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Technology is changing the way commercial buildings function for owners, facilities managers, and occupants. Today, IoT-enabled building management systems (BMS) coupled with smart building analytics provide unprecedented insight into building equipment, maintenance, air quality, energy use, and building system integration.
But we have only scratched the surface of what these technologies can do. Evolving smart building IoT trends are opening up new possibilities for streamlining operations and optimizing efficiency.
The Internet of things (IoT) is a network of equipment, sensors, and devices that communicate with each other to, as Wired Magazine puts it, “gather information, analyze it, and create an action.” When it comes to commercial buildings, this typically includes information from key building equipment like HVAC, security, and lighting systems. As technology matures and intelligent systems become a vital part of both new construction and retrofits, new options and evolving best practices are emerging.
Today, the top 9 smart building IoT trends are:
1. Network-connected sensors and devices
By using the right network-connected sensors and devices, you can gather actionable data from a full range of building equipment. Presence detection, occupancy numbers, temperature, humidity, lighting, and energy use are just a few of the variables that can be measured and, significantly, correlated.
2. Centralized data storage
By enabling automated data collection throughout your building’s operational systems, data will flow continuously from equipment and devices to a central database and unified reporting system. In turn, you will gain quick visibility into any integrated system and its issues so that you can clearly define a course of action for operational adjustments that need to be made to improve comfort or increase efficiencies throughout your building.
3. Open protocols
Open protocol support allows IoT devices and cloud-hosted systems that connect to the BMS to be used together in a common system. With open protocols, you can create a customized management interface from a combination of IoT devices based on your needs rather than being limited to, or having to work around, the range of tools available from vendors using proprietary protocols.
4. Secure remote connectivity
The Internet of Things and smart building trends enable remote connectivity so that service contractors and facility teams can monitor and sometimes troubleshoot systems without having to be directly next to an equipment. With the expansion of the IoT, there’s a heightened demand for increased coordination with service providers for secure network connectivity and user authentication strategies ensuring safe, managed connectivity to integrated building systems.
5. Central visual management dashboards
Visual, custom-configured dashboards bring building operation systems together in one single, web-accessible interface. Flexible and dynamic dashboards provide a powerful tool for making sense of data from the range of IoT devices.
6. Building automation
Hardware and software that facilitate the automation of key building functions provide some of the most important benefits of IoT technologies. Effective automation systems minimize the need for manual intervention, enhance operational performance, and are ideal for managing energy-related objectives.
7. Intelligent analytics
Intelligent building analytics can have profound benefits for managing operations and improving efficiency. While IoT generates large volumes of data, robust analytics are needed to make that data meaningful.
8. 4D insights
Multi-layered analytics use data from equipment, sensors, and components for more valuable fault detection and diagnostics. Real-time and historical data are aggregated according to smart rules and used to both provide context to alarms and suggest solutions.
9. Artificial intelligence/machine learning
With AI/ML, software can monitor and uncover patterns within large datasets and accelerate processes that may otherwise take much longer for a human being to review and decode. This has exciting implications for building management.
Advanced machine learning can currently be used to create models of what is happening in a building. AI/ML enables an analytics system to learn how a building operates over time. Examples suited to AI/ML pattern recognition include detecting excessive energy usage, identifying energy savings opportunities, preemptively alerting you to equipment and system failures before they occur, and recommending solutions to operational problems with minimal human intervention.
While an AI/ML approach is a powerful means of extracting insights from a large volume of data which would otherwise be difficult to obtain, relying on this information to automatically initiate actions such as changes to building systems or device behavior without a human operator involved requires careful consideration and a thoughtful approach to algorithm design.
With thoughtful implementation, these trends can transform how buildings are managed and provide great return on investment.
As more building components are networked, you can gain greater visibility into long-term equipment operation and building efficiencies. However, the real benefit of the IoT isn’t simply collecting raw data, it’s transforming that data into meaningful insight. That’s why many of the top smart building IoT trends hinge on the presence of analytics.
Intelligent analytics are essential for organizing data and extracting specific, prioritized information about building conditions and potential areas of improvement. Some of the most valuable benefits of integrating analytics include:
An advanced analytic platform like onPoint Analytics allows you to take full advantage of smart building IoT solutions that streamline operations, control costs, and optimize assets. As a secure edge-to-cloud service, onPoint is at the forefront of building data analytics and integrates cutting-edge features like machine learning and 4D insights with user-friendly reporting.
By enhancing service contracts with an exceptional analytics platform and thoughtfully deploying the best smart building IoT trends, you can help your clients find solutions to hard-to-see issues within their mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and can help your clients expand the possibilities of building management.
To learn more about how onPoint can help you create a smarter and more efficient building, register for our monthly webinars. Or contact our analytics team to get more information about onPoint and building analytics.
Our industry-leading technology and analytics can help make your building management as simple and efficient as possible. We’ll create customized reporting solutions for your priorities—no matter what your team needs.