EnOcean Alliance, IBM partner to standardize intelligent building solutions for Internet of Things

by Brianna Crandall — January 30, 2017 — The EnOcean Alliance has significantly expanded, and strengthened its program in building automation and the Internet of Things, with multinational technology and services corporation IBM supporting the EnOcean Alliance as a Promoter Member. The EnOcean Alliance is a consortium of more than 400 companies that standardize and develop intelligent building solutions integrating energy-harvesting wireless technology. Together, IBM and the EnOcean Alliance plan to bring sensors to the cloud and develop self-powered solutions as a standard for the Internet of Things (IoT).

EnOcean-based sensors and devices operate large numbers of IoT devices efficiently and supply reliable data to IoT systems. Furthermore, the EnOcean Alliance offers the benefit of a broad, proven ecosystem of interoperable energy-harvesting wireless sensor solutions, which are available for intelligent building environments worldwide. These solutions help optimize the utilization of buildings, create new service models, and make buildings more flexible, more energy-efficient and more cost-effective, says EnOcean.

Self-powered wireless solutions

Using the sub 1 GHz band (ISO/IEC 14543-3-1X), the EnOcean wireless standard is well-suited for use in building automation and smart homes worldwide, says the Alliance. In contrast to other wireless products that require batteries, and their associated maintenance problems, EnOcean-based devices are self-powered and enable a “fit and forget” sensor solution. Energy harvesters gain energy from the surrounding environment, including motion, light or temperature differences, to power wireless modules. This energy-harvesting principle makes the devices maintenance-free, adds EnOcean.

Connected to the cloud

The IBM Watson IoT Platform is a fully managed, cloud-hosted service designed to make it simple to build and deploy apps for IoT devices, sensors and gateways. When combined with the IBM Bluemix environment, and the secure Watson APIs, the platform allows integration and analyzes predictive, cognitive, and contextual analytics for stronger decision-making for intelligent building environments.

Organizations are able to securely and easily connect devices, ranging from chips and intelligent appliances to applications and industry solutions. Scaling through cloud-based services and using rich analytics, the IBM Watson IoT Platform provides organizations with new insight for innovation and transformation. IBM TRIRIGA provides a single system to manage the lifecycle of facilities. Its integrated workplace management system promises to increase the operational, financial and environmental performance of facilities.

Interoperable network

In close collaboration, the EnOcean Alliance and IBM have been working to define and expand standards for self-powered solutions for the IoT. Together, both partners standardize the EnOcean to IP interface and simplify the usage of applications in the IoT. This, for example, allows the integration of energy-harvesting wireless technology into the IBM Watson IoT Platform to conduct predictive and real-time analysis of facilities. These solutions can be used in various cases from asset management, ambient assisted-living projects, insurance or hotel and campus projects, giving maintenance-free wireless switches and sensors based on EnOcean technology.

One recent example of this partnership is the development of a solution for the Internet of Things sector: together with its partners, IBM, Digital Concepts and element14, EnOcean launched a certified kit called “Intelligent Building – Self-powered IoT Solution” with battery-less EnOcean-based wireless sensors.