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Simplifying Data


We know the value of data — but we struggle getting it out of buildings. What seems like a simple task quickly becomes a daunting job:

  • How do I connect to the BAS system?
  • What database do I use for storing the data?
  • How will my applications access the data?
  • How do I recover if I lose data or servers?
  • How much will all this cost?
  • How do I keep things secure?
  • What happens if I have a data breach?
  • Will someone be able to hack our building?

We spend too much time fighting the same problems over and over. This "treading water" prevents us from advancing the industry and keeps "better" buildings out of reach. To move forward, we need solutions that radically simplify the process.

Data Storage

Today's cloud platforms have commodified the price of storage to almost nothing. We need to move away from high priced point pricing models where we limit what is collected and stored. Our goal should be to store everything we can, for as long as we need.

We need dedicated solutions to manage scalable data storage, with a completely hands-off approach. It needs to be secure, reliable, and "Just Works". We can't rely on piggy-backing this critical piece of infrastructure onto a BAS product we already happen to use.

As the data science field continues to advance, having building data available will be critical in order to leverage new analysis techniques.

Edge Gateways

To achieve a "hands-off" storage layer, we'll need on-premise intelligence to manage how data is synced to the cloud. It's too complicated to configure and maintain fragile connections directly into the BAS system.

We need to plug a box into our BACnet network, select the points (or ideally all points) — and be done. No step 3.

It should use short-term local storage, so we don't "lose" data during a network outage. It should be smart about how it uses network bandwidth so cellular deployments can be cost effective. It should be resilient to power failure by using a read-only file system, or ultra-reliable supercapacitor — no high-maintenance batteries.

It must be designed with security in mind from the start. Secure boot. TLS only. Public-key authentication. Automatic (and regular) firmware updates. No configuration, usernames, or passwords to compromise security. We need to have peace of mind we can install a device into a building and know it won't become an attack vector for hackers.

Easy to Access

Once we have a simple way to get data out of buildings — we need to make sure we have an equally simple way to get it into our applications.

We need to avoid creating new protocols — even “open” ones. This just creates another burden, since they need to be implemented in different languages and applications before we can start using them.

Nearly every platform out there knows how to read and write JSON. Let’s stick to what works — JSON over TLS using standard authentication.

curl https://api.novant.io/v1/trends \
  -u ak_mfr4bbyrayom4eirpmsezaju6q:  \
  -d device_id=dv_hx6fk7mbcr9y4      \
  -d date=2020-04-10

It should be as easy to query data from a building using a REST call as it is to charge a credit card using Stripe. We have a lot of catching up todo with the rest of the world when it comes to Web APIs and integrations.

Connect and Forget

The goal for solving the data problem needs to be "connect-and-forget". New data is simply always available from an interoperable REST API. With the hassle of data access out of the way, we can finally focus on what's needed to take buildings to the next level.

Novant Smart Building PaaS

Novant is pioneering new technology to radically simplify how data is extracted from BAS systems with its Smart Building PaaS. Learn more.

Get in touch today to learn more about Novant's digital foundation and how to modernize your smart building.

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