Originally published in Interiors & Sources

08/24/2012

Management On the Go

Get to the root of building system inefficiencies with cloud- or mobile-based help

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Cloud-hosted management software allows you to view building statistics and other applications anytime, anywhere.
COURTESY OF JOHNSON CONTROLS
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Could your management strategies benefit from an extra layer of security and portability?

If you’re hoping to expand the functionality of your existing building automation or management system, you may benefit from linking it to cloud-based monitoring or fault detection. Need to take your management system in the field? Specify a mobile-friendly system for added portability.

Understand the Cloud Concept
The popular buzzword seems vague, but refers to a specific simple concept. “Cloud computing” and its variations refer to applications, files, and other data available in real-time over the Internet. You can then access whatever you store in the cloud from virtually anywhere. If you’ve ever uploaded photos to Flickr or opened a Gmail account, you’ve used cloud computing – specifically, a type called Software as a Service (SaaS).

Can I Benefit from the Cloud?
If your company has the expertise and manpower for extra responsibilities and the infrastructure to store all that extra data, you might choose to manage the system in-house. However, cloud-based management offers extra safety because the vendor (who likely utilizes a sizable, secure data center) hosts your software and data for you. This decision ultimately comes down to user preference.

“There’s nothing preventing you from operating the system in the cloud,” notes Jim Fletcher, distinguished engineer and chief architect of smarter infrastructure at IBM, whose Intelligent Buildings Management software stores data in the cloud. “The end user wouldn’t know the difference, so it’s based on the comfort of the customer.”

In the event that something wipes your hard drive, anything you stored in the cloud will still be hosted safely by the provider. This also cuts down on future data storage needs.

“There are numerous benefits to cloud computing,” says Gary Kummer, director of global sales for Panoptix, a cloud-based efficiency management system by Johnson Controls. “You can access applications anytime – all you need is an internet connection and a browser.”


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