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Smart building platform delivers occupancy data

Most homes have a room where everyone tends to congregate, and soon offices may follow a similar pattern. As work spaces become more open and fluid, some rooms will be used much more heavily than others. Sensors and software give building managers a way to access this data.

Acuity’s latest IoT platform, Atrius Spaces, gives building managers a way to track occupancy using data gathered from sensors embedded in the company’s nLight control system. Users can track occupancy room by room, and compare numbers to peak occupancy rates and average occupancy rates.

“New occupant dynamics, such as shared workspaces, ‘hoteling’ for employees who travel frequently, and those who intermittently work remotely, make accurate space utilization data critical to building operation,” said Acuity senior VP Greg Carter in a statement. “Atrius Spaces reduces the effort required to collect, interpret and analyze data, and provides real-time actionable insights into to a building’s space utilization, which allows building managers to focus on optimizing space tailored to tenant and employee needs.”

Acuity says it has already deployed more than a million smart lighting nodes across more than 60 million square feet. These nodes gather data using Bluetooth and visual light communication (VLC) technology, which uses LED lighting to locate customers or products with location accuracy of 4 inches, according to Acuity. The company compares VLC to a flashlight sending Morse code so quickly that the human eye perceives only a steady stream of light. LED lights pulse on and off too rapidly for us to see, and VLC uses those pulses to communicate with smartphones. The nodes use Bluetooth as a fallback when line of sight obstructions prevent the use of VLC.

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