The world needs smart buildings. They have the power to help fight climate change. To reduce energy wastage and cut costs. To streamline facilities management. To manage environmental social governance. And to enhance the workplace environment and boost employee well-being. The smart building is based on smart workplace technology, which is powered by an IoT device network. Let’s take a closer look at how it all works, and the numerous benefits smart workplace technology can deliver.
What is an IoT device and what does it do?
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is made up of interconnected devices that collect and transfer data over a wireless network.
In a commercial building, IoT devices tend to be anything that is geared towards facilities management or boosting operational efficiency and productivity. Examples include smart sensors, smart locks, smart thermostats, smart HVAC, smart lighting and smart security.
Smart sensors are used in a wide range of capacities. They work in a variety of ways, from detecting heat and movement to sensing noise and vibration.
They can, for example, detect when a room is empty. This can be used to trigger automated smart workplace technology actions such as switching off lights, air conditioning or heating. Or they can be used to relay meeting room or desk availability, enhancing the efficiency of meeting room bookings.
And this is just a snapshot. The IoT device count for 2022 is 14.4 billion worldwide, with that figure expected to grow to 41.6 billion by 2025.
How does an IoT device work?
An IoT device is a physical object that is designed to interact with the real world in some form. Whatever it is, it will be sensing what is happening in the real world.
The device has an onboard CPU, network adapter and firmware. Some will be accessible over the public internet, but most will operate on private networks. Once an IoT device has been configured, most of its traffic is outbound. For example, a sensor transmits the data it collects to a central platform. Some IoT devices, however, do accept inputs, such as a smart heating system that takes in information from its surroundings in order to adjust to changing environmental conditions.
Every IoT device is connected to an Internet of Things platform. This platform combines data from the various devices, and then applies analytics to produce valuable information, which can either be used by management to make strategic decisions, or to trigger automated actions using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. IoT devices can also be connected to each other, triggering actions based on the information received from each other.
The benefits of IoT property management
By integrating various different IoT device sensors into a building management system, the building becomes a smart building. And the benefits of the smart building are many.
For one, smart buildings incorporate an IoT device-driven building energy management system (BEMS). A BEMS makes allows the monitoring and control of the full energy needs of a property, as well as linking with HVAC, security and lighting control.
Whilst BEMS technology has been in use for some time, its integration with the Internet of Things has considerably improved its capabilities. It is now possible to analyse data and see exactly how energy is being used throughout a building or series of buildings, highlighting inefficient appliances and processes.
IoT device sensors deliver a real time view of all the energy sources in a building, allowing precise energy needs to be predicted against external factors, for example seasonal fluctuations.
Smart workplace technology is being used to prevent energy wastage. IoT-powered automations dim or switch off lights when natural light takes over, and reduce indoor temperature when it gets warmer outside.
An IoT device sensor will detect when a space is unoccupied, switching off lights, air conditioning or heating when it’s not needed.
Another very important role that the IoT device sensor plays within the smart building is in managing indoor air quality (IAQ).
Smart workplace technology makes it possible to control and monitor the IAQ of a building. Smart sensors are able to detect anything from carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide to volatile organic compounds, temperature and relative humidity. When levels exceed those considered safe, alerts are sent to the relevant personnel who can then take action to either restore the IAQ to what it should be, or make the decision to evacuate the building.
Smart workplace controls also put the power of choice into the hands of building occupants, allowing them to make their own personal decisions about lighting and other comfort factors, such as heating and air conditioning. In the smart building, everyone gets to set their own preferences via an app, and machine learning stores those preferences to make things even easier next time.
Productivity and maintenance
In the smart building, IoT sensors detect noise and vibration that is beyond normal levels. Smart sensors placed on machinery, for example, can flag up potential issues, which can either trigger an alert to facilities management to call in an engineer or appraise the case for a machine upgrade, or automatically call in a service technician, even going as far as letting them know which parts are malfunctioning, cutting the need for an initial appraisal visit.
In an industrial setting, a sensor-based IoT device can be used to monitor assembly lines or other manufacturing processes. Data from sensors is transmitted to monitoring platforms that check that key processes are running at optimum levels. This makes it possible to prevent unplanned downtime by predicting when parts will need to be replaced.
IoT device sensors aid the tracking of physical assets within a building, as well as protecting them from unauthorised use, removal or theft. Smart workplace technology can also facilitate role-based access for workplace users and visitors, for the ultimate in automated security.
The IoT device and smart workplace technology have revolutionised facilities management. With environmental and workplace comfort controls managed routinely, energy efficiency regularly monitored, and maintenance schedules operating automatically, FMs are free to focus their attention on high priority tasks, as well as being empowered to make informed business decisions.
Creating smart workspaces with IoT device-driven Smart Spaces
Smart Spaces is an IoT-driven platform that brings together vital data from a variety of connected devices around a building. The data is channelled into a cohesive, easy-to-follow set of intelligence that can be used to achieve a whole host of vital commercial goals.
Smart Spaces predictive analytics uses historical data and gathered trends to take all the hard work out of optimising the resources within a building, truly embracing the value of the Internet of Things.
Why not request a free Smart Spaces demo, or get in touch to discover how this pioneering technology can make your building the best possible place to work?