whether they are saving energy and how they are doing it. From
there, it runs the gamut from counting people and determining
best occupancy levels to energy usage that meets those needs.
For instance, intelligence enables building owners to know if
they’re getting the most out of their conference rooms based
on occupancy. Those kinds of analytics require a facility manager to appoint a person or team to handle that data and make
decisions based on it.
The future should bring an exciting array of options for
owners and contractors. In 2017, Gartner expects to see
trends that involve the Internet of Things (Io T) as well as
drones, robots and autonomous vehicles that occupy or travel
around a facility to better manage the activity and conditions both inside and outside. These intelligent devices can
gather and share data that could be part of a building’s overall
But few small or mid-sized businesses are looking in this
direction right now. Even if such systems were purchased and
installed, a user needs to consider how the data would be managed and who would do that task.
find opportunities in
lighting and building
“It’s so important to not give facility managers more than
they have time to do,” said Brent Protzman, energy information
and analytics manager, Lutron.
That means tailoring a system to meet the initial resources
as well as helping the customer map out a future growth plan.
A manager may initially want to know when lamp outages
occur or when a motor isn’t running properly, but the more
proactive efforts are going to require long-term planning. The
intelligence can also help building managers decide if they need
to expand their own building portfolio based on occupancy and
usage, Protzman said.
Therefore, companies such as Lutron are making their
commercial and residential software easier to plan and install,
meaning more opportunity and potentially less time on one project.
Contractors that step into programming have even greater
opportunity. Companies such as Lutron offer sampling kits that
enable a contractor or customer to install and explore just what
a system could do in that location.
Building owners also need to understand the importance
of an integrated system when it comes to building intelligence.
Many still think of intelligence as the installation of high-efficiency windows, insulation or occupancy sensors—each a
separate system. Technology providers, in the meantime, provide systems that can be shared on a single backbone, because
with more functionality, a dozen or more separate systems are
going to be unmanageable.
Part of building intelligence’s foothold comes from the smartphone, which has made building owners, occupants and
contractors more comfortable with wireless intelligence. The
growth in smart-device technology is revolutionizing and
simplifying the way systems are programmed. The ability to
perform programming and adjustments from a tablet or smartphone rather than at the device itself—or with a proprietary
programming tool—greatly simplifies the operation.
“These apps set the stage for cloud and Io T connectivity,
enabling further building intelligence, monitoring and control,”
Automation solutions include advancements in LED lighting, apps and cloud technology, which are driving controls
and intelligence from the mechanical or electrical room into
the building space and into the lighting fixtures themselves.
With LEDs driving down lighting loads to a fraction of what
they were with previous light sources, high-ampacity control devices capable of handling the full lighting-circuit load
are no longer necessary. That allows controls to reside in
“The impact of cloud connectivity growth is reaching into
building automation, and the same level of ease and flexibility