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Microsoft joins the EnOcean Alliance

Graham Martin

The decision by Microsoft to join the Alliance will help to significantly expand and strengthen its programme.

The EnOcean Alliance has significantly expanded and strengthened its programme to digitalise building spaces with the news, released last month, that Microsoft is joining it as a Board and Promoter Member.

The EnOcean Alliance, which has more than 400 members worldwide, is a non-profit organisation that is standardising and developing intelligent building solutions with integrated energy harvesting wireless technology.

The news that Microsoft is joining the Alliance, comes at a time when the demand for smart building management systems is starting to take off and the Internet of Things is making it possible to create a digital twin, which represents building spaces and work spaces in the virtual world.

According to Graham Martin, Chairman and CEO of the EnOcean Alliance, “When it comes to smart building developments, we are seeing companies like IBM and Microsoft now entering the market providing data management and analytical services. The sensors we deploy in buildings are generating vast amount of data but most of them have been deployed in either ‘dumb’ buildings or where there’s only local control. They are not able to do anything with the data that’s being generated.”

Companies are investing in modern, attractive work environments and in deploying flexible concepts for new ways of working that not only motivate their employees but ensure higher levels of productivity. To date, EnOcean based maintenance free wireless sensors data have been able to provide data in real time via an IoT gateway. Now with the involvement of Microsoft it will be possible to create a digital twin and to have access to an IoT cloud platform where the data generated can now be analysed using a dashboard to visualise the results.

“EoOcean’s original approach was to integrate building controls from the off, but we found that building and facility managers were uncomfortable ceding control to an external source.

“They didn’t want to lose control of their buildings,” Martin explained to New Electronics.

“So via the Cloud services provided by Microsoft we are now able to create a digital twin that is able to process the data that is being generated but doesn’t actually control the building. It’s a parallel system that records data and over a period of six months will be able to provide information like occupancy rates, light and heating usage.”

Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins will enable comprehensive models of the physical environment and its relationship with and interaction between people, places and devices to be created.

According to Graham, “Most buildings are only 60 percent occupied, so there is a lot of empty space. By using data from our sensors companies will be able to better manage their facilities. The cost savings could be considerable.”

“EoOcean’s original approach was to integrate building controls from the off, but we found that building and facility managers were uncomfortable ceding control to an external source. They didn’t want to lose control of their buildings”

Graham Martin

According to Thomas Frahler, Business Lead Internet of Things at Microsoft Germany: “As a member of the EnOcean Alliance, we are empowering businesses to adapt digital technologies quickly and build their own digital competencies to offer new services to their customers by sharing our expertise as a technology leader and providing advanced platforms and tools.

“Our IoT Platform helps to simplify the entry for companies into the Internet of Things, regardless of where they currently are at and independent of cloud, software or devices.”

“IoT brings us huge opportunities,” explained Martin. “To do this in buildings we need to be able to digitalise building spaces to provide the necessary data required as well as powerful AI analytic and representation tools.

“Our agreement with Microsoft is a perfect marriage between their platform to analyse and optimise buildings and EnOcean’s wireless and maintenance free interoperable sensors.

“With Microsoft’s long-standing expertise in cloud-based services and IoT, we have gained a very strong partner in the ecosystem. We are looking forward to a successful cooperation to build the future of IoT,” added Martin.

Author
Neil Tyler

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