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Machine vision changes the technology of buildings

Toda,y machine vision systems, supported by artificial intelligence, represent a promising multi-sensor solution that will enable the solution of requirements for safety, comfort and energy savings in public buildings. Vendors are also preparing to change the market power ratio with greater feature integration.

Buildings for residential, commercial and industrial use, as well as transport, are among the milestones that determine the progress of our civilization. However, development is linked to a number of regulations that ruthlessly affect the way buildings are constructed and equipped with technology. As a result, regulations also determine how they will treat people who spend most of their lives in them. Last but not least, the increase in regulations is the cause of shortening the life of buildings.

Regulations and requirements are tied not only to the construction of the building, but also to its technological equipment. The main points today are:

  • Energy efficiency, combined with the physical parameters of the building with intelligent control of heating, air conditioning and lighting
  • Safety of persons, which is highly dependent on the control of lighting, elevators, opening of entrances. Recent developments also require safety management in terms of health, air quality and health screening.
  • Securing the building from unauthorized intrusion, theft of property or attack. It has been completely dependent on electronics for many years, yet it is a matter of further development and at the same time convergence with other systems.
  • Comfort is an extension of all the above parameters. Whether it is a residential building or an opera house, users and visitors demand a degree of comfort and luxury. In the case of industrial buildings, comfort is exchanged for a state in which the building has the least possible negative impact on production and operation in terms of time and energy losses.

There is twice the security between the points. One is the risk to all users, especially in terms of health, and the second is the threat to property or life of other people. English uses the terms Safety for Health Risks and Security to Prevent Unfair Elements, while Czech has no choice but to describe various types of safety. For several points on the list, IoT, sensors and embedded systems have been driving their development for several years.
It is already clear that the concept of lean low-power IoT will not solve all the needs of building technology. There are several reasons. Simple sensors, or a combination of them, will not provide a complete picture of everything needed to control buildings. At the same time, LPWAN protocols cannot transmit enough information and ensure the management of all sensor and edge computing devices.

One of the technologies that is evolving fast enough to cover most of the emerging challenges is machine vision. In combination with artificial intelligence and edge computing, they make it possible to solve a number of tasks that will improve energy management, security and comfort of buildings. How can machine vision affect, for example, energy consumption?

Machine vision and HVAC

A simple thermostat has been used since the beginnings of air conditioning automation. The intelligence of its control is combined with remote control, timing and sometimes a simple algorithm for setting the temperature according to the number of people in the room. Office rat syndrome has existed for the same period of time. She comes to the meeting room, where it’s cold. So it starts heating, the meeting room heats up, more people come and they spend half of the meeting regulating the air conditioning. When they leave, the settings do not change, the meeting room cools down to the level of the refrigerator, so that the next rat that arrives will drown. The building or staff treats cinema-visitors in a similar way. The first newcomers often need a cold, the other newcomers warm up and after half an hour the chocolate also melts in the full hall. When half the people run away from a bad movie, they may just be in the hall.

Machine vision and lighting

Lighting control depending on outside light, occupancy and activity is a must for commercial buildings. Unlike light sensors, machine vision handles better lighting settings in different work zones, including adjusting multiple parameters to achieve optimal brightness and lighting color. While the luxmeter delivers a one-dimensional number, one camera with specific machine vision lens can provide information about the intensity of the light coming through the windows, the illumination of various surfaces and work surfaces.

Safety

In the first place, we can mention the field of security, where camera systems are common. In cooperation with artificial intelligence, they manage a number of activities needed for access control, identity management, but also monitoring suspicious behavior inside and around buildings, without the need for constant vigilance.

A more interesting area for the development of machine vision applications is the safety of people in terms of health. The current area is the evaluation of the risk health of newcomers, where temperature screening is only the first step. Solutions will come in the systems to monitor other symptoms from the condition of the skin, eye or gait.

Where the two areas of safety and security meet is the control of the movement of people in public buildings. From the office building, through the theater to the sports stadium, the biggest challenge is to master the mass movement of people in and out. In all these buildings, tens, hundreds and thousands of people suddenly want to get in or out at the same time and the building must allow them to do so. Machine vision, again in conjunction with artificial intelligence, will allow you to open corridors, control the speed and priority of elevators, set intelligent signage and other tasks, depending on the current number of people and the direction of their movement. The same systems will speed up the evacuation in the event of a fire. The same algorithms also have a significant effect on comfort, as good or poor crowd control can affect the commercial success of theaters, exhibition spaces, concert halls and stadiums.

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