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Haystack Connect 2022

I have been working with smart buildings, internet of things, hardware, software, cloud for the last, I would say six years before that, innovation and strategy, focusing on solving all the world’s hardest problems, background in management consultancy. I quickly figured out that management consultancy is pretty easy. You tell everyone else what to do and sometimes you don’t necessarily have to. Now if that has been done or executed and, follow up I just wanted to understand what I was saying or at least understand what everyone else was doing. I’ve been doing a deep dive and the reason I fell into building automation was simply because I wanted to solve all the problems in the world or at least make the world a better place for everyone and also operate in all countries in the world. So when I looked at buildings and it stumbled into that sphere of building location, smart building segment and connected buildings, you know, buildings are everywhere back then, six years ago. I can also see buildings represent energy efficiency or they need more energy efficiency. And we spend a lot of time indoors. .

I first saw this post about someone needed a smart heating system this was about two years ago, I thought to myself, well, this might be something for me, right? Because I’ve had my own podcast, the newsletter Beyond Buildings, where I talk a lot about this. I’ve also posted about this innovation, from the wild at with Ken Sinclair, and someone wanted something that shouldn’t really exist anywhere on the planet. And I had a pretty good idea of what existed, what didn’t exist. (  It had to be self-learning platform, independent interoperable that most of the solution that has been in the industry, they try to lock people in, is really hard to get data out, and even if you get data out, you still need to use the systems and the tools from the vendors that have created this in the first place. So it’s a lot of fragment that is out there. And in order to build a better future, more sustainability and a different interoperability, standards are I wouldn’t say well, I would say today at least, it’s a necessity that we have that in mind. And not just any standard, but global recognized standards. They could be old, but they’re never obsolete, in my opinion. When you work with standards, it’s amazing, honestly, the standards nerd here. So that’s why I also know it’s also a trap because in a lot of industries we focus too much on standards and we want everyone to join together with one standard, not necessarily realizing that systems today have to be able to work with any and all standards the past, present and also the future.

In the conference about haystack tagging interoperability, you can also throw in brick, schema, real estate more. The intricacy here at the core of every software defined project, in my opinion, has to be definitely standards and if you dig a little bit deeper, taxonomy ontologies.

  1. how do we transfer knowledge between one system to one another? We have the technical domain, but we also have the people domain. 
  2. How do I transfer knowledge from what I know into someone else’s mind at the speed of thoughts or at least at the speed of how fast I can show people something? And today that’s usually a problem because we’re limited to the tools of not our time, but the tools of past time, right? Everyone are using tools that were created maybe 20 years ago, 25 years ago, especially in the building industry. And in my opinion, we just need to use some more modern tools and not just in the building space, but also for communication, collaboration, and transfer knowledge faster. So the premise was this. 

We have three schools, one small, one medium sized, one big school, where they wanted to connect radiators to automatically control them based on what is happening in that room within the entire building, also within the city in terms of the weather, and also what the energy producer was using to produce the hot water. What is being used to warm up the water that goes in these districting pipes out to the building and then back. So we had to take more of the context into account and basically run this with the maintenance, of course productivity, as well as, of course energy efficiency. And it has to be self learning, platform independence, all this kind of that most of the solutions aren’t. 

It had nothing to do with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or the building automation side. It was just about smart heating and connected actuators and radiators. The focus was just on the actuators and to deploy wireless mesh solutions with an Edge native approach and to make the buildings aware of what they need to be aware of without the cloud. That was the whole intent from the beginning. 

We ended up taking an actuator, Modbus BACnet actuator from AMI, and we created a new box where we controlling it through Modbus and then through Conectric, the wireless mesh solution, we’re turning it to JSON format. So JSON into Modbus and the master slave. So if I want to control this, it’s at the speed of latency, where I can control the sensors and actuators in the building, I can control any of the radiators, basically, it’s the speed of thought, all those date. But it wasn’t easy, obviously, during the pandemic. 

We had to ship that over to California, do some testing, get the software together, figure out how to control it through Modbus, wireless mesh Modbus, and also BACnet, and then ship it back to Sweden, try it out in the first place, go for the big order. And then when we had the standardized data, which was haystack tagged already from the beginning, it was so much easier for us to understand where is the location of the data, how do web tag it, how do we structure it? And for the developers that were working on this, they’ve never heard anything about standardization, about tagging, about taxonomies and ontologies or the schemas whatsoever, which I find very interesting.