Merging IoT with future-proof facility management for automation systems

June 27, 2016


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The Internet of Things, IoT, has entered the facility management stage, and seems ready to assume a major role.

The automation technology had been responsible for coordinating various functions in the building and performing actions such as flicking switches off and on and regulating the temperature. Now, the IoT is taking over and making facility systems more complex, efficient, and future-proof. Smart structures are building blocks for creating smart cities, and these booming concrete jungles are the future of rapid urban development.

Time to get smart

The facilities have long possessed systems that control various functions such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), security, refrigeration, and lighting. Until recently, these were all separate entities, untouched by the blessings of the modern IT systems and standards. Now, the days of isolation are over, and new, more cohesive environments are assembled.

The gaps between systems are bridged with tech marvels, where smart systems serve as an extension of traditional building automation systems. That is not to say, however, that we are still free from all the tedious tasks such as conducting routine checks of HVAC, and air conditioning maintenance and servicing.

Furthermore, the adoption of the cutting-edge tech is all but automatic. Namely, automation is a costly proposition, and many building owners are still not keen on giving it a try. However, the problem is that they’re not aware of the immense value the IoT adds to the facilities, or unprepared to think in the long term. They make the mistake of letting the upfront costs overshadow the ongoing expenditures and potential savings.

A portal into the new world

The government and the education sector seem to be ahead of the pack while the business world weighs pros and cons. Consequently, we are still to see widespread implementation. Although the benefits for facility management are as clear as a day, the prerequisites seem intimidating and expensive.

Yet, one of the main reasons facility managers and business owners are embracing winds of change is precisely the savings in the energy department, as well as reduced administration costs. It’s much more convenient to handle the system from one console — the website portal, and the data crunching enables managers to make informed decisions.

Reducing the energy consumption, on the other hand, is made possible by installing controllers, the computers that receive and process data on the building’s environment and manage the connected devices. There’s still much human intervention involved, and there are multiple ways to approach this.

For example, accessing the console is not always practical, and mobile devices are able to manipulate smoke detectors, alarms and other systems. This, however, causes personnel issues, as people who are not tech-savvy struggle to grasp the versatile functionalities. Also, transition is not without hiccups, and most owners don’t go for the all-around replacement of legacy systems. Instead, they embark on this journey step by step, gradually pulling together facility systems.

Also, they go on to create a unified data center, where managers administer and monitor the devices and systems via the Internet. This integration is carried out nice and easy, and latest device protocols do not stand in the way of it. So, the consolidation of facilities brings forth enhanced operational efficiency while not requiring the dismantling of the underlying systems.

Meeting the future

When the IoT meets building control mechanisms and facility management best practices, great things are bound to happen. The IoT will shape further developments in the sector, giving us an opportunity to interact with a host of new devices, smart meters, and sensors via the wireless internet connection.

This is the air that smart buildings breathe, and the main tool allowing facility managers to take efficiency to the next level. Therefore, the IoT will continue to drive innovation in the area of building automation. It’s expected that smart devices will become even more intelligent and self-governing, with data being distributed via facility network and the cloud.

The indispensable digital integration

Many building owners are taking a fresh look at automation, witnessing the proliferation of smart buildings across the business and residential landscape. The synergy of web-based tech, smart sensors and systems, and innovative facility management is transforming the modern living and business world, with many striking applications just around the corner. Alas, as more and more devices are being added to the IoT network, managing and securing it become chief concerns.

Derek Lotts is a newly-discovered vegan and humble tech nut from the land down under in the search of glory and greatness.


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