Greatwaves: sustainable Wi-Fi


How do you make buildings more sustainable, safer and healthier to work in? Startup in Residence participant Greatwaves says all you need is Wi-Fi, and is currently testing their prototype at the Zernike Campus.

Greatwaves (formerly Slimmer wifi) is not new to the startup scene. The company, founded by Wouter Zijlstra supplies and maintains Wi-Fi for more than 50 clients, including CataWiki. Last year, they got the idea to equip their routers with extra sensors and essentially use WiFi to create smart buildings. “Basically, it’s a very simple way to monitor things like light, sound, temperature, movement and air quality”, Zijlstra explains. “So the Startup in Residence challenge of making the buildings on the Campus more sustainable, was a perfect fit for us.”


New name, big plans

In December last year, Slimmer wifi changed their name to Greatwaves. “It was just time to take the next step, because we’re about much more than Wi-Fi now”, Zijlstra says. “Which was a little scary at first, when you suddenly realize it’s about much more than changing your name and logo. But the response we got was just awesome!”


Three pillars

“We decided to center our protoype around three pillars”, Zijlstra says. “Sustainability, health and safety. We can calculate how many people there are in a building or in a single room based on the amount of connected devices. That’s a great way to see whether or not areas in the building need extra heating, but also to see if there are people left in the building in case of an evacuation or emergency.”

“But we can also monitor CO2 and noise levels in real time”, Zijlstra continues. “Not enough oxygen and noise pollution reduce productivity and create stress, which we can prevent with a couple of simple measures. We want to use this data to make buildings healthier, increase productivity and at the same time measure the actual usage of a building relative to its power consumption.”


Startup in Residence Pilot

Any lessons learned during the program so far? “For one, you learn how to work with a big organization as a smaller company and how to formulate and structure ideas. But I like the interaction, the help and co-creating and tailoring your product. We’ll be testing our prototype and gathering data between February and August in at least one Campus building, maybe three, if all goes well.”


Future plans

In the next six months, Greatwaves wants to collect as much data as possible and finetune their prototype. “First and foremost, we don’t want our measures to get in the way of the comfort of people working in the buildings we monitor. You know those lights with motion sensors that automatically turn off when you’re just sitting there focused and having to wave your hand to turn the lights back on? That’s something we want to avoid!” Zijlstra smiles.

“As for future plans, we want roll out our prototype as a product on the Campus, so we can compare the different buildings. A not so sustainable building with adequate measures, can be more sustainable than a new, relatively unoccupied building. And hopefully, we’ll become market leader in the Netherlands with our Wi-Fi. In any case, the sensors help us to add value and give businesses an easy tool to be more sustainable.”