Six years ago, our partner BHDP Architecture saw a need. They found that organizations had challenges understanding how their employees use office space. Real estate executives struggle to balance two needs, offering efficient and effective work spaces, yet keeping costs in check. Truly understanding the kind of work-space design an organization needs involves more than an on-site utilization study.
We formed AVUITY to help these clients find solutions to understanding their true space needs using sensor technology. We began with infrared sensors to detect motion and communicate to the cloud via a gateway using a cellular network, which enabled us to closely track usage rates for individual assets such as a desk. It’s easy to install, but it’s not the best long-term solution: They’re battery-powered, a sensor is needed for every seat, and the sensor can be affected by human interference, intentionally or unintentionally.
While the infrared sensors are valuable for specific use cases, they are not ideal if you are looking to develop a comprehensive smart building strategy.
As AVUITY looked at sensors in the market, we found many sensors created for specific uses, but our ultimate goal was a sensor that could handle any question about utilization thrown at it. It needed to have a low profile and low visibility, and be unaffected by daily job functions happening in the space.
After looking for a sensor in the market that could serve today’s companies and their smart building strategies — and not finding one — we built our own sensor that could answer all the challenges a sensor should address.
A best-practice sensor should:
- Have multiple functions, tracking occupancy, audio levels, and identifying individuals via their smart device Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Provide accurate counts of people in a space without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, and have an unobtrusive design that could be placed in the doorway without interfering with daily job functions within the office.
- Install easily, using POE (Power Over Ethernet), thus requiring fewer electrical outlets and wires.
- Serve multiple areas and therefore reduce the number of sensors needed/deployed.
- Include flexibility for future growth within the smart building space.
We developed VuSensor based on IoT principles, answering every question a business might have about the utilization of its space and providing the most meaningful real-time data for businesses. Because of its flexibility, VuSensor can grow with the industry itself, beyond space utilization to providing connectivity and real-time answers for conference room utilization, lighting systems and building automation.