Can Wireless Power Sensors Advance Building Safety?

Building standards have come a long way in reducing risk, increasing safety, and protecting the environment. Wirelessly powered building sensors will multiply those advancements tenfold.

 

If you’ve ever tried to renovate an old building and bring it “up to code,” you know just how much building standards have evolved to protect people’s health and safety, and, more recently, to protect environmental resources. The Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) only began in 1993. Bringing an older building — even one that is just 40 years old — up to current code is an impressive undertaking.

Building Code Standards: The Foundation of Safety

Building codes are designed to address fire risk, structure integrity, weather impact, flooding, security, mobility access, air quality, energy efficiency, water quality, and more. These codes reflect the standards to date at the time of construction, but not beyond.  

Construction design quickly becomes outdated and time can take its toll. Periodic building inspections help identify any issues, and retrofitting can help correct problems. But sometimes this information comes too late or is missed all together.  

Technology can help fill these gaps.

Building Technology Sensors: Advancing Safety, Decreasing Risk

Technology has advanced in the last couple decades to help provide forewarning of building health, safety, security, and environmental issues, and much of this technology involves sensors.  

These sensors can be retrofitted, such as the simple case of adding additional battery operated smoke detectors or a plugged in moisture sensor in the basement.  

Imagine a warehouse, factory, or even 12-story complex that has thousands of sensors that track and measure movement of imperative elements of a building’s infrastructure. An earthquake, tornado, flood, hurricane, no matter how minor, can impact a building’s integrity or longevity, and engineers would know exactly what that impact was before it became a bigger problem.  

The same is true for other types of sensors for age-related building issues, such as degradation, sinking, or cracking. Sensors for temperature changes, air quality, and even movement within a space can provide alerts and insight about what the building needs to stay safe and secure.  

All these sensors need is reliable, continuous power.  

The Key to Mass Adoption: Wireless Power

What’s holding the construction industry and building managers back from incorporating these cost- and life-saving technologies to their buildings? Again, it’s a power issue. Wiring is often prohibitively expensive. And it’s simply not feasible to manage hundreds of thousands of battery operated sensors. We don’t have the people, time, or often even the access to the sensors to stay on top of the maintenance required. A battery powered sensor solution is not scalable.  

But the promise of a building fully equipped with sensors that reduce risk is too hard to pass up.  

If batteries and wiring are the main limiting factors to integrating equipment and building sensors, we have good news. They’re no longer the only option. Radio frequency-based wireless power technology can provide power continuously and automatically over air throughout a building. No batteries or wires to each sensor are required. In fact, the sensors can be placed anywhere, strategically, without concern for where the transmitters are located. Each building can be equipped with enough linked transmitters to connect to hundreds of sensors … automatically, without user intervention.  

So what’s stopping us?  

Raising Awareness of Wireless Power Potential for Building Safety  

Automating the detection of expensive or potentially dangerous issues like water leaks, building stressors, heat, cold, and C02, seems like a huge imperative, yet many engineers, architects, and building planners are simply unaware of the tremendous potential of wireless power in building innovation. Wirelessly powered sensors will decrease risks and protect assets. They will help preserve natural resources. They will save lives.  

Becoming aware of the solution is the first step to taking action to implement it.  

At Ossia, we want to raise awareness of the potential of wirelessly powered sensors in building construction, renovation, and maintenance. With awareness comes curiosity, then exploration, collaboration, and finally execution.  

We cannot do this alone. We need partners who also have a grand vision for how Real Wireless Power can revolutionize the way we think about designing, building, and retrofitting commercial and residential spaces. Is this you? We’d love to talk .

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