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January 2020
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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Revolution within Smart Buildings

in Progress
Alper Üzmezler

Alper Üzmezler,

BASSG LLC.
AnkaLabs Inc

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Distech Controls

A refresher for the Automated Buildings community. We have been busy writing the open-source project called Project Sandstar. We had set sail to merge Sedona Framework and Project Haystack and we were investigating how it could work. Should we put haystack on top or bottom or both? Why are we merging the two? What is our goal? We found an answer:

•    The first answer to the question was to create complete hardware-agnostic direct digital controls.
o    By creating hardware-agnostic DDC, our revolutionary feelings erupted.

WHAT IF?

This leads to hardware-agnostic direct digital controls. Meeting after meeting with 5 different hardware manufacturers; seemed like the industry players only wanted to protect their built channels, which is understandable.

After spending 6 months with potential OEMs jumping on board with Project Sandstar, we changed our route and started manufacturing and selling to close partners to test devices further. We also applied to pitch festivals to explain the technology stack.  We pitched our goals at the US-China innovation summit, V2V innovation, Energy Thought Summit, Haystack Connect events, demonstrating our solution to many firms.

During this time, we focused on the technology completion progress and pilot projects.

So what our stack consists of:

Logic engine named Project Sandstar: Project Sandstar hardware-agnostic DDC that combines Sedona framework with Project Haystack.

Sandstar Web Editor: In this part of the application layer, we utilized websockets. We have written a bridge that takes Sox UDP protocol and converts to Websockets. Also, we have utilized Rete.js that is written in Type Script and customized it to our needs. The goal of the project is the programming of the Sedona Framework on the browser. This eliminates thick client (Desktop apps) and management of kits and manifests. Just log in to the browser and start programming.

On this note, we are in talks with SkyFoundry to have the clustering protocol that is called ArcBeam. SkyFoundry will supply us with apis to pass the websockets through the ArcBeam. This would enable us to program logic through a browser within the SkySpark cluster.

Historian, Analytics and Clustering Mechanism: Ankalytik is SkySpark with custom system modifications so we can access platform level settings like renaming database, setting IPs, setting Firewall, setting up Virtual VPN.

It contains high integration to SandStar with Sandstar Record Editor in order to simplify port definitions.

Building Automation Visualization: In-house built Visualytik merges Haystack with block programming methodologies in order to generate custom dashboards and graphics. 

With this application, you can create any kind of BMS visualization in which Haystack is deeply utilized.

Mobile access: We have written Mobilytik. The idea is that most facility managers and technicians are on the field, correcting issues. They don’t have time to be in front of a computer. This application consists of the Haystack model, where they can interrogate the Haystack server (SkyFoundry within this case).

There are two cool features that we were able to accomplish easily.

  1. Equipment barcode. The idea of it is that you could print a label on equipment and Mobilytik would jump to that equipment automatically.
  2. An offline metering application in which we could scan a barcode or select the equipment manually.
a.  Take a picture of the meter reading area. We are utilizing google’s offline tensor flow library for OCR (Image to text recognition).
b.  Save the value to be uploaded; in this case, we are assuming the facility technician is not at a place where he has internet.
c.  Commits all the values saved when he gets to internet connectivity.

Control Solutions, Inc During all this progress, a progressive conservative customer asked for a POE based controller to change the pneumatic system. We have completed the hardware design of this within the current stage and started the process of integrating project SandStar with this new hardware design. We believe open hardware designs will lead to the revolution within smart buildings. We are looking for hardware designers that are well versed in RISC-V. (RISC-V is open hardware instruction-set that is becoming popular in hardware design).  More info on https://riscv.org/

We have come to the realization that revolution will not be as easy as we thought. We are not going to have an open hardware platform within the personal computer industry but we have not given up on the idea.

We really believe in the distributed computation analytics and visualization. The human effort of integration and engineering should be minimized with the right stack. This stack enables it. We are looking for potential OEMs that would be interested in such an “OPEN” controls stack.

AHRExpo

We will demonstrate before the Control Trends awards at Dave & Busters. The event will be from 12:01 PM ~ 5:00 pm. Most of it will be socialization with parties interested in open controls engine open hardware structure. We will have giveaways during the event as well.

Here is the link for the signup form.

Alper Uzmezler
innovationworker@ankalabs.com

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