The Internet of things (IoT) concluded in simple words is the technological nirvana where everything becomes one. Before driving ahead, first we must understand what IoT is, now as per the standard Wikipedia definition, The IoT is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware (such as sensors), these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.
Considering the present time that we live in, encountering technological anabasis, we are driving ourselves towards a world of IoT. Now, BuildTrack is a company offering its services in the same direction, with visionary solutions for Homes, Enterprises, Hotels, Hospitals, Senior Living, Energy Efficiency and Building Management Systems (BMS). BuildTrack explores the latest in IoT technologies and works to develop solutions that can cater to a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
For the same, to understand and to learn more about the coming times, we had the opportunity to speak with Dr Narendra Bhat, President at Build Track.
Deccan Chronicle: What makes BuildTrack different from its Competitors?
Dr Narendra Bhat: BuildTrack is unique in the IoT and Smart Automation space, due to the breadth and flexibility of its technology platform. The BuildTrack platform is a combination of multiple hardware and software products that can serve individual homes for applications like Home Automation or serve the entire city for Smart City applications such as Fire and Fire systems monitoring. The flexibility manifests itself in the way the system can either retrofit existing situations or be integrated into new construction at a design stage. The communication within the system can be wireless or wired or a unique unmatched combination of wired-wireless to suit the purpose. The system can be deployed to operate autonomously, without a hub or cloud software for certain applications or it can be connected to the cloud to achieve greater functionality.
This level of flexibility allows it to be used for a broad array of applications in Home Automation, Hotel Automation, Building Management Systems, Energy Efficiency, Hospital Solutions and Enterprise Automation.
Deccan Chronicle: What unique offerings does BuildTrack have in the smart automation and IoT space?
Dr Narendra Bhat: There are a variety of offerings that BuildTrack has that can be considered unique in the industry, not only in India but globally. It is a single platform which can be configured to serve requirements like:
Home Automation requirements such as controlling lights, fans, ACs, curtains, blinds, door locks, media devices like TVs ‘and STB and for monitoring sensors for smoke, gas leak, intrusion and panic buttons. Integration with Voice Assistants from Google and Amazon along with the use of BuildTrack’s unique 360deg smart apps provides users with a variety of means to manage their homes.
Building Management Systems offerings from BuildTrack allow a single point of control for an entire building whether residential or commercial, starting from monitoring all the safety and security sensors across the building and within each apartment or office to controlling the status of common area lighting, elevators, pumps, motors, water tank level monitoring, air conditioning and more. It can connect to third-party smart meters for energy and water to report consumption.
Energy Efficiency Systems that can manage all lighting and ACs via a variety of means of control to eliminate energy wastage. Sensor controlling existing lights and ACs autonomously or control via a central control mechanism like a Smart App.
Hotel Guest Room systems that allow Guests to manage their room devices via Smart Apps or voice to improve their guest experience.
Deccan Chronicle: In enhancing the development of Smart Cities in India how is BuildTrack contributing towards it?
Dr Narendra Bhat: The primary goal of Smart Cities is to use technologies like the Internet of Things, to improve the life of residents in the city. One of the critical aspects relates to Safety and Security, especially Fire Safety. The nature of traffic congestion often makes it a challenge for firefighters to reach on time and address fires unless detected early enough and communicated.
BuildTrack platform has the requisite hardware to retrofit existing fire systems of existing buildings, irrespective of make, to enable them to be centrally monitored by the fire authorities of the city. The system monitors the working status of the fire systems, to identify non-working systems as well. Water pressure in fire pumps is monitored to ensure the adequacy of system operation as well. Fire authorities can monitor the entire city for fire preparedness, as well as the instant that a fire is detected. Dispatch of fire engines and managing and monitoring their progress is also enabled.
While BuildTrack has addressed safety and security in the development of Smart Cities, it can equally well monitor a variety of other aspects and remotely provide control of any type of electrical device across the city in a centralized manner, thus really helping to drive forward India’s mission of creating Smart Cities across the country.
Deccan Chronicle: Tell us the importance of IoT and smart automation for the real-estate industry.
Dr Narendra Bhat: The real estate industry has a lot to gain from these technologies in terms of multiple benefits - lowering the operating costs and energy consumption of buildings, improving the productivity of people who manage these facilities and improving the comfort, convenience, safety and security of the occupants of their properties.
While ‘Home Automation’ has been a primary area of interest in Real Estate due to the constant visibility of these solutions in the media, there is much to be gained from other applications of these smart technologies in other aspects of Real Estate. One such area is ‘Building Management Systems’, which can help monitor the status and operating conditions of some the assets of the building to help prevent the breakdown of these assets which can seriously hamper the living conditions of the occupants. Ability to control all the electrical assets from a single point or the ability to schedule their operations can serve as a means of both energy efficiency and labour productivity. These systems can connect to Fire Panels, Smart Energy Meters and Smart Water meters to provide a complete operating view of the building on a daily basis. For Real Estate operators who own multiple properties across the city, country or globe, these technologies provide unprecedented ability to control, monitoring the status of almost every aspect of their properties.
Deccan Chronicle: Tell us about the projects you have worked on.
Dr Narendra Bhat: The BuildTrack platform has been deployed in many varied applications that testify to the flexibility that the system is designed to provide. The tallest building in India, “The 42” is managed using a Building Management System, powered by BuildTrack. As is, the Belapur Station Commercial Complex which is a commercial property of over a million sq. ft of space, and a winner of the National Energy Efficiency Award, awarded by the President of India.
Jaquar Lighting has Customer Orientation centres across the country that use the BuildTrack platform to enhance its customer experience. GNRC Hospitals in Calcutta use Nurse Call Systems that operate on the BuildTrack platform. RG Kar Medical College has connected dozens of existing air conditioners to be monitored centrally from a single point of control to improve asset and energy efficiency. Companies and institutions like ACC Cement, Bridgestone, Mazgaon Docks, Mumbai International Airport all use Buildtrack sensors for energy efficiency.
The Fire Authority in the city of Bangalore has deployed the BuildTrack platform in a pilot exercise to monitor several buildings for fire readiness, and also the fire engines to monitor their location and status.
Of course, there are dozens of individual home big and small across the country and many builders like Kalpataru, Puranik and Lokhandwala that are providing our Home Automation systems as part of some of their projects.
Deccan Chronicle: What is Buildtrack looking to achieve in the coming per cent of years?
Dr Narendra Bhat: BuildTrack is working to be the platform of choice for a range of Smart Automation and IoT applications in India and in other countries around the world. Homes, Hotels, Hospitals, Offices, Buildings and Smart Cities are all the markets where BuildTrack aims to have its presence felt through applications of these technologies that deliver benefits like Asset & People Productivity, Energy Efficiency, Safety, Security and Convenience.
We are working to integrate technologies like Voice Assistants from Google and Amazon to enhance the modes of interaction beyond Smart Apps for users. We are also working to integrate products from other providers, such as Fire Panels, Smart Energy Meters, Smart Water Meters, Smart Locks, IP Cameras, STP, Switches and more to expand the range of solutions and the features that they offer.
Deccan Chronicle: How is your company aiming to position itself in this rapidly growing 'Home-Automation' space?
Dr Narendra Bhat: Home Automation is about the complete experience that can be provided to residents of the home. We are working to ensure that the technology we provide covers the entire gamut of requirements within the home from the control of lighting, AC, Fans, Curtains, TVs, STB’s, media devices, door locks, IP Cameras and more. We ensure that safety and security are paramount by allowing residents to monitor smoke, gas leak, intrusion or even panic buttons for those unexpected situations. Video Door Phones, Lobby Door phones for building that send notifications of visitors. We are one of the only companies that can connect an entire building safety and security sensors to a central monitoring station, independent of the internet. Smart Apps, Voice Assistants from Google or Amazon, and conventional remotes are provided to ensure that all ages across the family have means of their preferred access to the technology.
Deployment and service is a critical aspect of ensuring this experience. We aim to provide customers with deployment choices such as wireless or wired or hybrid deployment all of which have their features and limitations based on the specific customer situation Our technology is built for us to monitor whether our system is in working order, on a constant basis every few minutes to ensure that we are working to address situations before the customer feels any issues that hamper their usage experience.
Deccan Chronicle: How are the changing needs of customers influencing the evolution of Smart Automation Technologies?
Dr Narendra Bhat: Smart Automation is helping customers to be more productive, safer and more secure. In the area of home automation, it allows users of all ages to augment their living by adding conveniences for things big and small. Starting from improving their personal safety as well as that of their home, to ensuring that senior citizens at home have more options to manage their daily needs and improve the quality of their daily lives, whether turning on the TV by voice or to get the lights on before they get up at night through a voice command or simply calling for help.
Building Management systems help to improve the operations of buildings, reduce energy consumption and often are able to warn when equipment is not operating as it should be, indicating potential electrical dangers or cost of asset replacement. This improves economics, productivity and responsiveness to needs of occupants, especially in high rises.
In hotels and hospitals again, it is both the experience of the guest and patients that is enhanced through more options available to them in their temporary setting. The operators of hotels and hospitals benefit through the transparency and information that is provided to ensure that they are addressing the most important issues to keep their occupants happy, satisfied and healthier.