Cover Feature

If Machines Could Talk

Mike Haledjian, Kevin Duffy, David Nussbaum, Debbie Buchalski, Rich Locke, Robert Welch, Tim Connors, Veronica Lussier, Chris Dillemuth, Anthony Rondinelli.
Photo Credit: ©2017 Jill Lotenberg

Unlocking the hidden value of critical assets through the internet of things

Last month, analysts at global IT research firm Gartner predicted a 30 percent year-on-year increase in “connected things.” No surprise, then, that an increasing number of businesses are looking to harness the power of technological advancements in a growing world of connected devices.

For large energy supplier Direct Energy Business, this explosion in connectivity isn’t new. As a trusted energy supplier with proven solutions and a strong customer base of over 240,000, using the internet of things to enhance energy services was a natural next step. Consumers from a wide range of industries depend on the supplier to help them achieve efficiencies and savings with electricity and natural gas. It was imperative to connect their customers with their energy-consuming devices in order to easily see the complete footprint of their energy use.

Panoramic Power® is their wireless energy monitoring technology that can turn virtually any energy-consuming device into a smart device. The approach is to give building managers real-time visibility into each device’s energy use, which can generate insights to boost performance. Making a building more efficient—using less energy while maintaining necessary operations—can lower operating costs.

Panoramic Power managing director Yaniv Vardi believes the technology is about more than just understanding how much energy businesses consume.

“We’re making it possible for devices and machinery to tell our customers how they’re doing: whether they’re performing badly, about to break or putting way too much energy into simple tasks. We do this by gathering device-level energy data in real time. That’s where the value really comes,” says Vardi.

Panoramic Power is a global pioneer in energy management and the wireless sensors have been rolled out across 1,000 sites worldwide. It’s a technology that’s already being applied to a growing number of industries, from restaurants and retailers to manufacturers and commercial real estate. For big energy users such as commercial real estate buildings, Panoramic Power offers the opportunity to maximize the efficiency of every square foot and create savings.

Self-powered and wireless, the tiny orange sensors “snap and fit” onto the outgoing electrical wire at the circuit breaker, tracking energy consumption and sending it to a cloud-based analytics system every 10 seconds.

From there, data is sent to an easy-to-use app called PowerRadar™ that can be accessed from both smart devices and computers, bringing actionable insights straight to the customer’s fingertips. At a fraction of the price of a traditional energy management system, the system can also report on and send real-time alerts on anomalies, helping building managers to avoid potentially costly breakdowns.

Businesses have been reaping the rewards of this approach, calling on Panoramic Power to bring down maintenance costs and prevent downtime, often resulting in significant savings.

One of Vardi’s stand-out examples of this approach in action is among the world’s largest building materials suppliers and cement producers. The company approached the team as they were looking to track, manage and report on asset performance at the equipment level.

“They were looking for something user friendly that their plant managers could use to track their critical machines at remote quarries and identify system performance issues in real time,” he says.

Sixty Panoramic Power sensors were installed on monitoring pumps, conveyers and crushers at three locations within one of the company’s manufacturing sites. Using data from individual devices, the team was able to quickly identify inefficiencies in system performance and make recommendations to improve maintenance schedules and operations.

Vardi adds: “Their investment paid off in just one month and resulted in a massive savings of over $200K that year, just by identifying issues with one of their conveyor motors and some out-of-hours demand from some of their buildings and plant.”

The business has now deployed sensors across 70 global sites.

“By monitoring their assets at a device level, we’re giving customers the tools that put them in real, proactive control of their facilities with a level of visibility that simply couldn’t have been achieved before. That visibility gives insights that will positively impact the whole organization, inspiring better ways of working and informing fast, confident, business-building decisions,” Vardi concludes.

Because of these technologies like Panoramic Power from Direct Energy Business, progressive businesses across industries are thinking about their energy strategies and seeing energy through a new prism.

Among New York City development and real estate professionals, Direct Energy Business is a top energy supplier. And senior sales manager Robert Welch sees great potential for Panoramic Power to transform their approach to energy.

“Assisting our customers goes beyond pricing commodity. Markets have changed and we work with our clients to build an energy strategy—a strategy that includes the energy usage portion of the equation,” says Welch. “Working in concert with a Building Management System, Panoramic Power provides building owners and managers insight into energy inefficiencies and waste. Are roof top units cycling properly? Are pumps using excess energy, a sign they may be failing? ‘On’ or ‘off’ doesn’t tell the whole story. Panoramic Power fills the gaps and offers potential for significant energy savings with ROI that calls out for action.”

Where once energy was just a cost, developers and real estate professionals can now see it as a source of value, resilience and competitive advantage. Bringing over 100 years of combined experience to bat for their customers, the NYC Direct Energy Business sales team is ready to help businesses make these gains. Because for many, managed energy strategies and tools like Panoramic Power are a simple first step to finally seeing exactly where energy is going and finding the most advantageous way to use it.

Direct Energy Business is part of a leading energy and energy-related services provider that is focused on helping customers make their businesses better. Through energy choice and a suite of innovative products and services, customers can buy less electricity and natural gas and better manage the impact of energy on their budget and operations. We serve approximately 240,000 businesses of all sizes and from all industries across North America.

Direct Energy Business
194 Wood Avenue South
Iselin, NJ  08830

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