What does it “cost” to service a facility that didn’t need servicing?
Probably, the whole profit that you could’ve made on that facility.
Facility Management is an extremely low-margin and labor-intensive business. Your facility management practice depends on one key metric – how efficiently and in least cost can you fulfill your service contracts. With everything else constant, what makes your operation profitable is how you can prioritize and route your staff activities based on the real-time insights from the facility itself.
Why are you forced to schedule facility services the old way?
Without these insights, you’re forced to plan and schedule these activities in a redundant, mundane way. When your staff is sent to clean a facility, for example, they might start with the first room and work their way sequentially through the others based on the pre-determined schedule. But in an open office landscape, some areas might not have been used that day.
Why clean the area again if no one has used it? What if you knew that an area had been used a lot during the day and could prioritize it for more deep cleaning? What if the room that needs cleaning would signal this, and the cleaner would get a live alert specifying how the room was used during the last 24 hours?
Integrated Facility Management Solutions using the Internet of Things
Today we can put sensors on practically any facility or asset, and they can capture and send back all sorts of data. With this in mind, Ephlux built an integrated facility management solution utilizing specific sensors, sensor interface component integrated with RaspberryPi as a fog gateway and onwards to Oracle IoT Cloud Asset Monitoring app.
Ephlux has packaged together this grid of sensors, sensor interface firmware, fog logic and add-ons to Oracle IoT Cloud Asset Monitoring app to build a fully integrated and ready-to-deploy solution for our Facility Management customers.
Solution & Steps
This project had three objectives:
- Implement a facility management solution using sensors, fog gateway Oracle IoT Asset Monitoring apps for one of the Ephlux offices.
- Monitor the facility by building custom dashboards utilizing data from the sensors, Oracle IoT Cloud apps and the facility.
- Create a Real Environment for testing out the solution.
Key Solution Components
- Grid of Sensors
- Sensor Interface Hardware & Firmware
- Fog Gateway and Logic
- Oracle IoT Cloud Asset Monitoring Application and Custom Add-Ons
- MQTT (Used for device to gateway communication)
- Oracle IoT custom Application For Facility Management.
- Custom Dashboard application to visualize and monitor the facility.
Facility Management Sensor Inputs & Events
The solution focuses on collecting information from sensors, both for real-time monitoring and batch analysis. Two types of data are collected: status, with the interval of one minute, and events, when a status has changed. They are collected for the following:
- Temperature (status)
- Humidity (status)
- Motion (status)
- Server Room (event, free/occupied)
- Development Room (event, free/occupied)
Installed 6 Devices and 14 Sensors
Ephlux installed 6 devices with 14 sensors on the Fourth floor of the building. It was a combination of sensors collecting temperature, motion, and humidity. Motion sensors were used to register whether an area, such as a conference room, desk, was occupied.
Digital Humidity & Thermal, WiFi Component & Motion Sensors
Above image shows the DHT sensor, Wifi component & motion sensor that is placed on each device. DHT sensors used to measure temperature and humidity. Whereas, Motion sensors capture human presence by detecting radiation emitted from the human body. WiFi component is also used for interfacing both sensors in addition to providing wireless connectivity.
Sensor Interface Component | Fog Unit | Oracle IoT Cloud | Asset Monitoring App
Sensor Interface Component collects the sensor information and sends it to the Raspberry gateway to an integrated SDK kit of oracle IOT cloud. The gateway is done in Java and deployed on a Linux machine that is RaspberryPi. Oracle IoT SDK pushes the data of the device into the Oracle IoT cloud, Oracle IoT then process the information, mainly by transferring it to Asset monitoring application and Facility Management Application by using REST engine.
Ephlux Facility Management Web Application with Real-Time SVG Map
A Facility management web application, hosted in our server as a web app, is listening to the events from the Oracle IoT topic queue and sends the events to a web page by using a REST API connection. The web page contains an SVG map of the office and updates the map using the information in the events. The real-time visualization is a good way to see which room is occupied. Real-time visualization is one productivity key for an office worker and will drive usage of otherwise unused areas when those are a bit further away from the main parts of the office.
Visualization of Data
Facility management dashboard was created to host visualizations of the data. It uses the REST API of Oracle IoT cloud as its source and primarily illustrates an overview of the office utilization and the need for maintenance services.
Dashboard – Device Map | Device Status Donut | Building Map | Temperature, Humidity & Motion Status | Messages & Alerts
Device Map shows the real-time location of the devices, whereas device status donut shows the status of devices that are online, offline and not activated. Temperature reading, motion status, and humidity readings show the real-time stats within 2 hours of time span. However, messages and alerts group stacked chart shows the monthly trend of each device.
Sensors can give us data, and data can be collected and stored. But it is when we use the data, turn it into insights, and trigger timely business activities based on those insights is what makes it valuable. With this project, we wanted to illustrate how to set up an office space with sensors, easily deploy a solution to both collect and store the data, and get actionable insights from the data to impact the bottom line for real businesses.