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By Laurie GIlmer, P.E., CFM, SFP, LEED AP
Power & Communication Article Use Policy
We live in a fast-paced world, and the pace is getting faster every day. Along the way, we all feel the pull of technology. It is pulling us into the future, and it is connecting us more than ever.
In a 1991 article entitled “The Computer for the 21st Century,” Mark Weiser wrote, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
No technology is making a greater impact on institutional and commercial facilities these days than the Building Internet of Things (BIoT). Several recent events demonstrated how much the technology is changing the way maintenance and engineering managers are thinking about and doing their jobs.
At an international facility management conference I recently attended, the presenter in one of the sessions asked how many members of the audience had a smartphone. Nearly every person raised a hand, which is hardly surprising.
In another presentation at that same conference, we talked about energy benchmarking and performance data. We discussed the aggregation of massive quantities of data from thousands of buildings across the United States, as well as the message that data was sending to those of us responsible for managing the built environment. The ability to pull that much information together and analyze it is exciting, and talking about the conclusions we can draw and the applications we can use it for is even more exciting.
In still another meeting during that same conference, I met with a team of industry experts to talk about data management standards, the way they relate to one another, and the implications of the standards for the facility management profession.
What is the common thread among these interactions? Technology ties. Managers are more connected than ever. For many of us, it is now very hard to separate our professional and personal lives because of the impact of technology.
The term Building Internet of Things was coined 18 years ago by Kevin Ashton. Back then, the Internet was advancing at a head-spinning pace. We were linking devices – not just computers and printers but sensors and tracking devices. The concept painted a picture of where managers and facilities could go and what possibilities were on the horizon.
It was not until 2014, however, that the term started to take hold in the vocabulary of facilities management. The idea is this: If it has a switch, it has the ability to be connected, and it will be connected. With this idea comes the image of a seamlessly connected world that is responsive to our needs, leveraging a world’s worth of data for our use in operating facilities more efficiently and effectively.
Along with potential benefits, however, managers researching the possibilities of BIoT in their facilities are encountering a few misconceptions. Debunking and clarifying these misconceptions is essential in ensuring managers make smart, informed decisions about putting this powerful technology to work.
Understanding the Building Internet of Things
Building Internet of Things: Myths and Facts