How the Internet of Things will transform building management

When it comes to managing energy consumption, safety conditions and other building processes across your company's real estate portfolio, which scenario sounds more efficient?

Option A: responding to alarms and maintenance crises reactively after they happen. Or Option B: monitoring systems continuously in real time to anticipate and address potential problems or incidents.

Yes, the question is largely rhetorical, but the reality is most facility managers currently operate somewhere in between these two extremes. Many have access to building systems that collect data about operating conditions, but far fewer have the tools to parse that information for insights into future conditions or inefficiencies.

That's about to change. Intelligent, machine-to-machine, or M2M, applications that use sensors to collect information about operating conditions combined with cloud-hosted analytics software that makes sense of disparate data points will help facility managers become far more proactive about managing buildings at peak efficiency, said experts participating in the GreenBiz webcast, "Sensors, Buildings and the Coming Internet of Things."

"If all you have is a home-built spreadsheet, you can't get to where you need to be," said Mark Henderickson, director of Panoptix Operations for Johnson Controls.

Panoptix is a management system hosted securely in the cloud that can collect information from sensors and other intelligent devices (not just those made by Johnson Controls). Facility teams can use the software application to monitor conditions and set parameters for what happens if certain conditions arise.

Promising Applications

The built environment is one of the most promising sectors for M2M applications, which could become a more than $1 trillion industry by 2020.

There are currently more than 1.1 billion intelligent embedded systems deployed globally, with more than 2.6 billion expected to be in place by 2016, according to IDC data cited by John Doyle, director of product marketing for Windows-embedded technology at Microsoft.

Next page: The value of data