The ENTOUCH Blog

09. 13. 2017

What are Smart Building Technologies? The Technologies Powering Efficient Energy Management

The ladder of facilities management is comprised of multiple types of smart building technologies.

Smart buildings refer to the combination of technology and advanced systems in modern architecture, including the use of technology to manage the environment, improve occupant experiences and reduce overall work required to maintain a building. Although different types of smart buildings exist, there is a common denominator. By design, smart buildings reduce reliance on natural and man-made resources and utilize these top types of smart building technologies, reports Smart Cities Dive. Also, these technologies follow a natural progression from sensors to machine learning, and facilities managers need to understand each step of the journey.

Sensors Provide Information About a Building’s State

Sensors are the first leg in the ladder of smart building technologies. Sensors provide a means of capturing information about a building’s current state. This also includes all systems that are running within the building, the actions of its occupants and all resources used. However, this information lacks value unless it is communicated consistently and efficiently, as explained by Construction Dive, through the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Internet of Things (IoT) Collects and Communicates Data and Instructions

The IoT is comparable to a two-lane highway. Information flows from sensors, and instructions are sent back through the IoT to the original system. Also, the IoT can act as a remote control, allowing facility managers to manage and monitor a smart building’s current state from any location. Also, the IoT is essential to utilizing robotics and automated systems to perform actions that would otherwise be dangerous or put employees and occupants at risk for injury. For example, automated elevator systems could use the IoT to self-identify possible malfunctions, and robotics could be used to make repairs in high-altitude areas.

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Big Data Bridges the Divide Between Disjointed Bits of Information, Uncovering New Insights

Information coming from the IoT also lacks value if it is not properly cleaned and analyzed against all data collected from a given facility. However, the real value of data derives from its ability to generate insights by comparing site-specific information against information of other systems, outside of a given company or building. In other words, data from one’s facility is not big enough, so Big Data is needed.

Big Data sounds complicated, but it relies on the use of advanced computer algorithms to analyze patterns and inconsistencies within data from the Internet of Things and sensors to find problems gathered by sensors and IoT-enabled devices and make such problems known to appropriate personnel, like facilities managers.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Leverage Insights to Enact Change and Boost Efficiency

While being able to gain insights from data is great, humans are limited in their capacity to learn from experiences when such experiences constitute thousands, if not millions of individual actions, taking place every second. In other words, the power of the human brain is simply inefficient for making connections between data and leveraging information learned from such connections to improve facility operations in real-time. When computer systems tackle this feat, it is known as machine learning and, paired with artificial intelligence, modern smart building technologies can take over many of the traditional, manual processes within energy management and facility management. As a result, the system grows stronger.

Smart Building Technology is Commercial Real Estate Management's

The Opportunities Through Smart Building Technologies Are Limitless

The opportunities in smart building technologies are limited only by the imagination. However, the key to taking advantage of smart building technologies and converting your facility into a smart building requires dedication and an understanding of each of these technologies and the best way to deploy them. Rather than leaving it up to chance, consider working with an experienced, smart building solutions provider. Contact ENTOUCH online to learn more about how your organization can retrofit your existing facility with smart building technologies today.

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