PlanIT OS™ – How It Works In Practice
A set of sensors in a given room in a building constantly detect conditions and relay this information through the sensor network to the controls level of the PlanIT OS™. The controls level knows either through supported protocols or a driver application how to correctly interpret the data coming from the sensors.
This information may well be used in the first instance by a number of Control Applications resident in the PlanIT OS™ RTC core which manages and supports these applications. For example an HVAC application will take into account factors such as temperature, humidity, air quality, weather conditions, occupancy, predicted or advised arrival / departure times of occupants, and energy cost and availability to determine whether adjustments to the current conditions inside the room are necessary.
Some of this information is obtained from local sensors, other information comes from elsewhere in the urban environment (or outside) and is relayed via the PlanIT OS™ Supervisory Level’s Urban Service Bus. The application when active runs continuously, taking account of changing parameters to determine – for example – the optimal position of a motorized flap which increases the amount of heated / cooled air ducted into the room – and/or the velocity of any airflow-boosting fans fitted.
Mathematical algorithms for this control constitute these control algorithms, which are usually built as the building is designed alongside choices about building physics and materials used. These algorithms can then be continually fine-tuned via the PlanIT OS™ (see below).
Supervisory Level Feed
In addition to these immediate control functions, information is also continually relayed to the supervisory layer of the PlanIT OS™. This achieves two purposes:
- The Historical database is continually updated with what is being measured within the room and the entire development;
- Information required by other subsystems is relayed in near-real-time to those systems
History = Prediction
The collection of historical data allows for very precise forecasting and prediction to be achieved. For example, being able to predict when an owner is likely to reach home or what settings they are likely to want for their climate control given outside weather conditions and previously observed patterns.
Urban Service Bus
The relaying of information to other subsystems is achieved using the Urban Service Bus. This employs a ‘publish-subscribe’ paradigm to allow other control applications / large scale control applications to subscribe to information available in the system as a whole. For example, it’s likely that the control application which maintains the temperature and airflow in the ducts of the HVAC system is physically separate from the one maintaining our room’s air flap. But this application appreciates knowing when the airflap is moved for all rooms connected to that duct, because it maintains a model of demand on the system so it can continually adjust its output to suit.
Even our simple story doesn’t end there, however. Let’s say the apartment owner gets home and does want to make a change to his HVAC settings. His intended setting for this room is obviously a variable held somewhere in the PlanIT OS™ and made available to the control application. But how can he change it?
This is where PlaceApps come in. PlaceApps – the Living PlanIT term for user-facing applications in the urban environment – allow people to interact with systems. A PlaceApp for HVAC might run on a permanently mounted wall panel which looks like a traditional thermostat, and on a smartphone application, and on a TV screen… etcetera. The PlaceApps are built using Service Oriented Architecture – where much of the application content consists of services that are bound to simple UI elements, making it easier to write applications that run well on multiple devices. So via some PlaceApp the user makes a change, which is fed in near-real time to the control application which starts to make adjustments. But the fact that the user made the adjustment at this time and from what location is also recorded so that this can be used later on to better predict the users requirements.
Furthermore, applications correctly written for one PlanIT OS™ deployment will work in other PlanIT OS™-equipped developments, because the platform is consistent and the details of interfacing with specific types of equipment are abstracted from the application by the PlanIT OS™. This opens up a mass market for applications as opposed to their development inherently being bespoke and less efficient.
But even now there is a coda to our story. All of the algorithms that run the HVAC system together with every algorithm in the urban environment can be continually fine-tuned to perform more efficiently under real-world conditions. What-if scenarios and optimization techniques using artificial intelligence can be played against the history data collected. Once algorithms are found which perform better than the initial algorithms, they can be deployed without downtime thanks to update facilities built into the PlanIT OS™ RTC core. This means that Living PlanIT equipped buildings get more efficient in the first years of their life, not less. This continuous optimization of all urban functions drives efficiency, and reduces the environmental impact of buildings and what people do in them.
More examples can be found here.