Smart buildings success includes dashboards and data analytics


The past few years have seen a surge of products and options that facility managers can use to examine, analyze, predict, and improve building performance and reduce energy costs. But connecting the dots in an increasingly complex web — the Building Internet of Things — often takes serious consideration, practical attention to budgets, and resolute effort.

Many organizations currently collect data, but want to use that data more effectively. This is the case for Texas Christian University. The university does a lot of data collection and monitoring but not a lot of data analytics, reports Chris Honkomp, assistant vice chancellor for facilities. “We have that on our list of issues to address in the next year, but are focused on installation of a new maintenance management system right now, and will address analytics as a part of this process.”

Many organizations have been collecting data for years, but as prices on the software that aggregates and trends these information points comes down, more facility managers are buying into data analytics of one sort or another. Just how far any specific organization has gone depends on a range of factors, including expertise, staffing levels, available data, time, and of course budget. A look at three facility organizations shows the range of current practices and challenges…

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Smart Buildings tag.]

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FM trends in high-performance buildings and workplaces (HPB+W)


The annual High-Performance Buildings + Workplaces (HPB+W) conference takes place at the Arlington (Texas) Convention Center, May 17-18. Registration is free!

Greg Zimmerman brings more than 13 years of experience and knowledge to the facility management field. He discusses the changes and trends he’s seen in the quickly evolving occupation. With technology rapidly influencing the profession, facility managers can expect to see the effect in their everyday jobs and the overall performance of their buildings.

What misconceptions do people have about smart, sustainable buildings?

A common misconception I hear is high-performance buildings or smart buildings must be super expensive and complex. That’s simply not true. Even small buildings that are easier to operate can be smart, high-performance, and sustainable. Most buildings in the United States are smaller, so we can really start making a dent…

What excites you about the future of the facilities business?

The rate at which high-performance building technology is being implemented is really encouraging. The Internet of Things, IoT, is one example. We have adopted IoT technology in our personal lives, and now we’re doing that in our professional lives. People have been using smart phones to remotely control things…

What advice would you give to facility managers just starting out?

One thing to focus on is learning about what’s going to be important in the future. The biggest topic in facility management right now is high-performance buildings and sustainability. Technology is second nature to young professionals just coming in. Understand and learn the technology. Be the “go to” person for your building…

What do people need to know about HPB+W?

This is really the only show of its kind, covering such a wide range of topics. It concentrates on energy and water efficiency, air quality, IoT, technology; all falling under the umbrella of high-performance buildings. This is our third year of the show and we are really hitting our stride…

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Verdantix: IWMS vendors partner up to tap latest space innovations


Over the past six months, vendors offering space management solutions have enjoyed a flurry of strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Many of the notable partnerships have been led by integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) suppliers looking to deepen their capabilities in space planning and take advantage of emerging IoT-led technologies for occupancy tracking.

Witness Accruent partnering with Serraview in February 2017, FSI’s partnership with Excitech in December 2016 and FM:Systems’ partnership with CoWorkr in October 2016. IBM is also in a long-standing partnership with IoT start-up Yanzi Networks, a provider of building sensors, to collect detailed data on space utilization and variables that impact well-being.

Given that space management has long been at the heart of IWMS propositions, what is driving all this activity? One factor is the availability of better occupancy data from emerging sensors and beacons enabling a new wave of IoT-led space management solutions to take off.

In addition, increasingly mobile workforces and more flexible desk assignments are creating customer demand for new types of management tools. Partnerships are one way for IWMS vendors to quickly take advantage of emerging technologies across areas such as real-time wayfinding, real-time space analysis and improve visualization analytics. These were factors underlying the Accruent and Serraview partnership…

[Admin: This post is related to the 03.03.17 post about the Serraview and Accruent partnership, and the 08.01.16 post about the competitors of IBM TRIRIGA.]

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PhotonStar to show new building management systems in Las Vegas


British designer and manufacturer of intelligent lighting and building control solutions, PhotonStar LED Group, announced on Monday that it was participating in the IBM InterConnect 2017 Cloud & Mobile Conference, between 19 and 23 March in Las Vegas. The AIM-traded firm also announced the commercial availability of the halcyon cloudBMS product from 1 April.

At IBM Interconnect 2017, the company said it would be presenting a talk outlining the key features of cloudBMS, a new cloud based solution that it said delivered an Internet of Things-based “building management system as a service” (BMSaaS). It said the new solution was built on the second generation of its low-cost retrofittable wireless monitoring and control platform, halcyonPRO2.

The new halcyonPRO2 added regulation of heating and cooling, shading and power management to the lighting control and environmental sensor network already in use in the first halcyon product. The cloudBMS, halcyonPRO2 and cloud-based analytics were combined to deliver a capable, scalable and secure “building management system as a service” (BMSaaS) solution, PhotonStar’s board explained, at a price point that would enable owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses to reduce energy and operating costs and realise new insights into their operations.

One of the key features of cloudBMS was the sharing of device data with asset management software packages such as IBM asset management packages TRIRIGA and Maximo, it added…

[Admin: This post is related to the 06.08.16 post about PhotonStar and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT).]

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Planon: Real estate managers and the changing role of the campus


Whenever I talk to my nephews, nieces and other people who I know are currently studying at university or at a higher education college, they always complain about how busy the university library gets. This is hardly surprising considering the research carried out by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), which found that over the past 15 years the number of students has grown by 22% and the number of staff has increased by 4%. Consequently, educational institutions are now faced with the challenges of satisfying both students and staff and making efficient use of available space…

The role of the campus is changing

As a result of these continual developments, the needs of students and staff who visit campus is starting to change at break-neck speed. More than ever, real estate managers need to have tools to help them predict what kind of campus will be needed in the future. To make matters even more difficult, real estate contracts usually span long periods of time.

If you want to be able to respond dynamically to changing needs, it might be a good idea to start thinking about different types of contracts, investing in new premises, renovation and refurbishment and other potential commercial models to help you get the most out of your buildings. Key questions here are: what will bring people to campus in the years to come, what will students and staff expect from their working environment and what kind of spaces would meet these expectations? To put it simply, what role will the campus play in the future?

Real estate managers can take student and staff preferences into account when making strategic real estate choices, but they can also base their decisions on facts and figures. In my previous blog about the Internet of Things, I mentioned that data collection can yield surprising insights. You discover trends and usage patterns you never knew existed. For a real estate manager, for example, it’s very useful to know which study areas on campus are the most and least popular…

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IBM InterConnect 2017 Bootcamp labs developers shouldn’t miss


When learning about new technologies and tools, it often helps to get one’s hands just a little bit dirty and see what really makes them work. That’s the idea behind the new Bootcamp labs at IBM InterConnect 2017, March 19-23 in Las Vegas.

These instructor-led labs run 3 to 4 hours, giving enrollees the opportunity to do hands-on work with new products and technologies. Attendees can find a deeper dive in these sessions led by subject matter experts…

IoT Platform to Maximo/TRIRIGA hands-on lab

Thursday, 8:30 AM – 12:15 PM, Mandalay Bay South Seas I1, Session ID: 7436A

This lab offers attendees a basic understanding of how connected operations work. Use a simulated temperature sensor (a gauge meter in Maximo) to send a temperature reading to the Internet of Things (IoT) Quickstart. The message is then sent to NODE-RED, which parses the message. When a reading changes, it goes into a REST-API call that inserts the meter reading into the referenced asset meter readings. The reading updates the measure point and triggers a work order using Maximo functionality, or if one chooses to do so, using a TRIRIGA work task…

[Admin: This post is related to the 02.06.15 post about exploring the TRIRIGA user group community, and the 06.07.16 post about using sensors with Watson IoT to create TRIRIGA work tasks.]

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Planon: Who should own the Building Internet of Things?


With traditional FM systems now creating vast amounts of data, when should IT get involved? Who should own the Internet of Things? How should we assign control and responsibility for these new kinds of building equipment and systems? Are we facing a new period of clashes over the information itself? How do we address questions of legality, ethics, privacy and security that until now have not been part of the equation?

Evolving roles to keep up with the IoT

To begin with, we must keep in mind that building equipment and systems are only a subset of the Internet of Things, a phenomenon that includes all manner of personal and corporate property. For example, we have watched as our cars have transformed from simply mechanical tools of transportation into, essentially mobile computing devices that monitor their own performance, alert us of maintenance needs, and so much more. In adapting to this change, an element of an auto mechanic’s role has evolved into that of a computer technician…

So what of the assets themselves? As elevators become vertical circulation control systems and generators develop the ability to order their own fuel, they are in many ways becoming highly specialised computers. Elevators and generators will still need the typical maintenance protocols for their mechanical and operational characteristics, but now that same team will require new skills to maintain the computing aspects as well…

[Admin: This post is related to the 07.21.16 post about bringing value to IoT, and the 06.09.16 post about categorizing IoT “things” as “assets”.]

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[Admin: As a thought-provoking counterpoint, while IoT continues to struggle with smart homes, driverless vehicles, and security attacks, I explored the deeper and darker technopolitical possibilities of a technocratic IoT.]

Possibility of a global technocratic IoT?

Since the United States gave up its direct oversight of ICANN on 30 September 2016, it’s no longer so remote to imagine a scenario where a communist country is tempted to push its own authoritarian policy across the Internet through the more-corruptible “multi-stakeholder” ICANN model. Or launch DDoS attacks with massive Mirai-infected botnets powered by IoT cameras, televisions, even refrigerators

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