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Guest Commentary: Dawn of the HVAC “Internet of Things” Revolution

BY CSA STAFF

By Paul Rauker, VP of systems and controls at Daikin Applied

While the “Internet of Things” (IoT) ecosystem is still in its infancy, the capability has become a reality for the commercial HVAC industry with the integration of Daikin Applied’s rooftop systems with Intel’s intelligent gateway solutions. Early adopters in the commercial building industry are beginning to understand the benefits and are blazing a new trail for what the future of building automation systems, efficiency, comfort and reliability will look like with intelligent HVAC systems leading the way.

The benefits of IoT affect everyone from building owners and facility managers to specifying engineers and contractors (mechanical and service). The technology allows devices to communicate without human-to-human or human-to-computer involvement, helping retail stores make more efficient and productive use of their assets and building processes.

With intelligent HVAC systems providing 24/7 real-time, remote monitoring and actionable analytics, they act as a ‘force multiplier’ allowing management teams to accomplish more in terms of building and equipment control, while effectively reducing operating costs.

How does it work related to retail stores?

With the integration of IoT in HVAC equipment, like rooftop units, retail stores can harness big data and put that information to work at speeds that haven’t previously been possible to achieve. This creates intelligent systems that share actionable data for system optimization, without building owners having to go through significant integration efforts.

The technology works by seamlessly connecting rooftop units (as an example) to the cloud and securely aggregating, filtering and sharing data, unlocking efficiencies hidden in the data. Once significant operational data has been extracted from the rooftop devices and sent to the cloud, the intercommunication between machines via the cloud incorporates external data, like weather and utility rates. This shifts the rooftop unit from a reactive piece of equipment to one that is predictive and can adjust in the most energy efficient way.

What are the impacts?

The IoT ecosystem enables endless opportunities and connections and has the ability to transform the commercial real estate and retail stores’ fundamentals — from the way business is conducted to how buildings are operated, to setting performance benchmarks and redefining how efficiency is measured.

Unprecedented efficiencies

HVAC equipment that harnesses the power of IoT eliminates issues that accompany reactive systems. These intelligent systems enable unprecedented efficiencies that were impossible to achieve until now. They take into account outside factors (i.e. utility rates and weather forecasts) and aggregate data to modify the system operation, ensuring it operates at the most opportune times and without sacrificing system quality or occupant comfort.

In addition, intelligent HVAC systems will also summarize and communicate alarms, make recommendations, recognize HVAC equipment maintenance issues and monitor comfort index calculations, and deliver the information via an automated analysis. Through easy to use, actionable data, retail stores will effectively be able to achieve maximum efficiencies across all building applications.

A new level of benchmarking equipment and buildings

Intelligent systems take the guesswork out of asset management. The power and performance of every unit can be measured, allowing decision makers to benchmark their equipment and buildings against other buildings of similar size and use. Since intelligent HVAC systems provide real-time data that can be accessed on site or through remote monitoring via smart phones, laptops or tablets, building managers can quickly and easily monitor multiple units and multiple buildings, in order to maintain peak operating efficiency, minimize energy consumption and reduce total lifecycle costs.

With this benchmarking capability, it becomes more feasible to report the energy consumption of large commercial buildings, in order to comply with new environmental requirements and regulations.

Movement towards intelligent systems

Intelligent systems present retail stores with an alternative to traditional building automation systems (BAS). Think of an intelligent system as a BAS on steroids; it takes the latter’s controls and combines it with the former’s data integration and analytics. Further enticing the market, intelligent systems cost less than BAS and provide a simple and low maintenance solution that is easy to install.

Creation of elegant designs that enhance user experiences

It’s no secret that as the complexity of these intelligent systems increases, there will be a need to simplify the user experience so that it’s approachable and easy for anyone to use. With enormous amounts of data being gathered and converted into actionable analytics, intuitive user experiences that promote engagement will be more important than ever. Additionally, these elegantly designed HVAC systems will not sacrifice usability over performance; rather, both features will be system priorities.

Increase focus on cyber security

As the number of devices that harness IoT increases, so too does the sharing of information. This places a necessary emphasis on making cyber-security a necessary strategy. Intelligent security solutions that discover and block sophisticated threats to the network will be critical. Internet security companies, such as Intel Security, will become more prevalent in HVAC equipment to provide the most secure system possible.

It will also become common for security features to be built-in for both cellular and local area network connections, and feature implementation must be addressed within the system at multiple levels to ensure layers of security. This includes boot level security at the hardware level, allowing only authorized users to update the embedded software.

Changing the way retail stores conduct business

Just like any disruptive technology, intelligent HVAC systems create new opportunities for businesses. Facility and property managers will be able to monitor and adjust building and equipment assets remotely. And building managers and owners, with the ease of accessing automated analysis and reports, will become more accountable to their buildings’ and equipment’s energy use, helping them make better business decisions.

Similarly, with a number of new dynamics at play, specifying engineers will consult with retail store owners from a higher level of considerations; they must now take all of a building’s IoT communication compatibilities into play, from HVAC and lighting to parking and building security. For systems configured with wireless capabilities, the building’s IT networks can be bypassed and data can be directly transported off the rooftop units to the cloud and a service technician. This has the potential for service technicians to move from reactive to preventative service models. With 24/7 real-time information, technicians are able to speed up their onsite arrival times with the necessary parts in hand to maintain equipment before it loses efficiency.

Paul Rauker is VP of systems and controls at Daikin Appliedand is responsible for the company’s Intelligent Equipment line that harnesses the IoT. Daikin Applied is harnessing the power of the Internet of Things by using Intel-based intelligent gateway solutions to deploy a complete end-to-end solution for commercial HVAC equipment.

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Twice the sparkle at Victoria’s Secret

BY CSA STAFF

The most expensive undergarment, a bejeweled brassiere, is back at Victoria Secret this year and, for the first time ever, there are two of them.

The 2014 editions of the Dream Angel Fantasy Bra were designed exclusively for Victoria’s Secret by the world-renowned jeweler Mouawad and will be worn by Victoria’s Secret’s Angels Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio at the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Showwhich airs December 9th at 10/9 Central on the CBS Television Network.

Both “fantasy bras” are valued at $2 million each. They are adorned with over 16,000 handset precious gems, including rubies, diamonds, and sapphires.

The bras are accompanied by body pieces of fine gemstones strung together with 18K gold.

For a more budget-oriented clientele Victoria's Secret has also curated a Fantasy Collection that includes Dream Angels Brasand panties available at VictoriasSecret.com.

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Retailers at fault for making America fat

BY CSA STAFF

While hunger relief organizations are quick to point out that one in six American’s suffer from “food insecurity,” the Center for Science in the Public Interest is deriding retailers’ for contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic.

The CSPI contends the merchandising practices of the nation’s retailers – rather than a lack of self-discipline on the part of consumers – are making Americans fat. Putting aside the role of personal responsibility in lifestyle choices, CSPI is of the opinion that Americans are powerless against retailers’ efforts to sell them sugary drinks, fatty foods or salty snacks.

“In this age of diabetes and obesity, it’s unethical for retailers to push people to buy and consume extra calories that will harm their health,” said CSPI senior nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy. “Food stores should set nutrition standards for the foods at checkout and non-food retailers should get out of the junk-food business altogether.”

The group arrived at its determination after studying the checkout aisles at a wide variety of supermarkets and non-food retailers. It found that 90% of the food options for sale were candy, energy bars, chips, cookies, and other junk foods, and 60% of the beverage options were for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Researchers characterized only 8% of the food items as “healthier,” and just 2% of foods as actually “healthy,” such as nuts and fruit. Their assessment of drinks for sale at standard checkout aisles revealed that 19% were water, 15% were diet soft drinks, 5% were ground coffee and tea bags, less than 1% were juice and none was milk.

The study was conducted among 30 retailers representing 14 different store types in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, including supermarkets, such as Giant Food, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Safeway, and non-grocery stores, such as CVS, Dollar Tree, Office Depot, Old Navy, RadioShack and Ace Hardware.

“Americans have a hard enough time maintaining healthy weights without retailers sabotaging their efforts,” said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan. “It’s bad enough that supermarkets display soda and chips to prompt unplanned purchases at checkout. But why are so many stores pushing candy bars on people buying towels, toys, or kids’ clothes?”

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