Six Reasons to Invest in The Building Internet of Things
February 21, 2018 - Building Automation
By Luther Garcia
Connected services are something out of a science fiction movie. Your alarm goes off and that alerts your coffeemaker to start brewing. Your coffeemaker asks your fridge to check its inventory. Milk is low? It's automatically added to your grocery list and an online order is placed. You haven't even opened your eyes yet and you've already gone grocery shopping. Imagine applying that same level of efficiency to a car, a plane, your apartment, or even your entire house or office building. The interconnectivity of appliances is not only becoming a reality, but also becoming the next big thing. And it's not just in your home. Intelligent building technology — especially the Building Internet of Things (IoT) — is transforming commercial and institutional buildings.
Intelligent building technology forms the foundation for the Building IoT: Combining individual systems like HVAC and lighting units and individual appliances into one simple-to-interpret mega-system allows for greater control of a facility and its parts for maximum functionality. Connecting the individual systems leads to a more efficient and comfortable building. More precise heating and cooling uses the minimum amount of energy for maximum results and maximum savings. This intelligent tailored design and monitoring of spaces creates satisfied employees which leads to a lower turnover rate and increased productivity. When buildings are constructed with intelligent high-speed devices, safety features, and energy-saving technologies, everybody wins.
Though some of these technologies might seem far off, here are six reasons why you should be investing in Building IoT now:
1. It's not a new concept
Kevin Ashton of Proctor & Gamble coined the term "Internet of Things" in 1999, but its first well-known application was in the 1970s. Computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University had grown weary of walking to a completely different wing of the building for a soda, only to find that the machine was empty, or the sodas were unforgivably warm. They invented programs and rigged up the machine to not only notify them, from their department, if the machines were filled, but also with the temperatures of the drinks. Thus began the Internet of Things as we have come to know it.
2. It already is everywhere
New cars and phones are equipped with global positioning satellites that not only tell you how to reach your destination, but the best way to get there, based on your toll budget or real-time traffic updates. The most advanced programs allow users to connect and warn other users of roadblocks and other unexpected obstacles. Even the newest laundry machines send information to the connecting dryer, so you don't have to plug in your preference twice. We are already living in a connected world, and by committing to investing, we'll be able to grow and connect our world even more.
3. It's efficient
Bill Gates once famously said that he will always "hire a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." Building IoT is the easy way. If your personal nightmare is running out of printer ink halfway through printing a 90-page project due in half an hour, then look into a program where your printer will refill itself for you.
4. It saves money
In this day and age, starting off with a smart building can bring in enormous benefits. If every machine in a building is programmed to work together, the entire building will run like one smooth machine. Maintenance will eventually become a breeze when there's only one machine, and once the appliances diagnose themselves, overhead costs will be cut. Imagine if, instead of feeling pain in your tonsils and visiting a clinic, they started blinking red. You check the diagnosis that they need to come out and you walk straight to the surgeon who already knows you're coming. It cuts out all the extra people, conversations, and time that don't directly address the problem, and you can get right back to work immediately.
5. It supplies you with immense data
The tired, thirsty computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University were able to make an informed decision about whether they should pause work to make the trek to the soda machine when they had the information. Collecting data from every machine in a building in real-time and over long periods will allow you to prioritize and see the benefits for yourself.
6. It minimizes waste
When the lights in every room can sense movement, you'll never need to worry about leaving a bathroom light on all weekend, draining resources. Even the simple question of "do we need more paperclips?" will already be answered when a fresh box is delivered to your door just as you were pondering.
The benefits of smart building technology are endless, but all boil down to one point: smart buildings use less energy. The search to minimize energy use is in the best interests of everyone.
Real-time integration yields a massive yet comprehensible set of data. Maintaining consistent room temperatures throughout a building has always been an engineering challenge, but with immense sensory data on sun and shade exposure, draftiness, and general usage from every room, even the oldest building in New York will function at Goldilocks' perfect temperature (just right!) without breaking the bank. Sensory technology via Building IoT is opening possibilities of efficiency and cost reductions that energy leaders have only dreamed about. Instead of people adapting to the needs of their buildings, the precise measurement, sensitive controls, and inter-connectivity of intelligent building technology can begin teaching buildings to adapt to peoples' needs.
Luther Garcia is the President and CEO at ECS Global Solutions, a leading provider of integrated building and energy intelligence solutions. For more information, please visit www.ecs.global.