5 Disruptive Trends Impacting Facility and Energy Management in 2016

Posted by Mark Williams, Vice President of Sales on May 17, 2016 3:30:00 PM


Disruption often conjures images of something going wrong, but by its very definition, to disrupt is to interrupt the normal activity of something. Much of our approach to modern life has been achieved through disruptive changes in how we do everything, from talking on the phone to shopping and even to ordering a taxi cab. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Uber often come to mind as disruptors that have dramatically changed our daily lives, but disruptive approaches in business operations are also yielding significant benefits.

However, when most people think of disruptive technologies, building/facility management is rarely top-of-mind. In fact, it is often stated that the last truly disruptive technology to be introduced into buildings was the elevator — in 1852. In recent years, advancements in energy management and the Internet of Things have brought new disruptive technologies that could truly change how today’s buildings operate. This is the first in a five-part series exploring disruptive trends in 2016 that will help them do just that.

Disruptive Trend #1 – Ubiquitous Connectivity Will Enable a Facility to get Data from all of their Assets and Systems

Ubiquitous connectivity will change how facilities reach connected assets, and get operational and energy data from them in ways that are dramatically faster, less expensive, and more secure than historic approaches. 

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” is the widely articulated adage from Lord Kelvin, and has been at the heart of one of the most fundamental challenges to changing the way facilities and buildings operate. Facility managers have historically been unable to get data from building assets or systems fast enough or cheaply enough to know how things were operating, let alone improve them. 

Historic approaches to connecting disparate facility assets and systems have been ineffective for a multitude of reasons. A primary reason was that vendors of the assets themselves often had little or no incentive to allow data to flow from their products. In many cases their ongoing revenue stream at facilities were tied to maintenance programs or proprietary software solutions that would only interface with their particular piece of equipment. This is why many facility projects often begin with the replacement of perfectly good pieces of equipment in order to create a single vendor environment. Over the past 20 years, facility managers started replacing hardware-specific systems with proprietary, custom-build Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. This often involved hiring a system integrator to come on-site and program custom SCADA code over several months, ultimately delivering a proprietary system that by nature is 100% reliant on the individual programmer who developed it in the first place. This approach to connectivity was inordinately expensive, exposed cyber-security vulnerabilities, and left behind many stranded assets.

Enter the Internet of Things and Disruptive Trend #1: ubiquitous connectivity. Blue Pillar is at the forefront of pioneering a new approach, transforming the way connectivity and control are implemented on building assets and systems in order to help facilities achieve energy resiliency, efficiency and self-sufficiency.

With its Aurora® Energy Network of Things™ platform, Blue Pillar has been able to create a solution that connects energy assets more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional approaches, in a manner that requires no onsite programming and no need to replace existing equipment. In fact, Aurora can connect to any asset regardless of make, model, or vintage. 

This implementation begins with a thorough onsite survey. We accurately inventory all energy assets, survey your facility and quickly prescribe an energy network. Then our preconfigured Blue Pillar retrofit kits and Aurora Gateways are installed to create a secure, best-fit network that can be deployed 75% faster and 30% more affordably than traditional approaches.

With Aurora’s ability to connect to and gather data from legacy assets, a facility gains accurate data from a multitude of energy assets or systems.  Our primary focus is to start with assets or systems that consume, generate, or switch electricity, including generators, fuel tanks, automatic transfer switches, chillers, boilers, BAS, HVAC systems, and any other intelligent mechanical equipment. In addition, Aurora is ideal for creating an energy baseline and can connect any asset used to measure consumption, including all types of utility meters and submeters (water, gas and electric). This connectivity can make the goal of having 100% information uptime a reality. This is possible because of constant monitoring and maintenance of energy assets, as well as access to real-time data from equipment, thereby guarding against common causes of stranded assets such as sensor failure, loss of communication or out-of-date software. A secure connectivity platform, visibility to real-time data, and ability to quickly implement an energy management program all work together to help a facility meet its energy resiliency, efficiency, and self-sufficiency goals.

Learn about all 5 disruptive trends now. Download our eBook on the five trends predicted to disrupt the energy management industry in 2016.

Topics: Energy Management, Internet of Things