Big Data, BloT and BIM – buzz words or bigger, braver new world?

Sep 22, 2017 Technology

Zettabytes, Building Internet of Things (BIoT), Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Big Data are just some of the latest terms being incorporated into the daily vocabulary of Facility Managers around the country.

Big Data in particular has not only moved beyond the hype and is living up to predictions, it also continues to be a hot topic across the C-suites, with experts telling us that Big Data can generate numerous opportunities in terms of complete energy solutions, business value, and optimum customer service satisfaction in any facility.

A major contributor of Big Data across the built environment sector is the Internet of Things (IOT) devices. IOT is the term given to the vast network of automated pieces of hardware that are individually connected to the internet, enabling them to collect and exchange data all the time. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be an approximately 26 billion internet-connected devices, in addition to about 7 billion laptops, tablets and smartphones. Which is why Big Data experts are immersing themselves in cloud-based solutions to accommodate this explosion of advanced connectivity.

The transformative powers of BIoT and BIM

How BIoT is transforming the operations of businesses in buildings is a key driver for Frank Italia, the Director of Digital Technologies at Norman Disney & Young. He tells us that FMs are now being challenged to rethink the way Australia’s built environment is planned, built and managed. “BIoT is critical to our future. We must create a new joined up approach that aligns our digital initiatives through smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) to seamlessly manage investment across the whole life of our infrastructure,” he explains.

Speaking at the 2017 Total Facilities conference, Mr Italia challenged the seminar audience to consider the barriers and enablers to extending BIM into the post construction phase of the building’s life cycle. He discussed how BIM has become an established tool for the design and construction of major projects and outlined concerns as to how many of these projects will migrate the BIM technology for their ongoing facility management. “The idea is to create a structured way to collect, process, and analyse a set of data to better performance and increase functional capabilities of every facility,” he says.

Internet of Things and impact on FM

Commercial building management not only uses data analytics to identify energy saving opportunities, they also want to lower the costs of energy audits. Virtual energy audits are made possible by the ease of Big Data analytics. Companies and buildings can easily access data to show the impact of occupant electricity loads, energy consumption patterns, interval and daily usage profiles, occupied floor plans and weather data. Making low cost operational changes through virtual audits and Big Data can double energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Most modern buildings today are already equipped with such advanced devices and technologies, thanks to companies such as Automated Logic who introduced the first web-based Building Management System WebCTRL back in the early days of IoT in the 1990s. Now its building automation technology is installed in thousands of commercial buildings and facilities worldwide.

Most buildings have about 5,000 to 10,000 points connected to the Building Management System – already a high number of devices that act together, and a large volume of data that needs to be collected, analysed and acted upon. With the right analytic tools, Big Data offers FMs the chance to find the patterns and identify the correlations and causes of malfunction.

Big Data and IOT also has a number of significant effects on the way FMs and the modern workplace could operate. Workplace models are shifting towards increasing choice and flexibility, which not only means changes for the staff, but also for the building owners and managers.

The IOT is expected to further influence FM by giving office workers greater control of their immediate environment through WiFi.

With more FMs making low cost operational changes through virtual audits and Big Data, which can double energy efficiency in commercial buildings, industry experts are now looking to what lies ahead. It seems that leveraging Big Data is the next step in helping intelligent buildings better understand energy trends and what future investments can be made towards tools to further unleash the power of Big Data – possibly also unleashing a new wave of built environment buzz words.

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