Inspired by a recent visit to an Internet of Things conference in Madrid, we decided to give the technology a try and create a small demo to share with our customers and partners. After a short brainstorming session we came up with a simple idea that has been a recurrent theme whilst doing on-site visits: meeting room bookings.
Walking by: the scenario
The scenario is the following: you are talking to a colleague and the conversation gets a little longer than expected so you decide to move to a conference room. Walking past by the rooms, you see an empty one, get in, hook your laptop to the projector and resume the conversation only to be interrupted 5 minutes later by a team that tells you they have booked the room for the following 3 hours. Sounds familiar?
So our thoughts to improve the scenario: walk with a phone in your hand and an app tells you which is the closest room and its availability. Furthermore, it tells you if it can be booked, for how long and if there are any rooms nearby that might be free.
From this, we identified the following components:
1. Low-emission bluetooth beacons to allow us to identify when we are near a meeting room
2. A mobile application to would display info and allow booking
3. A back-end API to retrieve a meeting room status (with beacon – room association)
A step further
Since we wanted the scenario to be a bit more realistic we added a maintenance use-case: monitor the beacons emissions to detect when one of them goes offline. In this way we can we send an operator to fix the problem, most likely change the battery or replace the device altogether. For this, we need to be able to register a new beacon (and associate it with a meeting room). We could even have scheduled maintenance visits (we know the battery will last approximately X years). Consequently, we added the following items to our list:
1. A Raspberry PI device with Bluetooth and WiFi support
2. An application running on the PI to relay beacon status to the main back-end (item #3 in the list above)
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