Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MONITORING A PROPERTY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/152279
Kind Code:
A4
Abstract:
There are provided systems and methods for monitoring a property using a system of sensor units in one or more premises on the property that can interface with respective utilities entering the premises or being generated by appliances on the premises with a minimal of effort and without requiring modification of the utility's equipment or the appliance. The systems and methods are connectable to a cloud-based monitoring, analytics and notification system via a long range network connection directly from one or more of the sensor units. The system of sensors can also incorporate primary and secondary units with at least one primary unit capable of communicating directly to the cloud-based system/server via a long-range connection with the secondary units sending data to the cloud via the primary unit by communicating at the property via a short-range communication connection. There are also provided various sensor units for specifically monitoring water flow and water leakage, flooding, sump pump operability, levels within water softeners and other fluid containing vessels, electrical power usage, furnace operations, among others as described herein.

More Like This:
Inventors:
WRIGHT, Kevin Robertson (102 Culpepper Dr, Waterloo, Ontario, CA)
SCHMIDT, Terrance Carl (4072 Weimer Line, Wellesley, Ontario, CA)
TSINTZOURAS, George (284 Forest Hill Dr, Kitchener, Ontario, CA)
KIRBY, Christopher Todd (204-5 Father David Bauer Dr, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6M2, N2L 6M2, CA)
Application Number:
CA2017/050306
Publication Date:
September 14, 2017
Filing Date:
March 07, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ALERT LABS INC. (44 Gaukel St, Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4P3, N2G 4P3, CA)
International Classes:
G01D9/00; F24D19/00; F24F13/00; G01F23/00; G01F25/00; G01M3/00; G01M3/26; G01R22/00; G08B17/10; G08B21/14; G01D7/12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SLANEY, Brett J. et al. (Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLPCommerce Court West,199 Bay Street, Suite 400, Toronto Ontario M5L 1A9, M5L 1A9, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
AMENDED CLAIMS

,jms. received by the International Bureau on 22 September 2017 (22.09.2017)

1. A sensor system for monitoring a property, the system comprising:

a primary sensor unit, comprising:

a housing comprising an interface mechanism for positioning at least one sensor contained within or supported by the housing relative to an entity to be passively monitored by the primary sensor unit, wherein the entity to be monitored comprises a measurable characteristic that changes over time, wherein the interface mechanism comprises a portion of the housing or an additional component that maintains the positioning of the housing relative to a resource exhibiting the measurable characteristic, to passively monitor the measurable characteristic without requiring a physical alteration to the entity to be monitored;

at least one transceiver connectable to a cloud-based system via a long- range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one sensor to passively measure or obtain data from the monitored entity, and provide the data to the cloud-based system over the long-range communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the primary sensor unit.

2. The sensor system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one transceiver is further connectable to at least one other sensor unit to allow the at least one sensor unit to provide data to the cloud-based system via the primary sensor unit.

3. The sensor system of claim 2, further comprising:

a secondary sensor unit comprising:

a housing comprising an interface mechanism for positioning at least one sensor contained within or supported by the housing relative to an entity to be passively monitored by the secondary sensor unit, wherein the entity to be monitored comprises a measurable characteristic that changes over time, wherein the interface mechanism comprises a portion of the housing or an additional component that maintains the positioning of the housing relative to a resource exhibiting the measurable characteristic, to passively monitor the measurable characteristic without requiring a physical alteration to the entity to be monitored; at least one transceiver connectable to the primary sensor unit via a short- range communication connection; a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one sensor to passively measure or obtain data from the monitored entity, and provide the data to the cloud-based system via the primary sensor unit over the long-range communication connection by sending the data to the primary sensor unit via the short-range communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the secondary sensor unit.

4. The sensor system of any one of claims 1 to 3, comprising a plurality of primary sensor units, each being connectable to the cloud-based system via the long-range communication connection or another long-range communication connection.

5. The sensor system of any one of claims 2 to 4, comprising a plurality of secondary sensor units each being connectable to the cloud-based system via one or more primary sensor units.

6. The sensor system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one transceiver of the primary sensor unit is further connectable to at least one third party device to monitor an output of the third party device.

7. The sensor system of claim 6, wherein the output of the third party device is an audible alarm.

8. The sensor system of claim 7, wherein the third party device is a smoke and/or CO detector.

9. The sensor system of claim 3, wherein the at least one transceiver of the second sensor unit is further connectable to at least one third party device to monitor an output of the third party device.

10. The sensor system of claim 1 , wherein the interface mechanism of the primary sensor unit comprises a strap for securing the housing against a water meter, the housing comprising a contoured portion to facilitate placement of the housing against the water meter in alignment with a rotating magnet in the water meter.

11. The sensor system of claim 1 , wherein the interface mechanism of the primary sensor unit comprises a clamp.

25

12. The sensor system of claim 11 , wherein the clamp is rotatable to allow for the housing to be oriented in a plurality of positions relative to a structure to which it is attached.

13. The sensor system of claim 1 , wherein the interface mechanism of the primary sensor unit comprises one or more magnets to secure the housing against a metallic surface of the entity being monitored.

14. The sensor system of claim 13, wherein magnetic attachment of the housing to the entity being monitored engages a sensor contained in or supported by the housing, with the metallic surface, for monitoring same.

15. The sensor system of claim 3, wherein the interface mechanism of the secondary sensor unit comprises a contoured surface to provide a gap between at least one sensor contact and an underlying surface.

16. The sensor system of claim 15, wherein the underlying surface is a floor and the at least one sensor contact is for detecting the presence of fluid.

17. The sensor system of any one of claims 1 to 16, further comprising the cloud-based system, the cloud-based system comprising:

at least one portal to register the primary sensor unit;

at least one client dashboard to access the data collected by the primary sensor unit; and

an engine connectable to at least one communication channel for communicating alerts, notifications, and/or events to user devices.

18. The sensor system of claim 17, further comprising at least one of:

an online database;

one or more third party device or service APIs; and

access to one or more third party data sources or services.

19. A method of monitoring a property, the method comprising:

positioning at least one sensor contained within a housing of a primary sensor unit relative to an entity to be passively monitored by the primary sensor unit using an interface mechanism of the housing, wherein the entity to be monitored comprises a measurable characteristic that changes over time, wherein the interface mechanism comprises a portion

26 of the housing or an additional component that maintains the positioning of the housing relative to a resource exhibiting the measurable characteristic, to passively monitor the measurable characteristic without requiring a physical alteration to the entity to be monitored;

operating the at least one sensor to passively measure or obtain data from the monitored entity; and

utilizing at least one transceiver to provide the data to a cloud-based system over a long-range communication connection.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the at least one sensor is operated without additional set up steps being performed by a user.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising performing at least one calibration or noise reduction operation automatically upon powering up the primary sensor unit.

22. The method of any one of claims 19 to 21 , further comprising enabling the at least one transceiver to connect to at least one other sensor unit to allow the at least one sensor unit to provide data to the cloud-based system via the primary sensor unit.

23. The method of claim 22, further comprising receiving data from a secondary sensor unit over a short-range communication connection; and sending the data from the secondary sensor unit to the cloud-based system over the long-range communication connection.

24. The method of any one of claims 19 to 23, further comprising registering the primary sensor unit with the cloud-based system prior to having the primary sensor unit provide data to the cloud-based system.

25. A water flow monitoring unit, comprising:

a housing comprising an interface mechanism for positioning at least one magnetic sensor contained within the housing relative to a water meter to be monitored, wherein the water meter comprises a measurable magnetic characteristic that changes over time, wherein the interface mechanism comprises a contoured portion of the housing that maintains the positioning of the housing without altering the water meter;

at least one transceiver connectable to a cloud-based system via a long-range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one magnetic sensor to measure the measurable magnetic

27 characteristic, and provide the data to the cloud-based system over the long-range communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the water flow monitoring unit.

26. The unit of claim 25, wherein the interface mechanism comprises a strap for securing the housing against the water meter.

27. The unit of claim 25 or claim 26, further comprising a cellular antenna for establishing the long-range communication connection with a cellular network.

28. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 27, further comprising an array of a plurality of magnetic sensors.

29. The unit of claim 28, wherein the array of sensors captures the position of the magnet in the water meter in various positions within the water meter to allow for error correction and improved accuracy in readings across a variety of water meters.

30. The unit of claim 28, wherein the array of sensors is positioned to add desired signals, average out an offset, and increase a signal to noise ratio.

31. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 30, wherein the processor is programmed to determine an ideal amplification of a signal and programmatically control a gain to achieve an ideal signal amplitude.

32. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 31 , further comprising one or more sub-sensors for detecting sound and/or vibration externally to a water system to enable an analysis on the sound to be performed to determine when water is flowing.

33. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 32, wherein the data collected enables a leak to be detected according to an abnormal water consumption pattern.

34. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 33, wherein the processor is programmed to isolate an obtained signal from noise by automatically determining a signal offset in a quiet environment to compensate for direct current (DC) noise without utilizing a high pass filter.

28

35. The unit of any one of claims 25 to 33, wherein the processor is programmed to analyze data during regular use and calculate an offset to compensate for DC noise in the system without implementing a high pass filter.

36. A quantity level monitoring unit, comprising:

a housing comprising an interface mechanism for positioning at least one proximity sensor contained within the housing relative to a quantity level to be monitored, wherein the quantity level changes over time, wherein the interface mechanism maintains the positioning of the housing relative to a vessel containing the quantity level to be monitored without altering the vessel;

at least one transceiver connectable to a cloud-based system via a long-range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one proximity sensor to measure the quantity level, and provide the data to the cloud-based system over the long-range communication connection; and a power source for providing electrical power to the quantity level monitoring unit.

37. The unit of claim 36, wherein the quantity level to be monitored is a fluid.

38. The unit of claim 37, wherein the fluid is water in a sump well, the interface mechanism comprising a rotatable clamp to secure the housing to a pipe.

39. The unit of claim 37, wherein the fluid is contained in a vessel, the interface mechanism comprising a separable portion of the housing that is securable to a substrate positioned relative to an opening in the vessel.

40. An electricity consumption monitoring unit, comprising:

a housing comprising one or more magnets for securing the housing to an electrical panel containing an electrical component to be monitored, wherein the electrical component comprises a measurable characteristic that changes over time;

at least one sensor for measuring the electrical component in the electrical panel; at least one first transceiver connectable to a cloud-based system via a long-range communication connection;

at least one second transceiver connectable to at least one battery powered flood detection unit via a short-range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one first transceiver, the at least one second transceiver, and the at least one sensor to measure the

29 measurable electrical characteristic, receive data from the at least one battery powered flood detection unit, and provide data to the cloud-based system over the long-range

communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the electricity consumption monitoring unit, the power source comprising a battery backup to enable flood detection monitoring to continue, via a connected one of the at least one battery powered flood detection unit, in the event of a power failure to the electrical panel and/or electricity consumption monitoring unit.

41. The unit of claim 40, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a lead and a current clamp for non-invasively coupling the lead to an electrical conductor to measure a current.

42. A furnace monitoring unit, comprising:

a housing comprising one or more magnets for externally securing the housing to an HVAC duct for the furnace being monitored, wherein the HVAC duct carries a measurable characteristic that changes over time;

at least one sensor for passively measuring the measurable characteristic without requiring a physical alteration to the HVAC duct or furnace;

at least one transceiver connectable to a cloud-based system via a long-range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one sensor to measure the measurable characteristic, and provide the data to the cloud-based system over the long-range communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the furnace monitoring unit.

43. The unit of claim 42, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a temperature probe contacting a surface of the HVAC duct.

44. The unit of claim 42 or claim 43, wherein the at least one sensor comprises an accelerometer for measuring vibrational energy carried through the duct.

45. A flood detection unit, comprising:

a housing comprising at least one surface that is contoured for positioning at least one sensor contained within the housing relative to an underlying surface to be monitored, wherein the underlying surface is normally dry and the at least one sensor is to detect a presence of a spill or flood;

30 at least one transceiver connectable to a primary sensor unit via a short-range communication connection, the primary sensor being connected to a cloud-based system via a long-range communication connection;

a processor and memory contained in the housing for operating the at least one transceiver and the at least one sensor to detect the presence of a spill or flood, and when detected, provide data to the primary sensor unit over the short-range communication connection; and

a power source for providing electrical power to the flood detection unit.

46. The unit of claim 45, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a pair of contacts positioned close to but above the underlying surface.

47. The unit of claim 46, wherein the contacts are exposed on at least two surfaces of the housing to enable at least two orientations for positioning the housing relative to the underlying surface.

31