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These sensors know when your office is underutilized—and when your grandma takes a fall

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Knowing where people are in a building at any moment is valuable information, and a variety of technologies now exist to make it easy to turn a home or office into its own tiny surveillance state.

Using video cameras or simple motion-tracking sensors, these technologies can tell when unneeded energy is being used in empty rooms and where companies are wasting leasable square footage on vacant desks. And in the context of senior care, they can even save lives by alerting health workers if someone has fallen or is unresponsive.

But according to the building technology startup Butlr, doing all this surveillance doesn’t have to mean invading people’s privacy with video cameras in every room. Using sensor technology that detects heat within buildings, Butlr can track building occupancy, space utilization, and the movement of patients in medical facilities.

“At night we can even see somebody sneaking into the kitchen and opening the fridge,” says Honghao Deng, cofounder and CEO of Butlr. “You can see the cold air in the room.”

[Photo: courtesy Butlr]Deng and cofounder Jiani Zeng launched Butlr while they were both students at the........

© Fast Company

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