According to different researches, having a healthy indoor environment can help to reduce complaints from building users. However, it is important that users have a healthy behavior pattern such as enough movement, relaxation, healthy eating and social contact. The Haze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen is researching this interesting combination. This happens in the Living Lab.

The Living Lab at the Haze University of Applied Sciences

The University has created the Living Lab to test this interesting combination. This is made possible due to the use of beacons. Beacons are used to help to measure the indoor climate. This is done while the health of the 20 employees is measured with the use of wearables. In the Living Lab, the ¨user¨ stands central to the research that is being conducted.

This is made possible due to the use of the innovation working space Healthy Workplace. The Healthy Workplace was created in partnership with Menzis, Planon, Engie Services, Measuremen and Healthy2Work. In fact, the main goal behind this partnership is to promote a healthy work environment in combination with the use of sensors. The Haze University of Applied Sciences is already doing research about the wearables for a few years. In the Quantified Self Institute, they have been researching the reliability of wearables such as step counters and heart monitors. Now, they are taking a step further and researching it in the physical environment.  This brings the possibility to see how the working environment can impact the employee and its health.

The researchers in the Living Lab, provide information about CO2 levels, noise, and light. Furthermore, they also want to provide information to employees about their health, stress levels and behavior. The ultimate goal of this information is that employees can undertake action based on this information. Employees can use the information and adapt it to their own personal requirements. Furthermore, researchers also see the chance of creating a unique experiment with different products and interventions. This provides them the opportunity to see what is most effective to improve the health of employees.

The Role of Employees in this Research

For the research in the Living Lab, the University has found 20 employees that were willing to participate. The participant’s pool is composed of employees, teachers, and researchers. These 20 employees have voluntarily opted to participate and participate in the role of a ¨action researcher¨. This means that the participant often observes its own behavior, findings and often exchanges these with other researchers.

As mentioned before, the participants make use of wearables that register their physical activities. Furthermore, they also make use of an app on their mobile device. With the app, the participant receives questions such as ¨How do you experience the temperature and the noise at this moment?¨. These questions are often also related to their current stress levels.

These questions are important as a way of complementing the data acquired by the wearables. Due to the use of ibeacon technology, the researchers can link the acquired data to specific zones in the working space.

The use of ibeacon technology in this specific case provides insight on how this technology can help researchers get more in depth information. Due to the use of ibeacon technology, the researchers have the possibility to get detailed information about certain zones in the working space. Ultimately, this provides them the possibility to focus on the improvement of certain specific zones and on the impact it has on the participants.