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Beyond Better Connected Buildings

What is a “Better Connected” Building?

Huawei: In the recent smart building project, Optus helped DTZ, a global leader in property services, to achieve a 62.5% savings in lighting costs using the Huawei Centralized Building Management System (CBMS). Can you share some of the project details?

Sunil Alury: The DTZ project had a successful outcome due to the combined efforts of Optus (a member of the SingTel Group), Huawei, and DTZ. Optus was presented with a 12-story teaching facility, plus five floors of underground parking — a 50-year-old infrastructure with outdated equipment that was expensive to maintain due to poor thermal insulation and inefficient lighting with manual switches and controls. We were asked to improve resource utilization — electricity, gas, and lighting — and reduce the overall energy consumption. To help minimize the operational cost, we partnered with Huawei to update the building with a new control system, switches, and LED lighting.

The lighting equipment was upgraded with daylight and motion sensors, as well as wall-switch panel equipment. And, we connected it all to a centralized management platform. The centralized management platform provided the operations team a simple, visualized remote control system for infrastructure management. For example, lights will be switched on or off automatically based on a set of software policy rules in the management platform. The system was deployed quickly, and within the first six months, the customer had already saved 62.5% in lighting costs.

Huawei: How does Optus see the value of this project?

Sunil Alury: The DTZ project is a huge success for Optus. Previously, DTZ had faced increasing operational expenses and funding pressure. Following the transition to an M2M platform, they are now able to provide better value to their clients from funds gained directly from the energy savings. They have been able to put the savings directly to supporting student services, academic staff, and research.

The traditional telecommunications paradigm has clearly changed. The Optus M2M services are helping our business customers achieve unprecedented energy efficiencies. The savings is in overhead are a direct help to our customers. The real-world impacts of Optus M2M services are reliable and efficient solutions with tangible business results.

Optus has built scalability into the solution from the onset, in order that customers are able to expand the operation across multiple sites. Additionally, the M2M platform we have deployed for DTZ is built to drive further cost savings. We are extremely pleased with the development of this pilot project; but we see that there is still a lot of work to be done as many of our customers are evaluating the value of the DTZ achievements for their own circumstances. Our plan is to leverage the M2M platform to drive commercial solutions for other customers.

Connected and Leveraged

Huawei: What other business opportunities are offered by the Optus M2M team?

Sunil Alury: Traditional M2M connections are still in place — including remote sensors and devices, modems, and asset tracking. These deployments continue to be a part of our business going forward. New opportunities, however, are opening up that enhance traditional services with added functionality. For example, in the past we simply provided tracking of assets, such as vehicles. Now we provide our customers with telematics data based on driver behavior, fuel efficiency, carbon emissions, safety management, and a host of other, customized services.

We are seeing opportunities in the retail sector for digital signage, Big Data analytics, and consumer security. M2M platforms will change the way that retailers position themselves and market to their potential customers as online and in-store customer engagements are blended with real-time M2M data analytics to facilitate the customer purchasing cycle. M2M retail analytics tell us that we have a lot to learn about customer engagement behaviors in the new digital economy. We are finding that the Big Data provides the input for sensory and video analytics solutions that shed new light about customer behaviors, and emotions that assist our clients in providing better experiences.

Health care solutions are another extremely exciting area of development in the M2M environment as Optus sees the strong emergence of patient care solutions being delivered to the home. M2M technologies are allowing medical practitioners to manage their patients remotely and utilize hospital facilitates for better and faster care at reduced costs.

Huawei: How is Optus positioning itself in the M2M business?

Sunil Alury: Though many things are changing quickly, we have the memory of our accumulated experience. Our ability to deliver core carrier solutions — fixed, mobile, data, and hosted application services — allows us to evolve from a traditional telecommunications supplier into a regional ICT service provider. This transformation is enabling our business to reach out to customers via new touch points, such as social media and automated M2M solutions.

Transformation Enablers

Huawei: How are you going to evolve the Optus network to generate business innovations and value in the M2M space?

Sunil Alury: As users consume more data each year, network operators are aiming for seamless deployment of M2M services, which need to be ready-in-place. Our challenge is to deliver world-class wireless networks that maximize the customer experience — including the increasing usage of 4G data services. The availability of 24/7 online services is encouraging consumers to use gigabytes of data each month and, with M2M services, consumers are tapping into troves of information on-demand. Optus is committed to the development of outstanding network capabilities that enable increasing growth.

To this end, we have established the Optus Control Centre M2M platform, which is delivered alongside our M2M Bridge Alliance. The result is to give our customers the opportunity to expand into new regions of large-scale M2M deployments. The goal is to help them to self-deploy, self-manage, and conduct significant independent troubleshooting. Further, by adding security layers at the device, Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), and network layers using private Access Point Names (APNs), we give customers the control they need to manage multiple data sources.

Ultimately, the end-user experience is the most important aspect of an M2M service. Unfortunately, early customers are having fragmented experiences due to device configurations, irregular SIM procurements, and lack of management platforms. By streamlining the provision of end-to-end service, our goal is to provide all of our customers with a truly seamless experience. Optus and the SingTel Group are enabling this feat by combining the right business units with partners such as Alphawest, National Computer Systems (NCS), and Huawei, to provide the highest quality service.

Huawei: What is the key factor for propagating future M2M networks?

Sunil Alury: 4G networks are the key for modern operators who wish to move toward large volumes of data from a large number of endpoints. The challenge is to build a robust platform that permits multiple sources of traffic and a large volume of information that can be effectively accessed by end users.

The starting point for operators is a fragmented M2M ecosystem that makes it difficult for customers to find a single supplier, or single solution, able to address their business challenge.

We are looking for vendors with the ability to address specific network layer requirements that will provide a guideline for standards-based M2M services to ensure that services deployed globally are properly and effectively leveraged. Big Data analytics is the key to understanding the deep operational factors that result in meaningful customer engagements going forward. We understand that robust M2M systems must be in place to enable the types of real-time data collection that allow our end users to make informed decisions. The resulting system is designed to create a wealth of on-demand information that can be tapped to position M2M operators to deliver better business results.

(The original transcript of this article appeared in WinWin, and was edited by ICT Insights.)

By Abdul Memon & Joyce Fan