Most traditional buildings were designed to be maintained and monitored by humans— all their “habitat” components, including energy, water, spacing, security, disposal, have to always run on-demand. A poorly designed building may lead into unhappy and unproductive occupants, and high utility bills.
But now, smart buildings introduce a new approach. These buildings can solve their own problems and help their occupants—a combination of the right architectural passive design and technology.
Nowadays, we have a large selection of data collection devices to choose from. These IoT devices, from sensors to IP cameras are capable of collecting data from the external world as we have never seen before.
Unfortunately, most of these devices are entirely different worlds— they speak other data languages, create disparate and large amounts of raw data, and are useless unless processed in real-time.
We will be reviewing a smart building IoT gateway solution that helps resolve most of these challenges. Lanner’s LEC-7242 is an intelligent building IoT Wireless Gateway that helps integrate some of these IoT devices and collect their data. It also provides edge intelligence to reduce the need for higher bandwidth and more computing processing. For example, I can perform analytics on the collected data for lighting automation and control systems.
Smart buildings are composed of multiple different components working together. These components, like IoT sensors, video cameras etc., generate different levels of data that need to be processed differently. So, it becomes challenging to integrate this disparate data and forward it somewhere.
So, what are the challenges for smart buildings?
- Lack of Integration creates data silos. IoT devices are usually built with different standards and processes, so they are not easily interoperable. When enclosed systems like these are not integrated, new data silos and vulnerabilities are created. Additionally, the lack of interoperability and connectivity makes these systems unable to easily share information with data analysis engines.
- Resource-demanding and time-sensitive. Smart building applications can be processing and bandwidth demanding. For example, an IoT light sensor may send lots of data to an offshore server for analysis— the lighting control system can’t work without a quick response from this server. Additionally, data from sensors like fire control, smoke detectors, etc., would require ultra-low latencies and timely responses.
- Disparate systems increase the attack surface. Building’s data may contain sensitive information from its occupants. A breach in a smart building’s system may compromise tenants’ privacy and put at risk sensitive systems. If these components fall into the wrong hands, it may gravely affect all building’s occupants.
- Current systems are not tolerant of extreme environments. Smart buildings are not the ordinary data center. Basements and other places where electrical equipment is usually installed are usually not suitable for everyday IT devices.
Smart Building IoT Gateway Solution
The solution allows the interconnection across different wireless IoT devices deployed in smart buildings and cloud-based (private or public) management servers. It also allows analysis on the edge, to improve application’s response times.
The solution works as follows:
- The wireless IoT sensors collect the building’s data.
- The IoT gateway aggregates all this data, analyzes it, and provides the (intra and inter) communication.
- Additional software (running on the IoT gateway) may provide advanced analytics and insights via AI and ML.
- The IoT Gateway uses its advanced communications to forward data to a cloud-based monitoring/management center.
Intelligent IoT Gateway
Different smart building IoT sensors can be interconnected via the IoT Gateway. The IoT gateway provides a centralized secure platform for taking various data from outside collectors and integrating it centrally.
The IoT gateway also provides the edge intelligence capabilities to pre-process and analyze data on-site. This intelligence enables processing and communication responses in real-time, without relying on an offshore processing server.
Lanner’s LEC-7242 is an Intelligent wireless IoT gateway with Intel®, Apollo Lake CPU, and FCC/CE/PTCRB certification for LTE or WiFi. This device is specifically designed for IoT/IIoT edge, wireless security, and multi-site management.
All those building’s sensors can be interconnected together using WiFi or LTE. Additionally, the LEC-7242 device can run edge computing on the entire IoT hub (or WSN).
LEC-7242 Key Features
- Processing: Intel Apollo Lake Celeron® N3350/Atom® X5-E3940. Frequency from 2.4GHz / 1.8GHz (Core 2/4).
- Network: Two RJ45 10/100/1000 Mbps ports. Network controller Intel® i210-AT.
- Rich I/O: One serial Port (RS-232/422/485, DB9 Male), two USB3.0, and four SMA antenna holes.
- Wireless Expansion: One key socket w/ Dual SIM for LTE or WiFi, and one mini PCIe Socket w/ Dual SIM for LTE. The appliance is FCC/CE/PTCRB certified for LTE or WiFi.
- Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 500 controller with a Display port + 1HDMI port
- Harsh Environment Technology. It comes with advanced fanless passive cooling technology. The device can operate in a wide range of temperatures 0°C~50°C / -20°C~70°C. It is also operational in a relative humidity of 5%~95% (Non-condensing).
Besides the IoT Gateway, other key parts of a Smart Building IoT set-up include:
Intelligent sensors in the smart building industry can collect a myriad of data, light, room temperature, humidity, electrical current, motion, gas, air quality, water pressure, smoke detectors, and a lot more. These sensors are connected via a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) through the IoT gateway.
The Analytics Software
The intelligent software may run on the very same IoT gateway on the edge network. The purpose-built software provides analytics via AI and ML algorithms and integration of data. The software should allow the real-time raw data (at the edge) to turn into actionable insights and recommendations for smart building functions like HVAC efficiency, adequate lightning, room spacing, humidity, etc.
Monitoring and Management Server.
Another component for this solution is the monitoring and management application, which usually runs in a remote monitoring server— deployed locally, or in a private or public cloud.
Cloud-based unified access can allow the smart building to be managed and monitored remotely. This server will enable agents in a remote office to manage the assets, resources, terminals, connections, computing, and all applications.
This server should receive the already processed data from the edge solution. Having fewer data to process in an offshore server guarantees faster (real-time) and more reliable monitoring and management solutions.
Smart buildings, like shopping malls, large apartments, smart homes, offices, etc., are growing from private incentives. Consumers and businesses innovating private spaces will ultimately also affect top-down authorities to invest in Smart Cities.
The smart building IoT gateway solution transforms the traditional fixed building into an automated data-driven machine. All those devices collecting data from every corner of the building can now integrate into a central gateway. Whether their data must stay on-premise, or go off-shore— the IoT gateway can collect and process it. If the data must travel to a remote network, the IoT gateway also provides the communication.
The benefits of the Smart Building IoT gateway solution:
Minimize costs with automated decisions
The smart building solution with edge intelligence capabilities will process data on-site for sensing, integration, inference, judgment, and decision-making. The solution will help execute more and faster intelligent decisions, like HVAC utilization, power, electrical management, water consumption, etc.
For example, by collecting data from the time of day and other parameters like weather, lighting control systems can be optimized by 75% to 85%.
Advanced Communication Channel
The IoT gateway provides a comprehensive communication channel between the IoT sensors and smart analytics, (whether running on the device, locally, or remotely). The IoT gateway also enables the conversation between some wireless and wired devices. It forwards all kinds of data captured from sensors to the analysis engine and sends necessary information back to the sensors.
Make components interoperable
The IoT gateway interconnects and collects data from all devices. It breaks the building’s data silos by integrating inter-regional data and different platforms that are usually incompatible. It removes the barriers imposed by proprietary dependent systems and makes all IoT devices talk to each other.
The IoT gateway can integrate multiple sites and data that would have otherwise stayed siloed.
Management and monitoring of smart building components
Now, there are numerous IoT devices and sensors that can be accessed from the Internet. But again, the problem is integrating all these data into a single and central monitoring/management solution. The IoT gateway solves that: it integrates IoT sensors and provides an external communication gateway for their data.
Having remote access to real-time data makes efficient monitoring and management possible. Outsourced monitoring agents or the local building’s management team can have access to all smart building components, remotely and on real-time.