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How Smart Buildings will Automate Facility Maintenance Management

Technology in buildings is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to Gartner, by the end of 2016 there will be over 1.6 billion connected devices in smart cities. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a new buzz word that encompasses these devices. It is simply defined as devices or sensors that collect data and are connected to the internet. 

Internet of Things (IOT) Reduces Building Operation Costs

For building owners, the IoT will dramatically reduce operation and maintenance costs because of its ability to collect and analyze previously unattainable data. Sensors placed on building equipment will automatically schedule maintenance tasks based on usage rather than time-based intervals. This makes truly predictive maintenance a reality for many building owners.

One of the biggest inefficiencies in building operations is the general lack of access to credible information and data. Few building operators truly understand what assets are in their buildings, where they are located and what they need to do to them. As a result, facility managers turn to reactive maintenance and spend more time responding to problems than predicting and preventing them.

Reactive maintenance is 3 to 9 times more costly than a proactive approach. According to Facilitiesnet.com, energy efficiency declines as much as 20 percent and building assets are replaced 25 percent more frequently when an organization relies on reactive maintenance.

What IoT Devices Measure

With IoT devices and other building management technology, owners are notified of potential problems before equipment actually fails. These devices are placed on equipment and measure operational data including:

  • Vibration
  • Temperature
  • Air-flow
  • Electricity usage (kWh)
  • Noise levels
  • Revolutions per Minute (RPM)

Thresholds are set for each of these data points. When the threshold is broken, the building operations team is notified. For example, the upper limit on a device that measures temperature may be 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If placed in a room that heats up to 76 degrees, the building operator will receive an alarm on his phone. A task will automatically be created in his maintenance software for the air-handling unit that services the room.

This entire workflow is streamlined for several reasons:

  • No manual data entry is required by the building team
  • Problems are addressed before building occupants report
  • The larger cost of equipment failing is avoided as the asset can be serviced immediately
  • The building operator is not wasting time looking for information critical to fixing the problem

Automating building management has undeniable benefits for reducing reactive maintenance and building operation costs. Look to IoT devices in the future as a way to improve your facility maintenance management.

Looking for the latest trends in facility management? Check out the Revolutionary Technology Trends eBook.

Download link for the 2021 Technology Trends in Facility Management Report

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