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April 7, 2016
- Building Automation
By Ken SinclairOur contributing editor Therese Sullivan has described our April issue as something about open source being a friction-reducer mixed into the IoT/Smart Building super collider ... very descriptive for sure.All our days are now filled with IoT disruption and concept collision. This is very much like the DDC revolution in the 1980s, opening to BACnet movement in 1990s, going online with open Internet in the 2000s, sticking our heads in the clouds in 2010s. Now the data is moving to the edge coupled with open source cloud thinking which is transforming and opening our industry.Transforming and opening the industry is a journey, not a destination, and will require consistent and constant attention.From IBcon 2016 program for which I am an adviser, comes these words from the Smart Building Integrators Summit: "Today we are dealing with three different generations of smart building technologies: (1) Past (closed, proprietary, single system), (2) Current (more open and attempting to retrieve data and functionality of the older more closed systems) and (3) Future (IP-enabled, intuitive GUIs, analytics, edge devices pumping data directly to the cloud). But, with all of these new changes comes more and more involvement with IT technologies."Couple this with the power of open source to transform the buildings industry and we have major disruption.Here are some other pieces in our current issue:• "Death of Controls Industry," by Therese Sullivan, with linkage to video from UK-based ARUP, makes the case for a shift to open systems in the controls industry in the most clear and elegant way.Comes these words: "Be brave and ask for something truly open that provides you with access and choice."Sullivan writes: "Darren Wright, a director at Arup, has released a video stream of his presentation on the history and future of the controls industry on YouTube. It’s a very on-point statement on the topic from the viewpoint of an experienced building commissioning expert. His understanding of the development of control automation goes all the way back to ancient Greece, but he quickly advances to what is happening now—and that is open source control software. He predicts radical change in how controls are designed, installed and maintained over the life of a building, and when he says ‘Death of the Controls Industry,’ he means that part of the industry that relies on proprietary-protocol lock-in to limit the options of building owners and their partners in design, construction, operations and maintenance. As a further demonstration of its commitment to open-source building controls communities, Arup has just joined Project Haystack as an Associate member. • "Opening 2 Open." It is great to have input from the Intelligent/Smart Building Consulting Industry adding extreme value to our discussions in this review. At least open thinking within a proprietary connection community would be great as a start that will lead them away from their proprietary world to open source in an IoT world. Ironically IoT is still struggling with open. This was the purpose of my review. • "IoT Uprising or IoT Revolution?" Taming Unruly Data at Scale — Dr. Michael Georgescu, director of Research, Ecorithm, Inc. I love this quote: "Critical obstacle building data analytics platforms face is repeating effective analysis at scale. Every building is its own special snowflake! No two buildings have the same system set-up, physical location, or occupancy pattern. Because buildings are so widely divergent in their operational characteristics, analytics must, inherently, be uniquely designed for each individual building in order to achieve valuable, targeted results." A must read.• "Smart Building Owner 'must do' projects." Ensure your selected technologies are both ‘open’, by means of protocols and databases, and ‘connected’, by means of a consolidated data backbone - Shaun Klann, Vice President of Business Development, Intelligent Buildings, LLCFrom the above interview comes this wisdom:"Sinclair: In your opinion for either a current or prospective Smart Building Owner what are the one or two 'must do' projects that they should be planning for? "Klann: Well, there are some foundational elements that should always be the starting point, and these have to do with your first step which is getting access to your data. Commonly these first step efforts ensure your selected technologies are both ‘open,’ by means of protocols and databases, and ‘connected,’ by means of a consolidated data backbone. But with that said let's make the assumption these foundational elements are in place and that you have access to your data. In that case I would say that there are two 'must do' projects for any Smart Building Owner and they both have to do with step two, protecting your data. "Project One: Invest in a single consolidated, Smart Building Database (SBDB). While that doesn’t sound exciting or flashy it's rapidly becoming an investment that will pay for itself time and time again. More Smart Building Software solutions are moving both to the cloud, and to subscription based pricing models. This gives the building owner new flexibility in selecting the best of breed Smart Building Applications. We already know that when moving at the speed of software the best-in-class today will be outclassed by a competitor tomorrow. Embracing a software as a service model lets the owner easily swap providers as needed to maintain that best-in-class edge. However, the transition from software to software needs to be cost effective and essentially painless. This is where the SBDB comes into play. The SBDB provides a controlled environment where the the data is owned by the building, not the software provider. Furthermore, it provides data that has been normalized and formatted for easy consumption by any third party Smart Building software application. This is essential to make that transition from software A to software B both cost effective and relatively painless. "Project Two: Secure your data and your systems. All current day networked building systems and the aforementioned trend of moving data to the cloud have real cyber risks. This can materialize from your third party support contractors, software providers, or even internal threats. Each building owner, regardless if the building is ’Smart’ or not, should have a building system cyber security policy and remediation process in place. Therefore we strongly encourage all building owners to develop and implement a project that first evaluates your current building system cyber risks and vulnerabilities followed by the development of internal governance processes to both remediate and mitigate these risks. • "How Will the IoT Create More Intelligent Buildings?" With an IoT-enabled intelligent building, you can build any service to bring old processes into the 21st century. Your imagination is really the only limitation - Dragan Boscovic, CEO, VizLore, and Therese Sullivan, Principal, BuildingContext Ltd.• "Wi-Fi Controllers Transform and Open the Industry." In this interview, Bob Wallac, reminds me of my past prediction from February 2010: "Building Automation Deployment As Several Services (BAD-ASS).""Wallace: Thank you Ken. We appreciate the opportunity to share our technology with others. I thought about an editorial you wrote back in February 2010 right after coming back from AHR. You talked about 'BAD-ASS.' I think we have achieved it!"You need to read our complete April issue and open your mind to open and become a BAD-ASS and have some fun with us all, while turning disruption into industry transformation.Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.