With all the buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT), some facilities managers see it as the next shiny new toy – something where the hype creates anticipation far exceeding the actual experience. In addition, they believe it requires large upfront cash outlays whose return on investment is doubtful. Furthermore, they wrongly assume the technology is only suitable for new, state-of-the-art buildings.

 

Building Internet of Things

While in fact, it is easy to start collecting data to improve insight into how your building is performing and how it can offer the desired experience for occupants. Even if your buildings are not new, they can easily be made smart through low-cost wireless IoT sensors. As a result of the plunge of sensor prices and new business models like cloud-based sensing-as-a-service, IoT projects today have a relatively low entry threshold.

In other words: your facility is ready for the Internet of Things. The real question is: are you?

It’s flexible and affordable

The Internet of Things offers a much lower price tag for sensing, communication, and installation than traditional BMS. IoT sensors can work without the need for cables, power or WiFi, and are independent of the corporate network and data. They benefit from new low-power, wide-area communication technologies (e.g. LoRaWAN) that facilitate cheap, secure communications without the need for wiring. Because they are wireless, the sensors are easily placed and moved. Not to mention that there is no need to rip open any walls.

It’s not about the “things”

It’s important to realize that IoT sensors are just a means to an end. Organizations should always start with the end in mind. To reap the rewards, an approach is needed that translates pain points and improvement ideas into specific use cases. Only then can you define the data sources and appropriate sensor types to capture and correlate the information you need.

It’s not even about the data

Big data only becomes valuable to the extent that it provides (real-time) visibility into building portfolios and enables smart scenarios. For example:

  • Space optimization (see also: Space Monitor)
  • Improving comfort
  • Real-time guidance
  • Activity-based working (ABW)
  • Activity-based services (see also: “Is predictive cleaning a dream?“)
  • Preventive/predictive maintenance

As Gartner says: “The value is in the answers, not the data”.

Is it for you?

If you’re looking to get the answers you need to make occupants comfortable, optimize resources and provide a great workplace experience, it probably is. As our workplaces evolve from legacy to digital, there are new challenges and expectations to meet. Without connected technology and granular, real-time data, a good chance exists that solutions will fall short of user needs – and ultimately will fail.

At MCS Solutions, we develop IoT-enabled IWMS software, and human-centric smart building applications powered by the COBUNDU™ platform. Please feel free to contact us to explore smart building scenarios. We welcome the opportunity to leverage our expertise to make your spaces more effective and create a better workplace experience.