Marc Petock discusses the Edge with Ken Sinclair of AutomatedBuildings.com
Sinclair: You have been talking about the Edge for a while now. What is the Edge?
Petock: Traditionally, data gathered from our building systems, equipment and devices had to be routed back to the Cloud and/or the Enterprise in order to be mined for insights. The Edge is the means to connect, collect, process data, and take actions at the sensor, controller, and equipment levels (the device-level) rather than in the Cloud or at the Enterprise. Look at it as the ability to execute applications traditionally associated with the enterprise or middleware closer to the source itself.
Sinclair: How did it come about?
Petock: It has been driven by a variety of elements that have merged. These include the breadth of connectivity options that are now available, the volume of data at our disposal, and the increase in real-time requirements. There has also been a shift toward more IP-enabled devices, advances in the power and smartness of hardware (more capacity, higher levels of data processing, increased storage capabilities). The reduction in costs of more powerful processors, the exponential growth of IoT, insufficient bandwidth and the movement to a distributed, more flat/horizontal building architecture has also contributed to the shift.
Sinclair: Why is the Edge important? What are the benefits?
Petock: The Edge expands our reach to a new range of equipment and devices to deliver operational value and relevant outcomes. It expands our ability to access and analyze data and act on it in real time. There is speed, as the round trip of data to the Cloud and back is eliminated. The Edge reduces latency and time to actionable insights. The Edge conserves network bandwidth and enhancing cybersecurity posture. The flexibility and power of the Edge makes it useful in a wide variety of applications and built environments. By offering facility owners and operators an opportunity to improve the use of data and enhance control at the device-level, edge devices are an attractive tool for facilities of all shapes and sizes.
Sinclair: Does the Edge replace the Cloud?
Petock: The Edge does not replace the Cloud, but rather complements it. It brings more efficiency, resilience, flexibility, security, and simplicity to our efforts. It ensures that the data resulting from equipment and devices is the best you can get so that the conclusions derived can be acted upon within the most optimal timeframe required to deliver the maximum value and business outcomes.
Sinclair: So, what are the use cases?
Petock: Any building size or type, multi-site environments; plant and equipment control such as air handling units, roof top units, boilers, fan coil units, heat pumps and more. Really, any IoT applications requiring connectivity and smart, edge technology.
Sinclair: What has Lynxspring done to address the Edge?
Petock: We set out on a journey back in late 2015, to develop and bring to market a portfolio of products and applications under the banner of Edge Enabled™ by Lynxspring, One Platform Many IP Possibilities™. This portfolio includes controllers, modules, gateways, and applications that support IP connectivity, integration, interoperability, data access and control at the edge.
We released the first of our Onyxx® product line in 2016, which includes a BACnet® to Haystack Data Pump, a 4G LTE Cellular Router and a SkySpark® Edge Analytics device. In 2017, we released the beginning of our JENEsys Edge™ line of programmable controllers powered by the Niagara Framework®.
Today this line includes the JENEsys® Edge™ 534, the first, programmable, fully functional Niagara 4 based IP Edge controller with 34 IO on board and universal IO expandability. The line has expanded and now consists of the JENEsys® Edge™ 534 -4G LTE (same functions as the JENEsys Edge 534 with built in 4G LTE Cellular capabilities), the JENEsys® Edge™ 534 Monnit® (same functions as the JENEsys Edge 534 with the addition of a built-in 900 MHz wireless transceiver and application for connectivity to Monnit sensors), JENEsys® Edge™ 514, a Niagara programmable controller with 14 IO on board and coming this summer, the JENEsys® Edge™ 414-VAV, a Niagara, IP based VAV controller with built-in integrated differential pressure transducer and 15 additional IO.
In addition, we also have two IO extender modules, The Onyxx® XM 34IO which can extend IO to any JENEsys® Edge™ 534 unit and the Onyxx® XM 34IO-B (BACnet® capable), when paired with the Onyxx XM 34IO. Use it to configure to add additional IOs to any JENEsys Edge 534 – AX, JENEsys Edge 534 – N4, the JENEsys® PC8000 controller, or any JACE® 800 controller.
Sinclair: Final thoughts?
Petock: The Edge is becoming an integral part of many organizations building operational strategies. We are connecting more devices and crunching more data more quickly than ever before. Adoption of Edge technologies ensures a much greater degree of flexibility for future integration of new systems and applications into smart buildings, as well as reduces operational costs, time required for installation and the overall complexity of building architectures.