By Isabelle Robinson, M.Sc.Sep 7 2018
So-called ‘Smart homes’ are buildings that have automated abilities that can make the lives of the owner or manager easier. In some instances, they can reduce building operating costs and increase energy efficiency.
Recently, Internet of Things (IoT) based platforms have begun to make traditional buildings into smart homes and can actively reduce the cost of maintenance and utilities by automating processes associated with energy efficiency, temperature control, security, and sanitation. These processes have conventionally been manually handled. By making them automated, it allows the owner to make more use of there time while also making the tasks more efficient. IoT allows these tasks to be monitored with specifically designed technology, adjusted and rescheduled remotely at the discretion of the owner.
While it is true that the technology to allow the automation of these processes has been around for many years now, due to the decreasing costs of IoT sensors, structural ‘smart’ buildings have become increasingly more popular in recent times. For anyone wanting to invest in business efficiency, IoT sensors can make a difference in improving the operating and maintenance costs.
HVAC and Lighting
By optimizing the lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) in a home or office building, owners can decrease the money spent on electricity. It is known that HVAC and lighting are 59% of the total commercial energy use but it has been found that by installing IoT HVAC and lighting sensors, this can reduce significantly. In the report by Texas Instruments, the IoT solution related to sensor control cut energy use by 40% and this continued to decrease if LED lighting is used instead of conventional fluorescent lighting that is popular in workspaces.
In addition to saving money, sensors linked to temperature control can increase productivity by up to 3%. The same study by Texas Instruments found that installing IOT sensors to control the temperature of rooms at specific times of the day can optimize activity in humans which could have an effect on the profits of a business.
While air quality control is also linked with productivity and the general mood of a building's occupants, it is also connected to safety. IoT sensors can be used in buildings, such as hotels or office buildings, to detect harmful gasses that are hard for humans to detect themselves, such as the lethal and infamous Carbon Monoxide.
One of the main areas in which IoT sensors are being used in buildings is as security systems. In a study by TechTarget, it is predicted that the smart buildings market is set to increase rapidly over the next decade and physical security sensors are proving to be the most popular way to upgrade a building. The IoT systems can be wired to security cameras, motion detectors, digital identification devices, and access management stations. All of these can decrease the amount of physical security and save a business money in the long run while also keeping the property safe.
One of the most surprising ways in which IoT sensors can upgrade a building is to connect them to sanitation systems. Sensors have the ability to monitor and control water flow, paper consumption, and hand drying. It can also have cleaning and perfume sprays on a timer which can be controlled remotely. All of these can make a building more pleasant while also reducing waste materials.
IoT sensors are able to impact a business or home financially as well as improving productivity and efficiency. These sensors can monitor the areas which are the most important to you and help make workers or occupants more comfortable and safer. With the price the components and installation of these sensors falling, they are set to become an ordinary part of our homes in the near future.
- Dykes, B. (2018, February 5). Building Automation with IoT. Retrieved from Telit.com: https://www.telit.com/blog/smart-building-automation-benefits/
- Ernst, M. (2018, January 31). IoT for Smart Buildings Isn't What You Think it Is. Retrieved from Medium.com: https://medium.com/iotforall/iot-for-smart-buildings-isnt-what-you-think-it-is-bc4019270a47
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