IoT-X 'Smart Office' Blog

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IoT-X 'Smart Office' Blog

Published: Fri 18 December 2015 | by Dev Team

On a rainy afternoon in November our development team decided to 'smarten' up the office. Using a number of LoRa and WiFi sensors with a mixture of gateways that were previously used in various R&D projects, the team got to work on cobbling together what turned out to be a rather impressive display of smart sensors.

Within a few hours the team had installed and configured the sensors to pass their data through to IoT-X, which transcoded the various formats and routed the messages in a common format to our application sever where a wall mounted display had a dashboard built on it to show:

  • If our meeting rooms were occupied.
  • If there were guests waiting at our espresso bar / reception.
  • If the kettle was being boiled.
  • If the lights or screens were on in the main office.

All of which could be seen from one of our main status screens or through anyone's phone.

How to Guide
Here is our simple 'How to Guide' on how your company can quickly and easily get a 'smart office' with our connectivity services and platform.

Step 1: Equipment - Devices / Sensors / Gateways / Power / Dev Boards / Dev Team / Coffee.

Step 2: Program sensors to detect and transmit data to gateways / pivot.

Step 3: Create a dashboard to view data in real time.

What we made

Meeting Room Sensor
Building the meeting room sensor involved using a small generic infra-red motion detector along with a small WIFI transmitter. The unit was placed in the meeting room in an area where it was able to detect motion.

It was programmed to transmit a reading from the sensor periodically through our public wifi network to IoT-X. Then it was just a case of writing an adapter to decode the data from the sensor. This was accomplished using our modular framework called Pivot. Once each message was decoded it was stored into our information store.

Guest / Reception Sensor
Another sensor we built used a microphone in order to detect when someone was at the reception area of the office.

This time the sensor was connected to a Multitech mDot, which allowed us to transmit periodic messages to IoT-X through a Kerlink gateway, using the LoRa specification containing the sensor data. As the LoRa endpoint was sending data to IoT-X, we used our LoRa Network Server to decode sensor data to be decrypted and passed into the information store.

Light / Screen Sensor
We also created a sensor which read the light value in the room. This would allow it to indicate when the lights were on or off by detecting the variance changes in the ambient light levels. This was also a LoRa sensor, which was again connected to a Multitech mDot and was setup in much the same way as the guest sensor with the data being sent back to the Kerlink gateway which then forwards the data on to IoT-X.

Kettle Sensor
The kettle solution was developed using a 2.4Ghz Wifi Chip sold by Particle.io called the Photon. It's an Arduino compatible platform with a web IDE that can remotely flash the chip with software as it's developed. This allowed for speedy development process.

An input module for Pivot was developed that integrated with the Particle.io RESTful API service for retrieving published data from the Photon chip. This was then linked to the same Websocket server output module as the other three sensors. This allowed for querying the data using a purely HTML5/Javascript dashboard.

Final Product
The final product was a responsive HTML5 dashboard that incorporated a charting library to visually display the data as it was being published from IoT-X through Pivot in real time.

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