August 2012

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Cloud Control and the evolving Cloud Control Languages


Ken Sinclair,

Energy Manager
Energy Manager


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Much of my life was spent discovering the power of control languages in the newly invented direct digital control systems. With these powerful languages I was able to do what had never been done before, create relationships never imagined, and achieve amazing solutions for both operations and energy reduction - it was the best of times. For more than you would ever want to know about that view our Our Ongoing Open Control Programming Language Discussions.

I feel a sense of deja vue in this month's issue Cloud Control. The reach of the data, the speed of retrieval, the interaction with anything and everything plus the ability to visualize large amounts of data quickly will allow the kids today to do what has never been done before, create relationships never imagined, and achieve amazing solutions for both operations and energy reduction - it is the best of times. One of the advantages of spending five decades in an industry is the ability to see history repeat itself. Building to Cloud to Building "B2C2B" will revolutionize Building Control as the control languages of DDC did in the early 1980’s. It will allow new relationships and interactions to be created with internet anywhereness and everybuddyness (OK I just made that word up even Google cannot find it) but allowing input from a greater audience. Early control languages opened the dialog to only a few that understood the control languages, but Cloud Control Languages opens the dialog to all stakeholders via web robots and online generated visualizations of results. It is now clear the evolving Cloud Control Languages "CCL" and easy to use robots will leapfrog augmenting existing control languages while greatly extending the reach of the control strategies beyond the building. Concepts such as OpenADR, interaction with time of day billing, real time weather reactions, analyzed input from social media, etc., will become the norm.

Last month’s well-read article, Facility Optimization Platform - The next level? by Chip Pieper of Ezenics, spoke to this:

The technology imbeds customer business rules and objectives (energy, maintenance, comfort and sustainability) directly into the suite of solutions. Through their automated technology they determine the optimal operational balance that is unique to a facility.

In this month's article, Using G-Bots to Detect Defects, Terry Casey describes using Elemental Analysis, Rules Engines and Particularly G-Bots, a revolutionary Remote Service Delivery Technology:

There have been instances where small groups of experienced individuals have come together and made a big improvement in a portfolio of buildings. We have seen Supermarkets, Banks and School Districts getting close attention from Subject Matter Experts who can interpret the BMS information and can diagnose these excess energy states. The short term results from these initiatives show dramatic savings. Unfortunately these individuals are rare, and their success usually gets them promoted to other functions, and the buildings then revert to the business as normal scenario in a year or two.

Using Subject Matter Experts is not a scalable, sustainable solution to getting our Buildings more efficient. What is required are automated techniques that can be applied to the whole portfolio of buildings to diagnose the excess energy conditions that exist so they can be fixed. We are helped in this quest by the fundamental changes that are happening in computing. Cloud Computing, Data Centers, Big Data all give us access to phenomenally more computing power to solve these problems that we have had before.

We still need to come up with simple to use, reliable ways of detecting the excess energy conditions, and this paper describes a variety of techniques that have been developed and deployed and discusses their outcomes.

From this article comes more insight to evolving cloud control, A Holistic Approach to Building Operations, by Benga Erinle of 3eTI:

Ideally, CEMS can integrate multi-vendor systems into one monitored environment supported through a single platform from which users can control all of the other systems. This vendor-agnostic capability to integrate and manage from a single platform is the true value of today’s emerging CEMS offerings, as the approach allows for legacy component integration as well.

I have got to admit I did not see this cloud connection with control coming; scan the Code from the unit of equipment and immediately pull up the relevant information required for maintenance, management and troubleshooting. In the future, DGLogik envisions QR codes becoming an integral part of mobile BMS applications and will continue to offer users this technology as a standard piece of the design toolkit.

Technology currently exists to connect all of your building systems into a unified interface with true-to-life 3D graphics and notifications to identify operational errors or faults with your equipment. A typical use case, utilizing this QR Code and a high tech BMS application would be to first, identify that there is an issue, whether it be through a laptop web browser, desktop computer or an engineering kiosk display. Once an issue has been identified, taking your BMS application on a mobile device, such as an iPad or iPhone, to the location of the piece of equipment presenting an issue. Once in front of your identified problem, users could scan the QR Code on that piece of equipment to be directed to the relevant dashboard. This code would then retrieve the unit’s historical and real time performance for further analysis by directing the user to that particular unit’s dashboard within the application itself. Furthermore, this code could also provide links to common FAQ’s or manufacturing contact information allowing you to take action to resolve your issue. With the ability to reference spec sheets, appropriate operation manuals, safety guidelines, replacement part information, product literature, or quick troubleshooting tutorial videos using QR Codes, there is almost zero room left for confusion.

From this article, Accept No Substitutes, by Steve Van Till of Brivo Systems, comes this wisdom:

Software multi-tenancy is defined as “a principle in software architecture where a single instance of the software runs on a server, serving multiple client organizations (tenants).” This is important because it is the key to both the economic benefits and cyber security of cloud applications. It is the primary enabler of several of the essential cloud characteristics, including self-service, resource pooling, and rapid elasticity.

It’s also the core of the economic benefits of cloud computing because multi-tenancy allows the service provider to operate a single instance of the software application and spread that cost of running that single instance over the entire user population. For example, a cloud company that had 1,000 customers would use a single logical instance of the application, the database behind it, the storage system, and would be able to load-balance those 1,000 users across all the physical servers supporting the system. This deployment method results in extremely high efficiency for both computing resources and all of the IT support functions they require.

How will you use Cloud Control to enhance your facilities?


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