Building management is getting easier and more powerful thanks to innovative technology that leverages the Internet of Things. Tracy L. Courtemanche of Schneider Electric shares how today’s buildings – and the people within – are able to work smarter by connecting devices with software and services.
23 July, 2018
Building management is getting easier and more powerful thanks to innovative technology that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT). By connecting devices with software and services, today’s buildings – and the people within – are able to work smarter. For example, more sensors are going into heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, providing the information to make HVAC thermostats and controls work better and more efficiently to better serve users and drive productivity. So how can we unlock the value of smart buildings by leveraging the IoT?
These and other IoT-driven improvements to building automation are part of the benefit of connecting devices with software and using data insights to create smart buildings that unlock value. Integrating systems with innovation at every level requires:
The opportunity is huge – potentially more than 6 trillion USD in building-related economic activity by 2025, according to a McKinsey Global Institute analysis. Some of that activity will be in sensors and other devices in networked lighting, HVAC, and security and access control, as well as power control and monitoring.
Accomplishing what can be significant operational improvement requires connected products, data integration and analytics. Because the IoT involves both connections inside a building to the wider world and to remote locations for broader control and analysis, ensuring proper cybersecurity across the entire system is critically important. Effective solutions also need to adhere to industry standards and open protocols to enable integration. This is why a collaborative smart building IoT platform like EcoStruxure™ Building is key.
When connected to a BMS, IoT-ready hardware will deliver efficiency and enable system optimisation and overall collaboration. As part of an overall smart building solution, BMS and IoT-ready products and services will greatly impact and increase efficiency across building operations.
Part of an effective solution will also involve predictive maintenance, which detects impending issues before they become problems. This means fewer calls in the middle of the night because something has broken or failed unexpectedly. This also makes it possible to schedule fixes and maintenance, not to mention avoiding unplanned downtime.
Other advances that will be part of the new smart building toolkit include on-the-fly adjustments of lighting, HVAC and other systems with anytime, anywhere access. A room controller, for instance, can work with a BMS to ensure that empty rooms go into an energy saving deep temperature setback yet still are brought to a comfortable temperature in time for the next scheduled use of the space.
These developments have another important aspect to consider. As noted in a Navigant Research report, Data Integration For Intelligent Buildings, the cost of sensors and computing is dropping. At the same time, the software side of management is growing increasingly important and any potential vendor’s capabilities in this area should be evaluated carefully.
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