The infinite leaps and bounds in design-related technology has bypassed the conventional ‘smart’ building market and is aiming for something totally different. Australia seems to the pioneer and frontrunner in the application of this technology, as a homegrown company is using a wireless solution – known as the EMIoT – developed by UNSW to make the buildings as autonomous as possible. With this installation, you building will not only monitor itself – it’ll also ‘talk’ to your smartphone.
Here’s how the EMIoT works; it’s basically a wireless platform. It totally relies on LED exit signs which are the spine of a low-power meshed network that spreads over 99.9% of a building. Dr. Wen Huof of the UNSW’s School of Computer Science & Engineering explains that all this system needs is that installation of emergency lights, and they’ll, “…automatically connect to each other, and that creates the network.”
This way, it can even reach the underground levels like basement parking, pump systems, HVAC systems, etc. by connecting to other devices with the help of wireless techs like Bluetooth. Thus, you can control them with your smartphone no matter where you are.
To make it a bit easier to understand; what happens is that the lights – each one that you’ve installed as an exit sign or an emergency light etc. – actually pass information back and forth. Once the system is set in operation mode, they can connect to other devices via the main network. These include all the major systems in the building like HVAC, CCTV, Security Doors, and more.
When you’re connected to the system via your smartphone, you can easily monitor everything remotely. It’s dependent on the IoT (Internet of Things) network that allows seamless interaction and exchange of data between various devices.
The technology is now being commercialized by the patented company: WBS Technology. It has already been installed in more than 10 apartment complexes, the latest of them being Castle Hill, Sydney. An example of its application in the building includes the automatically dimmed lights in the carpark, hallways, and other communal areas when there is no movement.
Similarly, if a light fixture ever fails in any part of the building, the managers know exactly which one, where, and how long it’s been down. Even the more complex networks of energy usage, water usage (leaks, hot water system faults, etc), and HVAC can be tracked. With the help of an intra-connected app, anyone who’s stuck anywhere in the building may be able to reach a manager.
According to Luke Gibbeson from WBS Tchnology, they’re actually creating a smart building eco-system. Referring to Castle Hill, he further explains that there are around 14 buildings in this complex with a network of emergency lighting installed in each one of them – without any cabling or supporting network infrastructure. This is absolutely radical.
Since the communication gateways look like standard exit signs, there are no external eye-sores. The emergency lights just communicate with the cloud system. The EMIoT can be easily installed in any new or old building.