Smart Office IoT Projects

Elizabeth Adams   |   Dec 5, 2019

Introduction

Whether you are looking for ways to save energy, implement home automation in the office, or keep track of the environment & people, smart office IoT projects are on the rise. With a surplus of IoT devices, sensors, and IoT platforms in the market, it’s easy to get started. You can go with simple, off-the-shelf IoT options or DIY built solutions.

Temperature, Humidity, and Pressure

The most common data people are tracking is temperature, both inside and outside. This can be done in a variety of ways with a seemingly infinite number of devices. You’ll need a sensor to monitor temperature, humidity, and/or pressure, a device to read that sensor, and a way to monitor the data.

The most popular option for a single board computer to use would be a Raspberry Pi. It’s easy to use and there is a ton of tutorials online. Other options to the Raspberry Pi would be Arduino, Electric Imp, or Espressif ESP32. These can be more cost effective but require a bit more skill when it comes to coding.

A few recommended sensors to use are the BME280 (temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure), DSB18B20 (temperature), DHT22 (temperature, humidity), or Sense HAT (temperature, humidity, pressure). They are all easy to connect and can provide accurate readings. We put together each of the temperature sensors with a Raspberry Pi to send data to dashboards to monitor.

Including outdoor weather conditions is a valuable addition to a dashboard that already has indoor environmental data. You can see trends on how outdoor temperature affects indoor temperature. Using the Dark Sky API is a simple way to stream in weather data.

Motion and Presence

Another important piece of data is motion and presence. You’ll want to know who is in the office & when and which meeting rooms are being utilized the most. Understanding which office spaces are being used will help you to understand how to organize and make the most of your space. We created projects with Electric Imp and a Raspberry Pi that allow presence to be detected and monitored through a dashboard.

Using the Waves app, as pictured above, can give you a detailed view of your usage data. You may think since your conference room is constantly booked that is it always in use but come to find out that no one is ever in it.

Lights, Outlets, & Doors

Knowing the status of your office can give you a peace of mind when wondering if the lights are on all night or if the door was left open after hours. There are plenty of IoT solutions for lights, outlets, and doors. We like Philips hue light bulbs because you can easily connect them to other smart devices and office/home networks such as Samsung SmartThings.

SmartThings

If you’re creating a smart office you’ll want to include everything we mentioned above and maybe even a little more. Samsung SmartThings offers a great solution to monitor your office environment with no coding needed. SmartThings has an array of sensors and smart IoT devices that can detect status, track usage, and it offers remote access to your devices through your phone. So not only can you see if a light you have plugged in to a smart outlet is on, you can shut it off using your SmartThings app.

Seeing the current status is great but having a log of your SmartThings data is even better. The Initial State SmartThings Integration allows for data to be sent from your SmartThings hub and IoT devices to a dashboard for real-time monitoring. It’s also one of the only ways to have a historical log of your SmartThings data and be able to view trends.

Smart Beer Fridge

Many offices have a mini fridge supplied with soda or beer. Being able to track what is in the fridge and when it needs refilled makes keeping it stocked a lot easier. With an IoT smart beer fridge you can monitor how many drinks are in the fridge, how many drinks have been taken out over time, and get an alert when it’s getting close to empty. Smart office IoT projects like this are easy enough to prototype with a single board computer such as a Raspberry Pi. This is a fun and quick upgrade that your coworkers will love.

Real-Time and Historical Logs of Data

It is important to monitor real-time data so that you can be alerted when things go outside normal operating status. With historical data you can see trends and make changes based on that information. Initial State dashboards can offer you both of these things. The Tiles app can offer a snapshot or trend over time of your office automation data. Triggers allows for alerts to be sent when the unexpected happens.