SkyFoundry is a leader in the field of data analytics for the built environment – the buildings and structures that are the foundation of modern life. Below is our recent interview with John Petze, Co-Founder and COO at SkyFoundry:
Q: John, can you provide our readers with a brief introduction to SkyFoundry?
A: I would be happy to. SkyFoundry is a software company focused on helping clients derive value from data produced by the equipment systems in their facilities. Our SkySpark® analytics platform automatically analyzes data from control systems, metering systems, sensors and other smart devices to identify issues, patterns, deviations, faults and opportunities for operational improvements and cost reduction.
Q: What are the key benefits of using SkySpark Analytics?
A: The quick answer is that SkySpark helps building owners and operators “find what matters” in the vast amount of data produced by today’s smart systems. This is a real challenge for facility managers. From automation systems to electric meters, thermostats, appliances and even individual sensors – smart devices of all types are now capable of communicating valuable data about their operation and environment. On the surface, access to this data can open up new opportunities for improved performance and the delivery of value-added services to reduce costs, extend equipment life, improve performance and validate investments in efficiency improvement measures. But access to the data is just the first step in the journey. The real challenge is to effectively manage and derive value from the data available. That’s what SkySpark does. It performs automated analytics to detect “things that matter” in the data.
Q: Who is your ideal user and why?
A: The high-level answer is that SkySpark is used by people that are involved in actively managing facilities, equipment systems and energy use. But let’s dive down a bit deeper on that.
In some cases, facility owners have internal staff that perform these functions and SkySpark is used by the internal staff, for example, facility managers, engineers and technicians. In other cases, they outsource those functions to a managed services provider and SkySpark is used by the staff at the service company. We see the software used by energy managers, engineering consulting firms that specialize in implementation of energy efficiency programs, commissioning and M&V professionals as well as mechanical contractors and systems integrators that install and service building equipment and control systems. It’s also extensively used by companies that provide continuous monitoring services to facility owners.
To support this wide range of users we have specifically created Apps that are tailored to the various roles and responsibilities. For example, the software includes a comprehensive suite of energy analysis tools for engineers that really dig into energy data, as well as an App focused on presenting high-level operational metrics such as key performance indicators (KPI’s) for users that are responsible for overseeing performance across a portfolio of facilities. Those users need quick summaries to identify where they should focus their efforts.
Q: What can we expect from SkyFoundry in next 6 months?
A: Data Analytics is a fast-moving field. We continue to extend the capabilities of the software with new Apps, features and data connectors based on customer input. We are in a great position to get this input because SkySpark has been deployed to over 1 Billion square feet of facilities in the last 10 years, and we have over 140 authorized partners around the world implementing systems for customers. This is gives us great insight, and an always full list of new development projects.
Q: What’s the best thing about SkyFoundry that people might not know about?
A: There are actually two things we find people are often not aware of. First, SkyFoundry is not a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. We never have your data. SkySpark can be installed on-premise inside the secure IT infrastructure of the customer on hardware managed by their IT staff. This distinction is key for many mission critical and high security applications that simply can’t allow external connections or send their data to an external provider.
The second is that SkySpark is applicable to virtually all types of applications including:
• Commercial office buildings (owner occupied, REITs)
• Utilities (demand response load management)
• Government (GSA, Navy, others)
• Data Centers
• Industrial facilities and processes
• Multi-site Retail and Quick Serve Restaurants
• Higher Education
• Indoor Agriculture
• Entertainment/Hospitality (Casinos, Shopping centers, Hotels)
• Facility Management Service Providers
• Energy Engineering, Commissioning, M&V
The software works with all types of equipment and sensor data. It’s not limited to a single type of facility.
John Petze is a partner and Co-Founder at SkyFoundry. John has over 30 years of experience in automation, energy management and M2M/IoT, having served in senior level positions for manufacturers of hardware and software products. He is also the Executive Director of Project-Haystack.org, an open source, 501C trade association focusing on standards and technology to make device data self-describing to enable software applications to automatically consume, interpret, analyze and present data from devices and equipment systems.