EnOcean Alliance has announced a major focus on supporting businesses and public sector organizations around the world to safely reopen following the widespread COVID-19 lockdown, using flexible, connected energy harvesting sensors to create ‘safe and smart’ spaces. Initiatives will include webinars and training, as well a pilot Smart Spaces project package for an office environment, including sensors to equip three desks with 12 sensors and monitor one meeting room.

Graham Martin, chairman and CEO of EnOcean Alliance, explained, “Energy harvesting sensors are the ‘secret ingredient’ that can reduce the financial impact of reopening offices, restaurants, shops and schools whilst maintaining a safe distance between occupants as well as very high standards of hygiene. The new requirement to keep workers safe and infection-free is completely in line with the established trends towards smart spaces and smart buildings. The Alliance and its members are already supporting these trends through the deployment of smart, connected and battery-free sensors, and will now pivot to support the creation of ‘safe and smart’ spaces. With energy harvesting technology, building managers can fit the sensor they want, where they want it and as requirements and regulations for space use change add further interoperable sensors from other vendors.”

Taking the example of offices, Graham Martin pointed out that the need to maintain social distancing put new pressure on office infrastructure. He said, “Companies will have to reduce the occupancy of their spaces. Making those spaces smart can mitigate the financial impact by ensuring that they are now used to their safe capacity, and serviced, heated and ventilated in line with actual usage.”

He pointed out that, “Pre-COVID research shows that up 60 per cent of desks are empty and meeting rooms are occupied less than 20 per cent of the time. Removing desks that aren’t being used anyway, and repurposing underutilized meeting rooms is a smart way to deliver a safe COVID-sensitive working environment. Similarly, by accurately monitoring actual usage of desks, meeting rooms and rest rooms, cleaning teams can be effectively directed to maintain high standards of hygiene in areas that have seen use, without dissipating time and energy cleaning little or unused spaces.”