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Managing critical and complex power operations with a Dell IoT Gateway

Blue Pillar’s Aurora is an energy IoT platform that connects energy assets, allowing users to find energy savings, pass energy audits, and manage assets in an emergency. The product also happens to be one of the winners of the Dell Connect What Matters competition, which challenged participants to come up with an IoT solution with real business impact.

The competition opened in October 2015 and winners were announced June 2016. The winners received a cash award, business and engineering consulting, access to Dell IoT Solution Labs, and help with everything from pilot deployments to marketing.

“We take all the things that are on a site that produce energy, all the stuff that distributes that energy around the building, and connect to different systems that monitor where that energy is being used,” explained Eric Reichel, Vice President of Product Management at Blue Pillar. “Our customers have complete connectivity and visibility to their entire energy footprint at their facilities.”

While what Blue Pillar does isn’t an entirely new concept, its methodology is. Typically, an integration company has to come in and piece together a network for each new customer, a process that can take years. Aurora uses a template approach, allowing customers to customize their “digital energy network” and get it up and running in only a few months. It is also unique in that it gives customers access to tools and data that normally come at a premium with other services.

For complex and power-critical customers like hospitals, universities, energy service providers, telecom companies, etc., knowing what’s going on with their energy assets is important, both on a facilities level and on a corporate level. Aurora hooks customers up with appropriate data for both. Energy managers at a corporate headquarters can view and compare data from multiple facilities. Facility managers can see the equipment in their network so they can see and respond to issues. The data can be viewed on an app that can be cloud-based, network-based, or a hybrid, depending on customers’ needs.

“Those complex and critical facilities, they want our system to be up and running when the power goes out and the Internet goes down. Our network becomes an emergency management tool for them to make sure that all of their on-premise backup power resources have responded the right way and are running, and they know where to dispatch people if they’re having issues.”

With customers that deal with such high stakes, it’s important that Aurora’s architecture is reliable. That’s why they chose to use a Dell Edge Gateway for IoT.

“We’re over 10 years old, and we’re continually on the search for the latest, greatest hardware from all the way down to the sensors and all the way up to what server we put our platform on. That gateway is a critical piece of the overall architecture because it really is the connectivity that glues all of the different equipment together,” said Reichel. “People understand the reputation, the brand, the quality and the service that goes along with Dell.”