Physical space and business dynamics of the workplace are changing. Employees demand flexibility and employers — looking to attract and retain the best workers — are deploying technological innovation to deliver improvements in the working environment. New expectations about working hours and space configuration challenge the norms of facilities maintenance (FM). Completely open floor plans, shifting peak periods of occupancy, and the necessity of uninterrupted connectivity change the rules for operating building systems, such as HVAC, lighting, security, and access. An Internet of Things (IoT) platform can provide the construct that redefines FM and delivers high value assets to real estate owners and best-in-class space for employers.
From Smart to Connected to IoT
The IoT platform is envisioned as a structure to enable analytics around machine learning and eventually artificial intelligence (AI) that reduces cost and improves energy and operational efficiencies while delivering a personalized experience for occupants. For more than a decade, building owners have had the opportunity to invest in smart systems to run HVAC more smoothly or to tune lighting more effectively. The difference in today’s IoT intelligent buildings market is that data-driven technologies are designed to amplify services and approaches to improve all systems within a facility. Furthermore, these solutions can help drive strategic decisions around improving or replacing building systems across a portfolio of buildings.
We are entering the next era in which uninterrupted access to data from our mobile phones and wearable devices is an expectation in the workplace. The expectation for seamless connectivity characterizes a new, upward pressure that building owners face as they work to keep their facilities competitive for tenants. An IoT intelligent buildings approach to facility optimization can ensure employees have access to their devices and data while delivering the operational insights to FM to improve sustainability, space utilization, and wayfinding — which are other mounting priorities of today’s workforce.
The Technical Difference
The fundamental difference of the IoT approach to FM comes down to the data, analytics, and system improvement — this is a new approach to the ideal of optimization. There are smart systems that can create, communicate, and monitor data, but what differentiates an IoT approach is the capacity to leverage analytics, machine learning, and even AI to predict system operations and prescribe automated improvements. Flexibility is an important part of the value proposition for IoT solutions. For example, customer can choose between options that operationalize data in the cloud, or on premise, with machine-to-machine or machine-to-operator directives creating flexibility to meet specific customer expectations and needs.
The connected workplace, made possible by IoT, is expected to support happier and ultimately more productive employees. Enhancing occupant experience is the hot topic in today’s intelligent buildings market, and the reality is that IoT enables visibility into how our buildings run to maximize the experience for tenants and bottom line for owners. There is a tangible benefit to deploying technology for building owners with direct savings through utility bill reductions and operational efficiencies, as well as harder to quantify enhancements to occupant experience and employee productivity.
Join the Conversation
Today business success is contingent on using data, and operating buildings is no different. In fact, many executives are finding they can differentiate their business by optimizing their facilities with intelligent building technologies. Commercial real estate faces this reality as the effective use of data, analytics, and IoT becomes a competitive advantage. The use of all these tools can maximize occupancy, amplify tenant satisfaction, and even attract and retain employees. What makes IoT unique is the ability to unify and process data at the enterprise level, which has been the vision of the intelligent buildings market. IoT enables more cost-effective data acquisition, aggregation, communication, analysis, and ultimately, performance improvement.
For more on this topic, join us on September 12 at 2 p.m. EDT for an Intel-sponsored Navigant Research webinar. We will explore how Rudin Management is working with Intel and Prescriptive Data to demonstrate how IoT can optimize the occupant experience in the commercial office.
Guest blog post by Casey Talon, Principal Research Analyst at Navigant Research. Originally published to ase.org.