Using the Internet of Things for smarter building use

December 28, 2016

Open hand with Internet of Things (IoT) word and icon on blue blur background, Technology concept.

By using smart sensor technology, facility managers can gauge how employees are using available spaces like conference rooms and common meeting spaces. Employee workspaces are increasingly relevant, given today’s trend of more workers making use of flexible work hours and with roughly 45% of American employees working from home at least part of the time. According to an IBM study, only 67% of existing commercial space is being used.

This information can not only help you better use your resources and facilitate a push toward building sustainability, but it can help you to find new ways to use spaces that are underutilized. Some facilities are using the Internet of Things to discover what spaces are being underused and renting those spaces out to other organizations. This can all be done without disruption.

You are already likely familiar with some forms of smart technology:

  • Motion sensors that turn on lights to save electricity
  • Smart thermostats that adjust office temperature based on the weather
  • Motion-activated faucets to save water

However, those technologies, while beneficial, do not provide real-time information on workspace usage. Acquiring information that allows you to make smarter decisions on how to best use your space requires installing many networked sensors around your facility. Such sensors can include:

  • Motion sensors on seats to determine how many people are actually in a given room
  • Sensors on sinks and toilets to determine which bathrooms are used the most and when
  • Motion-activated light sensors that determine how often a room is in use and for how long
  • Thermal sensors to detect the different conditions in each room
  • CO2 sensors since as occupancy increases, levels of CO2 can build up and have a negative impact on thinking and decision-making. When a threshold is reached, a smart HVAC system can increase levels of fresh air supplied to the space.

Of course, this can all lead to information overload, requiring a smart building dashboard to help you interpret the data and seamlessly coordinate your utilities usage.

With this data, facility managers can implement better regulations for using their resources more efficiently and even find new ways to increase revenue.

For help on turning your facility into a smart building, contact Vanguard Resources.