Buildings that support occupant happiness and productivity sound great. So what’s the catch? Occupant well-being and happiness is much harder to quantify compared to environmental factors such as energy efficiency. Also, there aren’t yet well-recognized rating systems, although the International WELL Building Institute is making some headway. But the bigger puzzle for the smart building ecosystem to solve is: How much do building conditions really contribute to occupant happiness? How should building investments be balanced with other areas such as IT?
Organisations and more specifically, their facility and real estate managers are constantly looking to improve our work environment and the buildings that we work in. They want to be cost-efficient, increase productivity, and create a healthy and attractive workplace for their employees.
The Internet of Things and Smart Buildings are providing interesting opportunities to improve our work environments. Achieving this, however, is a big challenge for organisations. What Smart Building solutions are organisations looking for? What is the real value to organisations? How will organisations realise these benefits?
From a reactive to a proactive approach through “machine learning”
The ability of buildings to measure every action or change in behaviour by the building or its occupants is changing rapidly. Nowadays, affordable sensors are available that measure for example space occupancy, air quality, usage of specific spaces or the state of building installations. Data collected from these sensors provides information about these items. We can use this data to make improvements to the work environment, building or user experience.
For example, when sensor measurements show that a meeting room that was reserved is actually not in use, it can immediately become available for a new meeting. In addition, when sensor measurements show that a specific toilet area is used less than expected, the cleaning schedule can be adjusted. However, these useful examples are based on an “If This Then That” scenario, meaning that if an event occurs we react to that event. This is a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach, so can we really call this “smart”?
This is my building’s final offer
One day in the not-too-distant future, when a building manager and tenant sit down to haggle over the terms of a new lease, the building itself — not the manager — will hold most of the cards in the negotiation. The manager may have an idea about how much a tenant uses a building’s facilities. The tenant will have another. But the building — and the constellation of data that surrounds every aspect of its operation — will know the real truth and set the terms…
Designing buildings that learn
Our buildings are snapshots of our ideas and culture, physical representations frozen in place and time. The Empire State Building, the Roman Forum or even the Los Angeles Forum, were designed and built to serve a purpose, a population or a team of the moment. But things change. Economies shift and empires fall — yet our buildings don’t make those transitions. We tear them down because they can’t adjust to new energy requirements or new ways of working. At least, until now…
Creating a building’s “digital twin”
Buildings have long functioned a bit like our bodies. Plumbing circulates through the building walls, wires innervate every room while concrete and I-beams underpin the whole frame. But until recently these indispensable bedrocks of the modern world have lacked the most critical body part — a brain. Without one, humans have had to manage the lights, power and temperature; service the elevators and other equipment; monitor security cameras; keep rooms stocked with supplies. Powerful new cognitive abilities are emerging from the massive data flows…
[Admin: This post is related to the 06.30.16 post by Chris O’Connor about putting the human touch into buildings, and the 08.20.15 post about creating a connected 11-storey building in 4 hours. To see other related posts, use the IoT tag or Smart Buildings tag.]
Li-Fi is an exciting emerging technology that’s got the communications technology world talking. By transmitting data by modulating LED lights and using a light detector as a receiver, Li-Fi is extremely fast compared to Wi-Fi, being able to stream up to 224 gigabits per second compared to 100 gigabits achievable by the world’s fastest Wi-Fi network.
It also has great security benefits as it is harder to intercept the signal outside of the building (or smart building). There are potential cost advantages too as ordinary LED lights can be used lowering operational and maintenance costs, although this will depend on the router and receiver costs once production at scale is reached…
Only in 2017, we have witnessed three significant acquisitions and partnerships.
- Back in February, technology provider Philips Lighting acquired the French Li-Fi start-up Luciom.
- In September Scottish Li-Fi firm PureLiFi partnered with LED lighting provider Wipro Lighting, to provide products for the Asian market.
- Also in September, French Li-Fi specialist Lucibel partnered with Citelum, part of EDF, to provide a range of LED-based lighting solutions that deliver incremental benefits from better energy performance and Li-Fi communication…
[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Verdantix tag.]
According to a recent Smart Building report from Aberdeen Group, modern Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) – driven by IoT, analytics, and cognitive computing – are central to the rise of the smart building. Buildings and workplaces are massive generators (and consumers) of data. The capture and analysis of data enable organizations to gain deeper insights into operational effectiveness, accelerate their ability to react to change, and increase returns from real estate-related decisions. As cognitive computing services continue to gain momentum, many organizations are starting to explore different ways artificial intelligence can help to optimize occupancy experiences.
The rise of the intelligent, connected work space
Data captured by buildings can be augmented by cognitive capabilities for use in IWMS such as IBM TRIRIGA – to help make decisions, alert management on issues, in addition to providing buildings with virtual concierge services. Improved insights, automation, and control can have a significant impact on all aspects of real estate performance – from lease accounting and capital projects, to facility maintenance, space utilization, and energy consumption.
Five smarter building transformation use cases
As facilities management moves beyond cost control, IWMS users will continue to climb the maturity curve – capturing information, identifying the signals to make better operational and predictive decisions. The end-goal of becoming more competitive through facility amenities and occupant experiences is something that only IoT can deliver – through the availability of information, automation of tasks and application of advanced analytics. Make the leap to smarter buildings. Here are 5 use cases where IWMS, IoT, and analytics are central to building transformation:
- 1. Increase Insight into Facilities Performance and Maintenance…
- 2. Develop New Services…
- 3. Improved Resource Tracking and Better Space Management…
- 4. A More Proactive Service Model…
- 5. Better Energy Usage…
[Admin: This post is related to the 02.02.17 post about owning the building IoT, and the 10.26.17 post by Planon about technology trends by 2022. To see other related posts, use the Smart Buildings tag.]
One of the biggest barriers to growth in remotely accessing building management systems (BMS) – one of the key features of a smart building – is IT security.
The IT industry has established a sophisticated process for monitoring and protecting IT networks, but these concepts are not as well developed in building systems and many of the equipment that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). Additionally, there is often lack of communication and collaboration between the IT department and the facilities department. There is also increasing pressure on service providers to provide an out-of-the-box security solution.
Smart buildings are particularly vulnerable as every added connected device is another potential door into the building’s wider network. Even one of the most high-tech companies in the world, Google, was hit by a cyberattack in 2013 through a building management system. Retailer, Target was hacked through the HVAC system in 2014. This year, we have seen severe ransomware cyberattacks, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers in over 150 countries.
This type of attack now feels very regular with a similar one occurring as we write. Individual buildings such as hotels have also been targeted and hacked through building automation systems (BAS) – witness the attack on a luxury hotel in the Austrian Alps in February, where the card system got breached, shut down, and a ransom demanded to restore the system to enable guests back into their rooms…
To learn more about the market for remote monitoring solutions see our recent report – Now Is The Time To Implement Remote Monitoring Solutions.
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.]