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Case Valpas: Simple hotel IoT retrofits eliminate pesky bugs

001 Wirepas Valpas bed bugs






Detecting and preventing hotel bed bug infestations

Have you ever experienced bed bugs? Valpas founder Martim Gois has, on a months-long trip to southeast Asia. Despite his best efforts, he brought them back home. A bit of research quickly showed that bed bugs present real hygiene and reputational risks for hotels worldwide, including in Europe and North America. Until recently, the options for getting rid of an infestation included fumigation with poisons and drastically raising the ambient temperature. Valpas was born of a desire for a much better alternative: to prevent the bugs before the problem arises.

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A bed-bug incident is embarrassing to a hotel and guests. Valpas eliminates the problem before it even gets started, by automatically trapping bed bugs, wherever they appear. It’s an IoT-enabled, chemical-free solution that delivers hospitality, safe from bed bugs.


IoT bed bug alert & capture

Martim and the other two Valpas principals began by studying bed bugs in their lab. The company, still quite small, quickly reached several important conclusions about bed bugs :

  • They escape from clothes or suitcases and actively climb into beds
  • They can only thrive in beds and belongings, right next to humans
  • They prefer certain colours
  • They lose their grip on extremely smooth surfaces

They also found that you need to catch the first ones quickly before they can multiply, which is most effectively done where they are most active: trying to get into a bed to feed. What Valpas ended up developing is a smart leg that’s retrofitted onto hotel beds: one that includes a built-in trap with IoT alerting and can quickly be exchanged for a standard bed leg. When hotel staff install Valpas bed legs, which are coated with a colour that attracts the bugs, they use an app to scan each leg’s QR code, assigning it to a hotel room. Two legs on each bed have traps and IoT sensors, while the other two are ‘dummy’ legs that are too smooth to climb. When a bed bug climbs up one of the two ‘smart’ legs, it falls into the trap—a deep groove that encircles the leg. Within, an intelligent sensor detects a bug for removal and the Valpas system is activated. The Wirepas Mesh network passes the message from sensor to sensor to the Valpas back-end system. Staff receive an instant alert. The system also provides daily reports and stores all data for effective analysis and reporting.


Bye bye, bed bugs

The Valpas protocol is currently in use in more than eight countries in Europe, with over 1,000,000 nights protected in 3,500+ rooms. Hotels in the network have been able to detect and remediate bed-bug infestations in an entirely eco-friendly manner before they even get started, upgrading arriving guests to a better room to avoid a problem area. Part of Valpas’ sell is offering a label that hotels can proudly display on their websites and other marketing materials, giving customers assurance that their stay will be bed bug-free.

Thanks to the Wirepas Mesh network linking Valpas’ smart bed leg sensors, hotels have full wireless coverage that can carry any additional sensor data that facility owners wish for. The system can be extended with wireless occupancy, temperature, humidity and air-quality sensors, for example. Wirepas Mesh also has geo-positioning built in, enabling the tracking of hard goods like cleaning carts, irons and more with the simple addition of a wireless tag.

We had a genius plan of how to detect bed bugs with our smart bed leg design and sensors, but needed a way to transmit data from hundreds of bed legs to the back-end system. Since Wirepas Mesh is fully battery-powered, including routers, the business case was sound—we were able to quickly and easily roll out our sensor-based system at a low cost. And support from Wirepas has been great.  

Martim Gois
CEO, Valpas

How does it work

Uniting best-of-breed components for low-cost installation

Wirepas Mesh is plug-and-play: no wireless network or technicians required. Hotel staff simply replace ordinary bed legs with Valpas bed legs. The firmware and electronics design for the legs were created by Haltian, a company that designs smart devices. Once powered up, sensors in the bed legs automatically search for each other and form an efficient, robust mesh network. The more sensors there are in the network, the stronger the signal, plain and simple. Each sensor acts as a relay to the next, in adjacent rooms and between floors, over frequencies opportunistically chosen for their availability. The Valpas protocol connects gateways to their back-end system via Wirepas Mesh. All data is then captured for dashboard-based analysis and alerting. 

Thanks to Wirepas Mesh, an entire hotel’s worth of devices often connect to the Internet via a single network gateway. If the hotel consists of separate buildings or far-flung wings, more gateways are added. If there are long distances between some rooms, small battery-operated router devices can also be used to bolster the network. All sensors are powered with 3- to 5-year long-life batteries and communicate with gateways using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ultra-low-power 2.4 GHz  hardware via the Wirepas Mesh protocol, whose architecture keeps power consumption to a minimum. 


Architecture pic Case Valpas

True value

Better hotel management builds customer preference

Offering the assurance of a bed bug-free facility is a big plus for hotels, not to mention doing away with disruptive, toxic remediation when an outbreak is finally detected. Plus, data collected over months and years can show trends useful for refining business processes and remediating potential problems before they arise. The advantage of the Wirepas Mesh/Haltian system is that it is entirely affordable, inexpensive to install, and provides a clear path to return on investment through lower remediation cost and reputational enhancement. The system is also future proof thanks to self-healing network behaviour and over-the-air software updates. Maintenance visits not required!


valpas new

Valpas provides an IoT-enabled, chemical-free hygiene protocol that keeps hotels safe from bed bugs, automatically trapping them wherever they appear. Visit Valpas website.

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Haltian Logo Black

Haltian’s expertise lies in connected product design and development, with devices scaling into the millions, in the hands of global customers. Visit Haltian website.

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Wirepas logo 2020 200x75px black RGB

Wirepas Mesh is wireless connectivity software for massive IoT. Integrated into devices, it’s a scalable, reliable and cost-efficient IoT solution.



Minimal RF planning required

When network devices find each other automatically, forming a mesh network in the most efficient way possible, planning is straightforward. With Wirepas Mesh, every device extends coverage and strengthens the signal. This means, that anyone can be the installer.


The fastest, least expensive installation

With a ratio of one gateway to hundreds of sensors and a self-provisioning network that can be installed by maintenance staff, even smaller companies can afford to build a data-rich IoT network using Wirepas Mesh. Plus, maintenance costs are close to zero thanks to a self-healing network and over-the-air software updates.


Dynamic channel selection

Hotels typically have dozens of Wifi routers operating at same 2.4GHz frequency, which creates tons of interference. The Wirepas Mesh network does not interfere with Wifi, which is good news for both hotel owners and hotel guests. It makes dynamic use of all available channels, each sensor automatically selecting the ones that are free. The result? As the facility adds wireless devices, sensors on the Wirepas Mesh network adapt dynamically, transmitting data to the next available channel.



Valpas evaluated different options, but opted for the dynamic duo of Haltian Thingsee and Wirepas Mesh. The benefits are clear:


Bed bug-free certified hotels

Displaying the Valpas label on websites and other materials builds preference for hotels where hygiene and safety are clearly passion #1.


Complete peace of mind

The prospect of an infestation is unnerving. With Valpas, the threat of bed bugs is just one more thing that hotel staff can tick off their list.


Eliminate costly infestations

Bed-bug infestations are costly both in terms of remediation and reputation. Valpas eliminates bed bugs before they do any damage to your reputation or balance sheet.

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IoT Expert Jani Vehkalahti

Jani Vehkalahti

Wireless IoT expert