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Sensor Network Data Collection, Flow, and Monitoring
November 26, 2009

Sensor Network
Left to right: wireless outlet reporters are installed at selected cubicles to transmit power-usage data. Data is collected through a receiver connected to a local PC for processing. Once processed, data is sent to a web database, which in turn can be viewed online by many clients.

As illustrated in the image above, our sensor network data collection system uses wireless outlet reporters to transmit power-usage data from a few selected cubicles. A local PC is set up to receive the data through an XBee receiver and FTD1 cable. Collected-data is processed and organized using a custom application. Finally, this data is sent to a web database where it can be accessed in real-time by any client running the appropriate application on their machine.

In addition to collecting power-usage data, we are also experimenting with how collected-data should be structured and represented for power usage analysis. Essentially, this is closely related to testing the flexibility of semantics and relationships that we can embed in our Building Information Model. The image below shows an idealized version of our approach towards creating a hierarchical Tree View, allowing for multi-level readings of power consumption in the 210 King building. The overall power consumption of 210 King can be broken down into floors, groups (i.e., the Research Group), a specific cubicle, or a specific outlet associated with a cubicle.

Tree View
A Tree View for representing a hierarchical display of power-usage data.

Alternatively, we can look at the power-usage data outside of a hierarchical relationship. This is particularly important if we are interested in evaluating and comparing a particular group of semantics such as all the outlets in the building. This can be achieved in a Table View fashion as displayed in the image below.

Tree View
A Table View for representing a categorical display of power-usage data based on a particular semantic, such as building outlets.

We will continue to explore different methods of aggregating and displaying the data collected from our sensor network. As well, as we further integrate the sensor data with the Building Information Model of the office building, we hope to better leverage the existing semantics available to us.

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