Peter Arkle

Maintaining efficient building operations requires synchronization among a host of systems. This week's lineup puts the spotlight on products and technology that target a range of applications from energy management to noise reduction.

Panoptix Developer Center, Johnson Controls
Since launching its Panoptix building management platform in 2011, Johnson Controls has continually updated the system with application-specific apps targeting energy efficiency. In November 2012, that effort was bolstered by the unveiling of its Developer Center, which facilitates collaboration in developing new apps and systems within the Panoptix line, and the subsequent release of a slew of open APIs for developers to gather data on building equipment, systems, and utilities. The resulting apps are available for download in Panoptix’s Web-based app store for use by Panoptix customers. The apps range from dashboards that building operators can use to track energy-efficient operations to a public viewer designed to showcase a building’s energy savings in and straightforward manner.

Crestron Fusion EM
As the energy management component of Crestron’s Fusion Global Enterprise Management system, Fusion EM tracks real-time energy consumption as well as monitors lighting, shading, and heating and cooling for individual rooms and for the entire building. Its graphical user interface displays historical consumption data while letting building operators establish and manage conditions pre-set based on room type, occupancy status, and department. The company plans to release an open API to help developers build custom applications that can integrate with the interface.


Tunable Acoustic Panels, Wenger
Performance venues must continually adapt to accommodate the range of acoustical sounds produced by different artists. Tunable Acoustic Panels from Wenger can be adjusted to regulate sound levels in enclosed spaces. Each panel’s curved face comprises a micro-perforated aluminum sheet covered in fabric, hiding a diaphragm that can move closer to or farther from the aluminum sheet to facilitate absorption or diffusion with the turn of a handle, resulting in noise-reduction coefficients ranging from 0.75 to 0.20. Designed for use in spaces such as rehearsal rooms, recital halls, and cafeterias, the 4x4 panels are 12” deep with extruded aluminum sides.


Spotter, GE and Quirky
An onslaught of open APIs and crowd-sourced product development is driving a new wave of innovation that’s taking the home and its building systems online to improve efficiency. The Spotter, which lets users wirelessly track interior conditions such as lighting, temperature, humidity, motion, and sound using a sleek widget and a smart phone, derives from a partnership announced in April 2013 between General Electric and smart-products start-up Quirky. In November, the pair announced their first round of products, which includes a wireless egg-freshness monitor and a pivoting power strip that can be turned on and off remotely using a mobile device. In the case of the Spotter, users can customize the multipurpose sensor to set rules for determining which internal functions to track and how, and it can be installed on most surfaces in the home.


AsureSpace SmartView, Asure Software
First-person observation is often required to determine usage patterns in offices. AsureSpace SmartView, from workplace management software provider Asure Software, uses infrared sensors to collect occupancy data that informs the design of corporate renovations and new construction. The wireless system works independent of existing office networks and compiles data in real time. Sensors can be installed up to 100 yards away from the router in areas such as permanent work stations, hubs for mobile employees, and meeting rooms to determine the frequency at which those spaces are occupied and for how long.

Assure Software

Stewart Filmscreen, FireHawk G4
The opaque surface of this projection film screen is designed to reduce glare in applications where ambient light is present while preserving image quality from multiple angles. From Stewart Filmscreen, the FireHawk G4’s flexible surface comes in sizes of up to 8’ tall and 90’ wide with the option to be installed on a roller system as well as with micro-perforations for acoustical transparency. The screen can accommodate 4k imaging technology.