Facility Management: Internet of Things Meets Big Data

Facility Management Internet of Things Meets Big Data

Facility management has become much more complicated in the last few decades. Fortunately, advanced tech solutions enable us to answer all challenges that have emerged with the introduction of green and smart buildings. Today, facility managers also face increased tenant expectations, because in the age of high connectivity, everybody wants to have instant updates and real-time reports about their living and working quarters.

Technology behind it

Purpose of smart facility management is to anticipate and solve potential facility problems in real time. It means that facility managers won’t answer problems and issues reactively (like they used to do), but preventively.  This practice requires an advanced use of big data and Internet of Things concept. It also requires installation of complex networks that need to include high-sensitivity sensor gadgets and advanced software solutions. This allows facility managers and tenants to receive live updates through many different channels, including: SMS, e-mail, social networks etc.

Current facility management problems

Facility managers are usually overwhelmed with work. Most of their work consists of managing information through paper, e-mails and old software systems that are overly complex and slow. Lack of advanced technology in facility management also limits tenants’ options and control. When lights are flickering and air conditioning is heating in July, they need to contact facility manager, who is often busy or unreachable (due to astonishing amount of paperwork they need to do).

This makes their effort uncertain and their feedback very limited. For this reason, buildings with smart sensors that are applying Internet of Things concept are much more attractive to tenants, and will hopefully become a construction standard in the next decade.

What the future holds?

Recent integration of Internet of Things and big data, allows managers to receive structured and analyzed data, with emphasis on the most urgent issues. This will increase the overall effectiveness of facility management and allow managers to focus on the burning issues. It also means that tenants won’t need to report malfunctions and damage, because system’s sensors will instantly register them.

There are two main types of Internet of Things systems that can be applied in smart construction. Data analysis and computation can be done on the cloud or using the central computer, or it can be done directly at the sensor, which would then only report problems and inconsistencies in system’s day-to-day operation.  First concept uses cloud based software for analysis and fast internet and M2M connections for data transfer, while the second one will use sensors with integrated computers and analytic capabilities.

When there are no issues or significant changes in facility system’s work, sensor computers will simply structure, analyze and store data in their own disk units. If something out of the ordinary happens, sensor computer will send a notification to central system, along with data that will enable managers to deal with the issue in a proper way.

Which segments of facility management will these systems cover?

HVAC systems have already benefited from the invention of delicate IoT sensors and fast computing. Many companies already use these types of systems. The businesses that offer installation and servicing of HVAC systems noted significant rise in demand. One of them is, for example, Apex Airconditioning, a Sydney based company. Other than air-conditioning, advanced IoT systems will also be able to run surveillance, water sprinklers, lighting and even fire alarms. In the last case, system will automatically call fire department, open all doors and shut down elevators.

Although most people still consider IoT a science fiction concept, M2M systems already have a drastic influence on our lives. Since future will bring faster internet connections and continuous development of machine learning, this concept will make our lives completely automated in the next few decades.

Derek Lotts

Derek Lotts

He is a writer that aspires to get recognition for his writing skills. He has an utterly curious mind and is always on the lookout for fresh and trendy topics.

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