Smart cluster in the intelligent building and smart home
Designing building control systems that are open to the future and investment-proofIn the classic form of smart home control, everything is put on one card: a single control center with as many interfaces as possible.
The future of smart building controlImagine a building control system that is not only modular, but also organized as a massively distributed grid. And already many things will be better: fault-tolerant, independent and, above all, open to the future.
1. Problem solved: multitude of interfaces & standardsInterfaces are more than enough in the smart home environment. A few interfaces are based on generally available and standardized standards such as KNX, Zigbee or CEC. But many manufacturers seem to want to establish their own and thus in-house standard. Just think of the multitude of Smart TV application interfaces (API), solely to simulate the function of a remote control.
The solution: loose couplingNo system in the world can provide all interfaces in maximum quality. That is why it is better to be able to combine everything freely: simply take the best module from any manufacturer or developer.
2. Solved problem: resilience & availabilityClassical approaches are based on a central control center: a complex device, a hardware, an operating system, a software platform. But there is no fallback or failover in case something hangs vorübergehed or fails completely.
Especially after software updates and firmware updates, there are more often problems that can't be fixed by a reboot.
The solution: redundancyIn the industry, therefore, people rely on massively redundant systems, so-called clusters, which automatically step in in the event of a fault.
This avoids total failures and allows hardware problems and software errors to be safely bypassed.
3. Problem solved: Forgotten infrastructure & IoT proliferationClassical approaches to building automation do not involve the IT or OT infrastructure on which they are based. To achieve maximum interconnectivity, all devices are linked via a generally accessible internal infrastructure.
Who monitors who the smart TV communicates with today? Where the data from the electricity meter is going? Or whether the building's camera is even allowed to send images to the Internet?
Not so bad? But beware, based on smart data alone, the entire event can be almost completely spied out. Smart TVs send channel changes. The devices and their usage can be deduced from the smart meter's history curve (yes, even the currently streamed movie, since white backgrounds consume more power). And all microphones are readily used sources of information.
The solution: Manage all devices in a repositoryIn order to realize the best possible security, it is indispensable to store not only the IoT devices but also all components of the network and communication layer together in a repository.
In addition to the IoT devices and other assets, all communication paths and types are also managed there. The devices can also be configured here in a generally valid and thus uniform manner. And their status can be monitored during operation.
What sounds complex and complicated is actually quite simple with the right approach. Since you solve the issue holistically, you define each device only once. Based on the data in this infrastructure repository, the device-specific configurations are then created automatically and the devices are filled accordingly.
4. Problem solved: External dependencies & lack of internet connectionBut once this is unavailable, you start to rotate as you have to look for alternative ways to control it. Relying on public cloud services like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for convenience features like voice control makes you compellingly dependent on a stable internet connection.
The solution: independent & self-sufficientTo protect against such problems, only one thing helps: make yourself independent - at all levels. This means cutting off connections to the outside world as far as possible and organizing everything in a decentralized manner.
Smart Cluster - Getting a grip on complexity and reducing costs.A single manufacturer can't solve all the problems? Correct. But who says you have to limit yourself to one manufacturer? Why not choose the best modules for a particular purpose and link them together as a whole?
- smart, modular, functional and individually adaptable
- secure, highly available, expandable and transparent
Open to the future & flexible: start simple and go bigSounds like a smart cluster is pretty expensive? Because it seems technologically sophisticated, but perhaps a bit oversized. Certainly not, because even with inexpensive technology (such as several Raspberry PI 4), a highly available Smart Cluster can already be set up.
With regard to the software modules, it does not matter which manufacturer created them with which programming language.
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Smart Cluster: holistic thinking in building automationbintellix® thinks, designs and acts holistically from A to Z.
You don't need to worry about the technical details. That's where we are at home.
Smart solved: We build on this basisOur Smart Cluster approach is based on two pillars: Connected Intelligence and Open Connectivity.
Auf einen Blick: Smart Cluster Vorteile fürs Smart Home
Independent of manufacturer – instead of being caught up with proprietary productsDon’t get locked into one particular manufacturer and their proprietary products. It’s better to avoid restrictive, closed systems.
Embrace open standards such as KNX, Zigbee and DALI instead.
System-wide smart solutions – avoid isolated and unintelligent standalone systemsIt’s a pain to have to grapple with a combination of isolated solutions – each with their own app, each requiring individual ‘programming’ via their own tools, each completely unaware of their neighboring systems and other contextual information.
Invest in system-wide control systems instead – for better efficiency, performance, and ease of use.
Redundant sensor networks – avoid relying on a single centralized control unitA central control unit is limited in its expansion capabilities, and potentially error-prone.
Decentralized and distributed sensor networks, e.g. MQTT, which all smart-home systems have access to, are a much better solution.
Consolidated infrastructure information – avoid using a range of inevitably contradictory tesersconfigurationsDon’t waste time configuring multiple components with more or less the same data over and over again.
Instead, focus on establishing a single consolidated data management system – one that records every component and automatically distributes this information as required.
Security by design – avoid unnecessary domain-level considerationsThere’s no need to assign individual experts to be in charge of each individual system. Divided like this, each is capable of putting the overarching security concept at risk.
It’s better to create a system group of smart agents right from the start – one in which every layer of an OSI model is aware of the rest.
Decentralized function control – avoid the risks of cloud solutionsIt’s astounding how many smart home components only work when actively connected to the internet and a cloud service. What happens when the internet goes down? Or if a manufacturer changes their product design, or a purchased product is taken from market? This can lead to a partial or even system-wide blackout.
Decentralized function control systems are a much safer bet. These are much more reliable and secure for you and your home.
Professional applications – avoid cheap DIY solutionsDon’t be fooled by the range of functions you sometimes see on offer. The smart home industry is filled with quick and ‘clever’ DIY solutions – risky, poorly integrated, and far removed from established and trusted IT standards.
Norms exist for a reason: these established software standards ensure exceptional fault tolerance and high availability for your components. Stick to these instead.
Good design first – design shouldn’t follow functionNobody likes monstrous control panels that make a mess of a building’s design while being extremely complicated to operate.
Put your focus on smart, intuitive, and versatile components instead – components that can cover multiple functions as required.