PcVue helps French hospital achieve IoT equipment integration with LoRaWAN | Automation.com

PcVue helps French hospital achieve IoT equipment integration with LoRaWAN

PcVue helps French hospital achieve IoT equipment integration with LoRaWAN

Grenoble Alpes University Hospital, a French teaching hospital built in 1974 that holds capacity of over 2,200 beds, is the main hospital of Grenoble and Isère in France.   The hospital is a pioneer in its deployment of an IoT-centric building management system (BMS).  The system integrates Adeunis and ARC Informatique technologies to leverage the benefits of IoT (Internet of Things) equipment integrated with their existing BMS, using LoRaWAN (low power wide area network) technology.

The Grenoble Alpes University hospital’s technical teams wanted to be able to monitor and control various pieces of equipment quickly, inexpensively and without cabling (Ethernet and power). In addition, the Hospital wanted to use their existing BMS software without adding additional software layers.  By choosing the right IoT technology to work with their BMS, they would avoid a lot of expensive re-engineering of configurations, while saving time and money by utilizing their existing systems.


Building Management Systems

PcVue supervisory and control software from ARC Informatique has been configured as the BMS controlling all the assets like lights, HVAC, ventilation, chiller, temperature, air supply, power, filter pressure, and voltage supplied to special heaters for the hospital.  Various I/O points are collected to ensure optimum efficiency.  The BMS is in charge of managing the hospital’s main sites: the northern campus having the main Michallon Hospital, plus various schools and research institutes, the southern campus on the opposite side of Grenoble, containing a smaller hospital, the Southern Center for Gerontology, rehab institute, and some additional schools. The hospital is considered one of France’s top trauma centers.

This is why the quality and effectiveness of the BMS in such a healthcare setting is so important.  Not only is the comfort and safety of the patients a prime consideration, but that of the hospital staff is as well. Doctors, nurses, and administrators must all be protected from the spread of viruses and bacteria. A hospital must also be energy efficient, with backup and redundant systems in place designed to turn on in the event of a power outage or other emergency.

Prevention of contagious, airborne diseases begins with air quality, and therefore, the BMS is one of the most vital automated processes in the building. Important functions like the regulation of temperature, air filtration, and fire prevention security systems can all be considered critical aspects of building management. Failure to properly monitor such building systems or a lack of warning about issues -- whether air filtration or fire -- can be devastating for a medical facility.  So when the hospital combined the power of its advanced BMS with LoRaWAN technology for IoT, it achieved a powerful, efficient, and low-cost solution for on-site communication. 


LoRaWAN Framework

LoRa uses a spread spectrum radio signal at 868 to 870 Mhz to provide low-bandwidth communication and communicate in small amounts to monitor such systems as hospital parking lot lighting, ventilation systems, and power generators, to name a few.

With this in mind, the first step of this project consisted of a LoRaWAN radio coverage study of the site to identify the best location of the LoRa antenna and to ensure the zones (floors, buildings, parking, etc.) are correctly covered to allow desired positioning of the IoT sensors.

The LoRaWAN architecture makes it possible to set up a private network, specifically in indoor and deep indoor configurations, while taking advantage of the radio coverage of LoRaWAN´s Long Range network. Only one antenna at the top of a building (15th floor) can cover almost all buildings on the site while also reaching a second site about 6 kilometers away. The cost of the network infrastructure is therefore very affordable when compared to a WiFi solution.


IoT Sensors

After the Adeunis team prepared and implemented the LoRaWAN infrastructure, IoT sensors were then installed to measure water meter readings on numerous external locations of the Grenoble University Hospital. Other sensors detect changes in temperatures in sensitive locations such as drug storage areas.  For instance, any heat fluctuation can affect many pharmaceutical products. Heat can melt ointments and creams and render other products useless, which can be very costly.

The integration of the LoRaWAN network at the heart of the PcVue BMS solution allows feedback from sensors and important data to be monitored and processes to be fine-tuned.  The raw data from the sensor (Temperature, On / Off) is enhanced by the power of PcVue so that parameters can be made, thresholds established, alarms created, visuals creating a dashboard, reports generated to ensure all assets will run smoothly. 

IoT equipment maintenance data is also collected and reviewed.  For instance, the remaining battery life of sensors are monitored along with the locations of sensors in the building.  Having this level of control and insight provides operators with significant savings both in commissioning and in the running of the hospital facilities.

In addition, the installation of the LoRaWAN infrastructure enables future expansion using multi-vendor sensors integrated over the network. PcVue´s Universal Connector provides a simple and inexpensive way to integrate sensors from different manufacturers together to provide a unified view.  For example, if the hospital now wanted to add IoT C02 sensors from a different vendor, it would be possible to correlate occupancy to ambient temperature in areas not reached by sensors requiring physical cabling and power.


In Summary

The hospital’s PcVue/Adeunis combined IoT solution integrated with LoRaWAN provides the capability for fast, secure and cost effective deployment of IoT smart applications across its buildings, campuses and distributed sites.  It delivers ROI with savings for time and money as well as efficiency.  The LoRaWAN technology used requires less physical hardware to deploy and power, reliably supports the hospital's newly made smart solutions (lights, ventilation, HVAC, etc.) and delivers a seamless interaction between smart sensors/devices and the end applications of the BMS. 

The LoRaWAN network is ideal for communications between the hospital’s applications, databases or dashboards and dispersed IoT sensors.  This is due to the low power of the LoRaWAN technology and the capability for the sensors to be battery powered. Data transmissions to/from LoRaWAN sensors typically happen on as needed basis and are not necessarily constant because the data is transferred periodically from the IoT sensors.  The hospital is happy with its solution and ability to expand and grow with its chosen IoT framework.  


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