The growing need to cut costs, increase efficiency, and provide value for tenants and customers is forcing facility managers to innovate. The Internet of Things (IoT) helps more organisations meet these goals, and those who don’t utilise the technology are quickly finding themselves in the minority. A recent report shows that the Australian IoT market is projected to grow from $7.9 billion in 2018 to $25 billion in 2024.
This means if you want to get ahead in the industry, you must know everything about IoT and how it applies to your operations.
What is IoT?
IoT refers to everyday objects that connect to the internet. Equipped with computer chips and sensors, these objects are able to collect data about how they are used and interact with other devices over a wireless network. This is particularly helpful for monitoring environments in real time, detecting patterns and potential problems, and even automating various tasks.
Technically, any device with an on-off switch can become a part of IoT. Oft-cited examples include self-driving cars that detect obstructions in their path, and smart lights that turn on as soon as you enter the room.
Building automation and IoT
Facility managers rely on building automation systems (BAS) to remotely control functions such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting. The problem is these systems operate separately from each other, giving managers limited visibility into building performance.
By integrating IoT solutions with BAS, building management is much more efficient. It can collect granular data on specific areas of the building and respond automatically based on the situation. For instance, motion sensors can measure occupancy levels, and turn off the lights and HVAC units when the room is empty to reduce energy consumption.
In addition to energy savings, IoT enables you to address maintenance issues early. Imagine equipment sensors that instantly alert technicians when HVAC units require new air filters or when security cameras need repairs. Advanced analytics can even take things a step further and predict when certain components are due for a replacement. Such solutions prevent major equipment failures and safety hazards that cost you a fortune down the line.
Finally, incorporating IoT in your facility management strategy allows you to consolidate a building’s worth of data into a centralised dashboard. This data can then be analysed to provide actionable insights into elements like energy usage per device/user, equipment health, space utilisation, and environmental quality to help you make smarter decisions for your building.
Evaluating IoT investments
While there’s no denying the benefits of smart building technologies, not all solutions are created equal. That’s why you must think about the problems you’re trying to solve before installing IoT devices.
If energy consumption is an issue during the summer, for example, you’ll need to invest in smart thermostats that not only monitor energy usage, but also adjust the temperature based on internal and external factors. Also, think about how the new HVAC systems will accommodate the people occupying the space. If you manage a factory building, it may make sense to install air quality sensors that trigger the HVAC system to increase the ventilation rate when the air is unusually congested.
Another important consideration is the condition of your current infrastructure. Outdated lighting, surveillance, and climate control systems indicate that you’re due for IoT-enabled alternatives.
Beyond IoT devices, make sure to thoroughly vet the provider. Do they provide installation and ongoing support at a price that fits your budget? Can their solutions integrate with other systems and scale with your building requirements? Are their solutions protected with regular firmware updates and encryption software? Finding a provider that meets all these requirements may take time, but it’s worth the effort if you truly want to improve building performance.
Investing in IoT can be overwhelming for most facility managers. However, early adopters of the technology have a good chance of outperforming the competition. If you want to learn more about internet-connected devices and how they apply to building management, call the support engineers at WorkBuddy today. The experts at WorkBuddy can design a solution that will integrate WorkBuddy job management software with any IoT device and ensure you have all the tools you need to succeed.