The ENTOUCH Blog

08. 16. 2017

Building Automation: Clark vs. Eddie

Building automation represents a great possibility for lower costs and better operational efficiency in facilities management, but few understand how building automation in facilities management can effect change. With words, like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes, data analytics and automated systems, being thrown around, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, there is a simpler way of looking at building automation in facilities management. Think of building automation as the more sophisticated relative of the smart home. Will Smith’s character in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vs. his more studious and worldly cousin Carlton. Going even further back, Clark and Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

What Does the IoT Have to Do With Building Automation

Building automation refers to the centralized, automatic data collection, analysis and control of a building’s systems, including the HVAC, electrical, security and resource systems. For example, water usage can also be considered part of the building’s resource system. Like the use of IoT-enabled devices to monitor and control parts of consumers’ homes, the application of IoT-based technology in industrial spaces and buildings is referred to as building automation. Building automation more robust than home automation -- it operates within larger spaces and has more variables to track and measure.  

If Facilities Management Systems Operated Fine Before, How Does Building Automation Add Value?

System controls in facilities management, including HVAC, refrigeration, lighting and energy management systems, have traditionally existed as individual data silos. Information came into the facility manager’s office, but the information lacked value. The only insights were simple at best and may have still required the facility manager’s direction to staff members and occupants.

“Try to use less electricity to lower energy costs. Stop leaving the lights on. Make sure the security cameras are set to motion-detected activation.”

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But, what if these systems could communicate, identifying the greatest drains of energy, heat flows, problems with circuitry and movements within a facility? The facility manager could divert resources to meet the actual demands of occupants in real-time, not just reactive once the bills come in, hoping a catch-all solution can keep costs down?

This is exactly what the IoT entering facility management can achieve. It bridges the divide and puts more information in the hands of facility managers, and when paired with a building automation system (BAS), the system can make adjustments to all systems, independently and simultaneously, as needed to meet the demands of the building occupants in real time, reports Vincenzo Palmigiano via LinkedIn. The IoT makes facilities managers and buildings smarter – remember, Clark and Eddie?

Integration Between IoT-Connected Systems and the BAS Is Essential

Integration was traditionally a major problem during implementation of BAS in older, less advanced buildings. However, cloud-based technologies are allowing for integration across systems that were previously unable to communicate. As a result, the usefulness of BAS has reached new levels through retrofitting and integration via IoT-enabled devices and a central control platform. Moreover, analytics systems within cloud-based BAS can identify constraints to integration, making the systems compatible and capable of interacting, explains Sudhi Sinha of FacilitiesNet. This concept is critical to the development of smart, Green buildings, further contributing to the Building Automation Revolution (BAR).

Find out why 60% of retailers look to outside experts like ENTOUCH to guide  their journey to smarter, connected facilities. Download Infographic.

See How IoT-Powered BAS Can Benefit Facility Management in Your Company Today

The innovations in the IoT and BAS make it an ideal solution for companies experiencing cashflow or facilities management problems. Moreover, connected devices and building automation are quickly becoming the standard in both new building designs and upgrades of existing buildings, regardless of company size. You owe it to yourself and your company to explore how BAS, the IoT and modern energy management systems can push facilities management operations to new heights. Fill out the ENTOUCH online contact form to schedule your own facility management assessment, and get back in the game with your competitors.

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