Managing a digital city

Imdaad’s Arif Al Yedaiwi and Robotina’s Marjan Strnad shed light on Imdaad’s Integrated Network Operations Centre and its impact on facilities management

Tags: ImdaadSmart buildingsUnited Arab Emirates
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Managing a digital city Arif Al Yedaiwi, director of IT & Procurement, Imdaad.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  September 11, 2016

Located in the heart of the Jebel Ali Free Zone and at the headquarters of Imdaad, an integrated facilities and waste management service provider, the Integrated Network Operations Centre (INOC) is the first facility of its kind in the Middle East.

Intended to introduce a number of ICT concepts to the integrated facilities management (IFM) discipline, the intelligent command and control centre is designed to observe and analyse performance trends of connected assets in real-time. Correlating the data with the behaviour of the building’s ecosystem, the platform then devises recommendations for maintenance activities.

This could be in reaction to a failure or breakdown of a building function, such as its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, or the replacement of degraded component that is expected to fault, as determined through predictive analysis.

“INOC is an idea that was initiated by Jamal Lootah, Imdaad’s CEO, about two years back. He wanted to bring Imdaad to the next level of IFM by tapping into the technology advancement that is happening in the market. He wanted to introduce remote access and management of assets in buildings that are currently managed by Imdaad,” comments Arif Al Yedaiwi, director of IT and procurement, Imdaad.

Initially announced back in September 2015, INOC was officially launched in May 2016 during the annual FM EXPO. While its full capabilities have yet to be realised, Imdaad’s intelligent command and control centre is already making waves within the UAE’s FM market. In addition to connecting over 1,000 assets, INOC has found its way into the spotlight after being awarded the accolade of Technology Implementation of the Year at the 2016 fmME Awards.

The centre has incorporated a number of technologies into its design, which includes machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, automatic corrective measures, a cognitive computing platform, as well as predictive maintenance and energy management. In terms of software, INOC is currently running on the latest build of the ICONIX platform.

“There are three levels of operation that we are trying to achieve with this setup. The lowest level is actually remote dispatching of the workforce that are the closest to the site for corrective action,” explains Yedaiwi.

“The second level is remote control and management of a building by an INOC agent, who once receiving an alarm that something might go wrong or has gone wrong, they can correct that issue remotely using the system.”

The final stage, which is expected to go live by the end of the year will focus on what the IT director described as, “self-healing of the system itself.”

“We built the business logic within the platform so that the system itself can predict that something might go wrong with a particular asset being monitored and controlled … the system will create the required corrective actions or preventative actions so that asset which is about to go down is addressed quickly,” adds Yedaiwi.

Given the high number of assets connected to the centre, as well as the sensitivity of the data that it processes daily, one question that is often asked is that of security. Compiled within a 64-bit environment, INOC boasts a number of security features intended to keep sensitive data secure. This includes the use of encryption, certificate authentication, user and system encrypted passwords, and obfuscation.

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