Making the intelligent workspace a reality
“Our plan is to have ‘the’ operating system for buildings.” So says Richard Green, CEO of the newly-established Cambridge (UK) start-up Ubisense, about his company’s revolutionary new technology for locating staff within the workspace environment.
Green is one of the five entrepreneurs who founded the company in May 2002, and who have since seen their company more than double in size and rapidly establish a client-base in Europe, the US and the Far East. “Basically, Ubisense makes the buildings and spaces that people inhabit and work in fully programmable – so that whatever you do can be perceived by the computer system and enable it to react accordingly,” says Chief Product Officer Peter Steggles.
Accurate and scaleable
Ubisense technology is composed of a real-time software platform, a network of UWB (ultra wideband) sensors, and a series of tags worn by staff or attached to objects within the workspace. Unlike systems based on conventional radio-frequency technology, which can have problems with accuracy and penetration of walls, the Ubisense system relies on short-duration UWB pulses that can locate, in real time, staff and equipment to within 15 cm.
The technology has no limits on the size of the area covered or the number of people and objects located – it can be used for anything from a small lab-wide solution to a complete distributed campus. “The real advantage of UWB compared to ultrasonics is that we can offer similar accuracy with a much lower level of infrastructure,” says Steggles, pointing out that one US customer has 40 of the Ubisense UWB sensors to cover an area of 1000m2.
Experience gained in EU project
The Ubisense founders gained at least some of their ideas while working in previous lives for AT&T Labs in Cambridge, which was a participant in the SANE IST project. SANE investigated ways of improving virtual working environments by giving a sense of shared space; AT&T Labs brought in their ultrasonic technology to provide a location-sensing capability.
“We were brought in by SANE project partner DEGW, the workplace design consultancy, to help with a study on location technology,” says Steggles. “The real result for us from our participation in the project was the networking benefit – it opened our eyes to the potential market for this type of technology.” Thanks in part to that early experience, Green and his partners have been able to launch what is the first commercially available location-sensing platform that offers a cost-effective solution to the market.
Customers include Fortune 500
Ubisense now has a staff of 14 people, and customers that include Fortune 500 companies as well as leading universities around the world. Its client-base is active in areas such as workplace design, healthcare, security and military training, and the company works with partners to apply the Ubisense platform to many other specialist markets.
Ubisense UWB technology is patented and has already been certified by the US Federal Communications Commission. In the European Union, consultations are due to start on establishing Europe-wide regulatory approval for UWB this year.
Tara Morris | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...