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|The New Deal at S4
As we started digging deeper into The New Deal, we started investigating what this “Digital Twin” of a building was all about.
Founder and Managing Partner
The S4 Group Inc
part of our effort in supporting bringing the latest the BAS
marketplace has to offer to legacy systems, the S4 Group has recently
become engaged in the New Deal for Buildings initiative. In the
weeks leading up to the AHR Expo, we spent some time understanding The
New Deal and contributed an article to The New Deal Blog https://newdeal.blog/.
Then, we spent some time reading the CABA New Deal CABA white paper.
At the AHR Expo, we attended The New Deal launch event. With each
activity, we learned a bit more, and we got more excited about where
The New Deal for Buildings is headed within the industry.
The S4 Group was founded, a large part of our strategy was to lay out a
path that would allow us to serve our partners who needed what we
had to offer without fear of competing with their offerings. A large
part of that plan was providing products that enabled our partners’
products to work with legacy BAS installations as if they were open
BACnet, or OPC, systems. Our philosophy was to be minimally invasive,
so we introduced the capability to co-exist with the legacy head end.
Another guiding principle was that our products would be much more than
brute force gateways. So, we automated much of the integration process
saving our partners lots of labor and minimizing risk. Along the way,
we introduced Smart Data Points which are virtual points driven by
scripts that perform transformations against field device points to
bring them in compliance with the BACnet standard, or to enable the
integrator to define their own transformations. History has proven
these all to be good decisions that we could build upon.
we started digging deeper into The New Deal, we started investigating
what this “Digital Twin” of a building was all about. That’s when we
got a pleasant surprise. All of the things that are described above
allowed us to define a new use case of our S4 Open Appliances (S4 Box)
when analytics and energy management applications started to appear in
the marketplace. That is installing it as an on-site agent that
provided data to this new generation of value-added applications
without disrupting the operation of the existing BAS. This raw data is
one of the critical inputs to the “Digital Twin.” Admittedly, there
is more work to do to get us to the goal line. But we clearly
have been heading the right direction for many years without knowing
what to call this thing we were creating.
What’s next from S4? We’ve had Haystack Tagging on our product roadmap for a long time and simply haven’t had the resources to implement it in an independent taxonomy way. We wanted to implement the technology to support Haystack tagging because it is leading the industry in this area. However, we also included in the functional requirements the capability for our integration partners to utilize other taxonomies, or add one of their own to handle special cases. After studying the components of The New Deal carefully, we believe that this is the next step we need to take towards providing input to the “Digital Twin” that will drive the industry forward and feed analytics and other value-added applications that are on the horizon.
else can S4 provide to help build the “Digital Twin?” Haystack Tagging
comes as a natural extension of our existing device template technology
that defines all of the emulated BACnet properties for legacy devices
and points. We then need to enhance the S4 integration environment to
define the relationships between sensors, controllers, mechanical
systems, and the building itself to be provided as additional input to
the “Digital Twin.” The S4 user interface needs to be enhanced to
facilitate the addition of this meta-data and the publishing process
needs to include this information as input to the “Digital Twin.”
with earlier use cases for the S4 Open Appliances, they now have a role
as the enabling technology for delivering content to the “Digital
Twin.” It turns out that it the “Digital Twin” is the data model,
building profile, and relationship definitions for the building and all
the HVAC and BAS equipment supporting it that is implemented inside of
each analytics, or other value-added, application offering. It is
implemented in the way that is appropriate to the application logic
that is going to digest the data. It is likely that most of the
building profile information will be provided to the value-added
applications by ingesting a BIM model of the building.
will release at least four new integrations during the first half of
2018. All of them will natively provide the capability of tagging the
data automatically as a service of the S4 Box. During the same
timeframe, we will introduce support for bi-directional support of
cloud-based data repositories and applications via Web Services and
are actively involved in doing the necessary investigation, product
planning, and development, that will allow us to feed the Digital Twin
for the BAS industry.
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