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The World’s premier Open Source
Building Energy Management Platform

FAQ for end users

  • BEMServer is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License 3. As such it is a free open source software.
  • The company that initiated the project is NOBATEK/INEF4, and we already have the expertise and knowledge to deploy and maintain the solution. Our business model is to:
    • Develop additional proprietary software on top of BEMServer, or sell partner software.
    • To get paid for services around BEMServer: installation, configuration, maintenance, evolution, training…
  • End-users are responsible of the data stored and should ensure the data they store in BEMServer do not infringe the privacy law in your country. BEMServer developers can never be responsible of these aspects.
  • BEMServer’s main functionality is to facilitate data access for the development of new smart building services: it is a collaborative project by essence. Additionally, most of the currently marketed solutions are monolithic, for data collection to services; we believe every building is different and requires different services. With BEMServer, energy management solutions become modular and can be retailed according to the clients’ needs.
  • BEMServer is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License v3; this means everybody can download the code, change it, and install it, but anyone selling a service using a modified version of the code should publish his modifications under the AGPL license.
  • No prerequisites exist to install BEMServer, but you should have some basic knowledge in IT. We nevertheless strongly recommend to be assisted by a person that have a knowledge in Python and Docker (we, NOBATEK/INEF4, can play this part). Additionally, the installation has only been tested on Debian 9 machines.
  • Python developers can contribute to BEMServer without any constraints.
  • BEMServer can currently be only used to monitor buildings. All the data points can be only be described according to their location in a building, or the associated monitored system. Using BEMServer in other contexts require extending its functionalities.
  • Yes. For instance, we have already used a single instance of BEMServer to monitor 4 different sites, each in a different European country (Ireland, France, Poland and Spain).
  • Currently, BEMServer cannot directly collect data in a building. A gateway is therefore required to get the data either on a database on which the data are stored, or through communication protocols (KNX, BACNet, LonWorks,… or IoT protocols).
  • BEMServer comes with a security layer based on a Role-Based Access Controls: each entity/person needs some credentials to access the data through the REST APIs of BEMServer, and gets a role associated. This role gives him access only to the data of the site he has some rights on, and only to perform specific operations (either read or write data). This model can be refined to give more fine-grain access.
  • No. Every module has its own business model. Contact us if you want to get some pricing information.
  • We have developed a Grafana plugin that provides a basic visualization service for timeseries data.
  • BEMServer acts as central node in your data systems: its role is to gather all your relevant building data and make them available to deploy services. Its communication facility is based on REST APIs, and it is therefore with all your systems, as long as they can handle REST APIs.
  • We developed two ways to create a building description:
    • Extracting information from an IFC file, if you have a BIM model of your building
    • Collecting information through an Excel file, if you do not have a model.
  • Collecting information related to sensors is always done through an Excel, filled up by the building management team, or by the BEMServer installation team (since in 99% of the existing models, sensors are not informed).

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