Author: Andrew Foster, Product Director | IOTech
The key objective of the EdgeX Foundry project is to create a flexible and open Edge IoT platform that can support a range of different vertical use cases across markets as diverse as manufacturing, oil & gas and smart energy. A key vertical market that has emerged where the community and IOTech, in particular, have been involved in multiple projects is Building Automation.
Why is Building Automation such a sweet spot for EdgeX?
IOTech’s experience is that the requirements of the next generation of Buildings Automation applications align perfectly with the capabilities of EdgeX. In particular, a modern building is a sophisticated and heterogeneous environment consisting of diverse subsystems including lighting, HVAC and access control. Data can be generated from multiple sources using a range of different device/sensor technologies and protocols (e.g. Modbus, BACnet, DALI, MQTT and others). The sensor data must be normalized by the IoT platform running on an Edge node e.g. an industrial Gateway or on-premise server. The data can then be fed into the building management analytics which can make smart control decisions in “near” real-time on how to automatically optimize the building environment for the benefit of the users and also the building owners. The openness of EdgeX (can support any “Southbound” OT protocol or “Northbound” Cloud endpoint) and its platform independence (not tied to a specific operating system or hardware/silicon) is key to its suitability for Building Automation use cases. Very importantly EdgeX also provides “out-of-the-box” connectivity for a number of the protocols most commonly required in a smart building system. As of the most recent EdgeX Edinburgh release the list includes Modbus, BACNet, MQTT and OPC UA Device Services.
The following video showcases the demo system created by IOTech on behalf of the Linux Foundation to highlight the key capabilities that make EdgeX a great choice of Edge IoT Platform for use in Building Automation applications. It shows the integration of multiple devices commonly found in commercial buildings (light and temperature sensors, HVAC controller, DALI lighting controllers, power meter and access control system). Based on occupancy data the Edge Analytics automatically regulates the building environment, controlling the light levels and HVAC settings in multiple independent zones based on the ambient light and temperature readings from each zone. Overall power consumption of the building is also monitored and key data streams are exported to a Big Data application running on AWS Cloud.
For more information of how EdgeX and IOTech’s Edge Xpert can support your Building Automation systems contact IOTech.