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What is the Building Internet of Things?
Ask a dozen industry observers to define the Building Internet of Things (IoT), and you may wind up with a dozen different answers. It’s not hard to understand why. The past few years have seen a proliferation of new options in facility automation and information technology. Many of them come from start-up companies. The bulk of these products are more than just beta tests, but haven’t yet reached mainstream adoption. The Building IoT is blurring old product categories while also creating new ones. It’s introducing unfamiliar language and raising new questions. And while the term is not just hype, there certainly is some hype involved. In short, the Building IoT market is complicated, diverse, and changing.
It’s important for facility managers to understand the Building IoT. The Building IoT offers a new vision: a building- or portfolio-wide ecosystem in which data from an expanding grid of sensors is fed into a growing web of building systems and applications, and then turned into useful information for facility managers — or translated directly into action — by increasingly sophisticated analytics. Ultimately, if the visionaries are right, we could have buildings that largely run themselves, like jets flying on autopilot.
We’re not there yet by any means. But we’re not at square one either.
In this series of articles, Building Operating Management will examine the state of the Building IoT as it stands today. We will report on emerging technologies, describe benefits and uncertainties, look at the changing landscape of product suppliers, and above all identify questions that facility managers should ask as they evaluate Building IoT options. The goal is to help facility managers get past the hype to pinpoint technologies that can help them improve building performance.