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How one company is optimizing building data for smarter monitoring

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Mapped, which normalizes access to smart building data, has launched a free tier for its service. The platform helps companies discover and utilize data from building systems, sensors and equipment from different vendors. This makes it easier to develop building management apps and digital twins using a single API for all equipment —  it also helps normalize data into a consistent format. 

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The new launch promises to help connect building monitoring and management capabilities to cloud apps for scheduling, analytics and business workflows via cloud services such as Google Calendar, VergeSense, Microsoft 365 and OpenPath. It can also help operations teams fully map and integrate the data from building sensors, controls, equipment and infrastructure in as little as four days — allowing developers to focus on innovation rather than integration. It aims to make connecting with third-party services easier. 

Mapped’s founder and CEO, Shaun Cooley, launched the company after struggling with data integration challenges while previously leading IoT efforts at Cisco. Since then, the company has quickly grown — emerging out of stealth last year. It has mapped more than 30 million square feet across 100 buildings with upwards of 30,000 device types. The company has also been a driver behind the Brick Schema, an open-source graph for building data. 

Brick Schema was designed to improve access to and control of building data. It helps organize access to sensor, HVAC, lighting and electrical systems — and defines spatial, control and operational relationships. The tool is a promising alternative to other specifications and standards, such as industry foundation classes (IFC), smart appliances reference ontology (SAREF), building topology ontology (BOT) and Project Haystack. 

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Opening doors

Cooley told VentureBeat that the launch of the latest self-serve starter plan opens doors for developers, data scientists, and building solutions teams to connect and integrate cloud data sources with just a few clicks. Developers can immediately create their account to begin adding their cloud-based integrations, see the data in the Mapped Console, and access it via an API. 

The company anticipates that many enterprises will opt for an upgrade to Mapped’s pro plan, which makes it easy to bring in data from building management systems that use legacy protocols like Modbus, BACnet, and LonWorks. The pro plan allows teams to deploy a virtual or physical Mapped Universal Gateway to discover, extract and normalize all on-premises data into a consolidated independent data layer. Developers can access this data via the Mapped Console or the GraphQL API. 

When Cooley was at Cisco, he found that building asset managers would take months of manual inspections to discover and locate physical devices within a building. Then they would spend additional months connecting and integrating this data into customized building systems for each building. He claims that Mapped distills this down to four data categories: sustainability, predictive maintenance, security and tenant experience goals. 

Eliminating silos

Cooley predicts that an independent data layer will become a critical necessity of the smart building stack for commercial and industrial assets. The company has been busy developing tools to break data silos across building systems. 

“By eliminating these silos and democratizing access to data across systems and buildings, Mapped enables flexibility in accessing real-time and historic time-series data, providing more in-depth insights for building owners, operators and solution providers,” he said.

The platform could also help building operators with owning and securing their data to avoid vendor lock-in. Cooley claims the solution will also make it easier to take advantage of new solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve energy and sustainability management, predictive maintenance and occupant experiences. 

“With less time spent on integrating and onboarding, and more time spent on the things that actually drive business value, we expect the caliber of value provided by the next generation of proptech [property technology] solutions to increase dramatically,” Cooley said.

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