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How to Choose Building Analytics Products That Integrate Well

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Engineering & Analytics

For any data reporting process to work well, successful integration with a range of data sources is a must.

This is particularly true in the commercial building industry, where pairing a building management system (BMS) with the right building analytics products is essential to optimizing efficiency and addressing pain points. As a service contractor, giving your clients access to meaningful, actionable data requires choosing components that communicate well with each other. Knowing what to look for when choosing these products can ensure that integration is a seamless process.

Choosing the Right Building Analytics Products

The value of big data in building energy management and automation is becoming increasingly clear. This has led to an explosion of building analytics products that seek to collect and manage the flow of data needed to improve operational efficiencies and meet energy goals. With more devices, sensors, and analytics platforms to choose from, contractors must make smart decisions to turn individual technologies into powerful strategies. 

The most important aspects of choosing building analytics products is selecting an intelligent analytics platform and high-quality devices that interact well with that platform. The best platforms offer:

  • Robust, secure connectivity. A platform should allow for seamless, cloud-based connectivity between systems via a secure VPN tunnel. 
  • Standard protocols. Building analytic products—including devices, sensors, and analytic platforms—that use standard protocols allow you to create a cohesive system that meets your needs without being limited to a single vendor or requiring complex workarounds. This also makes it easier to upgrade individual components in the future.
  • Ease of onboarding. An intelligent analytics platform should have a simple onboarding process for initial deployment and when expanding the system to ensure data can be captured quickly and correctly.

With these features, building analytics products can be used to their fullest potential.

A Roadmap for Integration

Open framework systems like Tridium’s Niagara 4 Framework go a long way for integration, providing a standard aggregation layer for building systems and equipment. But while Niagara 4 can streamline data collection, extracting specific, prioritized information about a full range of building conditions remains a challenge. As such, deploying a comprehensive analytics system relies on successful coupling of multiple technologies. 

The following is an overview of what this may look like:

1. Deploy Tridium’s Niagara 4 Framework

Niagara 4 is an open framework the offers:

  • Historical data on BMS operations and equipment
  • Big data on current operations and equipment
  • HTML and Linux support
  • Pluggable authentication
  • The capability to integrate with other building intelligence platforms

Using the Niagara 4 Framework allows for efficient integrations and provides a good starting point for analytics.

2. Establish secure remote connectivity to building systems

Security breaches are a major concern for building systems management and analytics, and the move toward cloud-based data adds new security challenges. A cloud-based analytics platform provides users with remote access to smart building data from any location and device at any time. Ensuring data security, however, must be a core priority when integrating analytics products. This means using a secure cloud hosting provider.

The hosting environment serves as an important base for the scalability and redundancy of building data and for intelligent analytics that monitor continuous operations. Use of a secure virtual private network (VPN) tunnel between your equipment and the cloud is essential for secure transmission of all data.

3. Gather data from connected systems in a cloud-hosted database

An intelligent building analytics solution will leverage industry-leading open-protocol control systems to import data from a range of sources to the centralized cloud-hosted database. With this infrastructure in place, you can fully capitalize on the robust data mining capabilities and actionable insights available from a smart analytics platform. 

The range of data stored in the cloud-hosted database can include:

  • Occupancy comfort, temperature, and humidity during peak and non-peak building operations hours
  • Air quality measures like CO2, volatile organic compounds, and particulates like smoke and other air pollutants
  • Inadequate ventilation concerns
  • Energy usage, improvement areas, and efficiencies
  • Push updates for continuous maintenance needs for equipment

An analytics solution that offers a full suite of options and reports will connect your systems for better building operations.

4. Normalize and model the data

Using a standardized naming and tagging ontology for normalizing data, including a clear approach to categorizing building data, will help uncover insights from what would otherwise be an unmanageable volume of information.

Selecting smart building analytics products that integrate well lets you go beyond basic Niagara analytics and identify opportunities to improve building conditions while maximizing return on investment

Make the Most of Your Data 

The Niagara Framework has important benefits, including the ability to seamlessly integrate a range of building analytics products that turn data into insight. Adding the support of an analytics platform with smart reporting provides powerful capabilities, such as clear and efficient troubleshooting and greater visibility of activities within your BMS.

The onPoint Analytics platform offers multilayered analytics based on the integration of a full range of data sources available in the centralized cloud database. This gives you a fuller view of the overall building environment and the ability to quickly pinpoint the root causes of problems. 4D insights resolve questions while offering concrete steps you can take to resolve pain points. 

Notable features include: 

  • Dashboard widgets to track and monitor KPIs on key BMS areas
  • Scheduled email reports to key stakeholders
  • An established data tagging ontology and data model to ensure systems are connecting and communicating with one another
  • Support from top industry engineers, programmers, controls experts, and data analysts

Created by experienced mechanical engineers, analysts, and building control experts, onPoint provides a cloud-based, real-time monitoring system for creating transformative building management strategies. 

The proliferation of building analytics products is opening up new possibilities for reducing energy consumption, automating operations, and increasing the lifespan of building management systems. With the right building analytics products, you can truly capitalize on these opportunities.

To learn more about how onPoint can help you create a smarter and more efficient building, register for our monthly webinars. Or contact our analytics team to get more information about onPoint and building analytics.



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