As digital disruption transforms the business landscape, companies are increasingly moving towards platforms that make use of the interconnected network of smart devices known as the Internet of Things (IoT). This kind of technology can help to increase efficiency while reducing costs and generating useful insights that help businesses to prosper in future. That’s why IoT systems are powering the offices of the future.
Swedish IoT specialist Yanzi* recognises the potential of this technology has developed a platform to make office buildings smarter. The advantages of implementing a smart office system are widespread, and include making workers more productive by providing a comfortable working environment, avoiding unnecessary downtime and ensuring that buildings are more energy and space-efficient, resulting in lower costs. Yanzi’s system relies on a network of IoT sensors placed throughout the building to help office managers streamline operations.
Movement sensors and footfall counters can track which spaces are used the most and at what times, while sensors can also be used to monitor areas with restricted access. To save on energy costs, power outlet monitors can be used in combination with motion sensors to turn off office equipment when not in use. What’s more, the environment can be monitored for temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, ambient light and ambient noise. This information can be shared with building management so that they can optimise heating, cooling and ventilation. Because it’s based on open standards, Yanzi’s system is future proof and can support third-party sensors. It’s also wireless which means the system is fast and simple to install and requires no untidy cabling. Powered by Intel hardware, Yanzi’s platform is designed to be scalable and customisable to fit the needs of the user. Insights from the data produced by the sensors can be viewed on a series of customisable dashboards.
Yanzi is one of several companies showcasing its technology at Intel’s UK IoT Ignition Lab. Intel has a number of these labs at key locations around the globe, each with a different speciality. The UK lab focuses on retail and smart building IoT technologies and is currently showcasing a number systems like Yanzi that are known as Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions. These are IoT systems that meet a set of criteria devised by Intel, with the aim of making it easier to successfully launch POC (Proof of Concept) projects to market.
“By using the Yanzi solution to collect and analyse data about things as varied as lighting, indoor air quality, space utilisation, and noise levels in our office, we can increase our customers’ workforce productivity”
Developed with support from Intel’s IoT lab, the simple Yanzi kit features a selection of hardware elements that connect to the Yanzi Cloud, which is powered by Intel® Xeon® processors. The range of hardware – known as Yanzi Things – includes the Yanzi Motion+ motion sensor, Yanzi Comfort unit for monitoring environmental factors, and the Yanzi Plug which controls appliances as well as measuring their power consumption.
What’s more, the Yanzi Gateway is based on the Intel® IoT Gateway, meaning that the same software can be run from sensor to cloud, offering an always-on service, even if the internet connection goes down. The Yanzi Gateway can either support just a handful of Yanzi Things for smaller spaces, or tens of thousands of interconnected hardware elements in a larger installation, so it’s suitable for office spaces of any size. New hardware for 2018 includes a smart towel dispenser for washrooms, which measures towel use and temperature.
Along with Intel, Yanzi works with a number of industry partners, including IBM* and Microsoft* and provides smart office solutions for FM companies, Real Estate owners, and tenants. Yanzi’s smart building platform is already being used in a number of offices including Swedish facility services management firm Coor*. “By using the Yanzi solution to collect and analyse data about things as varied as lighting, indoor, air quality, space utilisation, and noise levels in our office, we can increase our customers’ workforce productivity,” said Fredrik Sandqvist, Head of Innovation at Coor Service Management.
Another example of a business using Yanzi’s platform to make its office building smarter is facility services firm ISS*. Sensors have been installed throughout the company’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the aim of achieving a more efficient workplace with happier and more engaged employees. For example, motion detectors can detect if people don’t turn up to the meeting room they’ve booked so that the reservation can be cancelled and freed up for colleagues. And in the canteen, sensors monitor how many plates have been used and therefore how many people have had lunch, so that the in-house chef knows whether to produce more food or not. This is especially useful as employees are regularly out on the road so the amount of workers present in at headquarters on any one day varies significantly.
A Yanzi-based system has also been installed by facilities management firm Mitie* at the Red Bull Racing* factory in Milton Keynes in the UK. Focusing on the science behind comfort and productivity, Mitie installed sensors for temperature, sound pressure and lighting levels, offering real-time data insights for its service teams and Red Bull Racing so that they could understand the site infrastructure in greater detail and make improvements where necessary. Most of the install, which included nearly 500 sensors, was completed in just one day. Not only has the smart building platform resulted in a better environment for employees, which could eventually contribute indirectly to the performance of the car, it has also opened up new opportunities at the factory. For example, the sensors can help with security, as the data can reveal if someone has left a window open.
“Making office buildings smarter with Yanzi technology enables facility managers to reduce the time and cash spent on maintenance, while also helping the business as a whole to run more efficiently and focus on employee wellness to produce happy, healthy, and productive workers,” said Ulf Wretskog, CEO of Yanzi Networks.
Yanzi is one example of a wide range of technologies that have been developed with the help of Intel’s IoT Ignition Labs, showing what can be achieved when a platform meets the stringent criteria for Intel’s Market Ready Solutions. Forward-thinking businesses should consider exploring options for integrating IoT technology into their companies in order to streamline their operations, reduce costs and boost productivity.
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others
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