In the era of smart technology, businesses are increasingly adopting innovative solutions to optimize their operations. This case study explores the implementation of the Smart Desk system, an IoT smart power outlet developed by ITR VN, as an important component of a comprehensive smart office solution. The Smart Desk system is designed to help automate the administration of a co-working space office and offer a range of intelligent features to enhance the overall experience for users.
Co-working spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering flexible working environments for individuals and businesses. However, managing seat rentals efficiently and ensuring a seamless experience for occupants can be a challenge. The Smart Desk system was developed with cost-effectiveness in mind to address the following specific requirements within a co-working space environment:
- Tracking power consumption during rental periods to ensure accurate billing and promote energy efficiency.
- Monitoring the presence of occupants to optimize energy usage throughout the building.
- Authenticating users before providing electricity to their workstations, ensuring secure access.
- Controlling locker access at designated workstations for added convenience and security.
Implementing the Smart Desk system posed several technical challenges:
- Connectivity: Choosing an appropriate connectivity solution to enable seamless communication between each device and the cloud. The selected solution needed to be cost-effective and scalable to accommodate a large number of workstations in a co-working space environment.
- Presence Detection: Developing reliable and efficient mechanisms to detect the presence of individuals at each workstation without any user input.
- Power Consumption Monitoring: Developing a reliable mechanism to track the energy consumption of devices plugged into the power outlets at each workstation in real time.
- Secure Access Control: Ensuring that only authorized individuals could access and utilize the workstation required a reliable and friendly authentication mechanism.
ITR VN’s Solution
The Smart Desk system consists of Smart Desk power outlets installed at each workstation and a Smart Desk gateway for forwarding all the data to the Smart Desk cloud. The Smart Desk power outlet incorporates the following features:
- Connectivity: In addressing the technical challenge of connectivity, Zigbee technology was chosen as the preferred solution for the Smart Desk system. This choice was driven by its cost-effectiveness and scalability for network expansion as required. Each Smart Desk power outlet is a Zigbee node (router or end device), and the Smart Desk gateway plays the Zigbee coordinator role. To optimize production costs for each node, a solution utilizing an MCU equipped with built-in Zigbee and NFC connectivity was chosen.
- Presence Detection: The Smart Desk power outlet could detect the presence of individuals occupying the desk using a combination of infrared temperature sensors and motion sensors. The optimized algorithm that runs on the Zigbee MCU processed the sensor data to ensure reliable presence detection without requiring extra computing power from the cloud.
- Power Consumption Monitoring: The Smart Desk power outlet continuously monitors the energy consumption of devices connected to it. The electricity usage is then transmitted to the cloud for real-time monitoring and analysis. This information will then be used for billing the users.
- NFC-based User Authentication: Before electricity is supplied, users authenticate themselves by tapping their NFC-enabled mobile device on the designated NFC antenna on the Smart Desk.
- Locker Control Extension: The Smart Desk power outlet is equipped with a locker control extension, allowing users to securely unlock lockers associated with their assigned workstation.
The Smart Desk system has proven to be a key component of the Smart Office solution, meeting a variety of business demands in co-working environments. Its capabilities of monitoring power consumption, optimizing energy efficiency, and providing secure access control have significantly and cost-effectively improved the office experience. In addition, this solution is ideally suited for implementing smart office management in order to monitor and improve employee performance while optimizing energy efficiency in the office.
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