A truly smart sensor – innovation in progress

This is an exciting time of changes.

Commercial buildings and residential homes are undergoing a significant transformation and becoming smarter than ever before.

But what does “smart” mean? In a nutshell, it refers to automated processes that reduce operational expenses, save energy, optimize space allocation, increase safety and security, improve occupants’ comfort, and in some cases generate business intelligence.

In order to achieve these benefits, some necessary information must be collected. Physical data, such as temperature, lighting level and humidity, are provided by simple sensors that convert analog measurements into digital values and transmit them to the control station. It is much more challenging – and important – to gather actionable information about occupants in the building. Data about occupants’ presence, location, number and movements is essential for optimizing the performance of building subsystems and processes such as lighting, HVAC, safety, security and facility management.

Current sensors such as motion detectors fall short of providing this data reliably, and they can’t provide the required granularity of information. In commercial buildings, IP cameras combined with video analytics provide the most powerful sensing capability for tracking occupants. Unfortunately they also have significant drawbacks – they are expensive, require a large communications bandwidth for streaming video, and most importantly, they are perceived as privacy invasive.

A new computer vision solution, pioneered by PointGrab Ltd., has been designed to overcome the challenges of providing occupancy information accurately, reliably, affordably and without violating privacy. PointGrab has achieved this by utilizing an IoT smart sensor that performs all analytics on board and outputs only the processed data – a kind of a “picture-less camera” if you will. Drawing on the most advanced computer vision expertise, the sensor employs machine learning and tracking algorithms that are streamlined to run effectively on low power processors.

Mounted on a ceiling or incorporated into lighting fixtures, this smart sensor can support a wide range of applications and use cases. To name a few:

• Lighting. Incorporating the sensor into lighting fixtures yields a variety of unique insights on energy management and lighting usage in a space. Data provided by the sensor can help determine how to optimally light a space while taking advantage of natural light, thereby saving energy.

• Space Utilization. Space utilization data is a valuable component of the IoT in commercial buildings because it can help facility managers to better optimize the facility’s layout based on current and future needs. The smart sensors track occupants’ locations and movements, providing valuable insight into how and to what extent spaces are being used.

• HVAC. By counting the number of occupants in a given space, demand controlled ventilation can be optimized to save energy and comply with industry standards and regulations.

• Safety and Security. The ability to detect falling accidents and assist in emergency building evacuations are examples of the safety capabilities enabled by the smart sensor. Access control can be enhanced by detecting events such as tailgating, and security can be further improved by detecting loitering in pre-defined zones.

Driven by the convergence of innovative technologies harnessed together in a brand new way, smart sensors are taking a leading role in making intelligent buildings a reality. ABB is the first company that identified the power of this innovative solution and is currently exploring ways to incorporate it into its products.

News & Press

Mar 8th, 2022

PointGrab CEO Doron Shachar: AI-Powered Smart Buildings and Effective Building-Management Systems

How was the idea of PointGrab born? How would you describe its ultimate mission?

PointGrab started off with totally different technology. In 2015, the Company decided to make a pivotal change from gesture control technology to smart sensing, making some use of the original algorithm yet developing a brand new product that was aimed to assist tenants – companies and people – in making better use of their real estate, through capturing the count of the location of people in any given space at any given time while strictly protecting people’s privacy. Our ultimate mission is to allow organizations to manage the human flow in their buildings while protecting the privacy of the people.

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Dec 22nd, 2021

Workplace occupancy sensors are the easiest and most cost-effective solution for safe back to office strategy.

Organizations and Professionals around the world are getting restless after months of working remotely. Managers want to interact with their teams in a traditional office setting, but also do not want to put the employees at risk. Offices will reopen, even if it is too early to determine if this is going to be for all employees on all days of the week.

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Dec 16th, 2021

– Easily Navigate Sites, Buildings and floors – Live and Historical Data in a single pane of glass – Real time Occupancy Data and Space Utilization – See Space Distribution (By Type: Desk, Meeting Rooms, Reception) – Select preset or custom Time-ranges

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Nov 22nd, 2021

The new age of office space utilization

We used to expend the office to accommodate more personal. But Covid came along and recreated the way office is used both from the aspect of office owners and from the employees perspectives.

The new way of office use is much more flexible, employees come and go and expect to have a much more loose office time mixed with time at home, this situation is both an opportunity and an headache.

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