anomaly using the meter hierarchy. The models then help explain the cause
of the anomaly at the asset level. In addition, operators can use augmented
reality (AR) to diagnose problems and even control the assets.
Using the same approach with machine learning, some space managers can learn how space is used, at the building, floor or room level—even
at the desk level in some cases—and ensure that they have the right type
of space for users, today and in the future, Penny said. They can put a very
accurate cost, per person per square meter, and show the cost of space
at its current utilization rate.
“Often, this is a very sobering figure,” Penny said.
For example, IBM partnered with ISS, a global provider of facility services
for more than 25,000 buildings worldwide, from concierge to cleaning to
technical maintenance. ISS is using IBM Watson Io T to integrate and analyze
data from millions of devices and sensors including doors, windows, chairs,
meeting rooms, dispensers and air conditioning systems. This enables companies to optimize service and further understand exactly how people are
using buildings, Penny said.
Putting sensors in chairs can help staff manage room occupancy and cancel unnecessary
room bookings. By placing sensors on plate
dispensers, kitchen staff can predict how many
people are still likely to eat so they can prepare
the right amount of food and avoid waste.
KONE Corp., a global elevator and escalator company, has its own solutions. KONE
operates more than a million escalators,
elevators and turnstiles that move a billion
people around buildings every day, and they all require regular
maintenance. With Watson Io T, it can connect, remotely monitor and optimize the management of these machines. By using
Watson Io T to analyze the data from sensors embedded in this
equipment, KONE can predict and respond to technical issues,
run tests remotely and issue commands over the cloud.
“No one wants to get stuck on an elevator or walk up a broken esca-
lator,” said Scott McMahon, company communications manager. “With
Watson Io T, KONE has real-time insights and can ultimately provide better
service and more innovation in buildings.”
This year’s introduction of KONE’s 24/7 Connected Services will enable
equipment to be connected, bringing real-time data and more insights for
customers and service technicians, he added.
“We collect data from our equipment,” McMahon said. “Then, using
IBM Watson, we can analyze the data in real-time and deliver insight into
potential issues or prevent issues from ever happening.”
Embedding sensors throughout buildings generates data that programs
such as Watson Io T can use to identify irregularities and analyze patterns,
make predictions on when maintenance might be needed, and suggest
more efficient methods. In the past, companies had to collect data from
disparate systems and databases manually, which could take weeks (not to
mention the time it takes to analyze that data manually). With software so-
lutions and sensors, these processes become more automatic and efficient.
IoT can also provide users of the building with cognitive concierge
services, enabling users to ask for services using language, such as “I
need some coffee,” “Find the nearest free meeting room,” etc. Over time,
the systems start to understand a user’s preferences and adjust accordingly, Penny said.
While much of this is still far in the future for the typical commercial
space, the pressure is always increasing for building managers. As buildings get taller and serve tens of thousands of people simultaneously,
building operators must ensure everything operates smoothly, and that
the people working in these buildings have a convenient, intuitive and
enjoyable experience every day.
Being able to quickly resolve or prevent disruptions, such as a broken
escalator, helps building owners save money and time as well as provide
better service, Penny said. Building operators need to be aware of the
changing workforce, and with a deeper focus on productivity within companies, they have to deliver buildings that are central to the users’ needs.
For electrical contractors, this all means more business opportunities. As
more buildings will need installation of Io T technology, integrators and
contractors can serve a crucial role in the implementation. Successful Io T
implementation is a collaboration
between product and service in
order to enable this complex
“Across all industries, we
see more and more companies looking for ways to take
advantage of the vast amount of
data being produced, so they can make
sense of it and find innovative ways to
transform their business,” Penny said.
Building management is moving
into a cognitive era that will permanently change the way business is conducted. As
cities continue to grow and more buildings are constructed, there
is an enormous opportunity to integrate Io T solutions and create
smarter buildings. Not only will building managers be able to do their
jobs more efficiently, the people working and living in those buildings
will expect the same quality of maintenance and experience provided by
Contractors will gain from watching the evolution of Io T technology
and learning what types of infrastructure, platforms and capabilities need
to come together to build out a building maintenance solution.
Customer expectations are rising all the time, McMahon said.
Even before new construction begins, contractors should also think
about closing the loop between design, construction and operation of
“What level of intelligent and sustainable buildings could we col-
lectively deliver if the data and insights from the operational phase of a
building was fed back into architects and designers?” Penny asked.
The use cases are limitless, so the market is benefiting from forward-
thinking contractors and building owners that find ways to ensure that
spaces are working for the people, not the other way around.
“We have the sensors, we have the data, we have the analytics, we
have the platforms, we have the security,” Penny said. “Now we just need
S WEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As cities continue to grow
and more buildings are
constructed, there is an
enormous opportunity to
integrate Io T solutions and
create smarter buildings.