How does interoperability releases from proprietary imprisonment ?

Are you familiar with the expression "No intelligent building without data interoperability"? A building where systems do not communicate with each other can be likened to a Tower of Babel. Each system speaks its own language and the building becomes a confusing place where systems don't understand each other and data is ultimately underused.

So how do we interconnect these systems that are not initially designed to communicate with each other because of different communication protocols? This is a question that will boomerang in your head. Yet the solution is very simple. There is a Google Translation to make Modbus communicate with Sigfox in buildings: it's called interoperability.

Meet our CEO and systems interoperability expert, Mahdi Ben Alaya.

How to define data interoperability in buildings?

Interoperability is the key to manage, share and exchange data from different technologies. The aim of interoperability is to break down the "language" barriers in the building to create an ecosystem and synergy with its environment (Smart City, Smart Grids, etc.).

Interoperability is ultimately the ability to make systems communicate with each other when they are not initially capable of doing so. Interoperability will make it possible to free oneself from the complexity of the field and to abolish silos in order to make data from very heterogeneous objects available:

  • Electrical equipment and installations (lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, energy meters, alarms, sensors and various communicating objects)
  • Communication protocols (Modbus, BACnet, KNX, Sigfox, LoRa, Wifi, BLE, etc.)
  • Management systems and business applications (supervision, technical and energy management systems (GTB), space management, BIM, CMMS, etc.)

Plug & Play integration of all equipment independently of suppliers is no longer a dream but a reality.

What are the challenges of interoperability?

Today, buildings have heterogeneous equipment, systems, protocols and sensors that cannot communicate with each other naturally because the embedded technologies are not designed to work with systems different from those of the original supplier.

This is known as proprietary lock-in. The installation of multi-vendor equipment represents additional costs. Operators therefore often find themselves obliged to integrate equipment from the same supplier or face heterogeneous installations that make maintenance and operation more complex. These silos make data difficult to access and therefore little, if any, use.

However, it is data that leads to the creation and development of new high value-added services for users and managers: energy efficiency, predictive maintenance, space management, etc. As the 4th fluid of the building, data is at the heart of the "Smart Building" because it is an important source of value to create what is called "building as a service".

What tool can be used to combat this proprietary lock-in and simplify the integration of interoperability in buildings?

The solution is to unify static and dynamic building data under a common repository through the Building Operating System (BOS). The BOS is the guarantor of interoperability in buildings. It mainly ensures:

  • Rapid integration of heterogeneous equipment and data collection from different sources
  • Unification of collected data under a common building repository
  • Completion and semantic enrichment of unified data
  • Efficient exposure of the enriched data through open and secure interfaces to transform the building into a service platform

What example from a real situation proves the importance of interoperability?

In times of health crisis, shop opening times are constantly changing, which means that the operation of the equipment must be adapted to the new context of the building.

Let's take the example of a regional site manager who wants to change the lighting schedules of his buildings according to the new restrictions. Since each building is managed by a different technical management system, without interoperability, the site manager is forced to connect to each site separately to change the schedule. Thanks to interoperability, he has a single interface that allows him to control his entire building stock with just a few clicks, which represents a considerable saving in time and money.

Interoperability is the key to unlocking the potential of data and triggering the technical and ecological transition of buildings. This will ultimately lead to a reduction in integration costs, operational costs and energy consumption in buildings.

Sensinov offers to apply your own strategy to your buildings. Our solutions meet the challenges of openness, interoperability and are 100% in line with the new standards (R2S label, BACS decree, tertiary decree). BOS Sensinov supports building professionals in their daily work on several subjects, particularly in the areas of Hypervision and building supervision, equipment control and energy consumption optimisation.

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