The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming facilities management. Smart or Intelligent Buildings are more environmentally friendly; save managers time and money; and give building users a high degree of safety and convenience. In Intelligent Buildings, it is possible for building-automation systems (BAS) to optimize the performance of the smallest component, anticipate problems and make adjustments to avoid failures before occupants are even aware of an issue. But how does the IoT work? And what does this new level of intelligence mean for facilities managers?
How the IoT works
The IoT can be defined as the inter-networking of physical devices, buildings, and other items that have been embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enable them to collect and exchange data. In smart buildings, the IoT uses one common Internet Protocol (IP) platform to connect all the sensors and devices to exchange and analyze information to optimize controls.
With the plethora of possibilities available, it is important for facilities managers to stay focused on the key goals of any Intelligent Building: that they reduce costs, that they are more environmentally friendly and that they reduce risk and improve occupant experience.
Turning the data collected from a building and its components into building intelligence that can be applied to enable better, more efficient facility operations is where cost reductions stem from. In the past, the BAS was the smartest system in a building but it was disconnected. With the IoT, devices connected in the cloud, allow for data to be stored and analyzed. Once data analytics determines the best operational choices or corrective actions to take, a BAS assumes its role of coordinating the functions, such as turning systems on and off, sending alarms, and making other adjustments, of all of the devices in a facility. This level of automation allows for significant cuts in the time spent on management and the number of staff needed. Cost savings are also made through the ability to fix problems before they arise and result in expensive repair costs.
Creating More Environmentally Friendly Buildings
The IoT is creating ever more environmentally friendly buildings thanks to its analytical, communicative, and automated nature. The IoT allows for far fewer missed opportunities for conservation. For example, smart-sensing technology does not rely on managers or occupants to remember to take an environmentally friendly action, such as turning down HVAC systems whenever one’s away from the home. Additionally, products such as filterscan wifi take the guess work out of replacing your air filter, reducing waste. In this way, the IoT maximizes both our environmental and monetary savings.
Reducing Risk and Improving Occupant Experience
For facilities managers, the number one concern is keeping occupants safe and happy. It’s in this regard that the IoT is truly transformative. The IoT creates vast opportunities for integrating systems and creating intelligent buildings that operate more efficiently and with less risk while delivering superior occupant experiences. Sensors detecting malfunctioning components or devices relay this data through the cloud and alert managers that action must be taken averting risk.
As well as keeping them safe, the IoT gives building occupants and users more control over their environments. Mobile applications can enable users to control heating and cooling setpoints, lighting, and daylighting giving users a customized environment that suits their changing needs.
The IoT is only just beginning to transform facilities management, in the future we will certainly see big changes. For now though, Intelligent Buildings are starting to save managers time and money, create more environmentally friendly facilities, and create safer more convenient spaces for occupants. What do you think about the IoT and how it is transforming Facilities Management? Let us know in the comments!