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Make Building Operations More Efficient with Generative AI

May 6, 2024
Learn what AI can do to make your daily facility management tasks easier.

Artificial intelligence is quickly finding its way into many parts of our lives. Generative AI (GenAI) is one subset of AI that’s of particular interest to many as it uses vast training data sets and neural network analytics to learn complex patterns to formulate intelligent outputs. GenAI tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard and BingAI allow users to ask various questions or request tasks to be performed using a human-like conversation chatbot. AI technology has come a long way—and serves as a useful assistant for many tasks.

Building operators can use GenAI tools to assist with mundane and repetitive operational tasks. These tools can even be integrated into existing building management and IT/OT systems via an API to harness the power of AI. Let’s look at some examples of how you can start taking advantage of what GenAI can do for you throughout your day-to-day building management tasks.

Security and Access control

Most modern surveillance cameras and access control systems allow for integrations with external applications, including GenAI platforms. After a bit of training, AI can assist in managing access permissions, responding to events and proactively identifying anomalies to stop threats before they happen.

By leveraging generative algorithms, these systems can predict potential security vulnerabilities, simulate breach scenarios, and optimize access control protocols. Through data analysis and pattern recognition, generative AI can identify anomalous behaviors, flagging potential security threats in real-time.

Asset Management

Tools like ChatGPT analyze various building asset data provided by building operators. AI can then be used to track assets, manage inventory levels, provide notifications on upcoming maintenance and make proactive repair/replacement decisions.

This technology facilitates the creation of synthetic data to train predictive models, enabling proactive maintenance scheduling and minimizing downtime. Additionally, generative AI can assist in generating 3D models of building layouts and assets, aiding in spatial planning and optimizing space utilization.

Tenant/Occupant Information, Surveys and FAQ’s

AI chatbots are a great way for tenants and occupants to quickly access building information and frequently asked questions. Additionally, the tools can provide an elegant way to conduct surveys that provide valuable feedback on occupant experiences with building facilities.

Emergency Response

By employing generative algorithms, managers can simulate various emergency scenarios, predict potential outcomes and optimize response strategies. These simulations can aid in identifying potential bottlenecks, evacuation routes and resource allocation needs before an actual emergency occurs.

GenAI tools are being integrated into building and campus emergency response systems at a relatively high rate. In the event of an emergency, AI can provide real-time instructions to occupants on recommended protocols and procedures, emergency contact information and status updates.

Room Scheduling

Shared and common areas that must be reserved can rely on GenAI to manage the scheduling process. Users simply access a scheduling webpage or app and AI coordinates the scheduling process including recommending alternative meeting/conference room locations based on information such as the number of attendees and what technologies (e.g., video conference equipment, monitors, etc.) will be required.

Energy Management

Building management systems can tap into generative AI to provide granular insights and recommendations to optimize energy efficiency. The data collected by BMS sensors can easily be analyzed and baselined over time. Energy-saving strategies can then be formulated to provide optimal occupancy comfort while eliminating wasteful use. Real-time monitoring and feedback mechanisms further enhance energy management efforts, allowing for rapid adjustments in response to changing conditions.

Try GenAI Out for Yourself

The great thing about Generative AI systems is that many of them offer free access or trials. This will allow you to get a feel for the capabilities of the technologies before spending time and effort integrating AI into your existing IT/OT and building management tools. Building operators can also use AI as a general AI assistant to answer building operations-specific questions you may have on any given day.

For example, if we were to use ChatGPT 3.5 to see what it recommends when we ask the following question: “What are the fire safety regulations in Chicago, Illinois?”. The output of this question is quite in-depth and provides information on the Chicago Fire Prevention Code (CFPC), Chicago Building Code, Illinois Fire Safety Act and others. Based on that answer, you can ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into one or more of those topics. Think of it as a standard Google search, but it is much more powerful and granular to answer the specific questions you may have.

Keep in mind that large language models like ChatGPT 3.5 are not updated regularly and may not provide the most up-to-date information. You can prompt Generative AI systems to provide the date of their latest update, but it’s always important to verify the information provided and not take anything at face value. Still, as AI tools continue to evolve, they can serve as yet another tool to help make daily operations more efficient when used wisely.

This article was written with the assistance of artificial intelligence.
About the Author

Andrew Froehlich | Contributor

As a highly regarded network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, Andrew Froehlich counts over two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Andrew is the founder and president of Colorado-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build-outs. He’s also the founder of an enterprise IT research and analysis firm, InfraMomentum. As the author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT-related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

About the Author

Andrew Froehlich | Contributor

As a highly regarded network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, Andrew Froehlich counts over two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Andrew is the founder and president of Colorado-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build-outs. He’s also the founder of an enterprise IT research and analysis firm, InfraMomentum. As the author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT-related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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