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IoT Lets Buildings Talk About Their Health

A new feature known as Talking Buildings, part of WiseState's Bopstem solution, allows building managers to chat with their buildings about the operations of a chiller, water heater or generator, via WhatsApp or Telegram.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 26, 2019

The Hyatt Regency London—The Churchill hotel is leveraging an Internet of Things (IoT) solution using both wireless and wired sensors to collect data about how its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is functioning throughout the building. The system, known as Bopstem, is provided by automation and intelligence solutions firm WiseState.

Since the hotel's pilot was launched in early 2018, the technology company has released the solution commercially to enable facility managers to view the functionality of the equipment operating its buildings. This year, the firm has taken the solution a step further, enabling users to access data by communicating with the buildings. The new feature, dubbed the Talking Building, allows managers to use mobile phones to ask questions about any part of a structure's functions, and to then receive a response from the system in the form of written comments and graphs.

The system can share information with managers wherever they are, via either WhatsApp or Telegram.
The Hyatt Regency London—The Churchill, WiseState's first Bopstem customer, incorporated the Talking Building feature into its system in December 2018. WiseState is an IoT technology company that develops and sells facility- and building-management solutions. It aims to address the challenges of building managers trying to monitor numerous conditions throughout one or multiple facilities.

Hotels offer a further challenge, since the operations of a building include the conditions for dozens, or even hundreds, of individual guest rooms. That means managers must keep a close eye on any potential failures before they can occur. The challenges of such managers center around "their limited resources and the need to serve different areas with very different requirements in terms of guests' comfort," says Jose Luis Cardenas Duenas, WiseState's product director. At the same time, hospitality companies are under more pressure than ever to increase their energy efficiency. This means malfunctioning equipment or unnecessary power consumption must be quickly identified and remedied.

WiseState developed the Bopstem system to allow managers to not only view conditions within their buildings, but also create control strategies based on those conditions. In that way, for instance, they can set up a diagnosis indicating a potential failure of a piece of equipment, based on temperature levels or other readings culled from sensors. Managers can then receive alerts on their smartphones.

The Bopstem software gathers data from the HVAC system, as well as from the WiseState wireless sensors, which use a Wi-Fi or cellular connection to transmit data to a gateway. The gateway itself performs computing on the edge, according to Cardenas Duenas, then forwards the collected information to the WiseState server. By accomplishing the data management on the edge, the system can ensure that it will work properly even in the case of a temporary loss of Internet connection. It also reduces the amount of data that is sent from the gateway to the server.

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