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Editors’ Choice Money-Saver: Clockworks
The Money-Saving Products award program focuses on manufacturers and companies with products that support commercial buildings and create cost savings to facilities managers and building owners.
Clockworks, from KGS Buildings, is an automated buildings analytics solution that brings automated fault detection and diagnostics to empower facilities teams in their drive to make their operations proactive, minimize energy use and improve occupant comfort.
The editorial staff selected this product due to its ability to centralize knowledge for teams, allowing for proactive vs. reactive maintenance and planning, which ultimately saves in multiple areas.
Clockworks from KGS Buildings
Categories: Building Automation, Energy Management
Alex Grace, vice president of business development for KGS Buildings, the makers of Clockworks, says the product currently monitors over 300 million square feet and over 190,000 HVAC assets.
While this can result in energy savings, Grace says the software provides the most impact when used as a tool that’s embedded in the workflow processes of the facilities organizations that KGS works with and the vendors that serve them.
Grace has seen two main trends develop over the last few years related to facilities management and fault detection and diagnostics (FDD):
1. Resistance to cloud technology has largely gone away everywhere, with the only exception being military bases.
2. Using FDD for a broader range of use cases.
“In addition to a fundamental motivation around continuously driving energy savings, we are seeing facilities teams using FDD across their maintenance organization to help focus their teams on what matters most,” Grace explains. “Other teams are using FDD to better manage vendor service relationships, as well as in new construction where the value is really around catching issues during the warranty period that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.”
Rather read what he has to say?
Valerie Dennis Craven: Hello, this is Valerie Dennis Craven, editor for BUILDINGS media, and I’m here with Alex Grace. He’s vice president with KGS Buildings. KGS Buildings was recently honored as an Editors’ Choice winner for BUILDINGS’ annual Money-Saving Products awards for its building analytics solution, Clockworks.
Congratulations on being named an Editors’ Choice winner, and welcome, Alex.
Alex Grace: Thanks so much, Valerie. Really appreciate it, and we’re honored.
Valerie: Great. Tell us about Clockworks.
Alex: Clockworks is an automated fault detection and diagnostics platform. What that means is that we enable facilities management teams to be able to identify every single day where their top priorities are related to maintenance and energy savings.
We take data from building automation systems and metering systems every 5 minutes, run it through very high-powered cloud-based analytics that determine where those priorities are, and allow teams to do essentially continuous conditioning on their facilities constantly.
Valerie: Great. Nice. In your submission, you said that Clockworks helps uncover hidden savings opportunities and identify the root cause of underperforming systems. Can you elaborate on how that helps facilities managers?
How it Helps Teams Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Alex: It may be good to state what the status quo is, or the challenge that we’re really helping the facilities professionals that we work with solve. So, fundamentally, the teams, when we talk to maintenance organizations, they are basically telling us that—we’re largely reactive. When a building automation alarm goes off, we have a fire we have to go put out. When someone calls and complains, we are also reactive to that situation. We may have the right part, we may not, depends what we find in the field, as well as for remote service organizations that are providing maintenance on a control system or mechanical systems.”
Likewise, when they roll a truck, do they know exactly what they’re going to run into when they come out there?
So, the challenge we’re helping them solve is to really get more proactive by being able to see where the problems are before they become huge headaches, and most importantly, being able to prioritize them. Because of the thousands of pieces of equipment that our clients are responsible for managing, it’s not always clear where your team should be focused to be able to drive the most value and the most energy savings for the organization.
Valerie: Is this a solution for just one single site, or can people have multiple sites that they’re managing?
“Because of the thousands of pieces of equipment that our clients are responsible for managing, it’s not always clear where your team should be focused to be able to drive the most value and the most energy savings for the organization.” - Alex Grace
Alex: Absolutely. One of the real strengths of the Clockworks platform is that it was built in the cloud from day one, and it was really built to scale. So, our strength is being able to provide accurate diagnostics on complex mechanical systems, whether that’s a pharmaceutical manufacturing operation, or a university laboratory, or a big box retailer and everything in between—and being able to do that at scale. We currently monitor buildings in 20 countries, and we work with a lot of both national and international portfolios.
Valerie: Cool. I really just find it interesting all the data that’s available, and now how people can use it, and what the benefits and predictive abilities and capabilities there are.
Alex: It’s really amazing. I really firmly believe that at some point in the future—I don’t know if it’s 10 years or 15 years—but I really believe that at some point in the near future, we’re going to look back and say, “You had how many tens of thousands of data points of sensor data in your buildings, and you did not have analytics running on that data to identify their mechanical controls. How did you manage your facilities?”
So, we’re definitely at the early stage of that adoption curve, I would say. You know, we have a lot of very large organizations we are working with already. But there’s still a lot of room to grow, and I think at some point, we’re going to look back and say, “How did we manage?”
Valerie: Yeah, or “get everything done,” or “how many people did you have to help” and it’s like, “nobody.”
Alex: Right, that’s true. When we talk to people, you never hear someone say, ”We totally have as many people as we want on our staff,” and you never hear, “Someone is looking for another to-do.” Let’s put it that way, right?
Valerie: Is there anything else unique or interesting you’d like to point out about this? How it can bring value?
Versatile Tools for Multiple Stakeholders
Alex: Sure. I’ll mention the types of people that tend to use the platform. So, within different organizations, you have different types of stakeholder groups.
I think one thing that’s really interesting about fault action diagnostics, and what we can do with the platform like Clockworks, is we can really provide one source of truth—in terms of having one data set and one set of analytics that’s producing valuable information on where there are stuck dampers, and where there are leaking valves and where simultaneous heating-cooling is taking place, economizers that could be improved, under loaded loops, etc.
This allows both a maintenance team as well as the capital planning side of the house that may be involved with energy projects to really come together around that one source of truth.
That’s something that we find really interesting is that technology is great and essential and can really be transformative for organizations, but it’s really in a lot of ways the starting point. What really matters is the process that you build up and the change management that occurs to allow people to collaborate around that technology.
Valerie: Great. Sounds like lots of opportunities for a lot of different kinds of buildings and systems and information. Thank you, Alex, for taking the time to share with BUILDINGS’ listeners about Clockworks, and congratulations on being named Editors’ Choice.
Alex: Thanks so much.
Valerie: I’m Valerie Dennis Craven for BUILDINGS media. Thanks for listening to this Express Listen podcast.
Alex: Thanks, Valerie, appreciate it.
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