Taking Buildings to the Cloud (and back!)

Buildings to Cloud

Taking Buildings to the Cloud has never before been easier – photo by Josh Calabrese from Unsplash

Taking Buildings to the Cloud (and back!)

“…I am looking for some sort of product that I can plug into my BACnet network and then have that product send information to my database sitting on the cloud. Does any of your products allow me to push BACnet data to the cloud?”

“YES WE CAN!”

Our services are divided into these areas:

  • Sensor to Cloud software solutions – Getting (BACnet) data out from a building.
  • Cloud hosting and services
  • Software development and BACnet Consultancy
  • Modular Edge Gateway with modules configured to your choosing 
  • Bespoke hardware development
  • IoT – Smart Building Consultancy

And you can read more about what we do here and also visit our website here as well as how you could start getting smart here.

Getting BACnet data to the Cloud faster than ever before

We are currently helping customers with this exact challenge and they are starting to see phenomenal results “flipping” large buildings 3000 – 10 000 points faster than ever before. And the next stage for them is to go into smaller buildings where you want to create a BACnet network fast, with a powerful IoT-Edge gateway, sensors that also talks legacy RS-485, wired, powerline or anything else that we support.

The setting

Let’s take one of our customers in the US, a mass systems integrator as an example. They, as well as others we’ve been talking to, had been using Volttron to try to get data out from buildings but found it to be clunky, buggy, and it didn’t scale as they wanted it to. And they were still manually configuring trend logs on site, which took several days, if not weeks for a person to do.

After a couple of meetings to decide the scope and the work involved from our side as well as payment to establish trust and a baseline, we got going fast.

They had a linux based computer they wanted to drop into buildings to get the data from BACnet to their cloud. We estimated that it would take us about a week to compile our software stack, test it with their hardware and send them a link to install the now tested software.

Together with them we developed a couple of apps for automated trend log configuration, as well as TL-uploader to the cloud. We got information of how they wanted it structured in their database and it took only a week or so to get the job done. The results we started to see were really promising.

The solution – From 7 days to 7 hours

Taking the data out from a BACnet network has never before been easier to do remotely and securely. They are now in the process of going from building to building, dropping in a box, connecting it to the BACnet network. They do point discovery and all points pop up from all of the different controllers. They do automated trend log configuration saving days in the process, collecting the data, and sending it up to whatever database or cloud they want, via a Standardized RESTful API.

“We are seeing miraculous time savings going down from 7 days – to mere hours of work”

The data can be configured so that you can poll from the cloud at set intervals depending on the importance, as well as CoV, change of value, pushing data to the cloud if that is desired and many more options if need be. The great thing here is that we definitely can help out if need be since we are experts in taking data to the cloud and have been doing it for the last 15 years.

Unified data semantic modeling solution – Tagging the data

Standardized Tagging is something we are incorporating as well, which makes it easier to apply advanced analytics and to actually to something with the data one you have it in the cloud. Tagging, for the ones who are not familiar with it, makes it easier to make sense of the data from different vendors, standards, making it possible to automate work like never before.

Focusing on what matters

Our customers are starting to see huge benefits with this since the they can flip the 80/20 rule of configuration, creating value, to more time on front facing development with the customers, instead of worrying about configuration. As well as going into more buildings, faster than ever before. 

Our customers can always choose from hosting themselves or, letting us handle the “backend”, hosting, cloud, support and maintenance for the backbone. Since we can help out in black boxing everything that goes on inside the building, customer feel that they can spend more focus on developing apps and solutions solving problems for their customers, and creating value where it really matters through tailor made apps written in whatever language they want.

Combining the Old with the New – future proofing the solution for decades to come

The next step for them is to go into the smaller to medium sized buildings where there are no existing controllers and/or a very fragmented infrastructural setup, if any. Tridium, Siemens, Johnson, Schneider or any of the big dragons have solutions, but they are not fit for this segment since they often are too expensive, clunky for the small do medium sized market, which leaves a lot of room open for improvement.

Just drop in wireless sensors all over the building, connect it to an edge-gateway and have it be the brain of the building enabling both monitoring and control from the cloud and apply machine learning both in the cloud and at the edge. These wireless solutions exist today, of course, but it is very seldom they speak BACnet. And it’s never the case that they can talk to both different wireless standards, as well as traditional Wired standards to talk to the existing HVAC infrastructure. 

But that is exactly what we do. One powerful, modular gateway to rule them all! And the data you get from i.e. LoRaWAN, EnOcean, or anything else that we support, will get harmonized with all the rest and converted to BACnet objects. 

5 important things of getting data from sensor to cloud in an open modular way:

  • The data will not be sent out from a dozen of different APIs, but instead, ONE RESTful API for everything on the edge.
  • All of the standards and technologies in the building will appear as BACnet objects, tagged and ready to be configured.
  • The data will be sent out in a secure way equivalent to VPN so you don’t have to worry about hacking, if properly set up. You don’t want to be hacked by the Devil.
  • This makes it easier to either create apps in whatever language that you want and easily have it communicate with the whole building for both monitoring and control.
  • Quickly add other 3rd party solutions from different partners to add value to your solution in an easy way.

Getting access to the API-economy

Getting to the Cloud is only the beginning. We enable others to fully take part of the API economy to innovate in an easier way with everything inside, and outside of a building. Plug and play with everything to and from the building is what we believe will drive the Building Automation industry forwards, faster than ever before. Living on the Edge is exactly what we do.

Let us know if you think there’s anything we could do for you or if you just want to connect for the future.

“Taking buildings to the cloud, faster than ever thought possible.
And we are just getting started…!”

#TheBuildingWhisperer

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