In the offices of Geeksme everything is registered. At what time you feel by each worker and when it rises. What tables are being used. What is the degree of occupancy of a room. What doors and windows are open or closed. If the light is on or off. What is the temperature in each place. And also the quality of the air, the humidity and the atmospheric pressure. Dozens of sensors attached to chairs, tables, doors, and windows to collect continuously information on how workers interact with each object.

Geeksme is a Spanish company that is dedicated to the internet of things (IoT, for its acronym in English) and has created Universall, a platform designed to be able to sensorizar and monitor any thing. “There is a great opportunity to make devices, sensors attached to everyday objects, which surround us, allow us to obtain data to understand how we interact with them and to take decisions”, explains Ángel Sánchez Díaz, the co-founder and general director of the company.

as Geeksme, other companies and organizations opt for adding sensors to objects to make them smart. In 2017, a team of researchers fabricated a device capable of monitoring various objects in the kitchen: from a microwave to a kettle, or a paper roll holder. This year Eurecat has submitted a tag with sensors to verify the contents of a bottle of wine without opening it. Meanwhile, companies such as Apple or Xiaomi marketed kits of the home automation system to monitor the house and make it smart with motion sensors and door and window opening.

The information collected by different sensors, according to Sanchez, it may be useful for both businesses and home users: “In the event that put sensors to a chair where we’re sitting, is to understand what are our patterns of behavior. If I spend more than two hours sitting and, therefore, you should get up in a matter of health. Or if you are put in a room of offices, for a company to know the degree of occupation of these spaces and therefore be able to optimize them”.

Dozens of sensors attached to chairs, tables, doors, and windows to collect continuously information on how workers interact with each object

Their offices in the centre of Madrid are the lab what you intend soon to go out to dozens of offices, warehouses, gyms, and homes. The company, which also is the architect of a clock that measures the ecological footprint and the sexual activity and of a mattress to track sleep, expected to take their devices to the sale by the end of this year. He is currently working on several pilots and has already closed some agreements with companies such as Securitas, Nordic Semiconductor or Ilunion. Among the interested companies, according to its founder, there are from multinational companies that want to monitor the use of their offices to insurance companies that want to create products of safety and health.

Two devices packed full of sensors

A day of work, a 3D printer work without rest in a room of the offices of Geeksme. Beside her, José Francisco Sánchez District, engineer of design and manufacturing of the company, gives way to an accessory to the equipment designed by the company. To measure all the above variables, we have developed two devices. The quark, which is attached to everyday objects, is equipped with a sensor 9D composed of an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass and a temperature sensor. You can measure the interaction with chairs, tables, doors, drawers, windows or even clothing. That is to say, how long someone sits in a chair, if it interacts with the objects on or if a door is open or closed.

All this information is transmitted to another device called the Omega. The database is a communication able to interact with all the quarks are arranged in a space of between 20 and 40 meters. In addition to transmitting information to the cloud via Narrowband-IoT, measured environmental variables such as temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, air quality and even the amount of light.

Sanchez is in charge of the design of these devices: “The first thing is to conceptualize what you ask me to be able to touch you,” he explains. Once that is given the nod to these prototypes, the next phase is to re-model them so that they can be manufactured: “What touches you can not always make. First you make with a 3D printer and a mould is made in another way. I have to adapt my designs for a supplier to manufacture them with steel moulds which are then removed, the spins of hundreds of units.”

In the table in which it works, there is an Omega open. In its interior, is fitted with a plate that reads “designed by humans for human purposes”. The human behind the design of this plate, which could be considered the brain of the device, works in an adjoining room. Is Alberto Ramos, head of the department of hardware, and in those moments designs on your computer, the next version of Omega. Explains that the board, in addition to a processor, it has different components, focused on the connectivity and sensors: “It’s like a puzzle. You have to gather the different parts and get it to work”.

The price of these devices will depend on factors such as the volume or the size of the project, according to its creators. For use in offices, an Omega along with 10 sensors will be about 400 euros. For home users, a base of communication and three sensors, around 200 euros. In offices, in addition to optimize space, these devices can be used to analyze when it is better to put the air conditioning or the heating. “Even as we identified the level of light, if a technician detects that at 12 in the night there is light in a room, it is a signal that someone has left on”, he adds.

expand photo by José Francisco Sánchez, engineer, design and manufacture of Geeksme, models an accessory. I. R.

Despite the fact that Sanchez emphasizes that it is not designed to do this, a leader could be aware of everything that their employees work: “I know that in a particular chair has been detected the first presence to nine in the morning. After, it has been left to detect the presence in what is probably the trabjador has gone to take a coffee or to the bathroom, and then he turned up the ten”. The data can be collected in real time and you can see what happened in the last few days or months. This information shows how much it has been used a resource, according to Sanchez, can be used to calculate the wear and tear of the furniture.

The idea is that an administrator has access to all the data collected and that employees are able to consult a coupleyou particular. “If a worker does not have a site assigned to it could see the phone before you leave your house what degree of occupation has already office, the decision could be made to go faster to that site if it is unoccupied or, if the office is packed, work from home and avoid that time of jam that is sure to be inefficient,” he says.

Care of people

beyond business, the devices also are designed for the care of older people: “For those family members who are not dependents and live alone. We want to have the security that our parents are well How do we do it? Coupling these small sensors to the elements of the home with whom they have daily interaction”. For example, the door of the fridge, the bathroom, or access to the home, the bed or the chairs.

Thus, the family can know with a certain frequency if there is interaction in the home: “If that person is having a normal behavior, if it has been lifted to the time it usually rises, if you have opened the fridge, and is an indicator that he has eaten or if it has gone out of home at a reasonable hour. So, if something abnormal happens, the platform I reported and I, as a son, he would call for interested in your state”.

Marián Sánchez, who works in product design and graphic design and is responsible for displaying in visual form, the information coming from the devices, explains that the children could set goals.For example, the door of the fridge or the house will open at least four times a day. In the case that there is something out of the ordinary, the platform alert for and gives different advice. In one of the prototypes of the app in which Marián Sánchez works, it warns that the humidity is high and the following is recommended: “Open the windows and keep the house airy, closes the doors of the more humid areas, try not to have too many plants and used absorbent in the closets and little rooms”.

Devices IoT: the challenge of privacy

Experts in artificial intelligence and data protection and privacy as Paloma Llaneza or Ramón López de Mántaras warn of the risks of introducing in the home with multiple connected devices. These data, as they point out, they say a lot of users: from their movements to their habits and behaviors. In the face of this argument, Sanchez makes reference to a past experience. Before you create Geeksme, was a co-founder of a company that made Blackphone, a mobile phone, which was characterized by its strong security measures and whose main objective was to ensure the privacy of the user. “We adhered to the fact that the data belong only to the end user. We are a guardian or caretaker of that information and apply all safety measures to ensure that it is in a safe environment. The only thing that we do with that information is to collect it in a totally aggregated and anonymous to be able to improve our products,” he says. In addition, it recognizes that, like any technology company, are exposed to possible cyber attacks: “we are Trying to put into practice all the good practices in the field of security: we have secure servers with their official certificates, secure connections, sessions expire… And if it happens, we have a multidisciplinary team that is able to react quickly and fix any security gap”.

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