Aussie tech company Buddy Platform recently unveiled a new product that will help save Aussie businesses thousands of dollars on their building electricity and other utility bills by helping them monitor their usage and carbon footprint. Microsoft and AF Square, set up by pop star Lady Gaga and her former manager, are among seed investors in Buddy.
The company announced a simple, complete and low cost solution for monitoring the consumption of electricity, gas, water, steam and solar power generation, called Buddy Ohm. The new product helps accurately measure the consumption of these resources in buildings, government facilities, and public infrastructure, helping managers, occupants and citizens get a clearer view of the financial and environmental cost of these facilities.
Buddy Ohm is the first end-to-end system from Buddy Platform designed to help current and future smart city projects get started faster, with the flexibility to integrate a client’s existing and future systems as they come online. “The global conversation around energy – how we generate it, how we consume it and how we conserve it – has never been more urgent, nor more relevant,” said David McLauchlan, CEO at Buddy Platform.
“Smart cities represent an amazing opportunity to dramatically change how we consume energy, while improving the quality of life for citizens. Improving the efficiency of those underlying systems is the first step for reaching those sustainability goals. I’m incredibly proud of the team and the game-changing product we’ve built, and I’m particularly excited to grow the Ohm product into a central hub connecting smart city-wide infrastructure with the Buddy Platform.”
How exactly does the Buddy Ohm work?
Buddy Ohm, monitoring for smart cities Buddy Ohm is a full monitoring solution comprised of Internet of Things (IoT) class hardware, secure and scalable data infrastructure, an operations portal, engaging occupant facing dashboards, and on-the-go mobile experiences.
Leveraging the power of the IoT, Buddy Ohm makes it easy and affordable to extract data from city and building systems in real-time, which is then processed by the company’s powerful data infrastructure service, The Buddy Platform. By utilising open hardware and software protocols, customers don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in with Ohm, they will always have full access and control of their resource data.
The Ohm base unit is installed in proximity to meters or sub meters, and utilises industry standard connectors to monitor electricity, solar, water, steam, gas and other natural and built environment elements. Ohm can wirelessly connect to other sensors, allowing for a network of sensors across city and building landscapes. Ohm connects directly to The Buddy Platform via the cellular network, eliminating troublesome Wi-Fi environments and reducing lapses in connectivity. This capability also means Ohm can be deployed in places where connectivity is a challenge.
Companion mobile experiences are crucial for monitoring and managing key systems for operators. Real-time push notifications when anomalies are detected, or predetermined thresholds are met means operators can act now, rather than looking backwards at historical events. Mobile can also be impactful for the people using the systems as part of their day-to-day activities. It can incentivise conservation by rewarding and gamifying behavior that will have a positive impact on the bottom line while reducing negative impact on the environment.
Hardware, service, maintenance and support are all included in a standard installation for a flat US$1500 a month. This is an enormous cost savings compared to traditional CAPEX-intensive resource monitoring solutions that often run in the 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.
“Given the real monetary and environmental benefits of resource monitoring for cities and buildings, these systems should not be reserved for just those with giant budgets,” said Habib Heydarian, Vice President of Product and Engineering, Buddy Platform.
“With Buddy Ohm we are truly democratising resource data by utilising IoT class hardware, and leveraging the power of The Buddy Platform. Once operators and occupants have access to this data and the insights it can provide, they can be an active part of the effort to be more efficient.”
Smarter buildings, changing behavior
Buddy Ohm was designed to be flexible, measuring electricity from the grid, gas, steam, solar and water across many applications. But Buddy also sees great potential in using the system to make buildings more efficient. Buildings represent the vast majority of resource consumption in cities, so optimising the way they are used can have a big impact on the carbon footprint.
While there are a variety of expensive and complex systems available today for managing everything from elevators to HVAC, they are typically siloed and built specifically for the building engineer or operator. Often these expensive systems force operators to optimise their resource consumption using only historical data, which mean critical events that can negatively impact resource consumption are missed.
Also, for buildings that lack a traditional building management system (BMS) due to age or budgets, simple and straightforward monitoring using Buddy Ohm can help realise efficiencies and savings they might not otherwise have access to.
While these large systems are important, what they lack is an inexpensive, easy to install and intuitive solution for exposing real-time resource data for building occupants. Complex building infrastructure can be optimised to a certain point, but without the participation of the people living and working in these buildings, the next level of savings and conservation may never be reached.
Buddy Ohm also provides a complimentary front-end experience for the traditional BMS by providing engaging, modern and modular dashboards that over time help people develop a deeper understanding of the link between their actions and resource conservation.