In general, customers are happy to get a solution built just for them. But if you think about it, it’s akin to deciding to build your own car instead of visiting your local car dealer. The car on that lot underwent years of design, processing, and testing prior to the manufacturer turning out a single unit. Similarly in the digital energy network environment, affordability is also achieved via scale; something you just don’t receive with either a BAS or SCADA.
The hardware most often is represented as programmable gateways or PLCs that share many of the same issues as the software itself; very custom and once implemented, very inflexible. That means if you used “Bob” for a custom PLC panel for controlling your widget maker and collecting data, and then your business requirements change (or you have a component break), you’d better hope you can find Bob! And for most organizations today, such an individual-dependent process is unacceptable.
There is a paradigm shift from BAS and SCADA to a turnkey platform of subsystems within building management and operation to securely consolidate and centrally manage the monitoring of an organization’s disparate energy assets. In addition, there seems to be shift to the enterprise-wide management of energy networks allowing for better-equipped campus environment micro-grids, demand response programs, and virtual power plants. Lastly, the systems that do not require large amounts of customization and engineering reduce many of the issues involving security, time to implementation, maintainability, and cost; all of which are key factors that most organizations are grappling with today. Unfortunately, companies have invested a great deal of time and money in BAS and SCADA for managing their energy needs within their building campuses, so letting go of it can be particularly difficult. But the time is rapidly approaching when holding onto it may be even more agonizing.
About the Author
Brad Witter, Executive Vice President Technology and Operations of Blue Pillar, Inc., manages the Digital Energy Network solution to enable organizations to reduce energy spend and “monetize” assets through higher participation in demand response and ancillary energy markets. He supports customers in healthcare, commercial, industrial and manufacturing, military, government, higher education, datacenters and telecommunications, and off-grid/remote markets. You can reach Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org and find additional information about Blue Pillar at www.bluepillar.com.
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