Qi Square and SoftTech Launch AWS-Based Platform to Help Global Customers Achieve Sustainability Goals
SoftTech Engineers worked with Qi Square to redesign and relaunch Qi Square’s BtrLyf Energy Conservation Assessment portal on AWS, helping customers access building data in minutes instead of weeks or months, scaling to support tens of millions of data points, and driving global growth. The AWS-based BtrLyf platform runs on AWS serverless technologies, including Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Aurora, AWS Glue, and Amazon Athena.
Supporting Singapore’s Plans for Green Certification
Qi Square Pte Ltd., founded in Singapore in 2017, is a technology startup focused on the digitization of sustainably built environments. The company, formed as a spin-off of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, researches and develops green building technologies and tools.
In early 2021, Singapore announced the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which calls for buildings in the country to achieve green certification by 2030. In response, Qi Square created the BtrLyf (pronounced “better life”) Energy Conservation Assessment portal. This machine learning–enabled assessment platform is designed to help commercial building companies, architects, consultants, and product suppliers gain real-time visibility into building data while reducing physical touchpoints. “BtrLyf helps our customers plan and achieve low-energy, net-zero, and green-certified buildings quickly,” says Nilesh Jadhav, chief executive officer of BtrLyf at Qi Square. “With the portal, users can easily and securely access data for their building performance improvement projects.”
Although Qi Square initially developed BtrLyf as an offline computation performed for customers, the company quickly ran into scalability challenges around data ingestion. For example, BtrLyf can ingest data from millions of data points located in thousands of buildings in a city. Qi Square anticipates needing to ingest 10 to 20 times more data as it expands to up to 20 cities across the globe. “We needed a more scalable solution to process and analyze all that data,” Jadhav says. The company also sought a better way to centralize data from multiple data sources, including live data from buildings and third-party APIs. “There are a lot of silos in the building industry, with engineers, building owners, and architects each having their own systems to store and analyze data,” says Jadhav. “Many times, these data sources are not integrated, which leads to inefficiencies and duplication of data processing efforts.”
We will likely be able to collect data from 100 million data points because of the scalability we can achieve on AWS.”
Chief Executive Officer of BtrLyf, Qi Square
Working with SoftTech to Redesign and Relaunch BtrLyf on AWS
To address its business challenges, Qi Square chose to work with SoftTech Engineers Ltd., a software provider for enterprises in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries and an AWS Partner. “Our strength is in green buildings and sustainability as a core domain expertise. We don’t have software and IT backgrounds here, so SoftTech and Amazon Web Services (AWS) were the perfect choice to help us fill in those gaps,” says Jadhav.
Instead of migrating the offline BtrLyf computational infrastructure to AWS, SoftTech decided to re-architect and redesign the application platform to be cloud native. “By taking this approach, we knew we could gain the full scalability benefits of AWS,” says Milind Joshi, vice president of technology for SoftTech. “Specifically, we wanted to take advantage of AWS serverless technology so we wouldn’t have to worry about provisioning servers and maintaining infrastructure.” Adds Vijay Gupta, chief executive officer of SoftTech, “SoftTech chose AWS serverless for developing this platform based on the robust support it provides for the agility, scalability, and security requirements of such a global solution, along with the great innovation, fast go-to-market capabilities, and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) benefits it offers.”
The new cloud-based version of BtrLyf takes advantage of Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Aurora for data collection and analysis. The platform uses an AWS Lambda–driven backend and a data lake based on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). The solution also relies on AWS Glue for serverless data Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) and Amazon Athena for data querying. Jadhav says, “We were able to quickly launch BtrLyf in the cloud with the help of SoftTech and AWS, so our customers can complete their assessment processes entirely online.”
Accessing Building Data in Minutes Instead of Weeks or Months
Building owners and managers, consultants, and other customers are using BtrLyf to gain fast access to building data and instant assessment of green building projects. “A lot of assessment work is manual and requires auditors to visit buildings and spend time collecting data through site inspections,” says Jadhav. “Using the BtrLyf portal on AWS, our customers can accelerate the entire building data analysis process so they can complete their sustainability journey faster.” As an example, it used to take weeks or months for consultants to gather building metadata such as the number of floors or construction materials for multiple buildings in an area. “Now, instead of spending too much time gathering data and formatting it correctly, customers can just log in to the platform and get all the data they need at their fingertips,” says Jadhav.
Scaling to Support Tens of Millions of Data Points
Qi Square can now easily scale the BtrLyf platform to ingest tens of millions of data points per city. “We will likely be able to collect data from 100 million data points because of the scalability we can achieve on AWS,” says Jadhav. Previously, Qi Square was restricted in its ability to collect data points per building level. “Scalability was a major concern, with our global projections to add multiple cities with greater data points per building to unrestrictive data points with digital twin and building information modeling technologies,” Jadhav says. “AWS helps us effectively address scalability.”
Qi Square also expects to reduce operating costs by running BtrLyf entirely in the cloud on serverless technologies. “It’s possible to save 50–70 percent of costs using an AWS serverless architecture,” says Joshi. “We haven’t yet achieved that, but we are seeing cost savings in our initial stages because we’re only paying per use.” In addition, because SoftTech implemented an automated continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline on AWS to achieve a DevSecOps development practice, Qi Square is accelerating development. “We can definitely bring our products to market faster because of AWS. We can also easily experiment and test features and processes before quickly moving to an innovative, full-blown feature set,” says Joshi.
Gearing Up for Global Growth
With the scalability of AWS, SoftTech is providing Qi Square a platform to drive global expansion of BtrLyf, with plans to implement the solution in cities across the globe including Mumbai, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Dubai, London, and New York initially. “We plan to use additional AWS services such as Amazon SageMaker and Amazon QuickSight to drive machine learning models and visualization in support of our platform,” Jadhav says. “With AWS and SoftTech, we are confident we can expand our analytical capabilities and reach more customers worldwide.”
About Qi Square
Qi Square Pte Ltd., based in Singapore, is a startup company that helps customers digitize sustainably built environments in cities. Created as a spin-off from Nanyang Technological University, Qi Square researches and develops green building technologies and tools.
AWS Services Used
- Helps customers access building data in minutes instead of weeks or months
- Scales to support tens of millions of data points
- Drives global growth
About the AWS Partner Softtech Engineers Ltd.
SoftTech Engineers Ltd., founded in 1996, is a technology provider and AWS Partner that empowers business transformation through software products and solutions. The company specializes in serving companies in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.
Published April 2023