Ontology-based office activity recognition with applications for energy savings

  • Tuan Anh Nguyen
  • Andrea Raspitzu
  • Marco Aiello
Original Research


One of the key inputs for building energy and comfort management systems is detailed and precise office activity information, i.e., what is happening in each of the monitored areas (e.g., working place, meeting room, coffee corner, etc.). Such information can be used to control appliances for saving energy while still satisfying user comfort needs accordingly. We propose an activity recognition solution that effectively handles multiple-user, multiple-area situations, rapidly recognizing office activities as inputs for building energy and comfort management systems. The proposed solution is based on an ontological approach, using low-cost, binary, and wireless sensors. Through initial experiments, our prototype is able to recognize seven typical office activities (working at a desk with or without a PC, having a meeting, giving a presentation, having a coffee break, and presence/absence) at three office activity areas (working room, meeting room, and coffee corner) for two persons with average accuracy of more than 92 %.


Energy saving buildings Ontological reasoning Activity recognition 



We thank Peter Kamphuis, Dimitri de Jong and Jeroen Jager for providing data on the survey reported in Sect. 2.2. We also thank Rosario Contarino for useful discussions on the implementation of simple sensors. Andrea Raspitzu thanks the Distributed Systems Group at the University of Groningen for supporting him during his summer internship during which he was involved in the reported research. Tuan Anh Nguyen is supported by the Vietnam International Education Development Program. The work is supported by the EU FP7 Project GreenerBuildings, Contract No. 258888 and the Dutch National Research Council Energy Smart Offices project, Contract No. 647.000.004.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tuan Anh Nguyen
    • 1
  • Andrea Raspitzu
    • 2
  • Marco Aiello
    • 1
  1. 1.Distributed Systems Group, Johann Bernoulli InstituteUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematical and Physical SciencesUniversit degli Studi di TorinoTurinItaly

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