Latest from IoT

Photo 177898184 © Andrea De Martin |
Dreamstime M 177898184
Photo 217658546 © One Photo |
Dreamstime M 217658546


wildpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

You Do Not Know What You Do Not Know

May 23, 2019
You know what you know, you know what you do not know, but you do not know what you do not know.

While Connecting Creative Communities on my Road Trip  the keynote speaker at Haystack Connect provided some inspiration and insight using the following quote from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: you know what you know, you know what you do not know, but you do not know what you do not know. Profound words that describe our journey of digital transformation very well.

These words are haunting me, festering in my mind as I imagine all the things that I do not know that I do not know. It is the time-warped age of information that we now live in when a new URL or a new app or a video on YouTube can create a new direction with new prospects while teaching us something we do not know. Here’s a link to the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the keynote that got me spinning:

You Didn’t Know What You Didn’t Know – Bringing Organization to the Data Chaos to Derive Insight and Generate Actions, Keynote Presentation: Jim Fletcher, Strategy Partner, Momenta Partners

Jim Fletcher, who delivered the keynote, is an independent advisor, working with  Momenta Partners as a Strategy Partner focused on working with clients worldwide to drive Digital Transformation across a range of industries. Fletecher is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO for the Watson IOT Platform, IBM Master Inventor, and member of the IBM Academy, with extensive  experience especially around Connected Industry (Cloud and IOT) with a strong focus on Edge Computing and the role of analytics in driving business transformation. He holds over 60 patents, and is a regular speaker at conferences worldwide on a range of emerging topics. Here are a few choice slides from his presentation:

Intelligence is the new Disruptor

• Effective use of data is the new differentiator across industries
• Data, and more importantly, the ability to effectively manage and index, and derive insights from that data is key 
• Leading companies are moving to monetize their intelligence at new levels
• “As a service” driven by data is a game changer allowing companies to transition from CAPEX to OPEX driven models

Data Democracy 

• Finding the balance between open access and security controls is an increasing challenge
• Data siloes as a proxy for security significantly limit data value
• The value of the data is a direct function of how easily it can be leveraged by the average user, not the data scientist
• As we move from an era of business intelligence (BI) to one of Artificial Intelligence (AI) our approach to data must evolve
• Data quality must be a key element of the data ingest process, not a post-storage access level service

Going to conferences is a great way to learn what we do not know. We need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and into new environments where we will learn what we do not know. But finding those new perspectives is critical if we want to learn to think like machines. (In the meantime, take some inspiration from my own machine-persona, Roboken!)

Haystack Connect 2019  ( was organized and produced by the Project Haystack Organization, an open source community of people and companies who share the vision that a connected, collaborative community can move the industry forward in ways that no single supplier can. The event builds on the inspiration and mission of the community to address the challenges of making smart device data work seamlessly across applications of all types.

Brian Frank was a Co-founder of Tridium and Chief Architect of the highly successful Niagara Framework. Brian is also a founder and contributor to key open source initiatives in the smart device industry including oBIX, CoAP, Sedona, Fantom, and Project-Haystack. Brian advised the latest and greatest features in Haystack 4 in the below presentation:

Haystack 4 – Continuing to Advance the Standard, Tools and Capabilities

There has been a tremendous amount of work over the past two years to enhance and extend Haystack tagging. A core focus of the Technical Track will be a detailed review of Haystack 4—the result of almost two years of work by Working Group 551 and which includes a suite of new features.

For more on Haystack 4, here’s a YouTube video with Brian Frank explaining the new developments. 

Brian Frank Explains Haystack 4

And here is an article witten by John Petze for the Project Haystack web site:

Haystack 4 Is Coming – What it Is and Why it Matters

Here’s the into to that article:

The understanding of the need for semantic modeling of device and equipment data has matured significantly in the last decade and the requirements and techniques for applying semantic modeling to equipment data are advancing rapidly. As we have learned, semantic modeling is critical for humans to work with and understand the ever-increasing amount of data coming from their systems, but the process of manually applying that semantic model is not scalable. We need our tools to simplify and automate how the semantic model is applied.

Haystack 4 builds on the 8 years of experience in applying Haystack across thousands of buildings worldwide, the input from practitioners in the community throughout that time, as well the collaborators that have participated in the activities of Haystack Working Group 551 over the past year. The way you configure tags today using Haystack will not change, but as you will see, the way the tags get modeled within Haystack systems will enable the tools you use to become smarter so you spend less time manually configuring tags and more time getting value out of the raw data coming from your IoT devices.

One of the interesting events at the conference was the Pitchfest, where each of the pitchers got to tell us all something we did not know—like, for example, this Raspberry device, a low-cost controller able to connect to the cloud via Microsoft Azure, and also to anything that supports "REST"  (A RESTful API—also referred to as a RESTful web service—is based on representational state transfer (REST) technology, an architectural style and approach to communications). REST is now able to use the evolving Haystack data tagging.

Several of the Pitchfests are recorded on this YouTube and several more here, including Intel edge insights, Haystack Data Pump.

For more on Raspberry Pi, check out this article from Zach Netsov, Product Specialist, Contemporary Controls:

BASpi – Raspberry Pi based BAS controllers reach the cloud, open minds, and infinite possibilities

The BASpi currently provides Azure cloud connectivity out of the box. The Azure cloud gives users great flexibility and ease of setup in their “IoT Central” portal. Provisioning the BASpi in Azure IoT Central is very simple and straight forward, even kids can do it - they actually have. Currently, Azure allow up to 5 devices with modest bandwidth to connect for free! Thanks to the BASpi’s simplified cloud configuration web page, provisioning is a breeze. Simply create an account with Azure IoT Central, create a new device in the portal, copy the Scope ID, Device ID, and Primary Key and paste them into the respective fields in the BASpi’s cloud configuration web page. Set your Poll Rate, check off the points you want, and you are ready to push these points to the cloud or receive commands on points from the cloud. 

The BASpi REST API allows advanced users or developers to utilize the BASpi’s capabilities in custom applications such as interfacing with legacy servers, mobile applications, third-party applications, cloud servers, web servers, and really anything which supports REST. The BASpi REST interface presents a path-oriented method of reading and writing values from/to the BASpi. All data points within the BASpi are accessed as if they are part of an XML document. Each I/O or virtual point is represented by an 'object'. You can read and write BASpi values using the HTML POST method with an XML data payload.

The complete BASpi series was showcased at the 2019 Haystack Connect May 13-15 in beautiful San Diego, California and in our presentation in the General Session & Pitchfest track – “BAS Controller With Haystack Powered by Raspberry Pi”

This product uses new low cost technologies to link to several connection communities via open standards and is a model for new controls moving forward.

New tools as defined by Project Haystack 
need to be open and evolving. This article by Krzysztof Jaczewski, Key Account Manager, Global Control 5 shows how Manufacturers are building creative communities using concepts like Haystack:

How to build a “needle-finding” machine 

Today, the rules are changing. The entry of the IoT world into buildings has not yet been noticed by everyone. 

Data surrounds us, and the amount grows very fast within every second. Sensors, machines and other devices which are inbuilt in buildings produce a lot of chaotic and unsorted information. In addition, data on the use of commercial buildings is still often proprietary and difficult to access. Unfortunately, the construction industry is more conservative than others and has lagged behind. As a result, often overused term BIoT means only a mixture of wheat and chaff. In this case, collected data causes only significant costs of information storage.

First of all, the data set should be cleaned and sorted in order to make it easier to find valuable and reliable information. To use a more colloquial turn of phrase, we have to make more needles in a haystack than hay. It is obvious that in this case, the use of magnet or matches will be ineffective. So that is where Project Haystack comes. 
Project Haystack is an open source initiative to develop tag naming conventions and taxonomies for modelling and easily utilizing data from various sources for analysis and decision making. The metadata methodology enables understanding of data and its interpretation, both by people and machines. Members of the Project Haystack community have created software plugins to allow different systems to communicate in the haystack protocol. As an example, we can use the nHaystack module for Niagara® systems.

It means that Haystack is not just a tag definition but also a protocol which brings more information than the BACnet standard. nHaystack is a Niagara 4 module that enables Niagara stations to act as servers or clients in the Project Haystack format, via a RESTful protocol. When acting as a server, nHaystack automatically generates standard tags for all ControlPoints.

Here are a few cool products from Global Control 5 on YouTube.

I  was the moderator for this session: Haystack in Practice – Application in the Real World

I was very pleased to meet and introduce the new "Kidd" on the block from Australia who was into Job Crafting her niche as a Data Scientist, helping our industry grow younger while telling us what we did not know about using machine learning to create Auto-Tagging.

It was great to see major players at events such as Siemens who has just bought J2 Innovations, plus GE Lighting Systems and Intel making Haystack available at a chip level.

I missed this session as it was on at the same time as my session:

Moderator: Scott Muench, Vice President Marketing & Business Development, J2 Innovations

J2 Innovations is a fast growing, innovative software development company based in California that created FIN Framework, which is a state-of-the-art open framework for building automation and IoT application

FIN Framework is natively based on the Haystack semantic tagging standard, which enables much better use of the data flowing from the buildings systems to improve operational & energy efficiency, space utilisation and employee productivity to maximise the return on the investment.

Let me repeat where I began this article: you do not know what you do not know.

So please join me on my journey of discovering what we do not know. I learned lots huddled around the Haystack but will be back on the road to learn more at Realcomm’s Smart Building Integrator Summit (SIBS) and the Intelligent Buildings Conference (IBCON).

About the Author

Ken Sinclair | Editor/Owner/Founder

Ken Sinclair has been called an oracle of the digital age. He sees himself more as a storyteller and hopes the stories he tells will be a catalyst for the IoT future we are all (eventually) going to live. The more than 50 chapters in that ongoing story of digital transformation below are peppered with HTML links to articles containing an amazing and diverse amount of information.

Ken believes that systems will be smarter, self-learning, edgy, innovative, and sophisticated, and to create, manage and re-invent those systems the industry needs to grow our most important resource, our  younger people, by reaching out to them with messages about how vibrant, vital and rewarding working in this industry can be.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations