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The IoT Opens New Opportunities for Energy Efficient Buildings

internet_of_thingsThe great potential for the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve energy efficiency in buildings was illustrated during the past week by an introduction and an investment.

The problem addressed by the introduction is that the IoT is being deployed before interoperability and other standards and protocols are fully developed and in place. This means that the system – which even under the best of conditions will be monstrously complex and sophisticated – could devolve into islands of disconnected functionality. In such a future, the IoT would be of limited use – and may even be an overall detriment.

Alpha Nodus’ Gravity is aimed at this challenge. In the press release, Founder and CEO Shamit Patel says that there are more than 20 wireless radios, protocols and standards. “No effort” is being made to create interoperability between them, he said. In addition to attacking this problem, the company says that Gravity buttresses security by “not needing a host network.” In other words, the “attack surface” – the ways in which crackers (malevolent hackers) can gain entry to the systems – is limited.

The investment news was from Blue Pillar. Last week, the company said that it raised $10 million from GXP Investments and Elevate Ventures. Existing investors in the company are EnerTech Capital, Allos Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners and Claremont Creek Ventures.

The efficiency gained using the IoT is aimed making buildings greener. In the January issue of Automated Buildings, two Johnson Control researchers who work in the company’s India Engineering Center – Subrata Bhattacharya and Ankur Thareja, the Managing Director and Group Head and Senior General Manager, respectively – said that whether or not the IoT and big data can widely drive green buildings is a complicated question that doesn’t have a yes or no answer.

Clearly, however, the opportunity exists:

The rapid pace of technology development has created a lot of new opportunities for overcoming the challenges faced. Internet of Things (IoT): the generalization in instrumenting buildings with sensors, actuators, micro-chips, micro- and nano-embedded systems and advancements in IT technology and data convergence have found increased relevance in the way Green Buildings are operated transforming them to “Connected Building.”

The IoT offers energy managers incredible tools to which they never previously had access. Whether these tools can truly be harnessed, however, remains a big question. It is a very tough challenge, and only time will tell if that is possible.

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