Oct 29, 2020

A LoRaWAN desk availability solution for the city of Zug

Alexis Leibbrandt

A LoRaWAN desk availability solution for the residents' control office of the city of Zug. See how the akenza platform helps to guide the visitors to the available reception desks.

The city of Zug, renowned for being Switzerland's Crypto Valley, has long seen digitization as an opportunity for society. With its "Smart City Strategy", the City Council aims to increase the efficiency of resources and improve the quality of life of the citizens.

To tackle this challenge, the city defined six fields of action:

  • Administration (smart government)

  • Society (smart people)

  • Mobility (smart mobility)

  • Quality of life (smart living)

  • Economy (smart economy)

  • Environment (smart environment)

akenza is glad to collaborate with the city of Zug in improving the well-being of its citizens thanks to custom IoT solutions.

Towards a smart people flow control

City hall of Zug, Switzerland

The residents control office of the city of Zug needed a smart way to guide its visitors to the available reception desks. In order to better control the flow of people in their office, the administration wanted a way to display in real-time which one of their four reception desks was available.

In order to do so, a custom solution had to be developed, including different sensor technologies and the development of a dedicated signage screen. To cope with the requirements of the project, the resident's control office needed an IoT platform to be able to control the whole data flow in one place, from the sensors to the data visualization.

The akenza platform is the perfect solution for this.

A complex constellation of IoT elements

Wooden label

It all starts at the desk of an administrator. If the administrator is available to welcome a new visitor, he/she flips the wooden name label into the appropriate position. The wooden label indicates that someone is seated at this particular desk. A tab magnet sensor embedded in the wooden frame reacts to the new position and sends a message to the akenza platform.

The akenza platform processes the message and reflects the desk availability change by sending a downlink message to a Comtac LoRaWAN digital output device, embedded into a smart LED lamp. The lamp then turns on or off accordingly.

The smart lamp has been developed by Astra LED, one of the hardware partners of akenza. Astra LED develops and produces integrated and adaptive lighting and sensor solutions that increase well-being and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

Smart lamp from Astra LED

In addition to the wooden frame, an Oxobutton push button can be used by the employee to control directly the availability status of the desk and override the status of the wooden label. It is the case when the employee is seated at the desk but needs to do some back office work and cannot welcome a new visitor.

A general overview of all desks is given as well on a custom signage screen at the main entrance of the resident's control office. Thanks to this visual feedback, the visitors know at a glance which desk is available.

The custom signage screen displaying the current desk availability

The akenza platform at the heart of the system

The IoT software infrastructure from akenza enables a smooth integration of the different hardware sensors in one place. The agnostic architecture of the platform ensures that the solution can stay independent of the hardware used, now, and in the future.

Moreover, the akenza platform also manages the complete connectivity of the system by registering the devices on the Loriot LoRaWAN network hosted by Wasserwerke Zug (WWZ) and consequently handling the communication with the sensors (uplink/downlink messaging).

"As we started this project with akenza, it all seemed to be a slight adaptation of their workplace occupancy solution – deploy sensors, set up logic in Akenza platform and reflect the desk status on the occupancy screen. After all it was not that easy, the ideal solution is rarely just out of the box. In order to guide the customers to a free desk as intuitive as possible, we had to integrate smart LED lamps for each desk and customize the signage screen. In this process of adapting the solution, Akenza has demonstrated to be a very flexible and cooperative partner and the outcome is to our full satisfaction. The city of Zug is continuing to unleash the potential of digitalisation and IoT, and it is more than likely that LoRaWAN and Akenza will play a role in that journey; be it in the area of traffic monitoring, air quality surveillance or any other field, where technology can help make our lives easier and better."
-Nicolas Lemaitre, Project Leader Smart City, city of Zug
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