Redefining Smart Buildings
An Integrated Approach with IoT Solutions by Jacob Blackwell of LMG
The concept of smart buildings has recently seen a surge of interest, with many newer buildings now being built smart as standard. Key stakeholders such as property developers, landlords, and facilities managers are acknowledging the advantages of smart buildings in boosting environmental and lowering energy and operational expenditure — in a range of spaces from offices to hotels. However, the journey towards a truly smart building still presents considerable challenges to be overcome.
Historically, traditional building management systems have functioned in isolation, resulting in inefficiencies and lost opportunities for optimisation. These systems have also failed to offer a comprehensive picture of a building's operations and performance, creating hurdles for owners and managers in decision-making processes.
An affordable solution to these problems has arrived with IoT technology - a familiar but still revolutionary force in the smart building industry. The recent introduction of SenseIQ, a comprehensive IoT services solution from LMG addresses the difficulties encountered by property developers and managers, who are now able to rapidly deploy an unprecedented layer of smartness to their existing and new buildings.
Inside the IoT-Enabled Smart Building
Implementing a building wide IoT network was once a costly and technically demanding undertaking, particularly for existing buildings. Now, however, integrated cloud-based solutions greatly ease the deployment of wireless IoT sensor networks, ensuring optimal device connectivity across various building services. This allows data to be consolidated into a single, real-time view for building owners and managers.
A wireless IoT solution like this typically consists of sensors, gateways, backhaul connectivity, and software for managing and displaying data, all packaged together — ensuring a smooth deployment without disrupting existing networks.
The key advantages
With an IoT platform implemented, the building owner or operator can begin to reap the benefits. This integrated system captures all of the meaningful data related to building performance and usage that was previously easily missed. The technology adds an entirely new dimension to a smart building's infrastructure, unlocking a multitude of possibilities for optimisation, enhancement and an improved occupant experience.
The incorporation of IoT technology can offer essential insights into many facets of building management.
• Energy consumption: Data on power usage can be gathered and displayed in an intuitive interface for the building manager's analysis. The data can pinpoint areas of high consumption and help the building owner make informed decisions for improvements to align energy consumption with when and where it is needed. The data could also reveal instances of unnecessary energy use, allowing the building manager to enforce conservation measures.
• Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): A significant advantage is a deeper understanding of a building's IAQ. Installed sensors can provide information on CO2 and CO levels, humidity, dust, mould, VOC, and other airborne particles. This data allows the building manager to promptly identify and address any issues, ensuring compliance with industry and public standards and maintaining tenant wellbeing.
• Occupancy and space utilisation: Room and desk usage patterns can be easily discerned with IoT occupancy sensors. This data can help the building owner evaluate the building's layout efficiency and detect any issues, such as poor room layouts, leading to over or underutilised spaces. This data is also vital for implementing a room or desk booking system within the building, greatly enhancing occupant productivity and experience.
Progression of Smart Building Standards
The wealth of insights gathered makes it simpler for building owners and operators to align with building certifications like WELL2 and SmartScore, making their properties more appealing to potential occupants. This not only enhances the property's marketability but also sets the stage for higher rental and resale values, contributing to a significant return on investment further down the line.
In response to the increasing capabilities of IoT technology, building standards and certifications are constantly evolving. They are moving beyond a mere focus on energy efficiency and sustainability to more comprehensive metrics that take into account aspects such as occupant comfort, health, and productivity. This shift is a testament to the growing recognition of the importance of creating spaces that not only minimise environmental impact but also foster human well-being.
As such, the ability to monitor and optimise indoor air quality, lighting conditions, and thermal comfort – all made possible through IoT solutions – is becoming increasingly important.
The future of Smart Buildings
The advent of IoT solutions is truly game-changing, offering the chance to create a new breed of smart building — one that is technologically advanced and maximises efficiency, reduces costs, and significantly enhances occupant comfort and wellbeing. By fostering a healthier and more comfortable environment, these solutions can boost productivity, satisfaction, and overall user experience.
As we look into the future, the continuous evolution of IoT, coupled with advances in AI and ML, promises to bring about even more significant changes in the way we manage and interact with our buildings. These advancements, along with a sustained focus on sustainability, health, and wellbeing, will ensure that smart buildings continue to play an indispensable role in our lives.
For corporate landlords seeking to retain healthy, happy tenants, it's high time to embrace the latest developments in smart building technology. The worth of a building now extends beyond its physical infrastructure to the data and intelligence embedded within. The future of smart buildings has arrived, and they’re set to become even smarter.
Jacob Blackwell is Business Development Manager at LMG