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1. (WO2018122582) A METHOD AND A SYSTEM FOR OPERATING APPLIANCES IN A BUILDING
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A METHOD AND A SYSTEM FOR OPERATING APPLIANCES IN A BUILDING

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to building automation systems and more particularly to a method and system for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building customized as per the settings made elsewhere.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Modern buildings can be supported with a building automation system that manage various functions and services of a building including specific services customized to a portion of a building (e.g. a floor or a room) and managing appliances in a building (e.g. air conditioning, lights and home appliances such as security system, music system, refrigerators, washing machines etc.). With advent of several intelligent/smart sensors and hand held management/utility systems deployed to support individuals and enterprises with value added information and services, and their use to support modern life style, it is common to find building automation systems capable of integrating these sensors and value adding systems to enhance the technology capability and user experience of the building automation system including communicating with the systems on the network e.g. internet, personal area network, home area network, extranet etc. An important aspect concerns providing customized services to individuals when it comes to operating appliances as per their comfort requirements.

Building automation along with 'Internet of Things' technology can offer variety of solutions to bring comfort in living area/spaces. Currently, managing appliances in buildings with building automation systems involve techniques related to preset control based on configuration or settings with optional manual feedback control. Such techniques provide comfort based upon preset conditions and may not take into account parameters like mood, health, ambience etc. to further customize solutions to the user.

The advent of human activity monitoring devices have given scope to personalize an environment surrounding a person to suit one's physical and mental conditions. In existing systems, appliances such as air conditioning, lights and home appliances such as security system, music system, refrigerators, and washing machines can be integrated with human needs and human activity detected by human monitoring devices to provide a more personalized environment within an enclosed room space. These spaces can be home, offices/institutions, health care centers and recreational places or public places such as airport waiting lounges, receptions of institutions etc. However, the existing systems cover one specific space, for example, a system for providing personalized environment mainly at home or only at office, as this degree of personalization requires detecting/recording, profiling user and their activities and also a high degree of control of appliances (e.g. home appliances, smart phones, wearables (e.g. health monitoring bands), other smart subsystems with sensing and actuating means e.g. smart furniture).

It is known that people tend to spend much of their time at a variety of locations depending upon their needs, for example, at a recreational place, at home or at office. A modern building automation system needs to be made capable to adapt depending on one's (any user) usage of appliances or facilities in a building and to provide such adaptability at various locations without bothering the user with any burden of configuring appliances or deal with access rights to control or configure appliances in a building or any operations of building automation system to suit his or her individualistic personalized needs/preferences. Therefore, there is a need for modern building automation system to accordingly adapt operation of appliances/facilities in a building while providing as little access as possible to reconfigure i.e. automatically configure appliances/facilities as this would be effective considering system complexity, effort and time to otherwise provide. Hence, the existing building automation systems need to build the ability to provide personalized ambience at various locations as per one's need or make settings that is suitable for the user, for example- air conditioning as per health condition, light settings as per mood or needs (recreation, reading or office work etc.) or Television channel settings as per routine preference of the user etc. Further the building automation systems need to cater to personalizing an environment in group settings for a group of people (family, persons belonging to one organization etc.) present together at a single space, for example, a meeting in a room with several attendees from a group. Hence solutions are needed to provide personalized ambience beyond one's private home and also in group usage as per a defined group preference.

SUMMARY

The above-mentioned shortcomings, disadvantages and problems are addressed herein which will be understood by reading and understanding the following specification.

In one aspect, the present invention provides a method for operating one or more appliances in least one portion of a building with a first building automation system, and each appliance from the one or more appliances comprises one or more sensors and/or one or more actuators, and each appliance from the one or more appliances is communicatively coupled to a controller of the first building automation system on an internal communication network of the first building automation system, the method comprising, the controller: identifying at least one person with information from the one or more sensors of one or more appliances by comparing the information from the one or more sensors with a previously registered information; and configuring the one or more sensors and/or operating the one or more actuators of the one or more appliances based on a setting of one or more appliances configured in a second building automation system that is native to the identified at least one person, wherein the setting for sensors and actuators configured in the second building automation system native to the identified at least one person is available over the one or more external communication networks accessible with the first building automation system.

In an embodiment, identifying at least one person includes detecting the at least one person in the at least one portion of the building based on information from the one or more sensors of one or more appliances for detecting identity of the at least one person.

In an embodiment, the previously registered information is retrieved from at least one of the external communication network, a local database, a document, a wearable device, and an accompanying device.

In an embodiment, identifying at least one person includes authenticating the at least one person in the at least one portion of the building based on information from the at least one person to automatically configure the one or more appliances in the building with the building automation system.

In an embodiment, the setting of one or more appliances configured in the second building automation system that is native to the identified at least one person is available over the external communication network and is accessible with the first building automation system on authenticating the at least one identified person.

In an embodiment, the configuring the one or more sensors and/or operating the one or more actuators of the one or more appliances is based on information extracted from at least one of a wearable device and/or an accompanying device.

In an embodiment, configuring the one or more sensors and/or operating the one or more actuators of the one or more appliances is based on monitoring an activity of the identified person and includes health related parameters of the identified person.

In an embodiment, configuring the one or more sensors and/or operating the one or more actuators of the one or more appliances is based on determination of the one or more sensors and/or actuators for configuration to be carried out as per individual setting of the at least one person identified or as per group setting associated with the at least one person identified.

In yet another embodiment the present invention provides a building automation system for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building according to settings of a user identified in the at least one portion of a building, the building automation system comprising: one or more appliances provided in the at least one portion of the building, wherein each appliance comprises one or more sensors or actuators; at least one controller that is communicatively connected with the one or more appliances to process the information gathered by one or more sensors or/and to operate the actuators; and wherein, the user is identified by the at least one controller using the information gathered from the one or more sensors of at least one appliance from the one or more appliances and based on the identity of the user, the at least one controller or the at least one appliance of the building automation system obtains settings of the user configured in a building automation system environment that is native to the user, and accessible over an external communication network to the building automation system identifying the user to operate the one or more appliances by configuring the sensors and actuators as per the obtained settings over the external communication network.

In an embodiment, the settings for operating the one or more appliances configured in the building automation system environment that is native to the user is obtained from a server with a database repository over the external communication network.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Figure 1 illustrates a view of a portion of a building managed by a building automation system for operating one or more appliances.

Figure 2 illustrates a building automation system with one or more appliances in a portion of a building along with external supporting components/sy stems.

Figure 3 illustrates a building automation system for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building with more than one controller.

Figure 4 illustrates a method for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is related to a method and a system for operating one or more appliances in least one portion of a building. Current building automation systems provide personalized ambience only to a limited living space for example, at home for a person and may not extend the settings made at home to living space used by the person at a hotel or at airport or at any other recreational area. Such systems cater to providing a customized surrounding environment to a person based on preset control and hence ignore providing comfort as they depend upon preset conditions and do not take into account parameters like mood, health, ambience etc. in a similar manner as that defined or customized with a building automation system at home (native system). Such systems also ignore providing comfort to a person as per a group setting. A native system can also be a virtual system that provides or simulates a building automation system environment and which can include a building automation system used at home or/and can comprise of a virtual environment that can be used for capturing preferences of an individual including responses to various moods and health conditions as per recommendations or prescriptions made by a healthcare practitioner to the individual to operate one or more appliances/facility in a building. Such building automation system environment (including a native building automation system or a virtual environment or combinations of native building automation system and virtual environment) are useful to extend capturing of preferences relating to one or more appliances/facility that is not physically present in the location native to the user (e.g. home) and may be physically present in office, hotel or public places and thereby available for personalization.

Some exemplary uses and configuring (mode) options are provided below:

• Ambience control based on personal setting or individual preference:

o Ambience control at home based on activity monitoring

Normal air-conditioning works based on the set temperature control. The temperature will remain same irrespective of the surrounding climatic conditions. Adjusting controls during sleep is uncomfortable and in many cases infeasible. The proposed solution will monitor the sleep and posture of the individual and accordingly adjust the ambience including the temperature, fan speed, humidity, positioning of the bed, music etc. When the person wakes up from sleep, there is a need to 'turn on' the light, e.g., to walk to the rest room. The controller integrated with activity monitoring can light the room with the intensity and color based on the stage of sleep from where the person woke and personal preference. The device makes intelligent decision based on the data collected from the surrounding and the individual(s). People also tend to fall asleep while performing activities like reading, watching television, hearing music and so on. Once a person falls asleep, the smart furniture and/or sensor on the person will turn off appropriate gadgets including turning off the television, switching the light conditions to 'night lamp' mode as also adjust the furniture to a position which is more ergonomically appropriate for sleeping.

o Health care facility

Climate control based on the personal preference help patient to recover faster. This could be a useful use case where patients need support, e.g., to adjust the lighting conditions or music, require water / food / medication, to attend nature's call, need someone to talk/meet with and so on. By combining climatic conditions needed from treatment/therapy point of view as decided by the healthcare professional as well as personalized climatic preferences of the individual, an optimal ambience can be provided during the stay of the individual at the healthcare facility. A case is point will be offering the most preferred bedding that has mattress and pillows of specific type for the individual undergoing treatment. Similarly, if the food preferences of the individual are matched with permitted food items, then the individual undergoing treatment will feel more homely and this will act as a positive psychological catalyst for faster recovery. The same use case can be applied to elderly or disabled person staying home. Such individuals can be offered emergency and other logistics support and service as needed to their preference.

Ambience control to suit individuals while in group or group setting.

This scenario can occur in a meeting hall in office/conferences/recreational spaces where a group of people may not feel the same requirement of temperature, humidity, furniture setting (for example inclination of the backrest of the chair, height of the seat), speed of fan and illumination, etc.. Even in a group setting, individual preferences are accommodated as much as feasible, e.g. height and inclination of sitting chairs will adjust to individual even in conference room / private / individual space. The proposed system addresses such scenarios by optimizing available control mechanisms to provide as close an ambience as possible within the constraints to suit the individual. The group setting scenarios are provided below:

o Offices/Institution

Seating in organizations are typically shared by more than one individual; even in cases where individual cabins are available, there typically is an option for visitors to come in for discussions and meetings. Each individual, who could be identified by existing techniques including biometric, smart sensor, and RFID, has his/her own preferred ambience that includes furniture positioning (e.g., inclination of back rest, height from ground), and temperature. By combining climatic conditions that could be provided in specific office space in question as well as personalized climatic preferences of the individual, an optimal ambience can be provided during the stay of the individual at the location.

o Recreational space.

In case of recreational spaces where the surrounding temperature is not preferred one people can adjust temperature of their smart chair. The surrounding climate control can be imported based upon the personal preferences of the individual. Consider a bunch of recliners with sun shade alongside a swimming pool. With the proposed system, each recliner can identify the individual using a given recliner and then adjust its position, temperature/heating, light as well as overhead fan/blower to create an ambience as close to the liking of the individual by synchronizing with his/her choice stored in our system.

The present invention provides a method for operating a building automation system wherein a surrounding environment is automatically personalized for an user (person) in locations that is used by the user and where a similar building automation system operates the facilities/ appliances in the locations as per the preferences/settings made in a native location (e.g. home) where one's settings are configured in the native building automation system to provide a personalized ambience. The person's need for a personalized ambience is taken care of even in a group setting. The building automation system of the present invention provides personalized ambience to a person by operating appliances including facilities e.g. lift, air conditioning, water heating, staircase/common area lightings, facility/room security system (including privacy settings) etc. and also home appliances such as music system, refrigerators, washing machines, television/cable, modem/Wi-Fi system etc. based on settings made in a building automation system that is native to the person by obtaining these settings over an external communication network (e.g. internet) based on the credentials supplied by the person to identify himself/herself and to identify the source of such personalized settings (identity of native building automation system or third party information source e.g. cloud based solutions for preserving/profiling person's behavior/needs/responses).

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments, which may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the embodiments, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

Figure 1 illustrates a view of a portion of a building 100 managed by a building automation system for operating one or more appliances in a portion of a building. As an exemplary embodiment, the portion of the building shown in figure 1 is a bedroom with typical appliances including but not limited to light, smart furniture like chair and bed, air conditioning system, a home security system, a music system appliance, health sensors and the like. As shown in figure 1, each appliance comprises one or more sensors and/or one or more actuators, and each appliance is communicatively coupled to a controller 110. The plurality of appliances shown in figure 1 comprises a music system appliance 120, a home security system 130, a light 140, smart furniture 150, air conditioning system 160, and health sensor 170. The health sensor 170 can be a wearable device by a person or can be part of a smart furniture (e.g. a chair, bed etc.).

As shown in figure 1, the home security system 130 may comprise sensors including but not limited to human presence detector, camera, iris recognition sensor, emergency alarm etc. Some of the sensors are capable of detecting parameters that can be processed to obtain information to identify a person. These sensors can be biometric sensors, image capturing sensors, sound sensors etc. along with regular sensors that are capable of detecting physical parameters (ambient temperature, light intensity, air quality, smoke/fire detection, noise detection, glass break detection etc.) associated with or installed in a portion of a building. Biometric sensors may include but not limited to sensors for iris recognition, fingerprint, gesture recognition, palm veins, face recognition, gaze, health and wellness, voice recognition, hand geometry and body odor.

Sensors that are capable of detecting physical parameters associated with a portion of a building additionally include sensors for detecting the number of persons present in that portion of the building by detection of physical parameters with human presence detectors e.g. with/based on door open/close sensors, heat or light sensing, vibration sensing, movement sensing etc. Further, the sensors are capable of identifying and authenticating the persons present in the building or a portion of the building based on comparison of information from the sensors used to identify persons for each individual persons in the building with corresponding information (previously collected and profiled) in a database of the building automation system. Such information collected and profiled can include a profile that adapts to the behavior of user or to the changing user preferences. In an embodiment, the reference information for comparison can also be available with the person e.g. in a smart phone or a wearable device, RFID device or any device carried by the person having memory to store such information for authentication purpose.

Figure 2 illustrates a building automation system with one or more appliances in a portion of a building along with external supporting components/systems. As shown in figure 2 the building automation system comprises a controller 110, appliances such as a music system appliance 120, a home security system 130, a light 140, smart furniture 150, a native building automation system 210 and a server with database repository 220. The appliances comprise one or more sensors and/or one or more actuators and the appliances are communicatively connected to the controller 110 through an internal communication network (not shown). The controller 110 can be

communicatively coupled to the native building automation system 210 and the server database repository 220 through an external communication network as shown in figure 2. Also, the appliances, as shown for music system appliance 120 can be communicatively coupled to the native building automation system 210 and the server database repository 220. The controller may be interfaced one to one for communicating with the sensors and actuators and also it may be interfaced using proprietary or standardized network communication protocols like KNX.

The one or more controller (physical or virtual or both) of the building automations system present in the building or in a remote location (cloud based automation) carry out processing of information gathered by the various sensors to identify an user (including plurality of users and a user group), authenticate user to operate appliances or to have customized settings for appliances with information from a database of the building automation system including accessible databases (from native building automation system or from third party servers as per authentication provided to access information) available over the internet based on identity/credentials provided or automatically gathered from the user with the various sensors to identify an user (e.g. fingerprint) and to set appliances (e.g. control settings, sensors as per privacy settings or actuators to provide desired conditions in the portion of the building etc.). It may be noted that a sensor, an actuator or an appliance in a building can directly be interfaced with a controller or server having virtual controller. Also, it may be noted that a controller can process information from one or more sensors (monitoring user activity in the building) to identify behavior patterns (user patterns) that characterize (uniquely identify) a user or support/supplements in such identification process. Thus, a controller can learn and adapt to user preferences and behavior.

Figure 3 illustrates a building automation system for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building with more than one controller. The appliances comprise one or more sensors and/or one or more actuators and the appliances are communicatively connected to the controller 110 or controller 310 through an internal communication network (not shown). The controller 110 and the controller 310 can be communicatively coupled to the native building automation system 210 and the server database repository 220 through an external communication network as shown in figure 3. The controller 110 and controller 310 may be

interfaced one to one for communicating with the sensors and actuators and also it may be interfaced using proprietary or standardized network communication protocols like KNX. As shown in Figure 3, the appliance 320 comprises a controller 330. Hence, a controller can also be located within an appliance.

Figure 4 illustrates a method 400 for operating one or more appliances in at least one portion of a building. As depicted in step 410, the controller receives identity related information from the sensors of the appliances. For instance the identity related information from the sensors can be any of fingerprint, face recognition, hand geometry, iris recognition or any other biometric information.

As shown in step 420, the controller receives previously registered information from a database. The previously registered information is retrieved from the external communication network or a local database or a document or a wearable device or an accompanying device. A document like an airplane ticket or passport can provide valuable identity related information. An accompanying device can be a mobile phone, a tablet or any other hand held device.

As shown in step 430, the controller compares the identity related information from the sensors of the appliances with the previously registered information in the database. As depicted in step 440, the controller identifies a person based on the comparison. The previously registered information can also be maintained in a remote database elsewhere including in a similar building automation system i.e. in other participating systems over the internet or on a server accessible over a network. The previously registered information can be any of the information that identifies a person and associable with any of the sensors deployed in the building to identify a person for example iris recognition data with iris detection sensors, fingerprint data with fingerprint sensors, facial feature data with face recognizing/image capturing sensors (camera), health parameter data (e.g. heartbeat, blood pressure with health band/sensors) and such other information of a nature capable of identifying a person. The controller is capable of receiving the registered (pre -registered) information (reference data) about the person for the purpose of identification from the database of the building automation system or from remote database of the native building automation system or other participating systems and on identified servers used for identification over the internet by persons and thus available with the building automation system.

Further, the step of identifying also includes authenticating the person in the portion of the building based on information from the person. After identification is over, an authentication of the identity of the person can be performed by using a password, pin or any other mode. The authentication can be done by the person by providing information like a password or pin or any other known method of authentication.

As depicted in step 450, the controller accesses setting for sensors and actuators of the appliances available over external communication networks configured in a building automation system native to the identified person. As depicted in step 460, the controller configures the sensors and/or operating the actuators of the appliances based on the accessed setting of step 450. In essence the controller configures the sensors and/or operates the actuators of the appliances based on the setting of the appliances configured in the building automation system that is native to the identified person. The setting for sensors and actuators configured in the second building automation system native to the identified person is available over external communication networks accessible with the building automation system. The setting for sensors and actuators configured in the second building automation system is available over the external communication network in a private (non-public) mode or a public mode. In the private mode the setting for sensors and actuators configured in the second building automation system available over the external communication network is accessible with the first building automation system on authenticating the identified person. As mentioned previously, the authentication process is performed by the person by providing information like a password or pin or any other known method of authentication.

In an embodiment the configuring of the sensors and/or operating the actuators of the appliances is based on monitoring an activity of the identified person. It may be noted by the person skilled in the art that some of the sensors mentioned herein may possess processing capabilities and may provide the controller with processed data as opposed to raw data for processing further by the controller. For example, in a use case scenario, when the identified person is sleeping on the bed with light switched off, and suddenly the identified person gets up and starts walking the light can be switched on based on monitoring the activity of the identified person. Or, in another use case scenario, when the identified person is seated and reading a book, and suddenly the identified person dozes off to sleep, the lights can be switched off based on monitoring the activity of the identified person. The activities for monitoring of the identified person can comprise sleeping position of the identified person on a bed, walking, running, sitting, standing, sleeping, change in degree of recline of a chair for sitting. In another embodiment, configuring the sensors and/or operating the actuators of the one or more appliances is based on health related parameters of the identified person. For example, body temperature of the identified person can be used to operate the appliances such that the ambient temperature/climate of the identified person is at comfortable levels.

In another embodiment, the configuring of the one or more sensors and/or operating the actuators of the appliances is based on a manual control by the identified person. It is also provided that the appliances in the building automation system can be configured manually by the persons using it.

The sensors mentioned herein may be installed in a home environment for example some sensors may be installed in walls, doors, windows, beds, mattresses, pillows, couches, fans, lights, air conditioners and the like. The sensors may also be wearable devices by a person like health bands capable of monitoring heartbeat, body temperature, number of steps taken and other human body related physical parameters.

In an embodiment, the controller 110 receives information about health and wellness of the authenticated person and detects an unusual or exigent event for example, high body temperature indicating fever and may activate the alerting unit 140 for alerting medical agencies.

In an embodiment, the controller 110 activates the home security system 130 that is by activating a sensor for surveillance in the at least one portion of the building based on detection of an exigent event like a security breach or detection of an intruder.

The present invention can be implemented in a myriad of ways. The appliances can be configured and operated based on a personal setting as well as group setting. The written description uses examples to describe the subject matter herein, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the subject matter. The patentable scope of the subject matter is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.