Facility Management

Is ‘The Internet Of Things’ Revolutionizing Building Performance?

We live in a world where the pace of change is becoming ever increasingly rapid – and where businesses need to use every advantage that technology provides in order to attract and retain customers and increase organizational effectiveness. At the same time, consumers are becoming ever more demanding as far as the services that are on offer by businesses – and many are now insistent that those services include a healthy dose of technology.

Nowhere is this more true in buildings where both the owners of the property and those who are using it, for either residential purposes or an office space are demanding that technology, specifically the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) play a part in making their home and professional lives more rewarding.

However, it is the management and/or owners of the buildings that are leveraging the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize Building Management Systems. In a recent interview, Costas Polycarpou mentioned that in short, the Internet of Things allows building management to use technology based on an Internet backbone and a suite of applications to allow devices to supply a wealth of information and almost instantaneous data analysis – and tailor the responses of ‘smart’ devices to meet the requirements of all stakeholders – be they management, customers or tenants.

The Internet of Things can not only help with the management of the structure itself – but also with users, be they tenants or customers (for instance in a shopping mall). By using this technology the owners can reach out directly to their target audiences and optimize their experience. This has implications in terms of increasing customers and tenant satisfaction – and building a closer relationship with those who are using the space.

The information and data gathered in this way can range from predicting and managing traffic patterns (one example is the optimization of the use of elevators during high traffic periods), electricity usage, water flow, light levels, and temperature. Further analysis of factors such as foot traffic patterns can also help manage people in the event of an emergency. These are only some of the ways in which the Internet of Things has revolutionized building management systems. One outcome of the use of this technology is that the building itself becomes more desirable from the twin standpoints of effectiveness and efficiency – and thus has the potential to provide a superior return on investment – which is becoming more and more important in an ever more crowded marketplace.

One of the most attractive advantages of the use of data mining and actions reliant on IoT and connected systems is that it has the potential to minimize the manual input of those who manage the building. Semi intelligent systems can become by-and-large autonomous in action. In fact, machine learning based on the IoT is advancing at a rapid rate allowing the data that has been gathered to be analyzed in real-time and action to be taken without human intervention. Of course, this has implications for the costs of building management. Human capital is one of the most expensive overheads incurred by any business – and building management is no exception. There is also the fact that human beings become fatigued and are often prone to error. The IoT can simplify management and avoid some of the common pitfalls that affect the day-to-day management of any building.

The effect of using building management systems that are reliant on the Internet of Things is increased efficiency. Energy use, as well as lower repair and maintenance costs. One example is the regulation of lighting levels and air-conditioning in the building. Whereas legacy building management systems would allow for an element of control of both of these functions through timing switches (for instance) a smart system based on the interconnectivity allowed by the Internet of Things will allow for the analysis of motion – and adjust the lighting and air conditioning/temperature control services to match the unique needs of those who are using the building. Not only does this save on costs (for both building management but also tenants) – but it also leads to higher levels of user satisfaction. In fact, at larger sites, studies have indicated that the use of IoT-based management systems can lead to savings on energy and maintenance by up to 30% -not insignificant when one of managing an airport or mall.

There is another advantage to the use of such systems – and that is to bolster security. In an increasingly dangerous world – and one where crime is on the increase a system’s ability to identify weak points, as well as predicting behavior that can adversely affect the enterprise.

This is only scratching the surface of why the IoT is revolutionizing building management. As the technology continues to mature and advance it is not inconceivable that the human element of management will be removed from the feedback and action loop completely – and this will further enhance the attractiveness of using the Internet of Things to enhance the experience of all stakeholders.

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