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.
Whenever we’re out and about in the energy industry, everyone always wants to know what makes Blue Pillar different. One of the first things I like to point out is that there are many different players in the field promoting different kinds of energy or “IoT” systems, like building automation systems based on SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). What we call “buzzword compliant” systems do a great job checking off all the boxes on what they can do for a commercial or industrial facility, but are they really as easy to deploy as they claim to be?
Blue Pillar takes a very different approach when it comes to deployment and have done so from the beginning. Unlike traditional solutions that have required customized SCADA development, Blue Pillar drives a software-based automated approach that is self-configurable and requires no development. We start off every new project by repeating the same process we’ve used to connect the previous 5,000 assets over our 10-year history. Inevitably, the new “Energy Thing” we are trying to connect is probably something we’ve already connected in our past and available in our asset library. This is how we drive a lower cost and faster time to value for our deployments.
In this automated approach, deployments start with a very simple site survey, where we capture all the relevant information from the new “Energy Thing” we are trying to connect and at the push of a button can prescribe a self-configurable, best fit, behind-the-meter energy controls network. The outcome of the survey process (which can take only a few minutes to hours depending on size of the campus) delivers everything our customers need to know from communications to one line diagrams so they can see right away what we’re going to do, how it’s going to be done, and most importantly, how much it’s going to cost.
Because we’ve gotten the site survey process down to a science, working with Blue Pillar is really a zero-risk proposition because customers know exactly what they’re going to get, and we can prove it with the extensive list of “Energy Things™” we’ve previously connected. Customers pay once deployment is commissioned (not before). And nearly every customer we’ve deployed has expanded their footprint beyond their initial scope. We’re not a “won and done” company. We strive to deliver the best customer satisfaction ratings following net promoter and customer survey data closely. We study the feedback we receive from our customers, and work towards continual improvement and innovation to continue to make the prescription and installation of the network faster, better and more affordable.
So, when I am asked “Why Blue Pillar”, I like to say thanks to our automated, self-configurable deployment process and ability to prescribe best-fit networks quickly, we can share lessons learned to save money, reduce deployment costs and derive faster time to value better than anyone in the industry.
But this is just one of the many things that makes us different from other companies. Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about Blue Pillar’s unique competitive advantage. Or, follow us on LinkedIn to stay in touch and learn more about how Blue Pillar is different.
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!
Imagine losing service to a fleet of cell phone towers because back-up generators did not start during a power outage. Unfortunately, this disastrous scenario is far from uncommon and the net loss to the provider is huge. It is estimated that 20-30% of generators fail when called on in an outage. This problem results in costly downtime, impacting customers and creating a PR nightmare. It also points out systems that are ill-equipped to manage critical infrastructure in crisis.
Is the Internet of Things (IoT) just an overhyped technology vision or can it practically improve businesses today? Can bringing IoT into a facility help it run more efficiently and reliably? What other positive business outcomes can IoT enable? Is it cybersecure? And, who is needed to help successfully deploy a Facility IoT strategy within an organization?
As a leading provider in the Energy IoT space, we get these questions a lot. Last week, in collaboration with Dell and Facility Executive, we put together a webinar to answer those questions and paint a clear picture of what IoT can do within your facility today. The complete one-hour webinar “Can IoT Live Up to the Hype Within Your Facility?” is available for audio playback and the presentation slides are available for download. This blog covers some of the highlights.
Working with companies that have numerous facilities throughout the United States, we often get asked the question, “How can I get better, high-level visibility into all of our energy usage throughout our entire corporate footprint?” The answer is something we call “Centralized Facility Management.” Blue Pillar has become one of the leaders of Centralized Facility Management because we start with a template-driven approach that unlocks the power of local connectivity across multiple sites through our Aurora® Energy Network of Things™ platform. The platform has been used to connect and collect information from all of the energy assets at local facilities and bring them to a central, single corporate interface for real-time monitoring and control of Energy Things in every building connected. To get started, check out these simple assessment questions to see if a Centralized Facilities Management approach is right for your organization.
We are proud to announce Houston Methodist is in the running for the 2016 Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award. Cast your vote today!
Blue Pillar has been making headlines for our incredible suite of products and hard-working employees, and I could not be more proud of our recent accolades. The Aurora® platform was named Product of the Year by Energy Manager Today and earned both Gold and Silver Golden Bridge Awards as an Energy Industry Innovation of the Year. Additionally, Deloitte recognized Blue Pillar as a Technology Fast 500™ company listed as the 15th fastest growing energy tech company emerging on the list in our inaugural year.
Today, Blue Pillar announced its efforts to work with New York City hospitals to help strengthen grid resiliency. As a selected solution provider in Con Edison’s Demand Management Program, Blue Pillar is proud to support first-mover hospitals that are using their back-up emergency generation systems to strengthen the grid—and their facilities—against the devastating effects of power outages and severe weather events that cause them to lose power during times of crisis.