From IoT Buzzword to Reality

  • April 06, 2015
  • Feature

Internet of Things (IoT) application for rooftop HVAC systems

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Daikin Industries introduced the Intelligent Equipment platform for HVAC equipment at the AHR 2015 exposition in Chicago. This platform translates the IoT buzzwords into a real-world IoT application. Daikin Industries, Ltd. is a Forbes 1000 global company with 2014 revenues of nearly $18 billion and more than 56,000 employees worldwide. Daikin is the largest HVAC manufacturer in the world. Daikin is engaged primarily in the development, manufacture, sales and aftermarket support of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment, refrigerants and other chemicals, as well as oil hydraulic products. Daikin was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Forbes magazine and one of the 100 most sustainable corporations for three years in a row by Corporate Knights.

The Intelligent Equipment platform was developed in collaboration with Intel and Wind River (an Intel Company). Paul Rauker, Vice President of Systems and Controls at Daikin, described this initiative by saying, “The Internet of Things is impacting all levels of how we interact with (control) and maintain HVAC equipment. “We’re able to unlock data and use that information in ways never possible before now. We’re able to receive actionable, real-time data and see proactive shifts in behavior instantly, without expending additional effort.”

The Daikin Intelligent Equipment platform is another sign that recent projections will become a reality. Experts predict that there will be three times as many Internet-connected things on earth as there are people within the next 10 years.

Spokespeople for Daikin described how hardware was added to the rooftop unit to collect information from the sensors and actuators. The system then sends the data over cellular communications to an Intel cloud service. Daikin, in collaboration with Intel, have developed analytics for HVAC systems to quickly identify issues and ineffective systems that need service. The predictive and preventative maintenance information helps facility managers maintain equipment before it loses efficiency or impacts occupant comfort. The Intelligent Equipment platform supports remote monitoring and control using any mobile device. Maintenance personnel can now be more efficient because this system gives them information to be proactive rather than reactive.

The Intelligent Equipment platform supports monitoring and control remotely using any mobile device.

Analytics Software

Daikin Intelligent Equipment utilizes an Intel IoT Gateway along with the Intel Decision Solutions Trend Analytics Module that provides remote monitoring and decision support. The Trend Analytics Software provides remote monitoring and decision support as a front-end monitoring software solution. It is used predominantly as an anomaly detector for maintenance decision support. Trend Analytics Software is a cloud-based application hosted by Intel that can be accessed by multiple users to monitor assets from multiple manufacturers. Operational data from these assets is stored in a secure database at Intel. The software manages the data and performs analysis automatically to identify problems.

New & Legacy Equipment

Daikin plans to incorporate the Intelligent Equipment platform across its entire product line beginning with packaged rooftop systems, specifically Daikin Rebel and Daikin Maverick II. The technology easily interfaces with new or legacy equipment, and the units will intuitively know when to adjust for occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

By unlocking the data, Intelligent Equipment also enables managers to make more accurate decisions about upgrade and replacement investments.

Building Automation System Alternative

Daikin personnel say this system is a viable alternative to traditional Building Automation System since it offers easy access and insights into a building’s performance at a fraction of the cost. Features of the new Intelligent Equipment include the following:

  • HVAC systems can deliver users’ financial summaries of their energy savings and equipment payback
  • Sync with weather forecasts to adjust for changing climates before it happens
  • Give users direct access to its power usage levels as well as its CO2 use, providing a more accurate view of their carbon footprint

Thoughts & Observations

This is an example of the change in automation system architectures that I previously forecasted and wrote about. In 2012, I described this architecture change in an article called Simplifying Automation System Hierarchies. By leaning the automation systems architectures, we can drive intelligence to the edge and leveraging enterprise and cloud computing. This applies to the progression of technology and architectures in both building and industrial automation systems.

Intel and Daikin produced the following thought-provoking video, Daikin Applied Transforming the HVAC Industry. Consider how the technology applies to all of types of automation.

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