9 ways IoT can improve your building today
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the result of any networkable device with an intelligent microprocessor being able to provide and receive information via the corporate network or Internet. The capability for all “things” to communicate allows for a single, unified infrastructure throughout a building, streamlining the collection of data. IoT then allows for targeted uses of resources and building systems – such as lighting, heating, and cooling – at room or workstation levels rather than simply at building level.
While the possibilities for IoT are always expanding as new uses are inspired by the needs of building owners and their occupants, here are nine improvements IoT can currently bring to your building:
1. Security systems
Building systems can be controlled by the swipe of a security card in a parking garage, resulting in safe passage for afterhours employees and control/activation of building systems that are specific to the holder/owner of the security card, as well as a workspace that is secure.
2. Voice-activated devices
Hotel guests can change their room’s temperature, lock doors, and request room service through voice-activated devices, and the data collected by their use of that room can be used to “program” a room for their next stay.
3. Smart lighting
Network-attached and powered lighting can be equipped with sensors that provide very detailed information and control of ambient light levels, space occupancy, and space usage trends over time while providing per-lamp lighting control.
Audiovisual control systems can interface with HVAC and lighting control/dimming systems to provide very detailed programming of meeting room “scenes” associated with different uses and users.
5. Consolidated network systems
Consolidating building management systems, HVAC, lighting control, and power monitoring allows for disparate systems equipment (servers, firewalls, etc.) to be collocated and managed within the data center of a cloud computing facility, instead of being scattered throughout the building. This is a better use of facility resources to power, cool, and maintain critical equipment.
6. Predictive maintenance
The use of temperature, vibration, electrical consumption and ambient noise sensing can feed an analytics engine that predicts the failure of equipment and recommends preventive maintenance.
7. Real-time building health assessment
A variety of environmental sensors can access the building air quality and occupant comfort. Similar in concept to the increasingly familiar “eco gauge” in electrical and hybrid cars that provides real-time visual feedback on driving performance, this dashboard information delivery provides deeper insight into building systems.
8. Publicizing of real-time data for property value promotion
There may be a time when the age-old real estate mantra “location, location, location” is joined by the equally powerful idea of “information, information, information.” IoT inputs to data analytics engines will provide a holistic view of the economic “health” of a building, including things like tracking foot-traffic, parking utilization, crime, and building wellness. A landlord’s success in these areas could have an impact on lease rates to a socially conscious customer.
9. “Between the utility bill” energy monitoring
IoT provides for the understanding of energy usage at a very discrete level. Already, data analytics can detect the electrical usage signature of common appliances and equipment to provide feedback for the user on the cost of each item’s operation. Sophisticated algorithms, with awareness of energy costs, can guide the end user in the most efficient energy usage strategies.
The list above is not comprehensive, nor does it delve into market-specific IoT adaptations, such as in healthcare, where the connected network of building systems, medical devices, and equipment will continue to converge to improve quality and effectiveness of patient care.
For all buildings in all market sectors, the potential benefits from IoT are virtually limitless as new applications are developed and the resulting data is used to increase the comfort, usability, and efficiency of our world.