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Buildings that use energy IoT technology can connect to and manage their energy assets in real-time

Advances in technology are redefining how energy assets are managed. Buildings that use energy IoT technology can connect to and manage their energy assets in real-time. They can institute system-wide operational oversight and compliance, execute energy efficiency programs, utilize real-time data, and support budgeting and asset planning across local and geographically-dispersed sites with first-of-its-kind connectivity.

Historic approaches to connecting disparate energy management systems have failed because of their proprietary nature. These proprietary point solutions required a "rip and replace" methodology in hardware and customized SCADA development in software. It was expensive, ineffective, exposed cyber-security vulnerabilities and left many stranded assets behind.

Energy IoT is changing everything. Cybersecure, connectivity driven technology platforms are making their way into the energy- and facilities-management industries. Legacy assets can be inventoried against a library of equipment templates from dozens of manufacturers, so that self-configurable, secure energy controls networks can be prescribed at a fraction of the time and cost of customized systems integration projects. This provides the building blocks to integrate energy assets, while retrofitting legacy equipment securely, via industry standard protocols. With this universal connectivity, an entire facility of stranded equipment can become a secure, connected and controllable energy network in a relatively short time. These new building and energy IoT platforms are equipment agnostic, secure, and easy to deploy and manage, bringing new connectivity to an industry that has been built up in silos.

Ubiquitous Connectivity and the Emergence of Energy IoT
Energy IoT platforms allow a facility to connect to, and gather energy use data from, any existing facility equipment that consumes, switches or measures electricity, including meters (water, gas and electric), generators, fuel tanks, automatic transfer switches, chillers, boilers, HVAC control panels and any other intelligent mechanical equipment regardless of make, model, vintage or protocol.

These legacy assets are connected into a secure and prescribed energy-controls network, so there is no need to replace existing legacy assets in order to achieve energy management goals. With an energy IoT solution, assets can be securely connected into a centralized SCADA network, monitored remotely and maintained against the common causes of stranded assets: loss of communication, sensor failure and out-of-date software. This new connectivity can make it possible for facilities to become more data-driven, improving building resiliency and reducing energy costs.

Staying Connected to Data
Leading-edge energy IoT solutions make real-time data accessible via dashboards that connect across a facility's assets. These platforms are open to any application, much like an Apple or Android phone, and can integrate with any provider of energy management or building automation software. Facility managers can choose from dozens of existing apps, or create their own IT interfaces. This makes it possible to collect energy management data from virtually anywhere, from any asset. Data can be visualized into a trending or graphical view, without requiring customized development.

Once assets are connected, the data gathered provides insight into operations as never seen before, and at a lower cost. Visualization, trending and alarms offer an automated way to report, test and comply with various testing authorities. Some IoT software platforms also provide 24/7 monitoring, which can catch abnormalities that may otherwise be missed during a physical generator inspection, thereby avoiding failure of the backup emergency power in an outage and preventing crisis. In short, facilities are able to keep the lights on and energy costs low with these new IoT connectivity platforms.

Local Connectivity Can Unlock Centralized Facility ManagementTM
The ubiquitous connectivity offered by an energy IoT platform has benefits beyond a single-site, stand-alone location. It also has the ability to connect geographically dispersed buildings that are part of a larger network of facilities with a Centralized Facility Management (CFM) strategy.

CFM provides a holistic view into the energy consumed, efficiency efforts and resiliency needs of dispersed operations. Energy management dashboards or Building Automation Systems alone cannot provide a centralized view of the entire energy management program, because they aren't always able to integrate to the dozens of asset types of systems that may have been deployed at individual locations. In essence, they lack the ubiquitous connectivity required to build a true CFM strategy.

An energy IoT platform can connect to a CFM system locally, while scaling across hundreds of sites in order to provide the most effective solution. Those who have attempted CFM in the past know that the first or second building are possible, but it becomes very difficult to scale beyond the third, fourth or fifth facility. The chaos of local assets and systems slows projects down and increases their technical difficulty. With the universal connectivity available in an open energy IoT platform, a CFM implementation can provide simple, ubiquitous access to and control over local sites, regardless of future equipment decisions.

Connectivity Leads to Operationally Efficient Facilities of the FutureTM
Once facility assets are connected, there are new opportunities for increased operational efficiencies. Visibility and connectivity to all assets through an IoT platform are key to meeting the goals of increasing energy resiliency, improving efficiency and enabling self-sufficiency. An energy IoT solution brings a first-of-its-kind connectivity and control platform, as well as a flexible approach to enabling these energy goals. With the right technology, networks can be connected and scaled in a way that allows facility owners to keep the lights on, keep energy costs low and build self-sufficient facilities of the future.

More Stories By Tom Willie

Tom Willie, CEO of Blue Pillar, brings over 15 years of visionary leadership, entrepreneurial success, and product innovation to Blue Pillar and is an avid evangelist and active change agent for the transformation of the global energy ecosystem from the utility down to the consumer. As CEO of Blue Pillar, he is leading the company’s efforts to bring disruptive change by using energy network of things solutions to make the world’s facilities and critical infrastructure more energy efficient, resilient, and self-sufficient.

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