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September 8, 2020

Smart Occupancy: AI for Smart and Safe Workspaces

The COVID-19 worldwide crisis is one of the biggest challenges the world has faced in the past decades. It only took a couple of months for it to significantly transform the way we live. It has impacted every industry and altered the way we all work. The pandemic has sneaked in every aspect of our life. However, workspaces and office spaces have been affected by it the most.

Organizations are struggling to accommodate the return to the offices with new hygiene and social distancing measures to ensure a safe working space.This has raised the question of how to return to work within office buildings. Will the current layout of the office remain? Will occupancy levels in offices be reduced to ensure a safe distance between the workers? What other measures should we consider to ensure safety?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has pushed innovation at an unprecedented rate; technology has helped us adapt to the evolving circumstances. While the changes needed for workplaces are still unclear, there is one thing that is completely clear: smart technology, such as IoT (Internet of Things), or Artificial Intelligence, will play a significant role in any office space from now on.

Smart Occupancy

Plain Concepts has developed a solution that leverages the power of IoT and Artificial Intelligence to facilitate a safe return to the offices.

Smart Occupancy provides an ideal platform to gather data across the entire office space and gain knowledge using Artificial intelligence techniques over it. Leveraging this technology to understand the occupancy of a building can help optimize the use of the facilities and thus, comply with the safety measures.

Smart Occupancy provides a fast way for organizations to incorporate IoT in their facilities, transforming them into intelligent workspaces.

The solution includes AI modules such as face mask detection, people per area, hot spots identification, and safety distance detection, amongst others. It also facilitates the connection with other IoT devices such as temperature cameras. Moreover, it provides a way to visualize the insights through Power BI to enable fast informed business decisions.

IoT accelerator

We provide an IoT accelerator based in IoT Edge modules to offer an intelligent building. We capture the events generated from these modules; we analyze the events and provide a visualization of the details so that our clients can act based on the analysis and the prediction of our modules.

Our solution is based on Azure IoT Edge, a fully managed service built on Azure IoT Hub. We deploy our optimized AI models in edge devices (cameras) using standard containers. By moving the inference of our AI models to the edge (the point where the IoT devices connect to the network), we can mitigate challenges such as latency, connectivity, power consumption, etc. The devices spend less time communicating with the cloud, react promptly to local changes, and operate reliably even in extended offline periods.

AI modules and Computer Vision algorithm

Object detection models are trained to detect objects at different scales to increase their performance. Moreover, our models are trained to associate images of the same person taken from various cameras or using the same camera on different occasions. This improves the tracking and counting of people in areas. The models are trained to identify different individuals in a video feed. However, the identity of the persons is never recognized, this is done to avoid jeopardizing the employees’ privacy.

Our models can provide information about people’s proximities to each other and calculate the occupancy of the different areas in a building throughout the day. Occupancy data can show hotspots within the building and create alerts if there are too many people in one place or people are not wearing their face masks.

Data Streaming

The data streaming follows a Delta Lake architecture, unifying different data sources in three levels: raw data level, cleaning and filtering level, and business-level aggregates. Delta Lake is ideal for artificial intelligence solutions; it helps organizations reduce complexity by getting the benefits of multiple storage systems in one. This provides a simpler data architecture that allows organizations to focus only on extracting value from their data.

Want to know more? Discover the full potential of Smart Occupancy to return to work in the safest way.

Daniela Solis
Artificial Intelligence Technical Lead