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Connectivity via Cloud for optimising operations

Connectivity via Cloud for optimising operations

In the wake of rapid urbanisation and growing cities, potential for infrastructure, more so smart infrastructure, has widened notably. This has fuelled the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) for making cities smarter. Investing in infrastructure and building automation is the first step towards creating a smart city, says Mukund Patil, Head PFA, B&R Industrial Automation India.

How is your technology contributing to making better smart cities?
Automated smart buildings provide efficient energy management, security and comfort. Linking the building management system (BMS) with CCTV, access control systems, provides higher value and safety to occupants. The rise of automated smart buildings and infrastructure is paving the way for smart cities, which are more efficient, productive, and convenient for a sustainable future.

What are the latest trends in IoT with respect to smart cities?
IoT is being explored in various areas such as consumer, e-retail, however, smart cities, smart energy has been catching a lot of attention lately. The amount of investment and focus on IoT will continue to rise in the near future. However, apart from these aspects, smart building for automating everyday functions is also on the rise. Waste management and water management are also seen receiving an increased attention in the smart cities. Optimising lighting and HVAC of building industry for efficient management of energy, increasing building security by linking BMS with CCTV, efficient movement of people with escalators, elevators, safety and connected vehicle are some of the emerging trends in IoT for smart cities.

Please talk about your latest innovation?
Conserving and giving back to the environment is always at the back of one’s mind. Thus, being efficient is one of the major targets. Engineering and controls together with software provides necessary tools for optimising automation systems as well as making it more efficient. We have successfully implemented edge architectures across various sites either greenfield or brownfield helping optimise operations and improve efficiency.

B&R Edge controller incorporates energy monitoring and condition monitoring solutions in the same system. This system can also be based on cloud enabling various sites to be connected efficiently. Edge controller is able to communicate on various protocols including BACnet and provide secure connectivity to the internet using OPC UA and MQTT. Thus even at intermittent internet access the data logging and remote access is possible in a secure manner. Today, we are witnessing increased demand for edge solutions in the market. Monitoring assets in a building or an infrastructure helps plan maintenance of various assets before failure, which might lead to a downtime. Monitoring energy helps in tracking energy consumption, making amends and optimising consumption, thereby helping track costs.

What is the major technological challenge faced related to smart cities?
Despite countless benefits of having smart cities, issues like data security, policies, lack of awareness about RoI, interoperability, brownfield infrastructure for energy, water and transportation exist. Edge computing is helping integrate all these requirements in one system which pares cost of implementation, makes various systems interoperable providing seamless connectivity. We are moving to a connected world and want to access everything on our smart phones. This needs connectivity from the sensors and controllers to the internet in a secure manner. Edge computing together with the open connectivity protocols such as OPC UA provides the necessary connectivity and security demanded by BMS. In addition, it acts as a final piece of hardware in a building before data moves to the cloud or internet. This is rather easier for greenfield buildings, but the question would be to leverage these benefits for brownfield buildings. Edge architectures from B&R not only make greenfield installations smart, but also make existing BMS smart. They provide greenfield benefits to brownfield buildings. To upgrade the existing buildings, the management does not need to invest in upgrading individual components but can have these edge devices in place to satisfy the new requirements and become IoT ready in smart cities and infrastructure.

B&R Edge controller incorporates energy monitoring and condition monitoring solutions in the same system.
Mukund Patil, Head PFA, B&R Industrial Automation India


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