Smart buildings are on the rise around the world as companies recognize the potential cost savings of automation.
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), every building with an integrated security and access control system has the capability to also integrate the building’s energy use, water use, ventilation and more.
Here are five steps to ensure successful automation of a commercial facility.
Step 1: Perform a detailed cost analysis
The first step is to show your customers the potential savings by conducting a thorough cost analysis. When surveying, you should look at everything from air handlers and chillers, to irrigation and what types of lighting are currently in place.
Be sure to also include details like switching to LED lighting, and updating compressors and chillers, and show the total potential cost savings. Buildings waste a lot of energy.
Simply propping a door open can cause the automation system to go into overdrive, pumping out air and creating significant energy waste. The ROI on building automation can sometimes free up money for other projects, while enhancing technology, comfort and security.
Step 2: Build relationships
There’s an ongoing shift in the decision-making authority from facility managers to the IT leadership. This can be problematic, as many CIOs are unfamiliar with the challenges of maintaining a facility’s physical security.
Facility managers can be equally frustrated by unfamiliar IoT technology. Helping to create or improve the relationship between the CIO and the facility manager is crucial.
Educating the CIO about physical security, and bridging the knowledge gaps for the facility manager with smart device technologies will be essential as the industry moves to a more IoT-centric mindset. Providers and integrators should present themselves as a coordination point.
Step 3: Foster communication
As with any new technology, there will be those who are hesitant to embrace the change. For instance, the IT director may have concerns about putting all their eggs in one software basket.
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When a building is fully automated and networked, a failure in one area can cause failure in others. There may also be network bandwidth limitations that will have to be addressed to handle the amount of data that will be collected and shared between the various components of an automated system.
Concerns can usually be alleviated through detailed communication and concrete information about how the building’s systems can live side-by-side and how integration can benefit the customer in the long run.
The most important thing is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to voice those concerns at the beginning.