February 2012
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AutomatedBuildings.com

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Enabling User Communities to Extend the Reach of Analytics Technology
The newsletter articles show how a growing community of partners and third party developers are extending the platform with engineering tools, complimentary applications and service offerings.
John Petze

John Petze, C.E.M.,
Partner,
SkyFoundry


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Blue Ridge Technologies

There are many facets to the term “open”. We often think first about protocols, APIs, and similar elements of a technology. Another key element, however, is the type of openness that allows a community of users to form around a technology and create value-added applications and solutions. The Internet era has shown that it is increasingly important for technologies to support the ability for user communities and independent developers to expand, adapt and extend the technology.

This is the approach SkyFoundry has taken with the SkySpark analytics platform. The term platform implies a foundation on which others can build and that is exactly what SkySpark is. At first glance it looks like a product – an analytics application tailored to buildings, energy and equipment systems. But a quick look under the covers shows that it’s much more than ready-to-go analytics software. It is an extensible platform with extensive open APIs that allow third party developers and partners to build their own applications, integrations, algorithms, rules and tools. It enables the community to create their own value added solutions that work with the platform.

This is sometimes a difficult concept to get across as people are trained to think of products in the BAS industry as being “fixed” and static – they do what they do the day you bought them, and the only enhancements you get will be the ones offered by the original manufacturer/supplier. SkySpark on the other hand shows the path to development of an active community ecosystem. A good example of just how far this community has come is provided in our most recent newsletter – the SkySpark Community Issue, available at: http://www.skyfoundry.com/file/16/SkyFoundry-Insider-2012-01.pdf

Control Solutions, Inc The newsletter articles show how a growing community of partners and third party developers are extending the platform with engineering tools, complimentary applications and service offerings – all of which are helping the industry move forward to improve how buildings operate through the use of data analytics. Some of these applications are provided by SkyFoundry partners, but many are being created by companies that have no direct sales relationship with SkyFoundry, but rather offer complementary technology to building owners. They are enabled to do this because SkySpark offers open APIs and developer extensions as a basic part of the product, so the “keys” for open development come with every copy of the software.

It’s exciting to see this dynamic community take shape and focus on extending the capability and reach of the SkySpark analytics platform, and we believe it demonstrates a key part of “open” – that of open development communities.


About the Author

John Petze, C.E.M., is a partner in SkyFoundry, the developers of SkySpark™, an analytics platform for building, energy and equipment data. John has over 25 years of experience in building automation, energy management and M2M, having served in senior level positions for manufacturers of hardware and software products including Andover Controls, Tridium, and Cisco Systems. At SkyFoundry he rejoins Brian Frank, co-founder and chief architect of Tridium’s Niagara Framework, as they look to bring the next generation of information analytics to the “Internet of Things”.


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