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Special Issue "Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensor Networks".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ioannis Chatzigiannakis

Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti, Sapienza University of Rome, via Ariosto 25, 00185 Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: distributed algorithms; population protocols; dynamic networks; algorithmic engineering; Internet of Things
Guest Editor
Dr. Georgios Mylonas

Computer Technology Institute & Press (CTI), Patra, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy efficiency in education, gamification and sustainability, real-world IoT case studies, IoT for smart cities and energy efficiency, crowdsourcing and participatory sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In order to achieve the ambitious energy and climate targets for 2050 as part of the decarbonisation goal for the European economy, significant reductions in energy usage in buildings are required. Today, the rates of construction of new buildings, as well as the rates of renovation of existing buildings are both very low. At the same time, new ICT technologies are being developed that can identify energy inefficiencies in buildings and achieve energy gains based on intelligent management and control of appliances as well as through providing reliable data to citizens and guiding them to achieve a change in behavior and consumption practices.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect from academic and industrial players, papers reporting original, previously unpublished research, which addresses this important topic. It is evident that the creation of an innovative IT ecosystem involves significant developments in a broad range of topics, from foundational topics regarding the organization and analysis of information, to papers presenting novel technological platforms for interconnecting smart sensors and intelligent devices, to pilots reporting recent developments in real-world deployments. In addition, novel approaches combining advances in IoT and Cloud technologies, with techniques such as gamification to stimulate engagement and behavior change are also in the scope of this Special Issue.

Topics of interest:

  • Data management and knowledge extraction
  • Novel network infrastructures
  • Smart metering infrastructures
  • Wide area management and monitoring systems
  • Networking protocols for low-power devices
  • Methodologies for studying and analyzing smart buildings’ performance
  • Pilot applications and experiences in both public and private buildings
  • IoT-based gamification for behavioral change towards energy efficiency
  • IoT for Energy-related issues in Education

Prof. Dr. Ioannis Chatzigiannakis
Dr. Georgios Mylonas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Internet of things
  • smart buildings
  • energy data analytics
  • gamification
  • case studies on behavioral change
  • real-world internet

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication From the Paper to the Tablet: On the Design of an AR-Based Tool for the Inspection of Pre-Fab Buildings. Preliminary Results of the SIRAE Project
Sensors 2018, 18(4), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18041262
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) are demanded in today’s constructions, fulfilling the requirements for green cities. Pre-fab buildings, which are modularly fully-built in factories, are a good example of this. Although this kind of building is quite new, the in situ inspection is documented using
[...] Read more.
Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) are demanded in today’s constructions, fulfilling the requirements for green cities. Pre-fab buildings, which are modularly fully-built in factories, are a good example of this. Although this kind of building is quite new, the in situ inspection is documented using traditional tools, mainly based on paper annotations. Thus, the inspection process is not taking advantage of new technologies. In this paper, we present the preliminary results of the SIRAE project that aims to provide an Augmented Reality (AR) tool that can seamlessly aid in the regular processes of pre-fab building inspections to detect and eliminate the possible existing quality and energy efficiency deviations. In this regards, we show a description of the current inspection process and how an interactive tool can be designed and adapted to it. Our first results show the design and implementation of our tool, which is highly interactive and involves AR visualizations and 3D data-gathering, allowing the inspectors to quickly manage it without altering the way the inspection process is done. First trials on a real environment show that the tool is promising for massive inspection processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-User Low Intrusive Occupancy Detection
Sensors 2018, 18(3), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030796
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
Smart spaces are those that are aware of their state and can act accordingly. Among the central elements of such a state is the presence of humans and their number. For a smart office building, such information can be used for saving energy
[...] Read more.
Smart spaces are those that are aware of their state and can act accordingly. Among the central elements of such a state is the presence of humans and their number. For a smart office building, such information can be used for saving energy and safety purposes. While acquiring presence information is crucial, using sensing techniques that are highly intrusive, such as cameras, is often not acceptable for the building occupants. In this paper, we illustrate a proposal for occupancy detection which is low intrusive; it is based on equipment typically available in modern offices such as room-level power-metering and an app running on workers’ mobile phones. For power metering, we collect the aggregated power consumption and disaggregate the load of each device. For the mobile phone, we use the Received Signal Strength (RSS) of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) nodes deployed around workspaces to localize the phone in a room. We test the system in our offices. The experiments show that sensor fusion of the two sensing modalities gives 87–90% accuracy, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An Advanced IoT-based System for Intelligent Energy Management in Buildings
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020610
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1822 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The energy sector is closely interconnected with the building sector and integrated Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) solutions for effective energy management supporting decision-making at building, district and city level are key fundamental elements for making a city Smart. The available systems are
[...] Read more.
The energy sector is closely interconnected with the building sector and integrated Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) solutions for effective energy management supporting decision-making at building, district and city level are key fundamental elements for making a city Smart. The available systems are designed and intended exclusively for a predefined number of cases and systems without allowing for expansion and interoperability with other applications that is partially due to the lack of semantics. This paper presents an advanced Internet of Things (IoT) based system for intelligent energy management in buildings. A semantic framework is introduced aiming at the unified and standardised modelling of the entities that constitute the building environment. Suitable rules are formed, aiming at the intelligent energy management and the general modus operandi of Smart Building. In this context, an IoT-based system was implemented, which enhances the interactivity of the buildings’ energy management systems. The results from its pilot application are presented and discussed. The proposed system extends existing approaches and integrates cross-domain data, such as the building’s data (e.g., energy management systems), energy production, energy prices, weather data and end-users’ behaviour, in order to produce daily and weekly action plans for the energy end-users with actionable personalised information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An Architecture Framework for Orchestrating Context-Aware IT Ecosystems: A Case Study for Quantitative Evaluation
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020562
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
With the emergence of various forms of smart devices and new paradigms such as the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, the IT (Information Technology) service areas are expanding explosively compared to the provision of services by single systems. A new system operation concept
[...] Read more.
With the emergence of various forms of smart devices and new paradigms such as the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, the IT (Information Technology) service areas are expanding explosively compared to the provision of services by single systems. A new system operation concept that has emerged in accordance with such technical trends is the IT ecosystem. The IT ecosystem can be considered a special type of system of systems in which multiple systems with various degrees of autonomy achieve common goals while adapting to the given environment. The single systems that participate in the IT ecosystem adapt autonomously to the current situation based on collected data from sensors. Furthermore, to maintain the services supported by the whole IT ecosystem sustainably, the configuration of single systems that participate in the IT ecosystem also changes appropriately in accordance with the changed situation. In order to support the IT ecosystem, this paper proposes an architecture framework that supports dynamic configuration changes to achieve the goal of the whole IT ecosystem, while ensuring the autonomy of single systems through the collection of data from sensors so as to recognize the situational context of individual participating systems. For the feasibility evaluation of the proposed framework, a simulated example of an IT ecosystem for unmanned forest management was constructed, and the quantitative evaluation results are discussed in terms of the extent to which the proposed architecture framework can continuously provide sustainable services in response to diverse environmental context changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An IoT-Based Gamified Approach for Reducing Occupants’ Energy Wastage in Public Buildings
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020537
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
Conserving energy amenable to the activities of occupants in public buildings is a particularly challenging objective that includes associating energy consumption to particular individuals and providing them with incentives to alter their behavior. This paper describes a gamification framework that aims to facilitate
[...] Read more.
Conserving energy amenable to the activities of occupants in public buildings is a particularly challenging objective that includes associating energy consumption to particular individuals and providing them with incentives to alter their behavior. This paper describes a gamification framework that aims to facilitate achieving greater energy conservation in public buildings. The framework leverages IoT-enabled low-cost devices, to improve energy disaggregation mechanisms that provide energy use and—consequently—wastage information at the device, area and end-user level. The identified wastages are concurrently targeted by a gamified application that motivates respective behavioral changes combining team competition, virtual rewards and life simulation. Our solution is being developed iteratively with the end-users’ engagement during the analysis, design, development and validation phases in public buildings located in three different countries: Luxembourg (Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art), Spain (EcoUrbanBuilding, Institut Català d’Energia headquarters, Barcelona) and Greece (General Secretariat of the Municipality of Athens). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessCommunication Blockchain Based Decentralized Management of Demand Response Programs in Smart Energy Grids
Sensors 2018, 18(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010162
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3349 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we investigate the use of decentralized blockchain mechanisms for delivering transparent, secure, reliable, and timely energy flexibility, under the form of adaptation of energy demand profiles of Distributed Energy Prosumers, to all the stakeholders involved in the flexibility markets (Distribution
[...] Read more.
In this paper, we investigate the use of decentralized blockchain mechanisms for delivering transparent, secure, reliable, and timely energy flexibility, under the form of adaptation of energy demand profiles of Distributed Energy Prosumers, to all the stakeholders involved in the flexibility markets (Distribution System Operators primarily, retailers, aggregators, etc.). In our approach, a blockchain based distributed ledger stores in a tamper proof manner the energy prosumption information collected from Internet of Things smart metering devices, while self-enforcing smart contracts programmatically define the expected energy flexibility at the level of each prosumer, the associated rewards or penalties, and the rules for balancing the energy demand with the energy production at grid level. Consensus based validation will be used for demand response programs validation and to activate the appropriate financial settlement for the flexibility providers. The approach was validated using a prototype implemented in an Ethereum platform using energy consumption and production traces of several buildings from literature data sets. The results show that our blockchain based distributed demand side management can be used for matching energy demand and production at smart grid level, the demand response signal being followed with high accuracy, while the amount of energy flexibility needed for convergence is reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle On the Performance Evaluation of a MIMO–WCDMA Transmission Architecture for Building Management Systems
Sensors 2018, 18(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010155
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
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Abstract
The goal of this study was to investigate the performance of a realistic wireless sensor nodes deployment in order to support modern building management systems (BMSs). A three-floor building orientation is taken into account, where each node is equipped with a multi-antenna system
[...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to investigate the performance of a realistic wireless sensor nodes deployment in order to support modern building management systems (BMSs). A three-floor building orientation is taken into account, where each node is equipped with a multi-antenna system while a central base station (BS) collects and processes all received information. The BS is also equipped with multiple antennas; hence, a multiple input–multiple output (MIMO) system is formulated. Due to the multiple reflections during transmission in the inner of the building, a wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) physical layer protocol has been considered, which has already been adopted for third-generation (3G) mobile networks. Results are presented for various MIMO orientations, where the mean transmission power per node is considered as an output metric for a specific signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) requirement and number of resolvable multipath components. In the first set of presented results, the effects of multiple access interference on overall transmission power are highlighted. As the number of mobile nodes per floor or the requested transmission rate increases, MIMO systems of a higher order should be deployed in order to maintain transmission power at adequate levels. In the second set of results, a comparison is performed among transmission in diversity combining and spatial multiplexing mode, which clearly indicate that the first case is the most appropriate solution for indoor communications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Solving “Smart City” Transport Problems by Designing Carpooling Gamification Schemes with Multi-Agent Systems: The Case of the So-Called “Mordor of Warsaw”
Sensors 2018, 18(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010141
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 6 January 2018
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Abstract
To reduce energy consumption and improve residents’ quality of life, “smart cities” should use not only modern technologies, but also the social innovations of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) era. This article attempts to solve transport problems in a smart city’s office district
[...] Read more.
To reduce energy consumption and improve residents’ quality of life, “smart cities” should use not only modern technologies, but also the social innovations of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) era. This article attempts to solve transport problems in a smart city’s office district by utilizing gamification that incentivizes the carpooling system. The goal of the devised system is to significantly reduce the number of cars, and, consequently, to alleviate traffic jams, as well as to curb pollution and energy consumption. A representative sample of the statistical population of people working in one of the biggest office hubs in Poland (the so-called “Mordor of Warsaw”) was surveyed. The collected data were processed using spatial data mining methods, and the results were a set of parameters for the multi-agent system. This approach made it possible to run a series of simulations on a set of 100,000 agents and to select an effective gamification methodology that supports the carpooling process. The implementation of the proposed solutions (a “serious game” variation of urban games) would help to reduce the number of cars by several dozen percent, significantly reduce energy consumption, eliminate traffic jams, and increase the activity of the smart city residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Towards the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Providing Sustainable Services in Smart Cities
Sensors 2018, 18(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010064
Received: 26 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainability is at the heart of many application fields where the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is becoming more and more important (e.g., agriculture, fire detection and prediction, environmental surveillance, mapping, etc.). However, their usage and evolution are highly conditioned by the
[...] Read more.
Sustainability is at the heart of many application fields where the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is becoming more and more important (e.g., agriculture, fire detection and prediction, environmental surveillance, mapping, etc.). However, their usage and evolution are highly conditioned by the specific application field they are designed for, and thus, they cannot be easily reused among different application fields. From this point of view, being that they are not multipurpose, we can say that they are not fully sustainable. Bearing this in mind, the objective of this paper is two-fold: on the one hand, to identify the whole set of features that must be provided by a UAS to be considered sustainable and to show that there is no UAS satisfying all these features; on the other hand, to present an open and sustainable UAS architecture that may be used to build UAS on demand to provide the features needed in each application field. Since this architecture is mainly based on software and hardware adaptability, it contributes to the technical sustainability of cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Transmission through Existing Building Enclosures: Destructive Monitoring in Intermediate Layers versus Non-Destructive Monitoring with Sensors on Surfaces
Sensors 2017, 17(12), 2848; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17122848
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Opaque enclosures of buildings play an essential role in the level of comfort experienced indoors and annual energy demand. The impact of solar radiation and thermal inertia of the materials that make up the multi-layer enclosures substantially modify thermal transmittance behaviour of the
[...] Read more.
Opaque enclosures of buildings play an essential role in the level of comfort experienced indoors and annual energy demand. The impact of solar radiation and thermal inertia of the materials that make up the multi-layer enclosures substantially modify thermal transmittance behaviour of the enclosures. This dynamic form of heat transfer, additionally affected by indoor HVAC systems, has a substantial effect on the parameters that define comfort. It also has an impact on energy demand within a daily cycle as well as throughout a one-year use cycle. This study describes the destructive monitoring of an existing block of flats located in Alicante. Once the enclosure was opened, sensors of temperature (PT100), air velocity, and relative humidity were located in the different layers of the enclosure, as well as in the interior and exterior surfaces. A pyranometer was also installed to measure solar radiation levels. A temperature data correction algorithm was drawn up to address irregularities produced in the enclosure. The algorithm was applied using a Raspberry Pi processor in the data collection system. The comparative results of temperature gradients versus non-destructive monitoring systems are presented, providing measures of the transmittance value, surface temperatures and indoor and outdoor air temperatures. This remote sensing system can be used in future studies to quantify and compare the energy savings of different enclosure construction solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An Intelligent Cooperative Visual Sensor Network for Urban Mobility
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2588; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112588
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 7 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smart cities are demanding solutions for improved traffic efficiency, in order to guarantee optimal access to mobility resources available in urban areas. Intelligent video analytics deployed directly on board embedded sensors offers great opportunities to gather highly informative data about traffic and transport,
[...] Read more.
Smart cities are demanding solutions for improved traffic efficiency, in order to guarantee optimal access to mobility resources available in urban areas. Intelligent video analytics deployed directly on board embedded sensors offers great opportunities to gather highly informative data about traffic and transport, allowing reconstruction of a real-time neat picture of urban mobility patterns. In this paper, we present a visual sensor network in which each node embeds computer vision logics for analyzing in real time urban traffic. The nodes in the network share their perceptions and build a global and comprehensive interpretation of the analyzed scenes in a cooperative and adaptive fashion. This is possible thanks to an especially designed Internet of Things (IoT) compliant middleware which encompasses in-network event composition as well as full support of Machine-2-Machine (M2M) communication mechanism. The potential of the proposed cooperative visual sensor network is shown with two sample applications in urban mobility connected to the estimation of vehicular flows and parking management. Besides providing detailed results of each key component of the proposed solution, the validity of the approach is demonstrated by extensive field tests that proved the suitability of the system in providing a scalable, adaptable and extensible data collection layer for managing and understanding mobility in smart cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An Embedded Wireless Sensor Network with Wireless Power Transmission Capability for the Structural Health Monitoring of Reinforced Concrete Structures
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112566
Received: 2 September 2017 / Revised: 27 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6514 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Maintenance strategies based on structural health monitoring can provide effective support in the optimization of scheduled repair of existing structures, thus enabling their lifetime to be extended. With specific regard to reinforced concrete (RC) structures, the state of the art seems to still
[...] Read more.
Maintenance strategies based on structural health monitoring can provide effective support in the optimization of scheduled repair of existing structures, thus enabling their lifetime to be extended. With specific regard to reinforced concrete (RC) structures, the state of the art seems to still be lacking an efficient and cost-effective technique capable of monitoring material properties continuously over the lifetime of a structure. Current solutions can typically only measure the required mechanical variables in an indirect, but economic, manner, or directly, but expensively. Moreover, most of the proposed solutions can only be implemented by means of manual activation, making the monitoring very inefficient and then poorly supported. This paper proposes a structural health monitoring system based on a wireless sensor network (WSN) that enables the automatic monitoring of a complete structure. The network includes wireless distributed sensors embedded in the structure itself, and follows the monitoring-based maintenance (MBM) approach, with its ABCDE paradigm, namely: accuracy, benefit, compactness, durability, and easiness of operations. The system is structured in a node level and has a network architecture that enables all the node data to converge in a central unit. Human control is completely unnecessary until the periodic evaluation of the collected data. Several tests are conducted in order to characterize the system from a metrological point of view and assess its performance and effectiveness in real RC conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle The Virtual Environment for Rapid Prototyping of the Intelligent Environment
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112562
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Advances in domains such as sensor networks and electronic and ambient intelligence have allowed us to create intelligent environments (IEs). However, research in IE is being held back by the fact that researchers face major difficulties, such as a lack of resources for
[...] Read more.
Advances in domains such as sensor networks and electronic and ambient intelligence have allowed us to create intelligent environments (IEs). However, research in IE is being held back by the fact that researchers face major difficulties, such as a lack of resources for their experiments. Indeed, they cannot easily build IEs to evaluate their approaches. This is mainly because of economic and logistical issues. In this paper, we propose a simulator to build virtual IEs. Simulators are a good alternative to physical IEs because they are inexpensive, and experiments can be conducted easily. Our simulator is open source and it provides users with a set of virtual sensors that simulates the behavior of real sensors. This simulator gives the user the capacity to build their own environment, providing a model to edit inhabitants’ behavior and an interactive mode. In this mode, the user can directly act upon IE objects. This simulator gathers data generated by the interactions in order to produce datasets. These datasets can be used by scientists to evaluate several approaches in IEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Distributed Channel Allocation and Time Slot Optimization for Green Internet of Things
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2479; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112479
Received: 23 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 28 October 2017
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Abstract
In sustainable smart cities, power saving is a severe challenge in the energy-constrained Internet of Things (IoT). Efficient utilization of limited multiple non-overlap channels and time resources is a promising solution to reduce the network interference and save energy consumption. In this paper,
[...] Read more.
In sustainable smart cities, power saving is a severe challenge in the energy-constrained Internet of Things (IoT). Efficient utilization of limited multiple non-overlap channels and time resources is a promising solution to reduce the network interference and save energy consumption. In this paper, we propose a joint channel allocation and time slot optimization solution for IoT. First, we propose a channel ranking algorithm which enables each node to rank its available channels based on the channel properties. Then, we propose a distributed channel allocation algorithm so that each node can choose a proper channel based on the channel ranking and its own residual energy. Finally, the sleeping duration and spectrum sensing duration are jointly optimized to maximize the normalized throughput and satisfy energy consumption constraints simultaneously. Different from the former approaches, our proposed solution requires no central coordination or any global information that each node can operate based on its own local information in a total distributed manner. Also, theoretical analysis and extensive simulations have validated that when applying our solution in the network of IoT: (i) each node can be allocated to a proper channel based on the residual energy to balance the lifetime; (ii) the network can rapidly converge to a collision-free transmission through each node’s learning ability in the process of the distributed channel allocation; and (iii) the network throughput is further improved via the dynamic time slot optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle An IoT-Based Solution for Monitoring a Fleet of Educational Buildings Focusing on Energy Efficiency
Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2296; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17102296
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 1 October 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1214 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Raising awareness among young people and changing their behaviour and habits concerning energy usage is key to achieving sustained energy saving. Additionally, young people are very sensitive to environmental protection so raising awareness among children is much easier than with any other group
[...] Read more.
Raising awareness among young people and changing their behaviour and habits concerning energy usage is key to achieving sustained energy saving. Additionally, young people are very sensitive to environmental protection so raising awareness among children is much easier than with any other group of citizens. This work examines ways to create an innovative Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) ecosystem (including web-based, mobile, social and sensing elements) tailored specifically for school environments, taking into account both the users (faculty, staff, students, parents) and school buildings, thus motivating and supporting young citizens’ behavioural change to achieve greater energy efficiency. A mixture of open-source IoT hardware and proprietary platforms on the infrastructure level, are currently being utilized for monitoring a fleet of 18 educational buildings across 3 countries, comprising over 700 IoT monitoring points. Hereon presented is the system’s high-level architecture, as well as several aspects of its implementation, related to the application domain of educational building monitoring and energy efficiency. The system is developed based on open-source technologies and services in order to make it capable of providing open IT-infrastructure and support from different commercial hardware/sensor vendors as well as open-source solutions. The system presented can be used to develop and offer new app-based solutions that can be used either for educational purposes or for managing the energy efficiency of the building. The system is replicable and adaptable to settings that may be different than the scenarios envisioned here (e.g., targeting different climate zones), different IT infrastructures and can be easily extended to accommodate integration with other systems. The overall performance of the system is evaluated in real-world environment in terms of scalability, responsiveness and simplicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle ROSA: Resource-Oriented Service Management Schemes for Web of Things in a Smart Home
Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2159; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17102159
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (946 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Pervasive-computing-enriched smart home environment, which contains many embedded and tiny intelligent devices and sensors coordinated by service management mechanisms, is capable of anticipating intentions of occupants and providing appropriate services accordingly. Although there are a wealth of research achievements in recent years,
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A Pervasive-computing-enriched smart home environment, which contains many embedded and tiny intelligent devices and sensors coordinated by service management mechanisms, is capable of anticipating intentions of occupants and providing appropriate services accordingly. Although there are a wealth of research achievements in recent years, the degree of market acceptance is still low. The main reason is that most of the devices and services in such environments depend on particular platform or technology, making it hard to develop an application by composing the devices or services. Meanwhile, the concept of Web of Things (WoT) is becoming popular recently. Based on WoT, the developers can build applications based on popular web tools or technologies. Consequently, the objective of this paper is to propose a set of novel WoT-driven plug-and-play service management schemes for a smart home called Resource-Oriented Service Administration (ROSA). We have implemented an application prototype, and experiments are performed to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach. The results of this research can be a foundation for realizing the vision of “end user programmable smart environments”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Combining a Multi-Agent System and Communication Middleware for Smart Home Control: A Universal Control Platform Architecture
Sensors 2017, 17(9), 2135; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17092135
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 16 September 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, the smart home field has gained wide attention for its broad application prospects. However, families using smart home systems must usually adopt various heterogeneous smart devices, including sensors and devices, which makes it more difficult to manage and control their
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In recent years, the smart home field has gained wide attention for its broad application prospects. However, families using smart home systems must usually adopt various heterogeneous smart devices, including sensors and devices, which makes it more difficult to manage and control their home system. How to design a unified control platform to deal with the collaborative control problem of heterogeneous smart devices is one of the greatest challenges in the current smart home field. The main contribution of this paper is to propose a universal smart home control platform architecture (IAPhome) based on a multi-agent system and communication middleware, which shows significant adaptability and advantages in many aspects, including heterogeneous devices connectivity, collaborative control, human-computer interaction and user self-management. The communication middleware is an important foundation to design and implement this architecture which makes it possible to integrate heterogeneous smart devices in a flexible way. A concrete method of applying the multi-agent software technique to solve the integrated control problem of the smart home system is also presented. The proposed platform architecture has been tested in a real smart home environment, and the results indicate that the effectiveness of our approach for solving the collaborative control problem of different smart devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Providing Personalized Energy Management and Awareness Services for Energy Efficiency in Smart Buildings
Sensors 2017, 17(9), 2054; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17092054
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (7335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Considering that the largest part of end-use energy consumption worldwide is associated with the buildings sector, there is an inherent need for the conceptualization, specification, implementation, and instantiation of novel solutions in smart buildings, able to achieve significant reductions in energy consumption through
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Considering that the largest part of end-use energy consumption worldwide is associated with the buildings sector, there is an inherent need for the conceptualization, specification, implementation, and instantiation of novel solutions in smart buildings, able to achieve significant reductions in energy consumption through the adoption of energy efficient techniques and the active engagement of the occupants. Towards the design of such solutions, the identification of the main energy consuming factors, trends, and patterns, along with the appropriate modeling and understanding of the occupants’ behavior and the potential for the adoption of environmentally-friendly lifestyle changes have to be realized. In the current article, an innovative energy-aware information technology (IT) ecosystem is presented, aiming to support the design and development of novel personalized energy management and awareness services that can lead to occupants’ behavioral change towards actions that can have a positive impact on energy efficiency. Novel information and communication technologies (ICT) are exploited towards this direction, related mainly to the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), data modeling, management and fusion, big data analytics, and personalized recommendation mechanisms. The combination of such technologies has resulted in an open and extensible architectural approach able to exploit in a homogeneous, efficient and scalable way the vast amount of energy, environmental, and behavioral data collected in energy efficiency campaigns and lead to the design of energy management and awareness services targeted to the occupants’ lifestyles. The overall layered architectural approach is detailed, including design and instantiation aspects based on the selection of set of available technologies and tools. Initial results from the usage of the proposed energy aware IT ecosystem in a pilot site at the University of Murcia are presented along with a set of identified open issues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle RUDO: A Home Ambient Intelligence System for Blind People
Sensors 2017, 17(8), 1926; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17081926
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 5 August 2017 / Accepted: 19 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
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Abstract
The article introduces an ambient intelligence system for blind people which besides providing assistance in home environment also helps with various situations and roles in which blind people may find themselves involved. RUDO, the designed system, comprises several modules that mainly support or
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The article introduces an ambient intelligence system for blind people which besides providing assistance in home environment also helps with various situations and roles in which blind people may find themselves involved. RUDO, the designed system, comprises several modules that mainly support or ensure recognition of approaching people, alerting to other household members’ movement in the flat, work on a computer, supervision of (sighted) children, cooperation of a sighted and a blind person (e.g., when studying), control of heating and zonal regulation by a blind person. It has a unified user interface that gives the blind person access to individual functions. The interface for blind people offers assistance with work on a computer, including writing in Braille on a regular keyboard and specialized work in informatics and electronics (e.g., programming). RUDO can complement the standard aids used by blind people at home, it increases their independence and creates conditions that allow them to become fully involved. RUDO also supports blind people sharing a home with sighted people, which contributes to their feeling of security and greater inclusion in society. RUDO has been implemented in a household for two years, which allows an evaluation of its use in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Tree Alignment Based on Needleman-Wunsch Algorithm for Sensor Selection in Smart Homes
Sensors 2017, 17(8), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17081902
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 18 August 2017
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Abstract
Activity recognition in smart homes aims to infer the particular activities of the inhabitant, the aim being to monitor their activities and identify any abnormalities, especially for those living alone. In order for a smart home to support its inhabitant, the recognition system
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Activity recognition in smart homes aims to infer the particular activities of the inhabitant, the aim being to monitor their activities and identify any abnormalities, especially for those living alone. In order for a smart home to support its inhabitant, the recognition system needs to learn from observations acquired through sensors. One question that often arises is which sensors are useful and how many sensors are required to accurately recognise the inhabitant’s activities? Many wrapper methods have been proposed and remain one of the popular evaluators for sensor selection due to its superior accuracy performance. However, they are prohibitively slow during the evaluation process and may run into the risk of overfitting due to the extent of the search. Motivated by this characteristic, this paper attempts to reduce the cost of the evaluation process and overfitting through tree alignment. The performance of our method is evaluated on two public datasets obtained in two distinct smart home environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle A Smart Power Electronic Multiconverter for the Residential Sector
Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17061217
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 19 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (7418 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The future of the grid includes distributed generation and smart grid technologies. Demand Side Management (DSM) systems will also be essential to achieve a high level of reliability and robustness in power systems. To do that, expanding the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and
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The future of the grid includes distributed generation and smart grid technologies. Demand Side Management (DSM) systems will also be essential to achieve a high level of reliability and robustness in power systems. To do that, expanding the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Energy Management Systems (EMS) are necessary. The trend direction is towards the creation of energy resource hubs, such as the smart community concept. This paper presents a smart multiconverter system for residential/housing sector with a Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS) consisting of supercapacitor and battery, and with local photovoltaic (PV) energy source integration. The device works as a distributed energy unit located in each house of the community, receiving active power set-points provided by a smart community EMS. This central EMS is responsible for managing the active energy flows between the electricity grid, renewable energy sources, storage equipment and loads existing in the community. The proposed multiconverter is responsible for complying with the reference active power set-points with proper power quality; guaranteeing that the local PV modules operate with a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm; and extending the lifetime of the battery thanks to a cooperative operation of the HESS. A simulation model has been developed in order to show the detailed operation of the system. Finally, a prototype of the multiconverter platform has been implemented and some experimental tests have been carried out to validate it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle OpenSHS: Open Smart Home Simulator
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17051003
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 23 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
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Abstract
This paper develops a new hybrid, open-source, cross-platform 3D smart home simulator, OpenSHS, for dataset generation. OpenSHS offers an opportunity for researchers in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning to test and evaluate their models. Following a hybrid
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This paper develops a new hybrid, open-source, cross-platform 3D smart home simulator, OpenSHS, for dataset generation. OpenSHS offers an opportunity for researchers in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning to test and evaluate their models. Following a hybrid approach, OpenSHS combines advantages from both interactive and model-based approaches. This approach reduces the time and efforts required to generate simulated smart home datasets. We have designed a replication algorithm for extending and expanding a dataset. A small sample dataset produced, by OpenSHS, can be extended without affecting the logical order of the events. The replication provides a solution for generating large representative smart home datasets. We have built an extensible library of smart devices that facilitates the simulation of current and future smart home environments. Our tool divides the dataset generation process into three distinct phases: first design: the researcher designs the initial virtual environment by building the home, importing smart devices and creating contexts; second, simulation: the participant simulates his/her context-specific events; and third, aggregation: the researcher applies the replication algorithm to generate the final dataset. We conducted a study to assess the ease of use of our tool on the System Usability Scale (SUS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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Open AccessReview Smart Homes for Elderly Healthcare—Recent Advances and Research Challenges
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2496; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112496
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 8 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4313 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Advancements in medical science and technology, medicine and public health coupled with increased consciousness about nutrition and environmental and personal hygiene have paved the way for the dramatic increase in life expectancy globally in the past several decades. However, increased life expectancy has
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Advancements in medical science and technology, medicine and public health coupled with increased consciousness about nutrition and environmental and personal hygiene have paved the way for the dramatic increase in life expectancy globally in the past several decades. However, increased life expectancy has given rise to an increasing aging population, thus jeopardizing the socio-economic structure of many countries in terms of costs associated with elderly healthcare and wellbeing. In order to cope with the growing need for elderly healthcare services, it is essential to develop affordable, unobtrusive and easy-to-use healthcare solutions. Smart homes, which incorporate environmental and wearable medical sensors, actuators, and modern communication and information technologies, can enable continuous and remote monitoring of elderly health and wellbeing at a low cost. Smart homes may allow the elderly to stay in their comfortable home environments instead of expensive and limited healthcare facilities. Healthcare personnel can also keep track of the overall health condition of the elderly in real-time and provide feedback and support from distant facilities. In this paper, we have presented a comprehensive review on the state-of-the-art research and development in smart home based remote healthcare technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sensors for Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Buildings)
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