From hype to reality: How data drives the future of the intelligent buildings
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of two events [...]
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of two events in the smart building space – Lightfair International and CABA Forum on Intelligent Buildings in San Diego. Both provided an interesting platform to share ideas, expertise and experiences on how, as an ecosystem, we can bring efficient solutions to the smart building industry. From an IoT analytics’ perspective, I was curious to see what smart equipment and next-gen technology are being deployed in the building space and what are the main concerns for facility managers and product manufacturers.
Here are some observations from the event:
LIGHTFAIR International (LFI)
- LED everywhere: If anyone doubted that the future of lighting is LED, then they need to walk the showfloor at LFI! I would say that nearly 100% of lighting products that were showcased are LED. Manufacturers presented all kinds of shapes for a wide spectrum of applications, from bedtime reading to sports-stadium game night! LED is a powerful multi-sensor data source – it will be interesting to see how manufacturers use this data to drive their business.
- VLC applications: Indoor positioning technology, using Visible Light Communications (VLC), is also steadily making its way into commercial LED lighting, with Philips, Acuity Brands, Enlighted and GE Current, presenting very exciting demos of the positioning sensors embedded in ceiling LEDs. This allows for very accurate positioning of any smartphone within an area – a huge value-prop for retailers, commercial spaces and facility managers.
- Light meets Data: One thing is sure; all these sensors will generate an enormous amount of data and drive the adoption of scalable data analytics and data ingestion pipelines. Manufacturers and facility managers will need data analytics to understand what is going on with their lighting, HVAC, commercial equipment, elevators and security systems. Otherwise, they will be overwhelmed by all the data noise and misinformation!
CABA Forum Intelligent Buildings
The top two topics on the agenda were Cybersecurity and IoT analytics (for energy efficiency).
- Data-Driven Efficiency: It is clearly of utmost priority for building owners and facilities managers to move towards better energy efficiency, or even converting their buildings to obtain a Net Zero Energy Building Certification. Beyond the positive impact on the environment and utilities spend, there is an emerging trend where being energy-efficient is an argument to appeal to new tenants, and ultimately increase the fair market value of a commercial building.
- Different Analytics Approaches: There are several factors involved in making this a reality, one of them is analyzing data from buildings. Companies are proposing different approaches to this problem, from downright ‘energy consulting’ and custom-built building-specific analytics tools, up to building equipment analytics such as mnubo’s SmartObjects service offering.
- Building Security: While the benefits of intelligent buildings were discussed, there was also a shared and growing concern amongst the participants on the threat of cybersecurity for buildings. Many discussions concluded in agreeing that there is never going to be a 100%-secure solution, but that solution providers and building owners need to start integrating security requirements and best practices – at the very beginning of a project. In our opinion, it represents quite an interesting opportunity for companies to address the security of connected equipment in buildings.
- Smart Building begins at the Smart Home: Finally, the focus of several presentations was on IoT for smart homes and smart appliances. While many still debated the ‘why’ for consumers, it is clear that the trend to connect our household appliances is unavoidable, and the benefits for appliance manufacturers (benchmarking, product performance, user engagement) can’t be ignored. Just like Smart TVs, at some point, all appliances will be connected de-facto. From the end-user standpoint, we can anticipate that they will expect and require that the purchased appliances and consumer electronics will include better warranties, be controlled remotely and allow for considerable efficiency.
At mnubo, we provide the SmartObjects platform to deliver out-of-the-box insights to empower building equipment manufacturers with intelligence on how their products are being used, how they performing, when they need to serviced etc. Some examples are described below:
- Greater R&D and Business focus: how are my heaters/boilers/condensers/HVACR systems behaving, where are they, which are the most active, what are the most valuable features etc. Actual usage insights on these business questions can drive the growth strategy and focus product development efforts
- Dealer and Service Provider program: several building equipment manufacturers use dealer programs and intermediaries to install, service and maintain their equipment. mnubo can provide dealer-specific insights and dashboards to help service teams better manage their operations and service planning
- Benchmarking and Capacity planning: Is the product being used as recommended? What are my opportunities to upsell? mnubo’s product performance analysis and scoring & ranking insights can be used to compare and trend product behavior, derive asset efficiency score and identify opportunities to upsell/update/upgrade products.
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