We all know the importance of data when it comes to having better buildings. Without data, we simply don’t understand where we are and how we get to where we want to be. Whether the data is about the indoor environment like comfort and air quality, or operational performance and energy efficiency, there are numerous ways to collect data. There might even be a single sensor available today for every single measurable point – can you imagine how confusing that could get? Without knowing what to do with data or if you’re overwhelmed without an IoT platform, no data may actually be preferred to confusing data.
The key to making use of data is having the right partner in an IoT platform. The platform has very important duties that can be understood in any industry. The platform needs to be a collator and collect data from all sources. The platform needs to be a translator to interpret and relay information. The platform needs to be a historian to recall past data and use it to make predictions and recommendations for the future. Also, the platform needs to be user-friendly, accessible, dependable, and more.
But there is no one size fits all for buildings in search of the right IoT platform. No two buildings are truly alike, although they may have similar characteristics, and what operators or users want out of the platform may be modified in accordance with their available budget. However, we believe these four factors to be crucial in deciding on your IoT platform.
What you need today might not be what you need tomorrow. Let’s say that you have a large building and want to make sure the lights in a room are off when no one is in the room. A platform that supports the required occupancy sensors and that integrates with the lights is simple enough to solve your immediate challenge. But what if after this is done, you’re ready to move on to reducing the energy spent on keeping the empty room comfortable by expanding the set points on the HVAC system? Make sure that your IoT platform is able to grow with you.
The platform also needs to grow and evolve with the market. When new standards, protocols, and hardware come about the IoT platform needs to shift and remain effective. Also, no one could have predicted the pandemic and now air quality sensors are in high demand – sometimes evolution needs to happen at a much faster pace than was planned.
Keep it Secure
One of the biggest challenges for building operators wanting to decrease the energy used by their buildings is plug load – you can’t control what people are doing at their individual desks. If you know a building operator, you may see them visibly wince if you bring up space heaters.
Much like this, security teams are appropriately wary of connecting building systems together and offering access and control to outsiders. Remember when Target was hacked in 2014 through the HVAC system? While a sensor is a great way to collect and send data about a specific need, it can also be a cybersecurity risk. Keep an eye on everything you connect to your system to minimize the risk of compromising confidential data and losing business integrity.
Make it Compatible
There are numerous IoT protocols that can be used to exchange data in a structured and meaningful way. If a new technology is introduced into an IoT ecosystem, integration capabilities between the devices may be reduced and cause fragmentation. Open APIs are a good step towards compatibility.
Investing in an IoT platform is something you should only do once. Just like companies don’t have multiple calendar software programs, you need an IoT platform that can be scaled across the entire organization. Keep it simple and let the platform be the hub while sources of data become the spokes.
The IoT is massive and growing every day, there is no one company that can dominate it all so pay attention to platforms that have established partnerships. Many IoT platforms focus on software and partner with companies that keep their focus on hardware – this is a good sign. The ecosystem of the platform will help with future-proofing as well.
Stay In Your Lane
Finally, there is an IoT platform for almost everything these days. The number of apps grows every day that can be downloaded and connected to cars, home entertainment systems, solutions focused on health, and buildings are no different. Just like you wouldn’t take your sports car to a tractor mechanic, it may benefit you to choose an IoT platform that is familiar with your industry. Their particular platform will be designed for your type of data, understand what analytics you need and even help you comply with industry regulations.
Envio created a platform that is affordable, compatible, scalable and intelligent. We built it by engaging customers – we used their feedback and insider industry knowledge as a fundamental part of our platform. With us, our customers see quick savings in energy and money, easy installation of a secure system, analytics and reporting that is user-friendly, and tracking, management and alerts all easily available online.
We pride ourselves on being proactive, not reactive by enabling connectivity and interoperability throughout the entire building. Are you ready to see what you can learn about HVAC, occupancy, lighting, utilities and more in your building? Let’s talk and see if we’re the right IoT platform for you.