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How to make your smart building drive profits up

Mar 21, 2018 Technology

Maintenance and upkeep of building assets once required plenty of hands on work by facility managers to ensure everything kept running smoothly. But the advent of smart buildings is changing this, with the Internet of Things now allowing for sensors and data-farming devices to be installed in any asset of a building.

This allows for greater efficiencies in power management, data and system management which in turn results in better operations and improved profit margins.

By monitoring data, facility managers can predict maintenance issues before they occur, eliminating downtime and the costs that come with it. And central control stations can also deliver greater energy efficiencies, security control and a range of other benefits to facility managers.

What is a smart building?

Any structure that uses automated processes to control assets and operations can be regarded as a smart building. This can include; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security, access points, elevation points and a range of other operations.

It works by attaching sensors to these assets, which then funnel data to a centralised panel or program which allows facility managers to see every facet of the asset’s operations.

This translates to greater profits in a range of ways. Energy costs can be monitored, with heating/cooling/lightning shut off to areas that do not need to be powered, and maintenance issues can be predicted before they happen allowing for improved operations.

Employing the right staff to predict maintenance, not react to it

There are many factors facility managers should consider in the modern world of smart buildings, including the recruitment and retention of new staff.

The International Facility Management Association and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors released a report in 2017 that showed that there is a talent gap in this industry, with more members being over 70 than under 30.

While predictive maintenance solutions offered by smart buildings is a fantastic tool, it needs to have the right people monitoring the screens for the process to work.

Smart building solutions offer dashboards that deliver data on almost all assets in the structure, but a nimble mind is still required to be able to predict when something is going to go wrong rather than react to it.

Studies have shown the predictive maintenance is 12-18 per cent cheaper than reactive maintenance, making the monitoring of this data a crucial part of its operation.

Exhibitors tapping into building data

Many of the exhibitors at this year’s Total Facilities are already employing ways to use smart technology in their facility management products.

ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, who are exhibiting on stand E16, provides complete service solutions for building entrances. That includes the ASSA ABLOY e-maintenance system to their packages, which provides a dashboard that shows detailed data on the condition of all equipment. That includes maintenance logs, new products that have become available that supercede existing products, a quotation log, the ability to track and trace orders and detailed statistics on all of the activities that impact each product.

Australian Security Technology, on stand B9, is another company employing advanced monitoring technology that taps into smart buildings. Their KeyWatcher system allows an administrator to monitor a central display that shows where each key is being used, who is using it and which people have access to each key. This information is able to be re-programmed on the fly as well, giving complete control over access to every area of a building, and raising immediate red flags when unauthorised access is attempted or gained.

Total Facilities is an annual event held between Sydney and Melbourne that offers a two-day collaboration into the world of facilities management. The 2018 event will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 18-19. You can register free here.


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