Forty years ago, in July of 1977, New York City experienced an historic blackout. In the span of an hour, almost every neighborhood from Yonkers to Manhattan was in the dark, giving the United States its first look at the crippling effects of power outages on a wide scale, affecting nearly 8 million people.
Summer may be winding down, but the hurricane season seems to be just starting to heat up! Outages have already wreaked havoc throughout Texas and Louisiana, and more storms are brewing as we're publishing this blog. But how can your facility be sure it’s prepared for the next storm? It’s easy to pretend your facility isn’t at risk until one storm affects thousands of people in the blink of an eye.
Your facility can’t afford to lose power. Power outages cost businesses $150 billion annually, and the cost of a power outage at a data center has increased by 38% since 2010. By connecting the things that power your business into an Energy IoT platform, you can have the real-time information and control to avoid outages — regardless of make, model, type, or vintage of your “Energy Things™”. By connecting Things like backup generators or networking onsite generation into islandable microgrids, you can avoid your next business-crippling power outage and guard against lost revenue.
Blue Pillar brings a disruptive and innovative vision to revitalize the energy sector for the twenty-first century. We love all the Energy Things that power our modern world, and we strive to connect them using our Aurora® state-of-the-art energy controls and networking platform. Blue Pillar offers the widest breadth of connectivity to our customers. Most IoT solutions are not open or vendor-agnostic. They can only connect their own proprietary hardware and software systems into an Internet of THEIR Things. Blue Pillar is different and truly open. We can integrate any energy asset regardless of make, model, vintage, or type. And we offer flexible scalability from a small network within a single sites to connecting multiple, distributed remote sites worldwide.
Connectivity is giving companies and organizations of all sizes new access to revenue-generating opportunities, and Blue Pillar is making sure that our customers can take full advantage of the changing energy landscape. One of the most attractive potential value streams to many businesses exists in enrolling in a Demand Response program through a utility or DR aggregator.
DR is defined as regional programs based on utility capabilities, where utilities enroll customers to reduce their energy demand in times where the grid is in unstable conditions. This cooperation is a win-win for large power consumers and grid stability — especially in the summer and in times of peak usage. Utilities will usually only call on facilities enrolled in the DR program once or twice annually, and in exchange they provide advanced warning of outages in addition to substantial payment structures.
While DR has always been lucrative, it has not always been an easy, "out-of-the-box" enablement story. Without a proven and open IoT platform to connect, control and automate different types of generation sources, large-scale DR has been difficult and painful to achieve. Some have struggled for a year or more trying to network disparate equipment in a way that could allow the behind-the-meter control necessary to enable DR. And the longer the struggle, the less lucrative the business case.
Working with a partner that is familiar with the energy environment within critical and complex facilities allows you to navigate the complex behind-the-meter environment. With Blue Pillar as your partner, you get the added benefit of working with a company that makes connectivity of your assets our primary focus. And while Blue Pillar has revolutionized DR enablement with connectivity to any DER (new or old) provided "out-of-the-box", today we introduce a concept that just made DR a lot easier and more financially rewarding.
With our Energy Network-as-a-Service (ENaaS), aggregators and energy providers can deploy a no-touch, turnkey DR deployment that is self-prescribed and automated to their end-customer's behind-the-meter energy environment without sending a crew on site. Deployment is straightforward, convenient and fully maintained by Blue Pillar. Now anyone can have state-of-the-art control over behind-the-meter generation assets without settting foot behind the meter, and have the confidence the network will work as well on day 1 as it works on day 365.
With Blue Pillar's unique universal connectivity approach, Demand Response is just the tip of the iceberg. Once assets are connected, we unlock the value of data and control to DERs new and old that can create many exciting revenue streams from Energy Management to Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERMs). This offers more value to end customers and more competitive differentiation to service providers.
Ready to learn more? Keep up to date with the cutting edge of Energy IoT by following Blue Pillar on LinkedIn or download our case study to see how a large hospital facility used Blue Pillar to digitize their energy assets to get a payback in one year!
If you’re ready to unlock the value of distributed generation by connecting Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), there are three very important technical considerations to think about before you get started:
First, how will you connect all “Energy Things®” (aka DERs) — new and old — especially when they differ in makes, models and manufacturer types? If all DERs can’t be connected and controlled through a single network, truly optimized distributed generation and getting the benefits from higher level applications like Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) are impossible. When some companies talk about the Energy Internet of Things, they mean the Internet of Their Things. Most cannot provide ubiquitous network connectivity across all devices regardless of make or model. Instead, they can only work with their own hardware or software, locking you into a restrictive proprietary and expensive network. Look out for proprietary solutions hiding in IoT clothing.
Second, how will you manage all this data in real-time? The goal of Energy IoT is to provide real-time, cyber-secure data and control readily accessible by any app – like Energy Management, DERMS or DR. Without an Open API as the bridge to access data through any app, solutions are not going to be software-neutral.
And finally — Do you want to be in your business, or the IoT business? Many think they can build their own Energy IoT networks, but requiring their team to take on the burden of “site enabling,” Distributed Energy Resources behind every meter often turns out to be a costly mistake.
These three hurdles can be difficult for an organization to tackle on its own. Thankfully, Blue Pillar’s got you covered. Our Aurora® platform is purpose-built to create an Internet for All Your Energy Things coupled with one of the most affordable, “no touch” deployment models that can accelerate your time to value when needing to acquire real-time data and control from DERs.
Aurora’s competitive advantage starts behind-the-meter, at the connectivity layer at large commercial facilities. Our software-automated deployment app electronically surveys all DER and Energy assets and provides everything needed to connect these Things into a single Energy IoT network — from wire drawings to prescribing equipment lists for hardware retrofits, Blue Pillar automates a once painful process. Once an Energy Thing is surveyed, we wrap it in a little “Aurora love” — our unique Intellectual Property that is a software layer of network connectivity that IoT enables any DER or energy asset no matter the make, model or type. Once it is “digitized” it can be connected and controlled by the grid! Now your once-lonely device can be monitored, controlled, and connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Next, data is collected from assets and pulled into your very own scalable, super-secure cloud where it is managed and protected. We backup, recover and cyber securely protect all data being gathered across your DER fleet. Just like we’re thing-neutral, we’re also third-party software-neutral: your data flows into any application through our Open API for maximum flexibility. This flexibility also future-proofs your enterprise allowing you to change or add software over time but still having access to all the historic data those apps needed to be “grid intelligent” before they were installed. Think about replacing your cell phone. Just like you want your new phone and apps to have access to all your former contacts and phone numbers stored previously, Aurora transfers historic energy data os it can be available to future apps.
Finally, our Aurora Energy Network-as-a-Service (ENaaS) takes you out of the IoT business, so you can get back to work. It’s our version of Uber. Just tell us where you want to go and we’ll drive a turnkey, “no-touch” proactively monitored, sensor-to-cloud Aurora Energy IoT network. We own and maintain the hardware. We provide Service Level Agreements around your data and network uptime.
What if you had real-time access and control across a large fleet of DERs? What could this unlimited data and control unlock for your business? Watch this short 2-minute video to learn more and share with your colleagues. Or, contact us to find out why Aurora is the best choice for your business!
In this three-part video and blog series, we take a deep dive into what Blue Pillar is, the evolution of Energy Network as-a-Service, and how our Aurora® Energy Network of Things® platform stands out in the field of Energy IoT.
Since its humble beginnings, Blue Pillar has set itself apart from other companies offering Internet of Thing (IoT) solutions by connecting energy hardware and software in a ubiquitous automated network. This enables hands-off monitoring and control providing customers with unmatched access to their assets and data; cutting energy costs, reducing environmental impact, and optimizing productivity.
Blue Pillar began with a spark nearly a decade ago connecting Emergency Power Systems at hospitals. Soon cable operators, universities, data centers, and retail chains, who also suffered from power outages, turned to Blue Pillar to integrate their energy infrastructure. We realized we could do much more than connect generators to improve reliability by connecting any “Energy Thing”, regardless of make, model or vintage, to reduce waste energy and carbon footprints. This innovation marked a bold shake-up at the grid edge, poised to radically change the future of the energy sector at large.
In the energy industry, the right idea catches at lightning speeds. Large nationally-recognized energy providers looked to Blue Pillar to connect hundreds of megawatts of behind-the-meter distributed generation at their largest commercial and industrial consumers. This success led to the birth of Aurora as an energy control networking platform. The benefits of connecting energy things once and leveraging the connectivity many times allowed the Blue Pillar spark to catch fire, disrupting the industry and freeing our customers from stranded, proprietary equipment and data silos. Single-use applications or single-site installations are obsolete with the connectivity and flexibility of the Aurora platform.
From relative obscurity to being named one of the top 20 companies most likely to disrupt the grid edge, many believe Blue Pillar will disrupt the entire energy industry. We agree, and to truly scale this disruption we have three offerings that dramatically simplify and reduce deployment costs: Aurora Basic Connectivity Service, Aurora Managed Service and Aurora Energy Network-as-a-Service.
In our Basic Connectivity Service, Blue Pillar provides the initial installation and training allowing your IT team to support Aurora post-deployment. We’ll get out of the way and give you the keys to the car after we teach you to drive. A step up is our Managed Network Service, the On-Star inside the car. Here, Blue Pillar proactively monitors and manages your network. Our third option, Energy Network-as-a-Service, is our version of Uber. Just tell us where you want to go and we’ll drive a turnkey “no-touch” proactively monitored, sensor-to-cloud Aurora energy IoT network while you enjoy real-time data and control without ever setting foot behind-the-meter.
From a company that got its start connecting generators to creating an energy networking platform capable of disrupting an entire industry, Blue Pillar is changing the world one connected asset at a time.
If you want to learn more about Blue Pillar’s Energy Network as a Service (ENaaS) and how we can help you focus on what drives your business, check out the next entry in this series.