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Monitoring the Edge of Everything

Comprehensive IoT Platforms tackle the management and monitoring challenges of the growing Edge Data Center market.

Even the most casual followers of IT trends recognize that providers of Cloud, SaaS, and content solutions need to move their functionality closer to end users. Latency is the greatest obstacle to operational effectiveness and customer satisfaction. This has given rise to the Edge datacenter which as a market has been exploding to accommodate the growth of cloud technologies. These cloud-based applications require storing, moving, and processing massive amounts of data. This Edge Data Center market is expected to exceed 13 Billion Dollars by 2024 to keep up with these evolving demands. Though a pervasive challenge for many cloud dependent services, Internet Service Providers (ISP)s have been rapidly increasing scale to keep up with business and consumer demands. A good portion of this growth has been at the last mile; close to the customer; at the metaphoric ‘Edge.’

Edge Connectivity

Though ISPs have been using fiber for truck backhaul connections for decades, Fiber to the home (FTTH), has been increasing in demand. Providing this service however drives the need for Edge datacenters to deliver service closer to the customer. Edge-based data centers bring a unique set of additional challenges to the forefront compared to their big-brother counterparts. Due to their core requirement of being close to the customer, Edge data solutions are deployed in-mass; typically in the hundreds or thousands across large swaths of geography. This rollout methodology leads to some different challenges compared to large data center environments. Much of the same infrastructure used in large datacenter construction such as HVAC, security, and power monitoring is the same between traditional and edge deployments. What differs, however, is the sheer quantity and geographic diversity. 24×7 staffing of these data-centers is impractical. This leads to the need to be able to monitor and manage their operations entirely remotely while also taking on additional functions typically taken care of by on-prem staff. This is where the BitBox platform enters the picture for Edge applications.

The Edge monitoring challenge

When dealing with FTTH style solutions for ISPs the backhaul fiber network extends throughout the country. Fiber is then fed to the consumer by a variety of remote site huts (or Edge data-centers), colocated servers, and often, space in wholesale data center facilities. The heterogeneity of their network components and this infrastructure design dictates the need for a single centralized monitoring and management solution capable of managing this scale of infrastructure remotely. Within each hut remote management and monitoring of power, cooling, access control, surveillance and network operation are a requirement. Previous avenues at conquering this management problem often were typically thwarted due to both the diverse nature of sites and the narrowness or functionality within the solution alternatives. Although several platforms are available in the marketplace, usually they align to specific building technologies. (e.g., Building Management systems could handle cooling monitoring, but not concurrently deal with SNMP, and generator status information). The need to normalize and analyze the data from geographically diverse site locations in a single platform was a custom adventure most ISPs would not want to undertake. The BitBox platform takes on this challenge from a different perspective. Unlike deploying multiple monitoring and management solutions for each building trade, the BitBox platform does not work to displace existing infrastructure, but globally collects all building and infrastructure data available, organizes it, and then easily allows custom tailoring of the monitoring solution.

Diversity is the standard

Sub-system diversity is often the pitfall of enterprise co-location monitoring solutions in mass. Fifty sites may have one brand of generator, but seven may have another, that communicates differently. Cooling systems may be different between generations of roll-outs. BitBox tackles this through using the uniquely designed BitBox hardware which allows for a single lightweight hardware edge device to collect data and communicate with all sub-systems. It then normalizes the data and pushes critical monitoring and management infrastructure information to a consolidated dataset in the cloud. This methodology enables Bitbox to accommodate all existing facilities regardless of the deployment mode or hardware set, without interrupting operations and quickly allowing for provisioning on future deployments.

Changes on the fly

Even the most well-coordinated implementation plan can is capable of being derailed by previously unrelated information in the construction process. A simple generator brand change can result in a change in communications technology to gather critical information. Typically this would require on-site alterations to programming. The BitBox platform allows for on-the-fly changes such as this to be implemented via the cloud to reallocate data requirements to accommodate these changes without the need to fly individuals to geographic sites.

Data is only as relevant as the information it translates to

Most critical systems in a facility provide data. The key is being able to see it all in one location from everywhere and take action when needed. This universal visibility is the key to uptime while minimizing labor expense in a distributed environment such as an Edge Data-Center deployment. BitBox’s cloud infrastructure, the BitEngine offers a centralized and user configurable dashboard allowing a single source of truth to all the distributed infrastructure globally. The alarming infrastructure built into the BitBox platform allows site alarms to announce that there is something amiss at one or more sites. Since not all alerts are of equal severity, a “ranking order” can be established to determine the imperativeness of the problem. In any distributed infrastructure the triage for alarms reflects what problems require immediate attention as opposed to those whose condition is more rectifiable on a convenience or routine maintenance basis. This configurable alarming hierarchy helps to limit ongoing operational costs by limiting the number of “truck rolls” to resolve a problem while also allowing for more monitored preventative maintenance.

Distributed Growth

The expansion of distributed Edge infrastructure due to the demands from cloud ecosystems is undeniable. This growth fuels the need for comprehensive management and monitoring platforms to handle the unique requirements of this diverse Edge space. A multitude of elements must be considered to ensure a cost-effective and successful implementation by any provider. Flexible remote infrastructure management solutions, like the BitBox Platform, are uniquely positioned to address the complexity in this environment.

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S.E.C. specializes in the critical automation required in nationwide facilities rollouts. With a specialty in national QSR and small foot-print retail, S.E.C in-store solutions allow for commission free installation of critical control and safety equipment, while also allowing for simple operation for in-store staff.

S.E.C. focuses on affordable building solutions that:
• Cut energy consumption costs
• Simplify day to day business operations
• Lower startup costs for future growth
• Provide consistency with their customers
• Ensure a safe environment for employees
• Protect property and equipment from fire

S.E.C. solutions can easily be enabled to work with the BitBox Platform for remote monitoring, portfolio analytics, and remote operation for hundreds or thousands of locations.

DENT Instruments is an industry-leading manufacturer of recording power meters, submeters, dataloggers, and a wide variety of compatible Current Transformers, including flexible Rogowski coil CTs. For over 30 years, DENT has built a reputation for providing energy measurement tools of the highest quality whose robust design, reliability, and value make them the products of choice by energy professionals worldwide.

DENT power solutions integrate with ease in the BitBox Platform.

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Axis enables a smarter and safer world by creating network solutions to improve security and find new ways of doing business.

Video surveillance solutions

Axis offers a wide range of network video surveillance solutions including cameras and encoders, VMS and recorders, analytics, and applications. Our IP-based portfolio ensures scalability and simplifies integration.

Access control 

We provide open, scalable, and flexible access control solutions that integrate seamlessly with other systems.

Audio solutions

Explore our complete, high-quality audio solutions to improve security, make live or scheduled announcements, or create ambiance with great-sounding background music.

The BitBox PaaS tightly integrates with all Axis Solutions. 

ServersCheck is a simple, plug & play, resilient, and modular solution to monitor edge infrastructure and other critical facilities. ServersCheck offers a complete line of sensing technologies for Edge facilities, telecom cell sites, data center floors, containerized solutions, electrical power plant substations, and commercial buildings. Our cost-conscious sensing platform uses a simple-to-wire CAT5/6 wire plant for data and power, allowing sensors to be daisy-chained in any facility.

Sensors are modular by design, and ServersCheck has over 35 different sensing modules available including, but not limited to:

  • Temperature, humidity,  airflow, pressure, dust, and air quality
  • Power monitoring and quality
  • Sound and Noise
  • Water & Fuel Leak
  • Hydrogen
  • Light Level & Smoke detection
  • Motion Detection
The ServersCheck Base Unit offers native communication with any BitBox for simplicity of remote site monitoring and management.

Google Cloud IoT is a complete set of tools to connect, process, store, and analyze datasets.

Gain real-time business insights from globally-dispersed devices—at the edge or in the cloud—with a comprehensive toolset geared to IoT. Tools included in the platform, like Google BigQuery, allow for ad hoc analysis, while the Cloud Machine Learning engine offers advanced analytics. You can also visualize results with rich reports and dashboards in Google Data Studio. Custom data-driven applications can also be built on The Google Cloud Platform (GCP), using the suite of platform tools including Google app-engines.

The BitAPI offers native connectivity to the Google Cloud Platform through GRPC or REST. Additionally, entire BitEngine datasets can be stored in GCP on demand.

IBM TRIRIGA Facilities Management

Through business analytics, critical alerts, and automated process capabilities, TRIRIGA can increase visibility, control, and automation of your real estate management, capital projects, space management, facility maintenance, and energy management needs.

Finance, accounting, and property executives can make more informed decisions about portfolios of properties. This insight into analytics allows for increased value to their organizations through identification of high-return real estate transactions, increased facilities utilization, and reduced energy expenses.

Outcomes driven by BitBox-fed data commonly include: improved facility space utilization, reduced energy spend, streamlined facility operations, and optimized lease insight.

IBM TRIRIGA includes a host of features for properties to improve performance including: Real estate / Facility management, space utilization analytics, environmental and energy management, automated workflow, and virtualized facility assets, spaces, and resources.

Learn more about IBM TRIRIGA

DGLux helps integrators, designers, and building technology manufacturers create data-driven web applications, with a focus on customization to analyze, monitor, and control building data and analytics in a single, unified display. A data-driven, graphical engine allows for the customized deployment of mobile, desktop, cloud, or HMI display metrics, with powerful real-time features such as run-time charting, mapping, user interaction, a powerful dataflow logic engine, and a refined user access capability. DGLux enables end user operators to interact with data within their role with ease.

DGLux offers native integration with the BitAPI to enable this powerful graphical driven toolset. Full, white-labeled applications can be developed and custom tailored to any product or application need. 

DGLux also offers professional UX design services for customers, allowing for a refined user interaction experience and stunning visualization of data for applications.

Learn more about the DGLux data-driven UX family of products.

BuildingOS® by Lucid is the leading building energy management and analytics platform. It uncovers savings and improves performance in the world’s leading commercial building portfolios.

BuildingOS makes it easier—and faster—to transform building operations data into performance improvements that save money, enhance sustainability, and drive employee productivity through:

  • data-driven energy management decisions
  • occupant engagement and stakeholder communications
  • a single visualization platform for all your energy data
  •  work order and asset management for commercial infrastructure
Learn more about how the BitBox PaaS can enable BuildingOS.

Fred Dirla

Chief Strategy Officer

Fred Dirla is a motivational team leader who drives collaboration across executive teams to create sustainable growth.

As the Chief Strategy Officer at BitBox USA, Fred is responsible for working closely with the CEO to develop, communicate, and execute strategic initiatives. His personal mantra for success is, “People, Process, Tools,” which allows him to focus on building teams through improved communication and individual effort.

Prior to BitBox, Fred worked in executive roles as the CEO of FieldView Solutions, COO of Nlyte Software, COO of Energy Options, and General Manager for the Utilities division of Enron. This experience allowed Fred to develop on-the-ground management experience with facilities, building automation, electrical contracting, general contracting, engineering, data centers, and software development.

Luke Dalske

Vice President of BitBox Deployment & Integration

Luke Dalske is the Vice President of BitBox Deployment & Integration. He oversees deployment and integration of the BitBox monitoring platform, which simplifies the deployment, integration, monitoring, and maintenance of distributed infrastructure from the core to the edge. He has over 15 years of power monitoring, generator control systems, PLC, and SCADA experience. Prior to joining BitBox USA, Dalske spent nine years with Schneider Electric in its professional services division where he led sales engineering, data center systems design, and implementation.

Mike Skurla

Director of Product Strategy

Mike Skurla has staked his claim at the nexus of software, hardware, and analytics.  With more than 22 years’ experience in control automation and IoT product design with fortune 500 companies, Skurla rigorously pursues outcome-based analytics for mission-critical industries  such as retail, healthcare, and data center infrastructure management (DCIM).
As a contributor to various industry publications, Skurla’s articles have appeared in Critical Facilities, LD+A, and USGBC.  He is a contributing member of ASHRAE, IES Education, and USGBC and a frequent lecturer on the evolving use of analytics and emerging IT technologies to foster efficiency within commercial facility design.

Jon Trout

Founder and CEO

Jon Trout is a technology executive with proven leadership abilities of both technical and business teams.

Throughout his civilian and military career, Jon has been recognized for his effectiveness  at translating business requirements into strategic, actionable direction for multi-site teams.

Before co-founding BitBox USA, Jon was the VP of Engineering & Production for TrendPoint–a Schneider Electric subsidiary. In this role, Jon led a staff of 12 in the Technology, Production, Procurement, and Engineering Departments with the goals of defining technology vision, crafting sales messages, and establishing an ISO certified manufacturing process. Under Jon’s leadership, his team established the EnerSure power metering platform, used pervasively in top data facilities around the world.

In 2015, Jon sought a new challenge in the emerging concept of Edge Data Centers. He co-founded BitBox USA to aggressively develop and deploy industrial software solutions to manage these critical facilities. Jon’s vision paid off as the Edge market has grown substantially – leading to the acquisition of BitBox USA by Compass Data Centers in 2017.

Prior to civilian roles, Jon served as a Research & Development Technician in the U.S. Navy where he designed and developed a naval Command and Control system still in use today. He was also a Combat Systems Electronics Manager, accountable for the preventative maintenance program for external communications and data exchange processing systems.

During his 6 years in the Navy, Jon earned several awards, among them a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 Awards), a Global War on Terrorism Campaign Medal and a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Jon has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and has authored several articles in industry-leading publications on the topics of engineering scalable and cost-effective metering.