The ENTOUCH Blog

10. 20. 2017

What Is an "Intelligent Building" Anyway?

An “intelligent building” is more than just a bunch of sensors; they leverage articifical intelligence (AI), machine-to-machine learning, analytics and real-world needs.

Smart, automated buildings are among the hot topics in modern facilities management. From energy management systems (EMS) to overall facilities management, technology empowers a new level of sophistication in the design, construction and ongoing management and maintenance in a modern, intelligent building, reports FacilitiesNet. However, the term, intelligent building, continues to be misunderstood, so let’s take a closer look at what an intelligent building is.

Define Intelligent Systems

Today, any system can be connected to the internet of things, using the intranet to provide information about a specific system or aspect. However, this information lacks value if not deployed and use properly.

Think of this example; energy consumption by specific HVAC unit has increased 25 percent. Alone, this value lacks insight, but if the system can determine why it is using 25-percent more energy, it can be corrected, saving money.

This is what separates intelligent systems from internet-enabled systems. Data collected and gathered must be analyzed and transformed into actionable outcomes, explains David Karpook of Facility Executive.

Smart Building Technology is Commercial Real Estate Management's

What About Machine Learning and AI?

Actionable data lends itself to machine Learning and artificial intelligence (AI). According to Omri Barzilay of Forbes, artificial intelligence takes information gathered from a system and determines how the current usage rates or patterns may lead to costs or savings.

For instance, artificial intelligence considers the 25-percent increase and determines such increase will reduce the average life expectancy of the respective piece of equipment by three years. This means your organization could be faced with the costs of total unit replacement center the necessary, but machine learning systems in an intelligent building identify the increased energy usage and automatically adjust other HVAC units to align the system.

As a result, the overuse of the first unit is decreased, improving life expectancy for all units. In other words, the key performance indicator (KPI) for energy usage allows an intelligent building system to determine its future costs, including replacement and maintenance.

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Metrics, KPIs and Data-Based Decisions Are Key Characteristics of an Intelligent Building

Speaking of KPIs, the use of metrics and other data points are the defining characteristics of an intelligent building. Facilities managers working with intelligent systems can make intelligent decisions based on data, not best guesses or assumptions. As a result, the traditional costs of facilities management are lowered, and in some cases, facilities management assets can move from cost centers to cost avoidance centers or profit centers using intelligent systems. Furthermore, intelligent systems can identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks too through ongoing, automated penetration testing and network enhancement.

For example, if the savings from implementing intelligent building solutions are greater than the cost of facilities management systems and personnel, the savings translate into better profitability and transform Facilities management to a profit center.

Tenants and Occupants Benefit From Intelligent Building Solutions Too

Saving money is not the whole picture. Tenants and occupants benefit from intelligent building solutions by improving facility’s environment. This includes ensuring the temperature, lighting and amenities function as expected, and savings found through intelligent building solutions lead to lower overall operating costs. As a result, tenants may pay less for rented space, and consumers of such tenants see the savings as lower price points. Meanwhile, the use of automated, smart systems is just “cool,” making the occupant experience more enjoyable.

Intelligent Building Solutions Are the “Gold Standard” in Modern Facilities Management

Intelligent building solutions are in-demand, and organizations using an intelligent building solution in facilities management can reap the rewards in both physical cost savings and a better public perception. If a visitor or tenant simply share something innovative in your facility via social media, it is free advertising, and this simple concept can amount to millions in free marketing for your company. Of course, your facility managers have less stress and know exactly what to do to provide the best experience possible to all occupants through smart, connected systems in intelligent design. So, what are you waiting for?

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