5 ways to leverage IoT to make your buildings better

By Switch Automation • July 26, 2018

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and we’ve decided to highlight one of the most practical connectivity of things panels from IBCon 2018: Using Disruptive Technologies to Address Today’s Real Estate Priorities.

A strong connectivity ecosystem is a foundational element of an effective smart building program. ‘Connectivity of Things’ is, simply put, an IoT term that refers to how connected devices communicate with each other. Our team distilled five actionable takeaways from the panel that your organization can use to operate buildings better.

 

1. Consider the desired outcomes

The first step to forging an effective smart building strategy is to consider what end users want from their smart environment. Begin with this goal and work toward fulfilling it in a cost-efficient, sustainable way. For example, if occupant productivity is paramount, then prioritize key drivers such as good ventilation and air quality monitoring.

From here, it’s essential to leverage experience from outside use cases to set clear goals. Invest in educating your staff about practical applications and incorporate case studies so they can make better connectivity decisions to achieve similar results.

 

2. Choose the right team

Once your goals are set, put the right team in place. Experienced onsite facilities managers understand your occupants; your operations team can vet tech solutions; and IT can determine whether or not the technology is compatible with your existing buildings. It’s essential to understand every aspect of the devices being integrated, and this is where the right technical team is invaluable. For example, a Master Systems Integrator should be involved from the beginning, as their expertise will crucially aid transitions beyond the initial sensor installation and operation.

 

3. Ensure scalable success

Ask yourself “is this solution scalable?” If you expand or update your smart building portfolio later, you’ll want to avoid reinventing the wheel for each new building. It’s easy to make a handful of buildings look ‘smart’ but failing to invest in a scalable connectivity ecosystem will mean expensive rip and replace projects, stranded assets and squandering staff resources later. To create lasting value, your solution must drive ROI and create replicable success to accomodate your portfolio’s evolution.

 

4. Overdo your network infrastructure

Sensors, especially wireless ones, can offer insights that inform your smart building program strategy as you go. Low cost wireless sensors detect air quality, air flow, humidity levels and lighting. Investment in a sufficient network infrastructure to support these sensors now and in the future will benefit your company in the long run. Preparing for future connectivity is far cheaper and easier than undertaking retrofitting later.

Once you’ve integrated your network, don’t forget about cybersecurity! It’s crucial to install, manage and operate your network layers in a secure way. Failing to protect these connected devices will negatively impact your brand in the event of a security hack.

 

5. Prepare for the future with interoperable systems and devices

With CRE’s current rate of innovation, preparing for the next ten years is no small feat. When the iPhone first launched in 2007, could we have predicted what the current generation of smartphone would look like? Probably not. But we COULD familiarize ourselves with new technology, such as apps, wifi, touch screens and other features.

Apple was wise to capture iPhone users’ diverse needs early on in order to prioritize them and apply development resources strategically. Our CRE leaders can apply that same methodology by keeping current with the latest new smart building solutions while maintaining an understanding of how they connect and work together.

 

Looking forward with the connectivity of things

As IoT innovation continues at breakneck speed, ensuring the Connectivity of Things could make or break your smart building program’s success. As we mentioned previously, today’s competitive differentiation is tomorrow’s standard practice. Ultimately, the connectivity of things will enable portfolio managers to shift from reactive to proactive and finally predictive asset maintenance models.

Special thanks to Steve Anson (Anixter), Darryl Benson (Intelligent Buildings), Brian Turner (OTI), Brad Walters (Onnit) and our own Deb Noller for sharing their wisdom during this panel.

 

While a good solution demonstrates immediate operational savings and ROI, a great solution continues to do so well into the future. Still not convinced? Download the Evaluation Roadmap in Action.

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