Smart Buildings offer an exciting array of win-win (and-win!) opportunities. Just imagine a typical multi-story rental property or mix-use office and commercial building full of tenants providing seemingly unlimited types of data. Yet, until recently, most commercial real estate owners have had access to only specific solutions like Building Management Systems (BMS), requiring still significant manual labor and local attention only to address an issue such as energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is indeed a huge priority with overconsumption and waste being historically costly. However, there is a wide range of factors building owners must assess on a monthly basis. For example, for every dollar spent on energy, 10 times that amount is spent on space leasing. 100 times that dollar is spent on employees. More efficient use of space and increasing employee productivity, even by a fraction of a percent, will have a bigger impact on reducing a company’s environmental footprint and increasing profitability.
In addition, facility managers and tenants themselves are open and eager for new, cost-effective ways to go about their routines. Trying to reduce unnecessary tenant heating and cooling, responding to damage caused by water leaks, controlling humidity and noise, improving security, keeping an eye on critical infrastructure — just to name a few! This is where IoT and the connected building concept offer all three profiles a revolutionary opportunity to address these challenges while achieving overarching business, management and lifestyle objectives — even providing new potential revenue sources.
So, imagine the same rental property, but now with hundreds of low-cost, network-connected sensors dispersed throughout the building continuously collecting data to be sent through a gateway to a cloud-based server where third-party applications present real-time metrics and alerts to owners’ phones or computers whether they’re on or offsite. A practical and currently ready-to-implement network system of devices that are low-powered with long-battery life and cover a wide, multi-floor vicinity.
How LoRaWAN® technology empowers the Smart Building industry
LoRaWAN technology has already become the de facto wireless protocol for smart buildings by providing low power, long range connectivity within large-scale commercial implementations. LoRaWAN allows building managers, owners, residents and service providers to view building functions remotely and ensure all the things within the building speaks to one another.
LoRaWAN is based on an open standard which not only simplifies global deployment, but gives builders piece of mind by ensuring interoperability with existing infrastructure and applications. It’s the same for IoT providers and telecom operators servicing properties – an interconnected ecosystem can work for a brand new building or an older structure under renovation. In addition, the type of network is flexible. Depending on the needs, a property can be connected via private or public networks, network-as-a-service or a hybrid version.
If all that were not enough to interest a building owner, facility manager, designer, insurance provider, utility provider, appliance manufacturers, and tenant to LoRaWAN, then just imagine the new opportunities created by such an array of rich real-time data, such as new solutions or advice marketed to modify certain behaviors to reduce utility bills or space needs. On the other hand, they can provide investment advice and industry insights to service providers or the city. LoRaWAN is a game changing opportunity for the commercial real estate sector.
LoRaWAN-based solutions secure properties by detecting intruders, providing safety and disaster response measures, keeping track of facility equipment location, restricting access to private areas, etc.
Sensors can dramatically reduce maintenance costs by using ‘predictive analytics’ and ‘on demand’ services. Water can be monitored and detected to identify water leaks before costly damages occur. Elevator motors and equipment can be monitored to detect early signs of potential failure.
Smart thermostats can now monitor indoor/outdoor air temperature, humidity and the presence of people in a room. This data can then be used to intelligently control the HVAC, heater and ventilation systems inside buildings so that they cool or heat rooms only when necessary.
Real-time occupancy, geolocation and foot traffic data can be used to identify spatial usage patterns, allowing space efficiency optimization and reconfiguring offices and retail location layout.