Managing a building portfolio requires decision making based on the actual operational performance of buildings. Too often these decisions are based on manual or summary data, which doesn’t always reflect reality. Without reliable data and consistent feedback, facilities managers are driving blind, resulting in cost inefficiencies and customer dissatisfaction with available spaces and services.

It does not have to be that way. Facilities managers now have a wonderful new technology at their disposal: the “Internet of Real Estate Things”. Through a connected network of wireless, affordable meters, sensors and mobile devices, they can finally capture actual performance drivers in their buildings.

The sensor revolution in Smart Buildings

The sensor revolution in Smart Buildings

The roll-out of the Internet of Things (IoT) is fundamentally changing how buildings are being serviced. Connected sensors, big data analytics and direct communication with end-users through mobile apps, kiosks and dashboards are increasingly being used to improve the workplace, enabling new user scenarios and better targeted service delivery.

 Analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2020 the cross-industry business IoT (connected things used across many industries, e.g. HVAC and building management systems) will be a 500+ billion euro industry, connecting over 4.4 billion devices globally. Many businesses are keen to step into the world of IoT but face a challenge in assessing how this ‘futuristic’ technology can be practically implemented to generate impactful insights and tangible outcomes.

How to make the right choices as a facilities manager?

Start with the end in mind

One thing IoT technology can do better than people is capturing and exchanging data: lots of data, collected quickly and on a much wider scale (volume, variety, velocity, frequency) than before.

IoT big data can help you measure ongoing performance, provide real-time guidance to users and predict outcomes through pattern recognition and trends analysis. The trick is to capture the right data for what you are aiming to optimize for and to know how to decipher it. Or else… you might end up drowning in a data lake.

Therefore it is critically important to select the scenarios that are relevant for your organization and the data you will consequently need to track, before defining the sensor types you are going to deploy. It is also vital for success that organisations have the right data integration, analytics and visualization tools to gain a dynamic and intuitive understanding of the data and data correlations.

Integration is key to driving value. After defining your project (user scenarios) and setting up the right sensor network, the data streaming from sensors will be processed in a big data platform where they can be integrated with relevant information from other sources such as FM process software (CAFM), instant user mood feedback, mobile positioning tags, financial information, and public benchmarking data.

From sensor to value

The IoT technology revolution provides many opportunities for facilities managers to give users a better working environment while keeping the costs under control. Where can smart buildings drive the most value?

Some of the key benefits brought to users are:

  • A comfortable and healthy workplace
  • Location-based real-time assistance
  • Proactive, targeted service delivery (before issues arrive)
  • Improved space allocation and guided collaboration
  • Assistance with facility use

Smart buildings enable business and facilities managers to:

  • Ensure a comfortable and healthy working environment
  • Optimize space usage
  • Reduce energy consumption and waste
  • Reduce cost per m²
  • Optimize dispatching of facility services
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Make informed property decisions based on accurate data

The IoT is a workplace game changer. Are you connected and making the most out of the smart building revolution?

MCS Solutions works collaboratively with businesses and facility managers to guide them from sensor to value. Advising our clients on maximising existing systems and making sound investments, we help them to spend money in the right places. The team is exhibiting at this year’s EFMC Conference in Milan on the 8-9 June and the Facilities Show in London on the 21-23 June.

Please visit our dedicated Smart Buildings page for more information about how MCS Solutions can help.