Due to a variety of factors, predicting how an facility’s operating costs will change from week-to-week or month-to-month is no easy feat. Facility managers and business leaders should assess ways of better managing that variability.

Implementing smart building solutions is one way to manage these fluctuations. The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) — which centres on the idea of connectivity between everything — is helping fuel the advancement of smart buildings and how they can benefit organisations. IoT enables them to tap into data and insights within a facility’s operations. Consequently, facility managers can access actionable information to optimise how a facility is operated, and then better forecast and manage issues such as cost fluctuations.  

Few people have the time to comb through the masses of data each week. But now, because of this connectivity, we can expect building systems to identify and report variations. What’s more, they can even take the steps to resolve potential problems. This may mean changing an operating sequence, shedding load to meet a demand target, or creating a work order for a contractor.

By pairing the connectivity of a smart building with automation and data analytics, these solutions offer an alternative to traditional routine service and maintenance. They use performance data to help transform buildings into more productive organisational assets. The real benefit comes from knowing where to focus efforts for measurable financial impact. The root causes of key issues can be addressed, and building managers are more knowledgeable on overall site performance.

Most buildings today already generate huge amounts of data that can lead to critical insights, but only if it is captured and analysed correctly. The challenge is that data is not organised in a way that allows for easy analysis. Cloud services are one way to help manage and organise that data, and a data framework can lend itself to intelligent analytics that improve decision making.

Connectivity enables a building’s performance data and analytics to be delivered straight to a facility manager’s mobile device. They can receive notifications of possible issues, along with access to the real-time data to assess issue impact. And as the data is delivered to a mobile device, they can access it from anywhere and take immediate action.

Using building analytics helps normalise the data across a portfolio. Building performance can then be benchmarked against key business KPIs. Additionally, data analytics is also helpful to a business in that it provides a look into asset health. Using this data is essential in investment decisions CAPEX or OPEX, and is particularly beneficial when it comes to obtaining the quickest ROI.

Smart buildings allow firms to identify issues before they have a real impact and uncover new opportunities to improve overall operations. We cannot always know when these changing factors will impact operating costs, but making the investments for a smarter building now will ensure that businesses are ready whenever they do.

Billal Vindhani is a European senior customer consultant, Honeywell Connected Services