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|Using IoT to Achieve Better
It could be said that good outcomes = planning + technology + execution + integration.
of Things (IoT) terminology is relatively new to the discussion as it
relates to buildings, in fact, the choice of words does not really
convey what it is, how you can use it, and why you should use it.
The IoT three letter acronym is really a
catch-all for all devices (controllers or computers), data sources
(sensors), and a data stream (historical data) that may include mobile
connectivity, monitoring capabilities, standalone control capabilities
operate peer to peer, or perhaps even use autonomous operation
Experience with buildings was acquired over many
years applying new technology, and along the way, knowledge was gained
and standards refined. Technology alone does not solve problems
but can be a helpful tool to get to a good outcome. It could be said
that good outcomes = planning + technology + execution +
integration. Buildings and their occupants have a low tolerance
for lights turning off or heating not running, so robust reliable
tried and true techniques are needed to assure the quality of
There can be unintended consequences of
deploying IoT technology. Manufacturers and their integrators
need to carefully assess their application to make sure that IoT
devices do not adversely affect current systems.
Here are some key areas to consider before applying IoT:
probably the most overlooked requirement that all buildings need to
consider. Security related to IoT should be a specification item
as buildings are designed and then technologies selected. A
fuller description of the different needs are beyond the scope of this
article, but here are a few tips if you are tempted to deploy an
Following the deployment of IoT or any building
technology, it is advisable to check and recheck periodically that IoT
devices have not been connected directly to the internet. A useful tool
for this is https://Shodan.IO
(search engine for the IoT). It’s quite revealing to see what devices
are connected and very visible.
There have been highly publicized malicious
attacks like the Target hack which relate to poor user credential
management. Another recent example includes IP cameras which sparked a wide-scale internet
outage. Simple improvements like strong passwords with expiration
dates could prevent many opportunistic attacks. Also physically
restricting access to devices that contain intellectual property or
valuable customer data would provide a better safeguard.
may offer new and interesting ways to interact with building systems
and provide insight into building operations. It’s important to
keep in mind that the user needs to be adequately prepared to monitor,
troubleshoot, and service the IoT devices. Facility managers
sometimes face stretched budgets and may be unable or unwilling to
commit to ongoing service contracts.
Economics of IoT
IoT technology can be acquired as a subscription based system often referred to as SaaS (or subscription as a service) or as an on-premise technology where the customer purchases the software or hardware outright and owns the licensing.
Choosing the right system for their next IoT
project depends on the customer’s budget objectives. Whether a
subscription based or on-premise technology is used for an IoT project,
the systems should meet the needs of the capital expenditure budget, as
well as fit with the operating expense budget.
& Standard Protocols
order to get the best out of IoT, it needs to
coexist with the building systems, and not act as a silo of information
like a standalone system. IoT devices should interoperate with
known standards and protocols used with building systems.
Standards assure the systems operate in predictable ways that
facilitate better security, connectivity, and integration.
Standards come in a few varieties, so here are
the common ones used in buildings for the last 20 years.
Leverage existing technology
IoT technology can solve problems when deployed
with domain expertise, security, an appropriate cost model, and focused
on delivering good customer outcomes.
As you consider IoT products make sure you have
domain expertise to realize the goals of the system. Domain experts are
usually people from engineering disciplines, technologists, or
certified energy managers with first-hand experience applying building
technologies in the field.
Current BACnet and Modbus protocols have a lot
to offer, with known risks. Users may be able to achieve new
applications and improve comfort and productivity with existing
systems. Direct Digital Control systems have been around for
years providing the infrastructure to create innovative applications
and leverage new IoT technology now, and into the future.
About the Author
Guzelimian has more than 25 years working in Building Automation. He is
currently the President at Optergy, a company dedicated to providing
building and energy management products to help create healthier and
LinkedIn Profile https://www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-guzelimian/5/331/455
----Additional information about Optergy----
Optergy-Building and energy management
products to help create healthier and productive environments. Visit us
now at http://optergy.com
Optergy Corporate overview https://vimeo.com/152513176
Optergy is a wholly owned business of the Oberix Group. Oberix manages a portfolio of businesses that include domain expertise in these areas:
Building Automation Contracting
Building Automation Products
Operational Intelligence (Business Process and integration)
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