Buildings, by their very nature will incorporate a huge number of ‘systems’ that manage the daily operation of the facility. From lighting and building management systems (BMS), to security and refrigeration, each of these systems run separately, all with individual licenses and agreements with the system providers. All these systems are independently maintained and independently run – which is both costly and time consuming. So how is the Internet of Things (IoT) bringing these disparate systems together to create intelligent buildings?
IoT is unlocking closed protocols and bringing all systems together via a single platform with a single maintenance and licence plan. Soon, individual licensee costs and maintenance charges from numerous equipment manufacturers will become a thing of the past.
Intelligent buildings are the future – but what are they?
An intelligent building uses monitoring, targeting, sensor technology, controls and integrates the results into a single reporting platform. This allows the building to work at its maximum efficiency, achieve maximum security, and make a more productive and comfortable working environment for its occupants. By understanding how a space is being used we can ensure it is being used most efficiently and effectively. Intelligent buildings allow this to happen through analysis and automation.
What makes a building intelligent?
IoT is what makes a building intelligent. IoT is the network of physical objects – devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items – embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. IoT technology can instinctively adjust heating or turn off equipment automatically to help you cut wastage, reduce inefficiencies, and lower your energy and water bills. The day is coming where whole buildings will be automated, from lights to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). These are exciting times, when synchronised data and proactivity will dominate building services and design.
IoT Building Automation solutions connect internet-enabled devices with powerful software to provide users with a more granular level of control over energy-consuming assets. Connecting disparate devices together in a single, intelligent system can provide significant cost and performance advantages over traditional Building Management Systems (BMS).
The power of IoT
IoT becomes most powerful when it is linked with big data analytical platforms which use processes to examine hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences, and useful business information. It brings real-time data to life via complex algorithms and rules-based analytics.
The Utilitywise IoT platform is ‘elastic’ in its configuration allowing the solution to grow as demand requires. It features a linearly scalable big data storage platform, cutting edge analytics and reporting software utilising Microsoft Azure cloud services.
At Utilitywise, we embrace IoT solutions that will work across industries from micro businesses right up to the largest organisations. Essentially, IoT brings BMS out of the basement and puts it in the palm of your hand, which makes it ideal for any size of business. It creates a positive impact on building performance, maintenance services, and energy consumption while remaining focused on energy efficiency and cost reduction measures.
How is IoT implemented?
Intelligent Buildings do come with a word of caution and that is ‘consolidation’. Having every asset, every utility, and movement monitored and measured does mean a lot of boxes and gadgets, or ‘Gateways’ as they are known.
These ‘Gateways’ will all report data back to different platforms meaning you may get swamped in information, making the analysis of data, the assigning of tasks, and the improvement of productivity very difficult indeed. Solutions such as Utilitywise Intelligent Building Controls, allow for the consolidation of these data sets into one, easy to understand platform. It turns raw data into actionable insights for building owners.
Connectivity, data and interconnected systems
IoT starts with connectivity, creates a platform for interconnectivity, and facilitates an end goal of collecting and interpreting data.
With multiple systems connected through the IoT gateway, the IoT installation creates a platform for interconnectivity of building systems, resulting in harmonious operation and improved building and energy performance.
Changing the shape of BMS with IoT
Once all systems and devices communicate through a single IoT enabled gateway, the way that buildings and systems are maintained and operated changes.
IoT and cloud-based software platforms not only bring visibility to this data but provide great insight into performance and operational activities. This allows operators to know more about system failures and faults as they happen, predict downtime, and provide informative data to field service engineers or onsite personnel, enabling fast rectification and business continuity.
Gone are the days of predictive planned maintenance, system and business downtime and multiple system maintenance/operators. Welcome to the age of remote and proactive system maintenance.
An IoT controls hub also eradicates the need for multiple service contracts and associated licences as the locked-down, closed-protocol BMS, HVAC&R, and lighting systems are ‘opened-up’ by the IoT controls gateway.
IoT will allow businesses of all sizes to:
- undertake demand side management activities saving kWh and £s/pence
- opt into National Grid demand side management strategies as they develop
- optimise building and equipment performance
- reduce maintenance and service costs
In essence, IoT is putting power back into the hands of the business owner whilst cutting costs and complexity from licences, multiple service providers and closed protocol systems. The single gateway and single interface also means that systems work together in harmony – no more disparate systems and building operations – creating truly intelligent buildings.
Intelligent buildings, smarter business
Utilitywise can introduce your business to the next generation of monitoring and controls. For more information call 01527 511 757 or email email@example.com. You can also download our brochure.