Monterail decided they needed a bigger office, and they wanted that office to be smarter, so they turned to Raspberry Pi to make it happen.
It was a real leap of faith because the team couldn’t find a similar Raspberry Pi project quite this big, so they didn’t have much to go on. Spoiler: their courage paid off.
What does Raspberry Pi power in the office?
The team had a long list of tasks they wanted to transfer over to the control of Raspberry Pi:
- signals to show meeting room occupancy
- security access codes for the main doors
- wireless music streaming
- content selection on five TVs
- special colour-changing LED lamps in the kitchen
They wanted to be able to control everything via a web app that would work on desktop and mobile phone, as well as via panels mounted on the walls.
Where are the Raspberry Pis?
One lead Raspberry Pi controls all the low-level hardware (door access, lighting, etc) from the custom-made distribution board pictured below. This computer also runs the web server with a web app that allows people to control all of the features.
Five more units are connected to the five individual TVs. Two Raspberry Pis are connected to a broadcasting amplifier which runs several speakers dotted all over the office space. And a special separate unit lives in the bathroom, controlling speakers that play ambient radio for users to enjoy their bathroom time to.
How does everything work?
Kamil Górski’s blog about the fit-out goes into lots of nerdy technical details, if you’d like to know about the lighting circuits and whatnot. Here’s an abridged look at how a few office features work.
Each TV has its own Raspberry Pi running Chrome in kiosk mode, and the lead Raspberry Pi controls each of them. The TVs can all display different things or, using HDMI switches and splitters, they can all display whatever is showing on the projector during keynote presentations.
All of the office speakers are divided into sections and connected to a broadcasting amplifier, which has two Raspberry Pis running DLNA and AirPlay servers connected to it. The aforementioned bathroom Raspberry Pi has its music choices managed by a Slack channel, an excellent idea with which nothing could possibly go wrong.
Meeting room occupancy
Android tablets mounted to the wall outside meeting rooms run the web app controlled by the lead Raspberry Pi. They display the meeting room occupancy calendar so everyone can see the availability of that room at a glance.
One year on and everything still seems to be running well on Raspberry Pi. Excellent innovation, Monterail! We’re getting a few ideas for Pi Towers.