IIoT will disrupt the facility management industry, but that is OK!

Sahin Caglayan of REENGEN

Over the past 200 years, the world has experienced two major waves of innovation. Firstly, the Industrial Revolution brought us machines and factories, railways, electricity and our lives have never been the same. Then the Internet Revolution brought us computing power, data networks, unprecedented access to information and communication, and again, our lives have never been the same, says Sahin Caglayan, co-founder and CEO at REENGEN.

Now we are at the point where Moore law meets with Metcalfe’s Law. Bob Metcalfe came out of Xerox park and stated that the power of a network is a function based on the square of the number of nodes in the network. At this cross-section point, at an exponential trend of data points with increasing network power, we are experiencing another metamorphic change: Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). It will bring together billions of sensors, intelligent equipment, cloud and advanced analytics. And our lives will never be the same again.

What are the implications of that wave on energy, sustainability and facility management domain? Facility management companies have traditionally been amongst the lowest data intensity companies. As the buildings become increasingly sensored, it becomes a fully connected sensor network (think of it as the Internet of Energy) and unprecedented amounts of data is produced.

These data volumes can be harnessed and analysed in order to optimise the sustainability, energy consumption, utility bills, facility wellness and maintenance value chain. However, that is not as easy as it sounds. There are some grand challenges ahead:

Firstly, right now most IoT solutions are thrown together out of various incomplete systems most of which are only designed to store data and run a few basic rules. There is no intelligent unified platform that simplifies all these processes particularly in energy domain.

Secondly, each individual enterprise tries to build a custom IoT platform from the scratch for its own specific problem; it results in wasted time and resources, difficulty, complexity, high risk.

What we need for fast and low cost sustainable energy transformation in facilities is Platform as a Service (PaaS) IIoT solutions. It lets facility management compaanies to rapidly develop and deploy enterprise applications that collect, store, organise, analyse, and operationalise facility energy & sustainability data so they can address such enormous challenges as:

  • Increasing energy and operational costs
  • The difficulty of collecting and unifying data across different sensors, meters, SCADA, BMS, ERP etc.
  • An explosion of data without context, lack of analytical capability
  • The high complexity and risk of developing and managing end-to-end IoT solutions internally

As these kind of continuous & real-time energy & maintenance data intelligence platforms help building operators moving from raw data to analytics, they will have the capability to move from more descriptive analytics to predictive analytics. In addition to building owners and operators, ESCOs and utilities can leverage the proposed PaaS solutions in many ways to create tangible value. They can leverage IoT and AI in order to transform the business as usual in facility management domain with following disruptions:

Advanced analytics: PaaS IIoT systems can help with better understanding of building and equipment performance. Identifies, classifies, and quantifies building energy consumption deviations from design intent or an optimum with dynamic energy simulations over cloud, support classification and identification of root causes of such deviations. It allows historical trending, pattern recognition and correlation between cause and effect of issues and events occurring in the various building and HVAC subsystems.

Actionable insights: They enable benchmarking of a building’s lighting, plug loads, HVAC system performance against industry standards or benchmarks. Cloud based intelligence modules can optimise the microgrid environment agents such as building integrated renewables, electric vehicles and storages. They provide real time alerts and predictive recommendations to the building operator and automated optimisations to the existing Building Management Systems for corrective actions and fine tunings.

Predictive maintenance: Through proper analytics on past performance data and issue trends, future potential maintenance issues are identified through simulation and predictive technology. Such actions help extend equipment life, reduce operating costs and minimise disruption.

Informed decisions: Leveraging the cloud-based energy modelling programs and big data analytics engine, building energy managers can model their future energy requirements and simulate their future operating budgets. IIoT platforms provide a decision support mechanism and an interface platform between Building Managements Systems and Energy Utility platforms for utilisation of demand response and energy efficiency services.

Connected communities: At a fundamental level, virtualisation of building subsystems allows harnessing dispersed experts by creation of a connected community of advisors to enhance performance of buildings. IIoT platforms make the “Bringing the building to Virtual Energy to the Buildings” possible through cloud based dynamic energy simulations, organised big data analytics and the Internet of Things.

The transition to data driven operations changed the energy & facility management concept fundamentally. Yesterdays static and dummy automation systems are disrupted by real time predictive optimisations and cloud based energy intelligence solutions. As the volume, frequency and type of data we collect from the facilities increases, the analytics that we can apply get richer and richer.

In return, the energy saving and operational efficiency and the great visibility makes clear ROI and faster energy retrofit projects. Today, the ROI is dependent on capital and the people but in the future, the ROI will just be dependent on the power of the energy data science module run on top of your energy IoT platform at your facility. That is why we need to adopt next generation PaaS IIoT solutions. They will disrupt the facility management industry, but that is OK!

The author is Sahin Caglayan, Co-Founder and CEO at REENGEN.

About the author

Sahin holds a BSc. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Middle East Technical University with a minor in Physics. He performed his master degree in Berlin Technical University, Energy Institute on developing an Energy Operating System for Commercial Buildings. Right after his graduation, Sahin worked as R&D Engineer at MIT. After his R&D experience, he founded Reengen with a vision of being the leader PaaS data analytics solution for energy & utilities industry. Currently he is serving as the CEO of Reengen and the company has already acquired hundreds of customers in 10 different countries all around the world.

Sahin is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and he specialised in IoT and Data Science applications for data driven energy management in buildings and grid. He serves as board member in Turkish Informatics Foundation. He is also a graduate and current Turkey Ambassador of Singularity University.

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