How your smart building architecture can ensure your facilities remain an asset – not a liability

The ongoing pandemic has upended co-working as work from home policies are redefined around the world. Shopping and retail are shifting more to hybrid and online, and the hospitality industry struggles to stay afloat with unprecedented new capacity restrictions.

Meanwhile, the looming climate crisis is creating an urgency for transparency and greater resiliency in real estate. The finance industry is accelerating commitments to greenhouse gas disclosures with efforts including the Partnership for Carbon Financials (CAF). Pressure is mounting on the insurance industry to account for climate risk, articulated in this recent letter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Even regulatory bodies are considering mandates for climate risk disclosure, as underscored by the recent US Commodity Futures Trading Commission report.

Enterprise smart building architecture is central to real digital transformation

From retail to real estate, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have become mainstream investments in nearly every industry. IoT devices are now low-cost and readily accessible, and sophisticated platforms are disrupting age-old businesses. The result is a very noisy marketplace, with each solution claiming to be the technology pathway for transformation.

In the coronavirus era, IoT has become the framework for a host of innovative point solutions to important and urgent challenges like workplace re-entry. Indoor air quality, occupancy management and access control solutions are all being pitched as the silver bullet to getting people back in buildings. The reality is that occupants need to trust that businesses are using data to inform and manage new safety measures.

‘Internet of A Thing’– the next generation of process siloes

Both the proliferation of IoT options and their pace of adoption present a threat to the continued development of a resilient, digital built environment. One-off sensor solutions are great for quick install, zero interruption and immediate new insight, but they are in danger of creating a new generation of siloed systems.

Each type of IoT technology can improve specific systems such as lighting or access control, but the real power of digital technologies lies in creating energy and cost savings and operational efficiencies. Truly smart buildings demand that data is readily available to both IT and OT, helping to inform processes, decision-making, budgeting and investment using open, scalable systems that can optimize any equipment within a building or part of a given portfolio.

The vision for smart buildings of the near future is difficult to actualize because of the complexity of proprietary technologies, the diversity of systems installed in buildings and the hurdles of unifying IT and OT processes. Individual IoT solutions remain in high demand as a quick fix for specific one-dimensional challenges, but building owners and executives will be missing a huge opportunity if they fail to create a longer-term strategy with an emphasis on non-proprietary technologies.

The strategic investments that futureproof your smart buildings and create new value

A scalable digital infrastructure will support building owners and managers throughout their inevitable smart building journeys. These are five key steps to futureproofing buildings with investments that deliver value and prepare organizations for further top line growth:

    1. Understand your network – as building maintenance systems become more connected, they should include IP addresses on the network; and building owners and operators must be able to access the data. However, a network audit can be full of surprises, and this is the first big value proposition for Switch Dx3. Within hours of installing the secure Switch IoT appliance, the Switch Dx3 dashboard presents a complete picture of your network health, detailing your network speed, the connected devices, your data points, a complete list of open ports and even a summary of your device firmware versions. This continuous digital audit gives building owners the leverage they need to manage vendors and demand access to their own system data.
    2. Leverage existing investments – there are likely dozens of manufacturers represented by the equipment and devices installed within a single large building or across a portfolio. Any individual system connected to the network should relay data to inform better operational decisions. The challenge of accessing that data and translating it into actionable insight is daunting however. Switch utilizes machine learning and industry best practices, such as Haystack and Brick, to ingest BMS and IoT data streams in a fraction of the time it would take with manual processes. We also have the API documentation to integrate other business intelligence data streams, such as work order management or utility bill data.
    3. Integrate and utilize data with analytics – once the data is accessible from all connected BMS and IoT devices, the Switch Platform becomes a powerful toolkit for translating insight into action. The Platform includes fault detection and diagnostics, alerts and a framework to manage and validate root cause, maintenance and repair next steps and team or vendor responsibilities. These analytics illustrate the interactive effects of systems– a holistic view of building operations rather than just a system-by-system view available with a standard BMS.
    4. Optimize systems with automation – as disruption becomes the new normal, remote control and automation become more valuable than ever. With our cloud-based control features, you can control building systems remotely – down to individual devices and pieces of equipment. Use the Switch Platform to remotely run predictive maintenance and reduce operating costs when your spaces become physically inaccessible.
    5. Get creative and find new revenue streams – continuous insight into system performance and automated improvements ensure the best possible experience for your occupants. An investment in the Switch Platform will enable your teams and partners to innovate with applications that can disrupt your industry and showcase you as a true leader in digital real estate and resilient business.


      Click below to see how Switch Dx3 can help you rightfully claim ownership over your data and set you on the road to a successful and unique smart building journey.

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