Better Indoor Environments with Real-Time IoT Data
Homes and other properties contain an increasing number of IoT sensors and smart devices that provide data relating to their environment. Cozify wanted to demonstrate how that data could be used to create comfortable indoor conditions for people, and save money while doing so.
Cozify is a Finnish startup that develops hardware and software for smart homes and buildings. Their flagship product, Cozify Hub, is a wireless consumer appliance that connects smart devices supplied by various manufacturers into a unified whole. For professional use, the company recently launched Cozify Pro—an advanced version of the hub.
“We see ourselves as an IoT platform company,” says Kimmo Ruotoistenmäki, the CEO and co-founder of Cozify. “Our strength is that we are standard-neutral, aiming to connect with any conceivable smart device out there. The system is easy to set up, even for a non-professional. Furthermore, you can build your own smart applications on top of our platform and make use of real time data from different systems.”
From Smart Homes to Smart Buildings
Cozify does not limit itself to consumer applications. First apartment houses were Cozified in 2016. Also, Senate Properties, the Finnish government’s corporate real estate company, has used their expertise on smart building projects. The experience encouraged Cozify to start a new experiment, with partial funding from the governmental KIRA-digi program, in May 2018.
The experimentation project, called “Real Time Use of Data Produced by Properties,” took place in an existing office building in Kuopio, a town in central Finland. The Kallanranta building houses offices used by Senate Properties and a few other tenants.
The hypothesis of the experiment was that real-time IoT and building automation data can be used to control old heating and ventilation systems to create optimal indoor conditions for users. Many old building systems cannot adapt to varying user needs. For example, they have timers that turn the ventilation on and off at predetermined hours, and not when the premises are actually in use.
Another big problem with building-related systems is that they are separate entities that don’t communicate with each other. A conference room or hotel room reservation software knows when spaces are occupied and by how many people, but that information remains within those systems. Recent cost-effective IoT devices can provide real-time data, but don’t connect easily with legacy systems.
Enhancing User and Owner Value by Integration on Sensors
Cozify installed new IoT sensors at the Kallanranta office. On their platform, they integrated the sensors for a conference room reservation system with those for existing HVAC systems. As a result, when a certain conference room was in use, the indoor quality was ideal for the number of people in the room. The temperature and lighting could also be optimized accordingly.
“We had no doubts whatsoever about our technology,” Ruotoistenmäki assures. “We got help from Granlund, an energy specialist, on how to interpret the data that we collected. We have also teamed up with Platform of Trust, a company that connects built environment data providers and data users.”
The experimentation turned out to be a success. The office users enjoy comfortable workplace conditions. In addition, the experiment corroborated what the company already knew from earlier projects: heating and cooling costs would be reduced as a result of adjustments made with real-time data. The experiment still continues and may be expanded based on the data gathered in the following months. Moreover, the technology is not restricted to heating or ventilation. It enables solutions that require both controlling and monitoring of existing building automation systems, IoT devices and other back end systems.
Cozify has collaborated with banking and insurance companies in Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK. During a recent KIRA-digi visit to Singapore, the company’s platform attracted the attention of potential partners. As a result, Cozify has started a development project aimed at the real-time and predictive control of ventilation and cooling in tropical climates. The system will control existing chillers with data from sensors, weather forecasts, and other sources. The ROI of the solution will be substantial.
“Our solution is very cost-effective to deploy and maintain: up to 90 percent more affordable than traditional competing systems,” says Ruotoistenmäki. “The user can set up and control Cozify with a mobile device. For large properties, we offer browser-based software. However, our goal is total automation in which you don’t need a dedicated user interface. The building itself is the user interface.”
For more information, send email to kimmo(at)cozify.fi.