ASX-listed, Seattle-based IoT company, Buddy Platform (ASX: BUD) has launched Buddy Ohm, a packaged system to enable enterprises to monitor building energy consumption that it will offer for a flat fee of $U1500 per month.
According to Buddy, this is an enormous cost savings compared to traditional capex-intensive resource monitoring solutions that often run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Customer data is already confirming that Ohm pays for itself within the first year as a result of energy savings realised,” Buddy claims.
Buddy Platform’s vice president of product and engineering, Habib Heydarian, said the system would bring smart city connectivity to the 1.5 million buildings in the US and Australia that do not run building management systems.
Buddy Ohm comprises a base station that communicates with the Buddy Platform over 3G and hard-wired sensors connected to small battery powered transmitters that communicate with the base station using wireless technologies based on the DECT cordless phone system, and in the DEC frequency band. Heydarian told IoTAustralia this technology had the advantage of operating in globally harmonised frequency bands and a range of up to 200 metres. He said the transmitters, powered by two AA batteries, would typically operate for a year before requiring new batteries.
Portal provides simple overview
Buddy says the system, via the Buddy Platform, gives building managers and owners a simple, easy to understand overview of how their facilities are consuming resources (or in the case of solar, generation). “This web portal is always accessible, visually clean and immediately understandable without specific knowledge of the system,” it says. Buddy also offers real-time push notifications when anomalies are detected, or when predetermined thresholds are passed.
A key feature of the system, according to Heydarian, is its ease of installation. To monitor energy consumption it uses simple optical sensors that detect light pulses emitted by LEDs on energy meters. According to Heydarian, for each type of energy – electricity, gas, steam, the quantum of energy indicated by each pulse is standard.
Buddy is also able to monitor power usage measured by old-style rotating disc meters by optically registering each disc rotation.
The company says Buddy Ohm will be launched this week in Seattle’s famed 5th Avenue Theatre – with an auditorium approximately the size of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, and listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.
Birth of the Buddy Platform
Buddy was founded in 2011 by Adelaide native David McLauchlan, who had been working for Microsoft in Seattle. He told IoTAustralia in 2016 that the Buddy Platform differed from the many other IoT platforms on the market in that it was a standards-based data exchange platform that is agnostic to sources and destinations of data.
“We will take in data in any format and push it out in any format and in as many streams as the customer wants, McLauchlan said. “Most other platforms are either a very vertical solution or, if they are more horizontal, will be very proprietary with their own security and communications protocols. What we have heard from a lot of customers is that they get locked into a particular solution that may become out of date or many not be supported.”
Buddy’s failed building management foray
In mid 2016 Buddy announced that it was acquiring US company Noveda Technologies a provider of software for the real-time monitoring of energy and water deliver systems. Buddy said Noveda’s technology, in conjunction with the Buddy Platform, would provide the analytics and intelligence needed by building owners, managers and service providers to monitor and track energy consumption and savings.
It announced in July 2016 that Noveda had been qualified by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to provide its IoT technology, along with the Buddy Platform, for NYSERDA’s $US36m initiative to increase the energy efficiency of New York’s commercial buildings through real time energy management (RTEM).
However in January 2017Buddy abandoned those plans with McLauchlan sayin: “After eight months and three negotiations and re-negotiations of the terms of the proposed transaction with Noveda, we were advised this week that they sought not just another change in deal terms, but a completely new deal structure. We felt strongly that this was unacceptable and would only perpetuate any market uncertainty surrounding the company, so we elected to walk away.”