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|How can WE create smarter buildings?
The companies that do get it are the system integrators of the world that are at the cutting edge.
Nicolas Waern, CEO, Go-IoT"The Building Whisperer" - Making buildings talk to people
Published March 19, 2019 LinkedIn
That's a pretty good question. How do we get more hands on deck when it comes to re-inventing building automation and create smarter buildings? How do we transform existing buildings into modern, sustainable places that reduce energy efficiency, whilst increasing well-being and productivity? How do we make the most of modern technology in a standardized way that's better for everyone?
HVAC-R/Building automation know how is the key
It's fairly easy, to be honest. You just have to understand the past and the present in order to build a sustainable future. There are a handful of companies that get it, and those are not the Siemens, Schneiders, Honeywell's nor Tridiums of the world. Well, they might get it too, but they are bound to be disrupted in the next decade. Or acquired by Telcos, IT companies or equivalent. We'll probably see a major merger within the next 18 months.
The companies that do get it are the system integrators of the world that are at the cutting edge. So-called Mass System Integrators or even Super MSI's. They are the ones with knowledge around HVAC-R, control systems, pneumatic, chillers, boilers, VAV boxes, Air Handling units, and all the mechanical stuff, and everything in between. They've seen it all; they know it all. They understand that working with buildings is complex and they are masters of their domain as Scott Cochrane puts it.
Examples are Heptasystems who does phenomenal work with Jason Houck at the helm, as well as global giant Iconics who's got a 15% stake in the global building automation arena. I had the pleasure of talking to Chris Bromley attending the Smart IoT expo last week, and they are also doing amazing work.
What they've understood is that you need to black box all the complex stuff, raise digital maturity in buildings, and get to the IP level. It's like swimming to the surface when you are in an ocean. It's difficult to see what's on land, or even think about it when you are deep down in the murky waters. But once you get to IP level/the surface, you can breathe, listen to the world, and actually see what the open world has to offer.
And, maybe the key point being, they want to work WITH the real estate owners. Of course to create win-win-wins of saving money, increasing asset values and perhaps also make money with new business models. But what is most important that they seem to have no hidden agenda. They are not doing it to exploit, but to actually real estate owners create solutions that will cater to energy savings, predictive maintenance issues, as well as increasing productivity and wellbeing of users of their space. And that's exactly why I love these companies because that's what I'm all about — helping others.
I have over 10 000 connections now in my network, and I would say a majority of them has something to do with Smarter Buildings, BACnet IoT, and/or anything digital when it comes to real estate. I constantly try to change my strong opinions because they are loosely held.
What is the road towards the future of building automation?
of all, BACnet is the worlds leading building automation protocol. It
is a common misunderstanding that BACnet only has to do with Building
Automation, but BACnet is a device-to-device communication standard
that defines Physical-, DataLink-, Network- and Application- layers of
the ISO model. Most importantly it defines the Application layer, how
devices communicate with each other on a network and the outer world.
This is very important as it gives devices from different vendors
capability to communicate intelligently with each other right from
We are using it as a base to stand on, and we have recently joint forces with a Mesh Sensoring company called Conectric
combining the latest and greatest in terms of wireless technology, and
an automation protocol that exists in over 60% of all commercial real
estate assets in the world.
I usually do when getting new connections is that I ask them what they
think of our BACnet/Mesh approach. Most of the time, people do take the
time and respond, and we are seeing a lot of orders coming in this way.
But this time, it was a bit different.
My initial inquiry was this one below:
this would be interesting for you? Autoconfig, no manual configuration
in taking old meters, legacy systems as well as IoT solutions, safely
to the cloud and back. Also, autoconfig with Trend logs if need be. I'd
love to get your feedback considering your knowledge in the industry.
What do you think of this one?
Conectric GoIoT BACnet/Mesh video
And the response was this:
Nicolas. It is interesting, but I feel that an IoT solution
should not be BACnet since this protocol is a little outdated and not
very flexible or secure. Traditional building control networks are
designed to be stand-alone systems. All the sensing, control and
monitoring functions are performed by devices connected to the main
control network. This closed architecture does not easily allow for
internet-based functions to be supported. The IoT is the complete
opposite: it involves connecting all devices to the world’s single,
universal network, through which any device or ‘thing’ can communicate
with any other connected and discoverable thing. And history suggests
that, once a technology platform begins to support internet
connectivity, users want more and more of it. I know that many
buildings have a BACnet controlled HVAC system, but why add to
that? Ethernet-based IoT platforms are more robust, secure and
easier to use. Ethernet connects all the PCs, servers, switches and
routers in offices.
building automation industry might also wish for the control of
networking technologies to be more intuitive. To require fewer and
simpler controllers and gateways, and to need less intensive training
for installers and operators.
Forget about Internet of Things; we are talking Internet of Buildings!
Hi, great person who wanted to respond! Great points, but I have to disagree with you a little bit here =)
I recently posted a question to my network asking if building automation is dead? Will it be? Will BACnet be replaced? By what? By whom? Any brave commenters?
It got over 12000 views and had some great comments.
I have actually been asking the same things quite a few times, and this
is my summary. Right now there's a divide between building automation,
proptech, IT services (switches etc. etc.), as well as HVAC.
as you say, will mean direct to cloud for most instances. This works
for sensoring technology only for monitoring purposes. However, when
you want to create a cognitive building, logic has to reside at the
edge, and not only in the cloud.
This article is pretty good regarding local control.
said all functionalities need to be able to operate without the cloud
so to say but still have the potential to run logic on the edge, as
well as perform edge analytics.
So far so good. Existing systems are not connected to the outside
world, agreed. This is changing a lot, and most companies go at it with
a direct to cloud approach, which is wrong. It won't work. Monitoring
yes, but companies right now want a bidirectional loop so that fault
detection will actually lead to direct results.
BACnet is legacy, but it's not outdated. Far from it actually. BACnet/WS, BACnet/SC and coming BACnet/IT are addendum/standards to make it easier to take data in and out of BACnet networks in a secure way. Does it cover everything? No. But BACnet is a device to device communication protocol. By adding semantic tagging such as Haystack, as well as reverse engineering efforts and logic through AI and ML, we'll quickly figure out what's in the network.
we have a solution which harmonizes the new and the old, creating that
long sought after bridge between IoT, Proptech, HVAC and building
automation. I'm not sure if you are referring to BACnet MS/TP or
perhaps BACnet/Ethernet when you say outdated, but BACnet/IP is coming
more and more, and that's what we have as a base.
I agree that the digital maturity in buildings has to be raised, but it needs to be on a proven, global platform and not the sketchy API integrations that we see all around. 80% of the time still goes to data cleaning efforts and by creating One API to the building with tagged, quality data in a secure way, we'll see faster time to value creation and harmonization between different APIs, standards, protocols as well as disciplines.
Enabling a platform to base future innovation on
This enables a platform. This enables fewer controllers. This enables a standardized environment that is perfectly fit for smarter buildings.
So, forget about the internet of things in buildings. It's the internet of buildings that is the key. That's my belief at least, and that's what you get with BACnet/Mesh.
sensoring technology that talks to a universal gateway that sucks in
whatever "new" technology is out there, but also communicating with
existing protocols, forming a digital backbone in buildings of the
past, present and the future. All in a standardized way which allows
traditional BAS specialists to operate within a BACnet environment,
System integrators to work remotely, real estate owners to choose if
they want to stick with existing technology, or go from an IP level,
inviting others to innovate with their building. And IT, IoT, Proptech
companies that find it hard to get data out of existing networks will
only have ONE single RESTful API to integrate with, in the form of
So, that's, in my opinion, the road to freedom of choice for everyone and how WE can create a better world for everyone.
provides an open and secure sensor to cloud data pump, acting as both
the heart and the brain in buildings, making it easier for commercial
and residential real estate owners to create an interoperable interface
between the old and the new, controlling and increasing past, present
and future data flow from buildings. The secret is utilizing the
world's leading building automation protocol as a base, bridging the
gap between existing infrastructure and new technology in a seamless
#GoIoT #Conectric #BACnetMESH #Automatedbuildings #Smarterbuildings
#Smartcity #Innovation #Energy #AI #ML #MSI #Disruption #Proptech
#Realestate #BACnet #IoT #Data #Analytics #Digitaltwins
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