WORKING with Censis has proved invaluable for many emerging companies, among them Beringar, a property technology company whose work has put the NHS on the verge of an Internet of Things (IoT) revolution.

The company has developed a non-intrusive sensor that will improve the NHS’s understanding of how its buildings and moveable assets – such as hospital beds and crash trolleys – are being used.

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Beringar sensors can count the number of people in a room and distinguish between employees and visitors; understand patterns of use in buildings to allow health planners to find suitable locations to grow health and social care provision; and use tags and sensors to position and locate moveable medical equipment.

Clipboard surveys and other traditional methods of measuring building use will be replaced by the sensor, which can check occupancy levels and identify trends in how staff and patients use NHS buildings.

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Beringar’s founders Mark Sorsa-Leslie and Paul Byrne had attended a Censis tech summit in 2016, which help propel their technology into the marketplace at home and abroad.

In a video recorded for last year’s tech summit – which they missed because they were being featured at a similar event in San Jose, California – Sorsa-Leslie said the idea developed after he and Byrne had a conversation with a mutual friend Neil, the executive director of one of the largest property portfolios in the NHS.

“He wanted to understand how his buildings were being used,” said Sorsa-Leslie.

“We took that challenge away and we decided we would find a way to help Neil do what he needed to do.”

“We thought it would be simple – we thought we’ve be able to find a sensor that someone else had produced and build that into a solution that could help Neil deal with his challenge.”

That turned out to be not as simple as they had envisaged, but at the 2016 tech summit they learned about LoRaWAN – a low power wide area network specification for connecting wireless, battery-operated devices in a regional, national or global network.

They also found a newly-released visual sensor that could help them count people and assets in real time.

“We realised that this was the solution to our problem and we found out that working with Censis we could build that into a solution and bring it to market,” said Sorsa-Leslie.

“After the tech summit we decided to move ahead and build the prototype with the help of Censis.

“We built the prototype, deployed it in a building and we proved that the technology could solve Neil’s problem.”

Now Beringar have developed their mark two product and have interest from around the world – all thanks to Censis, said Sorsa-Leslie: “We didn’t have the technical expertise that we needed.

“We had great domain knowledge, we understood the problem and we had the client, but we needed help to turn that idea into something real.

“The NHS spends around a quarter of its budget every year on the provision and management of its buildings, but many rooms and equipment aren’t used to their full potential.

“Having access to data like this will be extremely important for the health service, as it responds to ever-growing demand.”