Smart buildings are already using IoT (Internet of Things) and the trend will continue in the coming years. Some studies make it clear that smart buildings are currently among the main areas of integrative use of IoT systems.
Obviously, IoT and IT are essential in today’s smart buildings. However, the term intelligent building, its definition, its many aspects, technologies and standards of intelligent construction, etc. existed long before the term Internet of Things was even invented.
The concept of smart buildings is not new
Smart buildings, or at least those that were called so, date back to the times when Google didn’t exist yet. The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) was founded in 1894. Most publications with new approaches in areas such as energy management, HVAC and other areas that still matter from the perspective of a smart building appeared in the 1970s.
The Facilities Management sector as a discipline is not new either. However, many changes, including technological ones, have taken place here. So here we are, in an era when IoT, IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) integration, big data, cloud, AI and all platform technologies, plus many other innovative applications of these driving digital transformations.
Also, the meaning we give in our lives to intelligent buildings changes, as they cause changes in human behavior and social structure. This is why it is time to take a look at smart buildings and facilities management as they are done today and as we do tomorrow.
Smart buildings require Digital Facilities Management
Here we refer to buildings in the widest possible sense, including factories, hotels, airports, residential buildings and all the activity that takes place inside them, including heating, ventilation, elevators, cooling, security, lighting, extended list.
Even if we exclude where we live and where we feel at home, we spend a lot of time in buildings and other facilities. Often we do not realize, unless, of course, we are facility managers, but there are many tasks, processes and efforts to make the buildings provide us with security, be pleasant, efficient (from the point of view of the ecology, costs and so on) and increasingly “smart”.
Through the digital approach, FM specialists will finally be able to answer FM questions forever:
- What spaces do we manage?
- What equipment do we have?
- Where are the spaces and equipment located?
- How is the equipment identified?
- How do the components of this system work?
- What instructions and documentation do we have for assets?
- What is the history of the equipment (problems, inspections, service requests, etc.)?
By integrating these basic data into digitized Facilities Management services it will be possible to achieve:
- Automatically generated inspection plans
- Automatically generated maintenance plans
- Equipment life cycle scenarios
- Scenarios for the use of resources
- Forecast of the anticipated effect of other FM initiatives
The recorded data used as decision support will be exposed to the operator in the context where they are when they need them and in a format that is relevant to his needs.
3D models, 2D plans, schedules, text descriptions, web forms are all different views of the same asset information model. The system BMS capabilities and available views are accessed in a way that makes the user task efficient.
Simple search can be used to find the component, then the geometry in the model can be used to check if it is correct, it shows the location and access, and the information in the model will inform the consequences of the adjustment, closure, etc. And the main thing – operators and managers will do everything effectively, keeping the operational documentation up to date.
Use of IoT in smart buildings
According to 60% of smart building managers, IoT will have an impact on construction and maintenance policies in the coming years. The trend is even more relevant now when we know that the population in cities will grow significantly, which means more pressure on infrastructure, office buildings and public buildings and, of course, the development of new housing complexes.
With digital design, construction and delivery processes based on Intelligent Building Management systems, we can inspect, validate and approve the asset information model during all stages of the project and we can carry out gradual delivery during commissioning. When working with validated and approved data, they can be generated in digital building management systems, keeping information and history intact.
The advance of technology also determines how we access geometric and structured data. All major IT companies place large bets on Augmented Reality (AR) and / or Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. For the FM industry, this will help make the information more accessible.
For the buildings in the design stage, users and operators will be able to visit virtually any space in the building to provide feedback on the capacity of use and maintenance of the asset. They will also be able to begin their training and familiarization with the building earlier.
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