August 2009

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My Clouded Thinking Clears

The clouds are open and scalable and are my new tool set.

  Ken Sinclair, AutomatedBuildings.com
Editor

As published
Energy Management Canada

There are clouds on the horizon and I am excited. The summation of my takeaways from ConnectivityWeek in Santa Clara, California, early in June was that Clouds are OK. In fact the power of data clouds and cloud computing to simplify the presentation and management of extreme amounts of data are truly amazing. We all already use these concepts every time we book air travel online or view Google Earth.
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I left ConnectivityWeek with my head in a cloud but I now understand the power of clouds and do not fear them because I use them daily. I now have a new understanding of the power and potential simplification of uncharted connectivity to anything... actually, everything. The clouds are open and scalable and are my new tool set. That is a big takeaway and was a common theme to all my other takeaways.

The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the Internet is depicted in computer network diagrams and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.

Amazon uses cloud computing to scale their servers. Google uses cloud computing for their applications such as G-mail, Google Docs, etc.

“Cloud computing gives us the flexibility to expand our infrastructure and also makes it easier to compute very sophisticated algorithms,” says Alper Uzmezler, a systems and graphics designer with BAS Services & Graphics, LLC. “Cloud computing benefits will be seen when trend data becomes a part of the building automation programming.

Speaking of the future of building automation cloud controlled buildings, Uzmezler says “Cloud will be where the applications run and where the data is stored. We will be able to access the cloud with a web-based and/or a desktop-based application. As the amount of the data and the requirement for algorithms increase, a BAS cloud will be able to expand itself to accommodate the needs of our systems.”

One great example of the power of cloud computing at the ConnectivityWeek show was the BIMStorm demonstration by Kimon Onuma, FAIA, founder of ONUMA, Inc. assisted by Michael Bordenaro, Co-founder of both the BIM Education Co-op and The Education Cloud.

"The building industry and the energy industry made an electric connection with BIMStorm at ConnectivityWeek 2009," explains Michael Bordenaro of BIM Education Co-op and Kimon Onuma, FAIA, of ONUMA, Inc. "During the BIMStorm live demonstration of web-based Building Information Model software, ONUMA. Inc. showed the first real time connection between live sensor data and web-based Building Information Models. Now building operators can literally see where energy problems are with the help of building models. The BIMStorm also demonstrated that similarly constructed grid models can allow energy system operators to see where there are problems on their grids. The ability to see the real-time connections between building operations and grid operations in web-based BIM will be at the heart of a rapidly deployed Smart Grid."

Bordenaro expanded on this discussion in an article on Cisco's Mediator hardware.

CatNet Systems "There is a growing emergence of web-based Building Information Model software, such as the ONUMA Planning System, EPM, Tokmo and Google Earth, ready to “catch” the XML data and make it clear and understandable to decision makers who are not experts in building systems," says Bordenaro.

"Cisco’s Mediator hardware and web-based Building Information Model software is another example of cloud systems that are now ready to help increase building industry productivity and potentially reduce energy and material resource waste with accurate information distributed and represented in real time for more informed energy decision making," he continues.

The Cisco Network Building Mediator provides a network-based framework that interconnects four key systems: building, IT, energy supply, and energy demand. The integration of these systems onto an IP network establishes a truly converged, potentially very energy-efficient building.

"The Mediator collects data from the building, IT, energy supply, and energy demand systems and normalizes it into a common data representation," explains Bordenaro. "This makes it possible for the Mediator to provide information to the end user in a uniform manner."

This network-based framework creates a common platform that allows enterprise applications, cloud services and building/IT systems to communicate.

For more information on the Cisco Mediator, watch the video here.

Hope you are now clearer about clouds.
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