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SAP Applies Big Data to University of Guelph Green Roof Project

Along with plant/soil experimentation, Guelph’s green roof project runs tests to determine the best uses of irrigation, fertilization, pest and weed control, and drought management, all of which generate their own sets of data.

Along with plant/soil experimentation, Guelph’s green roof project runs tests to determine the best uses of irrigation, fertilization, pest and weed control, and drought management, all of which generate their own sets of data.Being green appears to be a good in and of itself, but is not a virtue that is necessarily in absolute harmony with technology.

The recent uptick in cleantech, though, acknowledges the debt that human intervention owes to ingenuity, as opposed to just carelessness, and also makes it clear that there is not necessarily a contradiction between the industrial mentality of efficiency and profit maximization and environmental responsibility.

The convergence of smart technology, apps and web-connected devices all feed in to the growing ubiquity of what we now call the Internet of Things.

The University of Guelph, for example, has recently partnered with enterprise application developers SAP on a green roof project, along with commercial property management company Skyline Group.

The collaboration between SAP, the University of Guelph, and Skyline Group introduces more than just intuition and happy feelings to an environmentally responsible approach to technology.

Data collection relating to rainfall, run-off, temperature and light, is connected via an app monitored by the building manager through a sensor-driven system designed to optimize gains in energy efficiency and rainwater management in real time.

Data collection relating to rainfall, run-off, temperature and light, is connected via an app monitored by the building manager through a sensor-driven system designed to optimize gains in energy efficiency and rainwater management in real time.

Guelph has been developing its green roof, located atop the Science Complex on the university’s main campus, for a while now. What gets planted up there is considered as carefully as what it’s planted in. The substrate, or “soil”, that’s appropriate to a particular roof in a particular environment, is not necessarily one-size-fits-all. The Canadian extremes of winter and summer make demands on nature that are quite different than other parts of the world. And obviously, the close observation of data shapes decisions about what to plant and how.

Along with plant/soil experimentation, Guelph’s green roof project runs tests to determine the best uses of irrigation, fertilization, pest and weed control, and drought management, all of which generate their own sets of data.

Green roofs are becoming more common around the world and across Canada. The Vancouver Convention Centre has its “living roof”. And cities are now quite often transforming disused industrial infrastructure into park and green space, such as New York has done with its famous High Line project.

On the heels of the Strata Conference & Hadoop World, held in New York recently, SAP has also announced its participation in the International Barcode of Life consortium, whose aim is to protect global biodiversity through the creation of Big Data-enabled applications.

SAP contends that, rather than being an abstract or fleeting concept, Big Data is being employed in the here and now.

Simultaneously, at the Internet of Things World Forum which wrapped up in Barcelona, SAP has partnered with SK Solutions, specialists in anti-collision software, to work with engineering companies in improving collision avoidance management through a similar sensor-driven system managed through apps and internet-connected devices.

SAP contends that, rather than being an abstract or fleeting concept, Big Data is being employed in the here and now.

“The emerging ubiquity of intelligent devices in both consumer and industrial settings is changing the landscape of what is possible,” says Steve Lucas, president, Platform Solutions, SAP AG. “Not only does it open up instant visibility to what is happening at the edges of operations, organizations can combine Big Data with predictive analytics to create real-time insight when and where it is needed.”

Sensors monitoring data derived from the environment connected to smart devices, combined with intelligent interpretation of that data, are slowly coming into focus on the Internet of Things horizon. A green roof today could be a precursor to actionable data sourced from the everyday objects around us tomorrow.

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