Building and Property Management for the most part have not yet seen the productivity improvements, energy savings and product innovation seen in other industries. This is because it was up to now difficult to measure accurately and consistently everything going on in buildings and act upon the information in a timely fashion.
Just as we’ve adopted the Internet and Apps in all parts of our lives to get better faster information at our fingertips, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now a reality which can connect “things” such as buildings with systems and provide consistent measurement of all aspects of the property to systems and people at an affordable cost.
Imagine being able to know at any time what is happening in your building:
how many people are at their desks or in their apartment?
what the temperature is in every single room?
what the water pressure on each level or each bathroom?
which doors are open and which ones are closed?
what is the quality of the air in the shopping area?
and use the insight from that data to drive the behaviours or processes you’ve defined:
reduce lighting in meeting rooms or public spaces when no one is around
save energy by adjusting the temperature to fit real usage patterns
avoid costly repairs and tenant frustration by fixing leaks before they cause flooding
improve security and circulation by stopping unauthorised access
generate more sales by venting areas to provide the best air conditions
We have worked with many leading Property Management & Facilities Management to create Smart Buildings which achieve these goals. We can help you transform your Property too. For a no engagement discussion and demonstration, please contact us.
Internet of Things (IoT) is not new but several factors are coming together to make it a reality for many businesses:
Major investment is taking place by telecoms to provide ubiquitous connectivity at low cost for data sensors. They are doing this by deploying Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) such as the ones provided by SIGFOX and the LoRa alliance. For example, the Dutch Telecom company KPN recently covered the whole of the Netherlands with a LoRa network and Comcast recently launched machineQ, a LoRa trial aimed at businesses in Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The low cost and simplicity of new low power connectivity hardware and software means that any company can afford to equip itself in IoT technology even if no carrier coverage is available.
The Digital transformation triggered by everyone carrying a always-connected super-computer in their pocket is now well accepted and whilst many businesses have not yet adapted to it, most leaders understand the threat to business as usual posed by new digital-fuelled business models (think Uber vs. the traditional taxis).
Businesses under pressure to cut costs and identify new revenue sources are realizing that having real-time data on their assets and being able to monitor “things” more consistently, more regularly and for a low investment is the best and most cost-effective solution.
What is IoT for?
IoT is presenting us with the opportunity to measure in real-time and with no human effort most events affecting physical objects around us. You may have heard of or used smart electricity meters which automatically send a meter reading every 30 minutes to the electricity company? That’s an IoT application.
Now just imagine if you could apply the same concepts to your business: for example knowing when something is open or closed, or when certain temperature is reached or certain gas concentration is present? Possibilities to utilize that information and to proactively react to it presents huge opportunities for costs avoidance and new revenues, from preventive maintenance, to optimized logistics or damage prevention, not forgetting user experience.
Not convinced? Think about knowing how many (or how few) steps you’ve taken by 4pm can encourage you to get up and take a walk in late afternoon: having the data at hand gives you a chance to act upon it.
What do I need?
There are four major distinct components you need in place to create an IoT-enabled solution:
Sensors measure and emit data from a device. A network transmits that data wirelessly in real-time. The information from the sensors is stored and analyzed using Big Data techniques and cloud storage, whilst Applications and Apps allow humans to visualize and action that data.
Sensors (also called “Nodes” in IoT literature) are devices which can measure anything from where an asset is (location), what the temperature is, how heavy something is, etc. There are literally hundreds of types of sensors available and new ones are coming out everyday. We work with a number of sensor manufacturers to provide our clients with exactly what they need.
The cost of these sensors is also rapidly declining as adoption increases and you can expect most of them to cost only a few dollars in volume.
The third element is power consumption: Anyone who has seen his/her smartphone battery drained by using a GPS-enabled Application knows how much certain sensors can deplete power. Most sensors for IoT are designed to be very power-efficient and use the same battery for 10 or even 20 years, eliminating the cost of wiring them to a power source or having to replace the battery regularly.
There are many competing standards for connectivity between data-emitting sensors and data-gathering servers. The options are varied from short range covering just a few meters (e.g BLE/Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee) to long range covering up to 6mi/10km with a single antenna (LPWAN/Low Power Wide Area Network), either using unlicensed radio bands or leveraging the LTE investments. Each usage scenario commands the appropriate network.
If you’re a runner out and about, looking to upload your latest performance data from your smartwatch to your own dashboard , you will most likely be using a combination of bluetooth (from the watch to your smartphone) and 3G/4G wireless data (from the smartphone to the cloud server with your data).
A smart thermostat such as Google’s Nest or British Gas’ Hive installed in your home utilizes your home WiFi network to connect to the wider internet over your broadband connection and give you real-time information and control on your heating or cooling.
A bus company looking to track its buses across its network can leverage GPS-tracking sensors connecting to a wide area network such as LoRa and an App to visualize on a map where every bus is and leverage that information to improve passenger experience and efficiency.
One of the amazing developments in IoT network over the last year or so is the real possibility for anyone to create your own network at low cost. A Building manager can install a Low Power WAN Gateway, able to receive data from all these sensors, covering an area of up to 6mi/10km for for a few hundred dollars. This gateway can use unlicensed radio spectrum so there is no need for authority (e.g. FCC) approval prior to installation.
These are particularly attractive in use cases such as Property Management as the company can use a mix of public network wherever one is available (for example in the center of a city) and deploy its own infrastructure in more rural, less covered areas. Both of these solutions can co-exist and use the same sensors and the same Apps to drive cost efficiencies.
We expect billions of connected devices to be installed and used over the next few years (Intel published a great infographic on Internet of Things and expects the number to be up to 200 Billion by 2020). These sensors are going to generate a lot of data which traditional SQL relational databases would be ill-equipped to handle and the cost to run these internally would be prohibitive. We have therefore developed expertise and tools to leverage modern cloud-based NoSQL databases which are designed to handle billions of pieces of information at a time. Our Point.io IoT platform provides your project with a turnkey solution which you can easily use with Apps we develop, your own Apps or integrate into your wider Big Data efforts.
Last but not least, IoT needs a front-end User Interface to collect, analyze, present and act upon the data. This is where Apps come in and where we most help our clients get what they need rapidly with our App Composer Platform.
A lot of IoT roots lie in the manufacturing world and a lot of IoT User Interfaces are “dashboards”: representations of the data generated by the sensors, which users can interpret to act upon.
At Point.io we believe that data visualization is only the beginning of the story and that to be truly useful in the business world, IoT apps need to incorporate the specific business processes each company has. This is where our robotic process automation comes into its own: our apps combine the data from IoT devices, make sense of it and act upon it, whether through a notification, an approval or an escalation. We can uniquely combine the data gathered by the sensors with the intelligence and steps taken by the staff, partners and customers with full traceability.
As we have spent a lot of time helping property management companies move to the digital age with our Portal solutions, IoT is a natural evolution to create smart buildings, smart offices and smart residences.
Intrigued? Why don’t you contact us and let’s speak about how we can help your business leap ahead of your competition with IoT!
App eliminates paper-based process, simplifies conference scheduling and feedback, and allows real-time update for better attendee communication
May 25, 2016 (Scottsdale, AZ) – Point.io, a leading provider of Apps for Work, has delivered an App Suite used by hundreds of Mobility executives and sponsors attending M6 Mobility xChange, run by nGage Events.
Chaired by Maribel Lopez, Principal and Founder of Lopez Consulting, M6 Mobility xChange is an invitation-only hosted summit where mobility executive attendees meet vendors and consultants for case studies and one-on-one meetings. Off-the-shelf event apps were not suitable as they were too inflexible for the personalized nature of the event.
“We needed a custom event App with additional features our back-end scheduling system could not deliver, such as real-time survey responses and dynamic scheduling changes” said Philip McKay, CEO of nGage. “Point.io delivered in a few days a whole app suite which works on any device with real time updates throughout the event. We eliminated paper feedback forms, which saved us hours of manual work and enhanced our users experience, both attendees and sponsors, by giving them immediate feedback”.
nGage Events, a leading innovator of hosted-model summits, produces and hosts invitation-only events: upscale business experiences that deliver more takeaway value for attending executives and more ROI for sponsors. As the leading innovator of hosted-model summits, nGage Events hosts exclusive audiences of end-user executives from major and midsize enterprises.
Point.io is a fast-growing provider of Custom Apps for Work. The company provides a Cognitive Robotic Process Automation software platform and delivery services to deploy robust Enterprise Right-Time Apps at a fraction of the cost and time. These Apps mobile-enable, extend and enhance mission-dependent business processes and systems. The Apps are as easy to use as Consumer Apps but tailored to each company’s way of working, rather than demand users change their processes to suit packaged applications.
The company’s customers range from Media, Construction, Property Management, Events and Legal. For more information about Point.io, visit www.point.io. Connect with Point.io on Twitter (@point_io), and LinkedIn.
ShareFile to connect directly to Alfresco, EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet,
iManage and OpenText Content Server
May 4, 2016 (Philadelphia) – Point.io, a leader in Custom Apps for Work has entered into an agreement for Citrix to license five enterprise content connectors it had developed. Citrix ShareFile®, already a leader in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing” for several years will incorporate these connectors into its own product suite and offer more complete seamless access to Enterprise content stored behind the firewall.
Enterprise users demand mobile access to their content without having to worry about where it is stored. When IT is unable to provide a solution, users resort to accessing unapproved consumer cloud services that create risks for the company in terms of security, compliance and data duplication.
Point.io has been supplying Citrix Enterprise customers with ready-built connectors to various on premise Enterprise Content Management systems to work seamlessly with Citrix’ leading ShareFile mobile File sharing tools. Now customers will be able to procure the combined solution and associated support directly from Citrix.
“Citrix ShareFile was already the most powerful solution in the Enterprise File Sync and Share market with a wide range of connectivity to document sources and open API’s,” said Charles Paumelle, Chief Marketing Officer for Point.io. “With these five additional connectors, they can help the majority of established businesses offer secure mobile access to existing content without migration or duplication to the cloud, resulting in greater user satisfaction and higher compliance.”
“Point.io was one of the first partners to embrace and build upon the open ShareFile platform, and they worked with us to extend ShareFile’s secure mobility benefits to several third-party document management systems,” said Jay Tomlin, Director of Product Management for Citrix ShareFile Enterprise. “Our customers need to secure, mobilize and collaborate on files across many data sources. This agreement accelerates our ability to extend those benefits to all ShareFile Enterprise customers.”
Point.io is a software platform allowing Enterprise Apps to be built and deployed at disruptive cost and speed. The company’s customers range from Media, Construction, Property Management, Events and Legal. For more information about Point.io, visit www.point.io. Connect with Point.io on Twitter (@point_io), and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/point-io).
In 2014, management consultant, Ian Tomlin, laid-out the case for and against Situational Applications in the businesses from a strategic perspective. It is a great read that makes plain the long history of situational applications in enterprise use with warts and all.
Best of all, he highlights the Top 10 challenges that businesses face when adopting a Situational Application approach. In practice, Situational Applications are rarely planned. They grow organically, inspired by need. And so thinking of them strategically may seem futile. But with the right tools and governance, grass-roots solutions can evolve to satisfy enterprise-level requirements even if only in hindsight. At Point.io, we have set our mission to satisfy these top ten challenge so that app owners can trust the future to us while getting business done today.
Here’s the 10 Challenges and how we address them:
1) Master data management and ‘enterprise-grade IT’
Situational apps owned from A-Z by line of business, end-users may lack the sophistication necessary to ensure the integrity, security, and scalability of data and process expected of enterprise-grade tools.
Point.io: Our platform decomposes the anatomy of a situational app into elemental parts: flows, facts, and forms. Each element has unique concerns. The Fact components for instance deal with enterprise and cloud data. By separating the elements allows professional developers to build well designed components and worry about the details like security and traceability. These enterprise-grade Facts can then be mixed-in by business owners to powerful content mashups without needing to worry about the details.
2) Clarity over role definitions
When business users get involved in building technological solutions, the roles and lines of accountability are blurred between IT, shadow-IT, and business owners. Who is responsible?
Point.io: The elemental decomposition aligns with roles and responsibilities naturally. Fact components are the purview of the IT leadership whose mandates to ensure data integrity and scale are clear. Flows are the primary concern of business owners who understand how business gets done optimally. And the apps that combine the elements together are the unique product of grass-roots insight within the lines of business. Each owns their portion with visibility to the activity of the other participants.
3) De-skilling database and applications design know-how
Complexity of building solid applications requires significant skills. Business users lack the time to acquire the skills for traditional application development.
Point.io: The decomposition of concerns is only the first principle in our solutions. Each component type: Apps, Facts, Flows, and Forms presents a user-interface that allows for simple configuration. Most offer drag-and-drop design capability AND an advanced code-based toolset to create answers for all tiers of sophistication. Business Users can jump into creating Situational Apps after viewing a 5-minute tutorial video using prebuilt components from their toolbox.
4) Richness of data integration and ETL tools
Availability of data sourced from multiple IT systems is usually limited due to the cost and complexity of data management tools and capabilities. Without them, situational apps will have limited utility.
Point.io: Facts drive data integration to 1) existing enterprise systems, 2) cloud-based tools, and 3) novel data repositories. The building of the Fact component requires some sophistication and infrastructure to ensure enterprise-grade integrity BUT mixing them together to create the situational app is easy AND compliant.
5) Adherence to platform compatibility standards
Going rogue with platforms and tools chosen specifically to support an individual situational need creates a complexity of management, redundancy of costs, and a failure to achieve economies of scale.
Point.io: By offering our platform in a variety of deployment forms, we make it possible for businesses to consolidate efforts for everything from the simplest one-screen situational app to the sexiest of native IOS apps. Initiatives can move from public cloud pilots to private managed services without interrupting the service to end-users. The platform supports many standards natively: BPMN workflow notation, HTML5, and JSON/XML data formats for instance.
A major challenge facing today’s IT director is how to bridge the gap between the demand from users for the simplicity and ease of use of the applications they use every day, and the increasing security, data integrity and process requirements of the enterprise. Partners, lawyers and support staff are used to the ease with which they can access personal information and functionality on their favourite devices but are frustrated by the difficulty of doing the same when it comes to the services they need to do their jobs.
This is accentuated when considering the increasingly mobile nature of today’s lawyers. Banning the use of Dropbox, OneDrive and other consumer equivalents because of security concerns, without providing a sensible alternative, is not a sustainable way forward for the IT department.
Work anywhere with solutions from Point.io and VESK for Legal
Point.io has joined with legal IT specialist firm VESK For Legal to create a joint solution to address the “work anywhere” challenge.
Point.io connects to over 30 industry-leading enterprise content management (ECM) and information storage solutions. These include iManage/WorkSite, OpenText, EMC Documentum, SharePoint, DropBox, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Google Drive, Salesforce, FTP and Windows shared drives.Point.io also integrates additional upcoming tools such as Docusign for digital signatures, , increasing productivity and simplifying process.
Making iManage mobile the easy way
Point.io’s iManage integration allows you to access the same documents you use in the office when you’re out and about – you can work from anywhere on whatever device you prefer to use.
A ‘one-click’ download will copy all the files you have accessed in the last thirty days, and the contents of their parent Workspaces, to secure storage solutions such as Citrix ShareFile or Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business, thereby providing you with all the information you need at your fingertips. It mails you when it’s done, so press the button and go!
The access rights associated with iManage are maintained so you can only see the documents you should.
Edit on the go using familiar Office tools and bring back in-house
Work on the documents you want, when you want, on whatever device you want using standard Microsoft Office tools. When you’re finished, simply press a button to create a single email containing links to all the documents you have changed allowing you to check the files back into iManage, or delegate the task.
Secure and compliant with Safe Harbour
Documents and files are transferred to OneDrive for Business or Citrix ShareFile secure storage solutions and automatically deleted once you have finished working on them. Point.io protects your documents and ensures you only work on current files!
To find out more about this and many other custom Apps for Legal, please contact us