We want to be innovative and different to anybody else. There is no point in doing the same thing that everybody else already does. We see a paradigm shift taking place in the M2M (machine to machine), building automation and energy management field. We see big opportunities to look for out-of-the-box thinking to the way they currently are delivered.
Different in the way to flatten the architecture of a conventional system, put more power where it needs to be and take advantage of IP and wireless technology so that we directly can go from device to enterprise and use more of the new nice analytical tools and viewing tools such as EasyStack.
In ten years M2M technology will go smaller, deeper and wider. Companies like Cisco that look at smart grid opportunities, make things cleverer, more intelligent, more stand alone and more wireless and IP based. Of course we have got Web 2.0 coming along so internet speed and availability is only getting better, not worse.
We want to get aligned with what is happening in the cellular and IP field. End users will definitely benefit from that because they will get more value for their money, more control over their facilities, there will be more powerful technology where they could not have that before.
Differences between M2M and BMS
BMS is about buildings while M2M is about how we can get devices intelligent, small and low cost enough so that they can actually talk to each other and act on their own. It’s a little bit like people, in a way, if we encourage people to talk to each other, work together and share things they are able to make decisions themselves and do not need to go to a supervisor to make things work, like with BMS that needs a supervisor on top of it because it is not powerful enough and does not have a free framework inside.
So what we do with M2M, we go from device to device and from a cluster of devices we go directly to the end device. This will be in the market for mainly metering and for small buildings or multiple small buildings. For multiple large buildings you inevitably will end up connecting a supervisor or server.
The market we are in is, obviously, the BMS market, but it is not our main focus. Our main focus is small buildings where currently, I would say, 70 to 80% of those buildings are not connected to an amplified system so that they can be analyzed, monitored and measured or benchmarked. The reason for that is; cost!
Our direction is to reduce costs and we do that by having a shorter development cycle to getting products to market.
The FG+ series
We introduced the EasyIO FG+ series because we wanted to fill the gap between a Jace and the EasyIO 30P controller. The FG+ controller does not replace the 30P at all. The 30P is great, very low at cost and very efficient but sometimes it does not have the power that it needs to bridge that gap of a Jace and an IO device. The big difference is that the FG+ controller has graphics on board and HTML-5 so you can actually work from an Ipad or something like that.
In the US they call the FG ‘The Beast’. The reason why it’s called ‘The Beast’ is that the FG+ is the first controller that has 2 processors and it has an extra SD cart under the hood, which means that we can store histories for up to 10 years! That is unheard of in our industry.
The key is: it’s all about simplicity! There are a lot of tools on the market that are very good but you have to be a software programmer to use them. They have their place in the market. At the large enterprise level they have a staff of people who can do that.
But most people who want to look at energy, at performance, are mainly non-technical people. They might know how to use a smartphone, Ipad or android and a dashboard like EasyIO Freeboard, which is very user friendly, can have these people look at their energy usage and monitor and influence them. People can see the performance of one building or many, without spending a lot of money, set environmental and energy targets and are able to benchmark this performance.
The nice thing is that EasyIO will go direct to your browser or any server, directly through the Internet without any additional devices or difficult protocols.
EasyIO has a very refreshing approach to our markets and to everything really. If you look at the individuals and their past and track record they are not new to this industry at all. They have a lot of experience working in BMS and M2M and they have staff on board that really understands; data, web technologies, marketing and have a refreshing and an open mind to progress.
So it is a little like us in EasyIO, so we can work together very nicely because we are looking outside the box. We are looking at customer needs and looking at how we can do things differently, easier, more cost effectively than the traditional systems.
Mistakes with BMS
When designing and installing a BMS there needs to be a mutual expectation of performance, after the system is commissioned, witnessed and handed over. These can then be monitored, tested and analysed thereafter, just like we would do with any other valuable building asset.
There also needs to be a set operation budget for ongoing maintenance. BMS’s do need maintenance such as calibration, tuning and replacement of sensors and actuators.
A good example is on/off valves often used in hotel rooms, yet we spend $30 on a cheap on/off valve and it fails and is jammed in the 100% open position, for years to come. This is where maintenance and performance analytics should be budgeted in the operational plan for a building. Unfortunately, not all customers in hotel, or office Tenants complain or give feedback, they simply just take their business elsewhere.