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Powerful IoT Connectivity Enables Intelligent Buildings

2016/01/18
Introduction

IoT technology is elevating traditional buildings from limited automation to real intelligence, increasing our comfort and convenience with enriched user experience and giving more consideration to environmental friendliness. A building is typically composed of a number of systems, including electrical power, water, lighting, HVAC, door entrance, video surveillance, and the like. In the past, these systems might have limited automatic or intelligent functions on their own, without interconnection or interaction. For example, the administrators of an office building use a switch panel to remotely control lighting in different areas of the building, and use a separate switch for HVAC control.
Now, with IoT technology, all devices can be connected to the internet for data transmission and processing. The building administrators may sit in the central control room,viewing data displayed on the dashboard to oversee the overall situation in the building, and control lighting or air conditioning to maximize comfort and efficiency.

 
Application Requirements

To make a building more intelligent, iBuilding solution designers often have to face the reality that the building already has multiple equipment and systems that use different interfaces, control logic and communication methods. The biggest challenge is how to connect all these pieces of equipment and systems to an IoT platform and transfer data in a unified protocol to enable intelligent control and management.

System Solution

Advantech provides an IoT gateway solution for iBuildings that includes a ready-to-run hardware and software platform and cloud access, enabling iBuilding solution developers to bring control of all equipment and devices to centralized managementand push data to the cloud efficiently. The solution uses Advantech’s gateway system ARK-2121L, which contains a PCIe slot for Advantech’s unique iDoor modules–a series of mini PCIe cards providing varied functional I/O ports—such as isolated/non-isolated COM ports, CANBus, LAN, digital I/O, printer port, and more– which users can select to connect with different interfaces of existing equipment and devices.
 
The Advantech WISE-PaaS/RMM software suite is deployed at the gateway and server sides. With the aid of WISE-agent software tool, the ARK-2121L gateway can transform formats of data collected from sensors and devices into IoT-standard MQTT communication protocol and send the unified data to a central platform. This is how the solution enables the connection of all devices and helps complete cross-system integration. At this point, the formerly separate and independent systems in the building have become sub-systems of a large integrated system aimed at intelligent control and management. At the server side, the WISE-PaaS/RMM software kit can be used to facilitate the development of device management and other applications. The kit includes a dashboard builder and 100+ RESTful APIs for developers to build up user interfaces on both Advantech WISE-PaaS/RMM and Web-Access/SCADA platforms for various applications. RESTful API is essential, and allows the Advantech solution to easily connect up different applications and devices.

With this solution, users can easily develop applications including: remote controls such as automated HVAC adjustment according to monitored air condition; energy saving functions such as automated switching of lighting during work hours or off-hours; environmental monitoring functions such as indoor air quality indicators including CO2 and PM2.5. All the data can be pushed to the cloud to accumulate into big data for future analyses to assist the management staff in developing their strategic policies.

Once a developer completes an iBuilding project, the IoT framework—including how devices can be connected and flow control—can be exported to be reused in another project, so that the developer can save a lot of programming effort when developing a new system; the developer only has to edit and make some changes to certain modules or add newly created functions.

Benefits

• Great connectivity with flexible I/O modules for integrating  existing equipment and devices quickly and conveniently.
• High expandability for developing extended functions at lower cost.
• Gateway software helps to convert all data sources into a unified data transmission protocol standard for IoT communication.
• Easy reproduction of IoT framework saves programming effort in developing new projects, allowing system integrators to focus
their time and attention on their core business in developing customized functions that satisfy their customers’ requirements,
or creating new functions to add to their selling points.
• Ready-to-run platform solution saves system development effort and speeds up time-to-market.
• One-stop shopping with solid technical support to assure your success

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