In Part 1 of this blog series, we began to tackle the problems facing Commercial Real Estate (CRE) firms in the area of energy management. We discussed how Blue Pillar’s Aurora® Energy Network of Things® platform eliminates the need for custom SCADA networks and provides fast and cost-effective solutions for scaling across multiple facilities in disparate geographic locations that have diverse sets of energy assets. There’s no need to rip and replace each facility’s legacy hardware infrastructure. Aurora “digitizes” assets into an IoT network and our proprietary solution remembers the configuration for each piece of equipment and each building surveyed so that knowledge can then be applied against all remaining buildings to create a rapid deployment across a national, and international, footprint. Yet additional questions still need to be addressed:
3. Is Energy IoT cost competitive?
CRE Challenge: The most intensive costs of energy management programs of this magnitude come from two main sources: 1.) Man-hours associated with customized SCADA development and 2.) Ripping and replacing perfectly functioning legacy energy assets. For most CRE firms, trying to do a global rip and replace of hardware across a national footprint is cost prohibitive, which is the reason why they stay stuck in their current situation.
Blue Pillar Solution: Aurora offers CRE firms the opportunity to save the most money by reducing the man-hours spent in deploying a solution because we eliminate customized SCADA development with our automated Energy IoT technology platform. Our self-configurable approach avoids customized programming so there are no consulting or billable hours built into our pricing to support these efforts. Thanks to our automated approach, we require a very lightweight program management touch and can save CRE firms a tremendous amount of money on wasted labor and Opex. On average, our costs can be 30% more affordable than custom-built options.
Second, because our Energy IoT platform was designed to connect any “Energy Thing™”, we eliminate the wasted Capex required to rip and replace perfectly functioning assets – even stranded assets. Instead, we can take a much more affordable retrofit path that allows you to use existing equipment and connect new equipment at any time. This two-pronged approach allows CRE firms to squeeze the most cost savings from an Opex and Capex perspective.
Learn more by replaying our “DIY Energy IoT – At What Cost?” webcast here.
4. Can Energy IoT meet my IT team’s end-to-end security requirements?
CRE Challenge: The tenants within a CRE portfolio can consist of some of the most sophisticated F1000 brands and these companies not only have strict cyber security and data protection standards, they also have very knowledgeable IT teams. Most are aware of IoT and many have been concerned about security vulnerabilities that could exist in IoT solutions.
Blue Pillar Solution: We’ve built a defense-in-depth approach around Aurora with built-in platform cyber security support from sensor to cloud, providing the most advanced security supported with third-party authentication of industry best practices.
In our architectural design of Aurora, we assume our system will be deployed on the public internet, so our solution is built with security and privacy as a primary consideration at all layers. Additionally, we have engaged a third-party security consulting firm to conduct security architectural reviews, as well as black box testing the Aurora gateways and corresponding software applications. The third-party assessor is Cylance, a leading industrial cyber security firm. A Certificate of Attestation was issued by Cylance and is available upon request.
And, when it comes to brand names your IT organization can trust, Blue Pillar not only partners with the best in cybersecurity, but our Aurora platform has been standardized on brands the IT organization not only trusts, but has most likely already vetted: Dell, Intel, Advantech, MultiTech and Microsoft. In the vetting process, we can work with any IT team and work through an IoT security architecture that is based on industry best practices they are most likely already using, for example, with their email and data infrastructure. We follow all similar methods and because we do not require customized SCADA development, we eliminate the security vulnerabilities that plagued the Building Automation Industry.
Learn more by downloading our security whitepaper here.
5. What happens if we want to make changes to our billing management software or hardware infrastructure over time? Is Energy IoT future-proof?
CRE Challenge: It’s not just a patchwork of legacy hardware used over time that becomes a real problem for CREs as they try to implement energy management. There may be a variety of energy management or billing software solutions in existence across their wide portfolio. So how can they confidently standardize on one software package when new solutions are coming to market every day? What happens when it comes time to upgrade to a new package? Will all historic energy data captured be lost if software is not renewed? How can a CRE firm future-proof their systems against the inevitable changes that will come further down the road when it needs to start today?
Blue Pillar Solution: Our experience has shown that most energy management projects fail at the connectivity layer due to lack of data. For that reason, energy management and tenant billing solutions must go deeper than the software they provide. They must start with the ability to connect each asset. This is beyond the scope of most energy management solutions, which is why you need to start with Blue Pillar. We make the aggregation of accurate data from any device our number one differentiator. Then, once reliable data is collected, it can be visualized through our Aurora OpenAPI for plug-and-play integration to any third-party energy management or billing application.
And it’s future-proof because Aurora was architected with choice in mind. The platform keeps a historical backup of all data gathered over the course of the deployment and makes it available to any new energy management software you may want to deploy in the future. It’s these types of design decisions that provide a “future proof” architecture you can take to the bank while creating the greatest freedom and flexibility of choice as your energy needs will inevitably change.
Learn more by downloading our energy management use case.
With the patchwork of legacy hardware used over time, Commercial Real Estate firms have had a front row seat to the problems and challenges in energy management. But despite the past hardships that have led to the complex and disparate set of hardware and software existing across their portfolio, getting accurate data to feed sophisticated tenant billing and energy management software has never been easier if you layer in an Energy IoT network over top.
This is an important and complicated topic. We invite you to learn more by registering to attend (or hear a replay of) our “Top 5 Energy Management Trends in Commercial Real Estate” webcast, or contact us today for a one-on-one consultation.