The ability to monitor a building from a remote location is increasingly important for property and facility managers. With adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors, building managers now have more technology at their fingertips than ever before.
For facility managers, employee and building occupant health and wellbeing are of even more importance with the ongoing pandemic. The global market for IoT-enabled remote asset management solutions is predicted to grow from $16.5 billion in 2020 to $32.6 billion by 2025, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Mickey Rooney, Program Director at JLL’s Integral business, points out the benefits in the company’s Why remote monitoring is a growth area for today’s buildings article,
“A faulty air-con unit or contaminated tap often risks only being detected at the next routine service visit,” says Rooney. “Remote dashboard monitoring displays real-time data that allows teams to identify issues at a much earlier stage, while some systems employ machine learning to automatically make adjustments and redefine maintenance plans. This, in turn, can help prolong the life of the costly appliances they service.”
There are many challenges to implementing remote monitoring technology in older buildings. Matthew Ganser, EVP of Engineering & Technology at Carbon Lighthouse, points out to Facility Executive that two thirds of the U.S. building stock was built before the Cold War and lacks the foundation for regular and seamless control systems.
Then there’s the issue of building data, and ensuring secure, remote access. Unlike advanced, cloud-native enterprise-grade solutions, physical buildings are not beautifully instrumented ecosystems. There is a lack of uniformity in naming conventions of data sets, data storage, meta data — that’s even if there are systems in place to collect data at all. In fact, in Carbon Lighthouse’s experience analyzing 100MM sq ft. of building data, we found that 15% of buildings don’t have a building management system (BMS) in place at all. Even in cases where there is some sort of data collection happening, fewer than 50% of those buildings have the tools in place to access or view it remotely.
With many tenants of commercial buildings still working from home as a result of the pandemic, and what the return to work will look like remaining an unknown, property and facility managers have the opportunity to benefit from remote monitoring. With indoor air quality an increasing concern, HVAC systems should be monitored for top efficiency. Now that many buildings are nearly empty, energy savings can be found through remote management of underutilized areas. A silver lining may be that now is a good time for upgrades while buildings are largely unoccupied.