Introduction

The Car Park is an often unappreciated, but vital part of our modern transportation network. Car parks need to be close to the places that they serve. Whilst many car parks are out in the open, real-estate is often very limited in these areas, resulting in car parks being relegated to enclosed spaces within buildings or underground. Although all car parks have the potential for issues such as security and lack of spaces, these ‘indoor’ car parks suffer from additional challenges.

Challenges in Indoor Car parks

One very troubling problem for indoor car parks is the air quality. A combination of the enclosed space with inadequate natural ventilation and the presence of a large number of vehicles can lead to very poor air quality. The exhaust gases from the vehicles contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter (PM) which accumulate, further risking long-term health impacts for car park users. Many studies have highlighted the concerns over VOC levels and PM levels and the resulting health effects.

Some challenges experienced by indoor car parks include:

Monitoring of Air Quality, VOCs and PM is often carried out via separate manually operated devices. These may require staff intervention to record readings, and measurements may be taken relatively infrequently.

To enhance air quality, forced ventilation fans in car parks are frequently operated independently from other systems. They either run continuously or are manually turned on and off. However, this disjointed operation can result in unresolved air quality problems or unnecessary consumption of power and increased noise levels.

Car park systems typically function independently of one another, lacking integration across various aspects such as air quality, ventilation, space availability (including both regular and EV charging spaces), traffic volume measurement, lighting control, and numerous others.

One common problem in this and similar applications is that car park operators miss out on significant potential for functionality and future growth by using independent systems.

IoTPortal provides a Solution

The BRT Systems (BRTSys) IoTPortal is a highly flexible and scalable all-in-one solution which enables you to overcome the challenges. The IoTPortal provides the following key functions:

  • Sensing The IoTPortal can perform monitoring of air quality, VOCs, and PM using sensors such as the TrueVOC sensor (VOC concentration), PM 2.5 sensor (2.5um Particulate Matter), AQS sensor (Air Quality), and CO2 sensor (CO2/Temperature/Humidity/Ambient Light) installed around the car park. These sensors are connected to the Long-Distance Sensor Bus (LDSBus) via Quad T-Junctions, and are polled continuously by the IoTPortal Gateway without any manual intervention required.

Figure 1 – IoTPortal – Sensing in an Indoor Car Park

  • MonitoringThe IoTPortal provides real-time monitoring (both on-site and remotely) of the air quality via user-friendly charts on the Smartphone App and Dashboard (on a larger screen via computer web browser). Staff utilisation is further improved via configurable email / SMS / Push alerts, notifying them if their attention is required.

Figure 2 – IoTPortal – Monitoring in an Indoor Car Park

  • ControllingThe IoTPortal can control ventilation fans via 2CH Relay, 2CH Relay + iSENSE, and Solid-State Relay actuators to clear the air in the car park. Automatic events (based on criteria such as the sensor readings) can be set to trigger the fans only when needed, minimising power consumption, fan wear and noise levels. Current sensing in the relays can also provide a warning of a fan issue.

Figure 3 – IoTPortal – Controlling Fans via relay actuators using Events

The IoTPortal was designed as an inherently flexible and scalable platform, offering potential for further system integration. One example is to interface ultrasonic car detectors via the MODBUS adapter allowing determination of occupancy and space availability. Other possibilities include control of lighting in the lobby and stair wells using the motion sensing of the 4in1 sensor and many more…   

Summary of IoTPortal Features

The IoTPortal has many advantages for applications such as car park air quality, including:

Long Distance Sensor Bus (LDSBus) for easy installation

All BRTSys sensors/actuators share the daisy-chained LDSBus connection providing power and data, with up to 80 devices per bus over distances up to 200m over a single CAT5e cable.

Intuitive user interface for set-up and monitoring

All configuration, monitoring and control is via the IoTPortal Smartphone App / Dashboard with no programming knowledge required. Monitor data from all sensors/actuators using the same familiar interface on configurable charts.

Sensors and Actuators for a diverse range of applications

BRTSys offer a wide range of LDSBus sensors and actuators. The MODBUS adapter and Isolated IO Controller allow other non-LDSBus devices to be incorporated into the system.

Cloud-Based Architecture offers centralised storage and processing

IoTPortal stores and processes data from all sensors/actuators in the Cloud (via the IoTPortal Gateway(s)). Users can monitor and control the system from anywhere in the world via an internet connection. Multiple car parks can be monitored as one system.

Automated Events feature frees up staff to work on other tasks

Events allow IoTPortal to react to measurements automatically without manual intervention. Set alerts to notify staff if their attention is required whilst performing other tasks even if they are off-site.

Conclusion

Indoor car parks suffer from some unique challenges owing to their enclosed nature and poor natural ventilation. Concerns include the air quality and related VOC and PM concentrations. To ensure a healthy and safe environment for all users, indoor car parks should consider more integrated solutions for monitoring air quality and for ensuring that it stays within safe levels.

The IoTPortal from BRTSys is an ideal solution for this, with its combined Sense, Monitor and Control functionality. This capable all-in-1 solution enables you to measure air quality via multiple sensors located around the car park continuously, provides local/remote monitoring via the Cloud, and facilitates automatic control of the ventilation.

IoTPortal combines this functionality with other highly desirable features such as ease of installation in existing / new car parks, better staff utilisation, and enormous flexibility to expand the system in future to integrate other systems/features.

Contact us at marketing@brtsys.com to find out more about how the BRTSys IoTPortal can help solve your challenges in indoor car parking and other similar applications.

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