Data’s exponential impacts on operations, operators and occupants

February 13, 2020 | Marie-Constance Schimming Múñiz | Unissu Themes

Editor’s Note: As part of our Unissu Themes month for February, Data, Marie-Constance Schimming Múñiz joins us to present IoT as one of, if not the most impactful aspect of any commercial data strategy. From ‘this’ to ‘that’, if we can increase the amount of high quality smart sensors and IoT devices in our buildings, automation can make things easier, efficiency can make things faster, and reductions in waste can make things greener.

Rarely has there been a technology advancement that genuinely improves a place from all perspectives. In the world of buildings, there is always a give and take; install a fancy visitor management system to save on a concierge’s salary but increase the workload of IT, or implement a powerful yet complicated work order management system and risk low adoption rates with the FM team.

It is known that we spend 90% of our lives within buildings, yet we have had, until very recently, surprisingly little control over how long these buildings perform at desired levels, the comfort levels of those living or working inside, and successfully meeting long-term goals such as energy efficiency.

Today’s buildings can be considered “smart” due to building systems and other IoT sensors that put out a substantial amount of data that, when properly analyzed, reveals more about a building’s status and how it is being used than ever before. From HVAC systems and electrical meters to energy trends and desk or room usage, there are sensors and software available for practically any purpose. The real value in these sensors is not in the data itself, but in how the usage of the data has a compounded positive effect on building operations, operators and occupants.

When buildings are truly connected and operating with high levels of autonomy, redundant tasks assigned to facilities maintenance…are greatly reduced.

Building operations and performance have greatly benefitted from the combined capabilities of building automation and IoT networks which creates powerful “if this, then that” scenarios for a variety of building functions and requirements. Via constant real time monitoring, building platforms become the focal point of convergence where all data flows and relationships between various building systems and IoT can be realized. When instructed to maintain temperatures to 19-22*C (~67-72*F) and humidity between 40-50RH from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, building automation systems guarantee performance will be optimized through awareness and preparation.

A piece of equipment that erroneously reports it is meeting standards can be discovered and alerted to via the data from IoT sensors, leading to a foolproof, automatic system of checks and balances. Buildings that operate as they were designed experience longer asset life, have decreased associated costs and positively impact the environment through less waste.

When buildings are truly connected and operating with high levels of autonomy, redundant tasks assigned to facilities maintenance and management teams or building operators like manually checking on equipment are greatly reduced. Smart systems and IoT sensors continuously report data to cloud-based platforms so FM members can quickly access and monitor all building data without physically traveling to the equipment’s location and easily create desired reports.

A common challenge of FM teams is having too much to do and too little time; in fact, many operating teams live a reality of never catching up on their to-do list resulting in stressful working conditions, underperforming building and unhappy occupants and owners. However, the consolidation of data, prioritization of work orders and using historical patterns for predictive maintenance shifts the power to the operators.

Teams that are empowered through smart technology are happier and more content with their jobs

Teams that are empowered through smart technology are happier and more content with their jobs – leading to enhanced employee retention while attracting younger talent, another challenge when the majority of operators are approaching the age of retirement.

The magic of a smart building is in the seamless experience had by occupants. As data is silently collected and building systems and operators have the knowledge needed to keep the building running at or near peak performance, occupants also benefit from the data-rich environment. Software advances at the individual level allow people to darken rooms through intelligent window films or warm an unused conference room before a meeting starts. Studies have proven that comfortable people are less distracted, more productive and happier than those that feel too hot, too cold, etc.

The latest software enables occupants to be a part of the building ecosystem through actions like sending work order requests with just a few taps on their mobile device to reserving conference rooms and streamlining visitor management or scheduling amenities like a yoga class or hiring a dog walker.

The wireless connections and seamless flow of data established today will open up even more possibilities for tomorrow

What used to be complications and complaints can now be managed at the individual level while operators and owners monitor from a non-disruptive distance. The added benefit to these IoT sensors and engagement apps is a sense of community, making occupants happier and likely to stay longer.

The data created in smart buildings is what makes them better and illuminates future potential. From maximizing building operational performance and facilitating operators to improving the occupant experience, platforms that transform structures into truly connected, fully autonomous and self-managing buildings take us to an optimized destination. The wireless connections and seamless flow of data that are established today will open up even more possibilities for tomorrow. One day, all buildings will be smart buildings due to the successful usage of deep IoT data and the benefits will be felt by all who enter.


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