What does the popularity of the Internet of Things mean for the construction and real estate industries? Will it bring real benefits and efficiency to the enterprise, or is its value yet to be revealed?
With the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) in full swing, technological advances mean new, smarter, safer and better ways to plan, build and operate assets have entered the market. The Internet of Things (IoT) is positioned as one of the technological advances, but it has actually been around for nearly two decades.
In the meantime, the definition has been changing. Fundamentally, however, it refers to the network of objects that generate data, with the purpose of making data available and connected to gain insights into increased functionality, knowledge, and connectivity.
Despite the threat of cyber attacks and worries about privacy make the Internet a potentially scary proposition, but the society is filled with iot objects: mobile phones, smart watches, remote security system, the lighting in our house, even the baby monitor can be connected to the Internet, it shows that how the Internet of things.
But for the most part, these are for consumers. What does the Internet of Things mean for the building, facility and asset management industries?
Why is it time for the building and construction industry to embrace the Internet of Things
The future of the Internet of Things
There is an inherent difficulty with iot devices in the construction and real estate industries. Manufacturers have made strides in offering connected devices, to the point that in some cases, unconnected alternatives are no longer available.
Connected devices have been touted as a huge benefit to businesses in the construction and real estate sectors, but can the claimed benefits of early warning, remote monitoring and continuous data collection be quantified within an organisation to ensure they are worth changing or investing in?
Smart buildings and assets
Facilities with connected equipment can make buildings and assets “smart”. If a building’s assets, systems, or elements are not suitable for use, the connectivity of the equipment can notify management immediately. Critical systems and assets can be connected to the Internet and if they are underperforming or even offline, notifications can be sent to relevant stakeholders and contractors, leading to more direct work order requests to minimize disruption and optimize operating expenses.
In most cases, it is difficult to attribute direct and immediate cost savings to Internet connectivity features. Areas where the business case for investing in iot devices should be considered could be, for example, focusing on risk aversion and mitigation, or reducing downtime and disruptions, all of which could potentially be quantified.
Another reason iot devices still face some skepticism in the construction and real estate sectors is that the industry is currently experiencing a constant and increasing influx of data, information and records. The influx of devices capable of collecting ever more data is leading to data overload, especially given that the industry spends less than 1% of its value on technology. The construction and real estate industries simply don’t know what to do with this data and how to support productivity and efficiency gains and reduce safety incidents and risks.
However, with the emergence and introduction of more iot devices, especially combined with advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and analytics, iot devices have huge potential in the construction and real estate sectors.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
When combined with iot devices and analytics, AI and machine learning provide valuable insights into performance. Put simply, machine learning and artificial intelligence are probably best explained as automating data analysis and developing corrective actions.
For example: sensors, access to system data, room temperature and energy consumption are all combined to determine whether the floor is still occupied at 6.30pm; Otherwise, the building management system will be automatically instructed to turn off lights, turn off heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), switch the safety system to night mode and activate alarms.
These operation parameters will no longer be set at a predetermined time during device debugging, nor will they be performed manually; Now, devices can meet the needs of users and provide a better user experience while optimizing energy efficiency without compromising safety.
Combining multiple seemingly unrelated data sets can also provide insight into performance. For example, combining HVAC performance data with weather patterns and space occupancy rates can provide insight to predict the performance of HVAC assets under certain conditions.
In addition, by running the scenario, historical data can provide insight, be able to warn of adverse conditions, and even suggest appropriate action when conditions emerge. Imagine if a factory could learn to recognise the working patterns of its occupants so that it knew that working hours would be extended before the end of the financial year. The facility management team can schedule additional kitchenettes to accommodate longer periods of time in the facility or delayed cleaning shifts so as not to interfere with the user’s activities.
Based on analytical insights from artificial intelligence or machine learning, technology can enhance knowledge of assets and systems, enabling them to automatically take pre-emptive action when parameters change.