June 2017

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The Sea Change is Happening

IT converging with OT
Sunita Shenoy
Sunita Shenoy,
Director of Products, Industrial Internet of Things Group

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There was a lot to see at April’s Continental Automated Building Association (CABA) Forum, which Intel proudly hosted at our Santa Clara, California headquarters. Customers have been telling us about the great progress they’ve made in their own smart buildings, yet there’s much more to do. We are seeing tremendous growth in how companies are utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to develop highly innovative solutions. What’s clear is the smart building industry is still evolving and working on pressing challenges with respect to interoperability, data security, and a host of other issues.

IT helps address challenges
One of the key challenges facing building management companies and property owners is getting a holistic view of building operations when today’s automation solutions are proprietary and siloed in nature. Decision making is impeded by the difficulty of marrying together data elements from different systems.

The the next evolutionary step for smart buildings will use Information Technology (IT) to break down data barriers. This includes the use of standard compute platforms that collect and analyze data from various building systems. These compute platforms, called a variety of names like IoT gateways and fog appliances, help provide deeper understanding using an out-of-band system.

Opportunities and Challenges
CABA Forum attendees were treated to a full slate of knowledgeable speakers, including Aglaia Kong, CTO for Corporate Networking at Google and Todd Brady, Director, Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Intel. Todd spoke about his approach to smart buildings and emphasized that it’s a journey. Todd’s team is challenged with balancing needs for millennials as well long tenure employees. The first step is collecting and analyzing data to make informed decisions on where to focus optimizations. Todd’s team worked closely with Intel IT to address information security compliance but stated that interoperability and siloed systems continue to be a challenge in implementing smarter buildings.

Aglaia provided another end user perspective. Similar to Todd, she spoke about how IoT adoption is gaining momentum, enabling many new building experiences, such as a person- or context-aware office, improved asset management, fine-grain physical security, optimized energy management, etc. However, IoT and smart systems do bring challenges such as connecting IoT devices to the enterprise network; securing the devices and their data; figuring out who (e.g., IT or OT) will manage and operate these devices; and calculating an ROI.

CABA Forum

The building industry is moving towards low carbon homes and buildings, an area of expertise for speaker Mary Ann Piette, Director of the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She discussed new design and operating criteria that is emerging as electricity customers and utilities work to integrate more renewable energy systems into the grid. In the past, people developed efficient, static widgets. Now there is a strategic need for dynamic, integrated, and automated controls that consider not just the electricity usage of a device, but the scheduling and control of end-user systems.  

Intel’s push for smart and sustainable buildings
Supporting Intel’s mission to make amazing experiences possible in the world, Intel’s Corporate Services organization strives to create the best experience in our buildings and facilities while driving our sustainability objectives. Todd Brady gave examples of what Intel is doing within their building portfolio, such as

We eat our own cooking
CABA attendees also toured our facilities to get a first-hand look at how we’re using Intel-based IoT technologies to make better use of data for decisions on facilities management, tenant experiences, and sustainability. The tour demonstrated hot-desk capabilities, a social, mobile app to control air-conditioning where you sit, wireless display connecting to smart lighting, ease of collaborating with virtual teams, automated ordering systems in the cafeteria, and more. What we learned was IoT solutions need to be enterprise-ready, meaning they meet IT requirements to be secure and manageable and the building data is exposed and interoperable with other applications to create new experiences.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]It takes an ecosystem
Evident at CABA was how IT computing platforms could bring flexibility and data visibility to a large ecosystem of building owners, facilities management, tenants, IT players, OT players, research labs, utility companies, and so on. There’s a sea change happening, starting with a convergence of IT and OT, made possible by IoT solutions. Honeywell, Schneider, Vivint, Harman, Google, Intel, and others demonstrated how this transition is already breaking down data silos.

Building systems, new and existing, must become enterprise-ready with capabilities around cybersecurity, open data models, scalability, interoperability, and manageability. Open standards, such as OpenADR and Haystack, are also critical to enabling new opportunities for the broad ecosystem.

Get onboard
The journey to smart buildings has begun, and I call upon all players in the ecosystem to create value and pull for “smart buildings.”

About the Author

Sunita Shenoy leads the strategy and technology roadmap for Intel’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), encompassing many use-cases across many segments from optimizing energy use in a building, to the performance of the power grid, to automating factories and refineries. She and her team tailors Intel’s IoT building blocks from silicon, gateway, security, platform software, to the cloud services and, enables the value chain of solution providers to deliver IIoT solutions.


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