Introduction to IHIU Extensions
IHIU Extensions are additional software modules that can be downloaded to any IHIU system to add extra functionality.
They are not to be confused with IHIU Packages which control the function of an IHIU controller. Packages will themselves make use of various extensions to achieve specific functionality. Additional extensions simply allow the function to be extended to customised to meet specific requirements.
As such, extensions are often used to implement existing 3rd party resources, such as online data storage, or useful open-source projects.
The Google Extension allows an IHIU controller to connect to a Google account and make use of Google Calendar and Google Drive (Cloud Storage). Google services are free to users, are well evolved, with leading levels of security and an ability to share resources in various ways.
The Calendar functionality allows timed control messages to be set simply by adding a calendar entry. This makes it perfect for control over any building services that need to be timed. Events can be set to repeat, and specific instances may then be altered, allowing automatic control to be setup up while allowing holidays and boosts to be setup easily.
Google could storage functions enable IHIU controllers to store data remotely as no extra cost. This includes sensor logs, document and operating system backups, personal settings, and diagnostic reports.
Files stored in the cloud can then be shared with others, allowing, for example, service engineers to have access to the system diagnostics, but no more.
The Energy Saving Trust’s EMBED hub is an interactive online resource of building energy performance data, collated from energy monitoring field trials and various other studies.
The Embed extension has been developed with help from the EST and allows systems to connect to the Embed database and use its services, most notably for storing data from renewable installations on the RHI, although the database is perfect to the mass storage and dissemination of data from district heating installations to help advance best practices.
The EST are making the database free to use on the provision that data is made publicly available in an untraceable form. The whole point of the system is to allow large amounts of data from numerous installations to be viewed and compared to advance understanding of how energy is used.
What EMBED offers
- A single place to store and organise project information, documents and data.
- In-depth monitoring data from past and current trials in a standard format.
- Search and filter options for similar buildings and quick visualisation of large data sets.
- Easy data sharing with other users for collaboration and dissemination.
- Options to keep sensitive information and documents private and secure from other users.
- A web API to extract data for your own online tools.
- Secure online transfer of live monitoring data from any device using the Energy Saving Trust's open data format.
- Free use based on provision of anomolised public data
Our EMBED wiki article covers the system in far more detail, and also provides the open-source Python code used to make a connection. Contributors to this open project are always welcome to join the heatweb Wiki and expand the code base and documentation.
Our Wiki Extension allows additional functionality provided by our Wiki site to be implemented. This to to provide a solid documentation environment using wiki articles for the source data and formatting.
Menus and Online Help
At a basic level, the extension provides a help menu in the IHIU user interface that links to relate to online help and documentation that is relavent to the system. The menu is drawn from the wiki site, and as such automatically updates to reflect changes in the online resources. If a new help page for a particular IHIU package or extension becomes available, the menus will reflect this.
We generate most product documentation in PDF form using online software to firstly collect pages and sections from the wiki site, and then to combine them into a PDF binder, with contents and cover page. This provides the following benefits:
- Documents are always up to date, with any alternating in any wiki resource reflected immediately through all documentation
- Articles can be inserted into other articles, allowing standardised paragraphs, sections and instructions throughout documentation
- A single source of data used by web site, factory, customers, and IHIU systems
- Media tools provided by the MediaWiki engine (the same as Wikipedia) allow images to be automatically resampled to PDF suitable resolutions
- Full version tracking, with all changed recorded, and all previous versions saved
- Consistent formatting across all documentation using style sheets
- The heavy lifting of data storage, and PDF generation and storage is done online
- Detailed contents pages with page numbering
- Links can be included within articles to further reading
- QR code provided to allow latest version of document to be accessed simply by scanning label
View an example here... (this is a big document and takes about 20 seconds to refresh).
The use of QR codes allows information generated through the wiki site to be obtained from scanning labels on equipment or printed documents. We are currently implementing systems whereby each product supplied is provided with a unique QR code that links it back to all the relevant documentation and service history. This allows both end users and service engineers to obtain the latest information, and approved engineers (with editing rights to the wiki), can update the history as they go via their mobile.
IHIU systems can have their own wiki pages, providing a means of using wiki articles to control IHIU function. In fact they can look up data from any wiki page (or web page in general) to obtain data used to decide functionality.
For example, a wiki page could be used to control the default HIU commissioning setup for a district heating site, as well as document it, all in one.