GE Research: safeguarding energy management systems
As more buildings become increasingly smart and digitally connected, GE Research starts a three year project to safeguard commercial building systems.
Via the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, GE Research has partnered with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to develop cybersecurity solutions, to safeguard commercial building systems from cyber attacks and system faults.
“With more than 75% of electricity consumption in the US coming from buildings, the digitization and automation of building control systems offers tremendous opportunities to create a more sustainable energy footprint,” said Mustafa Dokucu, a Senior Engineer in the Controls and Optimization Group at GE Research and project leader. “But with greater sustainability must follow higher degrees of security to safeguard building energy management systems from increasing cyber threats.”
The US$4.1mn project will be completed over the course of three years, focusing on building more resilience within the systems. To achieve this, GE Research and PNNL will use artificial intelligence, reinforcement learning and advanced controls, to enable the system to adapt itself to operate reliably while a fault is occuring, as well as differentiating regular system faults from faults triggered by cyber attacks.
GE Research is already using similar technology in power plants with its Digital Ghost platform, which it plans to apply to the same features to the commercial building systems alongside PNNL’s unique and deep domain experience to design a highly effective digital architecture to safeguard these buildings.
"We can now learn building behavior using data driven methods conditioned by domain awareness. Our framework will allow characterization of failure and cyber-attack dynamics as well as differentiate between the two.” said Draguna Vrabie, a Chief Scientist in the Data Sciences Group at PNNL. “As building systems are adding functionality beyond energy efficiency to enable revenue streams and become earnest active participants in the power grid operation, proactive cyber protection is of vital importance. We have to rethink building controls and build in robustness and resilience.”
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Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.