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Design your own interface with Advancis’ open platform

Design your own interface with Advancis’ open platform
With more than 1,600 realized installations, Advancis Software & Services GmbH based in Frankfurt/Germany is a global provider in the PSIM industry with offices and partners around the world.
With more than 1,600 realized installations, Advancis Software & Services GmbH based in Frankfurt/Germany is a global provider in the PSIM industry with offices and partners around the world. 

WinGuard from Advancis is an open architecture command & control platform to integrate and unify security, building automation, IT and communication systems. Most essentially WinGuard provides operators with an instant picture of full situational analysis for decision making, command and control of all systems as well as dynamic and interactive handling procedures for live security incidents via the control room and in the field for mobile security agents.

With its open integration platform strategy, Advancis is able to integrate security, building automation and communication systems as well as IT infrastructure into one PSIM platform. This is the main message for what the company is doing today, according to Co-Founder and CEO Jan Meiswinkel. 
Jan Meiswinkel,
Co-Founder and CEO 

New interface SDK to create new opportunities

The next step in the Germany-based company’s development will be to provide an interface SDK to integrators and partners in the first quarter of next year. 

Advancis’ interface SDK is a step to even better respond to specific customer requirements – by giving partners the ability to design their own interfaces. Advancis has a worldwide integrator ecosystem. This means, “If somebody has developed an interface and this is required by other users too, we can make it accessible to anybody who is part of our ecosystem,” Meiswinkel said. After developing an application, partners can either use it and forget it or they can send it to Advancis who will conduct quality checks and certify it. “We will check them on a quality level, make sure that they are solid, robust, stable and secure, and then we can make them accessible for the whole customer base,” he explained.

However, Meiswinkel clarifies that it is not the overall target to outsource interface development: “This will further remain our own core task. We have been working on our new interface SDK for over a year on revolutionizing the way how interfaces are developed in order to significantly reduce the required time and effort. First of all, that enables us to develop interfaces a lot faster. On the other hand, some specific projects require to connect systems which are rarely used to the integration platform, or the end customer does not want to disclose a particular system he intends to integrate. Advancis has created the new SDK so that partners can easily take over such developments. Whether the interface development is realized by us or by the partner, the new SDK greatly accelerates the project realization.”

Currently, the company has over 400 interfaces to technical systems that can be integrated into its open platform. However, the new SDK will open up new opportunities. “We will maybe have thousands of interfaces within the next years, it won’t just be hundreds,” he said. 

How to maximize end-customer benefits

There is also always the challenge that existing interfaces have to be adapted because the systems behind them are further developed by the manufacturers, and these development cycles become constantly shorter. “We continue to expand into a wide range of countries worldwide where we are constantly confronted with new products and technologies to be integrated into the WinGuard command & control platform. The more systems our platform can integrate, the greater the benefits are for the end customer. It is our target to be able to integrate the complete “installed base". every technical system the end-customer uses. If our international partners can assist with these integrations by using the new SDK, they have the possibility to contribute to the project’s success. Furthermore, they can implement functional interface extensions every time the subsystems are upgraded with new functionalities by their manufacturers.”

Simplified customization with new UI SDK 

In addition, Advancis plans to release a UI (User Interface) SDK which will allow integrators to further develop their own features. It is the integrators who know best about end customers’ needs and therefore can adapt, improve and customize the UI developed by Advancis.

The two new SDKs will give Advancis highest flexibility with regard to project realization. For example, Advancis can implement 95 % of the development work in a major project, whereas the remaining effort for successful completion can be taken over by a partner or integrator who is extremely familiar with the specific requirements of the end customer. “This flexibility enables Advancis to further increase efficiency and to provide customized solutions”, Meiswinkel said. “In addition, it gives us more space for the further development of our integration platform itself and it also strengthens our business partnerships around the world.”

Virtual connection of additional technical systems: the “digital twin”

In 2020, Advancis will also release a new way to present physical devices in the virtual environment. 

“For example, fire detectors are connected to a central fire alarm panel which is then integrated into our platform. So this is a one-on-one-connection”, Meiswinkel explained. “The detector itself is represented within the platform as a so-called data point, i.e. the digital twin of the physical detector. While so far this digital twin only provided the information transferred by the fire alarm panel, it will in the future also be possible to enrich the digital twin with additional information delivered from other software. For example, a building management system or an SAP system that is available onsite might also contain relevant information about the physical fire detector, e.g. its installation data, maintenance dates and information or its pollution degree. In the future, these data sets coming from other software sources will be transferred to the digital twin too so that it will contain comprehensive and consolidated information about the physical detector itself. This makes our datapoint in WinGuard, the digital twin, an intelligent information source.” 

Overcoming challenges with added value

At present, one of the biggest challenges for the company is finding the right integration partners. Finding the right people that have the mindset of understanding the customers’ needs and then transferring them into processes inside of the platform has proven difficult.

Meiswinkel explained how in some regions integrators have so much work to do that they just do not have the capabilities to execute all projects. In this case, despite the fact that customers are requesting certain applications, there are simply not enough integrators in the field to fulfill these needs.

With regard to pricing, Advancis believes providing customers with enough added value to compare to their investment will make pricing a non-issue. “We strongly believe that if we deliver value-added and innovative solutions to our customers, they will see the benefits, they will see the return on investment”, Meiswinkel said.

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