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Internet of Things for Building Operations

How the Internet of Things Benefits Building Operations [ebook]

The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just an interesting way to control a home’s thermostat while at work or a gimmick to sell more expensive refrigerators. When applied to commercial, industrial and other types of large buildings, it becomes a powerful tool for improving the process of facility management.

Building operations managers benefit directly from automating many of the less important responsibilities of their position, but even employees and end users reap the benefits of the emerging technology as well. Understanding the specific benefits of the Internet of Things for facilities management for various industries is the best way to win over reluctant owner/operators and project managers who may be put off by the extra cost of IoT equipment.

In our newest ebook, “Leveraging the Internet of Things for Building Operations,” we explore how the rise of IoT is being used to make buildings smarter and improve the maintenance cycle. Download the ebook today, and read below for a sneak peek about what’s inside:


Retail Environments

Current IoT systems are already quite powerful when added to a retail environment, but some of the most ground-breaking potential future developments are also likely to occur in this sector.

IoT installations in retail stores alone are expected to account for up to $1.2 trillion worth of positive impact on the industry by 2025. IoT integration also offers retail companies affected negatively by the growth of e-commerce sales an opportunity to counter those losses by integrating in-store ordering and pickup options in a process known as omni-channel sales.

Don’t forget about the potential for automating the checkout process and therefore reducing up to 75% of cashier staff and providing inventory tracking with minimal work on the parts of the employees. Retail stores with integrated IoT systems also enjoy the same energy savings that are so valuable to other industries, helping facilities compete in areas with high rents and limited consumer audiences.

Industrial and Manufacturing

The standardization of practices and high levels of repetition required in the manufacturing sector makes it ideal for automation and monitoring through the Internet of Things for building operations. Not only can the integration of IoT into factories and manufacturing facilities improve the actual work of creating products or materials, it can also greatly improve inventory management and equipment use. Facility managers of these structures face the biggest losses of all industries from downtime due to safety issues, equipment malfunctions and other interruptions.

Smart buildings capable of tracking maintenance practices, alerting facility managers to breakdowns immediately and improving the overall safety of the work process can completely revolutionize the management process. With the structure actually participating in its own management and maintenance, there’s more time and energy left for dealing with emergencies to keep downtime to a minimum and maximize operating efficiency.

As many manufacturing methods increasingly involve both robotics and AI, the IoT will become practically required to keep a facility running smoothly with so many hundreds or thousands of individual technological components. IoT systems are essential for factories in which both human and robotic workers share common space since a wide network of different sensors and safety features are needed to prevent injuries and other serious accidents.

Municipal and Public Use

Every kind of municipal and public structure, from hospitals to courthouses and libraries, can benefit from at least a little IoT integration. Some public buildings may need to limit smart sensor use to manage the hacking risks that come with them, but the opportunity for energy savings and effective security systems are well worth the adoption costs. Facility managers handling municipal buildings often face the tightest budgets, especially for maintenance and renovations.

Federal courts have been among the first to embrace the latest technological advancements, including integrated display controllers so judges retain complete control over the presentation of evidence and witness video testimony. Since security is of such a high concern for many municipal buildings, facility managers can benefit greatly from sensors and notification systems that work seamlessly together for accurate information about breaches and unauthorized access. Some IoT systems and designs for municipal use are quite specialized and surprising, such as tracking the movement of furniture and gathering user data in the D.H. Hill Library operated by North Carolina State University.

Office and Mixed-Use Buildings

Office buildings may not face such exacting requirements for uptime or productivity, but these structures still require energy optimization for both cost savings and a comfortable work environment. IoT integration is particularly valuable to the facility managers of office buildings since their jobs often include a higher level of so-called soft maintenance compared to other types of facilities.

Soft maintenance includes cleaning, landscaping, inter-office communication systems, hospitality for guests and clients and basically any other tasks that don’t involve the essential core functions of the structure. Spending too much time on soft maintenance makes it all too easy to overlook HVAC issues or roof maintenance needs, so automating as much of it as possible frees up the facility manager to focus on the most important parts of their job instead.

Finally, office buildings can also greatly benefit from IoT installations with a focus on managing the effects of user-owned devices, which can create security risks when the equipment isn’t maintained to the same standards as company-issued units.

Multifamily Homes

Finally, multifamily housing units like apartments and condominiums also run more smoothly and efficiently when powered by the IoT. Maintenance and repair issues that go overlooked, such as leaking plumbing and cracked ductwork, can cause costly property damage and higher bills for the residents.

Efficient buildings that are cost-effective to heat, cool and light are likely to better resist the high turnover rates of 50% or more for many communities. IoT can also increase the security of an entire complex and individual units, resulting in a marketing boost and less work for the facility management team.

Managing Tomorrow’s Buildings with IoT

Planning a new smart building and having trouble winning over other team members that need not handle the challenges of facility management? Pick up some valuable talking points on the power of the Internet of Things for building operations by exploring our ebook, “Leveraging the Internet of Things for Building Operations.”


Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas is a Content Marketing Manager at PlanGrid. He develops PlanGrid’s content strategy and creates assets to educate their customers based on his experience working at Gilbane Building Co. and Truebeck Construction. He has more than six years of marketing experience and a Bachelor's Degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University.

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