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Blog LoRaWAN in building automation

LoRaWAN in building automation

27. February 2023
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Übersicht LoRaWAN in der Gebäudeautomation

With LoRaWAN to the digital building

Integration solutions based on theLoRaWANradio standard are becoming increasingly popular in retrofit and new construction projects in the field of building automation. The wireless connection of sensors, meters or operating devices via LoRaWAN offers several advantages over other wireless technologies such as:

  • Low provisioning costs for the necessary infrastructure
  • High security through encrypted data transmission
  • Hardly any cabling required for installation in the building
  • Simple and cost-effective integration of products in existing buildings
  • Long battery life of up to 10 years (depending on sensor type)
  • High range and penetration in the building

The combination of modern DEOS IoT/cloud solutions and LoRaWAN flexibility enablesnew and efficient usage scenarios: The goal is to relieve technical facility management, reduce operating costs, process building data transparently and inspire building owners with new comfort functions.

What is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN stands for “Long Range Wide Area Network” and refers to an energy-efficient radio technology with a very long range that was developed specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT). It belongs to the so-called LPWAN technologies (Low Power Wide Area Networks, LoRaWAN Alliance) and convinces with a battery lifetime of up to 10 years depending on the sensor type and data transmission. Distances (depending on the environment and external influences) of up to 15 km can be covered. Another major advantage of LoRaWAN is its high building penetration. However, the combination of low power consumption and long range limits the maximum data rate to 50 kbit/s.

LoRaWAN in the building

In building automation and especially in smart buildings, the focus is on data transparency in order to operate buildings as energy-efficiently as possible. LoRaWAN was developed for the requirements of the Internet of Things (IoT) and impresses with high radio range and excellent building penetration. In this way, even entire company buildings with associated company grounds can be covered by just one gateway. Even the basement, which is often difficult to integrate into wireless networks, does not pose a problem for LoRa radio networks. Due to the small amount of data that IoT sensors and actuators consume, almost any number of sensors can communicate with the network server through a single gateway. This makes the integration of LoRa wireless sensors very favorable, since neither a large number of gateways nor repeaters are required.

In addition, low power data transmission enables energy-efficient operation of LoRa sensors and LoRa actuators with batteries. At the same time, these can have a battery life of up to 15 years. This reduces the maintenance effort in facility management to a minimum and makes retrofitting in existing buildings child’s play, as no cables have to be subsequently pulled.

For integration into an existing building automation system, some LoRa gateways already have standardized GA interfaces such as Modbus. This way, collected data from LoRa end devices can easily flow back into the building control system. This communication works bidirectionally and enables simple and cost-effective integration.

Advantages of LoRaWAN

  • Extremely high range

  • Widely distributed and fast growing

  • Several years of battery life

  • Low costs for network construction

  • Penetration & low susceptibility to interference

  • DEOS Building Automation with LoRaWAN

    We are one of the first manufacturers in the field of building automation to offer a practical LoRaWAN solution for simple post-digitalization of buildings.

    Our LoRa portfolio is adapted to the needs of building automation. For example, our LoRa gateways have an integrated LoRa Network Server (LNS) to keep IoT data on a local network. Also, the standard Modbus TCP interface allows easy decoupling of IoT data to any Modbus-enabled DDC controller in the building. Thus, LoRa end devices exchange data bidirectionally with the existing GA system or make the collected data available to the DEOS pro.Building Suite (IoT platform).

    The platform visualizes the data in various applications such as smart metering, cleaning on demand or predictive maintenance. It is also possible to forward the data via MQTT to the pro.Building Suite or any MQTT broker. For easy commissioning of LoRa sensors with the DEOS solution, we offer our customers a tool for mass integration. This means that a large number of sensors can be integrated into the network and activated with just a few clicks. This reduces the deployment effort to a minimum.

    Our solution thus offers all the advantages of the LoRaWAN radio protocol and provides supplementary functions and services specifically for building automation applications.

    LoRaWAN application examples in the building

    LoRaWAN has clear advantages and is steadily growing in popularity and importance. But what exactly should LoRaWAN solutions be used for in the field of building automation? With application examples from the smart building sector, we present some of the most interesting use cases.

    Post-digitization of existing buildings

    Approximately 80% of total building costs are incurred during the use phase or operation of the building. There is therefore enormous potential for savings here, which must be exploited. the simple integration of LoRa wireless sensors during operation, it is child’s play to digitize and automate heating control, for example. This drastically reduces energy costs with low investment costs.

    Heating control via smart thermostats

    Existing buildings with old radiators can be made efficient with smart LoRaWAN thermostats. Heating control no longer has to be manual, but is intelligently and fully automatically controlled as needed. With a stored energy saving plan, the heating output is reduced to a minimum at specified times, such as weekends.

    Smart metering

    LoRaWAN radio solutions are suitable for automating time-consuming and error-prone meter reading. Data recording and historization increase transparency and the verifiability of data from past periods…. Interfaces to billing systems are also conceivable. Manual reading is thus no longer necessary and relieves the technical facility management.

    Making energy consumption transparent

    Transparency in the building is the be-all and end-all. With LoRaWAN energy meters you make the energy consumption of your building visible. Thanks to the recording in shorter intervals, a statement about daily consumption can be made. Likewise, evidence of energy efficiency can be collected and the data used to further optimize energy flows in the building.

    Predictive Maintenance

    LoRaWAN solutions can be used to relieve facility management and identify errors or faults before they occur. As a rule, the status of an application or device is monitored and critical values are reported in good time. For example, the filling level of filter mats in the ventilation system can be transmitted, timely replacement can take place and downtimes can be avoided.

    Cleaning on Demand

    The attendance times of employees on site are becoming more and more individualized. Periods with varying degrees of utilization are now the norm. So one day rooms are almost empty and the next day capacities are overloaded. For on-demand cleaning management, usage data is collected via LoRaWAN presence detectors and forwarded to the service provider. This makes operations much more efficient with usage data.

    Room air monitoring with CO2 traffic lights

    Monitor and optimize indoor air quality for people in the building with LoRaWAN-enabled CO2 traffic lights or alternative sensors. Sensitized by Corona, you thus establish a sense of security for building users. However, productivity can also be demonstrably promoted by an optimal indoor air climate and sick leave can be reduced.

    Interest aroused?

    Then contact us! We’re glad to help.

    LoRaWAN in practical comparison

    LoRaWAN, WiFi, Bluetooth, EnOcean or Sigfox?

    The increasing importance of IoT and the strong demand for application-specific solutions are currently bringing many new technologies to the highly competitive market. Each of these technologies has its own raison d’être, which makes a direct comparison difficult. It is important to consider the individual application scenario when deciding on a technology.

    Especially in the consumer sector (smart home), protocols such as WiFi and Bluetooth are often used to control or read out lighting, shading or even to provide room information such as temperature. The main reason for this is that this infrastructure is usually already in place and is usually perfectly adequate for home applications.

    For industrial use, however, local area networks (LAN) perform very poorly in most requirements or do not meet them at all. For example, these technologies are primarily designed for high data volumes with a short range and are also extremely costly. However, this large bandwidth is not necessary because the data volume in the smart building is usually very low. About 99.9% of all LPWAN devices consume less than 150 Kbytes of data per month, according to the 3GPP (worldwide cooperation of standardization bodies for standardization in mobile communications). Data volume, energy requirements and range are directly related to each other.

    Interest aroused?

    Then contact us! We’re glad to help.