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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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Sunday
Dec082013

Finding a Needle in the Internet of Things (part 2)—Buildings and Building Systems

In a previous post, I described how vCards are used throughout standards-based scheduling and calendaring systems. Many different vCard standards coexist in today’s organizations. I also described how directory services, especially LDAP (the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), are the well-established means to enable wide secure access to the information in vCards. In this post I discuss current efforts that will expand these existing standards to support buildings and their systems.

The most frequently scheduled building-based resources are public rooms and building systems. Public rooms are invited to meetings as are other attendees. Smart buildings can optimize energy use while preserving amenity if they know when and by whom the building will be used.

An enterprise scheduling may include hundreds of schedulable conference rooms. These resources are generic to some extent, but the potential scheduler would like to filter the list. Show me the conference rooms that are near me, and that will seat at least 8 people, have an internet connection, and have a projection screen. If there is a cost, show me what each costs per hour.

Two things stand in the way of adding this as a standard function. Today, there is no standard for what the names of each of these features is. In other words, there is no Resource vCard standards for rooms. The second is that there is no source for this information. Few want to take on an additional data maintenance task to enter this information or to keep it up to date. Fortunately, there is a solution to both of these problems, and that solution is BIM. More particularly, the solution lies in COBie Lite.

COBie Lite describes a strongly typed and validateable data model. COBie Lite has been stripped of all process, it does not matter what the source of the information is. The information in COBie Lite can be exported from the BIM used to design and build a building. COBie Lite provides a formal definition of the information that should be collected during commissioning. COBie can be imported into all of the major Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). Today these systems are roach motels holes of COBie—data checks in, it doesn’t check out. That can and will change.

There are many sources of COBie lite. In each of them, the information is created or maintained to support an existing business process. A standard transform of COBie Lite can produce all the information needed for a standard Resource vCard for rooms. I call this standard the BIMcard.

Building-based systems also face problems of dynamic integration. Traditional building management systems are highly proprietary. Even when fronted by standards-based middleware, say a Tridium JACE exposing oBIX, it is still hard to integrate with business functions in any scaleable way. Let me be clear what I mean by scaleable. A BAS might take one engineer one week to link up BAS and some fixed enterprise functions. To link up 5 buildings might take a single engineers 5 weeks, or a 5 engineers one week. If it was a scalable process, we might expect the 5 engineers could integrate 100 buildings in two weeks. If the buildings can integrate themselves, that number goes way up.

A common BIM-based model provides a path forward. A commissioning report can produce an equipment-only COBie-based BIM. If there is a building model from construction, no matter how incomplete, it can provide a framework to host that COBie-based BIM. A profile for Building System Resource vCards can be defined based again upon COBie Lite. BIMcards, then become the searchable entrée to the systems in buildings. It is not hard to imagine BIMcards for temporary equipment, wherein they can register themselves in the building.

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