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InBetween Real Time Home Monitoring Service (RTHMS)

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Towards a smart home: InBetween Project Consortium developed a notification system which allows you to adopt more energy-efficient behaviors

 

The introduction of the smart home concept and Internet of Things (IoT) in the residential sector has enabled numerous new possibilities with regards to the integration with smart sensors.

 

Besides the ability to remotely control various appliances that are connected to wall outlets through smart plugs and smart cables, one of the key features that most users are looking forward to is the ability for the sensors to, figuratively speaking, talk to each other, and in doing so analyze potential problems going on within the household.

 

In order to turn a conventional home into an interconnected home, you need a set of smart sensors for monitoring:

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  • smart plugs for remote turning on and off power supply to appliances;
  • temperature sensors;
  • air quality sensors;
  • motion and occupancy sensors;
  • window and door open/close status sensors and others.

In combining the data gathered from these sensors, but also having in mind their spatial layout within the home, the derived information can prove to be highly beneficial for the end user.

 

InBetween H2020 project developed a real time home monitoring service (RTHMS)  to extract all useful information from deployed smart sensors.

 

This service runs without stopping, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and in close-to-real-time analyzes events that pertain to energy conservation, security issues and health issues.

 

Examples of energy conservation issues can be:

 

  • when in the same room a heating device is turned on while a window is open
  • when in an unoccupied room a window is opened, a heating device is turned on, or a light is left turned on

Also overheating can be monitored by analyzing the temperature within a room in conjunction with the on/off status of the appropriate radiator.

 

Examples of security issues are:

 

  • leaving a room unoccupied with a window open
  • leaving the entrance door open when no one is in the hall, or the entire house.

Finally, health issues pertaining to air quality and improper ventilation are derived by analyzing readings from volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors and window sensors.

 

Besides purely monitoring sensor data, InBetween RTHMS has an elaborate system of timeouts that provides slightly postponed notifications to end users that has been developed with the goal of minimizing the disturbance that constantly pinging the users would have. This system allows for a grace time period after the problematic event has been detected for the issue to be resolved before a notification is to be issued. If the event has not been resolved, a notification is sent out with the suggested corrective actions. These corrective actions can either be automatic, with the option to turn off the problematic appliance (for example in the case where a heating element is turned on in an unoccupied room) or suggested manual actions (for example when a room with bad air quality should be ventilated). In case the user is not responding and that the issue is not resolved manually, a renotification is sent out after a predefined time period.

 

The responsiveness to these custom notifications, especially the ones from the energy conservation category, is an important factor that indicates the users’ willingness to adapt their behavior in order to achieve a more energy efficient lifestyle. As such, it is also closely monitored by the system and is planned to be integrated as positive feedback to energy conscientious users in the Energy performance evaluation and benchmarking service, another one of InBetween’s unique smart home services.