Taking EnOcean To the Cloud
Cory Vanderpool, EnOcean Alliance
1/12/2013 10:28 AM EST
There is no doubt that technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, constantly changing the way in which we live and work. Energy management technologies that make buildings more energy efficient and smarter are no exception.
Companies utilizing EnOcean’s open, interoperable radio standard have long been on the cutting edge of wireless technology by relying on the principles of energy harvesting to power energy management devices, instead of relying on batteries.
In 2011, the introduction of EnOcean over IP capabilities from BSC Software and SCL Elements gave end users the ability to manage and monitor building automation controls over an IP network. Building owners and facility managers soon realized the benefits of being able to monitor, manage and control their energy consumption onsite or from any web enabled device, anywhere in the world.
Today, Magnum Energy Solutions (MES), an Ohio based manufacturer, in partnership with BSC Software, both members of EnOcean Alliance, continue to push the limits of wireless energy management. In addition to their robust, software enabled, IP based energy management solution, they have now introduced a cloud based offering. With the advent of energy management-as-a-service, facility managers, building owners and businesses can monitor important inventory, equipment, assets and energy related information from anywhere at anytime, via the cloud. Critical building related data is automatically pushed to the cloud, freeing owners and managers from the often-challenging coordination and expense of hosting onsite servers.
Hosting energy management data in the cloud clearly has its benefits, including 99.8% uptime, unlimited client access, automatic backups of the database and enhanced security since onsite servers can be hacked and can be vulnerable to natural disasters and other unexpected events.
One of the major advantages of a cloud-based solution is that the energy management system arrives completely pre-commissioned from the manufacturer and ongoing device commissioning is expertly done on behalf of the client and pushed out from the cloud. The client is granted unlimited access to their remote, dedicated virtual server with their own IP address, accessible from a desktop or smart phone.
According to Mike Giorgi, CEO of MES, offering a cloud-based solution has become necessary when it comes to implementing energy management systems. “Any time an organization tries to apply a convergence technology that breaks down the silos between departments, there are inevitably questions about how the technology will affect roles and responsibilities of the teams involved,” Giorgi states.
Although facilities management and information technology (IT) departments continue to converge when it comes to energy, it can still be difficult for these separate departments to find common ground, particularly when implementing an energy management system that resides on a buildings existing IP network. IT staff are often reluctant to open the TCP/IP ports necessary for access points and gateways to utilize the necessary infrastructure. During deployment, these two teams have to also agree on configuration settings, port speeds and so on in order to interface properly between systems.
In addition to greater flexibility, quicker implementation and the reduced costs associated with a move to the cloud when it comes to energy efficiency, security is also an important component. Deploying an enterprise energy management system on an IP network can become a concern. The power, heating and lighting control infrastructure are mission critical components and access to that infrastructure needs to be controlled. A move to the cloud can help mitigate these security risks.
Clients are already embracing a move to the cloud, including hotels, schools and a restaurant, which is operating net zero, thanks in part to the MES solution. The expectation is that more will follow suit, realizing energy, cost savings and improving the performance of their buildings. Cloud communications will pave the way for better utilization of these technologies, making them more accessible over a broader range of applications and geographies.
The EnOcean Alliance develops self-powered wireless monitoring and control systems for sustainable buildings.