Our perception of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be clarified once we understand what an electronically enriched and intelligently automated building is really capable of.

Living buildings

The IoT is helping to automate our ‘smart city’ buildings provide us with new ways and means to gather information which will drive data analytics and insight to improve and optimize our existence — this much we know already, so let’s move on fast.

What is actually happening at the coalface (or inside the building ‘risers’ and their cabling and WiFi networks) is the development of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that will help denote, describe and delineate data endpoints so that we can start to build up a sort of electronic architect’s blueprint for software application developers to code to.

When we create this digitized building blueprint (so to speak) we can then make those APIs ‘publicly’ available (or at least accessible within a security-approved network) so that other devices, networks, applications and people can connect with them.

But what could we do with a digitized building blueprint?

In an email interview on IIoT website automatedbuildings the answer is provided by Matt Newton in his role as director of technical marketing at Opto 22.

What is an IoT building mashup?

“So imagine a building with an API of its data: what current energy consumption is, what lighting is on, what the level of fuel is for the backup generator, what points of ingress/egress are open or closed, and so on. Then, applications of any kind could consume this data, then mashup the building data with other APIs like weather, geolocation, people density, power availability, demand response and many more to provide a holistic view of what’s occurring in any or all buildings, their surroundings, or even external building influences like water, power, and gas at any given point in time,” writes Newton in an interview with Ken Sinclair.

Newton goes on to suggest that we there is now an ‘infinite list’ of opportunities to improve our world and way of life through this type of new data access if we handle the information sensitively and intelligently.

Remember, it’s not just an electronic automated smart building in a smart city, it’s an electronic automated smart building that is networked into other integrated systems to make that smart city and living breathing connected thing.

The potential for the future here is that a) we will be get a whole lot better at predictive maintenance and diagnostics so that we can make buildings run at better profit levels and that b) we will be able to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to this new digital building blueprint and do even good for us, the residents and workers that populate these smart buildings.

Opto 22 manufactures hardware and software products that link all kinds of electrical, mechanical and electronic devices and machines to networks and computers.


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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.