Data is the new value in building services

Karen Fletcher considers  the future of Big Data in Building Services

This blog has already touched on the importance of data gathering in commercial buildings to track energy performance. Technology in the building services sector is advancing rapidly, with more equipment now installed ready to communicate with the BMS, or directly to the web.

The BCIA Awards, which were held in May this year (and supported by MBS magazine) showcased the very latest developments in building controls. Entries in product and project categories demonstrated just how the world of controls and IT are converging.

The result of Internet-ready building services is that data is constantly streaming from this equipment, being sent into cloud-based services to be analysed by third-party energy management consultancies or by the building owners themselves.

Building owners and managers are quickly coming to realise the power and value of this data. It is helping them to highlight the true cost of their buildings; to operate better maintenance procedures and ultimately to save money on the bottom line. For the big property owners, such as the pension funds, data analysis is a vital part of sweating their bricks-and-mortar assets.

We are entering an era therefore where the data collected and disseminated by building services equipment should be regarded as a valuable element of what the building services sector provides. There may come a time when clients are looking as closely at the data output of a product as they currently examine its performance.

For manufacturers and installers this is something important to consider. How does your equipment communicate with the BMS? Can it link to the Web? Is it going to provide useful, usable data on its performance for building managers.

Connectivity to the Internet may seem like an extra feature to add to products, but it can also help manufacturers better understand how their products are used – and assist with updates and maintenance too.

Building services has never shied away from embracing the new, and the Internet and Big Data offer exciting opportunities for future developments. 

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications.

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