This article details the Platform's Control functionality, including tab navigation, scenes, trends and permissions.
The Platform’s Control feature enables users to adjust system behavior in real time. Control is commonly used to change HVAC settings, like temperature setpoints, but the feature can also be utilized with other integrated systems, such as lighting. In addition to making real-time adjustments, Control is designed for diagnosing and troubleshooting live or recent events, such as complaints filed by tenants or work orders submitted by facility management. The remainder of this section will outline how to utilize, optimize and manage Control within the Switch Platform.
Control is divided into four distinct sections, each with its own tab and set of functionalities: ‘Scenes’, ‘Controls’, ‘Trends’ and ‘Configuration’.
Scenes are customized views used to display sensor information within Control. By clicking on the Scenes tab, users can view any scenes available to them, and with the right permissions, can add new scenes and access any scenes they created previously. Lastly, users with the appropriate permissions can edit and delete scenes using the buttons in the top-right corner of the scene tiles.
To view a scene, click the scene of interest from the Scenes tab.
The Controls tab displays a tile-based view of sensor readings. Each tile shows the last posted reading of that sensor, with certain sensors being controllable. Sensors that cannot be controlled appear as ‘read only’, but are still useful in a Control context for troubleshooting and to confirm controlled settings update as expected. For example, a user could turn a supply fan on or off from the Platform and confirm the command was successful by observing the supply fan’s status update accordingly.
Tile grouping within a scene depends on how the scene is configured. Scenes are most often built on tags with the selected tag groups appearing as banners across the top of the page. Users can select one or more tag groups to be displayed at a time.
After making a control change, users are presented with the option to either cancel or submit the change to prevent users from inadvertently submitting control changes. Note that multiple control changes can be submitted simultaneously.
Other Control features include:
- Create an event: similar to other features, like site and Alert Analysis, users can capture snapshots from Control and embed them into a new or existing event. This tool can be used to document issues or record changes that may need to be reverted later.
- Enlarge or shrink tiles: users can adjust the Zoom scroll bar in the top-right corner to alter the size of the tiles.
- Create or adjust schedules: a calendar icon will appear in the top-right corner of control tiles for schedulable objects. Clicking on the calendar icon opens the scheduling interface, from which users can adjust, add to, or delete a schedule for that sensor.
The ‘Trends’ tab displays sensor interval data in a timeline view over the past 48 hours. The solid line reflects data from the current day, while the dashed line reflects data from the previous day. The sensor’s current reading can still be seen in the minimized tile to the left of the trend lines, while important statistics from the current day are captured to the right. Statistics include ‘Min Reading’, ‘Max Reading’, ‘Avg Reading’, and ‘Readings Count.’ The vertical bar in the middle of the trend depicts the site’s current local time, while icons along the current day’s trend line indicate the time of the min/max readings.
Trend data in Control is a very powerful diagnostics tool. When users hover over the data, they are presented with both the sensor value and time those readings were posted.
Within the Configuration tab, users can build or edit a Control scene:
- Provide a descriptive title for the scene.
- Choose a theme to customize the look and feel of the scene.
- Select the sensors displayed in the scene.
- Share the scene to specific users, roles or the entire portfolio. Please note that without sharing, the Control scene will only be visible to the user who created it.
- Preview the scene before saving or sharing it. The Preview pane allows users to review the content of the scene as they construct it.
Users can build scenes in two ways:
- Based on tags or tag groups.
- Based on individual sensors.
Generally speaking, we recommend building your scene based on tags because tag-based scenes can be made Site-Based. Site-based scenes will be available to all sites, automatically formatted similarly and the sensors displayed will be specific to the selected site. As a reminder, Control is a site-level tool meaning that only one site’s data can be displayed at a time.
For example, a user could build one scene based on an HVAC Equipment tag group and make it site-based, such that it’s available to all sites tagged within the HVAC Equipment group. In contrast, a scene built on individually selected sensors can only be used in the site it’s created in. In summary, tag-based scenes are more scalable and more efficient to build in comparison to sensor-based scenes. Sensor-based scenes can be preferable for one-off scenarios however.
To build a tag-based scene, select the tag option at the bottom and click the tag group of interest in the right-hand menu. Please note, only the tag groups enabled for Control will appear in the Scene Configuration activity. While not required, we recommended titling your scene similar to the tag group it’s based on. Once you’ve selected your tag group, click the Site-Based button in the right-hand menu and share the scene to the appropriate users, roles or portfolio. Lastly, click Save before exiting the configuration activity.
Feature Access and Permissions
There are two primary ways to manage access to Control or the permissions within Control: User Roles and Scene Sharing.
User access and permissions for Control are set in the User Role. For example, a user could have access to the Control feature but have read-only access to command sensors. Users might also be permitted to command sensors but not create, edit or share scenes.
One user could be allowed to control certain sensor but not others. This type of access is configured via tagging and scene sharing. For example, a scene could be created based on a tag group that has the desired subset of sensors in it. This scene could then be shared to a specific subset of users, whereas a scene with all sensors could be tagged, created and shared to a different group. Please note, a sensor’s ‘read-only’ status is set in Site Builder.