Most building owners and facilities managers still use manual methods to collect and confirm the data they rely on to manage building temperature, layout and maintenance schedules. But this process doesn’t have to be manual or time consuming. In recent years, the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting facilities management processes, making them more intelligent, sustainable, transparent and cost-effective.
Actionable Insights for Proactive Facilities Management
There is now an increased expectancy from tenants that the facilities in which they live and work will safeguard their health and wellbeing and provide optimized, productive and comfortable working conditions. With increased awareness about climate change and how building operations contribute, specifically the use of fossil fuels to generate energy, tenants also expect energy-saving solutions from their building and facilities managers wherever possible.
Until recently, the promise of smart facilities management technology was only achievable for large companies with million-dollar budgets. The Internet of Things (in which a network of physical devices, appliances and software connect and exchange data to support automation) has been prohibitively complex and expensive for most building owners and facilities managers. Installing sensors to collect data was costly and time consuming.
Today, proptech solutions embedded with smart IoT sensors are radically changing the FM industry. Affordable, low-maintenance sensor technology means all facilities managers and building owners can experience the benefits of IoT—cost savings, increased margins, heightened sustainability and wellbeing for tenants, and improved tenant relationships.
The Move Toward Wellbeing and Sustainability: How Can Sensor Data Help?
At the heart of a smart facilities management solution are sensors, which detect and reflect changes in their surrounding environment or asset they are placed on, like temperature, water, humidity, CO2, and more. IoT sensors can now be tiny, secure, robust, easy to use and have a long life expectancy.
This flexibility means that sensor technology can be used in innovative ways, providing data for areas in FM that had not previously been considered, like health and wellbeing and sustainability. To this end, facilities managers and building owners can use intelligent sensor data to maintain a clean facility and that the environment enhances productivity and reduces stress.
A clean environment is a given requirement in any facility. Now, facilities managers can have data on how often the space, bathrooms, offices and meeting spaces are used by deploying proximity and motion sensors.
Sanitary staff can then clean based on demand rather than habit, focusing efforts on areas that have been regularly used. This will result in ideal cleaning schedules that are most suited to preserving tenant health and hygiene.
Furthermore, tenants can be empowered to take control of their environment. They can signal that a specific spot needs to be cleaned by using touch buttons or touch panels. A cleaning crew can be deployed quickly to solve the issue.
Enhancing Productivity Through Air Quality
High CO2 levels can make offices feel stuffy, which is sometimes misattributed to high temperatures. However, CO2 is more often than not the one to blame. Heightened CO2 levels in a facility may have poor decision-making, longer reaction times and fatigue.
The simplest and most cost-effective method is to use Internet of Things (IoT)-based CO2 sensors in conjunction with a BMS and remotely managed HVAC and ventilation systems. Facilities managers and building owners that enhance their interior spaces with CO2 sensors and subsequent analytics have the potential to boost performance, happiness and productivity.
Tenant Occupancy and the Ideal Environment
Occupancy monitoring may help you manage workstations, offices and meeting rooms more effectively. Occupancy sensors, like desk, door and meeting room sensors, give real-time visibility into the use of rooms, workspaces and breakout areas, allowing for rapid access to space availability information. This visibility reduces the amount of time tenants spend looking for open slots while avoiding multiple reservations. It also eliminates the need to physically enter the venue to check room availability.
The facilities manager can also have a full view of the utilization status of various offices, rooms and buildings from a single point of entry. This empowers space allocation decision-making, making sure that acquiring new real estate or redesigning spaces is based on actual space usage data.
The Time to Invest in Smart Technology is Now
Sensor technology's application and range are continually expanding, particularly when it comes to tenant health and wellbeing. Traditional sensor applications, such as monitoring room temperature and detecting water leaks, are being augmented with new and novel applications such as ventilation management and smart cleaning. These advancements are now being fueled by the hybrid working trend and a shift in emphasis on tenant health and wellbeing.
The tiny size, ease of installation, wireless range and longer battery life of sensor technologies are empowering numerous CRE Application Partners to design new attractive solutions for facilities managers and building owners. The demand is there, and so is the technology. The best time to invest in technology that enhances health and wellbeing was yesterday. The second best time is now.
About the Author:
Bengt Johannes Lundberg is the CEO of Disruptive Technologies. He holds an engineering degree from Vestfold University College. Bengt has more than 20 years of international business experience. He also has a decade-long experience with international team leadership, building cross-cultural, high-performing teams.