This article first appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of OnWindows magazine.
Several trends in modern technology are changing the way that organisations do business. Among these are the internet of things (IoT), the increased use of data analytics and geospatial awareness. IoT provides a great new way to deliver solutions through secure data communications via Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. It also provides a way for organisations – from small municipalities and school districts to entire large metropolitan cities or even countries – to realise value from the immense amount of big data they already own and have struggled to fully use. Applying analytics to this data results in benefits such as improving operational efficiency and saving on energy costs.
The town of Arlington, Massachusetts, working with ICONICS, connected its building automation system (BAS) sensors to the Azure cloud to evaluate school district building equipment that had the potential to operate out of sequence or specification, wasting energy. This could have gone unnoticed by maintenance staff, but the inclusion of cloud-integrated fault detection and diagnostics software made what was previously invisible now visible. The result was an energy saving of 10% annually, despite one of the most brutal winters recorded. In comparison, other school district buildings not part of the project ran well over their energy budgets.
Scaling from cities and towns to entire countries is no problem for ICONICS. Scottish Water provides clean, safe and high quality drinking water to 2.45 million households and 154,000 businesses across Scotland. It partnered with ICONICS to establish an intelligent control centre to integrate weather, customer, engineering and telemetry data into its situational awareness dashboard, harvesting millions of data points per week. By applying an ‘internet of things meets big data’ approach, Scottish Water reduced flooding across Scotland, improved overall performance assessment scores through lowered average interruptions to supply, and reduced operational costs.
Both Arlington and Scotland are examples of how connecting equipment to the cloud creates extraordinary value, from improving maintenance response times to realising significant energy cost savings. And it does so with the strictest security. Secure IoT communication is the key for organisations to feel comfortable in deploying such new technology. Microsoft Azure provides faster deployment times and improves scalability by reducing dependency on an organisation’s frequently overloaded IT department.
ICONICS provides solutions such as MobileHMI, Hyper Historian and the Cloud Connector for organisations seeking to capitalise on IoT and cloud-based technology with Azure integration and easy-to-use modern interfaces.
Oliver Gruner is director of cloud business development at ICONICS
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