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The Building Internet of Things (BIoT) is changing the building management game as we know it, bringing all aspects of a building’s technical performance together into a smart building platform. Often misunderstood, the benefits coming from the evolution to the BIoT are transformative, scalable and go far beyond traditional building management.

This month Memoori spoke with Switch Automation about this transformative time in real estate. Switch Automation is a full-featured IoT platform. They provide a software layer that integrates all of the disjointed monitoring and energy metering devices and sub-systems in a building, transmits the data to the cloud and gives users the visibility they need to actually analyze and act on that data.

Smart Building World

The team just finished up their US road show called The Tipping Point – an event they have hosted several times in Australia. Switch partnered with Intel and Intelligent Buildings to talk about how they believe Internet of Things (IoT) will impact the world of real estate and facilities.

Aaron Lapsley, Switch Automation’s Vice President of Global Engineering Services and a mechanical engineer by trade defines smart buildings as “a program enacted by an organisation that’s responsible for a property portfolio that is enabled by technology and data to improve the management, operations and capital efficiency of its physical assets”.

Put simply, Switch ascribes to getting ‘more people with more skills and more information paying more attention to more buildings and making them work better.’ So, if that’s the goal, then what is actually better in a smart building world?

“Data becomes useful. Data exists already, but that doesn’t inherently make it useful”, Lapsley told Memoori. “Using a platform that aggregates and permanently stores data and routs it to a small, centralised, specialised group of professionals means that organisations can proactively solve problems across a portfolio of buildings. This is conducive to enormous savings in utilities and maintenance alone”.

The BIoT movement has become a little obsessed with flooding our buildings with sensors and consequently amassing huge amounts of data. However, without the capability to process, understand and use that data it is essentially useless and costly. That is not to say that collecting data with the intention to process and use it in the future is not worthwhile, but this does not need to be done all at once as one of the great benefits of the BIoT is scalability.

“These systems drive scalability by connecting buildings that were previously underserved by the traditional BMS market. A Smart Buildings Program employs additional controls to deliver real centralised command and control from the cloud-based platform”, Lapsley said.

So while the sensor network hardware is an essential element of the BIoT, the same should also be said of the software. A recent Memoori report estimated that the market for Building Performance Software in Smart Buildings generated $12.72Bn in 2015, and forecast this value to rise to $18.78Bn by 2020. Enterprise Energy Management Systems (EEMS) make up the largest proportion of the market at around 45%. Within the context of the enterprise, the benefits of IT cannot be understated.

“System integration can make a profound impact on a business – opening up additional communication capabilities. Stored data from a BMS and utility providers can be pulled into a platform in real time, removing the days or weeks of manual labour an energy manager would have conventionally endured”, suggested Lapsley. “This is something hardware solutions cannot do, but something that enterprise IT is no stranger to”.

Historical BMS data itself is useful for a system undergoing a transformation into the BIoT. However, this transformation is not only an evolution of the type and scale of data collected, nor does it just represent greater data processing ability. One of the most useful additions from the progression on to a BIoT system is an enhanced user experience.

“The traditional BMS falls short in the user experience. A Smart Building platform ensures greater interaction and collaboration between team members”, Lapsley told Memoori. It is all these elements combined that bring about this revolution in building management, far beyond simple energy efficiency, and nowhere is this more evident than in the enterprise.

Smart buildings, at their core, are integrated building technology systems that provide more than energy conservation. Rather, they sit at the intersection of new technology and existing infrastructure. This new paradigm is going to drive unparalleled value to enterprises operating large portfolios of assets.

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