Tracking occupants and inventory items in buildings using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology

In order to make control decisions, Smart Buildings need to collect data from multiple sources and bring it to a central location, such as the Building Management System (BMS). This needs to be done in a timely and automated fashion. Besides data being gathered from different energy using elements, information of occupant behaviour is also important for a building’s requirement analysis. In this paper, the parameter of Occupant Density was considered to help find behaviour of occupants towards a building space. Through this parameter, support for building energy consumption and requirements based on occupant need and demands was provided. The demonstrator presented provides information on the number of people present in a particular building space at any time, giving the space density. Such collections of density data made over a certain period of time represents occupant behaviour towards the building space, giving its usage patterns. Similarly, inventory items were tracked and monitored for moving out or being brought into a particular read zone. For both, people and inventory items, this was achieved using small, low-cost, passive Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Occupants were given the tags in a form factor of a credit card to be possessed at all times. A central database was built where occupant and inventory information for a particular building space was maintained for monitoring and providing a central data access.


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