Feature, IoT/Smart Lighting, Office

Nestlé’s lighting checks air, heat, noise and more

In a pilot project, the luminaires at Nestlé have been equipped with sensors that monitor the way the office is being used and measure the quality of the air, including factors such as ambient temperature, all of which can be monitored by mobile phone. Pic: Adrien Barakat

THE LIGHTING at the Swiss headquarters of food and drink multinational Nestlé does more than merely illuminate: it constantly monitors temperature, air quality, noise levels and space utilisation.

The pilot project provides extensive insights into how companies can make the most out of their offices.  Pic: Adrien Barakat

The ground-breaking pilot project at the company’s office in Vevey is said to lower operating costs by up to 20 per cent.

The luminaires have been specially equipped with sensors that monitor the way the office is being used and measure the quality of the air, including factors such as ambient temperature. These metrics can then be used to improve the working environment and optimise space utilisation. A three-month test period – which started in February this year – covered some 30 workstations.

Company chiefs want to assess how to improve the work environment, especially in relation to flexible desk management and improved air quality and reduced operating costs.

Zumtobel Group Services installed 15 customised free-standing luminaires for the pilot, where each fitting is designed to illuminate a double workstation.

Integrated sensors collect anonymous occupancy data and general information about the environment – easily checked and interpreted via a web-based dashboard.

Over the course of the three-month period, the company carried out additional in-depth analysis of the information gathered and supported the customer with expert advice.

‘The pilot project offered us not just the chance to test the practicality and implementation of the desk-sharing concept, but also to show our customer the potential for optimisation,’ explained Georg Terlecki-Zaniewicz, Project Manager IoT from ZGS. ‘The results show savings of up to 20 per cent in terms of energy and overhead costs.

‘At the same time office carriers can provide a pleasant and more productive working environment for their employees.’

The free-standing luminaires enable the sensors to be located close to the users, where they can directly track aspects such as air quality, temperature and ambient noise level.

An integrated wireless module also increases the flexibility of the entire concept, as the luminaires do not require a separate cable to transmit the information.

Light provides the infrastructure for sensors that are programmed to monitor air temperature, humidity and air pressure, as well as carbon dioxide and VOC values.

The dashboard offers quick access to the collated air-quality data, while Zumtobel has also carried out detailed analysis to provide facility managers with data and insights.

The findings can then be used to automate and optimise the operation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system as and when required, which in turn lowers energy costs.

Zumtobel says that when nobody is in the office, there is no need for the space to be ventilated. The added value for employees is optimum air quality and therefore a better and more productive working environment.

Especially in winter, the air is likely to dry out faster with fewer people in the room. Taking the occupancy level into account means that the relative humidity can be maintained at a good level.

‘The purpose of the pilot project is to demonstrate the reliability of the environmental data collected and to further improve its accuracy,’

Tariq Hussain, Zumtobel Group’s head of strategic partnerships told Lux. ‘This will allow us to achieve better needs-based automatisation and air control.’

Additional sound pressure sensors in the luminaires can also gauge the noise level and identify particularly noisy areas.

The pilot project provides insights into how companies can make the most out of their offices.

This means that a specific area could be used more efficiently to accommodate extra users or, in extreme cases, that whole offices could be rented out – cutting operating costs and perhaps even helping generate additional income. Building managers can identify and analyse the key performance indicators in terms of workplace usage and occupancy, enabling to answer a series of important questions: How many workplaces are being used on certain days at particular times? How often is full utilisation really achieved?

Based on the information provided by the lighting, peak times can be patterned and compensated much more effectively.

Additionally, space and operating costs can be optimised. It is even possible that employees can find colleagues and locate vacant workspaces or meeting rooms in their vicinity using a dedicated app that is linked to the dashboard.


  • Learn more about connected lighting systems at the inaugural Property Technology Conference, which focuses on the exciting digital applications of connected lighting and features a rolling programme of talks, panels discussions and demonstrations. It’s one of eight different conference tracks taking place at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018 at ExCeL London. See the full programme HERE.