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Building and facilities management technologies have come a long way in recent years, with smart analytics available to help prevent equipment breaking down, and the resulting issues of high or low temperatures, reductions in air quality, and costly downtime. Matthew Margetts looks at why resilience management must include looking at how your organization manages its buildings.

The world around us is becoming increasingly connected, which has only been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Building owners and developers are reimagining and transforming their premises to create healthy indoor environments and adopt building-centric IoT offerings.

Building owners who understand emerging smart building technology trends and data management will be positioned at the forefront of innovation, will be able to maintain high levels of resilience, and will be able to command higher valuations for their properties. The good news is that today’s sophisticated software uncovers opportunities and improves building performance for the long run, allowing building owners to reap the resilience and cost-saving benefits of analytics.

Imagine using smart management systems to continuously offer simple and meaningful information about what is happening inside a building. This data can be used to:

  • Maximize uptime of building management systems and areas under its control, such as power, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, access control, and lighting.
  • Develop smarter maintenance protocols
  • Increase efficiency
  • Create a healthier building environment
  • Improve ESG tactics and reporting
  • Work towards net zero goals.

Without concrete data at your disposal, you don’t have the information you need to resolve equipment breakdowns as quickly as possible (never mind detecting them in the first place). Simply put, if you're not capitalizing on data analytics in buildings in 2022, you're not building or operating a truly smart or resilient building.

How to achieve a smart building through data analytics

Collecting the data is one thing, but its usefulness is only as good as its management and analysis. A robust system will simplify and analyze complex data patterns to conduct root-cause analysis, identify, and monitor equipment and energy use. This allows building managers to optimize their operations and prioritize opportunities to reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and improve comfort.

A smart building comprises a system of connected sensors transmitting data via a secure network to intelligent data analytics software that offers helpful insights for automation, maintenance, and efficiency opportunities. An example is my company’s SmarterView building data management platform, which provides powerful, real-time insights that allow you to optimize your operations effectively. Here’s how:

  • Smart sensors and tags turn everyday objects into smart IoT devices
  • Data from tags is transmitted wirelessly and in real time
  • You can then command, control, monitor and manage your assets on SmarterView.

This comprehensive asset management overview allows for immediate action, automation, and analysis.

The benefits of smart data analytics

A building management system that includes smart data analytics offers numerous benefits for building owners:

  • A system-wide, high-level data capture of your entire estate and operations
  • Ensuring a healthier building environment through air quality control, security and HVAC monitoring and automations
  • The ability to balance energy load, saving energy and energy consumption during low occupancy or off-peak periods
  • Eliminating waste through intelligent sensor data
  • Offering guidance for performance improvements for individual assets
  • Addressing equipment maintenance as actual need dictates (as opposed to relying on fixed schedules)
  • Advanced automation capabilities and actionable results that reduce manual tasks, eliminate errors, and improve efficiency.

Building the bottom line

Using smart data analytics can also result in significant cost savings. So, where do these savings come from? Some examples include:

Air quality and temperature data
Along with revealing valuable information for creating a healthier, more comfortable environment for building users, monitoring temperature and air quality also presents a prime opportunity for energy and cost savings. For example, a HVAC system can control temperature according to occupancy, reducing energy wastage from empty rooms being cooled or heated.

Eliminating waste
Smart technology combined with data analytics can enable many forms of waste elimination. For example, sensors can be used to monitor building necessities such as office supplies and break room inventory, ensuring that these are only replenished when necessary. Building managers can also use the data to identify and get to the bottom of unusual usage patterns.

Transforming maintenance and repairs
Preventive maintenance is an essential aspect of efficient building management. But although manual routine maintenance is important, it’s not always truly necessary, and thus not always the most efficient use of time and resources. An alternative is to use smart data analytics to monitor and identify the need for maintenance before breakdowns happen. This extends the life of your important assets, prevents costly downtime, and also allows for more efficient maintenance procedures.

Energy load balancing in action
One of the most useful applications of building data management in the current climate is effective energy management. For example, smart data analytics enables energy load balancing and phase readings that enable you to reroute power to a battery between units to balance your electricity consumption more efficiently.

Conclusion

Today’s cloud-based systems deliver detailed, real-time reporting on all aspects of network activity. This performance data is powerful. It can be used to improve resilience, efficiency, enhance the comfort of the occupants, reduce energy usage, reduce costs, and help organizations future-fit their operations. Data is a key commodity in any business; better visibility of business operations at any level has proved time and again to enable management to make better decisions. 

The author

Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies. His background includes working for blue-chip companies such as AppNexus, AOL/ Verizon, and Microsoft in the UK, Far East and Australia. 


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