PointGrab provides critical and actionable data about occupants’ activity in a building.

Smart Building Solutions: Integration is Key

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By Megan Bozman

Schneider Electric is a great company to watch in the IoT and smart building space. Back in July, I wrote about a report written by the company’s, vice-president of strategy and transformation, Preeti Bajaj, “Activate to Collaborate: the evolution of the smart office.” The report addresses the intersection of sustainability, and worker comfort and productivity in smart buildings. Specifically, Ms. Bajaj wrote that as smart buildings evolve, they have the opportunity to enable more collaborative experiences, fostering human connection.

Schneider Electric and Panasonic Smart Building Partnership

Schneider Electric and Panasonic recently issued a press release announcing an integrated HVAC equipment and building management solution. The solution integrates Schneider Electric’s SmartStruxure™ solution and intelligent room controller and Panasonic’s VRF smart connectivity solution.

Together, the companies developed, “a new interface wireless solution which enables direct serial communication between Schneider Electric’s building management system and room controllers with Panasonic’s variable refrigerant flow (VRF)-based HVAC systems via the ZigBee® wireless communication standard.

“This integration allows building owners and managers to view all of their core building systems including HVAC equipment, lighting, security, power and electrical distribution anytime and anywhere via a single interface and delivers actionable insights to reduce energy consumption and drive savings.”

“By partnering with Panasonic, we’re able to provide complete building management from the device level to the cloud, regardless of building type, size or age,” said Laurent Bataille, Executive Vice President, EcoBuilding Division, Schneider Electric.

IoT Partnership for Smart Building Lighting

Gooee, which claims to have developed “the world's first 'Full-Stack' operating platform to connect lighting manufacturers to the IoT,” has partnered with PointGrab, a provider of an intelligent edge-analytics sensing solution. PointGrab applies deep learning and sensing technology to the building automation ecosystem. The company’s CogniPoint embedded-analytics sensors and edge-computing platform enables users to capture data about how and where occupants use a building.

“By connecting PointGrab's deep-learning based sensor, CogniPoint, into Gooee's ecosystem, and streaming the data to Gooee's cloud, the partnership aims to enhance the building automation industry through real-time intelligence and energy efficiency.”

The press release continues to state that, with the IoT, it’s possible to incorporate real-time intelligence and control into building automation, resulting in true smart buildings. We at Senseware couldn’t agree more.

Where are these Analytics Done?

Reading further into both solutions, PointGrab’s ‘explainer’ video states, “CogniPoint processes all analytics within the sensor itself and sends out only the actionable information.” However, the new solution will “stream the data to Gooee’s cloud.” That seems to negate the use of CogniPoint’s edge analytics. I initially thought this may suggest that the edge analytics are inadequate to achieve true smart buildings.

I reached out with my inquiry and received the following calcification from PointGrab’s Itamar Roth, Chief Business Officer:

“CogniPoint processes huge amounts of data they sense at the edge. The data includes video streams that are all processed within the sensors. In order to protect occupants’ privacy, no images or output from the sensor are stored. Only actionable information is sent out. For example: from a video stream of a meeting room, the sensor would output the number of people in the meeting room and their sitting locations.

“The Gooee cloud platform uses this actionable information to enable various services, such as energy optimization, improving operational efficiency and more.”

To simplify; it sounds as though the Gooee cloud platform is simply enhancing the insights currently available with CogniPoint in order to add more functionality to the existing solution.

No Customers Yet

According to Simon Coombes, CTO and co-founder of Gooee, the new partnership is expected to “lead to several energy saving opportunities and the optimization of smart buildings.” However, no current case studies with existing customers are listed. For Gooee, this is the first integration of third party technology into its ecosystem, although the company has already begun other integrations.


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