People are always finding new ways of making buildings more efficient, be it from a construction or everyday working perspective. Ever since the Internet of Things (IoT) burst onto the data scene, it has been revolutionizing how data is stored, transferred and analyzed.
This also extends to buildings and has brought about the rise of “smart buildings” which can regulate internal environments (temperature, humidity etc) and predict when maintenance problems could occur. In this article, we look at just how the IoT has helped to revolutionize buildings.
People want a more connected world where they can spot a problem before it has happened or regulate everyday aspects of life. Industry 4.0 is in full swing, and for buildings, this means highly connected systems that can monitor the workings of a building and any internal environments. Overall, these highly connected data systems bring about higher efficiencies and more advanced solutions for the people who are either running or maintaining a building.
Developments in smart technologies, sensor technologies, integrated data systems and cloud software have created management systems that can be used within buildings. These systems enable all the processes within a building to become interconnected, automated and more responsive to any potential issues by using a large number of sensors to continuously monitor various aspects of a building and correlate the data.
The data can then be used to provide an automatic response or to alert a member of the building maintenance team to the chance of issues occurring.
The implementation of these systems has seen a rise in increase in efficiency, a reduction in maintenance downtimes, and the ability for various aspects of a building to adapt to variable (and traditionally uncontrollable) conditions. There are three main areas where the IoT and smart buildings have been beneficial, and these are in lowering the energy used in a building, regulating the internal conditions of a building and providing more effective maintenance operations.
In an energy-conscious world, monitoring and lowering the energy used by buildings is a way to not only provide a greener building, but to also reduce the costs for anyone associated with the running and/or renting of the building. It can be difficult to lower the energy usage of buildings because each building is designed to a different specification.
However, automated data-driven approaches can be used to lower the energy consumption of buildings by switching of various non-essential aspects of a building when they are not in use. Sensors can also be employed to monitor many of the environmental aspects, such as heating and lighting, to ensure that they are only used when they need to be. More about monitoring the internal environments is described below.
Monitoring Internal Environments
Changes in the weather can occur suddenly and some places can have four seasons of weather in one day. Not all buildings are adapted to changes in weather, or extreme weather for that matter, and this can often lead to an uncomfortable environment for anyone within it.
These environments can range from being very hot on a sunny day, to being very cold on a winters day, or extremely humid environments (which are often the worst). Smart buildings can use temperature and humidity data points to provide a balanced and regulated environment, where the internal environmental conditions are optimized to meet the needs of the personnel in the building.
As previously mentioned, the ability to monitor the environment in real-time can help to reduce the energy and cost by not overheating a building, or by avoiding the use of an excess amount of air-conditioning – which can also lead to uncomfortableness if the environment is drastically changed.
More Efficient Maintenance
Various aspects of a building can break down, that is a given. This can be anything from automatic doors, to lifts and computer systems. Using IoT enables the data management system to analyze any previous (historic) data taken from within the building and comparing it against the current data.
The systems can also spot trends and analyze them against previous negative trends (such as those that often lead to some form of down-time). This way of analyzing means that updates can not only be provided in real-time, but the system can swiftly alert any maintenance staff to issues that have just occurred or are likely to occur.
Overall, the implementation of IoT in buildings can bring about much higher efficiencies, quicker maintenance response times and lower maintenance down-times, which ultimately results in a lower inconvenience for any personnel within a building.