Brief story about how IoT helped us create a more efficient and sustainable environment in our office.
Busy fun working days are back at LORIOT’s office in Spain!
As our team keeps growing, we’ve wanted to shortly step away from our regular network operating tasks and get our hands on a tangible use case that would turn our workplace into a healthier and safer space. We are back to spending more time in the office and we thought that creating a comfortable environment would help everyone enjoy office time even more.
Different questions arise when you do some research on what the ideal conditions for a workplace are: Is there enough light? What’s the perfect temperature? (To be honest here we need to assume that there will never be a perfect temperature for everyone xD) Is the air we are breathing safe? Luckily, having to open the windows to have better VOC or CO2 levels is never too bad in sunny Valencia, but we wanted to have some accurate real data that would help us know when and why to do so.
It’s been an amazing experience for our colleagues to get to see all this information flowing in real time. Plus it has also generated some intense conversations about the different values that are being measured. What a surprise, we were all indoor air quality experts and we didn’t know! Here’s a brief story about it.
Our Italian partners from Enginko were happy to send us one of their LoRaWAN® devices to contribute to the cause. Their MCF-LW12CO2E is a battery powered sensor for indoor applications that reads temperature, relative humidity, pressure, ambient light, IAQ air quality index and CO2.
This are just some of the device’s most common applications:
Schools, universities, kindergartens
Public and private offices
House of worship
Museums and exhibitions
The first step was to find a spot away from direct sunlight and heating sources like radiators, conveyors, TV, lights etc. and far away from doors and windows. Easy!.
The next thing was to find someone with a steady hand. It wasn’t that easy but anyway the chosen one had everyone else’s support!
With the sensor properly installed and after a very easy registration process on one of our Public Servers, information started to flow and as the green light showed, we were not doing bad at all.
The different lights are a great option to have a quick overview of what the quality of the air is, but we can’t keep our eyes on it all the time, so it was time to get the best out of those LoRaWAN® payloads.
And the guys from Datacake were going to help us with that.
We’ve been testing the platform for some time now and we are delighted with how easy to use and practical it is. In fact Datacake will be included on our UI as one of the suggested outputs for pushing data to the Application Server in the next version of our LoRaWAN NEtwork Server (LNS). So stay tuned for this and many other new features and improvements coming in the next months.
It’s time to decode the payload and check the different values that the sensor is monitoring:
We set up the sensor to send data every 20 minutes, which we believe is the right balance between battery saving and information accuracy.
Creating a dashboard is one of the most exciting parts of building the use case and we had a very good time doing it. As a result we can easily check the different values and how they change, especially as we carry out actions such as switching on and off the lights or letting some fresh air in.
You can even create rules to make sure you get notifications when something remarkable happens. Extracting the real value out of the data that we are receiving and being able to put that to good use is the best way to really see and realize how companies can benefit from the technology.
According to experts these are some of the things to take into consideration regarding the air quality and conditions in an office.
The ideal average room temperature should vary between 20 and 23 °C and from 40 and 60 % relative humidity
Levels of 600-800 ppm are typical in office environments. Guidelines suggest CO2 levels do not exceed 1000 ppm but some individuals are sensitive to CO2 levels as low as 600 ppm so action may even be warranted at lower levels.
Between 0 and 250 ppb VOC (Volatile organic compound) contents in the air are low. Anything between 250 and 2500 is not yet considered very high but if persisting for more than a month we should start looking for VOC sources such as cleaning products, paints and other chemicals, among others.
Optimal lighting conditions should be between 300-500 lux
With all this in mind, we decided to set up some rules that would warn us when needed. This will not only make our time in the office more pleasant but also allow us to make a more efficient use of our AC system.
When setting up rules, Datacake offers you different options, such as sending an email, an SMS or even sending a downlink to our devices/actuators.
In our case we found particularly useful the option to integrate with our Slack chat via webhook:
But believe us, this is just the beginning! We are already thinking about what our next project could be and we are open to suggestions.
What do you think should be our next use case for our particular LORIOT LoRaWAN Lab? Do you have any ideas to turn our office into an even smarter place? We can’t wait to hear from you!
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