Australian energy management software maker Envizi is turning to IoT to get more granular insight of a building's energy use.
The company, which services about 130 enterprise clients, started in 2004 as a technology platform provider for reading smart meters in South Africa.
It now provides a suite of hosted energy management systems, and has recently invested heavily in extending its measurement capabilities “below the utility meter” to the submeter and equipment levels.
“IoT is helping us span what we call ‘the last mile’, that is, getting to the information that lives at the equipment level and that’s been traditionally been very hard to get at,” Envizi CEO and co-founder David Solsky told IoT Hub.
“IoT is a key enabler to deliver data to our platform, which we provide to help customers interpret and make the most of that information.”
Solsky said IoT was an inexpensive way of getting access to this 'last mile' data, rather than seeking to extract it from a building automation system or metering provider.
He said legacy building systems often used proprietary protocols that made data extraction physically difficult.
“What IoT is providing is very cost-effective, easily deployed devices that can get us more data in real-time, with a lot less effort and a lot less cost," Solsky said.
“At the end of the day, the more data we can get and the more granular that data is, the more insights we can drive and the more we can help customers save money and reduce their environmental footprint.”
Solsky said Envizi now monitored the state of energy-consuming equipment itself.
“Some of our new [software] modules perform equipment fault detection, where we’re right down at the equipment level looking for certain operating conditions that would indicate that a piece of equipment is operating outside of scheduled hours, for example,” he said.
“If you can get the connectivity, get all of the data into the cloud and drive it through an analytics engine, what you create is a filter, and what you can put back into the hands of the people that need to take action is small pieces of very insightful information.
“They could see that this piece of equipment is running at such-and-such time of the night, and is costing X amount of dollars each time, and this is the overall annual impact, and this is the carbon emission or environmental impact.”
Solsky said that Envizi is also working on a “closed-loop mechanism” that collects data on multiple faults and excess energy usage instances and pushes it through a workflow automation tool.
The results are then given to service engineers and facilities managers to investigate and determine the root cause of such issues.
“That’s often where the real pearls of wisdom can be found, when you’re looking at some of the megatrends within a building and notice that - for example - 70 percent of energy wastage is linked to people doing HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] overrides,” he said.
“We can now look at the issue more strategically and say how we address it through technology lockdowns, or better training and education of people.”
Solsky said that IoT will continue to be a key enabler in its solutions, and that other emerging technologies may have a part to play as well.
Machine learning is also on Envizi's radar but would likely surface in products from 2017 onwards.