A building’s environment has profound influence on occupant comfort and health. Continuous monitoring of building occupancy and environment is essential to fault detection, intelligent control, and building commissioning. Though many solutions for environmental measuring based on wireless sensor networks exist, they are not easily accessible to households and building owners who may lack time or technical expertise needed to set up a system and get quick and detailed overview of environmental conditions. Building-in-Briefcase (BiB) is a portable sensor network platform that is trivially easy to deploy in any building environment. Once the sensors are distributed, the environmental data is collected and communicated to the BiB router via the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and WiFi technology, which then forwards the data to the central database securely over the internet through a 3G radio. The user, with minimal effort, can access the aggregated data and visualize the trends in real time on the BiB web portal. Paramount to the adoption and continued operation of an indoor sensing platform is battery lifetime. This design has achieved a multi-year lifespan by careful selection of components, an efficient binary communications protocol and data compression. Our BiB sensor is capable of collecting a rich set of environmental parameters, and is expandable to measure others, such as CO
. This paper describes the power characteristics of BiB sensors and their occupancy estimation and activity recognition functionality. We have demonstrated large-scale deployment of BiB throughout Singapore. Our vision is that, by monitoring thousands of buildings through BiB, it would provide ample research opportunities and opportunities to identify ways to improve the building environment and energy efficiency.
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