This article first appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of OnWindows.
For cities, thinking about how to realise the promise of IoT can be daunting. After all, with just one of Google’s self-driving cars gathering 750 MB of sensor data every second of driving time, the amount of data that a fully wired city would generate in a second would have to be in the petabytes. What’s more, cities would have to figure out where to put all that data. It’d be a bigger problem than Boston had finding places to put all its snow during last winter’s relentless blizzards.
Nonetheless, cities around the world are ‘wiring up’, as the many Microsoft CityNext customer stories can attest. Among those cities are also many ICONICS customers. They’re successfully transforming themselves through greater operational visibility and efficiencies using our HMI/SCADA, mobility, and analytics tools for cutting-edge energy and sustainability solutions.
In working with hundreds of cities worldwide, we’ve found that their successful deployments typically have three common hallmarks that we might call secrets of their success.
First, they chose one place to start, many with a specific need in their municipal utilities, water treatment facilities, transportation systems, or schools. For example, Arlington, Massachusetts, a town of 43,000 people six miles northwest of Boston, started with the need of its public schools to consolidate summer operations into one building, Peirce Elementary School.
After evaluating competitors’ offerings, it chose ICONICS Facility AnalytiX hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Using Azure eliminated the need for any upfront capital expenditures in IT infrastructure.
Second, they focused their energies on that starting point to ensure it worked, taking as many lessons as they could from it. When equipment fails, the software analyses current and historical information (as well as symptom/cause relationships), executes predictive algorithms and provides a list of possible causes sorted by probability. This information is securely available to all stakeholders from desktops, browsers and devices such as Microsoft Surface tablets. Fault detection and diagnostics helped the district cut the time its HVAC contractors spend searching for malfunctions by up to 20%.
Third, they didn’t try to solve everything at once, but rolled out their deployments in phases.
With the success of Arlington’s deployment of smart energy-management software in that single elementary school, the town is already working to adopt it to another school.
Arlington is just one of many examples from the ICONICS customer base of a city that is implementing IoT – sometimes without actually realising it – to improve operational visibility and lower costs. As the town adds more buildings to its smart-energy network, those benefits will continue to grow.
Melissa Topp is director of global marketing at ICONICS
Share this story