Facility management is undergoing a complete transformation, as smart facilities and IoT technologies continue to evolve. Buildings are becoming streamlined operational ecosystems capable of collecting more actionable data, being more environmentally friendly, and significantly increasing resource efficiencies.
There is no doubt that IoT is increasingly bridging the gaps between the physical and digital world, so here’s our take on the 5 key drivers in the smart facilities mix.
More efficiency with smart facilities
Haltian has operated with smart offices and smart washrooms for years now. These solutions are greatly enhancing the customer experience within the facilities while also increasing efficiency, hence lowering the operational costs. Smart offices are using space more effectively, while washrooms are becoming more digitized to include paper towel and trash bin fill levels, liquid soap refill optimizations and on-demand cleaning.
The achievements of smart offices and washrooms are also illustrations of the fact that whatever the data related problem you’re experiencing in your facility, there is IoT sensor technology out there that can help.
You may wonder why this means:
This may mean tracking the amount of traffic in the building, the number of people in the meeting rooms, free workspaces, facility air quality, and temperature. This can be achieved by the installation of wireless IoT sensors. One thing is certain, smart facilities are the future.
Based on our years of experience with our facility customers, here are five key drivers setting the momentum of IoT and smart facilities:
- Easy installation and maintenance
- IoT security
1. Scalability, the practical driver
The first key driver is perhaps not the most exciting, but probably the most practical: scalability. Creating a small proof of concept using widely available DIY (Do It Yourself) IoT kits is relatively easy, but when you need to scale the implementation to thousands or hundreds of thousands of sensors, things get a little more complicated.
A well designed IoT solution ensures that your solution is easy and fast to scale, secure, easy to use, and of course, cost-efficient.
The challenges with scalability are not only about adding more devices but also about maintaining them. Consider what it takes to keep the IoT devices on several locations operating effectively: monitoring their battery levels and replacing batteries, ensuring consistent and strong connectivity, dealing with each sensor’s reporting intervals, as well as remote firmware updates over the entire lifecycle.
Although these issues seem to add some complications to the mix when you consider implementing IoT to your operations, the efforts will be more than rewarded in the savings received.
2. Easiness of installation and maintenance
Easy installation and scale are paramount for smart facilities. A wonderful instant benefit of IoT is that its hardware, including sensors and gateways, are easy to install and user-friendly for the technicians. For example, wireless sensor installation should be as easy as mounting the sensor to walls, ceilings, under tables, etc. in a matter of seconds and validating the connectivity with a smartphone. Also, there should be no need to involve building IT infrastructure when connecting devices with mobile gateways.
When considering different IoT solutions, one must remember that the amount of installation time per sensor will mirror directly to the overall cost. The instructions must be straightforward for technicians and easy to understand. Also, the instructions should be easily available in, for example, a mobile app that can guide the technicians through both installation and maintenance procedures.
Buildings are built to last, and that’s how the design for sensors and gateways should be approached as well. Batteries in sensors last for several years, therefore requiring very little maintenance. Once installed, the sensor maintenance should be minimal.
As the installed sensor base scales, the less you need to worry about their connectivity, battery levels and signal strengths, the more time you have analyzing the data they give.
Reliable maintenance makes sure that the dataflow is constant, all the devices are in operation and where they should be, and that nothing comes in the way of getting the most out of IoT in your smart facilities solution.
4. IoT Security
The quality of security is one of the major key drivers of any type of development, and IoT data collection platforms are designed with privacy and security in mind. End-to-end security is employed from the sensors to the cloud application in terms of software, and from the factory to the location with no unknown software layers. Comprehensive security allows for protected integration to your cloud platform and ensures the continuity of its transmission.
We at Haltian are overseeing security all the way from the manufacturing, where customer-specific encryption keys are installed in the software ensuring data integrity. We don’t use any unknown software layers and interfaces.
Our cloud partner for sensor operations is Amazon Web Services which means that our solution has gone through a thorough validation process and is tested regularly.
5. Easily integrated IoT ecosystem
IoT ecosystem and value chains are rather long and complex, hence implementing that IoT solutions require various layers to talk to each other. A system that can deliver a cost-effective data collection solution for smart facilities with full integration to any cloud-based application is a massive forward driver.
Haltian’s Thingsee solution includes various sensors, gateways, cellular connectivity and software for device cloud. Our customers can have an IoT platform or cloud-based solution from another vendor, to which we integrate easily. The beauty of running a cloud-based solution is the ease of integration!
Connecting people, places and processes
IoT and its capabilities will ensure a new and better understanding of buildings, facilities and people in the future. This will influence many areas and force new approaches to maintenance and design. IoT not only creates new business opportunities but results in more productive spaces and higher energy efficiency. It should not be overlooked that the efficient monitoring of different conditions will increase the life cycles of facilities for several years.
Changes are coming so ensure your buildings and facilities are ready for the opportunities provided by the Internet of Things!