Advantech Walks IoT Talk With Clever Meeting Room System
June 10, 2014 by Dave Haynes
My last meeting in Taipei was at the impressive new headquarters building of the embedded systems giant Advantech, and I got a nice demo of an impressive meeting room system that walks the company’s talk about a sensor-driven, Internet of Things future.
The first thing you notice in the right side of the main lobby are big numbers outside meeting rooms, the numbers lit differently. The color of the number, it turns out, tells you whether the room is free or not.
Advantech is a big Internet of Things player and it using the head office as a bit of a working lab. So the room-booking engine is linked to sensors in each of those rooms that will tell you if anyone is actually in them. It’s one thing to SAY a room is booked, and another to confirm it is actually being used. The sensors can validate that status even when you are way off in another part of the office campus.
Advantech designed in a main status board embedded in an end wall, and above a touch directory that manages the booking system. The system is also tied in, if I heard this right, to the Exchange server. You can go into the system and get a macro view of rooms and status, and book rooms off that touch system.
You also see, just at a glance, whether the rooms are free or not, based on the colors. I wasn’t sure if green meant busy or green meant free, but that would get sorted out quickly by regular users.
Advantech also had a demo down below in the parking garage that helped staff find their cars. You could key in your license number and locate where you parked, based on data from cameras equipped with plate recognition technology. The parking slot would light up, and directions were provided on the touch directory.
It was interesting, though the demo parking stalls were 20 feet away and if you couldn’t find your car from that distance, you shouldn’t be driving. This was probably waaaaay too expensive to ever get implemented, but you could imagine how elements of it might be using simpler, less costly components, like red/green LED diodes overhead instead of an LCD.
The larger takeaway was how a tech company built a new office that made its building the showroom. Don’t see that often, though it makes infinite sense.