How to Light, IoT/Smart

What do smart sensors ‘see’?

This question has been answered by Neil Salt, managing director and co-founder, Gooee.

Article 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR) states: ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

But there is growing concern that our privacy is being invaded by more surreptitious means. As we bring more smart technology into our personal and working lives, are we also allowing the hidden microphones and cameras, so beloved of spy thrillers, along with that technology?

Smart technology requires information on its immediate environment for it to function, but it certainly doesn’t need to know, specifically, who has come into a room for it to adjust the lighting. The sensors that Gooee developed for integration into light fixtures do not function like cameras as we know them.

Gooee explains what data is gathered by utilising light end points around a building, store or office and allays any fears about intrusive monitoring. Gooee’s IoT Building Intelligence Platform turns smart lighting into a powerful tool to generate essential data about how building space is being used and the energy that is consumed. Here are a few of the functions.

Occupancy of a room: The Gooee sensor has the ability to determine presence, absence and direction of movement. It does this by analysing the contrast difference in light and interprets human movement using algorithms. No imagery is captured in the process, purely ‘zeros and ones’ in the form of data. This ‘event data’ (for example, someone is still in the room) is encrypted and sent securely to the cloud to perform an action locally, such as leave lights and heating on. The cost of commercial space can be very expensive. Knowing how often a meeting room is used can help management to judge if paid-for space is being used to its full capacity, where it is being underutilised, and how it can be optimised. Significant savings on energy can be made, and tenants and workers can benefit from enhancements to their work environment.

Lighting levels: The sensor acts similarly to a conventional illuminance meter and can report on illumination levels. This data is interpreted and used in Gooee’s daylight harvesting system, whereby natural light can offset the use of artificial lighting for much of the day. This has the positive impact of reducing energy costs for real estate owners and businesses alike.

Lighting ‘health’: The sensor can provide feedback information on the performance of a lighting fixture. If the fixture is operating outside normal parameters, it can be flagged up for a visit from the maintenance crew. Managers of a smart lighting system benefit from an easy-to-use dashboard to monitor and receive alerts about the functioning level of the lights in their building portfolio.

There is an aspect of the Gooee platform that can assist third-party applications to identify an individual who has given consent. This is based on sending out a signal from the lights that is picked up on mobile phones via bluetooth. This is referred to as a ‘beacon’. If you opt in, and have your phone set to connect to the building (be that your smart home, office or store where you enjoy the benefits of a loyalty scheme), then the lighting will work like an indoor GPS providing a guidance system that can assist in wayfinding and indoor positioning. Gooee’s ecosystem can help businesses utilise this by, for example, encouraging customer engagement in a store by sending them a promotion of the product that they are standing near. However, you have to opt in to receive these messages.

That is part of the quid pro quo of using smart technology to improve one’s life and environment. The system needs to know that you are there, but it doesn’t need to know what kind of hat you’re wearing!

 

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