Anirudh Bhaskaran, Research Analyst for Energy & Environment at Frost & Sullivan, speaks to AZoSensors about how the Internet of Things is setting up a future of global connectivity, and how it is crucial for the development of smart buildings.
AP: Can you explain what is meant by the “Internet of Things (IoT)”?
AB: IoT is a network of physical objects or ‘things’ that are given a unique address to be located in the internet with the ability to measure, monitor and intercommunicate with each other and over different networks.
IoT is currently utilized in individual business sectors such as energy, transportation, homes, education and many more to control various functions in each sector. As IoT evolves, it will be used as a network of networks to interconnect each business sector to provide enhanced services, accessibility and optimal product design with added security, privacy and analytics.
AP: How is rapid urbanization and global connectivity aiding the proliferation of IoT?
AB: Rapid urbanization is currently witnessed in some of the developing countries such as India, China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, other South East Asian countries and in parts of Africa. This results in an accumulation of human capital at one end but still the economic capital resides in the developed world.
Urbanization widens spatial disparity in regions that are not economically rich. Around the globe, there are more than 30 cities with 10 million people where there is spatial disparity and there is both economic and intellectual capital coming up. This is a huge transition that demands for enhanced citizen services. IoT will help make the city into a better living environment and transform it into a smart city through increased penetration of ICT in to various business sectors.
The Internet of Things
Internet of Things - the Global VP at Frost & Sullivan explains how the IoT will shape the future
Video credit: NZTEvideo / YouTube
Another trend that is happening now is the penetration of devices connected to the internet. As per Frost and Sullivan’s research, there will be 80 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.
In the future, there will be an imperative need for seamless integration of processes in work, home and cities to enhance the operational efficiency of an eco-system. IoT, Big data, data analytics and cloud networking are the next generation IT solutions that are necessary to collect and analyse raw data and convert it into actionable insights for making optimal decisions.
AP: What is a smart building?
AB: Smart buildings refer to facilities that leverage advanced building automation and control solutions to efficiently respond to the initial and changing demands of end users and the environment. IoT in smart buildings can help building owners to maximise energy efficiency, maximise space utilization and improves building operations.
AP: How can smart buildings help consumers operate in a more energy efficient manner?
AB: Smart buildings equipped with building automation and control solutions assists building managers to capture, analyse and manage energy data using energy management software.
However, adoption of IoT in smart buildings will allow building managers to convert the energy data into actionable insights via cloud networking, thereby increasing the energy efficiency of a system and lowering energy cost through advanced data gathering techniques and analysis.
AP: What ways can the data collected from the various areas of a building be analysed and processed?
AB: There are two key sections in a building that needs to be efficiently managed to reduce operations and energy cost of a building. Energy management and facilities management (FM). Key energy consuming systems in a commercial building are lighting and HVAC systems. On the FM side we have space, safety and security management systems.
Energy data can be collected via energy meters kept at the electrical distribution section of a building. Other parameters such as temperature, humidity and illuminance level can be collected at various points inside a building with the help of wireless sensors (Thermostats, humidity meters, lux meters).
The safety management devices such as voice alarms, fire alarms, and smoke meters primarily act on building automation controllers’ decision. Security management systems such as gateway management systems collect workforce data at the entry point of the building.
The data collected can be analysed for energy usage patterns and key parameters to check for abnormal functioning of systems. The analysed data can be further broke down for different sections in a building in a graphical format for building owners’ to make optimal decisions.
AP: What are the major challenges which need to be overcome for new technologies to be applied in smart buildings?
AB: There are a few key technological and business challenges that need to be addressed in order to utilize IoT abilities to its full potential. On the technology side, first and foremost is the lack of privacy and security of building’s data that are shared via cloud for data analysis.
Network and communication providers need to create common standards for data privacy and security in order to exchange data between devices from different manufacturers. On the business side, leverage of IoT opportunities in smart buildings is relatively new and emerging.
Therefore, there is high risk for building owners to overestimate the opportunities and invite RoI risks into the business. IoT needs technological partnerships between network, technology providers and OEMs to address the above mentioned challenges, which is uncertain right now due to increasing competition and complex business scenario.
How is Frost & Sullivan’s Building Management Technologies Growth Partnership Services program helping clients to gain the necessary insight into the market when working on the design of smart buildings?
Frost and Sullivan’s GPS program offers smart buildings related deliverables with regional and global coverage at regular intervals. In addition to this, this program offers the market participants to interact with the analysts for further insights.
AP: What do you believe are the next steps for the adoption of the IoT into smart buildings?
AB: The immediate step for the OEMs and network providers will be to accelerate the development and evolution of interoperable connectivity between peer devices and communication frameworks. This will manage a seamless flow of information between devices irrespective of service providers.
Although there are a few consortiums and partnerships such as open interconnect consortium (OIC), Allseen alliance and individual bilateral partnerships, the implementation of such frameworks on building management solutions are in its early stage and needs acceleration.
About Anirudh Bhaskaran
Anirudh holds a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree in Mechanical Engineering from Anna University, India, as well as a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Energy from the PSG College of Technology, India.
He has research expertise in building technologies, including energy management, home automation, and smart & connected eco-systems.
He also has vast experience in researching energy including energy modelling and forecasting with a particular focus on solar photovoltaics, performance monitoring of photovoltaics and energy auditing in thermal systems.
He brings a multitude of skills to his team including statistical and analytical skills, modelling and forecasting abilities as well as techno-economic representations.
Some of his career highlights include publishing market engineering and market insight reports on home energy management and building energy management, emergency lighting, home automation systems, low voltage distribution systems, IoT in smart buildings, smart and connected homes, and zero-carbon buildings.
He also developed a performance model on solar photovoltaic systems for Indian climatic conditions in Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions India Ltd., Bangalore.