Part 3 in a 4-part series...
Anyone who’s ever been involved with a new system implementation knows that it’s easier said than done. The grand declarations made during the planning phase often fail to become reality, as the project becomes mired in complexity and unforeseen snags. The same fate could befall many companies wishing to capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly as it relates to energy management. Without a proven implementation methodology and a clear, cross-functional execution plan, the incredible potential of IoT to help reduce energy usage may never be fulfilled.As we’ve mentioned in prior posts, we believe a close partnership between the IT department and energy/facilities managers is key to creating an energy IoT – or, as we call it, an Energy Network of Things. And as these two groups collaborate to digitally connect all of the organization’s energy assets, the platform they choose to achieve that goal will figure largely in the outcome.
Here are five characteristics we think are essential to capture the full benefits of energy IoT.
- Simplicity of implementation. The benefits of any new technology are diminished if it takes hundreds of hours of complex custom programming to bring it online and keep it working. Not only does this delay the rollout of the new system; it consumes precious labor hours from the IT team that could be devoted to other projects. For those reasons, customers building an energy IoT infrastructure should look for a platform that is as close to “plug and play” as possible.
- Compatibility of equipment. A turnkey “off-the-shelf platform” is ideal – IF it’s truly compatible with all of your equipment. Organizations should ensure the platform they’re considering can connect, monitor, manage and control all of their existing energy assets, regardless of make, model or vintage. It shouldn’t matter if the equipment in question is a state-of-the-art smart lighting system, or an industrial boiler from 1978.
- Open, vendor-agnostic connectivity. Similar to compatibility with energy assets, an energy IoT platform also shouldn’t be limited to communicating with certain brands of computer hardware and software. Customers can only achieve the full potential of IoT through a system that allows them to collect, share, and analyze data in concert with all existing equipment and applications.
- Multi-site sharing. As we discussed in our last post, one of the key pain points most energy managers face is a lack of complete, consistent information about energy needs and usage from facilities throughout the organization. Thus, one of the most meaningful benefits of an energy IoT platform – and a must-have capability – is the power to aggregate and share energy information across many locations, whether it’s three buildings spread throughout the city, or 500 sites around the world.
- Robust security built in. Cybersecurity is top of mind in every industry today, and the concerns increase as organizations pursue digital transformation. Leading energy IoT platforms acknowledge that taking sensitive information online involves risk, and thus they counteract that threat proactively with the tightest possible security protocols to prevent cyber-attacks. The best platforms have built-in cybersecurity control to neutralize intrusion attempts and protect sensitive data.
Security is so important, in fact, that we’ll discuss this need in more depth in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned to learn more. Until then, download our latest ebook on why Energy IoT is going to be the “next big thing” in IT.