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Smart buildings make environmental sense

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Kathy Gibson reports from CeBit in Hannover – A staggering 40% of the world’s electricity is consumed by the 1-billion buildings on the earth’s surface, and they are responsible for 33% of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions. So there is good reason to manage them better.

As urbanisation progresses, about 70% of the world’s population now lives in cities, says Roger Woodward, vice-president and MD of Tridium EMEA, and the buildings we have constructed for these people to live and work in are each occupied for 20 hours a day or more.

This creates environmental and management challenges that can be solved with technology, he adds.

Control systems are not new – technology is already in place to manage air conditioners, lifts, networking, illumination and other elements within buildings. The problem, says Woodward, is that most of these systems are closed and, if they do talk to one another at all, it is within the confines of a single building.

Tridium, which is an independently owned part of the Honeywell group, has partnered with Huawei to create a complete building management solution based on Huawei’s EC-IoT platform on an Agile Controller and Tridium’s Niagara framework.

An important building block of the collaboration is a new IoT Gateway that Huawei launched at CeBit. It collects and analyses data from buildings to provide detection, deduction, determination and decision-making capabilities to customers.

The solution aims to improve building intelligence by providing functions such as access control, intrusion monitoring, and disaster detection in the security and safety field.

The gateway offers energy-saving features, with functions like cooling and heating control, natural resource usage, and electric appliance management. It also provides illumination, transportation, and communication control for efficiency and convenience.

“Now customers are able to support any building,” Woodward says. “The people who know them best are able to improve the performance of the building – and share the information. And we can provide software and an infrastructure that will enable IoT in buildings.”

A good 40% of the systems are expected to be deployed in commercial buildings, where many of the devices are already in place. “The just have to be connected,” says Woodward.

Huawei and Honeywell recently worked together on the Longgang Smart City project in the district of Shenzhen, China. Honeywell provided traditional building automation systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), security and fire infrastructure, as well as the connected building solutions to integrate all sub-systems for a building management dashboard, alarm management, work order management for efficient facility management, quick response and preventive maintenance. Huawei provided ICT infrastructures including data center, security protection and monitoring, IoT gateways and cloud services.

Kevin Hu, president of Huawei switch and enterprise gateway product line, comments: “Being Fortune 500 enterprises with strong R&D and innovation capabilities, Huawei and Honeywell are both committed to creating products and solutions that address our customer needs and allow them to take full advantage of the benefits associated with digital transformation. The Huawei Smart Building Solution will deliver higher quality service to global customers, bring more energy efficient and smarter buildings.”

The Huawei EC-IoT gateway provides a variety of IoT interfaces, adapts to various building access scenarios, and unifies access and management for sub-systems such as illumination, safety, power distribution and measuring, HVAC, and electric appliance control. With open technology, the gateway can have Niagara software easily installed and can adapt to over 1 000 types of industry protocols.

The gateway supports various forms of intelligence controls, in addition to distributed and scalable deployment modes. With edge computing capabilities, it delivers value-added services including data aggregation, security and privacy protection, realtime service response, and edge intelligence analysis.

The Agile Controller centrally manages tens of millions of IoT terminals on the cloud, and achieves collaboration of resources including terminals, connections, computing, and applications.