of fire brigades, rescue services and the like, and so human lives are endangered in an emergency.

To rule this out, signs are usually (unfortunately) not enough. For this reason, passages and defined zones can also be easily monitored with wireless sensors. As soon as there is an unauthorized occupancy of these areas, an alarm is sounded so that an evacuation can be initiated quickly.

  • Ensure easy access for emergency services in the event of an emergency

Avoid mould instead of fighting it later

Mold is not only a nuisance, but also a health risk for residents. The renovation costs for mold-infested apartments, offices or warehouses can reach enormous proportions and make the premises temporarily unusable.

After it is basically known how mold forms – mold loves moisture above all! – the indoor climate can be monitored in a targeted manner so that mould cannot form in the first place.

Wireless sensors can be easily attached (and repositioned) at any location: in apartments, stairwells, basements, washrooms or other “endangered” places. Continuous monitoring of temperature and humidity provides important clues as to whether mould could develop and preventive measures should be taken.

  • Prevent mould and avoid expensive renovations

Connecting Networked Plants

That’s right: It often makes sense to equip technical systems that actually already have a digital control system or measuring devices integrated with additional monitoring. The reasons for this can be manifold: individual, important parameters are not recorded or transmission by radio (e.g. from the basement) is not possible with the existing system.

Often, due to the different building technology, there is a proliferation of different evaluation tools. On the one hand, keeping an eye on them is time-consuming. On the other hand, looking at it separately without the overall context simply doesn’t make sense or even leads to wrong conclusions.

Monitoring via “retrofit” is possible for almost all systems, from elevators to ventilation, and is usually quite easy and inexpensive to implement. This results in a central system, a kind of “cockpit” in which important data converges, together create a meaningful picture and show clear options for action.

  • Uniform monitoring system for the entire building technology
  • Make better decisions through the big picture

Optimizations based on customer and visitor frequency

Whether it’s queues at the counter or at the cash register, the occupancy rate of restaurant branches or in the gym: Anyone who automatically monitors visitor frequency can take concrete optimisation measures, for example through better personnel planning.

Battery-operated wireless sensors enable the simple and anonymous recording of the number of people by means of motion and infrared sensors. On the one hand, real-time data is generated, and on the other hand, historical data is generated, with which different time periods or locations can be compared at the push of a button.

  • React quickly and increase customer satisfaction (sales)
  • Gain valuable data for longer-term optimization

Always keep an eye on fill levels and storage tanks

When supplies of heating oil, hot water or other urgently needed materials run out unnoticed, this is not only annoying, but often also has financial implications. Even worse, also for the environment, are leaks, which usually go unnoticed for a long time.

On the one hand, monitoring the fill levels enables rapid notification so that replenishment can be organized in good time. This notification can also be sent directly to the supplier and thus the necessary stockpiling can be automatically ensured. On the other hand, leaks can be easily detected due to the precise monitoring of the fill levels.

  • No outages due to lack of inventories
  • Detect leaks immediately and avoid damage

Automated reading of gas meters

Among other things, smart meters will revolutionize the recording of gas consumption – in a few years or decades (nationwide!). Until then, labour-intensive journeys and manual reading of the meter will continue to be part of everyday life and cause a great deal of effort.

A cost-saving alternative is to retrofit existing meters so that consumption data can be transmitted in real time by radio – even from the basement. Various options are available for recording the data, such as pulse counters, so that a wide variety of gas meters can be connected.

  • No more labour-intensive on-site reading necessary
  • Real-time data for easier billing and optimization

Locating equipment or objects in the building

In large buildings, industrial plants or even on construction sites, objects – whether large or small – are regularly lost. And even if they are found later, valuable time was wasted in the search. It is often helpful to be able to track which paths or waypoints, for example, cleaning trolleys or forklifts have travelled.

Previous smart building solutions have often not been introduced. This is because the extremely high complexity and the associated costs, combined with a return on investment that is often difficult to quantify in advance, have caused many managers to hesitate.

New approaches, for example based on the combination of Bluetooth (BLE) and LoRa, enable particularly efficient tracking and thus suddenly turn use cases that were previously rather uninteresting for cost reasons into economic no-brainers.

  • Finding instead of searching: Locating any object
  • Track and optimize the paths traveled

Monitor emergency generators – even in remote areas

In particularly critical areas or when power outages cause high costs, emergency generators allow operations to be maintained. To ensure that these work when it counts, regular machine checks and sufficient suitable fuel are necessary. In practice, it also happens again and again that the necessary checks are not carried out or only insufficiently carried out at (internationally) scattered locations and the company headquarters cannot reliably understand this.

Simple monitoring of operating data, fuel supply and quality creates transparency and traceability. This ensures that there are no problems if the worst comes to the worst.

  • Ensuring the function of the emergency generators

This was the third and last part of our series for the time being! We hope there were some exciting cases for you! If you’re looking for even more inspiration, we recommend Part 1 and Part 2 of the Smart Building Use Case series.

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