Gone are the days when a broken air conditioner meant tracking down the super for a week to schedule an appointment to get it fixed. Likewise sent on permanent vacation is the fear that you left the door to your business suite open when headed out of town for the weekend.
The Internet of Things (IoT) for building management is changing the ways a building is maintained and monitored. Using specially-placed sensors that log all activities and climates, you can monitor a building in a cloud technology environment. This means monitoring your property in real time and getting alerts and notifications so you can attend to the event before anything serious occurs.
What is the IoT?
A good synonym for the Internet of Things is "everything else." More specifically it refers to everything that isn't a computer, smart phone or tablet that can still gather data and sent it along its way to a device that can read that data and analyze it. The more items that are connected, the smarter an environment can grow. Once we begin to realize how many types of items can be equipped with a sensor, we begin to realize just how powerful it can be. The more sensors in place, the more data analysis can be done and the more quickly we can respond to changes in said environment.
How it Works
Wireless sensors are the glue that that holds the IoT in a building together. And they aren't just sending data to the cloud, they're also recording it for long-term data analysis as well. In the short term, you'll receive alerts via email, SMS, or within an app that something is off, such as the temperature in a certain room. This gives you total control and peace of mind with minimal on-site management. The sensors are easy to set up, send their data to either a nearby gateway or on-site Wi-Fi unit, and will earn their keep quickly: sensory batteries are good for around a decade.
What types of systems does the IoT thrive at in building management? Here are four pain points that every building manager knows all too well that can go from headaches to a breeze when connected to the IoT.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Temperature sensors can be set up in critical areas to help with climate control throughout the building. This is especially ideal to ensure all areas are at the same temperature and is an easy way to gauge if If certain areas simply can't stay cool (or warm), you might be looking at problems with window seals, etc.
There are easily-placed sensors to monitor whether doors are open or closed. This mitigates a huge security risk to both yourself and your tenants. No more unpleasant surprises on Monday morning because the last employee out the door on Friday failed to lock up. This sort of sensor is also invaluable if tenants claim their offices or units were tampered with or vandalized during time away from the building. Proof that all doors were closed can mitigate the culpability of the building manager.
We all know how fast a little drip...drip...drip can add up to thousands of dollars of damage. Employ water leak detection sensors to protect your important electrical equipment or to monitor areas prone to leaking. This is the kind of notification the IoT was built for; so you're notified the instant something is out of sync; not when the ceiling collapses from the water's weight three days later. The sensors are also ideal for controlling the growth of mold in buildings. Mold detection is a tricky business, but having sensors in place to detect water leaks themselves can help you accurately predict where mold might be forming and stop it before it becomes a major headache; you can also use the sensors to realize where water might be entering your building without your knowledge.
Efficiently monitoring the power use across an entire building can be a daunting task. Sensors attached to the IoT can break it down into what areas are consuming the most power and help you analyze ways to mitigate them. It will translate into smaller bills and more takeaway from your bottom line.
In addition to being tremendous resources for upgrading your building's efficiency, using the IoT can go a long way towards offering peace of mind of what's happening inside your building while reducing stress and hassle. Not only can you collect real-time data to see what state your building is in, but use that stored data to create action plans for how to keep your property running at a high level in the future. The future of building management tech is here, it makes sense to use it.