According to IDC’s 2015 Global IoT Decision Maker Survey, 58% of organizations worldwide see the Internet of Things as strategic to their business. Another 24% of organizations see IoT as transformational to their business. With an expected 25 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, there is a high demand for experienced, strategic management of all the devices’ data and functionality.
As device and data management in the IoT market exponentially multiplies, businesses are being challenged to better understand Operational Technology (OT), the ability to use these devices and data sets to enable real-time decisions on mission critical and costs-reducing OT functions (such as managing commercial air conditioning, injection molding machine, heavy duty trucks or even a cot).
To help customers quickly leverage the complex IoT landscape, Dell has built a robust IoT partner program built on trusted hardware, technology and integration and deployment. From manufacturing to transport to building automation and energy savings, Dell IoT partners are building IoT solutions that are quickly helping customers get to real ROI with the IoT.
Dell partner, KMC Controls, is an example of one of these partners. KMC brings innovative, industry shifting IoT products to these emerging markets, powering the next generation of smart buildings.
YourDailyTech sat down with Richard Newberry, Strategic Advisor to the Board of Directors of KMC Controls, to discuss the new KMC Commander Solution, and how the Dell partnership has helped KMC brings innovation to the building automation systems market.
Newberry, formerly President and CEO at KMC, has led corporate development, new product innovation, and competitive strategy for the company since 2014. With more than 30 years of executive and general management experience in energy, oil and gas, technology manufacturing, and building automation segments, Newberry applies a total solution view to guiding innovation and forging strategic partnerships with industry-leading technology firms He currently leads KMC’s collaboration with tech giants developing a revolutionary solution for connecting building automation systems to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Richard, thank you for joining us today. Can you provide us an overview of the KMC Controls and the KMC Commander IoT product?
KMC Controls, the company behind KMC Commander, is at its core, a building automation company. For over 50 years, KMC has operated as an independent American manufacturer of building automation solutions developed and implemented through with system integrators, system distributors and OEM partners. We at KMC began to notice a lack of mobile apps and real-time communications in our industry so starting 2015; we made a key decision to become an innovator and leader in incorporating these technologies in our industry solutions.
With that, KMC Commander, became our driving vision. The goal was to provide an end-to-end solution that is open, secure, and scalable and focused on the mobile work environment to support networked lighting, HVAC, security and communications. In the fall of 2015, we were able to deliver this vision to the market when we announced the award-winning KMC Commander at Realcomm IBCon.
KMC Commander is combination of Dell hardware and KMC Software that is a platform that can be put into any facility. Meanwhile apps are built to improve comfort and security. We’ve taken IoT security very seriously and have built it into the hardware and software layers. These features include program permissions, the ability to secure boot, encryption keys being stored on a separate chip apart from the primary storage, no back doors and no “security through obscurity.”
We feel like we are game changers in the industry and are excited about making smarter buildings. A study has shown that there are five million buildings without automation that waste $60-$80 billion in energy costs. KMC Commander will make an impact on reducing these costs and lower energy waste.
As I understand it, KMC Commander features embedded processing and security technology from Intel®, engineering and design collaboration with Dell OEM, and tagging and visualization software framework from J2 Innovations. Tell us more why KMC Controls chose Dell OEM as a key partner in designing this solution?
About two years ago when we realized this opportunity existed in this industry we also knew that OEM couldn’t work for the big guys (our industry is consolidated into four big firms of Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Schneider Electric, and Siemens). However, KMC was small enough and flexible enough to do open source and adapt to changes when other bigger firms in the industry couldn’t. Originally, we thought we would build our own hardware but realized Dell was better suited to do it. The KMC engineering team collaborated with Dell OEM for several months, using a series of strategy sessions before developing a new building controller, with the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series.
It also helped that the decision makers in the OT (Operational Technology) Departments — contractors to network and control HVAC and lighting — versus Information Technology (IT)) have a comfort level with Dell products. Since Dell goes into customers with system integrators we discovered we had an opportunity with Dell to open up a whole new channel.
KMC Controls has interesting close partnerships. KMC is a Dell IoT Solutions Partner as well as a part of the Intel IoT Alliance and I was on the Intel Board of Advisors for North America where we share industry and customer info. We had met Intel at a trade show and had the idea to build this new solution on Intel architecture. We traveled to U.S. cities at IoT summits to learn uses cases, price points and significant apps. KMC Commander established IT standards so that’s why we are working with Intel and Dell. Now KMC is building its own solutions software stack to manage data cloud and tags.
Tell us more about the business challenges your customers’ face that could be addressed by incorporating the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series as a key part of the solution?
KMC Commander is excellent rugged hardware with the ability to withstand harsh conditions. This is perfect for rough conditions like rooftops — such as the tops of cell towers in Minnesota — out in the field, down on the factory floor, as part of an HVAC system or wind efficiency monitoring or any extremes in hot and cold temperatures. Our product sheet goes into even further detail.
Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series is useful to customers who need a tried and true, easy to manage, secure service with strong support. It has an easy setup, customer friendly user interface and affordability. It automatically discovers and connects devices, plus its two databases auto connect to manage data/setup and customer information.
Can you tell us how some of your customers are benefiting from KMC Commander powered by Dell Edge Gateway?
Our customers’ customers are end users that save energy when they operate more efficiently and it benefits their occupants. The benefits span nearly every vertical and because the IoT primarily focuses on a building, property and physical spaces or assets, KMC Commander fits nearly any IoT use case you can conceive.
With KMC Commander, the IoT can mature from preventative to predictive maintenance. Companies can take the data from equipment like fan speeds or filters and utilize an analytics algorithm to know when they need to service them. There’s also a lot of data available to analyze.
Our customers are now collecting insights from control data such as: space usage, equipment run times, occupancy schedules and daylighting opportunities. For example, a new elementary school near Orlando, Florida had an energy management challenge in that it was a government standard for their cafeteria to be self-sufficient. Previously, the school couldn’t get meter data in real time but now do with KMC Commander so they know how much energy the cafeteria uses and how to best manage the efficiency and operating costs. It’s also beneficial since it stores the data in KMC’s AWS cloud which benefits the school since it needs to legally keep the data for five years. Now KMC Commander is a platform for the school to build on to save energy. The school realized they could connect sensors to fuel levels and backup generators; instead of the items being traditionally serviced by a staff member physically coming in on weekends to check on them, now they can use KMC Commander to check the temperature on their phones without having to travel there in person, which saves them time and money.
The Hancock Tower in Chicago is using KMC Commander to monitor their BTU meter. With this information they can update their leases to charge tenants accurately on what they use rather than estimates since monitoring temperatures by output of oxygen is more efficient. Child care centers can use our solution to monitor battery backups, humidity controls and noise levels. Cell providers have lots of gear they need to check remotely like temperatures on their gauges on towers in 50,000 locations. Pumping stations in municipalities need to check green lights and can via cell phone. Oil companies can have more efficient routes from checking the tank levels for when to change the oil and automatic alerts to take old oil. A hospital’s new wing can allow patients to adjust the temperatures in their own room to their specific comfort level. Other uses include monitoring your company’s alarm status, carbon footprint calculations, C02 levels, fire control system, rain water collection, soil, solar power efficiency, FDA food storage requirements, water quality, leak detection and more.
How does KMC plan to reach out to system integrators and IT partners?
We’re taking a multi-pronged strategy. First, our sales team is hard at work developing our current SI customer base, educating them on IoT and how KMC Commander is the best open, secure and scalable platform on the market right now. Second, for IT partners, we’re reaching out via events like The Channel Company’s highly targeted XChange, as well as working closely with Intel’s Intel Technology Partners (ITPs) group. Thirdly, we’ll be using a number of traditional marketing tactics (webinars, videos, web content, display campaigns, etc.) to reach a more broad/general audience of partners.
For those who want to hear more about KMC Commander and the Dell Gateway, how can they best connect with you?
To learn more about the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series and other IOT solutions, go to the Dell website or follow KMC Controls on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. To learn more about KMC’s partnership with Dell, read the full case study.
For more information on becoming a Dell IoT partner and to apply to the program please visit www.delliotpartners.com. For more on Dell IoT solutions and becoming a Dell OEM customer, please visit www.Dell.com/IoT.
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