Ericsson Application Platform for IoT powers the smart building analytics

Nordic Smart Building Tech: ISS Leverages Ericsson and IBM Watson IoT

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By Megan Bozman

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, ISS Facilities Management is one of the world’s largest private employers, with over half a million employees managing everything from concierge to cleaning, catering to technical maintenance for thousands of clients. The company sought an IoT solution to better manage over 25,000 buildings around the world, and currently has two distinct solutions in place.

Facilities Management in Norway

Ericsson, with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, is a fascinating tech business. Along with IT consulting firm Sigma, Ericsson is currently powering a smart building solution at the Oslo, Norway offices of ISS. [Video below]

One key objective for ISS was reducing waste. By knowing how many employees are onsite each day, ISS can prepare meals accordingly and reduce waste. Additionally, knowing which spaces require cleaning enables better delivery of services on an as-needed basis, as opposed to merely following a schedule.

Ericsson Application Platform for IoT

Ericsson describes their AppIoT service offering, “AppIoT provides the ability to start the IoT journey in a matter of day – a small-footprint approach and pay-as-you-grow commercial model that AppIoT provides will help organizations to implement use cases that solve their identified issues with very little investment.” The Ericsson Application Platform for IoT is part of IoT Accelerator, a cloud-based SaaS solution that enables organizations to build IoT solutions easier and faster.

Ericsson states that their solution is, “Easy to integrate with Business applications and existing BI investments at the customer.” I’m impressed by the massive command center shown in the video.  Considering how important analytics are to the success of IoT initiatives, I applaud what appears to be an exceptional implementation.

Great Implementation, But Not the Global Standard

The Ericsson solution is not in place at ISS headquarters in Copenhagen. Instead, building management is being conducted with sensors connected to IBM’s Watson IoT platform and TRIRIGA facilities management.

When asked about the reason for two distinct, but similar solutions, Kenth Kærhøg, Head of ISS communications, ISS world services clarified, “We will be standardizing to one platform globally, which will be the IBM platform. The Ericson project is simply a local project in Oslo.”

IBM Watson IoT

As recently announced, “Working with IBM, ISS will integrate and analyze data from millions of devices and sensors embedded into buildings including doors, windows, chairs, meeting rooms, dispensers, and air conditioning systems. Data will be uploaded onto IBM’s Watson IoT cloud platform and cognitive computing technologies will learn from this data helping ISS optimize its services as well as furthering its understanding of how people use buildings, thereby creating new opportunities for innovation.”

Facility managers are provided with a dashboard overview of key building metrics in real-time, enabling a more pro-active approach to building management and customized service delivery. In practice, this improved approach includes much of the same functionality as the Ericsson solution such as monitoring restrooms to better allocate cleaning resources and monitoring staff in the building to prepare food accordingly.

Take Our Own Medicine

Mr. Kærhøg stated, “At ISS, we are strong believers in taking our own medicine.” Fantastic. What a far superior metaphor to, “eat your own dog food,” which is more common in the US.

Snubbing the Hardware Maker

The video highlighting the ISS implementation of IBM Watson IoT includes imagery of Yanzi sensors, however the Swedish hardware maker is not mentioned by name. I find that omission a bit odd. Clearly the sensors are a key component of the IoT solution; they are what enables things like plates and desks to become nodes of the Internet of Things. Failing to at least mention the name of the firm creating that hardware seems to be a ‘snub.’

Better Smart Building Solutions

In May, 2015, ISS CIO Henrik Trepka was quoted in Computer Weekly, “In two years’ time we will see a lot more sensors around. There are not really good off-the-shelf solutions yet, but development goes really fast, and in six months’ time, there will be better and cheaper solutions to buy.” As 2017 rapidly approaches, we certainly like to think Senseware is among those new, better smart building solutions.

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