Smart and Secure Buildings

Internet of Things Anomaly Detection for Software Defined Networks

Client: Optigo Networks Inc., Dan Ronald, VP Product Management
Faculty Supervisor: Paul Lusina
Capstone Team: Andrew Archer, Xu Chen, Al-Shahna Jamal, Anthony Kao, Ezra Savard

Carefully controlling when, and how much energy buildings use can save huge amounts of money. In the US, businesses spend about $100 billion on energy for office buildings every year (Energy Smart Buildings). Globally, buildings account for about 40% of the world’s energy consumption. Managing energy use can easily cut these costs in half and, with effort, these costs can even be reversed, creating a building that actually generates energy (Bullitt Center). Energy efficiency is just one of the drivers inducing businesses to move toward smart buildings.

Smart buildings are at the forefront of the Internet of Things; a term used to summarize any network of lights, cameras, ventilation, generators, and a host of other devices monitored and controlled remotely. While energy efficiency, increased monitoring and improved comfort of tenants are strong reasons to make buildings smart, networking a building presents new cybersecurity risks. The client for this capstone project, Optigo Networks, provides security for the commercial Internet of Things. They asked their capstone team to find out if Software Defined Networks (SDN) can help improve the security of smart buildings.

Software Defined Networks are a new centralized way to manage many devices.: In a traditional network the infrastructure components (switches) are controlled independently. Software Defined Networks offer more dynamic control to facilities managers. As an example of how this can improve security, Software Defined Networks can identify unlikely use patterns from a device and immediately isolated that device from the network. In a traditional network, hackers could gain access by infiltrating one vulnerable device.

The capstone team built a proof-of-concept SDN application that addresses some security concerns of traditional networking and can manage a smart building network with very fine control. The capstone was an opportunity to use a new technology that incorporated network security and the emerging hot area of the Internet of Things.

“This has been a research heavy project for us – SDN is a very young technology, no one is an expert in them yet.  We learned this new technology from the ground up. There have definitely been dead ends and a lot of adapting our goals based on the resources available.” – Al-Shahna Jamal

The capstone team is confident that Software Defined Networks (SDN) can deliver a system that is easy to configure, and that the security potential is promising. Software Defined Networks provide a lot of granular network control, and an SDN based smart building could be significantly easier to configure and operate.”

Find out more:

Optigo Networks