The Arkados Group and SparkFund have entered an agreement to provide Internet of Things (IoT) functionality to commercial and industrial customers on an “as-a-service” basis.
The technical goal is to distribute IoT sensors and related equipment throughout facilities. The equipment will be deployed in Arkados’ Energy Measurement and Verification (EM&V) platform. EM&V collects data that is used to improve energy efficiency by improving performance of lighting, HVAC and other systems.
There are two keys to the announcement. The first is the technical capabilities claimed by Arkados:
The Arktic™ EM&V is designed to enable the implementation of multiple types of sensors, such as temperature, humidity, light, energy and water consumption, motion and occupancy, indoor air quality and noise, that can gather information throughout a building or complex. The application can provide for initial benchmarking to determine the unique building signature and be used for continuous monitoring to yield insights that may not otherwise be evident.
The second is the importance of the “as-a-service” model. It has some similarities to energy performance services contracts (EPSCs) in that the strategy is to deploy technology without requiring a large capital expenditure on the part of the end user.
SparkFund – which recently raised $7 million in funding – is a pioneer of the “as-a-services” approach in the energy sector. The concept itself evolved in the telecommunications and information technology fields. The most obvious advantage is the reduction or elimination of capex. In addition, the companies providing the services usually offer more expertise than the client. Thus, instead of an organization purchasing an IoT platform and figuring out how to use it – which costs time and money – it can outsource those headaches and generally end up with more efficiency and productivity. This is especially important in systems that connect to the Internet, since a dedicated organization is far more likely to keep security current.
Lighting is one of the earliest energy-related “as-a-service” offerings. Regency Lighting offers a list of pros and cons. The pros follow the general path charted out in IT and telecom. The cons are important: They include the fact that a contract with a set-term must be honored; less savings than if a traditional wholly-owned approach is used and a monthly payment model that results in higher overall costs than if the entire payment is made up front.