CIO Review Magazine

Smart Buildings with Secure IoT Backbone

2016

By CIO Review Magazine

In business today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the fastest growing trends. All industries are affected by the increased connectivity, speed, and security concerns that accompany networked devices. The building automation and facilities management industry is on the ground floor of this shift.

Although the industry knows IoT is here to stay, there is still a lot of work for CIOs to do to ensure that their buildings are adequately equipped to handle the IoT and the smart buildings of tomorrow, primarily when it comes to security.

Engineers are diligently creating new ways to optimize and interconnect individual systems from HVAC and electrical to lighting and water but CIOs need to focus on the bigger picture of full operational optimization without compromising a building or portfolio.

“IoT is still emerging; we focus on defining IoT as the convergence of information technology and operations technology,” explains Brian Turner, President, OTI.

Despite its newness, Turner says companies should be looking to invest in a secure and high-speed OT backbone now, for buildings where different operational systems—HVAC controls, lighting, power monitoring, power management, fire and gas detection, elevators and more—will combine securely with IT.

OTI, headquartered in California, takes a unique approach to the security question. In general, most organizations deploying IoT solutions inadvertently open perilous network channels into their busi-ness, increasing security risks. Considering this, OTI separates OT network from the IT network by designing single points of connection that can be secured and firewalled. This allows the IT department access to the data on the OT network and vice-versa, without compromising the IT network where all of the sensitive data continues to live.

“Our focus is on providing security and simpler maintenance for the life of the facilities beyond just energy savings,” Turner says. “OTI implements one backbone connecting the primary systems in smart buildings to each other, thus benefitting the Ops department with cost-effectiveness, security, and efficient energy performance.”

In addition to enterprise integrations on new and existing buildings, with a focus on secure backbones for building automation systems, OTI engineers and programs a host of software packages for customers to further take advantage of the operational efficiencies offered by the IoT. The flexible and easy-to-use TenantEye, developed by Kodaro is supported by OTI to help clients to allocate utility costs to their tenants by calculating costs and invoicing occupants, directly from the client’s sub meters to their inbox. For energy management, OTI offers various combinations of Niagara Analytics and SkySpark data analytics engines for building managers to view energy data and also carryout real-time monitoring of entire building portfolios from anywhere in the world. Additionally, the company offers a small asset management platform, WorkSimpley that uses analytics to generate work orders and capture the costs associated with the repair of equipment.

It’s not just a legion of solutions that makes OTI unique, the firm’s distinct stature could be justified by its long-standing associations with clients. Recently, OTI completed a project in Mexico City, integrating a new commercial office building where systems, particularly on the HVAC side, were not operating adequately and there was a lack of understanding of the security in the backbone of operations technology. OTI worked as the system integrator providing much-needed security support along with programming and commissioning of individual controllers and full building systems plus extensive user education for various contractors who had no familiarity with this kind of technology.

With offices throughout the United States, including its newest location in New York City, OTI continues to expand the opportunities presented by the IoT for building owners and operators in the retail, commercial office building, government, education, hospital and datacenter industries without compromising security of building operations and data.