How IoT Transforms Building Automation Systems
Internet of things is the innovative concept which is used to connect devices to the internet and to other connected devices. Many companies in the space just focus on the internet connectivity to millions of devices. It is an integrated ecosystem for iot building management industry as it can provide connectivity to various iot building automation devices such as controlling RTU heating and air conditioning HAVC systems etc. It is about empowering wide spectrum for stakeholders and owners to design smart homes and offices. IoT will impact our professional and personal lives as we use powerful monitors to micro processors, appliances like car to medical devices etc. It is more than M2M (machine to machine connection) which starts with the web connectivity to sensors and devices. Now the BAS (building automation system) industries are focusing to connect more and more iot building automation devices and sensors over wireless communication protocols to foster greater interoperability between the automation platforms.
According to Wikipedia
“BAS stands for building automation system which is an automatic centralized control of a building that connects heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and other systems in the room.”
Let us understand how IoT transforms the building automation system and empowers many IT infrastructures:
Interoperability is the most positive aspect in the internet of things ecosystem. It fosters three types of communication:
- BAS (building automation system) to third-party devices & sensors
- BAS to BAS platform communication
- BAS platform to other applications like enterprise and smart grid solutions
As per the software IT industries, interoperability will never be compromised with the company market share. It means implementation of API and SDK affects many companies and creates greater market penetration because third-party developers are adding more features to their products continuously.
API is immensely important and run complex services like Google Maps that lets website yelp map locations without having to build own mapping tool. API just exposes the salient functionality of the program not the source code.
IoT ecosystem introduces the EMIS platforms that use the API to communicate with the IoT building management BAS platforms to improve data analytics as sophisticated automated fault detection and diagnostics AFDD. Another key component is software development kit (SDK) that enables the developer to create applications using one or more API, programming tools and functionalities. Manufactures provides the driver development kits (DDK) for connecting hardware devices. SDK and third-party developers implement and add features with greater interoperability for iot building management system and platforms.
The sensor level in the IoT ecosystem is also known as network edge. The IoT ecosystem captures two important segments:
- Discovery & Identification
Discovery & Identification:
It is the ability by which BAS (building automation system) network discovers and identifies the third party devices & sensors and enables the configuration. It is the intensive process to connect third-party devices to the IoT building automation devices using an open protocol like BACnet etc. The IoT discovery and identification process will be automated by fostering plug and play experience.
For example, Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with preconfigured based on user Amazon prime account. Once it connects with home wifi network; the user can easily use their content without further configuration. It is the great example of interoperability with CRM data to enhance the customer smart experience.
It is another important segment in IoT platforms that starts between edge devices (sensor) and building local area network (LAN). The data tunnels through LAN firewall using the internet to the company owner server. In BAS applications, the building (ISP) internet service provider builds the connection between the server and buildings and consider as more secure.
3. Cloud Computing
The IoT ecosystem generates a large amount of data that puts huge strain on internet infrastructures and force companies to find solutions. As a result, to overcome this problem cloud computing has entered the mainstream of information technology providing the scalable delivery of enterprise applications and software as service like SAAS. Many companies have started migrating their information and operations in the cloud. The cloud providers allow the data to be transferred to the direct link and traditional internet. In simple terms, IoT generates a large amount of data and cloud computing provides the pathway for this data to travel. The cloud computing services are divided into 3 categories:
laaS – Infrastructure as a service. It offers virtual computing resources over the web.
SaaS – Software as a service. It provides software applications and services over the internet like Salesforce.com.
PaaS – Platform as a service. It provides the hardware and software tools as service.
laaS is most applicable for BAS providers who can easily host their clients data on cloud servers as provided by the companies like Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing enables the BAS companies to scale up quickly by maintaining the server in-house. It also provides system maintenance, resiliency planning and backup for BAS companies. The laaS framework empowers the BAS companies and their clients to process their data and information.
Cloud computing is beneficial for IoT building automation system using IoT because it allows developers to store and access data remotely. It enables better collaboration between the IoT building management (BAC) devices. Developers can easily access data immediately and allow IoT companies to allocate their resources in different areas. Cloud computing offers scalability for data storage, data processing and foster great interoperability for IoT Building automation companies.
The IoT ecosystem empowers the use of latest security practices from IT software industries. There are many best practices that have implemented across all levels of the network. The network is further divided into 3 segments as:
- The building local area network
- Communication between building and server.
- The server network.
LAN local area network
The best security practices for the local area network within the building are to segregate the IoT building automation network to its own virtual LAN. These practices prevent the unauthorized access to other data and BAS. Another important security measure is to overlook the physical safeguarding of the network equipment such as routers and switches etc.
Building LAN & server communication
The communication between the LAN and the server (hosted cloud) should be over virtual private network. VPN establish secure connection using encryption. The LAN and the cloud server use keys to encrypt and decrypt the data. Hacker would need significant amount of experiences and time to decrypt the information without key. Building automation system needs secured environment while communicating with IoT ecosystem.
The server network
The server level is secured by ensuring up to date software patching to identify the latest vulnerabilities. This software patching should take care by laaS provider. It is equally important to update the latest revisions of the operating system and build versions. The access rights of users for in-house and customers should be well defined so that it can be easily recalled and should create security levels within the server.
IoT is utilizing the latest and greatest security measures. As we can see there are many smart devices by BAS companies supported by IT software companies. To design IoT based products, automation companies are integrating best security practices.
5. User Interface Insights
The most important segment in IoT building management is the user interface as it is the front end of the IoT building automation system. BAS applications can achieve successful IoT experience by bundling web-based control and automation along with the data analytics. An IoT solution handles data and information from multiple devices from one user interface to another. For example
- Knocki Interface -It is a wireless device that changes any ordinary surface into a control interface. The device triggers the appropriate action based on how many time the user knock on the surface. A user can customize what action is triggered by the number of knocks using a mobile app.
- Button Interface – Logitech has released pop home switch button that serves as a tappable home automation. All devices, appliances, light bulbs, speakers and lockers are connected with their respective apps. The pop app is designed to unite multiple devices together.
- IoT solution in solar power plants -that aggregate data from the inverter and weather station etc. The inverter and weather station use hardware, processor and wireless communication chip to pull and send data using the gateway to the cloud.
- An IoT solution in home smart Lock – which require a user interface that connects interfaces on the smartphone and devices.
The IoT building automation industry understands the impact of IoT in their business as IoT is much more than connecting the billions of devices and sensors. The IoT ecosystem achieves the simple and smart automation devices and web-based control automation. FiCODE is one of the leading IoT app development company in London offering IoT solution for smart home and building automation.