The visualization of information in smart buildings

The visualization of information in smart buildings

Today, smart buildings are not only homes or offices, in which we can regulate each room’s parameters like lighting or temperature via control panels. More and more often, we can find smart solutions in public space – these are, e.g., interactive systems of navigation used by, e.g., claimants in government offices.

All smart systems are built in the same way – each smart device, e.g., sensor, alarm system, plug, lock, or… pet feeder, is connected to a central hub. We can manage each of these smart areas via the control panel or smartphone application. In this article, we present the chosen solutions available on Unisystem’s offer, which can be applied in smart buildings.

Displays for smart devices

Not each mentioned smart device requires a display – we will not always find a screen in, e.g., sensors (however, it is not a rule – some of them contain screens). Similar, in the case of thermostatic heads – if they require a display, it is usually a tiny screen up to 1.5-inch without the backlight. In such applications, the most often used are reflective displays, in which readability of the presented content is only guaranteed if there is a source of light – it is visible when the emitted light is reflected by a mirror placed behind the screen. These are not standard displays – each solution needs to be tailored to the client’s guidelines; that is why they are manufacture at the client’s request. If needed, Winstar, one of Unisystem’s leading suppliers, provides such displays.

More and more often, in smart devices installed in our homes, there are LCD-TFTs. They are used not only in control panels but also in devices presenting the data gathered from the sensors, e.g., weather stations. We can say that these are relatively “non-demanding” applications – the optimal readability of presented content is gained with even 200-300 cd/m2 brightness. The area worth considering is manipulation way – usually, these devices are operated by touch, so we recommend using modules with touch panels.

In the table, we present chosen Winstar’s LCD-TFTs available on Unisystem’s offer, which can be used in described applications:

applicationmodelsizeresolutionactive areabrightnessviewing angleoutline dimensionstouch panel
devices presenting data, e.g., weather stationsWF35XTYACDNN0#3.5”320×24070.1 × 52.6 mm500 cd/m2full76.8 x 63.8 x 3.3 mmno*
WF40ETWAA6MNN0#4.0”480×48071.9 x 70.2 mm500 cd/m2full78.8 x 82.9 x 4.8 mmno*
WF50DTYA3MNG10#5.0”720×128062.1 x 110.4 mm250 cd/m2full73.3 x 127.6  x 3.4 mmyes, capacitive
control panelsWF50ETWAGDNN0#5.0”800×480108.0 ×64.8 mm500 cd/m2full121.0 × 77.4 × 3.0 mmno*
WF70A8TYAHLNG0#7.0”1024×600154.2 x 85.9 mm450 cd/m2full169.9 x 103.4 x 7.2 mmyes, capacitive
WF101GTYAPLNN0#10.1”1280×800216.9 x 135.6 mm350 cd/m2full229.3 x 148.9 x 2.5 mmno*

*One of the services offered by Unisystem is combining the LCD-TFTs with touch sensors and cover glass, as well as other coatings such as e.g., anti-glare (AG) or anti-reflective (AR) – contact us to get a quotation.

Project: customized HMI

On the market, you can buy a ready-to-install HMI, which you can implement, e.g., at home. However, it is worth remembering that the features of such products are a bit limited. There will not be any custom components such as, e.g., a camera. The solution created in Unisystem is fully customized – it has been designed and produced according to the client’s requirements.

Interestingly, the described HMI previously has been assembled in China. No doubt, it was a way to optimize the spendings, but also generate a few problems. Among them, e.g., logistics problems, including the crucial area of complaints. After a string of disappointments, the client decided to change the contractor and outsource the production in Europe – that is how this project became one of Unisystem’s orders. We aimed to develop a device, which would not only function properly but also look aesthetic. As a result of complex analysis, we implement a few improvements in the field of the components as well as the enclosure.

This solution can be applied not only in individual households but also in residential complexes as a communication system between the occupants. It is already used in one of the Swiss subdivisions.

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Project: Incrediscope

Within the Incrediscope project, we develop an innovative solution to indoor navigation. It is based on a system of EPDs, which present the tips that help the user find a final point in a building. The messages are adjusted to each person who logs into the system. There is only one condition to use the system – you need a smartphone with Bluetooth. Each user gets a number, which is a necessary identification to recommend personalized tips as, e.g., “turn right” or “turn left”. Moreover, we assumed that the whole process should be swift – it takes the user no longer than seven seconds to orientate in space and find another tip.

It is worth noticing that it is an easy-to-apply system as it is a place&play solution. The critical factor is the location of EPDs – they should be placed in strategic points, e.g., at the crossroads of circulation areas.

We pursue the Incrediscope project in cooperation with Visionect. It is co-financed by the National Center of Research and Development under the EUREKA program.

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In the context of smart buildings, the user’s cushiness is usually highlighted, e.g., the ability to manage the temperature of each room without the need to set the parameters of each device – you can just use a control panel. It is worth noticing that smart buildings are energy-efficient. Suppose you invest in, e.g., a system to control the heating. In this case, you can remotely control the operation of each device, e.g., heaters. Using a smartphone application, you can turn them off when you are leaving for work and turn them on when you are coming home. It is a way to save not only money but also environment.

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