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Smartphone based indoor environmental monitoring for home automation systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000244369D
Publication Date: 2015-Dec-07
Document File: 7 page(s) / 215K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


We propose a system that incorporates one or more smart phones with at least one environment sensor with the goal of performing in-house environment monitoring in conjunction with an indoor location service. The indoor location service is provided by beacons which can be received by the smart phone to fix its position in the home?

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Smartphone based indoor environmental monitoring for home automation systems

In recent and current smart grid projects we have attempted to exploit the energetic flexibility of domestic buildings with the aim of i) reducing energy procurement costs or ii) providing ancillary services to the power grid. Whereas domestic buildings are well suited for this purpose because of their inherently high thermal inertia, tight bounds on indoor climate, in particular indoor air temperature, make it challenging to incorporate domestic buildings into smart grid frameworks. Usually, sensor networks are installed to monitor and report air temperature in different rooms. Home automation control systems fundamentally rely on this information when computing heating schedules (that are optimal with regard to i) or ii), for instance) that keep the temperatures in the rooms within the user-set comfort zones at all times.

From our smart grid projects we have learned that measuring and reporting indoor climate data reliably is far from trivial and that commercial home automation sensors suffer from severe drawbacks and limitations.

Cost & installation effort: Even though a plethora of different home automation sensors is


available, many sensor solution are still too expensive to be installed in a large number of houses that are retrofitted for smart grid participation. As an example, a single temperature sensor costs $40, even when purchased in large quantities. Considering a temperature sensor in every room or at least on every floor of a house including a person to install the sensor in the house at the right spot and probably set an offset adds up to a non-neglectable amount which could void the business case.

Power supply: Home automation sensors are usually not connected to a power outlet


directly but are battery powered. While this has several advantages with regard to wiring, a commercial battery's lifetime is limited. Replacing batteries is cost intensive and time consuming, especially in cases where changing the batteries has to be done by servicing staff. Moreover, a sensor running out of battery can cause other problems, cf. below. Connectivity: Individual sensor devices need to be paired with a base station in order to


be able to communicate. However, depending on the sensor's location, a house's structure, and the wireless technology used, the base station might be out of range. Communication: The pairing of sensors and gateways has proven to be very unreliable


and prone to failure. Pairing can be lost for various reasons, for example when replacing batteries. Re-pairing sensors with the gateway is often not trivial and requires specially trained service staff or at least excellent customer support by phone.

In this disclosure we address above mentioned problems of conventional sensor equipment . We aim at supporting or replacing conventional smart home sensor equipment by using the sensors embedded in smart phones in combinatio...