Sensors – exactly where you are
Determine the subject for measuring, install the sensors and utilise the information. Wireless technology provides almost infinite possibilities for the placement of sensors.
At a workplace, for example, sensors can be used to measure the utilisation of premises. A sensor hidden on a table can identify someone within a half meter radius. This information can then be used to monitor in real-time how building premises are used.
“This provides many benefits for an activity-based environment, where no one has their own workstations. Employees can choose for themselves, in each case, the most suitable place to work”, says Specialist of Maintenance Digitalisation Esa Halmetoja from Senate Properties.
“Whilst one is commuting to work, they can use their phone to find out where the free workstations are or if there are any meeting rooms available.”
Senate Properties has about 10 000 buildings under their management, so there are certainly enough locations to measure. A few pilots are underway to monitor the conditions of office buildings. In practice, data from wireless sensors is compared to the readings generated by building automation.
“For example, we have designed such a thing that one end of an office can be kept cooler than the other end. Staff can, thus, set themselves down in the exact temperature conditions that they prefer. The objective of the measurements is to obtain the best possible conditions, so that work can be performed as efficiently as possible.”
Do the sensors emit dangerous radiation? Is it yet worth investing in sensor technology? Should we be worried about data security? We assembled seven current claims about sensor technology. Read what Esa Halmetoja, Specialist from Senate Properties, answered.
7 claims concerning sensors
Sensor technology – like new technologies at all times – involves a great deal of wonders, doubts and hearsay. We presented seven current claims about sensors to Esa Halmetoja, Specialist from Senate Properties.
Claim 1: Sensor technology is expensive
”It has been, but it is no longer. At best, high-quality sensors can be set at 30 euros per measurement point. When we go in for dozens of thousands of sensors, the price is, of course, cheaper. This applies to sensors as well as other technologies: with the same money you can get more today than you could one year ago. The development is really fast.”
Claim 2: Batteries run out quickly
”The batteries of the best current sensors last for up to five years, and, in basic models, they may last even three years. Some people talk about ten years, but there is no evidence of this yet. The batteries can last for a long time, as sensors only send data when there is something of interest to report. They are smart and able to ponder what information should be sent forward.”
”There are sensors used in industry which have a small generator that is powered by motor vibrations. Thus, there is no need to charge the battery separately. The latest addition is ultraviolet recharging. An ultraviolet transmitter is plugged into an electric socket and, for example, a thermostat is placed a few meters away on an opposite wall. It charges with ultraviolet rays. It does not matter if there is a person or furniture in front. Charging continues when the obstacle is removed. This Israeli invention is already coming onto the market.”
Claim 3: The more sensors, the more Big Brother is watching you
”Fact. Of course, legislation creates an obstruction to such tracking that will create a kind of personal register. A new EU privacy regulation will also come to tighten up the regulations. Sure, sensors can measure almost anything, but the limit for me is that I do not want to measure people, but the surrounding environment. On the other hand, the sensors are also a safety factor. In an emergency, one can quickly see where everyone is in the building.”
”We have a plan to try sensor buttons on our staff. When you come to work, you take an identification button and choose from your mobile phone, whether you want to be visible. If you answer yes, the button in question will know who you are and others will see where you are. If you answer no, the system will not identify you.”
Claim 4: Sensors emit dangerous radiation
”The radio waves with which the sensors work are not dangerous. It does increase the amount of radio waves significantly in the premises where people are. So far, there is no scientific evidence that the radio frequencies used by the sensors and the power they use would be harmful to humans.”
Claim 5: Technology is in the development phase, so it is not worth investing in
”Yes, it is worth it. We are already at the level where the products are ripe for the market. Wearable sensor technology and virtual reality solutions are still rising. By the way, the current sensor technology is completely production-ready stuff – it’s just everyday life!”
Claim 6: The quality of the sensors varies
”True. It is difficult to know what is of good quality. At present, the quality varies considerably, for example, in Chinese sensors. The top countries are India, Taiwan and South Korea. In these, the expertise is at the top level and there are high-quality low-cost products available. The components of many Finnish companies come from those countries.”
Claim 7: The data security concerning sensors is weak
”In reality, a sensor to be mounted on a wall is unintelligent with regards to data security. It only sends information forward, when set circumstances change. If the room has been 21 ° C all day, the sensor will only send data when the temperature drops. Even if someone gets hold of the data with some sort of technology, it would not be greatly damaging. Well, they would, of course, find out about the temperature variations. A small risk exists. It could be countered by never collecting data that could be misused.”