BUTLER Smart Office Trial

This deployment is a Field Trial part of the third and final trial campaign of the BUTLER project. The objective of these trials is to evaluate the BUTLER platform in real-life deployments. This trial is based on "Smart Office" scenarios.

The initial deployment of technology has been made in offices of inno TSD (France), Telecom Italia (Italia) and the iHomeLab of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (HSLU) (switzerland)

The starting point and idea of this trial is a direct and nearly naive application of the project principles and results: what if it’s already 2020 and we try to deploy BUTLER in our own lives? This has led to a Smart Office scenario, to analyse in parallel:

  • A deployment of IoT technologies based on the BUTLER platform in the offices of some of the project partners.
  • A requirement gathering process with our co-workers to see what solution can IoT provide in a bottom-up innovation process.
  • Latest version ID: 1.0
  • Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Latest update: October 31, 2014
  • Developed by: inno, Telecom Italia, iHomeLab
  • Contact email: [email protected]
  • Relations:
    • BUTLER Integrated System Architecture (more details)
      • Relation type: Reference relationship
      • Validation: This field trial is built upon BUTLER architecture. A mapping has been of the trial deployments on the architecture model has been done in BUTLER Deliverable D5.2.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER.js (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: BUTLER.js is used in the field trial for end-user GUI
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • SmartMobile UI (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: SmartMobile UI is used in the field trial for end-user GUI
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER Context Manager SmartServer (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: In the inno field trial deployment, the Context Manager Smart Server is used to gather data from the sensors deployed across the office and allows the use of behavior models to determine whether the meeting room is available or not. The Context Manager runs in the background and allows sharing state information coming from a subset of sensors.
      • Completeness of the relation: 33%
    • Gemalto - Trust Manager (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: In the inno deployment, the Authorization Smart Server is used to authenticate transactions and grant access to secured resources, e.g. the sensors deployed across the office. The Authorization server is transparent for end users who use it seamlessly to secure the access to the Smart Office components. Its role is central for the security in this trial.
      • Completeness of the relation: 33%
    • SAMURAI: A Streaming Architecture for Mobile and Ubiquitous RESTful Analysis and Intelligence (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: In the inno deployment, the User Behavior Smart Server is used to analyze the data it receives in order to determine the meeting room availability based on multiple factors. Only the remote Smart Service is used in the Smart Office trial at inno. The User Behavior Server is an essential part of the Smart Office scenario as it creates a richer experience to all end users.
      • Completeness of the relation: 33%
    • Smart Living (more details)
      • Relation type: Reference relationship
      • Validation: The Smart Office scenario can be characterized as part of the Smart Living use cases.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • Smart Buildings (more details)
      • Relation type: Reference relationship
      • Validation: The Smart Office scenario can be characterized as part of the Smart Building use cases.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER User Profile SmartServer (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: The User Profile Smart Server is used to manage all user identities: for the employees, the office (inno account), the kitchen and the meeting room. This profile allows secured access to the resources inside the office and is used in the internal social network (inno Smart Office website). The User Profile is transparent for end users who use it seamlessly to access the Smart Office components. It was easily integrated in the trial thanks to a fully documented API. It provides a single user profile secured by the tokens delivered by the Authorization server.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%
    • BUTLER User Feedback Tool (more details)
      • Relation type: Re-use relationship
      • Validation: The User Feedback tool has been reused in the Smart Office deployment to gather end user feedbacks.
      • Completeness of the relation: 100%

Intellectual property rights (IPR)


General Description of the Trial

Table of contents

The starting point and idea of this trial is a direct and almost straightforward application of the project principles and results: what if we already were in 2020 and were trying to deploy BUTLER in our own lives? This has led to a Smart Office scenario, to analyse in parallel:

  • The deployment of IoT technologies based on the BUTLER platform in the offices of some of the project partners,
  • The gathering of requirements with the help of our co-workers to see what solutions IoT can provide in a bottom-up innovation process.

Trial set-up

Three of the project partners have been providing experimentation sites for the project: inno TSD (France), Telecom Italia (Italia) and the iHomeLab of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (HSLU) (switzerland). One of these deployments was built on existing “smart office” experimentations (iHomeLab), another was built in parallel to new, but already scheduled, deployment (Telecom Italia) and the last was built from scratch, mainly originating from the project. These differences in basis and origins have had impacts on the technology used and deployment process and provide some meaningful impacts for the BUTLER platform. Another major difference between the trials was the difference in the kinds of organizations involved: SME, Research Centre or Telecom Industrial. This also clearly impacted the set up and activity of the field trials and provided comparative feedback. Others than that the trial shared some key common characteristics:

  • The three trials started from an in depth requirement collection process, strongly involving the end-users in a methodology of “co-creation”. The objective of this phase was to gather real needs from the office workers, not limited by a technology vision. Interviews and brainstorming sessions were conducted with our co-workers (most of which have no ICT background) as well as with the site management to a build a vision of a Smart Office that is broader than IoT. The analysis of this requirement gathering process has provided feedback on the perception of IoT technology, on the real world use case they can answer, and on their limitations.
  • Based on these specific requirements the three trials shared common functional requirements (information sharing, office wellbeing…). This translated into similar deployments that consisted in a social network like applications gathering information flux from direct human sources (co-worker posting directly), from indirect human sources (access to calendar, reuse of data) and from sensors deployed in the office (Temperature, Light, Presence, Power Consumption…).
  • The three trial sites participated in a common proof of concept of IoT information sharing beyond the scope of their own companies. A simple common denominator: coffee consumption was shared between the three offices.

Trial concept: Multi-office social network of people and things

The overall concept of the trial is to enhance office communication with a “social network like” application that reference not only people (co-workers) but also physical entities of the office. The basis of the social network allows each co-worker to have a personal virtual space (web page), to share information with others at different level of granularity (direct private messages, group interaction, and large scale public diffusion in the network) and to follow information shared by others with the same levels of granularity. In addition to these existing functionalities, the BUTLER field trial enables physical entities of the office (rooms, lighting systems, sensors…) to also be referenced on the social network through a dedicated page and to create relationships with other members (people or things) of the network. The idea of the trial is to deploy several interconnected instances of this social network in different offices of some of the project partners.

The use of the social network paradigm (“social web of things”) to create interactions between people and between people and things has been chosen as a way to both facilitate human interactions with technical devices (focusing on a human centric representation of the IoT deployment) and to encourage increased real and virtual interactions between co-workers (even if not working directly in the same office).

Co-creation process

An important aspect of this trial was to involve the co-workers of the different offices environment in the innovation co-creation process. One key objective of the trial was indeed to gather realistic needs from office life, as directly expressed from the workers and not to force a vision of what a “Smart Office” should be. It was therefore important to have a broad discussion, with the diversity of opinion involved. The goal of this strong user involvement in the trial was also to discuss openly and from the very start of the trial the potential ethical and privacy issues raised by such a deployment. Overall the inclusive co-creation process enabled to formulate strong requirements, some that could already be answered in the initial deployment, some that will be dealt with in the short term and some that could be considered in the long term. It also resulted in strong user acceptance and participation. The following protocols have been followed by the three different “Smart Offices” sites to define scenarios that are fully relevant to the real needs of the office.


Office description

For inno the main trial deployment has taken place in the Sophia Antipolis office of the group. Depending on several factors (business trips, presence of interns, presence of colleagues from other offices, etc…) about 15 to 25 people (with an average around 20) work daily in this office environment. This includes very different profiles: company top management, accountant and administrative assistant, economic development consultant (the majority of the workforce), and a few ICT consultants (2-3 people). The vast majority of the office doesn’t have a technical ICT background. The office consists of several personal or shared offices, an open space, a meeting room, an archive room, a server locker, and a coffee/kitchen room.

Applied co-creation process

A core team with multi-disciplinary competences (ICT consultant/ Evaluation process consultant / project management) has been set up to work on the office field trial. This core team has had several meetings to define the basis of the office trial, including meetings with the other teams of the other partners involved in the trial.

The actual co-creation process has been launched in the form of 3 co-creation work groups who met to define the office needs. Two work groups included the employees of the company; the third one focused on the needs and vision of the office management team. The workgroup sessions were open, brain storming with member of the core team animating the discussions. To avoid influencing the discussion too much, the core team did not include technical feasibility discussions in this first round of working groups. The core team also made sure not to directly suggest scenarios to the work group but rather dimensions that could be improved in the office to launch discussions on the real needs and enable real user-defined scenarios to emerge. The discussion started from two open questions (each one treated separately):

  • The definition of the workers ideal “smart office”, not limited by technological feasibility or scope (ie. wider than IoT),
  • The main fears and impediments they identified.

The ideas identified on each discussion were then evaluated through an open voting process to determine the one that the participants considered most important and most likely to happen.


Based on the analysis of the scenario proposed, a technical feasibility discussion was held with the core team to define what scenarios could be implemented. These scenarios have then been presented to the office co-workers for comments and modification in a second co-creation round before the actual implementation.

Expectations and risks identified


It was clearly noticeable that the type of expectations and scenario proposed were directly linked to the users occupation, similar positions in the office requesting similar type of solutions to:

  • Improve processes in the company
  • Improve the efficiency of tasks thanks to automation, and avoid wasting time
  • Assistance in the day-to-day work thanks to ICT based tools

Only few strongly disruptive innovative applications were proposed, most being rather innovations “at the moment” based on existing solutions and incremental progress. Expectations about comfort and health at the workplace also appeared as important. The main areas of expectations can be summarised as:

  • Shared Spaces: Sharing office and external information, news, calendar, etc. through dedicated and non intrusive tools, available anywhere and that would not increase the amount of data to be handled (email for instance). Ex:
    • Shared screen in the meeting or coffee room
    • shared calendar
    • information about presence/absence of co-workers
    • information about availability of common resources (meeting room, kitchen…)
  • Digital office: Solutions to improve the processes of the enterprise:
    • Automated expenses accounts
    • “Connectivity” through various supports to increase the “work anywhere” ability
    • Automated template and layout of docs
    • Vocal synthesiser for different tasks
    • Automated low level tasks (supply and maintenance of printers, coffee makers…)
  • Healths, comfort, work conditions: Solutions to work in a safer, healthier and more comfortable area:
    • Automation of lights, heating and cooler,
    • Automated assistance on the position of desk, chairs…
    • Incentive to behave in a healthier way (coffee consumption, sport, …)
    • Bins and recycling
    • Solutions increasing the social life of the office (casual meeting points, team building, etc…)

Several areas of risks, fears and impediments were identified by the workers. Their definition of their fears started in most case from abstract, general worst case scenarios, relating often to cultural references (we don’t want big brother, the matrix, terminator…) but rapidly evolved into careful and well defined areas of concerns. It can be noted that although the involved workers had no specific ICT, or science ethics background, nor previous knowledge of IoT ethics issues, the concerns they expressed matched very well the identified IoT ethics issues identified by expert (see BUTLER Deliverable 1.4). The risk identified are as follow:

  • Related to worker competences:
    • Risk of loss of competencies based on automation: don’t know what to do without technologies
    • Question of balance between financial investment in technologies versus salaries, and potential impact on employments.
  • Inclusion:
    • Risk related to the ability to use high tech services, exclusion of some workers based on technological competence? Risk of a “social/digital” divide.
    • Risk related to hyper-connectivity: ability to handle growing solicitation? Risks in sensible human values: attention, motivation, responsibility
    • Loss of relationships
    • Impact on identity and reputation
    • Sense of restriction of freedom
  • Dependency and Security:
    • Dependency to the technology: what happens in case of bugs, hack? Sensitive process and data of the company could be put at risk.
    • Dependency among system and need to preserve core function in a safe zone: a failure of the “Smart Office” should only lead to traditional office (this risk was best expressed in the sentence: we don’t want the coffee maker to stop if your servers are out).
  • Confidentiality:
    • Avoid tracking of sensitive financial data (salaries)
    • Privacy risk: what will management know? What will co-workers know? Strong need of easy to use controls to define what is shared with whom (authorization).
    • Risk on the balance between working life and private life.
  • Trust and Responsibility:
    • No sensor to assess to performance of co-workers
    • Risk of loss of social values, lack of trust in “virtual” relationships.
  • Health:
    • Fears related to radio waves health concerns
    • Risk of having “too many screens” resulting in visual and sound pollution
    • Hygiene related to tactile solutions

Further user involvement in the trial

During and after the implementation, the co-worker provided feedback in a survey and in the end of the experiment dedicated one to one interviews with chosen participants (both in the employees and management categories) have been run to get more detailed and in depth feedback.

The BUTLER User Feedback tool was used to gather feedbacks and opportunity for improvements of the field trials

Telecom Italia

Office description

For TI the main trial deployment is scheduled in the Joint Open Lab office in Milan. The lab is a premise of TI’s Innovation department within the context of Milan Polytechnic’s campus, hosting 7 permanent employees, as well as around 10 PhD students and researchers, and occasional TI employees or master students. Whilst TI employees mainly have a technical (TLC or CS) background, students and researchers also come from Business Innovation, Interaction design and Urban studies & architecture departments. Several countries are represented with very different cultures that complete the rich variety of sensibilities and approaches to the office daily life.


The lab consist of a couple of shared offices, an open space, a meeting room, an archive room, a server locker, and a kitchen/living room with TV and table football.

Applied co-creation process

We held an internal brainstorming in January 2014 involving 6 heterogeneous co-workers (4 from TI, 2 from university) composed as such: 3 engineers (2 TLC, 1 CS), 1 psychologist, 1 designer, 1 economist.


Expectations and risks identified

The co-creation session identified 3 main clusters as follows:

  • A. Collaboration / Social:
    • Live permanent video wall among offices: Virtual “window” to chat with and meet co-workers from different sites e.g. for work purpose, to exchange idea, to occasionally chat during a break, …
    • Shared common wall: (e.g. display in a common area of the office,…) to exchange quick messages related to events, meetings, participants to meetings, status of common activities, …
  • B. Smart Control & Automation:
    • Automatic setting of your own work desk: light is on only when needed and when the worker is at her desk, PC switches on when worker enters the office , smart notifications to educate about energy saving if there is a wrong habit (worker leaves the desk without turning off the light)
    • Sensors in the work space: to control e.g. noise level, right luminosity, air healthiness and eventually adjust them automatically to the right values or alert about a wrong situation
    • Cross-office contest about energy consumption: To easily monitor energy consumption of the various appliances inside the office and compare it with other offices
  • C. Personal(ized) [email protected]
    • Wearable sensors that “tell about you” (a kind of Quantified Self): To monitor how much time the worker spends at the office for her own consumption (e.g. trough a wearable bracelet that tracks her habits and behaviors), To let co-workers know about delay when involved in a joint meeting
    • Information about outside conditions: E.g. traffic and routing info «personalized» based on worker context (notifications about the best solution when it’s time to leave: time, “usual” route , public transportation, …)

Out of these initial clusters, a further refinement was made to identify some more specific scenarios for the trial described above, namely:

  • Social-based and natural interactions with things (from clusters A & B)
  • Desk light notifications (from cluster C)
  • Office energy consumption optimization (from cluster B)

Some risks and impediments were individuated in the co-creation process. Security and privacy issues were the firsts questions had to be addressed (“How gather information with respect to individual privacy?” or “Are data stored in secure environment?”). Besides privacy and security, some technical risks were also identified (“What if I want my desk-light on and Office turn it off…”): an important point to note is that users must have the chances to force the “system”.

Further user involvement in the trial

In parallel, we worked at a questionnaire for user acceptance that was refined via several face-to-face meetings with the lab co-workers and some other TI colleagues of all backgrounds, including psychologists and usability experts, to clarify and validate it. The questionnaire was prepared by a PhD student from Milan’s Polytechnic as part of her research work and is derived from the Technology Acceptance Model, further adding an experiential perspective to the traditional functional, yet rational evaluation. In particular, its goal is to address:

  • the perceived control (e.g. privacy) and/or conditional value (e.g. technology promptness) of the proposed service and its impact on the intention to use;
  • the social and emotional values perceived by the user (for example in terms of social or media influence, pleasure, etc), although moderated by the individual traits of each user.

The questionnaire contains questions gathered into 3 sections: technology readiness, drivers of technology adoption & demographic information.

This questionnaire was also shared with Inno for extended feedback and validation. A pretest was run in April in order to have it ready for the trial scenarios and to collect feedback from the co-workers at the end of the trial period.


Office description

The iHomeLab Living Lab has a long-term aim to close the gap between academia, industry and wide public through the co-creative methodology and user driven open innovation process in the IoT research area typically applied in the Building Intelligence applications of independent and/or ambient assisted living as well as energy-efficient buildings. Main idea of the initiative is to promote the IoT-enabled networked home, bringing together experts and stakeholders of different disciplines, sensitizing the public and pushing the development of a new generation of innovative, easy to use, reliable and affordable products and services as well as the underlying basic network infrastructure needed.


The iHomeLab office facility at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts campus in Horw, Switzerland includes an open space collaborative environment for 22 team members as well as 2 meeting rooms for 10 people each. Apart of that the office workers operate the iHomeLab Living Lab public showroom facility (attended by 3000 visitors annually) and one hardware certification / testing laboratory environment. The iHomeLab Living Lab staff participates in a high number of national and international project meetings, conferences, forums and exhibitions requiring them to travel 20 – 60% of their working time. The project topics cover wide range of topics relating to the use of technology for intelligent and independent living, aging research, including evaluation, usability and acceptance of technology by elders, issues in field deployments of wired and wireless. This variety implies interdisciplinary team work connect different user types in one office setup.

Applied co-creation process

In order to gather interest and feedback of end-users, the BUTLER project has created Smart Office focus group for collecting and storing office application ideas and data, as well as for analyzing and reporting out the results. This focus group consists of colleagues’ mixture with backgrounds from ICT, adults’ education, project management, event management, social work and medicine.

Co-creation process in the iHomeLab facility had two co-creation sessions consisting of use case identification workshop in February 2014 before installation and user feedback evaluation workshop in September 2014.

The first round of getting user inputs from iHomeLab Living Lab office staff has been organized rather informally and had a goal to capture expressed user interests and feedback Next iteration has been implemented in the form of workshop. End-users also fill in the feedback forms first after the initial setup and after the final installation of identified scenarios including KNX field bus with corresponding sensors / actuators.


Expectations and risks identified

The co-creation session identified 3 main topic families:

  • Office Information:
    • Information exchange between colleagues and offices: office staff has expressed the wish to be able to send a picture with a text message onto the public screens easily using smart phone and to see the history of sent to the screens messages.
    • Visualized information from sensors: office staff has expressed the wish to see the sensor values visualized on smart phones and on any of the available public screens in the office.
  • Energy Awareness:
    • Office energy consumption visualization: office staff has expressed the wish to see the current overall office (zone) energy consumption, its history and range values as well as the cumulated energy used since the beginning of the month. Categorization per device type basis (device types are: lights, computers, screens, coffee machine, printers, etc). Visualization on smartphones (Android or iOS) and on any of the available public screens.
    • Energy saving procedures and hints: office staff has expressed the wish to automatically turn off the unused devices and to get hints on how to run the office more energy efficiently.
    • Competition: office staff has expressed the wish to compare the energy consumption of the office (zone) to the one of the other offices (zones).
  • Automation:
    • Manual Office Control: office staff has expressed the wish to control groups of lights and jalousies individually over a conventional switches as well as over their smart phones
    • Automatic Office Control: office staff has expressed from one side the wish for the adaptively learnable office based on user inputs and changes in their behavioral habits but from another side to be well-informed about reasons of automated office actions.

Further user involvement in the trial

After the initial setup and after the final installation the office staff has filled in the feedback forms including KNX field bus with corresponding sensors / actuators. After evaluation of feedback forms the iHomeLab has conducted the final validation of the smart office field trial scenarios in the form of workshop in September 2014.

iHL workshop

Trial Scenarios

From the requirements collected through the co-creation process described above, each trial site derived different scenarios for actual deployment around the initial concept of a “multi-office social network of people and things”. The choice of the scenario deployed was made following several factors:

  • The ability of the scenarios to answer to demand identified as important by the participant in the co-creation process
  • The respect of the identified ethical boundaries
  • The capacity of the scenarios to use the BUTLER project platforms: Smart Servers, Smart Mobile, Smart Gateway/Object, to assess their qualities and to provide them feedback.

The deployments are described below as individual scenarios. Some have been deployed with local variations in several offices, others are specific; however, for each local trial site they form, grouped together on each site, a single user experience of the “smart office”.

Meeting room availability (inno)

Scenario developed and deployed at inno Smart Office. The development and deployment of this trial started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

The objective of this deployment is to assess and communicate the availability of the office common meeting room. It responds to a need expressed directly in the inno co-creation session, and relates with the “shared space” requirement domain. As the meeting room is located on one end of the building and is not directly accessible, to be able to assess the presence remotely reduces unnecessary journeys across the office.

Additional requirements expressed were that the detection of presence had to be non intrusive (no video or audio feed), automatic (no action necessary to signal presence or book in advance the room), and able to respond to the different conditions of use of the meeting room: the door is often but not necessarily closed (lunch in the meeting room, open discussions), the light is not necessarily on, the projector is not always used…

Technical set up

The initial simple solution of relying on a single motion detection sensor proved rapidly insufficient, as the small movements of a business meeting can go unnoticed by the sensor and the room size and setting made it difficult to cover it entirely. Based on the constraints expressed above, the technical solution envisioned had to rely on multiple sources of information to assess the meeting room availability. The following sensors were chosen:

  • Presence sensor: SmartSense Motion Sensor, located near the door and in the middle of the room to maximize chances of detection.
  • Light sensor: Digital Ambient Light Sensor (Ziglet), located facing the projector to be able to assess different level of light (light off, light on, projector on).
  • Contact sensor: SmartSense Multi Sensor located on the door to assess if the door is open or closed.

The combination of the different sensor data allows formulating a hypothesis on the current availability of the meeting room. The simple formula used to assess the presence based on the sensor data is:

P or (D and L)


  • P= presence is detected
  • D= door is detected as closed
  • L= Light is detected as on

To complement this automated detection, the individual sensor data are also provided to the end user to enable him to formulate his own guess based on the data plus any knowledge that might not be available to the system.

The information on the meeting room availability is provided in the common “private social network” of the company. The meeting room has its own page on the social network and it allows end users to leave message or comment on the page in a “wall-like” set up. This has been used during the trial either for providing comments on the system (correct or wrong guesses) or to announce in advance the need or the booking of the meeting room.



The current system represents a working prototype that has been used in the inno Smart Office deployment. Overall the system has proven some efficiency and has been appreciated by the end users. Some potential improvements can be considered to both improve availability prediction and user experience:

  • Improvement of the availability prediction algorithm: systemic observation of the sensor data over a long period of time, link with other context elements (time, access to calendars, presence and other sensors in the office) could help to refine and complexity the prediction model to increase the accuracy of the detection. However the simple setting of the current installation already provides acceptable results with a low impact of potential false-negative/positive (i.e: return to a pre-smart office process of checking by visual verification).
  • Support of additional sensors: the BUTLER platform approach and use of the gateway enables the rapid addition of new sensors to the set-up, some additional sensors could clearly enhance the quality of the detection. In addition to the current sensor used, other type of sensor have been considered, two could be specifically interesting: as energy consumption sensors (“smart plugs”) and sound sensors. Smart Plug would allow detecting use of plugged devices in the room which would possibly confirm presence in the meeting room, but they could also be used in a energy-monitoring scenario in the office which would demonstrate the possibility of “dual-use” of the multiple sensor approach chosen in this trial. The use of sound sensors without recording or transmission of the sound (local treatment) as proposed in the EAR-IT project would also be interesting to confirm the presence in the meeting room and work on user acceptance of sound sensors.
  • Stronger integration in the social network: The current trial is using a basic initial deployment of an enterprise social network which was deployed along the Field Trial. The social network tool in itself cannot be considered part of an IoT platform as it was intended initially in BUTLER (and therefore very limited efforts were put in it, only to ensure a functional basis), but it is a strong support for this particular deployment. Stronger investment in the social network tool, and further integration with IoT could significantly improve the user experience. It would be also worth it to further develop social-network / IoT convergence along the “Smart Mobile” platform developed in BUTLER.
  • Formal booking of the meeting room: Although an initial requirement of the user was to have has little direct interaction to “book” or announce their presence in the room, it has appeared as the usage grew, that the demand for booking of the meeting room appeared. As explained this is currently done through the wall/comment feature of the meeting room availability page on the social network. It would be interesting to refine the requirements and see if a more formal and complex booking process (priorities?) would be interesting.

Kitchen activity monitoring (inno)

This scenario came up as a result of the inno brainstorming session, taking into consideration the fact that the kitchen is one of the most important meeting spaces in the office.

Objectives and requirements

People use the kitchen at anytime during the day, to grab a cup of coffee or to warm up their lunch, and may find themselves often in contact with fellow workers being there at the same time. This makes the kitchen a strategic area where all employees go at least a couple of times a day.

Having a common area clearly stating whether someone is in the kitchen is not only useful for co-workers who want (or don’t want) to use the kitchen at the same time as others, but also as a virtual shared space for kitchen users.

As such two elements are interesting to consider in this trial, first the luminosity (which means someone’s entered the kitchen) and second the coffee consumption (through an accelerometer attached to the coffee machine).

Technical set-up

The sensors deployed in the kitchen are twofold:

  • a light sensor: Digital Ambient Light Sensor (Ziglet) that allows detection of the light being switched on or off
  • an accelerometer: ADXL345 Accelerometer (built in the Z1 mote) that is attached to the coffee machine and detects when the coffee machine starts brewing.

The presence detection in this context is simple as it’s linked to the light being switched on or off. A timer also indicates the time since the last coffee was brewed which enables to estimate the probability of meeting a fellow worker at the coffee machine.

A webpage reserved for the kitchen status also allows posting updates that are shared among co-workers, facilitating communication and allowing other forms of informed decision making. If you notice the kitchen already has people in, will you decide to go there now to say hello? Or will you wait a bit longer and go when it’s empty?


The BUTLER behaviour modelling framework has been used to create predictions of future coffee consumption based on past office behaviour, to help estimate the chances of meeting coworkers at the coffee machine.



The functionality has been well received and is used by co-workers to post messages related to the usage of the kitchen. Several improvements have been considered to extend the use case.

A direct feedback on the use case came from the office assistant in charge of handling the coffee beans stocks. By detecting the number of coffee made we can detect the overall consumption of coffee and better adjust stocks and commands. The measurement of per coffee, bean consumption is currently ongoing and we consider in the future to progressively automate the coffee ordering process.

The addition of a presence sensor would be very beneficial as it’d allow the detection of cases when users leave the kitchen without turning the light off or allow turning automatically the light on/off when someone enters/leaves the room.

The integration of the coffee and presence information in the BUTLER context manager and the analysis of this context through the behaviour modelling Smart Server has been considered to enable predictions on future presence in the kitchen.

Office presence sharing (inno)

Scenario developed and deployed at inno Smart Office. The development and deployment of this trial started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

One of the requirements directly expressed in the co-creation session was the ability to identify presence of other workers in the work place and future availability.

One of the requirements involved classic digital agenda sharing features, but extended further: the direct detection of the presence in the office was considered desirable. And the possibility for the workers on business trips to signal their availability to be reached by phone or not was also important (especially to enable workers to reach the managers who spend around half or more of their time outside of the offices).

One important requirement however was the respect of privacy (as some use the same calendar for personal and professional activities. Some fears were expressed regarding the tracking of the users but after some discussion an agreement on a pilot, time limited, deployment was reached with regular involvement of the end user in validation of the features.

Technical set up

The initial technical set up took the form of a shared calendar in the office social network with the possibility to select specific workers to validate availability. The following picture shows the direct availability and shared calendar.


This was extended by adding several automated or user based indication of availability:

The indication of immediate presence of co-workers in the office can be detected by connection of their devices (mobile phone, laptop) to the internal wifi network of the office through the detection of their MAC address.

For the indication of availability when in business trip a specific smart mobile application has been deployed. The Smart mobile application connects to the Smart Office social network server and allows the end user to signal availability despite his current agenda indicating already unavailability (the end user signal overrides the automated detection). The design of the Smart mobile app has been kept to a minimum to ensure ease of use of the application.

To ensure that the privacy of the end user was safeguarded, the calendar sharing and presence detection were disabled by default and user had to opt-in to participate.


This deployment received mixed feedbacks. Although the technical set up answered the initially expressed, the automated detection of presence was felt to be too intrusive for many workers. Only a small proportion of the office decided to opt-in on this option and most of them disabled it after a few weeks.

Potential extensions of the trial could be done from a purely technical point of view: better detection of the presence through sensors in the office, detection of location in the office, etc… but the very limited adoption of the end user for this solution due to privacy concerns in our office make it entirely theoretical.

Social-based and natural interaction with things (TIL)

Scenario developed and deployed at Joint Open Lab S-Cube (Telecom Italia lab). The idea of this scenario was already developed but the deployment started within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

The objective of this scenario is to demonstrate how social paradigm could be used in home/office automation. The scenario aims to allow user to have an easy and natural interaction with the environment. Most of people (not only ICT addicted) nowadays use Social Network on a day-to-day basis: in our opinion, using a Social-based interaction would allow users to perceive the “friendly face” of office automation.

Together with Social-based interaction, some other requirements were expressed. In order to improve the user experience in the environment, interaction had to be through natural language; voice control was also required.

Technical set up

A collection of IoT objects (both “Do-It-Yourself” and “Off-The-Shelf”) is distributed in the Smart Office. Through an internal Social Network named Teamlife, users can send command to and receive information from all objects. All devices are managed by a Teamlife user called “SmartOfficeTI” and users can write on its wall the same as in other Social Network. The Social-Network paradigm allow the reuse of social relationship (followship/friendship) between office and user’s account: this has been used for regulate access to object (user can send command only if there is a friendship relation between his account and the SmartOfficeTI one).

A “question/answer”-based interaction has also been developed. Users can post questions on SmartOfficeTI wall ( e.g. “What is SmartOffice temperature?”) and receive answers (e.g. “SmartOffice temperature is 25°C”) in the same way as it works on other Social Network.

In order to improve user experience of the trial, all interactions (command and question) can be done using voice (vocal-based interaction) through a dedicated Android application.

The following paper provide more detail on the social spaces approach developed, and on future opportunities.


The system mentioned is currently working in Joint Open Lab S-Cube (Telecom Italia lab). The overall feedback of users is positive and the idea of the Social-based interaction has been appreciated. Some feedback were provided (in order to improve the user experience) regarding the use of one (SmartOfficeTI) instead of more accounts. Users idea is to provide one account per IoT object and this will certainly be a future improvement.

Desk light notification (TIL)

Scenario developed and deployed at Joint Open Lab S-Cube (Telecom Italia lab). The development and deployment of this trial started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

The objective of this scenario is to provide a smart and unconventional way of receiving information from the surrounding environment. Information is collected from public services and is provided to Smart Office users with some notification process.

During co-creation process some requirements were expressed. Weather forecast and traffic information had been chosen from users as relevant information. Notification process should also be non-invasive.

Technical set up

Two different proof of concept had been developed in order to address two different contexts: private and public information. In the private information context, notifications are related to something that interest only one user (e.g. traffic on his way home); on the other hand, the public information context provides notification related to some common advice (e.g. weather conditions). The public context has also been deployed in Smart Office: weather information is gathered from a public web service and is collected in a middle framework; the color of two Philips Hue lamps in the lab is thus changed, on the basis of this information.


The public information context is running and working in Joint Open Lab S-Cube (Telecom Italia lab). This simple scenario is much appreciated thanks to its efficiency and immediacy.

The private information proof of concept attracted also a certain amount of attention: users would have been interested to have their own lamp with traffic information. Also the opportunity of manage information and the ability of choose which information provide through the lamp would have been appreciated.

Office energy consumption optimization (TIL)

Scenario developed and deployed at Joint Open Lab S-Cube (Telecom Italia lab). The development and deployment of this trial started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

The goal of office energy consumption optimization scenario is to give users an easy way to reduce power consumption of Smart Office. This argument is becoming more and more important and is not possible to build a “smart” office without addressing power optimization.

Requirements on this scenario were in order to guarantee a non-invasive optimization and to provide users a feedback from the optimization, giving mindfulness and knowledge of the process.

Technical set up

The system try to make use of the occupancy information and energy usage patterns to take smart control decisions in order to optimize power consumption.

Light and temperature sensors are used to monitor the room (office) condition at a given time. We make use of occupancy sensing (Bluetooth Low Energy) too, to understand the presence of users. The system also uses external weather, temperature and radiation information acquired from online systems. Visual and thermal comfort refers to a range of indoor temperature or luminosity delimited by a lower and an upper limit, rather than a single value.

Coordination and management of various devices in the system rely on a group-based architectural approach. Various devices or computational components have been grouped according to the functionality, location or other logical factors. Each group consists of one supervisor and various followers. Supervisor is responsible for the management (logic) of the group whereas followers act upon the directives they receive from the supervisor.

The system is now working using one group of lights that can be turned on and off by the supervisor component based on the current indoor/outdoor situation and on an energy consumption optimization algorithm e.g. to decide which light(s) to turn off when someone wants to turn on a new light.


Due to its high complexity, this trial is still a prototype and it had been working for a limited period. Users in the lab appreciated the idea and provided some feedback during the test period. The first improvement required is to integrate in the system another group of actuator (e.g. curtain) in order to manage the light in the lab not only with lamps. Another request, as mentioned above, is to provide an energy visualization tool to show and share the results obtained.

Office energy awareness and efficiency (iHL)

This scenario has been developed and deployed at the iHL (office premises of the iHomeLab). The design and development of this scenario has been started before the beginning of BUTLER project. The deployment of this trial has been started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

Several recent energy efficiency studies report that increased awareness on energy consumption in the near-to-real-time can contribution to the building run-time energy savings up-to 10-15%.. The iHL office has decided to verify these statements through its own office experiment on energy consumption visualization consisting of the current overall office (zone) energy consumption, its history and range values as well as the accumulated energy used since the beginning of the month. Further, the iHL office team wished to have categorization per device type (device type examples: lights, computers, screens, coffee machine, printers, etc). The visualization it self has to happen on any of the available public screens from the information sharing scenario as well as on smartphones (Android or iOS).

The goal of awareness on energy consumption would be the opportunity to automatically generate hints on energy savings and for example to turn off the unused devices resulting in more office runtime energy efficiency. Another requirement is the possibility to compete with other offices in regard of energy savings.

Technical set up

The following hardware is needed by the energy awareness field trial:

  • Energy awareness screen (available public screens are used by the iHomeLab team)
  • Personal mobile devices (Android and iOS)
  • Intelligent plugs for real time energy measurement
  • BUTLER Smart Object Gateway underlying hardware
  • Connecting adapters and cables

The following common software components have been used within this deployment:

  • BUTLER Energy Awareness Smart Server / Energy Awareness Application Server
  • Virtual Machine
  • FTP-Server / Web-Server
  • BUTLER Smart Object Gateway
  • Visualisation frontend


The above picture gives an overview for the technical setup of the office energy awareness and efficiency.


Informal and formal user feedback received from the office colleagues / users during both workshops has shown a positive general impact on the office energy awareness and energy savings. Potential improvement has been expressed in form of the opportunity to define comparable metrics of different offices like amount of consumed energy per person / per device. This would however require the integration with more sophisticated person counting mechanisms.

In general the office energy awareness and efficiency.system is considered to be useful. It will be further used and optimized for the long term resource savings.

Office comfort through automation of lights and jalousies (iHL)

This scenario has been developed and deployed at the iHL (office premises of the iHomeLab). The design of this scenario has been started before the beginning of BUTLER project. The development and deployment of this trial has been started entirely within the BUTLER project.

Objectives and requirements

The iHomeLab office is located inside of the wooden building with windows on the Eastern and Western sides. Further, the building has enough free space around, allowing to enjoy the natural light. This fact, however, also sometimes causes visual discomfort by some iHL office employees when the sun is shining directly to office computer monitors. Another point is that the whole open space office has only one physical control panel for office lights and jalousies.

These conditions have led to the objective in form of being able to control the lights and jalousies directly from the working places and over personal mobile devices. This requirement has been formalized during the first session of co-creation process in February 2014.

Since KNX building automation system allows to define rule-based scenarios, the iHomeLab office automation administrator tried to configure the rules in a way that jalousies partially close when the sun is shining. The main challenge here is to reach an optimal trade-off between visual comfort and energy-efficiency. It became clear during the trial that finding this optimum imposes significant efforts to the office automation administrator. The last fact has led to the second objective for the semi-automatic and automatic configuration of the office automation rules. It is also important to keep users well-informed about reasons of automated office actions

Technical set up

The office lights and jalousies automation installation in the iHL office facility follows standard approach for the KNX-based building automation applications and consists of:

  • KNX building automation field-bus configured with specialised software ETS
  • Weather station (measuring outside parameters including luminosity, temperature, wind speed and atmospheric precipitations) installed on the roof of the iHomeLab office
  • Air quality sensor measuring indoor air temperature, humidity and CO2 level
  • Four magnet contacts on the windows to identify if they are open/closed
  • Five presence and luminosity sensors installed in the office zones to automate lights and jalousies in the specific office area
  • Five light switches responsible for the lights located in the zone of available presence and luminosity sensors
  • Five jalousie motor switches responsible for the jalousies located in the zone of available presence and luminosity sensors
  • KNX-sniffer for the field bus monitoring, logging and analyses purposes
  • BUTLER SmartObject Gateway connecting KNX-based automated office to the IPv6 network through Southbound Interface (RESTful API) as well as KNX-to-IP Northbound Interface.


The above picture gives an overview for the technical setup of the office lights and jalousies automation.


Immediately after identification of requirements in the first co-creation session in February 2014 and initial office light automation deployment in March-April 2014, the iHL employees positively reacted to the possibility control the lights and jalousies from their working places as well as from their personal mobile devices. The input from the second co-creation session in September 2014 has validated the need for (semi-) automatic configuration for the rule-based office automation. It took around 2 months (May-June 2014) to configure the office automation system manually to the stage, when the majority of office colleagues were satisfied with the configured rules. Minor but constant configuration activity is required from administrator due to seasonal changes as well as possible reconfigurations of the office space. This trial scenario will be further developed after the BUTLER project end in order to provide mechanisms for self-adaptive automatic configuration of the lights and jalousies control.


Common trial: coffee contest (inno-TIL-iHL)

The idea of a contest based on a shared resource came up at a synchronisation meeting in Milan over a cup of coffee. Why not monitor and gamify the consumption of coffee, which is an essential part of our daily life at work? It’s a well spread ritual that involved the majority of the three offices taking part in the challenge: inno in Sopia Antipolis, iHome Lab in Lucerne and Joint Open Lab in Milan. In addition the detection of the coffee machine usage was already implemented in all the offices to answer to other scenarios.

This trial, which stand more as a proof of concept than a real field trial, had also the specific goal of demonstrating communication between different offices. The choice of a simple and harmless scenario was therefore chosen to avoid any complex question of confidentiality between the different companies.

Objectives and requirements

The goal of this common trial is to monitor the coffee consumption and allow participants to follow their team as a whole. This is not about who is drinking more coffee or less coffee, but more about the collective spirit of a common effort. Measuring coffee consumption is a way to federate co-workers and to allow them to share their performance with the two other teams.

The fact that the measurements are not nominative helps too as there’s no judgement in drinking too much or too little coffee; it’s the team effort that counts. The results are shared across the teams in real time and allow to create social interactions between the teams without being too distracting.

Technical set up

As mentioned in previous sections, the coffee machines are fitted with accelerometers able to detect coffee brewing and to send a notification to the team life platform registering them. Inno has developed as part of its social browser a coffee counting application retrieving information from the teamlife platform and displaying as a graph.


It is possible to display the consumption on a weekly, daily or hourly basis for the three teams involved in the trial.

Comments are also welcomed in order to foster discussions on any subject, being related to the Internet of Things or not, providing feedback on the tool itself or opportunities for improvement.


The trial, despite its simplicity, has been relatively well perceived and has gathered some interest in the interpretation of results. It is well understood and involves almost all of the team members in a non demanding way. The integration of the trial in the office social network (which is used for other usecases) eased significantly the user involvement and acceptance. Almost like a game, co-workers are amused by contributing to the contest as viewing the data displayed on the graphs.

Another aspect is the extent to which co-workers are willing to go in terms of sharing information with others. One of the winning aspects of this trial is the anonymous contributions of the co-workers.

Overall Architecture

The following diagram presents a high level view of the BUTLER Smart Office architecture, although the specific implementation differs from one site to another.


In addition to the BUTLER components used in the trial (Smart Mobile framework, Smart Gateway, Trust Manager, Energy Awareness, User Profile, Context Manager and Behaviour Modelling Server) the trial is based on components either developed specifically for the trial or reused from existing development:

  • The Smart Office applications: have been developed specifically for each trial and represent the end user interface side of the trial. It’s a development specific to the needs of each trial / scenario, that uses the Smart Mobile framework (web or mobile version) to communicate with the platform.
  • The Smart Office sensors: Specific to each deployment, they can include sensors and actuators as well as othersoftware / hardware components needed.
  • The Smart Office servers: Specific application servers are being developed, to handle specific aspects of the applications.
  • The Social Network Server: This component, providing specific “social network like” features is provided for this trial by Telecom Italia based on existing developments. As such it is not a part of the BUTLER platform but can be considered to be a legacy application with which the BUTLER platform demonstrates its interoperability and adaptability.

Service level

The deployment initiated in this trial will continue, be maintained and updated independently after the project in each of the "smart" office

Technology Readiness Level

5 - technology validated in relevant environment

Reuse Readiness Levels

4 - Reuse is possible; the software might be reused by most users with some effort, cost, and risk.


A security assessment of the trial has been realized and will be published soon

Meeting room occupancy

Daisy is at work and discussing with Frank and Alice over a new project idea at the coffee machine, they decide that they would need to pursue the discussion in more details, ideally in the office meeting room (situated at the other side of the building).

Daisy launches the BUTLER office network application, and checks the page of the meeting room. No-one has posted a message on the meeting room timeline to book the room recently, in addition the sensors deployed in the room inform her that the room is most likely empty. This assumption is made based on several sensors deployed in the room that taken together enables to detect the presence of a meeting: a light sensor tries to detect if the lights are on in the room, a presence sensor if human movements are detectable, a smart plug detects if the beamer is on, etc… the correlation of the different sensors together enable a very accurate detection of presence.

As the room is not occupied, Daisy books the room by leaving a message on the page of the meeting room on the BUTLER office network, on her way to the meeting room with Franck and Alice, she also sends a message to Marc (who is working from home today) to inform him that he could be interested in joining there meeting through the video conference system of the meeting room.