Smart Light Sensors Make Sense Now In A Post-Covid-19 World

Here’s the new reality for the likes of architects, builders, M&E engineers, commercial landlords, and facilities managers. When you’re designing, creating, renting out, or looking after your buildings – you’ll no doubt be considering what the world’s been through with Covid-19 and what that means for you.

Social distancing and stringent hygiene standards have quickly become the norm. In the short-term, organisations were told to put tape on the floors; posters on the walls; and plastic screens around desks and tills. These manual interventions were and are necessary – but unnerving all the same. In the long-term, the coronavirus has shown many of us that we can work and live differently. Organisations are starting to look at their property portfolio in a new light.

Do we need as many buildings? Do we need as many people in our buildings? How can we work more effectively in those buildings? Can we use our space in smarter ways? What if this happens again?

Insight is the key to business continuity planning.

Knowledge of how space is utilised within a building – is extremely powerful – and can help with short-term decision making, as well as long-term planning. In other words, real-time data that tells you how your building is being used, so you can make informed choices about how to use it safely, effectively, and more efficiently. Not to mention, empowering the building occupants to make smart choices for themselves.

Luckily, this type of intelligence can be collected now – through smart sensors that are attached to your light fixtures – detecting, monitoring, and recording motion in your meeting rooms, shared workspaces and communal areas. This is intelligent lighting in action.Not only can this crucial insight be used to trigger instant alerts – but it can also activate immediate actions. These actions could be changing the colour of your lights when rooms get too full or doors that automatically lock when the building has reached maximum capacity.

Technology is less intrusive than one-metre markers.

Think how useful it would be, to have:

  1. A large screen in your reception that shows you what spaces or rooms in your building are free.
  2. Access to a heatmap that tells you when your building occupancy levels are getting too high.
  3. The insight to stand down your cleaning staff, because you know the boardroom hasn’t been used for two days, so it doesn’t need sanitising again.
  4. An alert when a floor is becoming too congested.
  5. Knowledge of your most and least used rooms and workspaces ­­– by the time of day, and by day of the week.

Firms are already benefitting from this insight today – using intelligent lighting systems within their buildings. This real-time data that their smart sensors collect is continuously being sent to a local, central repository, for their building managers to look at and use. For occupants, intelligent lighting will adapt – to anticipate and meet their needs. For example, when they walk into a meeting room, the lights will come on automatically. And when they walk back out, they’ll turn off straight away.

The enabler for intelligent lighting is a Cat6 data cabling infrastructure – that will usually reside in your ceiling grids and under your floors. The same cables that carry your data, your phone calls, your CCTV system – and now, your lighting. In other words, the ordinary 240V wiring that powers your lighting, is instead replaced by data cable. Smartengine from wtec – acting as the brain behind smart buildings – paired with a facility management application from Thing-It can deliver real-time building occupancy information via an app, to your mobile device, or desktop.

From instant alerts to visual reports – you’re suddenly able to empower occupants to find free spaces for themselves. And what’s more, make better, informed decisions about how you use your building going forward – by keeping an eye on the trends that are forming.

Those that could benefit should strike while the iron’s hot.

Organisations that are looking to rationalise their buildings estate, move into alternative premises, develop new spaces, or refurbish their current building – should really be considering how to make their buildings smarter – through a single, converged data cabling infrastructure. And, if you’re a commercial landlord looking to upgrade your accommodation – to make it more appealing to prospective tenants – it could be a total game-changer for you. Of course, the benefits of intelligent lighting go way beyond facilitating social distancing.

For example:

  • If you know how your spaces are used today, you can make smart decisions about how your building should be used tomorrow.
  • If your facility automatically adapts to what the occupants are doing, you’ll see a reduction in your operating costs and energy footprint. Scenariio post-occupation studies have found that building managers should expect to see a saving of up to 90%, in these two areas.
  • If you need to change the layout of your building, intelligent lighting systems are scalable and safer, because they’re DC-powered, which is lower in voltage. And because the power delivery is over a data cable, you won’t need an electrician to switch things around in a live environment.

Smart sensors not only continuously monitor your building’s occupancy levels – but they also track and record temperature, power consumption, and natural light levels—all in real-time. And what’s more, if your intelligent lighting system control is via a wired solution – as opposed to a wireless one – it’s more robust, because there’s less interference. Meaning there’s no hanging around for your building users. If they walk into a room, the lights go on immediately!

In summary then:

The coronavirus outbreak has transformed how people use the buildings they occupy.

  • This is now a present and future concern for those who design, build, or maintain commercial accommodation.
  • While Covid-19 floor stickers and office screens are necessary – they’re unwelcoming and short-term solutions.
  • The sustainable way to build business continuity plans while protecting building occupants – is to know how people use their surroundings in real-time. Then, use this data to make both on-the-spot decisions and informed choices for the future.
  • Smart sensors – as part of an intelligent lighting system – monitor motion and movement within buildings, to give you critical insight into what’s happening inside your premises.
  • This provides many advantages for organisations. And those who are looking to move premises, or change their buildings – should carefully consider whether now is the time to look into intelligent lighting systems.

Read how Scenariio provided intelligent lighting to global fitness brand, Gymshark, alongside building designers Oktra.

About Scenariio

Our company ethos is based on caring for our customers’ needs, by providing a high quality of service through integrity and innovation.

Scenariio delivers smarter solutions for smarter buildings. From sensor-rich networks delivered over low voltage structured cabling to capitalising on the latest developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) – a network of devices embedded with connectivity that enables them to exchange and analyse data – we aim to improve the way your organisation connects with technology to achieve responsive results, more efficient systems and ultimately business growth.

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