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Today, most buildings have technology that controls ventilation, heating and other systems that make a building energy efficient and comfortable to live in. Buildings, just like modern cars, are controlled by computer systems that ensure that all technical devices work together with the same goals. Many buildings older than five-ten years have not just one but several systems, and these systems have previously been hard to integrate so that they collaborate with each other as one ecosystem.
For instance, lighting is commonly separate from heating systems as well as alarm systems, which makes it hard to use smart reasoning such as ‘a window is open in this room, so turning off the heat is a good idea’ and ‘as the lights are being turned off and it is dark outside, the person leaving the room should be reminded that the window is still left open’. The Elis platform has been developed to allow existing building systems to be connected with each other, which makes smarter building services simpler to create.
Through the Elis platform, existing technologies and systems already used individually may be integrated into one system, thereby forming an ecosystem that may exchange information through the Elis platform. This integration could be between several buildings also, as the platform does not have to run locally. While the platform is first and foremost intended for energy efficiency, not just ventilation or heating, but also home entertainment systems or automated pet-feeding devices could be integrated. Through a single (and open source) API, the Elis platform allows services to be developed that build upon what all your systems and devices control.
The Elis platform connects to existing systems and devices through so-called adapters. These adapters are needed to connect systems, and essentially translate the system-specific behavior to the Elis platform, which together with the system services then are made available to services through one single API. The API is where you access data on which you then build services or apps. A system owner is primarily interested in the API and the adapters, while a platform developer is also interested in the architecture of the Elis platform, which is built according to the Internet of Things Reference Architecture (IoT–A). Without the Elis platform, development of smart services would have to use different APIs for each system and device that the service would want to interact with.