How IoT is shaping the future of Workplace automation

by May 11, 2020 0 comments

The entire building and infrastructure value chain have been revolutionized since IoT-driven automation and smart technology came into being, though the traditional building management and controls industry have been slow to implement and match the pace of innovation. Due to multiple factors such as climate change, energy demand and a changing millennial workforce, smart build-ings fueled by IoT are in greater demand than ever.

Building owners and managers are coming to realize that a building’s greatest value is determined by the occupant. We have now shifted the focus to buildings that are tailored for the occupant and this is where a smart building offers great advantages. Smart building technologies offer owners and managers a host of benefits such as remote control and energy efficiency, but it also offers the occupant a much better experience than other buildings. The possibilities for this technology are immense and buildings of the future, especially commercial properties will become the smartest, most connected buildings in the IoT ecosystem.

So, what exactly is IoT and how has traditional building automation benefited from it?

Put simply, the Internet of Things is a concept wherein any device can be connected to other devices and the Internet — it is essentially a network of all things connected and to the Internet, so that data can be available and gathered from all these connected objects and they can talk to each other. These devices are outfitted with sensors and then connected over a common network. The sensors help collect data which is then used to gain insights through data analytics.

Traditional building management systems worked on a computerised system that could manage and track a building’s controls, lower energy consumption and ensure facility managers handled operations better. However, conventional building automation systems were disparate and disconnected with each control such as HVAC, security, lighting etc working in silos. The data that is gathered from all these systems are not integrated so it makes it difficult for facility managers to get the big picture of a building’s efficiency. Because traditional systems do not have the element of data analytics, the onus of analysing data rests on the facility team. This means analyzing com-plicated data on excel sheet after the excel sheet which can be time-consuming and is prone to human errors. Traditional systems can gather data only to automate certain operations and not to optimise performance.

The IoT advantage

In an IoT empowered building automation/management system (BAS/BMS), data from a wide range of sources, even outside the ambit of the building, are brought together into one place to en-sure analysis.

In the case of a smart building, IoT collects and analyzes data collected from various smart devices that monitor energy consumption and use. Based on this data, the system can determine the best course of action to ensure both energy efficiency and occupant comfort. For example, the sensors detect the absence of occupancy in certain areas and can communicate to switches to turn off lights and air-cooling systems for that area. Similarly, air quality sensors can detect a rise in the levels of CO2 and communicate with HVAC systems to use outside air to freshen the air inside the office. When certain patterns are repeated at a certain time, the building can also learn occupant behaviour. For example, if every Monday, more than 20 people assemble in a conference room for a meeting at a certain time, the technology can prepare for the same ahead by increasing airflow for twenty people and keeping all the lights on. The technology makes the building smart and intuitive while saving energy. The improved efficiency results in payback within 1-3 years!

The future is connected

According to Memoori research, the global market for IoT in buildings (now called BIoT) is set to grow from $34.8 billion by the end of 2017 to reach $84.2 billion, come 2022, at 19.4 per cent CAGR. Also, according to Deloitte’s survey as part of its commercial real estate (CRE) outlook for 2020, a majority of CRE executives said IoT and AI can lower costs and improve operational efficiency. They acknowledge that tenant experience is not the only factor for implementing IoT in buildings. Facility managers, owners, operators or developers can experience energy savings in the range of 30 to 50 per cent.

Gaurav Burman, President – APAC , 75F

Gaurav Burman, President – APAC , 75F

The Deloitte survey also points out that Asia Pacific regions will invest the most in smart building projects soon, thanks largely due to an increase in urbanisation and developments in the green and sustainable space. The survey says that the APAC region is predicted to increase its share of BIoT revenues to 36 per cent by 2022 from 34 per cent in 2017.

The use of smart technologies such as IoT and the cloud is a fillip to the green building movement. As IoT powered buildings cut energy usage and turn more sustainable, they are turning into one of the most environmentally viable choices for all stakeholders concerned. According to the World Green Building Trends, 55 per cent of Indian respondents expected that over 60 per cent of their projects would be green by 2021. IoT powered and smart building automation systems will play a significant role in this green future.

Thus, IoT is a game-changer when it comes to building automation systems. The Internet of Things can make a building management system an intelligent, smart entity that can react to changing situations and predict what’s next. The future of buildings lies in its connectedness.

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